New Books: December-January (2019-20)

NewBooks-20200109

After a quieter end to 2019, the start of 2020 was met with a blizzard of new ARCs and DRCs. Some of these aren’t out for some time (May, June, and even August!), but I wanted to get a mention of the books up on the site ASAP, so people have an idea of what’s on the way — and many of these look fantastic!

Featuring: Megan Angelo, Andy Clark, Bill Clegg, Karen Dietrich, Doug Engstrom, Lee Goldberg, Ilze Hugo, Gregg Hurwitz, Alex Irvine, Hao Jingfang, Stephen Graham Jones, Erica Katz, Nick Kyme, Mark Lawrence, Eddie Robson, Lewis Shiner, JC Stearns, Paul Tremblay, Emma Jane Unsworth, Nghi Vo, David Heska Wanbli Weiden

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71TF3r5bnvLMegan Angelo, FOLLOWERS (HQ)

When everyone is watching you can run, but you can’t hide…

2051. Marlow and her mother, Floss, have been handpicked to live their lives on camera, in the closed community of Constellation.

Unlike her mother, who adores the spotlight, Marlow hates having her every move judged by a national audience.

But she isn’t brave enough to escape until she discovers a shattering secret about her birth.

Now she must unravel the truth around her own history in a terrifying race against time…

I spotted this in a catalogue quite some time ago, and pre-ordered it. I’ll be reading it very soon. Followers is out now, published by HQ in the UK, and Graydon House in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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ClarkA-SMC-FistOfTheImperiumAndy Clark, FIST OF THE IMPERIUM (Black Library)

‘By their noble sacrifice is our world made mighty’

Deep within the Segmentum Solar, an Imperial Fists Honour Guard lies slaughtered upon the very world they swore to protect. The mysterious cult responsible grows in power by the day. Their malevolent tenets poisoning the hearts of Ghyre’s citizens, from its lowliest miner to its arrogant ruling class.

To purge this threat, the Imperial Fists send Primaris Librarian Aster Lydorran and his tenacious brothers. These masters of siegecraft face an insurgent foe beyond any they have fought before. As dark omens proliferate, Lydorran finds himself embroiled in a battle of wits and wills with an enemy whose psychic might may surpass even his own. But this is a patient enemy, and with every passing hour, Ghyre’s doom grows closer. The stoic Sons of Dorn must leave their walls and embrace new allies, or risk unleashing the apocalypse itself upon the very doorstep of Terra.

This is the sixth novel in Black Library’s Space Marine Conquests series of stand-alone novels (and one novella) to date. Like the previous novel in the series — Josh Reynolds’s Apocalypse — it focuses on the Imperial Fists. Sounds quite fun, so I’m looking forward to reading it. Fist of the Imperium is due to be published by Black Library, on January 25th, 2020.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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CleggB-EndOfTheDayUSBill Clegg, THE END OF THE DAY (Gallery)

A deeply moving, emotionally resonant novel about the complicated bonds and breaking points of friendship, the corrosive forces of secrets, the heartbeat of longing, and the redemption found in forgiveness.

A retired widow in rural Connecticut wakes to an unexpected visit from her childhood best friend whom she hasn’t seen in forty-nine years.

A man arrives at a Pennsylvania hotel to introduce his estranged father to his newborn daughter and finds him collapsed on the floor of the lobby.

A sixty-seven-year-old taxi driver in Kauai receives a phone call from the mainland that jars her back to a traumatic past.

These seemingly disconnected lives come together as half-century-old secrets begin to surface. It is in this moment that Bill Clegg reminds us how choices — to connect, to betray, to protect — become our legacy.

Deeply observed and beautifully written, this novel is a feat of storytelling, capturing sixty years within the framework of one fateful day.

The new novel from the author of Did You Ever Have a Family (which I have, but haven’t yet read). Sounds quite interesting. The End of the Day is due to be published by Gallery in North America (June 2nd) and Vintage in the UK (June 4th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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DietrichK-GirlAtTheEdgeUSKaren Dietrich, GIRL AT THE EDGE (Grand Central)

A thrilling nature-versus-nurture psychological suspense novel about a daughter trying to deny her worst impulses and distance herself from her violent and dangerous father.

Not a single resident of St. Augustine, Florida can forget the day that Michael Joshua Hayes walked into a shopping mall and walked out the mass murderer of eleven people.

He’s now spent over a decade on death row and his daughter Evelyn — who doesn’t remember a time when her father wasn’t an infamous killer — is determined to unravel the mystery and understand what drove her father to shoot those innocent victims.

