Highlights: January 2023

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How is it 2023?!! I mean, we probably say that every year, but still, it’s always a bit shocking. All the more so when you have kids and every year marks another year they’ve been around being little terrors joys. But with the new year comes a whole new pile of books to get through! Here are the ones we’re particularly excited about this month!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries” by Heather Fawcett

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Why I’m Interested: This book checks off a lot of boxes for me. Scholarly, unsocial leading lady? Yes. Historical fantasy with an emphasis on folklore and faeries? Yes. Comedic love interest? Yes. While I’m always a bit nervous about books that are written a diary format, as I’ve struggled with this style in the past, I’m hopeful that the premise of these being working scholarly journals will help that for me. I also really like this cover. It’s fairly simple, but I think it nicely sets a particular tone for the type of fantasy novel the reader is picking up.

Book: “Mysteries of Thorn Manor” by Margaret Rogerson

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Why I’m Interested: Umm, obviously! I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Margaret Rogerson. And beyond that, this is a novella that she has described as “an author writing fanfic for their own novel.” Yes, please! I’m really excited to see more from Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and their demon companion, Silas. The romance had only just begun at the end of “Sorcery of Thorns,” so I can’t wait to see how this relationship develops further. And, of course, Silas’s return from the dead was a big surprise at the end of the novel, so I imagine there is a decent well of emotional drama to be drilled there, too. I’ll be getting to this one right away, count on that!

Book: “Swift the Storm, Fierce the Flame” by Meg Long

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Why I’m Interested: I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Long’s first book in this series, “Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves.” It was a clever, science fiction novel with the bond between a young woman and her half-feral wolf at the heart of the story. Along the way, they pick up some friends, including Remy, a young woman on the run from the corporation who created her. This is her story, and it promises to be one of revenge, betrayal, and the power of friendship. Yes, I’m a bit sad that there’s not an equivalent animal companion, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Kate’s Picks

Book: “The House in the Pines” by Ana Reyes

Publication Date: January 3, 2023

Why I’m Interested: This is one of my last ALAAC22 ARCs, and it took a lot of willpower to keep myself from jumping in a little too quickly given that its release was pretty much six months after obtaining it. But the time is here! When Maya was seventeen and about to go away to school, she met Frank, and was instantly smitten. But then her best friend Aubrey, who never liked Frank, died suddenly and mysteriously, and Maya was convinced Frank had something to do with it. Now seven years later, after running and never looking back, Maya sees a viral video of a woman dropping dead for no apparent reason, and sees that Frank is the man with her. Now she has to return to her hometown, and to Frank’s cabin in the woods, to try and get answers. Nothing good ever happens in a thriller with a remote cabin, so this one could be super tense.

Book: “How To Sell a Haunted House” by Grady Hendrix

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Why I’m Interested: I’m always up for some Grady Hendrix, a horror writer that brings some quirkiness and humor to his really effective horror stories. And it occurred to me when I read this description that the man hadn’t taken on the haunted house story until this one! So I’d say we’re about due! Louise and her brother Mark are estranged, living different lives on different parts of the country. But when their parents die in a tragic car accident, Louise returns to their home of Charleston and has to confront not only their deaths, but also the brother she has resented and been away from for all these years. They squabble about the house and the inheritance, but as they start trying to clean it out, strange things begin happening. There are weird sounds from the locked attic. Things turn on and off. And their mother’s puppet collection seems to be moving. Louise and Mark have to learn to get along, because how are you going to confront a haunting alone? Knowing Hendrix there will be some genuine heart with the scares and the humor.

Book: “One Girl in All the World” by Kendare Blake

Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Why I’m Interested: Well, for one, I absolutely LOVED the first book in the series, “In Every Generation”. For another, anything that brings back some of my favorite “Buffy” characters and does right by them is getting some love from me. But mostly, I am very eager to see where Kendare Blake takes Frankie Rosenberg and her new Scooby Gang. Frankie is still getting used to her slayer-witch powers, and with Buffy and the other slayers still missing she and her friends are doing their best to hold down the Hellmouth. But it doesn’t help that her new powers and the rumors of a dead Buffy have attracted some old friends back to the Hellmouth. On top of that, whispers of a new big bad, The Darkness, are making their way to Frankie and her friends and loved ones. What is The Darkness? And is Buffy alive out there somewhere? I am very pumped for this continuation! Especially if we get to see Spike as a school librarian some more.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: December 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

It’s that time of year where everything speeds up as we barrel towards holiday plans and the end of the year. The snow has fallen and the temperatures have dropped, and holiday lights have gone up around our neighborhoods and temptations of Christmas cookies and promises of Hanukkah latkes are ever present. And there are, of course, new books we are looking forward to!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “A Fire Endless” by Rebecca Ross

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I really enjoyed “A River Enchanted” when I read it last December. And then, of course, it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, with our recently married couple separated and each now dealing with huge revelations regarding their own parents and family history. The story also set up a looming conflict in the magical realm, where a powerful Fae lord has his eyes firmly on our young musician and his burgeoning abilities. I’m also excited to see how the book deals with these two divided and warring lands. There’s a lot to pack into this second book, but I have high hopes!

Book: “The Poison Season” by Mara Rutherford

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I’m always thrilled to find original fairytale fantasies. And this one is checking a lot of boxes! Leelo lives on a island with her entire family and community, surrounded on one side by a poisonous lake and on the other by a bloodthirsty forest. But what seems like horrors to others are seen as protection by these people who fear the outsiders on the other side. But when Leelo meets one of these outsiders, a young man who accidentally made his way to this strange island, she begins to question all that she knows of her people’s history. Color me intrigued!

