Best Seller’s Club June Authors: Lisa Jackson and Christine Feehan

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! June’s authors are Lisa Jackson for fiction and Christine Feehan for romance.

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Our June fiction author is Lisa Jackson. Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 85 novels. She also writes the Colony Series with her sister, Nancy Bush. Over 20 million copies of Lisa’s books are in print in twenty languages. Jackson writes a wide variety of genres: historical romance, mystery, romance, and romantic suspence. She describes her books as being ‘neck deep in murder’. She is fascinated by both sides of the criminal system: the killers and their pursuers. She strives to learn more about the minds and motives of each.

Photo by Shelby Kohler Photography

Jackson’s newest book is The Girl Who Survived, set to be published on June 28, 2022.

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

In an all-consuming novel of suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson, the survivor of a brutal family massacre must uncover the shocking truth about a fateful night that left her forever marked . . .

All her life, she’s been the girl who survived. Orphaned at age seven after a horrific killing spree at her family’s Oregon cabin, Kara McIntyre is still searching for some kind of normal. But now, twenty years later, the past has come thundering back. Her brother, Jonas, who was convicted of the murders has unexpectedly been released from prison. The press is in a frenzy again. And suddenly, Kara is receiving cryptic messages from her big sister, Marlie—who hasn’t been seen or heard from since that deadly Christmas Eve when she hid little Kara in a closet with a haunting, life-saving command: Don’t make a sound.

As people close to her start to die horrible deaths, Kara, who is slowly and surely unraveling, believes she is the killer’s ultimate target.

Kara survived once. But will she survive again? How many times can she be the girl who survived?

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Our June romance author is Christine Feehan. Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, with 83 published works in seven different series: Dark Series, GhostWalker Series, Leopard Series, Drake Sisters Series, Sea Haven Series, Shadow Series, and Torpedo Ink Series. All seven of her series have hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Judgment Road, the first book in her newest series, Torpedo Ink, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. More than 13 million copies of her books are in print. They have also been published and translated in 14 countries. Christine Feehan writes primarily paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Christine lives in the beautiful Redwoods near the ocean on California’s Pacific North Coast surrounded by family, friends and several dogs.

Feehan’s newest book is Dark Whisper, which should be published in October 2022. This is book 36 in the Dark series.

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

Vasilisa Sidkorolyavolkva is a Lycan of royal blood. She knows what’s expected of her, but all she wants is to be out from under her family’s watchful eyes. There is a fire inside her that is building. A restlessness coupled with a sense of growing dread. Every day she feels the weight of the legacy passed down through generations. The prophecy that says a man will come to claim her as his mate and that she will guard his soul. She knows nothing about him, except that he is hers. But nothing seems real until the night she meets him in the flesh…

Afanasiv Belan is a Carpathian, and an ancient one. In all the centuries of his existence, no one has ever affected him like Vasilisa. He can see into her mind and feel what’s in her heart. They are so alike, warriors bound by honor and plagued by secrets. They both know they must reveal the darkest parts of their souls if they hope to survive and protect the ones they love.

But if they claim each other as lifemates it will change them down to the bone. They will become something more — something both of their kinds fear…

Historical Mystery Reads: The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas is a USA Today bestselling author who has a wide catalog of published works ranging from romance to fantasy to mystery to even a wuxia-inspired duology. Thomas also won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award twice. Sherry Thomas had previously been known to me through her romance novels, but this past year, I discovered her Lady Sherlock series, which leans towards historical mystery, but has some elements of romance. Let’s get into the first book!

(But first: author photo courtesy of Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio)

A Study in Scarlet Women is the first book in the Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas. It’s a delightful upside-down take on Sherlock Holmes that I found riveting from the start. As of right now, there are six published works in this series, but we’re going to focus on the first one below:

Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable in society, let alone in her own family. Ladies are expected to be demure, but she has an incredibly inquisitive mind and speaks the truth even when it’s uncomfortable for others. While she has curbed her habits to make herself more attractive to others, there are certain parts of her life that frankly Charlotte doesn’t understand why others would be interested in. As a result, Charlotte makes one particular decision that turns her into a social pariah and that also dampens her family’s social standing as well. She soon finds herself trying to ferret out a living in London, a task that is much more difficult than Charlotte ever dreamed.

