The first in an audio-first trilogy of flirty and spicy airport novellas sized just right for breezy summer reading. What do you do when the pandemic cancels your travel plans and you start missing the airports you once loved passing through? For Denise Williams, the obvious answer was to turn to vicarious travel, situating not just one but three novellas in the terminal. In the first installment we meet Ollie, an airport-based pet groomer who develops a serious crush on the handsome frequent flier she sees every Tuesday at the gate by her shop. When a runaway pup brings Ollie face to face with her longtime crush, she discovers he’s not just a pretty face. Bennett is a professional risk assessor by day but romance novelist by night, and to her great surprise, he needs her help. This is just the ticket if you need a quick win for your reading life. Open door. For fans of Ali Hazelwood’s Under One Roof and Julia Whelan’s Thank You for Listening.
- by Viola Davis
An honest, unflinching, and utterly brilliant account of how one of the best actors of our time became who she is today. Davis begins at the beginning: born on a South Carolina plantation (truly), she shortly moved with her mother and alcoholic father to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where she grew up in dire poverty. Her childhood was riddled with trauma: she shares devastating stories of enduring racism, constant hunger, rampant sexual assault by neighborhood men, and constantly reeking because her family couldn’t afford to do laundry. But when she saw Cecily Tyson on TV, she was inspired to take up acting, first succeeding in small sketches at school and later earning a college scholarship. Davis recounts the successes and heartbreaks of her early career in intimate detail, including a life-changing trip to Africa while at Julliard herself and her craft. I was fascinated by her philosophy of creativity, and how she thinks about her field today. A wonder of a memoir, filled with strength, wisdom, grit, and resilience. For fans of Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am and James McBride’s The Color of Water.
A gentle and meditative invitation to create more peace in our daily lives. Poet and artist Morgan Harper Nichols learned to practice peace out of desperation. Because of long-undiagnosed autism, she would constantly find herself overwhelmed—on the brink of shutting down—and had to learn to make it through the difficult moments. She didn’t receive her diagnosis until age 27, after which she was finally able to understand why she’d needed to build coping strategies, and what could make them even more effective. Nichols insists peace isn’t something we merely hope for but practice, enacting it in everyday life through both general postures and specific exercises. While we can’t fix all of life’s problems through this practice, we can create breathing room. This encouraging volume occasionally references the Christian faith and is best enjoyed slowly over days or weeks, one chapter at a time. For fans of James Nestor’s Breath and Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights.
From the publisher: "For much of her life, Sally Holt has been mystified by the things her older sister, Kathy, seems to have been born knowing. Kathy has answers for all of Sally’s questions about life, about love, and about Billy Barnes, a rising senior and local basketball star who mans the concession stand at the town pool. The girls have been fascinated by Billy ever since he jumped off the roof in elementary school, but Billy has never shown much interest in them until the summer before Sally begins eighth grade. By then, their mutual infatuation with Billy is one of the few things the increasingly different sisters have in common. Sally spends much of that summer at the pool, watching in confusion and excitement as her sister falls deeper in love with Billy—until a tragedy leaves Sally’s life forever intertwined with his."
From the publisher: "Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers. Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate. When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger."
With perimenopause comes great gifts and responsibilities, at least in this revenge fantasy about three women in their 40s. Nessa’s newfound ability to hear the dead leads her, Harriett, and Jo to the abandoned body of a teenage girl. The police decide the girl is just a drug-addicted sex worker and wash their hands of the case so the women decide to investigate on their own and discover a dark secret hiding in their wealthy town. Good thing they’ve got some rage to channel… Narrator January LaVoy brings the rotating perspectives to life, making for a thrilling read.
- by Abby Jimenez
What does a city doctor have in common with a small town carpenter? Alexis is not expecting more than one night with Daniel but their chemistry is undeniable. The more time she spends in Daniel’s town, the more she learns what she wants in life but it’s not without cost. Daniel doesn’t belong in her world but she’s not sure she can give him up either. Abby Jimenez’s trademark sense of humor helps balance the moving exploration of intimate partner violence, making for one heartwarming read. I loved Julia Whelan and Zachary Webber’s dual narration.
A timely and gripping work of historical fiction loosely inspired by the real-life groundbreaking court case of Relf v Weinberger. In 2016 Memphis, distinguished Black doctor Civil Townsend prepares to retire. First she must journey to her hometown of Montgomery to make peace with the past and tell the truth of it to her own daughter. In alternating timelines, Civil reveals all that unfolded in 1973, when she was a young and idealistic nurse, stepping into her first job at a reproductive clinic serving Black women in her community. She cared deeply for the girls under her care, but grew alarmed at what she was called upon to do: administer experimental and perhaps unnecessary treatments to young patients without their understanding or consent. When the unthinkable happens to one patient and she is sterilized without consent, Civil becomes involved in a landmark lawsuit. A moving story and a testament to fiction’s power to influence hearts and impact lives. For fans of Kaia Alderson’s Sisters in Arms and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.
From the publisher: "When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house in Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market. But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same."
- by Emily Henry
This readerly enemies-to-lovers romance delights with small town charm, serious Roy Kent energy, and banter galore. Successful literary agent Nora Stephens’s colleagues call her the Shark, but Nora doesn’t care. She's (mostly) at peace with who she is, plus she’s proud of fighting for her clients—even if that same fierceness has always spelled disaster for her love life. But Nora has one soft spot: her beloved baby sister Libby. When Libby persuades her to take a sisters’ trip to the too-cute-to-be-real hamlet of Sunshine Falls, Nora is gobsmacked to encounter her professional nemesis Charlie Lastra, a famously grumpy and inconveniently handsome editor who despises Nora. Soon the sparks are flying—and Nora has to keep reminding herself she hates his guts, lest she succumb to their undeniable chemistry. A heartwarming, steamy, and sweary love letter to readers, and a moving exploration of family, ambition, love, and belonging. Open door. For fans of Ted Lasso and You’ve Got Mail.
From the publisher: "A charming, poignant, and mesmerizing memoir in essays from beloved actor and natural-born storyteller Minnie Driver, chronicling the way life works out even when it doesn’t. In this intimate, beautifully crafted collection, Driver writes with disarming charm and candor about her bohemian upbringing between England and Barbados; her post-university travails and triumphs—from being the only student in her acting school not taken on by an agent to being discovered at a rave in a muddy field in the English countryside; shooting to fame in one of the most influential films of the 1990s and being nominated for an Academy Award; and finding the true light of her life, her son. She chronicles her unconventional career path, including the time she gave up on acting to sell jeans in Uruguay, her journey as a single parent, and the heartbreaking loss of her mother. Effortlessly charming, deeply funny, personal, and honest, Managing Expectations reminds us of the way life works out—even when it doesn’t."
- by Chris Pavone
“Justice is truth in action” in this taut and sexy thriller from spy novel veteran Pavone. The Disraeli epigraph may initially puzzle; readers, keep turning those pages and all will become clear. Ariel Pryce wakes up on her honeymoon in a Lisbon hotel room to find her husband missing. Fearing the worst and increasingly frantic, Ariel turns to the Portuguese police and American embassy where her concern is met with skepticism: he’s a grown man and it’s only been a few hours. When they discover the couple both changed their names ten years ago, their skepticism balloons into outright disbelief—even though his kidnappers have surfaced and demanded an outrageous ransom. With the clock ticking and no help from authorities, Ariel seeks help from those she’d long since left behind in her old life—and then things get really interesting. Team member Shannan still loves The Expats most but I say this is Pavone’s best yet. Content warnings apply. For fans of Chanel Cleeton’s Our Last Days in Barcelonaand Daniel Silva’s The Cellist.
- by Sarah Dass
A sweet and chaste tropical YA romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Reyna and Aiden grew up and fell in love on the island of Tobago, where her family owns a beautiful seaside resort. When Aiden’s band hit it big, he left to pursue his dreams and Reyna got left behind. It’s been tough: she’s still grieving her mother’s death and starting to feel trapped by the hotel she once loved. After a two year absence, Aiden returns to the hotel with his bandmates as VIP guests. Though Reyna resolves to keep her distance, the two are thrown together when his friends insist she take charge of their schedule—and she can’t help but remember why she once thought they’d be together forever. Readers will appreciate the way Dass keeps the beats of Austen’s original while making the story her own with its winning characters, vivid tropical setting, and fun musical vibe. For fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride and Tahereh Mafi’s A Very Large Expanse of Sea.