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Suggested Reads for May 2024

Looking for some book inspiration? Here are some suggested reads for May!

These books have been on Publisher Weekly's Bestseller List and at the top of the Millstadt Library's most circulated list. At the end of these lists, Nichole picks a book or two that she personally recommends.

We just reviewed The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon and are reading Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford for our next Senior Center Book Club meeting on Monday, June 17 at 11 a.m.

Without further ado, here are this month's picks!

The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren, returns with a delicious new romance between the buttoned-up heir of a grocery chain and his free-spirited artist ex as they fake their relationship in order to receive a massive inheritance.

Anna Green thought she was marrying Liam “West” Weston for access to subsidized family housing while at UCLA. She also thought she’d signed divorce papers when the graduation caps were tossed, and they both went on their merry ways.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist living paycheck to paycheck while West is a Stanford professor. He may be one of four heirs to the Weston Foods conglomerate, but he has little interest in working for the heartless corporation his family built from the ground up. He is interested, however, in his one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. There’s just one catch.

Due to an antiquated clause in his grandfather’s will, Liam won’t see a penny until he’s been happily married for five years. Just when Liam thinks he’s in the home stretch, pressure mounts from his family to see this mysterious spouse, and he has no choice but to turn to the one person he’s afraid to introduce to his one-percenter parents—his unpolished, not-so-ex-wife.

But in the presence of his family, Liam’s fears quickly shift from whether the feisty, foul-mouthed, paint-splattered Anna can play the part to whether the toxic world of wealth will corrupt someone as pure of heart as his surprisingly grounded and loyal wife. Liam will have to ask himself if the price tag on his flimsy cover story is worth losing true love that sprouted from a lie.

Genres: Romance | Contemporary | Fiction | Contemporary Romance | Adult | Chick Lit | Audiobook

352 pages, Hardcover | First published May 14, 2024

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

She thought she was alone…

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

Genres: Thriller | Mystery | Mystery Thriller | Fiction | Audiobook | Suspense | Crime

 316 pages, Paperback | First published January 25, 2022


 Funny Story by Emily Henry

Daphne always loved the way her fiancé Peter told their story. How they met (on a blustery day), fell in love (over an errant hat), and moved back to his lakeside hometown to begin their life together. He really was good at telling it…right up until the moment he realized he was actually in love with his childhood best friend Petra.

Which is how Daphne begins her new story: Stranded in beautiful Waning Bay, Michigan, without friends or family but with a dream job as a children’s librarian (that barely pays the bills), and proposing to be roommates with the only person who could possibly understand her predicament: Petra’s ex, Miles Nowak.

Scruffy and chaotic—with a penchant for taking solace in the sounds of heart break love ballads—Miles is exactly the opposite of practical, buttoned up Daphne, whose coworkers know so little about her they have a running bet that she’s either FBI or in witness protection. The roommates mainly avoid one another, until one day, while drowning their sorrows, they form a tenuous friendship and a plan. If said plan also involves posting deliberately misleading photos of their summer adventures together, well, who could blame them?

But it’s all just for show, of course, because there’s no way Daphne would actually start her new chapter by falling in love with her ex-fiancé’s new fiancée’s ex…right?

Genres: Romance | Contemporary | Fiction | Audiobook | Contemporary Romance | Adult | Chick Lit

400 pages, Kindle Edition | First published April 23, 2024

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

From the award-winning author of Goodbye, Vitamin: How far would you go to shape your own destiny? An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family, and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures?

Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn't be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can't shake the sense she's hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.


Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made, and if so, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?

Genres: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction | Contemporary | Magical Realism | Historical | Family

416 pages, Hardcover | First published April 30, 2024

Kitchen Gardening for Beginners: Regrow Your Leftover Greens, Stalks, Seeds, and More

Stop tossing your carrot tops, leafless herb sprigs, lettuce and celery stumps, and beet greens in the trash!  Cut back on your food waste and cultivate your own homegrown veggies easily with advice from Kitchen Gardening for Beginners, a beginner-friendly edition of No-Waste Kitchen Gardening.

Learn how to grow indoors and maintain your regrown plants until they are ready for harvest. The accompanying photos highlight each step of the process, showing you what the root section, seed, leaf, stem, or other plant part should look like when you replant it and then what it should look like when it’s ready for harvest. Many of the featured vegetables can be regrown in water or in soil. Full instructions are supplied.

