2022 has been interesting for me. I mean, the last two years have been very interesting for everybody. A huge mess that keeps getting bigger and messier. But I recently made a huge change in my life by quitting my job and now I’m just trying figure out what to do next.
While I liked my job, I just didn’t like who I was working with/for and the environment I was in surrounded by people who didn’t seem to care and one person who kept dragging me down all the time. It festered a really bad mindset for myself and for the past couple of years, it has affected my mental health & relationships with friends and obviously, if any of y’all have followed me on my blog here, then you could tell that I rarely, if ever, post. Not to be too cliché, but it was toxic.
So as messy as this year has been thus far for me, I haven’t found much motivation to read. Every now and then I would gain some sort of gumption to read a few pages of a book, but then in a few minutes I would give up because I was too tired or couldn’t focus enough. That said I have finished 3 books so far!! (you can put in the applause or clapping emojis in the comments for me). So I’ll blab about all three for a bit, for this “seasonal wrap-up” because I really enjoyed all three and highly recommend them,
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton — My first read of the year that was technically an end of 2021 read but who cares?? To be honest, it did take me a while to finish this and not because I wasn’t interested, I just had so much bullshit happening in my life. That out of the way, this book!!! I love books about messy, toxic female characters and this one delivered so hard. I cannot wait to read her newest book, The World Cannot Give.
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell — For some reason, I chose to read this concurrent with Social Creature. I book I got because of the hype surrounding it. It was the book that got Lorde to get off social media and fuck off in Antarctica, so what could it do to me? While it didn’t absolutely make me do anything as profound as Lorde’s venture to Antarctica (#1 I ain’t rich enough #2 It wouldn’t be Antarctica), it made me think so much about how capitalism has affected my life and how to try to detach myself from that way of thinking. Just such an informative and fascinating read that I think is accessible for anyone wanting to read a book about this, that’s filled tons of great resources and references.
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid — Going into this one, I knew all the hype and its also the hype I was on a couple years ago but I could never seem to get myself to actually READ IT. When I finally got to it recently, I devoured it. It’s my kind of read about a messy rock band going through drama during thee peak rock ‘n roll making music era, the 1970s. It read to me like an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music but with even much more depth and exploring the humanity within the characters mixed in with the same feelings I get whenever I watch Almost Famous. “It’s all happening”, as Penny Lane says.
Yes, I do enjoy the fact that so much of the characters and stories are based off Fleetwood Mac and the real life behind the scenes of them making Rumours. In fact, I think I wanted to this be as messy and even messier than Fleetwood Mac’s story. Also I love that this plays into my favorite stereotype that bassists are always the chill, laid back or quiet ones that stay out of the mess (Pete deserved to tell some of his story though!!). I am always here for classic rock band drama. It’s so entertaining! I cannot wait for the show now, since really seems like its made for television/film-storytelling format and obviously I am super interested to hear the songs.
So there we go, a glimpse into what January, February and March held for me. I hope to be reading much more in April and the following months, and also to blog more. I’ll have some more time on my hands and plenty to discuss. Thanks for reading! 🙂
It’s probably about time to finally read Pachinko, with the TV series coming out and all and that it’s one of those books I’ve heard nothing but great things about.
A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion
I read a little bit of this one a while ago in January/February but since I borrowed it from the library I had to return before getting a chance to really get into it. However from the first few chapters I read, I was super intrigued. It reminds of Unsolved Mysteries in a way. Maybe I had been watching too much Unsolved Mysteries at the time, but it has that bit of mystery and intrigue in it that makes it feel like I’m watching an episode unfold in front of me. It’s more so a coming of age story with a mystery/thriller-ish vibe.
Violeta by Isabel Allende
One of the authors I have wanted to read for a while now is Isabel Allende, especially her classic novel, The House of the Spirits. However I saw that she was releasing a new book this year that’s relevant to the times about a 100 year old reflecting on her life being born in 1920s and living through all those years and being alive during yet another pandemic in 2020, as told through letters. It was available at my library so I decided to go ahead and borrow it.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You by Ariel Delgado Dixon
This is a fairly new release that I discovered through how I typically always find out about new/future releases, NetGalley. It’s a story about two sisters who are sent to a wilderness camp for troubled teen girls. This is based on real life groups that actually take “troubled” teens out of the blue from their homes to make them “better” and there’s a lot of harrowing traumatic tales and a dark underbelly behind these wilderness camps and retreats that you can read up on. But it’s a weird industry that is still somehow making a profit. I finally decided to place a hold from the library and I can’t wait to get around to it this spring.
Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel
Yet another library read, this sounds like the next best thing to read after having read Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton, a darkly thrilling story about a toxic female friendship gone very wrong. This book also has that but with a few interesting details such as it taking place in 2008 (I think lol) and I think there’s even more murder in it.
Sundial by Catriona Ward
Of course I also want to read some horror this spring and I think this release sounds perfect. I haven’t read anything from this author yet, I’m also interested in reading The Last House on Needless Street.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
One of my recent reads, How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, which I highly recommend, mentioned this book, which is one I have had on my many TBRs before and one I think I’ve talked about wanting to read but How to Do Nothing convinced me that I need to read this. I don’t have a copy of this yet, however, I do think there’s an eBook available through my library that I can try to place a hold on. Last time I checked out there was a 6 week wait for it 😬
The World Cannot Give by Tara Isabella Burton
Speaking of Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton’s next novel was just released and it sounds so perfect. It’s a dark academia story that also has some religious cult-y stuff. I don’t actually know if this will be what the novel really is but I will read whatever Tara Isabella Burton writes.
GhostForestby Pik-Shuen Fung
I’m sure I have talked about this book before, but if I haven’t, it’s one I bought myself last summer and I’m dying to read. It’s a ghost story that ties in family and grief. It just sounds super interesting.
Juniper & Thornby Ava Reid
This is a book that comes out in May and I was fortunate enough to get an eARC! I really loved the author’s debut novel, The Wolf and the Woodsman, from last year which I still want to talk about more on my blog and crossing my fingers that I finally do it justice with a review. So yeah I’m really anticipating reading this one as well more stories from Ava Reid.
Hello all, today I am here to share an excerpt from the newly released YA thriller, KILLING TIME by Brenna Ehrlich. Below the excerpt is more information about the book and its author! Enjoy!
Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich Release Date: March 8 2022
Natalie didn’t ask her mom if she wanted to come to Lynn Halsey’s memorial, which was just as well because, apparently, Helen did not want to go. When Natalie came down for breakfast that morning, she found a note under the orange juice saying that Helen was heading to dojo in the next town over to train for a while—which meant she was either stressed, angry, or both. (Helen said a while back she had started doing karate for self-defense, not that Natalie was aware of anything she’d need to defend herself against in Ferry.)
Natalie balled up the note and threw it on the floor, equal parts relieved and pissed off by her mother’s absence, but she quickly forgot all about it when she saw the envelope leaning against the box of cinnamon cereal her mom had left sitting out for her. It was your standard business envelope—plain, white—and it had only one word neatly typed across the front: Natalie.
Plopping down on a rickety kitchen chair, Natalie pulled her feet up onto the seat and ripped the envelope open, expecting, perhaps, some spending money from her mom—a small contrition for avoiding the memorial—but instead finding a piece of computer paper with a single message typed out on it: Stay out of it. I’m warning you. Her heart did a cold, little leap like it always did when the first body was found in one of her books, then confusion set in. She blinked, scanning the words again, flipping the paper over to see if she’d missed something—a name, an address, anything. But that was it. Just those two ominous sentences. She shivered despite the heat of the kitchen, which was barely mitigated by the lazily oscillating ceiling fan. Her mom was too cheap for AC.
Cereal forgotten, Natalie pushed away from the table and scanned the room as if the toaster or the microwave might suddenly fill her in on where, exactly, the letter had come from. The kitchen seemed eerily quiet in the diffuse morning light, the only sound the birds that spent the day gossiping at the feeder in the backyard. Natalie pulled out her phone, typing off a quick message to her mom.
Did you leave me a note?
It seemed the mostly likely scenario, since the envelope had been on their kitchen table, but a vague threat wasn’t exactly Helen’s style. No, her mom was more direct than all that, much to her daughter’s annoyance. And then there was the it she was supposed to be staying out of. She could guess what that was: Mrs. Halsey’s murder was the only thing that had happened in Ferry for decades, as far as she was concerned. But someone would have to know about her podcast to suggest that she stay out of anything, and no one really knew about that aside from Katie and the internet randos. They had one all the way in Mount Carroll, Illinois (wherever that was). Could one of them have turned stalker? Broken into her house to… What? Warn her not to discuss a very local crime with her audience of roughly three people who had probably clicked on her podcast by mistake?
Three bubbles appeared immediately on her phone screen. Natalie scoffed. Her mom was supposed to be sparring. Did she keep her cell phone tucked into her black belt?
Yes, honey, I’m at the dojo. Be back around 4.
Natalie snorted. Well after the memorial. No, another one, she typed, her fingers shaking slightly. This was all too bizarre. In an envelope?
There was one with the paper that I brought in for you. More dots, as if her mom were trying for casual. Why? Who is it from? Katie?
Natalie rolled her eyes. Helen would have implanted a tracking device in her daughter’s neck if she could, like those chips they have for cats and dogs—watched her roam the town on her trusty path from school to Katie’s to home, called the cops if she veered off course. It was a wonder she hadn’t just opened the envelope herself. There wasn’t time to fume, though, now that there was a mysterious, threatening letter with her name on it. Which Natalie was aware sounded like a sentence from a bad teenage soap opera. That didn’t negate its existence, though.
She sank back into her chair, staring at the words marching across the page. Stay out of it. I’m warning you. It could be Katie playing a bad joke, but that didn’t seem likely, as Katie could never keep a secret and would have spilled that morning, when they were texting about the memorial. Feeling silly, Natalie sniffed at the paper. Nothing. As if it had just materialized on the table, origin-free. She considered calling the police, but that would mean telling them about her podcast, which would mean telling her mom about her podcast, which would mean never seeing the sun again. Instead, she shoved the note into her backpack—not bothering to put away the juice and cereal—and trundled outside to her bike and Mrs. Halsey’s memorial. She would let it all stew, she decided. Maybe an answer would come to her while she was biking to the high school. She always thought better when she was in motion, legs pumping and lungs full of clean air.
