The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

Best New Books: Week of 7/19/22

“Noemí’s father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously, as if a woman could not do two things at once.” – Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic

The Bodyguard by  Katherine Center

Fiction / Romance.

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Description from Goodreads.

“A classic feel-good rom-com [that] stands out from the rest. If you’re a fan of swoony romance a la Colleen Hoover, pick up this title.” – Reader’s Digest

“This fun new novel by Katherine Center feels like a summertime blockbuster. On the surface, it’s a light-hearted romance, but it packs a bit of an emotional punch (along with some actual punches!).” – Country Living

“Center’s laugh-out-loud rom-com is a perfect summer read. The characters are vivid, the plot is compelling, and she balances grief, heartache, hope, and romance in a tender, believable way.” – BuzzFeed

Bread by  Maurizio de Giovanni; translated by  Antony Shugaar

Fiction / Mystery.

Sometimes it takes facing a formidable adversary to truly know one’s worth. The Bastards of Pizzofalcone may have found just that: when the brutal murder of a baker rattles the city, they are ready to investigate. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do to prove themselves to their community. But this time the police are divided: for the special anti-mob branch, the local mafia is doubtlessly responsible for the crime, but the Bastards are not so sure.

De Giovanni is one of Europe’s most renowned and versatile mystery writers. His award-winning and bestselling novels, all of which take place in Naples, engage readers in gripping tales of Europe’s most fabled, atmospheric, dangerous, and lustful city.

Description from Goodreads.

“De Giovanni once again showcases his characters’ humanity as he delicately balances humor and pathos, following the subtle changes in the lives of the ragtag collection of misfits who comprise the officers of the Pizzofalcone precinct while never losing sight of the mysteries to solve. This is a treat for fans and newcomers alike.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A crackling good crime yarn… juicy, with a thick Italian accent.” – Kirkus Reviews

“De Giovanni is a veteran of mystery writing who displays his expertise with an ease that makes the narrative flow joyfully and without pause. It is pure pleasure in printed form.” – MPIBA

Carnality by  Lina Wolff; translated by  Frank Perry


Awarded a three-month stipend to travel and work, a Swedish writer flies to Madrid, where in a bar she meets a man with an extraordinary story to tell. In exchange for somewhere to sleep and to hide out for a few days, he is willing to tell her the whole astonishing tale. What follows is an account of fantastic proportions and ingredients: the existence of a shadowy Internet TV show with a certain morality clause, a threat to the storyteller’s life, a diabolical nun, and the story of a girl with a missing left thumb. The tale is also the precursor to a meeting between the writer and the infernal miracle worker, Lucia—a meeting that ultimately forces the writer to make a fateful decision about her own inner essence.

Carnality is a novel about the universal need for spirituality and truth—not to mention a good story—set in the seemingly unspiritual grimy underbelly of society.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fabulously funny, macabre, and as cerebral as it is sensually accessible… one of the most intelligent and skillful novels I’ve read in recent years.” – Aftonbladet

“Lina Wolff and translator Frank Perry cast a transfixing spell over readers… It’s a wild ride you won’t want to end.” – Chicago Review of Books

“Wolff simultaneously skewer[s] modern media, explore[s] complex and dynamic relationships, and demonstrate[s] a great deal of formal verve in the process.” – Words Without Borders

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by  Silvia Moreno-Garcia ★

Fiction / horror / Historical Fiction / science fiction / ROMANCE.

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

Description from Goodreads.

“As alluring as it is unsettling, filled with action, romance, and monsters. Readers will fall into this tale immediately, enchanted.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“The imagination of Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a thing of wonder, restless and romantic, fearless in the face of genre, embracing the polarities of storytelling— the sleek and the bizarre, wild passions and deep hatreds—with cool equanimity.” – New York Times

“Moreno-Garcia’s worldbuilding chops are on display as she creates a distinct, vibrant backdrop to her audacious retelling… Fans of cerebral, atmospheric historical horror won’t want to miss this.” – Publishers Weekly

“If there are two things I love in this world, it’s contemporary reimaginings of Victorian era horror and sci-fi, and joyful genre mashups in literature. Thank the Lord, then, for Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the author of the 1970s Mexico City noir Velvet Was the Night and the postcolonial gothic romance Mexican Gothic, who brings her chameleonic powers to bear on H. G. Wells’s 1896 ‘exercise in youthful blasphemy.’” – Literary Hub

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional by  Isaac Fitzgerald ★

Nonfiction / Memoir.

Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He’s been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents’ lives-or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self.

Fitzgerald’s memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.

Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

Description from Goodreads.

