We’re kicking this Wednesday off with a post that we have affectionately deemed “Wheelhouse Wednesday” an idea that has been borrowed with love from one of my favorite book podcasts Reading Glasses-go check them out if you haven’t already!)
So, without further any ado, I present to you a handful of sub-genres (some of my own creation) which trigger my impassivity for insta-buying:
1- I love any story about cults. This includes, but is not limited to: people leaving cults, joining cults, starting cults, investigating cults, etc.) Any genre. Basically if a blurb on the front of the book said: cult, that’s itThe Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
Published by Riverhead Books on July 31, 2018
A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into acts of domestic terrorism by a cult tied to North Korea.
Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe's Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he's tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of extremist terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.
Comparable Titles: Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed (YA Dystopian) / Leaving the Witness by Amber Scorah (Memoir)
2- Survival stories (this includes post apocalyptic novels especially- zombies anyone?). To be more specific, I adore plots in which the survivor is injured in some way or has to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles beyond merely surviving).Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on May 28, 2019
In this pulse-pounding thriller from the author of the “haunting, twisting thrill ride” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) The River at Night, a young woman leaves behind everything she knows to take on the Bolivian jungle, but her excursion abroad quickly turns into a fight for her life.
Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a teaching job in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.
When the gig falls through and Lily stays in Bolivia, she finds bonding with other broke, rudderless girls at the local hostel isn’t the life she wants either. Tired of hustling and already world-weary, crazy love finds her in the form she least expected: Omar, a savvy, handsome local man who’d abandoned his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try his hand at city life.
When Omar learns that a jaguar has killed his four-year-old nephew in Ayachero, he gives Lily a choice: Stay alone in the unforgiving city, or travel to the last in a string of ever-more-isolated river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anaconda? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? Love-struck Lily is oblivious. She follows Omar to this ruthless new world of lawless poachers, bullheaded missionaries, and desperate indigenous tribes driven to the brink of extinction. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle--its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience.
Primal, gripping, and terrifying, Into the Jungle features Erica Ferencik’s signature “visceral, white-knuckle” (Entertainment Weekly) prose that will sink its fangs into you and not let go.
Comparable Titles: Wicked River by Jenny Milchman (Thriller) / Switchback by Danika Stone (YA Contemporary)
3- Body horror (especially stories where people get eaten from the inside out. I’m not sure what that says about me.) I love all horror but there’s just something jarring about confronting our own humanity in such a visceral way.A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries
Published by Poltergeist Press on July 15, 2019
Sometimes, survival is a sin.
Amity Collins, a 20-year-old deaf woman, and her gay brother Caleb, have lived a sheltered life since the death of their father thirteen years ago, a day of gunshots and wild dogs. Now the time has come to escape their mother's hoarded home in Australia, and a history of trauma they haven't been able to reconcile--until now. Their adventure abroad isn't just wanted. It's essential. With flights booked, they leave their claustrophobic town behind, nervous yet hopeful.
The Collins siblings backpack through the jungles of Thailand, drink and dance in Bangkok, accumulating friends. There is laughter, budding love, delicious risk. Amity has never felt more awed. Or alive. Everything changes when they purchase boat tickets to a tourist trap the locals call Bastard Island. 'Discover paradise, ' the advertisement reads. 'Come and feed the monkeys!'
But there on that remote beach, surrounded by people Amity doesn't know or trust, the trees twitch as though impatient or hungry. From within those shadows, savagery is about to be unleashed. The tide of teeth is near. Those sands will run red. And on Bastard Island, even survival is a sin.
A Place for Sinners is a surreal, ultra-violent odyssey into the absolute heart of darkness in us all. It will snatch you by the throat, blindside you with its twists, and leave you too broken to ever travel again.
Comparable Titles: The Troop by Nick Cutter (Adult Horror) / Ration by Cody Luff (Adult Horror/Dystopian)
4- YA fantasy. I love all fantasy. But I frequently find myself especially drawn to dark fantasy that doesn’t include any form of happily ever after or “true love’s kiss”. If a book is described as a “dark fantasy” I just have to accept that at some point its going to jump into my basket or virtual cart of its accord, like books are wont to doA Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
Published by HarperTeen on September 10, 2019
Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic kept both the countryside and Violet happy.
That is, until her father’s treason destroyed everything.
Now she’s been given a chance to return home. But Burleigh isn’t what she remembered. Wild with grief, Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain. As its tormented magic ravages the countryside, Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.
A house left unchecked will lead to ruin.
But I will not let it ruin me.
Dark, gripping, and utterly unique, this atmospheric historical fantasy from critically acclaimed author Laura E. Weymouth is perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood and Caraval.
Comparable Titles: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (YA Horror/Fantasy) / Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez (YA Romance/Fantasy)
5- Contemporary stories that handle important heavy issues in a thought provoking and respectful ways. Weirdly, these types of stories usually function as “palette cleansers” for me between the darker stuff that I read.Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 12, 2019
An Amazon Best Book of the Month! A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope.
When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.
The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.
With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.
But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.
Comparable Titles: Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry (YA- anxiety and identity) / Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (AIDS and bullying)
6- Finally, who doesn’t love those stories where you get to the end and realize that the whole book you just read wasn’t the book or story you thought you were reading- he was dead the whole time (did I date myself with that reference?)I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on March 21, 2017
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.
Comparable Titles: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (YA Thriller) / And the Trees Crept in by Dawn Kurtagich (YA Horror)
We would love to hear about your wheelhouses! Let us know in the comments what makes you pick up a book and buy it without thinking twice!