Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020

It’s a new decade! We’re back in the Roaring 20s, folks, and with a new year, comes a new reading goal. Last year, I barely met my Goodreads goal of 70 books, but the last few months were a whirlwind of change, so I’m pretty sure that in 2020, things won’t be quite as hectic and I can easily top that.

Some of my favorite authors have books coming out in 2020: Sarah J. Maas, Ransom Riggs, and Kimberly McCreight, just to name a few AND there are even a few musical memoirs and political non-fiction titles on my list.

What are you looking forward to reading in 2020? Here are my top picks for the first half of the year since many of the fall releases haven’t been announced yet!


Ransom Riggs – The Conference of the Birds

Conference-BirdsThe fifth installment in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, Ransom Riggs continues the story which has now moved to America. While this series has lost some of the charm it once had, the books are still enjoyable reads and I’m looking forward to seeing where the author takes us.

Releases: January 14

 

 

 

Kiersten White – Chosen

Last year, Kirsten White took us back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a 41gOetoeHfL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_new story set in the Buffyverse. It was magical, entertaining and a nostalgic return to a much loved world. Book two finds Nina trying to manage the Watcher’s Castle as she attempts to turn it into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons.

Releases: January 7

 

 

 

Mary Kubica – The Other Mrs.

One of my favorite thriller writers returns with a new mystery set in Maine. Sadie and Other-MrsWill Foust haven’t lived in their new home long when their neighbor is murdered, setting everyone in the small town on edge. Kubica is the queen of twists and her books just keep getting better.

Releases: February 18 

 

 

 

 

Sarah J. Maas – Crescent City

Ok, so this one made my list LAST year because it originally was supposed to come out in the fall. But it got delayed, so it’s making the 2020 list too. And we have a cover and a plot about a half fae, half human who falls in love with an angel. Sarah J. Maas is one of the Crescent-Citybest young adult writers out there, but this one is aimed at an adult audience, so you know the romance is going to be on fire!

Releases: March 3

 

 

 

 

 

Zan Romanoff – Look

Lulu Shapiro’s a social media star. But when a video of her that she didn’t want public gets posted to the Internet, it creates a series of events that lead her to meet 51XQz7KureLCass. But the online fame continues to follow her around, even when she’s trying to find herself and explore a new relationship in an offline way. Zan Romanoff is sort of an under the radar young adult author, but she crafts great realistic fiction stories that often reflect the trends and times we live in.

Releases: March 31

 

 

 

The Jonas Brothers – Blood

I probably don’t read as much non-fiction as I should, but when I do, I love to read music biographies and political stuff. Weird combination, I know. The Jonas Brothers are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I used to hate them because there was some tension between them and Hanson and if you know me at all, you don’t talk smack about my favorite 41AkISOahNL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_band. But they’ve buried the hatchet, and let’s face it: the Jonas Brothers made some pretty catchy music. So I’m really interested to read this one and find out some background info on the brothers because siblings really do make the best music together.

Releases: March 17

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Collins – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Honestly, this title makes me nervous. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a new Hunger Games book and many times when an author returns to a series after a long hiatus, the new story isn’t any good. Since this is a prequel, it might be interesting to read 46346381._SY475_about some of the events before the Katniss world began, although I would have rather read about the first Hunger Games, not the tenth. Still, it will be a big one in 2020 and I’m intrigued.

Releases: May 19

 

 

 

 

Kimberly McCreight – A Good Marriage

It’s been a while since Kimberly McCreight wrote anything for adults, but her psychological thrillers fill the Gillian Flynn void for me. There’s murder, marriage 417k2BUfO6Lproblems and intrigue as lawyer Lizzie Kitsakis juggles personal problems and a call from an old friend who needs her help. Eagerly awaiting this one.

Releases: May 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Books of 2019

It’s that time of year again! I always have fun blogging my favorite reads of 2019 and this year I set a goal to read 70 books. Toward the end of the year, I struggled to complete it because we moved, my cat died and life got super busy with a new position at work. However, I managed to complete my goal just in the nick of time!

Here are some of my very favorites published in 2019. Have you read any of them? Let me know what you think and tell me about some I may have missed!

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

41weZhY-JLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Imagine getting a call that your daughter has been kidnapped and the only way for you to get her back is to pay a ransom, then kidnap someone else’s child. You can’t go to the police, target the children of law enforcement or politicians and if you don’t complete your assignment within twenty-four hours, your child is dead.

So begins The Chain, an elaborate kidnapping ring that’s been going on for years.

Twists and turns abound in this thriller and what’s even more terrifying is how realistic the plot can be. The story moves very quickly and you will have a hard time putting this one down!

 


The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

91aXy4vb0PL
Every summer, Sadie vacations with her family in the town of  town of Littleport, Maine, spending most of her time with her best friend Avery who lives in the town year round. The girls are inseparable, but one summer, Avery is found dead.

The police rule it a suicide, but Sadie isn’t so sure. And some of the townspeople act like she’s to blame, casting suspicious glaces in her direction whenever she’s in town.

So Sadie sets out to figure out what exactly happened to her friend, to both clear her name and put her friend to rest.

The Last House Guest is another page turner from author Megan Miranda. The ending wasn’t easy to figure out, which is always a plus when it comes to mysteries!

 


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is phenomenal. If you love music, especially 70s style rock, you will be in 91yzz1aYgeLheaven when you read Daisy Jones & The Six. The format is written in oral history style, which took a few chapters to get used to, but once you have that down, you’ll be riveted by the story of a band’s rise to fame, then subsequent fall from stardom during the 70s.

Is it based on a true story? Possibly. It definitely feels like maybe Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac are the inspiration behind this fictional account, but who really knows. I’ve also heard the audio is exceptional, so if you enjoy listening to audio books, give it a shot in that format and let me know what you think.

 


Recursion by Blake Crouch
Recursion-cover-1263x1920
Helena Smith’s mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she wants nothing more than to bring back her mother’s precious memories. So she begins experimenting with a new technology that will preserve special moments in life while also allowing them to relive learning to drive, getting married, the birth of their children or the last few moments with a loved one who is about to pass over into the afterlife.

Blake Crouch remains one of the best science fiction authors out there and this follow up to Dark Matter is stellar. Earlier this year, I wrote a more in depth review of Recursion, so be sure to check it out.


Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
51f+k0SFrML._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
Take everything you know about the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella and toss it in the trash! This story about Isabelle, the step sister who cut off her toes so the glass slipper would fit, is brilliant.

Her whole life, Isabelle has wanted to be like Cinderella and it’s left her wanting. So she sets out on her own adventure, thwarting evil plans for the kingdom and redeeming herself in this fractured fairy tale.

I couldn’t put Stepsister down and you won’t be able to either.

 


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

81R0yT4ClPL

This was just as good as “The Hate U Give.”

I really enjoyed the plot and plight of the main character, Bri, as she deals with the struggles of the inner city and trying to make it as a teenage rap star. The rap battles reminded me a lot of the movies “8 Mile” or “Patti Cake$,” and I liked the subtle connection to T.H.U.G. It’s pretty awesome that Thomas wrote the rap songs/lyrics herself instead of having someone else do it.

Thomas is a wonderful new voice in YA fiction and I’m really excited to see where she takes us in future novels.

 


The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

During their sixteenth year, the young women of Garner County are banished graceto the wilderness. They’re thought to possess a magic power as they’re coming into adulthood that affects both men and women, so they’re sent out into the woods to overcome the magic and return on their seventeenth birthdays pure and ready for marriage.

Not many make it back home – there are poachers out in the wild, ready to kill them and sell their bodies on the black market. They also turn against each other.

Tierney James wants to change all that, but surviving her grace year and starting a revolution in her society will come with great costs.

The Grace Year is a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and a female version of Lord of the Flies. At times it can be brutal, but it’s an excellent story that leaves you with an uneasy feeling. Definitely recommended for fans of dystopian with a feminist edge.

 


The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern

starlessZachary Ezra Rawlins stumbles upon an ancient book hidden deep within the library’s stacks and as he’s reading the enchanting story, he discovers he’s a character in the book. Stunned that a story from his childhood exists within the pages of a book, Zachary sets out to find out how and why he became part of the story.

The clues – a bee, a key and a sword, lead him to a secrect society and masquerade party held deep in an underground library and readers are treated to an adventure like no other.

