I adore finding new books to add to my TBR and, inspired by Lana ExLibris on YouTube, I thought it would be fun to share the books I’ve added to my TBR on Goodreads each month! Maybe I can introduce you to something you also like the sound of!
I will try to post these at the beginning of each new month, but for today we’re in mid-April and I’ll be sharing my newly added March books.
(Small disclaimer: I can be pretty terrible at updating my Goodreads TBR and have only very recently got around to adding all of the books I own to my account. In March I added 27 books to my to-be-read shelf but most of these weren’t new to me books, just books I had forgotten to add to the shelf previously. For this post, and the others going forward, I will only be sharing the books that are NEW to me).
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
Fiction • Horror • Contemporary • Spanish Literature • Latin America
Synopsis: The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals—propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.
Like Roberto Bolano’s 2666 or Faulkner’s greatest novels, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence—real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it’s a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it.
I love translated fiction and have been trying to increase the number of translated books on my shelves. I found this one whilst looking for translated horror written by women and it sounds incredible. I was so excited by it that I already purchased it!
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Fiction • Sci-fi • Dystopia • Horror
Synopsis: With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.
The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.
Always looking to read books authored by people of all different kinds of cultures and backgrounds. I’ve only read one other book by an Indigenous author before (The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, Blackfeet Native American) so when I found this intense sounding novel from Anishinaabe Canadian author Waubgeshig Rice, I instantly added it to my TBR and purchased a copy of the book!
Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
Fantasy • Magical Realism • Fiction • Mythology • Asian Literature
Synopsis: Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she’s put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she’s run from all her life. But it isn’t long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.
Years ago, Elsa’s now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.
When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.
Admittedly, this is a super-risky pick for me as I tend to not enjoy either fantasy or magical realism, but the synopsis and cover drew me in. This is publishing on June 1st, here in the UK, so I’m going to wait this out to read others reviews before I put in an order!
Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck
Short Stories • Fantasy • Sci-fi • Horror • Weird Fiction
Synopsis: Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you. How else to describe a collection that includes “Cloudberry Jam,” a story that opens with the line “I made you in a tin can”? Marvels, quirky character studies, and outright surreal monstrosities await you in what is likely to be one of the most talked-about short story collections of the year.
Another risky fantasy add to my shelves but I was super intrigued after finding this on a list called ‘Eerie fictions written by women‘, and as I love short story collections so much, this felt like a safe risky bet… I’ve already bought it.
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
Fiction • Mystery • Gothic • Horror
Synopsis: New Yorker Danny is running from something. A loner who cannot bear to be apart from his Wi-Fi connection, he is in need of refuge. His cousin Howie is an enigmatic and successful former drug addict who just happens to own a castle.
As they turn the castle from crumbling ruin to luxury hotel, Howie and Danny must navigate their uncomfortable relationship. And the castle has some surprises of its own: a sinister baroness, a tragic accident in a fathomless pool, a treacherous labyrinth, and through all of this, a story within a story . . .
I also found this one on the same list mentioned above! The reviews for this one are certainly very mixed but the synopsis was too good to pass up. I coincidentally added this to my TBR the week Waterstones had this on sake for £4, so, you guessed it. I got it.
Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope by Megan Phelps-Roper
Nonfiction • Memoir • Religion
Synopsis: As featured on the BBC documentary, ‘The Most Hated Family in America’ it was an upbringing in many ways normal. A loving home, shared with squabbling siblings, overseen by devoted parents. Yet in other ways it was the precise opposite: a revolving door of TV camera crews and documentary makers, a world of extreme discipline, of siblings vanishing in the night.
Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church – the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, rejoiceful for AIDS and natural disasters, and notorious for its picketing the funerals of American soldiers. From her first public protest, aged five, to her instrumental role in spreading the church’s invective via social media, her formative years brought their difficulties. But being reviled was not one of them. She was preaching God’s truth. She was, in her words, ‘all in’.
In November 2012, at the age of twenty-six, she left the church, her family, and her life behind. Unfollow is a story about the rarest thing of all: a person changing their mind. It is a fascinating insight into a closed world of extreme belief, a biography of a complex family, and a hope-inspiring memoir of a young woman finding the courage to find compassion for others, as well as herself.
This has astonishingly good reviews and I’m really interested to see how Megan was able to remove the wool from her eyes to see the hateful messages her family and (ex)church preach. To remove yourself entirely from that situation after years of indoctrination is so rare!
Lola on Fire by Rio Youers
Thriller • Mystery • Fiction • Suspense
Synopsis: Brody Ellis is short on luck and even shorter on cash to buy the medication his sister Molly needs.
Desperate, he robs a convenience store, but on the way out, he bumps into a young woman and loses his wallet. Just when he expects the cops to arrive, the phone rings. It’s Blair Mayo—the woman he bumped into—and she’s got the missing billfold.
