2021 Book Recommendations from Some of Your Favorite Authors by Amanda Lara

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They say word-of-mouth is the best way to get recommendations—recipes, movie selections, you name it. But, let’s be honest, who can you trust for a great book? Here’s an idea: how about your favorite author? From thrillers to rom-coms and more, here’s what some of our favorite writers are reading and recommending right now.

Adrian McKinty recommends Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson

Her Last Breath follows a grieving woman’s search for answers about the sudden death of her sister—and unearthing the role her brother-in-law may played in it. A suspenseful thriller full of twists and turns, Adrian McKinty the New York Times bestselling author of The Chain had nothing but praise: “A black sheep family drama becomes a deliciously paranoid psychological thriller from the always-thrilling Hilary Davidson. Brilliant!”

Brenda Novak recommends For All She Knows by Jamie Beck 

When Mimi and Grace meet in their sons’ toddler playgroup, a fast friendship is formed. Years later, their sister-like bond is shattered by a mutual tragedy, and the two women must learn how to forgive one another and work past their differences, lest their lives fall apart. For All She Knows comes recommended by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak who says, “For All She Knows is a must-read for book clubs. Jamie Beck’s latest novel is both an insightful examination of modern-day parenting mores, and a poignant reminder of the importance of friendship and forgiveness.”

Lisa Wingate recommends Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly 

Three women—Georgeanna “Georgey” Woolsey, Jemma, and Anne-May—live very different lives under the ongoing conflict of the Civil War. But a nurse, a slave, and a plantation mistress all have a story to tell; inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters shows the diversity of women caught in the middle of a nation’s struggle for justice. For #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Wingate, the book was a compelling experience. “From Southern spies to nurses on the northern battlefields, Sunflower Sisters weaves an exquisite tapestry of women determined to defy the molds the world has for them,” she says. “The journeys of Jemma and the Woolsey sisters will have readers celebrating those who came before us, who fought for what they knew was right, and became timeless women ahead of their times.”

Steven Rowley recommends Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

In the quiet, small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a Playboy Resort is established. There, nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor enters a world of sex, drugs, sisterhood, and heels that are just a little too tight. “I tore through this vibrant coming-of-age tale of small-town girls seduced by a new life of sex and glitter just miles from their quiet Wisconsin towns,” declares Steven Roweley, author of Lily and the Octopus, The Editor, and The Gruncle, “Clancy’s vulnerable characters come roaring to life in full eighties glamour before spiraling toward a central tragedy that will define their adult lives and the very definition of home.”

Kristin Hannah recommends The Push by Ashley Audrain 

Blythe Connor is set on being the best mother she can be for her newborn baby, Violet—that is, until, she begins to suspect something about her daughter isn’t quite right. After the birth of her son, Blythe is forced to face some uncomfortable truths about her family—none of which are easy to solve. The Push is a dark, psychological drama that explores the complexity of motherhood, which Kristen Hannah author of The Four Winds calls, “Starkly original and compulsively readable, Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood. Raw, visceral, and often disturbing, this is an intense psychological drama that will be embraced by serious book clubs and fans of Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin.”

Chandler Baker recommends The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

Sophie O’Neil is bored. Recently settled with her husband and son in a small Texas town, away from the bustle of her old life in Chicago, Sophie is quickly drawn to the compelling Margot Banks and the elite group she belongs to, the Hunting Wives. As she goes deeper and deeper into the organization, Sophie must work to keep her life from spiraling out of control. Chandler Baker, author of The Whisper Network and The Husbands, calls it, Perfectly executed and deliciously satisfying. Loaded with rowdy women, smart twists, and refreshing spice, this one hits the bullseye.”

Casey McQuiston recommends Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Vanessa Price’s whirlwind life of YouTube vlogs and traveling the world comes to a screeching halt after becoming the guardian of her half-sister’s baby. Now at a loss for what to do, an unlikely hero arrives: Vanessa’s hot next-door-neighbor, who manages to help her in ways she never expected. A touching, fun rom-com for everyone, Casey McQuiston author of Red, White & Royal Blue and the forthcoming One Last Stop says Life’s Too Short has “Fierce humor and fiercer heart.”

Emily Henry recommends Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

When Meddelin Chan accidently kills her date, it’s her (meddlesome) mom and aunts to the rescue in an effort to hide the body. If that wasn’t stressful enough, Meddelin’s long-lost love makes a surprise appearance at the wedding her aunties are working—the same place where they’ve shipped the body. Can Meddelin find true love and escape murder charges at the same time? “Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Dial A for Aunties is a hilarious, heartfelt romp of a novel about—what else?—accidental murder and the bond of family,” says Emily Henry, the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and The People We Meet on Vacation. “This book had me laughing aloud within its first five pages, and kept me bouncing between anxiety and delight until its very last. Utterly clever, deeply funny, and altogether charming, this book is sure to be one of the best of the year!”

Candice Carty-Williams recommends Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

A Nigerian goddess rejects her lover, longing for appreciation. A young businesswoman taking a leap of faith. A Ghanaian spokeswoman is torn between politics and the person she is. In these stories, Bolu Babalola rewrites love stories and mythologies with new perspectives and details in this breathtaking new anthology. “Perfection in short story form,” says Candice Carty-Williams, the author of the international bestseller Queenie. “I am in love with every single word Bolu Babalola has written. So rarely is love expressed this richly, this vividly, or this artfully.”

Andrea Bartz recommends If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

Sera’s love of true-crime podcasts takes a dark turn when her favorite podcaster, Rachel, goes missing. In an effort to apply what she’s learned, Sera goes on the hunt for Rachel, following all of Rachel’s clues about an old ranch just outside her hometown—only to find herself in the midst of true-crime-worthy danger. Andrea Bartz, author of The Herd, calls it, “Subtle, surprising, and genuinely scary…an unflinching exploration of our obsession with true crime and the darkness marbling our psyches. With sinewy prose and nuanced observations about the female experience, this debut marks a ferocious new voice.”

Emily St. John Mandel recommends The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Editorial assistant Nella Rogers is fed up with being the only Black employee at her publishing house; which is why when Harlem-native Hazel is hired, Nella begins to feel some hope. Suddenly, their friendship is cut short, and threatening notes are showing up on Nella’s desk. Can Hazel be behind such a malicious act? A necessary commentary on the modern workplace, author Emily St. John Mandel author of The Glass Hotel describes The Other Black Girl as, “Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.”

Susie Yang recommends The Divines by Ellie Eaton

Josephine hasn’t thought about St. John the Divine in fifteen years. An elite British boarding school full of girls who were equal parts loyal and cutting, Josephine’s schoolgirl days are well in her past—that is, until, she revisits the grounds. With new secrets and new memories bubbling up, Josephine must face the dark truth about her time as a Divine, even as it threatens to unravel her life. New York Times bestselling author Susie Yang author of White Ivy says, The Divines is a scintillating coming-of-age story about the brutal bonds of female boarding school friendships, class prejudices, and the ways in which false memories can take the place of truth. Sephine is an unflinching and utterly convincing narrator. I lapped up every delicious detail.”

About the Author:

Amanda graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in English Education, but quickly realized her skills were best applied outside of the classroom. Amanda has also worked on and off in freelance writing since high school; in 2019, she even had a short story nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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