Books We Can’t Wait to Share!

"Shanora Williams is one of my favorite authors of psychological suspense. She is a master of creating compulsive page turners, so it will come as no surprise that I read her new book The Bitter Truth in one day. Shanora constructs intricately twisted plots or writes a propulsive narrative, creating a book you simply cannot put down. In her latest thriller, a rising political star is running for governor, but strange events keep hinting that his past is coming back to haunt him—and it is definitely filled with some dark secrets. Meanwhile, his wife—who is successful in her own right—is beginning to see that both her husband and her marriage might not be as picture perfect as she thought it was. When she learns the shocking truth, she will have to make a choice that will have the potential to destroy everything she has spent a lifetime building. Shanora Williams is a master of modern suspense with tightly plotted stories full of expertly teased reveals and twists that will make your jaw drop. If you haven’t already picked up one of her books, The Bitter Truth is the perfect time to find out what the buzz is all about."

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

Review by Michaela Hamilton: Executive Editor

If you’re a cozy mystery fan, you’re probably familiar with Lynn Cahoon, who has delighted her fans with irresistible series including the Tourist Trap Mysteries, the Kitchen Witch Mysteries, and others.  Now comes a new entry in her Survivors’ Book Club series, set in the artistic town of Sedona, Arizona, and featuring Rarity Cole, owner of the bookstore/coffee shop, The Next Chapter.  In Reading Between the Lies, an egotistical gallery owner is found dead with an arrow in his back.  Rarity and her friends must uncover a killer who seems to have taken the idea of pointed criticism much too literally! If you like mysteries set in small towns featuring amateur sleuths and quirky characters, this one’s for you.

 

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"Becoming Ted is an uplifting story of all the ways change—particularly when it’s unexpected—can impact someone’s life. I loved Matt Cain’s debut novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, so I was excited to dive into another story from him that I was sure would be packed with just as much emotion, humor, and touching storylines. Becoming Ted was already getting raves from readers overseas, so I was sure this book would again deliver. The story begins with the breakup of a marriage that seemed rock solid to our hero, Ted…even though he comes to learn that to his best friend, the marriage appeared to be anything but a healthy relationship. Ted has been stifled his whole life—by familial responsibilities and then by the man he loves…but it was never fully apparent to him until he’s left alone with his thoughts and all the dreams he never realized. With the support of friends old and new, Ted sets out to reach for his dreams—and just maybe fall in love again along the way. Matt Cain delivers a wonderful story that explores all the ways that we can find and love ourselves…if we’re brave enough to truly shed our fears and try."

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

 

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Review by Ann Pryor: Senior Communications Manager

The shocking, violent death of a high-end escort would lead to the unraveling of New York City’s corrupt political machine known as Tammany Hall.

As I was reading New York Newsday’s Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter Anthony M. DeStefano’s new book, BROADWAY BUTTERFLY: The Lady Gangster of Jazz Age New York, I was struck by how fresh he made this century-old case, and the disturbing idea that little has changed in New York City. That the combination of power, sex, politics, and money is an age-old, potent, dangerous concoction. Or that people who become backed into unfortunate circumstances, will do whatever they can to survive.

This gripping political and legal true crime thriller examines the sensational murder case that happened at a time when the glamourous Jazz Age was giving way to a dark undercurrent in the decade of Prohibition.

It started with the brutal murder of a savvy, sharp call girl, Vivian Gordon, who parlayed her little black book of high-profile names – including politicos and gangsters - into a lucrative blackmailing scheme. Dumped in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, her disturbing murder would reveal a bigger, more complex shakedown racket: New York City’s magistrate court system, where court officials and cops would force hundreds of women to make payoffs to have their cases dropped or forgotten.

Gordon was a well-to-do, classy, educated lady who was unfairly victimized by the cops, separated from her family, and unjustly incarcerated for years. She would learn the ropes of blackmail from behind bars. Her death would reveal a complex racket of framing innocent women on prostitution charges. The book builds masterfully from the circumstances of the case to the public’s frantic plea to fix the widespread corruption in New York City’s judicial system.  The case and its sordid, criminal revelations would lead to the downfall of wisecracking, flashy, devil-may-care Mayor Jimmy Walker in a mere 18 months.