Book: “Anastasia”

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I mean, I think the title says it all for this one! I have a special place in my heart for the animated “Antastasia” movie, it was definitely one of the most re-watched movies my sister and I agreed on. This story is blurbed as not only being the happily-ever-after story of this tragic character, but also a classic enemies-to-lovers romance. It’s also chocking in at a whopping 850 pages….what?? I honestly had to double check that number when I first saw it, but it seems right! So, this could either be one of those situations where you get more of a good thing or…filler city? I’m excited to find out!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “A History of Fear” by Luke Dumas

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: We all know that when it comes to horror sub-genres, demonic possession of religious horror aren’t super high on my ‘must read’ lists. But I was definitely intrigued by the description of “A History of Fear” by Luke Dumas, if only because I do love a moody unreliable story that has a lot of ambiguity attached to it. And this book is clearly going to fit all those bills, given that it’s a fictional ‘memoir’ of a man who murdered a classmate while he was studying in Edinburgh and insisted that the Devil made him do it. The premise alone is enough to catch my attention, but you throw in Scotland and a lot of potential personal angst and I am caught hook, line, and sinker.

Book: “Witcha Gonna Do?” by Avery Flynn

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Yeah, okay, so romances aren’t usually the genre I cover here (though that hasn’t stopped me before and it won’t stop me going forward!), but this one just sounds cute as heck! I do love a fun witch story, and I do love a bantery and sexual tension filled enemies to lovers romance, and “Witcha Gonna Do?” sounds like it hits both of those themes, and how! A magic-powerless witch has to team up with a maddening but hot rival to try and save her family from a curse, and as they butt heads a certain attraction also starts to bloom. It just sounds like fun escapist romance, and I am hoping to check it out!

Book: “The Ingenue” by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: While I’m not totally sure that my heart can take it right now given the implied thematics at hand, this was a book that caught my eye through promotions at ALA back in June. After Saskia, a child piano prodigy, returns to her childhood home as an adult after her mother’s death, she finds out that her mother left the house to a man from her past that had a dark impact on her life. As she tries to parse through what happened to her and the path it set her on, she has to keep from falling apart or letting her long kept secrets out. Again, it sounds like one I may need to wait on until I’m in a certain headspace, but the comparisons to both “My Dark Vanessa” and “The Queen’s Gambit” are admittedly very fascinating.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: November 2022

Kate weeps for the end of the Halloween Season, but now we are in November and we are barreling forward towards the winter holidays, where food and family rule and the cold weather in Minnesota starts to close in. Snow is pretty, but snow is also cold. Hopefully we still have some time to wait, and while we do we have some books that we are looking forward to this month!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Saint” by Adrienne Young

Publication Date: November 29, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I don’t know if I can properly express just how much I hate this cover. Honestly, if I didn’t know that Adrienne Young is an established author with a good number of well-received books under her belt already, I’d glance at this and think it was one of more poorly designed self-published books I’ve seen. That aside, however….this is the prequel to the “Fable” duology and tells the story of her famous father, Saint, and of her mother, a woman who died before Fable’s own story began. I’m really excited to see the love story play out between these two characters. Though I’m a bit hesitant, as it’s always kind of a bummer to read about character who you know are going to hit up against tragedy hard in their future.

Book: “Raven Unveiled” by Grace Draven

Publication Date: November 8, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Grace Draven is another author whom I’ve really enjoyed reading. I’ve gone through a lot of her back catalog over the years, but it has been especially fun reading her “Fallen Empire” trilogy as it’s come out. We’ve seen a lot familiar romantic pairing tropes covered and covered well. And like the first book, this romance is one of my favorites: enemies to lovers! It also features two characters who were introduced in the second book (to varying extents between them) and whose conflict was built into that book. After meeting them there, I was primed with excitement to see how their story would play out here, with Gharek, the late Queen’s “fixer” essentially, chasing after Siora, the woman who used to care for his daughter but whom he now sees as the person who betrayed them. Can’t wait to check this one out!

Book: “Tread of Angels” by Rebecca Roanhorse

Publication Date: November 15, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I’ve really been enjoying this author’s “Between Earthand Sky” series, so she’s become kind of a no-brainer for lists like this. She comes out with a new book? It’ll probably end up here. But this novella also sounds particularly interesting, following the story of a young woman setting out to try and save her sister who is accused of murder. Add in fallen angels, demons, and a strange new world, and this book sounds like just my cup of tea. Not to mention, November is a busy reading month for me; there are so many great upcoming books that I couldn’t fit on this list! That being the case, I’m happy to get my hands on a novella every once in a while.

Kate’s Picks

Book: “White Horse” by Erika T. Wurth

Publication Date: November 1, 2022

Why I’m Interested: You know how much I love a good horror story, especially if there are ghosts involved, and “White Horse” by Erika T. Wurth is getting a lot of hype in the horror community from people I trust. Kari has been perfectly satisfied with her metal music, her horror novel collection, and sitting at the local bar The White Horse a few nights a week. She tries not to think of the mother who left her when she was two days old, or her father’s accident that threw her into a caregiver role. But when her cousin Debbie brings Kari a bracelet that once belonged to her missing mother, Kari starts seeing the woman’s ghost, as well as visions of other, scarier things. Kari is determined to find out what happened to her mom, and to try and stave off whatever monster has come along for the ride.

