Category Archives: TBR

End of the Year Book Tag/December TBR!

As 2020 winds down, I’ve been thinking a lot about the books I want to prioritize reading before the end of the year. Instead of a straightforward December TBR, I thought it would be more fun to combine it with the End of the Year book tag, which was created by Ariel Bissett.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?/Do you have an autumnal book to help transition into the end of the year?

Melmoth

I’m currently about 60 pages into Melmoth by Sarah Perry, which has sort of fallish vibes and which I’ve put on pause for awhile since although I really like it I haven’t been quite in the right mood. But I’m going to make myself finish by the end of the year, since it’s on my Top 10 TBR for 2020 list.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Ruinsong

There are definitely fewer new book releases toward the end of the year, but I’m really intrigued by Ruinsong by Julia Ember, described as a “dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy,” which actually comes out tomorrow.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Written in the StarsBridgerton: The Duke and I

There are two romance books I really want to finish before the end of the year; I was lucky enough to have been sent copies of both from the publisher. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur is a contemporary F/F romance set during the holidays, so I think it will make a great December read, and The Duke and I by Julia Quinn is a historical romance adapted into a Netflix series that comes out on December 25th, so I really want to have finished the book before I watch the show.

A Tale for the Time Being

I’m also trying to get to another book from my top 10 2020 TBR list, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which has been sitting on my TBR shelf for way too long.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Radiance

Yes! I think that Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente is a definite contender for favorite read of 2020, considering that her novel Deathless was sort of tied for my favorite read of 2019. Last year, several of my favorite books of the year were ones I read in December, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

Yes! I started working on ideas for my top 10 2021 TBR awhile ago, because it’s a list that I always enjoy making. I’m looking to choose 10 books that are a variety of genres and encompass 2020 releases as well as some backlist titles, but of course everything depends on what I read over the next few weeks as 2020 winds down. I’ve also been putting together lists of highly anticipated 2021 new releases; one of those posts should be up within the next few weeks.

November TBR/NaNoWriMo Game Plan/Thoughts on Reading on the Eve of the Election

I really have no idea what November is going to look like, book friends. It’s the eve of the U.S. presidential election, and it’s hard to plan ahead when there’s so much uncertainty. I’ve been spending the last few weeks volunteering for the Biden campaign, and I really hope that the hard work of so many Americans is about to pay off, but it’s a very scary time here. I actually didn’t read at all over the last week for this reason, but I’m trying to get back on track with both reading and writing for November (or at least as much as I can considering everything going on).

In an ideal universe, I was planning on doing another round of NaNoWriMo this month to hopefully finish the first draft of a fantasy novel I’ve been working on for quite awhile. I set a more modest goal (25,000 words instead of 50,000) and am planning on actually starting NaNo after the election. I’d consider any writing productivity a win at this point, to be honest.

Normally, I find TBR planning helpful during NaNoWriMo, as it helps me avoid spending time and energy choosing my next read when I’m devoting a lot more time than usual to writing. I tend to gravitate towards books by previously loved authors during this month, since I also don’t want to waste my time with disappointing reads. This month, I’m leaving things a little more open-ended, and I’m currently reading several books already that may take me a decent part of the month to complete.

Currently reading:

The House in the Cerulean SeaPiranesiWatch Over Me

Going into November, my current reads are The House in the Cerulean Sea (fantasy), Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (fantasy, by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell), and Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (YA contemporary, audiobook).

Other November possibilities:

In the Dream House: A MemoirThe Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4)

I’d really like to get to another book from my Top 10 2020 TBR list, in this case Carmen Maria Machado’s haunting memoir In the Dream House. And I sort of barely started The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker (contemporary romance) last month via ebook, then ordered the physical book after I had to return the ebook to my library.

October TBR/Reading Seasonally

It’s officially fall now, which tends to be my favorite season (yes, I get really basic during the fall, I won’t lie to you guys). To a certain degree, I like to read seasonally, which to me means that once fall hits I’m in the mood for paranormal, mystery, dark fantasy, weird fiction, and horror. Several of these genres are ones I rarely read from during the rest of the year, so I usually go into the fall with several books in mind that I’ve been saving for crisp nights with a mug of hot spiced cider.

This month, I’m thinking of prioritizing these 4 books:

Mexican GothicThe RegretsMelmothLittle Eyes

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a historical mystery set in 1950s Mexico; The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons, which features a ghost stuck between this world and the next and the woman who falls in love with him; Melmoth by Sarah Perry, historical fiction focusing on a dark European legend (also on my top 10 TBR for 2020/5 star predictions list I made at the beginning of the year); and Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, a weird fiction/horror novel about mysterious stuffed animals.

Depending on time constraints and my reading mood, I may also decide to delve into these ones also (particularly, I’m thinking, for the next round of Dewey’s 24-hour readathon on October 24th):

The Only Good IndiansThe Damned (The Beautiful, #2)Fangs

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, a horror novel that I’m waiting to arrive in the mail; The Damned by Renee Ahdieh, the sequel to YA historical fantasy The Beautiful; and Fangs by Sarah Andersen, a graphic novel about a vampire and a werewolf who fall in love.

 

What’s on your TBR for October? Any of these that catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!

