Stacking the Shelves (#61)

Just like at the end of 2021, I ended up skipping my monthly Stacking the Shelves post for December and combining it with January instead. I got so busy with end-of-year wrap-up posts and setting up goals and reading challenges for the new year that it didn’t really make sense to prioritize a Stacking the Shelves list. Plus, I realized that I hadn’t added very many books at all to my TBR in December! I added about 36 books to my TBR in total in December 2022, and just 24 in January of 2023! I think I just haven’t been spending quite as much time on Goodreads lately, and had already done a pretty good job at looking ahead to upcoming releases in the previous months. Also, Goodreads has very recently updated and I’m really having a hard time adjusting to the new look. I’m sure this change has been a long time coming, but up until now, I’ve always been able to reset my page back to the old style. It looks like that is no longer an option, and I’m finding it so frustrating that I can’t figure out how to find information. For example, I used to be able to quickly and easily check when I had added a book to my TBR just by going to that book’s page and scrolling down a bit. Now, that information is buried further down the page, and you have to click on another drop-down menu to see it. Combine that with the fact that my shelves on Goodreads are too big to be sorted for now, and it’s become a bit more challenging to use efficiently. Even taking all of the Goodreads issues out of the equation though, the past couple of months have been especially busy for me, but I’ve still managed to find some exciting new books that I want to try at some point!

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) Blood Will Tell by Heather Chavez

I actually added this one to my TBR after I already had a copy, but I’d thought it had already been on there when I bought it from Book Outlet! I picked this book up because they were having a great sale where most books were available for just $7.49 and I’d been debating getting this one for a while already. It had been available on Book Outlet for around $15 and I was on the fence about spending that much on it, but the sale convinced me to give it a try. I’ve had this author’s previous book No Bad Deed on my TBR since 2020, so I already vaguely recognized her name. This book is her 2022 release about a single mom named Frankie who has always been very protective of her younger sister Izzy, especially on a night five years ago when Izzy went partying with a group of 5 other friends, and one of the group has been missing ever since. Now, an Amber Alert brings Frankie to the attention of the local police after her truck is described as the one used in the abduction of a young girl, and the only other person who has access to the truck is Izzy. Frankie is left to decide how far she is now willing to go to protect Izzy again, since the dangerous game that caused Izzy’s friend to go missing all those years ago may not be over yet. This book sounds so interesting! I love thrillers that focus on complicated family relationships, and especially the dynamics when one family member is forced to deal with the possibility that another may have committed a crime. This one sounds so interesting, and I’m glad I have a copy already available!

2) Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I’d mostly ignored this book throughout the year because it seemed a bit overhyped, but eventually realized that I didn’t even know what it was about! I heard it pitched not too long ago in a Youtube video (I can’t remember whose), and realized that it actually sounded amazing. It’s actually unfortunate that I can’t remember what video I saw because the synopsis itself doesn’t quiet sound as interesting as I remember. This book is set in the early 1960s, and it is about a chemist named Elizabeth Zott who works on an otherwise all-male team at the Hastings Research Institute, where she falls in love with Calvin Evans, the only one there who seems to appreciate her mind. However, a few years later, Elizabeth finds herself a single mother and reluctant start of a popular cooking show, where she uses chemistry to teach women how to cook, and through her show, also teaches women to challenge the status quo. This book was absolutely everywhere last year, and I’m almost not surprised that it eventually ended up on my TBR despite being overhyped. I’ve become a lot more open to trying books that everyone else seems to be raving about over the past few years, and I’ve discovered many new favourites that way! I’m a little on whether this one will actually become a favourite, and I may need to dig back through my Youtube history to find the video I saw mentioning this one to remind myself of exactly what it was I found most exciting about it. Either way, this book does sound interesting enough to be worth a try and I hope it lives up to the hype!

3) The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall

I have this author on my priority list to try this year, although I’m not sure this book quite made the cut since it is not due out until August. If I can manage to grab a copy quickly when it comes out and I still have room on my challenge lists, I might be able to squeeze it in! This book is about a girl named Eden who attends the Atwood School, which is rumoured to have a river running below it called The Narrow. According to the rumours, no one can survive falling into The Narrow, but Eden knows that isn’t true since six years ago she saw Delphine fall in and live, although she now lives isolated from the rest of the world and no one but Eden knows. Unable to cover her tuition, Eden has been offered the chance to have all of her expenses paid in return for becoming Delphine’s live-in companion. Eden finds herself drawn to her until she discovers that Delphine’s previous companion was found half-drowned on dry land, and realizes that something may be haunting Delphine and coming for both of them. I’ve been really getting into YA thrillers and horror lately, and I’ve been meaning to try this author for such a long time! I’ve had Rules for Vanishing on my TBR since just before it came out in 2019, and finally decided to prioritize giving this author a try. I have at least three of her other books on my TBR for this year, and I’m hoping to get a chance to read them all. If I don’t get to this one before the end of the year, it’s quite likely to end up on my list for 2024, assuming I like this author’s writing.

4) Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz

I found this book on a list of upcoming 2023 releases, and was drawn in by its focus on social media. This book is about an influencer named Amelia Ashley who has gone missing after going on vacation with her boyfriend in Rome. When her boyfriend returns without her, he insists he has no clue where she is or why her blood is on her suitcase, but no one believes him. To Harper Delgado, a hacker, Amelia is just another missing girl who caused a media storm, but as she delves into the case, she begins to wonder who Amelia Ashley really is, especially since another girl had also gone missing two years ago but that one never made headlines. This book reminds me vaguely of the Gabby Petito case which occurred in 2021, especially due to the element of the boyfriend returning from a trip without his girlfriend. That real-life case raised a lot of online discussion and commentary about how missing persons and even murder cases are treated by the media depending on who the victim is, and it seems like this book might be along the same lines. Even if it doesn’t quite go there, it still sounds like a very interesting YA thriller. I tend to love books that have a focus on social media and the way it affects people’s lives, and this one seems to fit right in. I didn’t even realize that I already have a few other books by this author on my TBR as well since many of her books are quite different from each other! Just glancing at her author page on Goodreads, I see a vampire series, an Alexander Hamilton series, several Disney-related books and even a few adult thrillers. It’s definitely one of the most varied lists that I’ve seen! Of all of her books, this is probably the one I’m most interested in trying, so it seems like a good starting point.

5) The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary

I generally don’t include books on this list before they have cover art, but I am very excited for this one! I read The Flatshare by this author a couple of years ago, and it easily became one of my favourite romance books! I’m definitely planning to catch up on the rest of her books this year, and I hope I love them all just as much. This book is about Izzy and Lucas, who are both given the same shift at the Forest Manor Hotel’s front desk during the busy Christmas season. The two do not get along at all, but must work together to help keep the hotel afloat. When Izzy returns a guest’s lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management that there may be a way to fix everything. With four rings still sitting in the lost-and-found, Izzy and Lucas must race to save the hotel and their jobs, and soon find that their rivalry may be turning into something much more complicated. I’m not a huge fan of Christmas stories in general, but this one does not seem to be too overwhelmingly Christmas-y, at least not from the synopsis. I love enemies-to-lovers romances and especially in books where the enemies are forced to work together on some kind of task or project, which is definitely the case here. I really loved this author’s writing style in The Flatshare and especially the way she built such realistic characters. I already have three of this author’s books on my list to read this year, and I’m looking forward to reading them all! I may need to find a place to fit this one in too.

6) The Bewitching Hour by Ashley Poston

I had no idea this book was even planned, but I added it to my TBR immediately! This book is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer prequel focused on Tara, who is one of my favourite characters! This book follows Tara as a high school senior after she moves to a new town with the hopes of just making it through the school year. Her plans immediately fall apart when dead students begin turning up, and the rest of the class votes her most likely to be the murderer and the girl Tara has a crush on is also a witch-hunter. As Tara’s magic starts to malfunction, she has to get past her fears and find a way to save the town, even if that means putting her new relationship at risk. On the one hand, I’m excited for this because I have always loved and related very strongly to Tara, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I really want a prequel story for her either. I’m always a little nervous when authors try to take on favourite shows or characters because they can be very hit or miss. These kind of books tend to come with very high expectations since most people already have some kind of headcanon for their favourite characters, and it’s almost inevitable that the book won’t be what they expect. I’m planning to do my best to go into this book with an open mind as much as possible. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author, and I assume she is a fan if she’s choosing to write about Tara so I can only hope she will do the character justice.

