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Stellar Books Publishing This Week

Cindy Burnett
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Anna Bright Is Hiding Something

Cindy Burnett says 2024 is a great year for books – just this week, there are seven books that she's excited about. 

If you follow me on any platform, you have heard me talking about what a year 2024 is for books – it is truly unlike anything I have seen in past years. This week is the perfect example: there are four books that I have read and loved as well as three more that I plan to read soon. While I highlight the month’s best books for my Buzz Reads column, I find it much harder to narrow down some months like this June when so many fabulous titles are publishing. So this week, I am covering the seven publishing this week that are or look worth reading.

These are the four books that I have read and recommend:

Anna Bright Is Hiding Something by Susie Orman Schnall – On the brink of filing with the SEC to take her company BrightLife public, all is not as it seems with the company’s cutting edge product, BrightSpot, a revolutionary ocular implant. While its CEO Anna Bright swears the product is ready to go live, the technology to support BrightSpot is not complete. When journalist Jamie Roman learns about Bright’s malfeasance, she sets out to uncover the story and expose the truth. For fans of stories about strong women and fictionalized accounts inspired by actual events.

I’ve Tried Being Nice: Essays by Ann Leary – Having arrived at a certain age (her prime), Ann Leary casts a wry backward glance at a life spent trying – and often failing – to be nice. I could relate to so many of Leary’s anecdotes and appreciated her humor and self-awareness. I love essay collections because you can pick them up and put them down whenever you choose, and this one is no exception. For fans of Mary Laura Philpott and Elizabeth Passarella.

Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan – This is the romantic and hilarious story of a professional organizer whose life is a mess, and the summer she gets unstuck with the help of someone unexpected from her past. Summer Romance is a sweet story about finding your way a bit later in life - a focus that Monaghan explores in her books and excels at writing. For fans of stories about somewhat older protagonists and explorations of grief.

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue: Glamour and Power at the Dawn of American Fashion by Julie Satow (nonfiction) – When Women Ran Fifth Avenue tells the stories of Hortense Odlum of Bonwit Teller, Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor, and Geraldin Stutz of Henri Bendel, as well as providing a brief history of department stores and how they changed the world of shopping, opening up employment opportunities for women. This glimpse into the department store phenomenon and its impact on our culture and shopping habits is fascinating. While this is narrative nonfiction, it is a page turner chock full of trade secrets, drama, and intriguing history. For fans of cultural phenomena and engaging nonfiction.

Here are three more that I hope to read soon:

The Last Twelve Miles by Erika Robuck - From the glamorous world of D.C. Intelligence to the sultry shores of the Straits of Florida, The Last Twelve Miles is based on the true story of two women masterminds trying to outwit each other in a dangerous and fascinating high stakes game.

Malas by Marcela Fuentes - In 1951, a mysterious old woman confronts Pilar Aguierre in the small border town of La Cienega, Texas. The old woman is sure Pilar stole her husband and, in a heated outburst, lays a curse on Pilar and her family. More than forty years later, Lulu Muñoz is dodging chaos at every turn, but most of all her upcoming quinceañera. When her beloved grandmother passes away, Lulu finds herself drawn to the glamorous stranger who crashed the funeral and who lives on the alone and shunned on the edge of town. As the quinceañera looms, one woman must make peace with the past, and one girl pushes to embrace her future.

There Is No Ethan: How Three Women Caught America’s Biggest Catfish by Anna Akbari - Three women fell head over heels for the charming Ethan Schuman. Unbeknownst to the others, each exchanged messages with Ethan. His detailed excuses about broken webcams and complicated international calling plans seemed believable, as did last-minute trip cancellations. Ethan wasn't after money – he never convinced his marks to shell out thousands of dollars for some imagined crisis. Rather, he ensnared these women in a web of intense emotional intimacy. As the women untangled their catfish’s web, they found other victims and realized that without a proper crime, there was no legal reason for “Ethan” to ever stop.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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