Stocking the Stacks- Vacation TBR Edition

Posted May 23, 2021 by stuckint in Book Hauls, Stocking the Stacks / 4 Comments

Hi everyone and welcome to another stocking the stacks post! My work schedule has been so influx lately and I have just been so tired. I work until 8pm on Wednesdays now and it means that by the time I get home and settled I’m ready for bed.

All that’s to say, I’m so excited to have a few days off next week. It’s my first real vacation since starting my library job, mostly because I was working from home part time and didn’t feel the need to take the time off.

So, like any bookworm, I’m looking ahead to all the books I want to read next week!

Recent YA Purchases

In The Ravenous Dark by AM Stickland

In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland, AdriAnne Strickland
Published by Imprint on May 18, 2021
Pages: 400

A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead.
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.

I am so excited for this fast paced, dark fantasy novel! It features LGBTQIA+ characters as well as blood magic. It’s a revenge story, which is some thing I realized I love when I read Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer a few years ago. I think it will be extremely immersive and escapist and it sounds perfect when we don’t yet feel comfortable traveling.

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on March 16, 2021
Pages: 394

Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl's hunt for the truth about her mother's disappearance.
Sophia's first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.
A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who's following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.
Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion.

Set in a small, isolated island town off the coast of Alaska, this suspenseful ghost story sounds like the perfect reading for a warm summer night. While I am rarely scared by YA horror anymore, I enjoy it as a comfort genre where I know that floorboards creak and things go bump in the night. 

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1) by Lynette Noni
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on April 13, 2021
Pages: 416

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

So I actually received an egalley of this one and then heard it being discussed at Yallwest and wondered why I had not heard about it- its happened to you before right?!?! This one is set in a death prison where Kiva has spent ten years working as the prison healer. When Kiva is tasked with keeping the queen of the rebels alive until help can arrive, Kiva volunteers to face the trial by ordeal- a series of elemental challenges. I love books featuring competitions, trials, races, etc… and have every intention of picking this one up once I’m caught up on my blog tour related reading. 

Recent Adult Purchases

The Star Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
Published by Berkley on November 17, 2020
Pages: 400

A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.
Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

Nothing says vacation like the Italian countryside and a craving for escapist reads motivated me to add this one to one of my May Book of the Month boxes. It’s basically the story of of three sisters who travel the Italian countryside in order to break a family curse, because of which they will never find love. It sounds fun and sun-soaked, perfect for a warm summer night with a glass of sparkling wine.

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McCleod Chapman

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman
Published by Quirk Books on April 6, 2021
Pages: 304

Inspired by the McMartin preschool trials and the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, the critically acclaimed author of The Remaking delivers another pulse pounding, true-crime-based horror novel.
Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage to Tamara, a first chance at fatherhood to her son Elijah, and a quiet but pleasant life as an art teacher at Elijah’s elementary school in Danvers, Virginia. Then the body of a rabbit, ritualistically murdered, appears on the school grounds with a birthday card for Richard tucked beneath it. Richard doesn’t have a birthday—but Sean does . . .
Sean is a five-year-old boy who has just moved to Greenfield, Virginia, with his mother. Like most mothers of the 1980s, she’s worried about bills, childcare, putting food on the table . . . and an encroaching threat to American life that can take the face of anyone: a politician, a friendly neighbor, or even a teacher. When Sean’s school sends a letter to the parents revealing that Sean’s favorite teacher is under investigation, a white lie from Sean lights a fire that engulfs the entire nation—and Sean and his mother are left holding the match.
Now, thirty years later, someone is here to remind Richard that they remember what Sean did. And though Sean doesn’t exist anymore, someone needs to pay the price for his lies.

I have not read the author’s debut novel, The Remaking, but I have been hitting gold with every horror novel I have picked up this year so far. This one is set during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and explores the perils of false narratives, hearing only what we want to hear, and mass hysteria. It just seems so timely in our society where misinformation is running rampant. 

