Five Novels Guaranteed to Give You Chills This Fall

Today’s post by our own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Now that it’s fall you’ll probably find me reading a good thriller. Murder? Check. Mystery? Check. Page turning suspense? Check. I want to be riveted, enthralled, sucked into a gripping story. If that sounds about like you, today we offer some new titles you’ll want to add to your to-be-read list right away!

Second LifeSECOND LIFE by SJ Watson

How well can you really know another person? How far would you go to find the truth about someone you love?

When Julia learns that her sister has been violently murdered, she must uncover why. But Julia’s quest quickly evolves into an alluring exploration of own darkest sensual desires. Becoming involved with a dangerous stranger online, she’s losing herself . . . losing control . . . perhaps losing everything. Her search for answers will jeopardize her marriage, her family, and her life.

A tense and unrelenting novel that explores the secret lives people lead—and the dark places in which they can find themselves—Second Life is a masterwork of suspense from the acclaimed S. J. Watson.


Somebody I Used to KNowSOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW by David Bell

When Nick Hansen sees the young woman at the grocery store, his heart stops. She is the spitting image of his college girlfriend, Marissa Minor, who died in a campus house fire twenty years earlier. But when Nick tries to speak to her, she acts skittish and rushes off.

The next morning the police arrive at Nick’s house and show him a photo of the woman from the store. She’s been found dead, murdered in a local motel, with Nick’s name and address on a piece of paper in her pocket.

Convinced there’s a connection between the two women, Nick enlists the help of his college friend Laurel Davidson to investigate the events leading up to the night of Marissa’s death. But the young woman’s murder is only the beginning…and the truths Nick uncovers may make him wish he never doubted the lies.


The Book of YouTHE BOOK OF YOU by Claire Kendal

His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go.

Clarissa’s only escape from this harrowing nightmare is inside a courtroom—where she is a juror on a trial involving a victim whose experiences eerily parallel her own. There she finds some peace and even makes new friends, including an attractive widower named Robert, whose caring attentions make her feel desired and safe. But as a disturbingly violent crime unfolds in the courtroom, Clarissa realizes that to survive she must expose Rafe herself. Conceiving a plan, she begins collecting the evidence of Rafe’s madness to use against him—a record of terror that will force her to relive every excruciating moment she desperately wants to forget. Proof that will reveal the twisted, macabre fairy tale that Rafe has spun around them . . . with an ending more horrifying than her darkest fears.

Masterfully constructed, filled with exquisite tension and a pervasive sense of menace, The Book of You explores the lines between love and compulsion, fantasy and reality, and offers a heart-stopping portrait of a woman determined to survive. Claire Kendal’s extraordinary debut will haunt readers long after it reaches its terrifying, breathtaking conclusion.


DisclaimerDISCLAIMER by Renee Knight

A brilliantly conceived, deeply unsettling psychological thriller— already an international sensation—about a woman haunted by secrets, the consuming desire for revenge, and the terrible price we pay when we try to hide the truth.

Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day she became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew—and that person is dead.

Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day . . . even if the shocking truth might destroy her.


The Bones of YouTHE BONES OF YOU by Debbie Howells

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.

Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.

Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.

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On Sympathy and Regret, Nina de Gramont discusses The Last September

Today’s post by Nina de Gramont, author of THE LAST SEPTEMBER | @NinaDeGramont

Nina de GramontTwo of my least favorite phrases are “I have no sympathy” and “I don’t believe in regrets.” The first tends to refer to someone who’s brought agony on herself through unwise action. The second? It’s usually a way to absolve oneself of doing precisely the same thing.

As if any of us always behave wisely! As if we have never suffered the particular pain of knowing our suffering is exactly and unavoidably our own fault, and then regretted it wildly.

Oh, the stupid things I’ve done. I could write about them for years. I could produce a thousand pages and still leave some out. Once, having discovered a boyfriend wrote a letter I considered a betrayal, I called him up and started screaming the moment he answered. It took me several minutes to realize it was not my boyfriend on the other end of the line, but his father. Many years later that embarrassment still stings, never mind that it was entirely my fault. And do I regret it? You bet I do. Along with a million other impulsive actions, some far milder, and some far worse.

Thankfully none of my regrets led to so disastrous a place as Brett finds herself in my novel, The Last September. In the throes of grief and shock after finding her husband murdered, Brett is certain she must have done something – had some hand in the pivotal event – that led to Charlie’s death. She lingers over every misstep, including loving him in the first place – and at the same time can’t help savoring the very emotions that led her to this unthinkable place. In so many ways their imperfect life – and his violent death – turn out to be Brett’s own fault. Which doesn’t diminish the exquisiteness of her memories, or the anguish she feels at losing Charlie.


