Monday, May 27, 2024

Monday Book Love (5/27/24 edition)


Monday Book Love is a catch-all for all of those events where you share your latest acquisitions, events like:

Mailbox Monday

What are You Reading?

Stacking the Shelves

Received through Goodreads:

Leadership Journey: How Four Kids Became President by Doris Kearns Goodwin

From #1 New York Times bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and leading historian Doris Kearns Goodwin comes a definitive middle grade guide to Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson and how they became leaders. 

Abraham Lincoln. Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lyndon B. Johnson. They grew up and lived in very different worlds—Lincoln was poor and uneducated, his frontier cabin home deep in the harsh wilderness; Theodore Roosevelt hailed from an elegant home in the heart of New York City and traveled the world with his family; Franklin Roosevelt loved the outdoors surrounding his family’s rural estate where he was the center of attention; and Lyndon Johnson’s modest childhood home had no electricity or running water but provided a window into Texas politics. So how did each of them do it—rise to become President of the United States? What did these four kids have individually—and have in common—that made them the ones to lead the country through some of its most turbulent times?

Received through Netgalley:

Burn by Peter Heller

From the acclaimed author of The Last Ranger, a novel about two men—friends since boyhood—who emerge from the woods of rural Maine to a dystopian country wracked by bewildering violence.

Every year Jess and Storey have made an annual pilgrimage to northern Maine where they camp, hunt, and hike, leaving much from their long friendship unspoken. Although the state has convulsed all summer with secession mania—a mania that had simultaneously spread across other states—Jess and Storey figure it’s a fight reserved for legislators or, worse-case scenario, folks in the capitol. But after two weeks hunting moose off the grid, the men reach a small town and are shocked to find a bridge blown apart, buildings burned to the ground, and bombed-out cars abandoned on the road. Trying to make sense of the sudden destruction all around them, the men set their sights on finding their way home, dragging a wagon across bumpy dirt roads, ransacking boats left in the lakes, and dodging men who are armed—secessionists or military, they cannot tell—as they seek a path to safety. And then, a startling discovery, a child in the cabin of a boat, drastically alters their path and the stakes of their escape. Drenched with the beauty of the natural world, and attuned to the specific cadences of male friendship, even here at the edge of doom, Heller’s magisterial new novel is both a blistering warning of a divided country’s political strife and an ode to the salvation of our chosen families.


The Words That Made Us by Andrea Busfield

After fleeing their home in Romania, Mala and her family travel to the South of France to make an offering to Sara e Kali – patron saint of the Roma whose statue rests in a small church in Saintes Maries de la Mer. Once the family’s pilgrimage is complete, they seek refuge among their own to consider their future during a time when anti-Roma sentiment is running high.
As the government begins to expel hundreds of foreign-born ‘gypsies’, a local man arrives at the travellers’ camp eager to learn their history, and it falls to Mala to speak to him.
Beginning in India she recounts the fall of Kanauj and the relocation of tens of thousands of Indians to Ghazna as prisoners of war. Mala then speaks of the Roma’s flowering in Constantinople, before the plague forced them westwards – into 300 years of slavery. After recounting the horrors of the Second World War, Mala ends with her own story – of her life in present-day Romania, and the tragedy that stole the smile from her young daughter’s face.

Five stories covering one thousand years, The Words That Made Us chronicles the mistrust, misunderstandings and monstrous cruelty that has followed a scattered nation whose only crime was that of being different.

Shogun by James Clavill

After Englishman John Blackthorne is lost at sea, he awakens in a place few Europeans know of and even fewer have seen--Nippon. Thrust into the closed society that is seventeenth-century Japan, a land where the line between life and death is razor-thin, Blackthorne must negotiate not only a foreign people, with unknown customs and language, but also his own definitions of morality, truth, and freedom. As internal political strife and a clash of cultures lead to seemingly inevitable conflict, Blackthorne's loyalty and strength of character are tested by both passion and loss, and he is torn between two worlds that will each be forever changed.

Powerful and engrossing, capturing both the rich pageantry and stark realities of life in feudal Japan, Shōgun is a critically acclaimed powerhouse of a book. Heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat action melds seamlessly with intricate historical detail and raw human emotion. Endlessly compelling, this sweeping saga captivated the world to become not only one of the best-selling novels of all time but also one of the highest-rated television miniseries, as well as inspiring a nationwide surge of interest in the culture of Japan. Shakespearean in both scope and depth, Shōgun is, as the New York Times put it, "...not only something you read--you live it." Provocative, absorbing, and endlessly fascinating, there is only one: Shōgun.

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia--where the truth isn't what it seems.

Founded by a mysterious genius, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera's lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process--and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he's been dreaming--which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group--known as "Arrivalists"--who may be fomenting revolution.

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized--and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

FantasticLand by Mike Bockoven

Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where “Fun is Guaranteed!” But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares. How could a group of survivors, mostly teenagers, commit such terrible acts?

Presented as a fact-finding investigation and a series of first-person interviews, FantasticLand pieces together the grisly series of events. Park policy was that the mostly college-aged employees surrender their electronic devices to preserve the authenticity of the FantasticLand experience. Cut off from the world and left on their own, the teenagers soon form rival tribes who viciously compete for food, medicine, social dominance, and even human flesh. This new social network divides the ravaged dreamland into territories ruled by the Pirates, the ShopGirls, the Freaks, and the Mole People. If meticulously curated online personas can replace private identities, what takes over when those constructs are lost?

FantasticLand is a modern take on Lord of the Flies meets Battle Royale that probes the consequences of a social civilization built online.

Reading Journal: For the Love of Books

I bought this book journal from Amazon. I've been hankering for one and couldn't find one to suit me, but I think this one will do fine! 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

REVIEW: Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez



Justin has a curse, and thanks to a Reddit thread, it's now all over the internet. Every woman he dates goes on to find their soul mate the second they break up. When a woman slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with a plan: They'll date each other and break up. Their curses will cancel each other’s out, and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. It’s a bonkers idea… and it just might work.

Emma hadn't planned that her next assignment as a traveling nurse would be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka.

It's supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer. But when Emma's toxic mother shows up and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they're suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected–including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time Fate has actually brought the perfect pair together?

Format 432 pages, Paperback
Published April 2, 2024 by Forever
ISBN 9781538704431 (ISBN10: 1538704439)

About the Author

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network winner, New York Times best selling author, and recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for her novel Life's Too Short. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and, like her books, has amassed an international following.

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house.

My Thoughts

Much of this story takes place on Lake Minnetonka in Wisconsin.
August Schwerdfeger, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Emma and her best friend Maddy are traveling nurses spending a few weeks to a few months working in one location before moving on to a hospital in another area of the country. They became like sisters after Maddy's mothers fostered Emma when they were teens.

Emma has a lot of baggage she carries from her childhood. She doesn't put down roots, and her suitcase is always packed as if waiting for her mother to return for her. Maddy is the one thing in her life that is consistent and stable. She is no-nonsense, bold, and forthright, and very protective of Emma. 

Enter Justin who has baggage of his own. He posted on Reddit about this pattern of dating women who break up with him and go on to meet their soulmates. His last girlfriend started dating his best friend and roommate Brad, resulting in Brad moving out and leaving him holding the line on the lease. Justin got a new roommate in the form of a rescue dog he named Brad after his ex-roommate.

First of all, the cover is gorgeous! A young man and woman frolicking at the water’s edge with a small dog chasing at their heels, The bright colors of a sunset as the sun dips behind the mountains. One of the nicest covers I’ve seen this year and one of the reasons I decided to dive into another romance (which isn’t normally in my wheelhouse).

You get the feeling that this couple is going to be very compatible and have a fun summer together. Do they really? Is that all that there is between them?

Nearly all of the characters are likable, moral characters. Emma suffers some abandonment issues among other things having been raised by a mother who suffers from mental illness. I found the imagery of Emma getting “small” when she is triggered a little annoying. I understand what the author was trying to relay, and it played better later in the story, but initially it seemed a little overly-dramatic and annoyed me.

This story is character-driven focusing on the internal lives of Emma and Justin as they navigate their “temporary” relationship, its intentional lack of permanency, and the joys of getting to know someone with whom you really mesh.

Who among us hasn't dealt with finding love and then losing it? 
I wish I would have known that the last time he’d looked at me with love in his eyes was the last time. I would have savored it.
The story is told alternating between Emma and Justin allowing you an inside look at the internal battles and bliss of each of them. The manner in which their story is told is sometimes purely entertaining, and at other times it is meant to be enlightening, touching on the damage that can be done to a child when raised by a parent suffering from mental illness– or just plain selfishness– the struggles that we all deal with from time to time. Much of the story is very relatable. We all want to love and be loved, we all have been hurt and suffered battle wounds from past loves, family, friends, or just life in general. But the hope is that you don’t let it beat you down. You stay hopeful, you get back up and you try again. You don’t let life or love get the better of you. And you make sure that you are whole and happy with yourself before looking for love, because you won't find happiness in others. You must first find happiness and contentment and wholeness within yourself, and then find someone who just makes life even better.

Five words: creative, engaging, romantic, contrived, charming

Buy Now:

Visit the publisher for purchase options

My final word: Just for the Summer proved to be a fun read with fun characters! Quite a bit of the story was rather predictable, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. There was enough novelty to keep my interest. This is good for the contemporary romance lover looking for fun rather than spice. I mean, it’s a romance novel, so there is a little spice, but it’s mostly a cute, sweet and fun read. There is a little tension and drama to keep it from being just a fluff novel, but not enough to weigh it down. It’s optimistic, hopeful…endearing. It’s an easy read. It doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t, like great literary fiction. It’s just a fun read!
The love stories sold us the wrong thing.

The best kind of love doesn’t happen on moonlit walks and romantic vacations. It happens in between the folds of everyday life. It’s not grand gestures that show how you feel, it’s all the little secret things you do to make her life better that you never tell her about. Taking the end piece of the bread at breakfast so she can have the last middle piece for her sandwich when you pack her lunch. Making sure her car always has gas so she never has to stop at the pump…It’s watching TV on a rainy Sunday while you’re doing laundry and turning her light off when she’s fallen asleep reading… It isn’t glamorous, it isn’t all butterflies and stars in your eyes. It’s real. This is the kind of love that forever is made of.


There's some light spice, mild language

Cover: A+
Writing Style:  A-
Characters: A-
Storyline/Plot:  A
Interest/Uniqueness:  A

My Rating:

The Cerebral Girl is a middle-aged blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

WHADDYA MEME? (5/25/24 edition)


Friday, May 24, 2024

ON MY RADAR: Masquerade by O.O. Sangoyomi

Masquerade by O.O. Sangoyomi

Set in a wonderfully reimagined 15th century West Africa, Masquerade is a dazzling, lyrical tale exploring the true cost of one woman’s fight for freedom and self-discovery, and the lengths she’ll go to secure her future.

Òdòdó’s hometown of Timbuktu has been conquered by the the warrior king of Yorùbáland. Already shunned as social pariahs, living conditions for Òdòdó and the other women in her blacksmith guild grow even worse under Yorùbá rule.

Then Òdòdó is abducted. She is whisked across the Sahara to the capital city of Ṣàngótẹ̀, where she is shocked to discover that her kidnapper is none other than the vagrant who had visited her guild just days prior. But now that he is swathed in riches rather than rags, Òdòdó realizes he is not a vagrant at all; he is the warrior king, and he has chosen her to be his wife.

In a sudden change of fortune, Òdòdó soars to the very heights of society. But after a lifetime of subjugation, the power that saturates this world of battle and political savvy becomes too enticing to resist. As tensions with rival states grow, revealing elaborate schemes and enemies hidden in plain sight, Òdòdó must defy the cruel king she has been forced to wed by re-forging the shaky loyalties of the court in her favor, or risk losing everything—including her life.

Loosely based on the myth of Persephone, O.O. Sangoyomi’s Masquerade takes you on a journey of epic power struggles and political intrigue that turn an entire region on its head.

Format 352 pages, Hardcover
Expected publication July 2, 2024 by Forge Books
ISBN 9781250904294 (ISBN10: 1250904293

Monday, May 20, 2024

Monday Book Love (5/20/24 edition)


Monday Book Love is a catch-all for all of those events where you share your latest acquisitions, events like:

Mailbox Monday

What are You Reading?

Stacking the Shelves

Won from Goodreads:

The Scandal of Leadership: Unmasking the Powers of Domination in the Church by J.R. Woodward

WILL WE BECOME A SCANDAL TO THOSE WHO LOOK TO US AS LEADERS, OR WILL WE CHOOSE TO IMITATE THE SCANDALOUS WAY OF CHRIST? The fall of high-profile leaders has sadly become an epidemic, and although books and podcasts have sought to uncover the problem, they often fail to identify the root cause. In The Scandal of Leadership, JR Woodward offers a deeper diagnosis, outlining a more comprehensive understanding of power abuses in the church and the critical role of imitation. Drawing from Scripture and the scholarship of Walter Wink, René Girard, and William Stringfellow, as well as from positive examples of leaders such as Óscar Romero, this book offers a robust theology of the Powers––of Satan, the demonic, and the principalities and powers explored in the Bible. By unmasking the Powers of domination, Woodward seeks to help missional leaders practice a self-emptying spirituality that reshapes their desires and forms them into Christlike servants who join God’s mission in the world.

Received from Reader Views:

Mental Exercises for Dogs by Susan Swanson

Do you feel overwhelmed by the behavior of your energetic dog?
Have you ever wished that your dog would obey commands, stay calm and be the perfect companion in every situation?
Do your dog's signs of stress and anxiety make you anxious?

🐶🐶🐶 If the answer is "YES", then read on because this is the book you have been looking for! 🐶🐶🐶

I get it. Dealing with an energetic dog who never seems to get tired, especially with just the basic exercises, can be nerve-wracking. Perhaps you've tried to train your dog using common sense and personal experience, only to find that he still won't listen or remains problematic. You may not know where your dog came from or how he was treated in his early years. Perhaps past training mistakes have left their mark , making corrections seem more daunting as time goes on.

You're not alone in this challenge. But here's the good there is a way to engage your dog's mind and keep him mentally happy and calm. "Mental Exercises for Dogs" is the solution you've been looking for!


⭐⭐⭐ As you read this book, you'll discover: ⭐⭐⭐

✔️ COMPREHENSIVE Dive into effective and proven training techniques curated by a professional dog trainer.
✔️ EARLY & LATE Whether you're starting with a puppy or an adult dog with a history of behavioral problems, you'll find strategies tailored to each stage.
✔️ STAY IN Learn to manage large breeds or particularly energetic dogs to ensure the safety of the elderly or children around them.
✔️ STEP-BY-STEP Follow detailed, easy-to-understand steps for each workout.
✔️ PROFESSIONAL You will benefit from the experience of a professional trainer who has dedicated his life to dogs and has taken his dogs to the highest levels of international competition.
✔️ BUILD STRONG Techniques that focus not just on obedience, but on creating an enduring bond between you and your furry companion.

