I’m back with Part 2 of my most anticipated books of 2023! This one took me awhile, because it is LONG, and of course I keep finding more and more books to add. Again, these are listed in order of release date (or tentative release date) and span a range of genres, but this list is certainly not exhaustive!
Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews (release date 1/17/23) – I’m not including a synopsis of this one, because no spoilers for the Kate Daniels series (my all-time favorite UF series). This is actually the first novella in a new spin-off series set after its finale, and all of us Kate fans are incredibly excited. I’ve been saving this one in my “break glass in case of emergency” category for books.
VenCo by Cherie Dimaline (release date 2/7/23) – I received a free copy of VenCo from the publisher, but I haven’t dived into it quite yet. I loved Dimaline’s use of Metis mythology in her previous novel, but the witchy premise of her newest sounds more up my alley.
From Goodreads: Lucky St. James, a Métis millennial living with her cantankerous but loving grandmother Stella, is barely hanging on when she discovers she will be evicted from their tiny Toronto apartment. Then, one night, something strange and irresistible calls out to Lucky. Burrowing through a wall, she finds a silver spoon etched with a crooked-nosed witch and the word SALEM, humming with otherworldly energy.
Hundreds of miles away in Salem, Myrna Good has been looking for Lucky. Myrna works for VenCo, a front company fueled by vast resources of dark money.
Lucky is familiar with the magic of her indigenous ancestors, but she has no idea that the spoon links her to VenCo’s network of witches throughout North America. Generations of witches have been waiting for centuries for the seven spoons to come together, igniting a new era, and restoring women to their rightful power.
But as reckoning approaches, a very powerful adversary is stalking their every move. He’s Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself.
To find the last spoon, Lucky and Stella embark on a rollicking and dangerous road trip to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where the final showdown will determine whether VenCo will usher in a new beginning…or remain underground forever.
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (release date 3/7/23) – I mean, guerilla gardening group? Say no more.
From Goodreads: Five years ago, Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice: on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks, and neglected backyards. For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira stumbles on an answer, a way to finally set the group up for the long term: a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass, cutting off the town of Thorndike. Natural disaster has created an opportunity, a sizable farm seemingly abandoned.
But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. Robert Lemoine, the enigmatic American billionaire, has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker–or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust each other?
A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit, drama, and immersion in character. A brilliantly constructed consideration of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.
American Mermaid by Julia Langbein (release date 3/21/23) – I’ve always been a fan of mermaids, so any book that deals heavily with this myth automatically goes on my TBR. I was actually hoping this one would be a Book of the Month pick, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening.
From Goodreads: Penelope Schleeman, a consistently broke Connecticut high school teacher, is as surprised as anyone when her sensitive debut novel, “American Mermaid”—the story of a wheelchair-bound scientist named Sylvia who discovers that her withered legs are the vestiges of a powerful tail—becomes a bestseller. Penelope soon finds herself lured to LA by promises of easy money to co-write the “American Mermaid” screenplay for a major studio with a pair of male hacks.
As the studio pressures Penelope to change “American Mermaid” from the story of a fierce, androgynous eco-warrior to a teen sex object in a clam bra, strange things start to happen. Threats appear in the screenplay draft; siren calls lure people into danger. When Penelope’s screenwriting partners try to kill Sylvia off entirely in a bitterly false but cinematic end, matters off the page escalate. Is Penelope losing her mind, or is Sylvia among us?
American Mermaid follows a young woman braving a world of casual smiles and ruthless calculation, where she discovers a beating heart in her own fiction–a creature she’ll do anything to protect. By turns both a comic and fabulously insightful tale of two female characters in search of truth, love, and self-acceptance as they move between worlds without giving up their voices.
White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link (anticipated release 3/28/23) – Kelly Link is one of my all-time favorite short story writers; her stories are extremely unique and often unsettling, as well as unfailingly creative. Her most recent collection Get in Trouble is my favorite of hers so far, and I’d be shocked if I didn’t love her upcoming release.
