Last year, I did a post about my most anticipated releases of 2019. As I was perusing it I realized that a) I haven’t read half the books on the list even though they have either been released or I have ARCs and b) I really only talked about books that were coming out up until August, with the exception of one single book. There’s a bunch of new releases I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year, so why not talk about a whole other bunch of books I probably won’t read until like two years after their release date!
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
September 3, 2019
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. And love makes fools of us all.
Give me anything to do with witches in any capacity and I’m here. But not only that, this features the arranged marriage trope, which is one of my all time favorites. It’s giving me Salem vibes. This is almost definitely gonna be in the September FairyLoot box, which I’m getting, so yay!
Cover Verdict: I hate this cover. First of all, it’s giving me so much anxiety because something about it just seems very…crooked? I don’t know, it’s like someone made a mistake somewhere. Also, it’s giving off these motorcycle/metallic vibes which isn’t meshing with the medieval-ish summary.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
September 10, 2019
The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.
Literally everyone has been talking about this book and how fucking weird it is, so I’m excited. I got this book last week in my Illumicrate subscription and it’s on my September TBR.
Cover Verdict: Again, I don’t usually like people on covers, but there are exceptions, and this is one of them. There’s something so damn cool about this cover. It looks fantastic in person too.
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
September 17, 2019
Noah Turner see monsters.
His father saw them–and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates. His practical mother has caught glimpses of terrors but refuses to believe–too focused on keeping the family from falling apart.
And his eldest sister, the dramatic and vulnerable Sydney, won’t admit to seeing anything but the beckoning glow of the spotlight . . . until it swallows her up.
Noah Turner sees monsters. But, unlike his family, Noah chooses to let them in . . .
I’m not quite sure about this book. The summary doesn’t give very much away and neither do the reviews, but something about it is drawing me to it. I’ve had an ARC of this for ages and have been meaning to get to it, but I suck, so.
Cover Verdict: I feel like this cover is altogether too silly for a horror novel. It looks more like the cover of a middle grade in the vein of Stranger Things, only far less scary.
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
September 24, 2019
The Monster of Elendhaven is a dark fantasy, a twisted tale of revenge set in an original world as oily and real as Jack the Ripper’s London. After a thing with no name washes up on the docks, empty, alone, and unable to die, he becomes obsessed with a frail young man who can twist minds with magic.
Together, they launch a plan so dark and cruel that readers will find themselves cheering for blood, and for these avengers to consummate their horrible passion for each other. But the pair are being hunted by officials from the south, intent on saving the world from the horrors mages can unleash.
This book sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted. I mean. Horror? Victorian London? Murder? Weird, vaguely Lovecraftian creatures? I’m here for it. I’ve had an ARC for SO LONG and this is such a short novella so I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet especially since I’m genuinely so excited about it.
Cover Verdict: I do like the slenderman vibe going on here. And I really like the cityscape in the background. Plus the colors are cool.
The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
September 24, 2019
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.
One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.
I mean, a boarding school? Gothic vibes? Potential cosmic horror? An adult character? What’s not to love? I’ve had an ARC of this for a while, so…I should really get on it.
Cover Verdict: I adore this cover. It definitely gives off spooky Gothic vibes.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
October 1, 2019
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.
Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.
Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.
Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.
Initially this book wasn’t even on my TBR because it seems to be that weird mix of fantasy and science-fiction that I generally despise. I guess it’s not super explicit that the Automae are robots, so I guess in theory they could be something magic, but if they are indeed robots, I know that will put me off. But! I’ve been hearing such amazing things about this it was impossible not to get caught up in the hype. And I have an ARC!
Cover Verdict: This gorgeous cover is what drew me to this book in the first place! This is my favorite type of cover: borders, very busy, symmetry. I love the cityscape and all the intricate design details.
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
October 1, 2019
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’ve read a few things by Ursula Vernon here and there and she really does creepy very well, so I couldn’t resist this. It sounds just weird enough to be terrifying, plus I’ve got an ARC.
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
October 8, 2019
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.
You know that “I don’t know what I expected” GIF? I feel like that’s gonna be my reaction when I read this book. From my experience with Renee Ahdieh (I hated The Wrath and the Dawn) and the reviews I’ve seen of this book, I have a strong feeling it’s going to leave me very, very, very disappointed. But! It’s vampires and New Orleans. I’m just genetically incapable of resisting that combination. Plus that cover is absolutely gorgeous, and this is gonna be in October’s FairyLoot, which I am subscribed to, so, you know, fate.
Cover Verdict: Like I said, I adore this. I mean, yes, it’s pretty obvious that they are trying to call back to Twilight, but you know what? I loved the Twilight cover. The red/black contrast never gets old. And the negative space is *chef’s kiss*.
The Furies by Katie Lowe
October 8, 2019
In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.
After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.