👉 Imagine walking into a café or a friend's house with your dog at your side, obedient, calm and perfectly at ease in any situation. Imagine the nods of approval, the compliments and the sense of pride that comes from knowing you've given your dog the best training to ensure both his and your happiness.

Now this dream can become your reality. "Mental Exercises for Dogs" is the tool that will bridge the gap between chaos and calm. Thanks to the techniques explained in this book, you can now take your dog with you wherever you go and share every moment of your day with him . Are you ready for this transformational journey?



Be the Magic by Diana Pienta

This world is constantly nudging us―pulling, pushing, cajoling us―toward our heart’s longing and our true expression of joy. Yet our stubborn and conditioned mindsets can resist these signals, too often dismissing synchronicity and serendipity (magic’s very language) as little more than accident or annoyance. Playful yet potent, BE THE MAGIC nudges us too, showing how to open ourselves to this ever-present guidance to live a more peaceful, passion-filled, and enthusiastic life. Diane Pienta serves up personal stories and lessons learned, in a smorgasbord of actionable daily practices designed to train us―our minds, our bodies, and our hearts―to become joyfully tuned-in to the guidance presented to us at every turn. If you’ve been struggling to find your purpose, to bring more love, peace and play into your life, BE THE MAGIC may well become your most welcomed daily companion. Start reading and put a smile on your face! A renewed zest for life is right around the corner.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

ARTICLE SHARING: Can you guess the book?

Mental Floss asks whether you can guess the book based on its original title?

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Introducing...Real Americans by Rachel Khong

  Introducing books through the first paragraph or so...


She isn't afraid, but he is. They stand, in the darkness, before a glass case of old things. A Ming dynasty inkstone. A chrysanthemum carved from horn. A Song painting stamped with ruby red collector's seals. And on a silk pillow, so slight it could be missed: an ancient lotus seed with a legend behind it. 

The story goes like this: One night, long ago, a dragon emerged from the sky and dropped this seed into the emperor's open hand. His advisors huddled near to examine it. What fortune! they remarked. This seed would grant the emperor his greatest wish. Unfortunately, he died that night, while contemplating his options. He might have asked the immortality.

She takes a hammer from her knapsack. With all her strength, she strikes the glass. It makes a beautifully clear sound as it shatters. Quickly, the two get to work, securing the relics. It is an attempt to spare them from the Red Guards' destruction-- an act of protest, small, against a movement she's no match for.

-- Real Americans by Rachel Khong

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

SPOTLIGHT: Summer and Fall at Kensington Books


Today I attended a Zoom with Kensington Books to see the new summer and fall line-up. Here are some of the books that you have to look forward to...

A Daughter of Fair Verona by Christina Dodd

Knives Out meets Bridgerton in Fair Verona, as New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd kicks off a frothy, irreverent, witty new series with an irresistible premise—Romeo and Juliet’s daughter as a clever, rebellious, fiercely independent young woman in fair Verona—told from the delightfully engaging point of view of the captivating Rosie Montague herself…

"A sharp, determined heroine, a clever historical mystery, sparkling wit, a unique setting, family drama and a dash of romance.”– Amanda Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Lady Has a Past

Once upon a time a young couple met and fell in love. You probably know that story, and how it ended ( badly). Only here’s the That’s not how it ended at all.

Romeo and Juliet are alive and well and the parents of seven kids. I’m the oldest, with the emphasis on ‘old’—a certified spinster at twenty, and happy to stay that way. It’s not easy to keep your taste for romance with parents like mine. Picture it—constant monologues, passionate declarations, fighting, making up, making out . . . it’s exhausting.

Each time they’ve presented me with a betrothal, I’ve set out to find the groom-to-be a more suitable bride. After all, someone sensible needs to stay home and manage this household. But their latest match, Duke Stephano, isn’t so easy to palm off on anyone else. The debaucher has had three previous wives—all of whom met unfortunate ends. Conscience forbids me from consigning another woman to that fate. As it turns out, I don’t have to . . .

At our betrothal ball—where, quite by accident, I meet a beautiful young man who makes me wonder if perhaps there is something to love at first sight—I stumble upon Duke Stephano with a dagger in his chest. But who killed him? His late wives’ families, his relatives, his mistress, his servants—half of Verona had motive. And when everyone around the Duke begins dying, disappearing, or descending into madness, I know I must uncover the killer . . . before death lies on me like an untimely frost.

Expected publication June 25, 2024

A Dog Called Ducky by Amanda Morgan

Secrets of Rose Briar Hall by Kelsey James

A Time for Defiance by James D. Shipman

The Eyes are the Best Part by Monika Kim

Feminist psychological horror about the making of a female serial killer from a Korean-American perspective.

Ji-won’s life tumbles into disarray in the wake of her appa’s extramarital affair and subsequent departure. Her mother, distraught. Her younger sister, hurt and confused. Her college freshman grades, failing. Her dreams, horrifying… yet enticing.