September TBR

I’m slightly late posting this one, but I’m really liking adding TBR blog posts to help map out my reading for the month, so we’re going to roll with it. In September, I play to do three things: start my fall-themed reading, get to a few fall ARCs, and finish the three books I’m carrying over from August.

ARCs:

We Were Restless ThingsWhen No One Is WatchingSpoiler Alert

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu (release date 10/6) – YA mystery/contemporary fantasy about the mystery surrounding a boy who drowned in a lake that only his best friend can find.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (release date 9/1) – a mystery/thriller about gentrification in Brooklyn and the mysterious disappearances of the main character’s neighbors

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (release date 10/6) – contemporary romance centered around the fandom of a Game of Thrones-esque show

Currently reading/Unfinished August reads:

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5)Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)The Dreamers

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews – second in a trilogy (and also fifth in a series) following magical families in Houston, and focused on the romance between Catalina, the head of her family’s house and the possessor of siren magic, and Alessandro, an assassin with mysterious motives.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth – Following the five “Chosen Ones” who defeated the evil Dark One as teenagers, but ten years later when several of them are suffering from PTSD and struggling to figure out how to live their lives in the aftermath.

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker – following a variety of characters after a mysterious sleeping sickness originates in a small college town.

 

What are you reading in September?

August TBR: ARC August and Tome Topple

I have two main goals with my August reading: I want to catch up on reading ARCs I’ve received, and I want to participate in another round of one of my favorite readathons, Tome Topple, which was created by Thoughts on Tomes and  focuses on reading books over 500 pages long. ARC-wise, I have 3 physical ARCs and 3 NetGalley eARCs I’d love to get through, and for Tome Topple, I’m setting the less ambitious goal of reading one tome, a newly purchased first-in-series epic fantasy. If I somehow read all of those books, which is a big if, there are a few other books I’d really love to get to–we’ll see how it goes.

Physical ARCs:

The LightnessWe Are All the Same in the DarkWhere Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1)

The Lightness by Emily Temple (release date 6/16) – One of my most anticipated 2020 releases and a literary fiction debut focusing on female friendship.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin (release date 8/11) – I haven’t been reading a lot of mystery/thrillers in the past few years, but I was hooked by the description of a strong, complex female main character driven to solve the long-ago murder of her childhood friend.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (release date 8/25) – I’m SO excited about this YA fantasy inspired by the Phantom of the Opera and featuring a magical competition.

eARCs:

Fable (Fable, #1)Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2)Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

Fable by Adrienne Young (release date 9/1) – This is probably the ARC I know the least about. It’s YA fantasy, set on the high seas, about a girl finding her strength and place in the world, and it’s been getting great reviews.

Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross (release date 9/8) – This is the sequel to the fantastic Wolf Gone Wild (check out my review here) , which I read earlier this year, and I’m psyched for another installment in a series set in modern-day New Orleans and populated by witches, werewolves, and vampires, among other supernatural creatures.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (release date 9/22) – A contemporary romance and the last in Bailey’s Hot and Hammered series, which is set on Long Island and involves house flipping.

Tome Topple

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1)

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope – I’ve heard that this epic fantasy series also has a healthy dose of romance, and the few reviews I’ve seen on BookTube have made me anxious to pick it up. It’s been awhile since I’ve read an epic fantasy, as I tend to be very picky about them, but I have a really good feeling about this one.

Other books on my radar

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)Slay

Last week, on a whim, I started reading Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones, and although I really need to prioritize my ARCs this month, I’d love to have a chance to finish it since it’s really great so far. I’d also like to have an audiobook option during the month, and I’ve been hearing great things about Slay by Brittney Morris.

 

What’s on your TBR for August?

May TBR (Lots of Readathons!) and Musings

For the past few months, with everything going on in the world, I’ve been finding it more helpful to mood-read rather than to set TBRs. Reading has been an incredible source of stress relief, particularly as it’s been a cold and rainy spring, and leaving my apartment to walk or hike in a non-crowded area isn’t always possible. And I’d like to continue to focus on reading as a source of distraction as we shift into May and uncertainty regarding when and if regulations will start to relax in different parts of the country.

For the past month or so, I’ve been working part-time; I work in the healthcare field, and where I work we’re still seeing emergent and urgent patients but not routine ones, so the majority of our staff has been furloughed temporarily. I’m lucky to still have a job, even if it’s only part-time, and eventually, once social distancing recommendations start to relax, things will become extremely busy as we build our patient schedules back up. For that reason, May is a bit nebulous, and I’m not really sure what to expect: I might be working relatively little the first two weeks and working overtime the next two, but I might not. I was thinking that having some structure and plans for my reading life might help counterbalance the uncertainty in my professional life; I could be wrong, and relapse into mood-reading again, but I think that some readathons sound great right about now.

So, what readathons are happening in May?

First of all, there’s the Medievalathon, hosted by Holly Hearts Books, which is structured similarly to the O.W.L.s readathon I participated in in April, where you read books that count toward specific tasks, and those tasks translate into imaginary attributes. With Medievalathon, you’re reading to outfit yourself with Middle Ages garb, weaponry, and an animal companion, as well as challenging yourself to read as many books as possible to attain a higher rank, up to Emperor/Empress. For me, this type of readathon works as sort of a fun aside to my reading; I rarely would pick up a book purposely to fulfill a prompt, but I enjoy seeing how books I’ve read fit into the categories as my reading progresses throughout the month.

