This week’s Heat Index honors the women in fiction who will stop at nothing to live a happy and fulfilled life, regardless of who tried to knock them down or what circumstances led to the difficult situations they found themselves in each day. They’re stories about love, friendship and family and the journey to self-discovery that proves it’s not always about what you don’t have, but what you make of what you do have that matters most.

The Mistake I Made, Paula Daly (Grove Press, September 15)

the mistake i made - paula dalyThermometers
“[Daly] writes with a singular voice and a fierce passion that roars off the page, while also displaying a visceral understanding of the betrayals and humiliations of domestic life.”Daily Mail

Heat Index: Roz is a single mother in a dire situation. Soon to be evicted from her home, Roz must come up with a way to make money—fast. After meeting a wealthy man at her sister’s 40th birthday party, Roz sets in motion a set of events that she may never be able to undo. This hold-onto-your-seat thriller will leave you breathless and begging for more.

Temperature: 85°


Reading the Sweet Oak, Jan Stites (Lake Union Publishing, September 29)

reading the sweet oak - Jan StitesThermometers“A charming new voice in women’s fiction, Stites writes from the heart about friendship, love and what it means to find where you belong.” —Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author 

Heat Index: Self-discovery is at the heart of Stites’ novel that follows five women from different generations who join a book club in order to bring romance into their lives. But as the love stories play out on the page, and fiction quickly becomes reality for a few of them, they begin to see that the true beauty of life lies in the friendship they’ve forged.

Temperature: 89°



Come Away With Me, Karma Brown (Mira Books, August 25)

come away with me - karma brownThermometers“[A] beautifully written story of love and loss… Come Away with Me had me smiling through my tears.” -—Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author

Heat IndexTegan and Gabe Lawson are happily expecting, but in a split second, their future is taken away. Wondering how they’ll pick up the pieces, they’re soon reminded of their “Jar of Spontaneity,” and decide adventure is just what they need to heal. Can they forgive one other and put the anger behind them? This stunning debut takes you along for the ride and shows you just how corrosive a devastating loss can be.

Temperature: 91°



The Art of Crash Landing, Melissa DeCarlo (Harper Paperbacks, September 8)

the art of crash landing - melissa decarloThermometers“This debut is thick with secrets… The author does an outstanding job combining suspense with heartache, adding a dash of romance and, at the end, hope.” —Library Journal

Heat Index: Mattie Wallace’s grandmother has possibly left her an inheritance and so she makes a beeline to her mother’s hometown. Looking for information on a mother that she knows little about, Mattie soon realizes she’s not the only one who finds her to be a mystery. In this story about discovery, DeCarlo also shows us that self-love can be found by revisiting your past.

Temperature: 95°



This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Jonathan Evison (Algonquin Books, September 8)

this is your life, harriet chance! - jonathan evisonThermometers“It is Evison’s timing—the slow burn and perfect pacing of the reveals— that makes This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! hang together. And with Harriet Chance — poor, frustrated, flummoxed Harriet — Evison has found his ideal foil.” —NPR Books

Heat Index: Seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance decides to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after burying the man she’s been married to for more than half her life. Setting out alone on the adventure they had planned together, Harriet realizes that life holds unexpected surprises and what you think you know isn’t always the truth. You’ll fall in love with Harriet and be so glad that you took this beautiful journey with her.

Temperature: 97°