Raise your hand if you have a New Year’s resolution… basically everyone is raising their hand, right? Well, mine continues to be “read more, stress less,” so today I’m sharing 19 books that are on my TBR for 2019!
I fell in love with Jane Harper from the moment that I was introduced to Aaron Falk, the character featured in The Dry and Force of Nature. This book, however, will be a standalone novel. Harper writes such deeply atmospheric thrillers, so vivid that you can feel the heat of Australia. I can’t wait to see what new characters we’re introduced to!
Synopsis: Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper. They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects… Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.
Aside from just absolutely loving the title of this book, the story sounds like a fantastic look at how a family copes with an unfathomable situation while also dealing with their own personal demons. I’m currently about 25% of the way through this one and am absolutely in love
Synopsis: The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.
The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.
Taylor fell absolutely in love with Center’s How to Walk Away (check out her full review here!), saying that it dealt with tough issues and had her laughing, crying, and swooning the whole time. For obvious reasons, when she completely fan-girled when she saw Things You Save in a Fire. Reviews are already popping up, and they are absolutely raving about this one.
Synopsis: Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?
I absolutely fell in love with Marybeth when I read When We Were Worthy. As a result, I can honestly say this is easily in my top 5 anticipated book of 2019. Her style is just so easy to read, and I can’t believe it took me so long to grab a copy of one of her works.
Synopsis: Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts? Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be? As the days pass, the list of suspects in her disappearance grows. Could it be the recently released man a young Annie misidentified as her mother’s killer? Could it be someone even closer to her? While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.
I’m going to be totally honest… I had Next Year in Havana on my shelf for months before I finally picked it up. Once I did, I was so upset that it took me so long to dig in! Cleeton did such an amazing job: a touch of mystery, a dash of romance, and descriptions that have me wishing I could visit Havana. Plus, it was a pleasant change of pace to read a historical fiction novel that took place outside of the WWI or WWII era.
Synopsis: Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost. As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…
Comics for book lovers? YES, PLEASE!
Synopsis: Bookworms rejoice! These charming comics capture exactly what it feels like to be head-over-heels for hardcovers. And paperbacks! And ebooks! And bookstores! And libraries!
Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung’s comics are humorous and instantly recognizable—making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they’re understood and appreciated.
Over the summer, I got my mom hooked on Ruth Ware by sharing my highly coveted ARC of The Death of Mrs. Westaway. When I saw Ware had another book coming so soon (September 2019!), I immediately sent her the information so I could have someone to fan-girl with adequately. Her response? “You better find an advance copy, because I can’t wait until September!”
Synopsis: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant. It was everything. She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, Angie Thomas is the mastermind behind The Hate U Give, the book that I repeatedly force everyone around me to read because it’s Just. So. Good! If I’m being totally honest, I’m really anxious to read her next release because I’m not sure how it could possibly beat her debut. Fingers crossed I’m surprised!
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
Last year, the world watched Meghan Markle become royalty, so it’s only fitting that this year we go back to another story where another American becomes royalty. Plus, ever since I was a child and first visited the Biltmore House, I’ve held such a fascination with the Vanderbilts and can’t wait to read about Consuelo!
Synopsis: Before Meghan and Harry, another American ‘princess’ captured the hand of an English aristocrat. Now, Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.” On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things. At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…? From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.
The authors of last year’s hit, The Wife Between Us, did it again. It was absolutely chilling and addictive, and readers will be sucked in immediately.
Synopsis: Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
I’ve had the privilege to read the first chapter of this one… and if the remainder is even remotely as strong, it’s going to be one of my top reads of 2019. And I don’t take that statement lightly.
Synopsis: Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
This debut has been compared to works by Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng and has received numerous positive reviews already. It’s on my bookshelf as we speak, so I will keep you posted on my thoughts
Synopsis: My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . . Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community. Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. An addictive debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Miracle Creek is both a twisty page-turner and a deeply moving story about the way inconsequential lies and secrets can add up—with tragic consequences.
The concept of arranged marriages has always fascinated me – especially, how does it feel to participants in modern day? A modern romance with a traditional twist, this sounds amazing
Synopsis: In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love. To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.
Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating. She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her. With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”
As I was looking for books for this post, I stumbled upon this gem. I read the synopsis, my eyes grew to the size of saucers, and excitedly squealed (which woke Ramsey up from a nap – he looked at me with such annoyance that I would do such a thing *sorry Rams*). Novels that take place in the near future always particularly thrill/terrify me because, to be honest, usually they seem far too realistic.
Synopsis: How far would you go to protect your child? A bold, provocative debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout , about a father who will do anything to protect his son–even if it means turning him white. Our narrator faces an impossible decision. Like any father, he just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is growing larger by the day. In this near-future society plagued by resurgent racism, segregation, and expanding private prisons, our narrator knows Nigel might not survive. Having watched the world take away his own father, he is determined to stop history from repeating itself. There is one potential solution: a new experimental medical procedure that promises to save lives by turning people white. But in order to afford Nigel’s whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few Black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly surreal hoops–from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups–in an urgent quest to protect his son. This electrifying, suspenseful novel is at once a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. Writing in the tradition of Ralph Ellison and Franz Kafka, Maurice Carlos Ruffin fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.
How can I describe how fantastic TJR is as an author? I’m currently reading this book, and *literally* had to Google to see if Daisy Jones & The Six was actually a real band. She writes that realistic of an author. It’s not your average novel – it basically reads like a documentary with the interviews. You can see it coming to life right off the pages (and you’ll see it come to life IRL – Reese Witherspoon and Amazon are doing a series adaptation!)
Synopsis: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now. Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
TBH… they had me at Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, the cover features a pretty woman staring at her reflection in a knife, and that really sold me on it. Is that weird? Maybe? Whatever, I’m sold.
Synopsis: Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored. We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with. We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive. Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.
Bitcoin is “all the rage” (is that what the kids are saying these days? IDK I’m too old to keep up with the slang anymore), and this just looks like a fantastic nonfiction choice for my 2019 reading.
Synopsis:Ben Mezrich’s 2009 bestseller The Accidental Billionaires is the definitive account of Facebook’s founding and the basis for the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network. Two of the story’s iconic characters are Harvard students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss: identical twins, Olympic rowers, and foils to Mark Zuckerberg. Bitcoin Billionaires is the story of the brothers’ redemption and revenge in the wake of their epic legal battle with Facebook. Planning to start careers as venture capitalists, the brothers quickly discover that no one will take their money after their fight with Zuckerberg. While nursing their wounds in Ibiza, they accidentally run into an eccentric character who tells them about a brand-new idea: cryptocurrency. Immersing themselves in what is then an obscure and sometimes sinister world, they begin to realize “crypto” is, in their own words, “either the next big thing or total bulls–t.” There’s nothing left to do but make a bet.
From the Silk Road to the halls of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitcoin Billionaires will take us on a wild and surprising ride while illuminating a tantalizing economic future. On November 26, 2017, the Winklevoss brothers became the first bitcoin billionaires. Here’s the story of how they got there–as only Ben Mezrich could tell it.
I grabbed a copy of this one with my January Book of the Month credit – partially because the cover is absolutely stunning and partially because the story just sounded so fascinating. It’s part history, part love story, part coming-of-age, part magical tale.
Synopsis:Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into a dark adventure: a mirror world of secrets and superstitions.
Eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy Ren also has a secret, a promise he must fulfill to his dead master: to find his master’s severed finger and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths wrack the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
Yangsze Choo’s The Night Tiger pulls us into a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzling and propulsive novel is the intimate coming of age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.
This YA seems to have a very similar vibe to The Handmaid’s Tale -but with a twist- and focuses on many issues that are prevalent in today’s society. I am totally here for that.
Synopsis: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society. And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
I’ve been seeing this one all over social media already, which always makes me even more excited to get my hands on a copy. Plus, when a book has a vague synopsis, usually there’s a twist – and hopefully one that I won’t pick up on from the first pages!
Synopsis: The night before…and the nightmare after. Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands. But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets or is the night before her last night alive?
Told in dual timelines—the night before and the day after—The Night Before is a riveting thriller about family loyalty, obsession,
There are so many more on my TBR, but hopefully this has you as excited as I am for reading my way through 2019! Stay tuned to see what the new year brings me at Shih Tzus & Book Reviews!