Are you ready for winter reading? I’m sharing a stack of SEVENTEEN books to check out this month. Be sure to pin today’s post for your next library day.
It’s time to discuss another massive stack of books with you today. I have seventeen books to share today and so many more to talk about for next month. As you can imagine, this is the busiest time of year as I prepare for next year’s book club year.
Be sure to check back on December 1st for my big announcement for our reading year together.
You don’t want to miss our year of reading together.
What’s Happening on the Book Gang Podcast
Even though the blog has been quieter, I’m still talking books every week on our podcast. The MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast has been so much fun to work on, and I’ve loved hearing your feedback on these episodes.
These past two months, we have talked about under-the-radar thrillers for your stack (with Mary Kubica!), heard from a top GoodReads reviewer on how he holds his top standing on this platform (along with some incredible book suggestions), and found the best fantasy escapes to escape reality in hard times. I also learned a lot about the book world by researching for a reader’s backlist reading challenge and what the book shortage experience is like for a bookseller.
You can listen to all of the episodes of MomAdvice Book Gang on Apple or wherever you stream your favorite podcasts. If you enjoy it, please consider subscribing, liking, and sharing it with your favorite bookworm friends!
I’ve also been in the thick of recording our author interviews, which has been the best thing for this reader. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to hear about these books’ writing process from the authors themselves!
You can join the MomAdvice Book Gang for just $5 for an exclusive one-of-a-kind reading experience, and let me be your tour guide. I have selected 12 phenomenal books to read together that were picked just for you. These are thought-provoking stories that deserve discussion, and many are hidden literary treasures. The official 2022 MomAdvice Book Club selection announcement will happen on December 1st. Your $5 membership will grant you access to the following exclusive features.
Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors. Learn the stories behind each of their stories and what they hope you will walk away from each of their books.
Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts. Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to both paperback and hardback selections.
Exclusive MomAdvice Book Gang Podcast Episodes & Early Access Book Reviews. Your stack will be toppling over with my real-time reviews each month. These reviews are available in both audio and printable formats.
Monthly Themed Playlists & Digital Downloads. Pair your favorite thriller with my spooky playlist. Brew some tea and listen to an instrumental mix with your favorite classic. Embrace short story songs with my favorite storytellers. The playlists are endless and digital downloads are available for your reading journals.
Sneak Peek Upcoming Content. You will know before anyone else what to expect in upcoming podcast episodes and what I’m researching for our next shows. Be bookishly curious with me and give your input for these MomAdvice Book Gang podcast shows.
Did you know that I offer a free virtual book club too? Be sure to join the MomAdvice Book Club, and you will never be without a book again!
You can check out the complete list of 2021 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here.
Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews.
I try to post a daily book deal list for you to keep your Kindle fully stocked!
Check this list daily here, or you can sign up for my daily deal newsletter, and I will send them right to your inbox!
Get a FREE Book Just for Being a Prime Member
Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month?
Yup, I always try to remind you of this fantastic little Prime perk!
Grab YOUR FREE BOOK FOR September over here. (please note: this will load tomorrow for you!)
A Little Hope- Ethan Joella
The Keeper of the Night- Kylie Lee Baker
The Collective- Alison Gaylin
The Family- Naomi Krupitsky
How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days- K.M. Jackson
Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!
November 2021 Must-Reads
4 out of 5 Stars
I love how historical fiction can take us down a rabbit hole, and that’s just what this book did.
This story was inspired by those who assisted with forged documents that helped children escape from Nazi concentration camps.
Told from alternating timelines, we are introduced to Eva, a librarian, shelving books when she locks eyes with a story and photograph of a book she has not seen in more than sixty years. This book holds the names and secrets of Eva’s time assisting children to safety through the documents she fabricated for them.
Eva must travel to claim the book and explain the story, but that’s not all that might be hidden in the book.
She’s been waiting for many years for a correspondence that could give her closure and peace to her own love story.
This book is one of those universal book recommendations that I think any reader could appreciate and share as a gift. It incorporates all the necessary ingredients for a solid historical fiction read- a well-researched backstory, a great love interest, innovative twists, and some clever creative liberties crafted by the author for this book. This lent itself well to our book club discussion and, overall, seemed to be liked by all our book club members.
After you finish this one, be sure to go back to our MomAdvice Book Club Events to see the discussion with links to the story of Adolfo Kaminsky and the work he did to bring these children to safety.
Once you read it, you won’t ever forget the incredible bravery and sacrifice that was made to ensure the safety of these kids.
5 out of 5 Stars
I found this story to be charming, laugh-out-loud funny, with memorable characters that made it difficult to put down.
Our main character, Daniel, considers himself a lucky guy even though he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child. This disease leaves him unable to speak or move without a wheelchair and requires constant care to help him lead as normal of a life as possible.
