It looks like I did slightly better this month with keeping new additions to my TBR somewhat under control. I added a total of 53 books since the start of June, which is quite a bit less than the 70 or so I added last month. My TBR is currently up to 2150 books! The vast majority of the books I added this month are new and upcoming releases, so they are not even books that I’m likely to get to for a while but I added them anyway so I can remember that I wanted to read them. A lot of the books I added are also newer books from authors that I’ve previously read and enjoyed, so I would probably inevitably try their new books anyway. There are quite a few on here that I’m very excited for!
1) The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of mermaid stories since I have a bit of a weird aversion to anything set at sea, but this book looks really good! I’m sure the cover art was part of the initial appeal. This book is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, set off the Irish coast. It focuses on a mermaid named Gaia who is drawn to a human boy, and wants to escape her controlling father. It definitely sounds very similar to The Little Mermaid, but I’ve also seen it listed as a feminist retelling, which seems like an interesting angle. To be honest, a feminist perspective is not really something I look for when choosing my books, but I’m definitely interested in seeing how that would work for this kind of story. The book just came out at the beginning of May, so it hasn’t received very many reviews yet. I actually didn’t even realize that this book was written by the same author as Asking For It, which I’ve had on my TBR for a while but never read. I never would have guessed that it was the same author since the stories and genres are so different, but I will have to try at least one of her books at some point!
2) What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
Is it bad that I have absolutely no memory of adding this to my list? The book is about a girl named Maisie Cothay who is born with the power to kill or resurrect with her touch, and spends her life isolated in her family’s manor by a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father warns her not to go into the woods, but does not tell her it is because so many of her female ancestors have vanished into it, never to be seen again. When her father disappears, Maisie enters the woods for the first time, and finally stars to understand her powers. This is another book that came out in early May of this year, and it is the author’s debut book. I can’t for the life of me remember how I found it or what about it first caught my interest, but now that I’ve seen the synopsis again I’m very interested. I feel like this is the kind of book that will sit on my TBR for quite a while because I will keep forgetting that it’s there, but I don’t want to remove it either since it sounds so good.
3) Stuck With You by Carla Burgess
I blame The Hating Game for this one. I’d never been too interested in reading adult contemporary romances, but ever since reading and loving The Hating Game last year, I’ve been a lot more open to them. I’ve never actually had anything against the genre per se, I’m just rarely in the mood for it. This book is about a woman named Elena who finds herself stuck in the elevator with her childhood crush, Daniel, while at the supermarket. It sounds like such a cute and fun story. I looked at the preview available on Goodreads, and it seems great. Of course, it’s hard to tell from just a few pages but it’s definitely a good sign that it didn’t immediately put me off either. As far as I can tell from Goodreads though, this is only available for Kindle which will be a problem for me since I don’t have a Kindle or any other kind of e-reader, nor do I particularly want one. For some reason, it is much harder for me to read off a screen for longer periods than it is to read off the page.
4) Slayer by Kiersten White
I haven’t read anything by Kiersten White yet, but that didn’t stop me from adding this to my TBR as soon as I saw that it was set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, I knew I had to read it. Buffy is my favourite TV show, and I very recently re-watched all 7 seasons (and I’m making my way through Angel too, although that seems to have stalled a bit now that it’s not on Netflix anymore). This book follows a girl named Nina who was raised at the Watcher’s Academy, a boarding school that teaches students to be guides for Slayers. When Nina is chosen to become a Slayer herself, she is forced to deal with all the responsibilities that come along with her newfound powers. Honestly, the fact that this has anything to do with Buffy is enough to get my interest, and I really hope it is done well! Part of the appeal of Buffy for me is how it handles these kinds of complex topics about power and how being the Slayer affected Buffy’s life. I can’t wait to read this one!
5) Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
This is another case of an author that I’ve already wanted to read, but never got around to. I’ve had Jennifer Hillier’s Creep on my TBR since January 2017, but never picked it up. I didn’t even realize that this book was by the same author until now. Jar of Hearts is about three best friends, Angela, Georgina and Kaiser. At age 16, Angela disappears, and her body is found years later in the woods near Georgina’s childhood home. Kaiser, now a detective, uncovers the truth — that Angela was killed by serial killer Calvin James, who also happens to be Georgina’s first love. Although they think they know the truth about what happened the night Angela died, what really happened starts to catch up with them, especially when new bodies are found that were killed the exact same way that Angela was. None of this is spoilers, since it is all revealed in the Goodreads synopsis, but it sounds amazing! It does seem a little strange that the synopsis offered so much information, so I’m curious to see what else happens.
6) Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane
On the other hand, this book’s synopsis seems incredibly vague. This book is about a girl named Margot, a sorority sister who died in the house, with chapters told from the perspectives of the women around her who were affected by her death. This is another book that has only been out since early May of this year, and it hasn’t garnered very many reviews yet. The reviews that have come in so far seem very mixed, with many focusing on the fact that this is a relatively short book at just under 300 pages, and that it reads more like a collection of short stories than one complete book. I added it to my TBR because it was a setting that I can’t remember ever reading about before, and because it seemed to be a book that focuses primarily on character dynamics. I did not go to a school that had official sororities, and even if they had, I would not have been interested at all in joining one. While I’m sure this book is nowhere near the typical experience, it seems interesting to have a mystery/thriller in this kind of setting (although, confusingly enough, some of the reviews have commented that it is not really a mystery or thriller at all).
7) The Lido by Libby Page
I’ve seen this book come up a few times on my Goodreads page over the past month or so. It is about a woman named Kate who works for a local paper in Brixton, covering small stories. When she is assigned to write about the closing of the local lido, she meets 86-year-old Rosemary, who has swum there daily since it first opened. Kate begins to dive into the lido’s history and pieces together the story of both the pool and of Rosemary herself, leading to a friendship between the women as they fight to convince the community to keep the lido open. This is another relatively recent release, which may explain why I’ve suddenly started to see it everywhere. It was released on April 19 of this year, and it seems like such a great story. It is not necessarily the kind of book I would usually pick up, but the more I think about the synopsis, the more interesting it seems. I’m pretty sure this one came up as a recommendation because I’ve just finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which also features a younger reporter delving into the life of an older woman, but these sound like very different stories.
8) Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider
Of all the books I’ve added to my list recently, this may be the one I’m most excited for aside from Slayer. I’ve had two of Robyn Schneider’s other books on my TBR since 2015, but haven’t picked either of them up yet. I definitely need to start working on some of my “backlist” books — maybe I’ll incorporate that into my reading challenges a bit more next year. In any case, this book immediately caught my attention because the premise seemed so unique. It is about a girl named Rose whose brother Logan is stuck as a 15-year-old ghost. When Rose crosses paths with Jamie Aldridge, she finds herself drawn back into her old life and struggles with choosing between moving forward with her life, or continuing to hold on to her brother. I have read many YA books that deal with grief and moving on, and to be honest, I was getting a little tired of the “dead sibling” trope, but this one seems to have put a unique spin on it with having her brother appear as a ghost. Looks like I will finally have to start prioritizing Robyn Schneider’s books.
9) The Ever After by Sarah Pekannen
I’ve only read one of Sarah Pekannen’s books so far, but I have several more of them on my TBR. This book has been tagged as a domestic drama that is good for fans of Big Little Lies, which I loved! This book is about a woman named Josie who is happily married to Frank, and believes she is lucky to have such a great marriage — until she borrows Frank’s phone and finds a devastating message. The book follows Josie as she looks back on her marriage, and also pushes forward to uncover the extent of her husband’s secret. It seems like a fairly predictable story. Without even opening the book, I’m pretty sure I know what her husband’s secret is, but I’m still interested in seeing how the story plays out. I highly doubt it can live up to Big Little Lies, but hopefully it will at least come close. I tend to love character-driven books so I’m hoping this one has strong enough characters to keep the story interesting even if it is a bit predictable.
10) Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
There definitely seems to be a trend toward blue covers with the books I added this month! I was actually a little on the fence about this one since the synopsis was so vague, but it was recommended for fans of Paula Hawkins, Ruth Ware, and Shari Lapena, and I’ve enjoyed books by all of those authors. This book is a thriller that just came out on June 5, about a documentary filmmaker named Erin who is on honeymoon with her new husband Mark. While scuba diving, they find something in the water, and have to decide whether they will speak out about it, or keep it a secret. Part of the reason I was on the fence about this one is because I have no idea what they possibly could have discovered. I would have assumed they uncovered a death, but the bits and pieces I’ve seen in reviews makes it seem like it’s something bigger than that. I’m definitely curious to read this one and find out.
