Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

“Give it time. Nothing you feel is wrong. There will always be a before and an after, and you have to learn to live in the after.” – Rachel Hawkins, Reckless Girls 

Rachel Hawkins is proving she’s a contender among mystery writers with her latest book, Reckless Girls. With this being only her second foray into writing adult fiction (Hawkins had previously written young adult and juvenile fiction), she has crafted a suspenseful psychological mystery that takes place on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Lux McAllister has been drifting for a while. After her mother died, Lux found herself working a job she didn’t particularly like in California. Enter Nico. The minute he walked into the restaurant she was working in, Lux felt he would change her life. Soon enough, the two are living in Hawaii. Nico promised her trips around the world in his boat. Instead the two have been stuck in Hawaii while Nico waits for the money to fix his boat. Nico’s family is rich, so he could ask his dad for the money, but his pride is holding him back. Instead he works at the marina while Lux works as housekeeping at a local resort, hoping to save enough money to fix the boat and sail away.

One day Nico tells Lux that he has met two women who want to hire him to sail them to a remote island in the South Pacific. The best news: they want Lux to come. After they pay to have Nico’s boat, the Susannah, fixed, the four head off to Meroe Island. Their passengers are college best friends Brittany and Amma. They say they want to travel off the beaten path, but something about the two seems off to Lux. After all, why would the chose Meroe Island? The island has a mysterious and deadly history: shipwrecks, cannibalism, and murder have haunted the island for years. It is a gorgeous destination though.

The group descend upon Meroe Island only to discover that there is already another boat anchored just off sandy coast. Living aboard the Azure Sky are Jake and Eliza. They are the golden couple: rich, gorgeous, laidback, and most importantly, their large catamaran has a very well-stocked bar. All six of them immediately click and begin spending their days together exploring the island off grid. Lux finally feels at peace. That peace is shattered when secrets start bubbling to the surface. It appears that people aren’t being as honest as they presented themselves to be. Meroe Island’s exotic locale becomes less and less appealing the longer they stay. When someone turns up dead and another goes missing, emotions run high as they wonder how many will actually leave Meroe alive.

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The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

‘What the Collective doesn’t understand is by honoring the past, our ancestors, our cultures—and remembering our mistakes—we become better.’ – Donna Barba Higuera, The Last Cuentista  

Donna Barba Higuera’s newest book, The Last Cuentista, flew to the top of my to-read list when I saw the list of 2022 ALA Youth Media Award WinnersThe Last Cuentista is the 2022 Newberry Award winner for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Donna Barba Higuera was also the 2022 recipient for the Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award. This book is a top contender for my favorite read of 2022.

The Last Cuentista tells the story of a journey through stars to save humanity as we know it, told through the eyes of a young girl named Petra Peña who longs to be a storyteller like her abuelita. Her parents have hopes that she will be a scientist like them. Petra’s dreams are put on hold when the government realizes that there is a comet heading straight towards Earth that will destroy the planet and all life that lives there. Only a few hundred scientists and their children have been selected to evacuate Earth and head to a new planet named Sagan, where they have determined that people can safely live. Petra and her family are among the chosen few. The only hitch in this plan: it will take them hundreds of years to travel there.

The scientists and their children will be put to sleep while Monitors will watch over them and make sure the ship runs smoothly. While they are sleeping, they will be programmed with different informational courses that will allow them to wake up with all the information they will need to survive on Sagan.

Hundreds of years later, Petra awakens on the ship only to discover that she is the only person who remembers Earth. The Collective has taken over the ship and has hatched a new plan to control, essentially, everything. Their desire is to erase all the sins of humanity’s past. They have purged the memories of all those onboard. If they were unable to purge the memories, they eliminated the person altogether. Petra alone carries all the memories of the past. She isn’t quite sure what to do as having that knowledge puts her life in danger. Petra must find a way to save herself and the stories she carries within.

