Best New Books: Week of 7/27/21

“One can never had too many librarian friends.” – Jennifer Chiaverini, The Wedding Quilt


Not a Happy Family by  Shari Lapena ★

not a happy familyIn this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Mercer. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mercers are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] domestic puzzle straight out of Agatha Christie… Lapena has done a great job in making all these suspects have believable motives, and also in giving all of them shaky alibis.” – Literary Treats

“…unputdownable… her most original and twisty book to date.” – My Weekly

“Filled with Porsches, Perisan rugs and deadly passion, this is the kind of suspenseful mystery you read in one sitting.” – Hello! Canada

“Bestselling author Shari Lapena knows a thing or two about secrets, and in Not a Happy Family, everyone’s got them – even the dead.” – CrimeReads

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery by  Brian Freeman

bourne treacheryThree years ago, Jason Bourne embarked on a mission in Estonia with his partner and lover, a fiery UK-based Treadstone agent code-named Nova. Their job was to rescue a Russian scientist and activist, the leader of an anti-Putin protest movement, who’d recently been smuggled out of St. Petersburg in the midst of an FSB manhunt.

They failed.

Now, three years later, everything has changed for Bourne. Nova is gone, killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Bourne is a lone operative working in the shadows for Treadstone. He’s ready for a new mission when his handler brings him shocking news.

The Estonian mission was a set-up. Their target had not been killed. She is still in hiding in Russia and the Russian state intelligence agency is desperately seeking her. Bourne must find her first, but his race to correct the errors of the past will lead him to one inevitable conclusion: Some secrets should stay buried.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] tightly plotted, complex yarn with the fast pace that will keep readers flipping the pages… This may wind up on the big screen, but don’t wait for the movie. It’s a fun read.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[A] worthy sequel… Freeman supplies plenty of exciting fight scenes and plot twists, but his convincing use of Bourne’s fraught backstory is what distinguishes this entry. Series fans will look forward to more contributions to the Bourne franchise from this talented author.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | Large Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Safe In My Arms by  Sara Shepard

safe in my armsAndrea, Lauren, and Ronnie all see themselves as good, loving moms who are trying their best, but they each arrive at the Silver Swans preschool Welcome Breakfast with something to hide. Andrea is running away from a past on the East Coast, which she cannot afford for the other parents to discover. Lauren is recovering from a postpartum condition her husband has warned her not to disclose. And Ronnie is hiding herself and her daughter from the one man who could at any moment appear in their lives and ruin everything she holds dear. They already feel like impostors among the school’s community of polished parents. But then notes appear in their children’s backpacks after the first day at school. Notes that indicate that someone knows their deepest, darkest secrets and needs them gone. Does someone not want them in the community? Or is it something more menacing—does someone know everything?

When the principal of the school is the victim of an almost-fatal attack, it quickly becomes clear that the Silver Swans community is not as flawless as the brochures and website would have you believe. The three moms must band together to uncover the school’s many secrets before the other suspicious parents and town police close in and use their outsider status to blame them… and before they lose what they have worked so hard for.

Description from Goodreads.

“We’ve got a secret and we can’t keep it: Safe in My Arms might be even juicier than Shepard’s bestselling Pretty Little Liars series. Just don’t tell A we said that. Equal parts PLL and part Big Little Lies.…” – E! News

“…propulsively plotted… amusing and fast-paced…” – Publishers Weekly

“Author Sara Shepard spins a tale of secrets, shocks and twists and turns that keep the reader engaged throughout the novel and when you think it might be over more bombshells are revealed.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Much Ado About Nauticaling by  Gabby Allan

much ado about nauticalingAfter far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life–and a murder victim?

The self-proclaimed Master of the Island, Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members–with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.

Description from Goodreads.

