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It’s a brand new year and with that comes a whole new crop of new release books. It’s the time of year when readers are optimistically signing on to book challenges, buddy reads, and book clubs. While older, non-new release books are on many of our radars (and toppling TBR piles), we cannot help but stop and oogle over the new and the shiny.
I write a ton about back list (non-new release) books on this blog (couple posts here and here), but I too get consumed by the fear of missing out and anticipation that comes on January 1st of each year.
That said, there are some REALLY amazing-looking new releases slated for early in 2020. Some are pretty hyped and others are less well known but all of the following new books have my (undivided) attention.
Upcoming New Book Releases I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020
Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (Jan 14, St. Martin’s Press): Chamberlain is a prolific author, but I have never read anything of hers. I will be remedying that this year, and this one is high up on my list. A story told in two time periods, it’s about two female artists: one living in present times in a Correctional Facility and the other struggling to make ends meet in the 1940s. Both in North Carolina, they are connected by one painting, a mural that holds the key to a mystery of their small town and its troubling history. (Available now)
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Jan 21st, Flatiron): If you have heard about this book, then I am sure you have already heard this sentence, but I will go ahead and type it: The hype is real. There has also been quite a lot of controversy, but that makes me even more interested in reading it so that I can join in the conversation. Lydia, a book store owner who lives with her journalist husband and son in Acapulco, has a comfortable existence. But when her husband writes an expose of the “jefe” of the newest drug cartel in Acapulco, Lydia’s world is turned upside down. At once compelling and important, this one is being described as “The Grapes of Wrath of our time.” (Available Now)
UPDATED: American Dirt has been called out by many in the Latinx community as not portraying migrants fairly, accurately or with authenticity. I am still struggling with whether or not I should read American Dirt, but I do know I will be seeking out #ownvoices authors in the coming weeks to read alongside it, if I do.
Buy Yourself the F’ing Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life by Tara Shuster (Feb 18, Dial Press): A few years ago if you said the words “self care” to me, I would have immediately thought of weekend spa treatments. But as a busy mom in my 40s, I now realize that daily self care is a crucial part of not only a good life, but also basic good mental health. The author, once a highly sought after TV executive associated with talented artists such as Jon Stewart and Key & Peele, was outwardly successful but inwardly, she was a mess. Hitting rock bottom one day and making a drunken cry for help to her therapist, she realizes she has to climb out of her hole. (I was given an E-Galley from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (Feb 18, Berkley): St. James is a new to me author that I am hoping to read this year, and I have heard good things about two of her previous books: The Haunting of Maddy Clare and The Broken Girls. To save money to move to NYC, Viv is working as a night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Upstate New York. As people pass through and locals come and go, as they often do in a roadside motel, she finds something is wrong – something eerie and scary – and she is determined to uncover the secrets that are hidden there.
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson (Feb 25, Crown): Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City is one of my favorite books. The subject matter of his last few books have not appealed to me as much, but my little Anglophile heart is very excited for this one. In fact, I think it looks to be one of the best new history books coming out this year. About British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during WWII, this one is written from diaries, official reports and once-secret documents. It tells the story of Churchill’s day-to-day life and family alongside that of the dire matters of State the leader was facing during this time. I would be remiss if I did not also mention the new book Lady Clementine about Churchill’s wife that came out Jan 7th and would be a great companion read.
Privilege by Mary Adkins (March 10th, Harper): Mary Adkins’ debut When You Read This was on my best books of 2019 list and that means, I am positively clamoring for this one. Taking place at an elite southern college, the “Harvard of the South,” this book tells the story of three women of differing backgrounds whose lives intersect when there is an assault and they are not all on the same side. Told from their alternating perspectives, the women have to navigate not only the tricky situation they find themselves in but also the heated campus politics inherent at such institutions.
The Deep by Alma Katsu (March 10, Penguin Group) I have a copy of The Hunger, also by Katsu, sitting on my shelf as we speak and I hope to get to it soon. This one, a creepy tale that tells about haunted happenings on the Titanic followed by chilling events taking place on her sister ship, the Britannic.
Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (March 31, Vintage): A funny and edgy book of essays from the hilarious Samantha Irby, this one is about Irby’s new life in the Midwest. It’s the much-anticipated follow up to Irby’s book We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and it just looks like good snarky fun.
Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (April 7, Quirk Books) If you did not chuckle when you read the title then listen to this from the publisher: “Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.” I am so in.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (April 7, G.P. Putnam Sons): Last year, I read and loved The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (my review). I am not a huge fan of this genre, but reading that one made me realize I need more romance books in my life. You Deserve Each Other looks to be in a similar vein. Naomi is engaged to the perfect man but there is just one problem: she wants out. As the wedding nears, she figures out the groom-to-be feels the same but the only catch is that whoever bails first has to foot the bill for the nonrefundable wedding. What follows is hilarious acts of deceit and sabatage that make this one the sole romance book on this list.
Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles (April 14, William Morrow): I adored News of the World, and so I am eagerly awaiting this next one by Jiles. It’s about a young man, Simon, who is conscripted into the Confederate Army during the Civil War as a fiddler in a regimental band. He meets a young Irish girl and although they are forced to go their separate ways, he vows to find her once again. Historical fiction with a side of romance = my favorite!
The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America’s Wildlands (July 7, Grand Central Publishing): The true crime fanatic in me is dying to get this one about many cold case disappearances, all in our National Parks. Especially focusing on missing person cases that are extremely odd and even embarrassing for the Parks Service officials in charge of search and rescue, reading about these missing people (along with the ones they left behind) will have you thinking twice before spending much time outdoors.