2021 Novels You Must Read Now (and Later)


Everyone is LOVING this book! We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker is a must-read for 2021. It’s a beautifully written, deep, sad story about young Duchess Day Radley who takes care of her younger brother and her drug addict mother, Star. The circumstances that surround Duchess and the way she takes care of her brother ripped my heart apart. Then there is Walk, whose friend killed Star’s sister many years ago. He has his own issues.

Its best to go into this story not knowing how it’s going to play out, you need to experience the full range of emotions as you read this book.

Here’s a synopsis:

Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin, and the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he’s in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother.

Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return. We Begin at the End is an extraordinary novel about two kinds of families—the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

This is out now, go get a copy!



Danielle Girard is an incredible writer. Her books keep me so engaged and totally hooked to the point that I want to ignore everything I need to do (like sleep) and keep reading! Far Gone is her newest book and one that suspense lovers will not want to miss!


When a North Dakota couple is shot down in their home in cold blood, the sleepy town of Hagen wakes with a jolt. After all, it’s usually such a peaceful place. But Detective Kylie Milliard knows better.

Despite not handling a homicide investigation in years, Kylie is on the case. A drop of blood found at the scene at first blush promises to be her best evidence. But it ultimately only proves that someone else witnessed the murder—and the results are shocking: the DNA reveals a familial match to a crime involving local nurse Lily Baker from over a decade ago. This unveiling stirs new nightmares for Lily as she’s forced to reckon with the most traumatic time in her life.

Haunted by their pasts and hunting the killer, Kylie and Lily uncover hellish secrets and impossible truths, finding answers that put both their lives in jeopardy.

White Out was the first book that I read by Danielle and I can’t recommend it enough. Read that one first then get Far Gone when its published on June 15th!




For all my fellow history buffs, The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany by Gwen Strauss  is a must-read! I didn’t really know a whole lot about women in World War II until I listened to a few podcasts and then I was hooked on learning more and more.

If you are someone who likes to learn about history, specifically women, this is absolutely a book you need to read.

Take a look:

The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris.

The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape.

Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative from Gwen Strauss is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.

What amazing, brave young women.

Coming out on May 4.



The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin is a wonderfully written, beautiful story that I liked so much.  This kind of book is so enjoyable and inspirational although it did make me want to cry while reading. It’s a book that puts you through the emotional ringer!

Three different people are brought together in order to work on a bee farm. What a fantastic setting, right?

Check it out:

Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn’t turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake–a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County–while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake’s sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice’s ad for part-time farm help, he’s shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees–and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

I can’t believe this was a debut novel! Well done, Eileen!

Coming out on April 27.


I love books like The Bohemians by Jasmin Darznik.  Historical fiction is a genre that I forget how much I love, many of my favorite books are based in history. This one is a must-read that is beautifully written. I loved the time period and the plot. Nothing intrigues me more than a city like San Francisco in the past. How I wish I lived back then! The atmospheric writing puts you as close to San Francisco in the 1920s as you will ever get.


In 1918, a young and bright-eyed Dorothea Lange steps off the train in San Francisco, where a disaster kick-starts a new life. Her friendship with Caroline Lee, a vivacious, straight-talking Chinese American with a complicated past, gives Dorothea entrée into Monkey Block, an artists’ colony and the bohemian heart of the city. Dazzled by Caroline and her friends, Dorothea is catapulted into a heady new world of freedom, art, and politics. She also finds herself unexpectedly falling in love with the brilliant but troubled painter Maynard Dixon. Dorothea and Caroline eventually create a flourishing portrait studio, but a devastating betrayal pushes their friendship to the breaking point and alters the course of their lives.

The Bohemians captures a glittering and gritty 1920s San Francisco, with a cast of unforgettable characters, including cameos from such legendary figures as Mabel Dodge Luhan, Frida Kahlo, Ansel Adams, and D. H. Lawrence. A vivid and absorbing portrait of the past, it is also eerily resonant with contemporary themes, as anti-immigration sentiment, corrupt politicians, and a devastating pandemic bring tumult to the city—and the gift of friendship and the possibility of self-invention persist against the ferocious pull of history.

As Dorothea sheds her innocence, her purpose is awakened and she grows into the figure we know from history—the artist whose iconic Depression-era photographs like “Migrant Mother” broke the hearts and opened the eyes of a nation.

And can we talk about the beautiful cover? I absolutely love it. Excellent book, I highly recommend it.  Out now!



The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter was a fast read. I sat down and read this entire book in one afternoon! This novel features four characters telling their sides of the story- Tom who was arrested for murder, Beth who is Tom’s wife, then there is Katie – Tom’s old girlfriend, and a narrator whose identity we don’t know.

This is a suspenseful read that is at times, dark and troubling.

Here’s the plot:

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighborhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

Whew! This is a good one. Don’t miss it! Coming out on May 27.


A true crime book that reads like historical fiction? YES PLEASE. 

Take a look:

Previously published as The Trials of Maria Barbella. In 1895, a twenty-two-year-old Italian seamstress named Maria Barbella was accused of murdering her lover, Domenico Cataldo, after he seduced her and broke his promise to marry her. Following a sensational trial filled with inept lawyers, dishonest reporters and editors, and a crooked judge repaying political favors, the illiterate immigrant became the first woman sentenced to the newly invented electric chair at Sing Sing, where she is also the first female prisoner. Behind the scenes, a corporate war raged for the monopoly of electricity pitting two giants, Edison and Westinghouse with Nikola Tesla at his side, against each other.

Enter Cora Slocomb, an American-born Italian aristocrat and activist, who launched the first campaign against the death penalty to save Maria. Rallying the New York press, Cora reached out across the social divide—from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the tenements of Little Italy. Maria’s “crime of honor” quickly becomes a cause celebre, seizing the nation’s attention. Idanna Pucci, Cora’s great-granddaughter, masterfully recounts this astonishing story by drawing on original research and documents from the US and Italy. This dramatic page-turner, interwoven with twists and unexpected turns, grapples with the tragedy of immigration, capital punishment, ethnic prejudice, criminal justice, corporate greed, violence against women, and a woman’s right to reject the role of victim. Over a century later, this story is as urgent as ever.

This is the book I am starting this afternoon and I am really excited about it.

Its out now, definitely get a copy if you enjoy history and true crime.


I enjoyed Sally Thorne’s other books and this one was exactly what I thought it would be, a fun and light story that made me chuckle and smile throughout. Second First Impressions features a main character I loved.  Ruthie is an old soul who works at a retirement home. She is quirky and witty and different than the heroines we usually see in novels.

Check it out:

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky.

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears.

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best.

Until, one day, someone dazzling blows into town.

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

Coming out on April 13


I posted this on Instagram after finishing this book. I couldn’t wait to share how much I enjoyed For Your Own Good.

Something that really upsets me as an avid reader is when an author I like comes out with a book that I am SO EXCITED to read and then its a huge let down.

That didn’t happen with Samantha Downing’s novel, For Your Own Good.
First- this was a plot I’ve never seen before so immediately I was drawn into the story of teacher Teddy Crutcher. He has disdain for his entitled students at Belmont Academy and feels its his duty to teach them some hard lessons.
Second, much like Walter White from Breaking Bad, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Is he misunderstood?
Then you have a short cast of other characters namely Zach, Frank, Courtney, and Fallon. I’m not giving too much away here but the story was fresh and compelling, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and I was intrigued.
This was just the right amount of suspense, descriptions, dialogue, twists, and turns. I don’t give out a ton of five stars on Goodreads but this book earned every one!
Now, what on earth can I read to follow this? I’m going to switch genres completely to historical fiction.


USA Today bestselling author Samantha Downing is back with her latest sneaky thriller set at a prestigious private school—complete with interfering parents, overeager students, and one teacher who just wants to teach them all a lesson…

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

Coming out on July 20, pre-order NOW.