I haven’t done one of these posts in ages, which is ridiculous because I have added so many interesting books to my TBR lately. I want to share them all with you, so expect to see more posts in this series over the next few weeks. I have added a few fall releases and even some 2022 releases, but I will talk about those in the future. This post is meant to highlight books that you could get your hands on right now if they pique your interest!
The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show.
Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s place at the festival, it almost doesn’t seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse’s disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born.
Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time.
Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?
Major Daisy Jones and the Six vibes! I love books about music, especially if they are set in the 60s, 70s, and/or 80s. I am intrigued by the fact that Songs in Ursa Major focuses on female artists and the sexism they face within the music industry. I have also heard that this book is loosely based on Joni Mitchell and James Taylor!
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle’s snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a “safe space” app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter.
With nuanced emotional precision, gritty humor, and compassionate insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities, the stories in Afterparties deliver an explosive introduction to the work of Anthony Veasna So.
I have to admit that the cover for Afterparties is what immediately caught my eye, but I once I read the description I knew this was going to be something I would love. I am always looking for short story collections. I believe that each of the stories centers around both the queer and immigrant communities, but they each sound so unique!
Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird—the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world”—boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase—and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate . . . like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.
When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear.
A massive bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that fizzes with an incredible energy and surprising humor as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwind. Award-winning author Kotaro Isaka takes readers on a tension packed journey as the bullet train hurtles toward its final destination. Who will make it off the train alive—and what awaits them at the last stop?
Bullet Train was a bestseller in Japan and has recently been translated into English and is being made into a movie starring Brad Pitt and Joey King. Of course, I need to read the book first! I enjoy locked room thrillers, which this one seems to be as it takes place on a train, and the fact that five assassins end up on the same train is wild and I have to see what happens!
When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother’s home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods.
When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?
Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.
Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.
I have been looking for some creepy books for the fall, and The Twisted Ones was recommended to me. I have heard great things about T. Kingfisher, so she has an extensive backlist if I end up liking this one. I love a good haunted house story and I am curious to see if this book is truly paranormal or if something else is going on.
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.
I have been wanting to read Wanderers since it came out, but it is almost 800 pages and intimidates me. Chuck Wendig recently published The Book of Accidents, which is 500 pages and it is more likely that I will pick it up. This book is said to be a literary horror, which is interesting, and I have seen some incredible reviews. Also- dark magic!
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Victoria Lee has a new book out (A Lesson of Vengeance) that is getting a lot of buzz. I had plans to read some of their backlist titles before that book’s release, but of course time got away from me. That said, I am still intrigued by the Feverwake series as I have been falling in love with dystopian again lately.
Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.
Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.
I recently read Fireborne and loved it! I asked for recommendations for books about dragons and had quite a few people recommend Fire with Fire. All I know is the the story follows sisters who are dragon hunters until one them forms a bond with a dragon and starts to question everything. It sounds so good!
In 1985, Peter Everett landed the job as Superintendent of Southwark Mortuary. In just six years he’d gone from lowly assistant to running the UK’s busiest murder morgue. He couldn’t believe his luck.
What he didn’t know was that Southwark, operating in near-Victorian conditions, was a hotbed of corruption. Attendants stole from the dead, funeral homes paid bribes, and there was a lively trade in stolen body parts and recycled coffins.
Set in the fascinating pre-DNA and psychological profiling years of 1985-87, this memoir tells a gripping and gruesome tale, with a unique insight into a world of death most of us don’t ever see. Peter managed pathologists, oversaw post-mortems and worked alongside Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad – including the case of the serial killer, the Stockwell Strangler.
This is a thrilling tale of murder and corruption in the mid-1980s, told with insight and compassion.
I don’t know what it is but I am always intrigued by memoirs written by morticians. I find it fascinating for some reason! I don’t know how I came across Corrupt Bodies, but the fact that the author worked at a morgue in the 80s before DNA testing is what it is now is what really caught my attention.
This is a memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.
In this story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
When I read nonfiction, I typically pick up a memoir, and Crying in H Mart has been everywhere lately. From what I know, Michelle Zauner talks about her complicated relationship with her mother, which seems to be a common theme in memoirs. There is supposedly a lot of conversations around food!
What books have you added to your TBR recently?