Happy spring everybody! We just got several inches of snow here in Salt Lake so it still feels very much like winter and I am desperate for some warm weather so I can get back outside. In the meantime, there are SO MANY good books coming out this month! I've been lucky enough to read two of them as advanced copies and I would highly recommend checking both of them out! Let's dive in:
1. Camp Zero - Michelle Min Sterling (Apr. 4)
Desperate to help her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother, Rose agrees to travel to Camp Zero and spy on its architect in exchange for housing. She arrives at the same time as another newcomer, a college professor named Grant who is determined to flee his wealthy family’s dark legacy. Gradually, they realize that there is more to the architect than previously thought, and a disturbing mystery lurks beneath the surface of the camp. At the same time, rumors abound of an elite group of women soldiers living and working at a nearby Cold War-era climate research station. What are they doing there? And who is leading them?
Why I'm Excited: This seems like a really interesting concept and I'm still optimistic despite it having a somewhat low Goodreads rating for a new release. Climate change mixed with secrets and spying sounds like too fun of a time to pass up.
2. The House is on Fire - Rachel Beanland (Apr. 4)
On the night after Christmas, the theater is packed with more than six hundred holiday revelers. In the third-floor boxes, sits newly widowed Sally Henry Campbell, who is glad for any opportunity to relive the happy times she shared with her husband. One floor away, in the colored gallery, Cecily Patterson doesn’t give a whit about the play but is grateful for a four-hour reprieve from a life that has recently gone from bad to worse. Backstage, young stagehand Jack Gibson hopes that, if he can impress the theater’s managers, he’ll be offered a permanent job with the company. And on the other side of town, blacksmith Gilbert Hunt dreams of one day being able to bring his wife to the theater, but he’ll have to buy her freedom first.
When the theater goes up in flames in the middle of the performance, Sally, Cecily, Jack, and Gilbert make a series of split-second decisions that will not only affect their own lives but those of countless others. And in the days following the fire, as news of the disaster spreads across the United States, the paths of these four people will become forever intertwined.
Why I'm Excited: My local Barnes & Noble stocked this one early, so I already have a copy picked up! I love the idea of niche historical fiction like this, especially with the mix of mystery that the synopsis hints at.
3. The Insatiable Volt Sisters - Rachel Eve Moulton (Apr. 4)
Ten years pass and Henrie gets a desperate call from her sister--their father has died suddenly and B.B. needs Henrie to come back to the island for the funeral. When Henrie arrives, the island seems even stranger than she remembers. But the truth is, she doesn't remember much about the island, and nothing at all about the night she left. She just feels a vague and perplexing sense of dread and a sharp fear of the quarry pond behind the house.
Why I'm Excited: Not to be confused with the cover of The House is on Fire, this book is my official Sleeper Pick of the Month. The plot is vague and this book is a thick one for a horror at 475 pages, but something about it is drawing me in.
4. House of Cotton - Monica Brashears (Apr. 4)
One night while working at her dead-end gas station job, a mysterious, slick stranger named Cotton walks in and offers to turn Magnolia’s luck around. He offers her a lucrative “modeling” job at his family’s funeral home. Magnolia accepts. But despite things looking up, Magnolia’s problems fatten along with her wallet. When Cotton’s requests become increasingly weird, Magnolia discovers there’s a lot more at stake than just her rent.
Why I'm Excited: This book is about a girl who is offered a modeling job at a FUNERAL HOME I am worried already and I don't think I need to say any more.
5. Natural Beauty - Ling Ling Huang (Apr. 4)
Holistik is known for its remarkable products and procedures—from remoras that suck out cheap Botox to eyelash extensions made of spider silk—and her new job affords her entry into a world of privilege and a long-awaited sense of belonging. She becomes transfixed by Helen, the niece of Holistik’s charismatic owner, and the two strike up a friendship that hazily veers into more. All the while, our narrator is plied with products that slim her thighs, smooth her skin, and lighten her hair. But beneath these creams and tinctures lies something sinister.
Why I'm Excited: I'm here for music horror and also high-end luxury cultish lifestyle horror, neither of which I feel I read nearly enough of. I really hope this one is as horrifying as I feel it could be.
6. Homecoming - Kate Morton (Apr. 4)
Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora's housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small.
At loose ends in Nora's house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora's bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…
Why I'm Excited: This is probably the most widely anticipated popular book on this list. The plot is almost too long to summarize, but it sounds like a compelling mystery and a family saga all in one. A long book, but one I feel I don't want to miss.
