RaveBooklistMcQuiston’s debut is for readers who love romantic comedies and Pod Save America: Alex is a history nerd and policy wonk, and his and Henry’s emails are full of equal parts dirty talk and literary quotes ... In between sweet and steamy love scenes, Red, White & Royal Blue allows readers to imagine a world where coming out involves no self-loathing; where fan fiction and activist Twitter do actual good; and a diverse, liberal White House wins elections. This Blue Wave fantasy could be the feel-good book of the summer.
PositiveBooklistFans of DiFranco’s angry folk-punk music know that her song lyrics are an incisive cut right to the truth, and her between-song banter is charmingly random. This pretty much sums up her memoir, which presents her origin story in disjointed flashes ... [She] expounds, fascinatingly and poetically, on her unique sound ... This unexpected memoir will be of interest to the many feminists DiFranco has inspired.
RaveBooklistRamos’ debut is so engaging that the reader might not fully understand the depths she probes until the book is done ... each character’s complexity will give book groups plenty to discuss. An alarmingly realistic look at the power of wealth and access buoyed by clear, compelling storytelling and appealing, if not always likable, characters.
E. L. James
PositiveBooklistUnlike the Fifty Shades series, The Mister is over-the-top romantic, with lots of physically tame but emotionally deep love scenes ... James skirts around some serious issues—human trafficking, spousal abuse, and the power dynamics in a love affair between a wealthy peer and his undocumented cleaning lady—but the book’s belief in the infinitely transformative power of love will hit the sweet spot for readers looking to be swept away.
PositiveBooklistThe Peacock Emporium is occasionally bogged down by repressed feelings and is more of a cross between Penny Vincenzi and Debbie Macomber than Moyes’ more recent books ... Still, Susanna’s journey from a frustrated, spoiled housewife to her own woman is full of Moyes’ signature sweet, tear-jerking moments.
PositiveBooklistMeissner gently explores a little-known aspect of American internment camps: things are hot and unpleasant, but there is plenty of food and friendship among the German and Japanese prisoners. Despite the hardships she endures, Elise remains optimistic and open to love, which comes from an unexpected place after the war. A heartbreaking, thought-provoking work of historical women’s fiction.
PositiveBooklistThe characters are clear and complex, revealing layers instead of slipping into satire. Jenna is both the most and the least appealing (in other words, relatable) as she tries to keep her family together without killing them. Readers who like sharply observed novels of families falling apart in paradise, like Emma Straub’s The Vacationers (2014), will want to try Reinhardt’s first novel for adults.
PositiveBooklistAs Merritt reveals the truth about both Zoe and Ailsa, she raises as many questions as she answers, resulting in a deliciously gothic, haunting story that balances a page-turning pace with lush descriptions of the wild coastal scenery.
PositiveBooklistReadman’s debut novel paints a vivid picture of coming-of-age on that gloomy island in the 1950s, using distinct narrative voices to drive the well-paced revelations. The complicated, almost sisterly friendship between Lorrie and Sylvie will remind readers of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (2012), and the hint of magic will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman’s darker work.
PositiveBooklistSuch is Kearsley’s storytelling skill that even the appearance of several deus ex machinas, who tie up all the missing pieces at the end, does not diminish the novel’s impact. Readers of women’s fiction, historical fiction, and romance will find much to love here, especially those fond of Kate Morton’s old houses, and book groups will enjoy discussing a less explored piece of American history.
PositiveBooklistThe title of Roberson’s first book sounds like a dating manual; it is so much better than that ... Roberson is a self-described \'horned-up perv,\' but she’s also well versed in feminist literature and is lethal with a non sequitur ... There are no pithy conclusions here, but Roberson’s fresh approach to romantic love will nonetheless satisfy readers of Phoebe Robinson and other feminist comedy writers.
