Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward
Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.
From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.
Sisters Under the Rising Sun by Heather Morris
Though many of the passengers drowned straight away, Nesta and Norah miraculously survive and reach the beaches of Bangka ISland, then controlled by the Japanese. They are immediately taken as prisoners of war, and separated from the men, Norah is uncertain of John’s fate.
For nearly four years, Norah and Nesta fought for survival as their fellow prisoners, friends and comrades, died. Moved from one camp to another, they finally settled in the notorious Camp Palembang, deep in the jungle of Sumatra. There, women and children battled disease, starvation, and unthinkable brutality meted out by the Japanese soldiers: less than half of the inmates in their camp lived to see the Japanese defeated. Yet these women found, in themselves and in each other, an extraordinary courage and resourcefulness.
A Christmas to Remember by Beverly Jenkins
Ever since Bernadine Brown bought the town of Henry Adams, her relationship with diner owner Malachi “Mal” July has had its share of ups and downs. But now they’re finally ready to say “I do.”
Or are they? As wedding preparations go into full swing, and families both local and extended begin to gather for the festivities, that long awaited walk down the aisle hits a speed bump that may derail everything.
But Mal and Bernadine’s relationship isn’t the only one being tested.
Everything Is Not Enough by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
Powerful marketing executive Kemi Adeyemi has finally found the man she needs, but Tobias Wikström thinks she’s the most selfish woman he has ever met for asking him to give up his life in Sweden and move to the US for her own comfort. Will Kemi be forced to stay if she wants to keep him while chipping away at her hard-earned career? As things begin to sour and challenge her relationship with Tobias, someone else moves back into the picture.
Looking into divorce in Sweden isn’t what former model-turned-flight attendant Brittany-Rae von Lundin anticipated. Only jointly owned assets are split evenly between couples. Brittany gave up her career and came with nothing into Jonny’s kingdom. Having had a child with him, her greatest fear for Maya includes being cut off from the resources she’s become accustomed to. With a man obsessed with a ghost, trying to get away isn’t going to be easy. And the deeper she digs into his past, the darker the secrets she unravels.
Guy’s Girl by Emma Noyes
Ginny Murphy is a total guy’s girl. She’s always found friendships with boys easier to form and keep drama-free – as long as they don’t fall for her, and she doesn’t fall for them. She and her best guy friends have always stuck to that. But then she meets Adrian Silvas, the only one who’s ever made her crave more, and Ginny begins to question her own rules.
Piece by piece, Ginny and Adrian begin to fall into something intoxicating, something dangerous. Ginny threatens to destroy Adrian’s belief he’s held ever since witnessing his own mother’s heartbreak: that love isn’t worth the risk. For Ginny, the stakes could be even higher. Letting Adrian get close could mean exposing a secret she’s long protected: her disordered eating.
Ginny isn’t looking to be saved by someone else. But maybe she and Adrian can help each other – if they don’t destroy each other first.
Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah
It’s December 19, 1931. Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are looking forward to a much-needed, restful Christmas holiday, when they are called upon to investigate the murder of a man in a Norfolk hospital ward. Cynthia Catchpool, Edward’s mother, insists that Poirot stay with her in a crumbling mansion by the coast, so that they can all be together for the festive period while he solves the case.
As Poirot digs into the mystery, he discovers that the murdered man was a retired post office master, and by all accounts very well-liked. The local constabulary’s investigation failed to uncover how someone could have entered a hospital room and killed him under the noses of the staff. Cynthia’s friend Arnold is soon to be admitted to that same hospital, and his wife is convinced he will be the killer’s next victim, though she refuses to explain why.
Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake
Everyone around Iris Kelly is in love. Her best friends are all coupled up, her siblings have partners that are perfect for them, and her parents are still blissfully married. And she’s happy for all of them, truly. Iris doesn’t want any of that—dating, love, romance. She’ll stick to her commitment-free hookups, thanks very much, except no one in her life will just let her be. Everyone wants to see her settled down, but she holds firmly to her no dating rule. There’s only one problem—Iris is a romance author facing an imminent deadline for her second book, and she’s completely out of ideas.
Perfectly happy to ignore her problems as per usual, Iris goes to a bar in Portland and meets a sexy stranger, Stefania, and a night of dancing and making out turns into the worst one-night stand Iris has had in her life. To get her mind off everything, Iris tries out for the lead role in a local play, a queer retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, but comes face-to-face with Stefania, whose real name turns out to be Stevie. Desperate to save face in front of her friends, Stevie asks Iris to play along as her girlfriend. Iris is shocked, but when she realizes the arrangement might provide her with some much-needed romantic content for her book, she agrees. As the two women play the part of a happy couple, lines start to blur, and they’re left wondering who will make the real first move.
