Highlights: January 2022

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2022 has arrived! How crazy is that? Not only has the pandemic helped to make the last few years a blur, but it just seems insane that we are several years into the 20s at this point regardless. The holidays are behind us now, and the Minnesota cold seems to really settle in this time of year. But never fear, we have good books to warm our soul! Here are a few we’re looking forward to this month!

Serena’s Picks:

Book: “Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves” by Meg Long

Publication Date: January 11, 2022

Why I’m Interested: For one thing, look at that cover! Love everything about that. Also, I’m always going to be in for an “animal companion” story. And this book, with its relationship between Sena and her fighting wolf, Iska, right at the heart of it sounds right up my alley. I’m also intrigued by the dog-sled race on a dangerous ice planet, of course. But I’m mostly here for the animals feels, let’s be honest.

Book: “Echoes and Empires” by Morgan Rhodes

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This books follows a fairly basic YA fantasy premise: magic is bad, YA protagonist has magic and must hide/cure it, YA protagonist discovers that ALL MIGHT NOT BE AS IT SEEMS. But do I care if I’ve read this book description before, right up to and including the mysteriously handsome but untrustworthy love interest? No, I do not. I also haven’t read anything by Morgan Rhodes, but know that she’s a fairly beloved author by some in the YA fantasy community. So with that weak excuse, I’ll be checking this book out soon, I’m sure.

Book: “The Starless Crown” by James Rollins

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Everything about this book looks like fantasy, from the title that is about some type of crown to the description that features a rag tag group comprised of a seer, a soldier, a prince, and a thief. But it’s listed as science fiction! Color me intrigued. I’m always a bit wary of these multiple POV books, so I’m also a bit hesitant going in. It’s also a hefty time commitment, coming in at over 500 pages! Hopefully I’ll get to it soon, but I might wait for the audiobook version (sometimes I’m not as intimidated by the length when someone else is reading it to me!).

Kate’s Picks:

Book: “Mestiza Blood” by V. Castro

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Why I’m Interested: While overall I thought that “The Queen of the Cicadas” was a little scattered, I knew that I absolutely wanted to read more V. Castro because her horror voice was unique and compelling as hell. Enter “Mestiza Blood” a new collection of short stories by Castro that are sure to frighten, intrigue, and disturb! All while being rooted within the Chicana experience. As someone who is always looking for diverse voices in her read, especially within horror, I am very much looking forward to diving into this short story collection. Especially given that the first story is literally called “Night of the Living Dead Chola”. I mean, that’s just fantastic.

Book: “The Red Palace” by June Hur

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I’ve greatly enjoyed June Hur’s other historical mystery thrillers, so it’s probably not super surprising that “The Red Palace” made this list of anticipated new reads. In 1700s Korea, Hyeon is selected to become a nurse within the walls of the royal palace, a more prestigious position than most illegitimate girls can hope for. But things start to go wrong when four women in the palace are murdered in one night, and the person the authorities are focusing on is a dear friend to Hyeon. Now Hyeon hopes to prove that her friend is innocent, and seeks out the help from a young police inspector who is also determined to catch the real killer. But when the real killer’s identity is perhaps that of a powerful royal, things get all the more dangerous. The time is place has caught my attention once again, and I can’t wait to check this one out.

Book: “Devil House” by John Darnielle

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I really loved John Darnielle’s creepy and deeply mesmerizing “Wolf In White Van”, which sort of took on the Satanic Panic surrounding RPG games in the 1980s and turned it into a story about loneliness and escapism in the shadow of trauma. And now he’s come back with “Devil House”, which appears to be another Satanic Panic kinda tale involving a notorious house, two potential teen murderers, and an adrift true crime writer who is offered the job to move into the ‘Devil House’ and to write about it. And my guess is that unsettling and disturbing things start to happen after he moves in. But I would also guess that Darnielle has more than just a haunted house tale up his sleeves, and I’m hoping it will have similar melancholic beats as “Wolf in White Van”. Oh, and just look at that cover. I’m in love with it.

What books are you looking forward to this month?

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