You all know that I read mostly YA fiction, but I’ve noticed a trend toward ~adult~ fiction, either contemporary or mystery/thrillers. A lot of it is because I’ve been binge-reading one author’s cozy mystery series a for a month or so, but I’ve found myself adding more books that are closer to my age target. I feel very in-between YA and adult though because so many books are about divorce or familial problems with characters 40+ years old. Someone in their late-twenties or early-thirties is more in my range of life experiences, so I’ve been excited to see some of those books coming to fruition lately. Here are some of the top adult/older fiction books on my TBR!
Life on the Leash by Victoria Shade
September 2018 | Goodreads
Must Love Dogs meets My Not So Perfect Life in this hilarious romantic comedy about a dog trainer who’s a master at managing her four-legged friends, but when it comes to her love life…let’s just say she still has a lot to learn.
Cora Bellamy is a woman who thrives on organization. She’s successfully run her own dog training business for years, perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life. She’s given everything to her business, and her lack of social life (or slobber-free clothes) has been completely worth it.
But all that changes when she meets Charlie Gill, the hottest client she’s ever had. The only problem? Charlie’s taken. Luckily, Cora has a new friend—the sweet, lovably geeky Eli Crawford. More loyal than a retriever, he’s always there to help Cora with her problems, including her love life. That’s why she’s shocked to realize that even as things start heating up with Charlie, there might just be a more-than-friends spark between her and Eli, too.
As Cora’s life gets more tangled up than a dogwalker’s leashes—and as she prepares to audition for a dog-training TV show that may irrevocably change her entire life—she has to figure things out before it all goes straight to the dogs.
Charming, witty, and warm-hearted, Life on the Leash inspires you to cheer for every underdog looking for love.
Look, I don’t LOVE love triangles. I don’t hate them either. For the right story or in the right context, they can be well-done. I don’t usually enjoy books that are fully centered around them so we’ll see if this works for me. I hope the “decision” is clear-cut so I don’t have to deal with the disappointment lol.
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis
August 2018 | Goodreads
A humorous debut crossover young adult novel about what happens when entering the “real world” means moving back in with your mother, inspired by actress and celebrity Autumn Chiklis’ real life.
Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?
Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)
I like books that are told with letters, texts, emails, receipts, etc. They’re usually quick reads and often more entertaining or engaging. This story is based on the author’s real life experience, so it’ll be interesting to see how much is accurate! I’ve never heard of the actress who wrote the book though so at least it won’t feel too connected to them, if that makes sense?
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
June 2019 | Goodreads
Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.
Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.
I kind of feel like all of us added this to our TBRs when we saw the announcement! I love rom-coms as much as the next guy, but I’m not obsessed with them. I can see why they have both good and bad ~repercussions~ as it relates to romance and expectations. I love the idea that Tom Hanks is somehow randomly involved in this MC’s expectations surrounding romance and dating.
Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
June 2018 | Goodreads
The author of The Fifth Letter takes a laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.
Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?
With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.
Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.
As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.
I was obsessed with Nicola Moriarty’s recent book, The Fifth Letter, and read it in basically one sitting. I haven’t gotten into her backlist yet but I saw this book a few months ago and HAD to add it to my TBR. It seems reminiscent of her previous story but not too similar, so I hope it meets my expectations!
The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore
May 2011 | Goodreads
It’s early summer when Ginny and William’s peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.
First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood – only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.
By summer’s end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family – and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.
I’m not 100% sure if I’ll ever end up reading this one because it seems like it features some of the exact issues I wrote about in my intro to this post. I do read books about marriage problems or featuring protagonists with children of all ages, but the premise has to REALLY grab me. This is feeling like a character-driven story about a family and their problems (which can work for me at times), so who knows. I love the Vermont setting already and the cover is so pretty.
Severance by Ling Ma
August 2018 | Goodreads
An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.
So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.
Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
This book sounds so unique, yet a bit reminiscent of Station Eleven, which I really enjoyed. I’ll be honest – the synopsis covers a LOT of ground here so I have no idea what will actually happen in this book to be a good surprise. I like satire books if I’m in the mood though so hopefully this features some interesting characters and topical humor.
The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon
March 2018 | Goodreads
Abby looks forward to meeting the family who just moved in across the street—until she realizes they’re the one couple who could expose her deepest secrets
After a night of fun back in 1992, Abby is responsible for a car crash that kills her beloved brother. It’s a mistake she can never forgive, so she pushes away Liam, the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.
Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames—the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret, that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.
In a strange twist of fate, Liam moves into the neighborhood with his own family, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the terrible secrets they’ve both been carrying…
I thought I’d add a heavier book on here just for a bit of a change. I like books where people are pulled together due to horrible events of the past, especially years later (does that make me sound morbid or weird?). I’m sensing an affair between the main characters here but we’ll see.
The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner
February 2018 | Goodreads
A moving, unputdownable novel about four lifelong friends, the milestones they’ve survived…and the one thing that might change everything.
There are certain events you’ll always remember where you were and who you were with…and the friends who have commiserated and celebrated every amazing first date, bad breakup, dubious haircut and dream job along the way. Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything–from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite being mom to two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside marriage that starts to reveal troubling warning signs, to Melissa’s spiraling alcoholism, to questions around the paternity of Emily’s son. But could a lie that spans just as long as their friendship be the thing that tears them apart?
Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret.
Yes, again, something like “four friends, twenty years, one powerful secret” is going to make it on my TBR. I have read countless books like this and will read countless more in the coming years of my reading life! I feel like there’s usually some HINT about the secret in the synopsis but I genuinely have no idea here, which is great.