Someone Else's Shoes

Best New Books: Week of 2/7/2023

“Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.” – Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found by Christie Tate

nonfiction / memoir.

BFFAfter more than a decade of dead-end dates and dysfunctional relationships, Christie Tate has reclaimed her voice and settled down. Her days of agonizing in group therapy over guys who won’t commit are over, the grueling emotional work required to attach to another person tucked neatly into the past.

Or so she thought. Weeks after giddily sharing stories of her new boyfriend at Saturday morning recovery meetings, Christie receives a gift from a friend. Meredith, twenty years older and always impeccably accessorized, gives Christie a box of holiday-themed scarves as well as a gentle suggestion: maybe now is the perfect time to examine why friendships give her trouble. “The work never ends, right?” she says with a wink.

Christie isn’t so sure, but she soon realizes that the feeling of “apartness” that has plagued her since childhood isn’t magically going away now that she’s in a healthy romantic relationship. With Meredith by her side, she embarks on a brutally honest exploration of her friendships past and present, sorting through the ways that debilitating shame and jealousy have kept the lasting bonds she craves out of reach—and how she can overcome a history of letting go too soon. But when Meredith becomes ill and Christie’s baggage threatens to muddy their final days, she’s forced to face her deepest fears in honor of the woman who finally showed her how to be a friend.

Poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, and emotionally satisfying, B.F.F. explores what happens when we finally break the habits that impair our ability to connect with others, and the ways that one life—however messy and imperfect—can change another.

“In her heartfelt memoir, Tate reflects on the implosion of her past female friendships… [She] takes accountability for her actions (‘I’m a work in progress’), and she captures the transformative power of friendship… Readers will be moved by this outstanding portrait of self-excavation.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A meaningful, memorable journey from inner pain to honest, open, and enduring friendship.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Tate’s chaotic yet heartwarming first book [Group] was all about the unconventional group therapy setting that helped her work through her issues with intimacy… In her second memoir, Tate focuses on the elusive intimacy of friendship, recounting the tumultuous, emotional and funny process of learning how to have and be a friend. It yet again strikes that perfect balance of an author spilling the dirt and baring her soul.” – BookPage

Big Swiss by Jean Beagin

fiction / comedy / romance.

Big SwissGreta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she’s tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss’s refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past.

One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta’s true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she’ll do anything to sustain the relationship…

“It’s wild, it’s hilarious, and it’s so good.” – Tamara Fuentes, Cosmopolitan

“One of the funniest books of the last few years… Beagin may sooner be hotter than a farm-to-table restaurant in a bougie upstate town, but her work will be around much longer… both timely and ultimately transcendent.” – Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“[Beagin’s] most exciting book yet… [an] idiosyncratic love story… wrenching and hilarious.” – Emily Gould, Vulture

“Beagin’s black comedy is a laugh-out-loud bad romance for Gen Xers and an ode to misfits who just want to belong.” – Oprah Daily

Brutes by Dizz Tate

fiction / mystery / suspense.

BrutesWe would not be born out of sweetness, we were born out of rage, we felt it in our bones.

In Falls Landing, Florida–a place built of theme parks, swampy lakes, and scorched bougainvillea flowers–something sinister lurks in the deep. A gang of thirteen-year-old girls obsessively orbit around the local preacher’s daughter, Sammy. She is mesmerizing, older, and in love with Eddie. But suddenly, Sammy goes missing. Where is she? Watching from a distance, they edge ever closer to discovering a dark secret about their fame-hungry town and the cruel cost of a ticket out. What they see will continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Through a darkly beautiful and brutally compelling lens, Dizz Tate captures the violence, horrors, and manic joys of girlhood. Brutes is a novel about the seemingly unbreakable bonds in the we of young friendship, and the moment it is broken forever.

“An astonishing debut that will burrow under your skin.” – Laura Hackett, The Sunday Times

“Spellbinding… Brutes is astonishing, unnerving, cinematic, and slyly hideous.” – Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia Inqurer

“Dark and beautiful instantly come to mind when thinking about how to describe the teenage girl friendship in this book. Dark and beautiful also describes Tate’s writing. It explores coming-of-age in such new and unique ways. Brutes will mesmerize you and catch you off guard with how accurate yet unpredictable it is.” – Vitcavage, Debutiful

“Tate’s debut novel is for readers looking for a riveting plot only topped by its captivating voices, at times honest and vulnerable, at others chilling in their detachment, Tate’s prose enhances the conspiratorial relationship of these characters bonded by fickle friendship pacts, violence, and love. Simultaneously disturbing and sentimental, Brutes is a true reflection of girlhood.” – Booklist

Cocktails in Color: A Spirited Guide to the Art and Joy of Drinkmaking by Sammi Katz & Olivia McGiff

nonfiction / food / cocktails.