The Last SeptemberSet against the desolate autumn beauty of Cape Cod, The Last September is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty.

Brett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over.

But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation.

So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?

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Triangle Reads: A Photo Journal

Today’s post by yours truly | @ArielLawhon

Well, friends, it was amazing, and humbling, and a little unnerving all at once. But we did the thing we’ve been wanting to do for years. We hosted our first live event last weekend in conjunction with the Southern Bookseller’s Alliance and there is truly no better way to spend a long weekend than with a group of fellow book lovers. There were authors and booksellers and publishing professionals and readers. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for more. Since many of you have written to say that you wish you could have been there we thought we’d give you the next best thing, a walking tour of our weekend.

** A quick note to our email readers: please forgive us if some of these photos end up being sideways in your inbox. They have all been rotated and sized correctly in our system but there seems to be something wonky happening with our RSS feed. However, if everything looks normal then Yay! Ignore this and enjoy!

Flying into Raleigh. I had a 6:35 a.m. flight from Nashville. So if you do the math you too can be in pain at the thought of how early I had to wake up. Pretty view, though.

Flying into Raleigh. I had a 6:35 a.m. flight from Nashville. So if you do the math you too can be in pain at the thought of how early I had to wake up. Pretty view, though.


It's a good thing I'm used to wearing multiple hats or my duties over the weekend may have given me an identity crisis.

It’s a good thing I’m used to wearing multiple hats or my duties over the weekend may have given me an identity crisis.


On Saturday afternoon Marybeth, Anne Bogel, and Joshilyn Jackson paid a visit to Quail Ridge Rooks. There are few things that make me happier than a table full of books.

On Saturday afternoon Marybeth, Anne Bogel, and Joshilyn Jackson paid a visit to Quail Ridge Rooks. There are few things that make me happier than a table full of books.


Right around the corner from Quail Ridge was this amazing little wine bar that Marybeth and I have now visited twice. And each time it was one of the highlights of our trip. This time I sample the blackberry cider and fell in love.

Right around the corner from Quail Ridge was this amazing little wine bar that Marybeth and I have now visited twice. And each time it was one of the highlights of our trip. This time I sample the blackberry cider and fell in love. We loved the place so much we bought tee shirts. And wine. We also bought wine.


Marybeth and our lovely new friend, Anne Bogel (aka Modern Mrs. Darcy).

Marybeth and our lovely new friend, Anne Bogel (aka Modern Mrs. Darcy).


It was a long day. Marybeth had to put her feet up at the end.

It was a long day. Marybeth had to put her feet up at the end.


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Triangle Reads began with a Moveable Feast luncheon in conjunction with SIBA. Here, author Kim Wright discusses her new novel, THE CANTERBURY SISTERS.


Joshilyn Jackson discussing her upcoming novel, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE. Have we mentioned yet that we adore Joshilyn? Because we do.

Joshilyn Jackson discussing her upcoming novel, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE. Have we mentioned yet that we adore Joshilyn? Because we do.


Robert Beatty discussing his runaway bestseller, SERAPHINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK

Robert Beatty discussing his runaway bestseller, SERAPHINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK


The amazing and talented Lisa Wingate kindly moderated a panel for us. If you've not read her work yet, do yourself a favor and pick up one of her novels.

The amazing and talented Lisa Wingate kindly moderated a panel for us. If you’ve not read her work yet, do yourself a favor and pick up one of her novels.


Therese Anne Fowler kindly moderated our History-Mystery panel featuring Deanna Raybourn, Margaret Maron, and Diane Michael Cantor

Therese Anne Fowler kindly moderated our History-Mystery panel featuring Deanna Raybourn, Margaret Maron, and Diane Michael Cantor



Anne Bogel interviewing Elin Hilderbrand during our headline event.


Elin Hilderbrand signs a copy of THE RUMOR for Therese Anne Fowler

Elin Hilderbrand signs a copy of THE RUMOR for Therese Anne Fowler


The first part of Marybeth's book haul. Don't they all look amazing?

The first part of Marybeth’s book haul. Don’t they all look amazing?


The second part of Marybeth's book haul. I'd show mine but I still haven't taken a picture of them. Because that requires unpacking. And I'm just not there yet.

