It’s that time again. Leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping and daylight is dwindling. There is no better season to curl up with a good book, and this year’s releases offer many fabulous choices. From haunting thrillers to small-town drama to heartwarming romance, I’ve hand-picked something for everyone this fall.

The Fabulous Freaks of Monsieur Beaumont by Kelli Stuart (Aug. 1)

Tucked behind the curtain of Monsieur Beaumont’s sideshow, young Emmaline, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, spends her days cooped up in her train car and is expected to be nothing but a pretty face. Until Peter, The Ugliest Boy in the World, joins the circus. Together, Peter and Emmaline break free in this inspiring story of young love and adventure. An ideal novel for mothers to read with their tweens and teens, this book offers a fresh reminder to look behind the curtain when examining the world around us and the people in it.

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Where I Left Her by Amber Garza (Aug. 24)

If it’s chills you’re after, hold on for this wild ride about a mother’s worst nightmare come true. When Whitney’s moody teenage daughter, Amelia, goes to a sleepover and doesn’t come back, this frantic mom uncovers a trail of lies, leading her on a terrifying race to find Amelia before it’s too late. With a well-earned starred review from Publishers Weekly, this one will haunt you long after you turn the last page. 

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Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Sept. 14)

No one thrills readers better than this multiple-award-winning author, and her latest might just be her best novel yet. Earning starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, this story examines a beloved TV reporter who seems to have the perfect life. But when an anonymous source who normally feeds her tips about others suddenly starts telling her secret information about her own life, the tables quickly turn. Don’t miss this nail-biter that will keep your heart racing through one fast-paced twist after another. 

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The Spires by Kate Moretti (Sept. 21)

This psychological thriller will make you keep the lights on. Twenty years ago, Penelope, Willa and three friends lived together in a converted church where wild parties gave way to jealousy, resentment, unrequited love and obsession until tensions boiled over and ended in a deadly fire. Now Willa shows up at Penelope’s house seeking refuge from an abusive husband. She seems to be the perfect houseguest, but Penelope suspects there’s more to the story. A New York Times bestselling author, Moretti hooks us from the first line of this haunting tale and the twists never stop!

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The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo (Oct. 5)

Just in time for the holidays, this lighthearted novel delivers rom-com at its sweetest. When two rival coworkers accidentally switch phones they realize that they’ve both been hiding secrets. Cozy up for this heartwarming romance as an unexpected snowstorm sparks a little love between the two foes, leaving smiles for all.

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Christmas in Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Oct. 26)

In the newest installment of the New York Times bestselling Peachtree Bluff series, three generations of the Murphy women must come together when a hurricane threatens to destroy their hometown. Take a family on the brink, add a life-threatening storm, put them in a boat as the seas churn and you’ve got another heartfelt story that celebrates the value of a place called home — especially for the holidays.

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Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross (Oct. 26)

If it’s a young-adult escape you’re after, hit the slopes with this fast-paced survival thriller that’s racking up rave reviews and tons of buzz. This gritty story follows six teens stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains as they’re forced to make impossible choices about who will live and who will die. Boasting a diverse cast, this novel also leads readers to examine the meaning of life and death, hope and faith while focusing on the importance of finding commonalities. A timely read to launch important discussions about harmful stereotypes and dangerous cultural divides. 

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The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel (Nov. 30)

Get swept away to 1940s Japanese-occupied Shanghai, where two people from different cultures are drawn together against all odds. Aiyi Shao is a young heiress and the owner of a glamorous Shanghai nightclub where she hires Ernest Reismann, a penniless Jewish refugee who has been driven out of Germany. As he brings the club back to life with his remarkable musical talent, the duo realizes they share more than a passion for jazz. Get ready for all the feels as you sink back and enjoy this sweeping saga of love and redemption.

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All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (Nov. 2)

This well-crafted debut features a feisty female protagonist named Ellice who comes from a dismal background of poverty and abuse. When she spots an opportunity to earn a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she’s determined to win it and escape the cycle of family dysfunction. While this story explores issues of race, gender, classism and generational trauma, Morris says it’s really about “any woman who has ever felt unseen, marginalized or gaslighted.” I call that a definite must-read.

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Everything We Didn’t Say by Nicole Baart (Nov. 2) 

Imagine that you’ve just graduated from high school and you’re floating on that first-love romance when a childless couple on a neighboring farm is brutally murdered. Your younger brother is named the prime suspect and everything you’ve ever loved falls away. Now, after 15 years away, you’ve returned to the small Iowa town to repair your relationship with your teenage daughter who’s been raised by your parents … and to solve the mystery of the infamous murders. True to form, Baart breaks our hearts and puts them back together again in this suspenseful family drama.

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The London House by Katherine Reay (Nov. 2)

If you love WWII novels, luxurious settings like 1930s Paris and the intriguing history of British spies then this is the book for you. Add a captivating protagonist named Caroline Payne (who sets out to uncover the truth in her family’s past) and this award-winning author’s skill for weaving a stellar story, and I’m betting this novel will keep you turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. 

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The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (Nov. 9)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, Erdrich again explores the heart-wrenching complexities of the human journey. The story centers around a deeply wounded Ojibwe protagonist named Tookie who has just served a painful year behind bars. Upon release, Tookie takes a job at a Minneapolis bookstore where she finds a new community among the creatives who gather there. Mixing all the best elements of literary fiction, complex love stories and even the hauntings of ghosts, this book delivers emotional punches from the first page to the last. 

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Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (Dec. 7)

This long-awaited poetry collection hits shelves later this year and is by the young poet who has become the voice of America. Capturing the turmoil of our times, Gorman offers readers a “mirror for our present and a message for our future.” Somehow she speaks for all of us while delivering truth in a powerful voice that’s uniquely her own.   

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