Goblin by Josh Malerman

Goblin: A Novel in Six Novellas by Josh Malerman
Published by Del Rey Books on May 18, 2021
Pages: 416

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box and Malorie, a novella collection in which every story reveals a sinister secret about a mysterious small town
Goblin seems like any other ordinary small town. But with the master storyteller Josh Malerman as your tour guide, you'll discover the secrets that hide behind its closed doors. These six novellas tell the story of a place where the rain is always falling, nighttime is always near, and your darkest fears and desires await. Welcome to Goblin. . . .
A Man in Slices: A man proves his "legendary love" to his girlfriend with a sacrifice even more daring than Vincent van Gogh's--and sends her more than his heart.
Kamp: Walter Kamp is afraid of everything, but most afraid of being scared to death. As he sets traps around his home to catch the ghosts that haunt him, he learns that nothing is more terrifying than fear itself.
Happy Birthday, Hunter!: A famed big-game hunter is determined to capture--and kill--the ultimate prey: the mythic Great Owl who lives in Goblin's dark forests. But this mysterious creature is not the only secret the woods are keeping.
Presto: All Peter wants is to be like his hero, Roman Emperor, the greatest magician in the world. When the famous magician comes to Goblin, Peter discovers that not all magic is just an illusion.
A Mix-Up at the Zoo: The new zookeeper feels a mysterious kinship with the animals in his care . . . and finds that his work is freeing dark forces inside him.
The Hedges: When his wife dies, a man builds a hedge maze so elaborate no one ever solves it--until a little girl resolves to be the first to find the mysteries that wait at its heart.

I got an early copy of this one and I was instantly intrigued. I’m not a huge novella reader but I’ll be damned if Josh Malerman won’t make me give them a shot. Malerman’s latest book is told in six connected novellas set in the creepy town of Goblin. Each story sounds amazing and I am hoping to read this one in sections over the course of the next week. 

The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Published by Doubleday Books on May 4, 2021
Pages: 416

A young Puritan woman--faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul--plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive historical thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.
Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary's hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary--a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony--soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary's garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. A twisting, tightly plotted thriller from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying novel of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

I keep hearing about this one everywhere, from summer reading guides to podcast episodes featuring recent releases and I cannot stop thinking about it. I was not lucky enough to get an early copy of it, which means I am going to have to get it the old fashioned way, from the bookstore. My library has purchased a digital copy but the waitlist on it is long and I like the idea of settling under blanket in the evenings to dig into it. This one features a Puritan woman living in the 1660s, married to an abusive man and doing everything she can to escape him. Of course, one wrong move could mean she gets accused of being a witch. And we all know from high school English classes how well that would go. 

At the Top of My To Buy Pile

A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin

A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin
Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
Pages: 368

It's a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. But one daring young reporter is about to infiltrate this female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.
For years, rumors have swirled about an exclusive, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: Membership dues cost $1,000 a month. Last time Rihanna was in town, she stopped by and got her aura read. The women even handpicked the city's first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.
That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she's going to break into the club. With her career in freefall, Jillian needs a juicy scoop, and she has a personal interest in bringing these women down. But the deeper she gets into this new world--where billionaire "girlbosses" mingle with the astrology-obsessed--the more Jillian learns that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club's motives or giggle at its outlandish rituals.
The select group of women who populate the club may be far more powerful than she ever imagined.
And far more dangerous too.

I still kind of have hopes that this one will be a June Book of the Month pick, even if it didn’t quite make it into my predictions post for June. I have not read the author’s debut: Happy & You Know It, but A Special Place for Women includes an influential, secret society of women that pulls some pretty important string in New York City. 

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After, #1) by Emiko Jean
Published by Flatiron Books on May 18, 2021
Pages: 336

An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

This cover is adorable and so summery and while I have never read Crazy Rich Asians, I like this idea of secret royalty and the idea of reading a book like The Princess Diaries makes me incredibly nostalgic. Plus the novel is all about turning to fit in where you don’t below and it’s one of my favorite themes in ownvoices YA novels.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
on June 1, 2021
Pages: 432

Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully.
When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.
Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.
As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?
With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

I finally caved and pre-ordered a copy of this one. The reviews are nothing but positive and say amazing things. I probably won’t have this one in time for my vacation next week, but it’s at the top of my TBR pile. It has been pitched as Get Out meets Gossip Girl and I am here for it. I have never watched Gossip Girl but I adored Get Out and love a novel with powerful, prescient social commentary.

What About You?

What are your favorite kinds of vacation reads? What do you think of my picks? What book purchases have you made recently? Let me know in the comments!

4 responses to “Stocking the Stacks- Vacation TBR Edition

  1. Denise

    Hour of the Witch was phenomenal!! Read it in two days, couldn’t put it down. I didn’t think the story would interest me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommend!
    PS Just discovered your blog, and ❤️ it!! Thanks for all you do!

    • Ann

      Denise, would Hour of the Witch be okay for a teen reader?? Nothing too risqué? Thanks for info. Looking for something for my daughter.

      • Denise

        I’m not too sure it would be appropriate for a teen. There are a few instances of domestic violence that are a bit graphic and shocking.

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