The second part of Marybeth’s book haul. I’d show mine but I still haven’t taken a picture of them. Because that requires unpacking. And I’m just not there yet.


And that's a wrap. A picture from my seat on the way home to Nashville.

And that’s a wrap. A picture from my seat on the way home to Nashville.

Question for you: who wants to join us in Savannah next year?

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Radio Silence

We’ve been silent this week and for good reason: we are, quite simply, exhausted. One week ago today Marybeth and I arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance yearly trade show. It is no exaggeration to say that this is our favorite event of the year. There is nothing like spending a weekend with hundreds of booksellers and authors and publishing professionals. And this year we had the immense pleasure of organizing Triangle Reads, our first ever live readers event, held in partnership with SIBA. It was, in a word, AMAZING. And there is so much we want to tell you about it. But first, friends, we must sleep. And do laundry. And find a semblance of normality at home and work. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programing on Monday. But until then, we’ll give this one small glimpse into Triangle Reads: Elin Hilderbrand being interviewed by our new friend, Anne Bogel (aka Modern Mrs. Darcy).


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How ‘A Curious Beginning’ Came To Be

Today’s post by New York Times Bestselling author, Deanna Raybourn | @DeannaRaybourn

Deanna Raybourn’s new novel, A CURIOUS BEGINNING, is one of our fall book club selections. I read the story of Veronica Speedwell in two giant gulps earlier this summer and loved it so much that I went back and read most of Deanna’s previous books as well. Simply put, this novel is fun. And clever. And a delight to read. So I’m thrilled to have Deanna on the blog today sharing how this novel came to be.

Deanna RaybournOne of the questions I dread most as a writer is, “Where did you get your inspiration?” The answer is usually some strange alchemical reaction of research, imagination, and serendipity that I can’t quite define. But not this time. The inspiration for Veronica Speedwell is one very intrepid, very memorable Victorian explorer by the name of Margaret Fountaine. I have been casually studying the Victorian female explorers for decades; whenever I am between projects I always seem to end up reading whatever I can get my hands on about their travels—usually anthologies of their collective adventures. I have amassed a small collection on the subject, my favorite being journals written by the women themselves on their expeditions. With great affection and tongue firmly in cheek, I call them the parasol and petticoat brigade, but they were so much more! Most of their formative years were spent in very typical 19th-century households with music lessons and flower arranging their most demanding activities. But for each woman there came a tipping point, a crossroads at which the traveler realized she wanted much more than her narrow existence could offer. That’s when she packed her carpetbag and set off to see the world. I find their courage both extraordinary and incredibly inspiring; they faced obstacles and setbacks with astonishing equanimity, pushing forward across the next frontier, past the next horizon. They blazed new trails, sometimes forcing a path through lands their male counterparts dared not attempt. Luckily for me, many of them wrote about their experiences and those journals and letters make for fascinating reading.

Years ago, so long I don’t quite remember where I unearthed it, I was lucky enough to find a copy of Margaret Fountaine’s first journal, a nondescript, twee-looking volume entitled Love Among the Butterflies. (The second volume has an even more sentimental title–Butterflies and Late Loves.) Fountaine was a lepidopterist who hunted butterflies on six continents with a career that spanned over five decades, and I settled in to read, expecting the book would be about lepidoptery and the vagaries of foreign travel. Instead, it took a delightfully salacious turn as Fountaine described not only her butterfly hunts, but her numerous dalliances. It was utterly enthralling to read about her flirtations, and the more I read, the more I wanted to create a character with the same indefatigable energy, the same zest for life and adventure. Veronica is influenced by all of these unforgettable Victorian explorers, but I gave her Margaret’s butterflies as a particular homage. Like them, Veronica is forthright, dynamic, and uncowed by danger—in fact, she rather goes in search of it.


A Curious BeginningIn her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.


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Today’s post by Kim Boykin | @AuthorKimBoykin

Kim BoykinLast year, I was having a glass of wine with my editor who wanted to know what was next for me.

I wanted to wow her with another quirky tale and a great original title, so I pitched a story I’d started several years ago about two elderly spinster sisters called A Peach of a Pair. The idea for the story came from my great great aunt who traveled from the bottom of southwest Georgia to Arkansas to see a faith healer in the late 1940’s. Women didn’t travel alone, and there weren’t a lot of women on the busses. So, to be on the safe side, she rode the whole way to Little Rock with her arms crossed and a hatpin under each arm. If a man got too close to her or fell asleep and his head flopped onto her shoulder, she’d jab him with the pin. Unfortunately, when she got to her destination, she found out the faith healer had been run out of the state, and she got back on the bus and went home.