Dirtbag, Massachusetts is the best of what memoir can accomplish. It’s blisteringly honest and vulnerable, pulling no punches on the path to truth, but it always finds the capacity for grace and joy.” – Esquire

“Equal parts illuminating and poignant, Fitzgerald’s essays attempt to untangle what it means to be a man in this world and in his own body.” – BuzzFeed

“Told without piety or violin strains of uplift, but rather, an embrace of the chaos of just getting by.” – Chicago Tribune

“Fitzgerald weaves a raucous mosaic of a rough-and-ready New England rarely seen with a transfixing story of his path to finding himself… The result is a marvelous coming-of-age story that’s as wily and raunchy as it is heartfelt.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

The Force of Such Beauty by  Barbara Bourland ★

Fiction / Fantasy / Historical Fiction / SUSPENSE / MYSTERY.

After a failed escape attempt, the princess of a tiny kingdom begins to reevaluate her life.

Caroline, a former marathon runner who dropped out of school at fourteen to pursue an Olympic medal, was the perfect candidate for a tiara: shapely, disciplined, accustomed to public attention, and utterly uneducated. When she meets Finn, the handsome prince of a small European kingdom, her fate is sealed. With a collar of pearls locked around her throat, and a rope of diamonds leashing her to a balcony, Caroline uses her once-powerful body to smile, wave, and produce children with perfect grace.

But as she begins to open her eyes to the world around her – and examine her own reflection – Caroline discovers that she may have entered a bargain that cannot be undone.

Barbara Bourland’s stunning third novel is her softest, strangest book to date. Inspired by the alleged escape attempts of real-life princesses, and set in a grotesque and gaudy pre-recession 2000s Europe, The Force of Such Beauty is a heart-wrenching and compulsively readable testament to the way in which real-life power structures around the world ultimately rest on the subjugation of women’s bodies.

Description from Goodreads.

“Falling in love with a prince is not a fairy tale, as the protagonist of this engrossing novel discovers.” – Today

“Rich in emotion and luscious descriptions, The Force of Such Beauty is a careful dismantling of royalty that leaves readers wondering if any fairy tale is worth our desire.” – BookPage

“With trademark style and sophistication Bourland plays with the tropes of the princess tales, true and not, that we know as well as our own names as she giftedly conjures Caroline’s glittering, threatening worlds. Despite danger everywhere, Caroline is the captivating narrator of her own story: a domestic drama, sparkling fairy tale, cautionary tale, and suspenseful mystery all laced into one.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“An immersive depiction of the glittering surface and rotten core of royal living, painted in sumptuous and chilling detail.” – Kirkus Reviews

Grace Under Fire by  Julie Garwood

Fiction / Romance / Suspense.

Grace Isabel MacKenna had a hundred things to do today. Killing someone wasn’t one of them. It was supposed to be a quick visit to Boston for the Buchanan anniversary party, then on to Scotland to collect an inheritance. She checks into the hotel and then decides to go for a brisk walk. But after getting lost she ends up with a wounded man stumbling into her arms, and then his shooter coming after them both. When she fires back in self-defense, she doesn’t expect him to drop dead. Thanks to the Buchanans dispatching Navy SEAL and now a lawyer Michael Buchanan to help her deal with the police, Isabel endures hours of interrogation and is finally free to go.

Isabel knows she should be grateful for Michael’s help, but since she’s harbored an extreme dislike for him for years, gratitude is difficult to muster. Michael has appointed himself her de facto guardian, and she’s stuck with him despite their constant bickering and sizzling attraction. Even when Isabel goes to Scotland to claim her inheritance, Michael follows her, but he isn’t the only thing she can’t shake. Mysterious threats against Isabel surface, and before they can deal with their growing feelings for each other, Michael and Isabel must first survive.

Description from Goodreads.

“Garwood delivers plenty of twists to keep the suspense brewing and a subplot about Grace’s potential music career adds color. Readers will be hooked.” – Publishers Weekly

“Fans of the series will clamor for this book, which can also be read as a standalone.” – Library Journal

Hokuloa Road by  Elizabeth Hand ★

Fiction / Mystery / Horror / Suspense.

Grady Kendall applies to work as a live-in caretaker for a luxury property in Hawaiʻi on a whim—it’s as far from small-town Maine as he can imagine. But within days he’s on a flight toward beautiful Kolihiʻi and his new home, a remote mansion on legendary Hokuloa Road.

With little to do, Grady settles into a lonely routine, one that slowly reveals a lesser-known side of Kolihiʻi’s reputation: it seems the island has long been a place where people go missing. When the next to disappear is Jessie, a young woman from Grady’s flight in, Grady becomes determined—and soon desperate—to figure out what’s happened to her, and to all those staring out of the “lost” posters that paper the island.

But maintaining an alliance with Raina, Jessie’s best friend, is anything but easy, and with a sinister presence stalking his every step, Grady can only hope he’ll find the answer before it’s too late… and that it might hold the key to what’s been terrorizing Kolihiʻi all along.

Description from Goodreads.

“If Lost had been written by Jane and Paul Bowles, with some input from Stephen King, then it might read something like Hokolua Road.” – CrimeReads

“Atmospheric… Hand neatly balances tense action with rich environmental ambience, and the supernatural with the darkly human. She remains a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

“Hand is a master at genre-blending stories that feature carefully dosed supernatural malevolence. Here, she wields that mix of horror and thriller to draw together a cast of sympathetically awkward, fiercely loyal outcasts. Another strange, satisfying winner.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Just Like Home by  Sarah Gailey ★

Fiction / horror / Suspense / Mystery.

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Description from Goodreads.

“Gailey’s newest gothic novel is painfully suspenseful and richly dark, their rushing, intoxicating writing in peak form. Delightfully creepy and heartbreakingly tragic, Just Like Home is equal parts raw terror of a dark childhood bedroom, creeping revelations of a true-crime podcast, and searing hurt of resentment within a family. It’s a must-read for all gothic horror fans.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“My god, what a book. Just Like Home is an insidious book that crawls under your skin and rattles your bones. It poisons your dreams and clouds your senses, keeping you under its beguiling spell… leaves you with a lump in your throat and a chill on your skin. It perfectly balances classic horror with an exploration of family, trauma and the uprooted returning home.” – The Nerd Daily

“[A] superior novel of psychological suspense… The counterintuitive choice to have flashbacks recounted in present tense, while using past tense for present-day events, along with ominous foreshadowing (‘Three years from now, when there are policemen at the door, she will feel afraid’) helps to create an unsettling atmosphere. Minette Walters fans will be captivated.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Gailey’s ability to make a simple phrase echo with equal parts threat and longing makes each of their works a uniquely enticing experience… creates a world where the monsters are both new and familiar all at once.” – Medium

The Kingdoms of Savannah by  George Dawes Green

Fiction / Mystery / Historical Fiction / Suspense.

It begins quietly on a balmy Southern night as some locals gather at Bo Peep’s, one of the town’s favorite watering holes. Within an hour, however, a man will be murdered and his companion will be “disappeared.” An unlikely detective, Morgana Musgrove, doyenne of Savannah society, is called upon to unravel the mystery of these crimes. Morgana is an imperious, demanding, and conniving woman, whose four grown children are weary of her schemes. But one by one she inveigles them into helping with her investigation, and soon the family uncovers some terrifying truths—truths that will rock Savannah’s power structure to its core.

Moving from the homeless encampments that ring the city to the stately homes of Savannah’s elite, Green’s novel brilliantly depicts the underbelly of a city with a dark history and the strangely mesmerizing dysfunction of a complex family.

Description from Goodreads.

“Deeply rooted in Savannah’s at times horrific history, yet looking hopefully toward the future, this provocative page-turner is sure to enthrall a broad spectrum of readers. Green is writing at the top of his game.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“In his first novel in more than a decade, Edgar Award winner Green delivers a gripping and expertly researched Southern literary thriller that is anything but cozy. Green’s novels may not come around often, but when they do, they hit hard and stay with you long after the end.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“This fascinating story takes readers from homeless encampments to elegant homes as Morgana and her children probe the doings of a strange, dysfunctional family and discover appalling injustices in the city’s past. Based on historical events, Green’s literary thriller will draw those who loved John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

The Pink Hotel by  Liska Jacobs

Fiction / Suspense / Comedy.

Newlyweds Keith and Kit Collins can hardly believe their luck when the general manager of the iconic, opulent Pink Hotel invites them to come for a luxurious stay as a bid to hire Keith. Kit loves their small-town life, but Keith has always wanted more, and the glittering, lily-scented lobby makes him feel right at home.

Soon after their arrival, wildfires sweep through the surrounding mountains and Los Angeles becomes a pressure cooker, with riots breaking out across the city amid rolling blackouts. The Pink Hotel closes its doors to “outsiders,” and Keith and Kit find themselves confined with an anxious, disgruntled staff and a growing roster of eccentric, ultra-wealthy, dangerously idle guests who flock to the hotel for sanctuary, company, and entertainment.

A blistering, dark social satire, The Pink Hotel exposes a tenuous class system within its walls, full of insurmountable expectations and unspoken resentments, which deteriorate as the city burns. In her barbed, provocative new novel, Liska Jacobs explores the corrosive nature of greed and interrogates the notion of true love, while hurtling readers toward certain disaster.

