Most Anticipated Releases for 2020

No explanation needed, but I just gotta say this is such a fun post to write, and I definitely refer back to my 2019 posts a lot; it functions as a nice TBR. I’m only including books that have release dates and covers announced, and, just like I did for 2019, will probably post another post like this during the summer that covers all the other books that have been announced.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the books on my Goodreads TBR, just the ones I am most excited about, because otherwise this list would be obnoxiously long.

the shadow saintThe Shadow Saint
Gareth Hanrahan
January 9, 2020

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees. Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets – a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it.As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?

This is the sequel to one of my favorite novels of 2019, The Gutter Prayer. It looks like this book will be exploring a side character whom I was really attached to as well as introducing some intriguing new characters and delving more into the horrific and terrifying godswar. So excited for this, and I love this cover as much as I loved the cover for The Gutter Prayer!

the will and the wildsThe Will and the Wilds
Charlie N. Holmberg
January 21, 2020

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

I am getting Labyrinth and Goblin King vibes! This author is pretty well known for her other series The Paper Magician, which I’ve never read but has been on my list for some time!

blood countessBlood Countess
Lana Popovic
January 28, 2020

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

So, something you might not know about me is that when I was a wee thirteen-year-old, I had a tiny bit of an obsession with Elizabeth Bathory, an obsession that landed me in the guidance counselor’s office. At the time, I was baffled, but looking back, I can hardly blame my English teacher for being alarmed that one of her students wrote an essay praising a 17th century Hungarian serial killer. What can I say? I leaned hard into my Goth aesthetic. Anyway, I only maintain a passing interest in Bathory now, but I owe it to my teenage self to read this book.

prosper's demonProsper’s Demon
K.J. Parker
January 28, 2020

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium. The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person. Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.

This is a novella, and it sounds so fucking bizarre in a way that hits on all of my interests. I will read anything with witches and demons and in particular I’m always intrigued by new takes on demonic possession. And would you look at that cover! It’s spectacular!

things in jarsThings in Jars
Jess Kid
February 4, 2020

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Victorian London + female detective + potential supernatural element. Need I say any more? I’ve never read anything by this author but I do know that she is lauded for the caliber of her writing, which makes me think she will do justice to Victorian London.

upright women wantedUpright Women Wanted
Sarah Gailey
February 4, 2020

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

Another Tor.com novella that sounds absolutely wild! I’ve loved Gailey’s novel debut, Magic for Liars, and their other novella series about hippos in 19th-century USA is one I’ve had on my list for a long time.

the temple house vanishingThe Temple House Vanishing
Rachel Donohue
February 6, 2020

In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.

Sounds like the perfect mix of Gothic, mystery, and thriller, with a touch of the student-teacher trope. I think this is a debut author so I don’t know anything about her, but I’m intrigued enough by this summary to go in blind.

the unspoken nameThe Unspoken Name
A.K. Larkwood
February 11, 2020

Csorwe was raised by a death cult steeped in old magic. And on her fourteenth birthday, she’ll be sacrificed to their god. But as she waits for the end, she’s offered a chance to escape her fate. A sorcerer wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. As this involves her not dying that day, she accepts.

Csorwe spends years living on a knife-edge, helping her master hunt an artefact which could change many worlds. Then comes the day she’s been dreading. They encounter Csorwe’s old cult – seeking the same magical object – and Csorwe is forced to reckon with her past. She also meets Shuthmili, the war-mage who’ll change her future.

If she’s to survive, Csorwe must evade her enemies, claim the artefact and stop the death cult once and for all. As she plunges from one danger to the next, the hunt is on . . .

This book is being super hyped by Tor, and I’m sure it’s the big new fantasy everyone will be reading! I’ve heard good things, though I am dubious about the orc element – I tend to not prefer non-human characters in my fantasy, but we shall see!

ink in the bloodInk in the Blood
Kim Smejkal
February 11, 2020

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

Oddly enough, I was more enamored of this book when the summary was very vague; now I am a bit more wary of it, but I will read pretty much anything about gods, and this sounds different enough from the usual YA fantasy fare that I’m cautiously optimistic. Plus I really love the cover.

untamed shoreUntamed Shore
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
February 11, 2020

