By Ericka Rodgers

With many of us being encouraged or choosing to stay home, now is the optimal time to up our reading quota. For me, escaping into a good book helps me forget the craziness in the world outside my literary bubble.

So to help you find your retreat, here are some of the best books published this year. 

Of Women And Salt: A Novel By Gabriela Garcia

If you enjoy stories of family, then you certainly should read Of Women and Salt: A Novel. This novel sheds light on addiction, displacement, heritage, relationships, and legacy. An exciting read about mothers and daughter relationships and how their past has impacted their current reality. 

This book left me wanting to know more about my family. The struggles and triumphs are critical to understanding why you are the person you are today, and this novel is the motivator to do just that.

Gabriela Garcia does an excellent job creating wonderful characters, giving life to their legacy and bringing forth the realness and the struggles that all families may encounter.

Feelings: A Story In Seasons By Manjit Thapp

Are your moods determined by people, fragrances, or maybe seasons of the year? Moods are tricky and can affect those around you in a good or bad way. Feelings: A Story In Seasons manages to express how moods can manifest differently and can be affected by the seasons of the year. 

I know that my mood reflects according to the seasons and what it brings. My mood in the summer is all smiles and fun. I open the blinds to welcome the sunshine that places a smile on my face. Winter causes me to be more reclusive and introverted. There is no rush to open the blinds during the winter. 

Manjit Thapp lets the readers know that it is normal to be affected by the seasons and that you are not alone. She also provides beautiful illustrations to complement this graphic novel and give the reader a visual of the beautiful words written.

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

I love crime stories and psychological thrillers! Whether on television or in a great novel, I have always loved figuring out who committed the crimes. Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes or Perry Mason, the killer is always caught, and it’s rarely the person that you suspected. The Family Plot will give you that same chill and interest that comes from reading psychological thrillers.

Reading this novel will have you consumed with the who. The main character, Dahlia Lighthouse, and her eccentric family members will bring the readers into their strange and maybe killer instinct lives. I love when a novel doesn’t give you big hints of the ending before the case is actually solved. You will love the twist and turns of this thriller and will silently thank me later.

Megan Collins has written the perfect crime mystery. She gives you characters obsessed with true crimes and the possibility of that obsession leading to murder—a dysfunctional family at its worst. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Do you have any memorable moments that were considered significant in your family? I remember special times shared and not so good ones that have played a factor in how current relationships stand in my family. Malibu Rising is a read about status, dysfunction, secrets, sacrifice and love of family. I have at times wondered, am I as accepting of my family as I should be? This novel will definitely give you some insight into it. 

The author Taylor Jenkins Reid does an excellent job in making the dysfunctional family a thing of normalcy. This book showed me that dysfunction is not always a bad thing, and only I can make it weird. This book is a gift for anyone’s weekend.

The Push: A Novel by Ashley Audrain

Motherhood should be a wonderful and exciting period; it should be perfect. You and I both know that is not always the case. The Push highlights the fears, doubts and expectations that most have when it comes to being a mother. 

The book’s main character, Blythe Connor, is a mother who feels she doesn’t connect with her child and suspects that something must be wrong with her or her child. Of course, all mothers can identify with wanting and needing to connect with their child or children. This book challenged me to be a better parent.

Ashley Audrain chooses the perfect avenue to let readers know that it’s okay to question your role as a mother. Nothing is ever straight and narrow, something she displays well in her book. She shows that as mothers, we owe our children everything that is good.

Take some time out to soothe your frazzled soul by diving headfirst into a great read during these stressful times. This list of books published this year will help you escape the mundane and realise that life has many twists and turns. Enjoy!