Then there’s Tome Topple, hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes,  one of my favorite readathons to participate in, where your goal is to read books over 500 pages long over the course of 2 weeks. I think, like with the last round of Tome Topple that I participated in in Feb, I’d like to aim to read one YA tome (Kingsbane by Claire Legrand) and one adult tome (Possession by A. S. Byatt), although it’s possible I may also try to read Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (in which I’d also probably re-read Aurora Rising, the first book in that series, which does not count for the readathon. We’ll see.)

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)Possession (Definitely)

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) (maybe)

I tend to have good success with Tome Topple; it’s a great motivator for me to pick up some of my more giant books that might otherwise seem intimidating. Tome Topple lasts from May 9-22.

I’m also planning on participating in Bout of Books, a week-long readathon that always tends to boost my reading productivity. I won’t be setting a specific TBR for that one until closer to its start date.

Grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

And then I’m also setting a challenge for myself that’s not exactly a specific readathon: I want to try to read as many of my Book of the Month books as possible in May. It’s not because I’m necessarily overwhelmed at being behind on my picks, but just because there are a lot of them that I’m extremely excited about and am kicking myself for not having read yet. I’m definitely planning to read Normal People by Sally Rooney and Beach Read by Emily Henry, but I’ll probably try to pick up a few more as well, depending on how the month is going.

Normal PeopleBeach Read (Definitely)

Gods of Jade and ShadowQueenieTrick Mirror: Reflections on Self-DelusionWriters & Lovers (maybe)

 

I hope that everyone is doing okay, and staying safe, and I’m sending good thoughts to you all. Let me know in the comments if any of you are joining in on all of the May readathons.

March TBR (Mood-Reading March)

After participating in (or attempting to participate in, let’s be real) a few different readathons in Feb, I’m taking it back to mood-reading for the month of March. This is partially because I’m generally a mood-reader, but it’s also because my reads overall for Feb were a bit disappointing, and several highly anticipated reads fell short of a 5-star rating for me.

I’m looking to read a few different types of books in March:

New releases/ARCs:

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)Before Anyone ElseWhat Shines from It

Several of my most anticipated books of 2020 come out this month, and in particular, I’ve been hyped to pick up Sarah J. Maas’s new book Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood, the first book in an adult UF/PNR series that sounds fantastic. I have it pre-ordered, so hopefully it’ll be getting here in the mail this week and I’ll be able to start it ASAP. I also have two ARCs sent to me by publishers that I need to get to this month: Before Anyone Else by Leslie Hooton (release date 3/24), a contemporary with romance elements set in the culinary world, and What Shines From It by Sara Rauch (release date 3/3), an excellent short story collection I’m currently in the middle of (thank you so much to the publishers for the opportunity to read & review both of these!).

Backlist Books:

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild PossibilitiesNormal People

Feeling discouraged by the current political climate, I felt pulled towards Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark over the weekend, since Solnit’s insightful essays always help me learn and gain perspective; I think it was the right choice to pick up this month. I’m also hoping to get to Normal People by Sally Rooney, one of the books on my top 10 TBR for 2020, since I’m trying to pick up at least one of those per month.

ebooks/audiobooks:

Trick (Foolish Kingdoms, #1)Solitaire

I have 2 current reads going on my phone that I’d like to finish in March also, one on ebook and one on audio. I started reading Trick by Natalia Jaster, a fantasy romance between a clever fool and a stubborn princess, last month, but got distracted by other reads; I’d like to finish it in March and figure out whether this author and series are ones I’d like to read more from. I also started listening to Solitaire by Alice Oseman after a long audiobook drought; I love Oseman’s writing, and although I think it’ll take me awhile, since my audio listening skills are not functioning stellarly lately, I’m hoping I can finish it this month as well.

 

That’s it for me! What are you hoping to read in March? See any books on my TBR you’ve enjoyed (or disliked)?

Most Anticipated Books of 2020, Part 2

I knew this was going to happen.

I knew that as soon as I posted my initial Most Anticipated Books of 2020 blog that I’d immediately hear about a bunch of enticing new books, and I was right.

I was sort of hoping to hold off making another one of these posts until the halfway mark of 2020, but I’ve decided that there are just too many awesome-sounding books to do that, so here we are. This post is going to be a bit different than my previous one: I’m not only going to be focusing exclusively on the first half of the year, but rather talking about anything I’ve added to my Goodreads 2020 shelf that really appeals to me, which includes a few already-released books in addition to some coming out this fall. I’d also say that overall this list encompasses a lot more new-to-me authors and books I don’t know very much about (compared to my initial post, which did focus a lot on favorite authors and next-in-series books), so I’m including full Goodreads synopses for each pick so that we can all learn more about these books together (I’m also linking to each Goodreads page so that you can more easily add them to your shelves if they sound interesting, which is something I tend to do with any book that strikes my fancy, which is also why my Goodreads to-read shelf is absolutely out of control). My other list was also fairly focused on fantasy, YA, and romance, whereas this one is a bit more diverse in terms of genre, but I’m again arranging them in order of release date.

Now let’s get into it!

 

The Regrets

The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (release date 2/4/20) – I’m generally interested in any fabulism/surrealist books, and I really love this almost minimalist-esque cover. Ghosts? Romance? Weirdness? Yes.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons’s dazzling, darkly playful debut novel about a love affair between the living and the dead.

For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit. There’s just one tiny problem: He’s dead.

Stuck in a surreal limbo governed by bureaucracy, Thomas is unable to “cross over” to the afterlife until he completes a 90-day stint on earth, during which time he is forbidden to get involved with a member of the living — lest he incur “regrets.” When Thomas and Rachel break this rule, they unleash a cascade of bizarre, troubling consequences.

Set in the hallucinatory borderland between life and death, The Regrets is a gloriously strange and breathtakingly sexy exploration of love, the cataclysmic power of fantasies, and the painful, exhilarating work of waking up to reality, told with uncommon grace and humor by a visionary artist at the height of her imaginative power. ”

 

Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today

Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today by Rachel Vorona Cote (release date 2/26/20)

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“Lacing cultural criticism, Victorian literature, and storytelling together, “TOO MUCH spills over: with intellect, with sparkling prose, and with the brainy arguments of Vorona Cote, who posits that women are all, in some way or another, still susceptible to being called too much.” (Esmé Weijun Wang)

A weeping woman is a monster. So too is a fat woman, a horny woman, a woman shrieking with laughter. Women who are one or more of these things have heard, or perhaps simply intuited, that we are repugnantly excessive, that we have taken illicit liberties to feel or fuck or eat with abandon. After bellowing like a barn animal in orgasm, hoovering a plate of mashed potatoes, or spraying out spit in the heat of expostulation, we’ve flinched-ugh, that was so gross. I am so gross. On rare occasions, we might revel in our excess–belting out anthems with our friends over karaoke, perhaps–but in the company of less sympathetic souls, our uncertainty always returns. A woman who is Too Much is a woman who reacts to the world with ardent intensity is a woman familiar to lashes of shame and disapproval, from within as well as without.

Written in the tradition of Shrill, Dead Girls, Sex Object and other frank books about the female gaze, TOO MUCH encourages women to reconsider the beauty of their excesses-emotional, physical, and spiritual. Rachel Vorona Cote braids cultural criticism, theory, and storytelling together in her exploration of how culture grinds away our bodies, souls, and sexualities, forcing us into smaller lives than we desire. An erstwhile Victorian scholar, she sees many parallels between that era’s fixation on women’s “hysterical” behavior and our modern policing of the same; in the space of her writing, you’re as likely to encounter Jane Eyre and Lizzie Bennet as you are Britney Spears and Lana Del Rey.
This book will tell the story of how women, from then and now, have learned to draw power from their reservoirs of feeling, all that makes us “Too Much.””

 

What Shines from It

What Shines From It by Sara Rauch (release date 3/3/20) – This short story collection is from Alternating Current Press, an indie publisher that also published one of my all-time favorite short story collections, The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of What Shines From It, and am hoping I love it just as much.

Synopsis (via Goodreads) –

“The eleven stories in Sara Rauch’s What Shines from It are rife with the physical and psychic wounds of everyday life. In “Beholden,” girl meets boy meets the unsettled spirits of post-9/11 New York City, but her future can’t hold them all. In “Kitten,” a struggling veteran and his wife argue over adopting an abandoned kitten, deepening their financial and emotional rifts. In “Abandon,” a ghost-baby ravages a woman’s body following a late-term miscarriage, marring her chances for new love. And in “Kintsukuroi,” a married potter falls in love with a married geologist and discovers the luminosity of being broken.

What Shines from It is populated by women on the verge of transcendence—brimming with anger and love—and working-class artists haunted by the ghosts of their desires. Abiding by a distinctly guarded New England sensibility, these stories inhabit the borderlands of long-established cities, where humans are still learning to embrace the natural world. Subtly exploring sexualities, relationships, birth and rebirth, identity, ghosts, and longing, Rauch searches for the places where our protective shells are cracked and, in spare, poetic language, limns those edges of loneliness and loss with light.”

 

Anna K.: A Love Story

Anna K by Jenny Lee (release date 3/3/20) – I actually already own a copy of this book (it was released early via Book of the Month), but I haven’t read it yet, and I’m including it on this list because up until its BOTM selection, I hadn’t heard anything about it, and it sounds fantastic: it’s a contemporary YA retelling of Anna Karenina, inspired by Gossip Girl. Part of me wants to be extremely ambitious and choose a month to read both Anna Karenina and Anna K back-to-back; we’ll see how that goes.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.”

 

Writers & Lovers

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (release date 3/3/20) – I absolutely loved King’s previous book Euphoria, about anthropologists in a strange love triangle in New Guinea, and can’t wait for this next release.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.

Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey’s fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.

Writers & Lovers follows Casey–a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist–in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King’s trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.”

 

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (release date 4/7/20) – Veronica Roth isn’t an author I’ve ever gravitated towards; I did read Divergent, which I liked, but I disliked Insurgent so much that I stopped reading the series. Chosen Ones sounds a lot more appealing to me, since it sounds like it might fit into that weird niche of books that I love that sort of pay homage to SFF tropes while also sort of twisting and providing commentary on them; it also deals with child fantasy heroes who have since grown up, which is another element I’m always interested in reading about. I haven’t heard much buzz about this yet, especially considering that Roth is a pretty well-known author, which is surprising to me, but it’s definitely on my radar now.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.”

 

Catherine House

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (release date 5/12/20) – Catherine House might be the book I’m most hyped about on this list; I have this hope that it will fit into the If We Were Villains/Bunny/Ninth House kind of niche genre of sinister vibes between toxic friend groups at unique colleges.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.”

 

Pew

Pew by Catherine Lacey (release date 5/12) – Catherine Lacey always has such intriguing premises for her books; I was fascinated by her unique book The Answers a few years ago.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “In a small unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives to a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless, racially ambiguous, and refuses to speak. One family takes the strange visitor in and nicknames them Pew.

As the town spends the week preparing for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the next. The earnest and seemingly well-meaning townspeople see conflicting identities in Pew, and many confess their fears and secrets to them in one-sided conversations. Pew listens and observes while experiencing brief flashes of past lives or clues about their origins. As days pass, the void around Pew’s presence begins to unnerve the community, whose generosity erodes into menace and suspicion. Yet by the time Pew’s story reaches a shattering and unsettling climax at the Forgiveness Festival, the secret of their true nature—as a devil or an angel or something else entirely—is dwarfed by even larger truths.

Pew, Catherine Lacey’s third novel, is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: its contradictions, its flimsy morality, and the limits of judging others based on their appearance. With precision and restraint, one of our most beloved and boundary-pushing writers holds up a mirror to her characters’ true selves, revealing something about forgiveness, perception, and the faulty tools society uses to categorize human complexity.”

 

Exciting Times

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan (release date 6/2/20) – I find love triangles in literature really interesting when they’re done well, and this literary fiction release sounds intriguing.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer.

Ava moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment.

When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands.

Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?

Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life—and announces herself as a singular new voice.”

 

Thin Girls

Thin Girls by Diana Clarke (release date 6/9/20) – I thought I had seen somewhere that this was being compared to Roxane Gay, or had been recommended by Roxane Gay, but now I can’t find that anywhere, so I may have imagined it. Either way, I like books that focus on sibling relationships, and Thin Girls also seems like it will be a really interesting examination of diet culture and body image.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “Purdue MFA and University of Utah PhD candidate Diana Clarke’s THIN GIRLS, an exploration of toxic diet culture as well as the power of sisterhood, love, and lifelong friendship, in which twin sisters with a compulsive need to balance one another out are pushed to their limits when one sister, who’s stuck in an anorexia rehabilitation center, is inspired to recover when her twin falls prey to bizarre dieting cult run by a faux-feminist dictator.”

 

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch (release date 6/9/20) – This nonfiction book looks to provide an expansion of Regency-era knowledge to the Jane Austen fan, and is written by one of the owners of amazing romance-focused bookstore The Ripped Bodice (which I hope to visit one day if I’m ever in Southern California!). It seems like a fascinating book I’ll likely check out via audiobook.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “A feminist pop history that looks beyond the Ton and Jane Austen to highlight iconoclastic women of the Regency period who succeeded on their own terms and have largely been lost to history.

Regency England is a world immortalized by Jane Austen and Lord Byron in their beloved novels and poems. The popular image of the Regency continues to be mythologized by the hundreds of romance novels set in the period, which focus almost exclusively on wealthy, white, Christian members of the upper classes. But there are hundreds of fascinating women who don’t fit history books limited perception of what was historically accurate for early 19th century England. Women like Dido Elizabeth Belle, whose mother was a slave but was raised by her white father’s family in England, Caroline Herschel, who acted as her brother’s assistant as he hunted the heavens for comets, and ended up discovering eight on her own, Anne Lister, who lived on her own terms with her common-law wife at Shibden Hall, and Judith Montefiore, a Jewish woman who wrote the first English language Kosher cookbook.

As one of the owners of the successful romance-only bookstore The Ripped Bodice, Bea Koch has had a front row seat to controversies surrounding what is accepted as “historically accurate” for the wildly popular Regency period. Following in the popular footsteps of books like Ann Shen’s Bad Girls Throughout History, Koch takes the Regency, one of the most loved and idealized historical time periods and a huge inspiration for American pop culture, and reveals the independent-minded, standard-breaking real historical women who lived life on their terms. She also examines broader questions of culture in chapters that focus on the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, the lives of women of color in the Regency, and women who broke barriers in fields like astronomy and paleontology. In MAD AND BAD, we look beyond popular perception of the Regency into the even more vibrant, diverse, and fascinating historical truth.”

 

The Lightness

The Lightness by Emily Temple (release date 6/16/20) – Yes, this one was on my original list, but it didn’t have a cover or detailed synopsis at that time, so I’m re-including it.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “A stylish, stunningly precise, and suspenseful meditation on adolescent desire, female friendship, and the female body that shimmers with rage, wit, and fierce longing—an audacious, darkly observant, and mordantly funny literary debut for fans of Emma Cline, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Jenny Offill.

