My Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2019

Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2019


I always get so excited thinking about the first crop of books coming out in a new year…and planning (well, loosely planning) what I’m going to read! 

This year, I’m doing these quarterly posts a little differently since I now have a podcast! If you missed yesterday’s episode of the Sarah’s Book Shelves Live podcast (listen here), Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books and I covered 18 books we’re excited about coming out this winter. I’m talking about 5 of them again in today’s blog post (noted by each book)…but, check out the podcast to hear about the rest! Just click on the time stamp link next to each book and it will take you right to the place in the podcast where we talk about that book.

Winter 2019 Releases I Covered in the Podcast 




As always, my Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2019 list is mostly made up of books from trusted sources (to find your personal trusted recommendation sources, check out this post and free downloadable template) who, in as many cases as possible, have already read the book. I did not look at a single publisher’s catalog to create this list. I’m sharing the recommendation source for each book and will specify if that source has or has not read it yet.

I use my “Rock Your Reading” Tracker (available for purchase for $14.99), to keep an ongoing eye on my most trusted recommendation sources…and improved my reading success X% from last year!

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


An Anonymous Girlby Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks (January 8, St. Martin’s Press)
I really liked this psychological thriller from the authors of The Wife Between Us (which I DNF’d)! It’s more psychological than thriller, which I loved…and the main question is “who can you trust?” rather than “what’s going to happen next?”. Stay tuned for my Spoiler Discussion (coming on January 17).

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read by ME, Jan Belisle (blog reader), Kaytee Cobb (co-host of the Currently Reading podcast), and December 2018 Book of the Month pick.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (January 15, Knopf)
I’ve been hearing about Dani Shapiro’s memoirs for awhile and finally decided to give her a try when Nicole Bonia said I’d “like her since I love Kelly Corrigan” on my recent guest appearance on The Readerly Report podcast (listen here!). That’s all you need to say to get me to immediately add a book to my TBR list! This one might be an audio listen for me.

The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read by Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy (Best Nonfiction of 2018 choice) and author (but not this book) recommended by Nicole Bonia (co-host of The Readerly Report podcast).

The Dreamersby Karen Thompson Walker (January 15, Random House)
Judging by early reviews, this might be one of the biggest books of the year! And, I loved it…I almost gave it 5 stars (it got 4.5 instead). It’s like a more literary The Fever (by Megan Abbott) and had me on the edge of my seat without feeling like a thriller.

A mesmerizing novel about a college town transformed by a strange illness that locks victims in a perpetual sleep and triggers life-altering dreams—by the bestselling author of The Age of Miracles, for fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read and loved by ME, Annie Jones of From the Front Porch podcast, Susie at Novel VisitsKelly Massry, Jan Belisle (blog reader), Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy (Best Fiction of 2018 choice), and Andrea at Born and Read in Chicago.

The Suspectby Fiona Barton (January 22, Berkley Books)
This is my first time reading Fiona Barton, author of popular British mysteries The Child and The Widow. I grabbed this galley on a whim, but I completely enjoyed this mystery! I loved that it was partially set in Thailand (a place I’ve always wanted to visit) and that it involved backpackers (something I did after college in Australia). And, I also loved that it was a solid mystery without trying to play gotcha.

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth–and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go traveling.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read by ME.


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (February 5, Balzer & Bray)
Even though I don’t normally love YA, I loved Thomas’s debut novel, The Hate U Give. Plus, Jaclyn Crupi (a trusted recommendation source) said it’s even better than The Hate U Give.

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted author for me (not read) and already read by Jaclyn Crupi.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray (February 19, Berkley Books)
Discussed on the podcast [26:47]
This debut novel has been compared to The Mothers and An American Marriage, both of which I absolutely loved. I sampled the first few pages of this novel and I wanted to drop everything and keep reading. The writing does remind me of Tayari Jones’s in An American Marriage.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

Recommendation Source(s): Rebecca Schinsky on All the Books 2019 Preview podcast (not read).

Otherwise Engagedby Lindsey J. Palmer (February 26, Skyhorse)
Discussed on the podcast [13:56]
This one is smartly written brain candy! It’s sort of rom-com-esque, but it’s not cheesy at all. Palmer unpacks this premise far deeper than I expected.

Life is sweet for New Yorkers Molly and Gabe: They’re young, in love, and newly engaged.

But when Gabe sells his first novel—a thinly-veiled retelling of his wild love affair with ex-girlfriend Talia—and it becomes a national sensation, Molly can’t help but feel like the third wheel. To make matters worse, Talia reappears in Gabe’s life, eager to capitalize on the book’s success and to rekindle what she had with Gabe… at least, that’s how it seems to Molly. But even more concerning? Gabe doesn’t seem concerned at all. Instead, he’s delighting in his newfound fame and success.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read by ME and Ashley Spivey of Spivey’s Club Facebook Group.

