01 June 2015

BEA 2015: Must-Reads from HarperCollins

Over the next few days I'm going to be talking about books I learned about at this year's Book Expo America (BEA). I'll have a book club post or two and at least one post highlighting my favorite discoveries from walking the floor of the Javits.

As you know, I'm a big supporter of the Harper Perennial and Ecco imprints; today, however, I feature nine 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 women's lit; historical fiction to memoir.

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.


  • The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: epic fantasy; this second in a planned trilogy continues the adventures of one tough, smart young woman; Kelsea is a super heroine and I loved the first book.
  • The Race for Paris by Meg Waite: historical fiction; based on the true story of a woman photographer who documented the liberation of Paris during World War II.
  • The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr: nonfiction; a treatise on how the author overcame her struggles with this form; advice on finding your own voice
Go Set a Watchman by Harper LeeGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: fiction; who isn't looking forward to this surprise second book by Lee? There are no galleys, so we must wait for July:
An historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch, Scout, struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.
  • The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Forutan: contemporary fiction; told from the point of view of an elderly Jewish woman living in Los Angeles, who recalls her childhood in Iran and the events that tore apart her family.
  • Undermajordomo Minor by Patick deWitt: mixed genres, fiction; part mystery, part love story, part adventure this novel tells the story of Lucien Minor's journey from outcast to a life in a castle and the secrets he lays bare.
Above the Waterfall by Ron RashAbove the Waterfall by Ron Rash: fiction; I've liked everything by Rash that I've read and am looking forward this edgy novel:
In this poetic and haunting tale set in contemporary Appalachia, New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illuminates lives shaped by violence and a powerful connection to the land.

Les, a long-time sheriff just three-weeks from retirement, contends with the ravages of crystal meth and his own duplicity in his small Appalachian town.

Becky, a park ranger with a harrowing past, finds solace amid the lyrical beauty of this patch of North Carolina.

Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have indelibly marked them, they are drawn together by a reverence for the natural world. When an irascible elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky are plunged into deep and dangerous waters, forced to navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond--and threaten to carry them over the edge.
  • The Match of the Century by Cathy Maxwell: historical romance; a light, funny new series featuring a woman who's attracted to two brothers, one respectable and the other a highwayman.
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasCold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas: historical romance; although I'm not a romance reader, Kleypas has to be my top pick because she has such an enormous fan base; no galleys for this much-anticipated fall book:
A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?
Harper Voyager
  • Zer0es by Chuck Wendg: technological thriller; hackers around the world are given the choice of jail time or using their skills to help the government
  • A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan: epic fantasy; first in a series; a orphan raised in a monastery leaves the monks to apprentice with the sorcerers guild; a tale of good vs. evil.
Departure by A. G. RiddleDeparture by A. G. Riddle: fantasy, thriller; has been compared to Lost, this novel involves time travel, a mystery, and a plane crash; the movie rights have been bought:
Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she'll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she's made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined.

As Harper and the survivors of Flight 305 struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of the crash, they soon realize that this world is very different from the one they left. Their lives are connected, and some believe they've been brought here for a reason.

In addition to Harper, several other passengers seem to hold clues about why Flight 305 crashed. There's:

Nick Stone, an American on his way to a meeting with The Gibraltar Project, an international group dedicated to building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean. . . .

With time running out to save the survivors of Flight 305, Harper and Nick race to unravel the conspiracy that crashed their plane. As they put the pieces together, they discover that their decisions have already doomed one world and will soon determine the future of ours.
Harper Perennial
  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor: paranormal; based on a popular podcast; think Prairie Home Companion meets Twin Peaks; mysterious happenings in the American southwest.
  • Paulina & Fran by Rachel B. Glaser: literary fiction; two women who meet in art school begin a lifelong competitive friendship; sexy, funny, angsty.
  • The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo: literary fiction; a down-and-out woman returns to her Oklahoma roots to claim an inheritance; small-town quirkiness, smart, sweet, funny.
The Social Sex by Marilyn YalomThe Social Sex by Marilyn Yalom: nonfiction; should be a fascinating look at women's friendships and social trends throughout the ages:
In today's culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships.

