The Last Dress From Paris

London, 2017. There’s no one Lucille adores more than her grandmother (not even her mother, she’s ashamed to say). So when her beloved Granny Sylvie asks Lucille to help secure the return of something precious to her, she’s happy to help. The next thing she knows, Lucille is on a train to Paris, tasked with retrieving a priceless Dior dress. But not everything is as it seems, and what Lucille finds in a small Parisian apartment will have her scouring the city for answers to a question that could change her entire life.

Jade Beer. Holly Clark Photography.

Paris, 1952. Postwar France is full of glamour and privilege, and Alice Ainsley is in the middle of it all. As the wife to the British ambassador to France, Alice’s job is to see and be seen—even if that wasn’t quite what she signed up for. Her husband showers her with jewels, banquets, and couture Dior dresses, but his affection has become distressingly illusive. As the strain on her marriage grows, Alice’s only comfort is her bond with her trusted lady’s maid, Marianne. But when a new face appears in her drawing room, Alice finds herself swept up in an epic love affair that has her yearning to follow her heart…no matter the consequences.

In her novel The Last Dress From Paris, Jade Beer makes the City of Lights come alive as she weaves a lush, evocative story of three generations of women, love, and a fashion scavenger hunt. It is also an exploration of the ties that bind us together, the truths we hold that make us who we are, and the true meaning of what makes someone family.

2022 actually marks the 75th anniversary of Dior, and the collection of dresses featured in the novel are inspired by an exhibit Beer saw at the V&A in London.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jade Beer is an award-winning editor, journalist, and novelist who has worked across the UK national press for more than twenty years. Most recently, she was the editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s Brides. She also writes for other leading titles including The Sunday Times StyleThe Mail on Sunday‘s YOU magazine, The Telegraph, the Tatler Weddings Guide, Glamour, Stella magazine, and is one of The Mail on Sunday’s regular fiction and nonfiction book reviewers. Jade splits her time between London and the Cotswolds, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

This book is available in the following formats: Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover and Paperback.

Smile Beach Murder

When Callie Padget is laid off from her reporting job, she returns to her hometown of Cattail Island and lands a gig at the local bookstore—the same one where she found comfort after her mother died.

In fact, the anniversary of her mother’s infamous death is approaching. Years ago, Teri Padget tumbled from the top of the lighthouse. As islanders are once again gossiping about the tragedy, devastating news strikes: the lighthouse has claimed another victim. Eva Meeks, of Meeks Hardware.

The police are calling it suicide, but Callie does not believe Eva jumped any more than she believes her mother did—especially because Callie knows that before her death, Eva had dug up a long-forgotten treasure hunt that could have put a target on Eva’s back. 

In Callie’s search for answers, she enlists the help of some beloved books and several new friends, including the handsome local martial art’s instructor, Toby Dodge. But when another death rocks Cattail Island, Callie must face her fears alone. As she earns enemies in pursuit of the truth, Callie knows she will either uncover the killer or become a victim herself.

SMILE BEACH MURDER is an all-new mystery series featuring Callie Padget, a former reporter turned bookshop clerk in the Outer Banks, who is pulled into a deadly web of secrets when a mysterious fall at a lighthouse echoes a tragedy from her past. When the police rule the fall a suicide, Callie has doubts. As she earns enemies in pursuit of the truth, Callie knows she will either uncover the killer or become a victim herself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before authoring the Outer Banks Bookshop mystery series, Alicia Bessette worked as a reporter in her home state of Massachusetts, where her writing won a first-place award from the New England Newspaper & Press Association. A pianist, published poet, and enthusiastic birdwatcher, she now loves living in coastal North Carolina with her husband, novelist Matthew Quick.

Bessette has lived in the Outer Banks for years, adding authenticity to her depiction of island life, characters, and gorgeous setting. Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer, praises:  “What could be better than a beach-read mystery? Lay out a towel, pour yourself some lemonade, and escape in this Outer Banks whodunnit with charm to spare.”

The most popular #BookTok books in every state

TikTok’s book community “#BookTok” was recently referred to by The New York Times as a “best seller machine.” In this community, creators post literary content to the app, ranging from book recommendations to their emotional reactions during pivotal plot points. 

This content has catapulted sales for a select few books, and major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble are recognizing the community’s power.

These days, it takes one viral TikTok for a book to become a bestseller. #BookTok reaches readers across the world, and a nation’s most popular books can tell us a lot about its language and culture. So which books are actually selling, and what do they have in common? 

Using Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and Google search interest data, we conducted an analysis of the titles rising in popularity due to TikTok. Our report ranks the most popular books and authors, determines which are favored in each state, and even highlights the older books making a comeback due to TikTok. 

Key findings

The most popular #BookTok books and authors

For BookTok community members, reading is all about finding stories that captivate their audience’s emotions – particularly their sense of romance. The top-five best-selling books due to TikTok are nearly all romances, and two of them share the same author.

The five most popular #BookTok books are:

  • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover (romance)
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (romance)
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (romance)
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (romance)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (young adult)

#BookTok has popularized the romance genre with Gen Z readers. Romance tropes such as “enemies to lovers” and “fake dating” allow readers to enjoy fun, lighthearted stories with satisfying emotional endings across many different books with unique characters. 

In fact, of the top 55 books analyzed, 24 were in the romance genre, according to Goodreads classifications. Fantasy books took up 12 slots, with young adult (8), thriller (6), and historical fiction (4) genres following.

With two books in the top three slots, Colleen Hoover is the standout author on #BookTok. Her titles Verity and It Starts With Us are also in the top 25 #BookTok books. A romance author with one thriller title (Verity), Hoover is active on TikTok and Instagram, engaging with the community with her humorous personality. She clearly has a strong sense of what’s popular in online reading communities. 

Jennifer L. Armentrout also has four titles gaining significant traction on TikTok. A prolific fantasy and romance writer, books from her Blood and Ash, Harbinger and Dark Elements series have each been heavily promoted by the #BookTok community. 

Other popular #BookTok authors include Alice Oseman, Casey McQuiston, Elle Kennedy and Emily Henry, each with three books on the top #BookTok book list.

The most popular #BookTok books by state

A nation’s most popular books can tell us a lot about its culture, and the same is true for individual states. We analyzed the list of over 170 popular #BookTok books using local search data to determine the most popular #BookTok bestseller in every state and created a map to display each state’s favorite title.

With 41 books represented, there are a wide variety of popular books in the U.S. right now, thanks to TikTok. The books most popular on a state-by-state level include:

  • Ugly Love (4 states)
  • Book of Night (3 states)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (2 states)
  • One Last Stop (2 states)
  • The Spanish Love Deception (2 states)
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (2 states)
  • Written in the Stars (2 states)

The books making a comeback thanks to #BookTok

Finally, some books published well over a decade ago are seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to TikTok. We removed books that have movie adaptations or are part of popular franchises such as Twilight or The Hunger Games

Here are the lesser-known titles that #BookTok is giving a comeback:

  • I Am Number Four (published 2009)
  • Anna and the French Kiss (published 2010)
  • The Song of Achilles (published 2011)
  • Throne of Glass (published 2012)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (published 2012)

Conclusion

Books open up our worlds and minds. Simple stories that follow traditional narrative arcs can also be effective language learning tools. Whether your recommendation comes from #BookTok or The New York Times, discover a new title and learn about a different culture, place, or time. 

Methodology: Using a list of 170+ popular #BookTok titles compiled by Barnes & Noble, we used Google search data to conduct this analysis. Genre data compiled using Goodreads.

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days

         At first Bethany Lu Carlisle can’t believe what she’s hearing. Keanu Reeves, her super crush forever, is getting married in three months. No way, she thinks trying to dismiss the thought before doing a frantic internet search to find out if it’s really true.

         It’s a vulnerable time for Lu. She’s having difficulty with her creative process which is a fundamental problem given that she’s an artist with a show coming up at her best friend Dawn’s New York City gallery. She also is fielding a business offer from a shark-like, uber rich entrepreneur who wants to brand her work. It’s a very lucrative deal but Lu is afraid of losing control over her own work and besides the guy is way too “hands-on.”  Plus, her other best friend, True, the handsome college professor who wrote a definitive and highly praised book on some type of economic theory—Lu hasn’t read it—is getting job offers from West Coast businesses and has an attractive and overly-friendly research assistant. Like Keanu, True has been a serious crush for Lu but she’s never let him know it. We don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to let you know that he’s been crazy over her for the last 20-plus years as well.

         All this calls for a drastic shake-up to get her life back on track and what better way than to track down Keanu and convince him if he’s going to marry, then she’s available.

         Sure, it sounds flaky but remember How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days is a romantic comedy (rom-com) written by USA bestselling author Kwana Jackson under the pen name K.M. Jackson. It’s the latest in the many rom-coms novels she’s authored.

         Jackson, who was born in Harlem, is just as obsessed with Keanu as Lu and it seems to be a real life family trait.

         “I called my mother today like I do every day and she was busy watching a John Wick movie,” she said in a recent phone interview.

         For the five people in this country who don’t know, John Wick is a lethal and ruthless assassin played by Keanu Reeves in a series of movies by the same name. Retired, Wick is forced back into business to track down his adversaries—a seeming endless task that results in a high rate of carnage in each of the four movies.

         The idea for her book started with a fun tweet Jackson posted after realizing the next Matrix movie starring Reeves as well as the newest John Wick film would come out on the same day.

         “When I saw that, I tweeted don’t bring out your next book on Keanu day,” said Jackson who was bombarded with comments about the book she was supposed to write and told by her agent she’d better get to work on it.

         But that really wasn’t a problem for Jackson.

         “I’ve always been an un-ashamed romance book lover and romance has given me a wonderful place to escape into when I need a place to decompress,” she said. “It makes me happy to write a place for people to escape into.”

This review previously appeared in the NWI Times.

National Book Lovers Day: Celebrate By Learning to Download Books for Free

August 9 is National Book Lovers Day, a celebration for book worms everywhere. And lucky for us, our public library has its own collection of ebooks and audiobooks that we can download for free.
Libby, the leading library reading app by OverDrive, lets users download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and more at no cost. All you need to get started is a library card—and even if you don’t have one, an Instant Digital Card can be yours in 30 seconds with just a phone number. 

Besides being able to borrow digital titles, OverDrive launched a new monthly blog series this July showing June’s top ten most popular books that had been borrowed digitally from the public library on Libby. Now in August, they’re sharing July’s top ten. On the list, you’ll find frequent New York Times bestsellers including Daniel Silva and Danielle Steel. Also among the Top Ten is T.J. Newman with their stunning instant #1 bestselling debut title, Falling.

As a reminder, Professional Book Nerds podcast always previews the upcoming month’s buzziest new books as well, and you can listen to their August episode right here. You can find July’s most popular new releases in the list below.

The top ten new books from July

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Falling by T.J. Newman


The Cellist by Daniel Silva


It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

Nine Lives by Danielle Steel

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory


The Therapist by B. A. Paris

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs


Fallen by Linda Castillo

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