This entire year feels like a write-off in a lot of ways. It’s so weird to think that it’s already the end of the summer, and we’ve spent the majority of the year either in lockdown, or very slowly coming out of it. I was a bit surprised to realize that I’d hardly added anything new to my Goodreads TBR this month either! This month, I added a total of 44 books to my TBR, which is probably one of my lowest totals this year so far. In the past month, my work has finally started to pick back up again with in-person programming, and it will only get busier from now on. Starting this week, we are getting extra in-person shifts and beginning to plan for the coming program year. Usually, we get a full two weeks in July to do this planning, but now we are trying to squeeze it all in to 4 half-days this month! That’s all in addition to keeping up with our online programming and in-person shifts. I wouldn’t be surprised if next month’s total of books added is even lower!
1) Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn
This was the very first book that I added to my TBR this month. When I saw the cover, I just couldn’t resist! It is about a man named Danny who has become a single father to 11-year-old Will, who hasn’t spoken a word since his mother died a year ago. Danny has also just been fired from his job, and needs money fast in order to pay his rent. After seeing local street performers at the park, Danny impulsively decides to spend the last of his money on a costume to become a dancing bear. When Danny chases off some older boys making fun of his son at the park, Will finally opens up for the first time, not knowing that the man in the bear costume is his father, who worries that he might lose the chance to comfort his son if he was to reveal who he really was. This book sounds like exactly the kind of “up-lit” that I tend to like, and I’m excited to give it a try. This book just came out in May, so I haven’t seen too much about it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing more reviews as more people try it.
2) Three Single Wives by Gina LaManna
I have Pretty Guilty Women by this author on my TBR for this year, but I’m not sure if I will be able to get a copy of it unless I decide to buy it. This book is her upcoming thriller due out this week, about three women who are a part of a book club together. One evening, after a few drinks, the conversation turns to the best ways to kill a cheating husband, and by the end of the night, someone is dead. The book is told in alternating perspectives from the three women, including transcripts of the police interviews, and all of them seem to be hiding something. I tend to love domestic thrillers like this, and I’m very interested in giving this one a try. Like most thrillers, the Goodreads synopsis is relatively vague, but the early reviews so far seem to be quite positive. I’m hoping to be able to get to Pretty Guilty Women before the end of this year, and if I like that one, this one might end up high on my list for next year’s reading challenges too.
3) Unboxed by Briana Morgan
I don’t think I would have heard of this one if it hadn’t been for Destiny at Howling Libraries, since I saw it on her July Book Haul. This is a horror short story about a paranormal vlogger named Greg, who purchases a mystery box on from the dark web to regain his audience and reach a million subscribers after a fight with his girlfriend goes viral. His plans for a live unboxing video soon goes awry when he realizes that he’s getting a lot more than he’s bargained for. Short stories and horror are both a bit outside of my comfort zone, but this one sounds particularly interesting. It is formatted as a play, which in itself seems unique, and I’m also very intrigued by the social media focus. I’m always interested in books where social media plays a role. I think it’s such an interesting, creepy premise for a horror story and I’m very curious to see how it plays out. I’m not sure I realized the book was quite this short when I first added it to my list, but it sounds so good!
4) Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
This book is not due out until next March, but it is already being called one of the most anticipated debut psychological thrillers of the year. To be fair, I haven’t heard too much about it yet, but that’s not a surprise since it is still a long way off. I believe I found it on a list of upcoming thrillers that I was browsing early this month. This book is about Matt Pine, who returns to his dorm room to learn that his entire family had been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. Their deaths make headlines due to the unusual circumstances, but also because it is not the first time they have been in the media spotlight. Matt’s brother Danny, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, was the subject of a true crime documentary which alleges that he was wrongfully convicted. While most of the country rallies around Danny based on the documentary, Matt has been holding on to something he witnessed that night which makes him believe his brother really did it. Returning to his hometown, Matt is faced with hostility from the community and as connections begin to appear between Danny’s case and the deaths of the rest of the family, Matt must face his fears to find out the truth. I’ve been really getting into thrillers that are based around podcasts or documentaries lately, so this seems right up my alley. It definitely sounds like a book to watch for next year!
5) Sources Say by Lori Goldstein
This one caught my attention because it was compared to Becky Albertalli, who is one of my favourite YA authors. It is set at a high school outside of Boston, where someone has put up three Photo-shopped images of three “perfect” girls compiled from images of real students at the school. The two candidates for school president, Angeline and Leo, jump on the opportunity to propose solutions and secure votes for themselves, a competition only made fiercer by the fact that they recently went through a messy break-up. To make matters worse, the school’s two newspapers also get involved, including one written by Angeline’s sister Cat, who prides herself on only reporting the facts. Her conviction gets tested when the other anonymous paper begins to endorse Leo, based on rumours and fiction. I have a surprising amount of books on my TBR that deal with student elections, which is kind of interesting considering they were not a big deal at all when I was in school. To be honest, I don’t really remember finding this book or adding it to my list, but after seeing the synopsis again, I can see why.
6) The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone
I have all of Lisa Stone’s thrillers on my TBR, although I haven’t tried any of them yet. This book is from 2017, and focuses on a critically ill boy named Jacob, whose life was saved by a heart transplant. However, after the transplant, his family is forced to accept the fact that their son seems to have changed into a man with violent mood swings. His girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced that he is just suffering from stress but when he turns against her, she starts to doubt herself. When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family is forced to confront the possibility that their son has become a monster. I’m such a sucker for the kind of thriller where parents grapple with the idea that their child may have done something horrific. It is probably because Defending Jacob was one of the first thrillers that I read and loved, and it features that same premise. I’ve heard of the concept of cellular memory before, which is the idea that people who have received an organ transplant take on some of the traits of the person the organ came from. I have no idea if this actually happens, but it sounds very interesting anyway. It’s such a unique spin on the premise, and I’m very curious to try it.
