Ringing in the new year is a plethora of adult fiction debut novels. Here are just a few of the most notable titles coming out this January. These have all received positive reviews in library journals. For a longer list, please visit our catalog.
“Daughter of the Moon Goddess” by Sue Lynn Tan
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, untrained, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream — striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
“Greenwich Park” by Katherine Faulkner
Helen’s idyllic life — handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying) — begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.
But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
“Digging Up Love” by Chandra Blumberg
Alisha Blake works her magic in the kitchen, creating delectable desserts for her grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois. Though Alisha relishes the close relationship she has with her family, she can’t help but dream about opening a cookie shop in Chicago. She may be a small-town baker, but Alisha has big ambitions.
Then a dinosaur bone turns up in her grandparents’ backyard. When paleontologist Quentin Harris arrives to see the discovery for himself, he’s hoping that the fossil will distract him from a recent painful breakup. Instead, he finds Alisha — and sparks fly. The big-city academic and the hometown baker seem destined for a happily ever after.
But Alisha is scared to fall in love. And Quentin’s trying to make a name for himself in a competitive field, which gets even more complicated when the press shows up at the dig site. For love to prevail, the two may have to put old bones aside — and focus on the future.
“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by André Lewis Carter
The Vietnam War is raging, the US Navy has only recently begun the process of integration, and the country is reeling from racial turmoil and unrest. So why does César, a street-tough kid of Afro-Cuban descent, enlist in the navy? He is on the run from a life of crime and from Mr. Mike, a charismatic, sociopathic gangster who was once a mentor but has now turned on him.
Escaping into a navy wrestling with its history of racism and sexism, César soon sees the absurdity of certain prejudices that seem as old as the US Armed Forces. When he is deployed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, racial tensions are high and are moving quickly toward violence. Through it all, César’s ever-growing sense of honor and self-worth force him to make moral decisions he never knew he was capable of. It’s a fortitude he will desperately need.