I think January was the first month in a while where I really strongly felt like I had added a lot of books to my TBR, although to be fair, it’s definitely not my highest total. Throughout January, I added a total of 51 books to my TBR, bringing my total up to 3910 books. As a fun fact, 16 of those books were added right on January 1! Many of the books I added this time came up because of a few lists I saw early on of upcoming anticipated releases for the year. I should probably start making note of these lists and articles when I see them, since I never remember exactly where I first saw a book by the time I post it! I feel bad because I’d love to acknowledge where I’m getting these recommendations from, but I also don’t consciously think of it at the time since I never know which books I’m going to be mentioning so many weeks ahead of time. I think the majority of the books I added were because I recognized the author’s name as someone I had either read from before or already wanted to read from.
1) The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison
This book is a perfect example of one that I found on a list of upcoming releases and one that I added because I recognized the author’s name. I have this author’s debut A Love Hate Thing on my TBR too, but I don’t think it quite made it into my challenge plans for this year. I added this one as an extra reminder to give this author a try, and because it was another YA romance that sounded so cute! This book is about a teenage boy named Guillermo who has moved to a new town and a new school to get a fresh start and stop his reckless behaviour, and soon meets a girl while working at the local community center. The girl, Regan, is feeling pressured to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the perfect daughter, but soon finds herself drawn to Guillermo since he seems to understand her a lot better than she expected. This book is not due out until mid-July, but it sounds like something I might enjoy. I find I really need to be in the right mood to enjoy this kind of YA romance since I tend to want something a little more from them, but I’m very open to giving this one a try.
2) Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh
I was drawn to this one immediately because I am absolutely obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera musical. My best friend has been obsessed with the show (as well as other musicals) since I met him in second grade, and we went to see the stage production and the 2004 movie version with some friends in high school. Since then, I have seen the show at least 3 other times, including once on Broadway! I’ve also seen Love Never Dies although I can’t remember if I ever saw it live or just as a recorded version of the stage show. As soon as I saw this book, I knew it was something I’d want to read. It is about a 17-year-odl girl named Stephanie who does not believe in ghosts, despite her younger sister’s insistence on a ghost in her closest and the rumours that their father’s latest renovation project might be haunted. When a classmate who is obsessed with the paranormal starts to take an interest in her and the renovations, the supernatural activity seems to escalate. At the same time, Stephanie also keeps dreaming of Erik, an 18-year-old British boy who seems to have something to do with the man in the mask. I’m a little worried that this book has also been compared to Twilight, since I wasn’t really a fan of that series at all, but Phantom of the Opera alone is enough for me to be willing to try it!
3) The Castle School: For Troubled Girls by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
I was very excited to add What Kind of Girl by this author to my list last year, but unfortunately I haven’t picked it up yet! I was also very surprised to realize that I already had two more books by this author on my TBR, and both had been there for years. I think I somehow assumed What Kind of Girl was her debut for some reason. This book is coming out in March, and it is about a teenage girl named Moria whose parents are sending her to an all-girls boarding school in the Maine woods. Moira is sure that her parents are punishing her for causing so much trouble since the death of her best friend, Nathan. Upon arriving at the school, she has no interest in confiding in the strange headmaster nor making new friends. Each night, strange things begin to happen and after venturing out with her roommate, they discover that they are not as isolated as they thought when they find a nearby all-boys school with students who had also been sent away by their parents. Moira soon becomes convinced that the schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something, and is forced to confront her own grief as she tries to figure out what is really happening. This book sounds like exactly the kind of creepy boarding school story that I tend to love, and I’m excited to try it.
4) Glimpsed by G.F. Miller
I think of all the books I added to my TBR this month, this is the one that I am the most on the fence about. It is about Charity, who is a fairy godmother who can glimpse the future of her fellow students at Jack London High School, and works to make sure their deepest wishes are fulfilled. When fulfilling a student’s wish to become homecoming queen ends in disaster, Charity’s wish-granting abilities are called into question and she starts to wonder where these future glimpses are even coming from, and whether they are showing her the full picture. At the same time, she also has to deal with Noah, the ex-boyfriend of one of her former clients who believes her intervention does more harm than good, and demands that she helps him get his girlfriend back instead of granting wishes. Noah soon becomes her ally as she tries to figure out where her glimpses of the future come from, and Charity begins to wish for something more, leaving her to wonder whether fairy godmothers can get their own happy endings too. Something about this book reminds me a bit of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which was one of my favourite shows. I’m on the fence because I’m not sure how easily I’ll be able to get into this one since this kind of combination of real-life and magic does not always work for me in a book, but if this does work, it could be so fun!
