THE BADDEST GIRL ON THE PLANET by Heather Frese

Winner of the Lee Smith Book Prize, THE BADDEST GIRL ON THE PLANET is a gem of southern fiction with an unforgettable heroine. Set against the backdrop of crashing surf off the Outer Banks, it’s heartbreaking and zany, heartwarming and wise. Evie Austin, native of Hatteras Island, North Carolina, is the baddest girl on the…

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SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS by Elaine Neil Orr

SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS is a beautiful, evocative love story set against the backdrop of colonial Nigeria and the civil rights movement in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the late fifties. The writing is rich, the characters are unforgettable, and the descriptions of West Africa are spelling-binding. (The author was raised there—as the daughter of American missionaries.)…

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THE ROSE CODE by Kate Quinn

THE ROSE CODE, read by Saskia Maarleveld, is one of my favorite audiobooks of 2021. (Saskia also read THE HUNTRESS and is a master of accents—both male and female.) A fast-paced, high-stakes story about betrayal and redemption, this character-driven historical novel is set near my childhood home. (When one of the characters mentioned Bedford in…

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THIS IS GOING TO HURT by Adam Kay

This is Going to Hurt is a hilarious and sobering memoir that reveals both the funny and the serious sides of being a junior doctor.  The book is written through a series of diary entries that offer a peek into the six years Adam Kay worked his way up to senior registrar (attending physician) on a…

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SURVIVING SAVANNAH by Patti Callahan

I’m a huge Patti Callahan Henry fan, and SURVIVING SAVANNAH is my new favorite of her novels. Told through a dual time-line, it’s a page-turner that sent me down my own rabbit hole of research. (As a history major, I do love research!) I became obsessed with the true story of the Titanic of the…

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WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES by Denny S. Bryce

WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES is a stunning debut that weaves together two stories divided by one hundred years. Part mystery, part love story, part historical fiction, it’s an unforgettable tale of  passion, courage, survival, redemption, and strong women. And since Al Capone’s henchmen make a few appearances, there’s a murder. Or two. In 2015,…

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THE RUMI PRESCRIPTION by Melody Moezzi

I became a fan of Melody’s writing after reading her hilarious, gut-wrenching, unforgettable memoir: HALDOL AND HYACINTHS. Melody is an Iranian-American, Muslim, lawyer turned writer, teacher, hula-hoop queen, and feminist/activist. Yes, she’s that impressive, and does all this while managing a chronic illness: bipolar one. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak,…

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TEN RULES FOR FAKING IT by Sophie Sullivan

TEN RULES FOR FAKING IT is a delicious, slow-burn romantic comedy about two broken souls. Everly, a radio station producer and her station manager, Chris, have 1001 reasons for not becoming a couple. The most obvious reason is work-related: he’s her boss. More subtle reasons include her social anxiety, Chris’s demons from being raised by…

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THE WATCHERS OF MONIAH Book One by Barbara V. Evers

THE WATCHERS OF MONIAH is classified as young adult fantasy, but ignore those labels. A tightly plotted and beautifully written page-turner, it’s packed with fascinating and duplicitous characters, romance and jilted lovers, revenge and mysticism, political intrigue and telepathic giraffes On page one we meet fifteen-year-old Adana, heir to Moniah, one of four kingdoms that…

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THREE ORDINARY GIRLS by Tim Brady

THREE ORDINARY GIRLS is an inspiring and timely work of nonfiction about three young women who played a vital role in the World War II Dutch resistance—despite sexism from their commanders. As a history major, I’m perennially fascinated by true stories of exceptional women. As someone with Jewish family, I struggle when reading about the…

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