Best New Books: Week of 1/11/22

“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.” – Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom by  Carl Bernstein

Nonfiction / Biography / Memoir / History / Journalism.

“Carl Bernstein, Washington Star.”

With these words, the sixteen-year-old senior at Montgomery Blair High School set himself apart from the high school crowd and set himself on a track that would define his life. Carl Bernstein was far from the best student in his class—in fact, he was in danger of not graduating at all—but he had a talent for writing, a burning desire to know things that other people didn’t, and a flair for being in the right place at the right time. Those qualities got him inside the newsroom at the Washington Star, the afternoon paper in the nation’s capital, in the summer of 1960, a pivotal time for America, for Washington, D.C., and for a young man in a hurry on the cusp of adulthood.

Chasing History opens up the world of the early 1960s as Bernstein experienced it, chasing after grisly crimes with the paper’s police reporter, gathering colorful details at a John F. Kennedy campaign rally, running afoul of union rules, and confronting racial tensions as the civil rights movement gained strength. We learn alongside him as he comes to understand the life of a newspaperman, and we share his pride as he hunts down information, gets his first byline, and discovers that he has a talent for the job after all.

By turns exhilarating, funny, tense, and poignant, Chasing History shows us a country coming into its own maturity along with young Carl Bernstein, and when he strikes out on his own after five years at the Star, his hard-won knowledge and experience feels like ours as well.

Description from Goodreads.

“Admirers of this remarkable journalist will find much to love in this charming account.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Bernstein catches history in this thoroughly absorbing read.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“The author’s reminiscences of old-school journalism―with its chaotic newsrooms, hot type, and guarded friendships among sources and writers―will please newspaper buffs, those who read the memoirs of H.L Mencken and Joseph Mitchell… An appealingly nostalgic view of a political past unriven by political tribalism, chronicled by a reporter with an eye on history.” – Kirkus Reviews

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by  Sue Lynn Tan

Fiction / Young Adult / Fantasy.

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Description from Goodreads.

“…well-written, poetic, and lyrical… an action-packed story with a very slow-burn romance.” – Grimdark Magazine

“Tan’s remarkable debut and duology launch transports readers into a stunning world… The result is a riveting page-turner that will leave fantasy lovers satisfied and eager for more.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“An exquisitely detailed fantasy with a strong, vulnerable protagonist. The intimate prose makes Tan’s wonderful debut an immersive experience; share with fans of Shelley Parker-Chan and Katherine Arden.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking by  Leonard Mlodinow

Nonfiction / Science / Psychology.

We’ve all been told we need to master our emotions and think rationally to succeed. But at the cutting-edge science of emotion, feelings are every bit as important to your success as thinking.

You make hundreds of decisions every day, from what to eat for breakfast to how you should invest, and not one of them could be made without the essential component of emotion. It has long been held that thinking and feeling are separate and opposing forces in our behavior. But as best-selling author of Subliminal Leonard Mlodinow tells us, extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking.

How can you connect better with others? How can you improve your relationship to frustration, fear, and anxiety? What can you do to live a happier life? The answers lie in understanding emotions. Taking us on a journey from the labs of pioneering scientists to real-world scenarios that have flirted with disaster, Mlodinow shows us how our emotions help, why they sometimes hurt, and what we can make of the difference.

Research-driven questionnaires and deep insights into our evolution, biology, and neuroscience promise to help us understand our emotions better and maximize their benefits. Told with characteristic clarity and fascinating stories, Mlodinow’s exploration of the new science of feelings is an essential guide to making the most of one of nature’s greatest gifts to us.

Description from Goodreads.