Cocktails in ColorCocktails in Color celebrates the craft of drinkmaking, from raw ingredients to finished, delightful refreshments. Together, Sammi Katz and Olivia McGiff explore the elements, tastes, and techniques of all things drinks to create an accessible, visually delicious new guide to drinking that gives you the tools to design your own cocktails.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new kid at the bar, Cocktails in Color deserves a spot on your bar cart. Each page is fully illustrated with rich inspiring gouache paintings. This book encourages readers to explore a palette of ingredients for their developing palate.

“[A] gem of a book: useful, lovely to page through, and instructive. It will be as welcome in the kitchen as on the nightstand, and readers will be delighted to find it on the shelf.” – Neal Wyatt, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“This book’s quirky gouache paintings and tidbits about ingredients and techniques make mixing drinks extra fun.” – Food Network Magazine

Button Hoopla Read

Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff

fiction / historical fiction.

Code Name Sapphire1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.

Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Mateo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.

“Grounded in history, Jenoff’s latest captivating WWII tale entwines heartrending journeys of survival, betrayal, and human connection.” – Leah Strauss, Booklist

“[A] riveting tale of bravery and resistance…” – BookPage

Button Hoopla Listen

Cold People by Tom Rob Smith

fiction / science fiction / suspense.

Cold PeopleThe world has fallen. Without warning, a mysterious and omnipotent force has claimed the planet for their own. There are no negotiations, no demands, no reasons given for their actions. All they have is a message: humanity has thirty days to reach the one place on Earth where they will be allowed to exist…Antarctica.

Cold People follows the perilous journeys of a handful of those who endure the frantic exodus to the most extreme environment on the planet. But their goal is not merely to survive the present. Because as they cling to life on the ice, the remnants of their past swept away, they must also confront the urgent challenge: can they change and evolve rapidly enough to ensure humanity’s future? Can they build a new society in the sub-zero cold?

Original and imaginative, as profoundly intimate as it is grand in scope, Cold People is a masterful and unforgettable epic.

“Chilling in so many ways.” – Bethane Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“Smith’s screenwriting talent brings a cinematic feel to this novel, which launches with a fast-paced race by humankind to escape an alien invasion by relocating to Antarctica. Natural selection is magnificent in the abstract, when it works over millennia, but seeing it sped up to take place in a single lifetime, as Smith vividly imagines, exposes its brutality.” – Becky Meloan, Washington Post

Cold People is a zany, wildly gripping, dark futuristic fantasy that achieves escapist lift-off [and] recalls H.P. Lovecraft and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I loved this wild, imaginative, fast moving book and can’t wait to see the inevitable screen adaptation.” – Taylor Antrim, Vogue

The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

Fiction / fantasy / science fiction.

The Cradle of IceTo stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed.

A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster.

Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them.

For each step has come with a cost—in blood, in loss, in heartbreak.

Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save us all.

“Readers will want to continue their journey with Nyx and her companions… the middle story in a huge epic that blends the science fiction of a tidally locked planet with elements of fantasy and magic.” – Marlene Harris, Library Journal

“[A] brilliantly conceived world… The writing is gorgeous, textured and full of detail, a notable shift from the stripped-down prose of the Sigma Force novels, and the world and its inhabitants are beautifully crafted. For lovers of fantasy fiction, a must-read.” – David Pitt, Booklist

The Critic’s Daughter: A Memoir by Priscilla Gilman

nonfiction / memoir / writing.

The Critic's DaughterGrowing up on the Upper West Side of New York City in the 1970s, in an apartment filled with dazzling literary and artistic characters, Priscilla Gilman worshiped her brilliant, adoring, and mercurial father, the writer, theater critic, and Yale School of Drama professor Richard Gilman. But when Priscilla was ten years old, her mother, renowned literary agent Lynn Nesbit, abruptly announced that she was ending the marriage. The resulting cascade of disturbing revelations―about her parents’ hollow marriage, her father’s double life and tortured sexual identity―fundamentally changed Priscilla’s perception of her father, as she attempted to protect him from the depression that had long shadowed him.

“Passionate, resonant, and beautifully written… Evokes both a uniquely brilliant and troubled man and the poignantly relatable essence of the father-daughter connection.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Poignant… Bibliophiles will enjoy the literary cameos (Joan Didion, Toni Morrison) and reflections on literature, but Gilman’s wrenching recollections of marital, and familial, dissolution are near-universal. This is an eye-opening testament to the lasting wounds of divorce.” – Publishers Weekly

Button Hoopla Listen

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

fiction / horror / suspense.

Don't Fear the ReaperFour years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.

Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.

Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

“Horror fans [will] be blown away by this audacious extravaganza.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A superior example of twenty-first-century horror with a strong, emotionally heartfelt core where every detail matters, delivered by an author at the top of his game.” – Becky Spratford, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“[An] all-consuming dive into the aesthetics of slasher films of yore, married with prose that takes itself seriously enough to be captivating but not so seriously that it feels needlessly glum… A perfect mix of compelling writing, characters who never cease to surprise and just the right amount of schlock, Don’t Fear the Reaper is essential reading for anyone who loves rooting for the Final Girl.” – Laura Hubbard, BookPage

Don’t Fear the Reaper knocks it out of the park both as a standalone novel and as the second within a trilogy. Stephen Graham Jones has given readers a book that is at once a gory and terrifying page-turner; a clever meta riff on ‘new’ slasher cycle genre tropes; and a thoughtful treatise on communities, relationships, and trauma survival.” – Lee Mandelo,

Eastbound by Maylis De Kerangal; translated by Jessica Moore


EastboundAliocha is racing toward Vladivostok with other Russian conscripts packed on a trans-Siberian train. Soon after boarding, he decides to desert. Over a midnight smoke in a dark corridor of the train, the young soldier encounters an older French woman, Hélène, for whom he feels an uncanny trust. He manages through pantomime and a basic Russian that Hélène must decipher to ask for her help. As they hurry from the filth of his third-class carriage to Hélène’s first-class sleeping car, Aliocha becomes a hunted deserter and Hélène his accomplice with her own recent memories to contend with.

Eastbound is both an adventure story and a duet of vibrant inner worlds. In evocative sentences gorgeously translated by Jessica Moore, De Kerangal tells the story of two unlikely souls entwined in a quest for freedom with a striking sense of tenderness, sharply contrasting the brutality of their surrounding world.

“In this slim, sleek tale that hurries along at the speeding train’s clip, De Kerangal draws on classic train capers while also poetically, ravishingly conveying the immensity and harsh beauty of this haunted land of exile and torment… With each new novel, De Kerangal secures her place as a writer of stunning, incisive, enrapturing fiction; it’s a boon to have this sensuous, soulful, and suspenseful earlier work so gorgeously translated into English by Jessica Moore.” –Donna Seaman, Booklist

“Impeccable… De Kerangal’s triumphant achievement is powered by mellifluous prose with a rhythm as steady as the train. Readers are in for a dazzling literary ride.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Eastbound is a compassionate thriller, one where suspense is created around the question of whether one person will aid another. It asks us to remember our humanity and the humanity of others. something which goes beyond nationality and language.” – Grant Rintoul, First Reading

Button Hoopla Listen

Encore in Death by J.D. Robb

fiction / msytery / suspense.

Encore in DeathIt was a glittering event full of A-listers, hosted by Eliza Lane and Brant Fitzhugh, a celebrity couple who’d conquered both Hollywood and Broadway. And now Eve Dallas has made her entrance—but not as a guest. After raising a toast, Fitzhugh fell to the floor and died, with physical symptoms pointing to cyanide, and the police have crashed the party.

From all accounts, he wasn’t the kind of star who made enemies. Everyone loved him—even his ex-wife. And since the champagne cocktail that killed him was originally intended for Eliza, it’s possible she was the real target, with a recently fired assistant, a bitter rival, and an obsessed fan in the picture. With so many attendees, staff, and servers, Eve has her work cut out determining who committed murder in the middle of the crowd—and what was their motivation. As one who’s not fond of the spotlight herself, she dreads the media circus surrounding a case like this. All she wants is to figure out who’s truly innocent, and who’s only acting that way…

“…entertaining… Series fans will be satisfied.” – Publishers Weekly

“The latest in the Eve Dallas series includes Roarke and other beloved characters and won’t disappoint its myriad of fans. The celebrity culture of fanaticism and stalkers is handled beautifully in this solid, skillfully written procedural.” – Lesa Holstine, Library Journal

Every Missing Girl by Leanne Kale Sparks

fiction / suspense / mystery.

Every Missing GirlThe stunning landscape of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are among our greatest natural treasures. But there are deadly secrets lurking in the craggy heights. FBI Special Agent Kendall Beck and Denver Homicide Detective Adam Taylor team up to investigate a kidnapping crime, but the case quickly turns cold. When Taylor’s niece, Frankie, suddenly vanishes at a local hockey rink, it’s clear that there’s a predator on the loose—and now, the case has turned personal.

One discovery after another leads Beck and Taylor closer to the answer, as they close in on the devastating truth about the fates of the missing girls—and the many who came before them. Will they be able to find Frankie before it’s too late? In this thrilling story, Leanne Kale Sparks weaves the threads of this harrowing drama and builds the intensity to a fever pitch.

“The characters’ amiability and competence make the final act sting.” – Kirkus Reviews

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

A Good Day to Pie by Misha Popp

fiction / mystery.

A Good Day to PieEveryone loves a good pie. But how about a pie that’s as deadly as it is delectable?

Daisy bakes a little murder into every pie she creates, and she and her dog, Zoe, deliver them to the town’s worst cads. Now, Daisy’s entered a televised, elimination-style competition and has a shot at $100k in prize money—but she still has a murder pie to deliver between filming.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, she discovers that her intended victim is one of the competition judges, and he turns up dead before the pie even arrives. Now, Daisy has to solve the murder—even if it means working a bit of magic—before someone calls foul play and exposes her murderous secret.

For anyone who’s ever fantasized about the world of competitive baking à la the Great British Bake Off—or has ever dreamed of getting back at that guy who wronged them years ago— Popp’s culinary cozy series is as alluring as a perfectly baked pie, this edgy yet utterly charming novel takes the idea of “a dessert to die for” to a whole new level.

“[A] fun premise and the in-depth descriptions of food… round out a volume sure to please culinary cozy fans.” – Publishers Weekly

“A plethora of suspects and scrumptiously detailed descriptions of each contestant’s entries will wow foodies.” – Kirkus Reviews

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

Fiction / Historical Fiction / romance.

The House of Eve1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.

Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his par­ents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.

With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

“Johnson showcases the difficult boundaries of race, class, and education as she explores the obstacles and consequences that confront those who seek to cross them.” – Booklist

“[A] redemptive gut punch of a novel… an affecting and arresting exploration of young Black womanhood and motherhood in the mid-20th century… haunting… Johnson’s talents are in full bloom in this layered story with two distinctive and compelling young Black women at the center… The novel’s great beauty lies in the truth it depicts… engrossing, emotionally wrenching and socially astute storytelling. Time in Ruby and Eleanor’s world is time well spent.” – Carole V. Bell, Washington Post

“This is a moving work of women’s fiction with timely perspective on racism, colorism, and pre-Roe women’s rights in the United States of the 1950s. Fans of Tayari Jones, Brit Bennett, and Jeni McFarland will want to check it out.” – Laurie Cavanaugh, Library Journal

“Johnson’s suspenseful and thought-provoking latest follows two young Black women as they separately navigate mid-20th century America… This well-crafted work is bound to provoke discussion among readers about the conflicts women face regarding pregnancy.” – Publishers Weekly

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein

fiction / historical fiction / mystery.

Hungry GhostsTrinidad in the 1940s, nearing the end of American occupation and British colonialism. On a hill overlooking Bell Village sits the Changoor farm, where Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury unrecognizable to those who reside in the farm’s shadow. Down below is the Barrack, a ramshackle building of wood and tin, divided into rooms occupied by whole families. Among these families are the Saroops–Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna, all three born of the barracks. Theirs are hard lives of backbreaking work, grinding poverty, devotion to faith, and a battle against nature and a social structure designed to keep them where they are.

But when Dalton goes missing and Marlee’s safety is compromised, farmhand Hans is lured by the promise of a handsome stipend to move to the farm as a watchman. As the mystery of Dalton’s disappearance unfolds, the lives of the wealthy couple and those who live in the barracks below become insidiously entwined, their community changed forever and in shocking ways.

A searing and singular novel of religion, class, family, and historical violence, and rooted in Trinidad’s wild pastoral landscape and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, Hungry Ghosts is deeply resonant of its time and place while evoking the roots and ripple effects of generational trauma and linked histories; the lingering resentments, sacrifices, and longings that alter destinies; and the consequences of powerlessness. Lyrically told and rendered with harrowing beauty, Hungry Ghosts is a stunning piece of storytelling and an affecting mystery, from a blazingly talented writer.

“Rich in vocabulary and description, the novel situates characters in a meticulously detailed setting that evokes Middlemarch, with a similar empathy for human struggle… In scope and style, it’s not far off a masterpiece.” – Suzi Feay, Financial Times

“A vibrant portrait… Hosein evokes all this in rich, visceral language… His story, often brutal, ultimately tragic, is nevertheless lit by a wide embrace reaching beyond place and people to the bedrock… Immersive, persuasive: an elemental ‘portal to the Caribbean’ delivered in a distinctive voice.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Hungry Ghosts has the mesmerizing power of a tale told on a bone-chilling night… A novel that slowly builds toward a climax of Shakespearean proportions… Hosein excels at setting this volatile stage and letting events simmer. Along the way, he delicately explores the often tortured backgrounds of numerous characters in his large cast, revealing their motives and desires… Readers will long remember this one.” – Alice Cary, BookPage

I Know Who You Are: How an Amateur DNA Sleuth Unmasked the Golden State Killer and Changed Crime Fighting Forever by Barbara Rae-Venter

nonfiction / true crime / memoir.

I Know Who You AreFor twelve years the Golden State Killer terrorized California, stalking victims and killing without remorse. Then he simply disappeared, for the next forty-four years, until an amateur DNA sleuth opened her laptop. In I Know Who You Are Barbara Rae-Venter reveals how she went from researching her family history as a retiree to hunting for a notorious serial killer—and how she became the nation’s leading authority on investigative genetic genealogy, the most dazzling new crime-fighting weapon to appear in decades.

Rae-Venter leads readers on a vivid journey through the many cases she tackled, often starting with little more than a DNA sample. From the first criminal case she ever solved—uncovering the long-lost identity of a child abductee—to the heartbreaking story of the Billboard Boy, whose skeletal remains were discovered along a highway, to the search for the Golden State Killer, Rae-Venter shares haunting, often thrilling accounts of how she helped solve some of America’s most chilling cold cases in the span of just three years.