5) Game Changer by Neal Shusterman
I added this one to my TBR mostly because I recently read the Scythe series and I really enjoyed it. This is his upcoming release coming out February 9, and it sounded very interesting. It is about a boy named Ash who seems to have been sent into another dimension after being hit on the football field, and he keeps shifting through worlds that are similar to his own but not quite right. The changes start out small but quickly grow and spoil out of control as he finds versions of the world where he has everything, some that are stuck in the past, and even some where he sees the world from a completely different perspective. To be honest, I don’t know very much about what this book really is about since the synopsis is pretty vague, but I’ve always been drawn to Neal Shusterman’s unique concepts. I’ve had the Unwind series on my TBR for years but never bothered to pick it up, and also had Scythe in mind for quite a while before finally reading it. I don’t know why, but I’d assumed for a while that I wouldn’t really get into his writing, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Scythe, especially the first book. I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is particularly high on my list, but it’s definitely one I’d be interested in trying at some point.
6) The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin
I have no idea where I first saw this one, but it immediately caught my attention because of the interesting cover. I think I initially assumed that this was a thriller, but it is actually a literary Cinderella retelling, which is something I have rarely seen aside from Gregory Maguire. This book is about what happens after Cinderella marries the prince, set 13 years later when she decides she is fed up with her life, and decides to sneak out to get help from a Witch known for making love potions. As the Witch throws in the last ingredient, Cinderella decides that instead of a love spell, she wants her husband dead. I’ve seen some very mixed reviews for this one so far so I’m probably going to go into it, whenever I do end up reading it, with relatively low expectations. In theory, it sounds like it could be incredible. I love stories that take well-known fairy tales and put a bit of a twist on them, and especially the whole concept of what happens after the so-called “happily ever after.” I’m a little skeptical because the overall rating on Goodreads so far is relatively low (3.3 stars overall) but it is from very few ratings, so I’m not sure how accurate that really is.
7) Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva
I added this one to my TBR because I vaguely recognized the author’s name as someone who already had a book on my list. I’ve had The Last One by this author on my list since 2016 and had mostly forgotten about it until I saw this one. This book is her latest release that is coming in March, and it is about a woman named Linda who had mostly raised herself in an isolated property in rural Washington when she was a child. After witnessing something she wasn’t meant to see, Linda climbed the walls and abandoned her home, putting her straight into a world that she is not prepared for. Years later, Linda now lives in Seattle and has become immersed with technology and social media, but continues to feel isolated as it continues to bring her past back to haunt her. When a new neighbour introduces her to the escapism of virtual reality, Linda begins to hope for more from her life. After an unexplained fire prompts her to return to her childhood home, it sparks a chain of events that will challenge her understanding of her family and her past. Although the plot sounds mostly like a thriller, I’ve also noticed that this book is tagged as sci-fi too, and I’m very interested to see how those two genres work together. I haven’t seen much hype around this one considering it is coming so soon, but it sounds really interesting!
8) Lore by Alexandra Bracken
I was a little resitant to adding this one to my TBR right away because of my general aversion to books that seem overhyped, but it didn’t take too long for me to change my mind. I actually haven’t read anything by Alexandra Bracken yet, but I’m pretty sure she will end up on my priority authors list for 2022. I probably could have added her to my list for this year, but I’d already had my list pretty well established by the time I remembered that I wanted to read her series. This book is set in a world where every 7 years, a group of Greek gods are forced to live on Earth as mortals, hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines who will seize their power if they can kill them. It focuses on a girl named Lore who fled from this brutal world after her family is murdered by rivals, and has pushed away any thought of revenge against the man responsible. As the next hunt is dawning, two participants seek Lore’s help, offering her a chance to finally leave their world behind forever and also get revenge on the man who killed her parents. I’ve always loved Greek mythology although I don’t have too much knowledge about it at this point, and this books sounds so cool! I’ve seen a lot of people raving about it already, and this may be a case where I really need to buy into the hype and try it.
9) Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston
I was excited to see a new Ashley Poston book coming soon, despite the fact that I haven’t read anything by her yet either! I’ve had the Geekerella series in my challenge plans for an embarrassingly long time without ever picking them up, to the point where I’ve made the series a goal for this year as an extra push to finally read them. I was very surprised to see that this book came out last October since I’ve heard literally nothing about it, and don’t even remember seeing it on any lists of upcoming releases last year. It is a YA fantasy about a girl named Cerys who lives in a peaceful land with no draught, disease or famine for the past century, after the first king made a bargain with he Lady who rules the bordering forest. As their town prospers, the woods have become dark and cursed. As a child, Cerys narrowly survived the woods’ attack that killed her friends and her mother, leaving her with a small bit of its magic in her blood. When a new queen is crowned, things that had been hidden in the woods begin to descend on the kingdom, forcing Cerys to go on the run to find the Lady of the Wilds and find a way to save her home. I’m very surprised that no one is talking about this one because it sounds amazing!
