Small town southern Bingo sex pact romance? Honestly nothing could be better. Aja and Walker are complicated, earnest, wonderful characters, and their story had me giddy for all 300 pages. You need this book to be part of your summer.
Imagine you're on your way home from a night out and you run into your ex. And the next night you run into another ex, and the next night, another. Lola tries to brush off these interactions as coincidence, but it soon becomes too much to ignore, especially once she discovers that her love life is being influenced by a cult and their smarmy leader. Crosley's latest is wicked smart and funny, but also surprisingly tender and reflective.
Renkl's collection of essays she has written for the New York Times over the past several years is full of gentle and unerring observations on nature and humanity in the South. This book made me cry more than any other I've read, therefore it becomes an automatic favorite. The perfect gift for those who already know and love the South in all its complexities and contradictions, and also for those who are hanging onto outdated and harmful stereotypes about the region.
This is Emily Henry at the absolute top of her game. Literary agent Nora is intense, cutthroat and utterly relatable, while editor Charlie is....intense, cutthroat, and utterly relatable. Their enemies to friends to lovers relationship in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina is the perfect heartwarming read.
A stunning memoir from Kentucky's most hopeful legislator, From The Hood to the Holler should be required reading for anyone hoping to understand the political and emotional dynamics of an oft written off state, as well as get a glimpse into the life and upbringing of a truly caring and passionate Kentuckian.
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Noni Blake is desperate for a change to her uneventful, non-descript life. When her decade long relationship ends, she takes the money from selling their shared house and jets off to Europe for six months, her only goal being to seek pleasure. Noni is relatable, infuriating, and utterly loveable, and I thoroughly enjoyed her journey of self-discovery.
While the cover looks like an engrossing fantasy novel, The Firekeeper's Daughter is actually a page-turning small town mystery. We're talking hockey, Indigenous communities, Yoopers, and teenage drug lords. Perfect for young adult and adult thriller lovers alike.
A gritty princess-turned-nun learns of dark goings on at the palace which put her sister in danger, and she sets off to the Northern Kingdom to secure the queen's safety. Along the way she gathers a small ragtag gang of misfits that have nothing better to do than join her on this journey. Each character is fabulously drawn (including the dog) and their adventure is sure to stick with you.
Lonely is often treated as dirty word, and is accompanied by images of crying women eating ice cream, or men in their parents basements playing video games. But what if feeling lonely is something to be savored and appreciated? The Lonely Stories explores this deeply complex emotion in all of its facets, and ends up being a cathartic and uplifting collection.
A subtle and understated vampire book. Lydia is both mixed-race and mixed-species, and is trying to make it on her own for the first time. A constant battle against her hunger and desire to be human leads to an extremely complicated relationship with food, as well as with her very first group of friends. This one's a sleeper, but oh so satisfying.
You can always expect an intruiguing and multi-layered story from Emily St. John Mandel, but Sea of Tranquility takes it to the next level. What on the surface seems like a moon colony futuristic sci-fi novel turns out to be a story of love, family, and the ripple effect that every choice has. Superb
Featuring an array of diverse city dwellers, Urban Farmers peeks into the lives of those growing, beekeeping, composting and educating while surround by concrete. A mix of essays, profiles, and how-tos, this book is sure to inspire any seasoned or aspiring gardener (whether or not you reside in the middle of a concrete jungle).
The story that Last House on Needless Street tells is not at all the story I was expecting. The lives of the three occupants of the broken down house at the end of Needless Street are turned upside down after a new neighbor moves in and is a bit friendlier than any of them are comfortable with. The tale turns gritty, twisty, and unnerving - no one is who they seem.
Murder, corpses, and raging misogyny - what's not to love? Hazel is an aspiring surgeon in 19th century Edinburgh, and when she gets kicked out of her program for not being a man, she teams up with resurrection man Jack to continue her studies in less tasteful ways. Throw in random disappearances and a smarmy doctor to tie it all together!
A brutal, long-ago incident in the woods comes back to haunt the four men involved in particularly terrifying ways. This book was grisly, heart-pounding, psychologically twisted - everything we have come to expect from Stephen Graham Jones. Superb.
If you read the first twenty pages of this book and think, like I did "this seems exactly the same as Daisy Jones and the Six" KEEP GOING. The way the stories are setup is similar, but Opal and Nev have a unique story that demands to be heard. Walton combines oral music history, intense relatiopnship dynamics, and strong character development to result in an engaging read. I highly recommend the full-cast audiobook on Libro.fm!
Six beloved YA authors team up to share stories of young Black love during a city-wide New York power outage. The characters were relatable and the tension was palpable - what's not to love?
In this house we don't sit on the bed in our outside clothes, and we stan Phoebe Robinson. She's insightful, witty, smart, and laughs at her own jokes. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook so you can experience her jokes exactly as they were meant to be told.
Meteorologist Ari and sports reporter Russell scheme to get their bosses back together to ease the tumult in their workplace. Obviously they're just friends! Coworkers, nothing more! No amount of late night planning over dinner and drinks could lead to deeper feelings for each other! A fun romance with important and accurate mental illness representation.
Life is meaningless and nothing matters, and how great is that? While nihilism is traditionally used in tandem with negativity, The Sunny Nihilist instead tells us that it's freeing to accept the fact that nothing we do, our very existence even, really matters. This mindset allows us to move through life more freely and with less strife, something we could all use.
