If I Had a Book Club: 12 Months of Reading with Mommy the Journalist

by - January 03, 2023

I've always wanted to join a book club, but the reality is that there really aren't any in my area, and I know myself well enough to know that I would not keep up with a virtual one. But my TBR list is officially out of control, and I need a plan to start crossing some titles off the list. So I got this idea to do a one-person book club and assign myself a specific title to read each month for the next year.

Choosing which titles to include on this list was surprisingly difficult. I've got more than a dozen unread physical books currently sitting on my bookshelves, not to mention the few hundred samples taking up memory in my Kindle library. I was finally able to narrow it down to a dozen titles and pick which month to read each of them, which was equally as difficult.

I will obviously continue to read other books in addition to those on this list, and I have no plans to stop writing my monthly reading roundup posts, in which the books from this list will be featured. I will probably do something special on social media with these titles every month as a way to further hold myself accountable.

I would love for more people to join me on this year-long reading journey, which is why I'm sharing my book club picks and schedule. Be sure to let me know if you're reading along with me and join in the discussion!

12 Months of Reading with Mommy the Journalist


Written by Sarah Penner, this novel made a ton of lists in 2021, and it's one I've picked up every time I've gone to a bookstore in the last year. I finally added it to my bookshelf in late 2022 and couldn't resist starting the year with something a bit magical.

Set in 18th-century London is a secret apothecary shop that caters to women looking for help against the oppressive men in their lives, but when a 12-year-old makes a deadly mistake, the repercussions are felt centuries later where a modern day historian finds a clue to the unsolved 'apothecary murders.'


This is Jessie Burton's debut novel. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, 18-year-old Nella is beginning her new life as the wife of a merchant trader, but her new home is not welcoming. Nella's world changes when her husband gifts her cabinet-sized replica of their home and she employs a miniaturist to furnish it. Through this process, Nella uncovers unusual secrets and escalating danger.


This novel by Jess Walter was published several years ago, but I just discovered it within the last year. The story begins when a dying American starlet lands on the Italian coastline in 1962. Fast forward to the present when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot searching for the woman he last saw at his hotel decades before.


I'm already a fen of Marc Levy, so I'm excited about this novel. Eleanor-Rigby Donovan and George-Harrison Collins each receive a mysterious letter alluding to a crime committed by their mothers. The two have never met before they each show up at the same bar in search of answers, but they set out to solve the mystery of the Stanfields together.


Written by Mary Ellen Taylor, this novel spans two different timelines centered around the seaside town of Nags Head, North Carolina. When she inherits her grandmother's beachfront cottage, Ivy reluctantly returns to the town where her ex-boyfriend and best friend betrayed her. When a storm uncovers the shipwreck of local legend, Ivy uncovers more skeletons in the closet than her own.


This is Bill Rivers' debut novel. In the summer of 1968, 13-year-old Jack Elliot is determined to save his brother, Pete, from the draft by making him famous, because famous boys don't go to war. Together with his cousin, Frankie, Jack convinces his brothers to lead an expedition to find a fighter jet that crashed many winters ago. But they'll soon come to learn that there's more to worry about than just the draft.


This book by Amy Sue Nathan should be the perfect summer read. It revolves around Betty Stern, a former beauty queen who must face the secrets of her past to save her family's future. In the summer of 1951, Betty was working at her grandparents' lakeside resort in the Midwest. Now, decades later, the choices from that summer are still being felt, especially when Betty's granddaughter comes to her with a dilemma that's reminiscent of Betty's own past.


Eden Appiah-Kubi has written a modern spin on Pride and Prejudice. Bennet House is the only all-women's dorm at Longbourn University and the home to EJ, Jamie, and Tessa. When Jamie starts dating Lee, EJ is set up with his best friend, Will, who she does not like at all. EJ sticks with it for her BFF, but she's determined to focus on her future as an engineer...until she finds herself drawn to a man who's not a perfect fit for the future she's planned.


The reviews for this thrilled written by Lisa Barr have me excited to dive into the story of Jules Roth, a rising investigative reporter who's been given the task of finding a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier. A famous designer wants the Woman on Fire painting, but Jules is on a timeline because the designer is dying, and she has fierce competition from a powerful gallerist who also wants the painting.


I'm already a fan of Kimberly Loth, so I've got high hopes for this project with Mandy O'Dell. Jenny Greenteeth is a ghost witch who has been hunting the children of Blaylock Bay for centuries, never giving back those she's taken. When Sophie's little brother joins the other victims at the bottom of the pond, Sophie sets out to find him, coming face-to-face with the witch. Sophie would have been her next victim if not for Foster Grimm, and now Jenny Greenteeth has set her sights on him.


This story by Karen McQuestion is targeted to young adults, but I've never let that stop me from reading something before, and the plot of this one is just so interesting. Lucas Walker has miraculously recovered from a terminal illness, but while his friends and family celebrate, Lucas's girlfriend, Emma, can tell he's changed and suspects something is very wrong. The two set out on a road trip to discover the truth, a trip that turns into a life and death race against time.


This novel by best-selling author, Barbara O'Neal, is a recent addition to my TBR. It is about how the death of a famous chef affects four women: his ex-wife with whom he built an empire, his estranged daughter, his latest girlfriend, and his ex-wife's daughter. Conflicted feelings become even more complicated when the circumstances surrounding his death are called into question.

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  1. Hi, Ashton!

    Happy new year! I was very happy to see you over at Shady's Place today, dear friend. You are one of the bright spots in my blogging career, and I look forward to following you through 2023 and all my remaining years of blogging.

    I like your idea of forming a one-person book club and assigning yourself a monthly read. As I look over the list of books you selected, I find many that I would also like to read, beginning with the first, The Lost Apothecary, because historic London is a setting that interests me, and murder mysteries are my bag. For that reason, I would also enjoy The Last of the Stanfields. The blurb about The Miniaturist aroused my curiosity big time. The seashore and deep sand dunes of Nags Head, North Carolina, make it another exciting setting for a novel like the one you picked, The Brighter The Light. Witches are also my thing, and therefore I'm sure I'd like The Curse of Jenny Greene. From a Distant Star is another book that would surely capture my imagination.

    I wish you and your family all the best in 2023 and beyond, Ashton. Thanks again for sticking with me through the years. You are valued and appreciated, dear friend!