Evelyn’s search brings her to a support group for children of incarcerated parents, where a fierce friendship develops with another young woman named Clarisse. Soon the girls are inseparable — and by the beginning of the summer, Evelyn is poised at the edge of her future and must make a life-defining choice: whether to believe that a parent’s legacy of violence is escapable or that history will keep repeating itself, whether we choose it to or not. 

Thought this sounded rather interesting. Girl at the Edge is due to be published by Grand Central Publishing on March 3rd, 2020, in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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EngstromD-CorporateGunslingerUSDoug Engstrom, CORPORATE GUNSLINGER (Voyager)

An eerie, dystopic speculative fiction debut about corporate greed, debt slavery, and gun violence…

Like many Americans in the middle of the 21st century, aspiring actress Kira Clark is in debt. She financed her drama education with loans secured by a “lifetime services contract.” If she defaults, her creditors will control every aspect of her life. Behind on her payments and facing foreclosure, Kira reluctantly accepts a large signing bonus to become a corporate gunfighter for TKC Insurance. After a year of training, she will take her place on the dueling fields that have become the final, lethal stop in the American legal system. 

Putting her MFA in acting to work, Kira takes on the persona of a cold, intimidating gunslinger known as “Death’s Angel.” But just as she becomes the most feared gunfighter in TKC’s stable, she’s severely wounded during a duel on live video, shattering her aura of invincibility. A series of devastating setbacks follow, forcing Kira to face the truth about her life and what she’s become. 

When the opportunity to fight another professional for a huge purse arises, Kira sees it as a chance to buy a new life… or die trying.

Structured around a chilling duel, Corporate Gunslinger is a modern satire that forces us to confront the growing inequalities in our society and our penchant for guns and bloodshed, as well as offering a visceral look at where we may be heading — far sooner than we know. 

I haven’t read anything by Engstrom before, but I thought this sounded quite intriguing (not sure that he’s written anything else — his Goodreads page is very sparse, empty of anything but a listing for this novel). Looking forward to giving it a try, though. Corporate Gunslinger is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, on June 16th, 2020.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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GoldbergL-ER1-LostHillsLee Goldberg, LOST HILLS (Thomas & Mercer)

A video of Deputy Eve Ronin’s off-duty arrest of an abusive movie star goes viral, turning her into a popular hero at a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is plagued by scandal. The sheriff, desperate for more positive press, makes Eve the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history.

Now Eve, with a lot to learn and resented by her colleagues, has to justify her new badge. Her chance comes when she and her burned-out, soon-to-retire partner are called to the blood-splattered home of a missing single mother and her two kids. The horrific carnage screams multiple murder — but there are no corpses.

Eve has to rely on her instincts and tenacity to find the bodies and capture the vicious killer, all while battling her own insecurities and mounting pressure from the media, her bosses, and the bereaved family. It’s a deadly ordeal that will either prove her skills… or totally destroy her.

The first novel in a new LA crime series. With a blurb from Michael Connelly, I had been looking forward to reading this for some time. I read it just before the New Year, and quite enjoyed it. Lost Hills is out now, published by Thomas & Mercer in North America and in the UK (and, I guess, everywhere else in English).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from distributor

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HugoI-DownDaysUSIlze Hugo, THE DOWN DAYS (Skybound)

A fast-paced, character-driven literary apocalyptic novel that explores life, love, and loss in a post-truth society.

In the aftermath of a deadly outbreak — reminiscent of the 1962 event of mass hysteria that was the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic — a city at the tip of Africa is losing its mind, with residents experiencing hallucinations and paranoia. Is it simply another episode of mass hysteria, or something more sinister? In a quarantined city in which the inexplicable has already occurred, rumors, superstitions, and conspiracy theories abound.

During these strange days, Faith works as a fulltime corpse collector and a freelance “truthologist,” putting together disparate pieces of information to solve problems. But after Faith agrees to help an orphaned girl find her abducted baby brother, she begins to wonder whether the boy is even real. Meanwhile, a young man named Sans who trades in illicit goods is so distracted by a glimpse of his dream woman that he lets a bag of money he owes his gang partners go missing-leaving him desperately searching for both and soon questioning his own sanity.

Over the course of a single week, the paths of Faith, Sans, and a cast of other hustlers — including a data dealer, a drug addict, a sin eater, and a hyena man — will cross and intertwine as they move about the city, looking for lost souls, uncertain absolution, and answers that may not exist.