When Charlotte learns of three unexpected deaths within the city, her interest is piqued. When both her sister and her father fall under suspicion of murder, Charlotte is desperate. It isn’t fair that her family’s name be even more destroyed. She knows neither of her family members could have committed murder. Charlotte decides to use her intellect to find the real murderer (or murderers). Since Charlotte is a woman however, certain avenues of inquiry are of limits. She begins her investigation under an assumed name – throwing doubt onto the police’s investigation and challenging society’s expectations even if it’s hidden at first. Solving the case falls to Charlotte, as even the police are looking to the ever-remarkable Holmes for help and clues.

This book is available in the following formats:

The Lady Sherlock Series

    1. A Study in Scarlet Women (2016)
    2. A Conspiracy in Belgravia (2017)
    3. The Hollow of Fear (2018)
    4. The Art of Theft (2019)
    5. Murder on Cold Street (2020)
    6. Miss Moriarty, I Presume? (2021)

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

I’m a bit of a picky reader, wanting mostly to read books with LGBTQ-diverse characters. Often (as you’ll know if you’ve read my posts) this leads me to fantastic books in the romance genre. However, there are more titles available in other genres, though they’re trickier to find. Most recently I’ve been exploring sci-fi titles, starting with Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell.

Kiem is a very low-level royal in the Iskat Emperor’s family, and he’s got a bit of a bad reputation from his student days that he just can’t shake. Jainan, meanwhile, is well-respected and has been representing the planet Thea for the empire quite well with the help of his Iskat partner Taam. But just as the Empire enters high-stakes negotiations with the ominous Auditor of the Resolution, Taam is killed in an accident, and it’s very important Jainan remarry to present a strong and united front. Enter Kiem – whose main qualifications are his bloodline and his ability to look confident in photos. One quick marriage ceremony later, Kiem and Jainan are struggling to navigate dangerous galactic politics, trying to find out if Taam’s death was really an accident, and feeling surprisingly attracted to each other…

I saw this described as Ancillary Justice meets Red, White, and Royal Blue and I do think that’s a cleverly apt description – although I personally think Boyfriend Material is a closer fit (and the book I prefer between the two). The space opera / imperial conspiracy / political maneuvering elements are a big part of the story and its setting, but Kiem adds some much needed humanity and humor to the story. Throw in a murder mystery and it’s practically a gay version of Star Wars. Better yet, this is a universe that’s very honest, frank, and unconcerned about LGBTQ relationships and identities – which was delightfully refreshing to read.

If you’re a sci-fi reader looking for more representation, don’t miss this critically-acclaimed book!

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.

This book is also available in the following format:

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring-Blake

How do you make peace with your past? In Delilah Green’s case, the answer is to fall in love with the last person she’d have expected – an experience which gives her a whole new perspective on everything, including her most painful memories. Give love a chance in the Cinderella-like (complete with evil stepmother and second chances) Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring-Blake.

After Delilah’s father died, Delilah was left in the care of her cold stepmother Isobel and her distant stepsister Astrid, who never made her feel welcome or wanted. She’s been living in New York, chasing her dream of being a photographer and having a string of one-night-stands to keep her company. Then Astrid gets engaged, and hires Delilah to photograph the wedding. When she arrives, Delilah is blindsided by her attraction to Astrid’s best friend Claire, now a single mom running a bookstore and struggling to trust her unreliable ex. As the wedding draws closer, so do Delilah and Claire – but the wounds from their pasts are never far away…

This is a very steamy romance, but it’s well-balanced with character development, real emotions, and healing from childhood trauma. Claire in particular is a well-rounded and relatable character, as is her daughter Ruby, in a refreshing portrayal of single motherhood and complex co-parenting. As for Delilah, readers will be just as invested in her fragile relationship with stepsister Astrid as in her sweet romance with Claire.

Recommended for fans of Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, and other queer romance authors who show the depth of emotions and growth that goes into crafting a happily-ever-after.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

‘Statistics can’t tell us what will happen, they can only tell us what might happen.’ – Christina Lauren, The Soulmate Equation

Christina Lauren’s latest published novel, The Soulmate Equation, is an exploration into love, science, and how the two intertwine. This romantic comedy is a delightful romp about what you would do if your soulmate ended up being the last person you expected them to be.

