1. The Dependents by Katharine Dion- When Gene's wife of 49 years dies, it's subtly revealed to him that she wasn't as happy in the marriage as he thought she was. Why did she seem happiest when vacationing with their best friends Ed and Gayle? What secrets was she keeping? Throughout this beautifully-written and engrossing novel, Gene questions everything he thought he knew about his wife, his family and himself. This is Katherine Dion's first book, but she writes like a master, answering questions on how to overcome grief and let go of the expectations that we project onto others. It's so much more than a beach read.
2. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz- This murder mystery novel is so inventive because Horowitz actually writes himself into it as the loyal sidekick to Detective Inspector Hawthorne. The story begins with a woman walking into a funeral parlor to plan her own funeral. The woman is murdered six hours later. You won't be able to stop reading this creepy and clever whodunnit.
3. The Lost Family by Jenna Blum- This heart-breaking book tells the story of Peter, a handsome chef at a Manhattan restaurant in the 1960s. Women from all over town come to his restaurant hoping to peak his interest, but he is consumed by grief over losing his wife and two daughters to Auschwitz. He can't escape the guilt of surviving when they did not. Eventually he meets someone, falls in love again, and has another daughter, but, as we follow him over the next twenty years, he's still haunted by memories and pain. Yes, this book will probably make you cry, but you'll fall in love with the characters and remember them long after you finish reading. Jenna Blum also wrote the wonderful book, Those Who Save Us, another amazing read!
4. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang- This is an erotic romance with a twist. Stella is a workaholic economist with Asperger's Syndrome. She's very successful in her career, but inexperienced and awkward in the love department. Her family is very eager for grandchildren, but Stella doesn't even know how to French kiss. She decides that the best thing to do is hire some professional help. Enter Michael, an escort earning money to pay his mother's medical bill. The two form an unlikely partnership that slowly and hilariously morphs into more.
5. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones- This book, Oprah's Book Club pick for 2018, is a powerful and important read. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are two successful professionals excited to settle into their new lives together, but they are soon ripped apart when Roy is arrested for a crime that Celestial knows he didn't commit. Celestial finds herself hopeless and unsure of what to do. She finds solace in her childhood friend, Andre. After five years, Roy's conviction is overturned and he returns home to try to rekindle what he had with Celestial, but it isn't as simple as he thought. This story is full of relatable characters, and important thoughts on race, class and family, a must-read.
6. What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha- This riveting non-fictional story centers around it's author, Dr. Mona, a Flint, Michigan pediatrician who proved that Flint’s kids were being exposed to lead in their drinking water, and that the government knew this and intentionally covered it up. She fought her own government to expose that truth to the world. This book reads like a scientific thriller, but every word of it is true. The story of a city coming together to fight for justice and a future for their children is powerful and moving, and it makes you question what you thought you knew about the good ol' USA.
7. Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg- Kelly Sundberg has written an incredibly honest and brave memoir about her decade long marriage and how it slowly transformed from a beautiful love story to a horribly abusive horror show. She's open about her feelings of fear and anger, and also the love and compassion that she still felt for her husband. It's such an accurate and open portrayal of why people stay in a relationship even when they know it's slowing killing them. I know this story sounds bleak, but Sundberg writes in a way that lighters the subject somehow, while still touching us with understanding. This is a page-turner that may also have the power to save lives.
8. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy- This book is utterly unputdownable! The May Mothers, a group of moms whose babies were born in the same month, get together for a moms night out one hot Fourth of July night. While they are out, one of their babies is taken from his crib. The book tells the story of the desperate search to find the him and the secrets revealed and friendships destroyed along the way. Right now it's being made into a movie starring Kerry Washington.
9. A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell- This is the first book in a three part series of hysterically funny thrillers. Someone is trying to kill Paul Mulchrone. The first time it was a case of mistaken identity, but the second was no accident. Now, with the help of a nurse who fancies herself an expert detective and a violent rebel cop, he must solve one of the worst crimes that Ireland has ever seen.
10. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen-
If you enjoyed Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you'll love this book. I don't want to give anything away with this one so I'm just going to leave you with this vague, but intriguing description from the book cover itself:
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
11. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn- In this Hitchcock-esque thriller, Anna Fox, a recluse, living alone in her NYC home, passes time by spying on her neighbors. When a new family moves across the way, Anna sees something that she was not meant to see. What she sees will change her life forever and make her question everything. Nothing is what it appears to be in this twisty and gripping thriller.
12. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng- Elena Richardson is a rule-follower. Rules keep her family safe and keep order in her world. Enter Mia and her daughter Pearl, tenants that move into a house that the Richardsons own. All of the Richardsons are drawn to the artistic and mysterious mother/daughter. When a family friend of the Richardsons tries to adopt a baby, a battle for custody follows that divides their small town in two, with Elena and Mia at the center and on opposing sides. Elena, angry at the way Mia has upended her orderly life, goes on a mission to find out what secrets the enigmatic woman has been keeping. This obsession will lead to some pretty devastating consequences.
13. Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope- In 1994, Adam, a drug-addict from New York, travels to Israel to live on a kibbutz, a community similar to a co-op. Atoning for past sins, he has promised to deliver a sapphire brooch to a woman that his grandfather loved when he lived on the Kibbutz in the 1940s. The woman proves difficult to find, but on his journey he meets many interesting characters, all hoping for another chance at redemption. This book tells an emotional story of second chances and family history, and reminds us that nothing in life is permanent.
14. 11/22/63 by Stephen King- This futuristic thriller tells the story of Jake Epping, a high school English teacher turned time traveler who goes back in time to the 1950s to try and prevent the Kennedy assassination. It may seem far-fetched, but what follows is an engrossing, heart-pumping page-turner.
15. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover- This modern romance novel tells the story of Sydney, a college student who discovers that her perfect boyfriend has been cheating on her. Soon after she finds herself drawn to her mysterious and passionate neighbor, Ridge. Their sexy and obsessive love affair changes her in ways she never expected. Hoover's writing style and character development really draws you in and gets you hooked from page one.
16. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering- This tale of obsessive love centers on Lucy and Stephen and alternates between both points of view. Lucy is looking for a fresh start when she travels from the only home she's ever known on Long Island to her small California college. Stephen is also eager to forget the past and a secret that could ruin his future. Their tale of addicting obsession leads to consequences that are more than they can handle. This witty and dark coming-of-age story is just perfect for a day at the beach.
17. Think of a Number by John Verdon- When threatening letters show up in people's mailboxes, those people begin to die. The letters tell the readers to "Think of a number and see how well I know your secrets." The recipients are shocked when the author of the letters has somehow read their minds correctly. Dave Gurney, a retired, but brilliant cop, is brought in to consult, but as his past rises up to ruin him, he's not sure he can stop this mysterious and confusing killer. The characters in this book are not like those in your usual crime thrillers. They have depth and a realness you'll recognize.
18. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate- This book is based on the real-life story of Georgia Tann, the director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, who took poor children from their families, under the guise of providing them a better life, and sold them to wealthy parents in Memphis in the 1930's and 1940's. When her father doesn't return right away from taking her mother to the hospital, Rill and her four siblings are taken by the orphanage. Rill fights to keep her brothers and sisters together. The book alternates between 1939 and the present day to Avery, a wealthy and successful South Carolina attorney. When Avery returns home because of her father's sudden illness, a random encounter leads to questions she can't answer and feelings she can't seem to forget. What connects these two characters and how do you get over the feeling that you're not where you belong.