Julia by Sandra Newman
Julia Worthing is a mechanic who works in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth. It’s 1984, and Britain—now called Airstrip One—has long been absorbed into the larger trans-Atlantic nation of Oceania. Oceania has been at war for as long as anyone can remember, and it is ruled by the ultratotalitarian Party, whose leader is a quasi mythical figure called Big Brother. In short, it is the world of Orwell’s 1984.
All her life, Julia has known only Oceania, and, until she meets Winston Smith, she has never imagined anything else. She is an ideal citizen: cheerfully cynical, always ready with a bribe, piously repeating every political slogan while believing in nothing. She routinely breaks the rules, but also collaborates with the regime when necessary. Everyone likes Julia.
Then one day she finds herself walking toward Winston Smith in a corridor and impulsively slips him a note, setting in motion the devastating, unforgettable events of the classic story. Julia takes us on a surprising journey through Orwell’s now-iconic dystopia, with twists that reveal unexpected sides not only to Julia, but to other familiar figures in the 1984 universe. This unique perspective lays bare our own world in haunting and provocative ways, just as the original did almost seventy-five years ago.
West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman
An isolated hunt club. A raging storm. Three corpses, discovered within four days. A cast of monied, scheming, unfaithful characters.
When private detective Adam McAnnis joins an old college friend for the Bicentennial weekend at the exclusive West Heart club in upstate New York, he finds himself among a set of not-entirely-friendly strangers. Then the body of one of the members is found at the lake’s edge; hours later, a major storm hits. By the time power is restored on Sunday, two more people will be dead.
What Wild Women Do by Karma Brown
Rowan is stuck. Her dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter is stalled, and so she and her novelist fiancé, Seth, retreat to an isolated cabin in the Adirondacks to hopefully get out of their creative ruts. There, Rowan finds herself drawn into a mysterious and unsettling story—that of socialite-turned-feminist-crusader Eddie Callaway, who vanished in these same woods the summer of 1975 and was never heard from again. A handbook found in the abandoned ruins of the Callaway camp gives Rowan glimpses into who Eddie was, and then a fateful discovery offers clues about what might have happened to her. Soon, Rowan finds herself with a story potentially more shocking than Eddie’s notes about sun salutations and pineapple upside-down cake would indicate.
As Rowan learns more about the enigmatic Eddie, who got a second chance at life after a profound loss, she discovers the camp leader’s greatest wish: to help other women unlock their true, though long-repressed, “wildness.” However, Eddie’s methods and wild ways weren’t welcomed by all, and rifts between the camp owners threatened her mission, perhaps perilously. As Rowan draws closer to the truth of Eddie’s unsolved disappearance, she realizes that the past may hold two keys: one that reveals what really happened to Eddie Callaway, and another that unlocks a future beyond her wildest imagination.
Christmas Presents by Lisa Unger
Madeline Martin has built a life for herself as the young owner of a thriving business, The Next Chapter Bookshop, despite her tragic childhood and now needing to care for her infirm father. When Harley Granger, a failed novelist turned true crime podcaster, drifts into her shop in the days before Christmas, he seems intent on digging up events that Madeline would much rather forget. She’s the only surviving victim of Evan Handy, the man who was convicted of murdering her best friend Steph, and is suspected in the disappearance of two sisters, also good friends of Madeline’s, who have been missing for nearly a decade. It’s an investigation that has obsessed her father Sheriff James Martin right up until his stroke took his faculties.
Harley Granger has a gift for seeing things that others miss. He wasn’t much of a novelist, but his work as a true crime author and podcaster has earned him fame and wealth—and some serious criticism for his various unethical practices. Still, visiting Little Valley to be closer to his dying father has caused him to look into a case that many people think is closed—and some want reopened. And he has a lot of questions about the night Stephanie Cramer was killed, Ainsley and Sam Wallace disappeared, and Madeline Martin was left for dead, bleeding out on a riverbank.
Since Evan Handy went to jail, three other young women have gone missing, most recently a young college dropout named Lolly. Five young women missing in the same area in a decade. Are they connected? Was Evan Handy innocent after all? Or was there some else there that night? Someone who is still satisfying his dark appetites?