Better late than never, right? Lol with everything going on, there was no way I was getting this out on time, but here we are. We made it to December and there are some truly amazing books coming out this month! Everything from nonfiction to mysteries to romance and beyond. This month is a great one for books (and with Xmas, you can ask people to buy them for you!)
Alright, let’s discuss!
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo (Dec 1)
After the election of Donald Trump, and the escalation of white male rage and increased hostility toward immigrants that came with him, New York Times-bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo found herself in conversation with Americans around the country, pondering one central question: How did we get here?
In this ambitious survey of the last century of American history, Oluo answers that question by pinpointing white men’s deliberate efforts to subvert women, people of color, and the disenfranchised. Through research, interviews, and the powerful, personal writing for which she is celebrated, Oluo investigates the backstory of America’s growth, from immigrant migration to our national ethos around ingenuity, from the shaping of economic policy to the protection of sociopolitical movements that fortify male power. In the end, she shows how white men have long maintained a stranglehold on leadership and sorely undermined the pursuit of happiness for all.
My Thoughts: This sounds really good and very much needed. I love that this isn’t just a “this is where we are now” book, but it’s also a “this is how we got here” and “this is our history” book. Cannot wait to get a copy and read it (and probably be enraged).
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (Dec 1)
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.
Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.
The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.
My Thoughts: I read and reviewed this for the blog tour and omg I really liked it. It’s got mystery and secrets and shocking reveals and friendships and family and is just a really fun read.
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict (Dec 29)
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark exploration into the shadows of history, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such a murky story.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
A master storyteller whose clever mind may never be matched, Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
My Thoughts: So this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about these 11 days. I actually watched a murder mystery movie about this (I think it’s on Netflix), so I’m really interested to see how this book tells it. I’m VERY interested in seeing how the husband fits in since he was kind of…an asshole? Perhaps this will be my first read of 2021!
How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole (Dec 1)
When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.
My Thoughts: I am a HUGE Alyssa Cole fan even though…I’ve only read two of her books but both were so good and she is a legend in romance so I’m excited for this next one. I also LOVE a “we must get married but we don’t really know each other, but oops we’re in love” story. I’m also very interested to see how this deals with royal politics and how that plays into their relationship.
The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton (Dec 18)
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.
Incredible tests, impossible choices and deadly odds await both girls. But there can only be one winner.
My Thoughts: I really have no words for this one except it is completely and utterly MY JAM. Like family secrets/resentments, murder, mystery, rakish young reporter with a chip on his shoulder, AND a dangerous competition??? Yes, I would like all of that, please.
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett (Dec 1)
The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl.
Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.
After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.
Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.
My Thoughts: Totally picked this because of the cover and the title, but it also sounds really good. Three girls with different labels suspected of their classmate’s murder, secrets need to be revealed, and the mystery of it all is what’s drawing me in. I love a good YA murder mystery because it has that extra layer of teenage angst and betrayal that adult mysteries don’t always have. Cannot wait to read this!
A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen (Dec 1)
Laura Callaway daily walks the windswept Cornwall coast, known for many shipwrecks but few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.
When ships sink, wreckers scour the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She has written letters to loved ones and returned keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she collects him too.
As Laura and a neighbor care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows. He has abrasions and a deep cut that looks suspiciously like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she longs to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger pursuing them from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?
My Thoughts: I ALWAYS love a “lonely woman finds man washed up on the beach and then they fall in love” type story. I’ve only ever seen it in fanfiction so I am very excited to read it here. This sounds like everything I love and I desperately need to find out what secrets this dude is hiding. Might have to buy the ebook of just so I can read it immediately lol.
A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha (Dec 1)
With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.
There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.
If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.
Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.
As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?
With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.
She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.
My Thoughts: I literally just found out about this book on Dec 1 when it came out. Lol, I saw a bunch of tweets about it and then I read it’s a retelling of a Portuguese myth and I was sold. Even if I don’t know the original story, I love a retelling. I love when authors take stories they grew up with and make them their own. And the whole food turns to flowers thing is SO INTRIGUING. It’s also f/f so I am all here for that!
A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton (Dec 8)
In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.
AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner.
My Thoughts: I’ve definitely discussed how much I love an anthology. Who doesn’t want a bunch of stories in one book? I also have read and loved most of these authors so I’m very excited to see the stories they contributed.
How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams (Dec 1)
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.
When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.
Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.
Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.
My Thoughts: OH this sounds sooooo good! I really like when romances show a very controlled person who steps out of their comfort zone to try at love. I also think it’s really important to show abuse victims finding love and happiness. I also want to know how falling for Jake ends up affecting Naya’s job. I have an inkling what it might be but… I need to read to find out if I’m right. Cannot wait to get to this one!
The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West (Dec 1)
Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
My Thoughts: This whole synopsis sounds so damn good. I really like stories where a town is known for something sinister. I don’t know what it is about it but anytime I see a book with that, I’m all in. The fact that it looks like the town’s less-than-great past is coming back makes it even more interesting. Is it the same killer? Or someone else using the past killings to get away with murder? I just really hope it doesn’t villainize witches because…haven’t we had enough of that? Either way, I’m intrigued enough to read and find out.
What December book releases are you excited about?
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