While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.
I think technically this book is already out in the UK, but it’s not coming out in the US until October. It’s got a lot of stuff that I love: secluded private school, coastal town, witchcraft, threads of horror, murder mystery. I really think I’ll love this.
Cover Verdict: I guess it’s not terrible. I could certainly do without all the virginal blonde white girl faces, but what can you do.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
October 8, 2019
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
Funny story, I was only kind of excited about this book until two things happened. First, Leigh Bardugo posted a quote on Twitter that made me melt. Second, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on Twitter about ~controversial~ elements in the book, which, because I’m a morbid fuck, made me even more excited about this book.
Cover Verdict: I just hate that goddamn snake. Like. Anything else would have been better. Even just the gray text on black. But that fucking snake.
Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry
October 8, 2019
Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.
In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a powerful inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.
I love the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice (go listen to Hadestown y’all!!!) and seeing it re-envisioned with queer girls escaping a conversion camp is so, so cool. I just got an ARC of this too!
Cover Verdict: I absolutely love it. I love the art style, the way one of the girls is looking back. I love the soft, fading pastel colors. I love the how the background elements evoke the feeling of a small, empty town. It’s just such a striking cover.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
October 15, 2019
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
I’ve never seen any of the Mad Max films. I should probably get on that before reading this book. Anyway, I’ve read The Bone Witch and really didn’t like it, but I did love the writing style, so here’s me giving Rin Chupeco another shot. Initially this plot didn’t really interest me, but I’ve seen some quotes and reviews floating around that pulled me in. I just got an ARC of this yesterday.
Cover Verdict: I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to be looking at. The asymmetry is giving me anxiety. I do like the colors, though.
The Throne of the Five Winds by S.C. Emmett
October 15, 2019
The Emperor’s palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden’s blade to protect herself — and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace.
But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir. And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins…
I really love adult high fantasy that’s all about political/court intrigue. This is also giving me strong Sansa Stark vibes! Just got an ARC of this.
Cover Verdict: Well, it looks like a mashup of Tasha Suri’s Empire of Sand and Alex Marshall’s A Crown for Cold Silver. Didn’t like the former cover, really liked the latter cover, so. I guess I’m neutral. I do like the pop of blue, though.
Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner
November 5, 2019
Onna can write the parameters of a spell faster than any of the young men in her village school. But despite her incredible abilities, she’s denied a place at the nation’s premier arcane academy. Undaunted, she sails to the bustling city-state of Hexos, hoping to find a place at a university where they don’t think there’s anything untoward about providing a woman with a magical education. But as soon as Onna arrives, she’s drawn into the mysterious murder of four trolls.
Tsira is a troll who never quite fit into her clan, despite being the leader’s daughter. She decides to strike out on her own and look for work in a human city, but on her way she stumbles upon the body of a half-dead human soldier in the snow. As she slowly nurses him back to health, an unlikely bond forms between them, one that is tested when an unknown mage makes an attempt on Tsira’s life. Soon, unbeknownst to each other, Onna and Tsira both begin devoting their considerable talents to finding out who is targeting trolls, before their homeland is torn apart…
This sounds…very weird, and I don’t tend to enjoy fantasy with non-human characters, but I got an ARC of this, plus the murder mystery aspect sounds fascinating.
Cover Verdict: The cover is what made me request an ARC! Of course, the cover also made me think this was a kind of Victorian fantasy novel, because it’s just such a strange design for a traditional high fantasy. In any case, I love the details and colors!
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
November 5, 2019
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
I mean. Do I even need to explain? Oddly enough, I’ve had an ARC of this since…oh, July or so? And I still haven’t cracked it open, because I’m terrible.
Cover Verdict: I’m underwhelmed by all of the covers for this book, just as I was underwhelmed by all the covers for The Night Circus. What I do love is the contrast of blue and yellow here.
Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callendar
November 12, 2009
Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.
When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.
Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.
It sounds like your typical YA high fantasy, but it’s actually adult, if I’m not mistaken! Plus, like I said, I love court intrigue.
Cover Verdict: This fucking snake will be the death of me. I like everything about this cover except for that goddamned snake.
The Dead Girls Club by Damian Angelica Walters
December 10, 2019
In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it. That belief got Becca killed.
It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died. The night Heather killed her. Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.
I’ve read a couple of short stories by this author and she does horror really well. Generally speaking I’m hoping to get more into horror, especially by women, and this seems like a good place to begin! Plus I have an ARC.
Cover Verdict: I do like the colors and the way the picture interweaves with the text of the title, but I also find it generic.
You might notice that I have an ARC of almost every single one of these books. Maybe I should make a post about all the ARCs I have to shame myself into reading some of them. You know that meme where it’s like, book publishing should just take a two-year break to give us time to catch up on everything? I’ve never felt that more than I do now.