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New Book Releases for September 2022

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


September is going to be an epic month for publishing! I couldn't fit in all of the books I'm excited to read, but here's just a taste.


September 6

Book cover of Stephen King's Fairy Tale

Stephen King's Fairy Tale (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself--and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.


"Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.


"King's storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy--and his dog--must lead the battle.


"Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: 'What could you write that would make you happy?'


"'As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city--deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn't know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.'"


Why I want to read it:

Stephen King is an auto-read author for me, and I love the story about how this book came about. I'm also a sucker for stories-within-stories, so this one is at the top of my list.


Book cover of Editors Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz's Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories

Editors Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz's Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"From zombies to cannibals to death incarnate, this cross-genre anthology offers something for every monster lover. In Our Shadows Have Claws, bloodthirsty vampires are hunted by a quick-witted slayer; children are stolen from their beds by 'el viejo de la bolsa' while a military dictatorship steals their parents; and anyone you love, absolutely anyone, might be a shapeshifter waiting to hunt.


"The worlds of these stories are dark but also magical ones, where a ghost-witch can make your cheating boyfriend pay, bullies are brought to their knees by vicious wolf-gods, a jar of fireflies can protect you from the reality-warping magic of a bruja--and maybe you'll even live long enough to tell the tale. Set across Latin America and its diaspora, this collection offers bold, imaginative stories of oppression, grief, sisterhood, first love, and empowerment.


"Full contributor list: Chantel Acevedo, Courtney Alameda, Julia Alvarez, Ann Dávila Cardinal, M. García Peña, Racquel Marie, Gabriela Martins, Yamile Saied Méndez, Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, Claribel A. Ortega, Amparo Ortiz, Lilliam Rivera, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Ari Tison, and Alexandra Villasante."


Why I want to read it:

I enjoy all kinds of horror, and horror stories based on folktales are really in my wheelhouse. I'm also eager to read more from that author list—I'm a fan of several and want to learn more about the authors whose works I haven't tried.


Book cover of Maggie O'Farrell's The Marriage Portrait

Maggie O'Farrell's The Marriage Portrait (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.


"Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now enter an unfamiliar court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?


"As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court's eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess's future hangs entirely in the balance.


"Full of the beauty and emotion with which she illuminated the Shakespearean canvas of Hamnet, Maggie O'Farrell turns her talents to Renaissance Italy in an extraordinary portrait of a resilient young woman's battle for her very survival."


Why I want to read it:

The description here mentions Hamnet—a five-star read for me—and O'Farrell is on my shortlist of authors whose works I want to "complete." (Everything I've read by her so far has been brilliant.) We dived deep into her memoir I Am, I Am, I Am back in episode 98.


Book cover of Deanna Raybourn's Killers of a Certain Age

Deanna Raybourn's Killers of a Certain Age (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that's their secret weapon.


"They've spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they're sixty years old, four women friends can't just retire - it's kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller by New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-nominated author Deanna Raybourn.


"Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.


"When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they've been marked for death.


"Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They're about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman--and a killer--of a certain age."


Why I want to read it:

I haven't read anything by Raybourn, but I've heard rave reviews for her Veronica Speedwell series. The synopsis here reminds me a little bit of The Thursday Murder Club, which compelled me to add it to the list.


Book cover of Aiden Thomas's The Sunbearer Trials

Aiden Thomas's The Sunbearer Trials (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"'Only the most powerful and honorable semidioses get chosen. I'm just a Jade. I'm not a real hero.'


"As each new decade begins, the Sun's power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the chaotic Obsidian gods at bay. Sol selects ten of the most worthy semidioses to compete in the Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all--they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body melted down to refuel the Sun Stones, protecting the world for another ten years.


"Teo, a seventeen-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of the goddess of birds, isn't worried about the Trials . . . at least, not for himself. His best friend, Niya is a Gold semidiós and a shoo-in for the Trials, and while he trusts her abilities, the odds of becoming the sacrifice is one-in-ten.


"But then, for the first time in over a century, the impossible happens. Sol chooses not one, but two Jade competitors. Teo, and Xio, the thirteen-year-old child of the god of bad luck. Now they must compete in five trials against Gold opponents who are more powerful and better trained. Worst of all, Teo's annoyingly handsome ex-best friend and famous semidiós Hero, Aurelio is favored to win. Teo is determined to get himself and his friends through the trials unscathed--for fame, glory, and their own survival."


Why I want to read it:

Aiden Thomas is another auto-read author me ever since their brilliant book Cemetery Boys, which we discussed in episode 201. I'm beyond excited about their new fantasy novel.