11) Smothered by Autumn Chiklis
I think this book is more along the lines of what I thought the “new adult” genre would be — young adults trying to figure out how to manage their own lives. In this book, Eloise (Lou) Hansen has just graduated from university, and has to move back into her childhood bedroom. Lou has a plan to find a job and get out of there as soon as possible, but her mother Shelly is thrilled to have her back home and determined to keep her there as long as possible. Part of the appeal of this book s that it is told in a mixed media format, including texts, emails, job applications, and much more. I really love the premise of the book because I think it is so realistic for people Lou’s age, at least in my area. It is so hard to find affordable housing, especially if you are fresh out of school and haven’t yet found a job. I’m interested to see the relationship between Lou and her mother, and I think it will cause some very interesting dynamics to have an adult used to living on her own at school move back in with her parents.
12) Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau
Once again, this is an author who has technically been on my TBR for years, without me realizing it. I added Need to my TBR in 2015 and never picked it up, and I didn’t even know that this was by the same author. Time Bomb is about a group of very different students who are trapped together in a school that has been affected by a bombing. The students soon learn that someone inside the school is the bomber, they try to uncover who among them is responsible. I’ve read a few books that deal with school violence, but I don’t remember reading any that deal with bomb scares or actual bombs. The book alternates perspectives between the six main characters, who from the synopsis sound a bit like the usual teen stereotypes so it will be interesting to see how the author develops them. The reviews for this one have been extremely mixed so far, which is a little concerning, but it still interests me enough to give it a fair try.
13) The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck
For someone who tends not to really like sea/water-themed books, I seem to have added quite a few of them to my TBR lately. This book is about Dr. Maggie Maguire, a woman who specializes in the science of happiness, who finds herself struggling with a bad breakup. Her friends book her as a guest speaker on a cruise to teach others about happiness, and when a guest there tries to argue that women can never be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. This seems like another book that could be a lot of fun to read. Although I don’t read them often, I do love a good romantic comedy. In this case, I actually like the cruise ship angle since that seems a bit different from other romances I’ve read or added to my TBR. It seems like the kind of book I would need to be in the right mood to read, but one that I might really enjoy.
14) Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti
The political theme of this one is definitely something outside my comfort zone, but it is also what drew me to this book in the first place. This book is about a woman named Cady who has moved to a new city with a new job and new fiance. When her fiance starts to work on the upcoming presidential election, Cady finds herself involved with the other campaign widows — women whose husbands or partners are heavily involved in the political campaign. Part of what interests me about this book is it seems to be more of a “behind-the-scenes” kind of story about the women behind the political candidates and their staff. The focus seems to be on Cady and her friendships with the other women, and not on the politics. I’ve been very interested in stories about these kinds of friendship dynamics (mostly playground politics, as my last Stacking the Shelves seems to show), and setting this amidst a political campaign definitely seems like a unique backdrop.
15) Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
It was definitely the cover art that first drew me to this book, since it looks so cute! This book is about a boy named Ethan whose father is a comic artist, who gets stuck after the family is struck with tragedy. Ethan is trying to work on a graphic novel project for school, despite his inability to draw, and is surprised when an ink-blot creation comes out of his father’s sketchbook one night. This book is not due out until September of this year, so there is not much more information about the story yet. I read Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel last year, which was about a family who raised a baby chimp as a “sibling” to their son as part of an anthropology experiment, so I know his books are generally quite creative. This is a middle grade book, which is a little outside my comfort zone, but I’m willing to give it a chance when it finally comes out.
16) The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
I added this book to my list just yesterday after seeing it mentioned on a YouTube video about new and upcoming releases. This book seems to be loosely based on the Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting. The main character Essie is the youngest child of an extremely religious reality TV family. When Essie gets pregnant, her mother is forced to consult with the show’s producers to help figure out how to handle it. At the same time, Essie starts to get involved with Rourke, a senior at her school with his own secrets, and enlists a reporter named Liberty to be in charge of the media coverage of the relationship. I’m not really a fan of the Duggars although I watch their show occasionally. I have only read one other book about a teenager trying to break away from a family that was religious like theirs, and this one seems to take it a step further by including the reality TV angle as well. This book has only just come out, but it sounds very interesting!