Book lovers are known for their book
hoarding collecting. It is also a much lamented fact that buying books and actually reading them are two very distinct and different hobbies.
I would say the same thing about the difference between compiling book lists and actually reading the books on said list.
I am a list maker from way back, but ever since I have been blogging about books, my penchant for collecting names of titles has literally exploded. Searching through publishers websites, Goodreads, other book blogs, social media, listening to book podcasts and just by doing good old-fashioned web searches, I have spent countless gleeful hours discovering all the new books for my overflowing “to be read” (TBR) list (and also to release on my blog for my readers).
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Literally, compiling and creating book lists is now one of my most favorite pastimes. And writing a list of most anticipated new releases, like this one, is basically my crack cocaine.
As fun as it is, it also necessitates some serious organizing of said TBR list into categories: “books I want to read” and “books I will actually get to in this century.” The former list containing about a million books (ok, really it’s more like 500) and the latter containing somewhere in the ballpark of 100.
Given that my typical reading patterns reflect that I read about 50-75 books in a year (so far this year, I have read about 40), I often find myself wallowing in the “too many books, not enough time” area of elitist self pity. But, I digress.
Here are the books I am most excited about during the second half of 2020. Not sure if I will get to them all but collecting them into a nice, organized list is my new obsession. Enjoy!
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (June 30th, Del Rey)
My Thoughts: Creepy, dark gothic horror set in the Mexican countryside. Sign me up!
Synopsis (from publisher): An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets.
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).
He Started It by Samantha Downing (July 21st, Berkley)
My Thoughts: I read and adored Downing’s last book, My Lovely Wife and the early reviews of this one tell me its equally as unique and good.
Synopsis (from publisher): Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance. But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone. It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson (July 21, Tor Books)
My Thoughts: Magical assassins in an alternate history New York City plus themes of racial injustice and unrequited love. Add that to the first line from the synopsis below, and I am on board.
Synopsis (from publisher): The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad in this timely and unsettling novel, set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City at the dawn of WWII. Amidst the whir of city life, a girl from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear amongst its most dangerous denizens. But the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she loves most. Can one woman ever sacrifice enough to save an entire community?
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell (Aug 6, 2020, Century)
My Thoughts: I am a new fan of Lisa Jewell after loving her book The Family Upstairs earlier this year, and I am looking forward to the release of this one.
Synopsis (from the publisher): It is nearly midnight, and very cold. Yet in this dark place of long grass and tall trees where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is waiting…
When Saffyre Maddox was ten something terrible happened and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart.
Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s thirty-three years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him. But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible. Because he’s just the type, isn’t he? A bit creepy?
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer DeLeon (Aug 18, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
My Thoughts: This is a little more of a side trip from my typical books, but I love a coming of age story and I have been seeking out more stories like this to widen my perspective generally. Also, I really enjoyed The Hate You Give and this one sounds like it might be in the same vein.
Synopsis (from publisher): Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen… But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted.
Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school….And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine….Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (Sept 1, William Morrow)
My Thoughts: This sounds like a book with both interesting societal commentary and entertaining story-telling.
Synopsis (from publisher): Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairson (Sept 8, Tor)
My Thoughts: Fantasy has been hit or miss for me lately, I think because of the focus typically required when diving into a completely new world. But I am hopeful I can handle it again soon because there are some really good ones (like this one!) coming down the pike.
Synopsis (from publisher): The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.
Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.
Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.
Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston’s characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will leave you aching for the world it burns into being.
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry (Sept 8, Berkley Books)
My Thoughts: This horror coming of age story got rave reviews from a few of my fellow book lovers on #bookstagram, and I am super excited about it.
Synopsis (from publisher): When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.
So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.
The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox (Sept 15, Graydon House)
My Thoughts: I keep gazing lovingly at Hester Fox’s books, but I never seem to actually get to them. I hope to remedy that this year (definitely earmarking for Fall which is the BEST time for creepy reading).
Synopsis (from the publisher): Boston, 1844. Tabby has a peculiar gift: she can communicate with the recently departed. It makes her special, but it also makes her dangerous.
As an orphaned child, she fled with her sister, Alice, from their charlatan aunt Bellefonte, who wanted only to exploit Tabby’s gift so she could profit from the recent craze for seances.
Now a young woman and tragically separated from Alice, Tabby works with her adopted father, Eli, the kind caretaker of a large Boston cemetery. When a series of macabre grave robberies begins to plague the city, Tabby is ensnared in a deadly plot by the perpetrators, known only as the “Resurrection Men.”
In the end, Tabby’s gift will either save both her and the cemetery—or bring about her own destruction.
And Now She’s Gone (Sept 22, Forge Books) by Rachel Howzell Hall
My Thoughts: This seems like a thriller in the classic sense of the word, and I have never read anything by this author. I am excited to try her out!
Synopsis (from publisher): Isabel Lincoln is gone. But is she missing?
It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.
Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She’s Gone explores the nature of secrets — and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive.
*In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (Oct 6, Gallery Books)
My Thoughts: Romance is a bit of a departure from my typical reading EXCEPT when it comes to the writing duo of Christina Lauren. Their writing is fun, snarky and this one sounds like the perfect book to escape into for a little (holiday) light reading.
Synopsis (from the publisher): It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
*I was given a an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton (Oct 6, Sourcebooks Landmark)
My Thoughts: There is not much about the synopsis of this one I don’t like. From murder mystery to demons to the setting on an old ship in the 1600s, it sounds right up my alley.
Synopsis (from publisher): A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist. It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.
But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
Eventide by Sarah Goodman (Oct 6, Tor Teen)
My Thoughts: I am a sucker for a story including small town secrets, and the synopsis for this one has me majorly intrigued. YA is not always my thing, but this one sounds promising.
Synopsis (from publisher): Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907. When her father descends into madness, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves uprooted from New York, on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.
In Wheeler, Lilah is quickly adopted by the town’s beloved schoolteacher—but Verity is not. Willing to do anything to stay close, she pawns herself off as a farmhand, but even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.
But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect.
Every Now and Then by Lesley Kagen (Oct 6, Crooked Lane Books)
My Thoughts: Lesley Kagen was not on my radar at all, but after this one caught my eye, I have also gone back into her back list and also marked Whistling in the Dark as “to read.”
Synopsis (from publisher): A heartfelt coming-of-age story about three young girls searching for adventure during the summer of 1960 from the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark.
The summer of 1960 was the hottest ever for Summit, Wisconsin. For kids seeking relief from the heat, there was a creek to be swum in, sprinklers to run through, and ice cream at Whitcomb’s Drugstore. But for Frankie, Viv, and Biz, eleven-year-old best friends, it would forever be remembered as the summer that evil paid a visit to their small town–and took their young lives as they’d known them as a souvenir.
With a to-do list in hand, the girls set forth from their hideout to make their mark on that summer, but when three patients escape from Broadhurst Mental Institution, their idyllic lives take a sinister turn. Determined to uncover long-held secrets, the girls have no idea that what they discover could cost them their lives and the ones they hold dear.
Six decades later, Biz remembers that long ago summer and how it still haunts her and her lifelong friends in Every Now and Then. A story about ties that bind forever, the timelessness of guilt and grief, and the everlasting hope for redemption.
Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere by Ree Drummond (Oct 27, William Morrow)
My Thoughts: I am a Pioneer Woman lover so this one is a no-brainer.
Synopsis (from the publisher): From her beginnings as an early blogger, Ree Drummond has become a household name with a passionate following of devoted fans. On her blog, in her magazine, and on her cooking show, Ree shares recipes, tales of her adventures in the country, and stories of everyday life with her four children and cowboy/rancher husband.
In this down-to-earth and charming book, Ree shares real-life anecdotes about parenting from her own unique vantage point. While her busy life is constantly full of new surprises, what’s most important to her is family. Over the years she’s learned a few things about balancing motherhood with a million other things, and now she offers the wisdom of her experiences—the ups, the downs, the bumps in the road, the laughter and the tears—in stories brimming with the relatable wit and humor found in her cookbooks and her bestselling love story, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.
A celebration of motherhood, family, love, and laughter, Untitled is a keepsake to treasure and share with the wonderful women in your life.
The Awakening by Nora Roberts (Nov 24, St. Martin’s Press)
My Thoughts: As I have said previously, fantasy is a little hit or miss lately. I hope this one is a hit!
Synopsis (from publisher): Breen Kelly had always been a rule follower. So when her father left when she was twelve years old, promising to return, she waited. Now, more than a decade later, she needs to move forward. She can wait no longer. A summer trip to Ireland seems like the perfect next step. She never dreamed it would lead her through a portal to another world, where her latent powers of magick will be awakened, her true ancestry revealed and an epic battle against evil fought.
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline (Nov 24, Ballantine Books)
My Thoughts: Ready Player One is one of my faves so naturally I am psyched for the sequel.
Synopsis (from publisher): The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the “ridiculously fun and large-hearted” (NPR) near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.
Link by Link: A Spirited Holiday Anthology (Dec 1, Filles Vertes)
My Thoughts: I am a major fan of off the beaten path holiday reads and this one definitely fits that bill.
Synopsis (from publisher): “‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link…’” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Link by Link is a collection of 11 stories of ghosts, spirits, and creatures unnamed, all come to teach lessons we won’t soon forget. From sweet Christmas tales to terrifying holiday hauntings, these stories take a dive into the past in the hopes of creating a better—or at least different—future.