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

This is Moreno-Garcia’s first foray into noir/thriller! I think at this point she is an auto-read author for me, since her book The Beautiful Ones is one of my all-time favorites, and I enjoyed Gods of Jade and Shadow. This is quite different from anything she’s written before, but then again her work tends to be eclectic and span a variety of genres.

the bass rockThe Bass Rock
Evie Wyld
February 13, 2020

In 1720s Scotland, a priest and his son get lost in the forest, transporting a witch to the coast to stop her from being killed by the village. In the sad, slow years after the Second World War, Ruth finds herself the replacement wife to a recent widower and stepmother to his two young boys, installed in a huge house by the sea and haunted by those who have come before. Fifty years later, Viv is cataloguing the valuables left in her dead grandmother’s seaside home, when she uncovers long-held secrets of the great house. Three women, hundreds of years apart, slip into each other’s lives in a novel of darkness, violence and madness.

This…sounds like it could be a very, very hit or miss for me; it’s not my usual type of book. But I saw the word “witch” and was hooked, and that’s probably a really shallow way to decide you want to read a book, but whatever. It definitely has Gothic vibes, though, and this author is highly praised for her previous book, so we shall see!

the wolf of oren yaroThe Wolf Oren-Yaro
K.S. Villoso
February 18, 2020

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.

But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.

I think this book was originally self-published and then picked up by Orbit – I’ve seen some great early reviews that indicate there are some truly excellent character dynamics in here.

the sun down motelThe Sun Down Motel
Simone St. James
February 18, 2020

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls. Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden… 

I’ve enjoyed both books by this author that I’ve read in the past, and this one in particular seems like it is really tailored for me. A historical setting. A random, creepy motel. And this cover is just such an aesthetic.

the shadows between usThe Shadows Between Us
Tricia Levenseller
February 25, 2020

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

I smell a villain romance. I’ve not read this author’s other series, Daughter of the Pirate King, so I’ve no idea if her writing will appeal to me, but I’m way too intrigued by this summary not to give this a shot.

witches of ash and ruinWitches of Ash and Ruin
E. Latimer
March 3, 2020

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that witches are having such a revival. This book sounds like it could be SO freaking good. Witchcraft, sapphic girls, and a murder mystery??? Sign me up!!

house of earth and bloodHouse of Earth and Blood
Sarah J. Maas
March 3, 2020

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Yes, this is in fact Sarah J. Maas’s new EIGHT-HUNDRED PAGE new adult novel. Does it need to be 800 pages? Probably not. Will I most likely enjoy all those 800 pages and hate myself for it? Probably yes. I don’t know. I really enjoyed Maas’ earlier work but I feel like her series have gone off the rails, so I’m not sure how I will react to this novel, especially with this painfully 2012 YA summary, but I’ve just…I’ve gotta. Also I am in love with this cover.

when we were magicWhen We Were Magic
Sarah Gailey
March 3, 2020

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

More witches! More Sarah Gailey! And that cover!

my dark vanessaMy Dark Vanessa
Kate Elizabeth Russell
March 10, 2020

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood.

God this just sounds like it’s so messed up and SO GOOD. I’m really intrigued by student-teacher tropes in general but I love that this one touches on the #metoo movement. I’m super, super excited to read this, and probably will get to it soon since I have an e-ARC!

empress of salt and fortuneThe Empress of Salt and Fortune
Nghi Vo
March 24, 2020

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

Another Tor.com novella! I don’t know much about this author but the summary sounds excellent, and I’m always more willing to give novellas a chance because they are so short.

the city we becameThe City We Became
N.K. Jemisin
March 26, 2020

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

I will of course read anything Jemisin puts out, even when I am dubious. I read the short story this was based on and I literally had to read it THREE TIMES to understand anything that was going on. Some of that may just be the nature of short stories, but I just felt like I didn’t like it as much as I should have. Here’s hoping the novel will appeal to me more! I’m really intrigued by this idea – Jemisin is SO creative with her ideas – so I’m hoping that I will like the execution just as much. I’m also really excited for a book that professes to be a love letter to NYC! Also this cover is………a choice.

days of distractionDays of Distraction
Alexandra Chang
March 31, 2020

The plan is to leave. As for how, when, to where, and even why—she doesn’t know yet. So begins a journey for the twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction. As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run.

Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?