DeStefano is a master of sourcing and synthesizing research, and he’s crafted a narrative that left me breathlessly turning the pages, horrified, angry, cheering, and dismayed. If you’ve ever binge-watched historical documentaries and true crime series on NetFlix, make this your next read!

 

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Review by Michaela Hamilton: Executive Editor

Here’s good news for true-crime fans, especially those (like me) who are fascinated by serial killers. BLOOD TRAIL, first published in mass-market paperback in 2005, is again available in print format – this time in a handsome trade paperback edition with a revealing new update by retired homicide detective Rick Reed. The book relates the crimes and punishment of Joseph Weldon Brown, who confessed to more than a dozen murders across seven states. While in prison for killing his girlfriend, he strangled his cellmate to death. Rick Reed takes readers inside the search for the elusive killer and the hours he spent questioning him. This book portrays the dramatic story of a homicide investigation with powerful authenticity.

 

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"Earls Trip is a fun, emotional love story set in Regency England that explores friendship, family, and delivers a swoon worthy second chance friends-to-lovers romance. As an avid Bridgerton fan and a lover of all things Mary Jo Putney and Sabrina Jeffries, I couldn’t wait to dive into this book…particularly with its adorable, springy cover and fantastic reviews. When Julia Quin says it’s “One of the best historical romances I’ve read in years,” I am ready for an unputdownable read! The book opens with three best friends getting ready for their annual trip to the countryside where they will be removed from all the stress-inducing things that come with daily life—family problems, political problems, and of course the London marriage mart—dreaded by confirmed bachelors everywhere. Things quickly go sideways when a messenger arrives with an urgent request that our hero rescue a childhood friend who has eloped with her sister’s fiancé. One thing leads to another, and the ladies end up tagging along on the guys’ trip…and of course, hilarity and love ensue. Jenny Holiday gives some background on our other two heroes…setting readers up with what I’m sure will be love stories of their own. This historical romance is pure reading pleasure…and the perfect book to get you through these last few weeks of waiting for more Bridgerton antics!"

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

 

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"If the Tide Turns is a beautifully written and researched historical novel set during a time in history when there was little justice for women and people faced choices that most of us would find unthinkable today. As an avid reader of historical fiction, I was excited to pick up this book because the setting is a bit different than what we usually see in the genre—and I’ve always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials, which form part of the backdrop of this book, as it takes place in their wake. In addition, Rachael Rueckert has centered the book around the actual historical figure of the pirate Samuel Bellamy, which I always find adds additional intrigue to a story. The book follows the star-crossed love story of Maria Brown and Samuel, and the choices they must make as horrible obstacles prevent them from being together. This book was an emotional page-turner—a love story, an adventure novel, and unflinching historical fiction all rolled into one. What Maria must overcome is both enraging and unimaginable, and Samuel’s turn to piracy in order to better his financial situation unfolds with questions of honor and redemption at its heart. This is a haunting story with themes of class and women’s rights—two key elements that resonate strongly in our current time. This book is not to be missed—and I’m eagerly awaiting the author’s next riveting story."

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

 

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"Sisters of Fortune plunges readers into the center of one of the most famous tragedies in modern times—the sinking of the Titanic. As an almost life-long student of Titanic history—and its depictions in popular culture—I was so excited to read this book, particularly since it follows the story of real passengers who were on the ship. Anna Lee Huber is already a bestselling author for her historical mysteries, and her Verity Kent series takes place in the years following the sinking—so she was also the perfect author to tell this story. The book follows the three Fortune sisters as they conclude their Grand Tour and board Titanic on their way home to Canada. Each sister is facing her own choices at a time when women were not afforded agency to make many of their own decisions—whether it be to marry—or who to marry, whether they would be able to get a higher education, or not marry at all. There is also a love story unfolding within the book and it truly kept the pages flying by. Even though the ultimate fate of the ship is no surprise, the author managed to still add twists and turns for what was in store for each of the characters right up until the very end. This is a wonderfully researched book and once I boarded the ship with our main characters, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a must-read for anyone intrigued by the Titanic, any readers of Anna Lee Huber’s mysteries, and anyone who loves historical fiction or is looking for the latest story to share with their book club."