The Lost Prince: A Search for Pat Conroy by Michael Mewshaw (February 26, Counterpoint)
Discussed on the podcast [30:09]
Y’all think I’m going to skip a book like this about Pat Conroy, my very favorite author?! No way…

Michael Mewshaw’s The Lost Prince is an intimate memoir of his friendship with Pat Conroy, one that involves their families and those days in Rome when they were both young—when Conroy went from being a popular regional writer to an international bestseller. Shortly before his forty-ninth birthday, Conroy telephoned Mewshaw to ask a terrible favor. With great reluctance, Mewshaw did as he was asked—and never saw Pat Conroy again. Although they never managed to reconcile their differences completely, Conroy later urged Mewshaw to write about “me and you and what happened . . . I know it would cause much pain to both of us. But, here is what that story has that none of your others have.” The Lost Prince is Mewshaw’s fulfillment of a promise.

Recommendation Source(s): Unsolicited from the publisher…not read.


So, Here’s the Thing: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut by Alyssa Mastromonaco (March 5, Twelve)
Discussed on the podcast [34:36]
I loved Mastromonaco’s memoir about her time as Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff…it was fun, funny, relatable, and felt like you were hearing stories about your girlfriend’s very cool job over a glass of wine. I listened to it on audio (read by the author) and will likely listen to this one on audio as well.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? comes a fun, frank book of reflections, essays, and interviews on topics important to young women, ranging from politics and career to motherhood, sisterhood, and making and sustaining relationships of all kinds in the age of social media.

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted author (not read).

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson (March 5, William Morrow)
I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Swanson’s backlist thriller, The Kind Worth Killing, on the recommendation of Ashley Spivey of Spivey’s Club Facebook Group.

Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door.
From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .

Recommendation Source(s): Trusted author.

Look How Happy I’m Making You: Stories by Polly Rosenwaike (March 19, Doubleday)
Candid stories about motherhood? I’m not sure I can think of anything that’s more up my alley at the moment. Plus, Tyler Goodson (one of my top recommendation sources) rated it 5 stars!

A candid, ultimately buoyant debut story collection about the realities of the “baby years,” whether you’re having one or not.

Recommendation Source(s): Already read by Tyler Goodson (manager at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA).

White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf (March 26) (March 19, Ecco Books)
Discussed on the podcast [39:27]
I love a good neighborhood drama…hopefully with spot-on social commentary. Plus, this debut was blurbed by Meg Wolitzer and Cristina Alger (author of The Banker’s Wife).

The White Elephant looms large over the quaint suburban town of Willard Park: a gaudy, newly constructed behemoth of a home, it soars over the neighborhood, dwarfing the houses that surround it. When owner Nick Cox cuts down Allison and Ted Millers’ precious red maple—in an effort to make his unsightly property more appealing to buyers—their once serene town becomes a battleground.

While tensions between Ted and Nick escalate, other dysfunctions abound: Allison finds herself compulsively drawn to the man who is threatening to upend her quietly organized life. A lawyer with a pot habit and a serious midlife crisis skirts his responsibilities. And in a quest for popularity, a teenage girl gets caught up in a not-so-harmless prank. Newcomers and longtime residents alike begin to clash in conflicting pursuits of the American Dream, with trees mysteriously uprooted, fires set, fingers pointed, and lines drawn.

Recommendation Source(s): Publisher’s Weekly March Preview (not read).

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads (edited for length).

What Winter 2019 books are you looking forward to?

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  1. The Dreamers sounds like such an interesting premise and I’ve seen mostly great reviews so far. Can’t wait for that one!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  2. I can definitely recommend Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. It’s made me want to go back and read all the rest of her memoirs.

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  3. A new Peter Swanson? I’m in!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  4. RK wrote:

    I’m looking forward to The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, The Dreamers, and Before She Knew Him!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  5. Mel wrote:

    Just got The Kind Worth Killing from the library, and added Inheritance, The Dreamers, and On the Come UP to my TBR list. I look froward to you reviews of the others to see if I want to add some of them, too!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  6. Gabby wrote:

    I’ll wait for word on how the new Mastromonaco is…I really loved her first, but am a little worried that instead of waiting longer to gather more material, she and her publisher are trying to strike while the iron’s hot and get another book out quickly. I hope you love it so I can pick it up without reservations!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  7. renee wrote:

    We’ve got a couple in common, The Care and Feeding, the Peter Swanson, and Otherwise Engaged. Can’t wait to compare thoughts on these!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  8. Catherine wrote:

    You already know mine, but I’m letting you know that I’m adding American Pop and So, Here’s the Thing to my TBR. Which means I have no chance of reading everything on my winter TBR list! Sigh.

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Just started American Pop last night…am liking it so far, but am only like 6% in.

      Posted 1.16.19 Reply
  9. Jan wrote:

    Thanks for the shout out Sarah! And great list, I’ve read a couple, have a few, and now have even more to check out for my winter reading. Thanks!

    Posted 1.10.19 Reply
  10. So many good choices here, Sarah. I’m also excited about The Care and Feeding….though I’ve yet to get approved for an ARC. White Elephant is one I’ve been going back and forth on. I may have you vet it for me. I may try to pick up So, Here’s the Thing too. (Do you know Anna Quindlen has a small book coming out in April called Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting? Perfect for me!)

    Posted 1.11.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I did!! I have it on my list and might listen to it on audio.

      Posted 1.16.19 Reply
  11. Allison wrote:

    I’m very excited to read The Dreamers, but I’m also ready to get my hands on The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls!

    Posted 1.15.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I almost started Hungry Girls last night, but stuck to my schedule…it’s next up though!

      Posted 1.16.19 Reply

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