Reading During The Covid19 Pandemic…
While there is a lot of unknown for many of us about what this spring will look like, I am happy to report that a lot of great new fiction books are on the way! During the last two weeks, I finally got back into a better reading groove!
During the first couple of weeks of being at home, I had a harder time concentrating on reading which I think has been the case for a lot of regular book lovers. Did this happen for you too?
I have found that reading a couple of books at a time has helped and my audiobooks have been my self-care time when I need a break. The genre I have been drawn to the most has been contemporary fiction so I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the upcoming new releases I am excited about.
Spring Book Publications!
These books will all be published within the next few months, starting with quite a number of them releasing tomorrow, the 14th! I have included publication dates in the details below and I hope this post helps inspire your spring reading list. Enjoy!
Spring 2020 Book Releases…
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Publishing May 5th, 2020
This novel is the perfect twist of contemporary fiction and some domestic suspense, mixed with Weiner’s timeless body-positive messaging. This was a super enjoyable reading ride!
*My full review of Big Summer can be found HERE.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.
Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould
Publishing April 14th, 2020
This book threw me for a loop in the best possible way. While it starts with a story about a young musician with lots of hope and dreams, tragedy hits. It takes on a raw and powerful look at motherhood and the sacrifices women make for their children. While I am not a huge music person, I connected with both these characters and the storyline and really enjoyed this one.
Have you ever wondered what your mother was like before she became your mother, and what she gave up in order to have you?
It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived—but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.
Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter, Marie, is asking questions about her father, questions that Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned when she left Ohio all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. But neither her best friend, now a famous musician who relies on Laura’s songwriting skills, nor her depressed and searching daughter will let her give up on her dreams.
Funny, wise, and tenderhearted, Perfect Tunes explores the fault lines in our most important relationships and asks whether dreams deferred can ever be reclaimed. It is a delightful and poignant tale of music and motherhood, ambition and compromise—of life, in all its dissonance and harmony.
Truths I Never Told You By Kelly Rimmer
Publishing April 14th, 2020
I was super impressed with Rimmer’s ability to write about the struggles of new motherhood when dealing with some of the mental health issues and general ambivalence that can arise and are often not talked about. This is something that is starting to be more common in nonfiction writing about motherhood but not in such a readable fiction format.
*My full review of Truths I Never Told You can be found HERE.
From the bestselling author of The Things We Cannot Say comes a poignant post-WWII novel that explores the expectations society places on women set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything once believed to be true.
With her father recently moved to a care facility, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.
As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker.
Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
Publishing April 14th, 2020
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this contemporary romance novel. I loved the multi-faceted characters and the unpredictable storyline.Grief, loss, friendship and family are all important parts of this novel. I totally missed out on Abby Jimenez’ 2019 release The Friend Zone so I am now catching up on that!
Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.
Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?
On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe
Publishing May 19th, 2020
The Beach House series is one of my favorites and On Ocean Boulevard is the 6th book in this collection. I have loved getting to “know” the Rutledge family and their cohorts over the years. These novels are filled with love, loss, grief, and new beginnings and I love the connection with the natural world, especially the loggerhead sea turtles.
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.
Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.
How The Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
Publishing June 16th, 2020
Are you looking for a charming feel-good story right now too? Reviews on Goodreads are sharing that this a moving and also hopeful read and the elements of adorable penguins mixed a surprisingly delightful plot and there are SO many 5-star ratings so far. I can’t wait to curl up with this one for some much needed weekend reading.
A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it’s never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker.
Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open.
Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Publishing May 19th, 2020
This is high on my spring reading list, especially after seeing it as one of the April Selections on Book of the Month. I have heard great things from some of my reading buddies, and how perfect is this book cover?
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Publishing April 28th, 2020
Feels like Falling was my first book by Kristy Woodson Harvey and it was the perfect balance of being easy and engaging without being too fluffy. It was the kind of book that I had a hard time putting down but I also didn’t want it to end because I wanted to follow along with these main characters even more.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the idea that sometimes “family” is the one we create ourselves. Harvey’s writing is emotional, engaging and has a perfect touch of humor. I loved the topic of friendship and supporting one another through tough situations and choices.
My full review of Feels Like Falling can be seen HERE.
It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.
Unless that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her evangelical husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger fired from her job at the local pharmacy.
Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a busted Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.
With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn, but when the one that got away comes back, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.
In her warmest, wittiest, and wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Publishing June 16th, 2020
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was a highly anticipated 2020 book for me. Bennett’s debut novel The Mothers was one of my favorite books of 2016 and I was blown away by her gorgeous and compelling writing style.
The Vanishing Half has a completely unique storyline that is composed of so many thought-provoking and timely themes. The plot spans decades and shares the perspectives of twin sisters and their two daughters whose lives eventually intersect. They all take very different paths in life and struggle in their own unique ways.
You can read my full review HERE.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.
Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.
Two Truths and a Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore
Publishing May 26th, 2020
Meg Mitchell Moore’s book The Islanders topped my list for 2019 summer reading and I couldn’t wait to dive into another one of hers. This one is a beach book with a little mystery tied in which made for a great mix. And it made me so happy to have little glimpses of The Islanders tied in (like the Dinner by Dad blog!)
Truth: Sherri Griffin and her daughter, Katie, have recently moved to the idyllic beach town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Rebecca Coleman, a widely acknowledged former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad (having taken a step back since her husband’s shocking and tragic death eighteen months ago), has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter Alexa has even been spotted babysitting Katie.
Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows—but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Katie Griffin, who at age 11 probably doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, can’t be left alone because she has terrifying nightmares that don’t seem to jibe with the vague story Sherri has floated about the “bad divorce” she left behind in Ohio. Rebecca Coleman has been spending a lot of time with Sherri, it’s true, but she’s also been spending time with someone else she doesn’t want the Mom Squad to know about just yet.
Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life, and definitely not someone connected to the Mom Squad. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.
A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Two Truths and a Lie reminds us that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared, and the most precious things are the people we love.
Expectation by Anna Hope
Publishing April 14th, 2020
Motherhood and female friendship?! Sign me up!
In this sharply observed novel set in and around London, three college friends, now in their thirties, must come to terms with the gap between the lives they imagined for themselves and reality in the face of marriage, fertility struggles, and loss.
In her first year of motherhood after an unplanned pregnancy, Cate is constantly exhausted, spiraling into self-doubt and postpartum anxiety. Her husband Sam seems oblivious, but maybe she’d prefer he remain in the dark. How can she admit the unthinkable—that she misses her freedom?
In contrast, Hannah continues to endure round after round of unsuccessful IVF treatments. The process is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally—and, she worries, creating distance between her and her husband Nathan. She is godmother to Cate’s son, but every time they get together, it’s a trigger.
Beautiful and unattached, Lissa is re-evaluating what it means to be an actress in her thirties. While she fiercely resists convention, she’s also lonely. A chance encounter in the British Library with Nathan has her wondering if she missed her best chance at love when she introduced him to Hannah.
As each woman longs for what the others seemingly possess, will their bonds of friendship sustain them in this liminal phase of their lives—or will their envy and desire tear them apart?
Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner
Publishing May 5th, 2020
Brenner’s books are some of my favorite summer vacation reading and I look forward to her new releases every spring!
When a baby is left on the doorstep of a Cape Cod beach house, an unlikely group of women risks all they hold dear to harbor and protect her in this “touching, nuanced summer yarn” (Publisher’s Weekly).
Ruth Cooperman arrives in beautiful beachside Provincetown for her retirement, renting the perfect waterfront cottage while she searches for her forever home. After years of hard work and making peace with life’s compromises, Ruth is looking forward to a carefree summer of solitude. But when she finds a baby girl abandoned on her doorstep, Ruth turns to her new neighbors for help and is drawn into the drama of the close-knit community.
The appearance of the mystery baby has an emotional ripple effect through the women in town, including Amelia Cabral, the matriarch who lost her own child decades earlier; Elise Douglas, owner of the tea shop who gave up her dream of becoming a mother; and teenage local Jaci Barros who feels trapped by her parents’ expectations. Ruth, caring for a baby for the first time in thirty years, even reaches out to her own estranged daughter, Olivia, summoning her to Provincetown in hopes of a reconciliation.
As summer unfolds and friends and family care for the infant, alliances are made, relationships are tested, and secrets are uncovered. But the unconditional love for a child in need just might bring Ruth and the women of Provincetown exactly what they have been longing for themselves.
With heartfelt storytelling, Summer Longing is Jamie Brenner’s eagerly anticipated return to Provincetown; another unforgettable tale about motherhood, friendship, and finding your way home.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Publishing May 19th, 2020
Amazon Link| *LibroFM Bookstore Link is not available at this time
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld was one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one. Sittenfeld presents a compelling (and sometimes quite steamy) look at what might have been if Hilary Rodham Clinton had NOT married Bill Clinton…I always love books that look at the path not taken and this was such a nuanced look at female ambition, marriage, and compromises women have and still have to make.
In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.
In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.
But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.
Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
Publishing June 9th, 2020
Kristan Higgins is one of my very favorite comfort reading authors. She has the ability to write books that are compelling yet always laced with nuanced looks at family, relationships, with ourselves and with the people around us.
The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.
Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.
Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.
And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.
From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means.
I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman
Publishing June 16th, 2020
Amazon Link | *LibroFM Bookstore Link is not available at this time.
I have always loved Abbi Waxman’s relatable writing style and this one incorporates a timely #metoo plotline. Her plotlines are always relatable and accessible and she is quickly becoming one of my very favorite contemporary fiction authors.
Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.
For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?
For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.
Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.
East Coast Girls by Kerry Kletter
This story, while not as light as I expected, held my attention throughout. I love stories that go back and forth between present and past, uncovering details as it goes. This book was about a group of four close-knit friends who after a tragic night in high school, part ways for many years. Their attempt to rekindle their friendship is full of challenge, hardship, and honesty, while ultimately proving how strong true friendships can be.
Childhood friends Hannah, Maya, Blue and Renee share a bond that feels more like family. Growing up, they had difficult home lives, and the summers they spent together in Montauk were the happiest memories they ever made. Then, the summer after graduation, one terrible night changed everything.
Twelve years have passed since that fateful incident, and their sisterhood has drifted apart, each woman haunted by her own lost innocence. But just as they reunite in Montauk for one last summer, hoping to find happiness once more, tragedy strikes again. This time it’ll test them like never before, forcing them to confront decisions they’ve each had to live with and old secrets that refuse to stay buried.
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