I am here with another Top Ten Tuesday post! There are so many amazing books coming out in the second half of 2020, and I am excited to talk about a few of them. I also have a feeling that this week’s prompt is going to have a huge impact on my TBR, and I am ready for it!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
I have been seeing Girl, Serpent, Thorn everywhere lately, and there is something about it that is intriguing to me. I actually have the eARC and I would like to get to it before the release date- so look out for that review soon…hopefully. I love a good fairy tale, so I am ready for this!
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. A small world of work, risk, death and unlooked-for love, by the bestselling author of The Wonder and ROOM.
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.
In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.
In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.
I had no idea that Emma Donogue was releasing a new book until very recently, and I was so excited! Donoghue is a Writer-in-Resident at the university that I attended, and I was lucky enough to hear her speak. She is so incredible, and her novel The Wonder is one of my favourite books. As you can see from the synopsis, The Pull of the Stars is about the Great Flu and a maternity ward that is forced to quarantine together. In the face of COVID-19, there has been a lot of discussion about the 1918 influenza pandemic, so I am curious to see what Donoghue does with this story.
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Every single reviewer I have seen has given Cemetery Boys a five star rating! I don’t think I have ever read a book set during the Day of the Dead, so I am really excited by the idea of that. This books is said to be very supportive and hopeful, with characters who you fall in love with. Also, ghosts! I am so ready for that. I have an eARC, so I need to get to it ASAP!
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Release Date: September 8th, 2020
A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.
In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape? Why is everyone so angry? And: What is WRONG with people these days?
Anxious People sounds like something completely different from what Fredrik Backman usually writes. I am excited to see what he does in the mystery/thriller genre! I am intrigued by the fact that each of the witnesses shares their perspective of the event- I love books that do that. It is always interesting to see how different people can view the same event in a completely different way. The early reviews have been amazing, and I am counting down the days for its release!
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Release Date: September 8th, 2020
Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.
Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.
But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.
September 8th is going to be a big day! My two most anticipated books of the year come out that day! Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, is one of my favourite books of all time and made me realize just how much I love multi-generational novels. I think it is interesting that Gyasi’s first book was historical fiction, and Transcendent Kingdom is a contemporary. I truly believe that she is capable of writing in any genre- she is incredibly talented!
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
All signs point to Enchanted.
Tiffany D. Jackson is one of my new favourite authors! I was lucky enough to receive an eARC for Grown, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to read it. I also want to read Jackson’s entire backlist, as Let Me Hear a Rhyme was so fantastic. Many reviewers have pointed out that Grown seems to be inspired by R Kelly, and I recently watched the documentary series about him. It was extremely infuriating and emotional, so I can only imagine that Grown will make me feel the same way.
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why she said yes to the opportunity: living in this remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.
But she hadn’t known about the ghosts.
Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.
Watch Over Me is another stunner from Printz Award-Winning author Nina LaCour, whose empathetic, lyrical prose is at the heart of this modern ghost story of resilience and rebirth.
Look at this cover- so good! Can you believe that have never read one of Nina LaCour’s books? That needs to change. I have heard so many amazing things about all of her novels. I think it is interesting that, much like Cemetery Boys, Watch Over Me is a ghost story. The books seems to tackles the theme of loneliness (something we have all experienced!), and I am curious to see what LaCour does with this story.
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!
Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.
When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.
As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.
I have not read the first book in this series, but I absolutely loved the second book, Love Her or Lose Her. It made me realize how much I love second chance romances. Many of the early reviews for Tool of Engagement have been saying that this is the best book in the series, which makes me even more excited. I am curious about the reality show element as well.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
I know that it is cheesy, but I am such a sucker for a holiday romance! I am getting major Hallmark movie vibes from In a Holidaze. Christina Lauren’s books have been hit or miss for me, but I really want to love this one. I am hopeful because the early reviews have been great, and the cover alone makes me so happy!
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
I didn’t know that I needed another Practical Magic prequel, especially when you consider the fact that Rules of Magic is my favourite book about witches, but I am so ready for Magic Lessons! Maria Owens is one of my favourite characters, and I am thrilled that we are going to learn more about her and her past. Alice Hoffman is a gifted author, and I love the characters that she creates and the stories that she weaves.
Honourable mentions: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, One by One by Ruth Ware, Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey, The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton