I can’t believe another month is already over! It’s so weird to think that we are already almost done with 2020. It feels like this year has been going on forever, but also moving super fast at the same time. I guess that’s what happens when we spend the majority of it at home. This was another month where I really felt like I hadn’t added very much to my TBR, mostly because the majority of the books I’m excited for next year have already been on my TBR for a while. I was very surprised to see that I’d somehow managed to add another 52 books to my list in November! The majority were books that caught my attention while browsing Goodreads, but there were also a handful of newer releases by authors I’ve already tried, so as soon as I saw they had something new, it went straight onto my list.
1) Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
This was a book that I found right at the beginning of the month while looking for upcoming thrillers for 2021. It is this author’s debut, about a woman known as Mummy, who sees a heavily pregnant woman named Kim while out shopping one day and notices that Kim is ignoring her 5-year-old daughter Tonya. Desperate for a child of her own and convinced that Kim doesn’t deserve to have children if she won’t pay attention to them, Mummy decides to take Tonya. The media is quick to demonize Kim for her behaviour, suggesting that she deserved to lose her children, and Mummy soon realizes that foul-mouthed Tonya is not the daughter she expected. This book is due out in February and has received some great reviews so far from people who have read it on NetGalley. I’m a little burnt out at the moment on thrillers that involve women obsessed with having children, but this one sounds very intriguing and I’m sure I’ll eventually give it a try.
2) The Push by Claire McGowan
I added this one to my TBR because I recognized the author’s name. I have two more thrillers that she’s written on my TBR, both of which were added in 2019. This book is Claire McGowan’s most recent release which just came out in November, and surprisingly, it is another thriller that involves pregnancy and children. This one is about a detective named Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, who is called in to investigate a case of someone falling from the balcony of a house, where six couples from the same baby group had gathered. Alison is sure that the fall was not an accident, and soon finds that all of the couples at the party seem to have something to hide. Unlike the book above, the early reviews for this one have been extremely mixed, and many of them have mentioned a very unlikable cast of characters. I’m curious to try it for myself since I often find thriller characters unlikable and don’t necessarily see that as a problem. As with the book above, it may be a while before I pick this one up because I’m a little tired of the pregnancy theme, but I’m sure I’ll want to read it at some point!
3) When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
I don’t specifically remember adding this one, but it was added on the same day as the previous two books so I assume it also came up while searching for upcoming thrillers. It is about two sisters, Sara and Shannon Carter, whose parents were both stabbed to death in 1997 in a case that became known as the infamous Hilltop Murders. One of the sisters spent years in a children’s secure unit for the crime, while the other was placed into the foster system and kept out of the limelight. On the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked one of them down to persuade her to speak about that night for the first time, and the sisters’ former best friend and neighbour, Brinley, is the journalist in charge of covering the story of this interview, which brings to light new evidence. Now that I’ve looked at the synopsis again, I am not surprised at all that I added this one to my TBR since it has so many of the thriller elements that I tend to love. I’m very excited to pick this one up whenever I can get a copy, since it is not due out until April.
4) Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker
I found this book because I saw it mentioned in a Youtube video, although I can’t remember whose it was! This book was mentioned alongside Middlegame and I was very confused at first, until I realized that A. Deborah Baker is yet another pseudonym for Seanan McGuire. Generally, I don’t understand why authors use pseudonyms when it’s already known that both names belong to the same person, but in this case it kind of makes sense since snippets of Over the Woodward Wall were in Middlegame so it makes sense to use the same author’s name that was mentioned in that book. This book is a middle grade fantasy about two exceptional children, Avery and Zib, who take an unplanned detour while going to school one morning, and soon find themselves climbing over a stone wall into a strange land. I’ve loved everything I read by Seanan McGuire so far, and especially loved Middlegame, so I’m very excited to try another book that involves this world.
5) Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
I’ve been starting to hear a lot about this book in the past couple of months, and it sounds so interesting! It first caught my attention because of the funny title. This book is about a girl named Quinn who loves to make lists, including a list of all her fears and all the boys she’d like to kiss. When her journal goes missing and an anonymous account posts one of her lists publicly on Instagram, Quinn soon finds herself being blackmailed — she must face seven of her greatest fears, or else the rest of her journal will go public. Quinn teams up with Carter Bennett, the last known person who had her journal, to try to track down the blackmailer before all her secrets will be revealed. The only thing that puts me off a bit is that this book is compared to Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which I found skewed a bit too young for me, but it still sounds like it could be a fun read. This book is not out until next May, so I’m interested to see what more people think once it’s been released.
6) Lucy Clark Will Not Apologize by Margo Rabb
To be honest, I have no memory of adding this one to my TBR either but it sounds like something I would like. It is about a 16-year-old girl named Lucy who was kicked out of boarding school, and sent to live with a cousin in New York for the rest of the semester. Her new job for now is to care for an elderly millionaire named Edith Fox and help her take care of her secret garden. Edith soon tells Lucy that she believes someone is trying to murder her, and enlists Lucy to help keep her safe. I think the main reason this book intrigued me, aside from the whole idea of whether the murder attempts are real or just in Edith’s mind, is that this book has been referred to as a modern day The Secret Garden. That has always been one of my favourite classics and a book I’ve reread so many times over the years, and I haven’t seen too many modernizations of it. This is another book that is not out until next May so there is not too much more known about it yet, but it’s definitely one I’ll be watching for.
7) Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens
I’ve been meaning to read more of Chevy Stevens books for years now! I read Always Watching back in 2016 and really enjoyed it. I’ve had all of her other books on my TBR ever since, but somehow I keep putting them all off. Dark Roads is out next August, so I’m sure it will take me quite a while to get to it, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to add it to my list. It is about a young woman named Hailey who decides to run away from a horrible living situation and disappear into the wilderness around the Cold Creek Highway, letting people believe she was the victim of a killer. A year later, another woman named Beth arrives to attend a memorial for all the people who have vanished along this highway, including her sister Amber who was murdered the previous year. Beth decides to take a job at the local diner where her sister worked and connect with the people who may have known her to figure out who might have been responsible for her death. I definitely need to start catching up on Chevy Stevens’s books!
8) Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana de Rosnay
I added this one to my TBR because I recognize the author’s name from Sarah’s Key, although I’ve only seen the movie for that one and not read the book. This one is about an author named Clarissa Katsef who is struggling to write her next book, and is now living in a very modern, high-tech apartment in Paris. However, since she’s moved in, she has felt like she is being watched and wonders whether she really has reason to be afraid, or if her discomfort just stems from her second husband’s recent betrayal. While stuck inside during a heatwave, Clarissa enlists the help of her granddaughter to help her investigate the high-tech building and soon finds herself drawn back into the life of her first husband, who is still the one who knows her best. I’m most intrigued by the suspicions around the advanced technology in the apartment. I wouldn’t say this book is particularly high on my list right now, but it definitely intrigued me enough to add it to my TBR.
9) The Turnout by Megan Abbott
Like Chevy Stevens, this is another author that I tried only once so far and keep meaning to pick up again. I do have one of Megan Abbott’s books on my list to read this year, so hopefully I will be able to get to it before the end of December. I was very surprised to see that she had a new book due out next year, since she is not really an author I actively watch for. This book is due out in June, and it is about Dara and Marie, two sisters who are both dancers who were homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later, they both run the Duran School of Dance, having inherited it after their parents both died in a tragic accident, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband who was also once their mother’s top student. When a suspicious accident occurs just before the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, the delicate balance the three of them have found to manage the school is quickly threatened. This book sounds so interesting and I’m very excited to try it! Megan Abbott is another author that I really need to catch up on.
10) The Other Girl by C.D. Major
It’s no surprise that this book very quickly caught my attention given that I always tend to gravitate toward books with houses on the cover, for some reason. this one is set in New Zealand in 1942, and it is about a young woman named Edith who had been locked away in an asylum since she was only 5 years old. 15 years later, Edith survives a fire that destroys her ward, and is soon questioned by the police and a young doctor, Declan, who begins to doubt the reasons she had been kept in the asylum at all. He begins to question whether she is truly insane, or whether the stories that she told as a child might really be true. As Declan’s interest in Edith builds into an obsession with uncovering the truth, and time running out before Edith receives a new, potentially permanent treatment that may leave little left of her, Declan is at risk of losing everything to save her. This book kind of gives me The Silent Patient vibes, and it is definitely something I’m interested in trying. It just came out in September, although I hadn’t heard anything about it leading up to its release. I love books that focus around psychology and some of the issues with asylums and past treaments, so this one seems especially intriguing to me.
11) Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda
I am determined to read at least one of Megan Miranda’s books before the end of this year! Not only was she on my priority authors to try list, but I also had a surprisingly hard time getting copies of the books I wanted, so now that I have them, I really want to get to them. This book is her upcoming release due out in July, so it will be quite a while before I can pick this one up specifically. It is about a quiet neighbourhood called Hollow’s Edge, which is shocked by the return of Ruby Fletcher, a woman who was implicated in the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. When her conviction is overturned over a year later, Ruby returns to the home where she grew up with Harper Nash, an older girl who always treated Ruby as her sister, and who is now terrified to let her back in, but also hesitant to turn her away since she knows Ruby has no where else to go. Within days of her return, suspicions spread and Harper begins to receive threatening notes, and realizes she must uncover what really happened that night before someone else becomes the next victim. This is exactly the kind of thriller I tend to love, and I’m so excited to try it!
12) Waiting For the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton
I found this book, along with several others that I quickly added to my TBR, on a Buzzfeed list of highly anticipated mystery/thrillers for 2021. This one caught my attention because of the beautiful cover, and also because it was compared to Where the Crawdads Sing, which I enjoyed (although didn’t love quite as much as everyone else seems to). This book is about a woman named Cadie who has spent decades trying to cover up a secret. When an urgent message from her estranged friend Daniela brings her back to her her childhood home, the two of them are forced to face the secret that ended their friendship and the magical summer they’d had. Now an adult and confronted with the truth, Cadie is forced to decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves. I’m not particularly into books that have a heavy focus on nature, but the rest of the plot sounds very interesting and I’m definitely willing to give this one a try.