I didn’t really feel like I had added a lot of books to my TBR this month, so I was in for a surprise when I looked at my Goodreads list and found that I’d actually added almost 4 full pages! In total, I added 73 books to my list this month, many of which were books that I added because they were by authors that I’ve already read and enjoyed. In fact, I’d say the vast majority of the books that I added because of author name alone. There are a lot of authors that I’ve previously read and enjoyed and keep meaning to try again, but some of them have enough of a backlist that it’s hard to know where to start! I sometimes find myself with a bit of a mental block where I feel like I need to read their books in chronological order, even when there is no real reason to do so. For example, I struggled this month with the idea of reading Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough before I’ve read Behind Her Eyes, even though the books are completely independent of each other! Turned out to be irrelevant, since I ran out of time for that book anyway, but it the publication order probably shouldn’t have even been a factor. This month, the majority of the books I discovered are new or upcoming releases from authors I’ve enjoyed, and even though it may be a while until I get to them, I’m very excited to try them!
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality.
1) Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
I’m immediately starting out with an exception, since I’ve never heard of this author before! I was drawn to this one because of the title, and because I tend to be drawn to these kinds of “playground politics” kinds of stories. This book is about a musician named Claire who reluctantly agrees to play for a group of privileged infants in New York, and is surprised to realize that she actually loves the job. While there, she meets Whitney who is verging on social media stardom, stay-at-home-mom Amara who is struggling with her decision to give up her career, and Gwen, who loves to give parenting advice to the others. As Claire gets closer to these women, she starts to uncover their secrets. This book reminds me a bit of Nicola Moriarty’s Those Other Women, which I loved, and it sounds like such an interesting story. Even though I’m not a parent myself, I somehow always tend to enjoy these kinds of books about moms trying to find a balance in their lives, and about the character dynamics in these kinds of books.
2) Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
I read Girls Made of Snow and Glass at the beginning of the month, and I really enjoyed it! I’d been hearing the name of this book for a while but didn’t realize it was by the same person. This book is about a princess named Soraya who has lived her life hidden away from the rest of society because she is poisonous to the touch. As her twin’s brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide whether she is willing to step out for the first time. In the dungeons is a demon who might hold the answer to her freedom, and above, there is a young man who sees the girl behind the poison and does not fear her. When Soraya’s choices lead to unexpected consequences, she is forced to reevaluate who she is and who she will be. I’m not sure if this is a retelling, and if it is, I am definitely not familiar with the story that is the basis, but it sounds so good! I tend to love retellings in general, and especially any book that gives fairy tale vibes, so this seems like something that I’m going to really enjoy. This book is not due out until May, so it is still a while to wait!
3) Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynee E. Maetani
I feel like I actively avoided adding this one to my TBR for a while because I was annoyed about seeing it everywhere, but I finally broke down and decided to add it after deciding that the synopsis actually did sound good to me. This one is about a bullied girl named Kira who is training to be a priestess at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, until it is attacked by demons. With the help of Shiro, the shrine’s half-fox half-boy guardian, Kira discovers that the shrine actually harbours a powerful ancient artifact. Unable to face the demon lord on her own, Kira enlists the help of seven shinigami (death gods) to help her, but soon realizes that some of them are not what they seem and may not be as loyal as she expected. I was very surprised to see that this book is just under 300 pages because it seems like there is a lot going on for something so short! I’m not sure if this book is particularly high on my list at the moment, but it does sound like something that I might like, especially because the synopsis refers to the group as an “unlikely band of heroes” which is definitely a buzzword for me.
4) Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins
I added this one to my TBR immediately after reading The Winter Sister by this author, which I really enjoyed. This book is her 2020 release due out in August, and it is about a woman named Fern who is convinced that Astrid, a 34-year-old woman who has gone missing, is someone that she knows. Astrid was also the victim of a famous kidnapping and highly publicized return 20 years ago, but Fern insists that she does not remember that case. When Astrid begins to appear in recurring nightmares asking for help, Fern realizes that this was a memory, not a dream. Purchasing a copy of Astrid’s memoir, Fern begins to retrace Astrid’s steps and discovers more evidence of her own connection to the missing woman, and hopes to save her before it is too late. I really enjoyed Megan Collins’s writing style in The Winter Sister, so I’m looking forward to trying more of her books. This one sounds like exactly the kind of mystery-thriller that I often enjoy, so I’m looking forward to give this one a chance.
5) Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar
I added this one to my TBR almost purely for nostalgia purposes. The Wayside School series was a childhood favourite of mine, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read the others in the series. I found the stories and the characters absolutely hilarious, and it was still a lot of fun to reread as a an adult. This book is a new addition to the series for the first time in 25 years, and brings back the original cast of eccentric characters as they prepare for an all-important test. For those who don’t know this series, it is set in school that is 30 stories high, with only one classroom on each floor, due to a design error. The books focus on the students of Mrs. Jewls’s class on the topmost floor, and each book consists of a series of short stories about the students and staff at the school that are very loosely tied together by some kind of overarching plot. I think it will be interesting to return to this series as an adult and see how (or if) it has changed over the years. This series is so weird in general, but so much fun to read!
6) The Lightness of Hands by Jeff Garvin
I read Jeff Garvin’s debut Symptoms of Being Human back in 2017, and I really enjoyed it! I had no idea he was coming out with anything new until I saw this book on a list of upcoming releases for the year, and recognized the author’s name. This one is about a 16-year-old girl named Ellie, who has bipolar II disorder, and whose father is a famous stage magician. After an illusion fails on live TV, Ellie and her father live in an TV and perform together at birthday parties to make ends meet. When their money runs out, leaving both of them without their medication, Ellie receives a call offering her father another chance to perform the illusion that ruined his career on a live TV special for $15,000. Knowing that her dad will refuse but not wanting to pass up the chance for the desperately needed money, Ellie decides to take the offer anyway and lies to her father to get him to head out to LA with a plan to stage his comeback. There definitely seems to be a bit of a trend around books involving magic and circuses lately, but this one sounds so good! I’m so glad I found this one on the list because I’m not sure I would have known about it otherwise.
7) Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
I put off adding this one to my TBR for two years now, but finally decided that I wanted to give it a try after hearing two of my favourite Youtube channels raving about it. There is a strong possibility this series will end up on my priority series to read in 2021 list. It is about a teenage girl named Stevie Bell, who is obsessed with true crime, and is attending a famous private school called Ellingham Academy, which is also the site of an unsolved mystery. Shortly after the school opened, the school’s wife and daughter were kidnapped, and the only clue was a riddle signed “Truly, Devious.” Stevie decides to take it upon herself to solve this mystery, especially when it seems that the killer may have returned. I think part of the reason that I’ve put off reading this one so far is because I had it mixed up with A Study in Charlotte, which I would also like to read. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have been as invested in trying this if it wasn’t for all the hype I’ve seen recently. When I first saw this book, it seemed mildly interesting but not enough for me to pick it up, but now that I’ve heard more, I’m a lot more excited to try it.
8) Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
I have both of Hannah Orenstein’s other books on my TBR already, but I haven’t read a single one yet! This one is her upcoming 2020 release, about an athlete named Avery who had been training for the Olympics until an awful performance ended her career for good. To make matters worse, her best friend and teammate became an Olympic champion and married their emotionally abusive coach. Now, dealing with a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her hometown where a new coach gives her the opportunity to help train another young gymnast. She reluctantly agrees and it surprised to find herself drawn to the coach, until a scandal in the gymnastics world has devastating effects for the sport and for her former best friend. I’m not such a fan of books that are heavily focused on sports in general, but I think there is enough else in here to keep my interest. This book is not due out until the end of June so there is not that much more known about it yet, nor many reviews, but I’m looking forward to seeing what more people think closer to the release date.
9) Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
It’s still pretty rare that I add middle grade books to my TBR, but I think if there were any that would catch my attention, this would be the one. This is about a fourth grade student named Amy Anne who tries to check out her favourite book from the school library, only to be told that the book has been banned because a classmate’s parents thought it was inappropriate. Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a banned books library based in her locker, and finds herself fighting against censorship and who has the right to decide what others read. I’ve been lucky enough to always have access to excellent libraries, and I can’t remember ever being told that I couldn’t read something that I wanted to read. Even if my school’s library didn’t have it, the books were still generally accessible from the public library. I’ve always been interested in the topic of book censorship and who gets to make those decisions, so I think it would be really interesting to see the topic aimed for a younger audience. I’m very intrigued to see how the author handles it.
10) Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
I added this one after seeing my mom’s copy of it, and deciding that it sounded like something I would love. I’ve had a few of Harlan Coben’s books on my TBR for years but never bothered to pick them up, although for no specific reason. I found this one while looking through a pile of my mom’s books with my cousin, and we both thought it sounded great. This book is about a couple, Tia and Mike, who are worried about their 16-year-old son Adam’s strange behaviour, and decide to install a spy program on his computer to help them keep watch over him, especially after the suicide of a classmate, Spencer. Within days, they see a strange message on Adam’s computer instructing him to stay quiet and all will be safe. Meanwhile, Spencer’s mother Betsy notices a photo on her son’s memorial page which seems like it was taken the night he died, and she thinks Adam was there too. When Adam goes missing, it becomes more obvious that there is something sinister in their community. I was first drawn to this one because of the mentions of the characters monitoring their son’s online activity, but it sounds like a very intriguing mystery-thriller overall.
