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Each month, BookSparks founder Crystal Patriarche is reading and bingeing some of the best new books and shows that need to be on your radar. From 12 music-inspired tales in one book, Oprah’s newest book club pick, and a novella with all of our favorite romance tropes in one (to name a few), these books will keep your 2023 reading at a steady pace. Plus, there are two must-watch TV series for when you need a little book break.
Community Board by Tara Conklin
When Darcy Clipper’s life takes an unexpected (and unwelcome) turn, she returns home to Murbridge, Massachusetts where she is sure she’ll have a safe space to recover her both real and imagined wounds. But Murbridge has changed, and as much as Darcy would like to hole up in her bedroom, eating junk food, she longs for human connection, even in the form of anonymous online responses. As the community around her, both on and offline, starts to take shape, Darcy begins to wonder what she can ask of that community—and how she will be asked to repay it?
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
William Waters grew up in a family where his parents could hardly look at him, so when he goes to college and meets Julia Padavano, his whole world feels brighter. Julia and her three sisters, Cecelia, Sylvie and Emeline, are inseparable. Within their bond, Walter witnesses a love he hasn’t experienced before. But as darkness from William’s past creeps in, Julia’s plans and the sisters’ once unshakeable bond threatens to break, changing their lives forever. Will they be able to solidify their bond when it matters most?
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Darley, oldest daughter in the Stockton family, chose to give up her inheritance for motherhood, following her heart but giving up a lot in the process. Sasha is a middle-class New England girl who married into the Brooklyn Heights’ family, only to find herself cast as an outsider. And Georgina, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t have. Packed with the pleasures of New York’s one-percent, wealth mixes with family and love in this witty debut.
Love and Other Flight Delays by Denise Williams
In this set of four novellas, we get all our favorite tropes in one place, all set at the airport. In The Love Connection, a fake-dating scenario emerges between an airport pet groomer and her frequent-flier crush. In The Missed Connection, strangers share a romantic night, only to find out later that they are professional rivals in this grumpy-sunshine story. And in The Sweetest Connection, two best friends embark on a journey to return a lost love letter, with time running out for them to confess the love they have for each other. You’ll have to read to discover the fourth one yourself….
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
Alex has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a writers retreat at the estate of horror writer Roza Vallo. And she’s so excited, not even the presence of Wren, her former best friend and current rival, could bring her down. But there’s a surprise in store, and when the attendees arrive, they learn that they’ll have a month to write an entire novel, the winner receiving a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex attempts to keep her head down and focus, despite Wren’s mind games, Roza’s erratic behavior, and hauntings of the mansion itself. But when someone vanishes, she realizes there is something more sinister lurking.
Lone Women by Victor LaValle
It’s 1915 and Adelaide Henry carries a huge steamer trunk with her wherever she goes, making sure to never open it. When she does, people go missing. Forced to flee from California to Montana, she takes up the governments offer of free land if she’s able to tame it, carrying the steamer trunk with her. But she isn’t alone, and in a harsh landscape, the thing she’s been trying to hide may be the one thing that saves her.
A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks
Twelve music-inspired tales of love, the search for meaning, and even redemption. Loosely interlocked tales of a wannabe-DJ, reappearing later as an unhappy middle-aged man, three friends pondering erectile dysfunction, a woman trying to find her peace, and a man burying his brother, all helped by the music in their head, in their souls, and a pot of ginger tea.
Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score
Nash Morgan is not the charming policeman he used to be. After getting shot, he doesn’t feel like himself anymore, but even with panic attacks and nightmares, he refuses to let anyone know his struggles. His new next door neighbor, Lina, has secrets of her own, and she sees his shadows. A fling with a local cop, sure. But Lina isn’t looking to plant roots, and if Nash knew why she was in town, he’d never forgive her anyways. When Nash decides to make Lina his, even the dangers that almost got him killed wont change his mind.
Shrinking on Apple TV
A father grieving the loss of his wife goes rouge and decides to tell his clients exactly how he feels. Despite ethics, despite his training, despite his better judgement—he finds himself helping them more than ever, while also helping himself.
Dear Edward on Apple TV
Based on the best-selling novel by Ann Napolitano, a twelve-year-old boy is the sole survivor of a plane crash, losing his family. As he and others in the community try to make sense of the loss, new friendships and romances form as they tackle their grief and look for healing in unexpected places.