Books to read if you love Only Murders in the Building

I don’t know about you, but I can’t for Season 2 of Only Murders in The Building! Watching all of the episodes in season 1 won’t take too long, so here are some great books to read if you are looking for more of the hijinks, mystery, and unlikely friendship that the show does so well.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The first title that came to mind was this hilarious murder mystery novel that takes place in a retirement village. Four septuagenarians get to take their true crime club to the next level when a local developer is found dead. Whether the female cop with her first big case wants the help or not, they are at her disposal as more bodies begin to drop. The mystery itself is great, but what really makes the book are the eccentric characters (reminiscent of Charles and Oliver) you can’t help but love.

​​A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

This book is for the Mabel lovers out there as it follows another girl who loves true crime. Pippa Fitz chooses to do her final year proect on a local murder case from five years prior, but the more she digs, the more dangerous it gets for her. A great murder plot with a determined female protagonist that Mabel would most likely be friends with.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

If you enjoyed those flashback scenes to secrets and partying that led to Oscar being wrongfully convicted of Zoe’s murder, you’ll love this book about four rich kids with something in their past they want to keep hidden. This book’s description: “A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive,” is very reminiscent of Mabel’s Hardy Boys gang. Complicated relationships, deception, and life-altering decisions are at the root of both of these groups of friends and the book itself is quite the page-turner.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

While the show deals with only murders in the apartment building, this book deals with only the murder in Blackheath Manor. Aiden is suddenly at the mercy of his own wit, as he finds that Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. You get to see through the eyes of all the suspects and crazy characters as he wakes up in a different body each day. Much like the show, it will keep you guessing until the end and you’ll have almost as many theories as Charles, Oliver, and Mabel pin up on their murder board.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

If you love the tone of the show, you will love this book about a curmudgeonly old man named Ove who finds his world turned upside down when a boisterous young family moves in next door. I honestly think Steve Martin would make a wonderful Ove. Much like you grow to love Charles more as you get his backstory, the same is true for Ove. It’s funny and heartwarming and has the energy that makes it feel like the story could exist in the same world as the show takes place.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

This book is a little different from the show in that instead of solving murders, the main character is doing the killing. A writer who is struggling to hold her life together and come up with a good book idea for her publisher, stumbles into becoming a hit woman and hilarity and ridiculousness ensues. Lots of twists and turns in this book and perfect if you were a fan of Jan.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

A classic for a reason, this Agatha Christie novel takes place in a big house on an island instead of an apartment building in New York, but the stakes of finding out who is doing the killing are the same. A who dunnit done perfectly, this book will have you changing yoour mind constantly and then you’ll still be surprised by who it turns out to be. Clever like the show, and a must read for anyone who calls themselves a mystery fan.

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

An unlikely duo, Detective Hawthore and the author Anthony Horowitz who he hires to write about his life end up working together to figure out who killed Diana Cowper, the mother of a famous actor. What makes the story even more strange is that she walked into a funeral parlor on the morning of her murder to plan her own service. If you love the show, you love unlikely friends solving crimes and that is eactly what this book brings to the table.

 

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Books on the Bob’s Burgers character TBRs

I have been watching Bob’s Burgers for almost a decade, and I’m so excited that there’s finally going to be a movie! To celebrate, I made a list of the books I think each character would enjoy.

Bob
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake – Bob loves gardening, and he frequently gets overly involved in hobbies, so I think he’d enjoy this deep dive into mushrooms.

Taste by Stanley Tucci – I can see Bob listening to this one as he cooks and taking inspiration for new burgers of the day.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig – He’d try several times to start this one, but once he finally gets into it, he won’t be able to put down this classic about fatherhood.

Linda
Chocolat by Joanne Harris – A book about a mom who runs a chocolate shop? Linda’s all in.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – Linda will definitely try to get the family to take up mahjong after reading this book about mothers and daughters.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall – Linda lives for a good romance once, and she’s extra into this one because it involves a baking competition!

Tina
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – Tina has a very intense fascination with zombies and this book is right up her alley.

Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram – Just like every other preteen girl, Tina loves boy bands.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Tina can definitely relate to being in love with several boys at once, and doing embarrassing things to get them to notice her.

Gene
Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim – Gene loves being the center of attention and making people laugh.

Sarai Saves the Music by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown – Always in possession of his trusty keyboard, Gene is making up a soundtrack to his own life.

Summer of A Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway – The title of this book sounds like a perfect summer project for Gene.

Louise
Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega – Despite being the youngest Belcher kid, Louise is often the leader of a gang of kids looking for trouble.