From Goodreads: Seven ingeniously reinvented fairy tales that play out with astonishing consequences in the modern world, from one of today’s finest short story writers–MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Kelly Link, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble
Finding seeds of inspiration in the Brothers Grimm, seventeenth-century French lore, and Scottish ballads, Kelly Link spins classic fairy tales into utterly original stories of seekers–characters on the hunt for love, connection, revenge, or their own sense of purpose.
In “The White Cat’s Divorce,” an aging billionaire sends his three sons on a series of absurd goose chases to decide which will become his heir. In “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear,” a professor with a delicate health condition becomes stranded for days in an airport hotel after a conference, desperate to get home to her wife and young daughter, and in acute danger of being late for an appointment that cannot be missed. In “Skinder’s Veil,” a young man agrees to take over a remote house-sitting gig for a friend. But what should be a chance to focus on his long-avoided dissertation instead becomes a wildly unexpected journey, as the house seems to be a portal for otherworldly travelers–or perhaps a door into his own mysterious psyche.
A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (anticipated release 3/28/23) – T. Kingfisher was one of the new favorite authors I discovered in 2022, and her new horror release sounds creepily promising.
From Goodreads: A haunting Southern Gothic from an award-winning master of suspense, A House With Good Bones explores the dark, twisted roots lurking just beneath the veneer of a perfect home and family.
“Mom seems off.”
Her brother’s words echo in Sam Montgomery’s ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.
She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam’s excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.
But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.
To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.
A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire LeGrand (anticipated release 5/9/23) – I’m on a romantasy (romance/fantasy) kick right now and on the lookout for new books that fit this subgenre. I enjoyed LeGrand’s Furyborn quite a lot when I read it several years ago, but sadly never finished the trilogy.
From Goodreads: Lady Gemma Ashbourne seemingly has it all. She’s young, gorgeous, and rich. Her family was Anointed by the gods, blessed with incredible abilities. But underneath her glittering façade, Gemma is deeply sad. Years ago, her sister Mara was taken to the Middlemist to guard against treacherous magic. Her mother abandoned the family. Her father and eldest sister, Farrin—embroiled in a deadly blood feud with the mysterious Bask family—often forget Gemma exists.
Worst of all, Gemma is the only Ashbourne to possess no magic. Instead, her body fights it like poison. Constantly ill, aching with loneliness, Gemma craves love and yearns to belong.
Then she meets the devastatingly handsome Talan d’Astier. His family destroyed themselves, seduced by a demon, and Talan, the only survivor, is determined to redeem their honor. Intrigued and enchanted, Gemma proposes a bargain: She’ll help Talan navigate high society if he helps her destroy the Basks. According to popular legend, a demon called The Man With the Three-Eyed Crown is behind the families’ blood feud—slay the demon, end the feud.
But attacks on the Middlemist are increasing. The plot against the Basks quickly spirals out of control. And something immense and terrifying is awakening in Gemma, drawing her inexorably toward Talan and an all-consuming passion that could destroy her—or show her the true strength of her power at last.
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang (anticipated release 5/16/23) – I’m about 1/3 of the way into R.F. Kuang’s Babel right now, and LOVING it. Her newest release sounds very topical and like it has the potential to be a huge title in 2023.
From Goodreads: Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.
The Grimoire of Grave Fates, edited by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen (anticipated release 6/6/23) – I actually don’t know whether I’ll end up liking this one, but I’m very curious about it. It’s set at a magical school, but it’s actually an anthology written by 18 different (presumably YA?) authors and follows a murder mystery.
From Goodreads: Crack open your spell book and enter the world of the illustrious Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary. There’s been a murder on campus, and it’s up to the students of Galileo to solve it. Follow 18 authors and 18 students as they puzzle out the clues and find the guilty party.
Professor of Magical History Septimius Dropwort has just been murdered, and now everyone at the Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary is a suspect.
A prestigious school for young magicians, the Galileo Academy has recently undergone a comprehensive overhaul, reinventing itself as a roaming academy in which students of all cultures and identities are celebrated. In this new Galileo, every pupil is welcome—but there are some who aren’t so happy with the recent changes. That includes everyone’s least favorite professor, Septimius Dropwort, a stodgy old man known for his harsh rules and harsher punishments. But when the professor’s body is discovered on school grounds with a mysterious note clenched in his lifeless hand, the Academy’s students must solve the murder themselves, because everyone’s a suspect.
Told from more than a dozen alternating and diverse perspectives, The Grimoire of Grave Fates follows Galileo’s best and brightest young magicians as they race to discover the truth behind Dropwort’s mysterious death. Each one of them is confident that only they have the skills needed to unravel the web of secrets hidden within Galileo’s halls. But they’re about to discover that even for straight-A students, magic doesn’t always play by the rules. . . .
Night Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin (anticipated release 6/8/23) – I really enjoyed Julia Heaberlin’s previous mystery release, We Are All the Same in the Dark, and since mystery is a genre where I struggle to find authors that work for me, I’m looking forward to her newest release as well. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
From Goodreads: A scientist with a special gift riles a wasp’s nest of conspiracy theories while investigating a cold case in this riveting novel from the acclaimed and bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans and We Are All the Same in the Dark.
When she was ten, Vivvy Bouchet saved a boy’s life by making an impossible prediction. Ever since, she has been in a life-long battle between the urgent voices in her head and the science she loves. Now a brilliant young astrophysicist, she wants nothing more than to be left alone with the stars in the Big Bend country of Texas.
But the boy she saved, now a Fort Worth cop, has always believed she is psychic—even though she won’t say that word out loud. He is begging her to help solve the high-profile cold case of a little girl who disappeared in broad daylight from the kitchen of her old Victorian house. A body was never found, and her mother sits in prison still loudly proclaiming her innocence. Vivvy reluctantly agrees to try.
When a popular Texas conspiracy theorist podcaster named Bubba Guns finds out about her involvement, he spews conspiracy theories about the case and muddled truths about Vivvy’s murky past. As his listeners spin dangerously out of control, and with her career and the people she loves on the line, Vivvy decides to fight back.
Magic Claims by Ilona Andrews (anticipated release 6/13/23) – Again, I’m not including the synopsis for this one because it’s the second book in a spinoff series, but I’m just so excited to get not 1 but 2 books from Ilona Andrews this year, and in the Kate Daniels series to boot.
The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston (anticipated release 6/27/23) – The Dead Romantics was an unexpected hit last year with its combination of ghosts and contemporary romance, and although I’m not so sure how I feel about the premise of this follow-up, I enjoyed Ashley Poston’s writing enough to check it out.
From Goodreads: An overworked book publicist with a perfectly planned future hits a snag when she falls in love with her temporary roommate…only to discover he lives seven years in the past, in this witty and wise new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dead Romantics.
Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it.
So Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart safe: work hard, find someone decent to love, and try to remember to chase the moon. The last one is silly and obviously metaphorical, but her aunt always told her that you needed at least one big dream to keep going. And for the last year, that plan has gone off without a hitch. Mostly. The love part is hard because she doesn’t want to get too close to anyone–she isn’t sure her heart can take it.
And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again.
Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future.
Her aunt always said the apartment was a pinch in time, a place where moments blended together like watercolors. And Clementine knows that if she lets her heart fall, she’ll be doomed.
After all, love is never a matter of time–but a matter of timing.
At the End of Every Day by Arianna Reiche (anticipated release 7/4/23) – I love an extremely weird book, and the Disney-inspired setting makes this one even more appealing.
From Goodreads: In this haunting debut novel—perfect for fans of Iain Reid, Jeff VanderMeer, and Julia Armfield—a loyal employee at a collapsing theme park questions the recent death of a celebrity visitor, the arrival of strange new guests, her boyfriend’s erratic behavior, and ultimately her own sanity.
Delphi has spent years working at a vast and iconic theme park in California after fleeing her childhood trauma in her rural hometown. But after the disturbing death of a beloved Hollywood starlet on the park grounds, Delphi is tasked with shuttering The Park for good.
Meanwhile, two siblings with ties to The Park exchange letters, trying to understand why people who work there have been disappearing. Before long, they learn that there’s a reason no one is meant to see behind The Park’s curtain.
What happens when The Park empties out? And what happens when Delphi, who seems remarkably at one with The Park, is finally forced to leave?
At once a novel about the uncanny valley, death cults, optical illusions, and the enduring power of fantasy, Reiche’s debut is a mind-bending teacup ride through an eerily familiar landscape, where the key to it all is what happens At the End of Every Day.
Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall (anticipated release 7/11/23) – Alexis Hall wrote two of my favorite contemporary romances (Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake) but the more recent books I’ve picked up from him haven’t been as successful for me. But! This one is F/F historical romance with magic, so I’m obviously going to read it.
From Goodreads: A young noblewoman must pair up with a rumoured witch to ward off a curse in this irresistible sapphic romance from the bestselling author of Boyfriend Material.
It is the year 1814 and life for a young lady of good breeding has many difficulties. There are balls to attend, fashions to follow, marriages to consider and, of course, the tiny complication of existing in a world swarming with fairy spirits, interfering deities, and actual straight-up sorcerers.
Miss Maelys Mitchelmore finds her entry into high society hindered by an irritating curse. It begins innocuously enough with her dress slowly unmaking itself over the course of an evening at a high-profile ball, a scandal she narrowly manages to escape.
However, as the curse progresses to more fatal proportions, Miss Mitchelmore must seek out aid, even if it means mixing with undesirable company. And there are few less desirable than Lady Georgianna Landrake—a brooding, alluring young woman sardonically nicknamed “the Duke of Annadale”—who may or may not have murdered her own father and brothers to inherit their fortune. If one is to believe the gossip, she might be some kind of malign enchantress. Then again, a malign enchantress might be exactly what Miss Mitchelmore needs.
With the Duke’s help, Miss Mitchelmore delves into a world of angry gods and vindictive magic, keen to unmask the perpetrator of these otherworldly attacks. But Miss Mitchelmore’s reputation is not the only thing at risk in spending time with her new ally. For the rumoured witch has her own secrets that may prove dangerous to Miss Mitchelmore’s heart—not to mention her life.
The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei (anticipated release 7/18/23) – I’ve been having a lot of luck with my science fiction picks this year, and both the cover and premise of this debut really draw me in.
From Goodreads: To save humanity, they left everything behind—except their differences.
It is the eve of Earth’s environmental collapse. A single ship carries humanity’s last hope: eighty elite graduates of a competitive program, who will give birth to a generation of children in deep space. But halfway to a distant but livable planet, a lethal bomb kills three of the crew and knocks The Phoenix off course. Asuka, the only surviving witness, is an immediate suspect.
Asuka already felt like an impostor before the explosion. She was the last picked for the mission, she struggled during training back on Earth, and she was chosen to represent Japan, a country she only partly knows as a half-Japanese girl raised in America. But estranged from her mother back home, The Phoenix is all she has left.
With the crew turning on each other, Asuka is determined to find the culprit before they all lose faith in the mission—or worse, the bomber strikes again. Now, in order to survive, she must burn brighter than the stars that surround her.
Masters of Death by Olivie Blake (anticipated release 8/8/23) – Yes, another Olivie Blake book! These just keep piling up much faster than I can read them (the author already had a substantial backlist before she was picked up by a traditional publisher), but my love for The Atlas Six is strong enough to see me through infinite Olive Blake releases.
From Goodreads: Viola Marek is a struggling real estate agent, and a vampire. But her biggest problem currently is that the house she needs to sell is haunted. The ghost haunting the house has been murdered, and until he can solve the mystery of how he died, he refuses to move on.
Fox D’Mora is a medium, and though he is also most-definitely a shameless fraud, he isn’t entirely without his uses—seeing as he’s actually the godson of Death.
When Viola seeks out Fox to help her with her ghost-infested mansion, he becomes inextricably involved in a quest that neither he nor Vi expects (or wants). But with the help of an unruly poltergeist, a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel, a love-stricken reaper, and a few mindfulness-practicing creatures, Vi and Fox soon discover the difference between a mysterious lost love and an annoying dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as they thought.
Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher (anticipated release 8/15/23) – 2022 was the first time I was introduced to T. Kingfisher, and I enjoyed both books of hers I picked up, Nettle & Bone and The Hollow Places. This sounds more in the vein of Nettle & Bone, where fairy tales twist in unexpected ways.
From Goodreads: Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?
But nothing with fairies is ever simple.
Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…
The Long Game by Elena Armas (anticipated release 9/5/23) – Elena Armas’s third adult contemporary romance sounds cute, even if it is sports-centric (not my favorite contemporary subgenre).
From Goodreads: Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral. Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself. Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery. Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town. But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
Rouge by Mona Awad (anticipated release 9/12/23) – If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that Mona Awad wrote my FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME, Bunny, meaning that I will read absolutely anything she comes out with. I also absolutely loved All’s Well, which was one of my favorite reads of 2022, so my hopes for Rouge are sky-high.
From Goodreads: For as long as she can remember, Belle has been insidiously obsessed with her skin and skincare videos. When her estranged mother Noelle mysteriously dies, Belle finds herself back in Southern California, dealing with her mother’s considerable debts and grappling with lingering questions about her death. The stakes escalate when a strange woman in red appears at the funeral, offering a tantalizing clue about her mother’s demise, followed by a cryptic video about a transformative spa experience. With the help of a pair of red shoes, Belle is lured into the barbed embrace of La Maison de Méduse, the same lavish, culty spa to which her mother was devoted. There, Belle discovers the frightening secret behind her (and her mother’s) obsession with the mirror—and the great shimmering depths (and demons) that lurk on the other side of the glass.
Snow White meets Eyes Wide Shut in this surreal descent into the dark side of beauty, envy, grief, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. With black humor and seductive horror, Rouge explores the cult-like nature of the beauty industry—as well as the danger of internalizing its pitiless gaze. Brimming with California sunshine and blood-red rose petals, Rouge holds up a warped mirror to our relationship with mortality, our collective fixation with the surface, and the wondrous, deep longing that might lie beneath.
In These Hallowed Halls: A Dark Academia Anthology edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane (anticipated release 9/12/23) – I can’t remember the last time I actually read an anthology, but dark academia is one of my favorite subgenres and this collection features two past favorite authors (Olivie Blake and M.L. Rio).
From Goodreads: A beguiling, sinister collection of 12 dark academia short stories from masters of the genre, including Olivie Blake, M.L. Rio, Susie Yang and more!
Darkened libraries at elite schools, looming Gothic towers, charismatic professors, the tang of autumn in the air… and the rivalries and obsessions that lead to murder. Within these Hallowed Halls is a chilling, compulsive collection of dark academia short stories.
Better Hate Than Never by Chloe Liese (anticipated release 10/10/23) – I really loved Chloe Liese’s first contemporary romance Shakespeare retelling, Two Wrongs Make a Right, and I love how she writes well-rounded characters who are often dealing with mental health issues. This next book is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, which I hate in its original play form but do tend to like when adapted through a more modern and feminist lens.
From Goodreads: Childhood enemies discover the fine line between love and loathing in this heartfelt reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Katerina Wilmot and Christopher Petruchio shared backyards as kids, but as adults they won’t even share the same hemisphere. That is, until Kate makes a rare visit home, and their fiery animosity rekindles into a raging inferno.