Erin Morganstern, who is best known for her debut novel, The Night Circus, returns in this highly anticipated sophomore novel. It’s masterfully written and honestly, there’s no one else this good out there at the moment. I hope it won’t take her another eight years in between novels, but if all the rest of her books are as good as The Starless Sea and The Night Circus, they will certainly be worth the wait.


Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Book two in the spectacular series that kicked off in 2018 with Children of Blood and Bone. Zélie and Amari struggle to unite the kingdom of Orisha as Amari triesCOV&V_JKT_Trade_032819.indd to assume her spot on the throne. Her mother and brother have other plans though, and with the return of magic to the land, the maji find that the opposing side also has access to those powers and are using it against them.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is a non-stop thrill ride that leaves you wanting book three immediately. There’s romance, action and fantasy and Adeyemi remains one of the top writers in the young adult fantasy sphere. If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for??

 

 

 


 

PIN It!

LostbetweenPages.com

Best Albums of 2019

As usual, my “Best Albums of 2019” list is dominated by the female artists: Maren, Taylor, Miranda and P!nk all put out stellar efforts this year. Sara Barellies returned from a long musical hiatus to drop another gorgeous lyric and piano driven masterpiece and the Jonas Brothers make a comeback I didn’t know I needed.

Here are my favorite albums of 2019, in no particular order!

GIRL – Maren Morris

girl

In her follow up to 2016’s HERO, Maren Morris returns with this slick, radio ready country-pop infusion. The lead track “GIRL” is an anthem for any female who’s felt down about herself and needs a confidence boost.

If you’re a music lover, “A Song for Everything” will bring tears to your eyes as it’s literally the incarnation of how music can hit you right in the heart. “The Bones”, which is Morris’ current single, reminds us that if you have a solid foundation to your relationships, when trials come at you, nothing can shake it.

Often, when an artist has a brilliant first album, the second one will feel rushed or sloppy in order to push something out to keep riding the wave. Morris took her time between albums and delivers a very solid second effort.
Songs to download: Girl, A Song for Everything, The Feels, RSVP, The Bones


Amidst the Chaos – Sara Bareilles

It’s been a while since Sara Bareilles has put out new music. Sara_Bareilles_-_Amidst_the_ChaosShe’s been a BIT busy over on Broadway with her hit musical, The Waitress. Six years in between albums didn’t dull her writing skills though and with Amidst the Chaos, Bareilles continues churning out some of the best piano and lyric driven songs in the industry.

“Fire” opens up the album, which contains several songs inspired by current events like the #MeToo movement ( “Armor”), immigration crisis (“A Safe Place to Land”) and former President Obama (“No Such Thing”).

Amidst the Chaos is less radio friendly than her previous efforts, but it’s still a musical gem of 2019. Songs to download: Fire, Armor, If I Can’t Have You, Wicked Love


Fine Line – Harry Styles

NINTCHDBPICT000537008236The former lead singer of One Direction has done it again! Somehow Harry Styles has gone from boyband pop to retro mood music and it’s pure perfection. Styles follows in the same vein as his self-titled debut solo album, dialing in on the 60s/70s easy melodies with many of the songs on Fine Line.

Every song hits the right notes and as a Swiftie, I can forgive him for releasing this album on Taylor Swift’s 30th Birthday because it’s just that perfect. (C’mon, you know he did it intentionally!) Expectations were high for this one and it delivers. Songs to download: Golden, Watermelon Sugar, Fine Line, Adore You


Let’s Rock – The Black Keys

The Black Keys returned in 2019 after a five year hiatus to let everyone know that rock is not 220px-The_Black_Keys_-_Let's_Rockdead. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have created another jam with Let’s Rock, and if you don’t find yourself singing along to “Shine A Little Light” and “Lo/Hi”, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.

There’s nothing earth shattering about the lyrics, but sometimes you just want a feel-good album to bop to in the car and on that level, this delivers.

Songs to download: Lo/Hi, Shine a Little Light, Eagle Birds, Go

 


Wildcard – Miranda Lambert

5dc35ae2a4eb8.imageThe old Miranda is back! After a double album dealing with major heartbreak following her divorce from Blake Shelton, Wildcard marks a return to her signature country/rock style and is easily one of the best albums of 2019. “Way Too Pretty for Prison” is a tongue-in-cheek update on the Dixie Chick’s “Goodbye Earl” that finds Lambert dueting with Maren Morris about how they’d rather hire someone to kill their cheating exes because the color of the orange jumpsuits washes them out.