7. The Trackers - Charles Frazier (Apr. 11)
A wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Rumors and intrigue surround the couple: Eve left behind an itinerant life riding the rails and singing in a western swing band. Long holds shady political aspirations, but was once a WWI sniper--and his right hand is a mysterious elder cowboy, a vestige of the violent old west. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives.
One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road with a mission of tracking her down. Journeying from ramshackle Hoovervilles to San Francisco nightclubs to the swamps of Florida, Val's search for Eve narrows, and he soon turns up secrets that could spark formidable changes for all of them.
Why I'm Excited: I don't think I've read a book that's set during the Great Depression before, which seems like a great oversight on my part. The cover is what drew me to this novel in the first place, but I look forward to seeing a Depression era mystery on my shelf soon.
8. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder - David Grann (Apr. 18)
But then... six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes - they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death--for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
Why I'm Excited: It's been a few months since I've added a nonfiction new release to my list, and I'm especially excited for this one. I love microhistories that I know nothing about beforehand, and this one is written by the author of Killers of the Flower Moon. I'll probably opt to check out an audiobook of this from my library!
9. If We're Being Honest - Cat Shook (Apr. 18)
The cousins’ eccentric parents are in tow, too, and equally lost—in love and in life. Watching over them all is Ellen, Gerry’s sweet and proper widow, who does her best to keep her composure in front of the leering small town.
Why I'm Excited: I'm lucky enough to have received an e-ARC of this book, so I've already read it! Check out my review here.
10. Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues - Jonathan Kennedy (Apr. 18)
Drawing on the latest research in fields ranging from genetics and anthropology to archaeology and economics, Pathogenesis takes us through sixty thousand years of history, exploring eight major outbreaks of infectious disease that have made the modern world. Bacteria and viruses were protagonists in the demise of the Neanderthals, the growth of Islam, the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the devastation wrought by European colonialism, and the evolution of the United States from an imperial backwater to a global superpower. Even Christianity rose to prominence in the wake of a series of deadly pandemics that swept through the Roman Empire in the second and third centuries: Caring for the sick turned what was a tiny sect into one of the world's major religions.
Why I'm Excited: More nonfiction! I love the idea of sharing thousands of years of history through a specific lens, which is exactly this. It's short, at only 300 pages, and I'm always down for a good science book.
11. The Eden Test - Adam Sternbergh (Apr. 25)
At first, their week away is marked by solitude, connection, and natural beauty—and only a few hostile locals. But what Craig doesn’t know is that Daisy, a slyly talented actress, has her own secrets, including a burner phone she’s been using for mysterious texts. Not to mention the Eden Test itself, which poses a searing new question to the couple every day, each more explosive than the last. Their marriage was never perfect, but now the lies and revelations are piling up, as the week becomes much more than they bargained for…How far are they willing to go?
Why I'm Excited: This is about as close to a domestic thriller as I'm willing to get with new releases these days, but the premise is intriguing and I'm always willing to give an author I haven't heard of a try. I hope the plot really ramps up in intensity from the synopsis; we'll just have to see!
12. In the Lives of Puppets - TJ Klune (Apr. 25)
The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled "HAP," he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.
When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio's former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic's assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.
Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?
Why I'm Excited: I'm lucky enough to have received an e-ARC of this book, so I've already read it! Check out my review here.
13. Ascension - Nicholas Binge (Apr. 25)
The higher Harold’s team ascends, the less things make sense. Time moves differently, turning minutes into hours, and hours into days. Amid the whipping cold of higher elevation, the climbers’ limbs numb and memories of their lives before the mountain begin to fade. Paranoia quickly turns to violence among the crew, and slithering, ancient creatures pursue them in the snow. Still, as the dangers increase, the mystery of the mountain compels them to its peak, where they are certain they will find their answers. Have they stumbled upon the greatest scientific discovery known to man or the seeds of their own demise?
Why I'm Excited: Science fiction speculative horror might be my favorite genre combo of all time, and this book is checking all the right boxes for me. I've had this one on my list for a long time and it might just be my most anticipated of the month.
Hope you all have a wonderful month and are getting some warmer weather than we are here! Our book club read for April is The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh, so grab or borrow a copy and feel free to join us!
Let me know if there are any books you're looking forward to in the comments!