Oh, December. Why must you be so cold, so dark, so withholding when it comes to new book releases? Sigh. Here are the two—I know, right? ONLY TWO!—that I’ve got my eye on:

The Secret of a Heart Note, by Stacey Lee

A contemporary romantic fantasy? IN DECEMBER? Yes, yes, yes, PLEASE. This sounds like EXACTLY what I need to get me through the tail-end of 2016.

Aromateurs—love witches—have noses so sensitive that they can make personalized love potions. Fifteen-year-old Mim and her mother are the last two love witches in the world, and they use their skill and talent to help people fall in love. If they themselves fall in love, though, they will lose their talent, and the power of aromateurs will be lost forever. This novel features a strong mother-daughter story, and the plotline about love potions ending up in the wrong hands has me hoping for a little bit of screwball comedy, too. It’s got a diverse cast in terms of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and Mim is a synesthete—all of these elements have me wanting the book in my hands now, now, now.

Continue reading >


Doom_Spindle Spindle, by E.K. Johnston

A companion novel to A Thousand Nights, Johnston’s retelling of the frame story that ties One Thousand and One Nights together, Spindle is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It’s set generations after the first book, and Kirkus is far less enthusiastic about this one than the first, but I’m going to pick it up anyway because I enjoy Johnston’s prose and also DECEMBER REQUIRES ESCAPISM.

Those are the only two new releases that I’m currently planning on reading—there are others, of course!

Take the Key and Lock Her Up, the third book in Ally Carter’s Embassy Row series is due out at the end of the month, and I know that a lot of readers will be watching for that one. (Not so much me. I found her Gallagher Girls books to be funny and smart and tight, but All Fall Down, the first Embassy Row book—especially in contrast to the earlier series—felt bloated and uneven, and did not inspire me to continue on with the series.)

EverHunted Judging by the ads I’ve seen and the number of review copies I’ve received, Erin Summerill’s Ever the Hunted is getting pushed pretty hard—Kirkus’ review was pretty tepid, though, and it sounds like a somewhat bland read. (If we’re being entirely honest, bland can be great for sales, so.)

I love the retro-ish cover of Sasha Stephenson’s Iceling, but Kirkus dinged it for “inconsistent plotting, indifference to geography and climate, and sloppy execution” among other things, so I’m going to give it a miss. (“Ding” is an understatement, the review is somewhat brutal. So if you’re into brutal reviews, don’t miss it!) 

Since we’re not remotely overwhelmed with new titles this month, I’d love to know what 2016 books you think should have gotten more attention—what fantastic books flew under the radar, which ones deserve a closer look?

In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom and The Backlist, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.