I think this month may actually set a new record for the least books added, at least for a while. Last month, I thought I hadn’t added too many and was surprised to realize that I’d added over 5 full pages to my Goodreads TBR. This month, I only added 2 and a half pages, and a good chunk of that was the books in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. I guess I must have spent less time this month randomly browsing Goodreads. Either that, or I’d already added all the books I wanted to add from the lists of upcoming releases. I’m sure I’ll have another flood of books coming in as we start to get more information about new releases for 2019.
1) Forgotten by Nicole Trope
I can’t remember exactly how I came across this book, but as soon as I saw that it had been compared to Jodi Picoult, I knew I wanted to read it. It is about a mother named Malia who decides to leave her baby asleep in the car while she runs into the store to buy some milk, and comes back to find him missing. The detective, Ali Greenberg, who takes the case has also lost a child of her own. It also includes a perspective from an elderly woman named Edna who lives at a boarding house, and may hold the key to finding Malia’s son. To be honest, I have yet to find a missing child story that I really enjoyed the whole way through. I find many of them tend to become predictable and even though I’ll keep reading to see whether I was right, it loses my interest. I’m especially curious about this one because of the comparisons to Jodi Picoult, and I think it could be an interesting angle to also address the issue of the mother’s actions, and how that affects the way people see her case.
2) When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde
I think I’ve seen this book around on Goodreads a few times but never really looked into what it was about until recently. It is about a man named Russell who is delayed by a phone call, causing him to be late to work — to his job at the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. This call changes his life in more ways than one since it spares him from the devastating attack, but also brought the news that his mother has passed away, leaving him solely responsible for his brother Ben who is cognitively impaired due to brain damage. Russell is forced to go back to his hometown and take care of the brother that he had been happy to leave behind. This book reminds me vaguely of Rain Man, although that dealt with a brother with autism rather than brain damage. It was also written by the author who wrote Pay It Forward, which I have never read but I really enjoyed that movie as well. I’m always interested in seeing stories about the other family members in a family where someone has a disability, since it is a perspective that we still don’t see particularly often.
3) Yesternight by Cat Winters
It was the cover art that first drew me to this one, but it also sounds like a fascinating story. This book is about a child psychologist named Alice Lind who is administering IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren in 1925. One of the children, a 7-year-old named Janie, begins to tell disturbing stories that seem to be about her own past life and death. Alice decides to investigate her case, putting her professional reputation at risk. Stories of children claiming to remember past lives have always fascinated me, although I have not read very much about the topic. The one book that I have read (The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin) was excellent, and I’ve been meaning to read more along those lines. As someone who studied psychology myself, I’m always excited to read about characters who are in the field, and this story seems absolutely fascinating. I’m especially interested to see a story about this time period since it is one that I have rarely (if ever) read from, so it would definitely be a change.
I’m grouping these two together because I added them to my TBR for very similar reasons. Both are books of cartoons featuring adorable animals in relatable daily situations. I’ve seen Liz Climo’s cartoons often on Facebook, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any of the Slothilda series. Both of these books will be very quick to read, but I always love these kinds of cute cartoons. I actually have another of Liz Climo’s books on my TBR as well, but I’ve never picked it up because it felt like too much of a cheat to count it toward any of my reading challenges, and I usually don’t have enough time to read anything else. I may need to pick these up as extras though since they really won’t take long, and they look like a lot of fun!
5) Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
This is a book I found on a list of upcoming YA releases for 2019, and it isn’t due out until the middle of June. It is about two teenagers, Mia and Jake, whose mothers are best friends and are convinced that they should date, even though Mia and Jake hate each other. Deciding they’ve had enough of their parents’ pressure, Mia and Jake decide to pretend to break and then stage a horrible breakup, only to realize that they may not hate each other as much as they though. This book sounds completely predictable, but it also could be a lot of fun to read, if I’m in the right mood for it. I like hate-to-love relationships, and I often enjoy the fake dating trope as well, and this one has both. I’m a little worried about how interesting it will be considering the entire plot is basically spelled out in the synopsis, but if it has great character dynamics, I’m sure I’ll love it.
6) Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
This is another upcoming YA release due out next June. It is about a girl named Haley who starts texting with a boy named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II. The synopsis is a tiny bit confusing, but it seems like there are two boys with the same name, one of whom is someone Haley hates. As she starts to text more often with Martin, they develop a strong bond through texting, but Haley isn’t sure who Martin is and Martin doesn’t know that. Partly I’m interested in reading this just to see how there can possibly be two boys with such a highly specific name in common. I would understand if it was a very common name, but this one really isn’t. I also tend to love stories that involve social media and friendships that develop online or through texting. To be honest, I had to read the synopsis a couple of times just to make sure I had the premise straight, but it sounds like it might be a cute YA story.
