Winter Break with a Book
Whether you have the opportunity to travel for winter vacation or are snuggled up at home this February, set aside time to lose yourself in a new book. And don’t forget to show some love to the authors by writing a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads or share a photo of the book on social media.
A dark, suspenseful new thriller about the mysteries of fate, the unbreakable bond of siblings, and a notorious serial killer who was said to know the future.
Growing up in a beautiful house in the English countryside, Katie Shaw lived a charmed life. At the cusp of graduation, she had big dreams, a devoted boyfriend, and a little brother she protected fiercely. Until the day a violent stranger changed the fate of her family forever.
Years later, still unable to live down the guilt surrounding what happened to her brother, Chris, and now with a child of her own to protect, Katie struggles to separate the real threats from the imagined. Then she gets the phone call: Chris has gone missing and needs his big sister once more.
Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page is facing a particularly gruesome crime. A distinguished professor of fate and free will has been brutally murdered just hours after firing his staff. All the leads point back to two old cases: the gruesome attack on teenager Christopher Shaw, and the despicable crimes of a notorious serial killer who, legend had it, could see the future.
The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson
From the author of Yellow Wife, a gut-wrenching novel set in the 1950s about two Black women working to overcome the stumbling blocks that threatens to upend everything they worked so hard for.
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 her daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed onto her like a birthright.
Eleanor Quarles arrived 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 just let 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.
The lives of these two women collide in the most unexpected way as they both face life altering decisions. The House of Eve is a fast-paced, harrowing story that hinges on what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.
BFF: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found by Christie Tate
From the author of Group, a New York Times ?bestseller and Reese’s Book Club Pick, comes a moving, heartwarming, and powerful memoir about Christie Tate’s lifelong struggle to sustain female friendship, and the friend who helps her find the human connection she seeks.
After more than a decade of dead-end dates and dysfunctional relationships, Christie Tate is feeling hopeful after finally finding a loving man who doesn’t drink. 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.
I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai
The riveting new novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the 1995 murder of a classmate, Thalia Keith. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are the subject of intense fascination online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when The Granby School invites her back to teach a two-week course, Bodie finds herself inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
One of the most acclaimed contemporary American writers, Rebecca Makkai reinvents herself with each of her brilliant works of fiction. Both a transfixing mystery and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, I Have Some Questions for You is her finest achievement yet.
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes
A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars
Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?
Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women.
Nisha, 45, lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam – 47, middle-aged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag.
Now Nisha’s got nothing. And Sam’s walking tall with shoes that catch eyes – and give her a career an unexpected boost.
Except Nisha wants her life back – and she’ll start with her shoes . . .
Someone Else’s Shoes is a funny, moving and heartfelt story about how, for any of us just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff
A woman must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this riveting tale of bravery and resistance during World War II
1942. 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.
Decent People by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
From Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winning author De’Shawn Charles Winslow, a sweeping and unforgettable novel of a Black community reeling from a triple homicide, and the secrets the killings reveal.
In the still-segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina in 1976, Marian, Marva, and Lazarus Harmon-three enigmatic siblings-are found shot to death in their home. The people of West Mills-on both sides of the canal that serves as the town’s color line-are in a frenzy of finger-pointing, gossip, and wonder. The crime is the first reported murder in the area in decades, but the white authorities don’t seem to care or have any interest in solving the case.
Fortunately, one person is determined to do more than talk. Ms. Jo Wright has just moved back to West Mills from New York City to retire and marry a childhood sweetheart, Olympus “Lymp” Seymore. When she discovers that the murder victims are Lymp’s half-siblings, and that Lymp is one of West Mills’ leading culprits, she sets out on a transformative manhunt to prove his innocence.
As Jo begins to investigate those who might know the most about the Harmons’ deaths, she starts to discover darker secrets than she’d ever imagined, and a pattern of cover ups-of racial incidents, homophobia, and medical misuse-that could upend the reputations of many.
For readers of American Spy and Bluebird, Bluebird, Decent Peopleis a powerful new novel about shame, race, money, and the reckoning required to heal a fractured community.
We Should Not Be Friends by Will Schwalbe
A warm, funny, irresistible book that follows an improbable and life-changing college friendship over the course of forty years–from the best-selling author of The End of Your Life Book Club
A searching, tender, insightful, and wise memoir . . . Reading this beautifully written and generous book, you will find yourself thinking of your own friendships” –Dani Shapiro, author of Signal Fires
By the time Will Schwalbe was a junior at college, he had already met everyone he cared to know: the theater people, writers, visual artists and comp lit majors, and various other quirky characters including the handful of students who shared his own major, Latin and Greek. He also knew exactly who he wanted to avoid: the jocks. The jocks wore baseball caps and moved in packs, filling boisterous tables in the dining hall, and on the whole seemed to be another species entirely, one Will might encounter only at his own peril.
All this changed dramatically when Will collided with Chris Maxey, known to just about everyone as Maxey. Maxey was physically imposing, loud, and a star wrestler who was determined to become a Navy SEAL (where he would later serve for six years). Thanks to the strangely liberating circumstances of a little-known secret society at Yale, the two forged a bond that would become a mainstay of each other’s lives as they repeatedly lost and found each other and themselves in the years after graduation.
From New Haven to New York City, from Hong Kong and Panama to a remarkable school on an island in the Bahamas–through marriages and a divorce, triumphs and devastating losses–We Should Not Be Friends tracks an extraordinary friendship over decades of challenge and change. Schwalbe’s marvelous new work is, at its heart, a joyful testament to the miracle of human connection–and how if we can just get past our preconceptions, we may find some of our greatest friends.
Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman
The most enduring detectives in American crime fiction are back in this electrifying thrillerof art and brutalityfrom the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.
Los 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.
From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes a moving novel told from the point of view of Harold’s wife Maureen. Now undertaking her own journey, Maureen will discover a way to reconnect with the world she’s closed a door on.
Maureen Fry has settled into the quiet life she shares with her husband after his iconic walk across England ten years ago. When an unexpected message from the North disturbs her equilibrium again, it is now her turn to make a journey. But Maureen is not like Harold. By turns outspoken, then vulnerable, she struggles to form bonds with the people she meets, and the landscape she crosses has radically changed. And Maureen has no sense of what she will find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she has to get there.
Maureen is a deeply felt, lyrical, and powerful novel, full of warmth and kindness, about love, loss, and how we come to terms with the past in order to understand ourselves and our lives a little better. While it stands alone, it is also the extraordinarily moving finale to a trilogy that began with the phenomenal bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and continued in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. What was started by Harold, only Maureen can complete.
A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo
After a government edict cut his father’s job, Eniola’s family has been struggling to survive. His secondary school teachers beat him because of his unpaid fees, and his parents are behind on the rent and cannot pay for his apprenticeship at a tailoring shop. Nevertheless, he strives to make himself useful, folding wrappers and trying to forget about how he’s taunted by schoolmates.
Wuraola, the daughter of the tailoring shop’s most valued customer, is an exhausted young doctor who can barely catch any sleep as she works long hours in a public hospital. After her boyfriend proposes, their relationship accelerates towards marriage even as his darker side is exposed, risking her family’s spell of good things.
Meanwhile, Eniola becomes caught in a tangle of decisions that will bring him into collision with political forces in the city, and harm his family and Wuraola’s in the process. Following the lives of Eniola, Wuraola and their relatives, the novel traces the entwined fates of two families in a Nigerian city, one with all the fortune in the world and one that cannot catch a break.
A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness by Jai Chakrabarti
An immersive, globe-trotting short story collection from the National Jewish Book Award-winning author of A Play for the End of the World (“an impressive debut”–Meg Wolitzer).
In the fourteen masterful stories that make up this collection, Jai Chakrabarti crosses continents and cultures to excavate the lives of people in the throes of change. A closeted gay man in 1980s Kolkata seeks to have a child with his lover’s wife. An Indian widow, engaged to a Jewish man, struggles to balance her cultural identity with the rituals and traditions of her newfound family. An American musician travels to see his guru for the final time–and makes a promise he cannot keep. A young woman from an Indian village arrives in Brooklyn to care for the toddler of a biracial couple. And a mystical agent is sent by a mother to solve her son’s domestic problems.
Throughout, the characters’ most vulnerable desires power life-altering decisions. The stories in A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness capture men and women struggling with transformation and familial bonds; they traverse the intersec- tions of countries and cultures to illuminate what it means to love in uncertain times; and they showcase the skill of a storyteller who dazzles with the breadth of his vision.
Throughout, it is the character’s most vulnerable desires that power life-altering decisions. The stories in A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness capture men and women struggling with transformation and familial bonds; they traverse the intersections of countries and cultures to illuminate what it means to love in uncertain times; and they showcase the skill of a storyteller who dazzles with the breadth of his vision.
In this haunting, lyrical fantasy set in 1930s Chicago, a talented ballerina finds herself torn between her dreams and her desires when she’s pursued by a secretive patron who may be more than he seems.
Growing up in Chicago’s Little Sicily in the years following the Great War, Grace Dragotta has always wanted to be a ballerina, ever since she first peered through the windows of the Near North Ballet Company. So when Grace is orphaned, she chooses the ballet as her home, imagining herself forever ensconced in a transcendent world of light and beauty so different from her poor, immigrant upbringing.
Years later, with the Great Depression in full swing, Grace has become the company’s new prima ballerina—though achieving her long-held dream is not the triumph she once envisioned. Time and familiarity have tarnished that shining vision, and her new position means the loss of her best friend in the world. Then she attracts the attention of the enigmatic Master La Rosa as her personal patron, and realizes the world is not as small or constricted as she had come to fear.
Who is her mysterious patron, and what does he want from her? As Grace begins to unlock the Master’s secrets, she discovers that there is beauty in darkness as well as light, finds that true friendship cannot be broken by time or distance, and realizes there may be another way entirely to achieve the transcendence she has always sought.
The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan
The House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?
After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.
And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.
But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.
Other books by Hank Phillippi Ryan:
Her Perfect Life
The First to Lie
The Murder List
On the House
THE JANE RYLAND SERIES:
The Other Woman / The Wrong Girl / Truth Be Told / What You See / Say No More
THE CHARLOTTE MCNALLY SERIES:
Prime Time / Face Time / Air Time / Drive Time
Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost comes a sweeping story of two star-crossed lovers in post-World War II Italy, and a blossoming relationship generations later that will reveal a long-buried family secret.
Genoa, Italy, 1946. Vincenzo and Giovanna fall in love at twenty-one the moment they set eyes on each other. The son of a count and the daughter of a tailor, they belong to opposing worlds. Despite this, the undeniable spark between them quickly burns into a deep and passionate relationship spent exploring each other’s minds, bodies and their city, as well as Vincenzo’s family’s sprawling vineyard, Villa Della Rosa–until shifts in political power force them each to choose a side and commit what the other believes is a betrayal, shattering the bright future they dreamed of together.
New York, 2017. Cassandra and Luca are in love. Although neither quite fits with the other’s family, Cass and Luca have always felt like a perfect match for each other. But when Luca, an artist, convinces his grandfather and Cass’s grandmother to pose for a painting, past and present collide and reveal a secret that changes everything.
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