In them, Ji-won walks through bloody rooms full of eyes. Succulent blue eyes. Salivatingly blue eyes. Eyes the same shape and shade as George’s, who is Umma’s obnoxious new boyfriend. George has already overstayed his welcome in her family’s claustrophobic apartment. He brags about his puffed-up consulting job, ogles Asian waitresses while dining out, and acts condescending toward Ji-won and her sister as if he deserves all of Umma’s fawning adoration. No, George doesn’t deserve anything from her family. Ji-won will make sure of that.

For no matter how many victims accumulate around her campus or how many people she must deceive and manipulate, Ji-won’s hunger and her rage deserve to be sated.

A brilliantly inventive, subversive novel about a young woman unraveling, Monika Kim’s The Eyes Are the Best Part is a story of a family falling apart and trying to find their way back to each other, marking a bold new voice in horror that will leave readers mesmerized and craving more.

Expected publication June 25, 2024

The Deading by Nicholas Belardes

The House by the Cemetery by Lisa Childs

Where I End by Sophie White

Metal From Heaven by August Clarke

For fans of The Princess Bride and Gideon the a bloody lesbian revenge tale and political fantasy set in a glittering world transformed by industrial change – and simmering class warfare. Ichorite is progress. More durable and malleable than steel, ichorite is the lifeblood of a dawning industrial revolution. Yann I. Chauncey owns the sole means of manufacturing this valuable metal, but his workers, who risk their health and safety daily, are on strike. They demand Chauncey research the hallucinatory illness befalling them, a condition they call “being lustertouched.” Marney Honeycutt, a lustertouched child worker, stands proud at the picket line with her best friend and family. That’s when Chauncey sends in the guns. Only Marney survives the massacre. She vows bloody vengeance. A decade later, Marney is the nation’s most notorious highwayman, and Chauncey’s daughter seeks an opportune marriage. Marney’s rage and the ghosts of her past will drive her to masquerade as an aristocrat, outmaneuver powerful suitors, and win the heart of his daughter, so Marney can finally corner Chauncey and satisfy her need for revenge. But war ferments in the north, and deeper grudges are surfacing. . . H. A. Clarke’s adult fantasy debut, writing as August Clarke, Metal from Heaven is a punk-rock murder ballad tackling labor issues and radical empowerment against the relentless grind of capitalism.

Expected publication October 22, 2024

The Bitter Truth by Shanora Williams

Fleeing France by Alan Hlad

Best, First, and Last by Amy T Matthews

In this stirring, spirited, and ultimately joyful new novel from the author of Someone Else’s Bucket List, three generations of women in the same family, whose hearts have been broken in different ways, set out on a challenging journey to see one of the wonders of the world—and find themselves to be just as awe-inspiring. Perfect for fans of Josie Silver and Rebecca Serle.

When twenty-five-year-old Heather Russo breaks up with her boyfriend—again—she can’t figure out if she’s to blame or he is. Either way, she’s miserable, and working at home via Zoom meetings is only making it worse. What’s more, all the women in her family are struggling. Mom Sandy is convinced she’s wasted her life and is nursing a giant grudge against Heather’s father, whom she’s now divorcing. Grandmother Bonnie is reeling with the grief of losing her third husband, and is carrying his urn everywhere she goes, even the supermarket. The bottom has fallen out of their lives so abruptly, the trio is clinging to any handhold they can—and slowly but surely losing their grip . . .

Inspired by a friend’s adventurous grandson, and determined not to spend her 70th birthday wallowing, Bonnie is ready to take extreme measures. Even if it means dragging her beloved girls along by the hair, they’re going to hike the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu! Of course, their emotional baggage gets packed with their lightweight jackets, but as they make the trek, the women also talk, sharing stories and secrets that have been festering for far too long. With every arduous step toward the famed summit, each woman sheds some of the past and its pain, and opens up to the extraordinary possibilities of the present—and a future that just might include a new happily ever after.

Expected publication June 25, 2024 

The Cold Light of Day by Anna Lee Huber

In the Lonely Hours by Shannon Morgan

One Cursed Rose by Rebecca Zanetti

Information is power, and those who control it live like gods.

In my world,

billionaires play deadly games of insult and influence where magic is the dirtiest weapon of all. Here, even a powerful princess can be swallowed by the darkest of shadows . . .

My name is Alana Beaumont, and due to a recent tragedy, I’m the sole heir to Aquarius Social, a family business being systematically dismantled by an unseen enemy. My father’s solution is to give me in marriage and create a coalition with a competing family, so I’m torn between my thirst for revenge and my duty. Now I just have a week to finish my hunt before the wedding.

There’s nothing like an assassination attempt to cut short the best of plans—even worse is my unwanted rescue by Thorn Beathach, the Beast whose social media empire is driving Aquarius under. The richest, most ruthless of them all, he protects his realm with an iron rule: no one sees his face. When he shows himself to me, I know he’ll never let me go.

Adam may think he can lock me in his castle forever, but I’m not the docile Beauty he expects. If the Beast wants to tie me up, I’m going to take pleasure from every minute of it . . .and we’ll just see who ends up shackled.

