I’ve recently been browsing goodreads and publisher catalogues and have discovered a TON of 2020 releases that sound incredible and I haven’t seen many people talk about.
Including; tales of a girl born covered in feathers, illusion & fame in Victorian London, a book designed to be read in two different directions, zombies, human meat, drag queens, revenge, Dracula like slayings, hauntings and a thriving deaf community. Stories giving voice to real historical figures such as the women known for being a part of Paris’ lesbian scene, Julie D’Aubigny, inspiration for Countess Dracula- Countess Elizabeth Bathory and much more!
I hope you enjoy this post and discover some new books to add to your TBR! I also just want to link to Amy’s incredible thread of over 100 LGBTQ+ books publishing in 2020, make sure to check out her blog too! https://twitter.com/bookish_heights/status/1194713538184568833?s=21
- Sin eater by Megan Campisi; The Handmaid’s Tale x Alice in Wonderland. For the crime of stealing bread, May, 14, must become a Sin Eater- a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins, and shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven. Orphaned and apprenticed to an older Sin Eater, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it and is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why
- Blood countess by Lana Popovic; A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula. In 17th century Hungary, Anna works as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the 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.
- Fauna by Donna mazza ; What if the child you are carrying is not entirely human? 17 years into the future and using DNA technology, scientists have started to reverse the extinction of creatures like the mammoth and the Tasmanian Tiger. The benefits of this radical approach could be far-reaching. But how far will they go? Longing for another child, Stacey is recruited by a company who offer massive incentives for her to join an experimental programme called LifeBLOOD. As part of the agreement, she and her husband’s embryo will be blended with ‘edited cells’. Just how edited, Stacey doesn’t really know. Nor does she have any idea how much her longed-for new daughter will change her life and how hard she will have to fight to protect her.
- Devils blade by Mark alder; The story of Julie D’Aubigny is well known. Her tumultuous childhood, her powerful lovers, her celebrated voice. Connected to most of the nobility of 17th century Paris, feted for her performance, unwilling to live by the rules of her society, she took female lovers, fought duels with noblemen and fled from city to country and back again. But now the real truth can be told. She also made a deal with the devil. He gave her no powers or help, but he kept her alive for only one reason. To take revenge…
- Show me a sign by Ann Clare LeZotte: An Own Voices story inspired by the true history of a thriving deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century. Mary has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over 100 years later, many people there, including Mary, are deaf and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered, tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people, and a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a “live specimen” in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability.
- The animals at Lockwood manor by Jane Healy; In August 1939, lonely 30 year-old Hetty arrives at Lockwood Manor as the director of the evacuated Natural History Museum. She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood. For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost. When the animals start to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what it is that they might need protection from. As the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty’s future employment that is in danger, but her sanity too. There’s something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors…
- The degenerates by J Albert Mann; In the tradition of Girl, Interrupted, this fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, and the marginalized- and institutionalized them for life. The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women there certainly don’t think so. Including Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Alice, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And London, who has been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.
- A Phoenix first must burn edited by Patrice Caldwell; Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a YA audience, these authors have woven worlds to create narratives that centre Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, trauma and heroism, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels.
- Untitled by Joy mccullough; Follows a teenage girl immersed in stories of women taking revenge- particularly the legendary Marguerite de Bressieux- as she tries to cope with acts of violence committed against her older sister.
- Opium and Absinthe by Lydia kang; centered on a wealthy young New York heiress battling a morphine addiction and confronting a series of vampire-like slayings, occurring just after the first publication of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA
- The boy in the red dress by Kristin Lambert; When her drag queen best friend is accused of murdering a young socialite, a Jazz Age misfit must use her sharp wits and sharper tongue to search for the real killer through the seedy speakeasies and glittering debutante balls of 1930 New Orleans. But the closer she gets to the truth, the more secrets she uncovers.
- Red hood by Elana K Arnold: Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself, been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past, and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods, frightened, but not alone.
- The dark tide by Alicia Jasinska; Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a young boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. Convinced her brother is going to be taken, Lina enlists the help of Thomas, her secret crush, and the only boy to ever escape from the palace. Working together they protect her brother but draw the Queen’s attention. Eva cast away her heart when her sister died to save the boy she loved. Now as Queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’ll sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her home. When Thomas is chosen as sacrifice, Lina takes his place and the two girls are forced to spend time together as they await the full moon. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the Queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.
- King and the dragonflies by Kacen Callender; 12 year-old Kingston is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family. It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy- that he thinks he might be gay. But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.
- Tender is the flesh by Agustina Bazterrica; It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then governments initiated the Transition. Now, ‘special meat’ – human meat – is legal. Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans – only no one calls them that. He works with numbers, consignments, processing. One day, he’s given a gift to seal a deal: a specimen of the finest quality. He leaves her in his barn, tied up, a problem to be disposed of later. But she haunts Marcos. Her trembling body, and watchful gaze, seem to understand. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost – and what might still be saved.
- Summer light and then comes the night by Jon Kalman Stefansson; Sometimes a distance from the noise of the world opens our hearts, our senses, our dreams. The director who immerses himself in Latin and astronomy to the point of abandoning everything for the secrets of the universe, the greedy postman who reads every letter and then publicizes the villagers’ private affairs, the lawyer who believes that the world is based on calculus, but then discovers that he cannot count the fish in the sea or his own tears. With the enchantment of poetry, and full of humour and tenderness for human weaknesses, Stefánsson explores the question of why we live at all, and at the same time immerses us fully in the river of life.