10) From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This is another book that I’ve been hesitant to add because it seemed overhyped, but the more I hear about it, the more it seems like something I’d like. The only other book I’ve read by this author was one of her contemporary titles. It’s been years since I’ve read it so I don’t remember it that well, but I know that I really enjoyed it. I’ve had a very mild interest in trying her Lux series and/or her Covenant series, but both of those have been on my TBR for years without ever reading a single book. This book has been out for nearly a year already and I’ve seen it highly recommended by many of the channels I watch. It is about a Maiden named Poppy who is waiting for her Ascension, where she must prove her worthiness and help protect her kingdom from a curse. Until then, she is forbidden to be touched or even seen by anyone, but she would rather be working with the guards to fight back against the evil that took her family. When she meets Hawke, a guard who makes her question everything she believes, leading her to uncover secrets about her kingdom and her role in it. To be honest, I really struggled to figure out what this book was about by the synopsis, which also may be why I’d been so hesitant to add it. I’ve heard such great things about it though, so it might be something I’d eventually try.
11) Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson is yet another author I’ve been meaning to try for a while, and I’m planning to pick up the entire Truly Devious series a bit later this year. I stumbled upon this book completely by accident, but was intrigued to see that it was about Cruella de Vil! One of my favourite movies was the live action version of 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close as Cruella, and I’ve always been a bit curious about her backstory. This book follows 16-year-old Estella who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, and soon meets Jasper and Horace, amateur thieves who become her partners-in-crime. Estella wonders how she will become a renowned designer when she is busy making endless costumes and disguises for their heists. When a chance encounter with two socialites propel her into the world of the rich and famous, Estella begins to wonder if this world is really where she belongs and what the cost will be of trying to keep up with it all. To be honest, I’m not totally sold on the plot of this one because I expected a bit more to Cruella’s backstory, but I’m curious to see which direction the author takes it. This book won’t be out until April, so there is still quite a wait!
12) The People We Choose by Katelyn Detweiler
I keep adding Katelyn Detweiler’s books to my TBR even though I found the only one I’ve read so far a bit disappointing. I read Immaculate back in 2018 because I absolutely loved the premise of a modern immaculate conception, but I didn’t love the writing and found the characters a bit underdeveloped. I liked it at least enough to be willing to give the author another chance, and have since added two more of her books to my TBR. This book is about a teenage girl named Calliope who has never wanted anything more than her two best friends and her mothers, except to know who her biological father was since she was conceived by sperm donor. When a new boy, Max, moves in across the woods from her, Calliope decides to break her rule against dating as the two become closer, but soon finds out that her donor is actually Max’s father, forcing them to redefine their relationship. This sounds like such a unique angle for a YA contemporary and not a storyline I’ve ever really seen before. This book is not due out until May so there are no reviews for it yet, but I’m curious to see what others think of it before I pick it up.
13) The Girl in the Headlines by Hannah Jayne
I can’t remember where I first saw this one, but I think it was just while browsing my Goodreads feed. This one is an upcoming YA thriller due out this July, and it is only 250 pages! I don’t think I noticed that when I first added it since I tend to avoid books that short, unless they are novellas. It is about a teenage girl named Andrea who wakes up the day after her 18th birthday covered in blood and in a motel room, with no memory of what happened. The news is saying that her parents were attacked in the middle of the night and her younger brother has gone missing, and Andi is shocked to learn that she has become the prime suspect. While on the run from police, she teams up with Nate, the boy who works at the motel’s front desk, to find the real murderer. To be honest, now that I’ve seen that this book is so short, I’m a bit put off trying it because I tend to find books of that length tend not to be very well-developed. The premise sounds interesting and like something I might enjoy, but I’m definitely going to wait until closer to the release date in July and see more of the reviews as they come in before I decide whether I want to read it.
14) Anatomy of a Murderer by Tim Floreen
This is another book that I added mostly on a whim after seeing it on Goodreads, and I was immediately drawn in by the premise. It is about a teenager named Rem who had witnessed a classmate named Franklin commit a horrific crime, for which he was eventually caught and sent to a juvenile detention center. Rem is ready to move past it all until his mother selects this classmate to be a test subject for an experimental brain procedure which should “cure” him of his violence, triggering Rem’s memories of that day and doubts about whether the procedure can even work. When they are brought together afterwards, Rem is shocked that Franklin really does seem to have changed and they even start to become friends, until another classmate turns up dead, leading Rem to question whether the procedure can really change people or if there is another killer out there. This sounds like such an intriguing concept for a YA thriller, and it really sounds like something that I would love.
15) Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Of all the books I added this month, this is the one that I’m most excited about! I only saw this book right at the end of the month, and immediately added it to my TBR since I’ve absolutely loved both of Nicola Yoon’s other books. It is about a girl named Evie who does not believe in love anymore, especially after she sees a couple kissing and gets a vision of how their romance begins and how it will end. As Evie tries to figure out why she’s getting these visions, she finds herself at a dance studio, learning to dance with a boy named X whose philosophy is to always say yes to opportunities. Evie knows that falling for him is not what she wanted, especially after her visions show her that all relationships tend to end in heartbreak, but as they continue to get to know each other, Evie is forced to question whether love might be worth the risk. I was so excited to see a new book coming by Nicola Yoon, due out this May, because I had no idea she was releasing something new this year! I’m hoping to find a way to squeeze this one into my reading challenges for the year!