11) The Shadows by Alex North
I really want to read The Whisper Man, which is also by Alex North, but I haven’t picked it up yet. It is about a man named Paul Adams whose friends were victim to a shocking murder committed 25-years-ago by Charlie Crabtree, a crime so horrific that it exists only in the darkest corners of the internet and has attracted copycat killers. Paul has slowly put his life back together, but with his elderly mother taking a turn for the worse, he decides it is finally time for him to return home. Paul soon learns that another copycat has struck, and his mother begins to insist that there is something or someone inside their house. Paul also begins to think someone is following him, which reminds him of the most unsettling detail of the crime — the fact that Charlie Crabtree has not been seen since. This book sounds so fascinating, but also like something that will terrify me! I will definitely need to be mindful of when I read this one to avoid creeping myself out too much since I get easily scared by these kinds of stories, but I am very interested in giving this one a try. This one is not due out until July, so it will be quite a while before I get to it.
12) What You Wish For by Katherine Center
I have several of Katherine Center’s books on my TBR, but I’d say that this one and her releases from the past two years are the ones that I’m most interested in reading. This book is also due out in July, and it it about a school librarian named Samantha Casey who loves her job, until the school suddenly loses its principal and he is replaced by her former crush, Duncan. Samantha is shocked to notice that Duncan has changed a lot in the years since she has last seen him, and he has become rigid about the rules and obsessed with safety, causing him to destroy everything she loves most about her job. Samantha has to decide how far she will go to stand up to him and protect the school that has become her home. First of all, I think school librarians are a character that we don’t see often enough! I love the whole concept of this story, and I think it could also be a very interesting and relevant discussion about safety and security in schools, if it chooses to go in that direction. I’ve also been very interested in reading more books that involve office politics, and while this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, I think it could definitely fit.
13) I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman
I have all of Abbi Waxman’s books on my TBR but haven’t read a single one yet, even though one had been on my priority list for 2019. I’m hoping to read at least 2 of them by the end of this year! This book is due out in mid-June, and focuses on Jessica and Emily Burnstein, a mother-daughter pair who are going on a college tour together. For Emily, the tour is a glimpse into the future freedom she will have, if she decides she wants to go to college at all. For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with her daughter and regain some of the closeness that they used to have. Together with a group of strangers, including two familiar enemies, they travel the East Coast to tour colleges, and ultimately find out the secrets that have threatened their relationship. Given that this book is still a few months away, there is not that much about it on Goodreads yet, in terms of reviews or even buzz at this point. I’m not particularly interested in road trip stories and I also can’t really relate to college tours. I lived at home through university, and knew exactly where I wanted to go. However, I do tend to enjoy books about mother-daughter relationships and character dynamics in general, so I’m interested in giving this one a chance.
14) The Housekeeper by Natalie Barelli
I’ve definitely seen a trend in thrillers lately toward more books about creepy nannies, and this one is no exception. This book came out last Halloween, but I hadn’t heard of it until recently. It is about a woman named Claire who is jealous of Hannah, whom she had known as a teenager. Hannah has since married and is now living the charmed life that Claire always wanted, and that she blames Hannah for taking from her. When she sees Hannah advertising for a housekeeper, Claire decides that she has changed enough in the 10 years since they knew each other that Hannah won’t recognize her. She decides that working for Hannah will give her the perfect opportunity to seek revenge. I’ve actually had another of Natalie Barelli’s books on my TBR since last August, without even realizing that it was by the same author. I have no idea why nannies/housekeepers have become such a trend lately, but this one definitely sounds intriguing. I’m not sure how high this one is on my list at the moment, but I’m glad I saw it come up on Goodreads lately since it at least prompted me to add it to my list and keep it in mind for later.
15) Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
I discovered this one just over a week ago, and immediately thought that it looked so cute! It is about a man named Jordan Collins who is waiting for his favourite author to release a new supernatural novel, and is looking for more people to join his romance book club to keep it going. When a new employee, Rex, asks to join the club, Jordan is shocked because Rex has always made fun of him for the kinds of books he reads. Jordan is hesitant to include him, but decides that keeping the club alive with new members is more important to his own opinion of Rex. He soon discovers that Rex might not be as arrogant as he thought. This sounds like such a cute romance and I love the main characters bond over books! I tend to love books that focus on characters who are readers themselves or who work in a bookshop. It’s a storyline that I’ve seen often in YA, but not that often in adult romances and especially not with LGBT characters. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this one so I could add it to my list for later!