Looking for the latest must-reads for yourself or your book group? Eight talented Charlotte women are sparking plenty of buzz with their captivating life stories and page-turning fiction. From an emergency room doctor turned novelist to a steamy romance writer, these Queen City authors have recently penned titles that will keep you up reading past bedtime. We checked in with the literary experts at Park Road Books to round out this list of hot new releases by local women – shop their store or buy via the Amazon links below. Happy reading!
Small Victories: The Off-Camera Life of an On-Camera Mom, by Molly Grantham. (Molly Grantham)
One of Charlotte’s most popular TV anchors, you can catch Molly Grantham delivering the evening news on WBTV and emceeing local charity events. Her book Small Victories gives readers an honest and humorous look at her life juggling motherhood and a busy career on camera.
During maternity leave with her second child, Molly started writing weekly Facebook posts about her endless attempts to “keep it all together.” Shining an honest — and often funny — light on her own parental struggles was an unexpected transition for this journalist used to reporting on gangs, crime, and serious social issues. But the real surprise came in how many people related to her raw takes on parenthood.
From her admission that changing diapers and constant feedings aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, to missing her career and “me” time, to discovering the pure joy of watching her children grow, Small Victories: The Off-Camera Life of an On-Camera Mom is a month-by-month progression of one woman’s journey through the early years of parenting, and the strength and solidarity she discovers by sharing her story with the community.
Queen of Hearts, by Kimmery Martin. (Berkley) Release date February 13.
I received a preview copy of Kimmery’s book and stayed up late on multiple nights to sneak in a few extra pages. The story follows best friends Zadie and Emma from medical school to their glamorous lives as doctors in Charlotte. It’s hard to put down as the story unfolds in our city blending the doctor drama of Grey’s Anatomy and the secrets of Big Little Lies. Kimmery writes from experience as an emergency medicine doctor and mom of three.
A debut novel set against a background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…
Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.
As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.
When We Were Worthy, by Mary Beth Whalen. (Lake Union Publishing)
The author of The Things We Wish Were True and five previous novels, Mary Beth is a mom of six who writes acclaimed novels when she’s not stocking up at the grocery store.
In her latest novel When We Were Worthy, the sound of sirens cut through a cool fall night in the small town of Worthy, Georgia. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.
At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?
One Happy Divorce, by Jennifer Hurvitz Weintraub. (Warren Publishing, Inc.)
Best-selling author Jennifer Hurvitz Weintraub hates shrimp and grits, refuses to say,”Bless your Heart”….And rarely steps outside between June and October. Add a divorce, two kick-ass teen-aged boys and a pretty cool Ex husband…you’ve got something to write about, One Happy Divorce.
One Happy Divorce-Hold the Bulls#!t evolved from The Truth Hurvitz, the relationship blog by Weintraub, and it’s as real as it gets. We all know divorce is tough, but it doesn’t have to be miserable! A happy ex equals a more peaceful life. Jennifer serves up a trifecta of funny, insightful, and heartful anecdotes–a recipe for success. Through relatable stories and personal experiences, we learn that divorce doesn’t have to end in disaster. We all know a good marriage takes effort, well, so does a good divorce. And yes, there is such as thing as a “good divorce.” Mixing humor and heart, One Happy Divorce–Hold the Bulls#!t is a delicious slice of reality.
Finding My Father’s Voice: A Baseball Love Story, by Leigh Ann Walker. (Ascend Books)
Leigh Ann Walker is completely addicted to yoga, acupuncture and Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core ice cream. It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet as she walks the path of enlightenment. Her three biggest accomplishments thus far; her 2 sons and this book.
Leigh Ann Walker’s efforts to learn about her deceased father began in earnest five years ago, but really, the journey started in 1971 when Verlon “Rube” Walker died. He was the third base coach for the Chicago Cubs when he died of leukemia at just 42 years old. Leigh Ann was 3. It was a loss impacting the Walker family, their friends, the Chicago Cubs family and eventually people that Verlon (or “Rube”) never even met. But his death was profound for Leigh Ann because he was “daddy” and she barely knew him before he died. The loss of his good night hugs, his voice, and his very presence in her young life touched every aspect of her life. Leigh Ann needed a way to face the loss and the resulting uncertainty of the father she didn’t know. Her story chronicles her discoveries and reflections. It is a love story, to be sure, but also a detective story and a journey to the baseball family that called Verlon Walker one of their own. When Leigh Ann talked with her mother, uncles, former baseball players — including Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams — and former batboys and coaches, she learned about her father from the people who knew him best and honored him with the Rube Walker Blood Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Verlon (or “Rube”) was kind, smart, self-effacing and devoted to all the loves of his life baseball, his wife and his daughter. Leigh Ann put the puzzle together of a man who was everything she’d hoped he would be. And while it didn’t make her loss any easier all these years later, her journey toward learning about him answered the questions she needed to ask.