For each investigation, Rae-Venter brings readers inside her unique “grasshopper mind” as she analyzes DNA data and pores through obituaries, marriage records, and old newspaper articles. Readers join in on urgent calls with sheriffs, FBI agents, and district attorneys as she details the struggle to obtain usable crime scene DNA samples, until, finally, a critical piece of the puzzle tumbles into place.

I Know Who You Are captures both the exhilaration of the moment of discovery and the sheer depth of emotion that lingers around cold cases, informing Rae-Venter’s careful approach to her work. It is a story of relentless curiosity, of constant invention and reinvention, and of human beings striving to answer the most elemental questions about themselves: What defines identity? Where do we belong? And are we truly who we think we are?

“…thrilling… This badass senior’s riveting second act is a real page-turner.” – Lindsay Powers, Amazon

“A remarkable account… Rae-Venter makes the science accessible and delves into the controversy that forensic genealogy has engendered because of privacy concerns… It’s an eye-opening and thought-provoking contribution to the true crime genre.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Fascinating true-crime reportage infused with cinematic suspense… [Barbara Rae-Venter’s] chronicle is a solid testament to the evolution of genetic forensic science and how it has made investigators more effective in apprehending criminals, both from cold cases and those in real time. It’s also an examination of corrupted humanity gone haywire and the thrill and release of an abuser being brought to justice.” – Kirkus Reviews

It’s the End of the World, My Love by Alla Gorbunova; translated by Elina Alter

fiction / fantasy / horror.

It’s the End of the World, My LoveOtherworldly forces, dark phantasmagoria, the horrors of underground life crossed with mythical fairytales, all swirl in Alla Gorbunova’s audacious and spectacular novel.

Children, students, beggars, young poets; Alla Gorbunova’s heroes and heroines live their lives intensively, balancing between longing and euphoria in their lives in St. Petersburg.

But Gorbunova’s stories are far from everyday life: she looks at a fragile and dangerous reality with uncompromising tenderness, above all capable of transforming her characters.

“Stunningly diverse and at the same time impeccably holistic, nakedly sincere and bizarrely inventive, naive and wise, frightening and comfortable – Alla Gorbunova’s book seems to deliberately elude any unambiguous epithets, or rather, contains them all, while remaining something immeasurably large and simply different. And it is precisely this fundamental indeterminacy, this exciting ambiguity that definitely allows us to call It’s the End of the World, My Love one of the main – if not the main – book of this year.” – Galina Yuzefovich, Meduza

Button Hoopla Read

Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall

fiction / historical fiction.

Looking for Jane2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.

1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.

1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.

“Marshall makes an absorbing debut with a timely novel about the complexities of pregnancy and motherhood… [a] deftly braided narrative, Marshall keeps the tension high as she reveals the devastating consequences of denying women autonomy over their bodies. A charged topic handled with sensitivity and compassion.” – Kirkus Reviews

“It’s a page-turner… readers will be moved by the courage and thoughtfulness with which these characters face their dilemmas.” – Publishers Weekly

“…powerful… This timely novel about motherhood and choices is a must for all fiction collections.” – Catherine Coyne, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Murder at an Irish Castle by Ellie Brannigan

fiction / mystery.

Murder at an Irish CastleRodeo Drive bridalwear designer Rayne McGrath expected her thirtieth birthday to start with a power lunch and end with champagne, lobster, and a diamond engagement ring from her fiancé. Instead, flat-broke and busted, she’s on a plane to Ireland where she discovers that she’s inherited a run-down family castle. Uncle Nevin’s will contains a few caveats—for example, if Rayne doesn’t turn McGrath Castle around within a year, the entire village will be financially destroyed.

With the fate of the town in her hands, and rumors that Rayne’s uncle’s death wasn’t actually an accident, she can’t possibly go back to her old life in L.A. As the devastating truth about her uncle dawns on Rayne, it’s not just her reputation that’s on the line, it’s her life.

Featuring a sharp and endearing protagonist, a colorful and quirky locale, and replete with twists and turns befitting an old Irish village, the first in Brannigan’s mystery series transports us to a milieu as romantic as it is deadly.

“[A] delightful and infectious story loaded with originality.” – Wonder Women Sixty

“Strong characters and clever efforts to save the castle will leave you eagerly awaiting the next installment.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[A] strong sense of place… [And] a well-written cozy mystery series launch. Will appeal to fans of Sheila Connolly and Carlene O’Connor.” – Lesa Holstine, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enríquez; translated by Megan McDowell

fiction / horror / fantasy / historical fiction.

Our Share of Night“We have children so we can continue, they are our immortality.”

A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travels to her family home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed. The woman they grieve came from a clan like no other—a centuries-old secret society called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of eternal life. For Gaspar, the son, this vampiric cult is his destiny.

