Book Club Suggestions/ Books/ Recipes

Spring 2020 Reading List & Book Club Suggestions

Spring 2020 Reading List & Book Club Suggestions – the best list of current must-read titles and book club suggestions for your next book club gathering!  From General Fiction to Suspense to Personal Development, this list has something for everyone.  

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2020 book club suggestions

 

Hey Book Loving Friends!  For those of you who are new around here, a little background on these Book Club Suggestions posts…every few months, I share some of my personal reading recommendations for my fellow book lovers.  I’m pretty much obsessed with books and love to share my favorite reads with friends.  I’ve wrapped up my Winter Reading List and it’s time to share my latest list of must read books for Spring.

I’m extra excited about sharing this list because my very own cookbook, Clean Eating for Weight Loss is included! As a lifelong book lover, it is a dream come true to have authored my own book and I can’t wait for you to see it!

One of the best parts of any great Book Club meeting is the food.  If you’re looking for suggestions on what to serve at your next book club, I’ve got plenty of ideas!  You’ll find lots of simple and comforting recipes here that are easy to prepare and great for feeding a crowd.  Check out my Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Instant Pot Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo, and Greek Wedge Salad with Tzatziki.  Or head over to my archives for more inspiration!

For me, reading is like an escape.  I hope you find something here to get lost in too!  Please leave a comment with your own favorites – I would love to hear your book club suggestions.  Let’s get reading!

Book Club Pick

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Amazon Description: Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

General Fiction

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

Amazon Description: When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the Become a Jetsetter contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can’t seem to find a partner; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday. Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young, when she was a single mother who meant everything to them.

When she wins the contest, the family packs their baggage—both literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso. As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed and old wounds are reopened, forcing the Perkins family to confront the forces that drove them apart and the defining choices of their lives.

Can four lost adults find the peace they’ve been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back together? In the vein of The Nest and The Vacationers, The Jetsetters is a delicious and intelligent novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood.

Chick Lit

That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper

Amazon Description: That Month in Tuscany . . .Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper live completely different lives. He’s a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with. She’s a regular person whose husband stood her up for a long planned anniversary trip. On a flight across the Atlantic headed for Italy, a drunken pity party and untimely turbulence literally drop Lizzy into Ren’s lap. It is the last thing she can imagine ever happening to someone like her. But despite their surface differences, they discover an undeniable pull between them. A pull that leads them both to remember who they had once been before letting themselves be changed by a life they had each chosen. Exploring the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany together – two people with seemingly nothing in common – changes them both forever. And what they find in each other is something that might just heal them both.

Historical Fiction

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera

Amazon Description: It’s 1924 in Branchville, South Carolina and three women have come to a crossroads. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters. Retta, a first-generation freed slave, comes to Gertrude’s aid by watching her children, despite the gossip it causes in her community. Annie, the matriarch of the influential Coles family, offers Gertrude employment at her sewing circle, while facing problems of her own at home.

These three women seemingly have nothing in common, yet as they unite to stand up to injustices that have long plagued the small town, they find strength in the bond that ties women together. Told in the pitch-perfect voices of Gertrude, Retta, and Annie, Call Your Daughter Home is an emotional, timeless story about the power of family, community, and ferocity of motherhood.

Suspenseful Page Turner

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

Amazon Description: From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago. Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.  It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

 Cookbook

Clean Eating for Weight Loss: 28 Days to Kickstart a Healthy Lifestyle by Nikki Behnke (yes, that’s me!!)

Amazon Description: It’s the perfect time to shift your dieting mindset―and make the move to whole, nourishing foods for life. The Clean Eating Cookbook for Weight Loss gives you all the tools you need to start eating balanced meals for lasting health. With an easy, 28-day plan filled with delicious recipes, you can begin transforming your lifestyle, losing weight, and feeling more energized.

Experience the benefits of eating clean foods from natural sources, integrating options for different dietary preferences and diverse palates. The Clean Eating Cookbook for Weight Loss’ practical approach to meal plans is stress-free and simple to sustain. Helpful exercise guidelines and lifestyle tips support you as you build healthy habits.

The Clean Eating Cookbook for Weight Loss includes:

  • 4 weeks and beyond―The 28-day plan in this clean eating cookbook sets you up for success with detailed weekly menus and shopping lists, plus weekly exercise and habit trackers.
  • 75 fresh, flavorful recipes―Savor recipes like Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, Avocado Tuna Salad, Thai Peanut Pork Lettuce Cups, Mango Soft Serve, and more―nutrition facts included.
  • Exercise made easy―Get moving with a clean eating cookbook that includes simple at-home cardio and body weight exercises, plus a customizable workout plan.

Discover a lifestyle with positive, long-term results with the Clean Eating Cookbook for Weight Loss.

Young Adult

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Amazon Description: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Non-Fiction

Fair Play: A Game Changing Solution For When You HAve Too Much to Do by Eve Rodsky

Amazon Description: Tired, stressed, and in need of more help from your partner? Imagine running your household (and life!) in a new way…

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up chores and responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a series of conversation starters for you and your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Stop drowning in to-dos and lose some of that invisible workload that’s pulling you down. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

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