Elsewhere, “Bluebird” finds her looking to the future instead of dwelling on the past on the hauntingly simple tune. That sentiment carries over to “Dark Bars” as well, but on “Mess with my Head”, Lambert turns the volume up to 10, relying on a pounding chorus and rock guitars to drive the point home.

Is it possible for her to make a bad album? I’m beginning to think not. Songs to download: just download the whole album 🙂


Happiness Begins – Jonas Brothers

There was a time when I would have felt like putting an album by the Jonas Brothers on b1af208c-10f8-49ce-b56c-8795ec152194-JonasBrothersthis list. But the beef seems to be settled between Hanson fans and JoBro fans  – at least in my mind it is.

Happiness Begins is a lovely little pop/R&B album that this casual Jonas Brothers listener didn’t know she needed. How can you not sing along to “Sucker”, “Cool” or “Only Human?” And the rest of the album is pretty catchy too. Only a couple songs are worth skipping. Nick, as usual, is the standout brother

Songs to download: Only Human, Cool, Don’t Throw it Away, Trust

 


Lover – Taylor Swift

downloadIt’s a new era for TSwift – gone is the darker, angrier version found on 2017’s Reputation. This Taylor Swift is letting go of the things that haunted her, embracing turning thirty and if her lyrics are as autobiographical as I think they are, madly in love with (perhaps), The One.

Lover is, quite simply, a rainbow of colors and sounds. It’s lighter, more carefree and mature compare to some of her other efforts, yet still has that same glossy pop exterior that sells millions. And in an era where singles are king, this is a cohesive album that tells a story starting with song one.

A lot of critics say it’s her best work yet; I’m not sure I agree because unlike her last three albums, there are a couple songs that I skip. However, this one is easily my favorite release of 2019. Songs to download: I Forgot That You Existed, Cruel Summer, Lover, False God, Paper Rings


Hurts 2B Human – P!nk

This album from one of the best performers out there right now, came out quietly Pink_-_Hurts_2B_Humanin the spring. It debuted at number one on the charts, but really didn’t seem to make much of a splash on the radio, which is a shame because there are some really solid songs on P!nk’s eighth studio album.

Hurts 2B Human is a return of sorts to older P!nk – some of the songs sound like they could have come off her debut album, while others delve into uncharted territory like her duet with country’s Chris Stapleton.

Another solid effort from an artist that doesn’t get enough credit for her songwriting, singing and vocal performances. Songs to download: Hustle, (Hey Why) Miss You Sometime, Hurts 2B Human and My Attic.

Carmel Christkindlmarkt

In the spirit of traditional German Christmas Markets, the city of Carmel has created a lovely outdoor space to bring all the holiday food, music, drink and gifts to Indiana! Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt is open through December 24th, so you still have some time to visit! It’s a perfect spot for families, a girls day with friends or even date night.

I went with my friend Bree and we had a great time watching everyone ice skate, play music and of course we enjoyed their German treats too!

img_1326

I tested the peppermint hot chocolate from Bob’s Belgian Hot Chocolate and a Bavarian pretzel from Das Pretzel Haus. Mine was regular sized, but they have some GIANT pretzels that could probably feed an entire family. Both were delicious! Next year if I am able to go, I want to try the crepes or the famous Raclette sandwiches where they scrape the melted cheese off in front of you.

 

In addition to food, there are several little shops with vendors and you can buy German gifts. And if it’s super cold outside, there are cozy warming stations going all day and night to keep you toasty.

My favorite part of the market is the ice skating rink! We didn’t get to try it out this year, but definitely will next year! I took ice skating lessons as a teen, but it’s been a VERY long time since I put on skates, so I wouldn’t be shocked if I fall down.

 

It also makes a beautiful backdrop for family photos or if you’re feeling like a new profile pic 🙂

img_1391

 

Carmel has done such a great job of bringing this concept to the Indianapolis area! If you are looking for the perfect holiday activity, this is it. Let me know if you go and what you did!