While the hatpin incident isn’t in A Peach of a Pair, the idea of traveling a great distance for healing is. I loved the idea of setting out on an arduous journey full of hope and faith that there is healing on the other end. That’s what happens to poor Lurleen, the eldest sister, who is dying of congestive heart failure, but not because she wants to go on this trip. Her sister Emily, took something from her when they were barely twenty.

As Emily says:

What happened to Teddy was Emily’s fault, and she’d paid for it a thousand times over, losing her mother to a broken heart. And the seven years Lurleen lived in the same house as Emily but didn’t speak to her, didn’t take anything from her hand. The shunning wasn’t a religious edict. Goodness no, they were raised Presbyterian. But Lurleen had taken right to the practice. Even with the gravity of events, Emily was sure it couldn’t last, but she’d been wrong.”

Even fifty years later, Emily wants to right the scales so badly, she badgers poor Lurleen into getting on a Greyhound bus and riding all the way from Camden, South Carolina to Palestine, Texas to see a faith healer.

My editor loved the title, loved the story so much, I thought she would buy it on the spot, but then she said, “Where’s your young protagonist?” The truth is, when you publish you’re put into a box. All authors are because it’s easier for publishers to sell us that way. We can’t just be storytellers, which is what I wanted to be. I was so excited about my pitch to her, I’d forgotten Penguin put me in the sweet Southern box complete with a young protagonist.

So I did what every author does; I made her up on the fly. “Uh. Her name is Nettie Gilbert and she’s a ‘Bama belle in her last semester at Columbia College, and, uh, she receives an invitation to her baby sister’s wedding back home. BUT her own fiancé is the groom. So she quits school and goes to work for two old maids in Camden, South Carolina and the bus trip for healing ensues.”

The interesting thing about this is, in the original version of the story, Nettie was a young girl on the bus, but she was also a plot device to hear the sister’s stories, to understand the riff, and their complex sisterhood. When I started to write, I was a little concerned that Nettie would be overpowered by Emily and Lurleen’s great big voices, but it turned out Nettie held her own and then some, even though Emily and Lurleen do hijack the story from time to time. But the story worked and turned out to be an examination of an indestructible sisterhood and a wild ride to forgiveness.


A Peach of a PairPalmetto Moon inspired The Huffington Post to rave, “It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find.” Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

March, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family—and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks—in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home . . .

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Triangle Reads Update

Today’s post by yours truly | @ArielLawhon

We’ve got a bit of great news for those of you hoping/planning to join us in Raleigh next weekend for Triangle Reads. There are only a couple of days left to register for Triangle Reads and only a handful of spots left. So our friends at the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance are running a short “buy one ticket, get one free” promotion. What that means for you? Invite a friend and have lunch with 24 authors, an afternoon of panels, and instead of one $20 voucher, you will now receive two $15 vouchers to spend at the indie on-site bookstore. This promotion will apply to those who have already purchased tickets as well!

We very much hope to see you there!




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Tell Me Something True: Meg Mitchell Moore on The Admissions

Today’s post by Meg Mitchell Moore, author of THE ADMISSIONS | @MMitchMoore

Please give a hearty welcome to Meg Mitchell Moore. She’s the author of THE ADMISSIONS (along with THE ARRIVALS and SO FAR AWAY) and is one of our featured authors this fall. Meg has kindly given us a glimpse into the inspiration behind her novel and what it’s like to write a book that draws on parts of her own life. We think you’ll love this novel and now is the time to grab your copy if you’ve not done so already!

Meg Mitchell MooreThree years ago my family and I moved from Massachusetts to California for my husband’s job. For many reasons with which I won’t bore you now, and as wonderful as many parts of California are, it wasn’t the right life for us and we moved back to Massachusetts after just one year. Soon after we returned I began writing The Admissions, a story about a striving, upper-middle-class California family trying to get their eldest daughter into Harvard while family secrets bubble to the surface.

Look at what I just did there! In just the second sentence of this piece I qualified our reasons for moving back to the east coast so the state of California wouldn’t be mad at me. “As wonderful as many parts of California are” is a clause that could definitely come out in revision, but I’m leaving it there because it illustrates something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: the inevitability of novelists drawing on their own lives for material, and the repercussions of that on both author and reader.