Expected publication June 25, 2024

Bad River by Marc Cameron

Follow the Stars Home by Diane C McPhail

The Trial of Mrs. Rhinelander by Denny S Bryce

Inspired by a real-life scandal that was shocking even for the tumultuous Roaring Twenties, this captivating novel tells the story of a pioneering Black journalist, a secret interracial marriage among the New York elite, and the sensational divorce case that ignited an explosive battle over race and class—and brought together two very different women fighting for justice, legitimacy, and the futures they risked everything to shape. From Denny S. Bryce, bestselling author of Wild Women and the Blues and In the Face of the Sun.

New York, 1924. Born to English immigrants who’ve built a comfortable life, idealistic Alice Jones longs for the kind of true love her mother and father have. She believes she’s found it with Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander, the shy heir to his prominent white family’s real estate fortune. Alice too, is “white”, though she is vaguely aware of rumors that question her ancestry—gossip her parents dismiss. But when the lovers secretly wed, Kip’s parents threaten his inheritance unless he annuls the marriage. 

Devastated but determined, Alice faces overwhelming odds both legally and in the merciless court of public opinion. But there is one person who can either help her—or shatter her hopes for Reporter Marvel Cunningham. The proud daughter of an accomplished Black family, Marvel lives to chronicle social change and the Harlem Renaissance’s fiery creativity.

At first, Marvel sees Alice’s case as a tabloid sensation generated by a self-hating woman who failed to “pass.” But the deeper she investigates, the more she will recognize just how much she and Alice have in common. For Rhinelander vs. Rhinelander will bring to light stunning truths that will force both women to confront who they are, and who they can be, in a world that is all too quick to judge.

Expected publication July 23, 2024

You Have Gone Too Far by Carlene O'Connor

Echoes of Memory by Sara Driscoll

The Sorority by Nancy Bush 

When a popular marriage counselor’s own marriage falls apart, she’s forced to question her methods—and discovers the magical ingredient she’s been missing all along—in the dreamiest possible way . . .

Just one year ago, Chelsea Knight was living the life she’d always wanted. Marriage to the perfect guy, a thriving career, and a gorgeous condo overlooking San Francisco Bay. Then out of nowhere, her husband, Austin, left her. Ironic, because Chelsea fixes marriages for a living. In fact, she’s famous for her techniques. Naturally, she’s been using her expertise to win back her ex—and when he invites her for drinks, she’s sure her work has finally paid off. Until he announces he’s engaged.

Devastated, Chelsea seeks refuge in the beloved small-town lake cabin she and Austin now take turns using. When she arrives, the streets are dazzlingly decked out for Halloween, the autumn leaves are exceptionally vibrant, and the locals are especially warm and welcoming. It’s downright magical—and so is Knox Hart, a talented jack-of-all-trades who’s fixing her roof. Chelsea is instantly drawn to him—and to the simplicity of country life. Slowly, she becomes immersed in the townspeople’s problems and finds a sense of belonging—leading her to reevaluate her own path . . .

But something about the idyllic hamlet—and Knox—seems too good to be true. A trick more than a treat. And when she ultimately learns the truth, her heart is shattered. Miraculously, Austin is there to mend it. It’s everything she’d hoped for. Or is it? On the cusp of making all her dreams come true, Chelsea must find the strength to make an impossible choice . . .

When a popular marriage counselor's own marriage falls apart, she's forced to question her methods-- and discovers the magical ingredient she's been missing al along-- in the dreamiest possible way. Has to make a choice between the life she has and the life that only exists in her dreams.

Publication date July 23, 2024

Check out all of the books at Kensington Books.

What's Releasing (5/15/24 edition)


Some of the books to come next week...

You Like it Darker by Stephen King

From legendary storyteller and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary new collection of twelve short stories, many never-before-published, and some of his best EVER.

“You like it darker? Fine, so do I,” writes Stephen King in the afterword to this magnificent new collection of twelve stories that delve into the darker part of life—both metaphorical and literal. King has, for half a century, been a master of the form, and these stories, about fate, mortality, luck, and the folds in reality where anything can happen, are as rich and riveting as his novels, both weighty in theme and a huge pleasure to read. King writes to feel “the exhilaration of leaving ordinary day-to-day life behind,” and in You Like It Darker, readers will feel that exhilaration too, again and again.

“Two Talented Bastids” explores the long-hidden secret of how the eponymous gentlemen got their skills. In “Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream,” a brief and unprecedented psychic flash upends dozens of lives, Danny’s most catastrophically. In “Rattlesnakes,” a sequel to Cujo, a grieving widower travels to Florida for respite and instead receives an unexpected inheritance—with major strings attached. In “The Dreamers,” a taciturn Vietnam vet answers a job ad and learns that there are some corners of the universe best left unexplored. “The Answer Man” asks if prescience is good luck or bad and reminds us that a life marked by unbearable tragedy can still be meaningful.

King’s ability to surprise, amaze, and bring us both terror and solace remains unsurpassed. Each of these stories holds its own thrills, joys, and mysteries; each feels iconic. You like it darker? You got it.

Mind Games by Nora Roberts

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Identity presents a suspenseful new novel of tragedy and trauma, love and family, and the evil that awaits.