“Those interested in understanding how feelings unconsciously steer thought… are in for a stimulating read. Mlodinow handles this topic astutely with compelling examples and attention to the latest research, which is quite spectacular… A lively exposé of the growing consensus about the limited power of rationality and decision-making.” – New York Times

“Synthesizing hard research, lively personal anecdotes, and input from psychologists and neuroscientists, Mlodinow tackles complex topics in a reader-friendly fashion to create a narrative that’s wonderfully accessible. Understanding our emotions is a crucial step in the journey towards personal growth, and Mlodinow’s remarkable book will put readers on the right track.” – BookPage

“[A] moving deep dive into the role of feelings in everyday life… Mlodinow successfully shows how emotions can be assessed, regulated, and controlled, and powerfully concludes that understanding them is a lifelong project that’s ‘not just a science but an art.’ This is a must-read for fans of Daniel Kahneman.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Find Me by  Alafair Burke

Fiction / Mystery / Suspense.

Some pasts won’t stay forgotten…

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she actually is. Fifteen years ago, she was found in a small New Jersey town thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Doctors assumed her amnesia was a temporary side effect of her injuries, but she never regained her memory. Hope eventually started a new life with a new name in a new town that welcomed her, yet always wondered what she may have left behind—or been running from. Now, fifteen years later, she’s leaving New Jersey to start over once again.

Manhattan defense lawyer Lindsay Kelly, Hope’s best friend and the one who found her after the accident, understands why Hope wants a new beginning. But she worries how her friend will fare in her new East Hampton home, far away from everything familiar. Lindsay’s worst fears are confirmed when she discovers Hope has vanished without a trace—the only lead a drop of blood found where she was last seen. Even more ominously, the blood matches a DNA sample with a connection to a notorious Kansas murderer.

With nowhere else to turn, Lindsay calls NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher, the daughter of the cop who dedicated his life to hunting the Kansas killer. Ellie has always believed there was more to the story of her father’s death twenty years earlier—and she now fears that Hope’s recent disappearance could be related.

In pursuit of answers, three women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known.

Description from Goodreads.

“…scintillating… Appealing characters match the meticulous plotting. Burke reinforces her place in the top rank of suspense writers.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A skillfully constructed, delightfully twisty thriller powered by Burke’s trademark strong, relatable heroines and realistic foes.” – Booklist

“The two women feverishly piece together the disparate parts of the story, and Burke’s masterful control over pacing and plot reveals will make readers just as anxious to uncover the truth.” – BookPage

A Flicker in the Dark by  Stacy Willingham

Fiction / Suspense / Mystery.

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

In a debut novel that has already been optioned for a limited series by actress Emma Stone and sold to a dozen countries around the world, Stacy Willingham has created an unforgettable character in a spellbinding thriller that will appeal equally to fans of Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter.

Description from Goodreads.

A Flicker in the Dark will have you sleeping with the lights on by the time you reach the end… Suspense climbs as the pages turn, you won’t be able to put this one down once you pick it up.” – Daily Hive

“Equal parts domestic suspense and hard-edged police procedural… Willingham pulls together a tight, involving plot with a solid psychological look at the effects of a horrid crime on the Davises, the victims’ families and the small community… The gripping A Flicker in the Dark sets a terrific course for the new year, shining a bright light on a new author to savor in Willingham.” – South Florida Sun Sentinel

“Willingham skillfully intercuts Chloe’s anxious first-person narration in the present with flashbacks to her childhood, ratcheting up the tension. Atmospheric prose and abundant red herrings amplify the tale’s intensity. Willingham is a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

Harlem Shadows: Poems by  Claude McKay


In Harlem Shadows, poet and writer Claude McKay touches on a variety of themes as he celebrates his Jamaican heritage and sheds light on the Black American experience. While the title poem follows sex workers on the streets of Harlem in New York City, the sight of fruit in a window in “The Tropics of New York” reminds the author of his old life in Jamaica. “If We Must Die” was written in response to the Red Summer of 1919, when Black Americans around the country were attacked by white supremacists. And in “After the Winter,” McKay offers a feeling of hope.

Born in Jamaica in 1889, McKay first visited the United States in 1912. He traveled the world and eventually became an American citizen in 1940. His work influenced the likes of James Baldwin and Richard Wright.

Description from Amazon.

“[A] transitional text in the life of a singular artist as much as it is the volume that cements McKay’s position as a foundational poet in the literary movement we now know as the Harlem Renaissance.” – Literary Hub

“The fusion of urban realism with more traditional Romantic tropes in Harlem Shadows still leaves room for clear blasts of rage against ‘the wretched way / Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace.'” – The Guardian

How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them by  Barbara F. Walter

Nonfiction / Politics / Current Events.

Most of us don’t know it, but we are living in the world’s greatest era of civil wars. While violence has declined worldwide, civil wars have increased. This is a new phenomenon. With the exception of a handful of cases – the American and English civil wars, the French Revolution – historically it has been rare for people to organize and fight their governments.

This has changed. Since 1946, over 250 armed conflicts have broken out around the world, a number that continues to rise. Major civil wars are now being fought in countries including Iraq, Syria and Libya. Smaller civil wars are being fought in Ukraine, India, and Malaysia. Even countries we thought could never experience another civil war – such as the USA, Sweden and Ireland – are showing signs of unrest.

In How Civil Wars Start, acclaimed expert Barbara F. Walter, who has advised on political violence everywhere from the CIA to the U.S. Senate to the United Nations, explains the rise of civil war and the conditions that create it. As democracies across the world backslide and citizens become more polarized, civil wars will become even more widespread and last longer than they have in the past. This urgent and important book shows us a path back toward peace.

Description from Goodreads.

“Incisive… Walter issues a stark and deeply informed warning that the U.S. may be headed for another civil war… Distinguished by its lucid analysis and global perspective, this wake-up call rings clear.” – Publishers Weekly

“The idea that a second American civil war is brewing is not alarmist hyperbole… The image that should be brought to mind is not of columns of blue- and gray-clad soldiers meeting on battlefields; instead, it lies in the scattered rubble of the federal building in Oklahoma City and the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021… Arresting reading that identifies obstacles and dangers to democracy, many at the highest levels of government.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Walter mostly sticks to citing the scholarship in her field, but at one point, discussing the sinister clowning of Alex Jones, she reaches for Voltaire: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’ The absurdities are by definition preposterous, but Walter’s book suggests that it would be preposterous to assume they’re irrelevant; it’s only by thinking about what was once unfathomable that we can see the country as it really is.” – New York Times

I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home by  Jami Attenburg ★

Nonfiction / Memoir.

From New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg comes a dazzling memoir about unlocking and embracing her creativity—and how it saved her life.

In this brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation, Jami Attenberg—described as a “master of modern fiction” (Entertainment Weekly) and the “poet laureate of difficult families” (Kirkus Reviews)—reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one’s ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it?

As the daughter of a traveling salesman in the Midwest, Attenberg was drawn to a life on the road. Frustrated by quotidian jobs and hungry for inspiration and fresh experiences, her wanderlust led her across the country and eventually on travels around the globe. Through it all she grapples with questions of mortality, otherworldliness, and what we leave behind.

It is during these adventures that she begins to reflect on the experiences of her youth—the trauma, the challenges, the risks she has taken. Driving across America on self-funded book tours, sometimes crashing on couches when she was broke, she keeps writing: in researching articles for magazines, jotting down ideas for novels, and refining her craft, she grows as an artist and increasingly learns to trust her gut and, ultimately, herself.

Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one’s way home—emotionally, artistically, and physically—and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling.

Description from Goodreads.

“Remarkable… It’s overwhelming, beautiful stuff, though always full of living, just as effective on love and promise.” – Chicago Tribune

“[Attenberg’s] writing… shimmers with keen pragmatic observations as well as deeply perceptible humane empathy… I Came All This Way to Meet You is a book about the making of a writer in the best possible way – accessible, funny, illuminating. It’s a book about kindness and grief, joy and forgiveness, failures, challenges, mistakes, and hope. It’s also a terrific ode to good art and true friendship.” – Boston Globe

“In this latest work, novelist Attenberg bravely shares the many lives she has lived at once—jobs held, identities navigated, homes left and returned to, hopes lost and found—all in order to support and sustain herself as a writer… What Attenberg has learned about being a writer and a human offers a valuable lesson for readers seeking wholeness, healing, self-expression, and strength. The result is a humorous memoir of transformation that will delight a range of readers.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Reading Jami Attenberg is like hanging out with a friend who encourages you— through their own example—to be your messy, vibrant, glorious self. Attenberg’s voice is equal parts wise auntie and wise-ass, whether on social media or in any of her seven increasingly well-received novels.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

The Last House on the Street by  Diane Chamberlain

Fiction / Mystery / Suspense / Historical Fiction.

