The Tall Poppy Writers have had a busy spring, with new titles releasing like flowers in a literary garden. Here’s our latest!
The Bright Side of Going Dark
by Kelly Harms
From the bestselling author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler comes a fresh, funny, and thoughtful story about going off the grid in order to truly live.
As one of the most popular influencers on social media, Mia Bell has lived her life online for years. With her celebrity dog and gorgeous fiancé, she is planning the ultimate virtual wedding—expensive, elaborate, and entirely paid for by sponsors. But off-camera, her world is far from picture perfect. After being jilted by her fiancé and faking her nuptials to please her sponsors, Mia finally has had enough. She heaves her phone off a cliff, ready to live—and maybe find love—offline for a change.
Mia’s sudden absence doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by techie loner Paige Miller, who hacks Mia’s account and begins impersonating the internet celebrity. Paige has her reasons. Her half sister, Jessica, idolizes Mia and desperately needs something to believe in. If taking over Mia’s online persona is Paige’s only means of connecting to her sister, so be it.
Creating a like-worthy life is more fun than Paige expected. But when she grows too bold and is caught in the act, a fiasco ensues that could forever change Mia, Paige, and the people who love them. Because somewhere amid the chaos is an invaluable lesson—one that only real life can teach.
Read more and find purchase links at Kelly’s website.
The Library of Legends
by Janie Chang
From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel in which a young woman travels across China with a convoy of student refugees, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan while safeguarding a priceless library. An April 2020 Book of the Month Club pick.
“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are…”
China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Lian and her classmates at Minghua University must flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. But it’s not just the students who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.
Family secrets have made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Shao. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before past secrets put her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.
On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever.
Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.
Read more and find purchase links for The Library of Legends at Janie’s website.
Yeah, No. Not Happening
by Karen Karbo
The author of the acclaimed, bestselling In Praise of Difficult Women delivers a hilarious feminist manifesto that encourages us to reject “self-improvement” and instead learn to appreciate and flaunt our complex, and flawed, human selves.
Why are we so obsessed with being our so-called best selves? Because our modern culture force feeds women lies designed to heighten their insecurities: “You can do it all—crush it at work, at home, in the bedroom, at PTA and at Pilates—and because you can, you should. We can show you how!”
Karen Karbo has had enough. She’s taking a stand against the cultural and societal pressures, marketing, and media influences that push us to spend endless time, energy and money trying to “fix” ourselves—a race that has no finish line and only further increases our send of self-dissatisfaction and loathing. “Yeah, no, not happening,” is her battle cry.
In this wickedly smart and entertaining book, Karbo explores how “self-improvery” evolved from the provenance of men to women. Recast as “consumers” in the 1920s, women, it turned out, could be seduced into buying anything that might improve not just their lives, but their sense of self-worth. Today, we smirk at Mad Men-era ads targeting 1950s housewives—even while savvy marketers, aided and abetted by social media “influencers,” peddle skin care “systems,” skinny tea, and regimens that promise to deliver endless happiness. We’re not simply seduced into dropping precious disposable income on empty promises; the underlying message is that we can’t possibly know what’s good for us, what we want, or who we should be. Calling BS, Karbo blows the lid off of this age-old trend and asks women to start embracing their awesomely imperfect selves.
There is no one more dangerous than a woman who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. Yeah, No, Not Happening is a call to arms to build a posse of dangerous women who swear off self-improvement and its peddlers. A welcome corrective to our inner-critic, Karbo’s manifesto will help women restore their sanity and reclaim their self-worth.
Read more and find purchase links at Karen’s website.
Recipe for Persuasion
by Sonali Dev
From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another , clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition—this time, with a twist on Persuasion.
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?
Read more and find purchase links at Sonali’s website.
A heart elt thank you to all healthcare workers
Thank you for supporting our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tall Poppy Writers have been honoring nurses through our #NovelsForNurses initiative. Here are some happy recipients at M Health Fairview in Minneapolis, to whom we sent many boxes of Tall Poppy novels!
Congrats to Janie Chang, whose novel was chosen by the Book of the Month Club!
…and thank you to all our readers, who made us a Writer’s Digest Top Blog for Writers! 💜