Description from Goodreads.

“A sharply written satire…” – Kirkus Reviews

“The perfect book to recommend to all your friends in hospitality! And also just the perfect book. I tore through this one like a California wildfire―an appropriate comparison, given the novel’s setting in a high-end hotel beset by fires all around.” – CrimeReads

“Understandably, this small-scale apocalypse is both deliciously wicked and horrifying, but it’s the way the story works its way to this resolution, opening up the narrative to swallow and nurture the unimaginable, that creates the final hook that ensnares… The Pink Hotel operates on a bone-deep level… the faces Jacobs sketches, then warps, soon prove ghastly enough to convince you to stay and watch it all burn.” – Delphic Reviews

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by  Daniel Silva

Fiction / Mystery / Suspense.

Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon has at long last severed ties with Israeli intelligence and settled quietly in Venice, the only place where he has ever truly known peace. His beautiful wife, Chiara, has taken over the day-to-day management of the Tiepolo Restoration Company, and their two young children are discreetly enrolled in a neighborhood scuola elementare. For his part, Gabriel spends his days wandering the streets and canals of the watery city, bidding farewell to the demons of his tragic, violent past.

But when the eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood asks Gabriel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the rediscovery and lucrative sale of a centuries-old painting, he is drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems.

Gabriel soon discovers that the work in question, a portrait of an unidentified woman attributed to Sir Anthony van Dyck, is almost certainly a fiendishly clever fake. To find the mysterious figure who painted it–and uncover a multibillion-dollar fraud at the pinnacle of the art world–Gabriel conceives one of the most elaborate deceptions of his career. If it is to succeed, he must become the very mirror image of the man he seeks: the greatest art forger the world has ever known.

Stylish, sophisticated, and ingeniously plotted, Portrait of an Unknown Woman is a wildly entertaining journey through the dark side of the art world–a place where unscrupulous dealers routinely deceive their customers and deep-pocketed investors treat great paintings as though they were just another asset class to be bought and sold at a profit. From its elegant opening to the shocking twists of its climax, the novel is a tour de force of storytelling and one of the finest pieces of heist fiction ever written. And it is still more proof that, when it comes to international intrigue and suspense, Daniel Silva has no equal.

Description from Goodreads.

“Few reading experiences bring me more joy than opening up the new Gabriel Allon novel every summer.” – CrimeReads

“Hypnotic prose, well-drawn characters and nonstop action will thrill Silva fans and convert the unitiated.” – People

The Retreat by  Sarah Pearse

Fiction / Mystery / Suspense.

Most are here to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge…

An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumored to be cursed.

Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself…

Description from Goodreads.

“This thriller novel is so dark and tense, it’s the perfect read for anyone lounging in the sun this summer, grateful that your holiday isn’t so chaotic.” – Cosmopolitan

“A riveting, twisty page-turner… Readers of Pearse’s earlier book or Ruth Ware’s suspense novels will be hard-pressed to put down this atmospheric, sometimes creepy novel.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] well-written fusion of psychological thriller and whodunnit… Pearse smartly reworks Christie’s setting, making her island at once a gothic throwback, with caves and talk of a curse, and a very 21st-century escape, with green values and holistic therapy. And she’s very good on the relationships within the group as tension builds.” – The Sunday Times

Shadowlands: A Journey Through Britain’s Lost Cities and Vanished Villages by  Matthew Green

Nonfiction / History / Travel / Archaeology.

Drowned. Buried by sand. Decimated by plague. Plunged off a cliff. This is the extraordinary tale of Britain’s eerie and remarkable ghost towns and villages; shadowlands that once hummed with life. Peering through the cracks of history, we find Dunwich, a medieval city plunged off a cliff by sea storms; the abandoned village of Wharram Percy, wiped out by the Black Death; the lost city of Trellech unearthed by moles in 2002; and a Norfolk village zombified by the military and turned into a Nazi, Soviet, and Afghan village for training.

Matthew Green, a British historian and broadcaster, tells the astonishing tales of the rise and demise of these places, animating the people who lived, worked, dreamed, and died there. Traveling across Britain to explore their haunting and often-beautiful remains, Green transports the reader to these lost towns and cities as they teeter on the brink of oblivion, vividly capturing the sounds of the sea clawing away row upon row of houses, the taste of medieval wine, or the sights of puffin hunting on the tallest cliffs in the country. We experience them in their prime, look on at their destruction, and revisit their lingering remains as they are mourned by evictees and reimagined by artists, writers, and mavericks.

A stunning and original excavation of Britain’s untold history, Shadowlands gives us a truer sense of the progress and ravages of time, in a moment when many of our own settlements are threatened as never before.

Description from Goodreads.

“Full of evocative imagery and fascinating lore, this vibrant account eulogizes the past and issues a stark warning for the future.” – Publishers Weekly

“If you told me that British historian Matthew Green was some kind of delightful English Calvino who’d conjured up an odd fictional encyclopedia of disappeared cities, lost towns, and ghostly villages, I’d still want to read this book… [I]t is worth spending a little time with history’s stark examples of time’s dominion over us all.” – Literary Hub

“Through these slices of British history, Green has woven a moving exploration of impermanence, memory, and the hypnotic allure of the past.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Shmutz by  Felicia Berliner

Fiction / Comedy.

Like the other women in her Brooklyn Hasidic community, Raizl expects to find a husband through an arranged marriage. Unlike the other women, Raizl has a secret.

With a hidden computer to help her complete her college degree, she falls down the slippery slope of online pornography. As Raizl dives deeper into the world of porn at night, her daytime life begins to unravel. Between combative visits with her shrink to complicated arranged dates, Raizl must balance her growing understanding of her sexuality with the more conventional expectations of the family she loves.

A singular, stirring, and compulsively readable debut novel, Shmutz explores what it means to be a fully realized sexual and spiritual being caught between the traditional and modern worlds.

Description from Goodreads.

“Transgressive and hilarious, Raizl’s story questions everything we think we know about women, desire and religious faith.” – Los Angeles Times

“A compulsively readable coming-of-age story.” – Cosmopolitan

“Berliner’s memorable debut… shines in her depictions of a deeply religious life, both in its inequities and its enchantments… This brave, eye-opening tale is full of surprises.” – Publishers Weekly

Things We Do in the Dark by  Jennifer Hillier ★

Fiction / Suspense / Mystery.

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom—covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her—she knows she’ll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it’s not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it’s only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she’s worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she’s unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris’s secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.

Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] master of psychological suspense… Hillier sets this riveting roundhouse of a novel off with a bang, and then builds the suspense to unbearable heights with red herrings, dark secrets, twisted relationships, and a jaw-socking reveal or two. Summer just got hotter.” – Amazon

“[T]his heartfelt account of one woman’s attempt to break free of an abusive childhood will resonate with many.” – Publishers Weekly

“This is a superb novel—a complicated story, expertly told. It deals sensitively with dark themes, and the characters and storytelling are utterly authentic.” – Book of the Month

“Readers of Megan Goldin and Lisa Jewell will enjoy this thrilling take on a character reinventing herself but unable to run away from the past. Hillier is a must-read for the mystery genre.” – Library Journal

The World’s Worst Assistant by  Sona Movsesian

Nonfiction / comedy / Memoir.

From Conan O’Brien’s longtime assistant and cohost of his podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, a completely hilarious and irreverent how-to guide for becoming a terrible, yet unfireable employee, and getting away with doing the bare minimum at work

Sona Movsesian didn’t wake up one day and decide to become the World’s Worst Assistant. Achieving such greatness is a gradual process–one that starts with long hours and hard work before it eventually descends into sneaking low-dosage edibles into your lunch and napping on your boss’s couch.

With a forward from Conan O’Brien, The World’s Worst Assistant is populated with hysterical black-and-white illustrations, comics, and more. It’s a mixture of how-tos (like How to Nap at Work and How to Watch TV at Your Desk), tips for becoming untouchable (like memorizing social security and credit card numbers and endearing yourself to friends and family), and incredible personal stories from Sona’s twelve years spent working for Conan that put their adorable closeness and professional dysfunction on display. In these pages, Sona will explain her descent from eager, hard-working, ambitious, detail-orientated assistant to self-awarded title-holder for the worst in history.

This book is irresistible fun you’ll want to give to every young professional in your life. For readers of heartfelt humor like that of Phoebe Robinson and Colin Jost, The World’s Worst Assistant is a chance for fans, viewers, and listeners of Conan’s shows and podcast to fall in love with Sona and Conan all over again.

Description from Goodreads.

“Movsesian endearingly pulls her… comedic weight in this narrative… Movsesian truly shines when she discusses her Armenian heritage, her dating life, and winning a college national speech championship. Conan O’Brien fans will find much to love here.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“[Sona’s] narrative offers a refreshing departure from the traditional assistant horror stories of pleasing a tyrant boss… Brimming with heart and humor, this story of failing upward is a hoot.” – Publishers Weekly

“Playfully surreal reading about the comedy of human foibles.” – Kirkus Reviews


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