It was as hot if not hotter than yesterday, and beads of sweat rolled down Natalie’s forehead into her eyes as she crested the hill toward the school that had been her de facto prison for the last four years—the only bright spot being a woman who would no longer walk its halls. The only teacher who didn’t hold her eccentricities at arm’s length.
The Halsey house wasn’t on Natalie’s route, but she could feel its presence a few streets over—could imagine the yellow police tape and silence—and a tremor traveled over her neck like phantom fingers.
The True Crime Club had only lasted for one year, officially; after Jessica graduated and her parents effectively bought her way into Columbia, Katie and Natalie were the only members, meaning that the club was no longer valid in the school’s eyes. (No yearbook picture, which was good since Natalie didn’t relish explaining that to her mom. She used to lie and say she was staying after school to study until, well, it all went to hell when she said what she said.) Still, Mrs. Halsey kept up their meetings, critiquing the relative merit of different podcasts, documentaries, and true-crime books through the lens of story. She was a fan of gripping, well-researched accounts of criminal investigations, like Michelle McNamara’s inquiry into the Golden State Killer, but felt a decided disdain for podcasts like this really popular one called My Murder Obsession, which was basically just two guys discussing their favorite murder mysteries. She thought the name was bad enough, but she couldn’t stand the gleeful, error-riddled way the hosts talked about crime. She was a stickler for accuracy—and empathy. “If you can’t get the facts straight, you don’t deserve the story,” she used to say.
As she coasted past Sammy’s Shack and the flinty sea, Natalie wondered what Mrs. Halsey would think of the note on her kitchen table: Stay out of it. Her legs pumped harder, sweat running down to her eyes as she squinted into the sun, her breath getting ragged. Lynn Halsey was the only person she wanted to talk to right now, and she couldn’t because she was dead. The thought brought sudden, angry tears to her eyes. She was dead, and there was nothing Natalie could do about it. Who was the letter writer to tell her stay out of it? How to care? Maybe her mom had written the note. Maybe she had found out about her podcast somehow and wanted to punish her. Helen hated Lynn Halsey; Natalie knew that. Tears flooded her eyes as she pulled into the school parking lot, dropping the toes of her black shoes to the ground to steady herself as her vision swam.
The last time she had spoken to her teacher was at the diner midway through senior year. She had been crying—or trying not to, rather. Her shift had ended, and she was crammed in a booth where her mother couldn’t see her—couldn’t send her home and straight to her room. The night before had been bad. The kind of bad that made your stomach heavy and your mouth flood with acid when you thought about it. She and Katie had been celebrating getting into the colleges of their choice by having a clandestine marathon of the worst true-crime movies on offer. Straight-to-streaming shit. Cheesy cable fare. Trash. Helen’s rules were pretty clear when it came to her daughter’s interests: fine, she could study it in school, but true crime as entertainment was completely off-limits. Sure, she got away with the occasional horror movie or novel, but true stories were, for some untold reason, strictly verboten.
Which was why she and Katie had waited until Helen went to a Garden Club cocktail night to indulge. Helen, not being the biggest drinker, had come home in the middle of a truly terrible early-thousands clunker called Teacher’s Pet—all about a TA who had an affair with his student, then killed her—and had lost her shit. She’d gone so far as to threaten to move to college with Natalie and live in her dorm room, which seemed like an empty threat if you didn’t know Helen, who wouldn’t let Natalie sleep over at Katie’s until she was thirteen.
“You okay, Natalie?” Mrs. Halsey asked, sliding into the booth across from her, holding a to-go bag of burgers and fries. She was wearing her leather jacket and had her hair up in a blue paisley scarf, her cheeks pink from the early spring chill; she brought with her the smell of the omnipresent daffodils that blanketed Ferry this time of year.
Natalie shook her head mutely, picking at a plate of cold fries she had pilfered from the cook. People in town knew her mother was strict, but she wasn’t quite sure she wanted her role model to know that Helen had had a meltdown over a Lifetime Channel movie.
“I dunno,” she muttered, chastising herself internally for her lack of eloquence. She always tried to speak as intelligently as possible in front of her favorite teacher, but right now she was too wrung-out to care. Her mother’s overprotectiveness was a shroud, stifling and heavy. And what was so ironic was Natalie had gotten into true crime because of her mom in the first place—she’d found a box of old books in the attic when she was twelve about the Manson murders, the Night Stalker, all the big ones. She had read them under the covers until all hours, equal parts scared and thrilled. She loved it when the killers were caught, the intricate work it took to track them down. That is, until her mom found out and burned all the books in the yard with the autumn leaves. She wouldn’t even tell Natalie where they’d come from in the first place.
“Did something happen with Katie? A friend?” Mrs. Halsey pressed, her voice so gentle and caring that Natalie caved.
“My mom flipped out on me last night,” she choked out, studying the table. “I was watching some stupid true-crime movie, and she just…lost it.” Natalie dug her chipped nails into the red vinyl of the booth and let it all spill out. “She’s just so controlling. Like, why does she care what I watch? I’m eighteen. I’m an adult, basically. And I’m good!” She raised her eyes to look at her teacher, who was studying Natalie with a furrowed brow. “I don’t break curfew. I have, like, no social life. I don’t drink. So why can’t I just…read and watch and do what I want? Who am I hurting?”
Mrs. Halsey gave a sad smile. “I understand, Natalie. It’s hard being eighteen. Almost independent, but not quite. But, I promise, it’ll get easier. You might even miss your mom worrying about you.”
Natalie grunted and folded her arms. “I doubt it.”
Mrs. Halsey laughed, then steepled her hands on the diner table. “I’m confused, though, Natalie. Why would a movie upset your mom so much when you’re in a true-crime club at school?”
Natalie swallowed hard. In her fit of rage, she’d forgotten all about forging her mother’s signature all those years ago to join Mrs. Halsey’s after-school group. She had forgotten the countless lies she’d told. Or maybe she was just subconsciously tired of it all.
“You’re in what?” Helen appeared behind her like the ghoul from that horror movie—the one that just slowly wanders after its prey until it wears it down and eats it. Natalie didn’t turn around. Instead, she gritted her teeth and dug her nails even deeper into the booth, anchoring herself to the spot. She couldn’t even sit with her favorite teacher for five minutes without her mom butting in. Without her ruining everything.
“You didn’t know about this?” Mrs. Halsey asked Helen, as if Natalie weren’t there, which Natalie found hard to believe, considering anger was radiating off her like a bad aura. Why did everyone treat her like a child? Like she couldn’t make her own choices without consulting her mother first? Why didn’t they see her?
Helen shook her head, her eyes locked on Natalie’s teacher, a twin rage coursing through her. The pencil she used to take orders snapped in her hand, but she didn’t seem to notice the pieces as they clattered to the floor and rolled to rest under the booth.
“I’m sorry, Helen,” Mrs. Halsey sputtered, getting to her feet, looking between mother and daughter, both practically vibrating with indignation. “I thought you knew about the club.” She raised a conciliatory hand. “And, really, it’s all educational. We talk about story and methodology and…” The words died on her lips as Natalie’s mother shook her head again.
“I appreciate all you’ve done for Natalie, Lynn, but we have rules,” Helen said in a voice befitting an android. “This stuff is not entertainment. If she wants to go to school and learn the proper way to engage with it, then fine. But no clubs. No movies. No bullshit.”
Mrs. Halsey cut in. “I would hardly call our club bull—” Natalie couldn’t help smiling, which didn’t make matters any better. Her mom gave a look filled with such pure menace she dropped her eyes to her feet.
“I don’t care,” Helen snapped, smoothing her apron as if eradicating the wrinkles would fix everything. As if she could control the world with her nervous hands. “My kid, my rules. Now, I think you should leave.”
Mrs. Halsey opened her mouth, shooting Natalie an inscrutable look. She took a step toward the door.
“Please, don’t go,” Natalie asked in a small voice before she knew the words were coming out of her mouth. “You don’t have to listen to her. Please.”
With her hands tucked into her jacket pockets and her hair coming free from her scarf, the teacher suddenly looked younger than she was. She was probably the same age as her mom, thirty-eight, but Helen’s face was much harder. Likely because she’d had Natalie so young, because she’d been worrying for eighteen years. “I’m sorry, Natalie.” She glanced at her bag of food but made no move to pick it up. “I think I should go…”
Natalie got to her feet then, leveled her eyes at her teacher, watching her one tether to everything she cared about cut her free, let her go. “You never cared about me,” she said finally, seething and holding Mrs. Halsey’s eyes for a long moment before retreating to the kitchen so she wouldn’t have to see her mentor go, regretting the words as soon as they left her mouth. She turned back to stop her, to apologize, but her teacher was already gone.
Mrs. Halsey deserved more than that. More than her mom’s disdain and her own parting words. She deserved to be remembered. To be avenged. And no anonymous note writer could tell Natalie otherwise. An idea that prompted a mix of excitement and shame deep down in her stomach germinated in Natalie’s head as she pushed through those familiar swinging doors and entered the bizarre world that is school during summer.
Killing Time follows a true-crime obsessed teenage girl who sets out to uncover a killer when her favorite teacher is murdered. With a dual POV that sends the reader back twenty years, this engrossing and twisty thriller is perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.
Summer in Ferry, Connecticut has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.
Natalie Temple’s favorite teacher has been murdered, and there’s no way this true-crime obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie. Not if she has anything to say about it – even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with a new boy in town with a mysterious smile and a talent for making fake IDs.
But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.
With two interwoven mysteries, Killing Time is a deathly warning to a generation of murderinos: what happens when the stories we’re chasing finally catch up with us?
About the Author
Brenna Ehrlich is a journalist, YA author, and editor who has worked everywhere from MTV News to Rolling Stone. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Morgan and their two cats, Nimbus and Hazel. She enjoys horror movies and romcoms in equal measure.
