April 2020 Must-Reads

April 2020 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Looking for your next great read? Today I’m sharing 11 incredible books I read in April. In this stack you will find great mysteries, thrillers, romance, and contemporary fiction with plenty of great book selections for your next book club discussion. Be sure to bookmark this post for your next library day!

Have you been struggling to get into reading lately? I just want you to know that you are not alone. 

In case you didn’t notice, I was struggling so much that I did not have book reviews for you, in the month of March.

I, honestly, can’t remember a time where I have ever missed a month of reading for you.

I have been referring to my lack of reading as my, “pandemic brain,” and it has really disrupted my concentration for books. Instead, I have found myself gravitating towards fluffy television shows and horrific headline news for my escape.

It’s all about balance, right?

I can’t tell you what finally flipped the switch, but I do know that slowing down on my news consumption, trying to get back to some form of consistent routines (did you see how we are managing the household chores over here), and getting back to a regular work day seem to be key for my brain. 

If you aren’t there yet, it is completely normal.

There is no right way to handle all of this and your books will always be there when you are ready to come back.

Before we start, here are a few things that might help you out of your reading rut!

Join Us for Our May MomAdvice Book Club Discussion

Dominicana by Angie Cruzsnag the incredible may book club book for just $2.99 today!

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This month we will be discussing, “Dominicana,” by Angie Cruz!  You can get this month’s book for just, $2.99!! 

This is one of my favorite reads this year and I really don’t want you to miss this phenomenal book OR participating in our discussion.

You can check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here

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May 2020 Book of the Month

Check out the May Book of the Month Club Selections:

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
May Coupon Codes:

Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Use promo code, MDAY10, which gives you $10 off a 6 or 12-month gift card!

Get your first hardback book for just $9.99 with code MAY5 at checkout.
Personally, I snagged The Knockout Queen this month- Rupi Thorpe is one of my faves! 
Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!

April 2020 Must-Reads

Here are 11 must-read books I tackled in April!

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

This is one of those times where I went into something expecting a thriller, but I felt like the book had been categorized incorrectly and should have been labeled a mystery.

Sarah meets Eddie and they seem to, almost instantly, fall madly in love with each other. Although the relationship is fast and fierce (they have only been together for a week), they both know that they were destined to be together.

When Eddie heads off, on a previously planned vacation, he promises to call her from the airport and says that he can’t wait to get back to her.

This is why she is so surprised when he never calls and seems to just disappear.

She calls, contacts his friends, gets a bit stalker-y, and is completely hung up on why he would exit her life when they were just getting started.

Sarah knows that Eddie wouldn’t just ghost her after they have found each other, but other people in her life feel like maybe that is just what has happened.

Dating right now is tricky and they think it is quite possible that he has moved onto someone else. 

Sarah is determined to find out where Eddie has gone and this is where they both begin to realize that they each have been keeping secrets from each other.

The secrets they each hold complicate their relationship and they learn their lives overlap in some challenging and surprising ways.

I found this to be a really great mystery even if some of the plot twists seemed a bit too coincidental and contrived.

The first half had a really strong start, but this one requires the reader to suspend reality when it comes to the planned twists. 

As a book idea though, in the age of online dating, I think this was such a creative concept.

For that reason alone, I can see why at it was a Book of the Month selection.

I look forward to seeing what Walsh comes up with next, even if her debut didn’t hit all the marks.

3 out of 5 Stars

If you like Ghosted,  you might like these titles:

The Wives

Speaking of Summer


The Other Family


The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan (priced at just $4.99!!)

Thank you to the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ally’s young daughter is struggling with some health problems that her doctors just can’t seem to identify. 

Typically, in cases like these, an exploration in her genetics would provide the clues, but Ally happens to be adopted and doesn’t have any information for her.

Since Ally grew up in a happy home, she has never felt the need to look for her birth mother or had the desire to learn more about her family tree.

To better understand Kylie’s health issues though, she’s encouraged to take a DNA test to find out more so that they can fill in the holes on her medical case.

It is when she receives the results that she finds she has a biological aunt that she has never known. 

Since Ally’s adopted mom seems hurt that Ally is curious about her family roots, she decides to keep her out of the loop and see if she can learn more about her mom, on her own.

What she doesn’t realize though is that opening this box helps them discover information that can help her daughter AND can help her in ways that she never knew she needed. 

This is a quick and adorable read that I ended up really enjoying. Nyhan’s exploration of what it means to be family and how complicated families can come together was a fun escape that would be great for your summer stack.

3 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Other Family  you might like these titles:

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Matchmaking for Beginners

Where the Forest Meets the Stars

The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

I selected this as a Book of the Month selection and I’m so glad that I did. If you are looking for a spooky ghost story, you will love this latest novel from Simone St. James. 

What could be creepier than a rundown motel?

Carly Kirk finds herself applying for a position there because this is exactly where her Aunt Viv had worked and then suddenly disappeared.

Carly wants to find out what happened to her and she has a feelings that the answers just might lie in this motel.

In 1982, Viv moved to New York and snagged a job as a night clerk at a motel.

She soon discovers that there are regular guests visiting, but she isn’t always sure if these guests are real or ghosts. 

As if being a night clerk wasn’t scary enough, amiright?

As Viv battles these creepy visitors, she disappears and her family never hears from her again. 

Carly is intent on finding out what happened to her aunt so it is seems fitting that she snags the same position at this rundown motel that her aunt did. Not much as changed since 1982 and Carly soon discovers just what might have scared her aunt off all those years ago. 

This mystery had a very Hitchcock feel to it and I loved the layering of all the guests stories and how they intertwined with Carly & Viv’s story.  This ghost story isn’t too scary, but has just the right kind of creepy vibes that made it a perfect escape this month. 

I really loved this one and have a feeling you will too!

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Sun Down Motel you might like these titles:

Bird Box

Things in Jars

All Things Cease to Appear

How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (pre-order for just $3.99)

Thank you to the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This book will be available on July 14th!

As a treat to myself, I thought it would be fun to read a couple of the advanced readers that I have received to share for your summer stacks. 

Over the years, I’ve grown really fond of Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke and what they have crafted together. 

In fact, I loved this duo so much that I did an interview with them to learn more about their writing process.

Magical realism is something that I absolutely love, especially if it is done right. In this fun Groundhog Day novel, the reader is asked to explore just how far you would be willing to go to save the life of someone you love.

When Dom bumps into Mia, his ex-fiancée whom he hasn’t seen in almost a decade, he believes that he has been gifted a second chance to ask her out.

Sadly, the evening ends when Mia tragically dies on their date.

More than anything, Dom wishes that they could give this second chance…well, a second chance. 

Lucky for him (or unlucky for him), when he wakes up the next day he realizes that he is reliving the day again and will get that opportunity.

Over and over and over, Dom tries to change the fate of Mia by changing their date and what happens that day.

Helplessly, the scenario keeps repeating itself, but he just can’t seem to escape her fate or reliving the day again. 

It is only when Dom starts to confront his own truth that he realizes that he finds that he really can change his own fate.

Done wrong, this type of story can feel tedious because so many elements have to be repeated and I worried that this novel was going to fall into that trap.

Fortunately, Fenton & Steinke find a way to deliver a repeated day in such beautiful ways that you can’t help but root for Mia & Dom to be able to have a different kind of day together.

This has all the right ingredients for the perfect summer read- a great romance, a dash of magic, and truth bombs that are easy to devour.

Priced at just $3.99, you can’t go wrong with this one for a great summer escape…even if you might feel like you are trapped in a Groundhog Day plot yourself in quarantine.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like How to Save a Life you might like these titles:

The Life Intended

Time of My Life

I Liked My Life

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you are looking for a, “feel good,” read right now, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

If you are looking for a layered family drama that tries to take on big book club themes, then this book would be for you! 

Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her biracial son, Xavier, and is so proud of the young man is becoming.

Xavier is destined for great things and is headed to college in the fall.

Their life has been fairly idyllic, but all of that changes when the Whitmans move next door. 

I am sure we all can roll our eyes at people with, “new money,” that flaunt their wealth excessively.

The father,  in this family, is as obnoxious as they come.

As a self-made man, he is flashy and over-the-top with everything in his life. 

The conflict starts when the two are at odds over a historic oak tree that is on the property line of their house.

Valerie is a professor of forestry and ecology so the tree has great importance to her.

When the family begins making renovations to their property, the tree starts to suffer and Valerie can’t let it go. 

Brad Whitman uses this dispute to fuel his anger and it is amplified when Xavier and his daughter fall in love. 

This is a Romeo & Juliet story where neither parent is thrilled with the relationship and this dispute ends in a tragedy that neither family would expect.

The neighbors, in this novel, observe the happenings within the neighborhood and narrate the tale. Fowler uses their voice to help foreshadow what is happening and to guide the reader through each moment of the drama.

This would be a meaty pick for any book club, even if the ending might not lead where the reader wants the story to go.

It has big themes that explore race, entitlement, and wealth. 

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like A Good Neighborhood you might like these titles:

Little Fires Everywhere

Ask Again, Yes

Did You Ever Have a Family?

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

If you would have told me that I would have found Jessica Simpson’s memoir to be one of the most compelling reads this month, I don’t know if I would have believed you.  

Well, guess what?

This memoir is incredible! 

I do think memoirs are best savored in audiobook format, especially when they are read by their author.

This memoir, in particular, lends itself well to this format because there is so much emotion behind so many of these passages that allow you to connect with her writing so much more. 

Simpson’s title says it all because she unashamedly shares her story from the beginning of her career to her current successes. 

Her life has definitely not been all roses and sunshine and this book is quite dishy.

The meat of this doesn’t lie in learning about her past marriage with Nick Lachey though.

It lies within her own internal struggles.

Originally slated to write a self-help book, she realized that the way that she could people more is by being open and honest about what she has had to overcome to reach success and happiness. She was not prepared to give advice, but she could share the challenges within her own story.

Within these pages is the power struggle with her parents, the tragic death in her family, the sexual abuse she endured, her struggles with healthy body acceptance, the toxic relationships she gravitated towards, her struggles with addiction, and her continued body dysmorphic disorder after having kids.

I think many people will come to hear Jessica Simpson spill the tea, but I was surprised to find so much more within this story than I had expected.

While often thought of as a dumb blonde, she now runs a successful billion-dollar global fashion brand that proves she has more brains than Hollywood had ever expected. 

I really enjoyed this one for its refreshing honesty and smartly layered truth bombs within its pages. 

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like Open Book you might like these titles:

Wild Game

High Achiever

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni (priced at just $1.99 today!!)

I had a feeling that this was going to be my favorite read this month and it, absolutely, was!

This coming-of-age story is GORGEOUS and just what you need to escape with this month.

In fact, I would say that this is my favorite book (so far) this year.

Sam Hill is born with a rare condition called ocular albinism that make him look different from his peers. His red pupils are the subject of ridicule, at his Catholic school, and his classmates refer to him as the, “Devil Boy.” Although his last name is Hill, the bullies at school refer to him as, “Sam Hell,” instead.

Despite his differences, his mother believes that this is God’s will and that this difference is what makes Sam so extraordinary. 

She will stop at nothing to help Sam pave his path in the world and is thrilled when Sam finds his first friend in Ernie, the only African American kid at his school. The two form a fast friendship and both find the same magnificent friendship in a little girl, named Mickie, who his willing to stand up for Sam more than anyone. 

The book is told from Sam’s adult perspective, now working as an opthamologist, and his boyhood journey towards acceptance. Dugoni, masterfully, brings this coming-of-age story together so beautifully that I was enchanted from the very first page.

In fact, I found myself NOT wanting to finish this because I didn’t want it to be over. 

Dugoni’s inspiration came from his own brother, who had Down Syndrome, and his mother’s tireless fight to make sure he was always cared for. He paired this inspiration with a newspaper story he read about a little boy who couldn’t get into a Catholic school because of a condition called, ocular albinism. 

I can’t rave enough about this beautiful read and how much it touched my heart. It is everything that a satisfying read should be and would be a fantastic pick for any book club. 

Add this one to your stack today! 

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell you might like these titles:

Ordinary Grace

Setting Free the Kites

The Book of Harlan

What You Wish For

What You Wish For by Katherine Center (available for pre-order)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Katherine Center has become my go-to comfort food, for literature, and I needed that a lot this month. This novel will hit store shelves on July 14th and I highly recommend pre-ordering this phenomenal little escape. 

Did I mention that it stars a school librarian? 

What more do I need to say?

Samantha loves her job as a librarian and is devastated when their beloved principal passes away.

When she discovers that a guy she used to have a crush on, Duncan Carpenter, is the next principal she is thrilled for her school… and maybe, a little secretly thrilled for herself too.

She remembers Duncan as a hilarious jokester that any kid would love and any woman would find charming. 

The Duncan Carpenter that arrives at their school though is nothing like the man she remembered. 

This guy is the opposite of fun and he seems determined to remove any element of it in their school.

He eliminates their school’s fun traditions, implements strict school rules and guidelines, and even strips color from the walls of every room. 

Sam is bewildered and dismayed by Duncan’s behavior, as is the rest of the staff at school. 

What Sam doesn’t know is how Duncan has gotten to this point and that, folks, is where the meat of the story lies. 

Center delivers another pull-at-your-heartstrings story with quirky characters, believable depth, and a focus on finding strength in community.

Her love stories are always solid and this is another winner that I think you are really going to love this summer!

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like What You Wish For you might like these titles:

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Girl He Used to Know

The Unhoneymooners

High Achiever

High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins

Fun fact, Tiffany Jenkins shows up in my Facebook feed selling FabFitFun boxes all the time and one day I bought her book.

These two facts are, remarkably, unrelated because I had no clue who she was or ever made the connection until I read her bio at the end of the book.

If you are looking for a really compelling memoir and loved, Orange is the New Black memoir, you won’t be able to put this one down! 

Tiffany was an opioid addict who ended up getting caught and heading to jail. What makes her story so compelling though is that her boyfriend was a Deputy Sheriff and unaware that she had been buying and selling drugs while they were living together. 

No addict’s story is as straightforward as that though, is it?

Although Jenkins was struggling with addiction, lying, and stealing from those around her, she never intended to sell drugs.

She ended up being blackmailed and forced into selling drugs because someone had threatened to tell her boyfriend. 

As we all know, being an addict isn’t ideal if you are trying to sell drugs and she ends up getting high on her own supply. 

When she gets caught, her experience in jail is far different than anyone else because everyone works with her boyfriend and is angry about what she has done to him. She becomes the target of abuse and mistreatment until she is able to enter a recovery program, trying to begin the next chapter of her life.

Tiffany’s story reads like fiction and is as good as any movie that I’ve watched. She owns up to her mistakes, even when they are are embarassing and hurtful to those around her. She does not gloss over a single moment of what it would be like to be an addict or the journey towards her new start. 

Who knew that the lady’s ads that made me LOL (and stopped me in my scroll) were connected to someone who lived such an incredibly difficult life story?

I guarantee that you won’t be able to put this one down! Check out Tiffany’s blog to follow more of her story!

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like High Achiever you might like these titles:

Orange is the New Black (the memoir)

The Mars Room


Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

If you are looking for a steamy escape this month, I think this pick just might be for you!

This romance is the first in a series of love stories told from the different sister’s perspectives in the Brown family.

It makes a great one to read if you want to keep following along with their Brown family story or can just be read as a standalone.

As someone who deals with chronic pain, there might be a reason why I adored this a little more than the average reader.

Chloe Brown has fibromyalgia and struggles daily with pain that have sidelined her from a lot of the activities in her life. 

She has decided though that she’s tired of letting her illness stop her from doing everything she wants to do in life and that’s why she has made a, “get a life” bucket list that will motivate her to try new experiences that are out of her comfort zone.

She realizes that if she wants to accomplish these things on her list though that she needs someone to help do them with her. 

It turns out, Redford ‘Red’ Morgan just might be the ticket.

The fact that he is obnoxious has to be put aside so that she can accomplish her list.

You see, Chloe has observed that her apartment’s handyman is more than meets the eye because he also happens to be an artist who paints at night. 

How would she know this?

Oh, maybe because she spies on him a little and just might find him a *teeny* bit attractive.

When I say this is steamy, it is like reading a bit of soft porn so I’m just putting that out there before you pick it up.

I adored it because I love a love-hate romance and because it was refreshing to read about a sexy heroine who is battling a chronic illness.  

I would love to see more books like this in the future because, let’s be honest, chronic illness warriors are sexy as heck! 

4 out of 5 Stars

If you liked Get a Life, Chloe Brown, you might like these titles:

The Hating Game

The Kiss Quotient

Red, White, & Royal Blue

Pretty Things

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Want a thriller that you will not be able to put down?

Add this to your stack TODAY- it is INCREDIBLE!

First of all, Nicole Kidman & Amazon will be adapting this so you will want to read it before you watch it.

Secondly, who couldn’t use an escape from reality right now?

I loved Watch Me Disappear so I was anxious to get my hands on this one. Brown is such a gifted thriller writer and I had heard a lot of early buzz on this being the next thriller must-read.

The story is told from alternating perspectives of two women whose lives are intertwined in ways that they would never expect.

Nina’s mom is a con artist who does the best she can to keep Nina in a good school and has given her the best childhood she can, despite her profession.

When Nina finds friendship with a wealthy boy at school, they find comfort in being outcasts together. They spend afternoons hanging out, smoking weed, and feeling a deep freindship with one another.

As their friendship blossoms into something more, they get busted by his father and Nina is removed from the school and taken away from the one boy who loves her.

Now Nina works as a high-end con artist herself, in partnership with her boyfriend, Lachlan. She scopes social media accounts for the fabulously wealthy, drugs them up, and then takes all she can from their home.

It’s okay though- she’s doing it to pay for her mom’s cancer treatment.

When the two hit a rough financial patch, she remembers the boy she fell in love with…oh, and the passcode to the family safe that holds millions.

They discover there is a cottage they can rent, on the old family property, and try to become fast friends with Vanessa (the sister) who now owns the place.

Vanessa is a bit of a “con” herself because she has been leading a fake heiress Instagram life online. 

The question is, who is going to con who?

This is SO TWISTY and SO DELICIOUS that I stayed up hours and hours past by bedtime to finish it. 

The best part?


The endings in thrillers often are disappointing, but this one does not disappoint in a single way.

I was captivated from start to finish, loved the intricacy that Brown was weaved, and her dialogue is smart and addictive.

Move this one ot the top of your stack and I can’t wait to hear how much you loved it too! 

5 out of 5 Stars

If you liked Pretty Things, you might like these titles:

The Other Mrs.

Necessary People

The Turn of the Key

Read With Me This Year

January 2020 Must-Reads

February 2020 Must-Reads

March- SKIPPED (pandemic brain)

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Happy Reading!


Published May 04, 2020 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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