A remarkable debut, this novel vibrates with heart and conflict. Will loves Phoebe deeply, even in the face of her increasingly dangerous ties to an extremist cult, in which she tries to find the solutions to her grief. The familiarity and depth of their fears, desires, and regrets touched me profoundly as the effects of loss, faith, and violence impacted their lives in increasingly stunning ways. A powerful and brilliant work.
An absolutely fascinating memoir that combines a personal family account with one of America's most recognizable foods. Seamlessly exploring the foundation of her family's wealth and the seemingly cursed lives of three generations of women, Rowbottom has written a page-turning cultural history that hits on both the nostalgia many associate with Jell-O and the societal forces that propelled the brand.
Although this mystery starts out quiet, even a little slow, the writing was compelling and kept me reading. And once I got going, next thing I knew I was done with the book. I’m a huge fan of detective movies from the 1940s and Osborne has captured that style while keeping the story fresh. Follow Philip Marlowe to Mexico as he hunts for the truth for an insurance agency and gets tangled in more than even he--a seasoned investigator--expected.
By every psychological standard Hallowell's childhood should have relegated him to a disaster of a life and yet somehow he survived and with great success. His story tells us how he endured what he calls his WASP triad of familial mental illness, alcoholism and politeness. A compelling read and a completely absorbing journey.
A delightful tale of a solicitous, middle-aged woman who takes a journey of self-discovery after living her life in the shadow of others. An unexpected call from a stranger leads Willa Drake to venture across the country to care for an injured woman and her precocious 9-year-old daughter to whom she is not related. This fun and uplifting story is filled with wonderful, quirky characters that only Anne Tyler could create, who help Willa follow her heart for the first time in her life.
Utilizing an array of pharmaceuticals and an unprecedentedly irresponsible psychiatrist to escape into a year-long hibernation may seem like a terrible idea, but Ottessa Moshfegh has masterfully turned that very premise into one of my absolute favorite recent novels. Original, dark, funny, and alluring, I devoured the pages of this book much the way the unnamed narrator consumes hours of Whoopi Goldberg movies on VHS.
Beavers get a bad rap, but in reality they’re actually miracle workers capable of rapidly restoring entire ecosystems in ways that humans could only dream of. If you care about the environment or are concerned about climate change, then this book should go to the top of your reading list. Shining a light on a misunderstood and underutilized member of the animal kingdom, Eager is an interesting and charming call to action – but above all else, it is an inspiring reminder of why we need to acknowledge and respect the interconnectedness of all things.
Do you just want to have FUN reading a twisty, turn-y, snarky, sexy novel set on a fictional island right here in Long Island Sound? Popping between 1930, 1951 and 1969, the plot, the love triangles, and family secrets will keep you turning pages and make you a Beatriz Williams fan if you aren’t one already. Ask me about her series of books to keep your beach-read bag filled all summer!
The lure and consequences of corruption, so prominent in today’s headlines, become astonishingly similar in the confluence of cultures in 1930’s Shanghai. Told in a fitting noir style, I was mesmerized as these 2 men’s lives rose from nothing to the height of fame and corruption. Appalling and fascinating; perfect true crime!
This book has all the ingredients of a summer hit! Two women, a widow and a journalist, working on the same problem from completely different vantage points, make this twisty thriller stand out from the rest. Trust no one!
It’s 1603 and Elizabeth I is about to expire. James I, son of Mary Queen of Scots, is taking the throne. For lovers of historical fiction, this fascinating and thought-provoking book will transport you to a tumultuous time in English history. Fast-paced and intense, you will be swept into the details and intrigue of court AND a major historical event.
Leduc is back just in time for those who prefer a bit of mystery (and Paris) in their summer reading. Black delivers just the right balance of Aimee’s professional and personal life as she explores the underground world of Art, refugees and corruption, and small mistakes that snowball into catastrophes.
You will want to give Dr. Mona a standing ovation when you finish this read. She took an informal conversation at a cookout to a valiant life-saving community crusade that reversed the recent water crisis in Flint, MI. Her voice and commitment to public health will forever resonate that clean drinking water is a worthy and downright heartwarming cause.
Thirteen-year-old Jon loves Spider-Man and fluffernutters and his best friend Chloe. Then he gets kidnapped.