Surveying history, literature, philosophy, religion, and pop culture, acclaimed author and historian Marilyn Yalom and co-author Theresa Donovan Brown demonstrate how women were able to co-opt the public face of friendship throughout the years. Chronicling shifting attitudes toward friendship both female and male from the Bible and the Romans to the Enlightenment to the women's rights movements of the 60s up to Sex and the City and Bridesmaids, they reveal how the concept of female friendship has been inextricably linked to the larger social and cultural movements that have defined human history.

Armed with Yalom and Brown as our guides, we delve into the fascinating historical episodes and trends that illuminate the story of friendship between women: the literary salon as the original book club, the emergence of female professions and the working girl, the phenomenon of gossip, the advent of women's sports, and more.
Harper 360
  • It's about Love by Steven Camden: by a spoken-word poet; a first-year college student on the brink of manhood; experimental.
  • Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird: historical mystery; a new Sherlock Holmes mystery written in the classic style; murder and art theft in Paris
Goddess by Kelly GardinerGoddess by Kelly Gardiner: historical fiction; based on the true story of a 17th-century opera singer turned swordswoman turned nun:
A sparkling, witty and compelling novel based on the tragic rise and fall of the beautiful seventeenth century swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d'Aubigny (also known as La Maupin), a woman whose story is too remarkable to be true--and yet it is.

Versailles, 1686: Julie d'Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King's Master of Horse. tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Within another year, she has become a beloved star at the famed Paris Opera. Her lovers include some of Europe's most powerful men and France's most beautiful women. Yet Julie is destined to die alone in a convent at the age of 33.
Dey Street
  • Almost Interesting by David Spade: memoir; not ghost written; the actor recalls his life so far; funny, good, real.
The Way Around by David GoodThe Way Around by David Good: memoir; the son of an anthropologist and an Amazon tribeswoman reconnects with his mother and struggles with his self-identity:
Rooted in two vastly different cultures, a young man struggles to understand himself, find his place in the world, and reconnect with his mother—and her remote tribe in the deepest jungles of the Amazon rainforest—in this powerful memoir that combines adventure, history, and anthropology. . . .

For much of his young life, David Good was torn between two vastly different worlds. The son of an American anthropologist and a tribeswoman from a distant part of the Amazon, it took him twenty years to embrace his identity, reunite with the mother who left him when he was six, and claim his heritage.

The Way Around is Good’s amazing chronicle of self-discovery. Moving from the wilds of the Amazonian jungle to the paved confines of suburban New Jersey and back, it is the story of his parents, his American scientist-father and his mother who could not fully adapt to the Western lifestyle. Good writes sympathetically about his mother’s abandonment and the deleterious effect it had on his young self; of his rebellious teenage years marked by depression and drinking, and the near-fatal car accident that transformed him and gave him purpose to find a way back to his mother. . . .
Morrow Paperbacks
  • Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade: historical fiction; based on true events; a young girl is sent to a Jewish orphanage and is subjected to medical experiments; later in life she has a chance for revenge--will she take it?
  • The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick: women's fiction; features three sisters, healers, folk lore, a curse, and a witch hunt; think Practical Magic or Witches of East End.
Everything She Forgot by Lisa BallantyneEverything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne: psychological thriller; a woman is saved from a car crash by mysterious stranger:
Driving home, Margaret Holloway is rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage of her car. Just as she begins to panic, a stranger pulls her free and disappears. Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something's wrong. Flashbacks to the crash are dredging up lost associations from her childhood. And somehow, Margaret knows that it's got something to do with the man who saved her life. As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth-from yourself?
William Morrow
  • Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam: historical fiction; set in the 1930s, tells the story of a thousand-mile road trip a family takes to return their pet alligator to Florida; madcap, charming.
  •  The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan: contemporary fiction; a hospice nurse dividing her time between her primary patient, who is a World War II veteran, and her husband, who has returned from Iraq with post-traumatic stress syndrome
Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas CobbDarkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb: suspense; a routine cop pullover that goes terribly wrong:
. . . [A]n electrifying crime drama and psychological thriller in which a young cop becomes the focal point for a community's grief and rage in the aftermath of a tragic accident.