Now Gaspar is in danger. As the Order tries to possess him, father and son take flight, yet nothing will stop the Order for nothing is beyond them. Hunted by evil and surrounded by horror, Gaspar and his father attempt to outrun a powerful family that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But can any of us escape the fate that awaits us?

“A masterpiece of literary horror.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Thrilling in its scope and and astounding in its ambition… Wicked, wise, and stuffed with supernatural intrigue, Our Share of Night is a mighty feat of creative prowess.” – Lauren Puckett-Pope, Elle

“Conjure[s] emotional textures almost unimaginable in realist fiction… With this [novel], Enriquez has added an indelible and terrifying corner to our reality.” – David Kurnick, Bookforum

Radiant Sin by Katee Robert

fiction / romance / fantasy.

Radiant SinAs a disgraced member of a fallen house, Cassandra Gataki has seen firsthand what comes from trusting the venomous Thirteen. But when the maddeningly gorgeous and kind Apollo asks her to go undercover as his plus-one at a week-long party hosted by a dangerous new power player… Cassandra reluctantly agrees to have his back.

On one condition: when it’s all over, and Apollo has the ammunition he needs to protect Olympus, she and her sister will be allowed to leave. For good.

Apollo may be the city’s official spymaster, but it’s his ability to inspire others that keeps him at the top. Despite what the rest of Olympus says, there’s no one he trusts more than Cassandra. Yet even as their fake relationship takes a wicked turn for the scaldingly hot, a very real danger surfaces… threatening not only Cassandra and Apollo, but the very heart of Olympus itself.

“This twisty romance will keep readers guessing from start to finish, and the irresistible leads are sure to become fan favorites. This addictive series is nowhere close to flaming out.” – Publishers Weekly

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Diversity, Identity, and Justice by Kenji Yoshino & David Glasgow

nonfiction / current events.

Say the Right ThingIn the current period of social and political unrest, conversations about identity are becoming more frequent and more difficult. On subjects like critical race theory, gender equity in the workplace, and LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms, many of us are understandably fearful of saying the wrong thing. That fear can sometimes prevent us from speaking up at all, depriving people from marginalized groups of support and stalling progress toward a more just and inclusive society.

Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow, founders of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at NYU School of Law, are here to show potential allies that these conversations don’t have to be so overwhelming. Through stories drawn from contexts as varied as social media posts, dinner party conversations, and workplace disputes, they offer seven user-friendly principles that teach skills such as how to avoid common conversational pitfalls, engage in respectful disagreement, offer authentic apologies, and better support people in our lives who experience bias.

Research-backed, accessible, and uplifting, Say the Right Thing charts a pathway out of cancel culture toward more meaningful and empathetic dialogue on issues of identity. It also gives us the practical tools to do good in our spheres of influence. Whether managing diverse teams at work, navigating issues of inclusion at college, or challenging biased comments at a family barbecue, Yoshino and Glasgow help us move from unconsciously hurting people to consciously helping them.

“The authors successfully set forth a clear sense of how one might balance accountability for wrongs with compassion for those who have erred. A sensitive and sensible handbook for encouraging positive conversations about identity.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Compelling, practical advice and techniques for holding conversations with others about identity without feeling ashamed… Readers interested in communications specifically related to equity, diversity, and inclusion will find lots of relevant advice in this timely book.” – Booklist

Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

fiction / romance.

Secretly YoursHallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to their small town. When Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she’ll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly. One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless–and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.

On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt–and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past. Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s gray-scale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her… and her very presence is turning his world upside down.

“This sexy opposites-attract romantic comedy features witty banter, steamy dialogue, and well-developed characters… Readers will devour Bailey’s latest (after Hook, Line, and Sinker) in one sitting, then go back to again and again to pick up on its intricate subtleties. Highly recommended.” – Heather Miller Cover, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Her voice feels as fresh and contemporary as a Netflix rom-com… Bailey writes banter and rom-com scenarios with aplomb, but for those who like their romance on the spicier side, she’s also the Michelangelo of dirty talk. She wields filth like Da Vinci does a paintbrush, and there’s a lot to be said for an author who can fill such exchanges with all the requisite heat, enthusiastic consent, and yes, even humor, of such a scenario without veering into corny territory.” – Entertainment Weekly

“With her latest addictively readable rom-com, the cheeky humor and full-blown sexiness that are organic elements in all of Bailey’s writing are in full, glorious bloom. The end result is a lushly sensual romance that brilliantly exploits the opposites-attract trope between a buttoned-up, by-the-book academic and a cheerfully chaotic Earth goddess-gardener for the maximum amount of love and laughter.” – John Charles, Booklist

Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes


Someone Else's ShoesWho are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence makes her realize that something must change—and that thing is herself.

Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

“Fortunes collide in this funny, warmly told story… Life-changing, heartwarming hilarity ensues.” – Reader’s Digest

Freaky Friday is all grown up in this heartfelt and heartwarming tale of two women in very different circumstances… a story of reinvention that just might inspire you to make a change yourself—just buy your own shoes.” – Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping

“Charming… Moyes is never short on her trademark clever observations… [her] fans will have a ball.” – Publishers Weekly

“[Someone Else’s Shoes] showcases Moyes’ ability to portray emotion and female friendship with themes of love, betrayal, family, and hope. It is action packed and will have readers rooting for Nisha and Sam.” – Crystal Vela, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

A Spell of Good Things by Ayòbámi Adébáyò


A Spell of Good ThingsEniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. Because his father has lost his job, Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor, collecting newspapers, begging when he must, dreaming of a big future.

Wuraola is a golden girl, the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted young doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, the volatile son of an ascendant politician.

When a local politician takes an interest in Eniola and sudden violence shatters a family party, Wuraola and Eniola’s lives become intertwined. In her breathtaking second novel, Ayobami Adebayo shines her light on Nigeria, on the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the shared humanity that lives in between.

“[A] bright and distinctive tragedy… The story’s violent denouement is as devastating as it is inevitable. Pitch-perfect details provide a sense of the characters’ lives—the red dust caked on Ẹniọlá’s white socks from long walks to school, the soft headscarf worn by Wúràọlá’s mother that ‘barely whispered’—and as the characters are pushed to the brink, Adébáyọ̀ delivers a searing indictment of the country’s corruption and gender inequalities. This packs a powerful punch.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Ayòbámi Adébáyò has a sprightly writing style that’s pleasurably at odds with the devastating story she tells in A Spell of Good Things.” – BookPage

“Adébáyọ̀’s point is that the classes are interwoven much more deeply than surfaces suggest, that both are equally likely to be undermined by greed, and that small acts of violence become larger ones wherever you go… she reveals how stifling—and dangerous—unthinking loyalty to tradition and family can be. A somber study of good intentions undone by money and abuse.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[A] pointed warning about the dangers of choosing to look away from the deep economic fissures that run through a community… the intricacy of the novel’s structure comes to feel both unexpected and inevitable, building toward a final devastating convergence.” – Aamina Ahmad, New York Times

The Spite House by Johnny Compton

fiction / horror.

The Spite HouseEric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he’s desperate for money–it’s not easy to find safe work when you can’t provide references, you can’t stay in one place for long, and you’re paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.

When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.

The job calls to Eric, not just because there’s a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it’ll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running. A terrifying Gothic thriller about grief and death and the depths of a father’s love, Johnny Compton’s The Spite House is a stunning debut by a horror master in the making.

“One part road trip, one part family relationships, and one part haunted house, serve this update on genre staples to showcase the voice of a rising new writer to an audience that adores the classics.” – Aaron Heil, Library Journal

“Compton’s chilling debut is horror with heart that puts a refreshingly modern spin on the haunted house story… This tense work of gothic horror provides a complex and multidimensional look at how anger, grief, and trauma can strengthen bonds of familial love…Even the most jaded horror fans will be wowed.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman

fiction / mystery / suspense.

Unnatural HistoryLos Angeles is a city of stark contrast, the palaces of the affluent coexisting uneasily with the hellholes of the mad and the needy. It is that shadow world and the violence it breeds that draw brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis into an unsettling case of altruism gone wrong.

On a superficially lovely morning a woman shows up for work with her usual enthusiasm. She’s the newly hired personal assistant to a handsome, wealthy photographer and is ready to greet her boss with coffee and good cheer. Instead, she finds him slumped in bed, shot to death.

The victim had recently received rave media attention for his latest project: images of homeless people in their personal “dream” situations, elaborately costumed and enacting unfulfilled fantasies. There are some, however, who view the whole thing as nothing more than crass exploitation, citing token payments and the victim’s avoidance of any long-term relationships with his subjects.

Has disgruntlement blossomed into homicidal rage? Or do the roots of violence reach down to the victim’s family—a clan, sired by an elusive billionaire, that is bizarre in its own right?

Then new murders arise, and Alex and Milo begin peeling back layer after layer of intrigue and complexity, culminating in one of the deadliest threats they’ve ever faced.

“This is Kellerman at his very best. Just the dialogue between Sturgis and Delaware is worth it. But also, the depiction of Los Angeles is always the star.” – Cara DiConstanzo, Mystery & Suspense

“Kellerman, a trained psychologist, brings authenticity to his thoughtful protagonist, as well as a genuine touch of humanity to Alex’s friendship with Milo. This long-running series is still going strong.” – Publishers Weekly

“Still one of the most talented authors working today, Kellerman dials up yet another page-turning adventure starring Alex Delaware. Riveting and full of twists and turns that’ll keep you glued to the pages, I found this to be one of Kellerman’s best books to date… and that’s really saying something when you look at his extraordinary body of work.” – The Real Book Spy

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

fiction / fantasy / historical fiction.

Victory CityIn the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for the goddess Parvati, who begins to speak out of the girl’s mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana’s comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga–literally victory city–the wonder of the world.

