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FFW Book Club: A Cozy Mystery, a Heartfelt Memoir, and a Sultry Romance


Delving into a good book is one of the best ways to enjoy some downtime. From mystery to romance genres, you’re bound to find that one interesting read that will make you want to dive deeper into the book. Keep browsing to find out our seven book club favorites for May 2022!

Women’s Fiction: ‘Write My Name Across The Sky’ by Barbara O’Neal

Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O’Neal

“When my plans got canceled last weekend, I was a bit disappointed, but then I remembered I had this sweet book on my nightstand,” shares Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor. Thirty-something Sam is a perfectionist who has never gotten along with her carefree sister, Willow, a singer-songwriter hoping for her big break. But when Sam falls ill, she moves in with Willow and their 70-year-old aunt, Gloria, who’s about to be arrested for an art forgery crime she was involved in decades earlier — a fact that stuns the sisters.

“As different as all three characters were, I related to each of them,” says Patty. “And I loved how the author captured the love and frustration that comes with being part of a family — no matter how conventional (or unconventional!) it may be. It stayed with me long past the last page.” (Lake Union, 2021)

Grab a copy of Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O’Neal here! (Buy from Amazon, $7.59)

Cozy Mystery: ‘The Maid’ by Nita Prose

The Maid by Nita Prose

“After a busy week full of stress, I often find my brain feels a little fried by Friday evening,” says Shay Trotter, FIRST Associate Editor. “And since I have no actual getaways coming up, I like taking a mental break and escaping into an exciting page-turner with a good mystery at the heart of the story!” Molly Gray, a 25-year-old maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, has always had trouble fitting in, thanks to her quirky habits, trusting nature and naivety.

When she finds wealthy businessman Charles Black dead in his bed, others begin to take advantage of her innocence to make her seem anything but. “I couldn’t stop reading late into the night — it was fascinating to unravel a mystery from the point of view of Molly,” says Shay. “Plus, the story was a heartening, comforting reminder that sometimes the people you’d least suspect are the ones who truly have your back!” (Ballantine, 2022)

Grab a copy of The Maid by Nita Prose here! (Buy from Amazon, $16.90)

Humor: ‘The Recovery Agent’ by Janet Evanovich

'The Recovery Agent' by Janet Evanovich

“Feeling a bit down in the dumps after receiving some bad news, I was looking for a distraction,” says Danielle Saliman, FIRST Executive Editor. “And this laugh-outloud, action-packed adventure was just the thing to do it!” Gabriela Rose is a recovery agent hired by individuals and companies looking for things like stolen heirlooms or missing assets. When her latest job hits very close to home, Gabriela heads off to Peru in pursuit of lost treasure, only to find she can’t do it without the help of her ex-husband, Rafer.

What follows is a string of trials, tribulations, danger and sassy banter around every single turn. “Everything I needed to transport me elsewhere and boost my mood was right here in this book: adventure, comedy, mystery, romance and even the threat of killer snakes,” says Danielle. “Plus, this novel is only the first in a series, so I look forward to Gabriela lifting me out of any future funks!” (Atria, 2022)

Grab a copy of The Recovery Agent by Janet Evanovich here! (Buy from Amazon, $17.95)

Memoir: ‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

“Around Mother’s Day, I often find myself ref lecting on how lucky I am to be so close with my mom,” shares Kate Arcell, FIRST Assistant Editor. “So when I saw this memoir, about a daughter’s relationship with her mother, I knew it would warm my heart.” Michelle Zauner grew up as one of the only Asian-American kids in her town, so she tried to separate herself from the identity given to her by her mother.

But at 25, Michelle learns her mother has cancer, and she reconnects with her mom, her identity and their shared passion for food. Says Kate, “I cried, I laughed and I remembered just how grateful I am for my own mom.” (Knopf, 2021)

Grab a copy of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner here! (Buy from Amazon, $15.95)

Romance: ‘Part of Your World’ by Abby Jimenez

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

“I tend to say ‘yes’ to everything, which leaves me little time to do the things I enjoy,” sighs Lauren Stachiw, FIRST Beauty Director. “Last Sunday, I had no plans, so I opened this romcom as a form of self-care.” Alexis Montgomery’s parents expect her to continue the legacy of becoming a surgeon — and to marry a man who is also a surgeon.

But one night, Alexis meets Mayor Daniel Grant. They have a spark, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Will they fizzle or flourish? Says Lauren, “Alexis reminded me that our own happiness is so important!” (Forever, 2022)

Grab a copy of Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez here! (Buy from Amazon, $9.98)

Suspense: ‘Something in the Water’ by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

“During a flight delay, I needed something to help me pass the time,” says Leann Garofolo, FIRST Senior Editor. “And this eerie read had me on the edge of my seat!” Despite financial struggles, Erin and Mark are on cloud nine when they head to Bora Bora on their honeymoon.

But it all changes once they find a bag floating in the water after scuba diving. When the couple opens it, they’re in awe of the loot inside. What follows is series of dangerous risks. Says Leann, “I couldn’t believe all of the twists!” (Ballantine, 2018)

Grab a copy of Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman here! (Buy from Amazon, $18.89)

Thriller: ‘The Appeal’ by Janice Hallett

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

“Lately my life feels like the movie Groundhog Day,” sighs Alexandra Pollock, FIRST Senior Editor. “So rather than settle for my ‘watch TV like a zombie’ routine, I grabbed this thriller.” The theater group The Fairway Players are prepping for a play when the director, Martin Hayward, and his wife, Helen, the star of the show, receive news that their granddaughter is sick and must try a costly experimental treatment.

But as the cast raises money for the girl, tension grows…and leads to a murder. Says Alexandra, “It jolted me out of the monotony!” (Atria, 2022)

Pre-order a copy of The Appeal by Janice Hallett here! (Buy from Amazon, $17)

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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