Book cover of Sally Thorne's Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match

Sally Thorne's Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor's ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.


"When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love?


"Filled with carriages, candlesticks, and corpses, Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match is the spooky-season reimagining of the well-known classic that reminds us to never judge a man by his cadaver!"


Why I want to read it:

Sally Thorne is another author whose previous work I've loved, and I appreciate that this sounds like quite a departure from her previous books. (We talked about The Hating Game and its adaptation in episode 217.) I'm already signed up for a buddy read of this one on IG!


Book cover of Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's On the Rooftop

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's On the Rooftop (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"A stunning novel about a mother whose dream of musical stardom for her three daughters collides with the daughters' ambitions for their own lives--set against the backdrop of gentrifying 1950s San Francisco


"At home they are just sisters, but on stage, they are The Salvations. Ruth, Esther, and Chloe have been singing and dancing in harmony since they could speak. Thanks to the rigorous direction of their mother, Vivian, they've become a bona fide girl group whose shows are the talk of the Jazz-era Fillmore.


"Now Vivian has scored a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a talent manager, who promises to catapult The Salvations into the national spotlight. Vivian knows this is the big break she's been praying for. But sometime between the hours of rehearsal on their rooftop and the weekly gigs at the Champagne Supper Club, the girls have become women, women with dreams that their mother cannot imagine.


"The neighborhood is changing, too: all around the Fillmore, white men in suits are approaching Black property owners with offers. One sister finds herself called to fight back, one falls into the comfort of an old relationship, another yearns to make her own voice heard. And Vivian, who has always maintained control, will have to confront the parts of her life that threaten to splinter: the community, The Salvations, and even her family.


"'Warm, gripping, and wise, with echoes of Fiddler on the Roof, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's latest novel is a moving family portrait from "a writer of uncommon nerve and talent"' (New York Times Book Review)."


Why I want to read it:

Sexton is another new-to-me author, but I've heard great things, and both this setting AND this synopsis check all of my readerly boxes.


September 13

Book cover of Gayl Jones's The Birdcatcher

Gayl Jones's The Birdcatcher (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"Gayl Jones, the novelist Toni Morrison discovered decades ago and Tayari Jones recently called her favorite writer, has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, Jones is publishing again. In the wake of her long-awaited fifth novel, Palmares, The Birdcatcher is another singular achievement, a return to the circles of her National Book Award finalist, The Healing.


"Set primarily on the island of Ibiza, the story is narrated by the writer Amanda Wordlaw, whose closest friend, a gifted sculptor named Catherine Shuger, is repeatedly institutionalized for trying to kill a husband who never leaves her. The three form a quirky triangle on the white-washed island.


"A study in Black women's creative expression, and the intensity of their relationships, this work from Jones shows off her range and insight into the vicissitudes of all human nature - rewarding longtime fans and bringing her talent to a new generation of readers."


Why I want to read it:

Jones is another author I've heard of but never read, so I added this one both because of prior positive reviews and because of this synopsis—what a quirky premise! Also, recommendations by Toni Morrison and Tayari Jones are impossible to resist.


Book cover of Saeed Jones's Alive at the End of the World

Saeed Jones's Alive at the End of the World (Bookshop.org)


Description from Publisher:

"Pierced by grief and charged with history, this new poetry collection from the award-winning author of Prelude to Bruise and How We Fight for Our Lives confronts our everyday apocalypses.


"In haunted poems glinting with laughter, Saeed Jones explores the public and private betrayals of life as we know it. With verve, wit, and elegant craft, Jones strips away American artifice in order to reveal the intimate grief of a mourning son and the collective grief bearing down on all of us.


"Drawing from memoir, fiction, and persona, Jones confronts the everyday perils of white supremacy with a finely tuned poetic ear, identifying moments that seem routine even as they open chasms of hurt. Viewing himself as an unreliable narrator, Jones looks outward to understand what's within, bringing forth cultural icons like Little Richard, Paul Mooney, Aretha Franklin and Diahann Carroll to illuminate how long and how perilously we've been living on top of fault lines. As these poems seek ways to love and survive through America's existential threats, Jones ushers his readers toward the realization that the end of the world is already here--and the apocalypse is a state of being."


Why I want to read it:

Saeed Jones's How We Fight for Our Lives is so brilliant that I'm all-in for anything he writes. (He's also a great follow on Twitter!)


Book cover of Blood and Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder that Hooked America on True Crime

Joe Pompeo's Blood and Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder that Hooked America on True Crime (Bookshop.org)


Description from Publisher:

"On September 16, 1922, the bodies of Reverend Edward Hall and Eleanor Mills were found beneath a crabapple tree on an abandoned farm outside of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The killer had arranged the bodies in a pose conveying intimacy.


