Starred Reviews for Peter Englund, Anna Quindlen, Leo Vardiashvili, Jayne Ann Krentz, and more!

By Elizabeth Camfiord | October 25 2023 | Starred Reviews

With starred reviews from publications including Booklist, Kirkus ReviewsPublishers Weekly, and Library Journal—your patrons will want to read these much-anticipated books that reviewers are raving about.


After Annie
A Novel

” A master of exploring human frailty and resilience in the face of domestic tragedy, best-selling Quindlen plumbs the depths of Annie’s survivors’ individual and collective grief in scenes that are both subtle and sharp. Exquisite in its sensitivity, breathtaking in its compassion, Quindlen’s exploration of loss and renewal will provoke both weeping and wonder.”—Booklist, starred review

Chaos Terminal

“A few months after the events of Station Eternity (2022), Mallory Viridian is having a bad week…The wonderfully inventive, delightfully wacky, and cleverly complex Midsolar Murders sf mystery series is off and running again, this time exploring more of Mallory’s background while maintaining the delicious humor and intricate mystery prevalent in the first book.”—Booklist, starred review

The Book of Love
A Novel

“Best known for her magical, whimsical short-story collections such as Get in Trouble (2015) and White Cat, Black Dog (2023), Link now presents an impressively lengthy and wholly immersive debut novel that follows three young people returned from the dead and caught up in an epic supernatural battle.”—Booklist, starred review

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands

“Emily Wilde is back (after Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, 2023), and this time she is headed to the Austrian Alps, ostensibly to work on her map of Faerie…Once again, the tale is told through Emily’s journal, with scholarly asides in footnotes adding to the charm. Readers will be pleased that curmudgeonly Emily hasn’t lost too much of her edge, but she’s still susceptible to unexpected bonds of friendship.”—Booklist, starred review

A novel

“Love at first sight in chance encounters during wartime occur generation by generation in Michaels’ sublime, meditative, and gracefully episodic novel.”—Booklist, starred review

The Lily of Ludgate Hill

“It is truly a wonder how Matthews can consistently craft fresh romances featuring unique, multidimensional characters who face huge obstacles to their relationships. The third book in her bestselling Belles of London series is as fresh and exciting as the first (The Siren of Sussex, 2022) and the second (The Belle of Belgrave Square, 2022).”—Booklist, starred review

A Sweet Sting of Salt
A Novel

“Sutherland’s breathtaking debut is a moody, tense, queer love story, loosely based on the Scottish folktale The Selkie Wife. The intense, passionate connection between Jean and Muirin is breathtaking, and both women’s determination to escape Tobias’ cruelty leads to shocking instances of subterfuge. Readers who enjoy fiction inspired by fairy tales and folklore will be entranced.”—Booklist, starred review

The Night Island

Krentz is back with an adrenaline-infused, paranormal-tinged romantic suspense novel that makes the most of its isolated island setting, which comes complete with homicidal vegetation and whose human inhabitants include a feckless self-help guru, a chef with a flair for vegetarian cooking, a bonkers night gardener, and a psychically enhanced assassin. Readers will come for Krentz’s can’t-put-it-down plotting and stay for the combustible sexual chemistry and delightfully quippy banter.”—Booklist, starred review

Hard by a Great Forest
A Novel

“Laced with humor and insights similar to those of Gary Shteyngart and Jonathan Safran Foer, this is a sweeping, ambitious, and almost unbelievably assured debut. Exploring the long shadow of trauma cast by any war, Vardiashvili’s novel pummels the reader with an emotional force that few can match.”—Booklist, starred review

Sex, Lies and Sensibility

“With super-sexy scenes, deeply emotional storylines, and strong Black and Indigenous characters, Payne’s (Pride and Protest) modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will appeal to readers who enjoy multicultural, smart, and highly entertaining contemporary romances.”—Library Journal, starred review

Same Bed Different Dreams
A Novel

“Park’s (Personal Days) magnum opus of the Korean diaspora is told in a set of five dreams, multiple levels of which provide a kaleidoscope of perspectives that intersect along overlapping indices of history and significance.”—Library Journal, starred review

The Tainted Cup

“Bennett’s (Locklands) series opener introduces readers to a conspiracy of murder and skullduggery as seen through the eyes of a naive junior investigator who is forced to grow up fast and hard as his boss and mentor, the rather Sherlockian Ana, threads her way through a complex conspiracy of murders.”—Library Journal, starred review