7) The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher
I’ve had a few of Tarryn Fisher’s books on my TBR after hearing about her from a BooksAndLala video, where her book Bad Mommy was mentioned. I’ve also been hearing quite a bit about her book The Wives lately, but unfortunately, most of those reviews have been very mixed. This one is her upcoming thriller due out right at the end of the year, about a woman named Juno who has moved in with the Crouch family. Juno thought that Winnie Crouch and her husband Nigel had the perfect life, but now that she is living with them, she realizes that things may not be as perfect as they seemed. After receiving a grim diagnosis, Juno just wants to live in peace, but that is shattered when she overhears a conversation between Winnie and Nigel, and decides that it might be her chance to get involved and make things right. I think this book first caught my attention because I loved the cover art, and once I noticed that it was by an author who was already on my TBR, it didn’t take long for me to decide to add it to my list. I’m a bit nervous to try her books now that I’ve seen so much negativity toward The Wives, but I’m still interested in enough to give Tarryn Fisher a try for myself.
8) Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti
This addition was another combination of intriguing cover and recognition of the author’s name. I have three more of Kate Moretti’s books on my TBR already. This one is her upcoming November release, and it sounds so intriguing! This book is about a young woman named Hannah, who returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills after the death of her aunt, which also brings her right back to the center of her sister’s unsolved disappearance 17 years ago. Hannah is desperate to start a new life with her fiance, but she also feels compelled to figure out what really happened during her last summer at Brackenhill, especially when a bone is found that she is sure must belong to her sister. Hannah takes it upon herself to investigate what happened that summer, but as strange things begin to happen at the house, she starts to uncover disturbing details about her past and her own repressed memories. This is exactly the kind of thriller that I tend to love, and I’m very excited to try it. I definitely won’t be able to fit it into my reading challenges this year, but now that I’ve read through the synopsis again, it’s likely to be high on my list for next year.
9) The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons
This one caught my attention because I saw that it had been compared to Me Before You and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which are two books that I loved. It is about an 85-year-old woman named Eudora who has decided that she would like to end her life on her own terms, and contacts a clinic in Switzerland to make a plan for assisted suicide. When she meets a 10-year-old girl named Rose, Eudora soon finds herself on a series of adventures with her and with their neighbour, a recently widowed man named Stanley. As the three unlikely friends grow closer, Eudora starts to reminisce on her own childhood, and realizes she must come to terms with what lies ahead, especially now that love of life has been rekindled. I have a quite a few of these kinds of “unlikely friendship” books on my TBR, but this one seems particularly interesting because of the connection to Me Before You. I don’t know if this book is particularly high on my list, but it is something I’d definitely be interested in trying at some point.
10) Shipped by Angie Hockman
I’ve been having a lot of fun with adult contemporary romances lately, and this one sounds like it could be really good. It is about a marketing manager for a cruise line named Henley, who barely has time for herself or to date, but she is excited to be shortlisted for a promotion to her dream job. The only downside is that Graeme, the remote social media manager whom she hates, is also up for the job. The two of them have never met in person, but get into frequent email battles. When their boss assigns each of them the task of drafting a proposal to increase bookings to the Galapagos, they are both excited since whoever has the best proposal also wins the job. However, they will also have to go on a company cruise to the Galapagos Islands together. Finally meeting in person, Henley soon realizes that Graeme is not at all what she expects. This book seems to have so many of the tropes that I tend to love, and I’m very excited to give it a chance when it comes out next year.
11) A Feigned Madness by Tonya Mitchell
I added this one to my TBR on a whim last week after seeing it come up on my Goodreads feed. It is about a woman named Elizabeth Cochrane who is posing as a woman with amnesia at Blackwell’s Asylum to get an inside look into the facility’s abuses. Elizabeth is actually an undercover reporter, who agreed to impersonate a patient in exchange for a job with the newspaper. Upon her arrival, Elizabeth soon realizes she must make a decision about whether she will just bear witness to what goes on there, or intervene to help the inmates. As the superintendent begins to grow more suspicious of her, Elizabeth realizes that her entire plan may be in trouble. This book is based on the real-life story of Nellie Bly, one of the first women to fight for a place in the world of journalism, and who really did publish an expose about an asylum. I didn’t even realize this book was based on a real case when I added it, but that makes it even more intriguing. This book is due out at at the beginning of October, and I’m glad I saw it on my feed.
12) Just Saying by Sophie Ranald
This book came up as a recommendation on Goodreads after I finished another romance yesterday, and it sounded like something I might like. This book is about a woman named Alice who believes she has found Mr. Right with her boyfriend Joe, until they bump into his “old friend” Zoe. Alice immediately notices the awkwardness between them, and assumes that Zoe must actually be his ex. When Zoe needs a place to stay, Joe decides to invite her to live with them. Alice tries her best not to feel threatened, and is determined to make sure that Zoe doesn’t try to steal Joe back. This sounds like a fun book to read when I’m in the mood for something fluffy, and although it is not particularly high on my priority list, I’m sure I will end up picking it up at some point. I didn’t even realize that I already have one other book by Sophie Ranald on my TBR, which I added back in March. Her books seem like they will be so much fun to try.