Adult Contemporary Fiction

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven—follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion.

Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.

As the scenes of devastation begin to mimic events in the dog-eared picture Bible carried around by her beloved little brother, Eve devotes herself to keeping him safe from harm.

A Children’s Bible is a prophetic, heartbreaking story of generational divide—and a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.

Categories: Dystopia, Coming of Age, Literary fiction

Published by W. W. Norton (out now)

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, leg-breaker, assassin, and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel “cuts” water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her luxurious developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet while the poor get dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, it seems California is making a play to monopolize the life-giving flow of the river, and Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a drought-hardened journalist, and Maria Villarosa, a young refugee who survives by her wits in a city that despises everything she represents. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria, time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other’s hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

Categories: Dystopia, Thriller, Fantasy

Published by Knopf (out now)

Shipped by Angie Hockman

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

Categories: Romance, Travel,

Published by Hachette/Simon & Schuster (Jan 2021)

When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray

Emma is beginning to wonder whether relationships, like mortgages, should be conducted in five-year increments. She might laugh if Chris had bought a motorbike or started dyeing his hair. Instead he’s buying off-label medicines and stockpiling food.

Chris finds Emma’s relentless optimism exasperating. A tot of dread, a nip of horror, a shot of anger – he isn’t asking much. If she would only join him in a measure of something.

The family’s precarious eco-system is further disrupted by torrential rains, power cuts and the unexpected arrival of Chris’s mother. Emma longs to lower a rope and winch Chris from the pit of his worries. But he doesn’t want to be rescued or reassured – he wants to pull her in after him.

Darkly funny and beautifully written, When the Lights Go Out is a novel for our times: a story about cultivating hope and weathering change.

Categories: Literary fiction, Dystopia

Published by Hutchinson (out now)

Dreamtime by Venetia Welby

In Dreamtime Venetia Welby paints a terrifying and captivating vision of our near future and takes us on a vertiginous odyssey into the unknown. A thrilling work of speculative fiction for our times.

‘So, where is he then, your dad?’

The world may be on a precipice but Sol, fresh from Tucson desert rehab, finally has an answer to the question that has dogged her since childhood. And not a moment too soon. With aviation grinding to a halt in the face of global climate meltdown, this is the last chance to connect with her absentee father, a US marine stationed in Okinawa.

To mend their broken past Sol and her lovelorn friend Kit must journey across poisoned oceans to the furthest reaches of the Japanese archipelago, a place where sea, sky and earth converge at the forefront of an encroaching environmental and geopolitical catastrophe; a place battered by the relentless tides of history, haunted by the ghosts of its past, where the real and the virtual, the dreamed and the lived, are ever harder to define.

Categories: Literary fiction, Speculative

Published by Quartet Books (April 2021)

A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León

Success used to be this savvy lawyer’s only rule. But now she’s putting everything on the line to bring a killer corporation to justice.

Since childhood, Yolanda Vance has forged her desire to escape poverty into a laser-like focus that took her through prep school and Harvard Law. So when her prestigious New York law firm is raided by the FBI, Yolanda turns in her corrupt bosses to save her career—and goes to work for the Bureau. Soon she’s sent undercover at Red, Black, and Green—an African-American “extremist” activist group back in her California college town. They claim a biotech corporation fueled by Pentagon funding is exploiting the neighborhood. But Yolanda is determined to put this assignment in her win column, head back to corporate law, and regain her comfortable life…

Until an unexpected romance opens her heart—and a suspicious death opens her eyes. Menacing dark money forces will do anything to bury Yolanda and the movement. Fueled by memories of who she once was—and what once really mattered most—how can she tell those who’ve come to trust her that she’s been spying? As the stakes escalate, and one misstep could cost her life, Yolanda will have to choose between betraying the cause of her people or invoking the wrath of the country’s most powerful law enforcement agency. 

Categories: Mystery, Thriller

Published by Kensington Books (out now)

Melt by Lisa Walker

Antarctica is getting hotter …

Summer Wright, hippie turned TV production assistant, organises her life down to the minute. And when her project-management-guru boyfriend, Adrian, proposes marriage — right on schedule — she will reach the peak of The Cone of Certainty.

At least, that’s the plan – until adventure-show queen Cougar Gale intervenes. Suddenly Summer is impersonating Cougar in Antarctica: learning glaciology and climate science on the fly, building a secret igloo, improvising scripts based on Dynasty, and above all trying not to be revealed as an impostor. 

Categories: Rom-Com,

Published by Lacuna (out now)

Category: Contemporary, Near-future

Published by Melliodora Publishing (out now)

470 by Linda Woodrow

In 2031, Zanna is housesitting a beachside house in Byron Bay, living the kind of life that inspires gloating selfies. She isn’t thinking about climate change – it’s just something in the background squeezing her life choices. She has much more immediate concerns, like whether she should let her parents meet her new boyfriend. Her sister Kat has worries much closer to home too, like dealing with difficult personalities in her eco-village in the hills. Their parents in Melbourne are nervously watching the stock market and debating whether it’s time to do a sea change.

For all of them though, the good life is uneasy, fragile, and about to come undone.

Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom

Leaving behind a nomadic and dangerous career as a journalist, Sarah DeVaughan returns to India, the country of her childhood and a place of unspeakable family tragedy, to help preserve the endangered Bengal tigers. Meanwhile, at home in Kentucky, her sister, Quinn–also deeply scarred by the past and herself a keeper of secrets–tries to support her sister, even as she fears that India will be Sarah’s undoing.

As Sarah faces challenges in her new job–made complicated by complex local politics and a forbidden love–Quinn copes with their mother’s refusal to talk about the past, her son’s life-threatening illness, and her own increasingly troubled marriage. When Sarah asks Quinn to join her in India, Quinn realizes that the only way to overcome the past is to return to it, and it is in this place of stunning natural beauty and hidden danger that the sisters can finally understand the ways in which their family has disappeared–from their shared history, from one another–and recognize that they may need to risk everything to find themselves again.

With dramatic urgency, a powerful sense of place, and a beautifully rendered cast of characters revealing a deep understanding of human nature in all its flawed glory, Katy Yocom has created an unforgettable novel about saving all that is precious, from endangered species to the indelible bonds among family. 

Categories: Historical, Literary Fiction, Asia

Published by Ashland Creek Press (out now)

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?

An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.

Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.

Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.

Categories: Contemporary, Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Published by Forge (Jan 2021)

The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd

In 1815, a supervolcanic eruption led to the extraordinary ‘Year Without Summer’ in 1816: a massive climate disruption causing famine, poverty and riots. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, changed forever.

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.

1816.
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve. In Britain, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from Napoleonic war, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes racked with riots – rebellion is in the air.

Categories: Historical, Literary Fiction

Published by Two Roads Books (John Murray Press) (out now)

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond

In unforgettable debut with an irresistible love story, My Last Continent is a big-hearted, propulsive novel set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape
It is only at the end of the world—among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica—where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of emperor and Adélie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north.

A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. But this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb’s role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller.

As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Midge Raymond’s phenomenal novel takes us on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. My Last Continent is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes—a harrowing, searching novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences.

Categories: Romance, Literary Fiction, Mystery

Published by Scribner (out now)

South Pole Station by Ashley Shel

Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver?

These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is sufficiently resilient for Polar life.

Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and—despite her early promise as a painter—on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica—where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. There’s Pearl, the Machiavellian cook with the Pollyanna attitude; Sal, an enigmatic astrophysicist whose experiment might change the world; and Tucker, the only uncloseted man on the continent, who, as station manager, casts a weary eye on all.

The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.

A winning comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, Ashley Shelby’s South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together, even as everything around you falls apart.

Categories: Adventure, Literary Fiction, Travel

Published by Picador (out now)

Back to the Garden by Clara Hume

Clara Hume’s speculative ecofiction, Back to the Garden, is told from the perspective of a group of “tipping point” survivors–a generation of mountain folks who have experienced the collapse of late-stage capitalism, along with widespread ecosystem degradation due to climate change. It is within the framework of a unique time, when these characters live through two worlds, vastly different from one another, that they tell their tales, a way of documenting their journeys in life.

While the friends and family in this novel struggle to survive, and overcome personal losses and grief, they do so with the strength of character that allows people to gracefully succeed during times of societal failure. They understand that true riches of life come from the great outdoors and from their relationships with each other. They learn to survive and adapt to a climate-changed world. Part “road” novel, part survival tale, and part romance, this literary novel looks into the human psyche as people similar to how we imagine ourselves find hope in the face of disaster.

Back to the Garden presents a frightening and tragic possibility for our future but doesn’t ignore our affirmative connection to the wilderness and to other people. The novel attempts to open people’s eyes to the importance of respecting limits, before it’s too late.

Categories: Speculative fiction, friendship, family

Published by Dragonfly Publishing (out now)

The Tourist Trail by John Yunker

An environmental novel about endangered species and those who risk their lives to protect them…

Biologist Angela Haynes is accustomed to dark, lonely nights as one of the few humans at a penguin research station in Patagonia. She has grown used to the cries of penguins before dawn, to meager supplies and housing, to spending most of her days in one of the most remote regions on earth. What she isn’t used to is strange men washing ashore, which happens one day on her watch. The man won’t tell her his name or where he came from, but Angela, who has a soft spot for strays, tends to him, if for no other reason than to protect her birds and her work. When she later learns why he goes by an alias, why he is a refugee from the law, and why he is a man without a port, she begins to fall in love-and embarks on a journey that takes her deep into Antarctic waters, and even deeper into the emotional territory she thought she’d left behind.

Against the backdrop of the Southern Ocean, The Tourist Trail weaves together the stories of Angela as well as FBI agent Robert Porter, dispatched on a mission that unearths a past he would rather keep buried; and Ethan Downes, a computer tech whose love for a passionate activist draws him into a dangerous mission.

Categories: Mystery, Romance, Ecology

Published by Byte Level Books (out now)

Side Chick Nation by Aya de León

She’s beautiful, unpredictable-and on the run from dangerous men. But this ex-side chick is ready to risk everything to help others in trouble . . . Fed up with her married Miami boyfriend, savvy Dulce has no problem stealing his drug-dealer stash and fleeing to the Caribbean. Between her special skills-and an eye for very rich and/or very smokin’ men-Dulce stays a hustle ahead of trouble and makes her new life one endless party in Puerto Rico. Until she’s caught in Hurricane Maria-and witnesses both the heartbreaking disaster of climate change, and the international vultures who plunder the tragedy for a financial killing, making shady use of relief funds to devastate the island even more . . .

New York-based mastermind thief Marisol already has her hands full fleecing a ruthless CEO who’s stealing her family’s land in Puerto Rico, while trying to get her relatives out alive. An extra crew member could be game-changing, but she’s wary of Dulce’s unpredictability and reputation for drama. Still, Dulce’s determination to get justice draws Marisol in, along with her formidable Lower East Side Women’s Health Clinic’s heist squad. But their on-the-fly race-against-the-clock plan is soon complicated by a sexy crusading journalist-not to mention powerful men who turn deadly when ex-side chicks step out of the shadows and demand to call the shots . . .

Categories: Feminism, Political

Published by Dafina Books (out now)

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