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao – A book about a girl warrior in charge of an army of dragons is basically a “how to” list for Louise.

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky: The Graphic Novel by Kwame Mbalia – The graphic novel is perfect for a younger kid who still loves pictures, and Louise would appreciate Gum Baby’s snark.

Teddy
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – Teddy isn’t ashamed to read romance, especially not one that involves a handywoman.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley – “Uncle” Teddy can always be counted on to take care of the Belcher kids in an emergency.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg – A book about loyal friends and a diner is very applicable to Teddy’s personality.

Mort
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett – A family named the Mortons that run a funeral home? Enough said.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – It feels like Mort would enjoy this book focused on the in-between of life and death.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – It’s perfect for a man who is more comfortable with death than most other people.

Book recommendations from nurses of bookstagram

Nurses are an essential part of our healthcare system and should be celebrated all the time, but especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses and other healthcare professionals stepped up to the plate during truly unprecedented times and have provided our communities with life saving medical practice. To celebrate nurses we asked some of our favorite bookish nurses to share a beloved book recommendation – check out their picks below!

Happy National Nurses Day! Don’t forget to show a nurse how much you appreciate them today and every day!

Courtney, @courtneycanread: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
“When I really love a book it can be hard to form words and not just squeal and exclaim “you HAVE to read it, I LOVED it!!!!” and for me Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is one of those books. I read it at a time that I needed a fun escape from reality and while it gave me that I also got so much more. It’s a heartfelt read about an eccentric billionaire who dies and leaves behind clues to his fortune creating enemies and unlikely friends as they all try to confront their own ghosts and solve the mystery. Okay I’m at the point where I’ve convinced myself to do a reread so I hope that I’ve convinced you to pick it up!”

Shannon, @workreadsleeprepeat: Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
“Abby Jimenez is always my go-to for books that I can literally never forget. Her latest release, Part of Your World, is an age gap romance featuring a woman in STEM! The steam is perfectly done, every chapter has you laughing out loud (the ring light scene, IYKYA) and she brings such tough topics to her books while guiding you through them in such a perfect way. The main character had me wanting to be an even better nurse and work more on community outreach. I could go on and on about all of Abby’s books but definitely check this one out for Nurse’s Day!”

Lauren, @nightnursereads: Lease on Love by Falon Ballard
“I absolutely adore Lease on Love! Sadie is a firecracker and Jack is our cinnamon roll hero, they are so different yet find a connection with each other. This forced proximity, hilarious, slow burn romance will keep you laughing and falling hard for this book!”

Abby, @abbyturnsthepage: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
“The Count of Monte Cristo is my annual go-to. I’ve recommended it endlessly and made it my mission to gift it to every reader friend. It’s a savory slow burn of betrayal and revenge with a lingering feeling of hope. Hope for justice, hope for joy, and a hope for peace in the heart of a man who had his whole life stripped away from him.”

Maggie, @magsisreadingagain: Greenwood by Michael Christie
I am a big fan of Canadian authors, and books that look at family histories, and this book delivers in spades. A story that spans one Canadian family’s experience with the forestry industry, its environmental impact, and family dynamics that echo loneliness and disconnection. Patterned after the rings of a tree, the timelines flow from 2034 to 1934 and back again. The perfect immersive read after a chaotic workday.

Joslyn, @betruetoyourshelf: You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
The pandemic of course has been hard on everyone and in these difficult times romance novels have been a saving grace for me. While I picked it up because it was a romance, it was really the relationship between the cousins (Primas of Power) that drew me in!

Thank you again, nurses of bookstagram, for your fabulous recommendations, but also for all you do for your communities! We appreciate you so much!

Books to read to get in the mood for the new Downton Abbey movie

The new Downton movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era, is releasing on May 18, and if your stomach also flips when you hear the theme music begin to play, these books are perfect to add to your TBR! Ranging from early 1800s to late 1900s, these historical books will capture your attention as a fellow fan of drama, history, love, scandal (and yes, some sprinkled with humor) all packed into one read.

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace

“Marvelous and entertaining.” –Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey
Discover the true stories behind the women who inspired Downton Abbey and HBO’s The Gilded Age, the heiresses–including a Vanderbilt (railroads), a LaRoche (pharmaceuticals), and a Rogers (oil)–who staked their ground in England, swapping dollars for titles and marrying peers of the British realm. Filled with vivid personalities, grand houses, dashing earls, and a wealth of period details and quotes on the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette, To Marry an English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible. Sex, snobbery, humor, social triumphs (and gaffes), are all recalled in marvelous detail, complete with parties, clothes, scandals, affairs, and 100-year-old gossip that’s still scorching.

