Book Brunch – March Madness 2024

March Madness is in the air, whether you are into college basketball or reading!

Last Friday, Julie and I shared many, many books with our book brunch friends.  We usually share up to 10 new books each, but I added the “madness” this month by adding 3-4 read-alikes for each book we highlighted.  This seemed like a great idea, until I put together this mega- list of books in different genres- and realized that I have provided 2+ years of reading in one list.

I’m sharing the mega-list (every title is a hyper-link to our catalog, for you to put the books on hold), as well as the visual list with covers (if you like to “browse by book covers”).

Our next book brunch will be Friday, May 17th (and I promise to make the list more manageable!).

Julie’s picks:

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store – James McBride

Read-alikes: historical fiction, race relations, community secrets

Decent People – De’Shawn Charles Winslow

Before all the world / Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moon lake : an East Texas gothic / Joe R. Lansdale

Another Brooklyn : a novel / Jacqueline Woodson

The Clinic – Cate Quinn

Read-alikes: psychological thriller, unreliable narrator, creepy setting, estranged siblings

The Shining– Stephen King

The Institution – Helen Fields (coming out April 2024)

The Resort– Sarah Ochs

I’ll Be You – Janelle Brown

The Warm Hands of Ghosts-Katherine Arden

Read-alikes: historical fiction, bond between siblings, war nurses, magic/supernatural

London Séance Society – Sarah Penner

The Dutch House – Ann Patchett

Held – Anne Michaels

A Deadly Education – Naomi Novak

Family, FamilyLaurie Frankel

Read-alikes: found family, adoption stories

Three Junes – Julia Glass

Commonwealth – Ann Patchett

We are all Completely Besides Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

The Last Romantics – Tara Conklin

The Fox Wife – Yangsze Choo

Read-alikes: historical fiction, magical realism

Unraveling – Karen Lord

Curse of Saints – Kate Dramis

The Fervor – Alma Katsu

The Bone Roots – Gabriella Houston


Everyone on this Train is a Suspect – Benjamin Stevenson

Read-alikes: locked-room mystery, Agatha Christie fans

There Should Have Been Eight – Nalini Singh

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Mother-Daughter Murder Night – Nina Simon

The Golden Spoon – Jessa Maxwell


Three-Inch Teeth – C.J.Box

Read-alikes: atmospheric landscape, lots of animals, honorable main character

The Poacher’s Son – Paul Doiron

Tamarack County – William Kent Krueger

Cold Hearted River – Keith McCafferty

Boar Island – Nevada Barr


The Ascent– Adam Plantinga

Read-alikes: Thriller, crime novel, locked-room setting

I will Find You – Harlan Coben

Kingdom of Bones – James Rollins

November Road – Lou Berney

Device Free Weekend – Sean Doolittle

Bride – Ali Hazelwood

Read-alikes: paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves, fated mates

Wolf Gone Wild – Juliette Cross

Lover Reborn – J.R. Ward

Not the Witch You Wed – April Acher

Overbite – Meg Cabot


The Women – Kristin Hannah

Read-alikes: historical fiction, Vietnam, female friendships, war nurses

The Lotus Eaters – Emily Clements (not out yet)

The World Played Chess– Robert Dugoni

Dust Child – Mai Phan Que Nguyen

Absolution – Alice McDermott

Jill’s Picks

The Fury – Alex Michaelides

Read-alikes: locked-room mystery, theatrical, false pretenses, atomospheric

Here in the Dark – Alexis Soloski

The Night of the Storm – Nishita Parekh

The Guest List – Lucy Foley

The Chateau – Jacklyn Goldis


Behind You is the Sea – Susan Muaddi Darraj

Read-alikes: Palestinian-American culture, immigrants

Evil Eye – Etaf Rum

Her First Palestinian – Saeed Teebi (on order)


Only if You’re Lucky – Stacy Willingham

Read-alikes: dark academia, psychological thriller, toxic relationships

The IT Girl – Ruth Ware

Before We Were Innocent – Ella Berman

The Girls Are All So Nice Here – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn


The Kamogawa Food Detectives – Hisashi Kashiwai

Read-alikes: cozy mystery, food-related, overwhelming emotional resonance

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World – Laura Imai Messina

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune – Roselle Lim

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Tosikazu Kawaguchi

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop – Satoshi Yagisawa

The Fortune Seller – Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Read-alikes: dark academia, tarot readings, twisty suspense

The Book of Love – Kelly Link

The Rachel Incident – Caroline O’Donoghue

The Maidens – Alex Michaelides


The Moorings of Mackerel Sky – MZ

Read-alikes: magical realism, mermaids, atmospheric, local myths

Shark Heart – Emily Habeck

Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

American Mermaid – Julia Langbein


Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice – Elle Cosimano

Read-alikes: humorous mystery, women sleuths, action-packed fun

Play the Fool – Lina Chern

Racing the Light – Robert Crais

A Good Day to Pie – Misha Popp


End of Story – A.J. Finn

Read-alikes: literary mystery, psychological suspense, puzzles

The Mystery Writer – Sulari Gentill

Augusta Hawke – G.M. Malliet

The Last Word – Taylor Adams

Leave No Trace – A.J. Landau

Read-alikes: thriller, action-packed, National Parks, conspiracies

Wolf Trap – Connor Sullivan

Perfect Shot – Steve Urszenyi

The Switch – Joseph Finder


The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard – Natasha Lester

Read-alikes: historical fiction, haute-couture, Gilded age, Paris/NYC, families

The Winthrop Agreement – Alice Sherman Simpson

Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl – Renee Rosen

The Address – Fiona Davis

The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre – Natasha Lester


What the Book Brunch attendees are reading:

Love and Hot Chicken – Mary Liza Hartong

The Teacher – Frida McFadden

A True Account – Katherine Howe (MA author)

Yellowface – R.F. Kuang

Murderbot diaries (series) – System Collapse #7 /Martha Wells

The Great Divide – Cristina Henriquez

After Annie – Anna Quindlen

Women of Good Fortune – Sophie Wan

To Have and to Heist – Sara Desai

The Art Thief (non-fiction) -Micheal Finkel