Best-Selling Authors & Hot Debuts | Pop Fiction Previews, Feb. 2018

Ackerman, Sara. Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780778319214. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488080456. WOMEN’S FICTION/HISTORICAL
In World War II Hawaii, as American troops swoop in and members of the territory’s large Japanese population suffer internment, Violet Iverson decides to open a pie stand with friend Jean to keep the soldiers happily fed. A big-hearted marine helps her when she’s regarded with suspicion owing to her husband’s disappearance (was he working for the Japanese? The U.S. government?), but who knows where his generosity will lead. With an 80,000-copy first printing.

Beard, Janet. The Atomic City Girls. Morrow Paperbacks. Feb. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062666710. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062666727. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL
Beard (Beneath the Pines) tells the story of the women who worked at the Oak Ridge, TN, production site for the Manhattan Project by focusing on 18-year-old June Walker. Oak Ridge doesn’t officially exist, the women know nothing about their assignment, and June contents herself with socializing (even launching an affair with a young Jewish physicist) until a security breach compels her to start asking questions. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Boone, Ezekiel. Zero Day. Emily Bestler: Atria. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9781501125102. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501125133. HORROR
Having thoroughly scared us with the creepy-crawly critters of The Hatching and Skitter, Boone wraps up his trilogy with a question for President Stephanie Pilgrim: kill all of the spiders acting as one to eat human flesh or go with arachnologist Melanie Guyer’s theory that only the queens need to be eliminated? For braver folks than I.

Brodsky, Jordanna Max. Olympus Bound. Orbit: Hachette. Feb. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9780316385947. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316385923. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316385930. FANTASY
As recent Day of Dialog attendees know, Brodsky’s “Olympus Bound” series brings the Greek gods into contemporary times. Here, Selene is not enjoying a glowy New York summer. She’s lost her home and the man she adores, and even worse, a cult has kidnapped her father and is threatening her friends. Time to draw on her ancient linage as the Huntress. In other words, she’s Artemis. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Darznik, Jasmin. Song of a Captive Bird. Ballantine. Feb. 2018. 416p. ISBN 9780399182310. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399182327. Downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORICAL
Tehran-born, California-based Darznik follows The Good Daughter, her New York Times best-selling memoir, with a debut novel about poet Forugh Farrokzhad, a key figure in Persian literature sometimes called Iran’s Sylvia Plath. Considered both brilliant and shocking, her poems reflected a rebellious life that included ending her marriage before her twenties, launching a passionate affair, and living independently until her tragic death in a car accident at age 32. Not surprisingly, her poems were banned after the 1979 revolution; Darznik offers some of her own translations here.

Gwin, Minrose. Promise. Morrow. Feb. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062471710. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062471734. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL
On April 5, 1936, as part of a terrible four-day series of twisters throughout the South, tornadoes hit Tupelo, MS, and Gainesville, GA, killing more than 200 people; the Tupelo outbreak registered F5, the highest on the Fujita scale measuring tornado strength. Tupelo native Gwin, whose Palmyra was a Discover Great New Writers pick, lets us relive the events by telling the story of teenage African American laundress Dovey, thrown into the lake by the winds, who stops at the home of the powerful white McNabbs as she rushes to her family and discovers a baby boy she’s convinced is her brother. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Haig, Matt. How To Stop Time. Viking. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780525522874. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525522881. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. ROMANCE/HISTORICAL
Owing to a rare and perhaps unenviable condition, Tom Hazard has lived for centuries, performing with Shakespeare and drinking with F. Scott Fitzgerald. He’s trying to lead a normal life as a high school teacher in London, but he’s falling for the French teacher, a move opposed by the Albatross Society, guardians of people like Tom. This latest from novelist Haig, author most recently of the best-selling memoir Reasons To Stay Alive, will be made into a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Kinsella, Sophie. Surprise Me. Dial. Feb. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780399592881. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399592898. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION
In blockbuster Shopaholic author Kinsella’s latest stand-alone, married couple Dan and Sylvie have been happy together for ten years. They’re both also really healthy; a doctor predicts that they’ll have another 68 years together. Now they’re in a quandary. How can they keep their marriage exciting? (Check out the title for their plan.) And can they survive a secret from the past?