- Girls save the world in this one by Ash Parsons; Shaun of the Dead meets Clueless. June’s whole life has been leading up to ZombieCon. She and her two best friends plan on hitting all the panels, photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show. When they arrive everything seems perfect, though June has to shrug off some weirdness from other fans, people shambling a little too much, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then all hell breaks loose and June and her friends discover the truth: real zombies are taking over the con. Now June must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual brain-eating zombies and save the world.
- Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron; a YA fantasy in which queer black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy in the former kingdom of Cinderella.
- The bass rock by Evie Wyld; Surging out of the sea, for centuries the Bass Rock has borne witness to the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries, the fates of three women are inextricably linked to this place and to each other. Sarah, accused of being a witch, is fleeing for her life. Ruth, in the aftermath of the Second World War, is navigating a new marriage and the strange waters of the local community. Six decades later, Viv, still mourning the death of her father, is cataloguing Ruth’s belongings in the now-empty house. As each woman’s story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that their choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men who seek to control them. But in sisterhood there is also the possibility of survival and a new way of life. A devastating indictment of the violence that men have inflicted on women throughout the ages.
- No modernism without lesbians by Diana Souhami; In the summer of 1945, just after the Nazi occupation, Truman Capote visited Romaine Brooks’s abandoned studio in Paris. The portraits there, large and imposing, were of women: Ida Rubinstein, Una Troubridge, Gluck, Elisabeth de Gramont, Renata Borgatti, Bryher. Romaine’s lover Natalie Barney said that Paris had been ‘the Sapphic Centre of the Western World’, and these women defined it. This book is about that gallery and celebrates the central role they played in the cultural revolution that was Modernism. They’d grouped together to create their own world, far from the restrictions of home. They were talented, often well-off, and lesbian. They answered to no one but themselves.
- In the dream house by Carmen Maria Machado; An engrossing and innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming. Each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope- the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman- through which Machado examines them from different angles. She looks at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.
- Crossings by Alex Landragin; A Parisian bookbinder stumbles across a manuscript containing three unlikely stories. The first, ‘The Education of a Monster’, is a letter penned by the poet Charles Baudelaire to an illiterate girl. The second, ‘City of Ghosts’, is a noir romance set in Paris in 1940 as the Germans are invading. The third, ‘Tales of the Albatross’, is the strangest of the three: the autobiography of a deathless enchantress. Together, they tell the tale of two lost souls peregrinating through time. Crossings is a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning 150 years and 7 lifetimes.
- The unforgetting by Rose black; A story of fame, magic and the power of illusion in Victorian London. When Lily is sold by her father to a ‘Professor of Ghosts’ to settle a debt, she thinks shes about to hit the London stage as an actress. But the professor intends her to be his very own ghost, part of an elaborate illusion for a fascinated audience. Obsessed with perfection, the professor covers all bases to ensure his illusion is realistic, and when Lily comes across her own obituary in the paper, and then her own headstone in the cemetery, she soon realises that she is trapped, her parents think she is dead, and soon her fate is to become even darker…
- Tigers not daughters by Samantha Mabry; The Torres sisters dream of escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, shadows, writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message and what she’s trying to say.
- Somebody told me by Mia Siegert; After an assault, bigender 17 year-old Aleks/Alexis is looking for a fresh start, so they voluntarily move in with their uncle, a Catholic priest. In their new bedroom, they discover they can overhear parishioners in the church confessional. Moved by the struggles of these “sinners,” Aleks/Alexis decides to anonymously help them. But then Aleks/Alexis overhears a confession of another priest admitting to sexually abusing a parishioner. As they try to uncover the priest’s identity before he hurts anyone again, Aleks/Alexis is forced to confront their own abuser and come to terms with their past trauma.
- Ember days by Alexandra Duncan; A dark historical fantasy about wizards in Jazz Age Charleston.
- Out now, queer we go again edited by Saundra Mitchell; A contemporary anthology full of LGBTQ+ stories set in the modern day. A follow up to Saundra’s historical anthology All Out.
- The summer of impossibilities by Rachael Allen; Skyler, Ellie, Scarlett, and Amelia Grace are forced to spend the summer at the lake house where their moms became best friends. One can’t wait. One would rather gnaw off her own arm than hang out with a bunch of strangers just so their moms can drink too much wine and sing Journey at two o’clock in the morning. Two are sisters. Three are currently feuding with their mothers. One is hiding how bad her joint pain has gotten. All of them are hiding something. One falls in love with a boy she thought she despised. One almost sets her crush on fire with a flaming marshmallow. One has a crush that could change everything. None of them are the same at the end of the summer.
- Burning roses by S.L. Huang; When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.
- Feathertide by Beth Cartwright ; Marea was born to be different – a girl born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets. When her new tutor, the Professor, arrives with his books, maps and magical stories, he reveals a world waiting outside the window and her curiosity is woken. Caught in the desire to discover her identity and find out why she has feathers fluttering down her back like golden thistledown, she leaves everything she has ever known and goes in search of the father she has never met. This hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted. It is here that she learns about love, identity and how to accept being that little bit different.