Summer Heart Warmers (Harbison, McCullough) & Sexy Reads (Hoover, McHugh) | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

Bertino, Marie-Helene. 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas. Crown. Aug. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780804140232. $25. CD:Penguin Random Audio. LITERARY
On the day before Christmas, spunky nine-year-old Madeline Altimari goes hunting for the bertinofamed Philly jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas, hoping to make her debut, even as Madeline’s divorced teacher hunts for love and Cat’s Pajamas owner Lorca worries he’ll have to close forever. Their stories converge touchingly; dig the jazz playlist, and note the ALA Midwinter push.

Cooney, Ellen. The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780544236158. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780544237094. LITERARY
At-loose-ends Evie signs up for dog-training school at the Sanctuary but finds herself the one being rescued as she deals with a greyhound who won’t run, a Rottweiler who can’t search, and more. Not just heartwarming; the saving-by-kidnapping of abused dogs figures in the story. For dog lovers and more; the publisher does well with animal books.

Creech, Sarah. Season of the Dragonflies. Morrow. Aug. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780062307521. $25.99. lrg. prnt. POP FICTION
A cloud of blue dragonflies announce that Lucia is returning home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where her mother runs a family concern whose signature perfume is sought by the rich and famous. Lucia lacks the power of other women in her family to visualize a scent’s particular effects, but she’s got other gifts that will save the foundering business. A debut pitched to the Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen crowd.

Harbison, Beth. Driving with the Top Down. St. Martin’s. Aug. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781250043801. 26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466842182. CD: Macmillan Audio. POP FICTION
When Dara and Colleen head on a two-week antiquing trip, they don’t imagine that they will be offering a ride to nondescript Jonnie, whom they meet at a North Carolina diner. Or that Jonnie is on the run after poisoning her quick-fisted husband. Harbison’s selling well, even going into mass market soon with her breakout Shoe Addicts Anonymous.

Hoover, Colleen. Ugly Love. Atria. Aug. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476753188. pap. $17. ROMANCE
It’s strictly sex between Tate Collins and Miles Archer, but can she stick to his rules: Never ask about the past, and don’t expect a future. From the New York Times best-selling author.mccullough

McCullough, Colleen. Bittersweet. S. & S. Aug. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781476755410. $26. HISTORICAL
Two sets of twins named Edda, Tufts, Grace, and Kitty, the Latimer sisters have big dreams, but in 1920s New South Wales their best option is to enroll in a training program for nurses. Men come their way with decidedly mixed results. Pitched as McCullough’s first sweeping romance since The Thorn Birds, which was some time back.

McHugh, Gail. Pulse: Book Two in the Collide Series. Atria. Aug. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781476765365. pap. $15. ROMANCE
Emily Cooper will do anything to get through to the man she loves, reclusive after heartbreak. Second in a hot’n’sexy two-parter originally issued by an indie publisher and subsequently bought by Atria after getting the New York Times best-selling treatment. Quite sexy.

Macomber, Debbie. Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Novel. Ballantine. Aug. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780553391138. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780553391145. CD/downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION
Letters give guests hope at Cedar Cove’s Rose Harbor Inn, the setting of many hit Macomber reads (in paperback, The Inn at Rose Harbor was her longest running New York Times best seller ever). Maggie Porter finds her marriage revitalized by an old love letter from her husband, for instance, and Jo Marie Rose is able to face the future after rereading a letter from her husband, killed in Afghanistan.

Montefiore, Santa. Secrets of the Lighthouse. S. & S. Aug. 2014. 400p. ISBN Secrets of the Lighthouse9781476735375. $25.99. POP FICTION
Fed up with her job, her fiancé, and her overbearing mother, Ellen Trawton ditches high-society London for a cottage on Ireland’s wind-whipped Connemara coast, where she finds a deserted lighthouse haunted by the ghost of a  young wife and mother. How happy will the ghost be when her husband falls in love again? A popular author (The French Gardener) who’s high society herself.

Sparks, Nicholas. The Best of Me. Grand Central. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780446547635. pap. $6.50. POP FICTION
Sparks’s novel of teen romance, teen breakup, and second chances was published in 2011, but this mass market tie-in for a movie arriving in fall 2014 is expected to be big.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.