Have you ever had a completely random pile of books that you’re dying to read but don’t know which one to start first? That was my dilemma this week for Heat Index. Each of the books that I picked is fabulous in its own right, but I just didn’t have a category that each one fit in. That is, until I had five of them and the category made itself! From a magical and dystopian world, to WWII, to love a second time around, there’s something here for everybody.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, Alex Brunkhorst (MIRA Books, September 22, 2015)

the gilded life of matilda duplaine alex brunkhorstThermometers“Brunkhorst’s story is full of memorable characters and contains a first-rate plot; the latter will delightfully surprise the reader. This is a bittersweet treat that will appeal to a wide audience.” Publishers Weekly

Heat Index: When Thomas Cleary meets Matilda Duplaine sparks fly for Thomas who is drawn in to her insanely lavish lifestyle. Love quickly takes hold, but the veil soon fades and the ugly world of the rich and powerful becomes very apparent. This “modern-day Gatsby tale” is both beautiful and unforgettable.

Temperature: 87°

Early One Morning, Virginia Baily (Little, Brown and Co., September 29, 2015)

Early one morning virginia bailyThermometers

“This will appeal to fans of Maggie O’Farrell and lovers of historical, intergenerational, or Italian fiction.” Library Journal

Heat IndexWhen Chiara Ravello gets a phone call from a teenager who claims to be the daughter of a boy she rescued while his family was taken away during WWII, she must confront the difficult decisions she made and the heartache she welcomed into her life. This stunning novel is one for every age and will affect the heart for some time after reading it.

Temperature: 89°

, Matt Bell (Soho Press, September 15, 2015)

scrapper matt bellThermometers“[Scrapper] evokes a dark and lonely existence for its stoic protagonist…  By the novel’s end, Bell adeptly depicts Kelly as a complicated soul capable of great violence and kindness.”The New York Times Book Review

Heat IndexDetroit’s scrap metal is the only thing worth collecting in this dystopian world. But when Kelly comes across a young boy in need of help he must find a way to reconcile his past for his future’s sake. The weight of so many demons from generations before him it will be a bumpy road to redemption. Original and honest, you won’t want to put this one down.

Temperature: 94°

After You: A Novel
, Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books, September 29, 2015)

After You jojo moyesThermometersAfter You is a comic and breezy novel that also tackles bigger, more difficult subjects, in this case grief and moving on. Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” Miami Herald

Heat Index: Moyes weaves another beautifully crafted story in the sequel to Me Before You. We pick back up with Louisa Clark, who is learning to once again be on her own — and it’s not easy. Louisa finds that loving again is just as hard the second time around and when your past resurfaces, complicated becomes impossible. I’m addicted to anything Jojo Moyes.

Temperature: 97°

The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell (Harper Collins, September 22, 2015)

the sleeper and the spindle neil gaimanThermometers“A spectacular art object…certainly a treasure.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Heat Index: The night before her wedding, a queen heads out to rescue a princess trapped in an enchantment, but what they don’t realize is how this will impact both of their futures. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell create an absolutely masterful and gorgeous recreation of the magic world of fairy tales.

Temperature: 99°