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

 

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Review by Ranger: Executive feline assistant to Citadel editor in chief Michaela Hamilton

Most people don’t know that I help Michaela read and edit her manuscripts.  Let me tell you, it’s hard to interrupt my demanding schedule of naps and snacks and knocking over plants. But when it comes to books about cats, I know she really needs my advice.  I’m proud to have provided insights and guidance into the publication of Helen Brown’s books – CLEO, JONAH, and BONO.  Clearly, I made them the hits that they were.  Now comes MICKEY, the true story of the cat who came into Helen’s life when she was twelve and helped her find herself. You could even say Mickey helped raise her.  Hey, maybe we should use that line as the subtitle.  Anyway, if you like cats and books about them, check this out.  It’s catnip for discerning readers like me.

 

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"The Busy Body is a true page-turner and from the outset you are putting faces to the characters while becoming fully immersed in the setting. This is a classic mystery with a modern twist as a seemingly minor character ends up at the center of the story…when she shows up dead and our ghostwriting sleuth—along with a famous female politician—set out to solve her murder while also becoming the prime suspects. Following a bruising election, Dorothy Gibson retreats to her Maine compound to regroup—and begin work on her memoir with the help of a highly regarded ghostwriter with a mysterious background of her own. Almost immediately, we are plunged into the mystery as bodies turn up and our heroines are regularly in the wrong place at the wrong time as they question witnesses, family, and acquaintances. The plot continues to twist and the suspect list grows as we race towards a conclusion you truly will not see coming. The slowly unfolding secrets of our ghostwriter only add to the intrigue…and leave you anxious to know when we’ll solve our next mystery with her. Brimming with humor, surprises, and a quirky cast of characters, this is a book you won’t want to put down…from the first page to the utterly unpredictable ending, which leaves the door open for more mysterious reads to come!"

—Alexandra Nicolajsen, Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

 

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Review by Michaela Hamilton: Executive Editor

I will never get tired of reading about our Greatest Generation, whose courage and sacrifice shaped the world we live in today. That’s why I’m so proud to have been involved in our publication of BOMBING HITLER’S HOMETOWN.  This riveting military history gives an intimate, minute-by-minute account of what it was like for American airmen to take to the skies in their B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers to carry out one of the most dangerous and important missions of the final days of WWII in Europe.  The date was April 25, 1945. The target was Linz, Austria, a town Hitler had referred to as his hometown and planned to remake as the shimmering capital of his empire.  In the aftermath of the raid, airplanes were shot down, enemy infrastructures were destroyed, lives were lost on both sides, surprising friendships were formed – and the war in Europe was ended.  Author Mike Croissant, whose uncle was one of those brave flyers, lovingly researched this story through interviews with the airmen and their families, those on the ground and their descendants, and copious research documents.  His book brings history to life with vivid, you-are-there immediacy.

 

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Alexandra Nicolajsen: Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

I will start by saying I absolutely loved this book. It was truly unputdownable and had a bit of everything—mystery, suspense, family drama, the bonds of sisterhood—so it is a book that anyone can enjoy and share. Familia is the story of a missing baby, a family shattered by addiction and loss, and the journey we all take to find our true selves. When a young woman with dreams of being a journalist decides to dig into an unexpected ancestry DNA test, she has no idea her whole life and everything she has ever known about herself and her family is about to change. Traveling to Puerto Rico to meet the woman claiming to be her sister—and claiming that she is the baby that went missing decades earlier—the mystery deepens, but so does her understanding of herself and what she wants out of life. The twists and turns absolutely keep you on the edge of your seat leading up to an ending you will not see coming. The DNA test results revealing whether the two women are really sisters is not the final twist, as the last pages drop one more bombshell on the reader before the story ends. Familia is brilliantly written and will transport you to the lush island of Puerto Rico. Written in alternating chapters as the present day story unfolds and the mystery surrounding the kidnapping is expertly revealed piece by piece, this is a book that will stay with you long after turning the final page.

