If there's anything we dig as much as watching soap operas, it's reading juicy books! It's a good thing this spring and summer will offer up so many page-turning selections, including soap queen Agnes Nixon's autobiography My Life to Live (on sale March 21).
With a foreword from super fan and All My Children guest star Carol Burnett, My Life to Live follows the epic, real-life saga of how Nixon overcame a tumultuous childhood and an emotionally abusive father to become the Mother of the Modern Soap Opera. Pre-order your copy today at Amazon! Now check out nine other addictive tomes to add to your nightstands and/or Kindles below.
1.) The Forever Summer (out in April) by Jamie Brenner
Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it's paid off: on the cusp of thirty she has a handsome fiance, a prestigious Manhattan legal career and her father's hard-won admiration. But with one careless mistake at work, Marin suddenly finds herself unemployed and alone. Before she can summon the courage to tell her parents, a young woman appears, claiming to be Marin's half-sister. Seeking answers, Marin agrees to join her on a soul-searching journey to Cape Cod, to meet the family she didn't even know she had.
As the summer unfolds at her grandmother's beach-side B&B, it becomes clear that her half-sister's existence is just the first in a series of truths that will shake Marin's beliefs — in love, and in her own identity — to the core.
Likely to be one of the best book of 2017, The Forever Summer will have everyone heading to Provincetown with all of Brenner’s previous books in tow. She’s a writer worth following on Amazon. (If you’re not following your favorite authors on Amazon, you should be). And if we’re so lucky, watching on Prime.
Learn more: jamiebrenner.com
2.) This Is Not Over (out now) by Holly Brown
In This is Not Over, a chance encounter through vacation rental site Getaway.com leads to an escalating game of cat-and-mouse between Miranda and Dawn, two very different women, each of whom is determined to win this battle of words and wills. Both women are desperate to be proven right and neither will yield, not before they’ve dredged up hidden secrets, old hurts and painful truths that threaten to shatter the foundations of their lives.
Brown, a marriage and family therapist, writes a smart ,psychological suspense novel rife with hot button issues including bullying, codependency, teenage drug addiction and the mirage of social media. Definitely worthy of a Dick Wolf production.
Learn more: hollybrownbooks.com
3.) The Bookshop at Water’s End (out in July) by Patti Callahan Henry
Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.
Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her areer as an emergency room doctor and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.
This book screams summer read, and frankly, there is nothing better than a small Southern town with colorful characters and lots of secrets. Henry’s writing and characters are perfection. A CW series would be the cherry on top.
Learn more: patticallahanhenry.com
4.) Before the Rain Falls (out in May) by Camille Di Maio
After serving 70 years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement — and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.
She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.
Di Maio’s first novel—The Memory of Us—captivated historical and women’s fiction readers. Her second is sure to move readers with its intricate storytelling and engrossing characters. Totally TNT worthy.
Learn more: camilledimaio.com
5.) Beach House for Rent (out in June) by Mary Alice Monroe
Two women from different generations are bound together by a beloved beach house. Cara Rutledge, 50, rents her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt, 26, for the summer. Heather’s anxiety keeps her indoors with her caged canaries until the shorebirds — and a man who rescues them — lure her out to the beach.
As the summer progresses and Heather’s heart opens to the rhythms of the island, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy. When their worlds shift like the sand under their feet these two very different women come together to discover their common bonds and unique strengths. So at summer’s end they, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island every summer, can take flight.
There is no shame in our love of Mary Alice Monroe and her Lowcountry Summer Series. The emotional honesty in her characters, the magic of South Carolina and the intricate storytelling leaves readers wanting more, more, more. Lifetime, can you hear us?
Learn more: maryalicemonroe.com
6.) A Million Little Things (out now) by Susan Mallery
Zoe Saldivar is more than just single — she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation.
Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated — her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think "alone" doesn't sound so bad, after all.
The third book in Mallery's acclaimed Mischief Bay series is worthy of a spot in your travel bag for your next weekend jaunt. Better yet, grab the entire series and binge read. Do pass the book along to your girlfriends thereafter, and if a million little things align, watch it together (with ample bottles of rosé) as a limited summer series on ABC.
Learn more: susanmallery.com
7.) City Mouse by Stacey Lender (out in June)
Priced out of their Manhattan neighborhood, Jessica and Aaron move with their young daughters to the one place Jessica swore she’d never go: the suburbs. But to Jessica’s surprise, life in the commuter belt makes a great first impression. She quickly falls in with a clique of helpful mom friends who welcome her with pitchers of margaritas, neighborhood secrets, and a pair of hot jeans that actually fit.
Still, it's hard to keep up in a crowd where everyone competes for the most perfectly manicured home and latest backyard gadgets. And what’s worse, as the only working mom in her circle, Jessica sometimes feels disconnected and alone. So she’s thrilled when she’s invited to a moms-only weekend at the beach, which she assumes will mean new opportunities for real talk and bonding. Instead, the trip turns into a series of eye-opening lessons and Jessica must decide if she’s strong enough to be honest with herself about the sort of life she really wants.
Lender’s debut novel is positively irresistible. It’s hilarious and insightful and just the type of book any city girl needs to tote to her vacation rental this summer...even with three kids in tow. Would love to see a big name star bring this to network TV.
Learn more: staceylender.com
8.) Slightly South of Simple (out in April) by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move — during her senior year of high school, no less — back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossip mongers with her 9-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.
Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter, Sloane, whose military husband is overseas; and youngest daughter, successful actress Emerson, join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.
If you haven’t already guessed it, we love our Southern fiction just as much as we love our sweet tea. The small coastal towns, the family chaos, the sexy tousled-haired neighbor that can fix anything that's broken...and we mean anything.
Harvey, considered to be the “it girl” of Southern fiction, introduces the first novel in the Peachtree Bluff Series this spring. Child, this book is everything! We’re hoping to see this soapy read on the Hallmark Channel.
Learn more: kristywoodsonharvey.com
9.) Forever is the Worst Long Time (out now) by Camille Pagan
When struggling novelist James Hernandez meets poet Louisa “Lou” Bell, he’s sure he’s just found the love of his life. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to his oldest friend, Rob. So James toasts their union and swallows his desire.
As the years pass, James’s dreams always seem just out of reach — he can’t finish that novel, can’t mend his relationship with his father, can’t fully commit to a romantic relationship. He just can’t move on. But after betrayal fractures Lou’s once-solid marriage, she turns to James for comfort.
When Lou and James act on their long-standing mutual attraction, the consequences are more heartbreaking — and miraculous — than either of them could have ever anticipated. Then life throws James one more curveball and he, Rob, and Lou are forced to come to terms with the unexpected ways in which love and loss are intertwined.
This emotionally complex and nuanced story about love in its many forms is Pagan at her very best. Her second novel, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, was optioned by Jessica Chastain’s production company. We can only hope that we see Pagan’s work on the big screen soon enough.
Learn more: camillepagan.com