This is a story for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one and could never find a place for the grief to reside or an answer for the “why?” It offers a way to accept what happened and a realization that, as much as those losses hurt and always will, there is always a way forward.
Secret Sisters, by Joy Callaway. (Harper Paperbacks)
A mom of two and former marketing director for a wealth management company, Joy credits her parents for insisting she read books or write stories instead of watching TV. Following her successful debut Fifth Avenue Artists Society, Secret Sisters is a historical novel based on the founding of the country’s first sororities.
Illinois, 1881: Whitsitt College sophomore Beth Carrington has two goals to fulfill by the time she graduates: obtain a medical degree, and establish a women’s fraternity, Beta Xi Beta, that will help young women like herself to connect with and support one another while attending the male-dominated Whitsitt.
Neither is an easy task. The sole female student in the physicians’ program, Beth is constantly called out by her professors and peers for having the audacity not to concentrate on a more “fitting” subject like secretarial studies. Meanwhile, secret organizations are off-limits, and simply by crowding together in a dank basement room and creating a sense of camaraderie, she and her small group of fraternity sisters risk expulsion.
In order to have the fraternity recognized, she knows she needs help. She turns to the most powerful student on campus: senior Grant Richardson, Iota Gamma fraternity president and the scion of a Whitsitt family—a man she’s only acquainted with because of her longstanding friendship with his fraternity brother Will Buchannan. Staunchly traditional, Grant doesn’t see the purpose of this women’s organization, but captivated by Beth, he agrees to give her a helping hand. What she doesn’t know is how many will stop at nothing to keep her burgeoning organization out of the record books—and who she can actually trust along the way.
As Beth fights for her beloved Beta Xi Beta to be recognized, she will uncover deep secrets about the college and those who surround her, and will have to put both love and friendship on the line so that history can be made.
Royal Ruin: A Flings With Kings Novel, by Jessica Peterson.
A Duke University graduate and lifelong lover of romance novels, Jessica Peterson started to take her own writing seriously after falling head over heels in love with the tall, dark and handsome Mr. Peterson. Author of the Hope Diamond Trilogy and steamy Study Abroad series, Jessica released Royal Ruin in January, the first in her new “Flings with Kings” series.
Royal. Ridiculously Hot. Totally Off Limits. When His Royal Highness Prince Kit makes Emily an offer she can’t turn down, she agrees to pretend to be his fiancée. It isn’t long before she develops very real feelings for her very fake boyfriend. Rules are broken. Clothes come off. She knows she’s heading for heartbreak. But when the action behind closed doors is this good–and the connection she shares with Kit is even better–how can she possibly resist?
SUBJECT: Engagement Contract (Marked Confidential)
From the Desk of His Royal Highness Prince Christopher
Emily—Thank you for joining me for dinner tonight. And for agreeing to my proposal, as ludicrous as it is. Desperate times call for fake engagements. At least in my family.
I am attaching the contract we discussed. Our lawyers asked that I highlight the following clauses:
• The engagement shall last ninety days
• Both parties are to appear genuinely in love at all royal appearances
• Beyond required public displays of affection, there shall be no contact of any kind between the parties
The first half of your payment will be deposited into your account upon the signing of this contract. Be sure to note your ring size. We would like to make prompt delivery of the family emerald. The Queen and I thank you in advance for your discretion.
P.S.—Sorry to hear about your divorce. Your ex sounds like a proper knob head.
P.P.S—You looked stunning tonight.
From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars short stories), Renée Ahdieh and other authors.
Renée Ahdieh is a #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of young adult novels including Flame in the Mist and The Rose and the Dagger. But her writing is inspired by Star Wars in this collection of short stories.
On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, more than forty contributors including Renée lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the forty short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars.