Stacking the Shelves (#59)

Strangely, it feels like it’s been a very long time since I last did a Stacking the Shelves post, even though my most recent one was also within this month! I posted my September Stacking the Shelves on October 2, so it really hasn’t been a long time at all. I suspect it just feels that way because I really didn’t add very much to my TBR this month at all. I only added at total of 38 books, which is quite a bit less than I had last month. In general, I find this year has been pretty up and down in terms of how many books I end up adding. There are some months where I spend a lot of time on Goodreads and end up finding over 100 new books, but there have also been many, many months where I feel like I’ve hardly added anything. I think a big part of that is because this year has been particularly busy for some reason, so I haven’t been spending quite as much time on Goodreads overall. Also, many of the other blogs that I follow have now stopped updating so that’s another pretty big source of new books that no longer exists. Instead, I get the majority of my recommendations from my favourite Youtube channels or books that I notice on my Goodreads feed. I’m curious to see if this pattern will stay the same next year!

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) The Only One Left by Riley Sager

I generally don’t mention books in these posts until they at least have a cover confirmed, but I couldn’t help including this one. This book is Riley Sager’s upcoming thriller due out next summer, and it caught my attention immediately because it reminded me of Lizzie Borden. This book is set in 1983 and it is about a home-health aide named Kit who arrives at Hope’s End, a cliffside mansion where a massacre occurred to care for the only surviving family member, a woman named Lenora who had always been presumed responsible for the deaths of her family. Lenora is now mute due to a series of strokes and communicates only by typing on a typewriter. When she suddenly offers to tell Kit the truth about the massacre, Kit begins to suspect that there is more to the story than most people know but also that Lenora may not be as harmless as she seems. This book includes so many of my favourite tropes and I’m very excited to try it! Riley Sager has also become one of my favourite thriller authors so I always look forward to his new releases. I love the way he tends to take on fairly classic thriller tropes and put some kind of new spin on them. I can easily see this book being one of my most anticipated for next year.

2) Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney

I think this was a book I discovered just by browsing my Goodreads feed, and it caught my attention because the single chair on the cover reminded me a bit of the less creepy cover of The Silent Patient. This book is about a woman named Sophie who has lost her husband and now believes she is also losing her mind. When she enlists the help of a therapist, she begins to open up to him and soon discovers that nothing is what it seems. The synopsis is quite vague but also reminds me quite a bit of The Silent Patient because of the emphasis on the therapist trying to help a woman. That was one of my favourite thrillers, but I think I’m a little skeptical of others that follow a similar storyline. Given how little information Goodreads really has about this one, I’m sure it was those similarities which caused me to add it to my TBR in the first place. I’d never heard of this author before, but apparently they have several more thrillers already out as well, with yet another due out in January. I haven’t added any of the others to my list yet, but I’m already strongly considering adding a few of them.

3) Schooled by Ted Fox

I have no idea where I first saw this book, but I distinctly remember adding it to my TBR the moment I saw the synopsis. It is about a stay-at-home dad named Jack whose high school rival Chad has recently moved back to town. When Jack learns that Chad is running for president of the school board, he decides it’s time to settle old scores by winning the role for himself. Jack soon learns that the politics of this election are a lot more complicated than he realized, and he’s facing unexpected challenges at home too. This book immediately appealed to me because I love books that focus on “playground politics” (despite not having any children myself), and I have never seen a book along these lines which focuses on a father instead of a mother. I also don’t think I’ve ever read anything that specifically focuses on this kind of former high school rivalry, so that seems like a very fun angle as well. I don’t know why I find “playground politics” so fun to read about, but I often end up really enjoying these kinds of books so I’m excited to try this one!

4) Woman of the Year by Darcey Bell

Darcey Bell is one of those authors who has been on my TBR for way too long, despite the fact that I’d never read a single one of her books. I’m very strongly considering adding her to my priority authors list for my next round of reading challenges to finally give myself an extra push to pick up at least one of her books. This one is her upcoming 2023 release, which is about a friendship between college classmates Lorelei and Holly which flames out after one horrible moment that causes Lorelei’s promising future to fall apart. Years later, Holly now has everything Lorelei ever wanted and is even up for a Woman of the Year award, causing Lorelei to decide that it’s finally time for revenge. However, she is not the only person who has been obsessively following Holly’s career, and when someone else winds up dead, she realizes that she may be in danger herself. I think one of the main reasons I’ve never picked up this author’s books is because they are all on the shorter side, and I often find that isn’t quite enough time to fully develop a story or characters. On the other hand, the general premise of this one sounds so interesting that I just may need to try it anyway!

5) Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

To be fair, I thought this book was already on my TBR! I was sure this one was added to my list because I signed up for a Goodreads Giveaway for it, but I don’t see it on my list so I guess I’m wrong. I’ve also tried a couple of times to buy this one on Book Outlet but it’s always low in stock when it comes in so I haven’t managed to snag it in time yet. This book is a Jamaican-inspired fantasy about two rival witches who enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy, which just sounds amazing! I didn’t pay too much attention to this book when it first came out last year for some reason, but now that I’ve actually read the synopsis properly, I’m excited to try it. The only thing putting me off is the fact that it has a relatively low average rating on Goodreads (around 3.2 stars)! There is also a sequel to this that came out this year, which is an incredibly long book with more than 700 pages. I’m curious to give this one a try and possibly even make it a priority series to read next year, but I’m a little hesitant because of the combination of not-great reviews and the intimidating length of the second book.

6) Never Lie by Freida McFadden

This is one of several books by this author that I added to my TBR this month alone, and I have even more that have already been on my list for quite a while. I’m part of a Facebook group for fans of thrillers and many of the group members seem to be absolutely obsessed with this author, so it’s made me curious to try her! I think the main reason I hadn’t tried any of her books yet is because none of them were available through my library, but I’ve just checked and they all seem to be available to buy through Amazon, so I might decide to pick up one at some point. This book is her recent release that just came out in September, and it is about a newlywed couple, Tricia and Ethan, who are searching for their dream house. They soon visit a remote manner that once belonged to a renowned psychiatrist who had disappeared four years ago, and when a violent blizzard traps them in the house, Tricia uncovers a secret room containing audio transcripts from every patient the psychiatrist ever interviewed. As she begins to listen to these recordings, Tricia begins to unravel the puzzle of what really happened to Dr. Adrienne Hale, leading up the horrifying truth revealed by the final tape. I’m a sucker for any book that focuses heavily on psychology or characters who are therapists/psychiatrists (I was a psychology major), so this naturally sounds very interesting to me. This is another author that I’ve been a bit hesitant to try because her books are often on the shorter side, and also despite the high average ratings, I’ve also seen several very negative reviews. I’m curious to try at least a few of her books and decide for myself either way!

7) The Ghost Woods by C.J. Cooke

I vaguely recognized this author’s name as someone who was already on my TBR, although I couldn’t remember specifically which books were hers. This book is a very recent release about a house in the woods known as Lichen Hall, which is shrouded by mysterious stories of ghosts and witches. When Pearl Gorham arrives there in 1965 as one of a string of women who has been sent there to give birth, she soon suspects that the owners are hiding something. Before long, she meets a mother and young boy who are living on the grounds and together they begin to unearth the secrets of this home. To be honest, I added this to my TBR because of author named recognition and because of the incredible cover, without really looking into what it was about. Now that I’ve read the synopsis properly, it does seem like something that I’d probably like so it was a good choice! I’m not entirely sure how high priority any of this author’s books will be for me, but they all seem like something I’d like to eventually pick up. If nothing else, it helps to keep them on my TBR as an extra reminder that I wanted to try them at some point.

8) The Wrong Mother by Charlotte Duckworth

I read Unfollow Me by this author two years ago and I really enjoyed it, although the plot wasn’t quite what I expected based on the synopsis. This book is this author’s upcoming release about a woman named Faye who is terrified that she will never be able to have her own child, since she is 39 and still single. When she hears about a co-parenting app that gives people the chance to meet others who want a baby and don’t want to raise them alone, she decides to give it a try and is soon matched with the wealthy Louis. However, just one year later, Faye’s dream has turned into a nightmare as she is on the run from Louis with their baby in tow, and the refuge she finds with an older woman renting out a room may not be as safe as it seems. Although I’ve been feeling a little burnt out on books that focus heavily on pregnancy/women trying to have children, this one still sounds very interesting! Strangely enough, many of this author’s books seem to have a strong focus on pregnancy, and this was one of the things that actually put me off a bit about Unfollow Me, but this one seems to have a bit more of unique spin on the topic and I’m curious to see how the author incorporates the co-parenting app and all the potential legal and ethical dilemmas that may come with that. I’m definitely willing to give this author’s books another chance since I ultimately did really enjoy the first one that I tried!