Book: “Wayward” by Chuck Wendig

Publication Date: November 15, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Back in 2019, Chuck Wendig wrote a pandemic thriller/dystopia story called “Wanderers” in which a fungus based disease took out a huge majority of Earth’s population. And then a year later we were in the midst of an actual real-life pandemic, and while it wasn’t as deadly as White Mask by any means, it still turned the whole world upside down. And now we have the sequel, “Wayward”, and I have to say it’s an achievement of my own anxiety and mental health that I could pick up an 800+ page book about a pandemic raged America. The town of Ouray is home to the former sleepwalkers, Shepherds, and Black Swan, the AI that predicted world’s end. Benji is a well respected member of the community, Shana is awaiting the birth of her child after being in stasis for years, and Matthew is barely hanging on. But then Black Swan starts acting strange, and its followers are becoming more fervent. Soon Ouray doesn’t seem as utopic as it once did. I smell a cult, guys, and that sounds awesome.

Book: “Five Survive” by Holly Jackson

Publication Date: November 29, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I really loved Holly Jackson’s “Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” Trilogy, so it was a no brainer that I absolutely needed to read her next YA thriller novel “Five Survive”. Her stories are so addictive and fun, and this one goes in a whole different direction than what we saw with Pip in that previous series. Six friends are on an RV road trip hoping to meet up with friends for a relaxing and fun vacation. But when the RV’s tires blow, they are completely confused as to what could have happened, since the road looks clear. Then they realize that someone shot them out, and is watching them with a gun. The shooter says that they want a secret that one of them is hiding, and that person had better come clean, or else people will die. Soon the friends start questioning who they really are to each other.

What new books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: October 2022

Fall is officially here, and Kate’s season has arrived. Beyond all of the spooky reads to be found, we are both planning what our kids will be for Halloween while, more importantly, planning how we can steal most of their candy for ourselves. Hey, they’re still toddlers, we’re just being good parents by preventing tiny cavities! But we’re also both looking forward to pulling out all of the cozy blankets and curling up with some great reads. Here are a few we’re looking forward to this month!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “The River of Silver” by S.A. Chakraborty

Publication Date: October 11, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This book of short stories has been released in audiobook format for a bit now. But it’s just now releasing as a physical book and so I’m including it here now since this is the format I prefer to read for this series. I’m very excited to return to this world, and the book description promises a nice balance of perspectives between fan favorite characters, characters we’ve only seen in the background, and a couple of completely brand new faces. Given how sprawling this world and history is, I’m sure there are plenty of stories to be mined, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Book: “Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove” by Rati Mehrotra

Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Why I’m Interested: While most fantasy fiction readers have read a ton of European medieval fantasy, what’s more rare is medieval fantasy set in other parts of the world. So with this story coming in as a fantasy version of medieval India, I was definitely interested from the get go. I also really like this cover. It’s not doing anything super flashy, but it speaks to my old-school fantasy loving self somehow. I’m a bit concerned by the book description which lists our teenage female protagonists as “the best guardswoman ever,” as I’m on record as having a major eye-roll problem with this particular trope. But we’ll see if Mehrotra has a new take on some of this.

Book: “Princess of Souls” by Alexandra Christo

Publication Date: October 11, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Speaking of covers, this one reminds me strongly of “The NeverEnding Story” and its intertwined snake pendant. That aside, I was able to nab an ARC of this from ALA, so I’ve been eagerly waiting for my chance to pick it up. It’s sold as a Rapunzel-inspired story following a young woman with the ability to steal souls. I’m not quite sure where the Rapunzel stuff gets into this (even reading the full Goodreads description, I’m not sure), but I do love a good fairytale retelling, so I’m quite hopeful!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “Malice House” by Megan Shepherd

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This was one of my ARC highlights from ALAAC22, as it had been on my radar for a few months by the time I was headed to the conference. Chuck Wendig was singing its praises and that was good enough for me! Haven is an aspiring illustrator who returns to her author father’s seaside estate, Malice House, after his death following a long battle with dementia. While staying there she finds a hand written manuscript of a book he never published, and as a horror collection it’s a creepy departure from his literary works. Haven thinks that it could be the key to jump starting her illustration career, and begins to draw the creatures from its pages. But then strange things start happening, ranging from scary noises at night to people dying in town. Her father had always said the house was haunted, and now Haven may be living her own horror story. This Gothic horror novel is sure to scratch a haunted house itch!

Book: “Such Sharp Teeth” by Rachel Harrison

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Rachel Harrison has been a must read author for me ever since her debut “The Return”, and then the tonal shift between that scary story and her whimsical witch tale “Cackle” showed her versatility. Now she’s taking on the werewolf story, and I am very, very excited about it. Rory has returned to her small hometown after her twin sister Scarlett begged her to come be with her. Scarlett is pregnant and recently single, and Rory, though she hates her hometown, drops everything to be with her twin. But one night after bar hopping at the old haunts, Rory is attacked by a ferocious creature, leaving a weird injury that bleeds silver. Now Rory is starting to notice weird changes to her body and personality, which only get worse as the full moon gets closer. After transforming into a werewolf, Rory is determined to keep those she loves safe… and determined to figure out if she can break this werewolf curse. Harrison always has snappy feminist themes in her books, and I expect this one will be the same!

Book: “Jackal” by Erin E. Adams

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This was a book that ended up in my email box from the publisher, and while I hadn’t heard of it until then, I was immediately taken with the description. It has so many elements that I love: missing people. Small town secrets. Social horror themes. “Jackal” sounds like it could be more of a thriller, but my gut feeling is that this book is going to be scary as hell. Liz is returning to her rural Pennsylvania town after years of being away. Being one of the only Black people in Johnstown was incredibly difficult, but her childhood best friend is getting married, so she’s willing to return for that. But then the bride’s daughter Caroline goes missing. And it’s not the first time a young Black woman has disappeared in this town, as Liz remembers one from her youth who did as well, as was found dead with her heart removed. As Liz looks into it, she finds a disturbing pattern of Black girls missing and murdered. Liz is desperate to find Caroline before it happens to another one. I’m bracing myself for scares and probably lots of heartbreak with this one.

What new books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: September 2022

Summer has basically come to an end, and that means that Fall is here. For Kate this is great news, as it means the spooky season is nearly upon us. Serena isn’t as optimistic about the change in season, as that can only mean that Winter is coming. But before the cold really sets in, we have plans for the Fall, and that means that we also have some new books we’re looking forward to!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Foul Lady Fortune” by Chloe Gong

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Kate nabbed a copy of this one for me at ALA this year, so it’s a given that it would end up on my highlights list for this month! I haven’t read the previous duology, a reimagining of “Romeo and Juliet,” but it sounded like this would be approachable even to newbies. The story follows Rosalyn, a character originally introduced in the first duology, a young woman who has devoted her life to trying to make amends for previous betrayals by working for her country as an assassin. But her life takes a shift when she finds herself assigned not to an assassination job but to go undercover as a spy alongside one of the most infuriating young men she’s ever met. I love both assassination and spy stories, so I’m very excited to check out this book.

Book: “Notorious Sorcerer” by Davinia Evans

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This is one of those cases where I’d pick up this book based purely on the title alone. It also has two of my favorite fantasy things: alchemy and magical libraries. It’s the story of a young street rat turned low-level alchemist who accidentally performs a magical feat far beyond his supposed capability. Now with more attention than he knows what to do with, Siyon doesn’t know who or what to trust. And things are about to get much, much worse when a threat arises that calls into the question of his entire world. I received an ARC for this in the mail, and definitely excited to see what it has to offer!

Book: “The Golden Enclaves” by Naomi Novik

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Obviously! I mean…obviously! And here’s where I reveal the extreme spoiledness that I’ve now become accustomed to: I have to wait for the book to actually release before getting to read it, as I haven’t found any eARCs available anywhere! I mean, I get it. This is the third book in a popular series; not like you need much word of mouth to drive sales on this one. Or…is it because it ends tragically and all of the reviewers will be too busy crying under their covers to post reviews early anyways? I’m so excited. I’m so nervous.

Kate’s Picks

Book: “The Weight of Blood” by Tiffany D. Jackson

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Tiffany D. Jackson is a must read author for me, and given that “Carrie” is one of my favorite Stephen King novels, the combination here is too rife with possibility to pass up. Maddy is an outcast at her school who has always passed for white, but when an unexpected rainstorm outs her as biracial, a racially charged bullying attack goes viral. Hoping to avoid being seen as racist, the school community decides to finally integrate the Prom, and Maddy is asked by a popular Black football player to attend at the behest of his white girlfriend… And you can probably guess where things go. Jackson reimagining “Carrie” with social themes of racism, colorism, and identity is inspired, and given how well she’s done with horror in the past, hopes are high for this one!

Book: “I’m The Girl” by Courtney Summers

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Why I’m Interested: “Sadie” was a gut punch of a read, and I love how Courtney Summers has a no holds barred approach to her YA fiction in that she takes on dark topics and doesn’t sugarcoat, trusting her readers to be able to process and handle the themes she presents. “I’m The Girl” is her newest thriller, and I’m sure I will be steeling myself for it. Georgia is a teenage girl who has always known she is beautiful, and that if you wield your beauty it can be powerful. She wants to work at the local luxury resort, knowing it is good money, and that she could achieve what her mother, a former ‘Aspera Girl’, never did. But when she is hit by a car, and then finds the body of a thirteen year old girl thrown from the vehicle, she is entangled in a web of privilege, opulence, power, and danger. This was a much anticipated ALA grab for me, so it had to make the list.

Book: “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Another ALA grab, though this one was autographed by the author himself (and he was a delight! He complimented my Motley Crüe tee shirt, in spite of the fact it was a clear indicator of last day fatigue, clothing effort wise)! I’ve been hearing deeply scary things about “Ghost Eaters”, so that makes me VERY excited for this book. After refusing to pick up her on again, off again boyfriend Silas from rehab, Erin thinks that setting this boundary will be far more healthy for them both. But after Silas ends up dead of an overdose shortly thereafter, the guilt is almost too much. Then, Erin hears whispers of a drug that allows you to see the dead, and that Silas had started messing with it, she wants answers to alleviate her guilt, and tries the drug herself in hopes of closure. Instead, terrifying visions of angry spirits start to plague her. Just in time for the Halloween season, and I’m definitely going to showcase it during this year’s Horrorpalooza!