I’ll be honest, the cover is what caught my attention. Then I read the synopsis, and my interest was well-and-truly piqued. The Down Days is due to be published on May 5th, 2020, by Skybound in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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HurwitzG-OX5-IntoTheFireUSHCGregg Hurwitz, INTO THE FIRE (Minotaur)

Just when Evan Smoak thinks he’s done, his deadliest job yet pulls him back into the fire…

Evan Smoak lives by his own code.

Once he was known as Orphan X. Trained as an off-the-books government assassin and spoken about only in whispers, Evan Smoak was one of the most talented – and most feared – men in the Program. But he broke free and reinvented himself as The Nowhere Man, a figure shrouded in mystery, known for helping the truly desperate.

If anyone is truly desperate, it’s Max Merriweather.

Max is at the end of his rope. His cousin has been brutally murdered, leaving Max an envelope that contains nothing but a mysterious key. However, someone really wants that key, badly enough that Max – and anyone he turns to – is in deadly danger. What seems like a simple job for The Nowhere Man turns out to be anything but. Behind every threat he takes out, a deadlier one emerges and Evan Smoak must put himself in greater danger than ever before as he heads once more into the fire.

This is the fifth novel in Hurwitz’s Orphan X thriller series. I’ve somehow managed to let it fall by the wayside, but I intend to get caught up ASAP (I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far). Into the Fire is due to be published by Minotaur in North America (January 28th) and Penguin in the UK (February 20th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher

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IrvineA-AnthropoceneRagAlex Irvine, ANTHROPOCENE RAG (Tor.com)

In the future United States, our own history has faded into myth and traveling across the country means navigating wastelands and ever-changing landscapes.

The country teems with monsters and artificial intelligences try to unpack their own becoming by recreating myths and legends of their human creators. Prospector Ed, an emergent AI who wants to understand the people who made him, assembles a ragtag team to reach the mythical Monument City.

In this nanotech Western, Alex Irvine infuses American mythmaking with terrifying questions about the future and who we will become.

I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. I’ve only read one of Irvine’s short stories, but I very much enjoyed it (Black Friday). I’ll be reading this very soon. Anthropocene Rag is due to be published by Tor.com in North American and in the UK, on March 31st, 2020.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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JingfangH-VagabondsUSHao Jingfang, VAGABONDS (Saga Press)

A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of kids are sent to Earth as delegates from Mars, but when they return home, they are caught between the two worlds, unable to reconcile the beauty and culture of Mars with their experiences on Earth in this spellbinding novel from Hugo Award-winning author Hao Jingfang.

This genre-bending novel is set on Earth in the wake of a second civil war… not between two factions in one nation, but two factions in one solar system: Mars and Earth. In an attempt to repair increasing tensions, the colonies of Mars send a group of young people to live on Earth to help reconcile humanity. But the group finds itself with no real home, no friends, and fractured allegiances as they struggle to find a sense of community and identity, trapped between two worlds.

This sounds really interesting, and I’ve been looking for some more sci-fi to read. This substantial novel (600+ pages), translated by Ken Liu, sounds right up my street. Will read very soon. Vagabonds is due to be published by Saga Press in North America (April 14th) and Head of Zeus in the UK (April 2nd).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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JonesSG-OnlyGoodIndiansUSStephen Graham Jones, THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS (Saga Press)

A dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The new novel by the author of Mongrels, I think this sounds really good. I don’t read much horror, which I’ve always been a little surprised about. With recent acquisitions of Paul Tremblay’s next book (Survivor Song — see below) and also this one, I hope to remedy this genre oversight. It’s not out for a while (May 19th), but I hope to read it very soon — I’ll hold off posting the review until April, though. The Only Good Indians is due to be published by Saga Press in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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KatzE-BoysClubUSErica Katz, THE BOYS’ CLUB (Harper)

Alex Vogel has always been a high achiever who lived her life by the book — star student and athlete in high school, prelaw whiz in college, Harvard Law School degree. Accepting a dream offer at the prestigious Manhattan law firm of Klasko & Fitch, she promises her sweet and supportive longtime boyfriend that the job won’t change her.

Yet Alex is seduced by the firm’s money and energy… and by her cocksure male colleagues, who quickly take notice of the new girl. She’s never felt so confident and powerful — even the sexual innuendo and chauvinistic banter with her brash male colleagues and clients feels fun. In the firm’s most profitable and competitive division, Mergers and Acquisitions, Alex works around the clock, racking up billable hours and entertaining clients late into the evening. While the job is punishing, it has its perks, like a weekend trip to Miami, a ride in a client’s private jet, and more expense-account meals than she can count.