Writing fiction for a living is such an odd thing to do in many ways. We authors are constantly casting about for material; unavoidably we catch upon fragments from our own lives and build fictional worlds from those fragments, mixing in a good number of details that we just plain make up. In my latest novel, The Admissions, the family looks more like my actual family than any family I’ve written about. There’s a married couple living in the Bay area, both of whom came from places other than California, which my husband and I were for a time. There are three daughters, which we have. One daughter is a competitive Irish dancer, as my eldest daughter is. One daughter is a competitive runner, as both my husband and I have been. The insanely cutthroat Bay area real estate market did play a role in our lives for a time.

These things are different: I am not a real estate agent, as my character Nora is. My husband does not work as a business consultant. My eldest daughter is not yet in high school; she’s not applying to college. We’ve never owned a Newfoundland. My husband didn’t grow up on a ranch. My youngest daughter learned to read right on time, unlike the struggling second-grader in the book. There are many other details that have nothing whatsoever to do with my life or my family’s life (I won’t go into them now because they reveal certain plot points).

Now that the book is out in the world, I’ve noticed that people like to point out or ask about (or, worse, assume the existence of) resemblances. My instinct—one that many authors can understand—is to chafe at this. I want to say, Look! There are so many more differences than there are similarities! I want to say, Stop trying to find parallels! I want to say, This is fiction! I even want to say, I never owned a Newfoundland!

But you know what I’ve decided? Those parts of me need to sit for some time in the back seat. If I write fiction for a living, and if I’m hoping for readers to pay a good chunk of money to read what I wrote, and if I want to entertain them and perhaps illuminate something about the world we live in, the questions about where I get my material and how much of it came from my own life are legitimate. They come with the trade; they’re as much a part of the job as scrubbing in is for a surgeon or patient privacy is for a therapist or late nights are for a chef. Readers are looking for comparisons between a work of fiction and an author’s life not to annoy the author but because the creative process is opaque and mysterious and readers want to find a window into it.

I recently heard a radio interview with Jonathan Franzen in which he talked about a character in The Corrections who liked to concoct “mixed grill” creations for his family’s dinner. “I thought [my brother] might just permanently hate me for taking some of his pet activities like mixed grill and putting them in a novel,” said Franzen. For a while, by the way, the brother wasn’t too happy about it. But every time I think about The Corrections, which I haven’t read in many years, the oldest brother and his mixed-grill creations are one of the elements that I always remember: it’s the kind of poignant, hilarious, specific detail that makes a character come alive. The brother might not have been happy about it, but as a reader I am delighted.

Franzen’s brother has come to terms with the reality of being related to a well-known novelist. “You have to be allowed to do what a writer does,” says Franzen. I agree, and I hope readers do too.

I just really, really hope California isn’t mad at me.

* * *

The AdmissionsThe Admissions brilliantly captures the frazzled pressure cooker of modern life as a seemingly perfect family comes undone by a few desperate measures, long-buried secrets—and college applications!

The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of northern California, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth. And then comes their eldest daughter’s senior year of high school…

Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that’s not going to write itself. She’s set her sights on Harvard, her father’s alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won’t let up until she’s basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she’s suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can’t help but daydream about the cute baseball player in English class. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her term paper—which, along with her college essay and community service hours has a rapidly approaching deadline.

Angela’s mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can’t read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a heedless collision course that’s equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball.

Sharp and topical, The Admissions shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.

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Today’s post by yours truly | @ArielLawhon

I first saw the cover for my new novel on July 9th and I sat at my desk stunned and amazed and overwhelmed that this story finally has a face–and a lovely one at that! And then I wanted to scream because I couldn’t show anyone. But the time has finally come to introduce her to the world. So I would like you to meet FLIGHT OF DREAMS, coming February 16th, 2016, from Doubleday. Welcome to the world, little book!

Flight Cover Reveal

A bit about the novel:

With everyone on board the Hindenburg harboring dark secrets, FLIGHT OF DREAMS is a suspenseful, heart-wrenching examination of one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century

On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are Emilie Imhof, a frightened stewardess with a dangerous secret; Max Zabel, the quiet, steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; Werner Franz, a naive cabin boy desperate to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest aircraft; Gertrud Adelt, an impetuous, charming journalist who has recently been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with murder on his mind. From these five points of view and over the course of three and half days, the lies, schemes, and secrets of those on board are revealed.

