Friday, June 22, 2012

C.W. Gortner's THE QUEEN'S VOW taking the world by storm

C.W. Gortner's THE QUEEN'S VOW, a novel about Isabella of Castile, the warrior-queen who united Spain and sent Columbus to America, has been receiving fabulous reviews since its release last week!  Published by Ballantine in the US, the book will also be published in the UK, Germany, and Norway...with more countries on the way.  The book has done incredibly well in the US so far, even reaching #2 on Amazon's Bestsellers in Biographical Fiction list!  Read some of the excellent reviews below:

"A beautifully crafted piece of historical fiction...The fear, joy, and anguish of the story all come together with a beauty and passion that can't be found anywhere in the pages of history books." --RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars

"Isabella is most often remembered as the queen who financed Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas, but in this vivid novel, Gortner reveals that she is much more than this.  She is an inspiring young woman who bravely faced the turmoil that surrounded her and managed to hold on to her crown.  Her resolve and courage helped her face the numerous problems in her realm as she and Fernando began to unite Spain.  Gortner has again produced a richly detailed book that is hard to put down." --Historical Novels Review

"Gortner avoids romanticizing and sentimentalizing and presents a believable account of a woman determined to control her own fate and shape Spain into a great country." --Booklist

"Gortner's latest historical novel is set at the beginning of the extremely popular Tudor era, but it feels fresh owing to his choice of subject and the focus on events in Spain rather than England.  It should thus have strong appeal for historical fiction fans looking for a new perspective on a favorite time period." --Library Journal

"[Isabella] is a controversial figure in history, yet Gortner digs deep into her personality to reconcile some of her more difficult decisions with the person he believes she is, and he makes a very convincing case...Gortner is perhaps the best author currently writing historical fiction today.  He balances extensive research with smart, sympathetic characters.  He really gets inside Isabella's head, and it's clear he knows her inside and out.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, Gortner's books are absolutely not to be missed." --S. Krishna's Books Blog

"Gortner has done it again, creating a mesmerizing and unforgettable portrait of Isabella of Castile...What makes Gortner's Isabella so unique is that while she is brave and daring she is also conflicted...In her, we can see ourselves...THE QUEEN'S VOW reminds us that in the end, Isabella was human, a woman of conviction and strength in a time of upheaval, who forged her destiny despite every odd, to become Spain's most beloved queen." --Michelle Moran, internationally bestselling author of NEFERTITI

You can learn more about the book via the beautiful trailer below, or through Gortner's website here:

Friday, June 15, 2012

JVNLA's BEA slideshow form!

Each year BookExpo America (BEA) brings together publishers, authors, librarians, and booksellers to celebrate books and become more informed about the state of the publishing industry.

We at JVNLA attend the panels to learn more about everything from buzz books to Twitter to children's ebook trends, but we also scour the gigantic exhibition floors to find our books on display!  Each publisher has its own exhibition booth showcasing its important books for the season.  We were excited to spot many of our titles at these booths!  Check out the images we captured below.  You can also view these via Facebook at this link.

Of course one of the highlights of BEA is all the after-parties.  We hosted our very own after-party at the JVNLA office.  But we didn't only provide wine, hors d'oeuvres, and special M and M party favors.  We also showcased our recent and upcoming books, along with some of the wonderful reviews they've received over time.  Below is the complete slideshow, for your viewing pleasure:

Last, but not least, below are images from the party itself, including photos of all of us at JVNLA, our authors, and editors.  You can find a more complete showcase of the party images via Facebook at this link.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Excellent reviews pouring in for Elizabeth Crane's debut novel

Elizabeth Crane is the author of three phenomenal short story collections, but now she has come out with her first novel!  WE ONLY KNOW SO MUCH is the story of a multi-generational dysfunctional family, written with empathy, humor, and a razor sharp, unforgettable voice.

The book publishes on Tuesday the 12th, and the praise has been coming in thick and fast already!  View several early reviews below:

"After three scintillating short story collections, Crane delivers her first novel, a tragicomedy of epic familial malfunctions...As Crane illuminates each floundering character's thoughts and fears, she addresses the reader in the first-person plural, admitting at one point, 'We know a lot, but not everything.'  Not only doesn't the allegedly omniscient narrator know all, Crane avers, we barely understand ourselves, let alone our loved ones...This is an irresistible and winsome read.  A truly astute tale of love neglected and reclaimed, family resiliency, spiritual inquiries, and personal metamorphoses." --Booklist, starred review

"Crane's novel is filled with deliciously idiosyncratic characters, humorous and distinct narration, and a whole lot of personality.  Each character's emotional growth is just enough to satisfy, without being overbearing...Crane's summer novel has undeniable heart." --Publishers Weekly

Finally, we couldn't help but share the whole text of this wonderful review from Kirkus:

Crane delivers a unique and dizzying tale that delves into the emotional life of a family teetering on the brink of everything.  Best known for her three short story collections, Crane graduates to novels with a surprisingly centered and cohesive debut about a family that is, as their self-centered teenage daughter would phrase it, "losing their shit."  Our most promising and emotionally truthful character is Jean Copeland, seemingly dutiful wife to husband Gordon and equally devoted mother to teenage daughter Priscilla and nine-year-old romantic Otis.  But we soon learn that life in the Copeland family is not at all what it might seem on the surface.  In fact, Jean is having a joyful affair with James, a member of her book club who quietly suffers from disabling depression.  Gordon is dealing with his own challenges, as the self-professed expert in nearly everything is rapidly losing his memory.  Priscilla thinks her future lies in reality TV shows, but that's mostly beside the point--"First of all, Priscilla is a bitch," Crane candidly writes.  Otis's story is the sweetest as he pines away for a classmate, toiling away at heart-shaped crosswords to win her heart.  The beauty in Crane's novel is her sweep from acid commentary to heartfelt portrayal of real-life loves and losses.  "Review: difficult daughter, know-it-all dad, son sweet and okay if a little weird, mom delayed potential/having affair, great grandmother bitchy, granddad losing it.  So we know where we're starting," writes Crane.  But Crane's offhand style is woven seamlessly with heartbreaking arcs like the suicide of Jean's lover, Gordon's inappropriate Facebook stalking of a former classmate, and Jean's elegant dismissal of her daughter's drama.  "God didn't punk, you, daughter," adds Jean in an internal monologue.  "Life is what you make it.  Nobody knows this better than me."  Life in a snow globe made from dashed dreams and misunderstandings.

Crane's writing has previously been called "distinctive and eccentric...riveting" by The New York Times Book Review, "boldly original" by The Washington Post, "utterly refreshing" by The San Francisco Chronicle, "so damn clever" by Jane, and "hypnotic" by Newsday.

If you're craving more of her writing after reading the novel, don't miss her short story collections, WHEN THE MESSENGER IS HOT (Little Brown, 2003), ALL THIS HEAVENLY GLORY (Little Brown, 2005), and YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER (Akashic Books, 2008).

Harper Perennial, June 2012