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Hate to scare anybody with that title, but it’s almost August, meaning that we’re coming up on the last few precious weeks of summer. The good news is that there are still plenty of new books coming out to keep you occupied, whether you’re at the beach, pool, sweating through all your clothes on public transportation… whatever floats your boat. If you just keep adding to your summer reading list, that means it has to stay summer forever, right? Check out these titles that are coming out towards the end of the season.
In this essay collection, the child voice actor, former law student, and editor-in-chief of Catapult examines the ways in which the media, law, and other aspects of society pay lip service to social justice causes, and the ways in which our words and actions don’t always match up.
Born in South Korea, Rho and her family moved to America when she was 6. As she assimilated, she kept fulfilling others’ expectations, keeping silent about the traumas she endured in the process. At age 40, Rho experienced a catastrophic event that caused her to leave her job and reclaim her Korean identity.
A bachelorette party in Greece starts off picture-perfect and ends with a dead body. But whose? That’s the question. Bride Lexi arrives in Greece with a ragtag group of women who don’t all know each other, and who each have their own reasons for being on the trip.
From the author of Tell Me Lies and Too Good To Be True comes another twisty suspense novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. In her early 30s, Molly Diamond doesn’t fit in with the other women in the wealthy suburban town she lives in with her husband and young daughter. When a new neighbor named Sabrina moves to town, Molly thinks she’s finally met someone who gets her — but Sabrina has her own ulterior motives for befriending Molly, and they’re not so innocent.
Florence Day works as a ghostwriter for a famous romance book author, but when a breakup takes her by surprise, she starts to doubt if she even believes in love. Her (v handsome) editor won’t give her an extension, but then Florence has a family emergency and has to return home. In a twist that’s like Sweet Home Alabama meets The Sixth Sense (but not scary), Florence returns home for the funeral and sees a familiar face: her editor. Turns out, he’s dead and has some unfinished business to attend to on Earth.
Set in 1889 in the wake of a fire that ravaged Spokane, Washington, Fire Season is told from three perspectives, each one a grifter with a supernatural ability and who stands to benefit from the fire.
Hannah Jones didn’t quite fit in with her posh classmates at Oxford, but her wealthy, popular roommate April Clarke-Cliveden immediately took a liking to her and they became fast friends. One fateful night, Hannah finds April dead in her dorm room — murdered. Thrust into the spotlight, Hannah becomes the star witness of her late friend’s murder trial. Decades later, new evidence that emerges forces Hannah to wonder if she’d helped put the wrong man in prison, so she returns to Oxford to try to find out the truth.
This thriller starts with Paris Peralta, much younger wife to the famed comedian Jimmy Peralta, passed out on her bathroom floor, clutching a razor, covered in her husband’s blood. Her husband is dead, and Paris is the number-one suspect—except she knows she didn’t do it. But as Paris works to clear her name, she’s also working just as hard to keep her past a secret, since it can threaten to blow up everything.
In this queer fantasy romance, protagonist Velasin vin Aaro is set to marry a woman for political reasons — until it comes to light that he’s gay. While his family wants to disown him, he instead becomes betrothed to the brother of the same family. But a new faction opposes the alliance — so much so that they’re willing to kill for it. Vel and his new husband, Cae, have no choice but to trust each other so they can make it out alive. Pub Date: July 26
This feel-good rom-com is the sequel to Real Men Knit, the story of four brothers who are working to keep their late adoptive mother’s Harlem knitting shop in business. In Knot Again, Lucas Strong, a firefighter, decides to participate in an FDNY charity calendar and becomes something of a local celebrity. By chance, he ends up meeting the daughter of his high school flame, and the two rekindle their romance — but is it love or just lust? Pub Date: July 26
After graduating college, Sneha moves to Milwaukee to become a consultant. Even though it’s the Great Recession, she finally has a healthy bank account, new friends, and the freedom to date women. But it wouldn’t be a good book without any tension, and pretty soon, Sneha’s great life falls apart, so she has to try to put it back together again. Pub Date: August 2
Gamarra’s novel, a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing in the Trump age, was named a most-anticipated read by Buzzfeed, Bookriot, She Reads, and others. Beatriz is a first-generation immigrant who becomes linked to poster boy of white male privilege, Ben, after they save someone’s life at a party. Turns out, saving a life can change your feelings about someone, but is love enough for them to overcome all their differences? Pub Date: August 2
Even though Luc and Oliver got their happy ending in Boyfriend Material, in the sequel, there’s some trouble in paradise. Luc is feeling the societal pressure to propose, since it seems like everyone around him is taking that step. But even though Oliver is totally husband material, it’s going to take a lot to get these two from “I don’t know what to do” to “I do.” Pub Date: August 2
Mikaela Marchand is living the dream: she’s a high-powered attorney in NYC and dating a handsome doctor. But things go sideways when a decades-old photo of Mikaela and her former childhood best friend is used as a magazine cover (and ends up on a billboard in Times Square). Her best friend sues the magazine, and the photographer, who just so happens to be Mikaela’s ex. Of course, Mikaela’s firm is tasked with defending the magazine, meaning Mikaela has to defend her ex against her ex-BFF. Talk about conflicts of interest! Pub Date: August 2
35-year-old Mika Suzuki has no romantic prospects, no job, and a strained relationship with her roommate and parents. Then, out of the blue, Mika gets a call from the daughter she put up for adoption 16 years before — and her daughter wants a relationship. Mika makes up a little lie to impress her daughter which quickly spins out of control, and suddenly Mika is living a full-on fake life. Pub Date: August 2
This historical fiction novel focuses on Isabel Cooper, who is one of only two female codebreakers following the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the other female codebreaker at her station goes missing under mysterious circumstances, she becomes less focused on her mission of avenging the death of her brother, who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 20 years later, a fledgling journalist begins covering a disappearance, and ends up discovering wartime secrets and an unexpected connection to Isabel Cooper. Pub Date: August 2
Dorothy Moy has suffered from dissociative episodes and struggled with mental illness and is dismayed to see her 5-year-old daughter exhibit similar behaviors. In fact, her daughter starts remembering events from the lives of their ancestors, like Faye Moy, a nurse in China; Zoe Moy, a student in England; Greta Moy, the tech executive of a dating app, and others. As Dorothy works through her generational trauma she seeks to find peace for her daughter and the love she’s been looking for for years. Pub Date: August 2
Serena, Michelle, Kenya, and Lynette are childhood best friends who have helped each other through it all. They’re now 40 and still meet on the first Saturday of the month for lunch, even if their lives are vastly different from each other’s. This poignant novel traces the friendship as each woman deals with family issues, finds love, and learns about forgiveness. Pub Date: August 9
Garza’s latest novel is told through multiple POVs to paint a portrait of Fish Village, a neighborhood of popular tourist spot Galveston, where all the locals live. It’s also the only home Carly Castillo has ever known — she’s a descendant of the Karankawas, an indigenous Texas tribe that no longer exists. Carly struggles against the expectation to stay in Fish Village, and when Hurricane Ike threatens to wreak havoc when it hits land, the Galveston residents have to decide if they will weather the storm or pack up and leave their homes behind. Pub Date: August 9
Sarah Lai went from star Hollywood producer to a lecturer at an obscure college, all because of a harrowing incident that thwarted her career. When a journalist reaches out, Sarah realizes she can no longer hide what happened to her. As she starts revealing Hollywood’s dark secrets, Sarah realizes she may have been complicit in sins as well. Pub Date: August 16
After three years in Shanghai, Sophie Go moves back to Toronto, ready to embark on her new career as a professional matchmaker. There’s just one hiccup, though: she never actually graduated from matchmaking school, making her a pariah in the industry. Sophie turns to a secret club of Chinese bachelors called the Old Ducks and manages to persuade them to hire her as a matchmaker. Soon, she’s tasked with finding matches for seven septuagenarians all while coming to terms with her own desire for love. Pub Date: August 16
Imani Banks is a psychiatrist who lives in a nice townhouse in Brooklyn with her husband Philip. When Philip’s restaurant is forced to close during the lockdown, they decide to take in Tonya Sayre, a single mom to a teenager, as a tenant. But when a prominent couple in the neighborhood is murdered, Imani wonders if her new tenant had something to do with it — but she can’t exactly evict her in the midst of the pandemic, even if Tonya is a suspected killer. Pub Date: August 23
Think How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, but make it young adult. Kind of. Up-and-coming journalist Sasha meets Brazilian bad boy Daniel, a famous musician, and realizes that getting close to him would give her the chance to move up the ranks at the celebrity gossip magazine she works at. Daniel, though, is surprisingly sweet (not to mention, hot), potentially compromising Sasha’s story. But Sasha’s not the only one with a secret; Daniel is hiding news of his own. Pub Date: August 30
This historical novel, which takes place in 1836, tells the stories of a Black indigenous woman in New Orleans and a Jewish abolitionist in New York City, and their acts of resistance. Stella embroiders maps to help enslaved men flee the Confederacy and join the Union Army. Lily stitches quilts to send to soldiers. They are both in love with Union soldiers in the same battalion, and as they work to bring their men home, Stella and Lily’s lives intersect in unexpected ways. Pub Date: August 30
Ok, so, relatable premise: Lizzie has had more of her fair share of fuckups in life. I’m talking kitchen fires (been there), bangs (double been there), pyramid schemes (not so much, but I get it). She has one rule: don’t let anyone get too close. But when a stressful day caused by her ADHD causes her to break her rule, she has a hookup with love-shy Rake that changes everything. Pub Date: September 6
Selena Montgomery is the pen name of Stacey Abrams — yes, that Stacey Abrams. How does she find the time…? Anyway, Rules of Engagement is about Dr. Raleigh Foster, an operative for a top-secret intelligence organization who’s tasked with infiltrating a terrorist group. It all seems fairly straightforward, until she’s assigned the handsome Adam Grayson to not only be her partner in the mission, but also to pretend to be her romantic partner. Pub Date: September 6
I was told to include some nonfiction on here, so this—er, hysterical—memoir deals with Bassist’s issues with repressing her voice. It deals with feminist topics, the many ways women and femmes are gaslit and silenced, and how we are taught to silence ourselves. Pub Date: September 13
Images: TINO RENATO / Deathtothestockphoto.com
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
The seasons are changing, and you know what that means: it’s time for another list of books to read this season. And I have to pat myself on the back over here for being ahead, for once. As in, it’s not midway through the summer by the time I’m putting this together. Progress is progress!
The romance queen herself is back with another perfect beach read, set in a small town. Nora Stephens is a hard-working literary agent who doesn’t leave much time for herself, unless it comes to her Peloton rides. Her sister Libby drags her to the picturesque town of Sunshine Falls for a sister’s trip, where she keeps running into brooding book editor Charlie Lastra from back home. Ugh, why is it always the ones you don’t want to run into? Chance encounter after chance encounter, these two bookworms just might become the main characters of a love story. (I say “just might” when really, we know they will.) Pub Date: May 3
Who doesn’t love a body positive rom-com? Crystal Chen is a curvy fitness influencer who doesn’t let any man get in her way, especially at the gym. That is, until one man literally gets in her way at the gym, when a handsome firefighter steals her squat rack (and maybe her heart?). A relationship starts to take off, until a picture of the couple goes viral and trolls come after them, threatening to tear their budding relationship apart. Pub Date: May 3
It’s a supernatural Big Little Lies set on Long Island—need I say more? Ok fine, we’ve got a trio of women whose lives intersect. One of them can communicate with the dead. One’s life has just imploded. And one starts channeling her menopausal hot flashes. And then they discover the body of a dead teenager whom the police have written off, and suddenly find themselves solving not one, but multiple murders.
It’s giving Lizzie McGuire Movie, and I’m obsessed. Gracie Reed’s life changes when, one day, an SUV pulls up alongside her with Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Chinese cinema’s power couple, inside. Wei wants Gracie to be her (you guessed it) stand-in, and she’ll get paid to pretend to be the A-list actress—and be escorted everywhere by her gorgeous husband. Yep, can’t foresee any shenanigans with this plan. Pub Date: May 3
This debut love story is the perfect beach read. Persephone and Sam spent six summers together practically joined at the hip, until Percy made a choice that changed everything. Ten years later, her mother’s funeral puts her back in the town where everything went right, and then wrong—and this time, Percy has a chance to change the ending of her and Sam’s love story. Pub Date: May 10
Inspired by a true story, The Murder Rule centers around a Virginia-based chapter of The Innocence Project and its efforts to free a man who’s been convicted of murder. But little do they know, their efforts are being thwarted by newcomer Hannah, a law student who infiltrated the Innocence Project with one goal: to keep their client in prison for the rest of his life. Hannah’s efforts to thwart the exoneration eventually lead her to uncovering the truth, which causes her to question everything she’s ever known. Pub Date: May 10
The three main characters are sitting on a jury for a murder case—one with no body, no weapon, and no eyewitnesses. They must decide a man’s fate, all while they try to be unbiased and not let their own experiences with the justice system influence their judgment. All the while, an ambitious young prosecutor’s career is resting on a guilty verdict, while a public defender has an explosive piece of evidence up his sleeve… if only the judge will admit it. Pub Date: May 17
Morgan Flowers is struggling to navigate their gender identity and fill the gap left by their mother, who abandoned Morgan and Morgan’s neurodivergent father. When a breakup causes Morgan’s mother to try to come back into their life, her presence threatens to disrupt everything. Pub Date: May 23
Post-apocalyptic but with a sense of humor, City of Orange’s protagonist is nameless. He wakes up one day with only hazy memories, trying to piece together how he found himself in the apocalyptic landscape he wakes up in. Not to mention, he’s trying to survive by himself. A chance meeting causes the man to realize that nothing is as it seemed. Pub Date: May 24
Lucas Forester married for money. He just wanted to get his hands on his uber-rich wife Michelle’s money, divorce her, and disappear into the night. But an ironclad prenup made that impossible, so he had to resort to a drastic measure: having her killed. Lucas was meticulous, careful; he planned the perfect murder. Or did he? When mysterious postcards keep showing up, he starts to think there may be someone out there who knows something, as impossible as that seems. Will he get away with it after all? Pub Date: May 24
This much-anticipated novel is inspired by Emezi’s own love for romance novels. Five years after the love of her life died in an accident, Feyi Adekola is piecing her life back together. She’s living in a studio in the same building as her best friend and painting again. She’s not ready for a serious relationship, but when Feyi meets a hot stranger at a party, they begin a whirlwind romance—one with fancy trips, indulgent meals, and serious connections for Feyi. The only thing threatening to put a damper on her new life? The fact that she can’t keep her eyes off her new beau’s father. Pub Date: May 24
I’ve been waiting for this one for what feels like forever—it’s been described as Hitch meets The Sun Is Also A Star. It’s about a teen DJ who’s a total romantic, who meets (and falls for) an aspiring novelist who couldn’t care less about all that mushy stuff. Pub Date: May 30
The American Royal family (no, not the Kardashians) are back in the third installment of this beloved series. Queen Beatrice gets drawn into the inner circle of a glamorous foreign princess, which presents complications. Speaking of complicated, so is Sam’s relationship with Lord Marshall Davis. And Nina and Daphne team up to take down the scheming Gabriella Madison. It’s all coming to a head in the next part of this saga. Pub Date: May 31
We’ve got crime, we’ve got estranged friends reuniting, we’ve got an interrogation of the model minority myth. Former BFFs Ava Wong and Winnie Fang reunite when Winnie needs Ava’s help running her lucrative counterfeiting scheme. Pub Date: June 7
Written by the author of Last Tang Standing, you’re in for a funny and relatable ride. After suddenly bursting into tears at a baby store (relatable), Lucie realizes she wants kids. Only problem? She’s nowhere close to being in a relationship. But that’s not really a problem since it’s 2022 and there’s an app for everything, which is how Lucie finds herself on a site that’s basically Match.com, but for co-parenting. She and her match, Colin, agree to raise a baby together without a romantic relationship. Sure, what could go wrong with that plan? Pub Date: June 21
In the sequel to Dead, Dead Girls, Louise Lloyd is back, but still haunted by her first case. She reconnects with a woman whom she was kidnapped alongside as a teen, and they (along with Louise’s girlfriend) spend the night drinking and catching up. The next morning, Louise’s girlfriend wakes up covered in blood, with the other woman lying dead. Knowing there’s a target on her back, Louise has no choice but to solve the murder before she gets wrapped up in it. Pub Date: June 28
It’s rare that a thriller actually catches me by surprise these days, which is why I can’t recommend Look Closer enough. It opens with the brutal murder of Lauren Betancourt, a beautiful young housewife living in a ritzy suburb of Chicago, who’s killed on Halloween night. Then, we meet Simon Dobias, a super smart law school professor who’s married to Vicky, a domestic violence counselor, who has a connection to Lauren. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that down to the very last page, nothing is what it seems. Told through diary entries, text messages, and multiple POVs, this will keep you guessing until the end. Pub Date: July 5
If you like period pieces and mysteries, or are a fan of Passing or Death on the Nile, you’ll love the first in a new series by Louise Hare. Miss Lena Aldridge is a multiracial jazz singer and actress who occasionally passes for white. While singing in a dingy club in London, she’s approached by an American businessman with the opportunity to become a Broadway star. Once across the pond, she meets an American family who take her under their wing… until members of the family start dropping like flies, and suddenly Lena is the number one suspect. Pub Date: July 5
This historical novel tells the stories of two real figures, Gran Toya and Marie-Claire Bonheur, and how their lives intertwine as both women play an important role in the Haitian Revolution: Toya as a warrior at the forefront, and Bonheur as the spouse of revolutionary and later, general, Jean-Jacques Desaslines. Pub Date: July 12
From the author of The Jigsaw Man comes another Detective Anjelica Henley novel. DI Henley is called to investigate the murder of a well-liked preacher, and discovers a ritualistic killing in the process. Looks like the members of this church forgot the “Thou shalt not kill” commandment. As the victim count grows, the stakes get higher, since DI Henley might be next if she doesn’t solve it. Pub Date: July 12
I wish that was the title of my autobiography, amiright? Anyway, this body-positive rivals-to-lovers rom-com is going to make you feel allll the feelings. When two competing photographers get contracted to work together on a body-positive campaign, they quickly go from butting heads to… nvm. Pub Date: July 19
This novel, inspired by Hokeah’s experience and Native American and Mexican heritage, tackles issues like financial instability, imprisonment, alcoholism, and the search for a familial identity, told through multigenerational POVs. It follows Ever Geimausaddle as he navigates hardships throughout his life, such as his father being brutalized by police and his mother’s issues with employment. As an adult, he’s faced with the choice to relocate and, in contemplating that, must decide the type of person he wants to become. Pub Date: July 26
Megan Miranda fans, the wait is over. The Queen is back with another twisty thriller. This one takes place in a North Carolina town near the Appalachian trail whose major attraction is a quaint inn called Passages Inn… and whose claim to fame is a series of disappearances that go back decades. Newcomer Abigail Lovett starts rubbing people the wrong way when she starts asking questions about what happened. Pub Date: July 26
Sivak’s debut is a historical fiction novel about a biracial and bisexual woman, Sylvie de Rosiers, who lives a relatively comfortable life in Saint-Dominque (later Haiti). Her life is uprooted when she flees to Paris during the uprising in the 1700s, only to connect with the minds behind the French Revolution. Pub Date: August 2
With an over 4.5 star rating on GoodReads, this novel is one you won’t want to skip. It’s about two sisters who are polar opposites and living with an abusive mother. Both sisters leave the home, but under vastly different circumstances, which changes the course of their upbringings. When they’re reunited, they are forced to reckon with how much their paths have diverged. Pub Date: August 9
14-year-old Alma is set to be married, even though her parents are worried she’s too young. It’s Delhi, 1946, and political unrest threatens to throw the city into chaos. Alma’s grandmother meddles in the engagement, which sets off a series of events that divide the family. Pub Date: August 9
After receiving rave reviews for My Sweet Girl, Jayatissa returns with another gripping thriller about a bride who disappears, and her best friend, who might know more than she lets on. Amaya is surprised to receive an invitation to her former best friend Kaavi’s wedding in Sri Lanka, since she’s only gotten radio silence from Kaavi for the past few years. She’s even more surprised to find out who the groom is: her ex. Amaya knows then that she has to stop the wedding from happening. Told in alternating POVs from Amaya’s perspective leading up to the wedding and interviews with guests afterwards, you’ll have to try to piece together what happened and figure out just how reliable of a narrator Amaya really is. Pub Date: August 9
Image: Les Anderson / Unsplash
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Do we need another lofty introduction or are you all familiar with the concept of my reading lists at this point? I feel like we get it. Here’s a (actually on time for one) spring reading list, full of romance, fantasy, thrillers, and all that good stuff. The first day of spring isn’t technically until March 20th (ouch), but that means you have plenty of time to get your hands on these reads.
Nobody’s Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong (February 8, 2022)
This novel, which was recognized by the likes of Bustle, the Washington Post, and NYLON, follows three Black women in Shreveport, Louisiana: Suzette, Maple, and Agnes. It’s told in three parts. Suzette is a sheltered 23-year-old who begins a relationship with a mechanic, much to her loved ones’ dismay. Maple is still grieving her mother’s murder and shuts herself off from the world until she meets a man who may know what she’s going through more than she realizes. Agnes is working a soul-crushing job far away from home, where she meets a security guard who thinks she has some “magic” within her. When she unleashes that magic, she is forced to confront her family, past, and herself.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (February 22, 2022)
Jess arrives at her brother Ben’s (you guessed it) Paris apartment needing a fresh start. She’s broke, single, and just left her job under suboptimal circumstances. When she gets to the apartment, Ben is nowhere to be found. As she starts investigating what happened to her brother, Jess starts realizing his neighbors are a weird, unfriendly bunch (and not just because they’re Parisian). All of the neighbors had secrets, and they had opportunities. The real question is, which one knows what happened to Ben?
On A Night Of A Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark (March 1, 2022)
You know you’re getting some good historical fiction with a title like that. This one toggles back and forth between New York in the 1990s and Argentina in the 1970s, in the years leading up to the military dictatorship. Paloma Larrea is the daughter of a wealthy Argentine diplomat who’s living a charmed life—until a figure from her father’s past resurfaces and causes Paloma to go digging. What she finds changes her view of her family and puts their lives in danger.
Survive The Dome by Kosoko Jackson (March 1, 2022)
Jackson’s having a busy 2022, with the release of his first adult rom-com and now another young adult fantasy coming out within a few weeks of each other. In this YA sci-fi novel, aspiring journalist Jamal Lawson travels to Baltimore to cover BLM protests. He ends up getting stuck in The Dome, a “safety protocol” implemented by the city. It’s basically what it sounds like: a giant dome encasing Baltimore, with no one coming in or getting out. As unrest grows from inside the dome, Jamal teams up with Marco, a hacker, and Catherine, a basic training graduate, to fight the city’s corruption—even if that corruption goes all the way to the top.
The Club by Ellery Lloyd (March 1, 2022)
Everyone’s dying to get into Home—an uber-exclusive (and uber-expensive) club for only the most elite of elites, with clubs in the hottest cities all over the world. Our story starts at the opening of Island Home, a new club on a private island. The opening party is full of glitz, glamour—and secrets coming to light, not just from the rich and famous, but Home’s staff, who have been pushed to their limits by Home’s demanding CEO for years now. Nobody can get on or off the island except for certain times of the day, and cell phones are not allowed. It’s paradise—until people start disappearing and bodies start washing up.
The Night Shift: A Novel by Alex Finlay (March 1, 2022)
On New Year’s Eve 1999, a brutal triple homicide of three teenage girls working at the local Blockbuster shocks a New Jersey town. A fourth victim miraculously survives. The older boyfriend of one of the victims is named a suspect but disappears before police can bring him to justice. Fifteen years later, an eerily similar crime occurs—this time to girls working at an ice cream shop. Again, one victim survives. Different lives intersect—the surviving victims, the brother of the presumed Blockbuster killer—as the police try to solve the current crime and revisit if they had it right back in 1999.
Turning by Joy L. Smith (March 1, 2022)
Turning is Smith’s YA debut, about a former ballerina who, following an accident, becomes a wheelchair user. When protagonist Genie meets Kyle, an aspiring gymnast, until a traumatic brain injury ends his career, she realizes her time at the barre isn’t finished yet. But to get back up on the barre, Genie has to finally confront the difficult things from her past that she’s been trying to bury: her mother’s alcoholism, her overbearing ex-boyfriend, and her fear that the “accident” that ended her career was not actually an accident.
Glory: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo (March 8, 2022)
This novel is about the unexpected fall of Old Horse, a longtime leader of a fictional country called Jidada, inspired by the shocking coup that displaced Zimbabwe’s president of nearly forty years in 2017. Destiny returns to Jidada from exile to participate in the revolution and amplify the women who’ve been pulling all the strings behind the scenes. A chorus of animal voices narrates the tumultuous tale, and you can expect vivid imagery.
Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian (March 15, 2022)
Tempest Raj has been resisting working for her father’s staircase construction company, but when a horrible accident throws her life into disarray, she’s forced to move back home and do what she’s been dreading. When Tempest visits one of her dad’s construction sites, things get interesting, and she discovers her stage double, dead inside a wall. Tempest can’t help but fear she was the intended victim, so it’s up to her to figure out what’s going on—and how much danger she’s really in.
The Lying Club by Annie Ward (March 22, 2022)
This book has been compared to Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere, so you can expect a privileged setting, three women with lots of secrets, and a shocking murder. I’m hooked already. Natalie, an assistant at an elite private school, aspires to live the lifestyle the moms at the ritzy school have. Women like Brooke, a gorgeous heiress, and serial cheater, or Asha, an overprotective mom who thinks her husband’s cheating. They have one thing in common, at least: the hot assistant athletic director Nicholas, whom they all want. And then, when two bodies are carried out of the school, they have another thing in common: they each wanted them dead.
A House Between The Earth and Moon by Rebecca Scherm (March 29, 2022)
The Vanishing Half author Britt Bennett called this dystopian novel “inventive and thrilling,” so that’s all the endorsement I need, tbh. Alex, a scientist, has literally risked it all—his friendships, marriage, kids, and professional future—researching super-algae that he believes can reverse the effects of climate change. When a huge tech company gives Alex the chance to work on his research, he jumps on it. Except his research facility will be in outer space. Alex and six other scientists leave everything behind to test their hypotheses and test out Parallaxis, the luxury residential space station. But when they get there, they realize the “luxury” part was definitely an upsell. And that’s not all—not only are the scientists testing out their research, but they’re also unwittingly the test subjects of a separate experiment.
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto (March 29, 2022)
The follow-up to Sutanto’s hilarious Dial A For Aunties is here, with Meddy Chan and her aunties now taking on organized crime. This time, the wedding is Meddy’s, so instead of working the wedding, her aunts are guests. They find the perfect family-owned vendor… or so they think. When Meddy overhears her photographer talk about “taking out a target”, she realizes they’re not just dealing with any family, but a crime family. It’s time to get the aunties back together to save Meddy’s big day.
Crimson Summer by Heather Graham (April 5, 2022)
Graham’s last thriller gave me serious True Detective vibes, so I’m pumped for her latest, which opens with FDLE agent Amy Larson finding a small horse figurine at the scene of a massacre in the Everglades. She’s seen it before—it’s the calling card of the murderous cult she was hunting with FBI special agent Hunter Forrest. They team back up to solve the case, putting them in the path of a far-right extremist group, a cartel, and a silent puppet master who’s pulling the strings—and who doesn’t care how many people die in the process.
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang (April 5, 2022)
This historical novel follows Daiyu, a woman smuggled to San Francisco from her native China in 1882. As she travels across the West, Daiyu takes on several different names and personas. Fighting anti-Chinese racism as she tries to find her way back home, Daiyu has to find her own identity while struggling to survive.
Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson (April 5, 2022)
Ruby is a thirtysomething Métis woman whose life is… a bit of a hot mess. She’s trying to sleep with her counselor and trying to get back with someone she knows is no good for her. And there’s something else that’s been gnawing at her: Ruby is indigenous and was adopted by white parents, and she wants to find out who her birth parents are. Told through multiple POVs, Probably Ruby tells the story of a woman unapologetically searching for herself and forging her own identity.