Out on a rural highway on a cold, icy night, Patrolman Ronny Forbert sits in his cruiser trying to keep warm and make time pass until his shift ends. Then a familiar beater Jeep Cherokee comes speeding over a hill, forcing the rookie cop to chase after it. The driver is his old friend turned nemesis, Matt Laferiere, the rogue son of a man as beaten down as the town itself.

Within minutes, what begins as a clear-cut arrest for drunk driving spirals out of control into a heated argument between two young men with a troubled past and ends in a fatal hit and run on an icy stretch of blacktop.

As the news spreads around town, Police Chief Gordy Hawkins remains certain that Ronny Forbert followed the rules, at least most of them, and he's willing to stand by the young cop. But a few manipulative people in town see opportunity in the tragedy. As uneasy relationships, dark secrets, and old grievances reveal themselves, the people of this small, tightly woven community decide that a crime must have been committed, and someone--Officer Ronny Forbert--must pay a price, a choice that will hold devastating consequences for them all.


Julie P. 6/1/15, 7:50 AM  

What a great post! I had such a fantastic time learning about what the various HC imprints are excited about for the fall. So many great books!

rhapsodyinbooks 6/1/15, 8:13 AM  

I actually may try to read the Kleypas because I have never ever read a "romance" novel, except of course for all the "quasi" romance authors, like Gabaldon.....

JoAnn 6/1/15, 8:29 AM  

Love this post... so many good books!! The Social Sex sounds like it will fascinating.

Kay 6/1/15, 8:48 AM  

i love the cover on The Social Sex and the book itself sounds like a lot of fun. Also The Sparrow Sisters and Everything She Forgot. Thanks for sharing with us!

bermudaonion 6/1/15, 9:20 AM  

Harper Collins has such great imprints and books!

Karen White 6/1/15, 9:41 AM  

This list is almost overwhelming! I'm excited most about The Social Sex - that looks right up my alley. My 12 year old, obsessed with the Night Vale podcast, is very much looking forward to that book. I did hear, from the Harper Audio people, that the audiobook of Night Vale will include material from the original podcasts as well as all the new material in the book. And that the Harper Lee is narrated by Reese Witherspoon - her first audiobook, but she's a big fan.

Daryl 6/1/15, 10:52 AM  

wow .. it feels like christmas in june .. so many tantalizing tales to chose from ... thank you

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/1/15, 3:49 PM  

You did a fantastic job with this wrap-up. I love Mary Karr and can't wait to read her book.

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf 6/1/15, 6:41 PM  

Great post! I did pick up Everything She Forgot at BEA , but I've just added Departure and The Sparrow Sisters to my wishlist!

Nise' 6/1/15, 9:22 PM  

Such great goodies. Looking forward to Harper Lee and Lisa Kleypas.

Vasilly 6/1/15, 10:14 PM  

The Sparrow Sisters and the latest Mary Karr are definitely going on my tbr list. Thanks!

Cindy Smith 6/2/15, 2:09 PM  

It was such a great event and so generous of HC to invite us in. There is so mnay great books coming out this fall from them. I can't wait to dig in and start reading. It was so nice to see you again.

Belle Wong 6/2/15, 10:06 PM  

I have The Invasion of the Tearling on my TBR. Zer0es looks interesting!

Lisa 6/10/15, 11:34 PM  

Wow - so many books that sound like I'll be adding them to my TBR list. I'm so looking forward to a new Ron Rash!

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