1. “The Cuckoo's Calling” by Robert Galbraith
This crime fiction novel, penned by UK author J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, will take you in an entirely new direction than the “Harry Potter” creator's past work. After breaking up with his girlfriend and losing his leg in Afghanistan, Detective Cormoran Strike is struggling to get by as a private investigator. While investigating the suicide of a supermodel, Strike meets a guy whose supermodel sister died just a few months earlier in what was eventually ruled a suicide despite doubts. The case sends Strike deep into the lives of the beautiful and wealthy. Don't count on Rowling becoming the new Agatha Christie, but this read as it stands invites you into the heart of its characters and will keep you interested from cover to cover.
2. “The Sweetest Hallelujah” by Elaine Hussey
If you liked Kathryn Stockett's “The Help, ” you'll love this piece by Elaine Hussey. Betty Jewel Hughes, once the hottest black jazz singer in Memphis, is forced to give up her career in order to raise her daughter Billie as a single mother in Mississippi. Just 10 years later, Betty Jewel learns she is dying of cancer and must find someone to take care of Billie when she's gone. With no other place to turn, she takes out a want ad to find a loving mother for her daughter. In the end, what she finds defines the true power of love and friendship.
3. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn's thriller offers a fascinating perspective on the institution of marriage, one that nearly everyone in a committed relationship can find relatable on some level. On the day of Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. Police investigations immediately target Nick as a suspect despite his pleas of innocence. As more details about Nick and Amy's marriage are revealed, however, the situation only becomes more twisted and dark. Nick may not win an award for husband of the year, but is he really a killer? Flynn keeps you guessing page after page.
4. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
Green skillfully orchestrates a story so rich with emotion, it's nearly impossible to separate your feelings from those of the characters. He forces you to think about what's really important in life, and in the process, you will laugh, smile and most certainly, cry. 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster's life has been planned for her. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, her path in the world has been forged with little choice. In hopes of improving her spirits, Hazel's doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor who will change her feelings about life and her future. This novel is catered to a teen/young adult audience, but offers something for readers of all ages.
5. “Orange is the New Black” by Piper Kerman
You may recognize this title from the Netflix original series that debuted in July. The popular new show is based on a memoir written by Piper Kerman, an affluent Smith College alum whose less than perfect past finally caught up with her in the form of a 15-month prison sentence. In this personal account, Kerman provides an interesting look at life inside a federal correction facility, making friends with inmates from all walks of life and learning to adapt to an environment vastly different than what she is accustomed to. While the TV series has received generally positive feedback from critics and fans, the book's reviews are more conflicted. We'll hold our tongue and let you be the judge.
6. “The Husband's Secret” by Liane Moriarty
You'd have to search far and wide to find a plot more intriguing than Liane Moriarty's new book “The Husband's Secret.” Look beyond the semi-corny title and cover art, and you'll find a thought-provoking piece that challenges you to put yourself in another woman's shoes, or in this case, marriage. Cecelia Fitzpatrick, a happily married successful businesswoman, stumbles upon a letter written by her husband to be read after his death. This letter contains secrets and information that will ruin Cecilia's life as well as the lives of her friends and family. So what happens when Cecelia finds this letter while her husband is still very much alive? You'll have to read to find out.
7. “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling
OK, this one is just for fun. “The Office” star released this biography of sorts in 2011, and if you haven't read it yet, you're missing out. It's not a Pulitzer Prize caliber novel mainly because it's not written to be. Rather, Kaling offers a charming, witty and entertaining look at her life journey starting with her awkward childhood years and ending with her current status as one of the funniest, most relatable women in Hollywood.
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