Finding a good book is great. Finding one so captivating that you finish it in one sitting? A glorious feat! Fortunately for you, the hunt is over because we’ve got you covered. Next time Noodle the pug deems it a no bones day, go ahead and cancel your plans, turn off the alarm clocks, and settle in for these page-turning reads.
Holly’s Pick: Jess Kidd is known for wielding language in fascinating ways while sprinkling little bits of magic throughout her story. For this exact reason, I was able to speed through HIMSELF in one single sitting. HIMSELF chronicles one man’s return to his country Irish hometown in search for answers about his mysterious birthmother. When he arrives in town, Mahoney completely captivates the village. Women are entranced by his charming looks and ghosts rise from their grave begging to tell their stories. This darkly humorous Irish story will have you engrossed right from the beginning as you attempt to unravel Mahoney’s past.
Andie’s Pick: I’m a major Michael Robotham fan and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of WHEN SHE WAS GOOD, the second installment in the Cyrus Haven series, and it did not disappoint. To recap the first book in the series, GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL: A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime and she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. An unlikely bond forms between the two, and Evie even helps Cyrus solve another case. As Cyrus gets closer to uncovering answers about Evie’s dark history in WHEN SHE WAS GOOD, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Ultimately, both will have to decide if some secrets are better left buried. While this is a pulse-pounding, breath-holding thriller, it’s also filled with so much heart, and Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac are the dynamic duo you didn’t know you needed. If you’re a newbie to this series, I recommend reading GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL first, as a lot of questions are answered, but the second installment can certainly stand on its own and is a must-read for any thriller reader.
Spoiler alert/trigger warning: This book deals with child abuse and other sensitive subjects.
From the bestselling author of Good Girl, Bad Girl and When You Are Mine comes a gripping thriller featuring the brilliant forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven as he becomes embroiled in an explosive murder case with disturbing origins.
Criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac return in this “powerhouse of a novel” (Booklist, starred review) from internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham, a writer Stephen King calls “an absolute master...with heart and soul.”
Who is Evie, the girl with no past, running from? She was discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Her ability to tell when someone is lying helped Cyrus crack an impenetrable case in Good Girl, Bad Girl. Now, the closer Cyrus gets to uncovering answers about Evie’s dark history, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Ultimately, both will have to decide if some secrets are better left buried and some monsters should never be named...
Emily’s Pick: I don’t read many thrillers but this one was so good it made me want to add more to my list. Nella Rogers is the only Black employee at her book publisher, Wagner Books . . . that is, until Hazel arrives. But Hazel navigates the majority-white workspace in a very different way, which has Nella questioning her role and who exactly she can trust at the company—especially when a note appears on her desk, saying “LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.” In the beginning, I was gripped by the book publishing setting. When I was halfway through I had many ideas of who might be behind the notes left on Nella’s desk, so even though I’d been reading for hours at that point, I just HAD to keep going to figure out which avenue the story would go down. And I wasn’t disappointed!
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.” —Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel
Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada in this electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
Heather’s Pick: Is there anything more luxurious than having several uninterrupted hours to read a book from start to finish?! Not for my money, there isn’t, which is why getting lost in the pages of Sophie Kinsella’s LOVE YOUR LIFE improved my recent travel day by 100 percent. The hustle and bustle of the airport fell away as I stepped into the shoes of the novel’s heroine, Ava, who decides to hit the pause button on dating in order to focus on herself for a while. As fate would have it, however, Ava’s writing retreat in Italy is where she meets a man who may just be her perfect match. The only snag? Ava and Matt had agreed to exchange as little personal information as possible while in Italy (in order to focus on their writing), which makes starting a real relationship back in the U.S. more than a little tricky. Can their feelings for each other overcome all their differences in personality and lifestyle? It’s a question we’ve all had to face at one time or another, and I really enjoyed the relatable ways in which Ava and Matt went about finding the right answer for them.