This week’s topic is anticipated releases and I am pretty much making a bunch of these types of lists already. However I don’t think in any those I mention non-fiction books. I’m making it a goal for 2022 to read at least 5 non-fiction books. I read about 3 in 2022 so I think it could be manageable. So here’s 10 non-fiction titles coming out this year that sounds the most interesting to me.
How We Can Win: Race, History and Changing the Money Game That’s Rigged by Kimberly Jones – Release Date: January 18
This is social issue book about Black lives focusing on economic and social issues facing Black people and other marginalized people in America. I believe this is a written form of the viral video that the author was in, which if you can watch it, I recommend it.
In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial by Mona Challet – Release Date: March 8
A book about witches or well women who were persecuted as witches during the witch hunts and witch trials, can always manage to grab my attention so I am interested. Also I feel like having a forward by Carmen Maria Machado is a huge endorsement.
People Change by Vivek Shraya – Release Date: January 4
I have yet to read her other books (but I would like to), but I think this is a good place to start for me since it’s a sort of memoir while also being a story about personal growth and change. But I’ve heard great things about Vivek Shraya and I hope I can at least read this year.
Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library by Amanda Oliver – Release Date: March 22
As a public librarian worker, I cannot wait to read this one. It seems like it will discuss many of the biggest issues public libraries have such as racism, class discrimination, mental health care issues and much more. I hope 1) this is actually good 2) People will read this. I think this book bringing up these issues about libraries will hopefully get more people to understand that not all libraries are these perfect little sanctuaries for book lovers. Libraries are a lot of things and I hope this author illustrates that.
The Unwritten Book: An Investigation by Samantha Hunt – Release Date: April 5
I’m currently reading The Seas by this author, Samantha Hunt, and enjoying it a lot. This is described as being genre-bending (kind of like how Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House blends memoir with horror) as this book explores the authors own history as well as the unwritten stories of other authors as well as an unfinished story from her dead father.
Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi – Release Date: March 8
In 2021, many schools & public libraries began to ban books for children and teens with many authors having to fight for their books to be read by their intended audiences. I don’t think my mind will be blown necessarily by this book because I know quite a bit about the history of censorship and banned books, but I just think it would still be worth reading more on the subject and from a non-white dude perspective.
Blood, Sweat and Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan – Release Date: February 22
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite films of all-time. Not even just action. It’s just a good film about so many things and I cannot wait to read the story of how it was made.
Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes – Release Date: March 1
Greek mythology retellings have been IN for a while now, and while I’m not the biggest Greek mythology retelling fan, I’m still interested in knowing more about them or about the women that most of these are interested in highlighting. Since a lot of have involved the women of Greek mythology such as Circe, Ariadne, Helen of Troy, etc.
Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses by Sarah Fay – Release Date: March 15
As someone who is still being diagnosed with various mental illnesses, I feel the exhaustion and pain that comes with being misdiagnosed. As I am typing this I am still in the process of finding the right doctor to diagnose me with whatever.
Brace for Impact: A Memoir by Gabe Montesanti – Release Date: May 24
Me, a person who saw the movie Whip It, loved it and only has knowledge of roller derby from that film: “Getting a lot of Whip Itvibes from this” I don’t know much about the author but it seems like it’ll make for an interesting read!
I don’t want to say this is a TBR for 2022 but like a long list of some books & authors I would like to get around to. This isn’t an anticipated reads list either since I have quite a few backlist reads & older books mentioned here. Okay I guess it is pretty much a TBR but I like to make things complicated and be overly ambitious as possible.
I have a lot to talk about so I quickly want to mention some things I want to read in 2022 that I don’t want to overexplain. 1) Reread some favorites 2) Read & complete a series. Let me know some of your favorites and ones to keep an eye out for. 3) Read poetry. 4) Read non-fiction.
The past couple of years I’ve read some amazing books such as Mexican Gothic, The Year of the Witching, The Wolf and the Woodsman, and Sally Rooney’s books (yes I will give my thoughts on those one day). I genuinely feel that while I am not moving 100% away from YA books, I do want to read more adult-oriented books. I want to read books about people my age!! Doing semi-adult things!!
Literary fiction and SF/F (science-fiction & fantasy) is pretty much my bread and butter and I know what to look for in those genres. However, romance is an area where its so vast and there’s A LOT to dig through. While I’m not anti-romance I am pretty picky about what kind of romance I would like to read. BEACH READ by Emily Henry worked for me because it was a super quick contemporary read that I read in a day. I would love to venture into historical romance and maybe some more contemporary romances. I actually don’t know where to begin with romance, so if y’all have any recs please link me to your blog posts, articles, YouTube videos. I have Awkwaeke Emezi’s adult romance in mind because I love their writing from reading PET.
As a mid-twenty something year old, YA is starting to get to be “not my thing” and reflecting on it this year, I have *somewhat* moved on from it. There’s still plenty of YA that I have on my TBR and I will continue to read YA. I am keeping an eye on it because ultimately, I want to write some YA stories, and in my opinion, reading YA is an essential part of being a young adult writer. (As of writing this, some “interesting book twt discourse has happened so a little note: PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS ME SAYING I HATE YA NOW. I SWEAR. DO NOT BRING THAT DISKHORSE INTO MY HOUSE. TAKE IT OUTSIDE.) I know my taste in books so I know which ones that will not work for me and ones that will. I would like to honestly reflect on that topic in a future post but I also do not want to invite the discourse right now so maybe I will hold off. But there are plenty of titles that pique my interest.
IN CONCLUSION: There’s plenty of adult and young adult books I want to read, I even tweeted about it here:
(also follow me on Twitter, I mostly/only retweet content I like but you might get something out of me one of these days. honestly this tweet was probably my most liked tweet in recent memory)
Books in Translation
I read an excellent translated book this year, Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica. I have always wanted to read more books in translation I just haven’t pushed myself into those yet. There’s plenty to name off like Isabel Allende, Elena Ferrante, Mieko Kawakami, Sayaka Murata, Xiaolu Guo, Haruki Murakami, etc. I hope to maybe read at least 2 a month. I think that’s reasonable.
I have many authors in mind that I have always wanted to read but I just haven’t given myself the time to for some reason. These are just a few authors & selected titles that I would like to prioritize in 2022. Let me know if there are any authors you’d like to get around to finally reading for the first time in 2022.
Octavia E. Butler (Kindred; Earthseed series; Lilith’s Brood; Fledgling)
Eve Babitz (Black Swans; Slow Days, Fast Company; Eve’s Hollywood; L.A. Woman; Sex & Rage)
Joan Didion (The White Album; Play It As It Lays; Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
bell hooks (All About Love; Feminism is for everybody; Ain’t I a Woman; The Will to Change)
Madeline Miller (Circe; The Song of Achilles)
Xiaolu Guo (Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth; A Lover’s Discourse; A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers)
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest & Relaxation; Eileen; Death in Her Hands; Lapvona)
Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven; The Glass Hotel; Sea of Tranquility; )
Mieko Kawakami (Heaven; Breasts & Eggs; All the Lovers in the Night)
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus; The Starless Sea)
Nnedi Okorafor (Binti trilogy; Who Fears Death; Akata Witch series)
Nina LaCour (Watch Over Me; Hold Still; We Are Okay; Everything Leads to You; Yerba Buena)
Toni Morrison (Paradise, Sula, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon)
“Themed” Reading / Monthly Reading
I kind of want to do a monthly thing where I read books based on a theme I make up or whatever arbitrary meaning I put behind it lol. I have some ideas below such as the seas (books that take place by the sea or where the sea is a key element in the story), books on writing, books by Virgo authors (aka The Virgo Canon), books about/on art & artists, etc. It would be cool if anyone could help me out with themes feel free to suggest any ideas for this. I mostly got some ideas from previous years prompts via the PopSugar Reading Challenge.
Books about artists (fiction + non-fiction)
I was partly inspired by a reading prompt from PopSugar’s 2021 Reading Challenge, which was to read a book about art or an artist.
Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki
Turning Point: 1997-2008 by Hayao Miyazaki
The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott by Zoe Thorogood
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (reread)
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Books on writing
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
On Writing by Stephen King
Books that take place by or on the seas
The Seas by Samantha Hunt
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
The Sea is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Fable by Adrienne Young
Books by Virgo authors
Mary Oliver (whom I’ve already read a bit in 2021)
There’s SO MUCH TO READ OUT THERE. Hopefully 2022 will be my year to read, take in what I read, and actually feel good. Not that 2020/2021 were bad years for reading, I found a lot of new favorites but I also felt sort of empty (sorry about to get personal here), and my mental health has not been at its finest these past couple of years and I’m sure a lot of y’all have felt the same way. So let’s just try to survive in 2022 and read books. Fuck and find out I guess.
Thanks for reading and comment down below whatever you plan on reading in the new year! – SAV
This week’s topic is: Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes. I’m not going to link a wishlist here, so I’m just sharing some books I would love to get myself for Christmas when I get money. It’s actually been a hot while since I’ve gone book shopping which is a simple joy in my life.
1. Cultish by Amanda Montell
One of my favorite reads from this year! I checked this out from the library but would love to have a physical copy of my own so I can annotate it and highlight my favorite bits. Hopefully the paperback will be out in 2022.
2. Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Recipes (And Love My Microwave) — David Chang and Priya Krishna
I swear every year I have some cookbook on my wishlist. Do I actually cook? No lol. I would love to at least learn to cook or just cook. This sounded like an interesting cookbook that focuses less on recipes and just fucking around and finding out which tbh is how I approach most things.
3. Devotions — Mary Oliver
I read Mary Oliver for the first time this year and I loved the three collections I have from her; Felicity, Dream Work and Blue Horses. Her poetry was so beautiful yet accessible and I am glad to have discovered her this year. I see Devotions brought up a lot in conversations about her work so I would to own a copy of it.
4. Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread — Michiko Kakutani
I just kind of like coffee table/listicle books like this. I think they’re neat.
5. The Collected Poems — Sylvia Plath
I would love to really dig deeper into Sylvia Plath’s poetry. So why not try to get this collection? I am wary because I’ve heard that this version or a certain version is heavily edited and has some poems left out.