9) The Girlfriend by K.L. Slater

This is yet another author who has multiple books on my TBR despite the fact that I haven’t read any yet, and also one whom I haven’t tried yet because many of her books are short (although upon checking, there seem to be fewer short books than I thought). This book is her most recent release which just came out earlier this week, and it is about a woman named Jennifer whose husband has died in an accident. Within days of his death, a woman she does not recognize shows up on her doorstep claiming to be his girlfriend and that she is the owner of their family home. This woman insists she does not want to throw Jennifer and her children out, and instead wants herself and her son to move in with them so he will grow up with his siblings. With no other options remaining to her, Jennifer has no choice but to accept and soon begins to think that they may even be able to become friends, until she uncovers a hidden phone that causes her to question what exactly this woman really wants. I literally have more than 10 books by this author on my TBR so it seems like a good time for me to finally try one. I’m not entirely sure which one I’ll start with, but it’s getting a little ridiculous to keep adding so many without at least reading one to see if I like the author’s style!

10) The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

I ended up adding many books by this author to my TBR just yesterday after going down a bit of a rabbithole of “Readers Also Enjoyed” books on Goodreads. I chose this one to mention here since it just came out within the past week, although I’d never heard of this author before. This book is about a group of friends who became known as the Hixton Five after the summer they meet Eileen Wickham and her son, a woman who seems like a kind motherly figure until she turns into a monster. Twenty years have passed since the night that changed everything, and Eileen is now free once again, causing the Five to fear that she might be out for revenge. To be fair, it took me several tries to even really grasp what this book was about because the synopsis was so vague. I had to look into some of the Goodreads reviews to get at least a little more detail. If I’ve understood this correctly, it sounds like this book could be amazingly creepy, and possibly even darker than the other books this author has written so far. It seems like she has been publishing two thrillers per year for the past few years, and they all sound very interesting. I’m definitely interested to see more reviews for this once it’s been out a little longer.

11) Missing Daughter by Kiersten Modglin

One of my Facebook groups (possibly the same one?) is also pretty obsessed with this author, and she is another who has multiple books already on my TBR. I probably have about 10 of her books on my list already, and she’s another that I haven’t tried yet because some of her books seemed too short and also they also weren’t easily accessible from my library. This book came out about a year ago, and I’m a bit surprised I haven’t heard of it before. It is about a woman named Ginny who wakes up the day after her daughter’s birthday party knowing that something is very wrong, and quickly realizes her daughter is nowhere to be found. Ginny’s husband has been telling her that she’s been struggling ever since their daughter was born and that she forgets things, but she knows that she remembers the party. Her therapist insists she needs to stand up for herself and confront her husband about the woman she heard him talking to and the toy she found that does not belong to her daughter, but as the night goes on, Ginny realizes that everything she thought she remembered about that night was wrong. This sounds like an interesting thriller, especially since it’s been compared to Behind Closed Doors and Gone Girl (although that may not be saying much, since most thrillers are compared to at least one of those at this point). I’m definitely interested in trying some of this author’s books, but I’m not sure if this will be the one I start with.

12) The Six Guests by Diana Wilkinson

This was a book that I came across randomly through the “Readers Also Enjoyed” section, and it immediately caught my attention once I saw the synopsis! It is about a group of six friends who meet for an online quiz night every Friday during the COVID lockdowns. When it’s Barton’s turn to host the event, he introduces a set of personal questions that set off a fatal chain of events, but when police start asking questions, all of the friends agree to hide the truth. Everyone in the group has their secrets, making it possible that one of the six might have killed a group member. I am an absolute sucker for any book that involves social media and that kind of technology, and also for closed-circle/locked room mysteries, and this book seems to involve both. I’ve also been very interested in seeing what kinds of books will be written about or at least involving the pandemic, and how different authors might approach it. I think the lockdowns in general provide such a great backdrop for a thriller. I didn’t even realize it, but I already had one other book by this author already on my TBR so it’s possible I’d subconsciously recognized her name when I saw it, but I honestly think it was the synopsis alone that drew me to this one.


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