Butterfly: Book 2 by
What happens: In this 2nd Butterfly novel, Morgan Atkins is still mourning the death of her boyfriend, Messiah, while raising their twins. But the stable man she's dating can't hold a candle to Messiah's best friend, Ahmeek, who offers a way back into a life she's not sure she wants to be a part of anymore.
But wait! This wouldn't be an Ashley Antoinette novel without an unexpected twist: Messiah's alive, and now Morgan has three men to choose between.
Read it if: you've already read volume one, and can't wait for volume three, coming in December. You may also want to read the Ethic series first to get a good understanding of Morgan and Messiah's history.
The Vanishing Half by
Featuring: twin sisters Stella and Desiree, who last saw each other as teenagers when they fled the Louisiana hometown where their father had been lynched.
Over the years: Stella has built a life for herself in which everyone, including her husband, believes her to be white; Desiree is the mother of a daughter so dark-skinned the hometown gossips stare.
Why you should read it: Spanning decades (from the 1940s to the 1990s), this is a compassionately drawn tale of family, colorism, and identity.
Last Tang Standing by
The problem(s): At 33, Andrea Tang is a successful lawyer in Singapore. But her lack of a husband disappoints her family. Handsome Eric might do...but she can't stop thinking about her irritating office mate, Suresh. And since he's not Chinese, her family definitely won't approve.
Why you might like it: Love the enemies-to-lovers theme of Sally Thorne's The Hating Game? Enjoy stories of professional women fighting society's expectations? You'll get both -- plus a Crazy Rich Asians-esque portrait of a Malaysian Chinese family in Singapore.
Broken People by
What it's about: an L.A. writer (also named Sam) who visits a Portland shaman and, under the influence of ayahuasca, comes to grips with his past, especially his poor treatment of the men in his life.
Why you might like it: messy relationships and choices later regretted are things most readers have experienced; they're portrayed here with humor and compassion.
About the author: Sam Lansky has also written a memoir about his own struggles with addiction as a teen, The Gilded Razor.
The Sight of You by
Starring: Joel, whose literally prophetic dreams about loved ones has him swearing off new relationships; and Callie, the barista he can't resist.
What happens: Soon enough, Joel and Callie have fallen in love, but when Joel dreams of her death, will they be able to handle the knowledge?
Why you might like it: Alternating perspectives puts readers in both Joel and Callie's shoes in what is ultimately both a sad and uplifting tale.
What We Lose by
Starring: Thandi, the U.S.-raised daughter of a mixed-race mother from South Africa and an African American father.
What it's about: The death of Thandi's mother propels the novel -- in a life shaped by not-belonging, the loss of her mother threatens to overwhelm Thandi as she deals with an unplanned pregnancy.
Why you might like it: This collage-like debut features short chapters punctuated by photographs and other ephemera, and Thandi's family, at home and in post-apartheid Johannesburg, offers a nuanced exploration of race and privilege.
What Belongs to You by
Who it's about: a lonely American professor in Bulgaria, drawn by need into an unstable relationship with a young hustler named Mitko -- until his violence leaves the professor scared for his life.
What happens: Years pass, and Mitko reappears once more, forcing the professor to come to terms with his past -- both with Mitko and with his own difficult childhood.
What reviewers say: "A luminous, searing exploration of desire, alienation, and the powerful tattoo of the past" (Kirkus Reviews).
What Happens in Paradise by
What happens: In this engaging novel (a follow-up to Winter in Paradise), Irene Steel faces up to her late husband's double life, and finds herself returning to St. John -- perhaps for good.
Why you might like it: As in the best escapist fiction featuring wealthy families, the beach (and accompanying Steel villa) is beautiful, secrets are around every corner, and there are romantic entanglements aplenty.
What you need to know: the 3rd in the series, Troubles in Paradise, is coming this October.
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by
What it is: a "beguiling" (Booklist) collection of stories that read like modern fairy tales or folklore: there are echoes of Pinocchio in "Is Your Blood as Red as This?"; "Dornicka and the St. Martin's Day Goose" is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
Why you might like it: Along with striking imagery and surreal occurrences, a theme of locks and keys winds throughout the loosely connected stories, which offer a diverse array of characters, each seeking something they may never be able to find.
What Was Mine by
Helen Klein Ross
Twenty-one years ago: Lucy stole a baby and passed her off as adopted. Now, 21-year-old Mia has discovered the truth of her origins and is refusing to speak to Lucy, who has fled to avoid prosecution.
But: Lucy was a kind and loving mom; Mia finds herself torn, even as she reaches out to her birth mother -- it's not that easy to step into a new role as "Natalie," daughter of Marilyn.
Why you might like it: Multiple perspectives round out a thoughtful story of family, love, and loss.
Contact your librarian for more great books!