Celebrating Women’s History Month
There are so many wonderful, new books being published but since it is still Women’s History Month, I wanted to focus on…women authors! I’ve created a list of a few recently published books by debut women authors to continue our celebration of Women’s History Month. From witches to thrillers to family strife, we’ve got it covered.
Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah
“When his wife, unable to handle the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, disappears, leaving their toddler son behind, Sam finds his vision for their future shattered, in this heartrending love story that explores what happens after a marriage collapses.”
Such Pretty Flowers by K. L. Cerra
“A woman investigating her brother’s apparent suicide finds herself falling for her prime suspect—his darkly mysterious girlfriend—in this edgy Southern gothic thriller.”
“Told over five centuries through three connected women, this riveting novel follows Kate, in 2019, as she seeks refuge in Weyward Cottage; Altha, in 1619, as she uses her powers to maintain her freedom; and Violet, in 1942, as she searches for the truth about her mother’s death.”
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
“A funny, sharply observed novel of family, wealth, love and tennis, this zeitgeisty debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one, the millennial conscience of the family, who wants to give it all away. Rife with the indulgent pleasures of affluent WASPS in New York and full of recognizable if fallible characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, about the haves and have-nots and the nuances in between, and the insanity of first love-Pineapple Street is a scintillating, wryly comic novel of race, class, wealth and privilege in an age that disdains all of it.”
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez
“A powerful debut novel follows a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who discovers their long missing sister is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show, and they set out to bring her home.”
The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
“In 1852, young widow Margaret Lennox, taking a position as governess to an only child at an isolated country house in the West of England, starts to feel that something isn’t quite right and, as her past threatens to catch up with her, she learns the truth behind the secrets of Hartwood Hall.”
The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
“Seven years after the mysterious death of her best friend, Aubrey, Maya comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman dies in front of the same man Aubrey did, leading her back to a New England cabin to finally uncover a truth that could save her.”
Celebrating Black Authors
There are innumerable Black authors that have impacted, influenced, and informed the landscape of literature—Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Ralph Ellison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and many more prolific, important people.
For Black History Month, I want to highlight some Black authors that published their debuts in 2022 and 2023.
Jackal by Erin E. Adams 10/2022
A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first-and she may not be the last…
Promise Boys by Nick Brooks (1/2023)
In Brooks’ YA debut, three prep school students are accused of murdering their high school principal. The boys team up to find the real killer before it’s too late.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana (8/2022)
This collection of short stories follows each tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income high rise in Harlem where gentrification weighs on everyone’s mind, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and forge new paths forward.
Maame by Jessica George (1/2023)
A young British Ghanaian woman navigates her 20s and finds her place in the world.
Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey (10/2022)
Rooted in spiritual energy and centered in black liberation, womanism and Afrofuturism, the founder of The Nap Ministry sheds new light on our troubled relationship with rest and how to imagine and dream our way to a future where rest is exalted – and a divine human right.
Sink: A Memoir by Joseph Earl Thomas (2/2023)
In a series of exacting and fierce vignettes, the author, who found salvation in geek culture, takes readers through the unceasing cruelty of his impoverished childhood toward an understanding of what it means to lose the desire to fit in and build community and love on your own terms.
Getting Cozy With Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Viv is ready to hang up her sword and quit the mercenary life for something quieter-and sweeter. Armed with a legend, an artifact, and a little known Gnomish beverage, Viv sets about opening her coffee shop on a ley line in Thune. Her new venture attracts a motley cast of characters, including a baker, a business-minded succubus, and the head of the local mob.
This book is as comforting as a latte and a warm cinnamon roll on a wintery day. Having spent nearly a decade working in coffee shops myself, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Viv’s shop open and evolve. I savored the pages dedicated to the pure joy of a cinnamon roll. I laughed each time Thandri had to change the chalkboard menu and delighted in meeting their customers. While this does take the better half of the book, it’s not all coffee and sweets. As Viv and her crew learn the ropes of the business, trouble is quietly brewing. But Viv isn’t just building a business-she’s building a community and family who have her back when tragedy strikes.
I cannot stress enough how absolutely charming and delightful this book is. If you enjoy a good slice of life story with quirky characters and happy ending, this one is for you. I recommend taking this book to a local coffee shop to be enjoyed with a latte.
What we’re reading now…..
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
In the dystopian world of Celeste Ng’s latest novel, books are banned, children are re-homed, and Asian Americans are outcasts. Amidst it all, twelve-year old Bird is left with a handful of memories of his mother. Her presence and poetry have faded from his life, but a familiar image sparks his curiosity and forces him to revisit her disappearance. Melinda
The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa
Raised in a Dublin housing estate by an alcoholic father toward the end of the 1940s, Joan and her sister had to grow up fast. Working in a factory by age fourteen it made sense she would find the love of her life at eighteen. Martin Egan, son of a successful business owner, promised Joan the world until she became pregnant and he persuaded her to place the baby up for adoption. Thirty years later when their secret child makes contact, how will they each respond? Family relationships are seen from the women’s perspective and as we get to know the characters better, we understand how difficult and limited their choices truly were, making Joan, in particular, even more endearing. If you enjoy spending time with interesting characters, this is the book for you! Stacey
Juniper and Thorn by Ava Reid
A sheltered wizard’s daughter falls in love with a ballet dancer while a monster stalks the streets and the bodies of brutalized men appear all over the city. A reimagining of the classic fairy tale “The Juniper Tree.” Shannon
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Marra is a princess on a quest to save her sister with the help of a reluctant grave-witch and a dog she creates out of bone and wire. Along the way, their party grows, with the addition of Marra’s fairy godmother, whose blessings turn out to be curses and a loveable disgraced knight, whose heart is in desperate need of rescuing. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher is an adult, revenge-filled fairy-tale that is equal parts action-packed, humorous, and original – a perfect feminist fantasy novel. Carol
The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White
In the 19th century, Sioux Falls, SD, became a haven for women seeking a divorce. Among the laxest laws in the country, women came from all the States and Europe to gain their freedom during a time that women had few rights. The book explores not only the social drama but political and religious drama, while telling detailed and entertaining stories of the women who took hold of their futures. Christine
Murder in the Park by Jeanne M. Dams
This story takes place in 1925 in Oak Park, an affluent suburb of Chicago. Elizabeth Fairchild is a close friend of Mr. Anthony, owner of a quaint antique store. Mr. Anthony is found stabbed to death and the local police think they have the killer. Elizabeth and a few others, including Mrs. Hemingway are certain the police have arrested the wrong man. At this point in the story the search is on for the real killer. Please stay tuned… Emma
The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo
In post-WWII Japan, Detective Kindaichi is called and warned that the reading of a local magnate’s will is certain to set off a series of murders. Though skeptical of the prognostication, Detective Kindaichi travels to the small town and awaits the reading. However, immediately upon his arrival, he is witness to a life-threatening accident that portends the danger to the magnate’s family yet to come. The detective must first uncover the family secrets to unravel the mystery. Trent
The Winners by Fredrik Backman
The final installment in the Beartown trilogy, about the resilient and closely knit community that puts hockey above all else. Taking place over two weeks, Beartown residents must prove their love for each other and for their town, struggling to move on from the past in the wake of numerous changes. Told in Backman’s signature reflective style, it’s hard to put this one down. Linnea
Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor
When a 12-year-old girl goes missing in a rural Australian town during the worst heat wave in decades, tempers flare and townspeople with skeletons in their closets, and long histories together, begin to fall apart, and also to come together to search for the young girl. Kept me guessing for quite awhile. Sara
A Cozy Mystery from 1993
Lori Shephard is having a tough time. She is recently divorced and working a temporary job for minimum pay. Her mother has just passed away. Lori receives a letter from Willis & Willis, a prestigious Boston law firm, informing her that Dimity Westwood has left her a large inheritance. Lori thought that Dimity was a figment of her mother’s imagination when sharing bedtime stories making Aunt Dimity the hero.
The stories have been compiled into a book and Lori is given the assignment to write the introduction before being submitted for publishing. Lori must travel to Dimity’s Cotswold’s cottage in England and has a month to complete the introduction. Bill, the younger partner of the law firm, is her traveling companion. Upon arrival, the pair discover the ghost of Dimity haunts the cottage, and she is willing to communicate only with Lori.
Lori discovers 40 years’ worth of correspondence between her mother and Dimity. The women met by pure happenstance in London and became fast friends and confidants. There is a mystery to the story Lori attempts to uncover surrounding Dimity and a pilot during WWII.
The book is more than a mystery or a fun ghost story. It is the beginning of a tender romance. The first book in the Aunt Dimity mystery series was published in 1993. Since then, there have been twenty-five titles in the series.
A Clever Little Story
The village of Prometto, Italy (population 212) is in big trouble. It will cost 70,000 euros (nearly $71,000) to repair the town’s failing water system and their treasury is depleted. Signor Speranza, a vacuum repairman and the town’s part-time mayor must come up with a plan to save their beloved town.
Speranza starts a rumor that the Italian movie star, Dante Rinaldi, is coming to Prometto to film a movie. He convinces the local butcher, Signor Maestro, to give him most of 70,000 euros as long as at least one of his 15 sons gets a part in the movie. Thanks to social media, the rumor spreads quickly. Everyone wants a part. Speranza decides to start filming the movie with no knowledge and little equipment while waiting for Dante to arrive. He employs his assistant, Smilzo, to provide the screen play, help with auditions, and film the movie. Unfortunately, all of the above is a lie and Signor Speranza gets buried deeper and deeper with all his lies.
The debut novel by Christine Simon is a quick fun read.
What we’re reading now, spring edition…
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Two soldiers on opposing sides of a war throughout time begin to fall in love via the letters they exchange. While it’s a short read, the book is dense with meaning and subtext, and readers will enjoy the romance and intrigue of this intergalactic Romeo and Juliet story. Shannon
Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Faladé
Tells the story of the African Brigade, a unit of former slaves tasked with rooting out pockets of Confederate guerilla fighters in the Tidewater region of Virginia and in North Carolina’s Outer Banks through the eyes of formerly enslaved Sergeant Richard Etheridge of the African Brigade. Dori
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
It’s 1937 when Mila Pavlichenko a young history student, mother, and sharpshooter joins the Russian army. Her rifle skills are soon apparent and she becomes a sniper. She rises through the ranks and is put in charge of a platoon. Her job is to train others and to kill Nazis. Mila is very successful at her job. Americans are very curious about this lady sniper when she comes to Washington D.C. as a guest of the White House. Is she for real? Emma
A Night at the Sweet Gum Head by Marty Padgett
A deep look at 1970’s gay Atlanta through the lens of the Drag scene, political activists, and the bars that brought them all together. Deeply researched and well written, this non-fiction gives detailed insight into how a community of people who just wanted to live their lives had to become leaders and inspiration in order to exist. Christine
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
Set in 1920’s Georgia, this vivid horror story asks the question: What if the Klu Klux Klan was led by actual demons? Stray dog eating, multi-eyed, otherworldly demons. Three Black female demon hunters, led by Maryse, who gets her guidance from ethereal Gullah Aunties, must destroy the Klu Kluxes to stop the spread of White Supremacy. A beautiful and gory blend of historic events with a horror twist. Christine
Goodnight, Beautiful by Aimee Molloy
A thriller that does not hide the inspiration it takes from King’s Misery. As a newlywed couple tries to put down roots in a small town, tragedy strikes when the husband comes up missing and his wife has to beg the authorities to care all while it becomes more and more apparent that he has been lying to her this whole time. As he fights for his life through the only way he knows how, his wife has to reconcile the man she loves with the man she has uncovered. Christine
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
A touchingly funny book about a small bookstore in Minnesota run by a group of Native American women during the pandemic, and the community of unusual, crazy, genuine people whose lives are touched by this place and by each other. It’s one of those books where you truly fall in love with the characters and more than anything, want them to find peace and happiness in their lives. Sara