Another month, another 70 or so books added to my TBR! Just when I think I’ve pretty much maxed out on books to add, I somehow end up finding a whole bunch more. This month, there were quite a few books I added by author name alone. I saw a new Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) book, a new series by Sarah J. Maas, and an upcoming fantasy book by Adam Silvera just to name a few. None of these have any cover artwork yet or even much in the way of a synopsis, but I added them to my list anyway! I think this may be part of the reason my TBR keeps expanding so quickly. Since my last Stacking the Shelves, I also ended up browsing some many recommendations lists. I seem to have a (bad?) habit of browsing Goodreads recommendations whenever I get bored, which is probably why my TBR keeps expanding at an alarming rate!
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality.
1) Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham
This was the most recent addition to my list, added just yesterday. It is about a relationship that develops between Madeline and Elliott through their online communication, after they meet at a restaurant opening. What’s unique about this book is that the authors apparently co-wrote it in real time, with each e-mailing the other from the perspectives of two characters, Madeline and Elliott themselves as well as their best friends David and Emily. Neel Shah wrote Elliot’s messages to Madeline and to his friend David, and Skye Chatham wrote Madeline’s messages to Elliot and to her friend Emily. That means the authors never saw the correspondence each character had with their best friend until the book was finished. I love stories that involve social media and online correspondence, so this sounds like something I would love.
2) The Ones We Choose by Julie Clark
This book recently came up as a recommendation because I finished Lisa Genova’s Every Note Played not too long ago. This book is Julie Clark’s debut, about a geneticist named Paige who has an 8-year-old son, Miles, that she conceived with an anonymous sperm donor. After a classroom discussion about the children’s family background, Miles starts to feel left out because he doesn’t know his father and starts to question his mother about who his father was. When Miles’ biological father unexpectedly comes back into their lives, Paige’s life begins to unravel. This book sounds like it is along the lines of Lisa Genova or Jodi Picoult, both of whom are among my favourite authors. This is a new release that just came out on May 8, and although it does not seem to be very well-known yet, the early Goodreads reviews have been excellent.
3) Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
I actually thought I’d added this book to my TBR already, so I was surprised to see that I hadn’t when it came up again as a recommendation. This is a middle grade book, which is a little outside my comfort zone, but it sounds really good. The book is about a 12-year-old girl named Ivy whose home is destroyed by a tornado. She is especially devastated by the loss of her notebook, which contained secret drawings of girls holding hands. When her drawings mysteriously start showing up in her locker with notes encouraging her to be open about who she is, she starts to hope that the person doing this might be the girl she has a crush on. I was first drawn to this book because of the very interesting cover art, but was put off initially since I rarely read middle grade books. I haven’t read anything yet by this author but I have several of her books on my TBR, and Girl Made of Stars in my current stack from the library. Most of her books have very high average ratings on Goodreads, so I’m interested to give it a chance.
4) The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Although this book has been out since late 2016, I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. It is set in a black community in Southern California, focusing on a 17-year-old high school student named Nadia who becomes pregnant after she starts seeing the pastor’s son, Luke. The book follows Nadia, her best friend Aubrey, and Luke over the span of about 10 years as they live with the consequences of the choices they made that year. The book also has a “Greek chorus” style of narration, with the mothers of the church that Nadia attends offering their observations about what is happening. Not too many of the reviewers I follow on Goodreads have read this one yet, but those who have all gave it at least 4 stars. The story itself only mildly interested me, but I liked the idea of having the chorus style of narration to give commentary on the events since that seemed like an unusual approach.
5) Just Like Family by Kate Hilton
I added this one to my TBR because it kept coming up as a recommendation, and I was intrigued by the cover. This book is about a woman named Avery who is trying to balance her job as chief- of staff to Mayor Peter Haines, her live-in boyfriend of 14 years, and an ex-husband. When her boyfriend Matt proposes, Avery worries about making that commitment again after her first marriage was such a disaster, and wonders if Matt is really who she loves after the mayor has become her “work husband.” I’m not entirely sure why this book specifically came up as a recommendation for me, but it definitely seems like an interesting one. I love books that are character-driven, and this one really seems to focus on the character dynamics. Although it has been out for a year now, I hadn’t heard of it at all until recently.
6) Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
I have heard nothing but good things about this book since it came out last year, although I was hesitant to add it to my list because of the politics angle. This book is about Aviva Grossman, an intern in Florida who has an affair with the married Congressman who is also her boss. When the affair becomes public knowledge, Aviva is left with all the blame and decides to move away and leave it all behind, until she is persuaded to run for public office herself. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about this kind of political scandal, but this one has received such rave reviews that I just had to add it to my list. This book has been hyped for being a feminist version of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and although feminism is not necessarily something I look for in my books, the plot of this one seems very interesting.
7) The Friend by Dorothy Koomson
I have only read one of Dorothy Koomson’s books so far, but I have many of them on my TBR. Unfortunately, for some reason they are pretty difficult to find here. This book is her 2017 release, which focuses on a woman named Cece who has enrolled her children in a school in her new neighbourhood where just weeks before, a popular parent was almost murdered. Cece meets other mothers from the school who welcome her and starts to feel more comfortable, until she learns that the police believe one of her new friends may be responsible for the attempted murder. I had no idea that Dorothy Koomson had a new book out until it came up as a recommendation a couple of weeks ago. The plot for this one reminded me a bit of Big Little Lies, which is one of my favourites. It sounds like a great story, and I look forward to giving it a chance.
8) Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
I added this one to my list primarily because it is by Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project which quickly became a favourite as soon as I picked it up. In all honesty, I’m not sure the plot of this one on its own would have been enough to interest me otherwise. It is about a widow named Zoe and a divorced man named Martin who decide to walk a centuries-old pilgrim route in Spain. They meet in the same French town, and begin to grow closer as they take on this long walk. I wasn’t sure about this one at first because it essentially seemed like a walking version of a road trip story, and those often don’t interest me much. However, I loved The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect so much that I wanted to give another of Graeme Simsion’s books a chance. I also have The Best of Adam Sharp on my TBR but have been hesitant to try it because the reviews in general have been pretty terrible. I’m curious to give these books a chance and see if they have the same impact on me as the Rosie books did.
9) The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne
This book came up on a list of recent thrillers, and it was released in March of this year. It is about a couple who are very happy to meet a new babysitter, Jade, who is great with their children. After her own house burns down, Jade moves in with the family, who start to become more reliant on her as Mark and Melissa both work long hours, and Melissa falls into depression. Mark soon notices that things at home don’t seem right, and begins to investigate Jade and uncover what she really wants. I love psychological thrillers in general and I’ve been very interested in trying to read more of them. This one sounds especially intriguing, and I love the whole concept of the story. There have been so many thrillers released in the past year or so that I’m not really surprised this one has been mostly overlooked.
10) Hero-Type by Barry Lyga
I added this one (as well as Boy Toy by the same author) to my list after I read and loved Bang earlier this month. Hero-Type is about a boy named Kevin who was in the right place at the right time to save a girl from being killed and is hailed as a hero, until he is seen removing “Support the Troops” bumper stickers from cars. Suddenly, Kevin is forced to become more aware of what patriotism really means, and his unpopular opinions put him at odds with his classmates. My main reason for adding this book to my TBR is because I loved Barry Lyga’s writing and handling of a very complex topic in Bang, and I thought his concept for this story was unique and definitely not something I had ever read before. I would love to give more of his books a chance.
11) The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher
I this book to my TBR after finding it on a list of recent contemporary releases. It is about a woman named Maia who works as a cleaner for wealthy families. When an unexpected inheritance pushes Maia and her children into the world of the women she has always worked for, she finds herself drawn to one of the teachers at the exclusive private school and starts to wonder why he is so interested in helping her fit in. This book was apparently first published in 2012 as The School Gate Survival Guide (and I actually like the cover art for that one much better), so I’m not sure why it is being re-released under a new title in June. The reviews for the 2012 version have been very good so far, with an average on Goodreads of 4.22 stars based on almost 1300 ratings. It doesn’t seem like the most well-known book, but it looks like a lot of fun to read.
12) No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
I added this book to my TBR because it came up on a list of recent contemporaries, but I’ve been a little on the fence about it ever since noticing it was also tagged as Christian fiction. That is not a genre that typically interests me at all, but based on the synopsis, I’m not sure how heavily Christian themes are involved in this one. This book is about three women whose lives are affected when an wealthy community is forced to open its doors to students from an impoverished district that can no longer support its school. The synopsis is fairly vague and several of the reviews available so far have commented that it is hard to give any more detail without giving away spoilers, so it was hard for me to decide whether I wanted to keep this one on my TBR despite it being a genre I tend not to like. However, it has also been compared to Jodi Picoult and that alone is enough to interest me.
13) Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz, Caroline Moss and Carolyn Bahar
I discovered this book in the Books section of my local newspaper, where there was an article talking about it as a new release. This book is based on the concept of those annoying e-mail chains that start up when planning events like a wedding or a baby shower, where mass e-mails are sent to a group usually with the greeting “Hey ladies!” In the article I read, it seemed that the book was going to be in the format of e-mails, texts, etc. as the group of friends tries to plan events and share their lives. According to Goodreads, this book is fiction although I was under the impression it was real e-mail exchanges between the authors and others. I would assume they fictionalized it somewhat for the sake of anonymity. This book sounds really funny and is based on a column from The Toast (which can be found here), which seems to give a pretty good impression of what the book might be like.
14) Our House by Louise Candlish
I found this one while browsing for thriller,s and I was immediately intrigued by the premise. This book is about a woman named Fiona who co-parents her children with her estranged ex, Bram. The former couple has an unusual arrangement where their children always live in the same house, and the two parents take turns living there with them. When Bram and the children disappear, Fiona is left to discover how little she really knew about her ex-husband. What first caught my attention about this one was the unusual parenting arrangement. I’d heard about it once or twice before on TV but it is still a very unusual choice, although it does make some sense in terms of offering the children the stability of one house and one set of belongings. It also makes such a great setting for a thriller since it leaves open so many possibilities for things to happen while one parent is away. This book is due out in August, and I would love to give it a chance!
15) Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey
This was another one that I found while looking at upcoming thrillers, and it was the cover art that first caught my attention. This book is about a five-year-old girl named Emma who was taken from the airport by a woman named Sarah, who wants to rescue the child from her cruel mother. Sarah and Emma bond while avoiding the hunt to find the child, but meanwhile Emma’s real mother is at home waiting for her, but as the search keeps dragging out longer, she begins to question if she really wants her daughter back. This seems like such an interesting character-driven story, although I’m a little hesitant about how the author will handle the characters. The synopsis almost seems to imply that it might be okay for Sarah to take Emma because her mother doesn’t necessarily want her anyway, whcih is a dangerous idea. It seems like a very intriguing concept and I’m excited to give this one a try.
16) The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon
I’ve had one of Amy Harmon’s books on my TBR for several years but haven’t read it yet. I loved the cover art of this one, and although I don’t often read romances, this one seemed very interesting. This book is about a woman named Mercedes who decides to lie to spare the feelings of her best friend Cora when Cora asks if she loves their friend Noah. Knowing that Cora loved him too, Mercedes lies and ends up standing by to watch as Cora and Noah get together, and is there through all the good and bad times of their relationship. It’s pretty unusual to have a love triangle story which follows the person who didn’t get chosen, and I’m intrigued by having the story told from this angle. This book came out in February of this year, and has some pretty great reviews so far. It’s a little outside my comfort zone, but I’ve been branching out a lot more over the past few years and I think this one could be really good.
17) Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman
I definitely seem to have a trend going on here with books about woman and schoolyard/neighbourhood politics. This one is about a woman named Frances who carpools with other families in her area, giving her occasional windows into those family’s private lives. After witnessing another woman having an affair, Frances decides to mind her own business, but that becomes more difficult when the woman’s husband throws her out and the repercussions of the affair affect everyone in the carpool. I have no idea why these are the kinds of books that have been appealing to me lately, but there definitely seems to be a theme going on. To be fair, I tend to love authors like Liane Moriarty who write about these kinds of domestic dramas, so it’s actually not such a surprise.
18) The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
This was one of several books that came up on a Book Riot recommendations list for books about food. I like browsing through Book Riot’s lists, but I find some of them completely overwhelming because they are just massive lists of titles to fit a theme. This one came for a slightly more specific list at least. It is about a woman named Lila who is married to Sam, a restaurant critic who is determined to keep himself anonymous to protect his credibility. As Sam becomes more obsessed with keeping his identity a secret, Lila starts to crave something different in her life and questions if she’s made the right decisions. I’m not entirely sure what made Book Riot recommend this one since the food element seems like it will take a backseat to the larger story of Lila trying to figure out her life, but it sounds interesting to me.