7) Our Little Lies by Sue Watson
I think what first drew me to this book is that the cover reminded me a bit of a couple of other thrillers I’d added to my list this year, so it automatically drew me in. It is about a woman named Marianne who lives in a beautiful house in a great neighbourhood, with her husband and three children, after struggling through a difficult past. When her husband Simon says another woman’s name, Marianne starts to feel suspicious but writes it off as her own paranoia, until she starts to learn more about the woman Simon mentioned, and starts to realize that she may have reason to feel paranoid. I’m always up for a good psychological thriller, and this has been compared to both The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go, which I loved. I was surprised when I started to look into what else the author had written, and discovered that the rest of her books are contemporary romances, usually involving some kind of food in the title. This book definitely seems like a big departure, but I haven’t read any of her previous work so I don’t think it will matter much to me.
8) The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra
I discovered Anna Snoekstra when one of her books, Little Secrets, showed up on Book Outlet and immediately caught my interest, although I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. The Spite Game is her most recent release, which is about a woman named Ava who was mercilessly bullied in high school and sets out to seek revenge on the girls who tormented her, even though they are all now adults. Ava is definitely a different kind of character than I normally read about, but I see a lot of potential here for a very fascinating story. This book is just coming out this Tuesday, so there haven’t been many reviews for it yet. The earliest reviews seem to agree that even though the synopsis pretty much details the direction the plot will go, what makes it interesting is the way the story plays out. I’ve seen quite a few stories about bullying, but I can’t remember ever seeing one where the desire for revenge has been so long-lasting to carry over into adult life. It sounds like a really interesting premise.
9) The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
I have almost all of Sally Hepworth’s books on my TBR even though I’ve yet to read anything by her. I stumbled across this one while browsing Goodreads, and it caught my attention because I recognized the author’s name as someone I’ve been meaning to try.The Mother-in-Law is an upcoming release due out in April, which is about a woman named Lucy, who has always had a polite but distant relationship with her mother-in-law, Diana. Five years later, Diana has been found dead with a suicide note near her body claiming she no longer wants to live because of a battle with cancer, but the autopsy report suggests a very different story. Lucy and Diana’s difficult relationship seems to be a central focus here, with the book told from the perspectives of both women. I think of all the Sally Hepworth books on my list, this is the one that I’m most interested in trying first, although I’ll have to wait a while until it is released.
10) This Bright Beauty by Emily Maine Cavanagh
This book came up recently in my Goodreads feed after a couple of people I follow added it to their TBRs as well. It is about Franci, and her identical twin Lottie who struggles with bipolar disorder. After years of having to take care of her sister, Franci moves away to start building her own life, but when Lottie gets into an accident, Franci discovers that her sister has an infant daughter. Not wanting to leave the baby alone in Lottie’s care, Franci is forced back into her role of trying to protect and take care of her sister, and begins to uncover other secrets from Lottie’s past that she has been hiding since childhood. This book has been out since March 1 of this year, but I hadn’t heard anything about it until last week. I like books that focus on character and relationship dynamics, and as I mentioned above, I think stories about family members of people who have a disability or mental illness are still underrepresented. This sounds like a very interesting story and I’m curious to see if the fact that the main characters are twins plays much of a role.
11) Snap by Belinda Bauer
This is another book that came up recently in my Goodreads feed, and the title reminded me of Bang by Barry Lyga, even though the books have nothing else in common. This book is about a young boy named Jack whose mother leaves him in charge of his siblings when the car breaks down, but she never returns. Days later, she is found dead from a stab wound and Jack’s father eventually walks away from the family, unable to handle his grief, leaving Jack solely in charge when he is only 14. Jack is forced to do whatever he can to take care of his younger sisters, including becoming a burglar, and in the course of one of his burglaries, he discovers evidence that he thinks is connected to his mother’s death. This was another book where I found the synopsis very vague, and had to look at some of the reviews to really get a sense of what the book was about in a bit more detail. It sounds like an interesting story and it definitely has a unique angle by having the main character start out as a child left in such a difficult role. I’ve seen some great reviews for this one so far, so I’m interested in giving it a try.
12) The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
I saw this one yesterday in my local newspaper, and found it very intriguing. This book was advertised as a modernized version of the Narnia series. It focuses on two sisters, Evelyn and Philippa, who were transported to a forest kingdom called Woodlands while escaping from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. When they return, Evelyn is desperate to get back to the kingdom, while Philippa is determined to move forward with her life and find a place in the real world. To be honest, I’m not sure a modernized version of Narnia was something that was really needed but the story itself sounds pretty interesting. The author has mentioned that although she loved the Narnia books, she was disappointed with the female characters and thought the books “reinforced cultural stereotypes and champions colonial narratives.” I think the series is a product of its time, so it seems a bit odd to me to criticize it for being colonial or stereotypcial when those were the common attitudes when it was written. She also wanted to show the affects of traumatic events more realistically, with the characters struggling with the aftereffects of the war. I actually almost wish it hadn’t been treated as a newer Narnia since it sounds like an interesting enough story on its own.