What new books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: August 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

Hot, hot, hot. Have we mentioned that it’s been hot? But while Kate eagerly looks forward to the cool weather of the fall and the Halloween Horrorpalooza, Serena somehow remains sad to think of the hot weather going away. But either way (one of us sensibly staying in the AC indoors and the other sweating it out in the sun) we still have a lot of books to get through this summer. Here are a few we’re looking forward to this month!

Serena’s Picks:

Book: “Soul Taken” by Patricia Briggs

Publication Date: August 23, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I’ve been a faithful reader of the Mercy Thompson series for several years now. With all of that time, I’ve seen all of the highs and lows of the series. Currently, the series has been on a bit of a streak with some fun stories one after another. But that always makes me nervous that the trend could collapse at any moment. This story, revolving around an urban legend (a murderer with a scythe) that seems to have come to life, sounds kind of strange, but who knows? There also seems to be an emphasis on the local vampires, and as that is a particularly interesting supernatural group in this series, I’m excited to see what more there is to learn!

Book: “Wildbound” by Elayne Audrey Becker

Publishing Info: August 30, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I really loved last year’s “Forestborn.” It was one of those surprise hits where I really had no expectations going in, but by the time I had finished, I just loved it. It didn’t end on an outright cliffhanger, but it was right up to that line. So I knew when I saw this one coming out this summer that I’d be right at the front of the line. This time, it looks like the POV will be split between Rora and her brother, Helos. I’m not sure how I feel about that, as I really enjoyed Rora as a single narrator and Helos was not the most likeable character ever in that first book. But who knows? Either way, I’m excited to see this story wrapped up.

Book: “The Drowned Woods” by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Publication Date: August 16, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Ever since devouring “The Bone Houses” a few years ago, I’ve been stalking Emily Lloyd-Jones’s Goodreads page for news of another book from her. So I was beyond thrilled when I saw this book lined up to come out this summer. Even more exciting, I nabbed an ARC copy at ALA! Talk about a win! This book has been marketed as “Welsh Atlantis” and I have no idea what that means, but I’m excited. Really, I would have been excited if this had been marketed as “a book about a puddle of mud,” but a vengeful mage, a deadly assassin, and some sort of heist sounds right up my alley!

Kate’s Picks:

Book: “Shutter” by Ramona Emerson

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Why I’m Interested: We all already know that stories about people who can see/communicate with ghosts are very much my jam, and that I have an enjoyment of crime procedurals as well. So when you take those two things, add in examinations of police corruption, and make it all from an Indigenous perspective, I am going to be 100% on board. I was lucky to snag “Shutter” by Ramona Emerson at ALAAC22, and I have been eager for it. Rita is a photographer who works for the Albuquerque police department, who has been able to see ghosts ever since she was a little girl growing up on a Navajo reservation with her grandmother. When a victim named Erma realizes that Rita can see her, she is hellbent on making Rita figure out what happened. But it gets Rita caught up in a dark underbelly of cartel violence as she reluctantly investigates. This has been a can’t wait read for 2022 and it’s finally here.

Book: “Kismet” by Amina Akhtar

Publication Date: August 1, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Far be it from me to be any kind of wellness or spiritual healing kind of person. The closest I get is the occasional bath bomb in the tub after a long day. But I am VERY interested to see what Amina Akhtar does with this culture, as she is known to be a balls to the wall thriller author. Ronnie has spent her entire life in Queens, living with an repressive aunt and wondering if she has any choices for herself. When she meets Marley, a self help influencer, they click, and Marley convinces her to leave her life behind and move with her to a wellness loving community in Arizona. Ronnie is excited to start over… until other wellness aficionados in their community start dying over the top deaths. Soon Ronnie starts fearing that their wellness based community is anything but. This seems like it could be raucous and fun.

Book: “The Devil Takes You Home” by Gabino Iglesias

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This has been on horror lists all year long in terms of most hyped and most anticipated, which is a strong argument on its own, but I read Gabino Iglesias’s previous book “Coyote Songs” and found it strange and unsettling, so that pushed it into ‘must read’ territory. Mario never imagined he would be a hit man, but when his young daughter was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, he had to take on this dangerous profession to pay the ever mounting bills. After she dies, Mario is left broken and despondent. When a friend approaches him with a very dangerous job, but one that would make him debt free and allow him to start over, Mario accepts. But their job takes them not only into the violent world of Mexican cartels, but also into otherworldly horrors that only progress as their mission goes on. Iglesias is a quickly rising star in the horror novel world, and this one will surely be on many horror fans lists this year.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: July 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

Summer is fully here with all of its lovely humidity in tow. And sadly, ALA is now behind us and before us lies a summer with demanding kids who are still too young to take advantage of the swimming entertainment option. Ah, well, soon enough. Knowing us and the types of kids we’ll probably raise, they’ll likely grow up to be the ones reading on the beach instead of swimming anyways. When we get a chance, here are the books we’re looking forward to this month.

Serena’s Picks:

Book: “Ten Thousand Stitches” by

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I devoured “Half a Soul” in June, a Regency fantasy about a young lady going about life with half a soul and half the emotional abilities of a regular person. It was everything I love about the genre. That being the case, it was a no brainer that I would be checking out this second book by Atwater released just a month later. This time we follow a maid with a particular skill with embroidery who dreams of life beyond the limits of her station. Soon enough she gets caught up in a faerie bargain, and we all know where things go from there. After how much I enjoyed the first book, my expectations for this one are sky high!

