This is my kind of summer read! Fun, fast-paced, AND well-written, with depth and humor. A plus-sized fashion blogger accepts the challenge of starring in a “Bachelorette” -like show. She, and we, think we know what Bea is in for, but this witty romp through reality tv has more to offer than the expected pitfalls and outcomes. Thoroughly satisfying.
Lou Ann Hunter, as “Lulu the Love Guru,” has her life under control until she puts her career on hold to care for Patricia, her mom with Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Gibson writes of the mother/daughter dynamic and the roller coaster of emotions and frustrations of caring for a sick parent with the much needed humor of someone who’s been there. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be happy you read it.
— Laura B.
Necromancers… in space. Intrigued? Gideon the Ninth is the classic “strangers meet at a haunted house” mystery, with a fun twist. The gathering is between the heirs of eight necromancer houses and their cavaliers, and they must solve riddles in order to learn new necromancy techniques. But then people start dying. I absolutely loved Gideon and her necromancer Harrowhawk. Their love/hate relationship was hilarious, moving, and filled with snarky humor that made me grin. Mix all of that with skeleton monsters, abandoned scientific laboratories, sword fights, and spaceships… and you have a unique, amazing book that I can’t stop thinking about.
This book is just pure fun! An inside look at the making of the film Valley of the Dolls, based on Jacqueline Susann’s best-selling 1966 novel. And what a ride it is! Full of dishy gossip and over-the-top diva behavior, it’s the film that became the original camp classic. Settle back in your beach chair and enjoy!
Usually being kidnapped is a bad thing…
Blistering with humor, Calvin’s aunt (the kidnapper) is just the charismatic bad guy that Calvin (the kidnapped) needs on his journey to manhood (somewhere in his late 40’s). Unexpected twists and theatrical characters make this novel pure fun.
When three 66-year-old men reunite on Martha's Vineyard it's not just about reminiscing. Back in the late 60's there was the Vietnam draft, drugs, partying at a private Connecticut college, many secrets, and believe it or not - an unsolved mystery! Richard Russo is at his best with this new stand-alone novel. Relatable characters and suspenseful twists will have you second guessing till the end!
Revenge has been called a dish best served cold. But in this crafty thriller, it’s served in a locked, sweltering, claustrophobic elevator in a deserted part of the city where four rich and greedy investment bankers have been lured, then trapped, in a team-building exercise gone awry. Who is at the controls, giving the group cryptic clues to unravel while they try to escape the room, their pasts, and each other? And why did someone bring a gun?
What Red Was is a poignant debut novel about the depth of friendship and how its balance is threatened by privilege and trauma. Best friends since University, Kate and Max are inseparable. His wealthy and connected family is opposingly different from her’s, and yet she is welcomed by all of them. One night at a party in Max’s parent’s home, Kate is violently attacked and tells no one. Her silence has a devastating effect on her health and relationships until an unlikely source encourages her to seek help and finally tell her story. Applause for this young(26 yr old) author!
The rumors of sexual harassment on the part of Ames Garrett towards the women of Truviv, Inc. have been whispered for years. When a sudden death puts him in line for CEO, four women, in-house attorneys and an office cleaner, decide enough is enough, with deadly results. At the heart of this thriller is a story that speaks to women struggling to juggle family life, careers, and the ever-present glass ceiling. Sisterhood is powerful!
I have never stayed up all night reading a book until this one. The building anxiety of this masterpiece of suspense…just woah. Is this mother of two young children crazy? Is she suffering post-partum symptoms? OR is there legit an INTRUDER in her house, threatening the lives of her and her children, while her husband is away? This is a totally thrilling read, and yet, a commentary on the unrelenting anxiety that comes with motherhood. Read The Need now, thank me later.
Wow! Once again, Colson Whitehead writes with brilliance! Based on the true story of a Florida reform school, he takes us inside the stories of the boys sent to live there in a fictionalized tale. At once devastating and thought provoking, The Nickel Boys kept me reading at a fast and furious pace. It takes talent, which Mr. Whitehead has, to expose horrors but not in a horrific way.
“We were a perfectly normal family” begins this gripping Swedish noir thriller. Adam, a pastor, and Ulrika, a criminal defense attorney, find their world turned upside down when their 18-year-old daughter Stella is accused of murdering a man 15 years older. Cleverly told from the three perspectives of father, mother and daughter, this is both a murder mystery and legal thriller. One that asks - how far would you go to protect the ones you love?
Julie Orringer is one of our finest young writers, and her latest book is further evidence of her talent. Her research of Varian Fry, a real life American who traveled to Marseille and managed to escort renowned writers and artists out of Nazi occupied France, is meticulous. She mixes facts of Fry's life with fiction to create a riveting historical novel encompassing espionage, love affairs, mystery, and incredible bravery.
Struggling author James Smale is thrilled when his semi-autobiographical novel is sold to a major publisher, and stunned when his editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis! As she guides him in telling his story, some of her own stories emerge as they form a friendship. Warm, and at times hilarious, this is a book about family, mothers and sons, and secrets kept.
Orphaned as an infant and now 25 years old, Libby Jones has just inherited an abandoned mansion in the posh London neighborhood of Chelsea from the family she never knew. But others have been patiently waiting for this day and are ready to step out of the shadows. Told in present time and flashbacks, contrasting Libby’s bright present with her family’s dark and sinister past, this is both a gothic novel and suspense-filled thriller that I read in one day!
Baltimore in 1966 is a city divided, racially and ethnically. Into this fray jumps Maddie Schwartz, a sheltered wife and mother who leaves her 20 year marriage hoping to make a difference in the world. When her instincts help police find the body of a murdered preteen white girl, Maddie gets a job at the Baltimore Sun and begins her own investigation into the murder of a young black woman, one that has been all but forgotten. But not everyone wants their story told. Unforgettable characters and plenty of twists in this page-turner!
This book is about beer - every kind of beer, but especially craft beer. It's also about families, betrayal, finding your best self, and Grammas who make beer. With his signature dry wit and true to life characters that will appeal to everyone, Stradal's second novel is great entertainment. I don't even like beer, but loved this book! Slainte!
A Labor Day weekend in paradise will change the lives of three women as one of the deadliest hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys. Chanel Cleeton never disappoints. The Last Train to Key West is yet another example of her riveting storytelling and atmospheric historical detail. It’s the perfect balance of romance, history, and thrills to settle in with and consume in a single sitting.
Anyone who has ever endured the college search, or even just struggled to communicate with their teenager, will see themselves in this book. As in last years’ The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, the characters are well rounded and very human. A fun read that reminds you that it all works out in the end.
— Laura B.
Perfect Happiness centers on Charlotte, a tenured Georgetown professor and positive psychology expert, whose recent self-help book has offered her national acclaim — but at what cost? Fans of Liane Moriarty rejoice: In this novel, Lewis masterfully explores the complex dynamics of a family home, revealing that a “picture-perfect” life isn’t so perfect after all.
Jenny Colgan gives us another sweet story set in both London and Scotland. For three months, two nurses trade jobs, homes, and messages. We even catch up with characters from last years’ The Bookshop on the Shore. While touching on some serious subjects, it’s a feel good story just when we need one.
— Laura B.
“You’re invited to the party of the summer!” If you like: summer, Cape Cod, books, parties, and maybe a bit of controversy, then you’ll love this book! I found the characters quirky and the content of classic books within the book fun to learn about. I can still smell the salt water and feel the cool ocean breeze….
In 1939, Montauk, Long Island is the ideal summer destination for Manhattan’s elite. Beatrice Bordeaux hopes that her summer will be a relaxing departure from her extravagant city lifestyle, but instead, she encounters long-held secrets and a certain individual who will change the course of her life forever. Harrison’s debut novel makes you feel like you’re in Montauk yourself, enjoying the glamor of its lavish Manor and serene beaches, while thrown into the midst of all of the underlying scandal. Montauk is the perfect summer beach read!
With Atkinson's signature style, and characters with wry, sometimes self-deprecating, humor, this one had me from beginning to end. Though part of a series, this can and should be read alone; but be prepared to want to read more adventures of Jackson Brodie once you've finished this one. From one of my most favorite authors with mesmerizing style, this is a great read for anyone!
Evvie Drake is a young widow done grieving the death of her husband because, frankly, he wasn’t a nice guy. Dean Tenney, a famous “has been” pro baseball pitcher, has a serous case of the yips (yes, this is a real condition!). When Dean rents the apartment in Evvie’s house they become fast friends and experience several curve balls life throws at them.
NPR’s Linda Holmes has written an intelligent, heartfelt novel about loss, love and starting over. A truly refreshing read!
Travel writer Pico Iyer’s cultural observations on Japan, a country where he has lived for over 30 years, serves as both a guidebook and reflections on a place that is full of contradictions. His sparse prose, sometimes only a one sentence description, captures Japanese life, which he calls “the home of collected inwardness.” Anyone with an interest in Japan will enjoy this book!
An easy, perfect beach read with not so easy, perfect relationships. When Poppy and Lisa combine their families for a summer vacation, the secrets and personal demons go to work.
Walking home after a late girls’ night out, Joanna hears footsteps behind her. Could it be the man at the bar who refused to take no for an answer? Her fearful, split-second decision sends a man tumbling down a set of concrete stairs, badly injured. Will she stay or run? Told in alternating “what if” chapters, this edge-of-your-seat thriller tells two stories with very different outcomes, based on Joanna’s two choices: “reveal” or “conceal” the truth.
Knife, the thirteenth novel in the Detective Harry Hole series, opens with a stab to the heart. Rakel, Harry Hole’s long time love is dead, her stomach slashed open with a kitchen knife. He dives head first into the shadows to track down the murderer, pushing him further away from the law to a place where the game becomes primal, and if you’re not a hunter you’re prey. Knife is the most action packed and engrossing Harry Hole mystery yet. If you are looking for a new thriller or have been waiting tredpidatiously for the next book in the series, pick it up now and I promise you won’t want to put it down.
Historical fiction with a liberal dash of sexy and snarky. Intrepid young Lulu Randolph is sent to the Bahamas, circa 1941, to write a gossip column, and who does she get involved with? The Duke and Duchess (Wallis Simpson) of Windsor. Stir in British agents, glamour and drama, and the arrival of WWII with a backstory set in 1900 Switzerland. It's all here....grab your beach chair and settle in for an engaging read.
A divorce lawyer known as The Blunt Razor is the bloody victim in this fantastic sequel to The Word is Murder. Horowitz has delivered another winning story in my favorite current mystery series.
Do you want to read a simply wonderful story? You will sense Charles Dickens in the characters, Mark Twain in the adventure, and the lyrical prose of Pat Conroy in every paragraph. Follow the escape and journey of two brothers, a girl, and a mute Sioux boy....all young orphans running from an evil fate during the Great Depression. Their story, like the river they travel on, twists and turns and enchants. Loved it!!
This is the story of Patsy, an immigrant who comes to the US undocumented from Jamaica to find her first love and freedom on her own terms. She leaves behind a young daughter, Tru. Over years, both are shaped by the distance - literal and figurative - that grows between them, and by the social conventions in defiance of which they each strive to self actualize. Dennis-Benn has written a border-crossing, character-driven book that touches deftly on many timely topics - immigration, intersectionality, sexuality, colorism, motherhood, forgiveness, and learning to love oneself.
This captivating novel is based on the true story of Blanche and Claude Auzello, who ran the Ritz Paris during the Nazi occupation of WWII. A tale of love and loyalty, courage and survival, and the cost of long-held secrets set during a period of history that was glamorous as well as terrifying.
From the creator of BoJack Horseman, this exceptionally unique and witty collection of love stories oozes Bob-Waksberg's sense of bleak whimsy. Perfectly suited for anyone who hides their romantic side with cynicism, these stories will have you laughing through painfully relatable moments and crying in the midst of hilariously absurd situations. Brilliant!
I like apocalyptic books to show the downfall of society and not just the aftermath; and boy does Chuck Wendig deliver on that. Tackling intelligent AI, disease, climate change, survival, humanity, and faith, Wanderers follows a collection of characters as the world falls apart around them despite everything they do to try and stop it. At times hard to read, Wanderers is a terrifying and epic story that often feels like something that could take place tomorrow. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I felt hope, despair, all the emotions, while reading this book. A ride I won't soon forget.
Time acts like water in this tale of the Mediterranean, shifting shape, filling in gaps, pulling up what was forgotten, dragging down what is expected, bringing new life and meaning as past and present stories mingle. Fans of Marc Haddon will be pleased and yet completely surprised by his marvelous, deft storytelling.
A coming of age story, a fantasy of many worlds through many doors, and a novel of finding home. Though not particularly easy to describe, this book is a quick read with fascinating world building. Taking place in the early 1900s America, January Scaller discovers that there are doors that lead to other places, doors that other people are trying to keep closed, and ends up on a journey to find her family, and her home, despite the people and creatures that are trying to stop her.
Wanted: young, broke, single men/women to apartment sit in one of Manhattan’s oldest, most exclusive luxury buildings, complete with gargoyles. Pay: $4k a month. Rules: strictly enforced. Atmosphere: gothic and sinister. What could go wrong? Told in present time and flashbacks, this is a tense and creepy thriller, reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby. If you love edge-of-your-seat suspense, this book is for you!
Fans of The Nightingale and All the Light we Cannot See will be intrigued by Fein’s novel, based on some of the personal experience her father endured in 30’s Germany. Love, betrayal, loss, courage, and fear; yet hope helps Hetty and Walter, a German and a Jew, survive, but not in ways you could imagine.
Often times it's our families long held secrets that shape our future. The Guest Book is a sweeping family saga tucked with diamonds and pebbles that enchant and irritate. Captivating, absorbing - this is not only a great read, but it may change the way you think of your own family stories. I basically moved into the family's island home until i was finished and then stayed around in my imagination for a little longer.
Ruth Reichl and food, two of my favorite things! Ms Reichl shares her unlikely story of becoming the Editor in Chief of the iconic food magazine “Gourmet”. It is an amazing story of finding your voice and doing what comes naturally. An added bonus, recipes, and they’re fabulous!
When choosing who to spend your life with, you may not always know the back story of what made them who they are. But, what if you did know and chose to be with them regardless?
I found Ask Again, Yes thought provoking, engrossing, and quite moving. Two families, neighbors with crisscrossed lives in a multitude of ways, endure an unthinkable tragedy. The characters, each impacted in their own way, stayed with me long after I closed the book.
While these exquisite short stories are all grounded in the real world, they take the reader beyond the expected, into imaginatively off-kilter circumstances. Russell is a master of weaving together imagery and language into a remarkable tapestry, while delicately maintaining the fundamental relatability of her stories. A truly impressive and transfixing collection that pushes the boundaries of fiction in the most satisfying ways.
When Roux, an alluring and mysterious new neighbor, shows up uninvited at the door of the local book club meeting, all discussions of the book end as the suburban housewives are drawn into her provocative game of “never have I ever.” Joshilyn Jackson’s latest is a page-turning game of cat and mouse that will keep you guessing!
A wonderfully detailed familial tale spanning wartime Calabria, Italy, to current day Hartford, CT. I honestly thought this was non-fiction the whole time I was reading it. Grames has carved her characters in such fine detail, I wouldn't be surprised if I bumped into one on the street. A fantastic debut!
Here are 24 essays - but these could be called short tales - of places and the stuff of the world. Birds can 'see' magnetism, flowers reach out with an electrical charge to passing bees, the 'free electrons' in a candle flame can be bent by a magnetic field, some of those nasty things in 'dust bunnies' make the liquid they need through their own metabolism. And then the author takes us to Mars, that has shared it's redness with the Colorado Plateau, and on to the rings of Saturn and we join him on an ice mountain ploughing a way of separation between the rings. If you had asked me I would have said I had no interest in Sunfish, wouldn't know a Fireweed from any other weed, but now.... I want many more of these - science for all of us, with lovely writing and surprises.