Things got so busy in December and January that I had to take a little bit of a break, but we're back with consistent postings! Since we're almost through January already, it's time to look forward to the new releases coming up next month, and there are SO MANY good ones! Let's dive in:
1. Don't Fear the Reaper - Stephen Graham Jones (Feb. 7)
Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday. Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.
Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.
Why I'm Excited: Stephen Graham Jones is one of my favorite horror writers, and I greatly enjoyed My Heart is a Chainsaw, the first book in this planned trilogy.
2. Stealing - Margaret Verble (Feb. 7)
Kit and her new neighbor Bella become fast friends. Both outsiders, they take comfort in each other’s company. But malice lurks near their quiet bayou and Kit suddenly finds herself at the center of tragic, fatal crime. Soon, Kit is ripped from her home and Cherokee family and sent to Ashley Lordard, a religious boarding school. Along with the other Native students, Kit is stripped of her heritage, force-fed Christian indoctrination, and is sexually abused by the director. But Kit, as strong-willed and shrewd as ever, secretly keeps a journal recounting what she remembers—and revealing just what she has forgotten. Over the course of Stealing, she slowly unravels the truth of how she ended up at the school—and plots a way out.
Why I'm Excited: Excited is a strong word for a book that sounds like it will emotionally ruin me, but I think the premise of this is captivating. I don't know nearly enough about this topic as I should, and while a nonfiction book on the topic may also be in my future, this seems like a promising start.
3. The Laughter - Sonora Jha (Feb. 14)
Ruhaba unexpectedly ignites Oliver’s long-dormant passions, a secret desire that quickly tips towards obsession after her teenaged nephew, Adil Alam, arrives from France to stay with her. Oliver becomes a mentor to Adil, using his friendship with the boy to draw closer to his aunt. Getting to know them, Oliver tries to reconcile his discomfort with the worlds in which they come from, and to quiet his sense of dismay at the encroaching change they represent—both in background and in Ruhaba’s spirited engagement with the student movements on campus.
After protests break out on campus demanding diversity across the university, Harding finds himself and his beliefs under fire, even as his past reveals a picture more complicated than it seems. As Ruhaba seems attainable yet not, and as the women of his past taunt his memory, Harding reacts in ways shocking and devastating.
Why I'm Excited: Happy Valentine's Day, it's another book that will surely make my blood boil, but I guess that's one of the things I'm into right now. This book is being reviewed as compelling, angry, and of cultural importance, so I'm ready.
4. Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide - Rupert Holmes (Feb. 21)
Why I'm Excited: First of all, I will not be taking this book to work like I do with the rest of the titles I read. Second, the super fun plot mixed with the entertaining wit of the synopsis alone makes this book out to be a hilarious and intelligent read that I can't wait to get my hands on.
5. The Magician's Daughter - H.G. Parry (Feb. 21)
Orphaned in a shipwreck as a baby, Biddy grew up on Hy-Brasil, a legendary island off the coast of Ireland hidden by magic and glimpsed by rare travelers who return with stories of wild black rabbits and a lone magician in a castle. To Biddy, the island is her home, a place of ancient trees and sea-salt air and mysteries, and the magician, Rowan, is her guardian. She loves both, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she is stifled by her solitude and frustrated by Rowan’s refusal to let her leave. He himself leaves almost every night, transforming into a raven and flying to the mainland, and never tells her where or why he goes.
One night, Rowan fails to come home from his mysterious travels. When Biddy ventures into his nightmares to rescue him, she learns not only where he goes every night, but the terrible things that happened in the last days of magic that caused Rowan to flee to Hy-Brasil. Rowan has powerful enemies who threaten the safety of the island. Biddy’s determination to protect her home and her guardian takes her away from the safety of Hy-Brasil, to the poorhouses of Whitechapel, a secret castle beneath London streets, the ruins of an ancient civilization, and finally to a desperate chance to restore lost magic. But the closer she comes to answers, the more she comes to question everything she has ever believed about Rowan, her origins, and the cost of bringing magic back into the world.
Why I'm Excited: Yummy yummy fantasy historical fiction combo. I absolutely adore this synopsis and it feels warm and cozy but also mysterious? I am intrigued. I need more.
6. I Have Some Questions for You - Rebecca Makkai (Feb. 21)
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
Why I'm Excited: I think this is one of the most anticipated new releases of the year, so I guess it's not surprising that it's also on my list. Normally I'm turned off by the podcaster-in-a-thriller trope, but I think the boarding school trope overrides it this time.
7. The Monsters in Our Shadows - Edward J. Cembal (Feb. 28)
Anthem is the city Exilist, tasked with trapping the Shivers and banishing them to the malevolent Deadlands outside the city walls. But Anthem is ailing and destined to soon fall victim to his own Shiver, a fate he’s reluctantly accepted. As Anthem begins to withdraw from his world, a threat he’s unprepared for comes hurtling home. If he is to save anyone, he will have to travel into the Deadlands in search of a remedy to tame these creatures. But no Atlas dweller has ever made it back alive, and Anthem must confront his own darkness before humankind is forever lost to the monsters in our shadows.
Why I'm Excited: If you've read my anticipated picks from previous months, you'll know that I usually include one sleeper pick (probably horror) that will inevitably be impossible for me to get my hands on (November's was Desert Creatures, this month's is Briardark). That is 100% this book, but sounds so weird that my quest will be relentless.
8. The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi - S.A. Chakraborty (Feb. 28)
But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.
Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.
Why I'm Excited: I am so down for pirates and perhaps some supernatural demon antics. I haven't read The City of Brass trilogy although we all know I own it, but I'm confident that this writer is going to be an auto-buy author so I'm just going to prematurely jump on that train.
It's so good to be back on and posting! Are there any books you're excited for in February? I have a small stack of books to list within the coming week or so, along with some potential plans to start a book club? Details to be ironed out, but stay tuned!