Jess is a freelance statistician. She has always loved numbers. They make sense to her when nothing else in her life does. A single mother to a young girl named Juno, Jess has managed to make life work with the help of her grandparents and her best friend Fizzy. While she finds fulfillment raising seven-year-old Juno and running stats for her clients, her love life has been basically non-existent. After yet another failed date, Jess decides she doesn’t need to find love to feel complete.

When Jess and Fizzy learn about a new matchmaking company called GeneticAlly whose chief science officer frequents the same coffee shop as them, Fizzy decides they need to discover more about what the company is actually offering. The two are invited to the company’s headquarters where they learn about the science behind GeneticAlly’s new love app. This startup claims to find your soulmate based on DNA compatibility rating thousands of  emotional and biological markers. In a desperate sad moment, Jess spits into the DNADuo kit, sends it in, and promptly forgets about it.

When a notification pings on her phone alerting her that the company has requested a meeting with her, her initial reaction is that they might want her to help running statistics. As soon as she shows up though, it’s clear that there is something else they need to discuss. Jess learns that she has 98% compatibility with another subject in the database, a number that is hard for her to believe to be true. Another item to add to her skepticism: Jess has matched with GeneticAlly’s founder and chief science officer, Dr. River Pena. River seems just as skeptical as her, but the two turn to the numbers to verify what they have been told. After all, numbers never lie.

Jess has a hard time believing that River is her soulmate, mostly because she already knows him. He is the stuck up and stubborn man who has come into the coffee house she frequents for months. How could he be her soulmate?! Genetically has a deal for her though: They will pay her to get to know River. They will expect her to go to events, do interviews, and spend one-on-one time with River. The more time the two spend with each other, the more Jess realizes why River behaves the way he does. The science doesn’t necessarily have to be at odds with the love and emotional aspect of life. River is more than she seems and so is his life’s work.

‘Destiny could also be a choice, she’d realized. To believe or not, to be vulnerable or not, to go all in or not.’ – Christina Lauren, The Soulmate Equation

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Ali Hazelwood’s debut novel The Love Hypothesis is the start to a new contemporary romance series. Hazelwood’s books all center around women in STEM and academia, which represents her life. Hazelwood is originally from Italy, then lived in Japan and Germany, and after that she moved to the US to pursue a PhD in neuroscience. She is now a professor (and author).

Olive Smith is a third-year PhD candidate at Stanford. She’s not a fan of romantic relationships – they just aren’t her thing. Science has always been there for her, so lasting romance doesn’t interest her. Slight problem though: she did have a boyfriend for a while that it turns out her best friend has a major crush on. In order to finally convince her best friend that she really doesn’t care if she dates Olive’s ex-boyfriend, Olive needs to get a new boyfriend stat. A ‘real’ boyfriend isn’t in the cards, so Olive does the next best thing: she panics and kisses the first man she sees.

Utter disaster. Well, the kiss wasn’t that bad, but the man she kissed – a whole other story. She planted her lips on Adam Carlsen, a young professor who is known throughout her department to be utterly rude and condescending, especially to the students in his labs. Forced to explain why she forced herself upon him, Olive is stunned when Dr. Carlsen agrees to keep up the pretense and be her fake boyfriend. Rumors swirl around campus, putting Adam and Olive into very awkward positions with other faculty, students, and friends.

The more they get to know each other, the more Olive thinks that this experiment may not be a bad idea. Especially when they are thrown together at a big conference and in addition to the surprise of his six-pack abs, Adam proves to be incredibly supportive when Olive’s life starts to crumble. There are bigger things at play than just biology: Olive may have to deal with the feelings that are starting to creep into their relationship.

The second book in this series, Love on the Brain, is set to be published in August 2022.

This book is also available in the following format:

Love Hypothesis series

  1. The Love Hypothesis
  2. Love on the Brain (will be published in August 2022)

 

A Phở Love Story by Loan Le

Loan Le’s debut novel, A Phở Love Story, reads a bit like a happy ending Romeo & Juliet (in fact that story is mentioned many times by the characters throughout this book).

Bảo Nguyen and Linh Mai are high school seniors who work at their families’ Vietnamese restaurants. Sounds perfect, right? Oh so wrong. It turns out that their familes are in a years’ long feud even though their restaurants are across the street from each other.

Bảo is average and not that interesting – his words. He goes to school and isn’t particularly amazing at anything in general. He is reliable, his grades average, and he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his future.