A diverse selection of large and small edibles—some that are quick to regrow and others that take a bit longer—are included, so you can decide what regrown foods are the best fit for your family.

The expert advice in Kitchen Gardening for Beginners gives you all the instruction and tricks you’ll need to regrow produce from food waste to provide your family with fresh, homegrown goodness from your own windowsill.

Genres: Gardening

 112 pages, Paperback | Published March 26, 2024


As a lover of horror and VHS tapes (convince me that VHS is not the best way to play a movie) I could not resist the cover on this book - yes librarians do judge a book by their cover! Jeneva Rose also had books on the bestsellers list before, so it seemed a safe bet. Home is Where the Bodies Are was really a quick, easy read and I'd recommend it for just that. If you're looking for something with depth and a truly surprising ending, perhaps skip this one. Would I read another book by Rose? Probably not, but this is a great summer read to get your mind off of other things!

Home is Where the Bodies Are by Jeneva Rose

From New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Marriage and You Shouldn’t Have Come Here comes a chilling family thriller about the (sometimes literal) skeletons in the closet.

After their mother passes, three estranged siblings reunite to sort out her estate. Beth, the oldest, never left home.

She stayed with her mom, caring for her until the very end. Nicole, the middle child, has been kept at arm’s length due to her ongoing battle with a serious drug addiction. Michael, the youngest, lives out of state and hasn’t been back to their small Wisconsin town since their father ran out on them seven years before.

While going through their parent’s belongings, the siblings stumble upon a collection of home videos and decide to revisit those happier memories. However, the nostalgia is cut short when one of the VHS tapes reveals a night back in 1999 that none of them have any recollection of. On screen, their father appears covered in blood. What follows is a dead body and a pact between their parents to get rid of it, before the video abruptly ends.

Beth, Nicole, and Michael must now decide whether to leave the past in the past or uncover the dark secret their mother took to her grave.

Genres: Thriller | Mystery | Mystery Thriller | Horror | Fiction | Audiobook | Adult


256 pages, Hardcover | First published April 30, 2024



Our book for the Senior Center Book Club was chosen actually a few months ago. However, when we tried to get holds on the book, it was difficult because it had become secretly popular. I'm glad we managed to get it for the month because it was a unique read.

Ariel Lawhon has an interesting writing style - it's first person, but the language is a little different than most and she builds more depth around the character telling the story from their point-of-view. Lawhon also made the main character completely relatable and endearing, which could seem an impossible feat for a midwife from the late 1700's.

It was difficult to get into the book, but after the first few chapters, you can't wait to see what happens. The injustice in the book spurs you forward hoping for some relief from the hate and prejudice told. The fact that it's loosely based on the real Martha Ballard mnakes it intriguing all its own. Stay with it until the end, it's the best part.

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon  

A gripping historical mystery inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a renowned 18th-century midwife who defied the legal system and wrote herself into American history.

Maine, 1789: When the Kennebec River freezes, entombing a man in the ice, Martha Ballard is summoned to examine the body and determine cause of death. As a midwife and healer, she is privy to much of what goes on behind closed doors in Hallowell. Her diary is a record of every birth and death, crime and debacle that unfolds in the close-knit community. Months earlier, Martha documented the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen—one of whom has now been found dead in the ice. But when a local physician undermines her conclusion, declaring the death to be an accident, Martha is forced to investigate the shocking murder on her own.

Over the course of one winter, as the trial nears, and whispers and prejudices mount, Martha doggedly pursues the truth. Her diary soon lands at the center of the scandal, implicating those she loves, and compelling Martha to decide where her own loyalties lie.

Clever, layered, and subversive, Ariel Lawhon’s newest offering introduces an unsung heroine who refused to accept anything less than justice at a time when women were considered best seen and not heard. The Frozen River is a thrilling, tense, and tender story about a remarkable woman who left an unparalleled legacy yet remains nearly forgotten to this day.


Genres: Genres | Historical Fiction | Mystery | Fiction | Audiobook | Historical | Mystery Thriller

432 pages, Hardcover | First published December 5, 2023

*all descriptions of the novels and the book covers are from

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