When Kayla Carter’s husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. When she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It’s clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area… and a connection to Kayla herself.

Kayla’s elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it’s clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] twisty, riveting ride.” – People

“When it comes to cozy dramas with a side of suspense, nobody does it better than Diane Chamberlain.” – Marie Claire

“Chamberlain delivers the goods with this affecting and spellbinding account of a community’s buried secrets… Chamberlain ratchets up the tension with the everpresent mystery of what Ann might be up to, and the dual narratives merge beautifully before an explosive conclusion. This will keep readers enthralled.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Lost & Found: A Memoir by  Kathryn Schulz ★

Nonfiction / Memoir.

Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz’s father died, she met the woman she would marry. In Lost & Found, she weaves the story of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of the role that loss and discovery play in all of our lives. The resulting book is part memoir, part guidebook to living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering–a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.

A staff writer at The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Schulz writes with curiosity, tenderness, erudition, and wit about our finite yet infinitely complicated lives. Lost & Found is an enduring account of love in all its many forms from one of the great writers of our time.

Description from Goodreads.

“An exquisite view into the inextricable relationship among love, grief, and hope, Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found is a masterpiece.” – The Southern Bookseller Review

“… elegantly written… dazzling…” – Associated Press

“’Just as every grief narrative is a reckoning with loss, every love story is a chronicle of finding,’ writes Pulitzer Prize winner Schulz in this stunning memoir. As Schulz recounts, she contended with the pain and ecstasy of both narratives… By the end of these exquisite existential wanderings, Schulz comes to a quiet truce with her finding that ‘life, too, goes by contraries… by turns crushing and restorative… comic and uplifting.’ Schulz’s canny observations are a treasure.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Deeply felt. More than a reflection on the loss of a parent. It is about the idea of loss in general and the passage of time. Fresh and evocative… a poignant, loving, wise, and comforting meditation on grief from both a personal and collective perspective.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Mouth to Mouth by  Antoine Wilson ★

Fiction / Suspense / Mystery.

In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life—a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.

Jeff reveals that after that traumatic, galvanizing morning on the beach, he was compelled to learn more about the man whose life he had saved, convinced that their fates were now entwined. But are we agents of our fate—or are we its pawns? Upon discovering that the man is renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery. Although Francis does not seem to recognize him as the man who saved his life, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye on Jeff and sees something worthy. He takes the younger man under his wing, initiating him into his world, where knowledge, taste, and access are currency; a world where value is constantly shifting and calling into question what is real, and what matters. The paths of the two men come together and diverge in dizzying ways until the novel’s staggering ending.

Sly, suspenseful, and engrossing, Mouth to Mouth masterfully blurs the line between opportunity and exploitation, self-respect and self-delusion, fact and fiction—exposing the myriad ways we deceive each other, and ourselves.

Description from Goodreads.