One year ago, the person Olivia adores most in the world, her father, left home for a meditation retreat in the mountains and never returned. Yearning to make sense of his shocking departure and to escape her overbearing mother—a woman as grounded as her father is mercurial—Olivia runs away from home and retraces his path to a place known as the Levitation Center.

Once there, she enrolls in their summer program for troubled teens, which Olivia refers to as “Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls”. Soon, she finds herself drawn into the company of a close-knit trio of girls determined to transcend their circumstances, by any means necessary. Led by the elusive and beautiful Serena, and her aloof, secretive acolytes, Janet and Laurel, the girls decide this is the summer they will finally achieve enlightenment—and learn to levitate, to defy the weight of their bodies, to experience ultimate lightness.

But as desire and danger intertwine, and Olivia comes ever closer to discovering what a body—and a girl—is capable of, it becomes increasingly clear that this is an advanced and perilous practice, and there’s a chance not all of them will survive. Set over the course of one fateful summer that unfolds like a fever dream, The Lightness juxtaposes fairy tales with quantum physics, cognitive science with religious fervor, and the passions and obsessions of youth with all of these, to explore concepts as complex as faith and as simple as loving people—even though you don’t, and can’t, know them at all.”

 

Self Care

Self Care by Leigh Stein (release date 6/30/20)

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“The female cofounders of a wellness start-up struggle to find balance between being good people and doing good business, while trying to stay BFFs.

Maren Gelb is on a company-imposed digital detox. She tweeted something terrible about the President’s daughter, and as the COO of Richual, “the most inclusive online community platform for women to cultivate the practice of self-care and change the world by changing ourselves,” it’s a PR nightmare. Not only is CEO Devin Avery counting on Maren to be fully present for their next round of funding, but indispensable employee Khadijah Walker has been keeping a secret that will reveal just how feminist Richual’s values actually are, and former Bachelorette contestant and Richual board member Evan Wiley is about to be embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal that destroy the company forever.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves—from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.”

 

Or What You Will

Or What You Will by Jo Walton (release date 7/7/20) – Walton’s Among Others is an all-time favorite of mine, and this one sounds like it could be another book that examines books and stories in the way that Among Others did. Absolutely can’t wait.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “From the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author of Among Others, an utterly original novel about how stories are brought forth.

He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god.

But “he” is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years.

But Sylvia won’t live forever, any more than any human does. And he’s trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he.

Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he’s got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her.”

 

Loveless

Loveless by Alice Oseman (release date 7/9/20) – I read and loved Oseman’s Radio Silence last year, and was particularly impressed by her skill at capturing teen voices on the page. I’ve been looking to read more from her ever since then.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.”

 

The Comeback

The Comeback by Ella Berman (release date 8/11/20) – This one sounds like it’s inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and real-life Hollywood events.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“A deep dive into the psyche of a young actress raised in the spotlight under the influence of a charming, manipulative film director and the moment when she decides his time for winning is over.

At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared.

Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn’t going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.

But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke–the man who controlled her every move for eight years–she realizes that she can’t run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she’s the only one with nothing left to lose.

Alternating between past and present, The Comeback tackles power dynamics and the uncertainty of young adulthood, the types of secrets that become part of our sense of self, and the moments when we learn that though there are many ways to get hurt, we can still choose to fight back.”

 

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5)

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #5) (release date 8/25) – I absolutely cannot wait for the newest installment in my favorite PNR series by one of my favorite authors.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything…except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.”

 

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin (release date 9/1/20) – I recently read & enjoyed romantic YA fantasy Serpent & Dove, and absolutely plan to pick up this sequel when it’s released.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.”

 

A Rogue of One's Own (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2)

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2) (release date 9/1/20) – Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke was the first historical romance I’ve really enjoyed (it’s normally not my genre), so of course I need to read more from her.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…”

Piranesi

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (release date 9/15/20) – Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was a past favorite of mine, and I’m very interested to see what she’s created in her next book.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s CircePiranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.”

 

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (release date 9/22/20) – the sequel to The Gilded Wolves, a Six of Crows-esque magical heist YA that I read & enjoyed last year. The release date for this one was pushed back significantly (from Feb to Sept).

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job. ”

 

A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (release date 9/29/20) – Extremely intrigued by this one based on its synopsis, and also by how much I enjoyed Novik’s Spinning Silver.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.”

 

Ruinsong

Ruinsong by Julia Ember (release date 11/24/20) – I loved Ember’s previous YA fantasy The Seafarer’s Kiss.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“Her voice was her prison…Now it’s her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.”

 

Which of these are you adding to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

January/Bout of Books TBR!

 

Since I’m still working on all of my end of 2019 posts (the stats in particular tend to take me a little while to put together), I’m going to go ahead and start looking ahead to my 2020 reading. And, of course, the best way to kick off a reading year is with a fun, low-pressure readathon, in this case Bout of Books, which takes place from January 6th to the 12th. I have a lot of books I’m hoping to pick up in January, including several ARCs, and I’d also love to start the year strong with a 5-star read, so let’s take a look at what I have on my TBR:

 

Grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 27 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

FollowersIn the Dream House: A MemoirCome Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)Life of the Party

In terms of physical books, I have one upcoming ARC left from BookExpo (Followers by Megan Angelo) which comes out on January 14th and deals with the present and future implications of social media and celebrity culture; I’m also hoping to pick up a 2020 new release (Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire, the 5th book in the portal fantasy Wayward Children series) that comes out on the 7th. I’m also thinking that I’d like to pick up one of my 5-star predictions for the year, In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, a memoir by the author of past favorite Her Body and Other Parties, and a poetry collection I’ve been hearing some buzz about, Life of the Party, by a new-to-me author, Olivia Gatwood.

Wolf Gone WildThe Stars We Steal

And then I also have two eARCs of upcoming releases via NetGalley: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross, a paranormal romance featuring witches and werewolves, and The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne, a YA scifi romance that’s described as Jane Austen’s Persuasion meets The Bachelor.

I’m not sure what I’m going to pick up during Bout of Books versus the rest of the month, but I’m hoping to start 2020 with some great reads. Are any of these on your TBR? If anyone else is participating in Bout of Books, feel free to leave a link to your TBR in the comments, I’d love to see what you’re all reading!

Most Anticipated Books of 2020!

It’s somehow time to start looking ahead to next year’s new book releases, and I’m all over it. 2019 was sort of the “year of new releases” for me, in that almost all of my favorite authors came out with new books, but so far, 2020 is looking just as fantastic on the new releases front. It might seem like it’s too early to start making lists like this, but personally, I like to look ahead to the next year rather than focus on this year winding down, and I like the feeling of having plenty of great new books to look forward to.

Caveat: this list is by no means comprehensive. I mainly focused on the first half of the year, since not all books coming out in the second half have been announced yet, and the list definitely skews in favor of my personal favorite authors and series I’ve already started. There are absolutely tons of great books that this list doesn’t encompass, and I’d love it if you guys can comment below with any other great 2020 releases you’re excited about. Last year, I ended up having to do a second post in January after I heard about even more intriguing titles, so there’s a fair chance that may be happening again. I’ve also noted which books I have ARCs or eARCs of, although that would never affect my reviews or my overall excitement levels about those books.

I listed these in order of tentative release dates, which are of course subject to change, and included links to Goodreads pages. I also added a few extra books at the end of the list that either aren’t confirmed or don’t have details yet.

Let’s do this!

 

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release 1/7) – Like the rest of the bookish community, I’m always ready for a new novella in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. This fifth installment focuses on Jack, who has previously appeared in books 1 and 2, and presumably a return to the world of the Moors, a dark land of vampires and Dr. Frankenstein-esque science.

 

Followers

Followers by Megan Angelo (anticipated release 1/14) – I picked up an ARC of this one at BookExpo due to its relevant, buzzworthy premise. Goodreads says, “An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever. Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks. Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.”

 

A Longer Fall (Gunnie Rose, #2)

A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris (anticipated release 1/14) – I absolutely loved Harris’s underappreciated 2018 release An Easy Death, the first book in a new alternate history Western series with fantastical elements, and I’m so glad we’re finally getting the second book. Protagonist Gunnie Rose is back and on a new crew, and her adventures this time will hopefully involve more of the Russian wizards, gunslinging, and creative worldbuilding we saw in book 1. I received an eARC of A Longer Fall from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I’m hoping to read this one before the end of the year.

 

The Stars We Steal

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (anticipated release 2/4) – I was lucky enough to get an eARC of this one from NetGalley, and was drawn in by the concept of Jane Austen meets The Bachelor in space. After requesting, my friend separately introduced me to Alexa Donne’s BookTube channel, and now I’m a fan without even having started the book. Very interested to see how I like this one.

 

The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (anticipated release 2/15) – I’ve been meaning to read more from this author since I read and loved Station Eleven; this book seems like I will (hopefully) love it as well. From Goodreads, “In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.”

 

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (anticipated release 3/3) – CANNOT WAIT for this one. Yes, I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment in Maas’s Court of Whatever and Whatever series, but this one sounds like the start of a series I’m also going to be obsessed with. It’s over 800 pages long, it sounds like a more UF take on fantasy, and I’m planning to either pre-order it or pick it up on release day and dive in. I’m including the entire length Goodreads synopsis, since it sounds so good: “Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savouring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world. Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case. As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir…”

 

The Companions

The Companions by Katie M. Flynn (anticipated release 3/3) – This blurb from Goodreads with comparisons to two of my favorite books got me to instantly add this one to my TBR: “Station Eleven meets Never Let Me Go in this debut novel set in an unsettling near future where the dead can be uploaded to machines and kept in service by the living.”

 

Docile

Docile by K. M. Szpara (anticipated release 3/3) – This book is getting amazing hype from readers with ARCs, and the premise sounds extremely unique. Goodreads says “Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future. Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.”

 

The City We Became

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (anticipated release 3/26) – N.K. Jemisin is one of my all-time favorite authors, which is why I’m super excited about her new book even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the short story it’s based on. Goodreads says “Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.”