But as her clients’ expectations and demands on her increase, and Alex finds herself magnetically drawn to a handsome coworker despite her loving relationship at home, she begins to question everything — including herself. She knows the corporate world isn’t black and white, and that to reach the top means playing by different rules. But who made those rules? And what if the system rigged so that women can’t win, anyway?

When something happens that reveals the dark reality of the firm, Alex comes to understand the ways women like her are told — explicitly and implicitly — how they need to behave to succeed in the workplace. Now, she can no longer stand by silently — even if doing what’s right means putting everything on the line to expose the shocking truth.

Spotted this on Edelweiss, and thought it looked interesting. (It has also been optioned by Netflix already.) The Boys’ Club is due to be published by Harper in North America (August 4th, 2020) and Trapeze in the UK (August 6th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KymeN-KnightsOfMacraggeNick Kyme, KNIGHTS OF MACRAGGE (Black Library)

The return of Captain Sicarius! Discover what befell Sicarius when he was lost in the warp, and how he survived…

The primarch Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines has returned in the galaxy’s hour of need, and all muster to his Indomitus Crusade to hold back the darkness. Amongst these heroes is Cato Sicarius, Master of the Watch and vaunted captain of Second Company. Disaster befalls Sicarius and his brave warriors as their ship, the Emperor’s Will, is lost to the hellish warp, its entire crew believed slain. But Sicarius endures, though he and his men are fighting for their very survival against the denizens of the Great Rift – the daemons and renegades of Chaos. Cast adrift and war-weary, hope appears too distant to grasp until the storm breaks at last and a strange world beckons. As the captain and a band of his chosen warriors descend to the surface seeking aid, they find an isolated land seemingly from an ancient era, one plagued by a terrible enemy. Sicarius will not see this world suffer, and pledges his warriors to the world’s cause, determined to save it, whatever the cost… But what is the dark secret harboured here, and what will it mean for the Ultramarines if they uncover it?

A new novel featuring Sicarius, one of the Ultramarines’ greatest captains. He’s appeared in some other fiction, but this can (according to the author) function as a stand-alone novel. I’ve enjoyed many of Kyme’s other novels and short stories, so I have high hopes for this novel as well. Knights of Macragge is due to be published by Black Library on January 21st, 2020.

Also on CR: Interview with Nick Kyme (2011); Reviews of Promethean Sun, Vulkan Lives, Deathfire, and Auric Gods

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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LawrenceM-IT3-DispelIllusionMark Lawrence, DISPEL ILLUSION (47 North)

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.

Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.

The final volume in Lawrence’s Impossible Times trilogy. Really enjoyed the first one, but have fallen a little behind. I’ll read the second and third books back-to-back, probably (and hopefully soon). Dispel Illusion is out now, published by 47 North in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Lawrence (2011); Reviews of Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, Prince of Fools, One Word Kill

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from distributor

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RobsonE-HeartsOfOakEddie Robson, HEARTS OF OAK (Tor.com)

The buildings grow.

And the city expands.

And the people of the land are starting to behave abnormally.

Or perhaps they’ve always behaved that way, and it’s normality that’s at fault.

And the king of the land confers with his best friend, who happens to be his closest advisor, who also happens to be a talking cat. But that’s all perfectly natural and not at all weird.

Iona, close to retirement, finds that the world she has always known is nothing like she always believed it to be. There are dark forces… not dark. There are uncanny forces… no, not uncanny. There are forces, anyway, mostly slightly odd ones, and they appear to be acting in mysterious ways. It’s about town planning, it’s about cats and it’s about the nature of reality.

This sounds quite interesting. (Who doesn’t like the idea of a talking cat? Well, if you think about it too long, and imagine what cats might actually say to us…) Not familiar with Robson’s other work — he seems to have worked on a lot of Doctor Who stories — but I have high hopes for this one. Hearts of Oak is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on March 17th, 2020.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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ShinerL-OutsideTheGatesOfEdenUKLewis Shiner, OUTSIDE THE GATES OF EDEN (Head of Zeus)

What happened to the idealism of the 1960s? This question has haunted a generation.

Outside the Gates of Eden follows two men from their first meeting in high school to their final destination in the 21st century. Alex is torn between his father’s business empire and his own artistic yearnings. Cole, constantly uprooted in his childhood, finds his calling at a Bob Dylan concert in 1965.

From the Summer of Love in San Francisco to the Woodstock festival in upstate New York, from campus protests to the Soho art scene, from a communal farm in Virginia to the mariachis of Guanajuato, Mexico, the novel charts the rise and fall of the counterculture – and what came after.

Using the music business as a window into the history of half a century, Outside the Gates of Eden is both epic and intimate, starkly realistic and ultimately hopeful, a War and Peace for the Woodstock generation.

