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Winter Reading 2019

Winter Reading

Winter Reading 2019

At Bookreporter.com, we kicked off 2019 with our fifith annual Winter Reading Contests and Feature. We hosted a series of 24-hour contests spotlighting a book releasing this winter (or a book publishing in the spring that we wanted to get on your radar now) and gave five lucky readers a chance to win it.

Even though our contests have wrapped up, we encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles, as these are the books you'll want to read during the winter months --- and into the warmer ones!

- Click here to see the winners of our 2019 Winter Reading contests.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions written by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn - Cozy Mystery


On her 60th birthday, Auntie Poldi retires to Sicily, intending to while away the rest of her days with good wine, a view of the sea and few visitors. But Sicily isn’t quite the tranquil island she thought it would be, and something always seems to get in the way of her relaxation. When her handsome young handyman goes missing --- and is discovered murdered --- she can’t help but ask questions. Soon there’s an investigation, a smoldering police inspector, a romantic entanglement, one false lead after another, a rooftop showdown, and finally, of course, Poldi herself, slightly tousled but still perfectly poised.

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble - Fiction


It’s the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash and a preacher have all gone missing. Cherokee America Singer, known as “Check,” a wealthy farmer, mother of five boys and soon-to-be widow, is not amused. In CHEROKEE AMERICA, several plots intertwine around the heroic and resolute Check: her son is caught in a compromising position that results in murder; a neighbor disappears; another man is killed. The tension mounts and the violence escalates as Check’s mixed-race family, friends and neighbors come together to protect their community --- and painfully expel one of their own.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib - Fiction

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears --- imperfection, failure, loneliness --- she spirals down anorexia and depression until she weighs a mere 88 pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman - Romantic Comedy

Daphne Maritch doesn't quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of '68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one --- not always charitably --- and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds. In a fit of decluttering, she discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it's found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook's mysteries --- not to mention her own family's --- take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn - Historical Fiction

When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, Nina Markova risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress. Transformed by the horrors he witnessed, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder - Fiction


The Brennans --- parents Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby --- have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they're still adjusting to work, school and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when tragedy strikes one morning. In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who's to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah --- his innocence lost --- faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.

Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry - Psychological Thriller

Dana Diaz is an aspiring stand-up comedian. When she meets a tough computer programmer named Amanda Dorn, the two bond over their struggles in boys’ club professions. Dana confides that she’s recently been harassed and assaulted while in L.A., and Amanda comes up with a plan: they should go after each other’s assailants. But Dana finds that revenge, however sweet, draws her into a more complicated series of betrayals. Soon her distrust turns to paranoia, encompassing strangers, friends --- and even herself. At what cost will she get her vengeance? Who will end up getting hurt? And when it’s all over, will there be anyone left to trust?

The Lost Man by Jane Harper - Mystery/Thriller

Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet for the first time in months at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet. In an isolated belt of Australia, their homes a three-hour drive apart, the brothers were one another’s nearest neighbors. Cameron was the middle child, the one who ran the family homestead. But something made him head out alone under the unrelenting sun. Nathan, Bub and Nathan’s son return to Cameron’s ranch and to those left behind by his passing. While they grieve Cameron’s loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land - Memoir

At 28, Stephanie Land turned to housekeeping to make ends meet. With a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor. MAID explores the underbelly of upper-middle-class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them.

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure by Shoba Narayan - Memoir


When Shoba Narayan --- who has just returned to India with her husband and two daughters after years in the United States --- asks whether a cow she sees in her elevator might bless her apartment, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between our author and the cow’s owner, Sarala, who also sells fresh milk right across the street from that thoroughly modern apartment building. The two women connect over not only cows but also family, food and life. When Shoba agrees to buy Sarala a new cow, they set off looking for just the right heifer, and what was at first a simple economic transaction becomes something much deeper, though never without a hint of slapstick.

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser - Mystery


When a group of neighborhood women gathers around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal. By Monday morning, one of them is gone. Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors --- and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz - Thriller


Someone at the very highest level of government has been trying to eliminate every trace of the Orphan Program by killing all the remaining Orphans and their trainers. After Evan Smoak's mentor and the only father he ever knew was killed, he decided to strike back. His target is the man who started the Program and who is now the most heavily guarded person in the world: the President of the United States. But President Bennett knows that Orphan X is after him, and, using weapons of his own, he's decided to counter-attack. Bennett activates the one man who has the skills and experience to track down and take out Orphan X --- the first recruit of the Program, Orphan A.

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg - Fiction

Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny --- her American grandniece, and her only relative --- give her great joy. When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past, can she help Jenny unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’ life?

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl - Memoir


When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. But Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no? This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat.

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman - Historical Fiction

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.