Wondering what to read next?
Hello there, reader! If you've finished all of my books and are wondering what to read next, check out some of my favorite reads below.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah is one of the best authors alive. My review could probably stop there, but good golly, what a book! What a book! As with what is perhaps my favorite book of all time—The Nightingale—The Four Winds is a story of survival against the odds. Starting in 1930, Elsa Martinelli was doing well enough, despite a marriage she didn’t particularly want. But she finds a sense of family with her in-laws. Then comes the Dust Bowl, the stock market crash and the Depression come crashing into her world, and Elsa must choose between staying and striking out for California to carve a better life for her children, facing incredible hardship, bleak poverty and sickness.
The Four Winds, which came out this past spring, is also oddly prescient of today’s struggles in America. A pandemic in the form of “dust pneumonia,” a divided nation suspicious of outsiders, unemployment, poverty…this is not an easy read. But it’s a magnificent read, a story of resilience, endurance and friendship and the amazing, indomitable power of a woman on a mission.
Judge's Girls by Sharina Harris
When beloved Judge Joe dies, his daughter, stepdaughter and wife all struggle with the sudden loss…and each other. Maya, Joe’s biological daughter, is a talented attorney. All her life, her dad told her she’d have to work harder as a Black woman, and she has…to the point where she refuses to accept help or support from anyone. Joe’s wife, Jeanie, has always been cast in the role of white trash, but her love for Judge Joe was everything. Alcohol gives her the escape she wants, but it’s ruining her. Her teenaged daughter, Ryder, has never known another father other than Joe, and having always been a bit of an outsider in high school, starts hanging with a bad crowd to escape her suddenly horrible home life.
What I loved about this book was that Sharina Harris doesn’t pull any punches—each character, including the sainted Joe, is flawed, layered and complicated. And Sharina includes an element that was present in (Im)Perfectly Happy as well, something rarely seen in women’s fiction—a solid, loving relationship that won’t budge under pressure. Refreshing, intelligent and completely relatable, this book is a winner.
(Im)perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris
What a great read! Four college friends reunite ten years after graduation to remind each other of their dreams of the future. Now that they’ve had time to become fully-fledged adults, they have to assess if those goals are still viable, if they’ve made excuses for why they haven’t achieved them, and how they want to spend the next ten years of their lives. I loved each friend so much; strong, funny, hardworking women I’d love to meet for a glass of wine. Highly recommend!
The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs
A lovely story about a woman who leaves her corporate job to try to save her late mother’s San Francisco bookshop and care for her grandfather. Starting over is one of my favorite themes in a book…reinvention, going after something new, taking chances. I loved it, as I love all Susan Wiggs books.
The Peacock Emporium by JoJo Moyes
This is the story of an unusual family and their broken dynamic, and I loved every minute of it. (I listened to this one, and the narration by Elizabeth Sastre was utterly fantastic.) Susanna Peacock is the main character, and her transformation from unhappy misfit to a fully realized person was so believable and interesting. With a complicated past, a too-stoic father and a few secrets about her heritage, she has reason to feel like she’s never quite belonged in her own life. The charming set-up of her shop, her coworkers and regular customers was perfection.
Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert
Two female anti-heroines struggling to shed their pasts, seek revenge and recreate themselves against the backdrop of the obnoxiously rich of New York. Juicy and delicious fun. You really don’t know which woman to pull for, since no character is just one thing.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Gah! It’s terrifying in the most wonderful, creepy, believable way! Hanna is a seven-year-old girl who chooses not to speak. Her mother, Suzette, senses something is off about her daughter’s selective mutism…and her daughter’s obsessive love for her father. Suzette loves her kid, even when she fears her. Is the story over the top? Sure! Give me an evil child story any day for escapist chills and thrills. (Waves to Damien, who still terrifies me.
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Read it one sitting, and I can’t remember the last time I did that. Sally doesn’t make any cheap choices in this novel; every character is nuanced and relatable. Side note: my two moms loved it, too, and we’re having a special lunch just to discuss it.
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
Reading a book by Sophie Kinsella is like visiting with an old friend. This book delivers on everything that’s made Sophie’s books so wonderful—a heroine struggling with self-worth and family pressure, a charming job in a family home-goods shop and a hero with depth and heart.
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
HOW TO WALK AWAY by Katherine Center tells the story of recovery and falling in love when you least expect it. On the day her boyfriend proposes, Margaret has a bad feeling. She’s right. An accident leaves her in the hospital, and no one wants to tell her how bad things are. I loved the intimate writing and cast of imperfect family members, friends and professionals who have to help Margaret adjust to a new way of life. Plus, there was a really believable love story, and that was the icing on the cake.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
This is the story of a town that has one thing going for it—hockey. I don’t know the first thing about the game except it happens on ice, but as was true for Friday Night Lights, this book is not really about hockey…it’s about life in a small, cold town and the chance to get out. Trigger warning—a girl is raped. At this point, I almost stopped reading, but I’m glad I didn’t.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
For all of us who prefer to stay in and read, who like our lives tidy and uncomplicated, this is our story. Except, of course, Nina’s life becomes uncomfortably messy…and fascinating…when her biological father, a stranger to her, includes her in his will. A celebration of those of us who love trivia, reading, bookstores and home. Absolutely lovely.
Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior
This book was a gentle, beautiful story filled with yearning, loneliness and self discovery. I ached for Ellie, so alone in her marriage, wanting to be seen and valued yet not really knowing her own worth. Seeing her journey, her small defiances and her slow realization that she deserved better was incredibly satisfying. Gorgeous writing.
Written with an easy grace and vivid style, this story follows Toni Bennett (pun intended), an indie rock singer and guitarist. With
abandonment issues thanks to a careless mother and nearly nonexistent father, Toni is careful in both her career and her personal life, facing the innate sexism of the rock music industry and maintaining a careful distance even with her friends. When she has the chance to audition with The Lillies, a hot new all-female band, she gives it a try. Ms. Axelrod weaves in a love story between Toni and Sebastian, her first love, also a musician, with the kind of angsty conflict I love. I was fascinated with the music scene, something I know nothing about, but which was brought to bright life in this engaging, vivid page-turner.
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
Is there another author who can make your heart pound like Kennedy Ryan? I don’t think so. With a mellifluous voice and high-stakes plot (and high heat, nearly poetic loves scenes), Queen Move is the story of Kimba, a strong, ambitious woman and the man she’s always loved, Ezra. Childhood friends to lovers, this book is beautifully written, bold and important. Kennedy is a force to be reckoned with. If you want an emotional powerhouse of a novel, this book is for you.
Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
In this stand-alone novel, two sisters find themselves at a crossroads. For years, Addie has taken care of her parents with the guilty blessing of her much older sister, Justine. Now that their parents have passed, Addie’s new life is harder than she thought it would be. Years of caretaking have kept her out of the workforce, her graduate degree unfinished. Justine, meanwhile, comes face to face with her husband’s infidelity. She moves her two daughters back to Half Moon Bay, a beautiful coastal town in California. As with all her books, Robyn Carr makes the town come alive. Each sister is different and vibrant—and decent. It was so refreshing to read a book about good-hearted people making their way in a new reality. Uplifting and fresh, the kind of book that leaves you with a warm feeling in your heart.
Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
Since her debut a few years ago, Sonali Dev's lyrical prose and gift for getting into the reader’s soul have made her a stand-out talent. Recipe for Persuasion is a brilliant homage to Jane Austen’s "Persuasion" of young love separated by family strife. In it, Ashna Raje, a grieving daughter, takes over her late father’s restaurant. It’s not a success, despite her best efforts. Enter a Food Network competition, which pairs a chef with a cooking-challenged celebrity. Ashna’s shock is that Rico Silva, the world’s best soccer (sorry…football) player is her partner on the show. Their secret love during high school and wrenching breakup has haunted them both. The brilliant pairing of the fun show with the depth of emotion makes this an absolute powerhouse.
Dance Away With Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Quite possibly SEP’s best book ever, and I say that as her devoted fan. But wow. She gives us the grouchy alpha male she excels at writing—Ian, a rich kid turned graffiti artist with demons aplenty, and Tess, a widow still reeling from her husband’s unexpected death. The two are linked during a traumatic delivery of a baby; Tess is a midwife. The small Tennessee mountain town is perfectly drawn with a rich cast of completely developed secondary characters. Honestly, this book was perfect as far as I was concerned—a gorgeous blend of drama, personal issues, sizzling chemistry and luscious setting. A perfect ten.
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
This is so much more than a romance—it’s the story of an unusual family made up of four foster brothers, all eventually adopted by one remarkable woman, brought together by her sudden death. It’s the story of community and belonging and being seen, finding your voice and making your mark. Kerry Fuller, who worked in Mama Joy’s knitting shop, has long harbored a crush on one of the Strong Brothers—Jesse, the one brother who wants to keep his mother’s shop open. A gorgeous, heartfelt friends-to-lovers story wrapped up in a neighborhood where everyone knows your business.
The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Kennedy is a rare talent, combining beautiful, lush writing with difficult, real-life issues. In this book, Lennix, a Yavapai-Apache environmental
activist, encounters Maxim, a man born to privilege and wealth, expected to take over his father’s empire. Over the years, they encounter each other again and again, and their relationship deepens. Ms. Ryan’s ability to write a powerful novel intertwined with an incredible love story is unrivaled. (This is part one of a two-book series; the second is The Rebel King).
