Did you set a reading goal for yourself this year? Are you trying to squeeze in a few more books by the end of the month? Well, look no further! Here are five 2019 releases that I absolutely loved. Each of these books embodies what I love most about reading. These books are fast paced and suck you in from the first page.
The Passengers by John Marrs
You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”
Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.
From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, “Which of these people should we save?…And who should we kill first?”
This book blew my mind. From the first sentence to the very last word, I was completely enthralled.
The Passenger has so much going on genre wise. It’s a thriller with some sci-fi aspects thrown in. And, It’s a commentary on politics and on our dependency of technology. All of these elements come together to make a crazy, addictive, compulsive read.
In addition to the plot, the characters are amazing. I love a book with complex characters who have secrets and dirty laundry. I also liked that my opinion of each character changed throughout the book. I went from liking a character, to hating them, to feeling empathy towards them, then back to hating them.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you like a good thriller, you will for sure like this book. Some similar stories are: Black Mirror, The Hunger Games, and the movie Speed.
A Nearly Normal Family By M.T. Edvardsson
A Nearly Normal Family is a domestic thriller about the trial of 18 year old Stella who stands accused of murdering Christopher, a 32 year old man she develops a relationship with. This book is unique in that it is broken up into three parts, each part told from a different character’s point of view: the father, the daughter (Stella) and the mother. The book centers around the questions: How far would you go to protect your family, and how well do you really know your own family?
This book is the definition of a compulsive read, I stayed up all night reading it! I was captivated by and completely engrossed in the story. What I love about the structure of A Nearly Normal Family is you get a glimpse not only of the family dynamic, but you also get a peek into each character’s mind. And these characters are not all at what they seem. The image they present to the world and the people they actually are are way different.
If you like psychological thrillers, police procedurals, and character driven stories then you will definitely enjoy A Nearly Normal Family.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
I loved this book! It’s one of those books you just can’t put down.
The book is about Rowan, a nanny, who answers an ad for a live in nanny position. It seems perfect; generous pay, a luxurious house, and a beautiful family. Once Rowan moves into the house though, odd things start happening. She hears the sound of footsteps above her room every night, the kids start to act strange, and she house just has a creepy vibe. On top of all that, the house is wired with cameras in every room.
This is my favorite Ruth Ware book so far. The writing is clever, the characters are well developed, and the plot is suspenseful. When I first read the description I was worried that it would be too similar to Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, but it was actually a lot different.
If you’re a fan of thrillers, you have to read this one!
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I absolutely loved this book and even more I loved Daisy. She is one of those characters that you wish was real and you want to become friends with.
I was skeptical of the format at first, but I ended up loving it. It felt like I was sitting around a table with the band, talking like old friends reminiscing on “the good old days”.
I also had to keep reminding myself that The Six is not a real band. Taylor Jenkins Reid created a band and a world that just pulled you in from the very beginning. I still think about this book to this day.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
After losing her job, boyfriend, and apartment all in the same day, Jules accepts the job of apartment sitter at a famous New York City Apartment. The job is three months long and pays $12,000. Seems perfect, but the job comes with strange rules and strange people. And then there’s the apartment building. The famous Bartholomew. The building itself is super creepy; there are Gothic style gargoyles, an old-fashioned elevator, and strange wallpaper that looks like faces staring back at you. The history of the building and its residents are even creepier. But go read the book to find out the history, because I don’t want to give too much away!
I loved the format of this book. It is written as a countdown. The first chapter starts with Jules waking up in a hospital. Clearly something horrible has happened at The Bartholomew. Then the remainder of the book is the five days leading up to when she awakes in the hospital. I love a good countdown. It’s actually one of my favorite formats in thrillers, it really builds anticipation. It also gives the reader more information than the characters- you know that in “x” amount of days something will happen. I like that. I like knowing something the characters don’t.
If you like thrillers, “who-done-it’s”, books with twists, or books that are centered around the venue of the story (in this case, a historic apt. building), then you will definitely like Lock Every Door!
December is quite possibly one of the coziest reading months. All I want to do this month is curl up with a good book and read all night with my dog by my side. I have a variety of books planned for December, including- thrillers, memoirs, and family sagas. I also have a few ARCs (Advance Readers Copy) on my list- all of which publish in the first few months of 2020. So, here they are:
1. Long Bright River by Liz Moore- Publishing January 7, 2020
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate. (Description credit: GoodReads)
2. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James- Publishing February 18, 2020
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden… ” (Description credit: GoodReads)
3. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .
Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . . (Description credit: GoodReads)
4. Reputation by Sara Shepard
In this fast-paced new novel from Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, a tight-knit college town scrambles for answers when an e-mail hack reveals life-changing secrets and scandals.
Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people’s e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning’s handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit’s sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn’t right about the night Greg was killed, and she’s determined to find the truth. What she doesn’t expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.
Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It’s a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel. (Description credit: GoodReads)
5. The One by John Marrs
How far would you go to find The One?
A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.
That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.
Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…
A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences. (Description credit: GoodReads)
6. Me by Elton John
In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.
Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.
His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.
In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. (Description credit: GoodReads)
I’m also listening to a few audio books courtesy of Libro fm:
7. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins- Publishing January 21, 2020
“También de este lado hay sueños. On this side too, there are dreams.“
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave listeners utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope. (Description credit: Libro fm)
8. Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin- Publishing Date February 18, 2020
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men–employees at the resort–are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth–not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
For fans of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending. (Description credit: Libro fm)
9. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.
And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope—the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman—through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.
Machado’s dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be. (Description credit: Libro fm)
And, last but not least, the two books that I have read so far this month are: The Only Plane in the Sky (Amazing!) and The Handmaids Tale (Great writing, but not my thing).
So, there you have it! Those are my remaining books of the year. Be sure to follow my instagram to see my updates and thoughts as I read through these