09 June 2014

BEA 2014: What's Hot at HarperCollins

Last week I talked about the BEA book group session (part 1 & part 2) in which representatives from a number of publishers presented their top recommendations. I purposely left off the HarperCollins imprints because I wanted to talk about them in their own post.

As you know, I'm a big supporter of the Harper Perennial and Ecco imprints; today, however, I feature eight HarperCollins imprints and list a sampling of some of the books their publicists are excited about this year. In the following, you'll find everything from nonfiction to romance; literary fiction to urban fantasy.

For each imprint, I've listed a few of the recent and upcoming titles (with my own description) and then post the book cover and publisher's summary for my top pick.

Harper

  • Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie: historical fiction set in mid-15th-century Germany; about the first printing of a book and the launching of the business of publishing
  • Us by David Nicholls: literary fiction; after 30 years of marriage a man is surprised to learn his wife may leave him; at the same time he realizes he barely knows his almost-grown son; is it too late to save his relationship with his family?
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbot: historical fiction set during the U.S. Civil War; the story of four women who spied for their side during the war; based on firsthand accounts.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: fantasy; this first in an epic fantasy trilogy has already been picked up to be a movie starring Emma Watson. From the publisher's summary:
Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother's throne, learn to be a ruler--and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. . . .

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. . . .
Ecco
  • The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman: modern folk tale; a young woman going through her late-grandfather's papers discovers a Jewish legend, family secrets, and the key to saving her sister from a fate set in motion centuries earlier.
  • The Miniaturist by Ivy Pochoda: historical fiction set in late-17th-century Amsterdam; a young women gets in over her head when she seeks a craftsman to make furnishings for her beautiful miniature house; themes of secrets, love, greed, and betrayal; has a creepy aspect
Rooms by Lauren Oliver: fiction; what happens when three relatives inherit a haunted house; family drama. From the publisher's summary:
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results. . . .
Avon/Voyager
  • What I Love about You by Rachel Gibson: romance; steamy hot about ex-Navy SEAL twins and the beautiful women they meet.
  • The Getaway God by Richard Kadry: noir paranormal adventure; sixth in the Sandman Slim series; our hero must save LA from the wrath of the evil gods; witty.
The Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison: urban fantasy; the end of her series; I haven't read all of these yet, but this is a fun, smart, and sexy series involving a number of different types of creatures. From the publisher's summary:
Rachel Morgan has come a long way from her early days as an inexperienced bounty hunter. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has unexpectedly become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. Rachel has known that this day would come--and now it is here.

To save Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever after and our own world from destruction, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.
Harper Perennial
  • Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman: contemporary woman's fiction; a young woman puts her marriage plans on hold after her mother dies and she must travel to rural Georgia to put the estate in order; charming but smart Southern fiction
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: essay, memoir; these essays and short pieces focus on contemporary feminism, culture, and politics.
This Is the Water by Yannick Murphy: fiction, thriller; from the author of The Call; a killer is targeting a New England high school swim team. From the publisher's summary:
In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn't kissed her in ages; and why she can't get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago.

But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. . . .

When a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop . . . the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. . . .

With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.
Harper 360
  • Here's Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane: contemporary fiction; an ugly duckling story loosely based on Pride & Prejudice from a Scottish author.
The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White: mystery/thriller; set in the American Midwest, this is novel about a murder and secrets of all kinds. From the publisher's summary:
When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house. Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can't forget the girl, can't ignore the strange behaviour of her neighbours, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart.
Dey Street
  • Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming: autobiography; the story of his life and how his self-perception was changed when, as an adult, he discovered his father wasn't in fact his real father.
  • My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart: food and cooking; by an accidental YouTube star; food, cooking, drinking, and good advice about life.
All or Nothing by Jesse Schenker: food writing, memoir; how the author went from a down-and-out druggie to being a successful chef and owner of two New York restaurants. From the publisher's summary:
Growing up in wealthy suburban Florida, Jesse was introduced to the culinary world, and the world of hard drugs. Becoming a high school dropout addicted to heroin and crack, he was alienated from his family and wanted by the cops. By twenty-one, he had robbed, cheated, and lied to everyone in his life. . . . His eventual arrest motivated him to get clean.