6. feminism is for everybody: passionate politics — bell hooks
Around the time of me writing up this post, bell hooks passed away. I have never actually read her works but I have always wanted to read, of course, this one. Seeing people on twitter talk about her story, life and works was nice to see.
7. All About Love — bell hooks
Another bell hooks book that a lot of people were talking about on Twitter. Seeing a few of the quotes from this being shared on Twitter really made me want to read this more.
8. How to Do Nothing — Jenny Odell
I’ve had my eyes on this for a while. It’s on a lot of lists of books that I want to read. This book is also apparently what made Lorde get off the internet so I’m interested to see what power it could have over me if it made Lorde disappear into the sun (or well to Antarctica).
9. Starting Point: 1979-1996 — Hayao Miyazaki
In 2022, as I will talk about at some point in the future, I would like to read more books about art and artists! Hayao Miyazaki, being one of my influences and favorite creators of all time, seemed like a good place to start. Both this and the one below, Turning Point, are collections of essays & interviews from Miyazaki.
10. Turning Point: 1997-2008 — Hayao Miyazaki
Thanks for reading this list! I hope all of us can get something from our wishlists! Happy Holidays to everyone and Happy Reading!
Hello all! I hope everyone is having a chill time or fun time or just having a time. Happy Holidays as well to everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I last participated in TTT. However I think this post is a great jumping-back-into-it point, since I was planning on making my own Winter TBR post anyways. Now that is a sort of just a few books I want to read before the end of the year/following into 2022.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
I swear I will read The Winternight trilogy starting with this book!!! I have had this series on my TBR for years now and every winter I decide to add to my TBR, because its winter and so I should read this wintery series. Also its probably about time I read a book that I know way too much about because of Book Twitter and one that I will share fanart of because I like the main couple of the series!
White Ivy by Susie Yang
Since I work at the library I often come across books where I tell myself “I’m going to read that soon”. This is one of those books that I find myself always looking at and through when I go to shelve books. So now I finally decided that I want to read it. It sounds like an interesting take on the Talented Mr. Ripley-esque con artist story, this time from the POV of a Chinese-American woman who learned from her grandmother to lie and steal and eventually she falls in love with a rich guy and chaos ensues probably.
All’s Well & Bunny by Mona Awad
I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mona Awad’s books. I believe Bunny is a sort-of-dark academia novel and All’s Well is a Shakespearean horror story. I’m going into both with little knowledge of each but I think that’s for the best.
Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak
Part one of two books I’ve added to this TBR thanks to Ally @ Ally Writes Things. Ally has talked about this book a lot and I’ve wanted to read it for some time because I like disaster/messy/slightly unhinged and/or unlikeable female characters. Also since the author has a new release in 2022 called Our American Friend, that I am also super interested in, I’d like to read this before I get around to that one.
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
And here’s part two of book recs from Ally! Thanks again! This is a book she described the same way as Necessary People, which means it sounds like my jam. The author also has a 2022 release I’m interested in, The World Cannot Give.
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
This is another “I saw this book while shelving” book. The first sentence is what caught my eye. “When we were eight, Dad cut me open from throat to stomach.” Brutal. It sort of slips my mind every time I try to think of what the book is actually about. I think it has something to do with two sisters who are scientists and raising wolves and the wolves are maybe causing problems? IDK But I’ll give it a go.
We Can Only Save Ourselves by Alison Wisdom
This threw a buzzwords and buzz-titles (?) at me that I had to put a hold on this. If you know me, I like stories about cults and this apparently has that going for it, with a mix of The Virgin Suicides. From the synopsis this about a teenage girl who disappears, joins a cult and all that ensues of that.
We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
Similarly titled to the previous book I mentioned, this is about a writer, involved in a scandal, who goes off to Los Angeles, California and befriends a female filmmaker whose next project is a semi-documentary about a girls who start an actual fight club inspired by the book/movie Fight Club. This sounds wild and I am here for it.
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
This is a 2022 release however it was a Book of the Month pick and I really wanted to read this one. I’m hoping it comes in soon because I have a Book of the Month related post I’m working on that I would like to have done by the end of December/beginning of January. There is also already a TV series in the works starring Aubrey Plaza so there’s that. I’m going into this not knowing much but we’ll see what we get.
(As I was typing this on my phone, it arrived! Sometimes manifesting works kids!)
Thanks again to anyone who reads this! Let me know what your TBR plans are for the season.
I talked about 2022 young adult books on my TBR that are spooky, scary, thrilling, you know all the good buzzwords for Halloween. This time around I’ll be showcasing some adult releases. I originally had these books alongside the YA books post but it would have been just this gigantic long post that I don’t think anyone would have had read. LETS GOOOOOOOOOO 👻
All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes – March 22
Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Dan Simmons’ The Terror and Alma Katsu’s The Hunger.
In the wake of the First World War, Jonathan Morgan stows away on an Antarctic expedition, determined to find his rightful place in the world of men. Aboard the expeditionary ship of his hero, the world-famous explorer James “Australis” Randall, Jonathan may live as his true self—and true gender—and have the adventures he has always been denied. But not all is smooth sailing: the war casts its long shadow over them all, and grief, guilt, and mistrust skulk among the explorers.
When disaster strikes in Antarctica’s frozen Weddell Sea, the men must take to the land and overwinter somewhere which immediately seems both eerie and wrong; a place not marked on any of their part-drawn mapsof the vast white continent. Now completely isolated, Randall’s expedition has no ability to contact the outside world. And no one is coming to rescue them.
In the freezing darkness of the Polar night, where the aurora creeps across the sky, something terrible has been waiting to lure them out into its deadly landscape…
As the harsh Antarctic winter descends, this supernatural force will prey on their deepest desires and deepest fears to pick them off one by one. It is up to Jonathan to overcome his own ghosts before he and the expedition are utterly destroyed.
And Then I Woke Up by Malcolm Devlin – April 12
In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Upis a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us
In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything…
Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?
Black Tide by K.C. Jones – May 10
KC Jones’ Black Tide, a character-driven science fiction/horror novel that explores what happens after a cataclysmic event leaves the world crawling with nightmares, will be published by Nightfire in May 2022!
A story with a cinematic feel, Black Tide is Cujo meets A Quiet Place.
It was just another day at the beach. And then the world ended.
Mike and Beth didn’t know each other existed before the night of the meteor shower. A melancholy film producer and a house sitter barely scraping by, chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.
After a drunken and desperate one-night-stand, the two strangers awake to discover a surprise astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only a part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a set of lost car keys leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast, when their emergency calls go unanswered and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for the car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must find in each other the strength to overcome past pain and the fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.
Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild – April 19
An utterly delicious debut thriller that tells the story of the most likable murderess you will ever meet, perfect for fans of Riley Sager and Jessica Knoll.
“I could just kill you right now!” It’s something we’ve all thought at one time or another. But Ruby has actually acted on it. Three times, to be exact.
Though she may be a murderer, Ruby is not a sociopath. She is an animal-loving therapist with a thriving practice. She’s felt empathy and sympathy. She’s had long-lasting friendships and relationships, and has a husband, Jason, whom she adores. But the homicide detectives at Miami Beach PD are not convinced of her happy marriage. When we meet Ruby, she is in a police interrogation room, being accused of Jason’s murder. Which, ironically, is one murder that she did not commit, though her vicious mother-in-law and a scandal-obsessed public believe differently. As she undergoes questioning, Ruby’s mind races back to all the details of her life that led her to this exact moment, and to the three dead bodies in her wake. Because though she may not have killed her husband, Ruby certainly isn’t innocent.
Alternating between Ruby’s memories of her past crimes and her present-day fight to clear her name, Blood Sugar is a twisty, clever debut with an unforgettable protagonist who you can’t help but root for—an addicting mixture of sour and sweet.
Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow – February 8
Seventeen-year-old Farrah Turner is one of two Black girls in her country club community, and the only one with Black parents. Her best friend, Cherish Whitman, adopted by a wealthy white family, is something Farrah likes to call WGS–White Girl Spoiled. With Brianne and Jerry Whitman as parents, Cherish is given the kind of adoration and coddling that even upper-class Black parents can’t seem to afford–and it creates a dissonance in her best friend that Farrah can exploit. When her own family is unexpectedly confronted with foreclosure, the calculating Farrah is determined to reassert the control she’s convinced she’s always had over her life by staying with Cherish, the only person she loves–even when she hates her.
A troubled Farrah manipulates her way further into the Whitman family but the longer she stays, the more her own parents suggest that something is wrong in the Whitman house. She might trust them–if they didn’t think something was wrong with Farrah, too. As strange things start happening at the Whitman household–debilitating illnesses, upsetting fever dreams, an inexplicable tension with Cherish’s hothead boyfriend, and a strange journal that seems to keep track of what is happening to Farrah–it’s nothing she can’t handle. But soon everything begins to unravel when the Whitmans invite Farrah closer, and it’s anyone’s guess who is really in control.
Told in Farrah’s chilling, unforgettable voice and weaving in searing commentary on race and class, this slow-burn social horror will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.
From Below by Darcy Coates – June 7
Darcy Coates brings you a brand-new horror novel that’ll take your breath away… From Below is: Perfect for fans of Jennifer McMahon and Wendy Webb For lovers of ghost stories and anyone mesmerized by the depths of the ocean―and what hides in the darkness
Years ago, the SS Arcadia vanished without a trace during a routine voyage. Though a strange, garbled emergency message was broadcast, neither the ship nor any of its crew could be found. Sixty years later, its wreck has finally been discovered more than three hundred miles from its intended course.
Cove and her dive team have been granted permission to explore its rusting hull. Their purpose is straightforward: explore the wreck, film everything, and, if possible, uncover how and why the supposedly unsinkable ship vanished.
But the Arcadia has not yet had its fill of death, and something dark watches them from below. With limited oxygen and a presence on the ship that’s determined to keep them on board, if Cove and her team are trapped beneath the ocean’s waves, there’ll be no going back.
Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier – January 25
Lyla has always believed that life is a game she is destined to win, but her husband, Graham, takes the game to dangerous levels. The wealthy couple invites self-made success stories to live in their guesthouse and then conspires to ruin their lives. After all, there is nothing worse than a bootstrapper.
Demi has always felt like the odds were stacked against her. At the end of her rope, she seizes a risky opportunity to take over another person’s life and unwittingly becomes the subject of the upstairs couple’s wicked entertainment. But Demi has been struggling all her life, and she’s not about to go down without a fight.
In a twist that neither woman sees coming, the game quickly devolves into chaos and rockets toward an explosive conclusion.
Because every good rich person knows: in money and in life, it’s winner take all. Even if you have to leave a few bodies behind.
Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak – May 3
About a young woman who takes a job in an affluent suburb to care for a five-year-old boy who begins drawing disturbing pictures that point to a gruesome murder on the family’s property
Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel – May 17
Maeve has struggled to achieve normalcy since a violent incident involving the cult she was raised in shattered her childhood and stole away her cousin, Andrea, the only true friend she’s ever known. So when Andrea reappears in her life decades later, Maeve is thrilled. She doesn’t even mind that Andrea’s world of wealth, amassed from a successful but secretive start-up, is vastly different from her own. Andrea is family, and has always known how to put Maeve at ease.
So when Maeve’s careful routine in New York City begins to unravel, it feels only natural that she move into Andrea’s palatial Catskills home. There she meets Andrea’s husband and suffers the attention of their friends and business associates, Rob and Emily, who constantly evangelize about coupledom, marriage, and motherhood. But behind the influencer lifestyle and perfect facade lurks a nefarious agenda that was set in motion when Maeve was a child. Will Maeve ever escape her past? Or will she end up just like Mother?
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin – February 22
Y: The Last Man meets The Girl With All the Gifts in Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Manhunt, an explosive post-apocalyptic novel that follows trans women and men on a grotesque journey of survival.
Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.
Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.
After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics―all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.
Manhunt is a timely, powerful response to every gender-based apocalypse story that failed to consider the existence of transgender and non-binary people, from a powerful new voice in horror.
Real Easy by Marie Rutkowski – January 18
A compulsive, tenacious, and unexpectedly hopeful thriller set in a midwestern strip club, told by New York Times bestselling author Marie Rutkoski in the spirit of Gillian Flynn and Tana French
It’s 1999, and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to taking anyone under her wing―after all, between her disapproving boyfriend and his daughter, who may as well be her own child, she has enough to worry about. But when Samantha overrides her better judgment to drive a new dancer home, they are run off the road. The police arrive at the scene of the accident―but find only one body.
Georgia, another dancer, is drawn into the investigation as she tries to assist Holly, a Harvard-educated detective with a complicated story of her own. As the point of view shifts from dancers and detectives to club patrons and children, the women round up a list of suspects, all the while grappling with their understandings of loss and love.
Drawing on her personal experiences as well as interviews with police, Rutkoski immerses us in a subculture that is all too often reduced to cliché. Gripping, deeply feminist, and character-driven, Real Easy spellbinds us and gets to the heart of this timeless question: How do women live out their lives knowing that men can hurt them?
String Follow by Simon Jacobs – February 1
Simon Jacobs’s String Follow is a darkly comic suburban Gothic about a malevolent force that targets a group of Ohio misfits, harnessing their angst for its sinister designs.
Something strange is happening to the teens in Adena, Ohio.
A mysterious force is seeking inroads: vulnerabilities to exploit, friendships to hijack, untapped rage to harness toward its own ends. Who will serve it best? Claire is abrasive and aimless, embarrassed by her privileged upbringing. Weak-willed David is consumed by a recent breakup and harbors fantasies of violent, cultish orgies. Greg silently wages war against the voices in his head, while his sister Beth goes quietly mad, surrounded by lights. And at the center is the empathetic, naïve, sensitive Sarah. The force wants her most of all. The question is whether she will be the key to its success or to its destruction.
Eerie, hypnotic, and shot through with dark comedy, String Follow is a razor-sharp suburban Gothic that cuts deep, exposing the sweating, bleeding truth of how kids become adults in twenty-first-century America. In spellbinding, incisive prose, Simon Jacobs blends the startlingly original and the uncannily familiar, revealing the dark chaos that lurks under the surface of Midwestern suburbia.
Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester – January 18
A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.
There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.
2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.
2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.
As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty.
Sundial by Catriona Ward – March 1
You can’t escape what’s in your blood…
All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. Far from her childhood home, Sundial, hidden deep in the wild Mojave Desert.
But beneath the veneer, Rob is terrified for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.
Running from her past has led her directly back to it — what’s buried at Sundial could never stay a secret forever, and Rob must risk one last trip out there to protect her family, and her future.
The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller – March 22
Sara A. Mueller’s The Bone Orchard is a fascinating whodunit set in a lush, gothic world of secrets and magic–where a dying emperor charges his favorite concubine with solving his own murder, and preventing the culprit, which undoubtedly is one of his three terrible sons, from taking control of an empire.
Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.
Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.
Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.
Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.
But now–Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.
If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil — her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.
Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.
The Fervor by Alma Katsu – April 26
From the acclaimed and award-winning author of The Hunger and The Deep comes a new psychological and supernatural twist on the horrors of the Japanese American internment camps in World War II.
1944: As World War II rages on, the threat has come to the home front. In a remote corner of Idaho, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, are desperate to return home. Following Meiko’s husband’s enlistment as an air force pilot in the Pacific months prior, Meiko and Aiko were taken from their home in Seattle and sent to one of the internment camps in the Midwest. It didn’t matter that Aiko was American-born: They were Japanese, and therefore considered a threat by the American government.
Mother and daughter attempt to hold on to elements of their old life in the camp when a mysterious disease begins to spread among those interned. What starts as a minor cold quickly becomes spontaneous fits of violence and aggression, even death. And when a disconcerting team of doctors arrive, nearly more threatening than the illness itself, Meiko and her daughter team up with a newspaper reporter and widowed missionary to investigate, and it becomes clear to them that something more sinister is afoot, a demon from the stories of Meiko’s childhood, hell-bent on infiltrating their already strange world.
Inspired by the Japanese yokai and the jorogumo spider demon, The Fervor explores a supernatural threat beyond what anyone saw coming; the danger of demonization, a mysterious contagion, and the search to stop its spread before it’s too late.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas – May 10
Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…
In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.
But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.
When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?
Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.
Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to battle the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda.
Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.
The Resting Place by Camilla Sten – March 29
A spine-chilling, propulsive psychological suspense from international sensation Camilla Sten.
The medical term is prosopagnosia. The average person calls it face blindness—the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face, even the faces of those closest to you.
When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, her anxiety mounts. The dark feelings of having brushed by a killer, yet not know who could do this—or if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.
Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a dark past for over fifty years.
Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to bringing the truth to light, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.
A heart-thumping, relentless thriller that will shake you to your core, The Resting Place is an unforgettable novel of horror and suspense.
The Ruins by Phoebe Wynne – July 5
A suspenseful, feminist Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca, and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of a summer holiday on the French Riviera.
Welcome to the Chateau des Sètes, a jewel of the Cote d’Azur, where long summer days bring ease, glamour, and decadence to the holidaymakers who can afford it.
Ruby Ashby adores her parents’ house in France, but this August, everything feels different. Unexpected guests have descended upon the chateau––friends of her parents, and their daughters—and they are keen to enjoy the hot, extravagant summer holiday to its fullest potential. Far from England, safe in their wealth and privilege, the adults revel in bad behavior without consequence, while the girls are treated as playthings or abandoned to their own devices. But despite languid days spent poolside and long nights spent drinking, a simmering tension is growing between the families, and the sanctuary that Ruby cherishes soon starts to feel like a gilded cage.
Over two decades later the chateau is for sale, its days of splendor and luxury long gone, leaving behind a terrible history and an ugly legacy. A young widow has returned to France, wanting to purchase the chateau, despite her shocking memories of what transpired that fateful summer. But there is another person who is equally haunted by the chateau, and who also seeks to reclaim it. Who will set the chateau free––and who will become yet another of its victims?
With riveting psychological complexity, The Ruins captures the glittering allure of the Mediterranean—and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface.
The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson – February 1
A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.
Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.
But Chelsea’s husband has turned their house into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–then a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.
Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill – May 10
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning―it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel – February 22
From the USA Today bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of Darling Rose Gold comes a dark, thrilling novel about two sisters–one trapped in the clutches of a cult, the other in a web of her own lies.
Welcome to Wisewood. We’ll keep your secrets if you keep ours.
Natalie Collins hasn’t heard from her sister in more than half a year.
The last time they spoke, Kit was slogging from mundane workdays to obligatory happy hours to crying in the shower about their dead mother. She told Natalie she was sure there was something more out there.
And then she found Wisewood.
On a private island off the coast of Maine, Wisewood’s guests commit to six-month stays. During this time, they’re prohibited from contact with the rest of the world–no Internet, no phones, no exceptions. But the rules are for a good reason: to keep guests focused on achieving true fearlessness so they can become their Maximized Selves. Natalie thinks it’s a bad idea, but Kit has had enough of her sister’s cynicism and voluntarily disappears off the grid.
Six months later Natalie receives a menacing e-mail from a Wisewood account threatening to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from Kit. Panicked, Natalie hurries north to come clean to her sister and bring her home. But she’s about to learn that Wisewood won’t let either of them go without a fight.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher – July 12
From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.
What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda – May 5
A young, mixed-race vampire must find a way to balance her deep-seated desire to live amongst humans with her incessant hunger in this stunning debut novel from a writer-to-watch.
Lydia is hungry. She’s always wanted to try Japanese food. Sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside – the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and iced-coffee, ice cream and cake, and foraged herbs and plants, and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But, Lydia can’t eat any of these things. Her body doesn’t work like those of other people. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London – where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time – is much more difficult than she’d anticipated.