Another potential hit or miss; I’m really interested in how the book seems to delve into interracial relationships and questions of marginalized identity, but slow, introspective books are not usually my jam. It all depends on how it’s written. But I’m still excited and I love this cover!

southern book club's guide to slaying vampiresThe Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Grady Hendrix
April 7, 2020

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

This is so goddamn bizarre, but I’m loving that vampires are having a resurgence! Hendrix is known for his particular blend of horror and dark humor, I think, so this should, I think, be sufficiently entertaining if nothing else?

Asaf Ashery
April 14, 2020

Detectives Simantov and Bitton, along with their team of mystic agents, try to make sense of the weird crime scenes and even weirder forensic findings. The victims are seemingly unconnected and the only clues to their disappearances are the small objects they leave behind; a whip, a feather, a lock of hair…

Together with Mazzy’s instincts and Yariv’s stubbornness, they realise that these abductions signal the start of an apocalypse – a war between opposing hosts of angels, the daughters of Lilith and the Nephilim. The battle for access to heaven is underway and humans are caught in the middle. But strong as they may be, angels will always underestimate the power and weight in human free will.

Angels! Angel wars! Mysterious disappearances! Apocalypse! This sounds right up my alley.

the silence of bonesThe Silence of Bones
June Hur
April 21, 2020

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

I have been excited for this book ever since I saw a tweet pitch for it! It sounds like such a k-drama setup, and I’ve never seen historical Korea in a YA fantasy, and a character indentured to the police bureau?? This sounds absolutely incredible. I really, really hope it lives up to my very high expectations!

if i had your faceIf I Had Your Face
Frances Cha
April 21, 2020

This utterly compelling novel follows the interconnected lives of four young women balancing on the edge of survival in contemporary Seoul, Korea. Kyuri is a heartbreakingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a “room salon,” an exclusive bar where she entertains wealthy businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake with a client one evening suddenly threatens her livelihood. Her roomate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in an impossible relationship with the super-wealthy heir to one of Korea’s biggest companies. Down the hall from their apartment building lives Ara, a hair stylist whose obsession with a boy-band pop star drives her to desperate extremes. And Wonna, on the floor just below, is a newlywed trying to get pregnant with a child that she and her husband will not be able to afford to raise and educate in the cutthroat economy of Seoul. Together, they give us a gripping picture of their unfamiliar world of cultural hierarchies, yet unmistakably universal in the ways their tentative friendships will prove their saving grace.

I am fascinated by Korean beauty standards; I’ve read some nonfiction articles about the beauty industry over there, and the ensuing feminist backlash to it.

the notorious virtuesThe Notorious Virtues
Alwyn Hamilton
May 5, 2020

At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir. But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.

And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for. With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.

Okay, so this author famously wrote the very weirdly Orientalist series Rebel of the Sands, but this book sounds very British, so I’m hoping there won’t be any of that fetishistic weirdness that was going on in her faux-Arab books. I love that this sounds very prim and Victorian-inspired. The only other thing I’m unsure about is that I usually don’t enjoy contests/games/competitions in books, but I think the added element of murder mystery spices things up a lot. Also I am in love with this crazy cover.

girl serpent thornGirl Serpent Thorn
Melissa Bashardoust
May 12, 2020

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 really enjoyed this author’s debut and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book from people with ARCs. Also, this is the only time I’ve enjoyed a snake on a cover.

where dreams descendWhere Dreams Descend
Janelle Angeles
June 2, 2020

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

I’ve been so excited for this book for so long! Again, I usually don’t like games in books, but I’m more intrigued by the characters here. I smell a love triangle, and I…do actually enjoy love triangles, to my own disappointment. But this is also such a unique premise! I love circus-themed books. And this cover is absolutely gorgeous and so thematically appropriate.

cleft capitalismCleft Capitalism: The Social Origins of Failed Market Making in Egypt
Amr Adly
June 2, 2020

Egypt has undergone significant economic liberalization under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, USAID, and the European Commission. Yet after more than four decades of economic reform, the Egyptian economy still fails to meet popular expectations for inclusive growth, better standards of living, and high-quality employment. While many analysts point to cronyism and corruption, Amr Adly finds the root causes of this stagnation in the underlying social and political conditions of economic development.