Book: “Dead Water” by C. A. Fletcher

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This is probably one of my more anticipated releases of the summer. “A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World” blew my socks off and took me out of nowhere. That being the case, I was waiting to see what the author would do next. Turns out there seems to be a theme of the summer and, bizarrely, it’s zombie bunnies? Taking a turn from the apocalyptical story of his first novel, this outing focuses on a remote island community and a strange illness? Force? That is overtaking the people. It sounds completely different than the first book so I’m really excited to see what’s in store this go around!

Book: “The Book of Gothel” by Mary McMyne

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Obviously, I always love fairytale retellings of basically all varieties. But there’s something extra fun about ones that refocus the story on a secondary or minor character than the original protagonists. Lately, there’s been a theme of telling popular fairytales from the villain’s perspective. And that’s what we have here, the story of “Rapunzel” retold from the perspective of the witch fabled for locking her in the tower. It promises to be an interesting medieval fantasy focusing on, what else, the theme of the fear inspired by powerful, mysterious women. Very excited for this one, too.

Kate’s Picks

Book: “The Pallbearers Club” by Paul Tremblay

Publication Date: July 5, 2022

Why I’m Interested: PAUL TREMBLAY, Y’ALL! I know I can’t leave it at that. So… PAUL TREMBLAY AND MAYBE VAMPIRES, Y’ALL (I got chided on another platform for supposed spoilers, but it’s in various big name reviews for don’t even try it). I love Paul Tremblay’s books with every fiber of my being, and I was amped when I saw he had a new one, and what it entailed. Art Barbara has written his memoirs, going back to his teenage years and reminiscing about a time when he started an extracurricular group that would help out at funerals… and how he met cool girl Mercy Brown, who changed his life. Their friendship was on and off for years, and Art has some interesting theories about her backstory… And someone has gotten their hands on the memoirs and has their OWN opinions on the backstory. This book is sure to be creepy and unnerving, but given that it’s Tremblay it is sure to be absolutely devastating as well.

Book: “Things We Do in the Dark” by Jennifer Hillier

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Jennifer Hillier is one of those thriller authors that not only knows how to create a dark and enticing thriller, but she also knows how to lay on the suds to make it all the more engaging and dynamic. In “Things We Do in the Dark”, Paris Peralta is a trophy wife to an aging comedian… who is accused of his murder when she’s found next to his very dead body. Paris has a good lawyer, and Paris didn’t kill her husband. But Paris IS nervous about some other dirty laundry coming out, secrets from her past that involve a notorious murderer named Ruby “The Ice Queen” Reyes. I love a good Hillier story and I”m sure this one will be filled with lots of surprises.

Book: “Mary: An Awakening of Terror” by Nat Cassidy

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Why I’m Interested: This is one that flew under my radar for awhile, but then kept popping up on various social media feeds. So much so that I had to look into it. And when I read the description, I was snared completely. Multiple people kept using the phrases ‘peri-Menopausal’ and ‘Carrie-esque’. I mean, come on, aren’t you snared?! Mary is an ordinary woman who has been dealing with the starts of menopause. There’s hot flashes, dizziness, overall soreness…. and also strange voices telling her to do terrible things. When she leaves the big city after losing her job, she arrives back to the small town she grew up in. And then the strange voices and urges amp up. It sounds weird as hell, but I super appreciate that our horror protagonist is repping a group we may not see as often in the genre!

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: June 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

We’ve both been anxiously awaiting June this year. Not only does it finally feel like not winter anymore (here in Minnesota with all the humidity, summer’s a mixed blessing…but not winter? That’s truly great!), but June is the month of the ALA annual convention. We’ve been two other times before, once in Las Vegas (our cardigans really helped us blend in with the crowd) and again in Chicago. We meant to go several years ago, but, you know, Covid ruined everything for everyone. But finally, FINALLY, we are going again! It’s not until the end of the month, however, so here are some books we’re looking forward to reading to tide us over until then!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “Half a Soul” by Olivia Atwater

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Fairie courts? Check! Strange curses? Check! Regency romance? Double check! I’m so excited to read this book, if you didn’t get the idea. The story follows Dora Ettings, a young woman who lost half her soul to a fairie curse early in her life. As such, she has no filter and practically no chances in the marriage mart. But that’s ok with her, being more than happy to simply support her cousin her courtship goals. Enter a grumpy sorcerer and a mystery surrounding children falling under strange magical sleeps, and even a cursed young woman can find life taking an unexpected turn! I had a hard time waiting until June to dive into this one, so look for a review to come shortly!

Book: “For the Throne” by Hannah Whitten

Publication Date: June 7, 20202

Why I’m Interested: I really enjoyed “For the Wolf” when I read it last year. It was an excellent stand-alone fantasy. But it also laid the groundwork for this, the sequel and Red’s sister Neve’s own story. After realizing the sheer folly of her past decisions and falling into a dark underworld, Neve will do practically anything to return to her sister Red. However, the longer she remains in this world of monsters, the more she begins to question whether she is herself one of them and this is where she truly belongs. There’s also an anti-hero love interest, so this entire thing very much gives off “Hades & Persephone” vibes. Given how much I liked the first book and Neve herself in that book, I can’t wait to see where the story goes from there!

