October and November 2019 Must-Reads

November 2019 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Looking for your next great read? MomAdvice has 6 new books you can check out and cozy up with this winter. This fall book list has everything you could ever want- a mystery, a fascinating thriller, an Irish ghost story, a nonfiction exploration on books, and so much more! Be sure to bookmark this list for your next library visit!

I hope you all had an incredible holiday and are enjoying some much needed R&R after all the festivities.  We had a very laid back holiday this year which was just what we needed. 

This past month I’ve been plowing through as many book as I can and selecting our next 12 selections for our MomAdvice Book Club. I am unbelievably excited about what I have picked for you and I am hoping that I may have found a new favorite book for you too!

I want these selections to be a surprise so you will see all the book reviews appear next month, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging for another month.

How awful would be?

For you, but also for my poor brain to remember everything.

Instead, I’m sharing some of the books that I *CAN* share about today! 

MomAdvice Book Club 2020

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Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? The Kindle First Reads program is so much fun and a great way to sample a book before it hits the store shelves. Grab your FREE book over here. 


Book of the Month Selections Announced!

December 2019 Book of the Month Selections

December Book of the Month Selections!

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Domestic Suspense)

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano (Contemporary Fiction)

Long Bright River by Liz Moore (Mystery)

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey (Historical Fiction)

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Romance)- this was a 5-star read (for me!!)

This month’s deal: Use coupon code FAM5 to get your first box for $5, and code PERFECT10 to get $10 off a 6 or 12 month gift! SHOP HERE!

Prefer YA? Here are this month’s YA Book of the Month Selections!

December YA Book of the Month Selections!

Reverie by Ryan La Sala (Fantasy)

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen (Historical Romance)

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (Fantasy)

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Historical Fiction)

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins (Romance)

This month’s deal: Use coupon code YES5 to get your first box for $5, and code PERFECT10 to get $10 off a 6 or 12 month gift. SHOP HERE!

Here are 6 must-read books I tackled in October & November:

Speaking of Summer


Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

I will admit that I was attracted to this book because of its vibrant and creative cover, but I was also intrigued by the description of the mystery within its pages.

Autumn’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the rooftop of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen from again. 

As a woman of color, she knows how many women go missing and society and police can be complacent in these missing person cases. She meets often with the detective to talk through the clues and concerns, in Summer’s case, hoping that she can help find her sister.

As time progresses, Autumn does her best to hold it all together, but begins to unravel as her obsession grows to try to solve the disappearance. What happens though when no one seems to care about a woman of color?

This started out so strong and the answer to the mystery was done incredibly well. Buckhanon uses this book to shed light on bigger themes like race, mental health, and addiction. It, truly, sucks the reader in.  I was stunned by the twist and talked about it for days afterwards.

This one missed the mark, for me, at times with consistency and keeping the plot moving once Summer’s whereabouts are revealed. 

Despite the inconsistency, I really loved the creativity that went into this novel and Buckhanon’s beautiful writing.

I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

4 out of 5 Stars

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (available for pre-order)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I fell in love with Jess Kidd’s writing after listen to, “Himself,” on audiobook (full review here) last year. There was something so unique about her storytelling that blended a great Irish ghost story with an incredible amount of heart and humor.  This is why I knew that I was in for something good when I snagged an advanced reader of, “Things in Jars.”

Kidd takes a darker turn with a female detective, Bridie Devine, who is trying to solve the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, the secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick. 

The child has been kept away in secret from society because of her peculiarities and supernatural powers. At this time, in Victorian London, peculiarities are displayed as marvels in traveling circuses (or worse) children are killed to display these oddities in jars for collectors and for profit. 

Bridie is determined to find this girl even if it means putting her own past at risk. 

She isn’t alone though, she is aided through this story by a tattooed ghost who doesn’t leave her side as she investigates. 

Kidd does a great job adding her signature humor into this dark story and weaves in history and folklore that anyone can appreciate. Fans of magical realism will love this Dickensesque story that finds great beauty in the oddities.

This is much darker than her previous work and is a very macabre telling of our curiosities with collecting and displaying the peculiarities of others for profit.

For me, this one leaned a little too heavy into the magical elements that made the story feel a lot less grounded toward the end.

Overall, I was still completely swept away and would still recommend this one for your stack! 

4 out of 5 Stars

The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you are looking for an excellent thriller, I can’t recommend, “The Family Upstairs,” enough. The only reason this wasn’t selected for our book club is because there is already SO much buzz around it that I had a feeling that many of you may have already read it. 

In this story, Libby returns home from work to find a letter written to her on her 25th birthday. Truth be told, it is the letter that she has been waiting for all her life.