The Shadow House by Anna Downes (April 5, 2022)
The author of A Safe Place is back with yet another twisty thriller in which a mother must ask herself how far she’ll go to protect her children. Alex is a single mother escaping an abusive relationship who settles in a village near huge forests with her baby and teenage son. Everything seems picture-perfect, except when Alex finds a dead bird on her doorstep, so she ignores it. But pretty soon, strange things start happening, and Alex has to figure out what’s really lurking behind this idyllic community.
The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth (April 5, 2022)
I love Sally, so I’m pumped she has another twisty domestic thriller coming out, about two sisters, Heather (a Kim Kardashian lookalike) and Tully (a lovable kleptomaniac), who are determined to uncover their family’s skeletons, all days before their father is set to divorce their mother (who is in a long-term care facility because she has dementia) and marry a (you guessed it) much-younger woman.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (April 12, 2022)
Seven years after her critically acclaimed second novel Balm, Perkins-Valdez returns with her much-awaited third novel. Set in 1973 Montgomery and inspired by the actual case Relf v. Weinberger, Perkins-Valdez’s latest deals with anti-Black racism in the medical community and forced sterilization. Protagonist Civil Townsend decided to become a nurse to make a difference. Still, when she finds out that two of her patients—aged 11 and 13—underwent forced sterilization, Civil has to make a choice that could change all their lives forever.
The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (April 12, 2022)
Fake dating, friends-to-maybe-lovers, and an asexual #OwnVoices novel? This rom-com truly has it all. Joy is thirty, flirty, and… in love with her best friend, Malcolm. When Malcolm tells her he’s met the love of his life—and spoiler alert, it’s not Joy—she’s crushed. An upcoming weekend getaway is Joy’s last chance to shoot her shot. But she needs a little help, so she teams up with Fox to pretend-date to make Malcolm jealous. The only thing is, the more she fake-dates Fox, the more Joy thinks she might want to date him for real.
Happy For You by Claire Stanford (April 19, 2022)
Evelyn Kominsky Kumamoto is four years into a yet-to-be-finished philosophy dissertation, awaiting a marriage proposal from her Midwestern boyfriend and questioning just about everything in her life. So she decides to quit academia and take a job at a huge internet company, where she’s tasked with developing an app that helps people quantify and increase their happiness. As a biracial Asian American in Silicon Valley, Evelyn finds herself outside her comfort zone. When her future becomes uncertain, Evelyn sets out to find her happiness—for real.
One Of Us Is Dead by Jeneva Rose (April 26, 2022)
Described as “Big Little Lies meets Desperate Housewives”, this thriller takes place in Buckhead, Georgia, a ritzy neighborhood in Atlanta. Shannon was once the Regina George of Buckhead, with a politician husband to boot—until he dumped her for a younger model. She’s plotting to get revenge, while Olivia, who’s always coveted Shannon’s position at the top of the food chain, is planning to make her move. The new girl, Crystal, has no idea what she’s in for. But don’t sleep on Jenny, hairstylist of the Buckhead women, and keeper of all their secrets. And as the title implies, someone ends up dead.
Such a Beautiful Thing To Behold by Umar Turaki (May 1, 2022)
The small village of Pilam has been ravaged by a mysterious plague called the Grey that zaps its victims’ strength and promise, and only the young are immune. But there’s rumored to be a cure—if only someone can leave Pilam to find it. Dunka decides to find the cure to save his siblings before it’s too late, except his brother and sister have their own plans. The six siblings each forge their own way, setting out individually but eventually coming together as they grapple with their decisions and the ghosts that haunt them.
Family Of Liars by E. Lockhart (May 3, 2022)
So We Were Liars is actually my favorite book, because the twist shook me to my core so hard I thought I was going to literally be sick. But in a good way! So I couldn’t be more excited to read the prequel, Family of Liars. It centers on the Sinclair family and takes place 27 years before the events of We Were Liars. Expect a family who’s under immense pressure to keep up appearances and a tragedy that threatens to crack the facade.
Images: Thought Catalog /Unsplash; Amazon (21)
Another year, another round of books to read. I gotta say, if you’re thinking about making a goal to read a certain number of books in 2022, there is no shortage of good novels out there. From buzzy debuts to highly anticipated follow-ups, Q1 of 2022 has it all. So much so, that this was actually supposed to be a Most Anticipated 2022 reading list, but I ended up frontloading it with books coming out in the first three months! I can’t help it, I just want everyone to read these picks (mostly so I have people to talk about them with, but whatever). So read on for some books to add to your reading list this year. The upside is, you don’t have to wait long for most of these to come out.
Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho (1/4/22)
This buzzy 2022 debut is told in alternating voices and traverses the globe. Ho depicts two women’s struggles with sexuality, class, family secrets, mental health, identity, and a whole lot more. It’s about two best friends (you can probably guess their names) who are polar opposites. Fiona is outgoing, beautiful, and ambitious. Jane is soft spoken and doesn’t like to stand out. They remain in touch throughout multiple significant life events, such as a crush on a teacher, college, family deaths, and more.
Honor by Thrity Umrigar (1/4/22)
Reese’s January book club pick (yes, that Reese) comes from the author of The Space Between Us. Smita, an Indian-American journalist, travels to India for an assignment: a Hindu woman, Meena, is brutally attacked for marrying a Muslim man, who is murdered. Meena’s attackers? Her own brothers. Smita works to tell Meena’s story while grappling with her perception of modern India, her privilege, and her own trauma.
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (1/4/22)
IDK, I just feel like if there’s an island that’s earned a mythic, Lord of the Flies-esque reputation for driving its inhabitants insane, the last thing you should do is sail there—but good thing the characters of Reckless Girls do exactly the opposite, or there wouldn’t be a book. Luxe is floating aimlessly after the death of her mother, so when she meets rich, handsome Nico, who wants to spend months sailing in Hawaii, she’s along for the ride. Literally. Even when that means picking up two college girls and sailing to aforementioned Lord of the Flies island. Their voyage starts off picturesque, but just like the images you see on IG, this one quickly becomes too good to be true.
The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan (1/4/22)
The School for Good Mothers takes place in a slightly dystopian future where Child Protective Services overreaches its power: the agency will identify unfit parents and take away their kids at the slightest perceived offense. In this world, Frida Liu is like many parents: overwhelmed, stressed out, and trying to juggle raising a kid as a single parent and have a full-time job. It’s in this world that Frida makes a mistake and ends up getting her daughter taken away from her. Even worse? She’s placed in a state-sponsored institution where she has to earn back custody by being a “good mother”—whatever that means.
Find Me by Alafair Burke (1/11/22)
Burke’s last three works were optioned for TV, so you might want to get a jumpstart on Find Me before HBO Max or somebody picks it up. In her latest, three women search for the answers to long-buried secrets. Hope Miller has no clue who she really is—literally. 15 years ago, she emerged from a car accident in a small NJ town with no recollection of who she was or how she got there. Lindsay Kelly is Hope’s best friend and a Manhattan defense attorney, and who discovers one day that Hope’s disappeared. So Lindsay calls NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher to find Hope.
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson (1/18/22)
This novel is being described as Younger meets The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, but it delivers so much more than romance—it tackles diversity in publishing (and the search for racial equity, opportunity, and stability in the workforce in general), mental health, self-worth, and more. Nora works as an Editorial Assistant for a publishing house, thinking it will get her on the path to her dream job. But five years and a million coffee orders later, and she’s no further along in her career. When her salary gets cut, Nora decides to do the unthinkable and moonlight for the rival publishing house. But when her employer’s most coveted author gets thrown Nora’s way, she has to decide where her loyalties lie.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (1/18/22)
This debut subverts the Strong Black Woman trope, gives a tribute to Black British culture, and tackles issues like colorism and Eurocentric beauty standards. Talk about a book that can do it all, right? Yinka Oladeji is a thirty-something banker who went to Oxford and is, by all accounts, killing it. Except in one area: she doesn’t have a husband, a fact her family doesn’t let her forget. Ugh, I know how that goes.
Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier (1/25/22)
This book was a little creepy, but in a good way. Lyla thinks she hit the jackpot when she marries Graham, impossibly handsome and even more impossibly rich. But her marriage comes with strings: she will forever be under the thumb of her mother-in-law, Margot. Pretty literally, too, as she lives in the house right above them. These people are so rich that the only thing that gives them excitement is ruining other people’s lives. They’ve made a game of it, in fact. So when Demi, a new tenant, moves into their guesthouse, it’s Lyla’s turn to play the game. Only Demi isn’t as breakable as she seems, and she’s just as determined as Lyla not to lose. Let the games begin.
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner (January 25, 2022)
Need a new domestic thriller that will keep you guessing and gives Girl on the Train and The Family Upstairs vibes? Look no further than Faulkner’s debut, which received a starred review from Booklist. Helen is finally pregnant after years of disappointment. When she meets a new friend, Rachel, at a pregnancy class, suddenly weird things start happening. Like, her husband is acting distant and Rachel keeps running into her everywhere. As Helen tries to figure out what’s going on, it becomes apparent that Rachel might not just be a stranger, and she may be after something.
The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz (1/25/22)
Lutz is the author of The Passenger, The Swallows, and The Spellman Files, to name a few, so you know this one’s about to be a twisty thriller. Enter, Owen: rich, charming, never happy, inextricably linked to his no-nonsense BFF, Luna Grey. Also enter: the deadly secret they share. Years later, Owen ditches his wife for a few hours to drink with Luna, but when Luna finds Owen’s wife dead, they become prime suspects. Their secret kept them together; will it drive them apart?
Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano (2/1/22)
Our favorite author-turned-accidental-hitwoman, Finlay Donovan, is back with a whole new dilemma on her hands: someone’s put out a hit on her ex-husband, Steven. Finlay and Vero try to stop Steven from getting whacked, all without getting in the way of the killer. All the while, Finlay has to keep her kids alive (and none the wiser), juggle a love triangle, and figure out what secrets Vero is hiding, and why. Oh, and of course, submit the manuscript for her book, which just so happens to be about, you guessed it, a female assassin caught in a love triangle. The sequel was just as fun as the first one, so don’t miss this!
The Liz Taylor Ring by Brenda Janowitz (2/1/22)
Told between two timelines, The Liz Taylor Ring traces the impact a family heirloom has on three siblings and their parents. In present day, three siblings butt heads over who will inherit the 11-carat “Liz Taylor” inspired ring from their parents. And in 1970s Long Island, their parents are swept up in a romance of which their families disapprove.
Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala (2/8/22)
Talk about just desserts, right? Sorry, you’re right, I’ll see myself out. Anywayyyy, the author of Arsenic and Adobo (I’m sensing a theme) is coming out with a new mystery that places Filipino heritage front and center. Lila Macapagal finds herself once again at the center of another murder (should we get this girl a mirror? Kidding) when the head judge of her local beauty pageant is found killed. Lila has to team up with her former pageant rival to solve the case and vindicate her former frenemy.
You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen (2/8/22)
Sabriya is a Black Muslim teen whose summer plans go out the window when a terrorist attack causes a rise in Islamophobia in her neighborhood. Sabriya turns to her blog, You Truly Assumed, for comfort, and something unexpected happens: it goes viral. So viral that two more girls, Zakat and Farah, join to help her run the site. As the blog becomes more popular, the girls are opened up to more vitriol. When one of them receives a threat, the three team up to figure out who’s behind the violence, and they have to decide if it’s better to shut down the blog or stand up for what’s right, even if it puts them at risk.
Chilean Poet by Alejandro Zambra (2/15/22)
This buzzy new novel is about, what else, an aspiring poet named Gonzalo who reunites with Carla, otherwise known as The One That Got Away. Gonzalo, Carla, and Carla’s 6-year-old son form a little happy family, but eventually, Gonzalo leaves for New York to pursue a poetry career. In his absence, his stepson Vincente discovers a love for poetry. Years later, as an 18-year-old, Vincente meets an American journalist and encourages her to write about (here it is) living Chilean poets. The search leads her to discover a vibrant community, but will it also put Vincente and Gonzalo back in contact?
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (2/22/22)
Blake’s adult debut serves up a queer rom-com that has as much depth as it does sizzle. Delilah Green left her small town of Bright Falls, Oregon, after high school and never looked back, moving to New York to make her way as a photographer. Like any artist in NYC who doesn’t have a trust fund, Delilah isn’t doing so hot financially, so when her family offers a big paycheck to photograph her stepsister’s wedding, she can’t exactly say no. The gig puts her up close and personal with Claire, the bride’s gorgeous best friend. *Eyes looking left emoji*
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (2/22/22)
Jackson’s adult debut is a heartwarming LGBTQ rom-com about second chances, with a classic fake relationship storyline as well. Aspiring journalist Kian Andrews is seemingly over his ex, Hudson Rivers, until he gets an urgent text to meet up. Is Kian finally getting an apology? Closure? Lol no, Hudson needs Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend and attend the wedding of the year as his plus-one. Kian agrees—only to find that their fake relationship might have more substance to it after all.
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel (2/22/22
Natalie hasn’t heard from her sister Kit in six months, when she suddenly receives a threatening email that prompts her to drop everything and try to visit her at Wisewood, the insular self-help retreat she checked into. They won’t say they’re a cult, but they’re a cult. The thing with cults, of course, is that they don’t want to let anyone from the outside in, and they definitely don’t want to let anyone on the inside out without a fight.
Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett (3/8/22)
Not only is Melina the daughter of a legendary hip-hop record exec, she’s also the sister of Desiree Pierce, a beloved influencer. Safe to say, the masters nonprofit student couldn’t be more different from her family—and she likes it that way. Until her sister Desiree turns up dead in the Bronx of an apparent overdose, and Melina is the only one who knows it’s all wrong. In order to find out what really happened to her sister, Lena has to immerse herself in her world. If you want twists, turns, and shade thrown at IG culture, this is the book for you.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (5/3/22)
The author of Red, White and Royal Blue is making their official YA debut, and we truly love to see it. I really can’t wait for this one. Protagonist Chloe Green is so close to getting TF out of her shitty Alabama high school and winning valedictorian. There’s only one person standing in her way: prom queen Shara Wheeler. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe… then disappears. And Chloe’s not the only one: Shara has kissed the quarterback and her bad boy neighbor, left them cryptic notes, and ghosted. So these three unlikely heroes have to team up, solve the trail of clues, and figure out WTF is going on. I can already see the Netflix movie being made.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (5/10/22)
If you like gothic horror (creepy manors and the like), then you’ll love this highly anticipated thriller that takes place at a haunted hacienda. When Beatriz is proposed to by the dashing Don Rodolfo Solórzano, she accepts—ignoring his first wife’s mysterious death in favor of focusing on what she’ll gain in the marriage. Namely, his sprawling country estate. But when Rodolfo goes to work in the capital, Beatriz starts feeling like she’s not alone in the hacienda. All she knows is that something is deeply wrong, and she might find the answers in investigating what happened to Rodolfo’s first wife—even if it comes at a grave cost.
On Rotation By Shirlene Obuobi (6/21/22)
Angie’s unlucky in love and in med school—she didn’t do so hot on Step One. With her little sister about to get engaged, her parents breathing down her neck, and yet another fuckboy leaving her, she just can’t catch a break. Until, like straight out of a rom-com, she meets a handsome stranger in a park and they spend a magical day together. Except there’s one problem: he has a girlfriend. And more problems keep popping up, namely, because a chance meeting makes this guy a part of Angie’s mutual friend circle.
Images: Amazon (22); Alexandra Fuller / Unsplash
The weather is getting colder, and I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m doing this winter is curling up with a good book. Now if only I could find a fireplace… In any case, there are plenty of books that are out or coming out soon. We’ve got holiday romances. We’ve got thrillers. We’ve got YA. We’ve got fantasy. We are mostly focusing on 2021, because my brain is not ready to come to terms with 2022 yet, but we’ve got a few 2022 releases. Point is, there should be something for everyone. Happy reading!
‘The Holiday Switch’ by Tif Marcelo (10/5/21)
I know this book came out in the fall, but it’s a holiday rom-com, so it counts for the winter list. In it, Lila Santos moonlights as an anonymous book blogger. During the holiday season, she works at the Holly, a local inn. (Very appropriately named.) But her holiday cheer gets a damper put on it when her boss’s annoying nephew, Teddy Rivera, becomes her coworker and they butt heads left and right. When Lila and Teddy accidentally switch phones one day, they realize they’ve both been hiding secrets from each other—secrets that change a lot.
‘The Holiday Swap’ by Karma Brown (10/5/21)
I promise I didn’t make a mistake! These are two different books. The Holiday Swap is about two identical twins, Charlie and Cass, who switch places. It’s like Parent Trap but without the parents. It all goes down when Charlie, a judge on a reality baking show, gets hit on the head and loses her sense of smell and taste, making her incapable of judging. Cass, meanwhile, is running the family bakery and dealing with her annoyingly persistent ex, so she’s more than happy to escape that life for a bit. Switching places gets complicated when Cass and Charlie each meet hot guys who don’t know they’re not who they say they are.
‘All Her Little Secrets’ by Wanda M. Morris (11/2/21)
Elice Littlejohn is kind of living the dream. She has a degree from an Ivy League law school, a job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, a solid crew of close friends, and a FWB relationship… with her white boss, Michael. Everything is going great—until the day Elice discovers Michael dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Elice keeps her mouth shut about what she saw and gets promoted to Michael’s job. But it’s not the dream come true she thought it would be, because Elice discovers some sketchy company business, which puts her in danger. Make that more of a nightmare come to life.
‘The Fastest Way To Fall’ by Denise Williams (11/2/21)
Emily Henry, the author of Beach Read and People We Meet On Vacation, called The Fastest Way To Fall “a true comfort read”, so I’m sold. We start with a romance between Britta Colby, who works for a lifestyle website, and Wes Lawson, a fitness app CEO-turned-personal-trainer. Britta’s personal trainer, to be exact. The problem? Britta is supposed to be reviewing Wes’ app, and Wes isn’t supposed to date his clients. Can their relationship work out? See what I did there?
‘Doctors and Friends’ by Kimmery Martin (11/9/21)
Calling all Grey’s Anatomy fans—Kimmery Martin is back with another medical drama. The novel was written before covid but might be a little too close to home: three med school friends reunite for a European vacation, but as they’re getting ready to set off, a virus sends the world into disarray. One is an ER doctor in NYC, one works for the CDC, and one is an OB-GYN in San Diego. All of their lives are thrown into chaos by the virus. Okay, what did Kimmery know??
‘Duke, Actually’ by Jenny Holiday (11/16/21)
Jenny Holiday is back with another contemporary holiday romance. It’s New York City during Christmastime, and Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is recently dumped, unemployed (what does a Baron even do anyway?), and on a deadline to find a royal-approved prospective bride. While in NYC, he links up with Dani Martinez, a smart and gorgeous professor he met at a royal wedding and struck up a friendship with. As they hang out more, and the holiday spirit activates, their friendship may turn into something more.