Book: “Juniper & Thorn” by Ava Reid

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Why I’m Interested: As faithful blog readers may remember, last summer was the season of the “Red Riding Hood” retellings for me. I ended up liking two out of the three. And even more luckily for me, both of those books came out with sequels/companion novels this summer! In this instance, “Juniper & Thorn” is set in the same world as “The Wolf and the Woodsman” but it introduces a new set of characters. This dark fantasy story follows Manlinchen and her two sisters who are essentially held captive in their own home by their cruel, cursed father. But soon enough Manlinchen finds a way to escape at night and an entire new world opens up to her. However, there’s a darkness haunting her city, and Manlinchen begins to suspect her family may be at the center of it. I’m not very familiar with “The Juniper Tree,” the fairytale this based on, so I’m curious to see what’s in store!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Riley Sager is a must read author for me, his books always offering up something that I enjoy and look forward to every year. His newest book, “The House Across the Lake”, sounds like it’s a little bit of “Rear Window” with a little bit of “The Girl on the Train”. Casey has sought out the solitude of a cabin on a lake after she finds herself a widow and the victim of a tabloid frenzy. In the house across the lake she keeps and interested eye on Tom and Katherine, a seemingly happily married couple. Casey makes friends with Katherine, but then shortly thereafter Katherine disappears. Casey is desperate to find out what happened to her new friend, but as she investigates she uncovers secrets that were best left hidden away. Sager can always find a way to surprise me, so this should be a treat!

Book: “Never Coming Home” by Kate Williams

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Why I’m Interested: You grab my interest when you describe a teen thriller that involves influencers in danger, and when it sounds like it takes inspiration from the Fyre Festival you have my full and entire buy in. This is why “Never Coming Home” by Kate Williams made the list. Ten teenager influencers have been invited to spend a vacation at Unknown Island, a resort that is so exclusive it is invite only, and only for people under 21. What this group of influencers doesn’t realize, however, is that they have been invited to Unknown Island for very specific reasons, as all of them have dark pasts and things to hide. And it seems that someone has found them out. This really sounds like it’s going to be a soapy fun thriller that will make the Fyre Festival seem downright tame.

Book: “A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons” by Kate Khvari

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Why, poisons, of course! I always say that I’m not a big plant person, but the plants that I’m a guaranteed sucker for are poisonous ones. And any mystery thriller that uses mysterious poisons as a murder weapon is going to end up on my to read list, hence “A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons” making the highlights this month. It’s post WWI England, and Saffron Everleigh is one of the only women researchers at her prestigious university, following in her father’s footsteps in botany and working with a kind and intelligent mentor. But when the wife of a colleague is poisoned at a party, and her mentor is the main suspect, she is determined to clear his name, and starts to look into the various poisonous plants that could be at the killer’s disposal. I mean, come on. That sounds super fun.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: May 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

According to the poets, May is the month that we can hold in contempt if it doesn’t not provide the necessary number of flowers to make up for all of the April showers. But, in the meantime, we’ll take the fact that the trees are showing signs of life as good enough for now. There have even been a few tempting days of sun that promise of days to come when reading outside will once again be an option. Until then, here are some books we’re looking forward to his month!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “The Murder of Mr. Wickham” by Claudia Gray

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I think most Jane Austen fans are probably one of the snobbier groups of readers when it comes to adaptations of their beloved original novels. But as “Death Comes to Pemberley” proves, miracles can happen and good book (even good mini series!) can come from continuations of these stories. Here, we have a murder mystery that takes place in the home of Emma and Mr. Knightley. The suspects? All of our beloved main couples from the other novels! And who better to solve the mystery than the oldest son of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Jonathan, and the young daughter of the Tilney’s, Juliet. I’m so nervous and hopeful for this book!

Book: “Wind Daughter” by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Why I’m Interested: After really enjoying “Echo North,” it was a no-brainer to jump immediately on to the sequel that was conveniently coming out this month! We even met the main character, the daughter of the North Wind himself, in the first book! Here, we follow the story of Satu as she travels the land trying to reign in her father’s magic that has gone wild after the death of the evil queen in the last book. But is she gone for good? Or is she controlling the actions of the mysterious Lord of Winter, a man who seems to pop up wherever Satu finds herself and clearly has plans of his own. I really enjoyed “Echo North,” and it’s always great to find a series of books that exist in the same world but are each stand-alones in their own right.

Book: “The Stardust Thief” by Chelsea Abdullah

Publication Date: May 17, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Will I ever get tired of reading books based on “The Arabian Nights” or reimagining the world of jinn? No, no I will not. So I was so excited when I received an ARC of this one in the mail. This is a three POV book featuring a thief, a merchant of magical goods, and a storyteller prince. Thrown together against all of their wills, they are sent on a perilous journey to recover a magical lamp said to house the most powerful jinn of them all. But in a land where jinn are hunted for their magic, there are more powerful figures scheming behind the scenes than any of them could imagine. The entire thing sounds super exciting and right up my alley. Can’t wait to dive in!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “The Hacienda” by Isabel Cañas

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Gothic ghost stories always catch my attention, and when the comparisons to “Mexican Gothic” and “Rebecca” were added to the description as well, my attention was less caught and more snared. When Beatríz marries Don Rodolfo Solórzano she moves to his home of Hacidena San Isidro, with the hopes that this marriage will provide her with the security that she lost when her father was murdered by opposition forces. But when strange and terrifying things start to happen in her new home, she wonders if the rumors of his first wife’s demise are perhaps true, and turns to a young priest for help. I’m always looking for new Gothic stories, and when they go beyond the typical conventions with themes and characters it’s all the more interesting.