Over the next two hundred and fifty years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s, from its literal sowing out of a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power. Whispering Bisnaga and its citizens into existence, Pampa Kampana attempts to make good on the task that Parvati set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and Bisnaga is no exception. As years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an ever more complex tapestry–with Pampa Kampana at its center.

Brilliantly styled as a translation of an ancient epic, this is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is in itself a testament to the power of storytelling.

“[An] awe-inspiring saga that looks at what it’s really like to be the center of the universe.” – Time

“It’s splendid that Salman Rushdie has a new novel out… Better still, it’s a cracker. Purportedly a rediscovered ancient epic, it’s about the transformative power of human creativity, the enduring ability of art to shape the world.” – Alex Preston, The Guardian

“Rushdie reflects throughout on the nature of history and storytelling, with Pampa Kampana’s creations learning who they are only through the ‘imaginary narrative’ that is whispered to them as they sleep and with Vijayanagar’s rulers, along with their subjects, the victims of historical amnesia who ‘exist now only in words.’ A grand entertainment, in a tale with many strands, by an ascended master of modern legends.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…spellbinding and provocative… With sly and incisive asides from the narrator about the vicissitudes of human nature and the tides of conquest and insurrection, tyranny and freedom, Rushdie’s bewitching and suspenseful, romantic and funny, tragic and incisive tale, rooted in the history of Vijayanagar, the fallen capital of a vanquished empire in southern India, is resplendent in its celebration of women and the age-old magic of storytelling… [A] transporting and sharply insightful fable from brilliantly imaginative and wise Rushdie, a literary giant and courageous free-speech advocate.” – Donna Seaman, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo


Western LaneEleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash since she was old enough to hold a racket. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a quietly brutal training regimen, and the game becomes her world. Slowly, she grows apart from her sisters. Her life is reduced to the sport, guided by its rhythms: the serve, the volley, the drive, the shot and its echo.

But on the court, she is not alone. She is with her pa. She is with Ged, a thirteen-year-old boy with his own formidable talent. She is with the players who have come before her. She is in awe.

An indelible coming-of-age story, Chetna Maroo’s first novel captures the ordinary and annihilates it with beauty. Western Lane is a valentine to innocence, to the closeness of sisterhood, to the strange ways we come to know ourselves and each other.

“Compact and powerful… This will invigorate readers.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“A poignant illustration of the power of sports to help a family deal with grief―and each other―as they gradually make their way out of the darkness… [Maroo] is a marvelous and restrained storyteller.” – Shahina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness

“Subtle and elegant… Gopi’s retrospective narration accumulates slow layers of heartbreak as the story proceeds, patiently building up an entire landscape of emotion through gestures, silences, and overheard murmurings in the dark. A debut novel of immense poise and promise.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla Listen

When Broadway Was Black: The Triumphant Story of the All-Black Musical That Changed the World by Caseen Gaines

nonfiction / history / theater.

When Broadway Was BlackIf Hamilton, Rent, or West Side Story captured your heart, you’ll love this in-depth look into the rise of the 1921 Broadway hit, Shuffle Along, the first all-Black musical to succeed on Broadway. No one was sure if America was ready for a show featuring nuanced, thoughtful portrayals of Black characters―and the potential fallout was terrifying. But from the first jazzy, syncopated beats of composers Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, New York audiences fell head over heels.

When Broadway Was Black is the story of how Sissle and Blake, along with comedians Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, overcame poverty, racism, and violence to harness the energy of the Harlem Renaissance and produce a runaway Broadway hit that launched the careers of many of the twentieth century’s most beloved Black performers. Born in the shadow of slavery and establishing their careers at a time of increasing demands for racial justice and representation for people of color, they broke down innumerable barriers between Black and white communities at a crucial point in our history.

Author and pop culture expert Caseen Gaines leads readers through the glitz and glamour of New York City during the Roaring Twenties to reveal the revolutionary impact one show had on generations of Americans, and how its legacy continues to resonate today.

“[An] exuberant and thoroughly captivating book… Gaines is in full command of the material he has fastidiously researched and assembled.” – Dave Itzkoff, New York Times

“In Gaines’s hands, the artists come to life as groundbreakers―and later civil rights advocates (Sissle was president of the Negro Actors Guild in 1935)―who paved the way for artists to come. This vibrant history is well worth checking out.” – Publishers Weekly

“In this well-researched compilation of behind-the-scenes stories and background, pop culture historian Gaines celebrates the 100th anniversary of the original staging of the all-Black musical comedy Shuffle Along… Gaines persuasively argues that these four men shouldn’t be relegated to the footnotes of history, as their work resulted in monumental gains for many Black performers. Theater buffs and students of Black history will be pleased by this cogent defense of Shuffle Along.” – Lisa Henry, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla Read


Curious how these lists are put together? CLICK HERE!

NOTE: The library does not receive any compensation for links TO OTHER SITES.

One comment

Leave a Reply