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.
You can read part 1 here; https://bibookishbabe23.wordpress.com/2019/11/16/2020-anticipated-releases-part-1/
Part 2 includes tales of medusa, poisonous plants, a choose your own novel, revenge, retellings, a strange dancing sickness, cabinets of curiosities, as well as stories inspired by real people and events including the women in PT Barnum’s family, a black man taken to hospital with a head injury only to have his heart stolen from his body and two queer female pirates.
I hope you enjoy this post and discover some new books to add to your TBR!
- You let me in by Camilla Bruce; A bestselling novelist suspected of murder disappears, leaving behind a long letter containing two dark and disturbing stories. One a story of bloody nights, magical gifts, children lost to the woods, and husbands made from twigs and leaves and feathers and bones. The other, the story of a cruelly treated little girl who grew up crooked in the shadows. Both stories might be true. Both stories end in murder. But is this a tale of supernatural seduction? Or the story of a broken child? It is up to you to decide.
- The unsuitable by Molly Pohlig; Iseult is a Victorian woman perilously close to spinsterhood whose father is trying to marry her off. She is awkward, plain, and most pertinently, believes her mother, who died in childbirth, lives in the scar on her neck. Iseult’s father parades a host of unsuitable candidates before her, the majority of whom Iseult frightens away. When at last her father finds a suitor desperate enough to take Iseult off his hands, a man whose medical treatments have turned his skin silver, a comedy of errors ensues. As courtship progresses into talk of marriage, Iseult’s mother becomes increasingly volatile and uncontrollable, and Iseult is forced to resort to extreme, often violent, measures to keep her in check. As the day of the wedding nears, Iseult must decide whether (and how) to set the course of her life, with increasing interference from both her mother and father, tipping her ever closer to madness, and to an inevitable, devastating final act.
- The cabinets of barnaby mayne by Elsa Hart; London, 1703. Cecily’s passion for plants has brought her to the home of Sir Barnaby Mayne, owner of one of the greatest collections in England. The curious-minded vie for invitations to see the dried flowers, stones, bones, and artifacts that fill his shelves, and others come with a darker purpose. When her host is stabbed to death while leading a tour of his collection, Cecily is unconvinced by the killer’s confession. Years of practice identifying plants have taught Cecily that the smallest particulars can distinguish a harmless leaf from a deadly one. She pays attention, and she doesn’t like inconsistencies. At the heart of the Mayne collection is a locked case that hides a deadly secret. To uncover it, Cecily will have to enter the world of the collectors without being consumed. If she fails, she could join the ranks of bones that wait, silent and still, in the cabinets of Barnaby Mayne.
- Latitudes of longing by Shubhangi Swarup; Follows the interconnected lives of characters searching for true intimacy, sweeping across India. We follow a scientist who studies trees and a clairvoyant who speaks to them; a geologist working to end futile wars over a glacier; octogenarian lovers; a mother struggling to free her revolutionary son; a yeti who seeks human companionship; a turtle who transforms first into a boat and then a woman; and the ghost of an evaporated ocean as restless as the continents. Binding them all together is a vision of life as vast as the universe itself.
- Belle revolte by Linsey Miller; Emilie is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work. Annette, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts. Emilie and Annette swap lives- Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives. But when their nation instigates a war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.
- Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight; Nell, an expelled PhD candidate in biological science, is exploring the fine line between poison and antidote, working alone to set a speed record for the detoxification of poisonous plants. Her mentor, Dr. Joan Kallas, is the hero of Nell’s heart. Nell frequently finds herself standing in the doorway to Joan’s office, mesmerized by Joan’s elegance, success, and spiritual force. Surrounded by Nell’s ex, her best friend, her best friend’s boyfriend, and Joan’s husband, the two scientists are tangled together at the center of a web of illicit relationships, grudges, and obsessions. All six are burdened by desire and ambition, and as they collide on the university campus, their attractions set in motion a domino effect of affairs and heartbreak. Meanwhile, Nell slowly fills her empty apartment with poisonous plants to study, and she begins to keep a series of notebooks, all dedicated to Joan. She logs her research and how she spends her days, but the notebooks ultimately become a painstaking map of love.
- Dark and deepest red by Anna Marie Mclemore; Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
- Wranglestone by Darren Charlton; After a zombie apocalypse turns America into a wilderness, a handful of communities survive in military refuges in the national parks, surrounded by water. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop the dead from crossing the ice. When homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by allowing a stranger to come ashore, he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the dead from their shores. But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.
- Sirens of the Southern Seas by Sam Maggs; a YA graphic novel inspired by two real, queer, female pirates from the 18th century
- The conductors by Nicole Glover; As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty helped usher dozens of people North with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.
- Pride of Eden by Taylor Brown; Retired racehorse jockey and Vietnam veteran Anse rescues exotic big cats, elephants, and other creatures for Little Eden, a wildlife sanctuary near the abandoned ruins of a failed development on the Georgia coast. But when his prized lion escapes, he becomes obsessed with replacing her, even if the means of rescue aren’t exactly legal. Anse is joined by Malaya, a former soldier who hunted rhino and elephant poachers in Africa; Lope, whose training in falconry taught him to pilot surveillance drones; and Tyler, a veterinarian who has found a place in Anse’s obsessive world. From the rhino wars of Africa to the battle for the Baghdad Zoo, from the edges of the Okefenokee Swamp to a remote private island off the Georgia coast, Anse and his team battle an underworld of smugglers, gamblers, breeders, trophy hunters, and others who exploit exotic game.
- Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok; 18-year-old Parisian reporter Nathalie Baudin returns to hunt a new killer in the sequel to Spectacle. The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months. But someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
- The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian; A YA novel about an unusual family of women, the secrets they keep, and the consequences of those secrets – all from the point of view of the youngest daughter, who is visited in her dreams by a 19th-century Irish immigrant girl who died in a nearby asylum.
- Foul is fair by Hannah Capin; Jade and her three best friends rule their glittering LA circle. They decide how the party ends, every night but one. The night four boys spike Jade’s drink, lock her in a room and brutally attack her. The night they try to ruin her. But they chose the wrong girl. Certain that the boys will face no consequences, Jade and her friends take vengeance into their own hands. There’s no mercy left: and now Jade won’t rest until she gets bloody satisfaction. “A thriller with a heroine you’ll never forget – perfect for fans of Killing Eve and One of Us Is Lying.”
- The organ thieves by Chip Jones; In 1968, Bruce Tucker, a black man, went into Virginia’s top research hospital with a head injury, only to have his heart stolen out of his body and put into the chest of a white businessman. Now, Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Chip Jones exposes the horrifying inequality surrounding Tucker’s death and how he was used as a human guinea pig without his family’s permission or knowledge.
- A registry of my passage upon the earth by Daniel Mason; A collection of interlaced tales of men and women as they face the mysteries and magic of the world. From the Nile’s depths to the highest reaches of the atmosphere, from volcano-racked islands to an asylum on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, these are tales of ecstasy and epiphany.
- The circus rose by Betsy Cornwell; Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes. Interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love, with the help of a dancing bear, to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.
- The intoxicating Mr lavelle by Neil Blackmore; When Benjamin and Edgar Bowen embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, they are ready to meet People of Quality. They have trunks full of powdered silver wigs and matching suits, a hunger to experience the architectural wonders of Ancient Rome and an ability to quote Voltaire (at length). They will make connections and establish themselves in high society, just as their mother has planned. But it soon becomes apparent that their outfits are not quite the right shade of grey, their smiles are too ready, their appreciation of the arts ridiculous. Class, they learn, is not something that can be studied. Benjamin’s true education begins when he meets Horace Lavelle. Beautiful, charismatic, seductive, Lavelle delights in skewering the pretensions and prejudices of their milieu. He consumes Benjamin’s every thought. Love can transform a person. Can it save them?
- The wandering by Intan Paramaditha ; An ingenious and unusual ‘choose your own’ novel. You’ve grown roots, you’re gathering moss. You’re desperate to escape your boring life teaching English in Jakarta, to go out and see the world. So you make a Faustian pact with a devil, who gives you a gift, and a warning. A pair of red shoes to take you wherever you want to go. You’re forever wandering, everywhere and nowhere, but where is your home? And where will you choose to go? To New York, to follow your dreams? To Berlin or Amsterdam? Or onto a train that will never stop? The choices you make about which pages to turn to may mean you’ll become a tourist or an undocumented migrant, a mother or a murderer, and you will meet many travellers with their own stories to tell. As your paths cross and intertwine, you’ll soon realise that no story is ever new.
- A gift for a ghost by Borja González; In this graphic novel, two parallel stories intertwine in a tale of youthful dreams and desires. In 1856, Teresa, a young aristocrat, is more interested in writing avantgarde horror poetry than making a suitable marriage. In 2016, three teenage girls, Gloria, Laura, and Cristina, want to start a punk band called the Black Holes. But they’ve barely started rehearsing when strange things begin to happen. As their world and Teresa’s intersect, they’re haunted by the echo of something that happened 160 years ago.
- Beauty is convulsive by Carole Maso; A vibrant series of prose poems now available in paperback for the first time. Originally published in 2002, this collection is a passionate meditation on one of the twentieth century’s most compelling artists, Frida Kahlo. Maso brings together pieces from Kahlo’s biography, her letters, medical documents, and her diaries to assemble a text that is as erotic, mysterious, and colorful as one of Kahlo’s paintings.
- A ghost in the throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa; This stunning debut weaves two stories together. In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem that reaches across the centuries to another poet. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy in her own life. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with finding out the rest of the story. A devastating and timeless tale about finding your voice by freeing another’s.
- Euphoria kids by Alison Evans: Ever since the witch cursed Babs, she turns invisible sometimes. Her teachers and classmates barely notice her. Then, one day, Iris can see her. And Iris likes what they see. Babs is made of fire. Iris grew from a seed in the ground. The two have a lot in common: they speak to dryads and faeries, and they’re connected to the magic that’s all around them. There’s a new boy at school, a boy who’s like them and who hasn’t yet found his real name. Soon the three of them are hanging out and trying spellwork together. Magic can be dangerous, though. Witches and fae can be cruel. Something is happening in the other realm, and despite being warned to stay away, the three friends have to figure out how to deal with it on their own terms.
- Pew by Catherine Lacey; In a small unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives to a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless, racially ambiguous, and refuses to speak. One family takes the strange visitor in and nicknames them Pew. As the town prepares for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the next. The seemingly well-meaning townspeople see conflicting identities in Pew, and many confess their fears and secrets to them in one-sided conversations. Pew listens and observes while experiencing brief flashes of past lives or clues about their origins. As days pass, the void around Pew’s presence begins to unnerve the community, whose generosity erodes into menace and suspicion. And by the time Pew’s story reaches an unsettling climax at the Forgiveness Festival, the secret of their true nature, as a devil or an angel or something else entirely, is dwarfed by even larger truths.
- A bound woman is a dangerous thing by DaMaris B Hill; From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. Here, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with harrowing and hopeful responses to her heroes, illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
- Mayhem by Estelle Laure; A feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys, The craft and the manson family set in 1987. Mayhem has always known there was something off about her and her mother Roxy. But when her stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt and opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
- Medusa by Jessie Burton; An empowering YA retelling of the Medusa myth exploring themes of toxic masculinity and the meaning of consent.
- The care & feeding of waspish widows by Olivia Waite; A historical f/f romance involving a grumpy widowed engraver, a middle aged female beekeeper, a queen on trial in parliament and more than you probably ever wanted to know about 19th century beekeeping!
- Late to the party by Kelly Quindlen; Codi’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world. So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi is highly skeptical. Those parties aren’t for kids like them. They’re for cool kids. Straight kids. But then Codi stumbles upon one of those cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and an unexpected friendship is formed. In return for never talking about that kiss, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and draws her into a wild summer filled with late nights, new experiences, and one really cute girl named Lydia. The only problem? Codi never tells Maritza or JaKory about any of it.
- We are all his creatures by Deborah Noyes; A series of interwoven fictionalized stories giving a voice to the marginalized women in P. T. Barnum’s family and the talented entertainers he built his entertainment empire on. For those who lived in Barnum’s shadow, life was complex. P. T. Barnum’s two families, his family at home, including his two wives and his daughters, and his family at work, including Little People, a giantess, an opera singer, and many sideshow entertainers, suffered greatly from his cruelty and exploitation. Yet, at the same time, some of his performers, such as General Tom Thumb became wealthy celebrities who were admired and feted by presidents and royalty. In this collection of interlinked stories illustrated with archival photographs, Noyes digs deep into what is known about the people in Barnum’s orbit and imagines their personal lives, putting front and center the complicated joy and pain of what it meant to be one of Barnum’s ‘creatures’.
- Burn our bodies down by Rory Power; Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.
- Where the world turns wild by Nicola Penfold; Set in the near future where people live in strictly monitored concrete cities because of the outbreak of disease 50 years earlier. When the city’s health board find out that two siblings, Juniper and Bear, carry the key to fighting the disease in their blood, the pair flee into the wild.