Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley is a self-proclaimed outlaw! But, in reality, she’s a protector—of her little brother AND her mother. Life is far from perfect and years of sadness in her mother’s life are beginning to catch up to them all.
Evocative, Emotional, Captivating!
I rooted for the “good guys” and the “not-so-good” guys but never for the “bad guys” in this one.
Do things really ‘begin at the end’?
This story, as told by 3 different people, has it all including lies, love, hate, revenge, adultery, bigamy and so much more! You’ll think you know what’s happening but then you’ll be fooled and you won’t even mind. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
— Laura B
When a young Russian pianist is found dead in one of the bedrooms at Windsor Castle after an evening of celebration, foul play is suspected and the police are called in. Unhappy with their detective work, Queen Elizabeth II, now nearly 90 years old, decides to launch her own private investigation with the help of her Assistant Private Secretary Rozie Oshodi, while continuing to carry out her royal duties. This first book in a clever crime series featuring the Queen as a secret detective is full of witty dialogue and great behind-the-scenes descriptions of royal life.
I’d be lying if I said this book didn’t make me cry. Sing Me Forgotten combines some of my favorite elements of the Phantom of the opera with dark memory magic and the descent into darkness story of a girl who decides she’s no longer satisfied hiding behind a curtain. Jessica S. Olson put so much emotion into this book and left me both destroyed and empowered. Loved, loved, LOVED this one!
The immersive experience of being Extremely Online these days can be hard to explain to those who aren't. This novel captures with accuracy and absurdity the ways the constant churn of social media can become the lens through which we see the world around us. Lockwood's writing is sharply hilarious as her narrator grapples with the stark differences between real life and Twitter as a family emergency escalates. An unforgettably special and unique work.
If you are looking for a fun, feel good read, this is the book for you. Celia Fairchild, AKA popular advice columnist “Dear Calpurnia” has a habit of not following her own advice. After a painful divorce and the loss of her job, she feels she has no hope of ever having the family she desperately wants. Then she inherits the family home in Charleston when her estranged Aunt Calpurnia dies and Celia is the only living relative. With the help of her New York BFF and a cast of mostly lovable characters, Celia puts together a new life and learns that it’s the people you surround yourself with that make your family.
— Laura B
No one knows the mystery of who the author is of a wildly popular “novel” about a murder committed by a teen girl. Her publisher sends her an assistant (who happens to be an aspiring writer) and swears her to secrecy. A harrowing accident during a research trip in Morocco presents itself for an identity grab. Of course, we know that never goes well! With its outstanding pacing and twists and turns I really count not put this down!
DS Harbinder Kaur returns after The Stranger Diaries to solve Griffith's take on a "cozy" murder mystery, but she can't keep a unlikely trio of amateur sleuths from pursuing clues left in mystery novels old and new. The twists and turns are as fair as they are surprising -- I did not spot the murderer before the reveal, but Kaur spotted the clues.
An exploration of the morality and humanity of clones and their makers, wrapped in a slow burn, page turning, gothic-like horror…with a modern spin. Twists and turns a plenty, I never quite knew what was going to happen next, right up to the last few pages! Highly recommend for fans of Frankenstein.
Grit and perseverance are two words that describe Kristin Hannah’s masterful new novel. It is the story of Elsa, who in 1934 leaves behind the dust storms and drought that blighted the Texas family farm to bring her two children to California in search of a better life, only to find a more hardscrabble time as a migrant worker. But there is also beauty in her story, along with resilience, love, and what it means to be a family. An unforgettable book.
I didn’t think Sarah J. Maas could surprise me anymore, but I still ended up with my jaw on the floor, drooling over the last page of A Court of Silver Flames. This book is intense, emotional, and simmering with a steamy romance. Maas explores new, richly crafted parts of the A Court of Thorns and Roses world, now through Nesta’s eyes and allows her power, anger, and determination to bleed through every word. I love that this is a story of survivors and of a woman who has been treated horribly by the world, and is finally ready to make it pay. If you enjoyed the world of The Witcher combined with the sizzling romance of Bridgerton, this series needs to be your next read!
Follow the struggles of four British women during WWII in the height of the Blitz. Drawn together as competitors, each one is desperate to win as the best cook in a BBC radio program contest and are required to use only rationed food (recipes included!) The dire straits of each woman are revealed with each chapter and you will find yourself rooting for each one. Despite tragedy and travails you will smile as you get to know each character. Looking for an escape, comfort and a charming story? Here's your book!
After a celebratory Vegas trip ends in a drunken marriage to a woman she’s never met, Grace Porter is left to question her so carefully plotted life plan. This is a book I loved from the very beginning – from the hazy opening through the emotional, funny, and comforting middle. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder of how we all often feel alone and adrift and how necessary those times of uncertainty are to figuring out where to go next.
Why are large cities abandoned? Is it gradual? Sudden? Is the grass greener a few miles away? Is there a massive, sudden earthquake/flood - or is it the creeping water level of the river next to it? Here is a journey to four places that have their own reason for being lost. They are different, but in ways the same - and the author goes to each place - from central Turkey in 6000BC to central North America in the 8th to 10th century - watches the archaeology reveal the history, and asks questions. The answers have relevance for us as we ask questions of our own cities - an unusual and intriguing read.
Welcome back, Easy Rawlins! The turbulent times of 1969 serves this noir-style detective novel well. Corruption, racial issues, and the Vietnam war color and complicate what begins as a simple missing person case. Not too gritty and not too slick, Walter Mosely gave me a great reason to stay indoors and immerse myself in the sordid untangling of this mystery.
This masterful biography -30 years of research-takes us well beyond the myth even single dimension view many of us might have of Malcolm X. Here we are provided not only the details of his childhood but how his background and family molded his future as a revolutionary, an activist and agent of civil rights progress. Payne also contextualizes Malcolm X’s positions relative to Martin Luther King, Nation of Islam and the NAACP in a way that entirely broadens our understanding of his life and death. I was riveted by every piece of the story and grateful for the degree to which it has enhanced my understanding of this time in our history and this brilliant complicated radical.
If you are in the mood for a fast paced, smart story of lives intentionally and unintentionally shaped and unended—with characters you care about and become attached to—this is the book. Clegg is a clever insightful observer of human behavoir and we are the beneficiaries. Loved every minute of it!
Mystery writer Finlay Donovan has writer’s block, her ex-husband wants custody of their two kids, and she’s broke. Overheard discussing the plot of her yet to be written crime novel, Finlay is mistaken for a hit woman and offered $50,000 to dispose of a troublesome husband. Who says crime doesn’t pay? A very funny, clever novel, this is the first in a planned series. I am looking forward to more!
Forty year old Martha Friel is beautiful, clever, and painfully awkward. She is also dealing with mental illness that has been misdiagnosed for years. The story begins as Martha’s devoted husband, Patrick, is leaving her just after her birthday party, which he planned and threw. We then flash back to when she was 17 and her already unusual life took a dramatic turn. Meg Masons writing ranges smoothly from funny to heartbreaking as it deals with family issues, mental health, love, and life’s ups and downs. A very enjoyable read.
— Laura B
C.J. Tudor’s latest is a gothic thriller tinged with horror. When Reverend Jack Brooks and teenaged daughter Flo move to a tiny village in Sussex, England, they are aware that the village has a dark past as a place where accused heretics were burned in the 16th century, but not how much this haunts the present. Set aside time for this one, you won’t be able to put it down!
Christopher (Kit) Marlowe, poet and playwright, is a student in 1585 when he is approached by Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster with the offer of a well-paying job as a spy in the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, who is under house arrest. Witty, irreverent and broke, the charming Kit proves to be as adept at code breaking as he is at lying. Allison Epstein’s debut historical fiction novel brilliantly imagines life in Elizabethan London as seen through the eyes of one of its most infamous and important characters.
Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris during the German occupation, Odile reveals to her young friend Lily the power of books. “Books and ideas are like blood; they need to circulate, and they keep us alive.” Odile teaches Lily not only French but life lessons about moving on from mistakes, romance, sacrifice, betrayal, friendship and how to treat people with dignity and compassion. Anyone who enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See or The Nightingale will enjoy this novel.
What happens to the Chosen Ones after they save the world? Veronica Roth makes a spectacular adult debut where relationships and expectations are tested as the now-adult chosen ones try to insert themselves into normal life––a life they never had as kids. In this deeply emotional story, the chosen ones attempt to separate past and present as they realize the world may not be as peaceful as it seems…
This novel is dark and disturbing, displaying the worst of humanity and I couldn’t put it down! Set in the near future, global warming seems to play a part in the horrible events of summer 2027 in a desirable Garden City, NY neighborhood. It’s the kind of neighborhood where everyone strives to “fit in”, there’s a self-designated “leader” and families that don’t fit the mold are not welcome. A perfect lesson on how you never really know what goes on in other people’s homes and the danger of mob mentality, secrets, and lies that grow with each retelling. Not my usual fluffy, happy choice but definitely a “Must Read”!
— Laura B
This book was so much fun! In order to keep their jobs, two enemy co-workers are roped into hosting a radio show together all about relationships. The catch? They have to pretend to be exes if they want the show to succeed. Between their banter on and off the air and their willingness to open up to each other about their insecurities and ambitions, Shay and Dom have a great dynamic. I loved seeing their relationship grow as their show gets bigger and their lies become even more tangled with each episode!
Fans of Seth Meyer’s outstanding writer, Amber Ruffin, will quickly recognize her wit and honesty when it comes to dealing with racism. At times I laughed so hard I had to stop reading, and other times I was heartbroken. But nothing so clearly defines that subtle racism than simply retelling the events. The perfect primer on racism today. -- Jamie
Once there was a young girl who found and became friends with a mysterious seed. After the seed was taken away by the politicians, she slowly began to glow green... and became known as the adopted daughter of death. An AfricanFuturism fairy tale or myth, Remote Control is a coming-of-age story of death, grief, humanity, technology, and something not quite human. Beautifully written, it's a story to make you slow down and think.
There is something for everyone in this collection of poems; whether you are a poet, a fan or just looking for writing that inspires. Margaret Atwood draws you into her world through her verse, ranging from earthy nature musings, to exploring the lives of werewolves and aliens! This collection is pure Atwoodian. Who knows, perhaps reading a poem a day will inspire our lives in a new way!
The Violence Inside Us evokes difficult conversations regarding gun violence. Only six years following his senate win, Chris Murphy was with the families grieving - right by their side - shortly after the attacks at Sandy Hook. Murphy has always been public about his views on gun violence and does an incredible job shining light on this issue that continues to grow in America. As a student who has practiced for years to hide in a corner once an alarm sounds, I hope that everyone reads this book. It truly is the best way to comprehend the epidemic—as Murphy describes it—that has become an issue out of hand.
This thriller is written alternately from the points of view of popular social media influencer Emmy Jackson, her stressed out husband Dan, and the crazy follower who is plotting to kill her. It is dramatic and suspenseful with a touch of humor to lighten the tension. I’ll never look at social media the same way again.
— Laura B.
Barack Obama’s book, A Promised Land, is arguably one of the most anticipated and important books released in 2020—and even so, surpassed any expectation I had prior to reading. This book follows an extraordinary leader as he introduces opportunities for change while reflecting on his eight years in the oval office. More than ever, I believe it is crucial that everyone reads this book.
A historical fiction set in England and involving a garden seemed an obvious choice for me. Well, it was all that and more and I loved it! Julia Kelly has woven the stories of strong women during three different times in the history of a garden created for an English country manor house in 1907. Venetia, Beth, Stella and Emma are just a few of the characters who live through the very real life issues of their times in history. The garden description is detailed and vivid and I can easily imagine myself walking through it. So beautifully written I never wanted it to end. Now to plan my garden...
— Laura B.
The saying “life imitates art” is a fitting description of the eleven days in December 1926, when promising young writer Agatha Christie disappeared, only to emerge with a claim of amnesia - a story as mysterious as one of her novels. Author Marie Benedict takes a deep dive into the lives of Agatha and her husband Archie with her compelling take on a mystery that has never been solved.
This modern reimagining of Jane Eyre tells the story of Jane, a young woman with a secretive past living under an assumed name who works as a dog walker in a luxurious subdivision of Birmingham, Alabama, and has a penchant for stealing from her wealthy employers. When she meets the charming, rich, and recently widowed Eddie Rochester, who has his own dark secrets, they begin a whirlwind romance. But what really happened to Eddie’s first wife, the glamorous self-made millionaire Bea? Told from multiple points of view, this twisty, suspenseful take on a classic novel is perfect for fans of domestic thrillers.
You know right from the start “who did it.” Lila Ridgefield killed her horrible high school math teacher husband; but, before his “apparent suicide” can be discovered, his body disappears. Now everyone wants to know where hometown hero Aaron has gone, his wife included. A quick read with back stories, suspects, and suspense aplenty.
— Laura B.
From the outside, Winnie, Nigel, and Samuel Crouch have the perfect family in the perfect home. Nobody would guess that they have a deep, dark secret. When Juno, a retired therapist, moves into their home, she doesn’t like the things she hears. Just when you think you know where this psychological thriller is going, it takes a sharp turn and leaves you on edge until the very end. Also, you probably won’t be able to ignore those strange house noises ever again!
— Laura B.
Oh, the atmosphere in this book! I love it. Spotswood has captured the flavor of a 1940s detective movie perfectly. The sharp, witty dialogue. The layout of the clues and how we find our way to whodunnit. And yet…how wonderful to have a diverse cast that reflects our contemporary world. I adore Willowjean “Will” Parker. Well done, Stephen Spotswood!
Memorial explores the variety of forms human relationships can take with moments that wowed me. Bryan Washington brings the neighborhoods of Houston and the streets of Osaka, Japan alive in turn, populated with characters and emotions in which you’ll find beauty, conflict, and honesty. A stunning, memorable novel.
I have been a Beatles fan for over 50 years, and yet there are stories in Craig Brown’s witty and very entertaining biography of The Beatles that were new to me. From the legendary day in 1957 when Paul met John, to the band’s break-up in 1970, it’s all here, and then some. Beatles fans of all ages will love this book!
Like its subject, this biography is expansive and entertaining, and rests on a solid body of research and experience. It offers a front row seat to the competitive world of food writing, the development of an American Cookery champion who incorporated his love of regional French cooking, as well as an insightful history of a gay man who struggled to live an authentic life even as the rules of secrecy and acceptance kept changing.
There has never been a more perfect book for whipping up a simple but flavorful cake whenever craving hits. Each of the (many!) recipes I've made so far has been a hit, and the variations included for each fruity, toasty, or chocolatey cake mean that I have many more delicious taste tests in my future! Perfect for both aspiring and experienced bakers!
One of my favorite writers doing one of my favorite things: writing short stories. This is the first anthology of short stories from one of America’s most prolific, diverse, and entertaining writers. Mosley is so much more than a mystery writer.
Anthony Horowitz mysteries are beyond brilliant, so you must pay attention! A now dead mystery author has buried clues in his book (within this book) that lead to an unrelated, old murder case still to be solved. Twists and turns abound throughout, right up to the fantastic ending. I rank Mr. Horowitz on par with Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle - maybe better! Such diabolical talent!
Poetry, photography, drawings, journalism, statistics, prose, and even stage directions point us toward the book's subtitle, An American Conversation. For Rankine, only an open, honest conversation on race can heal the wounds of our divided nation.
A fun and heartwarming read! I couldn’t wait to read each character’s choices for why they would go back in time, knowing that they couldn’t change the present, and how each of their visits changed them. I can’t stop telling everyone about this book!
The protagonist in White Ivy, Ivy Lin, is unforgettable! She’s unlike any female anti-heroine I’ve read in a long time. Raised in a strict, low- income, Chinese immigrant family, Ivy strives to fit in with her well-to-do peers and even dabbles in deceit and thievery along the way to help her cause. A chance encounter with a former (wealthy) middle-school crush will change Ivy’s life forever - but not in the way she imagines. A fast-paced, entertaining read with an ending that will shock you!
This enchanting novel tells the story of Beatrice, an 18-year-old girl with powerful magical abilities who longs to become a sorceress. But in her world, young women are part of a bargaining process of arranged marriages to increase family wealth. Once married, they are forced to wear a collar that cancels all of their powers while they are of child-bearing age. But Beatrice is determined to live by her own rules in this patriarchal society. Then, she falls in love. A magical story with a feminist message.
Beatrice is a feisty, strong-willed young woman who wants nothing more than to become a mage, something forbidden of women in her society. At marriage, women are literally collared and strangled of their magic, something Beatrice is strongly against. I absolutely loved watching as she fights the patriarchy, while also falling in love with the rich and handsome Ianthe Lavan and befriending his sister Ysbeta, who joins Beatrice in a scheme to learn forbidden magic. Delightful, romantic, magical, hopeful, feminist - historical fantasy with a Regency theme. C. L. Polk is becoming of one of my favorite fantasy authors and this book just makes me love her more.
What reads like an autobiography is part fact and part story, but it’s all real when you are trying to find your place that you can call home. An immigrant father and his American born son, both searching for a way to belong in the country of their choice, brings to light the many ways in which our country still needs to mend and heal ourselves post 9/11.
It’s hard to imagine that a book about becoming a young widow could be hilarious but it is that, plus poignant, sad, and wonderful. Leslie’s warmth informs this memoir. We are with her as she shares her love story, her loss, and her grief. You finish this book thrilled to have “met” her and wishing her a future of love and well-being— what a woman!
Salter has written many books with the late Senator McCain but in this one, it’s the real insider’s view. Kirkus described it one of best fly-on the wall political memoirs of recent memory—I would agree.
Reviewing the book, Jon Meacham said Franklin Roosevelt had Louis Howe and Harry Hopkins; JFK had Ted Sorenson and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; and John McCain had Mark Salter. Not bad! Salter takes that position as a confidant, advisor, and chief of staff to share the story of a life and a time that anyone interested in history, politics, and global affairs will be thrilled to read and receive as a gift. The last two chapters remind us of what we are capable of as leaders, as citizens, and as a country. A perspective we desperately need!
This is definitely not Harry Potter! Wizarding school isn’t an honor (or a choice for that matter), and every day, just getting to class is a risk to your life. Oh, and don’t forget your dorm room opens onto a black hole (yes, you read that right – a real black hole!), so buckle your boots and get ready for another Naomi Novik wild ride!
The Thursday Murder Club is a delightful British mystery, and the club in the title is a group of seniors in a retirement community who like to review cold cases. But then, of course, a murder occurs in their midst and they are on the case! There are plenty of skeletons coming out the closet along with that touch of British humor that we all love.
A different sort of tell-all - David Chang describes his struggles with mental health in parallel with his journey as chef, restaurateur, friend, and family man. Consider the Libro.fm version told to you by the chef himself! Also, read or listen in conjunction with Chang's Netflix series, Ugly Delicious.
When P. L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, asks you to write a story – you do! Maguire takes on another fairytale and sets it on end in this lovely tale of lost and finding. A lonely young girl being raised by her grandparents, a 1950’s Christmas season, and a mythical swan-boy are beautifully crafted into a tale that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.