“…pleasing… Colorful characters determined to weigh into Whit’s private life promise much fun ahead. Cozy fans will be charmed.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook


The Women’s March by  Jennifer Chiaverini

women's marchTwenty-five-year-old Alice Paul returns to her native New Jersey after several years on the front lines of the suffrage movement in Great Britain. Weakened from imprisonment and hunger strikes, she is nevertheless determined to invigorate the stagnant suffrage movement in her homeland. Nine states have already granted women voting rights, but only a constitutional amendment will secure the vote for all.

To inspire support for the campaign, Alice organizes a magnificent procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson, a firm antisuffragist.

Joining the march is thirty-nine-year-old New Yorker Maud Malone, librarian and advocate for women’s and workers’ rights. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Maud has acquired a reputation—and a criminal record—for interrupting politicians’ speeches with pointed questions they’d rather ignore.

Civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett resolves that women of color must also be included in the march—and the proposed amendment. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Ida worries that white suffragists may exclude Black women if it serves their own interests.

On March 3, 1913, the glorious march commences, but negligent police allow vast crowds of belligerent men to block the parade route—jeering, shouting threats, assaulting the marchers—endangering not only the success of the demonstration but the women’s very lives.

Inspired by actual events, The Women’s March offers a fascinating account of a crucial but little-remembered moment in American history, a turning point in the struggle for women’s rights.

Description from Goodreads.

“In her latest women-focused historical novel, Chiaverini offers an impassioned account that pulls readers in, making the details feel freshly alive. This politically aware novel about a historic quest for democratic justice compels readers to contemplate everything that has and hasn’t changed regarding voting rights and gender and racial equality.” – Booklist

“Undeniably valuable and timely, informative and insightful. Chiaverini’s latest work of historical fiction weaves together the actions of three real women, advocating for social and legal change while also speaking to the tensions regarding race, class, and rhetorical arguments that prevent these groups from working together smoothly (if at all)…” – Kirkus Reviews

“Chiaverini shines in her grasp of the personalities and policies that went into making the march happen. She understands politics and the friends and enemies one must make in order to stand up for a cause… Chiaverini has given voices to women who worked hard and who gave up much in order for justice to be done. She has painted a portrait of three women who should be hailed and remembered as the heroes they were. And, she has given us all a reminder that the right to vote was not a thing given, but a battle hard fought and won.” – New York Journal of Books

Available Formats:

Print Book | Large Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

Three Words for Goodbye by  Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

three words for goodbyeThree cities, two sisters, one chance to correct the past…

New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to fulfill her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.

Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.

Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.

Description from Goodreads.

“Charming historical fiction.” – Booklist

“…fantastic! This is the feel good book of the summer. Sharply written, great characters and at its core it’s about family and hidden secrets that must come out. You won’t want to put it down.” – Red Carpet Crash

“[N]eeds to find a place on your To-Read list this summer.” – All the Good Books

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

Radar Girls by  Sara Ackerman

radar girlsDaisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and salt water to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out airstrips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.

But not everyone thinks the women are up to the job, and the new recruits must rise above their differences and work side by side despite the resistance and heartache they meet along the way. With America’s future on the line, Daisy is determined to prove herself worthy. And with the man she’s falling for out on the front lines, she cannot fail. From radar towers on remote mountaintops to flooded bomb shelters, she’ll need her new team when the stakes are highest. Because the most important battles are fought—and won—together.

This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.

Description from Goodreads.

“Enthralling… A great addition to the current trend of tales illuminating little-known aspects of women’s lives during WWII.” – Booklist

“This historical fiction novel is empowering… Deliciously visceral, readers will be transported into the dreamy Hawaiian backdrop.” – BookRiot

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook

All the Little Hopes by  Leah Weiss

all the little hopesDeep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

Lush with Southern atmosphere, All The Little Hopes, is the story of two girls growing up while war creeps closer, blurring the difference between what’s right, what’s wrong, and what we know to be true.

Description from Goodreads.

“…intriguing… Weiss expertly highlights how Lucy and Bert’s innocence is altered by their experiences, with spot-on depictions of the rural Southern community. This is magnetic from the start.” – Publishers Weekly

“Weiss imbues All the Little Hopes with plenty of Southern charm… Filled with vividly drawn characters of all ages, All the Little Hopes is a warm, sensitive story of family during wartime, as well as a glimpse into rural life in the North Carolina coastal plain. Based on Weiss’s own hometown and her mother’s early experiences, it is as rich and unexpected as the few jars of purple honey produced by the Browns’ bees.” – Shelf Awareness

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


Heartbreak for Hire by  Sonia Hartl

heartbreak for hireBrinkley Saunders has a secret.

To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following in her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.

In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.

But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fun and flirty… fans of Lyssa Kay Adams and Christina Lauren are likely to enjoy the sexy hero and nonstop banter.” – Publishers Weekly

“The constant push-and-pull between the pair is enticing, and their sexy-steam level runs hot… the narration is conversational and fun, and this unique and captivating tale will please readers.” – Booklist

“Hartl pens a sweet and sexy contemporary romance that focuses just as much on Brinkley dealing with her past as it does on the love story. This fast-paced novel features the right amount of humor and sass to offset how much Brinkley has been hurt by the actions of her ex and her mother… A first pick for libraries where contemporary romance is popular.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book

Devil in Disguise by  Lisa Kleypas

devil in disguise“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals his secret connection to one of England’s most powerful families. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves… even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

Description from Goodreads.

“If you’re looking for a sweepingly romantic historical that will leave you with a huge smile on your face, a Lisa Kleypas novel is always the answer.” – Harlequin Junkie

“The novel abounds in the vintage pleasures of Kleypas’ writing: finely drawn characters; a tactile, sensuous style in both the sex scenes and the landscape descriptions; banter that illustrates the emotional compatibility of romantic partners; dual points of view that show both the hero’s and the heroine’s interior lives; moving moments of familial ties; and glimpses of couples from other novels to assure us that love lasts forever. Undemandingly pleasurable and guaranteed to go on the reread shelf.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Kleypas continues her winning streak with a thoroughly engrossing crossover between her Regency Wallflowers series and Victorian Ravenels novels… fans of both series are sure to rejoice in the tender love story.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Small Favors by  Erin A. Craig

small favorsEllerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

Description from Goodreads.

“If you’re looking for a book to give you goosebumps as you read, you’re going to want to add this one to your TBR!” – The NERD Daily

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig will give you chills no matter how hot it is outside.” – PopSugar

Small Favors is as much about humanity as it is about horror. Perfect for readers who love mysteries and the macabre.” – BookPage

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

When We Were Strangers by  Alex Richards

when we were strangersSeventeen-year-old Evie Parker is devastated in the wake of her father’s sudden death. But she knows something her mother doesn’t: the day of his heart attack, her dad was planning to move out. After finding his packed bags, an impulsive Evie puts everything away, desperate to spare her mom more heartache.

To make matters worse, Evie soon learns the reason her father was going to leave: he had been dating his twenty-two-year-old receptionist, Bree, who is now six months pregnant. Desperate to distract herself, Evie signs up for a summer photography class where she meets a motley crew of students, including quirky and adorable Declan. Still, Evie can’t stop thinking about her father’s mistress. Armed with a telephoto lens, she caves to her curiosity, and what starts as a little bit of spying on Bree quickly becomes full-blown stalking. And when an emergency forces Evie to help Bree, she learns there’s more to the story than she ever knew…

Alex Richards crafts an addicting and compelling new story about betrayal, complicated family secrets, and getting to the heart of what matters — ultimately asking readers how far they’d be willing to go to unravel the truth.

“A strongly written plot, a complementary setting, and strong characters make this a compelling read.” – School Library Journal

“[A] beautiful exploration of a family torn apart by secrets and grief… A moving portrayal of grief, family, and the complexity of different perspectives.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Absorbing… [an] introspective story of changing emotions and a softening heart.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book


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