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
I can’t say enough about the work of Farrah Rochon, and this book was her best yet. Three women find out they’re all dating the same guy. A video of their confrontation with him goes viral, and the insta-fame and unwanted attention causes Samiah to reexamine her life. Farrah is one of the best contemporary romance authors out there—period. Wry humor, intelligence and relatable characters make her books a must-read.
A Reflection of Shadows by Anne Renwick
Steampunk fans will love Anne’s books: medical mystery/romance set in Victorian England with all the creatures and contraptions steampunk brings. This book in particular was wicked fun…a friends to lovers story involving a Queen’s agent and a cat burglar and the experimentation of bringing someone back to life. In real life, the author has a Ph.D. in microbiology, so the medical aspects of all her books are both intelligently detailed and accessible.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
A book that perfectly walks the tightrope between women’s fiction and romance…likeable characters, beautiful setting and an interesting conundrum—when a woman plans to leave her seemingly wonderful husband, only to have him die that very day, how does she move forward? Loved every word.
Too Sweet to Be Good by K.M. Jackson
Small towns are a favorite of mine, and K.M. Jackson understands them…the gossip, the cliques, the awkward feeling of not quite belonging while having everyone know your business. Filled with deeply emotional, eloquent writing and relatable characters, this book is pitch-perfect.
Intercepted by Alexa Martin
This book was so funny that I was making a scene on the airplane, laughing out loud. It felt so fresh and truly contemporary, with the heroine hashtagging her life, her overprotective and completely loveable daddy and a hero who brings some challenges to the relationship…it’s not easy dating Mr. Perfect. The pace never flagged, and the humor was razor-sharp. Romantic comedy at its very best.
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
Sonali is one of the best fiction authors today, period. Her hypnotically beautiful prose, the richness of the world she creates, the depth of emotion make her books crown jewels in women’s fiction. This book does proper homage to Jane Austen. Read it in one sitting, then read it again.
Island Queen by Vanessa Riley
Imagine having to buy yourself out of slavery—the slave holder being your biological father. Imagine having to buy your mother and sister their freedom. And imagine doing this as a woman of color in colonial times. This is the real-life tale of Doll Kirwan, told by master storyteller Vanessa Riley, who captures the strength, intelligence and power of Doll, an entrepreneur, hotelier and landowner who refuses to be defined by anyone but herself. The book is not only a one-sitting read, it’s a slice of history that needs to be told. Utterly brilliant, powerful and inspiring, it will take your breath away.
This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Resident by Adam Kay
I’m a sucker for doctor memoirs, and read just about every one every written, but this one really stole my heart. Adam Kay is a British doctor—an obstetrician—and his stories of patients, colleagues and the vagaries of the National Health Service and his hospital will make you wheeze with laughter sometimes and cry at others. He has a gift for encapsulating life and death events with both humor, intelligence and compassion. A quick read, wickedly funny, kind-hearted and with a perfect dash of bitterness that makes it completely captivating and real.
Educated by Tara Westover
Holy guacamole, what a story! A memoir of a woman who never set foot in a classroom until she went to college. Growing up in a Mormon survivalist family in Idaho, Tara both adored her family and suffered greatly from their isolation from the rest of the world. I listened to her narrate this book, and I think it was even better that way. You won’t forget this story. Ever.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
This book tackles a question every person will have to confront someday: how do you want to die? Dr. Gawande is a fantastic, vibrant storyteller, whether he’s talking about his 109-year-old grandfather checking his farm by horseback, or how one doctor transformed a nursing home into a vibrant place of life and beauty. The book excoriates the American healthcare system for pouring money into medical care and procedures that do nothing to improve the patient’s quality or length of life, and asks the most important questions we’ll all have to answer someday. A unique mix of humor, fact, science for non-scientists and inspiration to live and die well.was perfection.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A memoir of a neurosurgeon’s residency and his discovery that he has cancer, this book is tragic, graceful, honest and fascinating. Dr. Kalanithi talks openly about the pressure doctors are under to obfuscate with patients, how mistakes are made, the grueling training required to become a neurosurgeon and the personal toll it takes. As his skills increase, so does his kindness and empathy as he faces patients and families with grave illness. The tragic irony is that, at age 36, he learns he has stage IV lung cancer. His desire to live battles with what he knows as a physician, and what he wants as a husband, father and son. But to me, the most powerful part of the book is the epilogue, written by Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, Paul’s wife. The grace, eloquence and strength of both husband and wife are nothing short of miraculous. This is a book I’ll never forget.
Bare Minimum Parenting: The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child by James Breakwell
Oh, parents! Read this book and free yourself from the blood sport that parenting has become! With humor, insight and honesty, smart-ass James Breakwell tells you what no other parenting book has the guts to say — relax. You and the kids will be just fine.