Happy Wednesday, readers, writers, and shark fans! And Happy National Book Lovers’ Day!
August 9 of each year is a celebration for everyone who loves books—books in general, reading books, collecting books, watching movies based on books… Basically, take August 9 as an opportunity to sit back with a good book if you have the chance.
To celebrate National Book Lovers’ Day, here are 10 newly released books! Let me know which one you’ll read first in the comments!
Shark Heart by Emily Habeck
Simon & Schuster / Marysue Rucci Books (Love Story / Literary Fiction)
A gorgeous debut novel of marriage, motherhood, metamorphosis, and letting go, this intergenerational love story begins with newlyweds Wren and her husband, Lewis—a man who, over the course of nine months, transforms into a great white shark.
For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams. Forced to face long-repressed childhood memories, all of Wren’s grief eventually collides, and she is forced to make an impossible choice.
A sweeping love story that is at once lyrical and funny, airy and visceral, Shark Heart is an unforgettable, gorgeous novel about life’s perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This daring debut marks the arrival of a wildly talented new writer abounding with originality, humor, and heart.
Whalefall by Daniel Kraus
MTV Books (Horror / Thriller / Ecological Suspense)
Already slotted for a film adaptation, Whalefall is a scientifically accurate thriller about a scuba diver who’s been swallowed by an eighty-foot, sixty-ton sperm whale and has only one hour to escape before his oxygen runs out.
In search of his father’s remains in the Pacific Ocean, the sudden appearance of a giant squid puts Jay in very real jeopardy, made infinitely worse by the arrival of a sperm whale looking to feed. Suddenly, Jay is caught in the squid’s tentacles and drawn into the whale’s mouth where he is pulled into the first of its four stomachs. He quickly realizes he has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out—one hour to defeat his demons and escape the belly of a whale.
The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
Picador (Historical Fiction / Literary Fiction)
A gripping, heartbreaking new novel about female friendship, art, and memory by the award-winning author of Where Reasons End.
Fabienne is dead. Her childhood best friend, Agnès, receives the news in America, far from the French countryside where the two girls were raised, the place that Fabienne helped Agnès escape ten years ago. Now, Agnès is free to tell her story. As children in a war-ravaged, backwater town, they’d built a private world, invisible to everyone but themselves–until Fabienne hatched the plan that would change everything, launching Agnès on an epic trajectory through fame, fortune, and terrible loss.
A magnificent, beguiling tale winding from the postwar rural provinces to Paris, from an English boarding school to the quiet Pennsylvania home where Agnès can live without her past, The Book of Goose is a haunting story of friendship, art, exploitation, and memory by the celebrated author Yiyun Li.
None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
Atria Books (Mystery / Thriller / Suspense)
Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true-crime podcast.
Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.
A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.
Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life, and into her home.
Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward
Tor Nightfire (Horror / Thriller)
Perfect for fans of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot, Looking Glass Sound is the newest twisty psychological horror novel from Catriona Ward, the internationally bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial. In a lonely cottage overlooking the windswept Maine coast, Wilder Harlow begins the last book he will ever write. It is the story of his childhood summer companions and the killer that stalked the small New England town. Of the body they found, and the horror of that discovery echoing down the decades. And of Sky, Wilder’s one-time best friend, who stole his unfinished memoir and turned it into a lurid bestselling novel, Looking Glass Sound.
But as Wilder writes, the lines between memory and fiction blur. He fears he’s losing his grip on reality when he finds notes hidden around the cottage written in Sky’s signature green ink. Catriona Ward delivers another mind-bending and cleverly crafted tale about one man’s struggle to come to terms with the terrors of his past… before it’s too late.
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
Riverhead Books (Historical Fiction / Literary Fiction)
With a title that immediately reminded me of “Trapped in a Studio Apartment for Eternity” by Cassandra O’Sullivan Sachar in Issue 1 of Lit Shark Magazine—and a story that took us back to Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere—This novel redefines the trope of small-town secrets and the people who keep them.
In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows.
As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community, heaven and earth, that sustain us.
One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus
Random House (Young Adult / YA / Thriller / Mystery)
For those who have been following the One of Us series like I have, this is the third and final installment of a thrilling, morphing trilogy.
Ever since Simon died in detention, life hasn’t been easy for the Bayview Crew. First, the Bayview Four had to prove they weren’t killers. Then a new generation had to outwit a vengeful copycat. Now, it’s beginning again.
At first, the mysterious billboard seems like a bad joke: Time for a new game, Bayview. But when a member of the crew disappears, it’s clear this ‘game’ just got serious, and no one understands the rules. Everyone’s a target. And now that someone unexpected has returned to Bayview, things are starting to get deadly.
Simon was right about secrets; they all come out in the end. And Bayview has a lot it’s still hiding.
Masters of Death by Olivie Blake
Tor Books (Fantasy / Romance)
Viola Marek is a struggling real estate agent and a vampire. But her biggest problem currently is that the house she needs to sell is haunted. The ghost haunting the house has been murdered, and until he can solve the mystery of how he died, he refuses to move on.
Fox D’Mora is a medium and though he is also most definitely a shameless fraud, he isn’t entirely without his uses, seeing as he’s actually the godson of Death. When Viola seeks out Fox to help her with her ghost-infested mansion, he becomes inextricably involved in a quest that neither he nor Vi expects (or wants). But with the help of an unruly poltergeist, a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel, a love-stricken reaper, and a few high-functioning creatures, Vi and Fox soon discover the difference between a mysterious lost love and an annoying dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as they thought.
Out of the Dawn by P.C. Cast
Crooked Lane Books (Fantasy / Dystopian Fiction)
In the thrilling sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author P. C. Cast’s Into the Mist, Mercury Rhodes leads a group of survivors toward salvation—that is, until someone, or something, starts hunting them again.
Mercury Rhodes barely remembers life before the bombs fell, before the green mist. While it proved deadly to all the men who breathed it in, it gave new life to some women who did the same. The green mist provided each member of her newfound family an ability: Stella’s sense of the future, Imani’s earthly connection, Karen’s bond with Spirit, and Gemma’s healing ability. Although Mercury now has incredible physical strength—she doesn’t know if she will be strong enough for what comes next. Especially after the death of Ford, their companion through the aftermath of the mist.
The group finds respite in creating a small community in the Painted Hills. Together, they hope to find a place where they can start over. But Mercury knows it won’t be that simple, not when she knows someone or something is hunting them. Something that wants to rule the ruins of the world and something that sees Mercury as a threat to get rid of. Mercury will have to muster all her strength if she is to fight for a new dawn. The fate of her friends—and the world—depend on it.
Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean
William Morrow (Contemporary Fiction / Romance / Rom-Com)
One phone can change everything. At thirty-five, Mika Suzuki’s life is a mess. Her last relationship ended in flames. Her roommate-slash-best friend might be a hoarder. She’s a perpetual disappointment to her traditional Japanese parents. And, most recently, she’s been fired from her latest dead-end job.
Mika is at her lowest point when she receives a phone call from Penny—the daughter she placed for adoption sixteen years ago. Penny is determined to forge a relationship with her birth mother, and in turn, Mika longs to be someone Penny is proud of. Faced with her own inadequacies, Mika embellishes a fact about her life. What starts as a tiny white lie slowly snowballs into a fully-fledged fake life, one where Mika is mature, put-together, and successful in love and in her career. The details of Mika’s life might be an illusion, but everything she shares with curious, headstrong Penny is real: her hopes, dreams, flaws, and Japanese heritage.
The harder-won heart belongs to Thomas Calvin, Penny’s adoptive widower father. What starts as a rocky, contentious relationship slowly blossoms into a friendship and, over time, something more. But can Mika really have it all—love, her daughter, the life she’s always wanted? Or will Mika’s deceptions ultimately catch up to her? In the end, Mika must face the truth—about herself, her family, and her past—and answer the question, just who is Mika in real life?
Mika in Real Life is at once a heart-wrenching and uplifting novel that explores the weight of silence, the secrets we keep, and what it means to be a mother.
…Whew. So many great reads; so little time!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make a nice warm cup of matcha, indulge with a piece of gluten-free toast and blueberry jam, and sit back with one of these new books. Which one do you think it’ll be? Which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments! I’ll check back after I finish this chapter.