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The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

“It’s not about where you came from. What kind of shit might have happened to you in the past. It’s about who you are. What you do with the opportunities life presents to you.”
― Lucy Foley, The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment is a locked room mystery that centers around the people living in a Paris apartment building. Jess needs a fresh start, especially since she doesn’t have a job anymore. After calling her half-brother Ben to ask if she can come crash with him, Jess is surprised that he isn’t there to greet her when she eventually shows up to his apartment building in Paris. He didn’t sound excited that she wanted to come last minute, but he’s family. Ben always keeps his word and would never leave her stranded.

When Jess eventually makes her way inside the building, she finds a very nice apartment that she is honestly surprised that Ben can afford. After all, he’s a journalist who mainly writes restaurant reviews and this is a fancy place. She searches his apartment, but there is no sign of Ben. Time passes and Ben still doesn’t show up. Jess starts digging into Ben’s life, starting with his neighbors. They are a slightly weird bunch, eclectic to put it nicely. Plus they’re not friendly. Jess’s innocent questions about Ben’s whereabouts put them on edge, which only prompts her to ask more questions. Why are they acting so cagey? And where is Ben?

This book is also available in the following formats:

Best Seller’s Club May Authors: Lisa Scottoline and Jude Deveraux

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! May’s authors are Lisa Scottoline for fiction and Jude Deveraux for romance.

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Our May fiction author is Lisa Scottoline. Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of over 30 novels. All 32 novels have appeared on bestseller lists. Her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, was published in 1994 by HarperColins Publishers. She currently has over 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States, which doesn’t account for the large print, e-book, and audio copies. Scottoline is also published in 35 countries. Lisa and her daughter Francesca Serritella write a Sunday humor column called Chick Wit for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories from those columns have been published into a series of memoirs. Scottoline currently lives in the Philadelphia array with her wide array of pets.

Photo credit: Jeff Wojtaszek

What Happened to the Bennetts book coverScottoline’s newest book is What Happened to the Bennetts, published in March 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

Your family has been attacked, never again to be the same.

Now you have to choose between law…and justice.

Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.

Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization – and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs. The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.

Sometimes justice is a one-man show.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our May romance author is Jude Deveraux. Deveraux is the author of forty-three New York Times bestselling books, but has published over seventy novels. She is known for her many stories about the Montgomery and Taggert families. She primarily writes historical romance, mystery, and romance. Currently, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in circulation worldwide. Those books are in print in eighteen languages. Deveraux was recogized with the Pioneer Award by Romantic Times in 2013, a recognition as a pioneer in the romance genre. She loves to travel and photograph all of her adventures. She also likes to box and weight lift. Deveraux currently lives in South Florida when she is in the States.

Photo Credit: Deborah Feingold

Deveraux’s latest book is A Relative Murder, book 4 in the Medlar Mystery series, published in March 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Even the closest families have secrets hidden away.

Bestselling novelist Sara Medlar is skilled at sharing stories about other people, but she hoped the truth about her own family would never surface. Her home in Lachlan, Florida, is her refuge and she loves having her niece Kate and dear friend Jack Wyatt together under her roof. The Medlar Three, as they are known around town, have sworn off getting involved in any more murder investigations.

When the sheriff unexpectedly leaves on vacation, Jack is surprised to find himself appointed as deputy. So when Kate stumbles upon a dead body while visiting a friend, the Medlar Three are back in the sleuthing game. Kate also has a charming new real estate client with a mysterious past. He seems to be followed by trouble and that makes Sara and Jack uneasy.

It doesn’t take long to discover that the murder and the new man in town are somehow related—the question is how. When the stranger’s true identity is revealed, Sara realizes her carefully crafted story is about to unravel and she fears she’ll lose Kate and Jack forever. But she desperately hopes that love and honesty will win out over years of lies and deceit. And besides, family is family—even if you sometimes want to kill them.