 

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (anticipated release 4/7) – the sequel to 2019’s Wicked Saints, which I enjoyed quite a bit but perhaps didn’t love. This dark YA fantasy sequel will continue following our three flawed and magical main characters as they deal with the fallout of Wicked Saints‘ intense conclusion.

 

Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (anticipated release 4/21) – I was lucky enough to be approved for an eARC of this one via NetGalley. 2019’s The Right Swipe introduced us to Rai’s Modern Love series, a lighter spinoff of the Forbidden Hearts trilogy centered around romance in the digital age, and Girl Gone Viral focuses on Katrina, a reclusive former model introduced as a side character in book 1. Since I’ve loved every Alisha Rai book I’ve read so far, and I was intrigued by Katrina’s backstory, I’m very much looking forward to this one, so my review will probably be up well ahead of this one’s release.

 

The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (anticipated release 5/4/21) – I really loved Hoang’s first book The Kiss Quotient, and although I was lukewarm on the second book The Bride Test, I have higher hopes for The Heart Principle since it features favorite side character Quan as the main protagonist in this rom-com.

UPDATE! I just found out that The Heart Principle has been postponed until 2021, but I’m still very excited about it, so I’m going to leave it on this list, just to make things more confusing for everyone, and so I don’t forget to include it next year.

 

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2)

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (anticipated release 5/5) – I really loved Six of Crows in space-esque Aurora Rising this year, since it featured what might be my favorite YA trope (a gang of misfits banding together for a heist) and also set up several really interesting relationship dynamics that I’ll be interested to follow. I also really enjoyed Kaufman and Kristoff’s previous science fiction trilogy, the Illuminae Files, so I have high hopes for this second book in the Aurora Cycle.

 

Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2)

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (anticipated release 6/2) – This is a book that I’ll be at the bookstore on release day for, considering it’s the sequel to my favorite book of 2019. If you haven’t yet read Gideon the Ninth, you still have about six months to get on board with this unique world of interstellar necromancy, sarcasm, and some of the most memorable characters I’ve read about in years.

 

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1)

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (anticipated release 6/2) – I wished for an eARC of this new YA fantasy book on NetGalley, so fingers crossed. Goodreads says, “In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes…Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.”

 

The Damned (The Beautiful, #2)

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh (anticipated release 6/9) – Ahdieh’s The Beautiful was a surprise YA favorite of 2019 for me, and its ending set up a great premise for the sequel, along with the potential for more magic and mayhem in historic New Orleans.

 

The Heir Affair

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (anticipated release 6/16) – yet another contemporary romance sequel, this one to 2015’s The Royal We, a sort of retelling of a William and Kate-esque romance with plenty of drama and fun. I loved listening to The Royal We on audiobook this year, and since a lot of the emotional conflicts seemed like they were still very much present toward the end of that book, I can absolutely see how a sequel could come into play. I’m hoping that we get more time with Freddie, the Prince Harry character, and maybe an eventual Megan Markle-esque follow-up book?

 

Flyaway

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings (anticipated release 7/28) – This Tor novella sounds like it’ll be right up my alley, with plenty of weirdness and possible magical realism. Goodreads says: “In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure. A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles. In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun. Holly Black describes as ‘half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.’ Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.

 

Reign (Stormheart, #3)

Reign by Cora Carmack (anticipated release 8/25) – the conclusion to Carmack’s Stormheart trilogy holds a lot of promise, since the end of the second book Rage set up a game-changing realignment of alliances. I really love this well-written, elemental magic and romance-focused series, and I’m hoping we continue to see strong character development for Roar.

 

And here are some more possible 2020 releases I’m excited for, that are either coming out in the second half of the year or don’t yet have official covers/synopses/release dates:

A Sleight of Shadows by Kat Howard (sequel to An Unkindness of Magicians, book 2 in an adult fantasy series featuring warring magical houses, anticipated release June 2020, no cover or synopsis available)

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (sequel to The Gilded Wolves, book 2 in a YA fantasy series, anticipated release 9/22)

The Lightness by Emily Temple (no release date yet, but an intriguing synopsis on Goodreads: “a fabulist and violent tale of mistaken fervor set in a Buddhist summer camp and following a tight-knit, secretive circle of teenaged girls with a dark history, weaving together ancient myth, fairy tale archetypes, occultist practices, legends of daring women, and Buddhist mores.”)

Between Earth and Sky by Rebecca Roanhorse: (anticipated release 2020, favorite author, great-sounding GR synopsis: “The great matriarchal clans of a prosperous cliff-city vie for power against a backdrop of political intrigue, celestial prophecies, rising rebellion & dark magic.”) There’s also the potential for a third book in Roanhorse’s Sixth World series in 2020, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed.

Ruinsong by Julia Ember (no release date, from an author/publisher I’ve really enjoyed in the past, YA fantasy with a great GR synopsis: “In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding. But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself. In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.”)

Untitled, A League of Extraordinary Women #2 by Evie Dunmore (no release date/cover/synopsis, but following Lucie and Tristan from Bringing Down the Duke, the first historical romance I’ve ever enjoyed)

 

What books are you most excited to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments!