Every year, I make it a goal to read 100 books. And for the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to hit that goal a few months early, surpassing it in October of this year. And I have the reading habits I’ve established to thank for it. But what’s really made it possible is the books themselves.
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This year, I have picked up so many books that I haven’t been able to put down. And now, I’m giving you book recommendations in every genre so that you can get lost in a book (or a few) and hit your reading goals, too.
I’ll admit it: I don’t seek out long books. So when I first came across 480-page "The Change" by Kirsten Miller, I was hesitant. But I am so happy that I did pick this one up because once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. This genre-bender is a fascinating read filled with fantastical elements, commentary on the constant power struggle of women and men, and a heartbreaking mystery.
For three women in the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, menopause isn’t at all what they expected. Nessa James has inherited her grandmother’s ability to see and hear the dead. Harriett Osborne has discovered a proclivity for a unique type of gardening. And Jo Levison has grown stronger than she ever could have imagined. Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio discover a teenage girl whose body was abandoned beside a remote beach. When the police write the victim off as a drug-addicted sex worker, Nessa, Harriett, and Jo understand that they’ve been given their gifts in order to take matters into their own hands.
The Hotel Nantucket
Elin Hilderbrand is my favorite author, so it is no surprise that she is on this list. Her latest novel, "The Hotel Nantucket", is Hilderbrand at her best: multiple point-of-view characters that you can’t get enough of, mysteries that keep you turning pages, and a love letter to the people, food, and scenery of Nantucket.
Fresh off a bad breakup, Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, she hopes to turn it back into the gem it once was. But Lizbet will face plenty of challenges on her quest for the elusive five-key rating from wildly popular Instagram influencer Shelly Carpenter, including the ghost of nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley, an unexpected guest with two children and a dog, and a chef who will be familiar to longtime Hilderbrand fans.
Some of my favorite novels to read are sweeping, intergenerational family dramas, and "Black Cake" by Charmaine Wilkernson is a perfect example of one. It explores the influence our parents have over our lives and the ways our relationships with our siblings change as we grow older.
In present-day California, estranged siblings Byron and Benny come together to mourn their mother, who has left them with a puzzling inheritance: a black cake and a voice recording. In dual timelines, we learn Eleanor’s story and see how the secrets she has finally revealed forever change Byron and Benny’s relationship.
As a longtime fan of Nina LaCour’s young adult novels, I was highly anticipating her adult debut. And Yerba Buena did not disappoint. This story of two women who overcome their pasts to then find themselves and each other had me crying both sad and happy tears.
Raised by a single dad and surrounded by addiction and poverty, Sara Foster leaves home at sixteen after an unspeakable tragedy, eventually building a life for herself in Los Angeles. Emilie Dubois, an LA native, also comes from a family marked by addiction, which has led her to her seventh year and fifth major as an undergraduate. When Sara and Emilie meet at hip restaurant Yerba Buena, where Sara is the new sought-after bartender and Emilie has taken a job arranging flowers, they are immediately drawn to each other. But they will have to process their pasts and learn what they want from their futures if they have any chance of a relationship with each other.
I never know quite what to expect from the magical realism genre, and if I tried to predict how reading "Other Birds" by Sarah Addison Allen would make me feel, I would have failed miserably. Reading this story about the importance of the people who come in and out of our lives was like being embraced in the most comforting hug.
When Zoey comes to Mallow Island, South Carolina, to claim her deceased mother’s apartment at The Dellawisp, she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a girl on the run, two estranged middle-aged sisters, a lonely chef, a legendary writer, and three ghosts. What follows is a story of the fears, desires, losses, and love that define humanity.
Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay
The best books, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, validate your feelings while also teaching you how to navigate them. And that is exactly what "Big Feelings" is all about. This is a book I know I will turn to again and again.
Tackling one big feeling, such as uncertainty, comparison, and regret, in each of its seven chapters, "Big Feelings" debunks the myths that cause you to feel like you shouldn’t feel what you’re feeling and provides you with actionable strategies for how to manage your feelings. "Big Feelings" doesn’t tell you that the solution is to stop feeling the way you’re feeling. Instead, through personal stories, scientific studies, and original illustrations, Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy help you understand and add meaning to your feelings.
I have been a fan of Katherine Center since I devoured "How to Walk Away" when it came out in 2018, but I will admit the premise of "The Bodyguard" didn’t really excite me. I am happy to admit that I was absolutely, 100% wrong. This book was so lighthearted and cute while also addressing serious issues of loss, trauma, and grief. I was totally obsessed with the voice of main character Hannah, and I found myself falling for Jack, too. "The Bodyguard" is an all around perfect book.
Following the death of her mother and the end of a relationship, Executive Protection Agent Hannah Brooks wants nothing more than an assignment that will take her out of the country. A job as a bodyguard for superstar actor Jack Stapleton in her home state of Texas isn’t at all what she had in mind. But with a dream assignment on the line and a man in need of protection from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker, Hannah has no choice but to accept the gig. The catch? In order to protect Jack and keep her identity from his family, she’ll have to pretend to be his girlfriend.
If I had to choose one book I read in 2022 that I know will stay with me forever, it would be "The Measure" by Nikki Erlick. The premise of this one is so unique that I still haven’t stopped thinking about it, even months after having read it. Consider forcing a friend to read this one, too, or reading it with your book club because I guarantee you’ll want to talk to someone about it afterwards.
One random day, everyone in the world over the age of twenty-two wakes up to a box outside their door. The box holds a string that contains the measure of their life, the amount of time they will live for. And now, everyone has a choice: do they open the box and learn when they will die and if so, what do they do with that knowledge? Through the stories of eight people, Nikki Erlick explores the effect such an extraordinary event has on individuals, old and new relationships, and society as a whole.
Courtney Summers has written some of my favorite young adult thrillers, and "The Project" may just be her best. I was absolutely enthralled by this dual-point-of-view, dual-timeline story about a religious cult and the two sisters whose lives become entangled in it.
When their parents die in a tragic car accident, Bea joins an elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. After spending six years trying to reconnect with Bea only to be met with radio silence, Lo is finally given the opportunity to learn more about The Project and its charismatic leader. But she soon learns that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger.
Sometimes you come across a novel that is an absolute delight to read, and "Pest" by Elizabeth Foscue is that novel. "Pest" is fast-paced and funny. It’s got mystery, and it’s got romance. Hallie is a lovable main character, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from rooting for her.
All Hallie Mayhew wants to do is get to school on time, get her homework done, and maybe even see a movie with her friends. Instead, she’s always working, be it for her dad’s pest control company, her mom’s pond cleaning service, or a tourist hotspot in Santa Barbara. Hallie knows that she needs to get out, but her only hope of making it to her dream east coast school is the prestigious Verhaag Scholarship. But the scholarship has a proud history of nepotism, and when a last-minute contender crawls out of the woodwork, Hallie has two options. She can enlist the help of Spencer Salazar, the dim, infuriating (and kinda hot) rich kid next door, or she can pad her resume with an extracurricular like the Yearbook Committee, if only her parking lot nemesis wasn’t the editor. Of course, neither option is easy.