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.
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)