FLIGHT OF DREAMS is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last ill-fated flight of the Hindenburg. Their private fears, budding romances, and hopes for the future come to life amid gourmet meals, hidden trysts, and high winds. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for three hazy, champagne-soaked days they are held in a state of luxurious suspension. Yet nothing can stop the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

If you’re the sort of reader who likes to pre-order your books (for which all the authors of the world thank you) then you can grab a copy of FLIGHT OF DREAMS from my friends at Parnassus Books. I’ll even sign it for you!

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Why You Should Join Us At Triangle Reads

Today’s post by yours truly | @ArielLawhon


Registration for Triangle Reads ends in just a few short days (especially if you want to join us for the Moveable Feast luncheon) so this is a gentle reminder that now is the time to get your ticket. Admission includes lunch at the North Raleigh Hilton, a $20 voucher to purchase books, and entrance to all the panels and get-togethers for the entire day.


I know we’ve said it before but it bears repeating: we are really excited about this event. It’s the first time the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance has opened it’s doors to the public. Five independent bookstores have joined forces to make these books available to the public. And two dozen writers–ranging from New York Times bestsellers to debut authors–are participating. As far as we’re concerned, it’s the perfect day for anyone who claims to be a book lover.


Since we’ve had a number of people ask, here’s the schedule with a complete list of authors, moderators, and panel descriptions. Regardless of whether you love memoir, fiction, cooking, or children’s books, there is something for everyone. Bring your family. Bring your book club. Bring your unapologetic love of the written word. We’ll be there to celebrate it all with you.


12:00 – 2:00 The Moveable Feast Luncheon

This lunch will feature two dozen authors, not the least of which include Joshilyn Jackson, Amy Hill Hearth, Damon Tweedy, Hester Young, Karen Spears Zacharias, Deanna Raybourn, Billy Coffey, Margaret Maron, David Payne, Kim Wright, Robert Beatty, and Elin Hilderbrand. For those not familiar with the moveable feast structure, all of the featured authors move between tables and interact with readers during the meal. So you get a great meal and the opportunity to chat with twenty-five amazing authors.

2:20 – 3:00 PM Panels

Tell Me Something True: the Power of Story in Memoir  

Moderator: Barbara Claypole White
Damon Tweedy, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine
David Payne, Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story

In the Middle: the Art and Science of Middle Grade Fiction 

ModeratorJanna McMahan
Robert Beatty, Serafina and the Black Cloak
Margi Preus, The Bamboo Sword

It’s A Woman’s World: the Enduring Power of Women’s Fiction

ModeratorDiane Chamberlain
Amy Hill Hearth, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County
Kim Wright, The Canterbury Sisters
Karen Spears Zacharias, Burdy
Joshilyn Jackson, Someone Else’s Love Story

Coloring Outside the Lines: A Conversation About Speculative Fiction 

Moderator: Sarah Creech
Holly Sullivan McClure, Conjuror
Marly Youmans, Maze of Blood

3:20 – 4:00 PM Panels

Picture This: Two Authors on Writing for Children 

ModeratorSarah Lindenfeld
Joan Holub, The Knights Before Christmas, Mini Myths: Please Share, Aphrodite! and Mini Myths: Be Careful, Icarus! (picture books)
Susan Verde, I Am Yoga (picture book)

History—Mystery: A Growing Trend in Fiction

ModeratorTherese Ann Fowler
Deanna Raybourn, A Curious Beginning
Margaret Maron, Long Upon the Land
Diane Michael Cantor, The Poisoned Table

Only in the South: The Enduring Magic of Southern Stories

ModeratorLisa Wingate
Billy Coffey, The Curse of Crow Hollow
Shari Smith, I Am A Town
Hester Young, The Gates of Evangeline
Bland & Ann Simpson, Little Rivers and Waterway Tales

Cookin’ the Books: Meals and Stories You Don’t Want to Miss

ModeratorRachel Olsen
Sandra Gutierrez, Beans and Field Peas: A Savor the South Cookbook
Bridgette Lacy, Sunday Dinner: A Savor the South Cookbook
James Farmer, A Time to Celebrate: Let Us Keep the Feast
Johnathan Scott Barrett, Rise and Shine: A Southern Son’s Treasure of Food Family and Friends

4:20 – 5:00 PM 

Headline Event 

Elin Hilderbrand in conversation with Anne Bogel (aka Modern Mrs. Darcy)

5:30 – 6:30

Triangle Reads Cocktail Hour 
Join all of our featured authors for cocktails and conversation!

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