Cleft Capitalism offers a new explanation for why market-based development can fail to meet expectations: small businesses in Egypt are not growing into medium and larger businesses. The practical outcome of this missing middle syndrome is the continuous erosion of the economic and social privileges once enjoyed by the middle classes and unionized labor, without creating enough winners from market making. This in turn set the stage for alienation, discontent, and, finally, revolt. With this book, Adly uncovers both an institutional explanation for Egypt’s failed market making, and sheds light on the key factors of arrested economic development across the Global South.

I’ve always been interested in the development of Egypt’s economy. Recently, the country decided to float the dollar, which led to soaring prices but didn’t really do much to help the economy. I’m excited to learn more about the reasoning behind all of that and why Egypt continues to struggle.

this coven won't breakThis Coven Won’t Break
Isabel Sterling
June 2, 2020

Hannah Walsh just wants a normal life. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever.

When Hannah learns the Hunters have gone nationwide, armed with a serum capable of taking out entire covens at once, she’s desperate to help. Now, with witches across the country losing the most important thing they have—their power—Hannah could be their best shot at finally defeating the Hunters. After all, she’s one of the only witches to escape a Hunter with her magic intact.

Or so everyone believes. Because as good as she is at faking it, doing even the smallest bit of magic leaves her in agony. The only person who can bring her comfort, who can make her power flourish, is Morgan. But Morgan’s magic is on the line, too, and if Hannah can’t figure out how to save her—and the rest of the Witches—she’ll lose everything she’s ever known. And as the Hunters get dangerously close to their final target, will all the Witches in Salem be enough to stop an enemy determined to destroy magic for good?

This is the sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn, which I very much enjoyed! It brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings about one of my favorite series, Sweep, only with gay girls! It’s great! I loved the cover of the first book but this cover? Fucking hell, they’ve outdone themselves. That graphic! Those vibrant colors! It’s so damn beautiful!

exciting timesExciting Times
Naoise Dolan
June 2, 2020

Ava moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment.

When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands.

Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?

This sounds just like a Sally Rooney story, so it seems like something I would like. I love stories about expats for some reason, and I also really enjoy stories about complicated relationships, and I love that there’s a queer element here.

the order of the pure moon reflected in waterThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
Zen Cho
June 23, 2020

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.

The last Tor.com novella, and it sounds so freaking good. But after loving her two novels, Zen Cho could write literally anything and I would still read her work. I also really love this very lengthy title.

the angel of the crowsThe Angel of the Crows
Katherine Addison
June 23, 2020

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

Yo. YO. First of all, I am incapable of not reading something set in a fantastical Victorian London. But also, this is KATHERINE ADDISON, author of the much-lauded The Goblin Emperor, which I have yet to read but it so widely celebrated that I have no doubt this book is going to be excellent. Also this book includes vampires and werewolves, so added bonus!

mexican gothicMexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
June 30, 2020

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Yes, Moreno-Garcia has TWO books coming out this year, and I am even more excited by this one! I mean, Moreno-Garcia’s writing and a Gothic atmosphere and mystery all set in 1950s Mexico? GOD what a premise! Also this cover is SO WONDERFUL.

they ear of the witchingThe Year of the Witching
Alexis Henderson
July 21, 2020

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement. But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

This book was pitched as The Witch meets…something I don’t care about because I just heard The Witch, one of my all-time favorite movies, and added it to my TBR before even reading the summary. Remember what I said about witches making a comeback? This seems like it’s going to be set in faux-Puritan times which is just…absolutely incredible.

a wicked magicA Wicked Magic
Sasha Laurens
July 28, 2020

Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless. During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?

Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with. When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?

I feel like at some point this was compared to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which feels apt. And again, witches! I’m loving the witch trend! I will read literally anything to do with witches!


3 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Releases for 2020

  1. …I’m so glad we have two Silvia Moreno-Garcia books to look forward to.
    The cover of Girl, Serpent, Thorn is everything. So many dull snake covers, when we could have had this all along?
    And same, it’s great that there are so many witch-y (most of which queer!) books right now and I’m totally here for this trend. I still need to read These Witches Don’t Burn but I read a few this year that were really good and want more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omg finally a list as long as mine 😂Ooh I LOVE the cover for Prosper’s Demon! I’ve only read one Jess Kidd book and I didn’t love it, but her writing was spectacular and I’ve heard really good things about Things in Jars. Love the sound of The Temple House Vanishing too!

    Liked by 1 person

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