Molly’s Pick: I am naturally suspicious when a book receives a ton of buzz. Can it really be as good as everyone claims? But sure enough, when I started THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave—#1 New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick—I could not put it down. It’s a good thing I work in book publishing and could sort of pretend that reading is my job. THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME starts with a gripping premise: newlywed Hannah Hall’s husband suddenly disappears, but not before he’s able to smuggle her a note that simply says, “Protect her.” Hannah knows that the “her” in question is her sixteen-year-old stepdaughter Bailey, but she has no idea what she is supposed to be protecting Bailey from. Quickly it becomes clear that her husband is not who he says she is, and Hannah and Bailey are on a mission to uncover the truth before the FBI—or a more nefarious organization—does first. It’s a fast-paced novel with plenty of twists and turns, but the heart of it is based on family and what lengths we go to protect those we love.
From internationally bestselling author Laura Dave comes a riveting new suspense novel about a woman’s search for the truth about her husband’s disappearance—no matter the cost.
We all have stories we never tell.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dazzling plot twists, and unforgettable characters, The Last Thing He Told Me is bestselling author Laura Dave’s finest novel yet, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn. This propulsive thriller with a heart is for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes.
Sharon’s Pick: Since its premiere in 2018, Queer Eye has been one of my favorite shows to watch (and rewatch!) when I need a dose of comfort. A big reason for this is the show’s culture expert, Karamo Brown, who provides an understanding ear and words of wisdom to each of the show’s heroes. While I have often joked that I wish Karamo could follow me around and give me daily advice, reading his memoir in one afternoon gave me a cathartic experience I would imagine to be the equivalent of receiving daily advice. In KARAMO, Karamo Brown discusses his upbringing in the South to Jamaican and Cuban parents, his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, and how his background as a trained social worker and psychotherapist led him to become a star on Queer Eye. Insightful and moving, KARAMO is a must read for any Queer Eye fan or for anyone looking for a touching, one-sitting read.
An insightful, inspiring, “candid and warm” (Booklist) memoir from Karamo Brown—beloved culture expert from Netflix’s Queer Eye—as he shares his story for the first time, exploring how the challenges in his own life have allowed him to forever transform the lives of those in need.
When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater. Instead he decided to redefine what “culture” could—and should—mean for the show. He took a risk and declared, “I am culture.”
After all, Karamo believes culture is how people feel about themselves and others, how they relate to the world around them, and how their shared labels, burdens, and experiences affect their daily lives in ways both subtle and profound. Seen through this lens, Karamo is culture: his family is Jamaican and Cuban; he was raised in the South in predominantly white neighborhoods and attended an HBCU (Historically Black College/University); he was trained as a social worker and psychotherapist; he overcame personal issues of colorism, physical and emotional abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, and public infamy; he is a proud and dedicated gay single father of two boys, one biological and one adopted.
In “this soul-soothing memoir” (O, The Oprah Magazine), Karamo reflects on his lifelong education. It comprises every adversity he has overcome, as well as the lessons he has learned along the way. It is only by exploring our difficulties and having the hard conversations—with ourselves and one another—that we are able to adjust our mind-sets, heal emotionally, and move forward to live our best lives.
“During every episode of Queer Eye, there’s at least one touching moment where Karamo Brown drops some serious wisdom about self-love and makes everybody cry. His moving memoir about overcoming adversity captures that feeling in book form” (HelloGiggles).
Emily’s Pick: I’m not often able to read outside; I get too distracted by all the things, but when I opened up CHARM OFFENSIVE one day at Brooklyn Bridge Park, I didn’t realize what time it was until the light had disappeared all around me—the sun had set, and I scrambled to finish the book in darkness. The premise itself had made me drop what I was doing and order the book right away! It’s about a secret, sweet love that develops between a Bachelor TV-producer and Bachelor contestant, while they’re filming the show. Dev and Charlie’s cute banter caught my attention first, and then my love for every character carried me through to the end. I could’ve read a thousand pages of them just playing board games, watching TV, and getting each other to let down their guards.
In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.
Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.
Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.
As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.
Photo credit: iStock / Fly_dragonfly