"The murder of Hall, a prominent clergyman whose wife, Frances Hall, was a proud heiress with illustrious ancestors and ties to the Johnson & Johnson dynasty, would have made headlines on its own. But when authorities identified Eleanor Mills as a choir singer from his church married to the church sexton, the story shocked locals and sent the scandal ricocheting around the country, fueling the nascent tabloid industry. This provincial double murder on a lonely lover's lane would soon become one of the most famous killings in American history--a veritable crime of the century.


"The bumbling local authorities failed to secure any indictments, however, and it took a swashbuckling crusade by the editor of a circulation-hungry Hearst tabloid to revive the case and bring it to trial at last.


"Blood & Ink freshly chronicles what remains one of the most electrifying but forgotten murder mysteries in U.S. history. It also traces the birth of American tabloid journalism, pandering to the masses with sordid tales of love, sex, money, and murder."


Why I want to read it:

I have mixed feelings about this, but I'm quite compelled by true crime, so I think this consideration of where the thirst for true crime may have begun sounds beyond intriguing. (We discuss true crime on episode 226.)


September 20

Book cover of Justina Ireland's Rust in the Root

Justina Ireland's Rust in the Root (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided--between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology--otherwise known as Mechomancy--not the traditional mystical arts.


"Laura disagrees. A talented young queer mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage's license and becoming something more than a rootworker.


"But four months later, she's got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane's Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.


"As they're sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country's oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America's past, when Black mages were killed for their power--work that could threaten Laura's and the Skylark's lives, and everything they've worked for."


Why I want to read it:

We discussed Ireland's Dread Nation back in episode 55, and I really enjoyed that alternate history (zombies + Civil War = amazing!). I love that she's diving into another take on another era of U.S. history.


Book cover of Mark Oshiro's You Only Live Once, David Bravo

Mark Oshiro's You Only Live Once, David Bravo (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn't have a single class with his best (okay, only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a class presentation about his heritage, but he's not sure how--or even if--he wants to explain to his new classmates that he's adopted. After he injures Antoine in an accident at cross-country practice, he just wishes he could do it all over.


"He doesn't expect his wish to summon a talking, shapeshifting, annoying dog, Fea, who claims that a choice in David's past actually did put him on the wrong timeline... and she can take him back to fix it.


"But when their first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, David and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline--on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.


"Coco meets Sliding Doors in this laugh-out-loud, heartwarming middle grade novel that explores how our choices make us who we are."


Why I want to read it:

Ashley and I saw Mark Oshiro speak at a book conference, and I've been a fan ever since. Since I'm always trying to read more middle-grade books, this feels like a great fit.


September 27

Book cover of Chloe Gong's Foul Lady Fortune

Chloe Gong's Foul Lady Fortune (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"It's 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.


"Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging--and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.


"Code name: Fortune.


"But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind's mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind's new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.


"To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion's cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined."


Why I want to read it:

Gong is another author I've been meaning to try (I have a few of her books on my Kindle), and I always enjoy the opportunity to learn about a time and place I don't know much about.


Book cover of Jesse Q. Sutanto's Well that Was Unexpected

Jesse Q. Sutanto's Well that Was Unexpected (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Description from Publisher:

"A laugh-out-loud YA rom-com about a girl who's whisked from LA to her mother's native Indonesia to get back to her roots and finds herself fake-dating the son of one of the wealthiest families there, from the bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties and The Obsession


"After Sharlot Citra's mother catches her in a compromising position, she finds herself whisked away from LA to her mother's native Indonesia. It'll be exactly what they both need. Or so her mother thinks.


"When George Clooney Tanuwijaya's father (who is obsessed with American celebrities) fears he no longer understands how to get through to his son, he decides to take matters into his own hands.


"To ensure that their children find the right kind of romantic partner, Sharlot's mother and George's father do what any good parent would do: they strike up a conversation online, pretending to be their children.


"When the kids find out about their parents' actions, they're horrified. Not even a trip to one of the most romantic places on earth could possibly make Sharlot and George fall for each other. But as the layers peel back and the person they thought they knew from online is revealed, the truth becomes more complicated. As unlikely as it may seem, did their parents manage to find their true match after all?"


Why I want to read it:

Dial "A" for Aunties was one of my favorite reading (listening!) experiences earlier this year (I talked about the book on our cozy mystery episode), so I'm looking forward to what happens as Sutanto shifts to another audience (YA!) and genre (romance!). I'll probably try the audio on this one, too!

 

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