Follow Carol Wallace on Instagram and Twitter

The Loyal League Series by Alyssa Cole

All of the suspense and adventure of an espionage thriller paired with swoon-worthy romance and hidden American history.

An Extraordinary Union: An Epic Love Story of the Civil War: The first of award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s highly-acclaimed Loyal League series! As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South–to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet–risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause–and an undeniable attraction–Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost–even if it means losing each other . . .

Follow Alyssa Cole on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Passing by Nella Larsen

The tale is simple on the surface with several adventures in Chicago and New York’s high life. But underneath, it seethes with rage, guilt, sex, and complex deceptions.

Generally regarded as Nella Larsen’s best work, Passing was first published in 1929 but has received a lot of renewed attention because of its close examination of racial and sexual ambiguities. It has achieved canonical status in many American universities. Clare Kendry is living on the edge. Light-skinned, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a racist white man unaware of her African American heritage, and has severed all ties to her past after deciding to ‘pass’ as a white woman. Clare’s childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, and is simultaneously allured and repelled by Clare’s risky decision to engage in racial masquerade for personal and societal gain. After frequenting African American-centric gatherings together in Harlem, Clare’s interest in Irene turns into a homoerotic longing for Irene’s black identity that she abandoned and can never embrace again, and she is forced to grapple with her decision to pass for white in a way that is both tragic and telling.

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

Once I became obsessed with Downton Abbey, I came across the creator of the show, Julian Fellowes, and his book Snobs. I had to read it knowing he created Downton Abbey, and his work definitely did not disappoint if you’re a fan of witty storytelling.

In his superbly observed first novel, Julian Fellowes, creator of the Masterpiece sensation Downton Abbey and winner of an Academy Award for his original screenplay of Gosford Park, brings us an insider’s look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed.
Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents’ stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, the Earl Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk. To the gossip columns he is one of the most eligible young aristocrats around. When he proposes, Edith accepts. But is she really in love with Charles? Or with his title, his position, and all that goes with it?
One inescapable part of life at Broughton Hall is Charles’s mother, the shrewd Lady Uckfield, known to her friends as Googie and described by the narrator—an actor who moves comfortably among the upper classes while chronicling their foibles—as the most socially expert individual I have ever known at all well. She combined a watchmaker’s eye for detail with a madam’s knowledge of the world. Lady Uckfield is convinced that Edith is more interested in becoming a countess than in being a good wife to her son. And when a television company, complete with a gorgeous leading man, descends on Broughton Hall to film a period drama, Googie’s worst fears seem fully justified.

The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn

We burn for the Bridgerton series! It takes place in the 1800s, long before Downton Abbey, but follows similar themes with a more lighthearted, romance-focused tone.

The Duke and I: In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince–while other dictates of the town are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable…but not too amiable.
Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her.
Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society–just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.
The plan works like a charm–at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

Follow Julia Quinn on Instagram and Facebook

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This book is a non-linear, emotional and captivating historical fiction that I read in about two days. If you haven’t picked it up yet, this is your sign to do so.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

Follow Brit Bennett on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Mārquez

I have to agree with the New York Times Book Review that this book should be “required reading”… This book is epic and profound.

One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women–brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul–this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

Follow Gabriel García Mārquez on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

If Emma Watson recommends a book, I am more than happy to read it. So I did exactly that when this book was on Our Shared Shelf in 2020. I quickly began to read much of Allende’s other English translated work, including A Long Petal of the Sea and Violeta. To put it simply, her work is exquisite.

The House of the Spirits, the unforgettable first novel that established Isabel Allende as one of the world’s most gifted storytellers, brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.
One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.

Follow Isabel Allende on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory

From “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY), this is another historical fiction that I devoured.

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.
With more than one million copies in print and adapted for the big screen, The Other Boleyn Girl is a riveting historical drama. It brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe, and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart.

Follow Phillippa Gregory on Twitter and Facebook

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I recently read this one after seeing it all over social media for the past year, and I have to admit, I’m now obsessed with it too. I’m now reading Malibu Rising by Reid, and enjoying it ~almost~ just as much.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Follow Taylor Jenkins Reid on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton

This one is nonfiction, but if you are interested in English history and Princess Diana’s story, you’ll truly love this book.

The sensational biography of Princess Diana, written with her cooperation and now featuring exclusive new material to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death.
When Diana: Her True Story was first published in 1992, it forever changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy. Greeted initially with disbelief and ridicule, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography has become a unique literary classic, not just because of its explosive contents but also because of Diana’s intimate involvement in the publication. Never before had a senior royal spoken in such a raw, unfiltered way about her unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams. Now, twenty-five years on, biographer Andrew Morton has revisited the secret tapes he and the late princess made to reveal startling new insights into her life and mind. In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking biography, Morton considers Diana’s legacy and her relevance to the modern royal family.
An icon in life and a legend in death, Diana continues to fascinate. Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words is the closest we will ever come to her autobiography.

Follow Andrew Morton on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Books Forward BFFs May Influencer Newsletter

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Summer romances we’re loving and looking forward to

I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I’m sincerely over winter and have been looking forward to summer a lot lately. With some beautiful cover reveals, my TBR is firmly set in summer mode, so I thought I’d share some of my most anticipated releases from May through August! Is it a coincidence that most of these are romances? I don’t think so — summer is the perfect season for swooning!

As a big fan of Small Town Hearts, I am so excited for Lillie Vale’s sophomore novel, Beauty and the Besharam (May 10). Vale’s debut was full of coastal town vibes and dynamic characters, so you know I’m excited for an ambitious heroine who is paired with her nemesis during her summer job and then forced to compete in a series of challenges.

This whole post could be full of sophomore novels I’m excited for, and A Show for Two (May 10) by Tashie Bhuiyan would be on the list. Famously inspired by when Tom Holland went undercover at Tashie’s school, A Show for Two promises a deal between a secret celebrity and a heroine who wants to win a film competition.

With the success of Red, White & Royal Blue and One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston’s YA debut, I Kissed Shara Wheeler (May 3), already has a ton of buzz. I may have picked up the exclusive edition already in the last B&N preorder sale. Shara Wheeler is about rivals competing for valedictorian spots until Shara and Chloe kiss and Shara vanishes. Together with two other girls Shara kissed, Chloe and her unlikely alliances must try to find the missing teen.

The queen of rom coms, Rachel Lynn Solomon is gracing our bookshelves with See You Yesterday (May 17) this summer. And even more exciting, this latest release promises a twisty, Groundhog-Day romance with a girl who is forced to relive her first day of college over and over again and discovers a fellow student also stuck in the time loop. Can they escape together?

I am so thrilled I found a debut author for this post and Andrea Mosqueda’s Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster (May 24) revovles around a girl’s mission to find a date for her sister’s quinceañera. In her search, she must confront her bisexual feelings as well as the ways her relationships to her friends may have changed. And don’t even get me started on how much I love the title!

As a longtime fan of Sarah Henning, I’m so excited for It’s All in How You Fall (May 31) which features gymnasts! I always support more sports YA novels, and I would gladly read about gymnasts as someone who grew up in the sport. This one is about a gymnast well on her way to stardom who has a career ending injury. She then meets someone who will help her “date” different sports and in return, she will play matchmaker.

I am obsessed with all of the covers on this list, but Zyla & Kai (June 7) is in my top three! On a school trip, Zyla and Kai run away together, which wouldn’t be surprising, except they’ve been broken up for months. Told alternately over the past and the present, Zyla & Kai comes from romance expert Kristina Forest, who is an auto-buy author for me.

Dahlia Adler’s latest release, Home Field Advantage (June 7), tells the story of Amber, aspiring cheerleader captain, who is suddenly pitted against new student Jaclyn (the new quarterback) except then she starts to fall for her. Adler’s stories have been some of my favorite YA romances and this sports romance (WE LOVE SPORTS!) will cause Amber to pick between her dreams and her love.

Julie Abe’s YA romance debut, The Charmed List (July 5), tells the story of Ellie, who is committed to her anti-wallflower checklist. But one of the items goes wrong, and instead of taking revenge on Jack Yasuda, she ends up trapped on a road trip with him. I’ve loved Abe’s MG series, Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch, and I have the highest hopes for this new YA endeavor!

And finally is Those Summer Nights (August 23) by Laura Silverman. Hannah’s dreams of a soccer career are over and a series of bad decisions results in a year of boarding school. Her summer job at an entertainment multiplex seems to offer some harmless flirting, but a competition from the multiplex forces her to confront her past dreams and her ex-best friend.

There were so many releases from May alone that I could write a whole post just on releases in that month. But I hope that this list will give you a somewhat balanced list for you to enjoy all summer long. Who else is looking forward to summer reading, picnics in the sun, and swoony stories?

Books Forward BFFs April Influencer Newsletter

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Six wibbly wobbly timey wimey books to read before the next Dr. Strange movie

There’s nothing that excites me more than a science fiction story that defies the laws of physics. Whether it’s traversing time, space, or even the multiverse, these books will hype you up before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes out May 21.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El Mohir and Max Gladstone: Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire: Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realize it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet. Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own. Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson: Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying–from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total. On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works–and shamelessly flirts–with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security. But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined–and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

Kindred by Octavia E Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

Recursion by Blake Crouch: Reality is broken. At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave, unleashed by a stunning discovery–and what’s in jeopardy is not our minds but the very fabric of time itself. In New York City, Detective Barry Sutton is closing in on the truth–and in a remote laboratory, neuroscientist Helena Smith is unaware that she alone holds the key to this mystery . . . and the tools for fighting back. Together, Barry and Helena will have to confront their enemy–before they, and the world, are trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow: It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.

Books in our fav Abbott Elementary characters’ TBR stacks

Class is in session, and your homework? Watch Abbott Elementary.

The new ABC sitcom created by the funny and talented Quinta Brunson is the mockumentary-style comedy we needed. It’s absolutely one of the best sitcoms right now, and with stars like, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, it’s easy to see why.

And reading is fundamental to a great education, so what kind of books would make up these teachers’ TBR stacks?

JANINE

Janine is sweet and a little naive but overall is the epitome of what a teacher should be: Caring, almost to a fault, and ready to do whatever it takes to motivate and educate the young students in her second-grade class. We know she definitely has a TBR stack that’s as inspirational and excitable as she is.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

The poetry collection by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

This is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. It’s a whip-smart and dynamic thriller with sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis has never quite fit in. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold. The only bright spot is Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. But as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses he’s hiding something. And everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

GREG

Oh, Greg. Even though you eat plain boiled chicken and have a hard time opening up not just to your students but to your colleagues, we can’t help but love you and your awkward glances to camera. Greg is a surprise in himself, and the books on his TBR might surprise you as well.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

This book is a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in the 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This book is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce, a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

AVA

You either love her or you hate her — and you can trust that she does not care either way. You can count on the fabulously funny principal of Abbott Elementary being up to date with the hottest books of the moment and ready to drop whatever it is she’s doing to talk about them.

Miss Me With That by Rachel Lindsay

Rachel Lindsay rose to prominence as The Bachelor’s first Black Bachelorette and has since become one of the franchise’s most well-known figures — and outspoken critics. But there has always been more to Lindsay than meets the eye, and in this book, she finally tells her own story, in her own words.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, this book is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live.

Luster by Raven Leilani

Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, the book is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life — her hunger, her anger — in a tumultuous era. It’s also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.

BARBARA

Can we go back to kindergarten and have Barbara be our teacher? (Okay, but really.) This education veteran knows how to dish out tough love but never doubt that she would drop whatever she’s doing to help those she cares for. From faith to fiction, we think Barbara would gravitate toward books that really make you think — and we would happily listen to all her thoughts on them in the break room.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Uncommon Ground by Timothy Keller and John Inazu

These two authors bring together a thrilling range of artists, thinkers, and leaders to provide a guide to faithful living in a pluralistic, fractured world. Providing varied and enlightening approaches to reaching faithfully across deep and often painful differences, this book shows us how to live with confidence, joy, and hope in a complex and fragmented age.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This novel follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. The book illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed — and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

MELISSA

From food to family to telling Janine like it, Melissa is down to earth and refreshingly honest. She talks tough, but we know she’s got a heart of gold and is ready to fight — figuratively and literally — for what she believes in. Like her, there’s definitely more to her TBR than meets the eye.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

With humor and heart, Zauner tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of her new life, and this book is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.

Five Families by Selwyn Raab

This is a vivid story of the rise and fall of New York’s premier dons, from Lucky Luciano to Paul Castellano to John Gotti and others. This definitive history brings the reader right up to the possible resurgence of the Mafia as the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies turn their attention to homeland security and away from organized crime.

JACOB

As nerdy and awkward as he can be (and as bad as he is at roasting) we’re glad the students at Abbott have Jacob as a teacher. Even though he tries a little too hard to be woke, we know his heart’s in the right place. And the books he’s picking up would go perfectly on any millennial’s shelf.

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, this is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Guncle is a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer. It’s a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

A singular and stunning debut, this novel is about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.