64 books like The Secret Life of Maggie Blake

By Marilyn Brant,

Here are 64 books that The Secret Life of Maggie Blake fans have personally recommended if you like The Secret Life of Maggie Blake. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Code of Conduct

Sharon Michalove Author Of At First Sight

From my list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs. After a career at the University of Illinois, 150 miles downstate, I moved back to my hometown to recapture the urban vibe that I love. A historian, I love the stories that architecture tells me and wandering the streets of the city never stales. Having romance in my life is important and writing about how relationships can develop in the city is part of that. Everywhere I go in Chicago, I think of how my characters might interact with each other and the setting. Romance can be found in grand restaurants and in odd corners and Chicago has it all.

Sharon's book list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago

Sharon Michalove Why did Sharon love this book?

This book combines romance and suspense, humor, and action, all in one package. Shane, a P. I., and Gabriel, a security expert, are separately investigating a person of interest. They eventually cooperate to catch their villain. This is a slow-burn romance with a stiff-upper-lip Brit, working for Cipher Systems in Chicago and an amputee who takes no prisoners. Their explosive mix makes for an exciting ride with a great love story. 

I loved that both Gabriel and Shane live in The Manor, which is the former British consulate. I’d live there myself if I could afford it. Having characters situated in neighborhoods that I know makes the reading experience more authentic. I also loved how Shane handles being an amputee. Her scenes with her prosthetics designer are hilarious.

By April White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Code of Conduct as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** 2021 RWA Vivian Award Finalist – Romantic Suspense **

** Finalist in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards **

“The slow-burn romance between Gabriel and Shane becomes delicious torture. This is a winner.” – Publishers WeeklyStarred Review

There are three things you need to know about Shane P.I.
1) P.I. is not her last name, it’s her job title,
2) Her specialty is catching cheaters, and
3) She’s a superhuman – kind of.

Gabriel is a security expert for Cipher Security, and a former UN Peacekeeper with a fierce protective streak that finds its focus on the beautiful…


Book cover of The Color of Trauma

Sharon Michalove Author Of At First Sight

From my list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs. After a career at the University of Illinois, 150 miles downstate, I moved back to my hometown to recapture the urban vibe that I love. A historian, I love the stories that architecture tells me and wandering the streets of the city never stales. Having romance in my life is important and writing about how relationships can develop in the city is part of that. Everywhere I go in Chicago, I think of how my characters might interact with each other and the setting. Romance can be found in grand restaurants and in odd corners and Chicago has it all.

Sharon's book list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago

Sharon Michalove Why did Sharon love this book?

Hollie’s debut novel is a combination of romantic suspense and paranormal with an interesting concept. The female protagonist is a memory surgeon in Chicago. She removes and keeps painful memories from her patients, which weighs on her psyche. Dean, a police officer, asks her to look at the memories of someone in a coma in an attempt to catch a serial killer. As the two become more and more entangled, their search for clues and growing romance, may make Kiera the next victim.

The paranormal aspect is intriguing, and the concept was completely unfamiliar to me. The book is not for the faint of heart because her depictions can be graphic, but if you like urban grit and sexy romance, this may be the book for you.

By Hollie Smurthwaite,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Color of Trauma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A woman who can experience other people’s traumatic memories is coerced into helping a Chicago homicide detective catch a serial killer.

"An impressive slice of suspense fiction anchored by two fiery heroes with brio to spare." - Kirkus Reviews
". . . I was on the edge of my chair for the last thirty pages." - Windy City Reviews

Kiera is a memory surgeon. With her gift of removing and holding other’s traumatic memories, she’s helped dozens of women but hasn’t helped herself. Now Dean, a Chicago homicide detective, is asking for even more: for her to look into the…


Book cover of Pucked Love

Sharon Michalove Author Of At First Sight

From my list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs. After a career at the University of Illinois, 150 miles downstate, I moved back to my hometown to recapture the urban vibe that I love. A historian, I love the stories that architecture tells me and wandering the streets of the city never stales. Having romance in my life is important and writing about how relationships can develop in the city is part of that. Everywhere I go in Chicago, I think of how my characters might interact with each other and the setting. Romance can be found in grand restaurants and in odd corners and Chicago has it all.

Sharon's book list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago

Sharon Michalove Why did Sharon love this book?

This is a hockey romance set in Chicago. This is the final book in Helena Hunting’s Pucked series and my favorite. Her fans waited for years for Helena to get Charlene and Darren’s story right. Chicago is a hockey town, so it fits in very well. Underpinned by comedy and angst, a great group of characters, the relationship between the mysterious Darren and his firefly girl, Charlene, are the compelling center. 

In my own book, one scene takes place at a game at the United Center. I have been following my home team, the Blackhawks since the age of eight and when I discovered hockey romance, I was over the moon. I asked Helena why she chose Chicago for her books, and she said it was most like her native Toronto.

By Helena Hunting,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pucked Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.

Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.

I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I've let her set the rules in our relationship.

But as…


Book cover of Living Landmarks of Chicago

Sharon Michalove Author Of At First Sight

From my list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs. After a career at the University of Illinois, 150 miles downstate, I moved back to my hometown to recapture the urban vibe that I love. A historian, I love the stories that architecture tells me and wandering the streets of the city never stales. Having romance in my life is important and writing about how relationships can develop in the city is part of that. Everywhere I go in Chicago, I think of how my characters might interact with each other and the setting. Romance can be found in grand restaurants and in odd corners and Chicago has it all.

Sharon's book list on romance, mystery, and suspense in Chicago

Sharon Michalove Why did Sharon love this book?

This isn’t romance, mystery, or suspense per se. Living Landmarks are historic places that you can still visit, and they tell us the story of Chicago. Although much was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871, some of the early architecture remains. And what was built after defines the “city of big shoulders.” As the author says, “Chicago is the physical manifestation of dreamers, malcontents, philanthropists, and grifters.” You can read about what is, maybe, the oldest house in Chicago, Clarke House, now a museum or any other of the forty-nine sites. Places I used like the Palmer House, The Rookery, the Art Institute, Union Station, and the Civic Opera House are all represented. The stories are short but compelling and the book is a valuable resource if you want to know more about the romance and mystery that define Chicago. 

By Theresa L. Goodrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living Landmarks of Chicago as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the man shipped home in a rum barrel to the most dangerous woman in America, Chicago history comes to life in these tantalizing tales. "A wonderful bible of Chicago." WGN

Living Landmarks of Chicago goes beyond the what, when, and where to tell the how and why of fifty Chicago landmarks. More than a book about architecture, these are stories of the people who made Chicago and many of its most popular tourist attractions what they are today. Each chapter is a vignette that introduces the landmark and brings it to life, and the book is organized chronologically to…


Book cover of Unleashed

Robin King Author Of Remembrandt

From my list on spy books for Ally Carter fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I realized I didn’t have what it takes to join the CIA, I made it my life mission to find out everything it takes to be a spy—which, of course, made it necessary to watch every show and read every espionage story ever told. In the process, I discovered a passion for uncovering truth, as well as a love of writing. After writing three young adult spy novels, I feel like I’ve found the linguist, code breaker, and crime fighter in myself. My work for LitJoy Crate has given me the ability to know a good story when I read it, and then recommend that book to book lovers everywhere.

Robin's book list on spy books for Ally Carter fans

Robin King Why did Robin love this book?

I found this book to be like a mix between Gallagher Girls and Alex Rider, with maybe a bit of Mean Girls in the mix—all in a good way!

One thing that sets this book apart from other teen spy books is that all the characters are damaged and yet they use that to fight back and to show the world what they’re made of. I felt like I was watching a movie while reading the book, and the scenes felt like I was in a James Bond movie! I can’t wait to crack open book 2.

Book cover of The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Rashad Harrison Author Of Our Man in the Dark

From my list on thrillers and mysteries inhabited by history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read history to better understand myself, others, and the world around me; I write historical fiction to share what I have learned. At New York University, I was the Jacob K. Javits Fellow in fiction. In addition to Our Man in the Dark, I am the author of The Abduction of Smith and Smith, one of Huffington Post's 25 Necessary Books By Black Authors (2015), and Huffington Post's 50 Amazing Books By Black Authors from the Past Five Years (2019).

Rashad's book list on thrillers and mysteries inhabited by history

Rashad Harrison Why did Rashad love this book?

In the late ’60s, Dan Freeman, a Black token hire at the CIA shares spy-craft with Black revolutionaries. The book may claim to be a satire, but it demands to be taken seriously. The historical implications of the novel are obvious; there are plenty of exhilarating thrills, and the writing bops with a jazz-like cool. The mystery, however, is subterranean and internal. Freeman has perfected many masks to survive in America, to infiltrate the CIA, and to earn the respect of revolutionaries. The amazing thing is that there is so much suspense in discovering which identity will truly take hold.

By Sam Greenlee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spook Who Sat by the Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic in the black literary tradition, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is both a comment on the civil rights problems in the United States in the late 1960s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy.

Dan Freeman, the ""spook who sat by the door,"" is enlisted in the CIA's elitist espionage program. Upon mastering agency tactics, however, he drops out to train young Chicago blacks as ""Freedom Fighters"" in this explosive, award-winning novel.

As a story of one man's reaction to ruling-class hypocrisy, the book is autobiographical and personal. As a tale…


Book cover of Sister Carrie

William Breedlove Martin Author Of Expense of Spirit

From my list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1942. My father was a druggist and my mother a housewife until his illness put her to work as a newspaper reporter and eventually as a school teacher. After spending four years in the U.S. Air Force I earned a B.A. and a M.A. in English. After teaching English for thirty-one years, I retired in 2006. My wife and I live in Savannah and have two daughters, five grandchildren, and a black Lab. Among the many novels that I taught during my years as an English professor, the five on my list were invariably the ones to which my students most actively responded.

William's book list on the allure of wealth, status, and illicit romance

William Breedlove Martin Why did William love this book?

First published in 1900, Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie chronicles the rise of a poor girl, Carrie Meeber, and the contrasting, complementary decline and fall of the older, well-to-do man who is obsessed with her, George Hurstwood, whose steady, emasculating ruin is the most poignant narrative sequence, bar none, that I’ve ever read.

By Theodore Dreiser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sister Carrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Sister Carrie" by Theodore Dreiser. Published by Good Press. Good Press publishes a wide range of titles that encompasses every genre. From well-known classics & literary fiction and non-fiction to forgotten−or yet undiscovered gems−of world literature, we issue the books that need to be read. Each Good Press edition has been meticulously edited and formatted to boost readability for all e-readers and devices. Our goal is to produce eBooks that are user-friendly and accessible to everyone in a high-quality digital format.


Book cover of Crossroads

Sherry Marie Gallagher Author Of Boulder Blues: A Tale of the Colorado Counterculture

From my list on reliving the American countercultural experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a degreed socio-linguist and international educator, my novel writing has been immersed in the human experience that began early on as a teen musician immersed naively in a non-mainstream world of creatives and cons, when the word 'counterculture' was perceived more as a renaissance than the drug-laden world of darker gatherings that it later came to be known as. Boulder Blues is a work of fiction drawn from both fantasy and personal exposure. From there I went on to teach in American alternative education and later at university with a focus on rhetoric and forensic writing. My draw to other cultures and their perspectives moved me to go on to teach internationally.

Sherry's book list on reliving the American countercultural experience

Sherry Marie Gallagher Why did Sherry love this book?

Vogue praises this as a "magnificent portrait of an American family on the brink" by painting a story of a typical 1970’s family that is influenced by the challenging morals of the time. Exploiting a generational perspective that the breaking of old taboos leads to a better world, this novel drags out tired themes of egoistic flirtation and personal searches for fulfillment to the detriment of others involved, such as the family unit. 

The mother of the story is perhaps the only sympathetic character waking up to the fact that she’s buried herself in calories while avoiding truths she has a hard time facing as she attempts to reshape her being through a more pleasing physical self. The husband, on the other hand, is a failed contemporary minister in love with another one of his parishioners. Without facing up to his own moral shortcomings, he instead justifies his own motives…

By Jonathan Franzen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Crossroads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Franzen’s gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads.

It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless—unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social…


Book cover of If You Want to Write

Cathy Pickens Author Of Create! Developing Your Creative Process

From my list on to feed your creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Creativity is a practical, problem-solving, risk-taking endeavor, something we all do, whether we claim it or not. After working for many years with groups of graduate business students, artists, writers, business professionals, women in recovery, men in prison, with those just discovering their creative ability—and with myself and my own creative journey, I realize the question isn’t “Am I creative?” The question is “Am I using it?” or “Am I continuing to grow?” Nothing is more exciting than watching others as they realize just how creative they are.

Cathy's book list on to feed your creativity

Cathy Pickens Why did Cathy love this book?

Many of us are a bit afraid of stepping out and trying something new. That applies especially with creative work. “I’m just not that good,” we tell ourselves—or voices from our past tell us. Brenda Ueland was a long-time Chicago creative writing instructor, and her little book is strong encouragement (and a bit of a kick in the pants) about risk-taking and learning about our super-powers in the process.

By Brenda Ueland,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If You Want to Write as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1938, this classic by Brenda Ueland is considered by many to be one of the best books ever written on how to be a writer. Part a lesson on writing and part a philosophy on life, Ueland believed that anyone could be a writer and everyone had something important to say. Heavily influenced by the ideas of William Blake, Ueland outlines 12 points to keep in mind while writing and encourages writers to find their true, authentic selves and write from there. Born in Minneapolis in 1891 to a progressive household, Ueland’s father was a lawyer and…


Book cover of Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story

Erik Rebain Author Of Arrested Adolescence: The Secret Life of Nathan Leopold

From my list on the Leopold-Loeb case.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching the Leopold-Loeb case for around a decade, ever since a documentary sparked my interest back in high school. That sent me on a quest for knowledge: devouring all the books I could find on the subject, before turning to archival collections to look at the primary source material. Flash forward to today and I’ve read thousands of newspaper stories, hundreds of scholarly articles and books on the subject and travelled around the country searching in over 50 archives, trying to understand this case as much as I possibly can. Here’s a list of books I found particularly helpful or inspiring on my journey.

Erik's book list on the Leopold-Loeb case

Erik Rebain Why did Erik love this book?

There have been many, many fictional adaptations of the Leopold-Loeb story, and it seems to be tricky to get the details and the people portrayed accurately, while still telling a tight and intriguing story. This play achieves that the best that I’ve seen.

Told in a non-linear fashion, it explores a nuanced relationship between Leopold and Loeb and what led them to the murder, as well as the arguments of the lawyers and the vitriol of the press. Exploring themes of prejudice, love, and mob hysteria, the audience gets to see many angles of the case and feel the vast effect it had on the city, without losing the more nuanced explorations of the characters and their struggles.  

By John Logan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never the Sinner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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