Within the note, she learns the identity of her birth parents and that she is the sole inheritor of an abandoned mansion, in one of London’s most fashionable neighborhoods, that is worth millions.

Twenty-five years ago, the police were called to this very house because there were reports of a baby crying. This baby, healthy and happy, was found in her crib- safe and sound.

Downstairs though were three dead bodies, all dressed in black and the other four children all had mysteriously disappeared.

I am, admittedly, fascinated by cults and the power of charismatic leaders to manipulate people to do to unthinkable things.

The man that lives with this family ends up taking complete control over their lives requiring strict exercise, changing their attire, restricting food, manipulating people, abusing them, and alienating them from everyone in their lives.

It is especially impactful on the children who are witnessing all of this in their house and we get to see this story through their eyes too. 

I was sucked into the story from the very first page and finished it in a single day. 

If you were a fan of, “The Haunting of Hill House,” I have a feeling you will love this one too. 

This was another Lisa Jewell home run for me!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Lying WoodsThe Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

Our October MomAdvice Book Club selection was, “The Lying Woods,” and I have to say that this one exceeded all of our expectations this year.

Owen Foster grew up wealthy and has never wanted for anything in his life.

That is why it is so surprising when his mother shows up to his boarding school and tells him that his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. 

Owen’s father had been embezzling millions and had been draining his employees’ retirement accounts for years. When his father vanishes, he leaves behind Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout in their town. 

No longer able to afford the pricey school he attends, Owen is forced to come back to his small town and deal with the aftermath at his high school.

Even though this has nothing to do with Owen, it is hard to not be resentful of the fancy life he had lead and how angry everyone is about their money being stolen from them. 

What’s worse is that someone is desperate to get revenge on them.

Owen’s only refuge is the pecan orchard he works at, with Gus, who seems to know an awful lot about Owen’s family.

It is here that he begins to unravel the mystery of his dad, his mom, and the secrets that were covered up to protect him so many years ago.

This was such a solid novel and yielded such a great discussion too. I listened to this one, on audiobook, and thought the narration was just incredibly done.

If you are looking for a satisfying YA mystery, I highly recommend checking this one out! 

4 out of 5 Stars

The Age of Light

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer

The Age of Light,” was on my historical fiction reading bucket list this year after discovering that is was about a female photographer making her mark on the world in the 1930’s.

As a person who is fascinated by photography and by the hidden women of our history, I had a feeling that this would be a favorite of mine. 

Lee Miller was an accomplished model before she made her way to Paris in the 1930’s. 

She wasn’t content just being in front of the camera though, she aimed to be behind it instead. 

Lucky for her, she met a famed Surrealist photographer, Man Ray, who gives her the opportunity to assist him. This role soon shifts though when the two fall in love.

What happens when your work and your love collide? 

Well, it’s complicated and Man Ray, for sure, doesn’t like being showed up in his own field.

Lee’s life in photography (and as Man Ray’s partner) end up taking her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWI. 

As a war correspondent, she begins documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents, utilizing radical new photography techniques to document the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. 

Overall, Lee’s life was fascinating and Scharer builds a believable strength and curiosity in Lee. 

This was a strong debut from Scharer, although the story would have benefited from some trimming (at 485 pages!). 

I am so glad to have learned about Lee Miller’s life and am thankful historical fiction has been a great avenue for learning about stories like these.

Want to see some of Lee’s war photos? Look at these amazing images!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Library Book was chosen as our MomAdvice Book Club selection for November. As someone who is crazy about the library, I thought this would be a great nonfiction pick as it explores the history of the establishment and a mystery surround the 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Public Library.

Didn’t know there was a fire there?

Neither did most people! 

Orlean shares the story of a library fire that reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had consumed over four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more.

For thirty years, investigators have been baffled by how this fire started and the mysterious reason why it happened.

Orlean is, clearly, a big fan of the library and she weaves in a lot of fun facts and a bigger story about the role that the library plays in our lives. 

There is a wide cast of characters as she shares the stories of people from libraries past and present.

Overall, this should have been a really enthralling read. The fire and how the community rallied together was, definitely, the most fascinating part.

No one can understand the aftermath of what that looked like or, frankly, how it would impact the people who worked there. 

This is one of those cases though where I felt like the author could have benefited from an editor. I listened to this one on audiobook and found myself zoning in and out as Orlean tried to pack in every detail about libraries past.

While well-researched, it was a little dry and I found myself wanting to fast forward to the bits about the the Los Angeles Public Library.

3 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

January 2019 Must-Reads

February 2019 Must-Reads

March 2019 Must-Reads

April 2019 Must-Reads

May 2019 Must-Reads

June 2019 Must-Reads

July 2019 Must-Reads

August 2019 Must-Reads


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What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

November 2019 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

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Published December 01, 2019 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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