 

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Jane Nutter: Senior Marketing & Communications Manager

This one is for all the #BookTok and Hockey romance fans! This very spicy “why choose” contemporary is laugh-out-loud hilarious and the sizzling chemistry between Rachel, Jake, Caleb, and Ilmari is off the charts! Watching them find their way to each other is a real treat. Emily Rath’s prose is infectious and instantly grabs your attention. So, stop pucking around and immerse yourself in the world of the Jacksonville Rays. You won’t regret it.

 

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Larissa Ackerman: Sr. Communications Manager

The Busy Body by Kemper Donovan is such a brilliant book, and not just because of the puzzling murder mystery. Reading this literary, Golden Age mystery with a modern twist was a pure delight because Donovan is a wordsmith with clever observations about other people and a snarky sense of humor that can be laugh-out-loud funny, but is never over-the-top or annoying. In that way, the writing is very much like Knives Out—shrewd storytelling, sardonic wit, with an ending that’ll have you truly shocked. Some of my favorite lines: “Rhonda likes to spar—probably because it burns more calories than regular talking,” and “Leila drove a nice yet nondescript sedan: a Honda Accord, or maybe a Toyota Corolla, something like that. I wouldn’t know because I take pride in not caring about cars.” Set in Maine, in the woods outside Portland, our unnamed Ghostwriter/narrator is here to write Senator Dorothy Gibson’s memoir—the presidential candidate who split the vote and loss the election to unlikely—and unlikable—contender. But when Dorothy’s neighbor dies, she starts to become obsessed with the woman’s death and trying to figure out how she could have died—which they are starting to believe is by murder. Instead of working on the memoir, the Ghostwriter gets pulled into this roller-coaster ride with Dorothy, as does the reader—and you’ll have a ton of fun reading it!

 

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Alexandra Nicolajsen: Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

The end of summer can be overwhelming sometimes as the temps get colder and the days get shorter. With back to school, Halloween, and the holidays around the corner, there are more demands on our time than ever. Which is what makes our December book club pick the perfect read to escape from it all with a wide smile and a bright story! Tatum Comes Home stars the pawsome TikTok and Instagram celebrity dog behind @hithisistaum—and the heartwarming and hilarious videos that have captured the attention of millions. Once you fall in love with Tatum, there is no going back…and in this book, every life Tatum touches is forever changed. After getting lost in a storm and ending up far from home, Tatum is picked up by several different people, each searching for some missing piece of their hearts and lives. And Tatum helps not only bring them all together, but also find the elusive things they’ve been looking for. Tatum Comes Home is a clever, sweet, and witty read that will keep you turning pages with a smile on your face…and in your heart. You will not soon forget Tatum, or the lives of the characters he touches.

 

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Review by Kristin McLaughlin: Digital Marketing Manager

Terri Parlato has quickly become one of my favorite mystery and thriller writers. Her first novel, All the Dark Places, had me hooked from the very first page, so I knew when her second novel came out, I’d be all over it. What Waits in the Woods is set in an unassuming Boston suburb as Esmé Foster returns home after years of being away to follow her dreams. An injury ended her ballet career and she’s forced to move back home with family. However, home isn’t quite as she left it. Her father is very sick, her once close-knit group of friends are falling apart, and her brother will barely speak to her. The day she steps foot back in her hometown, one of her best friends is found dead outside her family home. Nobody saw anything…but how true could that be? And who would have murdered an innocent woman? Is it the small-time drug dealer who lives down the way? Or maybe his sister who already has one murder under her belt? Maybe it could be the well-mannered older man who walks his dogs in the woods twice a day…you’ll have to read to find out! Terri creates a world around the reader that is dark, atmospheric, and basically impossible to step away from. I could not recommend her books more!

