Now that I’ve shared our big news that I’m pregnant with number 2, I wanted to share a new fiction book recommendations post, because I’ve been doing SO much reading lately!
Feeling super sick and exhausted the whole first trimester meant many nights I was in bed at 5 p.m. and just got up for a little while to have dinner before getting back in bed. (Another big thank you/shout out to Matt for doing a lot of the Riese wrangling, dinner making, and clean up for the couple months I was feeling really rough!)
Since I spent so much time lying in bed, and bed is my favorite place to read, this meant that I absolutely burned through books during my first trimester. Nothing educational, because that would have been way too useful of course, and also because I needed something entertaining to distract me from how I was feeling. 🙂 So I just read lots and lots of fiction, mostly thrillers!
Today I’ll share a round up of the best of the books I’ve read lately so you can enjoy them, too.
This post will feature fiction books, but I’ll be sure to write another with my favorite non-fiction reads, but before I do that I’ll have to actually read more non-fiction books… so far there are only two on that list from the past few months!
So it might be awhile before that post makes it out into the world, but you can see my Non-Fiction and Memoirs post from September for some ideas now if you want them!
Best Fiction Books I’ve Read Recently
Most of the fiction books I’ve read recently would fall into the historical fiction or mystery/thriller categories. But there are also a few romance, young adult, and fantasy books, too! I like to mix it up. 🙂
Here we go, in no particular order!
I added a little “rating” for each book out of 5 stars, too, in hopes that’s helpful – anything that made it onto this list was already at least a 4 because I liked it enough to include it, but I figure it’s still helpful to see which ones I enjoyed vs. really REALLY enjoyed.
Please note the links in this post are affiliate links.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
A group of teenage girls are forced into isolation for a year, to expel their “aphrodisiac magic” so they can return to their town pure and ready for marriage.
This book was engaging and kept you interested, and they even managed to fit in a love story into the chaos – but what I found most interesting was the overall theme and messaging about the high cost of a misogynistic world that denies women any power or say in their own futures. It was also a fascinating commentary about the dangers of a society that actively attacks its people’s sanity in order to retain control/power. Think The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games.
This book is apparently going to become a movie, so I wasn’t the only one who found the topic intriguing! I give it 4.5/5 stars.
Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy
Newlyweds Sam and Annie move to a small town, where Sam works as a therapist out of their home. Little does he know, his sessions can be heard quite clearly through a vent in an upstairs room. One day, Sam goes missing. Is he a victim, or was it on purpose?
This book was SO twisty – I didn’t see the main plot twist coming at all, which was fun because sometimes books like this can be predictable you know?
This book won’t change your life, but it’s a quick and easy (but dark) read that will leave you guessing and entertained. I give it 4/5 stars.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
This spooky mystery is set at a boarding school for troubled girls. It flips back and forth between 1950, when a girl goes missing, and 2014, when a journalist decides to dig into her older sister’s mysterious disappearance at the same school.
I love a good thriller that flips back and forth in time and keeps you guessing, and this one fit the bill. I flew through it and all the plot twists kept me intrigued. 4.5/5 stars.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
As a case worker for magical children, Linus Baker is sent to a strange island to investigate six potentially dangerous children at an orphanage. There, he uncovers more secrets than he could have imagined.
I loved the overall theme and message of this book: that differences should be celebrated and nourished rather than feared and rejected. It’s quirky and charming and will give you hope for a better, more welcoming and kind world. 4.5/5 stars.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Genre: Historical Romance/Fantasy
In 1714 France, a woman makes a deal with the devil to live forever. The catch: no one she meets will ever remember her. Until 300 years later, when she comes across a man in a bookstore who somehow, miraculously, does.
AHHHHHH I was obsessed with this book – definitely my favorite out of all the books I’ve read recently. It’s beautifully written and the story is so creative and unique, too. Absolutely loved it and didn’t want it to end. 5/5 stars.
They Never Learn by Layne Fargo
If you’ve ever wondered what a feminist-inspired Dexter would look like: read this book. It follows an English professor at a small college who knows how to get away with murder. She gives bad men her own kind of vengeance.
This was dark but unique, and it was a quick read. I liked the show Dexter and this is basically a female version, which was interesting! 4.25/5 stars.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Set at a rundown motel, this story shifts between a young woman working as the night clerk in the present day, and her aunt 35 years before. Separately, they’re both drawn to discovering the spooky secrets of the motel.
I really loved this book – it was engaging, well written/organized, and bounced back in forth between present and past masterfully. One of my favorite thrillers from the year for sure. 4.75/5 stars.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Maggie Holt returns to her childhood home (an old mansion in Vermont) after 25 years. But it isn’t just any childhood home. Her father wrote an infamous book about the hauntings that took place there before their family fled. But Maggie doesn’t believe the ghosts were real – until strange happenings in the house make her question what she knows.
This book was creepy but really entertaining! There were a ton of layers to the story and I didn’t at all guess the ending. You won’t be able to put it down! 4.5/5 stars.
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
When a young woman moves in to her uncle’s strange museum, she gets more than she bargained for when she finds an eerie portal to another realm.
This was a really interesting and unique book – and creepy, of course, given the genre! Kind of like a Narnia meets Stranger Things type vibe. If you like books that will scare you a little but also keep you entertained, check this one out! 4.5/5 stars.
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set during the end of the Dark Ages, Ken Follett’s newest book is a prequel to the Kingsbridge series. The story follows three characters while they try to survive clashes between the English, the Welsh, and the Vikings.
I LOVE Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series, so I was thrilled to see when a new book in the series came out! It was just as good as his other books in the series, even though all the books are a bit similar in terms of the story lines. 🙂
If you haven’t checked out this series yet, do it! And if you have read the others, don’t miss this one. 4.75/5 stars.
Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in France during World War II, this story follows a family with a large art collection and the ways their lives are irrevocably changed.
A captivating story about love and loss. Definitely worth a read if you like historical fiction like I do. 4.5/5 stars.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in 1913 as well as 1993, this story focuses on the New York Public Library and a series of book thefts that threaten it.
This is another book that does a great job bouncing back and forth in time and from different perspectives. I really enjoyed it – one of those books I kept wanting to read to know what happened next! 4.5/5 stars.
The Better Liar by Tanen Jones
Leslie Voigt’s father promised her an inheritance – but only if she and her sister collect it together. When Leslie’s sister is found dead, Leslie finds someone to impersonate her sister so she can collect the money. But soon, things take a sinister turn.
This was a clever and engaging thriller that had lots of twists you won’t see coming. Not my absolute favorite of the thrillers I read the past few months, but it’s worth a read! 4/5 stars.
So there you have it – those are the best fiction books I’ve read lately! Have you read any great books recently?
Let me know in the comments! I’m always down for more book recommendations. 🙂 And if you want more book recs, check out my fiction books round up from August: Fiction Books I’ve Read Lately.
Also, a special thanks to Taylor, who works for me behind the scenes on the blog, for all the awesome book recs she gave me over the past few months! I just started A Solitude of Wolverines per her latest rec… so far I’m enjoying it!