Then there are the humans – the other artists at the studio space, the people at the gallery she interns at, the strange men that follow her after dark, and Ben, a boyish, goofy-grinned artist she is developing feelings for. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can’t bring herself to feed on them. In her windowless studio, where she paints and studies the work of other artists, binge-watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer and videos of people eating food on YouTube and Instagram, Lydia considers her place in the world. She has many of the things humans wish for – perpetual youth, near-invulnerability, immortality – but she is miserable; she is lonely; and she is hungry – always hungry.
As Lydia develops as a woman and an artist, she will learn that she must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human sides, her mixed ethnic heritage, and her relationship with food, and, in turn, humans – if she is to find a way to exist in the world. Before any of this, however, she must eat.
Books Without Covers Yet
Book of Night by Holly Black
#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus
In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.
With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.
Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy
Nat Cassidy’s highly commercial, debut horror novel Mary: An Awakening of Terror, blends Midsommar with elements of American Psycho and a pinch of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.
Mary is a quiet, middle-aged woman doing her best to blend into the background. Unremarkable. Invisible. Unknown even to herself.
But lately, things have been changing inside Mary. Along with the hot flashes and body aches, she can’t look in a mirror without passing out, and the voices in her head have been urging her to do unspeakable things.
Fired from her job in New York, she moves back to her hometown, hoping to reconnect with her past and inner self. Instead, visions of terrifying, mutilated specters overwhelm her with increasing regularity and she begins auto-writing strange thoughts and phrases. Mary discovers that these experiences are echoes of an infamous serial killer.
Then the killings begin again.
Mary’s definitely going to find herself.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep-sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah is not the same. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has brought part of it back with her, onto dry land and into their home.
Moving through something that only resembles normal life, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had before might be gone. Though Leah is still there, Miri can feel the woman she loves slipping from her grasp.
Our Wives Under The Sea is the debut novel from Julia Armfield, the critically acclaimed author of salt slow. It’s a story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep deep sea.
Screams from the Dark -(Anthology) edited by Ellen Datlow – June 7
Screams From the Darkis a chilling anthology featuring 29 all-original tales of monsters from bestselling and award-winning authors, edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the top editors in horror.
From werewolves and vampires, to demons and aliens, the monster is one of the most recognizable figures in horror. But what makes something, or someone, monstrous?
In Screams From the Dark, award-winning and up-and-coming authors like Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Kadrey, Cassandra Khaw, and Gemma Files attempt to answer this question. These stories run the gamut from traditional to modern, from mainstream to literary, from familiar monsters to the unknown and unimaginable.
This bone-chilling collection has something to please—and spook—everyone, so lock your doors, turn off your lights, and try not to scream.
That’s that and thanks you for reading! Please let me if you added any of these or let me know if there’s some more I should check out. I know there’s definitely more out there that I probably just missed on hearing about! Happy Halloween & Happy Reading 🎃
As we get towards the end of October, I wanted to share some future releases coming out next year that have caught my eye. These books range from horror, thrillers, mysteries, dark fantasy and other spooky/scary stories.
First this first post I’ll be talking about Young Adult releases. Part II will be talking about adult horror/thriller fiction releases. Let me know what you’re excited to read in 2022.
Young Adult Releases
All the Best Liars by Amelia Kahaney – April 5
A dark, modern psychological thriller and coming-of-age about obsession, manipulation, and the intensity of those first friendships that take hold of you and never let go
Tic tac toe, three girls in a row. Nine years old and inseparable. Friends for life, or so they think . . .
Best friends Syd, Rain, and Brie grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the stifling California desert, desperately wishing for a way out.
In the end, each of them will escape—but not in the way they expect. One will do it by dying, another by lying, a third by taking the fall. A deadly fire is set two weeks before the end of their senior year of high school and nothing will ever be the same.
With gorgeous, taut prose and twists to the very last page, All the Best Liars switches between the present and the past to unravel the truth behind the fire and the cost of the secrets at heart of their friendship.
Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate – April 5
What do you stand for, when you’re one of the last left standing? The year is 2072. Soon a volcanic eruption will trigger catastrophic devastation, and the only way out is up.
While the world’s leaders, scientists, and engineers oversee the frantic production of a space fleet meant to save humankind, their children are brought in for a weekend of touring the Lazarus, a high-tech prototype spaceship. But when the apocalypse arrives months ahead of schedule, First Daughter Leigh Chen and a handful of teens from the tour are the only ones to escape the planet. This is the new world: a starship loaded with a catalog of human artifacts, a frozen menagerie of animal DNA, and fifty-three terrified survivors. From the panic arises a coalition of leaders, spearheaded by the pilot’s enigmatic daughter, Eli, who takes the wheel in their hunt for a habitable planet. But as isolation presses in, their uneasy peace begins to fracture. The struggle for control will mean the difference between survival and oblivion, and Leigh must decide whether to stand on the side of the mission or of her own humanity.
With aching poignancy and tense, heart-in-your-mouth action, this enthralling saga will stay with readers long after the final page.
Belladonna by Adalyn Grace – August 23
A girl confronts Death—and her own deathly powers—to solve a murder in this Gothic-infused, romantic young adult fantasy.
Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa Farrow has been raised by a string of guardians more interested in her wealth than her well-being—all of whom have died of mysterious circumstances. Her last remaining relatives are the Hawthornes, an eccentric family who live at Thorn Grove, a manor as glittering as it is gloomy.
Thorn Grove’s patriarch, Elijah, mourns his late wife, Lillian, through liquor and wild parties, while son Percy grapples to maintain the family’s waning reputation and daughter Blythe suffers from the same mysterious illness that killed her mother. But when Lillian’s spirit confronts Signa and claims it was poison that killed her and not an illness, Signa realizes that Blythe will be next to die unless the murderer is found.
Signa’s best chance of uncovering the culprit and solving Lillian’s murder is an alliance with Death himself—the very man she hates most. And Death, that fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side, shows her that their connection may be more powerful than she ever dared imagine.
Cold by Mariko Tamaki – February 8
A boy, a murder, a girl, a secret. From award-winning author Mariko Tamaki comes Cold, a haunting YA novel about a shocking crime in a quiet town and four students who knew too much and said too little.
This is the story of a boy who died—and a girl who wants to know why.
Todd Mayer is dead. Now he’s some sort of ghost, hovering over his body, which has just been found in the town park, naked and frozen in the snow. As detectives investigate Todd’s homicide, talking to the very people who are responsible for how he died, Todd replays the events that lead him to his end in the park.
Georgia didn’t know Todd. But she can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe because they’re both outcasts at their school, or because they’re both queer. It might also be because Georgia has a feeling she’s seen Todd somewhere before, somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be.
In the vein of The Lovely Bones, this dual narrative is told through the voices of Todd in his afterlife and Georgia as she uncovers the truth behind his death, resulting in an immersive, emotional, and provocative read.
Daughter by Kate McLaughlin – March 8
Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.
When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.
Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.
Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard – May 1
In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.
The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?
This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.
Dead Girls Can’t Tell Secrets by Chelsea Ichaso – April 5
Piper’s fall was no accident. Did someone want her dead? It’s up to her sister to discover the truth in this shocking new thriller with an unreliable narrator, from the acclaimed author of Little Creeping Things.
Piper Sullivan was in a strange hiking accident last month and has been in a coma ever since. Her older sister, Savannah, can’t pretend to be optimistic about it; things look bad. Piper will likely never wake up, and Savannah will never get any answers about what exactly happened.
But then Savannah finds a note in Piper’s locker, inviting Piper to a meeting of their school’s wilderness club…at the very place and on the very day that she fell. Which means there was a chance that Piper wasn’t alone. Someone might’ve seen something. Worse, someone might’ve done something. But who would want to hurt the perfect Piper Sullivan…and why?
To discover the truth, Savannah joins the club on their weekend-long camping trip on the same mountain where her sister fell. But she better be careful; everyone in the club is a suspect, and everyone seems to be keeping secrets about that tragic day.
And Savannah? She’s been keeping secrets, too…
Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson – May 31
For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks on Broad Street to The Hill that watches over the city, every corner of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing séances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her.
But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they have always known is left haunted by grief…and Jasmine’s lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death, and each other.
And as their plan to resurrect Jasmine grows darker and more demanding than they imagined, their separate lives begin to splinter the bonds they depend on, revealing buried secrets that threaten the people they care about most. Miliani, Inez and Natalie will have to rely on more than just their mystical abilities to find the light.
Dig Two Graves by Gretchen McNeil – March 29
I did my part, BFF. Now it’s your turn.
Seventeen-year-old film noir fan Neve Lanier is a girl who just wants to be seen, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. When Neve is betrayed by her best friend, Yasmin, at the end of the school year, she heads off to a girl’s empowerment camp feeling like no one will ever love her again. So when she grabs the attention of the beautiful, charismatic Diane, she falls right under her spell, and may accidentally promise to murder Diane’s predatory step-brother, Javier, in exchange for Diane murdering Yasmin. But that was just a joke…right?
Wrong. When Yasmin turns up dead, Diane comes calling, attempting to blackmail Neve into murdering Javier. Stalling for time, Neve pretends to go along with Diane’s plan until she can find a way out that doesn’t involve homicide. But as she gets to know Javier – and falls for him – she realizes that everything Diane told her is a lie. Even worse, she discovers that Yasmin probably wasn’t Diane’s first victim. And unless Neve can stop her, she won’t be the last.
Extasia by Claire Legrand – February 22
From New York Times bestselling author Claire LeGrand comes a new, bone-chilling YA horror novel about a girl who joins a coven to root out a vicious evil that’s stalking her village. Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Grace Year.
Her name is unimportant.
All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain—an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.
She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.
Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?
This searing and lyrically written novel by the critically acclaimed author of Sawkill Girls beckons readers to follow its fierce heroine into a world filled with secrets and blood—where the truth is buried in lies and a devastating power waits, seething, for someone brave enough to use it.
Gallant by Victoria Schwab – March 1
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source. #1 New York Times–bestselling author Victoria Schwab weaves a dark and original tale about the place where the world meets its shadow, and the young woman beckoned by both sides. The Secret Garden meets Crimson Peak in this stand-alone novel perfect for readers of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, standalone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Melissa Albert, and Garth Nix will quickly lose themselves in this novel with crossover appeal for all ages.
Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos – June 14
For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets,this spine-tingling thriller follows eight horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.
Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.
She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic documentary about the real inspiration for Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.
But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.
Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history—just as they get the documentary’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.
Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White – June 7
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton & Faith McClaren – February 1
This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation.
When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.
But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.
Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.
I Am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco Moore – April 19
From the author of Some Kind of Animal comes a wildly unique story about an invisible girl struggling to see herself in a world obsessed with appearances.
Pie is the ghost in your house. She is not dead, she is invisible. The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses. For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house. But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself. Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?
A magnificent story of love, and friendship, and learning to see yourself in a world based on appearances, I Am the Ghost in Your House is a brilliant reflection on the importance of how much more there is to our world than what meets the eye.
It Will End Like This by Kyra Leigh – January 4
For fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie comes a psychological thriller that reminds us that in real life, endings are rarely as neat as happily ever after. A contemporay take on the Lizzie Borden story that explores how grief can cut deep.
Charlotte lost her mother six months ago, and still no one will tell her exactly what happened the day she mysteriously died. They say her heart stopped, but Charlotte knows deep down that there’s more to the story.
The only person who gets it is Charlotte’s sister, Maddi. Maddi agrees—people’s hearts don’t just stop. There are too many questions left unanswered for the girls to move on.
But their father is moving on. With their mother’s personal assistant. And both girls are sure that she’s determined to take everything that’s theirs away for herself.
Now the only way to get their lives back is for Charlotte and Maddi to decide how this story ends, themselves.
Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich – March 8
A deathly warning to a generation of murderinos: What happens when the stories we’re chasing finally catch up with us? Summer in Ferry, Connecticut, has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.
Natalie Temple, who’s never been one for beaches or parties in the first place, is reeling from the murder of her favorite teacher, and there’s no way this true-crime-obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie—even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with the new boy in town…
But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.
Lock the Doors by Vincent Ralph – March 1
A brand new addictive, twisty thriller from the author of ARE YOU WATCHING? for fans of Karen McManus, Holly Jackson and Lisa Jewell.
LOCK EVERY DOOR
Tom’s family have moved into their dream home. But pretty soon he starts to notice that something is very wrong – there are strange messages written on the wall and locks on the bedroom doors. On the OUTSIDE.
The previous owners have moved just across the road and they seem like the perfect family. Their daughter Amy is beautiful and enigmatic but Tom is sure she’s got something to hide. And he isn’t going to stop until he finds the truth behind those locked doors. . .
Will their dream home become a nightmare?
Mirror Girls by Kelly McWilliams – February 8
As infants, twin sisters Charlie Yates and Magnolia Heathwood were secretly separated after the brutal lynching of their parents, who died for loving across the color line. Now, at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, Charlie is a young Black organizer in Harlem, while white-passing Magnolia is the heiress to a cotton plantation in rural Georgia.
Magnolia knows nothing of her racial heritage, but secrets are hard to keep in a town haunted by the ghosts of its slave-holding past. When Magnolia finally learns the truth, her reflection mysteriously disappears from mirrors—the sign of a terrible curse. Meanwhile, in Harlem, Charlie’s beloved grandmother falls ill. Her final wish is to be buried back home in Georgia—and, unbeknownst to Charlie, to see her long-lost granddaughter, Magnolia Heathwood, one last time. So Charlie travels into the Deep South, confronting the land of her worst nightmares—and Jim Crow segregation.
The sisters reunite as teenagers in the deeply haunted town of Eureka, Georgia, where ghosts linger centuries after their time and dangers lurk behind every mirror. They couldn’t be more different, but they will need each other to put the hauntings of the past to rest, to break the mirrors’ deadly curse—and to discover the meaning of sisterhood in a racially divided land.
My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham – April 5
Two girls, inexplicably linked. An ancient creature rising in the dark. And a town on the verge of being devoured. My Dearest Darkest is a sharp, feminist horror debut, about girls claiming their power, and the price we sometimes pay for wanting.
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy… but she’s also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of a river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn’t let her drown. Finch doesn’t know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she’s felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.
Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena’s suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power,adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len – February 22
With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.
It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .
. . . she is not the hero.
Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin – May 24
Protect the girls
Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways.
Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – April 19
They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.
CATALYST 13 points noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change
When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.
But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.
As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.
Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price – April 5
Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and Stalking Jack the Ripper. In Sense and Second-Degree Murder, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.
When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.
But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.
Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.
Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele – May 31
I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Haunting of Hill House in this atmospheric, eerie teen thriller following an estranged group of friends being haunted by their friend who died last summer.
Emily Joiner was once part of an inseparable group—she was a sister, a best friend, a lover, and a rival. Summers without Emily were unthinkable. Until the fire burned the lake house to ashes with her inside.
A year later, it’s in Emily’s honor that Chelsea and her four friends decide to return. The house awaits them, meticulously rebuilt. Only, Chelsea is haunted by ghostly visions. Loner Ryan stirs up old hurts and forces golden boy Chase to play peacemaker. Which has perfect hostess Kennedy on edge as eerie events culminate in a stunning accusation: Emily’s death wasn’t an accident. And all the clues needed to find the person responsible are right here.
As old betrayals rise to the surface, Chelsea and her friends have one night to unravel a mystery spanning three summers before a killer among them exacts their revenge.
The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux – March 1
This story follows two girls who transport themselves into the world of their favorite book only to encounter the sinister alternate reality that awaits them.
No matter how different best friends Adelle and Connie are, one thing they’ve always had in common is their love of a little-known gothic romance novel called Moira. So when the girls are tempted by a mysterious stranger to enter the world of the book, they hardly suspect it will work. But suddenly they are in the world of Moira, living among characters they’ve obsessed about for years.
Except…all is not how they remembered it. The world has been turned upside down: The lavish balls and star-crossed love affairs are now interlaced with unspeakable horrors. The girls realize that something dark is lurking behind their foray into fiction—and they will have to rewrite their own arcs if they hope to escape this nightmare with their lives.
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones – August 16
Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.
The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing…but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.
The Drowned Woods—set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters—is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.
The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman – April 19
A gorgeously atmospheric contemporary fantasy by the author of The Devouring Gray and The Deck of Omens.
Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were dropped only because Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name. She swore never to call a spirit again. She lied.
For generations, the family of Mina Zanetti, a former friend of Evelyn, has worked as mediums, using the ocean’s power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But as sea levels rise, the ghosts grow more dangerous and Mina has been shut out of the family business. When Evelyn performs another summoning that goes horribly wrong, the two girls must navigate their growing attraction to each other while solving the mystery of who was really behind the drowning summer…before the line between life and death dissolves for good.
Beautifully written and just the right amount witchy, The Drowning Summer is a deliciously eerie story perfect for reading under a full moon
The Gifts That Bind Us by Caroline O’Donoghue (All Our Hidden Gifts #2) – June 7
A spellbinding supernatural teen drama – and sequel to All Our Hidden Gifts.
Maeve and her friends have revealed their powers and banded together as a coven: Roe can pick locks, Lily sends sparks flying, Maeve can read minds and Fiona can heal any injury.
And even better than their newfound talents? Roe and Maeve are officially an item.
But with strange things happening at school, and old enemies appearing in new places, it soon becomes clear their powers are attracting all the wrong attention. It’s not long before Maeve’s gift start to wane, drained by someone – or something – that’s hiding even from her second sight…
The brilliant second installment in the Hidden Gifts series, with further titles to come.
The Honeys by Ryan La Sala – TBD 2022
From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.
Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.
Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.
What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.
But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.
The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis (The Initial Insult #2) – March 15
In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing Amontillado forevermore.
Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.
Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.
With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?
The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto (The Obsession #2) – February 1
Lia Setiawan has never really fit in. And when she wins a full ride to the prestigious Draycott Academy on a track scholarship, she’s determined to make it work even though she’s never felt more out of place.
But on her first day there she witnesses a girl being forcefully carried away by campus security. Her new schoolmates and teachers seem unphased, but it leaves her unsure of what she’s gotten herself into.
And as she uncovers the secrets of Draycott, complete with a corrupt teacher, a golden boy who isn’t what he seems, and a blackmailer determined to get her thrown out, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone…especially when the threats against her take a deadly turn.
The Red Palace by June Hur – January 25
To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood…
Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.
These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall
In this queer supernatural YA novel, a girl inherits her ancestral home, only to discover that a dark presence lurks within it—and within herself. With the help of the young woman called the Witch of Harrow, she must unlock the house’s secrets and her own if she wants to survive.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle – July 26
A bewitching debut by S. Isabelle, perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, Zoraida Córdova, and Leigh Bardugo!
THE HAUNTING SEASON IS HERE AND THE WOLVES ARE AWAKE.
Haelsford, Florida is a Hellmouth. Or at least, that’s what Logan, a baby witch struggling to control her powers, thinks as she arrives to the witchtown to begin the new school year at Mesmortes Coven Academy. She is immediately taken under the wing of the infamous Red Three. Iris is a deathwitch who wants nothing more than to break the town’s curse; Jailah is one of the most powerful witches at the academy but her thirst for power may lead her down a dark path; and Thalia, the talented greenwitch, is on the run from her religious family and a past that still haunts her.
Fear and prejudice still fuel the uneasy truce between humans and witches who are forced to work together when the Haunting Season begins and Wolves rise from the swamp to feed. With this approaching, two Hammersmitt boys prepare to make their first sacrifices to the witches in exchange for protection. But as they become involved with the Mesmortes witches’ plan to end the Wolves’ reign of terror once and for all, old dangers lie in wait.
The cost to break the curse may be greater than any witch or human could ever know.
Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne – July 12
The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.
After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.
We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison – July 12
Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.
Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.
What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat – March 22
For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that’s slowly claiming everyone she loves.
Wren owes everything she has to her home, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture perfect American town. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family farm. Until five months ago.
That’s when the quicksilver mercury blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It began by consuming the crops–thick, silver sludge bleeding from the earth. Next were the animals. Infected livestock and wild creatures alike staggered off into the woods by day—only to return at night, their eyes, fogged white, leering from the trees.
