Next week marks the release of two titles that picked up buzz at the recent Public Library Association conference in Portland.

Guy Gavriel Kay‘s Under Heaven, a historical fantasy set in a land resembling Tang Dynasty China, was endorsed by PLA buzz panel moderator Nancy Pearl. “It has everything in that made me such a fan of his in the first place,” she said. “Golly, I thought the new one was perfect.” Libraries we checked are on top of demand, as holds rise.

Library Journal called Kay’s novel “meticulously researched yet seamlessly envisioned, the characters and culture present a timeless tale of filial piety and personal integrity. Highly recommended for all collections and particularly for fans of the author’s distinctive approach to fantasy.”

Under Heaven
Guy Gavriel Kay
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Roc Hardcover – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0451463307 / 9780451463302

At the PLA buzz panel, librarians were also talking about The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas‘s brilliantly titled novel about the social fallout from an adult’s rash punishment of a wayward child at an Australian barbeque. This winner of the 2009 Commonwealth prize is being pubbed as a paperback original here and may be a good candidate for book clubs and readers advisors. Most libraries we checked had at least a few copies.

Library Journal said, “While there is not a lot to admire about most of the players in this exceptionally well-written story, their intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience.”

The Slap: A Novel
Christos Tsiolkas
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0143117149 / 9780143117148

Major Fiction Titles On Sale Next Week

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro‘s The 9th Judgment (Grand Central) reveals the authors “at their best,” according to, “in a series that shows no signs of fatigue or flagging.” No surprise, it’s already at #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Debbie Macomber‘s Hannah’s List (Mira), a tale of a Seattle widower’s pursuit of love, is “charming enough,” according to PW, “though Hannah’s cancer battle is glossed over, and the conceit of Michael considering marriage so soon is a little unrealistic.”

Nora Roberts‘s Savor the Moment (Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet Series #3) (Penguin). Library Journal calls it “funny, sweetly sexy, as bubbly as champagne, and as addictive as chocolate, this thoroughly readable follow-up to Vision in White and Bed of Roses is one to savor.”

Isabel Allende‘s Island Beneath the Sea (Harper) received a starred review from Booklist: “Allende is grace incarnate in her evocations of the spiritual energy that still sustains the beleaguered people of Haiti and New Orleans. Demand will be high for this transporting, remarkably topical novel of men and women of courage risking all for liberty.”

Laurie R. King‘s The God of the Hive (Random House). PW says: “Those who enjoyed the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. may appreciate bestseller King’s heavy-on-action, light-on-deduction 10th novel featuring Mary Russell and her much older husband, Conan Doyle’s iconic detective.”

J. R. Ward‘s Lover Mine (NAL) is the eighth installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood urban fantasy series, (in the book’s trailer, the author says, she still doesn’t see the series ending). It’s currently at #11 on Amazon.

Y.A. Fiction

P.C. Cast‘s Burned (St. Martins Press) is the seventh installment in the young adult House of Night series. It’s at #13 on Amazon sales rankings.

Candice Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries (Balzar & Bray/ HarperCollins). While you’re waiting for Sex and the City 2 (don’t scoff; the first one made half a billion dollars), which opens in theaters on May 28th (and, yes, there is a tie-in; see our upcoming movie tie-ins listing), you can read the franchise prequel, Bushnell’s first YA title. It’s about about Carrie’s life as a high school senior in Connecticut. USA Today features it in the current issue. Entertainment Weekly addresses the cynical among us, saying,

It would have been easy to write a coming-of-age story about Carrie Bradshaw that ham-fistedly foreshadows everything fans of the franchise know will come to pass. But Bushnell nails something harder: telling another chapter
 in the story of a cherished character that stands on its own,

and give the book a lofty A-. This the first of two titles; the next one is planned for summer 2011 (frighteningly, there are hints that a Sex and the City 3 is in the works).

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