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Oprah’s Latest Book Club Pick: Finding Me by Viola Davis

Join our Best Sellers Club to have certain celebrity book club picks automatically put on hold for you: Reese Witherspoon, Jenna Bush Hager, and Oprah Winfrey. While Reese and Jenna generally announce a new title each month, Oprah’s selections are more sporadic. She has just announced hew newest selection! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, you can choose to have these titles automatically put on hold for you.

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Oprah Winfrey has selected Finding Me by Viola Davis as her latest pick.

Curious what Finding Me is about? Check out the following description provided by the author.

In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.

This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.

As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.

Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Join our Best Sellers Club to have Oprah’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

April’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s a new month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow as her April pick.

Curious what Memphis is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Summer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.

As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Reese Witherspoon has selected True Biz by Sara Nović for April.

Curious what True Biz is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

Join our Best Sellers Club to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

Best Seller’s Club April Authors: Liane Moriarty and Sara Paretsky

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! April’s authors are Liane Moriarty for fiction and Sara Paretsky for mystery.

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Our April fiction author is Liane Moriarty. Moriarty primarily writes fiction, mystery, romance, as well as a children’s fiction series published in the late 2000s. Fun fact: Liane’s sister Jaclyn writes award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, and her youngest sister Nicola Moriarty is also a writer (she writes domestic thrillers)! She has other sisters, but they are not interested in writing.

Liane Moriarty is known currently for her book, Nine Perfect Strangers, which was made into a limited Hulu series. She has nine adult novels that have been translated into forty languages and have sold more than 20 million copies all over the world. Her novel, Big Little Lies, debuted as number one on the New York Times bestseller list, which made her the first Australian author to debut in that spot in the US. Big Little Lies was also made into an HBO limited series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, and Laura Dern. Moriarty has also written three books for children. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband, son, and daughter.

Moriarty’s newest book is Apples Never Fall, published in September 2021.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

The Delaney family love one another dearly—it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our April mystery author is Sara Paretsky. She is an international bestselling author with her works published in almost thirty languages in thirty countries. Paretsky writes novels, nonfiction, and short stories, but she is most known for her  female private eye series starring V.I. Warshawski. She began that series in 1982 with In Indemnity Only. That series now has over twenty titles. In 1986, Paretsky created Sisters In Crime, a worldwide organization that exists to support crime writers. In addition to her V.I. Warshawski series, Paretsky has published a memoir, two stand-alone novels, two collections of short stores, and edited four other anthologies. Paretsky currently lives on Chicago’s south side with her husband and their golden retriever.

Paretsky’s latest book is Overboard, book 22 in the V.I. Warshawski series. This book is set to be published in May 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Legendary detective V.I. Warshawski uncovers a nefarious conspiracy preying on Chicago’s weak and vulnerable, in this thrilling novel from New York Times bestseller Sara Paretsky.

On her way home from an all-night surveillance job, V.I. Warshawski is led by her dogs on a mad chase that ends when they discover a badly injured teen hiding in the rocks along Lake Michigan. The girl only regains consciousness long enough to utter one enigmatic word. V.I. helps bring her to a hospital, but not long after, she vanishes before anyone can discover her identity. As V.I. attempts to find her, the detective uncovers an ugly consortium of Chicago powerbrokers and mobsters who are prepared to kill the girl. And now V.I.’s own life is in jeopardy as well.

Told against the backdrop of a city emerging from its pandemic lockdown, Overboard lays bare the dark secrets and corruption buried in Chicago’s neighborhoods in masterly fashion.

This book is also available in the following format:

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

“If every story had a happy ending, then we’d have no reason to start again. Life is all about choices, and learning how to put ourselves back together when we fall apart. Which we all do. Even the people who pretend they don’t.”
– Alice Feeney, Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors  is Alice Feeney’s latest twisty psychological thriller that centers around how well you really know the people you are in a relationship with. Everyone has little secrets tucked away, things they don’t necessarily see as lies, but they keep them hidden nonetheless.

Married couple Mr and Mrs Wright are on a holiday away. Amelia won a weekend away to a refurbished chapel in Scotland, thinking that this trip will be just what the couple needs to get their marriage back on track. Her husband Adam isn’t quite as sure. He is a screenwriter who suffers from face blindness whose work consumes him.  Adam can’t recognize anyone, so he has to rely on other body clues to try to place who they are. This trip to a chapel in the middle of nowhere during a snowstorm is not how he wants to spend his time. He has so much work to do.

The couple has a unique tradition for each of their anniversaries: they exchange traditional gifts for each year (gifts that fall as paper, cotton, pottery, tin, etc). Each year Adam’s wife also has her own tradition: she writes Adam a letter talking about how their marriage progressed during the last year. She has never let Adam read those letters until this trip. Each person has their own reasons for wanting to take this trip, but they also both know that this weekend away will result in either their marriage surviving or resulting in a break-up. The longer they stay at the chapel, the more it becomes obvious that one of them is lying and may even be actively sabotaging the other.

How well do you know your partner?

“Enjoy the stories of other people’s lives, but don’t forget to live your own.” – ― Alice Feeney, Rock Paper Scissors

This book is also available in the following formats:

Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Domestic fiction is one of my favorite subgenres, especially novels that are set in situations that are different than my normal life. Domestic fiction is usually written by, for, and about women. It is also usually told through multiple viewpoints. My latest read fits all the above criteria!

Dava Shastri’s Last Day tells the story of Dava Shastri and her family. Dava Shastri is one of the world’s wealthiest women. Devastated by a brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, Dava is determined to approach her death like she approaches everything else in her life – with planning and determination.

Dava’s reputation has always been important to her. She wants her name to live on for generations. Both her public and private legacies are of utmost importance, but her family members don’t feel quite as strong about keeping the Shastri name alive.

Dava summons her four adult children, their spouses, and children to her private island where she tells them her news. In addition to having a terminal illness, Dava has also arranged for the news of her death to be released early, so that she can read the obituaries and articles written about her before she dies. Since she spent her life dedicated to the arts and to the empowerment of women, Dava expected that the articles written after her death would focus on those topics. Instead she finds the articles to be significantly more scandalous, focusing on two secrets that have the power to destroy her life, secrets she hoped would stay buried forever.

Now that her secrets are published, her children know and the fallout is not great. Dava must use what little time she has left to come to terms with the life she has lived and the various decisions that have led her to this point.  Most importantly she must use that time to talk it out with her family and make peace with their past, present, and future.

This book is also available in the following format:

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

“Sisterly relationships are so strange in this way. The way I can be mad at Rose but still want to please her. Be terrified of her and also want to run to her. Hate her and love her, both at the same time. Maybe when it comes to sisters, boundaries are always a little bit blurry. Blurred boundaries, I think, are what sisters do best.”
― Sally Hepworth, The Good Sister

The Good Sister tells the story of fraternal twins, Rose and Fern Castle. The two have relied on each other for their entire lives ever since their dad left and their mom was left as their sole caregiver. Their childhood wasn’t ideal or perfect, but they made it through together. Rose always looked out for Fern, but there was one time when Rose wasn’t there for Fern which resulted in a deadly mistake that has haunted Fern her entire life.

Flash forward to the present. Fern now works at her local library. She has a sensory processing disorder which means that she works hard to avoid crowds, loud noises, and bright lights as much as she can. Fern loves routine and structure, so she carefully plans out her life. She has dinner with Rose three nights a week, visits her mom, and participates in some recreational sports. Life is going on a perfectly normal steady pace. Until it isn’t.

One night at Rose’s house for dinner, Fern learns that Rose cannot get pregnant. She has a medical condition that means she will most likely never get pregnant. After researching Rose’s condition, Fern decides that she has finally found a way to pay Rose back after her years of looking out for her. Fern has decided to have a baby for Rose, but now she needs to find a father. That should be fairly easy to do!

Since Fern has made a plan, she begins putting it into motion. This journey throws up some road blocks though as Fern learns some things about her family that lead her to question what she knows to be true.

This book is also available in the following formats: