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  • Sarah Skilton 9:00 am on 2017/09/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , fairytale, , fresh complaint: stories, , hiddensee: a tale of the once and future nutcracker, , , manhattan beach, mark helprin, , paris in the present tense, rules of magic, , the stolen marriage, Tom Hanks, uncommon type: some stories, , winter solstice   

    October’s Best New Fiction 

    If you’re in the mood for spooky witches this fall, Alice Hoffman’s Rules of Magic—a prequel to Practical Magic—delivers chills, thrills, and sibling strife. October also brings mystical retellings of the Nutcracker and Cinderella; two historicals set in North Carolina; and Jennifer Egan’s first novel since A Visit From the Goon Squad won the PulitzerRounding out the list are two short story collections. The first is by Jeffrey (Middlesex) Eugenides, and the second introduces us to a little-known, up-and-comer by the name of Tom Hanks.

    Uncommon Type: Some Stories, by Tom Hanks
    Whichever role you most associate with Hanks—boy who wishes himself Big; perpetually annoyed women’s softball coach; partner to Hooch—cast it aside and prepare for a new one: short story author. With 17 tales to choose from, one of which concerns showbiz life, and all of which involve typewriters (the actor’s a fan), this collection of character-driven and nostalgic stories will charm Hank’s acting fans and avid readers alike. Whet your appetite with Hanks’ 2014 piece from the New Yorker.

    Fairytale, by Danielle Steel
    If fairytale updates and mash-ups are your jam, add this to your stack, ASAP: a modern retelling of Cinderella, set in a Napa Valley winery called Chateau Joy. Tragic Parental Deaths? Check. Evil, mesmerizing stepparent (in this case a Parisian countess)? Check. Handsome prince and fairy godmother? Absolutely. Add a Harvest Ball, plenty of Steel’s trademark romance, and a dash of magic and you’ll never want to leave Chateau Joy behind. Within the story’s Cinderella roots, Steel brings her own unexpected twists to a classic story. 

    Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, by Gregory Maguire
    The author of the bestselling book and Broadway smash Wicked invites you to take a fresh look at the Nutcracker in this “double origin” story of the famous wooden toy and its creator, Drosselmeier. Who is Klara’s mysterious godfather, born a German peasant and seemingly fated to provide her with the sensational trinket? And what dark enchantment did he experience in his youth? Combining myths and historical legends, and written in the style of a Brothers Grimm tale, Hiddensee promises to delight and intrigue.

    Winter Solstice, by Elin Hilderbrand
    The fourth in her heart-and-hearth-warming “Winter” series, which are always set in Nantucket at Christmas, Solstice treats us to a reunion with the eggnog-guzzling Quinn family (patriarch Kelley, who owns the Winter Street Inn, and his four grown children). Each of them need help with romantic, business, or military entanglements. This year, heavy issues rise to the surface, from PTSD to hospice care and late-in-life regret. But with patience, love, and the bonds of family, the Quinns will pull each other through the tough times in this touching story.

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
    After winning the Pulitzer Prize for A Visit From the Good Squad (2010), Egan’s highly anticipated follow-up appears to be less experimental than her previous works, but just as moving. Set in New York City during the Depression and World War II, Manhattan Beach follows the struggles of Anna Kerrigan, first as an adolescent accompanying her father on a desperate job-seeking mission, and later at 19, after her father has disappeared and Anna is charged with supporting her sister and mother by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard as its sole female diver. A chance encounter with her father’s mobster boss begins to shed light on the truth about Anna’s dad. You may want to have tissues on hand for this detail-rich, feminist historical, which has already been long-listed for the National Book Award.

    Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    In this illuminating, entertaining prequel to Hoffman’s bestselling Practical Magic (also a 1998 film starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock), readers will learn what it was like for witchy sisters Franny and Bridget (Jet) Owens to grow up in 1950s/1960s New York City with a frustratingly strict mother (understandable, given the family curse: any man who falls in love with an Owens woman will meet a gruesome end). In Rules, we meet a charming younger brother, Vincent, who also grows up ignoring Mom’s warnings, with far-reaching consequences. Will any of the rules-averse siblings figure out a way to outwit their fates? If you loved the adolescent longings and heartaches of Hoffman’s poignant, private school-set River King, you’ll especially appreciate this coming-of-age tale.

    Fresh Complaint: Stories, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    The first short story collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex, Fresh Complaint depicts several relationships prior to implosion, including that of a young Indian-American woman who plans to ditch her arranged marriage; a poet-turned-criminal; and a friendship affected by dementia. Fans of The Marriage Plot will enjoy spending time with lovelorn Mitchell Grammaticus as he travels to Thailand in the story “Air Mail,” and there’s also a check-in with Dr. Luce of Middlesex fame, who throws himself into the study of intersex conditions after losing a patient to suicide. Written between the years of 1980-2017, this collection showcases Eugenides’ incredible ability to empathize with and write about people from atypical backgrounds.