RaveBooklist\"... haunting... Though not strictly a graphic novel, The Electric State will find an audience among readers interested in graphic storytelling. All readers of bleak, emotionally rich dystopian sf will be fascinated with the way Stålenhag doles out details—Michelle’s thwarted romance with fellow orphan Amanda in words, the addictive nature of the neurocaster in images—all the way to the open-ended, heartbreaking conclusion.\
PositiveBooklistRobson deftly weaves issues of class, trauma, romance, and female friendship with satisfying details of Ann and Miriam’s craft. This unique take on the royal wedding will be an easy sell to fans of Netflix’s The Crown and a sure bet for readers of women-centered historical fiction by Kate Morton, Kate Quinn, or Susanna Kearsley.
PositiveBooklistReaders familiar with Fforde’s gleefully pun-heavy world building will relish this stand-alone novel, confident that everything will work out in the end for the underdog. Give it to fans of John Scalzi and Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series.
PositiveBooklistThough they eventually marry, this is not a conventional love story. Instead, it’s the tale of a Jersey Girl who rails against a society that expects her to be dependent on a man and the one man she loves but cannot depend on. Like Trigiani’s...best work, Tony’s Wife is an immersive experience, with well-rounded, warm characters, pre-WWII fashion, Jersey accents, and homemade pasta. Moving and delightful.
RaveBooklist\"Thirtysomething Eleanor Mellett should be ecstatic to have survived breast cancer, but her nipple-less implants make her feel like a freak. On the advice of her doctors, she starts a blog, and her adventures take a turn when Eleanor impulsively accepts a job in remote Talbingo, a town barely big enough to have its own school and whose previous teacher, the beloved Miss Barker, disappeared suddenly and mysteriously ... The blog format makes for a quick read, and Eleanor’s voice is frequently hilarious, even as her world turns crazy, then dangerous. Barrett’s second novel...will delight readers of weird fiction.
RaveBooklistMrs. Maxine Hortence Simmons is the perfect Palm Springs housewife. So when her husband, Douglas, tells her he’s leaving her for his pregnant girlfriend, she self-medicates and is soon dancing on her perfect Thanksgiving table, spilling cranberries on a Hearst, and ending up in the pool with the turkey ... McDaniel’s debut is the perfect blend of salty and sweet, combining 1970s culinary horrors like ham and bananas hollandaise with a motley crew of fakers learning what family really means.
PositiveBooklistIt’s hard to share details, since each reveal is a delicious surprise. Like she did in Big Little Lies (2014), Moriarty uses several narrators to tell the whole tale, and though some story lines get more attention than others, readers will find themselves flipping through the nearly 500 pages. But even at that length, Nine Perfect Strangers is so well written and slyly constructed that it won’t feel like enough.
PositiveBooklistAs she does in her books set on Nantucket, Hilderbrand...excels at establishing a setting (the food! the luxury! the sea turtles!) that will inspire wanderlust. This first book in a planned trilogy ends with unanswered questions, but, with engaging characters on a picturesque island, this is the perfect escape.
RaveBooklist\"...a collection of essays about the damage wrought by the patriarchy that will have like-minded readers laughing because she’s funny, and crying because it’s true. From the prevalence of the May/December romance in the media to an alarming and hilarious letter to Betsy DeVos about campus sexual assault to Mike Pence and his \'Christian mullet\' (\'religion in the front, evil in the back\'), Gibson attacks far-right hypocrisy with frenetically on-target similes. She writes frankly about female anatomy and sexuality, particularly her own, to combat the notion that things like menstruation and ill-advised sex partners are best not discussed. Gibson uses her very presence as an act of defiance—she’s a loud Southern lady with size-11 feet who grew up poor white trash—and readers will be grateful that she can’t keep her mouth shut.
RaveBooklist...The first novel from pseudonymous Zeldis uses the rich details of postwar New York—the music, the clothes, the cocktails—to tell the story of two women looking for fulfillment. For Patricia, it is with her family; for Eleanor, it is harder to define. College-educated and independent-minded, Eleanor speaks to a generation of women raised with conflicting expectations, and the somewhat-ambiguous ending suits her story perfectly.
PositiveBooklist...in her most ambitious work yet, she deftly weaves together the stories of Elodie; Birdie; Edward’s sister, Lucy; a curious female student at the turn of the century; an academic in the late 1930s; a young family evacuating London during WWII; and a legend about medieval fairies. It sounds like a lot, but with Birchwood Manor, a Tudor-era home with secrets of its own, as the anchor and the missing Radcliffe Blue diamond as the chain, Morton proves once again that history is not a straight line but an intricate, infinite web.
RaveBooklist\"Writer Nik Paterson is, reluctantly, attending a Dodgers game with her model-actor boyfriend when suddenly her name, spelled wrong, is on the Jumbotron and he’s down on one knee. A stadium full of people witness her rejection of the proposal, but only Carlos, a doctor, and his sister, Angie, come to her rescue, pretending to be old friends and whisking her away from the descending photographers ... Full of warmth, quick banter, girlfriend group-texts, and food—so much good food!
RaveBooklistThe use of multiple narrators keeps the pace brisk, while details of the society are slowly revealed. Pakistani author Shah’s second novel...will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the mother of all feminist dystopias, The Handmaid’s Tale, and book groups will find much to discuss comparing the two. But make no mistake, Before She Sleeps stands on its own as a novel that will have readers contemplating rebellion and revolt, sex and power, and the many ways women’s bodies are sacrificed for the good of society.
MixedBooklist Online...Kate’s son, Charles, is Marcus’ only friend, so the two mothers are drawn even closer together. Both women have a secret, but only one of them is the notorious Amber Kunik, who served time for her part in a brutal murder 20 years ago ... The reader never knows quite whom to trust as the past and present unfold. The characterization of the two overweight characters—as pathetic outcasts—is problematic. Still, the tony setting and the slowly revealed secrets make this a good read.
PositiveBooklistIt’s easy to take smartphone mapping apps for granted—they’re everywhere, and they can direct us anywhere. Kilday reminds us that the development of Google Maps as we know it was a long . . . road ... his story will appeal to those looking for the inside scoop on the business side of tech. But Kilday provides enough detail on the development of Google Maps—from CD-ROMs to negotiating prices of data sets to the development of \'geocoding\'—that this will also appeal to tech geeks and map nerd
RaveBooklist Online\"This is no journalistic tome, though. Druckerman’s voice—self-deprecating but also keenly observant—will remind readers of the late Nora Ephron. Her family members, especially her husband, Simon, appear, but this is largely her story of reconciling what she thought she knew about aging with what she is actually experiencing, from the unique perspective of an American expat living in Paris. Peppered with \'You know you’re in your 40s when\' lists, this is a delightfully funny, thoughtful, coming-of-middle-age story.\
RaveBooklist\"His storytelling is rich, but also spare, with descriptive passages that engage all five senses without overstating the profundity. And his characters are so complicated and real that it’s a shame to have to put the book down. References to indie music, viral videos, and antigay county clerk Kim Davis place the book in context and may grease the wheels of some good book-group discussion. Most of all, Southermost is a reminder that life is hard, and it is beautiful.\
RaveBooklistMcDonald’s...gift for storytelling is on full display as he captures the emotional nuances of a decades-long love while exploring issues of military and scientific might and the state of the contemporary book industry. The very British references and regionalisms will appeal to even the most sf-averse Anglophiles, especially those who enjoy Netflix’s Black Mirror.
PositiveBooklistRuthie’s journey is especially satisfying, and although some threads are left untied, Blundell’s...engrossing novel has enough high-society proximity to make it beachy, but enough emotional reality to make it resonate.
PositiveBooklistBrave will appeal in two ways: it is a celebrity memoir, and although McGowan’s insistence on her own inner strength and superior intelligence can be exhausting, she dishes some good dirt, especially for those who grew up during her indie-darling phase. But it is also a fierce, sometimes dryly funny calling out of the hypocrisy and misogyny of Hollywood ... The book may be self-promotional at times, but it is also a battle cry.
RaveBooklistIt begins with a murder. It’s not clear who was killed, but it was definitely someone at the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night fund-raiser at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia … Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband’s Secret.