Despite their friends’ and families’ pleas for peace, Christopher is unconvinced Kate would willingly douse the flames of their enmity. But when a drunken Kate confesses she’s only been hostile because she thought he hated her, Christopher vows to make peace with Kate once and for all. Tempting as it is to be swept away by her nemesis-turned-gentleman, Kate isn’t sure she can trust his charming good-guy act.
When Christopher’s persistence and Kate’s curiosity lead to an impassioned kiss, they realize “peace” is the last thing that will ever be possible between them. As desire gives way to deeper feelings, Kate and Christopher must decide if it’s truly better to hate than to never risk their hearts—or if they already gave them away long ago.
Death Valley by Melissa Broder (anticipated release 10/24/23) – I finally read and really enjoyed a Melissa Broder book last year (Milk Fed) that made me want to read more from her. This newest sounds very weird, which is always a plus for me.
From Goodreads: In Melissa Broder’s astounding new novel, a woman arrives alone at a Best Western seeking respite from an emptiness that plagues her. She has fled to the California high desert to escape a cloud of sorrow—for both her father in the ICU and a husband whose illness is worsening. What the motel provides, however, is not peace but a path, thanks to a receptionist who recommends a nearby hike.
Out on the sun-scorched trail, the woman encounters a towering cactus whose size and shape mean it should not exist in California. Yet the cactus is there, with a gash through its side that beckons like a familiar door. So she enters it. What awaits her inside this mystical succulent sets her on a journey at once desolate and rich, hilarious and poignant.
This is Melissa Broder at her most imaginative, most universal, and finest. This is Death Valley.
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood (anticipated release 11/7/23) – In addition to her third adult contemporary romance novel, Ali Hazelwood also has a nerdy YA romance coming out this year. It sounds very similar to her other work, which for me is generally a good thing; I’m hoping I enjoy this one like I’ve enjoyed her novels and unlike her novellas, which I wasn’t huge fans of.
From Goodreads: Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory’s focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.
Nolan’s loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What’s even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory’s victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can’t help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist….
As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren’t only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent…and infuriating…)
Space Oddity by Catherynne M. Valente (anticipated release 11/21/23) – Space Opera is one of the books that got me hooked on Catherynne M. Valente, who is now one of my all-time favorite authors. It’s such a wonderful book that is 90% silly and 10% so emotional that it punches you in the stomach. I can’t imagine that the sequel will let me down.
From Goodreads: The Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past returns and the fate of the Earth is once again threatened. The civilizations opposed to humanity have been plotting and want to take down the upstarts. Can humanity rise again in this sequel to the beloved Hugo Award–nominated national bestselling Space Opera by New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente?
The Gentleman’s Gambit by Evie Dunmore (anticipated release 12/5/23) – This will be Evie Dunmore’s fourth book in her League of Extraordinary Women series, and I’ve enjoyed all three of its predecessors. It’s the only historical romance series that I’m currently following, and I’m sad that this will presumably be its last installment.
From Goodreads: Bookish suffragist Catriona Campbell is busy: An ailing estate, academic writer’s block, a tense time for England’s women’s rights campaign–the last thing she needs is to be stuck playing host to her father’s distractingly attractive young colleague.
Deeply introverted Catriona lives for her work at Oxford and her fight for women’s suffrage. She dreams of romance, too, but since all her attempts at love have ended badly, she now keeps her desires firmly locked inside her head–until she climbs out of a Scottish loch after a good swim and finds herself rather exposed to her new colleague.
Elias Khoury has wheedled his way into Professor Campbell’s circle under false pretenses: he did not come to Oxford to classify ancient artefacts, he is determined to take them back to his homeland in the Middle East. Winning Catriona’s favor could be the key to his success. Unfortunately, seducing the coolly intense lady scholar quickly becomes a mission in itself and his well-laid plans are in danger of derailing…
Forced into close proximity in Oxford’s hallowed halls, two very different people have to face the fact that they might just be a perfect match. Soon, a risky new game begins that asks Catriona one more time to put her heart and wildest dreams at stake.