This was published in the UK in August 2019, and has been racking up a good number of glowing reviews and recommendations. So, thought I’d give it a try — it’s quite long, too, so should keep me busy for some time when I do finally start it. Haven’t read anything else by Shiner, but I also picked up Say GoodbyeOutside the Gates of Eden is published by Head of Zeus in the UK, and Subterranean Press in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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StearnsJC-WHH-TheOublietteJC Stearns, THE OUBLIETTE (Black Library)

Ashielle Matkosen, new Lord Governor of Ceocan, discovers a horrific secret in a vault beneath her father’s palace – a blasphemous living weapon. Forming an ancient pact with it may avenge her father’s death – but at the cost of her soul.

With the death of Ruprekt Matkosen, his daughter, Ashielle, is now the Lord Governor of Ceocan. Her father’s murderers still lurk in the shadows, threatening not only her rule but every mortal soul under her protection. Even her own people cannot be trusted – any one of them may be part of the poisonous plot to destroy her bloodline. Deep beneath the palace, locked away from all human contact, Ashielle finds a weapon unlike any other: a monster, more adept at hunting in the darkness than any assassin. Allying with such a horror is surely blasphemy, but with doom skulking around every corner, Ashielle is forced to revive an ancient pact with the beast. Yet she soon discovers that her family’s mortal enemies are not the only evil that hungers to consume her.

A new novel for Black Library’s Warhammer Horror imprint (Stearns has written a few other stories for the imprint already). One that sounds very WH40k and creepy, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. The Oubliette is available as an eBook now, and will be available in print on February 1st, published by Black Library.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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TremblayP-SurvivorSongUSPaul Tremblay, SURVIVOR SONG (William Morrow)

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed — viciously attacked by an infected neighbor — and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares — terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.

This sounds really interesting. I received it quite earlier (mid-December), and read it quite soon after getting it (how festive of me…). Survivor Song is due to be published by William Morrow in North America, on July 7th, 2020. (Tremblay’s other novels have been published in the UK by Titan Books, but I couldn’t find any information about if they were going to do this one as well.)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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UnsworthEJ-GrownUpsUSEmma Jane Unsworth, GROWN UPS (Gallery)

Fleabag-meets-Conversations with Friends in this brutally honest, observant, original novel about a woman going through a breakup…but really having more of a breakdown.

Jenny McLaine’s life is falling apart. Her friendships are flagging. Her body has failed her. She’s just lost her column at The Foof because she isn’t the fierce voice new feminism needs. Her ex has gotten together with another woman. And worst of all: Jenny’s mother is about to move in. Having left home at eighteen to remake herself as a self-sufficient millennial, Jenny is now in her thirties and nothing is as she thought it would be. Least of all adulthood.

Told in live-wire prose, texts, emails, script dialogue, and social media messages, Grown Ups is a neurotic dramedy of 21st-century manners for the digital age. It reckons with what it means to exist in a woman’s body: to sing and dance and work and mother and sparkle and equalize and not complain and be beautiful and love your imperfections and stay strong and show your vulnerability and bake and box…

But, despite our impossible expectations of women, Emma Jane Unsworth never lets Jenny off the hook. Jenny’s life is falling apart at her own hands and whether or not she has help from her mother or her friends, Jenny is the only one who will be able to pick up the pieces and learn how to, more or less, grow up. Or will she?

This novel has been getting a lot of pre-publication buzz. I was pre-approved on NetGalley, so I decided to give it a try — and I’ll hopefully read it very soon, as it’s quite different to many of the books I have on my ever-growing TBR mountain. Grown Ups is due to be published by Gallery in North America (May 12th), and The Borough Press in the UK (January 30th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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VoN-EmpressOfSaltAndFortuneNghi Vo, THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE (Tor.com)

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

I thought this sounded really interesting, and I wasn’t disappointed! I read it very soon after getting it. A short novella, it offers some great observations and engaging and deep characters. You can find my review hereThe Empress of Salt and Fortune is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on March 24th, 2020.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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WeidenDHW-WinterCountsUSDavid Heska Wanbli Weiden, WINTER COUNTS (Ecco)

Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s own nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop.

They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost.

Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that’s as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.

A debut thriller set on a Native American reservation. I can’t remember where I first heard of this, but I’ve been keeping my eye open for it ever since. Really looking forward to reading it. Winter Counts is due to be published by Ecco in North America on August 25th, 2020. (I could find an import listing for it in the UK, at the time of writing, but not sure about official publisher.)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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