This romantic fantasy is one of my new favorite cozy reads. Being the personal assistant to The Villain of the kingdom is not as glamorous as it sounds - quelling infighting among the interns, sneaking copious amounts of milk and sugar into the boss’s “cauldron brew,” and trying to forget how incredibly gorgeous that boss is. With pitch-perfect banter and sarcasm, this Grumpy x Sunshine is an absolute delight.
The pantheon of gods in this world war with one another for prayers and clout, and worshipping any god is now outlawed in the country of Middren. Inara, a young noble with a “god problem” seeks out the mercenary god killer Kissena for help. Together with a retired knight, they form an unlikely alliance. Kane’s world-building is top-notch; the hint of the world we see in this book whets the appetite for more from the rest of the series.
Very little is certain in this chilling thriller about two women who meet on their shared 45th birthday. Josie is a disillusioned housewife, and Alix is a popular podcast host. When Josie pitches a podcast idea, the two form an uneasy relationship. With so many twists and turns, I’m still trying to tease out what the truth was. Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn.
This deliciously dark fairy tale spin-off perfectly toes the line between fantasy and horror. Youngest daughter Marra sets out on a quest to save her older sister from her abusive husband. With death magic, fairy godmothers, and an adorable bone dog, I loved cuddling up to read this book.
Jane Rivers was a murderous nurse who walked away from her hospital one day and rebranded herself as Margo Finch. Margo has been a circulation librarian for two years, and her routine remains the same until a new reference librarian arrives. Patricia, a struggling novelist, is intrigued by her colleague, especially after a patron dies at the library. Sims is the master of the subtle creep, making me question every interaction with an acquaintance.
This part-mystery, part-motherhood manifesto hooked me from the beginning. A strange affliction is spreading through a four-year preschool class at Little Academy: the children crave blood. When their teacher is discovered murdered, everyone - students and parents - become suspects. With everyday millennial thoughts (was dinner bad last night because I didn't follow the TikTok recipe correctly, or was the recipe bad?), you don't have to be a mother to relate to these women. A great book club pick!
This hilarious cross between a rom-com and a heist novel is the perfect light-hearted cotton candy of a book. 29-year-old Simi Chopra is in a bind: she’s just been fired, her basement apartment has flooded so she has to move back in with her parents, and her best friend was just framed for the theft of a multi-million dollar diamond necklace. Simi is determined to save her, and with the help of a mysterious (and attractive) man, she assembles a ragtag group to steal the necklace back from the Fence who has possession of it… during his daughter’s exorbitant wedding. This book reads like the characters from Community trying to pull off Ocean’s 11.
In this Cinderella retelling, Ash Vincent is living out her happily ever after - after conning her way into her engagement with Prince Everette. Soria’s world-building is sublime, with a magic system that doesn’t include fairy godmothers, a good romance plot, and political intrigue that is as much action as it is overheard conversations. Fans of other retellings like A Court of Thorns and Roses, Uprooted, or For the Wolf are sure to love this enchanting caper.
This horror has everything I wanted for an all-consuming, read-late-into-the-night book. Off the coast of Wisconsin’s Door County is the isolated community of Clifford Island. Harper Stone is drawn there by a mysterious message in her deceased son’s room. When nobody has heard from her for weeks, her brother Harper follows her. The town relives each day like it’s still 1994, with limited cell service and not a wifi to be found. This book is for anyone who grew up on Goosebumps.
This slow-burn sports romance was fun in a cute slice-of-life sort of way. Vanessa Mazur finally gathers the courage to quit her job as the personal assistant to “The Wall of Winnipeg,” football star Aiden Graves, and commit to her own business full-time. He counters with an interesting offer: marry him so that he can get his green card and he’ll pay off her student debt. Cuddly and cute, Zapata takes her time getting to the spice, but the payoff is fanning-your-face good.
