I think I set a record this month for the lowest number of books added to my TBR! While my TBR now holds a total of 3132 books, I only added 41 to my list this month. That’s still quite a few, but definitely a lot less than previous months where I was regularly adding over 100. One thing that I did find a little irritating this month is that I’d have notifications about Goodreads giveaways for a book on my TBR, and when I sent in my entry, it told me it needed to add the book to my TBR. It seems like a bit of a paradox — I’m notified about the book because it’s on my list, so why does it need to be added again? It’s how I end up with duplicates, which can be really annoying. I was a bit surprised to realize that I’d hardly added anything this month. I guess I’ve been so focused on reading for my current challenges that I haven’t been browsing for new books too much!
1) The Woman Upstairs by Ruth Heald
This was the first book I added to my TBR this month, and it caught my interest because it was compared to The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us, both of which I loved. It is about a young mother named Katie, who is pregnant with twins. She is lucky to have Ian, her supportive husband, and a woman named Paula who she has hired to help her. When Ian vanishes, missing the birth of their daughters, Katie can’t reach him and starts to wonder how well she really knew her husband, while coming to rely on Paula more and more for support. Just as things start to settle down, Ian suddenly returns, and Katie finds herself caught between him and Paula, neither of whom want the other involved with the children. There definitely seems to be a trend lately toward books about creepy nannies, and I tend to find these stories very interesting. I’ve never heard of this author before but I’m willing to give this one a try since it is supposed to be similar to two thrillers that I really loved. I’m always looking for more thrillers to try, and this one seems like it could be great.
2) The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
I added this one because I saw it mentioned a few times on Youtube, and it looked like a lot of fun. It is about a baseball player named Gavin whose marriage is in trouble. Gavin decides to join a group of men who read romance books and try to imitate the actions of the heroes to win back their partners. The group decides to pick up a regency romance called Courting the Countess, and use that story to help Gavin save his marriage. I don’t particularly care for characters who are celebrities or famous athletes of any kind, nor do I really like regency romances, but somehow the combination of these seems like it will make a really fun story to read. I’m not actually sure how much it matters to the story that Gavin is an athlete. I really like the whole concept of the story since I can’t imagine that many romance novels would be a great guideline for real relationships, but it sounds like it could be really funny!
3) Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard
I think I found this one while browsing Goodreads for more thrillers. It is about a man named Andrew who is the manager of the Shannamore Holiday Cottages, where he watches his guest, Natalie, through a hidden camera. While watching her one night, he sees another person enter and kill her before destroying the camera. I think part of the reason this one caught my attention was because it reminded me of a real case from a local university several years ago where a young woman was killed in her dorm room while on a video chat with her boyfriend. The idea of seeing something horrific happen to someone but being unable to stop it is an amazing setup for a thriller. This one seems especially unsettling because Andrew himself seems creepy because of his habit of watching his guests. It was also interesting to me since it’s a bit different from most of the other thrillers that I read, and it seems like something that I might enjoy.
4) Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna
I’ve seen this one compared to Big Little Lies, which is one of my favourite books, so that alone was enough to add it to my TBR. It is about a group of friends who are all traveling to a week of wedding celebrations, where something has gone horribly wrong. All four of the women rush to confess to the crime, but each insists that they were the one who did it and that they acted alone. I’ve grown to really love these kinds of books that explore friendship or family dynamics, and especially the complex relationships between characters. This book was just released at the beginning of September, so I haven’t heard too much about it yet, but it really sounds like something I will love. I’m very curious to see what would motivate all of these women to confess to the crime. I’ve never heard of this author before either, but looking at her backlist, it seems that she mostly has written mystery series with some kind of twist to it (ie. witches or mafia members), so this one seems like a bit of a departure. None of her other series have really caught my attention, so this book seems like the best place to start.
5) One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski
I have no memory of adding this book to my TBR if I’m honest, but I suspect it has to do with the cover art since I always seem to go for books that have houses on the cover for some reason. It is about a woman named Maureen who goes to the town of Opal Beach to get a fresh start, and vanishes by the end of the summer. Thirty years later, Allison Simpson is given the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach, which she sees as her chance for a fresh start too. After arriving at the house, she starts to get absorbed into the mysterious disappearance of a young girl 30 years before, and realizes that the town is hiding some dark secrets. The book is told in dual perspectives, following the stories of both Maureen and Allison, piecing together the story of what really happened all those years ago. I can’t remember where I found this one, but I would assume it was through browsing for more thrillers. Now that I’ve seen what it is about again, it has caught my attention all over again and makes me much more interested in trying it soon!
