Explore the Fun and Challenges of Life Lessons

These June new releases all focus on life lessons and range from funny to sweet to heartbreaking. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending,” –C.S. Lewis. Discover how these characters take very different approaches to changing their ending.

1. The Summer of Sunshine and Margo by Susan Mallery

book cover - 2 ladies sitting in lawn chair readingTwin sisters Margot and Sunshine are as different as their names. Margot is an etiquette coach who’s currently working to change a scandalous movie star into a proper diplomat’s wife. Sunshine, a former party girl with a history of chasing the wrong men, is working to finally finish college and be a responsible nanny for a single dad. Both sisters get off track when work and romance intertwine.

“As the sisters navigate the risks of mixing work with romance, Mallery skillfully weaves in tantalizing details from the sisters’ pasts-romantic hurts, the emotional devastation of being abandoned by their mother when they were children – to make the heart-tugging happily-ever-after all the sweeter. Mallery’s gift for creating relatable characters and lively pacing results in a satisfying tale that will win her even more fans.”–Publishers Weekly

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2. In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow

drawing of a black woman in a yellow dress

Azalea “Knot” Centre ignores the gossip and does what she loves best – drink moonshine, read 19th Century literature and enjoy men’s company. However, she starts to wonder if this freedom is worth the price. Living in a one-room shack and ostracized from her family, she reaches out to her neighbor Otis Lee Loving for support.

Otis has often helped family and friends make better decisions and he’s eager to help Knot fix her life. Although Otis is not able to fix the problems within his own family as the secrets from his troubled life start to surface.

“There are plenty of adjectives that could describe Winslow’s debut: endearing, certainly. Hilarious, absolutely. Charming, for days. But none of them are adequate to this quietly complicated, impossibly big-hearted novel about family, migration and the unbearable difficulties of love. Here’s a cast of characters you won’t soon forget.” ―Ayana Mathis, bestselling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

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3. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

a house on a hill

Evvie is a recent widow who rarely leaves her house. Her friends assume she’s consumed by grief. Andy is a friend of a friend who’s renting the apartment at the back of Evvie’s house. He’s a major league pitcher struggling with a case of the “yips” – he can’t throw straight anymore. Andy agrees not to ask about Evvie’s late husband if she doesn’t ask about his career. As an unexpected friendship begins, they must deal with their problems – bonds they’ve broken and secrets they’ve kept.

“A sweet and sincere grown-up love story . . . Fans of grounded romance will fall hard for Evvie Drake and Dean Tenney, two broken people who help each other mend. . . . Refreshing and real, with a huge heart. I loved it.”Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars and The Bucket List

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4. After the End by Clare Mackintosh

birds silohouetted

Max and Pip are the perfect couple – best friends, lovers and strong. When their son gets sick and his survival is in their hands, they can’t agree on the next steps. The each want a different future for their son.

“Clare Mackintosh’s complex, riveting page-turner grapples with hard questions without ever straying from its emotional true north. I fell in love with the compelling voices of Pip, Max, and Leila as they explored the bravest and most terrifying words in the English language: What if. After the End is gorgeous, heart-wrenching, hope-soaked, and honest. It made me feel a thousand things, and it also made me think. Get an extra copy for a friend; you’re going to need to talk about this one.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever 

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 5. Donna Has Left the Building by Susan Jane Gilman

Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she’s sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own. Irresistibly funny, whip-smart, and surprisingly moving, Donna Has Left the Building spins an unforgettable tale about what it means to be brave – and to truly love – in a tumultuous world.  –From the publisher
“This big hearted novel is intimate and riveting and keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end! It takes those classic stories usually told about men-the midlife crisis, the epic quest and turns them inside-out with a smart, edgy, woman at the helm who discovers a greater sense of purpose in the world. A love story in the greatest sense. Brilliant, scathing, powerful, insanely funny. Read it!”―April Sinclair, author ofCoffee Will Make You Black

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Jennifer Jones

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 17 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If you don’t like it, at least the price is right!”