 

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Review by Michaela Hamilton: Executive Editor

In perhaps the most chilling biography ever written, Susan J. Eischeid presents a darkly fascinating and meticulously researched book about the highest-ranking woman in Hitler’s deadly war machine.  Maria Mandl began life as an unremarkable girl in a picturesque Austrian village.  With few job openings available, she took a job as a prison guard. Step by step she rose in the Nazi system to become head overseer of the women’s concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was responsible for thousands of murders and innumerable acts of torture.  Paradoxically, she also founded the Auschwitz women’s orchestra. After WWII she was found guilty of crimes against humanity and executed.  How did this seemingly normal young woman become one of the most heinous killers history has known?  Mistress of Life and Death presents the facts and context in a gripping examinations of good vs evil.

 

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Alexandra Nicolajsen: Director of Digital Sales & Marketing

Mystery isn’t generally my first genre of choice, but I LOVE a thriller. So when I found out Carlene O’Connor was launching a suspense series, I was all in. Throw in an atmospheric Irish setting, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an early copy. The first book was No Strangers Here and as a fan of Tana French, I absolutely loved it. Yet with Some of Us Are Looking, Carlene managed to raise her game even further. This book is dark and menacing with a twisty, engaging plot that keeps the pages flying by. After the gruesome murder of a young woman living an untethered life traveling with her companions, Detective Cormac O’Brien is embroiled in the investigation—and he has more ties to it than he’d like. Local veterinarian Dimpna Wilde once again finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer as she gets pulled further into the web of suspects until a final, nail-biting conclusion that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Some of Us Are Looking is a phenomenal new thriller perfect for the colder months when we all want nothing more than to curl up under a blanket with a good book. Just make sure you keep all the lights on when you pick up this one…

 

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Review by Barbara Bennett: General Counsel

Branok Tremayne is “gifted” with an enhanced ability to anticipate trouble.  When he was a child, this ability led him to discover his father in flagrante delicto with a housemaid, and for this revelation and the associated embarrassment, his father sent him away to an orphanage.  Bran and an older boy later escape from the orphanage and make their way to London where, while living on the streets, they are rescued by Lord Rhys and Lady Gwen Tremayne, who are also gifted.  The Tremaynes have several biological children, and they have also taken in many gifted children whose families do not understand them or appreciate their gifts.

Now an adult, Bran works for the Home Office, using his gifts to ferret out profiteers and spies and prevent the acts of sabotage and other crimes the various bad guys would perpetrate.  Then he is unexpectedly summoned by his biological family back to Penhaligon because his biological father is very ill.  Since Bran’s two older brothers have died, Bran is the legal heir to the lordship and the Penhaligon estate.  Although he considers the Tremaynes his family, Bran feels the need to make the trip to Penhaligon anyway, as his intuition is telling him that there is big trouble nearby.

When Bran meets Merryn in the woods near the Penhaligon home, she is distraught and confused, and she is obviously fleeing captivity.  It seems that Merryn is gifted too, and her captors planned to use her special talents to help them commit a spectacular robbery.

Together, Bran and Merryn work to foil the nefarious plan, with Bran helping Merryn to recognize and embrace her gifts and use them for good.  Along the way, they fall in love, and Merryn becomes an essential part of Bran’s families, both natural and adoptive.

If you like interesting, unusual love stories with fascinating characters facing and overcoming challenging situations, you will love SILVER LADY!

 

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Review by Michaela Hamilton: Executive Editor

Some killers commit crimes so horrible, we can’t forget them, no matter how hard we may try. Some books expose such killers with chilling narratives that become classics as the passage of time confirms their lasting impact. Such a book is Steve Jackson’s masterful New York Times bestseller Monster, first released in 1998 and now reissued in trade paperback format to commemorate its 25th anniversary.  Often compared to Ted Bundy, Tom Luther was a charismatic psychopath who cut a deadly swath from the Rockies to West Virginia, luring a chain of women into the black hole of his murderous desires. Fortunately, one cop was obsessed with catching this brutal killer--and pinning at least one murder on him. Award-winning author and journalist Steve Jackson reveals the compelling story in shocking, mesmerizing detail.

 

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