We’re closing out the first month of 2023 strong! This week’s releases include a celebrity memoir,
the final book of the Dreamland Billionaire series, lots of romance (perfect for the upcoming Valentine’s Day) and some thrillers. There’s a new book (or two!) for every kind of reader. Enjoy!
Note: I use affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase I may get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!
by Krystal Marquis
Publisher: Dial Books
The Davenports delivers a totally escapist, swoon-worthy romance while offering a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked.
“A fresh, utterly enchanting read.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy
The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.
by Jessica George
Genre: Coming-of-Age, Contemporary Literature
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick
“Sparkling.” ―The New York Times
“An utterly charming and deeply moving portrait of the joys―and the guilt―of trying to find your own way in life.” ―Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Our Missing Hearts
“Lively, funny, poignant . . . Prepare to fall in love with Maddie. I did!” ―Bonnie Garmus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry
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.
Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.
“Meeting Maame feels like falling in love for the first time: warm, awkward, joyous, a little bit heartbreaking and, most of all, unforgettable.” ―Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
by Jane Harper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Flatiron Books
FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR JANE HARPER COMES EXILES, A CAPTIVATING MYSTERY ABOUT A MISSING MOTHER
“I love Jane Harper’s Australia-based mysteries.” ―Stephen King
“Once again Harper proves that she is peerless in creating an avalanche of suspense with intimate, character-driven set pieces…Harper’s legions of fans will exult in reading Exiles.”
―David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is on his way to a small town deep in Southern Australian wine country for the christening of an old friend’s baby. But mystery follows him, even on vacation.
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Kim Gillespie’s disappearance. One year ago, at a busy town festival on a warm spring night, Kim safely tucked her sleeping baby into her stroller, then vanished into the crowd. No one has seen her since. When Kim’s older daughter makes a plea for anyone with information about her missing mom to come forward, Falk and his old buddy Raco can’t leave the case alone.
As Falk soaks up life in the lush valley, he is welcomed into the tight-knit circle of Kim’s friends and loved ones. But the group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, the missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge. What would make a mother abandon her child? What happened to Kim Gillespie?
by Taleen Voskuni
An Armenian-American woman rediscovers her roots and embraces who she really is in this vibrant and heartfelt queer rom-com by debut author Taleen Voskuni.
When Nareh Bedrossian’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.
Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or the wealthy engineer who catch Nar’s eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?
Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on her double life—the Explore Armenia closing banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave and to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.
Behind the Scenes
by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Fans of Abby Jimenez and Meryl Wilsner will fall in love with this hilarious and refreshingly authentic novel about second chances, pugs, and finding the perfect muse . . .
Business consultant Rose Josten might not have officially reached “pug lady” middle age, but she’s already got the pugs—along with their little Gucci coats and trash-lovin’ appetites. Still, life is good, with her work, her sisters, and a secret hobby creating incredibly tactile (if surprisingly sexy) mindfulness videos. So why does it feel like it’s not quite enough? Which is exactly when former filmmaker Ash Stewart enters camera left, and Rose’s world suddenly goes full technicolor . . .
Ash never looks at anyone. Not since her ex ripped her heart from her chest in Spielberg-esque style, crushing Ash’s reputation, dreams, and directorial career in one brutal blow. But Rose is altogether different. She’s curvy, beautiful, and just so damn put together. And her business expertise might be Ash’s best bet for getting her last film—and her last chance—financed. Now if they can just keep their attraction under wraps, Ash’s lost dream could finally come true. But are they creating movie magic . . . or setting the stage for disaster?
by Lauren Asher
Publisher: Bloom Books
From TikTok sensation Lauren Asher comes the final book in the Dreamland Billionaires series.
I’m the Kane brother everyone gossips about behind closed doors.
Trust fund brat. Washed-up athlete. High-functioning alcoholic.
No one knows the real me but her.
Lana Castillo―my childhood best friend and the only woman I ever loved.
When I broke her heart six years ago, I promised to never return to Lake Wisteria.
I kept my word until my grandfather’s will changed everything.
To receive my inheritance, I was tasked with spending a summer at the family lake house before selling it.
The request was simple in theory until my entire plan blew up on the very first day.
Turns out Lana doesn’t just live at the house, but she claims to own it, too.
Falling in love with Callahan Kane was a mistake.
He told me so before destroying my heart and our friendship six summers ago.
When he promised never to come back, I foolishly believed him.
But then Cal showed up again, intending to sell his grandfather’s lake house.
The biggest flaw in his plan?
My name is on the deed.
The Second You’re Single
by Cara Tanamachi
Most Anticipated Romance by Buzzfeed
Cheerfully irreverent, bitingly funny, and filled with romantic charm, Cara Tanamachi’s The Second You’re Single is all about navigating the most romantic month of the year, and how love always seems to arrive when you least expect it.
Freelance writer Sora Reid believes in inertia. She’s the odd one out in a close-knit family of go-getters, including her Japanese-American mom, who hints about her need to lose weight, and her soon-to-be married, overachieving younger sister, who needs her to have a date for the wedding, since a wedding party couples’ dance with their Scottish great uncle Bob simply won’t do. For Sora, minimal input, minimal expectations is the way to go. She’d rather stay at home with her insufferable neighbor and her adorable pitbull.
The one thing that disrupts her inertia: an intense dislike for Valentine’s Day. What is it with the commercial love machine? Why do we pin our hopes on one romantic day, when staying home with a package of bacon and a bottle of tequila would be way better? Sora’s been betrayed and disappointed more than once and her heart is starting to feel like her Grandma Mitsuye’s antique Japanese ceramic bowl, with its many gold-filled cracks.
When her pledge to stay single in February inspires readers to #gosolo, Sora has a responsibility to empower her readers. But relationships aren’t built to last, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Right?
Enter Jack Mann. A muscle-bound baker who looks like he lifts logs on the weekends, Sora hasn’t thought of Jack since they were in elementary school together. When they see each other at the local grocery store and the attraction hits hard, Sora knows she has to shut it down, quick. She can’t #gosolo AND get the guy. She can’t let down her readers. And relationships always end, so why should Jack be any different–even though he’s confounding all her long-held expectations of love?
“Riotous, whip-smart, and original. Read this happy-making book if you love yourself.” ―Jayci Lee, Author of Booked on a Feeling
by Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
“An intense rollercoaster of a thriller and a searing indictment of which victims get our attention and sympathy.”
–#1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu
In this ripped-from-the-headlines Gone Girl meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz weaves a white-knuckle YA thriller about a beautiful young influencer who vanishes after going on vacation with her boyfriend.
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?
The Other Girl
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…
Told through a mixture of social media posts, diary entries, and firsthand accounts, Going Dark is a gripping, suspenseful thriller about all the missing girls who fall off the radar, perfect for true crime fans and readers of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus.
The Sweet Spot
by Amy Poeppel
Genre: Domestic Fiction
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Amy Poeppel brings her signature “big-hearted, charming” (The Washington Post) style to this wise and joyful novel that celebrates love, hate, and all of the glorious absurdity in between.
In the heart of Greenwich Village, three women form an accidental sorority when a baby—belonging to exactly none of them—lands on their collective doorstep.
Lauren and her family—lucky bastards—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, a (mostly) beloved dive 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.
by Pamela Anderson
Publisher: Dey Street Books
The actress, activist, and once infamous Playboy Playmate reclaims the narrative of her life in a memoir that defies expectation in both content and approach, blending searing prose with snippets of original poetry.
“The iconic Anderson uses a mixture of poetry and prose to present an impressionistic view of a fascinating life.”-BOOKLIST, *starred*
In this honest, layered and unforgettable book that alternates between storytelling and her own poetry, Pamela Anderson breaks the mold of the celebrity memoir while taking back the tale that has been crafted about her.
Her blond bombshell image was ubiquitous in the 1990s. Discovered in the stands of a football game, she was immediately rocket launched into fame, becoming Playboy’s favorite cover girl and an emblem of Hollywood glamour and sexuality. But what happens when you lose grip on your own life—and the image the notoriety machine creates for you is not who you really are?
Growing up on Vancouver Island, the daughter of young, wild, and unprepared parents, Pamela Anderson’s childhood was not easy, but it allowed her to create her own world—surrounded by nature and imaginary friends. When she overcame her deep shyness and grew into herself, she fell into a life on the cover of magazines, the beaches of Malibu, the sets of movies and talk shows, the arms of rockstars, the coveted scene at the Playboy Mansion. And as her star rose, she found herself tabloid fodder, at the height of an era when paparazzi tactics were bent on capturing a celebrity’s most intimate, and sometimes weakest moments. This is when Pamela Anderson lost control of her own narrative, hurt by the media and fearful of the public’s perception of who she was…and who she wasn’t.
Fighting back with a sense of grace, fueled by a love of art and literature, and driven by a devotion to her children and the causes she cares about most, Pamela Anderson has now gone back to the island where she grew up, after a memorable run starring as Roxie in Chicago on Broadway, reclaiming her free spirit but also standing firm as a strong, creative, confident woman.