“[An] enthralling literary puzzle… Wilson is a gorgeous writer, pulling you in and compelling you to keep reading. The story, and the story-within-the-story — the twists and turns, the attention lavished on motivation and emotion, the efforts to rationalize or at least explain strange or unsavory behavior — recall the cool prose of Paul Auster… This powerful, intoxicating book’s greatest tension is that we have no idea where it is heading, right up to the shocking final sentence.” – New York Times

“A slow burn à la Patricia Highsmith that keeps us terminally off balance.” – Oprah Daily

“[A] taut, compulsive chamber piece of a novel, which you’ll struggle not to rip through in one sitting… Mouth to Mouth is an elegantly told and supremely gripping tale of serendipity and deception—and delivers a brilliant ending that will leave you guessing about everything that came before.” – Vogue

“Reminiscent of the cult classic film My Dinner with Andre… Antoine Wilson’s slyly disturbing and shrewd novel presents two college acquaintances who unexpectedly cross paths at an airport almost 20 years later… Stopping isn’t an option: that final sentence rewards readers with a didn’t-see-that-coming gut punch.” – Shelf Awareness

Small World by  Jonathan Evison

Fiction / Historical Fiction.

Jonathan Evison’s Small World is an epic novel for now. Set against such iconic backdrops as the California gold rush, the development of the transcontinental railroad, and a speeding train of modern-day strangers forced together by fate, it is a grand entertainment that asks big questions.

The characters of Small World connect in the most intriguing and meaningful ways, winning, breaking, and winning our hearts again. In exploring the passengers’ lives and those of their ancestors more than a century before, Small World chronicles 170 years of American nation-building from numerous points of view across place and time. And it does it with a fullhearted, full-throttle pace that asks on the most human, intimate scale whether it is truly possible to meet, and survive, the choices posed–and forced–by the age.

The result is a historical epic with a Dickensian flair, a grand entertainment that asks whether our nation has made good on its promises. It dazzles as its characters come to connect with one another through time. And it hits home as it probes at our country’s injustices, big and small, straight through to its deeply satisfying final words.

Description from Goodreads.

“The new novel by Jonathan Evison may be one of the best books of the year and it’s only January. A really well-written, character driven story… You won’t want to put this book down.” – Red Carpet Crash

“[A] masterpiece… Such masterful strokes seem to qualify Small World as the quintessential Great American Novel as Evison eloquently shows that perhaps the most authentically American ideal is the ongoing, blended palette of stories.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Piece by piece, Evison successfully corrals this sprawling history into a cohesive whole, coalescing it into a vivid mosaic… Throughout it all, Evison underscores a sense of a shared America, not so much in the kumbaya mythology of the melting pot but a feeling—oft-neglected these days—that we are all in this nation-building adventure together.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

Something to Hide by  Elizabeth George

Fiction / Mystery.

When a police detective is taken off life support after falling into a coma, only an autopsy reveals the murderous act that precipitated her death. She’d been working on a special task force within North London’s Nigerian community, and Acting Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley is assigned to the case, which has far-reaching cultural associations that have nothing to do with life as he knows it. In his pursuit of a killer determined to remain hidden, he’s assisted by Detective Sergeants Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata. They must sort through the lies and the secret lives of people whose superficial cooperation masks the damage they do to one another.

Description from Goodreads.

“Superlative… This is a memorable addition to [the Inspector Lynley] series.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED & BOXED REVIEW

“’Abso-bloody-lutely’ good! That would be DS Barbara Havers’ verdict on this one… An unsettling and thoroughly involving narrative.” – Booklist

“A skillfully spun yarn of murder and mayhem.” – Kirkus Reviews

To Paradise by  Hanya Yanagihara ★


In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a fin de siècle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

Description from Goodreads.

“An extraordinary novel; powerfully imagined and deeply moving.” – The Bookseller

“…sure to provoke years of discussion and theorizing… Gigantic, strange, exquisite, terrifying, and replete with mystery.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Hanya Yanagihara’s new novel tweaks American history and traces the disorienting consequences… executed with enough deftness and lush detail that you just about fall through it, like a knife through layer cake… To Paradise evokes the dizzying way that minor events and personal choices might create countless alternative histories and futures, both for individuals and for society. Reading the novel delivers the thrilling, uncanny feeling of standing before an infinity mirror, numberless selves and rooms turning uncertainly before you, just out of reach.” – The Atlantic

“…impressive… Where the suffering and hopelessness of A Little Life created an overwhelming experience that left readers divided around the issue of how much they could take, this is a far subtler delineation of those who feel hamstrung, beleaguered, inadequate to the task ahead. In many ways – not least the questions of political and social responsibility it poses, especially in the face of global catastrophe – it is a darker work, and yet a more fruitfully puzzling, multifaceted one. And behind this impressive, significant novel stands the question: what is a life, if it is not lived in freedom?” – The Guardian

The Torqued Man by  Peter Mann

Fiction / Historical Fiction / Suspense.