‘NOOR’ by Nnedi Okorafor (11/16/21)
Protagonist Anwuli Okwudili goes by AO, her initials as well as Artificial Organism, the name she’s given herself after a car crash forced her to undergo a number of body enhancements. When she’s attacked at a trip to her local market, AO goes on the run and meets a man who goes by DNA, and together they attempt to cross the desert to avoid capture. Not easy when you’re living in a dystopia where an evil capitalist government is controlled by an equally nefarious megacorporation.
‘Our Violent Ends’ by Chloe Gong (11/16/21)
The second in Gong’s NYT best-selling series is out. The YA retelling of Romeo + Juliet is set in 1920s Shanghai and tackles issues like imperialism, multiculturalism, and gender. In the sequel, Shanghai is teetering on the edge of a revolution. Juliette is out for blood, after sacrificing her relationship with her beloved Roma to protect him from the blood feud. But when the two are forced to work together to save Shanghai, their secrets may drive them apart.
‘When We Were Them’ by Laura Taylor Namey (11/16/21)
Willa, Luz, and Britton had a friendship that they thought would last forever—until Willa fucked it up when they turned 18. The week of high school graduation, all Willa has left of the friendship is a box full of mementos. As she goes through the box, she revisits their friendship and tries to figure out who she is without her best friends.
‘King of Battle and Blood’ by Scarlett St. Clair (11/30/21)
This book is all the rage on TikTok, of all places, and I can see why: it’s got vampires, murder plots, a love story, and a whole lot more. So here’s the plot. Most of us look forward to our wedding day (I hope), but Isolde Lara is not most of us. She considers it her death day. That’s because she’s marrying Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, the Vampire King, to end a years-long war. Once they’re married, she’s going to kill him—she thinks. But she doesn’t succeed and Adrian threatens to turn Isolde into a vampire if she tries to kill him again. But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, because there’s some definite chemistry between them…?
‘Bed Stuy: A Love Story’ by Jerry McGill (12/1/21)
In this novel by writer, artist, and activist Jerry McGill, an unlikely romance sparks between Rashid, a young Black man from Bed Stuy, and Rachel, a married woman who’s 20 years Rashid’s senior. Their budding relationship forces them to confront a number of issues, like race, class, privilege, and more.
‘A History of Wild Places’ by Shea Ernshaw (12/7/21)
Travis Wren gets hired by families of missing people to find them after their cases go cold. He takes a job investigating the disappearance of Maggie St. James, an author of macabre children’s books who went missing—and it ends up being his last. Travis disappears after heading to Pastoral, an insular community founded in the 1970s, and where Maggie was last seen. Years later, Theo, who grew up in Pastoral, finds Travis’ truck. Theo’s efforts to figure out what happened to Travis end up unraveling a whooole lot of secrets.
‘If This Gets Out: A Novel‘ by Cale Dietrich and Sophie Gonzalez (12/7/21)
In this queer rom-com, 18-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight aren’t regular teenagers—they’re one-half of the biggest boy band in America. But underneath the carefully made-up and hair-sprayed exterior, there are cracks in the group, and Ruben is tired of being forced to stay in the closet by management. On a European tour, Ruben and Zach’s friendship turns into something more, and they want to tell their fans they’re in love. But their management is standing in the way, and Ruben and Zach have to figure out how they can stay true to themselves.
‘The Love Con’ by Seressia Glass (12/14/21)
Kenya Davenport couldn’t be more different than her STEM parents—she loves anime, gaming, and cosplay, and dreams of being able to cosplay full-time. When she enters a reality competition called Cosplay or No Way, her dream feels that much further in reach… but there’s a catch. For the final round of the show, the contestants must compete with their significant others… but Kenya is single af. Her best friend Cameron agrees to be her fake boyfriend for the show. Two close friends faking a relationship for the cameras? What could go wrong—or what could go right?
‘The Sorority Murder’ by Allison Brennan (12/28/21)
Three years ago, sorority girl Candice Swain was last seen at a party, arguing with some of her sisters… and was never seen alive again. In present day, Lucas Vega decides to do his senior capstone project on Candice Swain’s murder. He produces a live podcast investigating the murder and teams up with former U.S. Marshall Regan Merritt. To everyone’s surprise, they start uncovering clues, which means they start angering someone who does not want to be found out.
‘Must Love Books’ by Shauna Robinson (1/18/22)
Book lover Nora thought she’d finally set out on the path to her dream job as an editorial assistant at Parsons Press, but five years later, she’s jaded, burnt out, and worse: facing a paycut. Nora decides to do a little work for her rival publisher to make ends meet, but when Andrew Santos, Parsons’ star author, enters the picture, Nora has to choose a side.
‘The Overnight Guest’ by Heather Gudenkauf (1/25/22)
In the summer of 2000, a sleepover with Josie Doyle and her best friend Becky turns traumatic when an unknown gunman kills Josie’s family. Josie’s life was never the same, and Becky hasn’t been seen since. Flash-forward to present day, and crime writer Wylie Lark is snowed in in the very house Becky and Josie were last seen in. As the snowstorm rages, Wylie gets an unexpected visitor: a young boy. Wylie tries to find out the child’s identity and parents, but he doesn’t want them to be found. The book alternates between the summer of 2000 and the present.
Images: Vertikala / Stocksy.com; Amazon (17)
What a year, huh? Thank god this flaming tumbleweed made of discarded trash has finally come to a close. And while I don’t think that the world just magically improved the moment the clock struck 12:01am on January 1, 2021, at least we have some things to look forward to, like all the good books that are coming out. From highly anticipated debuts to new works from fave authors, here’s what we’ll be reading in 2021.
‘Be Dazzled’ by Ryan La Sala (January 5, 2021)
This Queer YA romance is like Project Runway meets ComicCon. Raffy has a passion for fashion design and is determined to win the cosplay competition at ComicCon. He has some stiff competition, though: Luca, his ex, who broke his heart. Which would be bad enough to deal with, except the two end up partnered together for the contest. This is gonna get messy.
‘The Push’ by Ashley Audrain (January 5, 2021)
The Push just might be the book of 2021. Its TV rights have already been sold, if that tells you anything. Blythe Connor survived a traumatic upbringing, which has left her unsure if motherhood is the right path for her. When her daughter Violet is born, it only brings Blythe’s fears to the surface—especially since, from the moment Violet enters the world, bad things start happening. Blythe struggles to love and understand her daughter, who keeps pushing them away. When tragedy strikes her family, Blythe is forced to finally come to terms with who her daughter really is.
‘What Could Be Saved’ by Liese O’Halleran Schwarz (January 12, 2021)
Alternating between Bangkok, 1972 and present-day Washington, D.C., What Could Be Saved follows Laura and Bea Preston, two sisters dealing with their mother’s dementia, who are contacted by a stranger who claims to be their brother who vanished 40 years earlier. Laura flies to Thailand to meet him and ends up with a lot more questions than answers.
‘Wings of Ebony’ by J. Elle (January 26, 2021)
Elle’s debut fantasy is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Rue, a Black teenager in Houston, has her entire world turned upside down when she finds out she’s half-god. And just in time, too, because evil forces are trying to take over the world. Naturally.
‘Do Better’ by Rachel Ricketts (February 2, 2021)
Need another book for your anti-racism education? Pick up a copy of Do Better, which offers mindful and practical steps to dismantle white supremacy on a personal and community level. Ricketts combines her experiences as an attorney, grief counselor, and anti-racism educator with her certifications in yoga, Reiki, and mindfulness to provide heart-centered and spirit-based practices.
‘Finlay Donovan Is Killing It’ by Elle Cosimano (February 2, 2021)
This is part fun read, part suspense. Finlay Donovan is newly divorced, barely making ends meet after her husband ran off with his secretary (so cliche). She’s behind on her book deal and dodging calls from her agent. Until one day when she meets her agent to discuss progress on her new novel, about a hit man, and a rich housewife overhears and thinks she’s actually a murderer for hire. Finlay would chalk it up to a misunderstanding and go on her way… but the money the woman’s offering might be too good to pass up.
‘Girl A’ by Abigail Dean (February 2, 2021)
Lexie is known to the world as Girl A, after escaping a horrific childhood of abuse and rescuing her siblings from her parents’ house of horrors. She’s fine with that and prefers to leave her past in the past, which is usually easy since she relocated to the other side of the world, her father died, and her mother was sentenced to life in prison. But when her mother dies and Lexie is named the executor of her will, she’s forced to return and unbury her past, which means coming to terms with the fact that she and her siblings don’t remember their childhood the same way.
‘The Kindest Lie’ by Nancy Johnson (February 2, 2021)
It’s Chicago in 2008. Barack Obama is ushering in a new wave of hope. Enter: Ruth, Ivy League graduate and Black engineer, who’s about to start a family with her smart, successful husband. There’s one problem: Ruth can’t let go of feeling like she needs to make peace with the baby she abandoned as a teenager. She returns home to start digging into the past and befriends Midnight, a white teenager. When a traumatic event brings the town’s simmering racial tensions to a boiling point, Ruth and Midnight’s friendship—and lives—get pushed to the breaking point.
‘The Project’ by Courtney Summers (February 2, 2021)
Fans of Courtney Summers and Sadie can finally breathe now that her new novel is coming out. Just like Sadie, The Project has a true crime element, though this time we’re not just dealing with a missing sister, but a sister who’s run off to join cults. The cult in question is a group called the Unity Project, which has undeniably done a lot of good in the community. Some, in fact, don’t even think it’s a cult. Lo Denham, though, is determined to uncover The Project for what it really is. When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works at claiming the Unity Project killed his son, Lo just might have the chance to prove to everyone what she’s been saying all along.