Eliza, the newly widowed Countess of Somerset, finds herself wealthy and independent for the first time in her life. Rather than return to her overbearing parents’ home or stay on as Dowager at Somerset with the old Earl’s nephew and heir, she and her cousin Margaret head to Bath, where they meet the scandalous Melville siblings. Her fortune comes with a catch; if she sullies the Somerset name, her inheritance will be reneged. Irwin’s sophomore book is even more fun than her first, perfect for Bridgerton and Evie Dunmore fans.
What if the Prince Charming of all those tales was actually a single con man, promising to marry princesses and ladies after rescuing them, and absconding with the royal treasury instead? Linwood’s fun twist on traditional fairy tales was a fun and lighthearted read. These princesses are not the ones from Disney or the Brothers Grimm though; they are intelligent, independent, and flawed. With several blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nods to other tales, this book was an absolute delight!
Ruth Ware is the queen of British thrillers, and Zero Days is an amazing departure from her normal small, claustrophobic settings. Jacintha “Jack” Cross and her husband Gabe are a corporate security-testing team. Jack physically breaks into sites, and Gabe is the computer whiz/hacker. Upon returning from a normal (if tiring) job, Jack discovers Gabe has been murdered. Jack quickly becomes the main suspect, and a heart-pounding chase ensues while Jack tries to find the real murderers. Quick-paced and with plenty of twists, this action thriller is a joy to read.
This Hollywood lovers-to-enemies-to-friends-to-?? is a fun lighthearted treat. Shane and Lilah got their big breaks on the paranormal show Intangibles ten years ago, and their characters had instant chemistry on screen. Offscreen was a different matter. Lilah left to pursue a film career and, unfortunately, bombed. Returning for the final season, both Shane and Lilah are forced to work through what went wrong before. Steamy without being sleazy, I adored their character arcs and emotional vulnerability.
With brands like Fair Play Method shining a light on the invisible work that women traditionally do for families, this book is a fun and timely ride. Divorced friends Lauren, Sophie, and Madeline gripe about how much unacknowledged work goes into running a household, and after a few beverages joke about how nice it would be to hire a wife. Former app developer Lauren takes this idea and runs with it. An updated twist for fans of The First Wives Club.
A schoolyard rhyme, a house crumbling into the sea, an elderly woman who may or may not have murdered her family 54 years ago. This gothic thriller-mystery is absolutely unputdownable: Kit McDeere accepts a job as Lenora Hope’s caregiver and arrives to find a small staff in an isolated house. Full of questions and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, Sager artfully plants clues and dead ends throughout. This book is perfect for curling up with when you need some chills.
There are books that I think everyone should read because the subject is so important or underappreciated. Then there are books that everyone should read because they are so good at capturing the human experience that anybody can relate to the characters and themes. This is firmly in the second camp. Childhood friends Sadie and Sam bond over video games, reconnect in college, and then start a successful video game company in the late ‘90s. You don’t have to be a gamer to connect to the process of building a story and the perfect visual elements. From tumultuous times to amazing highs, Zavin captures friendships and grief and the rush of creative achievements beautifully.
Reading this collection of Keefe’s New Yorker long-form articles about bad actors and the people around them is like binging a true crime podcast. From the world of wine forgery to El Chapo to a defense attorney for death penalty cases (where “winning” means your client receiving a life sentence in prison), each case is unique and enthralling. Perfect for fans of the podcasts Serial or Criminal.
I loved Hazelwood’s newest STEM romance. Elsie is a theoretical physicist scraping by as an adjunct professor at several Boston colleges, as well as using her pathological people-pleasing to pay her bills as a fake girlfriend. Jack Smith-Turner, an experimental physicist, happens to be the older brother of her favorite fake-dating client, as well as a member of the hiring team at MIT. Hazelwood adeptly twists several story tropes (kind of enemies-to-lovers, kind of forbidden love, 100% loveable snarky grandma) and several steamy scenes into this tale of a young academic hustling for a single job with health insurance. You won’t be able to put this book down as you root for Elsie to do what she wants!
Kuang explores unsavory corners of the book world with wit and a clear-eyed view. After witnessing the death of her more-successful college acquaintance Athena Liu, June Hayward walks away with Athena’s just-finished manuscript and rewrites it to pass it off as her own. Exploring appropriation, cancel culture, and the cut-throat nature of publishing, this book is funny and haunting, and absolutely devourable.