It seems like young adults these days are under constant pressure to be, have, and strive for the best - where you go to school, what city you live in, what you post on social media, your job (it has to be both well-paying AND emotionally fulfilling AND use that degree you worked so hard for). Stauffer explores why and how our society is this way, and wonders what it takes to just be....ordinary? This is a comforting and affirming read for any milennial who feels like their constantly struggling to be enough.
Part memoir and part examination of the US healthcare system, What Doesn't Kill You is a Must read. Miller describes her history of living with a mostly undiagnosed chronic illness, until she's diagnosed with Crohn's after years of living in on and off agony, the challenges she faces in love, work, and healthcare, and advice for those living with chronic illness (and those who love them) for navigating said challenges. Heart-wrenching and beautifully done.
Lord of the Flies meets The Grace Year in this skin-crawling and engaging novel. Hetty and her classmates are quarantined on the island that houses their boarding school, since the Tox hit and teachers started dying and girls started noticing strange and unique markings on their bodies. As the food deliveries start to dwindle and questions go unanswered, desperation causes the girls to turn on each other and test the limits of their humanity.
From brown bears to house mice, animals cause humans a whole lot of strife. Fuzz explores how we react to animals 'invading' human space (perhaps should be the other way around) and the plethora of techniques employed to keep them under control, to varying results. Roach retains her crown as today's funniest science writer
One look at this cover and you just know it's the perfect spooky season read. Jane Eyre meets Mexican Gothic meets Haunting of Hill House - a hopeful young woman, a dark, handsome stranger, and a gloomy house in the middle of nowhere.
Sometimes you need a cheat sheet to help you in the most awkward, difficult situations in life. How To Find the Right Words provides just that. Spanning personal, professional, and familial relationships, this is the key to saying what you need to say, while keeping kindness and sincerity of the utmost importance.
A fierce, feminist retelling of Snow White, a Spindle Splintered is another demonstration of Harrow's excellence. Twenty-one year old Zinnia Gray is told she has a year left to live, but when her sleeping beauty themed birthday party comes to a close and Zinnia makes a certain choice around a spinning wheel, her life's trajectory changes in a way she never could have anticipated.
Six girls who live behind The Iron Curtain change their leisurely summer swimming routine into something more intense and purposeful. Peeks into their lives as adults are bound together by atmospheric vignettes of their childhood in the river and journey into the world of synchronized swimming. The kind of book you could read in one sitting, one breath, or spread out over weeks of indulgent moments.
The past year has rapidly accelerated the already growing problem of loneliness in America, and Radtke perfectly captures what it's like to live in a lonely body, as well as examining loneliness in a historical, scientific, and cultural context. Haunting illustrations accompany panels that deliver gut-punching truths about humanity and desire in many forms. Devastating and vital.
Gordon-Reed has written an accessible yet thorough history of the events leading up to and surrounding Juneteenth, as well as weaving in her personal and family history in the state of Texas. Ideal for those looking to broaden their knowledge of this important holiday!
Never before have I felt so deeply attached to the characters of a short story collection. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores exactly what you think it does - the mindsets and desires of Black women of faith, often fraught with contradiction and strife. Stunningly done.
If life has you feeling a bit listless, uncertain, or anxious, Like Streams To The Ocean is just the thing to help re-center and ground yourself. Jenkins is honest about the brutality and beauty life contains, and the struggles we as humans all grapple with. Broken down into sections such as Family, Home, Friendship, and Death, this memoir had me pausing the audiobook to soak in certain phrases, and going back 30 seconds to re-listen to particularly relevant paragraphs. Wonderful and contemplative!
A translated collection of short stories under 110 pages? We love to see it! Variations on the Body contains six short and powerful stories focused on women in Colombia and their interactions with society and each other, the city of Bogota as strong a character as each woman. Beautiful, snarky, and intense.
Dear Senthuran is the most unique and powerful memoir I've read in a long time. Written in letters, Emezi depicts their struggles with bodily and mental autonomy and a long-fought battle to find peace in this life. Take your time with this one - you'll regret it if you don't absorb every word.
Starting in a cigar factory in 1800's Cuba where a woman falls in love with the words of a man, and ending in present day Miami as a girl attempts to reconnect with someone who gave her shelter as a young child, Of Women and Salt is a fantastic examination of the intersection of womanhood and the immigrant experience. A brief book that encompasses many lifetimes and stories.
The Hollow Inside is an intense journey through small town connections and secrets. It follows Phoenix as she attempts to get revenge on a man who ruined her mother's life as a teenager, and finds herself in the center of a web far more tangled than she ever imagined. An excellent fast-paced read for fans of gritty and unstoppable female characters.
Oh, and the author? She works at Carmichael's. How cool is that?
Comparing things to The Handmaid's Tale is overdone and a bit trite...but hear me out. This book is The Handmaid's Tale but with witches. It's super spooky and creepy, but not because of the witches - because of the men.
Jones depicts growing up black and gay in suburban Texas, the freedom he felt when heading off to college, and the relationship with this mother that was as solid as the one with his grandmother was strained, with shocking clarity. A single-sitting kind of read, this book will wreck you. And you’ll love it.
A sleepy boarding school is shaken by allegations of a teacher sleeping with his students...it’s an old, well-trodden story. Vanessa, however, doesn’t believe she’s been abused- her relationship was special. My Dark Vanessa examines difficult questions of teenage agency and the validity (or not) of the relationships they choose to foster. This one will make you squirm, but you won’t be able to put it down.