‘The Removed’ by Brandon Hobson (February 2, 2021)
Ever since Ray-Ray was killed in a police shooting 15 years ago, the Echote family hasn’t been the same. They rarely talk about Ray-Ray and each member of the family muddles along in their own silo of grief. Their annual family bonfire is the one opportunity they get to talk about his memory. As this year’s bonfire approaches, each family member finds the line between the normal and spirit worlds blurring—to bizarre ends.
‘The Gilded Ones’ by Namina Forna (February 9, 2021)
I’ve literally been waiting for this book since 2019, so yeah, it deserves a spot on the “most anticipated” list. The first book in the Deathless series, The Gilded Ones follows Deka, a 16-year-old who lives in fear of the blood ceremony that will decide whether she can become a member of her village. But the blood ceremony doesn’t go her way, and Deka knows she faces a fate worse than death. That is, until a mysterious woman presents her with the choice to leave the village to fight the emperor with an army of girls who are just like her.
‘Quiet In Her Bones’ by Nalini Singh (February 23, 2021)
When socialite Nina Rai disappeared one night, everyone assumed she’d just grown tired of her life and run away. Until 10 years later when her bones turn up in the forest surrounding her tony neighborhood. Nina’s son, Arav, is determined to find out the truth—but suddenly nobody wants to talk.
‘The Lost Apothecary’ by Sarah Penner (March 2, 2021)
The past and the present meet in Penner’s debut novel. In 18th century London, a female apothecary secretly doles out poison to women who need permanent solutions for the toxic men in their lives. She has two rules: every recipient must be carefully tracked in her logbook, and she will never do harm to another woman. In present day London, Caroline takes a solo trip to London after learning of her husband’s infidelity, and ends up discovering a vial from the apothecary.
‘Too Good To Be True’ by Carola Lovering (March 2, 2021)
I could not be more excited that the author of Tell Me Lies is back, this time with a psychological suspense. Skye Starling seems to have it all: beautiful, smart, a doting boyfriend who proposes. What she doesn’t show is that she’s battled crippling OCD since childhood. And what she doesn’t know is that her devoted fiancée is anything but. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Lovering will throw another curve ball at you.
‘The Jigsaw Man’ by Nadine Matheson (March 16, 2021)
Matheson is a criminal defense attorney-turned-author whose debut tackles race and sexism in the legal system. In Jigsaw Man, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is her unit’s sole Black female detective. She’s racing to catch an infamous serial killer and his copycat before more people turn up dead.
‘The Dictionary of Lost Words’ by Pip Williams (April 4, 2021)
Based on actual events, The Dictionary of Lost Words is set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement. As a group of male scholars puts together the first Oxford English Dictionary, one of the scholars’ daughters decides to collect the “objectionable” words they deem not suitable for the dictionary. The result is her own dictionary of lost words.
‘The Last Exiles’ by Ann Shin (April 6, 2020)
Inspired by true events, The Last Exiles is a portrait of a young couple, Jin and Suja, who fell in love in university and whose relationship is put to the test by Kim Jong-il’s regime. Suja is an aspiring journalist from a well-off family, and Jin is from a humble family in a small village. When Jin returns home to find his family starving, he makes a split-second decision that will change the course of his life forever. Suja, knowing nothing about what Jin has done, risks her family, her privilege, and her life to find him.
‘You Love Me’ by Caroline Kepnes (April 6, 2021)
The third book in the Joe Goldberg series opens with Joe leaving city life behind and moving to an island in the Pacific Northwest to be one with nature. He gets a job at the library and that’s where he meets Mary Kay, the librarian. This time, Joe tells himself he won’t obsess or impose. But this is Joe Goldberg, so we all know what’s really going to happen.
‘Dial A for Aunties’ by Jessie Q. Sutanto (April 27, 2021)
What do you get when you accidentally kill your blind date? Well, most of us would probably get arrested, but Meddelin Chan’s aunties come to the rescue to help her, um, dispose of the evidence. All would be well except the body is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the billionaire wedding all the ladies are working. As if pulling off the wedding of the century isn’t hard enough, now the Chans have to do it without getting discovered in the process.
‘The Woman With The Blue Star’ by Pam Jenoff (May 4, 2021)
In Krakow 1942, an unlikely friendship forms. 18-year-old Sadie Gault was living in the Krakow ghetto until the Nazis liquidated it, forcing its residents to live in the sewers. Well-to-do Eliza Stepanek wanders the streets aimlessly after her fiancé goes off to war. When she spots Sadie hiding beneath a grate in the street, she decides to help her, and the two form a friendship that faces the most difficult of tests.
‘People We Meet on Vacation’ by Emily Henry (May 11, 2021)
If you loved Emily Henry’s aptly named Beach Read, get ready for another sizzling romance that will thaw your cold heart. Poppy and Alex are total opposites and best friends. They have a tradition of taking a trip together every summer, until two years ago, when it all went to sh*t. With her life going downhill, Poppy decides to throw one final Hail Mary and convinces Alex to take another vacation with her. Is a week long enough to fix everything that went wrong with them?
‘The Hunting Wives’ by May Cobb (May 21, 2021)
ATTN anyone who loves Big Little Lies, Mean Girls, and Desperate Housewives: May Cobb’s upcoming suspense novel is for you. Sophie O’Neill moves from her big-city life in Chicago to a small town in east Texas with her husband and young son. Looking for a little more excitement, Sophie meets Margot Banks, who is a part of an elite clique known as the Hunting Wives. She immediately feels drawn toward Margot and her mysterious world full of late-night adventures and reckless partying… until she lands in the middle of a murder investigation. Suddenly this group is not so fun.
‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid (May 25, 2021)
Author of the sensation Daisy Jones and the Six is back with a new novel about four famous siblings who throw an end-of-summer party where the roof is on fire… literally. Told over the span of one unforgettable night in August 1983, this novel has it all: love stories, secrets, sacrifices, and much more.
‘The Maidens’ by Alex Michaelides (June 1, 2021)
From the #1 NYT bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes the latest tale of suspense from Alex Michaelides. Mariana Andros knows the charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge, Edward Fosca, is a murderer. Except he’s untouchable—he even has a secret society of female admirers called The Maidens. When another body turns up, Mariana becomes determined to expose who Andros really is, no matter the cost.
‘The Other Black Girl’ by Zakiya Dalila Harris (June 1, 2021)
When two young Black women get jobs in publishing, the resulting novel is like The Devil Wears Prada meets Get Out. 26-year-old Nella is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner books, and when Hazel starts working next to her, it seems like a dream come true—until Hazel is promoted and Nella is left behind. Then Nella starts getting notes on her desk urging her to leave Wagner. It seems like obvious sabotage from Hazel, but as Nella starts investigating, she realizes there’s a lot more at stake than just her job.
‘Razorblade Tears’ by S.A. Cosby (July 6, 2021)
On the surface, Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee have little in common. They’re both ex-cons, and when their sons get married, they become in-laws (who struggle to accept their sons’ relationship). When their sons are murdered, Ike and Buddy must move past their differences in order to figure out what happened.
‘Mona at Sea’ by Elizabeth Gonzalez James (June 30, 2021)
Mona Mireles is a millennial perfectionist who nonetheless finds herself unemployed, living with her parents, and single at the height of the recession in 2008. This isn’t a gripping page-turner, but it’s a witty and relatable read—perfect for vacation or the beach (provided we can go there in summer 2021).
Images: @laurachouette / Unsplash
Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there. It’s me, your friendly Betches Vanderpump Rules recapper and occasional book reviewer, here to talk about what I’ve been reading. Now, truthfully, I’ve been reading a lot less since quarantine started, since I’m one of those psychos who gets all her reading in during her daily subway commute. Now that I have to actually make time to sit down and read a book, I usually end up accidentally watching true crime documentaries instead. Oops!
Anyway, I’ve heard that reading is making a comeback—only took a little pandemic to get people to read things other than their phone screens. So in the spirit of books being a thing again, and also us not really having a summer so I don’t want this to be my summer reading list, here are the best books that came out during quarantine that you should read while in quarantine.
Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (March 3, 2020)
This is a thriller, but it’s not a typical thriller. It is a cool thriller, but really, I would describe it more as a writer’s thriller. The focus is more on the striking prose and crafting vivid scenes than about having a fast-paced, action-packed read. Picture this: it’s Atlantic City, circa whatever year Atlantic City went to sh*t (I could Google it, but I’m not a historian). Two unlikely women meet and become friends: Clara Voyant, a teenage psychic, and Lily, an aspiring art curator who moves back to her hometown after being chewed up and spit out by the Manhattan art scene. Throughout all this, sex workers are being murdered and dumped in AC, and no one even notices. Told through multiple perspectives, including the “Janes” who are murdered, it’s an extremely compelling read.
BLACK WIDOW: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title by Leslie Gray Streeter (March 10, 2020)
We’re all going through a sort of grief right now, and this “sad-funny journey through grief” just might be what we all need. Leslie Gray Streeter lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, and finds herself slapped with a label she doesn’t want: a widow. She doesn’t want pitying looks or whispered sympathies, she doesn’t want to wear a black dress and a big hat to her husband’s funeral. Black Widow takes readers through the more unexpected aspects of grief, “from coffin shopping to day-drinking, to being a grown-ass woman crying for your mommy, to breaking up and making up with God.”