Lloyd, Amy. The Innocent Wife. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9781335952400. $26.99. THRILLER
Winner of 2016’s Daily Mail First Novel competition, this bone chiller features a young British school teacher who falls in love with a death row inmate in America she believes is innocent. She marries him, works for his release, then, as events suggest that he know more than he’s revealed, wonders if he really was guilty after all. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Mallery, Susan. Sisters Like Us. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780778330905. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488023682. ROMANCE
This latest from Mallery features beleaguered Harper, dealing with her virtual assistant business; her bossy, live-in mother; unforthcoming daughter Becca; and the two rambunctious Dobermans Becca brought home from her dad’s. Harper’s personal life is pretty much nonexistent until she meets a handsome client who really gets teenagers and dogs. With a 250,000-copy first printing; Mallery has sold more than 30 million books worldwide.

Meissner, Susan. As Bright as Heaven. Berkley. Feb. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780399585968. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399585982. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL
Having sold more than 100,000 copies each of A Fall of Marigolds and Secrets of a Charmed Life (print and ebook combined), Meissner breaks into hardcover. Pauline Bright and her husband arrive in 1918 Philadelphia with hopes for a better life that are quashed when the Spanish Flu arrives, claiming 12,000 lives in their city alone. Despite loss, they learn the meaning of love by taking in a baby orphaned by the disease. Rights sold to 13 countries.

Moon, Elizabeth. Into the Fire. Del Rey: Ballantine. Feb. 2018. 384p, ISBN 9781101887349. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101887356. SF
In Nebula Award winner Moon’s Cold Welcome, Adm. Kylara Vatta crash-lands with a group of strangers on a cold and forbidding island and discovers an arctic base no one knew existed. Now she must discover who’s behind it all, and that means facing some dreadful secrets from her family’s past. Military sf from a former marine.

Moyes, Jojo. Still Me. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Jan. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780399562457. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399562471. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION
A late January title I’ve recently confirmed, this new work from No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Moyes stars the beloved Louisa Clark from Me Before You and After You. She’s working for the wealthy Gopnicks in New York, swearing to maintain her relationship with Ambulance Sam back home, when the Gopnicks’ social whirl introduces her to a man reminding her of her past. Now what?

Oliveira, Robin. Winter Sisters. Viking. Feb. 2018. 416p. ISBN 9780399564253. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399564277. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL
Oliveira made the extended New York Times best sellers list with her Michael Shaara Prize–winning debut, My Name Is Mary Sutter, then detoured to visit Mary Cassatt with I Always Loved You. Now she returns to Mary Sutter, working as a doctor in 1897 Albany, NY, who ventures forth during a blizzard to find the two little daughters of friends who perished in the snowfall.

Stapley, Marissa. Things To Do When It’s Raining. Graydon House: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781525899010. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488030970. WOMEN’S FICTION
National Magazine Award–nominated journalist Stapley follows up her well-received debut novel, Mating for Life, with the story of love lost and maybe found again. Together with Gabe Broadbent, who’s fled an alcoholic father, orphaned Mae Summers was raised by her grandparents at Summers’ Inn along the St. Lawrence River. Their childhood closeness led to first love, shattered when Gabe left, but now they are both back in town. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Sweterlitsch, Tom. The Gone World. Putnam. Feb. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780399167508. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698142763. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SF/MYSTERY
In this genre-bending debut, a family is found murdered in 1997 Pennsylvania, and Shannon Moss of the under-the-radar Naval Criminal Investigative Service knows that the husband, a U.S. Navy SEAL, served as an astronaut aboard a spaceship assumed lost somewhere in Deep Time. Does that have anything to do with the violence that has transpired, and where’s the missing daughter? Optioned by Fox, with Neill Blomkamp (District 9) attached to direct.

Winkler, Mark. My Name Is Nathan Lucius. Soho Crime. Feb. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781616958824. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616958831. CRIME/PSYCHOLOGICAL
South African writer Winkler makes his North American debut with this second novel, which was long-listed for the 2016 Sunday Times Fiction Prize. The title character is a disillusioned, hard-drinking ad salesman at a Cape Town newspaper whose best (and maybe only) friend Madge makes a seemingly impossible request. She’s dying of cancer and wants Nathan to end her pain fast.

Wolfson, Brianna. Rosie Colored Glasses. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780778330691. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488022890. LITERARY/WOMEN’S
Wolfson’s autobiographical debut features Willow, a child of divorce caught between her rigid father and a mother named Rosie who’s warm and loving and suddenly dangerously crazy. From a star on the San Francisco storytelling circuit and a  big hit at BookExpo; with a 150,000-copy first printing.

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.


  1. Evelyn Barrow says:

    PLEASE send me a copy of the latest LIBRARY JORNAL. I want our Library to have a subscription but need a sample of the good work you do.

    Please contact me so I can give you mailing address, etc. Thank you

    Evelyn Barrow

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