Jesse learned to channel his obsessiveness and need to get ever "higher" into his career. But his growing success fueled his anxiety, leading to panic attacks and hypochondria. In this startling and down to earth memoir, Jesse lays it all on the table for the first time, reflecting on his insatiable appetite for the extreme--which has led to his biggest triumphs and failures--and shares the shocking story of his turbulent life.
Morrow Paperbacks
  • Butternut Summer by Mary McNear: contemporary woman's fiction: a mother-daughter story that takes place in a small Minnesota town filled with quirky characters; some love; good summer reading.
  • G.I. Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi: nonfiction; focuses four British women who married U.S. soldiers and moved to America to find a new life far from their families.
What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault: literary thriller, a PhD student must save her brother who she believes was falsely accused of murder. From the publisher's summary:
The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years, one marriage and divorce, three cats, and a dog later, Theresa still hasn't finished her dissertation. . . .

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn't have it together, either. Creative, and loyal, he's also aimless in work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten.

When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim's puggle for a weekend, she has no idea that it is the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet world. Soon, Kim's body will be found in the woods, and Jeff will become the prime suspect.

. . . Investigating the dead woman's past, Theresa uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal--and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother's life, she may be sacrificing her own.
William Morrow
  • The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank: contemporary women's fiction; smart beach reading; three generations of women face life changes during hurricane season in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
  •  A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel: nonfiction; starting with a true-life deadly accident involving texting and driving, the author examines the effects of modern technology on our young people and their inability to focus attention on a single task
The Season of the Dragonflies by Sara Creech: contemporary fiction with a magical touch; set in Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the story involves sisters, flowers, perfume and a little practical magic. From the publisher's summary:
For generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world's most powerful. . . .

Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can "read" scents and envision their power. Willow's younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying.

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. . . .

18 comments:

Laura Fabiani 6/9/14, 7:48 AM  

Several titles look good such as Gutenberg`s Apprentice, The Quality of Wood and Season of the Dragonflies.

bermudaonion 6/9/14, 7:54 AM  

Boy, did you take good notes! I'm excited about The Miniaturist and I don't even like historical fiction.

Marisa@TheDailyDosage 6/9/14, 8:27 AM  

Excellent list! Thanks for sharing. I'm most excited for Us by David Nicholls. I didn't even know he was coming out with a new book until I was at BEA and saw the huge banner. And anything by Roxane Gay. :)

Amanda 6/9/14, 8:35 AM  

Some of these sound really good!

Daryl 6/9/14, 11:09 AM  

lots of good choices here .. thanks!

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/9/14, 11:19 AM  

A great recap here! I always enjoy the Harper Fall Preview, seeing everyone and adding so many books to my TBR pile. The Miniaturist intrigues me a great deal.

Vasilly 6/9/14, 11:45 AM  

A lot of these books look fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading Bad Feminist.

Cindy Smith 6/9/14, 3:09 PM  

There is definitely some good books coming out from Harper Collins. There is a few that I knew about but quite a few I didn't know about.

Vicki 6/9/14, 3:36 PM  

They all look good. I'm adding a few to my list.

Anmiryam 6/9/14, 5:54 PM  

Great round up thanks! I'm reading The Miniaturist right now and it's a compelling read, I have a few quibbles, but the book keeps pulling me back, so I suspect they are pretty irrelevant.

Teddyree 6/9/14, 7:56 PM  

So many fab books, right now I can't wait to read Queen of the Tearling. I had no idea it had been picked up for movie version ... how exciting!
Great post.

Nise' 6/9/14, 9:50 PM  

Oh man, my TBR list got considerably longer.

Chris Howard 6/9/14, 10:16 PM  

This is SUCH a dangerous post!!! In fact, I just preordered two books after reading it :p (All or Nothing and Rooms) and added quite a few more to my wish list :p Thanks a lot Miss Fish *wink wink*

Karen White 6/10/14, 9:04 PM  

I'm so excited! Two books I narrated are on your list. THIS IS THE WATER has a unique narrative style (its in 2nd person - I think?) but the tension between the languorous tone and the scary plot is really interesting. And I'm about to start recording LIAR, TEMPTRESS, SOLDIER, SPY - an amazing history book that reads like a novel and is full of women I can't believe I'd never heard of before. They all literally changed the course of history.

Becca Lostinbooks 6/10/14, 9:38 PM  

Girl, this is so bad for me to look at. The only one I've read is The Queen of the Tearling, which was pretty good. I liked that she was not all just I need a man.

Rachel 6/12/14, 3:27 PM  

All three of the Drey Street offerings sound really tempting!

drbethnolan 6/14/14, 11:21 AM  

Several of these are going on my tbr list! Thanks for your excellent overview of them. =beth

Lu @ Regular Rumination 6/15/14, 1:34 PM  

Rooms sounds SO good and I was definitely intrigued by the posters on the doors every morning and afternoon. I'm also excited for What Strange Creatures!

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