Then, the blight came for the neighbors.
Wren is among the last locals standing. And the blight has finally come for her, too. Now, the only one she can turn to is the last person she wants to call: her ex, Derek. They haven’t spoken in months, but Wren and Derek still have one thing in common—Hollow’s End means everything to them. Only there’s much they don’t know about their hometown and its renowned miracle crops. And they’re about to discover that miracles aren’t free.
Their ancestors have an awful lot to pay for, and Wren and Derek are the only ones left to settle old debts.
Youngblood by Sasha Laurens – July 19
For fans of Vampire Diaries and dark academia, two queer teen bloodsuckers at an elite vampire-only boarding school must go up against all of Vampirdom when they uncover a frightening conspiracy on campus.
Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.
Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.
When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.
Books Without Covers
Echo Sunset by Courtney Gould – TBD
This supernatural thriller follows two sisters who, after their mother dies, learn about her mysterious ties to an isolated Arizona town. When they decide to investigate, nothing and no one is who they seem, including the daughter of the town’s enigmatic leader.
Eternally Yours by Patrice Caldwell – TBD
a YA paranormal romance anthology edited by Patrice Caldwell (editor of A Phoenix First Must Burn). In addition to a contribution from Caldwell, the volume will include short stories by Kendare Blake, Kat Cho, Melissa de la Cruz, Emily Duncan, Hafsah Faizal, Sarah Gailey, Alexis Henderson, Adib Khorram, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Casey McQuiston, Sandhya Menon, Danielle Paige, Akshaya Raman, Marie Rutkoski, and Julian Winters
The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson – May 3
A mystery pitched as Big Little Lies meets Veronica Mars that asks the question “What would Agatha Christie do?”.
A girl’s five-day disappearance used to be the biggest scandal in Castle Crove – until her ex-boyfriend is accused of murdering his new girlfriend, and she must pair up with her tutor to clear his name by using techniques from the mystery queen herself, Agatha Christie.
The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix – TBD
A young blood-witch’s mission to assassinate her betrothed—a gentle human prince—gets complicated when they uncover a witch-killing plague, and in their race to stop it, she falls for the prince’s sister. Coming fall of 2022 from Simon & Schuster.
The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis – August 9
Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere.
Then Bo moves into her apartment building—tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death.
As Zharie sifts through what’s real and what’s magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you—for good or for dead.
In this surrealist journey of grief, fear, and hope, Britney S. Lewis’s debut novel explores love, zombies, and everything in between in an intoxicating amalgam of the real and the fantastic.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson – TBD
The Weight of Blood is a remix of Stephen King’s Carrie set at a school’s first integrated prom.
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen – July 26
A darkly romantic, fairytale-inspired fantasy—the first in a duology—for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the court as Seer with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers like the oh-so-not-charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip her of her title once he’s crowned.
After the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse about the prince’s future bride. Her wits may protect her in the ruthless court, but they can’t protect her against fate—nor the doomed attraction growing between her and the prince . . .
Stay tuned for more 2022 haunted book talk coming soon…
In the mean time, let me know what you’re looking forward to reading.
Hello everyone! I am here today to share with y’all an excerpt from the upcoming cli-fi dystopian release from Alison Stine, TRASHLANDS (out on October 26). Thanks again to the publisher for providing me an eARC and letting my join on the blog tour!
TRASHLANDS by Alison Stine
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: MIRA Books
A resonant, visionary novel about the power of art and the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love
A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.
In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.
Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.
When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?
Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.
1 Early coralroot Corallorhiza trifida
Coral was pregnant then. She hid it well in a dress she had found in the road, sun-bleached and mud-dotted, only a little ripped. The dress billowed to her knees, over the tops of her boots. She was named for the wildflower which hadn’t been seen since before her birth, and for ocean life, poisoned and gone. It was too dangerous to go to the beach anymore. You never knew when storms might come.
Though they were going—to get a whale.
A boy had come from up north with a rumor: a whale had beached. Far off its course, but everything was off by then: the waterways, the paths to the ocean, its salt. You went where you had to go, where weather and work and family—but mostly weather—took you.
The villagers around Lake Erie were carving the creature up, taking all the good meat and fat. The strainer in its mouth could be used for bows, the bones in its chest for tent poles or greenhouse beams.
It was a lot of fuel for maybe nothing, a rumor spun by an out-of-breath boy. But there would be pickings along the road. And there was still gas, expensive but available. So the group went, led by Mr. Fall. They brought kayaks, lashed to the top of the bus, but in the end, the water was shallow enough they could wade.
They knew where to go because they could smell it. You got used to a lot of smells in the world: rotten food, chemicals, even shit. But death… Death was hard to get used to.
“Masks up,” Mr. Fall said.
Some of the men in the group—all men except Coral—had respirators, painter’s masks, or medical masks. Coral had a handkerchief of faded blue paisley, knotted around her neck. She pulled it up over her nose. She had dotted it with lavender oil from a vial, carefully tipping out the little she had left. She breathed shallowly through fabric and flowers. Mr. Fall just had a T-shirt, wound around his face. He could have gotten a better mask, Coral knew, but he was leading the crew. He saved the good things for the others.
She was the only girl on the trip, and probably the youngest person. Maybe fifteen, she thought. Months ago, she had lain in the icehouse with her teacher, a man who would not stay. He was old enough to have an old-fashioned name, Robert, to be called after people who had lived and died as they should. Old enough to know better, Mr. Fall had said, but what was better, anymore?
Everything was temporary. Robert touched her in the straw, the ice blocks sweltering around them. He let himself want her, or pretend to, for a few hours. She tried not to miss him. His hands that shook at her buttons would shake in a fire or in a swell of floodwater. Or maybe violence had killed him.
She remembered it felt cool in the icehouse, a relief from the outside where heat beat down. The last of the chillers sputtered out chemicals. The heat stayed trapped in people’s shelters, like ghosts circling the ceiling. Heat haunted. It would never leave.
News would stop for long stretches. The information that reached Scrappalachia would be written hastily on damp paper, across every scrawled inch. It was always old news.
The whale would be picked over by the time they reached it.
Mr. Fall led a practiced team. They would not bother Coral, were trained not to mess with anything except the mission. They parked the bus in an old lot, then descended through weeds to the beach. The stairs had washed away. And the beach, when they reached it, was not covered with dirt or rock as Coral had expected, but with a fine yellow grit so bright it hurt to look at, a blankness stretching on.
“Take off your boots,” Mr. Fall said.
Coral looked at him, but the others were listening, knot-ting plastic laces around their necks, stuffing socks into pockets.
“Go on, Coral. It’s all right.” Mr. Fall’s voice was gentle, muffled by the shirt.
Coral had her job to do. Only Mr. Fall and the midwife knew for sure she was pregnant, though others were talking. She knew how to move so that no one could see.
But maybe, she thought as she leaned on a fence post and popped off her boot, she wanted people to see. To tell her what to do, how to handle it. Help her. He had to have died, Robert—and that was the reason he didn’t come back for her. Or maybe he didn’t know about the baby?
People had thought there would be no more time, but there was. Just different time. Time moving slower. Time after disaster, when they still had to live.
She set her foot down on the yellow surface. It was warm. She shot a look at Mr. Fall.
The surface felt smooth, shifting beneath her toes. Coral slid her foot across, light and slightly painful. It was the first time she had felt sand.
The sand on the beach made only a thin layer. People had started to take it. Already, people knew sand, like everything, could be valuable, could be sold.
Coral took off her other boot. She didn’t have laces, to tie around her neck. She carried the boots under her arm. Sand clung to her, pebbles jabbing at her feet. Much of the trash on the beach had been picked through. What was left was diapers and food wrappers and cigarettes smoked down to filters.
“Watch yourselves,” Mr. Fall said.
Down the beach they followed the smell. It led them on, the sweet rot scent. They came around a rock outcropping, and there was the whale, massive as a ship run aground: red, purple, and white. The colors seemed not real. Birds were on it, the black birds of death. The enemies of scavengers, their competition. Two of the men ran forward, waving their arms and whooping to scare off the birds.
“All right everybody,” Mr. Fall said to the others. “You know what to look for.”
Except they didn’t. Not really. Animals weren’t their specialty.
People had taken axes to the carcass, to carve off meat. More desperate people had taken spoons, whatever they could use to get at something to take home for candle wax or heating fuel, or to barter or beg for something else, something better.
“You ever seen a whale?” one of the men, New Orleans, asked Coral.
She shook her head. “No.”
“This isn’t a whale,” Mr. Fall said. “Not anymore. Keep your masks on.”
They approached it. The carcass sunk into the sand. Coral tried not to breathe deeply. Flesh draped from the bones of the whale. The bones were arched, soaring like buttresses, things that made up cathedrals—things she had read about in the book.
Bracing his arm over his mouth, Mr. Fall began to pry at the ribs. They were big and strong. They made a cracking sound, like a splitting tree.
New Orleans gagged and fell back.
Other men were dropping. Coral heard someone vomiting into the sand. The smell was so strong it filled her head and chest like a sound, a high ringing. She moved closer to give her feet something to do. She stood in front of the whale and looked into its gaping mouth.
There was something in the whale.
Something deep in its throat.
In one pocket she carried a knife always, and in the other she had a light: a precious flashlight that cast a weak beam. She switched it on and swept it over the whale’s tongue, picked black by the birds.
She saw a mass, opaque and shimmering, wide enough it blocked the whale’s throat. The whale had probably died of it, this blockage. The mass looked lumpy, twined with seaweed and muck, but in the mess, she could make out a water bottle.
It was plastic. Plastic in the animal’s mouth. It sparked in the beam of her flashlight.
Alison Stine is an award-winning poet and author. Recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and an Ohio Arts Council grant, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and received the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism. She works as a freelance reporter with The New York Times, writes for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, 100 Days in Appalachia, ELLE, The Kenyon Review, and others, and has been a storyteller on The Moth. After living in Appalachian Ohio for many years, she now lives and writes in Colorado with her partner, her son, and a small orange cat.