When a local girl goes missing, Daniel realizes that he may have been the last person to see the girl and the person who may have kidnapped her that day.
He decides to take his story to Reddit, and it is there where he begins a conversation with the captor. As he discloses more and more, Daniel is convinced he might be the one to help solve the case, but it is tough to convince the police that you have valuable information when you can’t speak or move.
I’m thrilled I made space for this one in my stack and highly recommend it if you look for memorable characters with laugh-out-loud plotlines.
5 out of 5 Stars
This captivating coming-of-age story pulled at every heartstring as you follow one girl’s journey towards finding love in her chosen family.
April has always had a difficult life, so it isn’t hard for her to pack her things and leave behind her father. The problem is that she is completely broke and must figure out a way to survive once she’s gone.
In Ithica, she finds a job as a waitress and an unexpected support system that can finally bring her the peace she needs. But, unfortunately, April is unaccustomed to love and doesn’t know how to accept the peace she’s found.
As a reader, this journey can be a difficult one to take because you long for April to settle into these spaces where she has captured people’s love and hearts.
What makes it worth continuing along with April is that these people just won’t give up on her, bringing these big heartwarming moments that remind us that chosen families can be just as good as the ones we are given. I couldn’t put this one down and am adding this to my list of top books for 2021.
5 out of 5 Stars
I have been raving a lot about Jeff Zentner on the podcast, and his latest release solidifies his standing as one of my favorite YA authors and solidifies his holding in our 2022 Book Club year.
Cash and Delaney are dear friends that have the shared experience of being children of addicts and growing up in a small Appalachian town. So when Delaney receives a scholarship offer to an elite school, she accepts only because she can bring Cash with her on the same scholarship acceptance.
Cash should be thrilled to get this offer but feels conflicted because his grandfather is raising him and battling emphysema. With their encouragement, though, he takes the coveted spot at the school. It’s through the support of one teacher; Cash begins to find his voice, people, and someone to call his own.
The audiobook narration is just gorgeous and brings Zentner’s story to life even more.
I would highly recommend doing it in this format if you can make the space for it.
Zentner does coming-of-age stories SO WELL, and the storytelling in this one is superb. I couldn’t stop listening to this gorgeous read and loved how Cash evolved through this story.
This is, absolutely, my favorite YA book of the year.
5 out of 5 Stars
This captivating read comes with many trigger warnings, especially if you are a highly sensitive reader (rape, incest, sexual assault). I found it worth the journey, though, and finished this haunting book in a single day.
This fast page-turner opens with Elle and her oldest friend Jona sneaking out the back door and having sex with each other while their spouses chat away in the kitchen.
They are on vacation at the summer home, nicknamed the Paper Palace, where she has spent every summer of her life.
Over the next twenty-four hours, Elle is faced with deciding to stay with her husband or leave him for the boy she has always loved. But, unfortunately, that boy also happens to hold the biggest secret of her life.
If Elle’s affair makes you immediately dislike her, your reaction will be a lot like mine. However, what makes it compelling is Elle’s backstory and the trauma she had endured to get to where she is.
As I described, it’s a lot of trauma, and the reader gets to go through each devastating moment with Elle. I found myself unable to stop listening to this audiobook, though, because you wanted to see how Elle would escape her tragic circumstances.
If you prefer likable characters, this book might not be for you. I don’t think they evolved significantly, but I felt like this mesmerizing read delivered on the book hype.
Again, I did this one on audiobook and thought the narration was fantastic on this too.
3 out of 5 Stars
Georgia is a urologist with a struggling love life. Luckily, she has a great support system with her best friend. Also, a physician named Jonah.
While on a trip, Georgia meets the guy of her dreams but comes home to a rather startling scenario at the hospital she works for. The hospital has asked that doctors now refuse medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients.
In defense of her friend, Georgia decides to fight this change in the only way she knows how and ultimately makes a decision that has profound consequences for all involved.
This book is perfect if you gravitate towards a book with rich character development and need big book club themes for discussion. But, ultimately, the meat of the story seemed overshadowed by Georgia’s relationship, and the build to get to it took longer than expected.
If you pick up the author’s latest book, you will discover that these characters live on in a pandemic world. She brings together the doctor characters from three different books, and it’s quite compelling. I have been swept away in this story and would recommend it if you are curious how Martin wrote this fictional pandemic in 2019 that later became all too real.
3 out of 5 Stars
In this story, a woman is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Her struggles have now amplified into painful panic attacks whenever she thinks about how differently her life has turned out. Her one escape, tending to honeybees, has not even offered her the escape that it used to.
In the grips of one of these episodes, she nearly collides with Jake, a local teen who has recently become a paraplegic. Her pickup truck happens to be filled with 120,000 honeybees, and Jake instantly wants to learn about the bees and their story. Alice invites him into her home, surprising Jake and herself, and finds an unlikely friendship with him.
She also invites a young man, Harry, desperate for work, to join her team. This unlikely trio bond over their shared love of these bees and the bond is strengthened further when their colony is at risk of dying due to a local pesticide company.
The friendship is charming between these three, and the author weaves many parallels about the world of beekeeping into this very human story of chosen families.
This is a great one to add to your stack if you are looking for a sweet escape filled with second chances and how we can find purpose again after loss.
3 out of 5 Stars
This true crime pick combines coming-of-age and a deep dive into a Harvard campus murder in 1969.
In 1969 twenty-three-year-old graduate student Jane Britton was bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.
When Becky Cooper starts studying as an undergraduate, she learns of Jane’s story, but a more sinister gossipy layer is shared among students. In this layer, Jane was a student who had an affair with her professor, and he murdered her because she threatened to go public about this relationship. Unfortunately, that professor still works for Harvard, and Cooper wants to know more about Jane’s story and devotes a decade of her life to uncovering the truth.
Cooper feels discomfort with the true-crime world, and the true victims yet are consumed by this true crime case. As a reader, we feel that in those pages.
I do not want to discredit the hard work you can see in Becky Cooper’s pages and how she devoted so much time to learn more about the murder- there is a lot in these pages to admire. However, at over 500 pages, this one could have greatly benefited from editing because the story felt disjointed in many moments.
The DNA evidence that has now been found, and added at the end, certainly could be challenging to that bookending you had been working towards.
Had Cooper not led us down so many rabbit trails and had more substantial editing, this had the potential to be a 5-star read.
Overall, it just missed the mark for me.
4 out of 5 Stars
If you are in for a fictional campus murder mystery, then I would recommend this psychological thriller for your stack.
In this story, six friends reunite on their university campus and are reminded of the unsolved murder of their closest friend Heather. Someone is determined to get to the bottom of this case, and that means uncovering and confronting each of their secrets one by one.
It feels a bit like a one-room play as these secrets are revealed, and Winstead keeps the plot moving with clever well-developed twists and a solid ending.
This story is told in dual timelines from their beginning days on campus and is a perfect spooky, not scary story for the Halloween season. I think you will really like this tightly woven plot and the secret motives of each of these characters. I can say, without a doubt, this was one of the most solid thrillers I’ve read in a long time.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
5 out of 5 Stars
I got to dip my toes into the climate-fiction waters with this phenomenal read. This MomAdvice Book Club selection was a reader’s choice and ended up being a hauntingly beautiful audiobook escape. McConaghy imagines a dystopian world where the oceans have been emptied of most life by climate change, acidic water, and overfishing.
The Artic terns will soon be extinct in this novel, and Franny Stone is determined to follow their final migration to Antarctica. Getting there is a hurdle, but she manages to talk her way onto a fishing boat that happens to be sailing out that way. However, Franny doesn’t want to board these birds because she is running from many things. Franny’s tragic life spills out in haunting memories that leave the reader breathless and let us know that Franny is boarding this boat for some profound reasons we will soon get to discover through her flashbacks.
I found this story to be uniquely told, enthralling, and disturbing. The themes of a world left behind by the devastation of climate change feel altogether too close, and that might be why this storyline was so compelling.
4 out of 5 Stars
This dark thriller was as satisfying as any horror film and won all the stars for plot originality.
Eliza is one of only two women who are hired as a programmer at a gaming company. Unfortunately, her presence isn’t welcomed, particularly in the programming department, where Eliza becomes a source of ridicule and is harassed.
When the incident is reported, her boss doesn’t take the necessary next steps and goes along with the “boys will be boys” toxic dialogue instead of addressing the issue correctly.
When Eliza takes the incident to a journalist, all hell breaks loose as people begin to demonize, target, and dangerously harass her. One user, in particular, has made it his mission to destroy Eliza for her actions.
The narration is told through users of 4chan & Reddit, which is highly original and can be agonizingly brutal as they discuss Eliza’s motives and destroy her character. Osworth uniquely explores this story through speculation and the viewpoint of tainted lenses.
It’s masterful and darkly entertaining.
This one won’t be for the highly sensitive reader, but I would recommend it if you like darker themes that aren’t afraid to go into the awful corners of the internet.
4 out of 5 Stars
I’ve chosen the British cover for our website because this book, for sure, has been mismarketed with its U.S. book cover! Take a peek, and you will see why.
This historical fiction novel is a slow-burn romance with fade-to-black bedroom scenes that hardly represent the kind of plot you might expect from that cover choice.
Harry Styles fans, for sure, will want to get their hands on this book before it is adapted for the big screen. The book was inspired by the life of E.M. Forester and his relationship with a police officer named Bob Buckingham.
Set in 1950s Brighton, this love triangle is about two people who love one policeman- his wife and his secret lover. This tragic story explores the quiet love shared between these two men and what it would be like if speaking your truth resulted in your arrest and the destruction of your life.
The story utilizes journal entries (from his lover) and a manuscript (from his wife) that outline confession, allowing the reader to explore this story from different points of view and to varying timelines in this love story.
Overall, this was a good read and led me to read more about E.M. Forester after finishing this book.
4 out of 5 Stars
I talked about this novel in The Great Book Escape episode that just aired for our podcast and in a free sample of my one-book podcast reviews, I offer on Patreon.
The author’s personal experience resuscitating her partner inspired this contemporary fiction novel’s themes of one young man’s struggles after his heart stops for eighteen minutes and how this incident changes his life in ways he could not imagine.
This novel is a cross between Normal People and One Day, so if you have loved either of these books, I feel you will really appreciate this novel’s themes and Carter’s storytelling.
The novel has a very satisfying love triangle with beautiful backstories for each character as they struggle with their demons and brokenness in different ways.
The only dissatisfaction, for me, was a rather abrupt conclusion and lack of epilogue after over four hundred pages building out these relationships into finally a delightful place as a reader. Overall, I found this book to be gorgeous, and this journey after a near-death experience has layers that speak to Carter’s personal history with this scenario.
4 out of 5 Stars
This thriller was described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, which, honestly, delivers on this perfect description.
Set at an elite prep academy, two students, Devon and Chiamaka Adebayo are selected to be part of the school’s senior class prefects. This coveted spot holds notoriety in their school and puts them in the running for its valedictorian.
After this announcement, the two start to receive threatening messages from someone who identifies themselves only as Aces. What begins as a harmless prank evolves into dangerous threats that lead the two to realize that these pranks are rooted in a dark history at their school that they could have never expected.
The first half, for me, took some time to build into our plot, but once this story picks up steam, it delivers on the meaty social commentary that is so reflective of the Jordan Peele film that it had promised the reader.
This is a thought-provoking debut that has me looking forward to the author’s next book.
4 out of 5 Stars
Oliver is a recovering addict that finds love and commitment with his partner Nathan. Despite finding love and financial security, he is drawn to apps that promise one-night stands and rendezvous.
One of these encounters leads him to a place called Bath Haus, where a hookup goes horribly wrong, and he is nearly strangled to death.
Oliver manages to get away, but he is left with a hand-shaped bruise on his neck. He is forced to file a police report and make up a story of being mugged so that Nathan never knows about his infidelity.
The problem is that the man he escaped from isn’t done with him yet, and he will stop at nothing to destroy Oliver’s life.
Get ready for plot twist whiplash, particularly in those big final reveals when our story all comes together. In this story, nobody is trustworthy, and Vernon does a phenomenal job throwing the reader off the path multiple times.
This book is highly original and was an excellent escape for Spooky Season.
5 out of 5 Stars
This selection just may have been influenced by the world of #booktok this year.
If you didn’t know, Booktok is one of the strongest influencers in the publishing space right now. Publishing houses are scrambling to print backlisted books that become bestsellers for the first time or find a brand new audience to love them.
So this is one trend I can get behind fully and how this beautiful book made it into my pile.
In this fictional world, Death-Cast is a service that lets you know the date of your death.
Two lonely boys find one another through the Last Friend app that gives them one magical day and company together as they finish out their final day.
Silvera invents special touches for these two, like amusement park activities if you knew you only had one day. There is often special significance, too, in the idea of how you might treat others if you knew you wouldn’t have to live with the consequences.
The ending is a total gut-punch and worthy of all the stars.
4 out of 5 Stars
My dear friend is going to do an episode with me on South Asian Voices for our podcast, and I wanted to bring more books to the table, so I picked up this debut thriller and, have to say, it did not disappoint.
Do you like your narrators to be in the unreliable camp?
That’s what you will find with our main character, Paloma, who happens to be taking a lot of pills that don’t play nice with her booze habit.
She also turns to this combination whenever she is struggling, a scenario that her therapist keeps reminding her is a combination she should not be indulging in.
Paloma is struggling a lot, though, and it stems from her early days at an orphanage in Sri Lanka. You see, Paloma was chosen for adoption that let her leave her complicated past behind and start a new life in the U.S. However, in haunting memories and nightmares, she is reminded about all the girls she left behind.
Paloma, now thirty, has been carrying a secret about her past, and when her roommate finds out, she fears her cover will be blown, and people will finally know the truth. The thing is, she comes home to find him dead, blacks out, and then discovers his body has disappeared.
The reader is left to wonder if Paloma might have been involved and what other secrets Paloma may be hiding.
This book had some lagging in the middle where the story could have benefitted from some trimming. But, in the end, I enjoyed this thriller and thought it had some clever twists, especially as it pulls all those strings together at the end.