Berlin–September, 1945. Two manuscripts are found in rubble, each one narrating conflicting versions of the life of an Irish spy during the war.

One of them is the journal of a German military intelligence officer and would-be opponent of Hitler named Adrian de Groot, charting his relationship with his agent, friend, and sometimes lover, an Irishman named Frank Pike. In de Groot’s narrative, Pike is a charismatic IRA fighter sprung from prison in Spain to assist with the planned German invasion of Ireland, but who never gets the chance to consummate his deal with the devil.

Meanwhile, the other manuscript gives a very different account of the Irishman’s doings in the Reich. Assuming the alter ego of the Celtic hero Finn McCool, Pike appears here as the ultimate Allied saboteur. His mission: an assassination campaign of high-ranking Nazi doctors, culminating in the killing of Hitler’s personal physician.

The two manuscripts spiral around each other, leaving only the reader to know the full truth of Pike and de Groot’s relationship, their ultimate loyalties, and their efforts to resist the fascist reality in which they are caught.

Description from Goodreads.

“Mann’s brisk and well-constructed plot is enhanced by equally impressive prose… A wily spy novel with a human touch.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Mann proves adept at picking up on the emotional kernels at the heart of history.” – Publishers Weekly

“The two stories contained within the World War II spy thriller The Torqued Man, by Peter Mann, fit together like the teeth of a zipper, one atop the other, until the whole thing is satisfyingly pulled into place… engaging and entertaining…” – San Francisco Chronicle

Wahala by  Nikki May ★


Ronke wants happily ever after and 2.2 kids. She’s dating Kayode and wants him to be “the one” (perfect, like her dead father). Her friends think he’s just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends.

Boo has everything Ronke wants—a kind husband, gorgeous child. But she’s frustrated, unfulfilled, plagued by guilt, and desperate to remember who she used to be.

Simi is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle. No one knows she’s crippled by impostor syndrome and tempted to pack it all in each time her boss mentions her “urban vibe.” Her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby. She’s not.

When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group, it seems at first she’s bringing out the best in each woman. (She gets Simi an interview in Hong Kong! Goes jogging with Boo!) But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo’s close friendship begins to crack.

A sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal, Wahala (trouble) is an unforgettable novel from a brilliant new voice.

Description from Goodreads.

“The novel doesn’t shy away from complexities of female friendship… Food is very important in the novel which is full of some mouthwatering descriptions, from jollof rice to moin-moin.” – The Bookseller

“May seamlessly weaves love, betrayal, self-reflection, and Nigerian food, clothing, and customs into this fast-paced debut.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“May’s nuanced exploration of race and gender makes this refreshing.” – Publishers Weekly

“A fascinating look at the dark side of female friendship.” – Kirkus Reviews

Weather Girl by  Rachel Lynn Solomon

Fiction / Romance.

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

Description from Goodreads.

“Humorous, captivating, and delightful.” – USA Today

“Whether sunshine or rainfall, Weather Girl is the perfect read no matter what storms you’re facing. With an enchanting protagonist who shows that living with a mental illness and finding the love of your life aren’t mutually exclusive, Weather Girl is a must-read for lovers of The Parent Trap and Set It Up!” – The NERD Daily

“Solomon handles Ari’s mental health and Russell’s body image issues with skill and sensitivity. Fans of Christina Lauren and Julie James will enjoy watching the duo’s matchmaking schemes as chemistry begins to sizzle between them—and, inevitably, the plotters are hoisted by their own petard. Solomon writes real characters with real problems without ever sacrificing fun.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW


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