As they do each June, the Foxes have driven the winding roads of Appalachia to drop off their children for a two-week stay at their grandmother’s. Here, twelve-year-old Thea can run free and breathe in the smells of pine and fresh bread and Grammie’s handmade candles. But as her parents head back to suburban Virginia, they have no idea they’re about to cross paths with a ticking time bomb.

Back in Kentucky, Thea and her grandmother Lucy both awaken from the same nightmare. And though the two have never discussed the special kind of sight they share, they know as soon as their tearful eyes meet that something terrible has happened.

The kids will be staying with Grammie now in Redbud Hollow, and thanks to Thea’s vision, their parents’ killer will spend his life in supermax. Over time, Thea will make friends, build a career, find love. But that ability to see into minds and souls still lurks within her, and though Grammie calls it a gift, it feels more like a curse—because the inmate who shattered her childhood has the same ability. Thea can hear his twisted thoughts and witness his evil acts from miles away. He knows it, and hungers for vengeance. A long, silent battle will be waged between them—and eventually bring them face to face, and head to head…

Tom Clancy's Act of Defiance by Andrews & Wilson

A rogue nuclear Russian submarine is steaming toward the East Coast of the United States. For President Jack Ryan, memories of past events may seem stunningly vivid, but the dangers are terrifyingly real in the latest entry in this #1 New York Times bestselling series.

US intelligence is reporting turmoil in the Russian navy. Their deadliest submarine, the Belgorod, has unexpectedly launched, and taken along with it a long list of questions. Who authorized the departure? What mission is it on? And, most disturbing of all, what weapons do the giant doors on the sub’s bow hide?

It's been four decades since a similar incident with the Soviet sub, Red October, ended happily, thanks to a young CIA analyst named Jack Ryan.

Now, President Jack Ryan finds himself with fleets of ships, squadrons of jets, and teams of SEALs at his command, but what he doesn’t have is insight into the plans of the Belgorod’s commander. It falls to a younger generation of Ryans to do the dangerous work that will reveal that information.

But there’s always a price to be paid. When the final moments tick away, will Jack Ryan have to choose between the safety of his country and the safety of his child?

Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan

A TIME MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • From the iconic internationally bestselling author of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy: A forbidden affair erupts volcanically amid a decadent tropical wedding in this outrageous comedy of manners.

"Imagine Crazy Rich Asians mated with Saltburn and you've got Lies and Weddings—a heavenly summertime read!"—Plum Sykes, New York Times best-selling author of Bergdorf Blondes

Rufus Leung Gresham, future Earl of Greshambury and son of a former Hong Kong supermodel has a problem: the legendary Gresham Trust has been depleted by decades of profligate spending, and behind all the magazine covers and Instagram stories manors and yachts lies nothing more than a gargantuan mountain of debt. The only solution, put forth by Rufus’s scheming mother, is for Rufus to attend his sister’s wedding at a luxury eco-resort, a veritable who’s-who of sultans, barons, and oligarchs, and seduce a woman with money.

Should he marry Solène de Courcy, a French hotel heiress with honey blond tresses and a royal bloodline? Should he pursue Martha Dung, the tattooed venture capital genius who passes out billions like lollipops? Or should he follow his heart, betray his family, squander his legacy, and finally confess his love to the literal girl next door, the humble daughter of a doctor, Eden Tong? When a volcanic eruption burns through the nuptials and a hot mic exposes a secret tryst, the Gresham family plans—and their reputation—go up in flames.

Can the once-great dukedom rise from the ashes? Or will a secret tragedy, hidden for two decades, reveal a shocking twist?

In a globetrotting tale that takes us from the black sand beaches of Hawaii to the skies of Marrakech, from the glitzy bachelor pads of Los Angeles to the inner sanctums of England’s oldest family estates, Kevin Kwan unfurls a juicy, hilarious, sophisticated and thrillingly plotted story of love, money, murder, sex, and the lies we tell about them all.

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton

From the bestselling author of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and The Devil and the Dark Water comes an inventive, high-concept murder mystery: an ingenious puzzle, an extraordinary backdrop, and an audacious solution.

Solve the murder to save what's left of the world.

Outside the island there is nothing: the world was destroyed by a fog that swept the planet, killing anyone it touched.

On the island: it is idyllic. One hundred and twenty-two villagers and three scientists, living in peaceful harmony. The villagers are content to fish, farm and feast, to obey their nightly curfew, to do what they're told by the scientists.

Until, to the horror of the islanders, one of their beloved scientists is found brutally stabbed to death. And then they learn that the murder has triggered a lowering of the security system around the island, the only thing that was keeping the fog at bay. If the murder isn't solved within 107 hours, the fog will smother the island—and everyone on it.

But the security system has also wiped everyone's memories of exactly what happened the night before, which means that someone on the island is a murderer—and they don't even know it.

And the clock is ticking.

Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea

When DNA results reveal a disturbing connection to the mysterious disappearance of a famous baby nearly three decades ago, a woman’s search for answers draws her to an ominous small town in Nevada and a dangerous web of corruption, power, and lies in this engrossing, propulsive new novel from the internationally bestselling author of Twenty Years Later.