    The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash
    Juggling a 70-hour, night-shift work week at a textile mill (for which she’s paid crushingly low wages), marital abandonment, and four children who need feeding, Ella May Wiggins finds herself in the middle of a union dispute in 1929 North Carolina. The idea of a living wage, equal pay for equal work, and a 5-day work week sounds like a fantasy to her and her friends. Rather than give a speech, Ella May composes a song during a rally, a way to give voice to herself and the other workers. She and her cohorts are branded communists, but their devotion to creating a world worth living in for their children is especially prescient today, and the fact that it’s based on a true story is inspiring.

    The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain
    Bestseller Chamberlain’s latest concerns an aspiring nurse trapped in a marriage-of-convenience in a small North Carolina town where she is disliked and mistrusted. It’s 1943, and Tess’s life just took a hard left: Impregnated by a man not her fiancée, she casts off her dream of a medical career alongside her true love and moves away with Henry, the baby’s father, who is uninterested in Tess’s potential. It soon becomes clear Henry is hiding things from Tess. With the polio epidemic in full swing, Tess gets a chance to use her nursing skills at last, but the home front remains as unsettling and mysterious as ever in this suspense-filled, World War II-era tale.

    Paris in the Present Tense, by Mark Helprin
    74-year-old Jules Lacour, a teacher at the Sorbonne reeling from his wife’s death and inaccurately believing himself a failure, thinks it’s about time he left behind the earthly plane as well. But his leukemia-ridden baby grandson needs him to find the money for treatment, and he hasn’t yet made peace with the tragic, seminal events in his life, including the deaths of his family members in the Holocaust. Perhaps there is yet time to play the cello, fall in love again, and save the day, if he’s willing to take a few risks. Paris looks to be invigorating and haunting read.

    What new fiction are you excited to read this month?

    The post October’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 11:00 am on 2017/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: a christmas to remember, an unwilling conquest, , , , , , , , fairytale, fall for romance, , , immortally yours: an argeneau novel, , , , , , , megan frampton, , , , , once a rebel, , , , , , , vivienne loret, , wilde in love: the wildes of lindow castle   

    Romance Fall Preview Guide: 16 Books to Get You Through the Season 

    I know, we all wish summer could last forever…but with fall fast approaching, we wanted to give you everything you need so that as the warm days dwindle, your books still have some sizzle! Here are sixteen fall romances you don’t want to miss:

    Once a Rebel, by Mary Jo Putney, August 29th
    If you love rogues who find romance, you’ll love this romance about the war of 1812. Lord Audley is tasked with finding widow Callista Brooke and bringing her back to England from where she currently is: stuck in the center of the conflict in Washington. But when Gordon arrives, he gets more than he bargained for: Callie is more than just a mission, she was his first love—and her father was the reason Gordon was convicted of a crime he did not commit.

    The Summer That Made Us, by Robyn Carr, September 5th
    Every summer ends, but none like the summer on Lake Waseka that destroyed the Hempstead sisters. Their lives are perfect: two sisters married to two brothers, all with kids of their own…until tragedy strikes, and the perfection of their summer world is drowned by death and regret. They don’t talk about what happened, until one sister decides that she will bring her family back together one last time.

    Secrets in Death, J.D. Robb, September 5th
    Lt. Eve Dallas is back in the 45th installment in this bestselling series, and this time she realizes there’s something even more deadly than a knife or a gun…secrets. When Larinda Mars, a notable professional blackmailer, is murdered, anyone with something to hide becomes a suspect.

    Wicked Deeds (Krewe of Hunters), by Heather Graham, September 19th
    Just when Vickie Preston, historian extraordinaire, and her former protector (now lover) Special Agent Griffin Pryce think they’ve outsmarted all the villains and outrun all the danger…an author is murdered, bringing their new beginning to a swift halt. Because the murder isn’t cut and dry, which means the paranormal Krewe of Hunters is needed once more, and Vickie and Griffin can’t tear themselves away from one another, or a good case.

    Archangel’s Viper, by Nalini Singh, September 26th
    Holly Chang is running from her past, struggling to accept a power she never asked for after a brutal attack. And when it becomes clear someone will take her dead—but preferably alive, for a hefty sum—she has to rely on a stalwart, strong, and seductive vampire to protect her. And he is too close to the people who hurt her for comfort.

    Chasing Christmas Eve, by Jill Shalvis, September 26th
    It’s never too early for holiday cheer…but Colbie Albright is feeling anything but cheery when she show up in the Bay Area after escaping New York and her fame as a renowned YA author. And when she ends up literally underwater and is saved by Spencer Baldwin, she wants what she knows she shouldn’t have…and come Christmas, she’ll have to go back to her old life.

    Immortally Yours: An Argeneau Novel, by Lynsay Sands, September 26th
    Eternity is inherently sexy…except when you’ve spent it in unrequited love. Beth has been in love with Scotty, a Scottish vampire, for over a century—ever since he saved her from certain devastation. But he’s never felt the same way about her…or so she thought. The truth could be more devastating than the rogue he saved her from all those years ago…that they are fated lovers, and Scotty has stayed away on purpose. The tension between them scorches the pages as Beth realizes she has to fight for what she wants.

    A Christmas to Remember, by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Loret, September 26th
    This anthology, featuring some veritable stars of the romance world, is not to be missed! The four stories include “I Will”, in which a Lord must marry a woman of worth or lose his inheritance; “Deck the Halls with Love” by Lorraine Heath, which introduces readers to the Marquess of Chetwyn, who broke Lady Meredith’s heart by proposing to someone else…and now that she’s betrothed, he wants her back; “No Groom at the Inn” by Megan Frampton, in which a bachelor tries to outsmart his own mother by pretending to have a woman in his life; and “The Duke’s Christmas Wish” by Vivienne Lorret, in which the science-minded Duke of Vale falls for a reckless and beautiful woman.

    Merry and Bright, by Debbie Macomber, October 8th
    Debbie Macomber returns with a Christmas story just hot enough to lift your spirits as the weather grows colder. She tells the story of Merry Smith, who is living the life she wants—family, career, and holiday cheer. But her mother decides to meddle and give her the gift she won’t give herself: a social life, with prospective matches galore! And while what Merry finds in the online dating world makes her happy indeed, will the fantasy come crashing down when reality sets in?

    Fairytale, by Danielle Steele, October 10th
    Camille is not living a modern fairytale, that’s for sure. Well, she was once: when her parents were in love and happy, in their family vineyard…until her mother died, and her father was swept up in the clutches of a woman who has snatched him from his wife’s memory. A wicked stepmother, two wicked stepbrothers…and a friend in the most unlikely of places make this sweet romance worthy of the title.

    Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, by Melissa de la Cruz, October 17th
    A gender-flipped classic is made modern in this hilarious and romantic novel by bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz. Meet Darcy, a relentless beauty who wants for nothing—not even love. She barely tolerates her family, but when her mom gets sick, she goes home to Pemberley (Ohio, lol) and meets Luke Bennet, the neighbor’s son. As relentlessly ambitious as Darcy is, Luke is her total opposite…and yet they find themselves in bed, and in a great deal of trouble.

    Duke of Desire, by Elizabeth Hoyt, October 17th
    When the infamous Lords of Chaos kidnap Lady Iris Jordan, she does whatever she can to escape…including shooting the masked man who intended to rescue her! The Duke of Dyemore wants to destroy the Lords, but by rescuing this damsel in distress, he has doomed them both to a fate they want to avoid: marriage. At least at first, until they both realize nothing can rescue them from the love they feel for each other.

    The Beautiful Ones, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, October 24th
    Antonia is meant to find a husband during her first season in Losail, but she is harboring a secret: her telekinetic ability makes her a target for gossip, and not exactly marriageable material. Until she meets Hector Auvray, a performer who teaches her to control her magic before it consumes her. However, Antonia has no idea that the attraction she feels for Hector may be more dangerous than her own power…

    Wilde in Love: The Wildes of Lindow Castle, by Eloisa James, October 31st
    Alaric Wilde is the son of a Duke, which means he can go on and be as much of a rake as he pleases. After years abroad with a reputation that precedes itself, he returns home and meets the one woman intent on not pleasing him: Willa. But Willa keeps her true self hidden from society, and she has no intention of letting a man with no morals like Alaric into her bed, or her heart.

    An Unwilling Conquest, by Stephanie Laurens, November 1st
    Harry Lester will never love a woman, but he certainly enjoys them. That is, until he meets a widow, Lucinda, and decides that she’s the one for him. The problem? Lucinda has no interest in Harry, or his help, and can get by just fine on her own. But Harry is determined, and sooner or later, he knows Lucinda will open her heart to him.

    No Other Duke Will Do, by Grace Burrowes, November 7th
    Debt has brought down the great Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford. When his sister decides to find him a wealthy bride, he doesn’t have much choice but to abide. Elizabeth Windham is recovering from a scandal, and knows finding a husband will put the rumor mill to rest. Sparks fly between the unexpected couple, but can they overcome their respective problems to find happiness?

    The post Romance Fall Preview Guide: 16 Books to Get You Through the Season appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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