Linh loves art. She desperately wants to have a career in it. For as long as she can remember, Linh has been an artist. The only issue is that her parents do not believe that art is a stable enough career choice. Her parents rely on her to help them with their restaurant almost every day, so on top of her school work and her art projects, Linh spends hours at the restaurant.

Even though the Mai and Nguyen’s restaurants are across the street from each other, the two families do not interact. In fact they are incredibly competitive. When one does a contest, so does the other. Rumors swirl about each respective restaurant. The feud between the two families seems very complicated to Bảo and Linh, but their parents won’t discuss why it exists.

One day, a chance encounter between Linh and Bảo results in sparks. They find themselves working close together and despite their family history and their initial desire to steer clear of each other, there is an undenable attraction. The more they get to know each other, the more they wonder why it took so long for them to meet and become friends. The tensions between their parents has the power to destroy their budding relationship. Bảo and Linh will have to decide what they want and how far they are willing to go for love and answers.

This book is also available in the following format:

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.” – T.J. Klune, Under the Whispering Door

Under the Whispering Door was an incredibly powerful read that had me feeling a wide variety of emotions. (If you haven’t read The House in the Cerulean Sea by Klune, you should do that too – check out Anna’s blog to learn more about it). Klune sprinkled so many profound nuggets of wisdoms throughout this book that I still find myself thinking about it days after finishing.

Wallace Price is troubled. He spends his entire life at the office trying to understand why people behave the way they do. As a lawyer, Wallace craves order. His life changes when he wakes up at his own funeral. When a woman approaches him and says that she is a reaper come to collect him, he is confused and outraged. First of all, he can’t be dead. Secondly, there is only a handful of people at his funeral. Utterly ridiculous.

The reaper takes him to Charon’s Crossing, a slightly irregular tea shop. It sits on the outskirts of a small village off the beaten path that runs through the mountainous woods. Hugo, the owner, is there to help Wallace in any way he can. He works as a ferryman who helps souls cross over.

The more time Wallace spends time at the tea shop talking with Hugo and the others, the more Wallace thinks he might actually be dead. He isn’t ready to abandon his life just yet though. He didn’t actually live his life to the fullest. Wallace spent his time alive at work, but he spends his time dead really living: joking with the others at the tea shop, manifesting new clothing, and noticing the stars with Hugo. Just as Wallace settles into a comfortable rhythm however, the all-powerful Manager descends upon Charon’s Crossing with a deadline that will change them all forever.

This book is available in the following formats:

Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

An inclusive romance for fans of reality cooking shows, Love and Other Disasters follows recent divorcée Dahlia and non-binary London as they compete on a show called Chef’s Special, and find themselves falling in love along the way. Delicious, steamy, thoughtful, and trailblazing, it’s vital reading for romance lovers.

London Parker is nervous enough about being out as non-binary on national TV, and about which competitors refuse to respect their pronouns, without their unexpected attraction to the messy woman at the station in front of them. Dahlia Woodson, meanwhile, is struggling to figure out who she is after getting divorced from her high school sweetheart and quitting her unfulfilling job. She was hoping to win the prize money and maybe make a few friends, but is caught completely by surprise when her very cute competitor becomes something more. Now it’s down to both of them to figure out what they can be to each other, especially when the competition brings glaring scrutiny to their budding relationship.

I cherished this book for its accurate and heartwarming portrayal of living life as a non-binary person, as well as the nods to famous cooking competitions like the Great British Baking Show. All the characters are distinct and unique, as are their respective journeys. This is a book that knows there are no easy happily-ever-afters, especially because everyone has a different path to walk. The emphasis of the story is on the importance of doing the work of introspection and communication to create the life you want for yourself. I think many people will relate to Dahlia’s predicament of feeling like a disappointment or that she’s not where she ought to be in life, while also enjoying watching the romantic comedy unfold.

There’s also thoughtful message of how unpleasant or unfair it can be to be in the spotlight and have very personal issues be treated as entertainment. In an important narrative choice, the book itself never explicitly misgenders London or gives voice to the ignorant or hateful comments they receive on social media, while acknowledging that those things do happen; in this way it stays both accurate and respectful, and offers an example of how to use language to avoid doing harm. And of course, there’s lots of descriptions of delicious food, which both soothes the soul and whets the appetite!

If you’re looking for a book about love, cooking, fame, and the joys and frustrations of being different, this is the perfect cozy read for you.