For fans of Alice Feeney, Stacy Willingham, Riley Sager, and Megan Goldin.



“Zigzagging mercilessly between past and present, Donlea keeps up the tension…in a superior thriller.” — Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

On the first day of an elite two-year fellowship under the renowned Chief Medical Officer Dr. Livia Cutty, Sloan Hastings receives a research assignment in the emerging field of forensic genealogy. It’s the exciting, rapidly evolving science behind the recent breaks in high-profile cold cases from the Golden State Killer to the Cameron Young murder, and Sloan enthusiastically begins her research by submitting her own DNA to an online genealogy site. Her goal is to better understand the treasure trove of genetic information contained on ancestry websites, but the results she receives are shocking.

Raised by loving, supportive parents, Sloan has always known she was adopted. But her DNA profile suggests her true identity is that of Charlotte Margolis, aka “Baby Charlotte,” who captured the nation’s attention when she and her affluent parents mysteriously vanished in July 1995. Despite a large-scale investigation and months of broad media coverage, there were never any suspects in the family’s disappearance and the case has been cold for decades.

Racing to stay ahead of the media and true crime junkies ravenous to know what really happened to Baby Charlotte, Sloan’s search for answers leads her to Cedar Creek, Nevada, a small town north of Lake Tahoe. There, the Margolis family’s power and influence permeate every corner of the county, and while Sloan’s birth relatives are initially welcoming, they’re also mysterious and tight-lipped. Not everyone seems happy about Sloan’s return, or the questions she’s asking.

The more she learns, the more apparent it becomes that the answers Sloan seeks are buried in a graveyard of Margolis family secrets. And someone will do anything to keep them hidden . . .

See the list at Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

ARTICLE SHARING: The coziest reading chairs

 Book riot is offering up some of their picks for the coziest reading chairs...

Barrel Chair

Chaise Lounge

Cocoon Hanging Pod

Check out more ideas:

Monday, May 13, 2024

Monday Book Love (5/13/24 edition)


Monday Book Love is a catch-all for all of those events where you share your latest acquisitions, events like:

Mailbox Monday

What are You Reading?

Stacking the Shelves

Received from Goodreads:

American Flygirl by Susan Tate Ankeny

One of WWII’s most uniquely hidden figures, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fly for the United States military amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and policies.

Her singular story of patriotism, barrier breaking, and fearless sacrifice is told for the first time in full for readers of The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck, A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, The Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia, Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown and all Asian American, women’s and WWII history books.

In 1932, Hazel Ying Lee, a nineteen-year-old American daughter of Chinese immigrants, sat in on a friend’s flight lesson. It changed her life. In less than a year, a girl with a wicked sense of humor, a newfound love of flying, and a tough can-do attitude earned her pilot’s license and headed for China to help against invading Japanese forces. In time, Hazel would become the first Asian American to fly with the Women Airforce Service Pilots. As thrilling as it may have been, it wasn’t easy.

In America, Hazel felt the oppression and discrimination of the Chinese Exclusion Act. In China’s field of male-dominated aviation she was dismissed for being a woman, and for being an American. But in service to her country, Hazel refused to be limited by gender, race, and impossible dreams. Frustrated but undeterred she forged ahead, married Clifford Louie, a devoted and unconventional husband who cheered his wife on, and gave her all for the cause achieving more in her short remarkable life than even she imagined possible.

American Flygirl is the untold account of a spirted fighter and an indomitable hidden figure in American history. She broke every common belief about women. She challenged every social restriction to endure and to succeed. And against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hazel Ying Lee reached for the skies and made her mark as a universal and unsung hero whose time has come.


Real Americans by Rachel Khong

From the award-winning author of Goodbye, Vitamin: How far would you go to shape your own destiny? An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family, and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures?

Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn't be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can't shake the sense she's hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made, and if so, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer

What’s the point of giving someone a beautiful death if you can’t give yourself a beautiful life?

From the day she watched her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit , Clover Brooks has felt a stronger connection with the dying than she has with the living. After the beloved grandfather who raised her dies alone while she is traveling, Clover becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process.

Clover spends so much time with the dying that she has no life of her own, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send Clover on a road trip to uncover a forgotten love story—and perhaps, her own happy ending. As she finds herself struggling to navigate the uncharted roads of romance and friendship, Clover is forced to examine what she really wants, and whether she’ll have the courage to go after it.

Probing, clever, and hopeful, The Collected Regrets of Clover is perfect for readers of The Midnight Library and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine as it turns the normally taboo subject of death into a reason to celebrate life.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

What book did you receive that you most look forward to reading?

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Poetry Sunday (5/12/24 edition)

EmpressMaera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a Girl Inside 
by Lucille Clifton

there is a girl inside, 
she is randy as a wolf.
she will not walk away
and leave these bones
to an old woman.

she is a green tree
in a forest of kindling.
she is a green girl
in a used poet.

she has waited
patient as a nun
for the second coming,
when she can break through gray hairs
into blossom.

and her lovers will harvest
honey and thyme
and the woods will be wild
with the damn wonder of it.