6) As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl
I found this one while looking for new and upcoming YA books, and thought it looked interesting. To be fair though, I’m not sure what drew me to it since the Goodreads synopsis is incredibly vague. It is about Scarlett and David, two teenagers who share a strong interest in physics, but go their separate ways because of college, but start to date after Scarlett is dumped by her boyfriend, Cody. If I’m honest, I’m on the fence about whether I will keep this one on my TBR. I’ve seen many mixed reviews for it, and the synopsis has not really done much to convince me to try it either. From what I’ve gathered from several Goodreads reviews, this book touches on a variety of deeper topics and also features characters that are a little older than the typical YA book. I’m always looking for stories that involve characters in college or trying to adapt to adult life, so that part of it could be very interesting. I was also a bit put off to see the word “non-linear” in the description, since that is something I often struggle with. I don’t mind dual timelines, but I tend to get very confused when things jump around too much unless it is very clearly marked. I’m willing to give this one a chance, but right now it is pretty low on my list.
7) Little Voices by Vanessa Lillie
I’m assuming I also found this one while looking for thrillers, since I didn’t remember adding this one to my list either. This one is about a prosecutor named Devon who decides to investigate the murder of a close friend while also dealing with severe postpartum depression, manifesting as a cruel voice in her head. Devon is determined to prove that the other friend who was accused of the crime wasn’t the killer, all while the voices in her head get more intense. This definitely seems like a unique premise for a thriller, so I’m interested to see what direction the story takes. I don’t know very much about postpartum depression, but it seems like it could add a very interesting extra layer to this story. I’m always a little on the fence about stories where someone takes it upon themselves to solve a crime like this since it’s often done in unrealistic ways, but this one seems especially intriguing. This book will be out on October 1, so I’m interested in seeing more reviews for it as people start to read it.
8) The Other Wife by Claire McGowan
I added one of Claire McGowan’s other books to my TBR last month, so her name caught my attention when I saw this one on Goodreads. This book is her most recent release, due out at the end of October. Actually, looking back it looks like the previous book I’d added (What You Did) came out in August of this year, so it’s pretty quick to have another book out already! It is about a woman named Suzi who has done something bad, and now lives in an isolate cottage with her jealous husband, Nick. When Nora moves into the only other house nearby, Suzi is excited to have a new friend and is very tempted to share her secrets, but soon starts to wonder if Nora already knows about her. Another woman named Elle seems to have the perfect life, until her husband betrays her, revealing secrets that go all the way back to her childhood, and she will do anything to hold on to him. This seems like exactly the kind of thriller that I tend to love, so I’m very excited to give this one a try!
9) Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
I’m pretty sure this is one of those duplicate books that I’d already added to my TBR, but ended up there again because of Goodreads giveaways, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. This is a YA book about a girl named Divya, who is a gamer trying to use her livestreams of a popular game to win sponsorships to earn money for her family. She meets another gamer named Aaron, who escapes from his parents’ pressure to become a doctor by playing games. The two of them meet when they spawn into the same in-game planet, but are soon also met with a growing number of offline “trolls” who threaten to dox them, and seem intent on driving Divya out of the game. I love books that deal with online friendships and social media, so this one seems right up my alley. I’m not a huge gamer myself but I do play a few games and I like to watch Let’s Plays and livestreams of some as well, so I’m interested to see that in the book too. I’ve seen some books about cyberbullying but I don’t know if I’ve seen any that show this kind of extreme trolling, so it will be very interesting to see how that kind of topic is handled.
10) Seven Days by Alex Lake
I read Copycat by this author last year, and really enjoyed it. This book is his most recent release, due out October 10. It is about a woman named Maggie who has been imprisoned in a basement since she was 15. She has given birth to three of her captor’s children, but all of them have been taken away on their third birthday. With her son Seb due to turn three in seven days, she is determined to stop this child from being taken away from her too. Part of what interested me about this book is that it seemed a bit similar to Room, which is a favourite of mine because of the way it was written. The book shows both Maggie’s perspective, as well as her family’s and the police. I really enjoyed the other book I’ve read by this author, although not quite as much as I’d expected given that it was a social media thriller, but I’m very interested in trying more of his thrillers. This one seems especially intriguing because it is the kind of storyline that I don’t read very often, but often enjoy when I do try it.
11) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
I saw this one while looking at upcoming YA releases for 2020, and this one caught my attention although I’m not entirely sure why. It’s been compared to Becky Albertalli, who I love, but also Jenny Han, whose books I find a bit too juvenile for me. It is about a black girl named Liz who plans to get out of her prom-obsessed town by going to an elite college. When the financial aid that she needed falls through, Liz’s dreams seem out of her reach, until she is reminded that her school’s prom king and queen are given a scholarship. Despite her complete lack of interest in anything prom-related, Liz decides to try for Prom Queen to earn back the money she needs to go to the college of her dreams. The only thing that makes the competition tolerable for her is a new girl, Mack, who is funny and another outsider like Liz, but when Mack also decides to run for Queen, Liz starts to wonder if falling for her competition is going to keep her from her dreams. Like Liz, I didn’t particularly care for prom either although it was not a huge deal in my school. I’m not quite sure how strongly I’m interested in a prom-centric story, but there is enough else here that makes it sound very interesting, so I think it will be worth a try!
12) When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
I’d never heard of this author before, but I tend to like anything that involves witches and magic. This book is about a group of four teenagers who magic goes awry in an accident that leads to a boy’s death. The main character, Alexis, and her friends come together to try and fix their mistake, but their failures leave them to deal with all the consequences, and the need for each of them to learn to live with their part of what happened. This book is not due out until March 2020, but several of the reviewers I follow have been waiting for it since early 2018. I was surprised to see that since I hadn’t heard anything about this book at all, and it was only recently that I noticed it on a list of upcoming releases for next year. It’s a bit funny that I added two prom-themed books to my TBR considering it is not usually something that I care to read about, but this one at least is intriguing because it comes at it from such a different angle.
13) Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
I found this one at random on Goodreads, and immediately added it to my TBR because it has to do with parent-teacher politics. It is about a teacher named Isobel who has spent her career avoiding difficult parents like Julia Abbott, a stage mother who is constantly interfering in her teenage children’s lives. When Isobel starts to receive threatening voicemails about her pushing a liberal agenda, Isobel decides to stick to her beliefs rather than backing down. At the same time, Julia is obsessed with the casting decisions for the school’s musical, and accidentally shoves the female lead, in a video that goes viral and causes her to receive a lot of online backlash. Despite their differences, Isobel and Julia start to find common ground as they set out to confront the secret Facebook group that keeps bringing trouble to the school’s community. If I’m completely honest, I didn’t really read the synopsis thoroughly when I added this one to my TBR, but now that I have, I’m even more excited for it! This combines so many of the plot elements that I tend to love, so I’m very interested in reading this.
14) Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
I literally added this book to my TBR about an hour before starting this post, thanks to seeing Destiny’s new TBR Lows & Highs post! I get so many of the books on my TBR from her. This book is a modern retelling of Dracula, told in the format of IMs, tweets, text messages, etc. It is about a couple, Mina and Lucy, who have begun to garner national attention for their true-crime podcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching a new dating app called Thrall, the girls decide to team up with social media expert Arthur, and Harker’s professor Van Helsing to find him before it is too late. As their investigation leads them closer to a possible serial killer, the line between the online world and the real world starts to blur. This is another book that combines many of my favourite elements. I love epistolary formats, especially when it involves social media, and Dracula is one of my favourite classics. Modern retellings are always a bit hit-or-miss for me because it can be really hard to balance the original story with the modern elements, but I’m very interested in giving this one a try. This book has already been out for a year, and I don’t think I would have heard of it without Destiny’s blog, so thank you!
15) Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth
This was another book that I discovered just this morning through the same blog post linked above, and it was exactly the kind of thriller that I look for! It is about a woman named Violet who is a journalist who has become an online influencer with a successful Youtube channel, where viewers watch her daily life with her three children. When her entire online presence suddenly disappears, fans are left wondering what happened to Violet. She may have just decided not to share everything online anymore, but most fans suspect that something more sinister has happened. Some suspect her husband, Henry, but no one seems to know what really happened. The book is told from the perspectives of Violet and Henry, as well as #1 fan Lily who thinks that Violet is the only one who truly understands her, and Yvonne, who takes comfort in Violet’s channel and other mommy websites after she and her husband struggle with infertility. This book is due out in March of next year, and I feel like it will likely be close to the top of my list!