A bit of mystery, a heartbreaking love story, mix in a dash of Lovecraft, and great characters that you can empathize with. I loved watching Jon and Chloe grow up and discover themselves through this weird situation. Emotional, fascinating, mysterious, this story is completely addicting and I couldn't put it down!
A thriller set on a private mountain nature preserve where bears start getting poached. Can the lone park caretaker fight off angry locals and the drug cartel from his past? A good modern thriller set in pristine Virginia forest land.
An excellent tale of a mermaid who comes to land for love, and lives a full life until her husband dies of old age. It is then that she is approached by an associate of P.T. Barnum. Having nothing else to live for, she agrees to work for him.
I really loved Amelia and her story – full of sadness, happiness, magic, and hope. A fun (truer) take on Barnum, but still wonderful for fans of The Greatest Showman who are looking for more.
Is historical fantasy a thing? If it wasn’t before, it is now. Witchmark feels like a historical fiction set in WWI… but takes place in fantasy countries and has magic flowing through. I loved every minute of this slow burn mystery with elegant world building, fantastic characters, and really interesting magical elements
An extraordinary debut that you will feel deep in your heart and soul. This book is about so much: balancing tradition with modern culture, parents’ reflections, sibling perception, forgiveness. However, it is mostly about family, love, acceptance, and growth. The connection with the characters is so genuine, it’s as though you’re part of their family.
Wow! This is a unique, captivating story about a reality TV family. Essie is the daughter of an evangelical preacher who finds herself pregnant at 17. Imagine The Scarlet Letter meets The Duggers! A smart view of our celebrity-obsessed culture. Cancel your plans for the afternoon before starting the final chapters - you won't be able to stop reading until you learn the truth.
What started as a non-fiction look at Wall Street after the Panic of 1792, by economist Paddy Hirsch, transformed into a riveting noir crime novel. Hirsch weaves a gritty colorful sleuth and greedy financiers into the tension between immigrant Irish and the newly freed slaves. A twisty authentic portrait of NYC at a pivotal time, peppered with Irish slang and Wall Street gangsters!
Horrowitz is now officially my favorite mystery writer. He is able to hold onto what we all love about classsic mysteries while turning the genre on its head. Horrowitz is the narrator of this book and makes the best Watson since Watson.
The final book of a brilliant trilogy, Kudos is a remarkable work of insightful and philosophical literature. While it's not necessary to have read Outline or Transit first, all three novels are well worth your time. Filled with conversations and interactions that are timely, enlightening, comical, and revealing of the very human differences of the characters involved, Rachel Cusk has constructed a masterful end to her thoughtful trio of novels.
Set in Japan in 2029, this almost sci- fi meets historical fiction novel looks at human and non-human relationships, who we trust and why and how we are still freshly dealing with scars of human history too deep and raw to be healed. All while we are plunging forward as fast as technology is taking us into an unknown future. How far will A.I. go and will humans ultimately have the soul to persevere? A look into the life of 110-year old Sayoko San, her Filipino nurse, and a Robot will give you a bit of Japanese and Tokyo history while framing the moral dilemmas of the future of artificial intelligence.
When life gives you lemons – or whatever you want to call it when your world starts crashing into you – what do you do? Well, you run away and hide of course. Somewhere you can be incognito (Greenwich, CT?), wear comfortable yoga pants everywhere (OMG is that an elastic waist!!), and hopefully it will all sort itself out soon – or not. A hilarious look at how Social Media and Fake News can take its toll, but never fear – Emily Charlton, our favorite bad-ass PR agent will take care of everything!
Although WWII officially ended in 1945, for many, the war stayed with them for the rest of their lives and impacted those surrounding them. The Lost Family does an outstanding job at showing the carried grief of the atrocities committed during WWII. From the very first to the very last page I was captivated by Blum’s characters, narratives, and plot. This book is a must-read for historical fiction, romance, and realistic fiction lovers!!
Set in the sultry Atlanta summer of 1962, this novel is based around the aftermath of true events- the crash of Air France Flight 007 at Orly Airport in Paris, a plane filled with the city's wealthiest and most art-oriented residents. Told through a wide range of characters, whose lives intersect in increasingly interesting ways, Hannah Pittard weaves a spellbinding account of how those left behind dealt with the monumental loss Atlanta faced in a time filled with remarkable excesses and evolving tensions. A perfectly fascinating summer read.