Brody will get it back, but only if he does her a favor: steal her late mother’s diamonds from her wicked stepmom. But when he gets to the house, he finds a gruesome crime scene—and a security camera. Brody knows he’s been framed.
Back home, the terrified young man gets another call. The police won’t get the incriminating video footage, Blair says. Instead, her daddy, the notorious mobster Jimmy Latzo, will exact his own kind of revenge.
Brody and Molly realize that they’ve become pawns in a mysterious game—one that involves a notorious enforcer named Lola Bear who brutally crossed paths with Jimmy Latzo twenty-six years before. . . a ghost from the past who is intimately connected to their lives.
I have really enjoyed the two previous Youers novels that I’ve read (you can read my reviews for them here and here) and after seeing a few people talk positively about this book on Bookstagram, it was an obvious one to add!
The Manningtree Witches by A. K. Blakemore
Historical Fiction • Fiction • British Literature
Synopsis: England, 1643. Puritanical fervor has gripped the nation. And in Manningtree, a town depleted of men since the wars began, the hot terror of damnation burns in the hearts of women left to their own devices.
Rebecca West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only occasionally by her infatuation with the handsome young clerk John Edes. But then a newcomer, who identifies himself as the Witchfinder General, arrives. A mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, Matthew Hopkins takes over the Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about what the women on the margins of this diminished community are up to. Dangerous rumors of covens, pacts, and bodily wants have begun to hang over women like Rebecca—and the future is as frightening as it is thrilling.
I’m such a sucker for fictional books that weave in elements of the real-life. I’m also a sucker for bright and bold covers! This one was published in early March and I bought a beautiful signed hardback edition with black sprayed edges!
The Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan
Thriller • Mystery • Contemporary • Suspense
Synopsis: Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.
Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block.
Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely community college professor repressing her own dark past—welcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon.
As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.
I’m quite wary of adding mystery thrillers to my TBR, especially when its Goodreads rating is under a 3.9 (the thriller genre is so saturated, I personally feel 3.9 is a good indicator that the majority think it’s a good book). However, a review written by Alina over on Bookstagram left me very hopeful for this one!
My Only Wife by Jac Jemc
Fiction • Contemporary • Literary Fiction • Horror
Synopsis: Ten years ago the narrator unlocked the door of a wrecked apartment, empty of any trace of his wife. As stunning as her disappearance is his response. He freezes on the facts of her, haunting his recollections. This is the story of a man unable to free himself enough from the idea of a woman to try to find her.
After being disappointed by The Grip of It (weren’t so many of us?) I was recommended to try this other novel by Jemc. Just because my initial reading experience with the author was a dud, doesn’t mean they’re not worth trying again!
Shelter by Jung Yun
Fiction • Contemporary • Literary Fiction
Synopsis: Why should a man care for his parents when they failed to take care of him as a child?
Kyung Cho owns a house that he can’t afford. His credit cards and student loan debts are spiraling out of control. A tenure-track professor, he and his wife, Gillian, have always lived beyond their means. Now their bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is worried for his family’s future.
A few miles away, Kyung’s parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung wants so badly for his wife and son. His own childhood, however, was far from comfortable-growing up, Kyung enjoyed every imaginable privilege, but never kindness nor affection. He can hardly bear to see his parents, much less ask them for help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he decides to take them in. As the safe distance between them collapses, Kyung is forced to question what it means to be a good husband, father, and son, while the life he knew begins to crumble and his own anger demands to be released.
As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. In the tradition of Affliction and The House of Sand and Fog,Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.
Another ‘bookstagram made me add it’ book! Iyana had me intrigued by this one at just the mere mention of it in her story, and then her review sealed the deal! I was able to get the hardback of this on Bookswap so I’m very happy!
The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni
Horror • Gothic • Mystery • Suspense
Synopsis: It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.
At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.
But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.
I added this purely for its incredible cover and because someone I know has similar reading tastes to me was reading it. Looking into it a little bit more now, I can see the reviews are pretty polarising with the average rating being under a 3.5, BUT! I’m always willing to give lower-rated books a chance when I like the sound of its synopsis (see The Bus on Thursday, one of my favourite books from last year with a 3.2 on Goodreads).
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Fiction • Thriller • Mystery
Synopsis: Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
Upon first looking at the cover, I was sure this was going to be some kind of feel-good, quirky contemporary general fiction. I added it to my list after Charlie reviewed it on her Bookstagram and it was brought to my attention that it was, in fact, a thriller! I’ve pre-ordered this one, it arrives June 1st.
Whew! Now that’s quite the list! I’m super excited for all of these, though no doubt the ones I’ve already bought or pre-ordered will sit on my shelves for ages!
Let me know if you’ve read any of these or have any on your radar, or even better, if you now have them on your radar!! One of my favourite things is knowing I’ve influenced book purchases or adding books to people’s TBR.