This rom-com is simply perfection. Felicity “Fizzy” Chen is a popular romance novelist who has lost her mojo. Connor Prince is a documentarian whose production company decides to pivot away from ocean conservation to reality TV. When he (begrudgingly) pitches a dating show with Fizzy as the bachelorette, she realizes this might be the perfect opportunity for her to rediscover her joy. As the two become closer, will their chemistry get in the way of the show? Lovable characters, a show format I wish existed in real life, and wonderful fuzzy feelings make this one of my favorite romances this year.
Legendary retired captain Amina Al-Sirafi finds herself dragged back to her old life when a former crewmate’s daughter is kidnapped by a ruthless Frank. Reunited with old friends, she stumbles upon old magic and mythical beings that rival Sinbad the Sailor’s adventures. With the medieval setting, Chakraborty beautifully blends ancient myths and medieval beliefs into a vivid world. Amina is competent and flawed - my favorite type of protagonist. I absolutely adore this world, and cannot wait to return for future adventures!
There is a lot of hype about this book, and it is a fun ride. Violet Sorrengail has dreamt of following her father’s footsteps to the Scribe quadrant of Navarre’s war college. Her mother, General Sorrengail has other designs for her future, and so Violet must enter the dangerous and often deadly Dragon Riders quadrant instead. The premise is a great set-up, and Yarros does a good job of delivering on the enemies-to-lovers trope. A fun, quick read, with a much-talked-about cliffhanger!
During the first era of Forensic Files, before Paul Holes and the Golden State Killer, Boulder historian and author Silvia Pettem learned of a Jane Doe found brutally murdered in Boulder Canyon in 1954. This book details the search for this young woman’s identity and finding her potential killer in the early 2000s. Exploring many hopeful leads and potential matches during the search, Pettem beautifully pays tribute not only to the Boulder Canyon Jane Doe, but the countless women who have survived and been forever silenced by similar attacks.
After suffering a panic attack, charity foundation CEO/ former trust fund baby Teagan Van Zijl is dragged to an upscale wilderness rehab program by his sister. There he meets aspiring wilderness educator/rehab center handywoman Darcy Albano. This book has great vacation vibes - light hearted and steamy, with characters who I would love to hang out with in real life. Maybe don’t trust this book for bear safety tips, but do trust me: this is the perfect romp in the woods!
Newman’s sophomore novel is even more high-octane than her first. The action starts on the first page as Flight 1421’s engine fails and the Honolulu-based flight goes down in the Pacific. After the carnage of the crash, the plane begins to sink to the bottom of the ocean. Between the passengers still on the plane and the rescue efforts outside, I could not put this book down. Fans of The Martian or Michael Crichton books will love the amount of research that was clearly put into getting details right in this Blockbuster of a book.
When bombastic and egocentric President Henry Caine is shockingly reelected, journalist Sofie Morse hands in her resignation. She quickly receives an intriguing invitation: First Lady Lara Caine wants her help writing her biography. What Sofie learns upends her life. This spy-thriller was a delight to read, with multiple timelines, fantastic women characters, and Cold War-era spy games. This is the perfect book for a long day at the pool or staying in on a rainy day - it’s impossible to put down.
According to the podcast “The Bechdel Cast,” the baldest woman is in charge, but nowhere is that rule inverted more than in this book. Amber Jameson is kidnapped by the man known as the Pokemon killer (as in he shaves and paints his victims to look like different Pokemons), but is rescued by a woman with a ski mask and cattle prod. Amber has a few skeletons in her closet, so she heads on the lam to Las Vegas. I love a messy protagonist, and Amber is as chaotic as they come. This dark comedy is perfect for fans of the show Poker Face.
The 1740s were a wild time in world history; Spain was still the main colonial power and England was just beginning to flex its empirical designs. Grann follows the accounts of the Wager, one ship in Commodore Anson’s circumnavigation expedition. The Wager ran aground on an island off the western coast of Chile. The survivors, wracked with scurvy and decimated by typhus, lived for a short time on the rarely inhabited Wager Island before mutiny drove them apart. With surviving accounts from Gunner Bulkley with the mutineers and Midshipman John Byron (grandfather of Lord Byron) with the captain, Grann weaves an amazing narrative that is able to tell multiple sides of this story. This is a surprisingly quick read, with details that brought this time in history to life, from ocean currents to how scurvy affects the human body. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes reading about disasters and history.
Each summer, the families of New York City hedge fund managers, corporate lawyers, and investment bankers leave the heat of the city for their beach homes in the white, heteronormative, and fictional Fire Island town of Salcombe. In the midst of overly competitive tennis matches, secrets between husbands and wives, and the many town barbecues, a body is discovered off the boardwalk one morning after a storm. Part Big Little Lies, part Gossip Girl, this book is a perfectly enjoyable beach read.
The premise of this book hooked me from the start: prisoners have a shot at freedom through a “hard-action sports” program with gladiator-style fights to the death. This narrative follows one such prisoner, Loretta Thurwar, in the final weeks before her “Freeing Day.” My absolute can’t-miss part of this book were the footnotes, which fleshed out minor characters, provided in-universe exposition shortcuts, and sprinkled in chilling historical truths. This scathing satire takes on the for-profit prison systems and over incarceration of American citizens and is an absolute must-read.
Brogan Roach is fascinated by the macabre; she loves true crime podcasts and does the bare minimum (if not less) at her job in a chain bookstore. When Laura Bunting, a poet with a tragic past and fantastic fashion sense, transfers to Roach’s store, they butt heads immediately. Obsession simmers throughout this book, whether it’s with serial killers or an acquaintance’s Instagram feed. This is a must-read for any self-aware Murderino out there.
Dr. Briana Ortiz feels stuck: she isn’t receiving the promotion she expected, her divorce is about to be finalized, and her brother is sick, in need of a kidney transplant. Enter Dr. Jacob Maddox, a new doctor in her ER who is reeling from an intense breakup, which is compounded by his anxiety disorder. This romance has a little bit of all the tropes: adversaries-to-friends-to-lovers, there’s only one bed (lampshaded beautifully), forced proximity, and fake dating. I fell a little bit in love with both of these characters, and even more with the way they considered and accommodated each other.
Cassidy Bent is determined to break away from her past. Ten years ago, she and eight other students survived a horrific accident on a high school trip. After one died on the one year anniversary, they reunite at a beach house in the Outer Banks each summer, drawn together by their trauma and secrets. When Cassidy receives the obituary of yet another survivor, she reluctantly returns. Down to seven, with someone digging into the secrets of the crash, the week is full of tension and mistrust. This twisted take on the annual friends’ trip is creepy and I thoroughly enjoyed the reveal at the end.
This whip-smart story was a joy to read. With quick and witty dialogue, I felt like I was inside the mind of a comedy writer. Sally Milz writes for a late night comedy show, whose guest host of the week is Noah Brewster, a singer/songwriter who is known for dating models. Taking place over the course of the week of his hosting gig in 2018, as well as a few months in the summer of 2020, the story felt entirely plausible. Anyone who watches Saturday Night Live or loves Tina Fey’s Bossypants will adore this behind-the-scenes romantic comedy.
In 2050, the effects of climate change have deepened socioeconomic divides. In a remote defunct oil town in northern Canada, an eccentric architect has broken ground on a revolutionary new settlement called Camp Zero. A young woman, known as Rose, arrives with ulterior motives, and quickly finds the camp is not what she expected. Sterling chooses each word and phrase carefully, crafting a savory and tense novel that touches on themes of colonialism. Readers of Emily St. John Mandel will enjoy!
This second-chance romance had me running the emotional gamut. Harriet and Wynn ended their engagement months ago, but never found the right time to tell the rest of their friend group. Now, forced to be together for one last summer vacation at a beach house in Maine, they must navigate their lingering feelings and the changing dynamics of their friend group. This book is just as much about the bittersweetness of growing and changing and keeping up with friendships as it is a romance.
I found myself immersed in the Ramirez household from the first page. Ruthy Ramirez vanished at age 13 after track practice in 1996, and her family has felt her absence acutely. This book takes place during the Fall of 2008, after the youngest sister Nina graduates from college and returns to live with their mother in Staten Island. The oldest sister, Jessica, finds a woman on a reality television show who looks just like Ruthy, and the family makes it their mission to bring her home. All four of the Ramirez women have distinctive flaws, voices, and secrets, and I could not get enough of them.
Barnhill weaves a haunting narrative in this twist on the Japanese tale of the crane wife. Taking place in a version of the Midwest straight out of the Hunger Games, an unnamed teenage girl struggles with taking care of her six-year-old brother and artist mother. Her mother brings a crane into their house and neglects her children. As weeks pass and the mother continues to worry only about the crane and her new piece of art, the girl must decide how to carry on. Barnhill expertly picks up dropped threads to gradually fill in this story about obsession.
Identical triplet serial killers: need I say more? Sissy has always cleaned up after her sisters, but it is finally her turn to find a man to fall in love with and kill so that he can never leave her. This tense thriller was a joy to read, and left me thinking about what is worth holding onto and what you have to let go in order to truly live.
Hannah Whitten’s new fantasy series highlights her world-building chops. Lore, a young woman who works for a group of poison smugglers, has a rare connection to the death magic leaking from the tomb of a fallen goddess. After she uses her powers quite publicly, she is drawn into the city’s Citadel, where the wealthy dose themselves with highly illegal poison for a high and to extend their lives. This book is fast-paced, with plenty of political intrigue and magic. I cannot wait to return for more!
I adore this fantasy that never takes itself seriously. Its cast of characters includes: the snake from the Garden of Eden, the angel who guarded said garden, a young witch, a young witch hunter, and a completely normal boy named Adam. All are players in the end of times, trying to prevent the apocalypse from happening just right now, thank you very much. Gaiman and Pratchett join forces to create something light hearted, and funny, and, dare I say, very British.
Blood transfusion: something I don't think about beyond the twice-annual blood drive, but caused quite the ruckus in the 1700s. Tucker takes us back to when scientists first experimented with transfusion, recounting history that reads like a narrative with a medical murder-mystery twist that is hard to put down. Perfect for fans of Erik Larson.
Schwab’s story of Addie LaRue is as memorable as the heroine is not; Addie makes a deal that grants her eternal life and freedom, with the catch that once she is out of sight she is completely forgotten. From her 18th Century French village to modern-day New York City, this book drives home the importance of connection and storytelling to the human experience. Reading it was a constant struggle between devouring it and getting to the bottom of Addie’s mystery, and savoring the beautiful moments between.
If you loved the Bridgerton books, but crave a little more adventure and hijinks, this prequal is the right fit for you. Poppy Bridgerton discovers a smugglers cave while visiting a friend on the coast, and is abducted by two pirates. Privateer/gentleman spy Andrew Rokesby captains the ship where Poppy is taken, but due to an important mission he must take her with him. This book was so enjoyable (Pirates! Mistaken identity! There’s only one bed!) and I highly recommend for anyone in the mood for some fluff.
Struggling author Emily joins her childhood friend Chess for a summer at an Italian villa with a dark history. Fifty years earlier, a rock star rented the Villa Rosato for the summer, which ended in the brutal murder of one guest, the conviction of another, and two others creating a platinum album and genre-defining horror novel. The dual timelines and twists make this thriller-meets-Daisy Jones and the Six a gripping and fast read.
This series has redefined “book hangover” for me. While the first book is a solid retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the follow-up books are what hooked me. Maas’s action and romance pair brilliantly with her world-building. I hope to return to Prythian for more books in the future!
If you want the spice:plot ratio to lean heavier on the spice, look no further than this trio of novellas from Hazelwood. Three friends from college scatter to different parts of the country, but remain in touch throughout all three of these novellas. Within these stories you will find: forced proximity, tall awkward men, and plenty of enemies-to-lovers. Looking for light, mindless, contemporary romance vacation fare? This is the book for you.
Geeta’s husband abandoned her years ago, but word around town is that she “took care of him” herself. She enjoys the relative freedom these rumors bring her, until other women begin to ask for her help with their no-good husbands. Shroff tackles heavy topics in a light-hearted manner that had me laughing out loud. This book has it all: a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, and fantastic female friendships.
Klyde is a Kraken, and he loves to smile to show off his beautiful teeth and give big hugs. He has a hard time making friends, until one day a disaster happens! Lots of alliteration and opportunity for funny voices, paired with the engaging bright illustrations make this a perfect read-aloud book.
The final book in the Scholomance series delivers everything built up in the first two books, and then some. Still reeling from the aftermath of graduation, El works to get to the bottom of who or what is attacking enclaves all over the world. Novik writes beautifully about how the choices we make (or refuse to make) and their consequences shape us as individuals. I highly recommend this series for anyone still smarting about never receiving their Hogwarts letter, and is looking for a more nuanced take on good vs. evil.
McCurdy’s memoir shines a light on the life of a child who is fulfilling a parent’s dreams instead of their own in a very extreme environment. I’m not normally into celebrity memoirs, but McCurdy’s writing style and raw story telling drew me in. Anyone else who grew up consuming Nickelodeon or Disney Channel will be riveted by what was going on under the shiny veneer of the cameras.
Overwhelmed by her home life, Ava Wong finds herself swept up in an international counterfeit handbag scheme orchestrated by her former college roommate Winnie Fang. As she recounts the circumstances of how she became a pawn in Winnie’s world, the glitter and luxury of the criminal world, and various twists and turns will draw readers in. I could hardly put this caper down!
Ware is the queen of writing characters with uncomfortable pasts and unreliable memories. As a first year at Oxford, Hannah Jones found her roommate murdered and helped put away the man she saw leaving the building shortly before. The death of the convicted killer ten years later dredges up Hannah’s memories and makes her question what she saw. Bouncing between her time at Oxford and her present, The It Girl will make you stay up into the night to find out the truth of what happened to April Clarke-Clivedon
This is my favorite romance book I’ve read this summer; Whelan pokes fun at some of the most popular romance book tropes, twisting them in fun ways. Jaded audiobook narrator Sewanee Chester gets pulled back into voicing a romance book by a late author’s final wish. She partners up with the private and mysterious male narrator Brock McKnight to bring this project to life. While short on steamy scenes, this book is a must-read (or listen!) for any lover of romances and memorable characters.
Miranda writes some of my favorite summer thrillers. The town of Cutter’s Pass is a North Carolina haven of outdoor activities, with a rash of mysterious disappearances over the past 25 years. Abby Lovett, the manager of the Passage Inn, finds herself drawn into the investigation when the brother of one of the missing checks into the hotel. With plenty of twists, this book will make you wonder: should you be more concerned about the dangers of a rugged landscape, or the folks you meet along the trail?
Is it possible to achieve the American Dream without sacrificing your morals? This question underlies every choice siblings Olga and Prieto Acevedos make. Raised by their grandmother in Brooklyn after their mother left to pursue a revolutionary agenda in Puerto Rico, Olga is now a wedding planner for the Manhattan elite and Prieto is a congressman representing their gentrifying community. Set in 2017 before and after Hurricane Maria, Gonzalez adeptly tackles complex issues like cultural stereotypes and appropriation, saying so much with as few words as possible. What is the best way to change an oppressive system? To play the game and profit from those at the top? From within its power structure? Or to blow it up completely? I both wanted to devour this book to know more about the Acevedos, and savor Gonzalez's writing.
Any slasher flick viewer is well versed with the trope of the Final Girl - the All-American Girl who survives the murder of her friends and ultimately slays the monster before he can kill her. Lynnett Tarkington is one such final girl; decades after she survived her own horror, she lives in a state of constant vigilance, joining five other final girls in a support group. Routine is her constant companion, but her life is turned upside-down when someone begins to target the women of the group. Can she find the real monster before it finds her? The twists and exploration of the Final Girl trope will satisfy any horror movie-lover.
Falling is the closest thing to a Summer Blockbuster I've ever read. Captain Bill Hoffman goes into work like any other day, flying cross-country from Los Angeles to New York. Shortly into the flight, he recieves a call from his wife's phone. She and their two children have been taken hostage, and his choice is stark: crash the plane or his family dies. This is a heart-racing ride for any lover of disaster movies. Some scenes feel ready for the big screen, but Newman excells at the short flashbacks that flesh out her characters better than anything starring The Rock or Bruce Willis has managed.
The lazy heat of summer turns sinister as Harper Nash’s former roommate Ruby, convicted and jailed 14 months for the murder of the couple next door, returns to Hollow’s Edge and upends the fragile new balance of the neighborhood. As Harper digs for the truth, it becomes clear that her neighbors will do anything necessary to help construct a narrative that helps them feel safe. The perfect thriller to read while basking in the summer sun.
At first glance, this story seems like well-trod territory: a magical school with a prophesied Chosen One protagonist. Galadriel, or El, however, splits her time at the Scholomance between avoiding monsters that snack on the students and toning down the many spells the school throws at her to help her fulfill her destiny as the Destroyer of Worlds. This book amplifies some of those feelings of growing up - where being an outcast can literally get you killed, and the privileged don’t recognize ways the world is safer for them. I recommend this book for anyone interested in grumpy sorceresses or darker stories of magic and growing up, and the patience to wait for the next book to come out!
This is the best domestic thriller I have read since Gone Girl. Told from the perspective of the jaded ex-wife and the fresh new fiancee of a charismatic and high-powered man, this book delivers. With an unreliable narrator, palpable dread, and layers upon layers of secrets, this thriller is one of my favorites.
This stand-alone retelling of Eastern European folklore is a dream. Agnieszka’s quiet village at the edge of a dark forest is protected by a Wizard known as the Dragon. Every ten years, he comes to the village to select a young woman to take with him. Everyone assumes the lovely and delicate Kasia will be his choice, but she is not. Novik’s beautiful retelling touches on themes of growing up and moving away from family, and will stick with you long after you finish the final chapter.
This is one of my favorites of all time: we follow Ursula Todd through different iterations of her life, with a video game-like reset each time she dies. She navigates events like the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and predatory teen boys, but the bulk of this book takes place during World War II. This book is perfect for anyone wanting a twist of historical fiction with beautiful writing.
Young Viscount Penvale wants nothing more than to purchase the family estate back from his uncle. His uncle surprises him in London with a proposition: he would be happy to sell him Trethwick Abbey if he also marries his ward Jane. Introverted and socially awkward, Jane Spencer would rather hang out in the library of Trethwick Abbey than debut for a season or (shudder) make small talk over tea. Upon their marriage, Penvale learns that the Abbey is haunted, and the strange occurrences continue when they return to the Cornwall estate. I absolutely adore a grumpy main character, and Jane is among the grumpiest I’ve encountered. This regency romance is positively swoon-worthy!
This adventure romance is a delight! Archeologists Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía and Ford Matthews are old rivals from their grad school days and have always antagonized one another. When Corrie receives a mysterious invitation to join a dig in the Lacandon Jungle that is within her specialty, she is shocked to find Ford was the one to bring her there. Was it always just competitive between the two of them? Or was the tension they’ve always felt from their undeniable attraction? Fans of Ali Hazelwood and adventure movies like The Mummy and Indiana Jones will adore this fun romance.
If the magic of Shadow and Bone and the technology of The Legend of Korra had an enemies-to-lovers love child, it might look something like The Hurricane Wars. A decade-long war, an orphaned young woman fighting against the Night Empire, and the Prince of the Night Empire all collide in this epic romantic fantasy. Guanzon’s world-building is sublime, as is the development of the love story between the two main characters. This is one of my favorite new series.