Exiles by Jane Harper
At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds. A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.
Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.
Maame by Jessica George
An unforgettable debut about a young British Ghanaian woman as she navigates her twenties and finds her place in the world, for readers of Queenie and The Other Black Girl.
Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.
It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.
When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.
River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer
The master of the Providence plantation in Barbados gathers his slaves and announces the king has decreed an end to slavery. As of the following day, the Emancipation Act of 1834 will come into effect. The cries of joy fall silent when he announces that they are no longer his slaves; they are now his apprentices. No one can leave. They must work for him for another six years. Freedom is just another name for the life they have always lived. So Rachel runs.
Away from Providence, she begins a desperate search to find her children—the five who survived birth and were sold. Are any of them still alive? Rachel has to know. The grueling, dangerous journey takes her from Barbados then, by river, deep into the forest of British Guiana and finally across the sea to Trinidad. She is driven on by the certainty that a mother cannot be truly free without knowing what has become of her children, even if the answer is more than she can bear. These are the stories of Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy. But above all this is the story of Rachel and the extraordinary lengths to which a mother will go to find her children…and her freedom.
The Drift by C.J. Tudor
Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors. They’ll need to work together to escape – with their sanity and secrets intact.
Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board. They are heading to a place known only as “The Retreat,” but as the temperature drops and tensions mount, Meg realizes they may not all make it there alive.
Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger, and their fragile bonds will be tested when the power finally fails—for good.
Central Places by Delia Cai
Audrey Zhou left Hickory Grove, the tiny central Illinois town where she grew up, as soon as high school ended, and she never looked back. She moved to New York City and became the person she always wanted to be, complete with a high-paying, high-pressure job and a seemingly faultless fiancé. But if she and Manhattan-bred Ben are to build a life together, in the dream home his parents will surely pay for, Audrey can no longer hide him, or the person she’s become, from those she left behind.
But returning to Hickory Grove is . . . complicated. Audrey’s relationship with her parents has been soured by years of her mother’s astronomical expectations and slights. The friends she’s shirked for bigger dreams have stayed behind and started families. And then there’s Kyle, the easygoing stoner and her unrequited crush from high school that she finds herself drawn to again. Ben might be a perfect fit for New Audrey, but Kyle was always the only one who truly understood her growing up, and being around him again after all these years has Old Audrey bubbling up to the surface.
Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend. Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him? To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper wonders: who is Amelia Ashley? Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…
The Girl with the Dragonfruit Tattoo by Carrie Doyle
On the tropical island of Paraiso, Plum Lockhart has a new zest for life. Not only is her new villa rental company growing like a weed, but things are also finally heating up between her and the handsome Director of Security at Las Frutas Resort.
Plum’s thrilled when she gets an invite to dinner on the yacht of a wealthy music executive, grateful for a luxurious night on the water, surrounded by A-listers. But days later, one of the servers from the yacht—a girl with a dragonfruit tattoo—washes up dead, and Plum’s sweet bit of paradise quickly goes rotten. As the yacht prepares to set sail across the Caribbean, Plum hops onboard. But the zest laid plans turn deadly as it becomes clear that someone on the boat is a murderer…and Plum may be the next victim.
The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel
Lauren and her family have been granted the use of a spectacular brownstone, teeming with history and dizzyingly unattractive 70s wallpaper. Adding to the home’s bohemian, grungy splendor is the bar occupying the basement called The Sweet Spot. Within days of moving in, Lauren discovers that she has already made an enemy in the neighborhood by inadvertently sparking the divorce of a couple she has never actually met.
Melinda’s husband of thirty years has dumped her for a young celebrity entrepreneur named Felicity, and, to Melinda’s horror, the lovebirds are soon to become parents. In her incandescent rage, Melinda wreaks havoc wherever she can, including in Felicity’s Soho boutique, where she has a fit of epic proportions, which happens to be caught on film.
Olivia—the industrious twenty-something behind the counter, who has big dreams and bigger debt—gets caught in the crossfire. In an effort to diffuse Melinda’s temper, Olivia has a tantrum of her own and gets unceremoniously canned, thanks to TikTok.
When Melinda’s ex follows his lover across the country, leaving their squalling baby behind, the three women rise to the occasion in order to forgive, to forget, to Ferberize, and to track down the wayward parents. But can their little village find a way toward the happily ever afters they all desire? Welcome to The Sweet Spot.
Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen
Louise knows first-hand that vampire mythos is all a lie. After all, she IS a vampire, and it doesn’t involve glamour, speed, flying, or anything Anne Rice wrote about. Instead, it’s actually pretty boring and quite lonely — the best part about it is the longevity, which Louise uses to go to see as many cool bands as she can. But all that changes when Louise’s estranged brother Stephen arrives at her door with his 12-year-old grandson Ian.
Ian’s father has recently been killed in a car accident and his mom is battling late-stage cancer. Stephen and Ian have taken a road trip while Ian’s mom receives treatment, and while they thought they’d find a long-lost relative, they get Louise — who explains her youthful appearance with a story about her relation to theme. Louise empathizes with the young boy and invites him to stay for a weekend. Together, they bond over their love of music, playing guitar late into the morning. But when Ian learns her secret, he asks for something more than guitar lessons: He asks her to make his mom a vampire to cure her of cancer.
Problem is, Louise doesn’t wish this loneliness on anyone. And a bigger problem — she can’t turn anyone. Only rumored elder vampires can do so, and she doesn’t even know where to find them. In an act of defiance, Ian runs away. As Louise pursues him, she comes across a path to these elder vampires — and a secret that could change how vampires view life and death forever.