Absolutely captivating. Rhodes’ deftness to detail reminded me of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s writing, while his storytelling style had me in the Oval office with Pres. Obama, ala D. McCullough’s proximity to historical events. To me, this book reflects Rhodes’ political coming-of-age as Pres. Obama’s speechwriter for 10 years. This read will be hard to trump, except for Pres. Obama’s personal memoir.
I read this to stretch my reading comfort zone, and was rewarded by a balanced, thoroughly researched investigation that puts the notorious history of a skilled manipulator into a broader context, making it just as relevant today.
Gertrude Stein once dismissed Oakland, CA, saying, “There is no there, there.” After reading this book, I disagree! Through various characters in the story, we come to understand that the term “Native American” isn’t so easily defined. At the Big Oakland Powwow, the climax of the book, these characters overlap—some intentionally and others by chance. This book is intended to make you think! I felt pain, joy, heartache and much more.
This unforgettable story offers incredible insight into the angst of teens and family. At the center of the story is an evil, power-hungry manipulator, but it still manages to be the kind of feel-good story that will make you feel like your heart is going to explode – but in a good way! Fierce loyalty, friendship, kindness, compassion – this one has it all.
Gaby, a young boy living in Burundi, wants nothing more than to spend his days playing with friends and messing around in the neighborhood just like any kid would. He is not ready to give up his childhood when his country is faced with war and mass genocide. At just eleven years old, Gaby is forced to accept that the days of stealing mangos and playing cards are ending and his idea of ‘home’ is about to change. Small Country, Faye’s first novel, captivated my emotions and thoughts as it shows the small period of peace in Rwanda and Burundi transform into unimaginable chaos, violence, and terror through a young boy’s perspective.
Would you pretend to be someone else to claim an inheritance? What could possibly go wrong? Enter this house full of dark secrets and find out!
Using the age-old excuse of “I have to work” to skip out of an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding, we follow Arthur Less as he attends as many literary events – some obscure, others questionable – as he can possibly fit in until the wedding date passes and he is free to move forward. Slapstick funny and touching at the same time, we follow our bumbling hero around the world until, in an attempt to start over, he ends up where he began and finds the truth cannot be outrun.
Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Backstabbers! For fans of “The Housewives of (fill in the blank)” here is an inside look at what might really be going on behind the scenes and in the heads of the participants in any of our favorite reality shows. Funny, irreverent, and timely, this is a great read for anyone.
This is a tender novel of friendship and heartache, and although it may seem small, it packs a huge emotional punch. Vibrantly written, you'll feel as though you're standing with the characters at a storefront in Oxford at Christmastime, or in the middle of a field of sunflowers in the south of France. Tinged with a palpable sense of sadness and loss, this beautiful work is ultimately hopeful and achingly human and will make you consider all the different ways there are to love someone.
Ondaatje’s vivid characters, intricately woven and suspenseful plot, and grasp of a young man’s desire to understand himself through his parents’ secretive pasts creates a spellbinding masterpiece. Every page has a memorable quote, a symbol worth underlining, a theme worth taking to heart.
I enjoyed the sharp wit and wry humor of this gracefully written novel – finding myself laughing aloud, following David and Julia as they create new lives from the bones of their shared past while facing the reality of what their futures hold.
We have all read stories of terminal illness, the challenge of the single parenting, foreign travel, and unexpected love; but when put together as Isaac has, this story reminds the reader of the most important aspects of everyday life and how to live it. Wonderful characterizations, settings and humor with a few tears.
This is for anyone who’s ever dreamed of running off to the circus but didn’t have the courage to do it. Tessa Fontaine’s story of defying death by performing death-defying acts invokes a can’t-look-away feeling and provides us with a life-affirming stand-off against fear in the country’s only traveling sideshow. I read every word and still couldn’t put it down once I was done.
Paula McLain depicts the life-span of the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, who became a noted war journalist in her own right. Hemingway's competitiveness with his wife and her trail-blazing role as journalist/novelist in the 1930's and 40's is a revelation. The narrative will bring you inside Spanish buildings being bombed, and the sharp dialogue and historical details will engage you immediately. Enjoy the ride!