Book: “Hide” by Kiersten White

Publication Date: May 24, 2022

Why I’m Interested: Serena and I have reviewed Kiersten White on this blog a number of times, though admittedly she’s been more in Serena’s camp, genre wise. But we’re back to a suspenseful and/or horror story from her, and I am very excited about that! An old abandoned amusement park is the setting for a high stakes hide and seek game that goes on for a week. If you aren’t found, you will win lots of money. Mack has entered because she has had to hide from serious danger in the past, so she feels she could easily win. But when her competitors start to disappear, Mack starts to think that things are even more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. This all sounds supremely strange and creepy, so I’m very excited for this one.

Book: “The Last Comic Book on the Left” by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski et al

Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Why I’m Interested: If the “Last Podcast” guys are involved, I’m going to be 100% on board. Given how much I loved their first book “The Last Book on the Left” (and how much I love their podcast), when I heard that Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel, and Henry Zebrowski had pulled together a comic book with various odd tales from their show, I was amped. And you REALLY have me when you make promises of Mothman in any form, so this promised sexy Mothman has be vaguely nervous but also very interested. I’m also very curious to see who they all bring on board in terms of comics people, and what styles they are going to bring to these stories.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Highlights: April 2022

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

We’ve finally started to see some warmer days and some snow melting. But the biggest perk has been the return to longer days and lighter evenings. Us Minnesotans are an optimistic bunch with regards to these (comparably) milder temperatures, so it wouldn’t surprise us to see people breaking out the BBQs in the balmy 50 degree days we’re see. We’re happy enough to still stay indoors, though, with our books. Here are some we’re looking forward to this month!

Serena’s Picks

Book: “The City of Dusk” by Tara Sim

Why I’m Interested: For one thing, I really like the cover on this book. I’d definitely stop and check it out had I come across it in the bookstore. Luckily for me, the publisher sent me an early copy, so this one will be coming up soon in my reviews! The story follows four heirs to powerful families, each that follow a unique god that grants them specific magical abilities. But dark powers are moving and the gods are restless. Can these four navigate the way forward, each with their own motivations and fears? I’m always a bit nervous about multiple POV books, but I’m pretty excited to check this one out!

Book: “Nettle & Bone” by T. Kingfisher

Why I’m Interested: Again, great cover! Love everything about. I also love everything about what this stories seems to be about. That is, a fairytale of a young woman who sets out on a quest to save her sister from her cruel husband, the prince of a neighboring land. Along the way, she meets a powerful fairy godmother, a possessed chicken, and a knight from another land who fell into a fairy circle and has been trapped for who knows how long. Like I said, everything about that sounds right up my alley! I love fairytales and the combination of magical quests with seemingly quirky characters (possessed chicken??) seems like a recipe for success in my book. Can’t wait to check it out!

Book: “Hotel Magnifique” by Emily J. Taylor

Why I’m Interested: This book has garnered comparison to “The Night Circus.” That’s both an incredible plus (“The Night Circus” is so popular that I’m sure tons of fantasy readers will leap at any chance to reexperience that blend of magic!). But it’s also a heavy weight to carry. Can this story stand up to that behemoth? The story follows a young woman and her sister who are hired on as help at the mysterious and magical Hotel Magnifique, a hotel that holds wonders within its doors and magically jumps from location to location. So right away it’s easy to see the connection to “The Night Circus.” I also always love sisters stories, so I’m not going to lie, my expectations for this one are pretty high!

Kate’s Picks

Book: “Very Bad People” by Kit Frick

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Why I’m Interested: The whole ’secret society at a boarding school’ angle absolutely catches my interest, as does the fact that it’s a new Kit Frick book. I enjoyed ”I Killed Zoe Spanos” when it came out a couple years ago, so I look forward to reading something new by her. When Calliope joins a new prestigious private school, it’s a nice change of pace after a few years of mourning her mother’s death in a car accident. She is soon approached by the Haunt and Rail, a secret society on campus that strives to put social justice at the forefront of the school community. But when Calliope finds out that her mother was also a member when she went to the school, and that it may have connection to her death, she feels she has to investigate. No matter how dangerous it could be. Dark academia is always a solid concept for me, so this sounds promising.

Book: “The Fervor” by Alma Katsu

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Why I’m Interested: I have really loved Alma Katsu’s previous historical horror novels, and this one sounds like it’s going to be her most relevant and disturbing yet. Taking place at one of the Japanese internment camps during WWII, it follows a mother and daughter duo named Meiko and Aiko, who have been imprisoned while the family patriarch fights in the war. Soon a mysterious illness is spreading through the camp, which starts off normal enough, but then turns into uncontrollable fits of aggression. As Meiko investigates, she becomes convinced that it is actually a demon from her past that is hellbent on entering their world, and hopes to stop it. Japanese internment still feels super relevant these days, and I cannot wait to see what Katsu does with that theme as well as the themes of yokai in Japanese folklore.

Book: “Locke & Key: The Golden Age” by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez (Ill.)

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Why I’m Interested: The timing on this really worked out, given that the past two comics re-reads I did were ”Locke & Key” and ”The Sandman”! Joe Hill returns to Keyhouse as well as his Locke family mythology to tell more stories about the keys and the realms they open, bringing Gabriel Rodriguez along for the ride. This collection has some new stories, as well as the crossover that ”Locke & Key” did with ”The Sandman” universe. I’ve been very interested to look into more of the Key mythos, and to see the way that two well plotted fantasy horror comics come together as one.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

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