Have you ever felt like a month would never end? I mean, no offense to March, but it was taking forever to end and your girl wanted the new month or books, hope, possibly a vaccine and April showers. It’s interesting that March 2020 and March 2021 will be the longest months I’ll ever know. I can’t help but wonder if all my March-s have been that way. On the upside, I had a lot of great reads waiting to be released and now that they are out, I’m ready for this month.
With every month comes a whole new pile of books to be added to one’s TBR and 23 years later and I still get excited. For April 2021 I’ve compiled some books I think are worth mentioning.
What do you get when you have an accidental murder, thousands of wedding guests, possibly cursed generations of family, and four meddling Asian aunties to the rescue? Well, you get a quirky novel that’s as fun as a rom-com and as nail-biting as a murder mystery.
Meddelin Chan totally did not mean to kill her blind date, but it happened and her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Things should be smooth sailing from there, but somehow the billionaire wedding Meddy and her family is catering body is shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline.
The icing to the wedding cake chaos? Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance. How will Meddy pull it all off?
With Mia spending summer at an elite ballet program in Paris for six weeks. That means she has six weeks to earn an audition with one of the best ballet companies in the world. Hailing from America, however, Mia is about to learn there is so much more to Paris than just their ballet. When Louis, a French boy offering to be her personal tour guide the two of them discover the magic of Paris. This novel is a refreshing story of love and passion for not only our dreams but for the adventures we find ourselves on with people in our lives.
Zara Hossain and her family are just a group of people born in Pakistan that moved to Texas and have been patiently waiting for their citizenship for nine years. Zara cares about laying low to avoid the rampant Islamophobia and do her best not to jeopardize the families chances of staying. Unfortunately, her bully, Tyler Benson, takes things too far and is suspended. Rather than accept his punishment, him and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk.
Scottie Zajac finds herself in a fender bender with none other than her nemesis–Irene Abraham. To make matters worse, their moms decide they should carpool until Irene’s car gets out of the shop. Their frustrations with each other continue to rise until one day Scottie bribes Irene to play along with a ruse that may help Scottie get back with her (toxic) ex and climb the social ladder of high school. Will their faux dating scheme work out like they think?
Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are totally not codependent. Carpooling is just environmentally conscious, consulting each other for each life choice is smart judgment, and pining for the same guy is just more fun than crushing on separate ones…right?
Matt Olsson is Kate’s absolute crush, but he’s also Anderson’s crush. Seems having the same crush as your best friend isn’t so fun after all.
Penelope Prado is an aspiring pastry chef with the dream of having her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. Unfortunately, Pen has to choose between following the expectations of being a Mexican-American daughter or making her own path. Then Xander Amaro gets a job at Nacho’s and is excited for the chance to find home and normal. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his new found family and himself. The pair simultaneously discover where they belong and try to figure out first love as they try to save the place they call home.
Iris Hollow and her two older sisters cannot remember what exactly happened to them as children, but whatever happened left them each with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats. For all her teen years she’s been keeping a low profile and trying to escape the weirdness that follows her. However, Grey, her eldest sister goes missing and that weirdness gets even weirder: horned men seem to be lurking, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind. The closer Iris gets to find her sister and the truth, the closer she gets to learning that some secrets are better left untouched.
Sally Thorn’s romances are addicting so it’s no surprise I’m at the edge of my seat for this one. For six years Ruthie Midona has been the receptionist at Providence Luxury Retirement Villa. For years she’s spent her life helping the Villa’s residents, watching over the property, and protecting endangered tortoises. She’d been working hard for so long, she’s forgotten to live life outside of work–until she meets Teddy Prescott.
Teddy Prescot is the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center and he’s spent his recent years partying, having fun, and never taking life too seriously. When Teddy needs a place to stay, his father decides to use it as a chance to groom him. Teddy is allowed to stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but he has to work to earn his keep. Teddy is confident he can handle changing light bulbs and trim hedges. But Ruthie has a plan to make him the assistant to her two most wealthiest and high maintenance residents, who have never had an assistant for longer than a week.
She isn’t expecting him to be up for the task, so when she learns his father plans to sell the retirement home, Ruthie can’t help wondering if Teddy’s charisma is all a lie.
This novel is a queer retelling of the Russian folktale, “The Firebird”. The fates of the twin heirs are born with them. Izaveta is to be the future queen and Asya trained by her aunt to keep the magic of the realm in balance. Their lives are pushed into motion when the queen dies and Asya feels ancient magic in her bones. The two sisters must come together to find their mother’s killer and protect the throne.
10. What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have been competing classmates for all of high school. From the school paper to community service, the two of them have now set their sights on both valedictorian and Harvard. Alison couldn’t avoid Ethan if she tried as they also have the same classes and extracurricular activities.
As if that weren’t enough, their principal assigns them to plan a ten year reunion for past students with the promise of a glowing recommendation for Harvard. But creating the event is harder to make a competition and their rivalry starts to feel like friendship. Alison starts to realize that maybe more than winning she wants Ethan.
Hana is a part time waitress at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood. When she’s not working there, she’s doing her best to land a job at the city radio station and pouring her soul into a podcast of her own. On the podcast she forms a glowing bond with one of her listeners, but then a new upscale halal restaurant is about to open and threaten the end of Three Sisters.
Her aunt and cousin come from India with a family secret and everything becomes even more complicated when a hate-motivated attack occurs in their neighborhood. As all this unfolds, Hana fights her interest in the young owner of the rival restaurant, Aydin, someone who she may know better than she realizes.
Maggie Dolan went from being a high level executive to a stay-at-home mother for the last seventeen years. Now Gia is leaving for college and her husband is disconnected from her drastically. Maggie needs to rediscover herself but in doing so she must deal with her narcissistic mother, a brother who doesn’t like her and most damaging of all, the news that her father, her rock, has medical issues that may take him from her. With so much on her plate, she’s caught between living her life as she’s always done, or going down a new path of excitement and potential.
Naomi and Ethan are both professionals in their respective ways. Naomi is a successful start-up sensation but can’t seem to get a job in higher education. Ethan has two honors, is LA’s hottest bachelor, and the rabbi of his own synagogue. However, his shul is low on funds and congregants. He has three month before the board closes his synagogue.
The solution? The pair work together and host a seminar series about Modern Intimacy. However, as they work together to solve their individual problems, a new one emerges as their attraction grows.
Alice Holtzman’s life is on a downward trajectory as she deals with the loss of her husband, stuck in her no-good job, and having panic attacks. Her usual escape of caring for honeybees isn’t enough to keep her calm. Mid-panic she almost crashes into Jake, a troubled paraplegic teen. Rather than continue their separate ways, Alice is endeared by his genuine interest in the bees and invites him to her farm.
A friendship blooms between the pair as well as Harry, a young man struggling with social anxiety who applied to be a part-time helper at the bee farm. The three of them forge a new future for themselves as they join forces to stop the nefarious pesticide company that’s moved to town, threatening the local honeybee population and revealing serious corruption in the community. This novel is about friendship, compassion, and finding the courage to start over at any age.
AJ is a Type A student. She lives with her mother, stepfather and younger half sisters. Della is a wandering soul who spends Florida in the summer with her dad and older siblings. Plot twist? Della is AJ; AJ is Della. Adelaide Beloise Jepsen does all she can to keep her school and summer lives very separate. But when her middle sister crashes her summer, Adelaide has no choice but to finally reconcile the two versions of her. In doing so maybe she can help her sister, mend an unexpected friendship with a boy that may be perfect for her, and learn that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.
Addie and her sister are beyond ready for their road trip to Scotland for their friend’s wedding. Unfortunately, before they can make it far, a car rear ends them and the driver is none other than Dylan, Addie’s ex. Dylan and his best friend are also going to the very same wedding and they’ve wrecked their car. Addie offers them a ride in her car and now a duo girls’ drive is now a tense drive with drama and a lot of luggage. A three hundred mile drive is long enough for Dylan and Addie to finally unravel and heal from their messy breakup.
Maybell Parish is a romantic and dreamer. Living in the world of her own imagination far surpasses real life. So when Maybell’s great-aunt Violet leaves a supposedly charming house in the Smokies to her, she uses it as a chance for a fresh start.
When she gets there, the house is less than charming. It’s falling apart and she isn’t the sole inheritor. She has to share everything with Wesle Koehler, the grump groundskeeper, who may or may not also be gorgeous. As the two must compromise to fix up the house they slowly let their guards down and learn much more about each other.
Vanessa lives her life by her own rules and refuses to waste a moment of her life with regrets, especially when she has no idea whether she has the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Her schedule is full of travel and sharing her adventures with her many YouTube followers.
Her plans change when her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter for the foreseeable future. Now Vanessa is housebound and totally unsure what she should do. Then there is Adrian Copeland, happy to offer his help. Adrian is the hot lawyer living next door and Vanessa has no idea why when they barely know each other. As they get closer, Vanessa realizes her careless spirit would never be compatible with a man in need of structure like Adrian, but maybe life’s too short to be scared to take a leap of faith for love.
I think it is super important for us to support books by diverse authors, especially when they have a diverse story to share. Thus, Of Women and Salt is a great pick if you are interested in generational stories about mothers and daughters and the choices that bond them. Below is the original synopsis:
A daughter’s fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born
In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.
From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals–personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others–that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.
So many good books, I have no idea which I’ll read first! If you want some company while reading, check out The Tempest Book Club on Instagram to know what April’s pick is (and take part in many awesome giveaways and live events with authors!). If you’re more of a lone reader and want even more book suggestions, check out our list of exciting 2021 releases.
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Let us know which books you pick and what you’re reading this month by tagging @TheTempestBooks on Instagram so we can feature you!