7) The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan

I was very surprised to see this book on my Goodreads feed! Even though I have only read one of this author’s books so far, I always add her new ones to my TBR and I’m planning to try to at least partially catch up this year. This book is her upcoming releases due out this summer, and it is about childhood sweethearts Nicole and Tom whose lives are changed when they win the lottery. They soon move into a custom state-of-the art home and live a lavish lifestyle, but all that comes to an end when Tom is found dead in their pool. Nicole is devastated and feels very lonely in their huge manor house, but she is not completely on her own. There is also another young couple living on the manor’s grounds, as well as their middle-aged housekeeper, and one of Tom’s old friends soon turns up to help Nicole through her grief. Nicole begins to realize that their winnings might have brought big problems and even bigger threats, and starts to wonder whether Tom’s death may have been an accident at all. I added this book to my TBR on author name alone without even realizing what it was about, and now that I have seen the synopsis, I’m even more interested in giving it a try. I even have a challenge prompt this year asking for a book involving characters who have won the lottery, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to try to fit this one in if I can get a copy. Even though Goodreads says this book is out in the summer, it looks like it won’t be available in Canada until October, and I often find that books that I get so late in the year tend to get pushed off until the following year. If I can get a copy early enough though, I may be able to squeeze it in!

8) Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi

I thought I had this book on my TBR for a long time already, but I think I’d been holding off actually adding it until I saw a synopsis for it. The title has been around for a while, but I wasn’t really sure what genre this was until very recently when the cover and synopsis were finally released. This book is about a teenaged girl named Nigeria whose father has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group. When Nigeria’s mother disappears, her entire world is upended and she finds herself taking care of her baby brother and forced into a role that she doesn’t want. Nigeria soon learns that her mother had secrets, and wished for her children to have a different life, including sending her to a private school outside of the Movement, and she decides to attend there despite her father’s disapproval. At this school, she meets her cousin Kamau and Sage, who used to be her friend, and begins to expand her world and search for her mother to uncover the truth about her and her family. I read American Street back in 2020 and was a little underwhelmed (although still ended up rating it 4 stars overall), but I absolutely loved Punching the Air by this author! While I wouldn’t necessarily say this author is at the top of my list right now, this book sounds amazing and I’m very interested in trying it. I love books that revolve around family secrets and cult-like groups, and this one seems to have a bit of both (although I’m not sure it’s fair to classify the Movement as a cult either). I’m looking forward to seeing more reviews about this one closer to its release date in May.

9) Try Not to Breathe by David Bell

My plan to try to catch up on this author’s books by adding him to my priority authors list has failed so far, since I only ended up reading one of the 12 or so I have on my list! This book is his newest release due out this June, and it is about an ex-cop named Avery who retreats to a college town after a traumatic experience in the line of duty causes her to abandon both her relationship and her job. When she receives a frantic phone call from her father saying that her half-sister has gone missing, Avery is sure that Anna is just staying with some friends, but her father pressures her to get involved in searching for the sister she barely knows. Anna, fed up with her family, has set out to attend a protest against police brutality but after seeing Avery there, she receives a shocking text that puts her on the run, pursued by a sister she doesn’t trust and the stranger who has been stalking her for weeks. When Avery discovers Anna’s hiding place, she is prepared to risk everything to save her, but neither sister realizes that their past is catching up with them, including an explosive family secret. The synopsis for this one seems unusually detailed for a thriller, so I’m a little confused about why so much has been revealed upfront. I definitely need to get back on top of prioritizing some of this author’s books when I can because they just keep piling up on my TBR! All of his books sound so interesting, but I always end up putting them aside in favour of other thrillers. I think I have at least one or two on my list for this year, so that will be a small start.

10) Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris

I added this book to my TBR mostly because I recognized the author’s name from her debut, which is on my list to read this year! I didn’t even really look at the synopsis until just now, so I was a bit surprised to see that it was a historical mystery/thriller! This book is set in 1964, and it is about a 22-year-old Black woman named Violet who kills the man responsible for a brutal attack on her, but given the colour of her skin, she cannot escape Jim Crow justice and decides to make a run for it before anyone can suspect her with the help of her white boyfriend. Violet’s older sister Marigold dreams of attending law school and hopes to further the cause of the Black vote, but she is unmarried and pregnant. After news of the murder brings the police to her door, Marigold sees no choice but to escape too, and heads north in hopes of a better life for herself and her unborn child. Neither sister realizes that there is a man on their trail, with his own secrets and a disturbing motive for finding them both. I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical thriller like this before, but it sounds so interesting! One of my goals this year is to read more historical fiction in general, and I’m realizing now that I didn’t even consider including historical books from other genres as part of that. I’m not sure I have room to fit this one into my challenge plans at the moment, but it’s definitely a book I’d like to keep in mind, if not for this year than at least for next year.


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