The Herd by Andrea Bartz (March 24, 2020)
Yes, I know I’ve written about The Herd before, but I’m covering it again because it’s just that good. (But actually, if you remembered that I have covered it before, DM me @sarafcarter because you deserve recognition for your photographic memory of useless facts.) This thriller takes place in a famed all-female coworking space… no, not the one you’re thinking of, this one’s fictional. When the beloved founder is found dead, her best friends have to figure out who killed her, without compromising the future of the coworking space. And if you can’t get enough of Andrea Bartz’s writing, check out her articles for Betches.
A Mother’s Lie by Sarah Zettel (April 7, 2020)
Beth has spent her entire adult life running away from her past, ever since she narrowly saved her daughter from being abducted. But the thing about the past is that it, and the people from it, don’t really like to stay buried. And when those people from Beth’s past include her two grifter parents, whom she never told her daughter about, let’s just say, sh*t goes off the rails. Just a warning if you do buy this book: you may finish it in a day (speaking for myself).
The Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (April 7, 2020)
It’s the adult debut from the author of the Divergent series, and if that didn’t sell you right there, I don’t know what to tell you. Okay, I do. An evil force called the Dark One tried to end humanity as we know it, and a group of elite teenagers called the Chosen Ones were called into battle to save the world. (Tbh, would be great if we oculd get a couple of supernatural teens to save us right about now.) Fast-forward 10 years, and the Chosen Ones are trying to resume normal lives—that is, until one of their own winds up dead, and they quickly realize the world still needs saving. Told through narrative and enhanced with magazine articles, government briefs, scholarly papers, and even stand-up comedy routine transcripts, the format is really fun and inventive.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (April 7, 2020)
Need something lighthearted? You Deserve Each Other is like Bride Wars meets How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. In it, Naomi Westfield is about to get married to her picture-perfect fiancé, Nicholas Rose. The only problem? She can’t stand him. Oh, and that they have an agreement that whoever calls off the engagement has to foot the entire bill. So when Naomi finds out that Nicholas wants out too, they are forced to go head-to-head in a battle of wits, emotional warfare, and pranks to see who will crack first.
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan (April 14, 2020)
Tilly was a bright, carefree little girl, and when her father suddenly disappeared, she and her mom moved into Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel in Brighton. She eventually falls in love with all the other quirky people there, including Queenie. But when Tilly’s mom sends her away to boarding school without warning or explanation, Tilly is betrayed and heartbroken to leave her makeshift family. As a woman, and after her mother’s death, she returns to the Paradise Hotel, determined to find out what really happened to make her leave the hotel, and the type of person her mother really was.
The House Of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland (April 21, 2020)
While most residents of River Bend, Michigan, never imagine leaving, it’s precisely the place three women were desperate to escape. Linda Williams is perpetually dissatisfied. Her mother, Paula, is the opposite—always too sure. Beth DeWitt is one of the town’s only black daughters, now a mother of two. Linda, Paula, and Beth’s paths collide and a scandal forces Beth to deal with her past. If you just binged Little Fires Everywhere, you’ll want to pick up this debut that examines family ties, racial microaggressions, and the power of intergenerational trauma.
Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster (May 5, 2020)
Heddy Winsome is a working class girl from Brooklyn who wants nothing more than to live among the wealthy. She gets a taste of that life in the summer of 1962 when she lands a gig as a nanny for a rich family out on Martha’s Vineyard. But as she falls in love with someone on the island, she’s forced to reckon with the fact that what you see on the outside (glitz, glamour, nice houses, perfectly coiffed hair) isn’t always what’s going on on the inside.
The Paris Hours by Alex George (May 5, 2020)
Sicily, 1912 Paris, 1927, between the two World Wars. While the city teems with artists and creatives, four regular people are searching for what they’ve lost. Camille, Marcel Proust’s maid, who was supposed to burn all his notebooks but hid one for herself. Souren, an Armenian refugee, who performs puppet shows for children. Guillaume, a lovesick artist who’s hounded by debt until Gertrude Stein walks into his studio. And Jean-Paul, a journalist who tells others’ stories so he can avoid telling his own. The Paris Hours is told over the course of one day in 1927, when all four characters’ stories collide.
Images: David Lezcano / Unsplash; Amazon (10)
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The obsession with Little Fires Everywhere started in 2017 with the release of the novel by Celeste Ng—a book that just about every book club had at the top of their reading list. Filled with drama, strong leading ladies and small-town suburban drama, it was no surprise that it quickly became one of the biggest books of the decade. Now, the queens Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are bringing it to life with their new Hulu series based on the book. If you can’t get enough of this enticing storyline, and need something to read while you’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future, you’ll live for these 10 unforgettable novels.
1. The New Husband by D.J. Palmer
Out April 14, 2020
Picture this: your husband goes missing on a fishing trip, is presumed dead, and then you find out he was having an affair. Tragic. For the main character in The New Husband, Nina Garrity, this is her reality and she’s doing her best to move on a year and a half after the strange disappearance that left her a widow. Trying to move on with a new man, Simon Fitch, everything seems like smooth sailing. But when her daughter raises concerns about him, Nina begins an investigation into Simon that will send her reeling—we’re talking Dirty John level secrets.
2. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Grey
Released January 14, 2020
No matter how close sisters Althea, Violet and Lillian are, they never imagined that one of them would be arrested and put on trial for stealing money from a charity (who does that?!). Now left to care for Althea’s twin daughters and wrestling with the idea that the woman who raised them is a criminal, the family begins to fall apart, member by member. With plenty of family drama, a fire, and difficult mother-daughter relationships, this book gives us serious Little Fires Everywhere vibes.
3. The Opposite of Fate by Alison McGhee
Released February 18, 2020
Mallie Williams was feeling on top of the world until a terrible assault left her in a coma. The worst part? Her attacker got her pregnant. By the time she regains her strength and comes out of the coma, her family will have made a decision that will change her life forever. Filled with hopeful messages about life and the decisions that alter the way we look at the world, Mallie Williams proves to be the ultimate badass in Alison McGhee’s latest novel The Opposite of Fate.
4. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Released December 31, 2019
Alix Chamberlain is a certified boss, living a life full of success and confidence (So… can we all be Alix?). Living a predominantly great life, she’s completely caught off guard when her babysitter, a young black woman named Emira, is accused of kidnapping her child at their high-end grocery store. When a video is released of the horrific incident, Alix knows she has to do something to make the situation right. But the video brings someone from Alix’s past back into her life, forcing all of her plans out the window and putting her completely out of control for the first time in a long time.
5. Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst
Out April 7, 2020
When college professor Elizabeth innocently poses for nude photos, the only thought in her mind is how these photos will bring her one step closer to her hero Georgia O’Keeffe. Instead, the seriously creepy photographer who took the photos exploits Elizabeth, publishing them for the world to see. Unable to persuade him to take the photos down, Elizabeth does her best to embrace the situation and help others understand why she did it in the first place. If you’re trying to get in touch with your inner feminist spirit this spring, you’ll love Elizabeth and Queen of the Owls.
6. The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger
Released July 2, 2019
Said to be the book “that predicted the college-admissions scandal,” (The Wall Street Journal) you better believe The Gifted School is full of juicy private school drama. Four families have known each other for over a decade, raising their children together and happily living side-by-side in their quaint community. But then an exclusive new school for gifted children opens up and suddenly, the parents of these four families turn against one another, doing whatever it takes to get their children into the most prestigious school in town—and setting a horrible example for their kids in the process.
7. Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
Out April 21, 2020
College sweethearts Marin and Derek were living the dream before their son Sebastian was taken. Over a year later, the police no longer have any leads in the case, leaving Marin to hire a private investigator to continue digging. But unfortunately for Marin the plan backfires as the PI learns Derek is having an affair with a woman… a much younger woman. Like any reasonable woman who’s been betrayed, Marin begins to contemplate what it would take to break them up for good and it isn’t long before she begins to explore ways of getting her out of Derek’s life permanently. Yikes!
8. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
Released February 4, 2020
Isobel Johnson has never claimed to be a perfect teacher and tries her best to fly under the radar, avoiding the sometimes-crazy class parents. But all of that hits the fan when she introduces a fairly liberal lesson to her class and she begins getting threatening calls from her students’ parents. Simultaneously, helicopter mom Julia has just been trashed by her fellow moms for making an error while casting the school’s winter musical. Banding together, Isobel and Julia quickly find out just how toxic privileged schools like Liston Heights High can really be.
9. A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe
Out April 7, 2020
Ever wonder what Little Fires Everywhere would look like as a historical fiction novel? We’ve got you covered! Moving to Vietnam with her husband in 1933, American Jessie Lesage has absolutely no idea what to expect. With scandal surrounding her husband and his connection to the Michelin rubber fortune, she knows she needs to keep up the visage of the perfect wife. Determined to make a real life for herself in Vietnam, she befriends local woman Marcelle de Fabry. What Jessie doesn’t know is that Marcelle is in support of giving the Michelin plantations back to their rightful owners, a secret that will severely threaten Jessie, her husband, and their success.
10. A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
Released March 10,2020
Good neighbors can be hard to come by, and no one knows this better than single mother Valerie Alston-Holt in A Good Neighborhood. A professor of forestry and ecology, Valerie has everything she could ever want: a bright son headed to college soon, a tight-knit community, and a beautiful home. Things are obviously too good to be true for Valerie (or else this wouldn’t be a novel) and soon, the Whitman family moves in next door and immediately starts to disrupt her life. First, the family completely demolishes the house they bought, building a monstrosity, then they find themselves arguing over a historic tree in Valerie’s yard. But worst of all, Valerie’s son has fallen for the Whitman’s daughter, causing all Hell to break loose. If you think you have bad neighbors, this book will reassure you of how good you have it!
Images: Courtesy of Hulu; Amazon (10)