December is here! And while cold winds and short days may have driven you indoors in the past, this year is guaranteed to be even more homebound than usual. With lots of cozy evening hours at home to fill and holiday vacations from work on the horizon, let us recommend these ten standout reads, new to paperback this December. This list has everything from fun-loving, inspirational essay collections and memoirs to topical, nail-biting thrillers. Above all, whether the book you pick is nonfiction, a young adult romance, or a historical novel, each of these curated selections promises to be razor-smart and keenly insightful.
Gwendolyn thought she and her sister, Estella, were best friends; that is, until she finds herself in a coma, the only survivor of Estella’s attempted murder of their entire Chinese-Indonesian family. As Gwendolyn sifts through her memories of their relationship, their family, and their private lives, she attempts to piece back together the collective traumas the sisters shared and kept hidden to determine what could have led her sister to such an imaginable act of violence. THE MAJESTIES is a dark, haunting debut about the world of power that rots behind closed doors.
In this “bold and dramatic portrayal of characters on the cusp of an impossible choice” (Publishers Weekly), two sisters from a wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with secrets and betrayal after one of them poisons their entire family.
Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?
Traveling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, The Majesties “is a thrilling, tender page-turner” (Krys Lee, author of Drifting House) as well as “a sobering look at the dark side of extreme wealth” (Kirkus Reviews).
In this romantic historical epic, Jan Brunt arrives in Great Britain in 1649, determined to drain and develop a span of wetlands called the Great Level. He is distracted from his task, however, by Eliza, a woman who disrupts his ordered vision of the world and captures his heart. After Eliza uses the lessons Jan taught her to destroy his work, she is punished, and he flees to America. Jan has finally reestablished himself when a letter arrives and with it the news of Eliza’s whereabouts.
This “story of passion, possession, and a painful education in love” (Sarah Dunant, author of In the Name of the Family), spanning several decades in 17th-century Great Britain and America, evocatively explores the power of nature versus man and man versus woman by “a lovely writer [who] can take your breath away” (The New York Times Book Review).
I am an engineer and a measured man of the world. I prefer to weigh everything in the balance, to calculate and to plan. Yet my own heart is going faster than I can now count.
In 1649, Jan Brunt arrives in Great Britain from the Netherlands to work on draining and developing an expanse of marshy wetlands known as the Great Level. It is here in this wild country that he meets Eliza, a local woman whose love overturns his ordered vision. Determined to help her strive beyond her situation, Jan is heedless of her devotion to her home and way of life. When she uses the education Jan has given her to sabotage his work, Eliza is brutally punished, and Jan flees to the New World.
In the American colonies, profiteers are hungry for viable land to develop, and Jan’s skills as an engineer are highly prized. His prosperous new life is rattled, however, on a spring morning when a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Great Level, and confront all that was lost there. Eliza has made it to the New World and is once again using the education Jan gave her to bend the landscape—this time to find her own place of freedom.
Perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel and Geraldine Brooks, Call Upon the Water is “a haunting book with characters who stay with the reader as their lives unfold like a sea mist” (Philippa Gregory, New York Times bestselling author).
Note: This book was published in the UK under the title The Great Level.
Actress Maxine Mead and playwright Hazel Riley think they are just on the brink of realizing their Broadway dreams when they break in to the New York creative scene hosted at the iconic Chelsea Hotel. But when the Red Scare, spearheaded by McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists, captivates the country, Maxine and Hazel’s friendship with each other and connection to the industry will be put to the test. A glamorous and textured view of 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s New York City, THE CHELSEA GIRLS is a dazzling tale of the politics of art and complex female friendships.
KEEP IT MOVING offers words of life advice from famed dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer Twyla Tharp. Despite her age, Twyla keeps herself motivated and active, filling her days with energizing routines and tasks aimed to make a real difference. In no-nonsense, exhilarating prose, Tharp provides everything from a history of her fitness empire to upgraded workout tips and sage advice for life. Motivated by the advice to keep always keep moving and focus on the now, KEEP IT MOVING is a how-to book and self-care text wrapped into one.
One of the world’s legendary artists and bestselling author of The Creative Habit shares her secrets—from insight to action—for harnessing vitality, finding purpose as you age, and expanding one’s possibilities over the course of a lifetime in her newest New York Times bestseller Keep It Moving.
At seventy-eight, Twyla Tharp is revered not only for the dances she makes—but for her astounding regime of exercise and nonstop engagement. She is famed for religiously hitting the gym each morning at daybreak, and utilizing that energy to propel her breakneck schedule as a teacher, writer, creator, and lecturer. This book grew out of the question she was asked most frequently: “How do you keep working?”
Keep It Moving is a series of no-nonsense mediations on how to live with purpose as time passes. From the details of how she stays motivated to the stages of her evolving fitness routine, Tharp models how fulfillment depends not on fortune—but on attitude, possible for anyone willing to try and keep trying. Culling anecdotes from Twyla’s life and the lives of other luminaries, each chapter is accompanied by a small exercise that will help anyone develop a more hopeful and energetic approach to the everyday.
Twyla will tell you what the beauty-fitness-wellness industry won’t: chasing youth is a losing proposition. Instead, Keep It Moving focuses you on what’s here and where you’re going—the book for anyone who wishes to maintain their prime for life.
A hair-raising thriller perfect for our online-oriented times, FOLLOW ME is the story of Audrey Miller, who has everything from the perfect job to more than a hundred thousand Instagram followers. While Audrey thinks her biggest problem is her creepy upstairs neighbor and a faulty front door lock, a darkly obsessed fan is closer than ever after Audrey’s recent move to Washington, D.C. With the help an excess of online information and tips from the dark web, his plot to ensnare her knows no limits.
From the author of Truth Be Told (formerly titled Are You Sleeping)—now an Apple TV series of the same name—comes a cautionary tale of oversharing in the social media age for fans of Jessica Knoll and Caroline Kepnes’s You.
Everyone wants new followers…until they follow you home.
Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbor with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.
But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.
With “compelling, suspenseful” (Liz Nugent) prose, Kathleen Barber’s electrifying new thriller will have you scrambling to cover your webcam and digital footprints.
Laura Clery is the YouTube and Facebook sensation behind Help Helen Smash, a show in which her alter-ego relentlessly chases her crush Stephen (Clery’s real-life husband). Now, in IDIOT, Clery offers a collection of hilarious, off-beat essays that reflect on her journey from an impulsive addict and volatile narcissist to a content, rational woman with a successful marriage and career. With characteristic references to her one-eyed adopted dog and her sexual desires, Clery tells it like it is with humor and vulnerability.
From nationally bestselling author, YouTube star, and Facebook Video sensation Laura Clery comes a collection of comedic essays that paint “an honest, complicated portrait of how your life can change” (SheKnows).
Laura Clery makes a living by sharing inappropriate comedy sketches with millions of strangers on the internet. She writes songs about her anatomy, talks trash about her one-eyed rescue pug, and sexually harasses her husband, Stephen. And it pays the bills!
Now, in her first-ever book, Laura recounts how she went from being a dangerously impulsive, broke, unemployable, suicidal, cocaine-addicted narcissist, crippled by fear and hopping from one toxic romance to the next…to a more-happy-than-not, somewhat rational, meditating, vegan yogi with good credit, a great marriage, a fantastic career, and four unfortunate-looking rescue animals. Still, above all, Laura remains an amazingly talented, adorable, and vulnerable, self-described…Idiot.
With her signature brand of offbeat, no-holds-barred humor, Idiot introduces you to a wildly original—and undeniably relatable—new voice.
Strapped for cash, Natalie, a young art student, begins a relationship with Gabe, a handsome attorney thirty years her senior, with the intention of using him as a meal ticket. Soon, however, she’s in love, despite Gabe’s age, marriage, and family. After Gabe abruptly ends things, Natalie finds herself in a downward spiral, drinking constantly and stalking his family. But when a body is found near Gabe’s apartment and Natalie is tagged as the prime suspect, Natalie is desperate to remember what really happened that night to clear her own name.
A Pretty Woman tale turns toxic and deadly in this provocative thriller of sex, obsession, and murder from Robyn Harding, the “master of domestic suspense” (Kathleen Barber) and the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Swap and Her Pretty Face.
Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.
Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.
So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.
Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, The Arrangement delves into the sordid, all-too-real world of shadowy relationships between wealthy, powerful men and the young women who are caught in their web.
Sylvie, the eldest daughter of the Lee family, disappears suddenly after a trip to the Netherlands to visit her dying grandmother. While younger sister Amy can’t remember the early days of her parents’ immigration to America, Sylvie had to live for years with a distant relative, only rejoining the family at age nine when her parents were financially secure. Now, Amy must uncover the dark secrets from Sylvie’s past to determine what might have happened to her and what truly lies beneath her family’s tranquil surface.
Penned by powerhouse New York Times bestselling team Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed, YES NO MAYBE SO is a politically minded, utterly charming teen romance. Jamie is excited to volunteer for a local state senate candidate, as long as it doesn’t mean talking to too many strangers. Meanwhile, Maya is annoyed when her mother—in the midst of a separation from Maya’s father—forces her into local activism. But as election day gets closer, so do Maya and Jamie, despite their cross-cultural backgrounds.
Maddie Baxter West seems to have the perfect life: loving parents, an attractive fiancé, and a new job. But her world is rocked when she discovers that not only was she adopted as an embryo, but she also has a sister she never knew about. Meanwhile, Dawson Gage is devastated by the death of his best friend and the only woman he’s ever loved: London Quinn, Maddie’s estranged sister. The Quinns welcome Maddie into their lives, and, with Dawson’s help, Maddie begins to discover who she really is.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Science raises questions only love can answer in this moving and thought-provoking novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “heart-tugging and emotional” (Romantic Times Book Reviews) life-changing fiction.
One frozen embryo. Two families with life-long secrets. And a guy who never planned to fall in love again.
Maddie Baxter West is shaken to the core when she finds out everything she believed about her life was a lie. Her parents had always planned to tell her the truth about her past: that she was adopted as an embryo. But somehow the right moment never happened. Then a total stranger confronts Maddie with the truth and tells her something else that rocks her world—Maddie had a sister she never knew about. Betrayed, angry, and confused, Maddie leaves her new job and fiancé, rejects her family’s requests for forgiveness, and moves to Portland to find out who she really is.
Dawson Gage’s life was destroyed when London Quinn, his best friend and the only girl he ever loved, is killed. In the hospital waiting room, London’s mother reveals that London might have had a sibling. The frozen embryo she and her husband donated decades ago. When Dawson finds Maddie and brings her to Portland, the Quinns—her biological parents—welcome her into their lives and hearts. Maddie is comforted by the Quinns’ love and intrigued by their memories of London, who was so much like her. Is this the family and the life she was really meant to have?
Now it will take the love of Dawson Gage to help Maddie know who she is...and to help her find her way home.
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