Radiant Heat

“The claustrophobic atmosphere of a raging wildfire is handled well. Fans of Jane Harper’s Australian novels will want to try this debut featuring an unreliable narrator.”—LIbrary Journal, starred review

The Warm Hands of Ghosts
A Novel

“Like the fiddler himself, Arden’s (The Winter of the Witch) gripping historical fantasy will draw readers in and keep them engaged.”—Library Journal, starred review

Welcome Home, Caroline Kline

“Compulsively readable and full of richly discussable topics perfect for book groups, Preiss’ tale should please readers who enjoyed Normal People (2019) by Sally Rooney or Maame (2023) by Jessica George.”—Booklist, starred review


Rich AF
The Winning Money Mindset That Will Change Your Life

“Ex-Wall Street trader, former BuzzFeed sales partner, and current financial-literacy-content creator Tu acts as an everyman’s financial advisor in Rich AF... This book will appeal to everyone who deals with money, especially younger readers who are starting their career journeys and looking to build financial strategies of their own.”—Booklist, starred review

Chasing Bright Medusas
A Life of Willa Cather

“Taylor’s deep reading and extensive knowledge of Cather’s work, from her poetry, letters, and stories to her classic novels, allows him to fluidly and expertly use quotations from Cather’s writings to illuminate her experiences and evolution.”—Booklist, starred review

Unmasking AI
My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines

“This is as much a memoir as it is a clarion call for change. Unmasking AI belongs alongside Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction (2016) and Safiya Umoja Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression (2017) as essential warnings for our time. It’s an important corrective to our unquestioning embrace of technology.”—Booklist, starred review

November 1942
An Intimate History of the Turning Point of World War II

“Swedish historian Englund’s The Beauty and the Sorrow amplified and changed the history of WWI. Now, he applies these same talents to the history of WWII, focusing on a single month.”—Booklist, starred review

How to Face Fatphobia

“Philosopher Manne (Entitled, 2020) is unapologetic in this brilliant takedown of fatphobia. “Our bodies are not the problem,” she writes, asserting that the true problem is the structural fatphobia that oppresses people whose bodies do not conform to arbitrary standards.”—Booklist, starred review

Snacking Bakes
Simple Recipes for Cookies, Bars, Brownies, Cakes, and More

“With tantalizing, approachable recipes that are often quick and use the minimum of bowls, this will be a go-to book for bakers of all levels.”—Library Journal, starred review


Differ We Must
How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America

“It’s no surprise that Steve Inskeep, of National Public Radio, narrates well. He has the practiced cadence and authoritative tone of a polished broadcaster. What is most satisfying about this audiobook is how compelling a listen it is. After all, his subject is Abraham Lincoln, the most studied and written about president in American history…The politics of today are illuminated in this fine, deftly narrated work.” —Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Mr. Texas
A novel

This scathing satire blows the lid off Texas politics, revealing the power that lobbyists have over politicians and how even the most well-intentioned can get caught in the meat grinder…Weber delivers the story with skill and wit, always from the hero’s perspective. The work is a satire, but the political backbiting and dirty dealing sound authentic.” —Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Out There Screaming
An Anthology of New Black Horror

“Jordan Peele introduces this horror anthology featuring 19 Black authors. Each of the stories blends realism with horror or science fiction, providing an insightful perspective while still remaining chilling…Peele sets the tone in the introduction with a “Twilight Zone” style presentation, and each story’s narrator shines.” —Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

A Novel

“A young couple set off on a boating expedition with only themselves as crew. During an unexpected storm they find themselves marooned on an abandoned island… Brentan’s performance fully embraces these heartbreaking moments layered with deep psychological reflection. The impact is dynamic and human.” —Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store
A Novel

“Deservedly perennial favorite Hoffman returns to narrate his third spectacular McBride title,
following 2021 Carnegie Medal-winning Deacon King Kong. The 1972 unearthing of a skeleton at the bottom of a well in Pottstown, Pennsylvania unleashes the history of Chicken Hill, “a ramshackle neighborhood” that, a half-century earlier, was home to Black and Jewish families, each escaping horrors from somewhere else.”—Booklist, starred review