Anticipated August Releases
Updated: Aug 8, 2021
To me, there is no better place to read that outside in the sun, and the late summer months of August and September in the Netherlands usually lend themselves perfectly for just that. Luckily for me, August has plenty of reading-material in store for me. With about 15 releases that I'm actively anticipating, this promises to be the best release-month of 2021. If you're still wondering what to read this summer, allow me to share the new releases that are on my personal wishlist for the month of August.
Once There Were Wolves - Charlotte McConaghy
Release Date: August 3rd
Following the release of Migrations in 2020, which made it to my favourites of the year list, I can't wait to see the progression of Charlotte McConaghy's brand of climate ficiton, combined with personal drama. One of my most anticipated releases of the year for sure....
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with a singular purpose: to reintroduce wolves into the Highlands. Her efforts to rewild the dying landscape, however, are met with fierce opposition from the locals, who fear for their safety and way of life.
When a farmer is mauled to death, Inti decides to bury the evidence, unable to believe her wolves could be responsible. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, is something more sinister at play? And will it happen again? Over the course of a cold year, Inti will take desperate action to save the creatures she loves, and, perhaps, save herself along the way--if she isn't consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
(Me) Moth - Amber McBride
Release Date: August 17th
A debut YA novel-in-verse that is both a coming-of-age and a ghost story. Described as an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe. This sounds like everything I want in a novel...
Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted.
Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he’ll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones.
Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable.
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker Release Date: August 24th
An unexpected follow up to The Silence of the Girls; the untold story of the women behind one of the the most famous Greek myths continues.
Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.
But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended - the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied - and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.
Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can - with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest - and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous...
All's Well - Mona Awad
Release Date: August 3rd
From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny, a darkly funny novel about a theater professor suffering chronic pain, who in the process of staging a troubled production of Shakespeare’s most maligned play, suddenly and miraculously recovers. For fans of Secret History and If We Were Villains.
Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.
That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.
Dark Waters by Katherine Arden
Release Date: August 3rd
Part three to the beloved middle-grade horror-series by equally beloved author Katherine Arden.
Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they've steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie's dad and Coco's mom plan a "fun" boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven't had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn't just any island though. It's hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won't survive long.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Release Date: August 3rd
There 's something about the trope of the "small-town horrors" that I will always gravitate towards. I'm hoping this one delivers.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV's ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there's more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
Release Date: August 3rd
Although dark-academia thrillers (especially within the YA-age limits) can be hit-or-miss for me, I was still intrigued by the promise of a story about a haunted boarding school, witchcraft and an LGBTQ subplot. Throw in an endorcement from Rory Power and I'm in...
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School...
Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.
Burden Falls by Kat Ellis
Release Date: August 24th
Riverdale meets Stephen King in the terrifying new thriller from the author of Harrow Lake.
The town of Burden Falls drips with superstition, from rumors of its cursed waterfall to Dead-Eyed Sadie, the disturbing specter who haunts it. Ava Thorn grew up right beside the falls, and since a horrific accident killed her parents a year ago, she's been plagued by nightmares in which Sadie comes calling—nightmares so chilling, Ava feels as if she’ll never wake up. But when someone close to Ava is brutally murdered and she’s the primary suspect, she begins to wonder if the stories might be more than legends—and if the ghost haunting her dreams might be terrifyingly real. Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there's a killer on the loose . . . with a vendetta against the Thorns.
Dark and Shallow Lies - Ginny Myers Sain Release Date: August 31st
Continuing in the genre of "small-town-horror"; this supernatural thriller promisses the story of a teen girl who disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot.
La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide.
This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World--and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey's best friend, disappeared six months earlier.
Grey can't believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something--her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave.
When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou--a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town's bloody history--Grey realizes that La Cachette's past is far more present and dangerous than she'd ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn't know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent--and La Cachette's dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.
Fantasy and Sci-fi
The Hand of the Sun King - J.T. Greathouse High Fantasy Release Date: August 5th
A high fantasy release that I know fairly little about, but received positive early reviews and reminded me of Name of the Wind with its mysterious synopsis...
My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.
All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother's family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.
I can choose between them - between protecting my family, or protecting my people - or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.
But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves...
The Shimmering State by Meredith Westgate
Release Date: August 10th
Speculative fiction based on the exploration of memories, and the way they shape our lives is always something I'm interested in, and it''s been a while since a good one has come along. I have high hopes for this debut novel by Meredith Westgate however...
Lucien moves to Los Angeles to be with his grandmother as she undergoes an experimental memory treatment for Alzheimer’s using the new drug, Memoroxin. An emerging photographer, he’s running from the sudden death of his mother, a well-known abstract expressionist painter. Even far from New York, her legacy haunts Lucien.
Sophie has just been cast as a lead in the upcoming performance of La Sylphide with the Los Angeles Ballet. She still waitresses during her off-hours at the Chateau Marmont, witnessing the recreational use of Mem pills among the Hollywood elite—people consuming memories not their own. One controlling, powerful regular’s obsession with Sophie spurs a series of events that threatens to unravel the life she has so carefully built.
When Lucien and Sophie meet at The Center, founded by the ambitious yet conflicted Dr. Angelica Sloane as a way to treat patients who’ve abused Mem, they have no memory of how they got there—or why they feel so inexplicably drawn to one another. Is it attraction, or something they cannot remember from “before”?
Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece
Release Date: August 17th
A heartwarming, feminist Magical Realism novel of hope, fate, and folk magic unfolds when a young woman travels to a sleepy southern town in the Appalachian Mountains to bury her best friend.
At the age of eleven, Mel Smith’s life found its purpose when she met Sarah Ross. Ten years later, Sarah’s sudden death threatens to break her. To fulfill a final promise to her best friend, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains. Yet Morgan’s Gap is more than a land of morning mists and deep forest shadows.
There are secrets that call to Mel, in the gaze of the gnarled and knowing woman everyone calls Granny, in a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions, and in the connection, she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it.
With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah's untimely death and that has now set its sight on Mel.
A Snake Falls to Earth - Darcie Little Badger
Release Date: August 17th
Having loved Darcie Little Badgers debut novel Elatsoe I can't wait to get my hands on this sophomore novel from an own-voice native-American author, who interweaves Lipan mythology into real-world coming of age novels.
Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She's always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.
Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he's been cast from home. He's found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.
Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli's best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven't been in centuries.
And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.
Darcie Little Badger introduced herself to the world with Elatsoe. In A Snake Falls to Earth, she draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed.
Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow
Release Date: August 24th
Instead of telling you why I want to read this so bad, I'm going to quote you the blurb. If you know me and my obsession with ghosts and explorations of grief and (familial) trauma, you'll not need me to say anything else:
Seeing Ghosts asks what it means to claim and tell your family's story: Is writing an exorcism or is it its own form of preservation? What do we owe to our families in our grief, and how does it shape us? In order to answer these questions and to understand her family's ghosts, Kat unearths their sorrow and challenges the power structures of race, class, and gender.
Born two years after her parents' only son died just hours after his birth, Kat Chow became unusually fixated with death. She worried constantly about her parents dying -- especially her mother. One morning, when Kat was nine, her mother, a vivacious and mischievous woman, casually made a morbid joke: When she eventually dies, she said laughing, she'd like to be stuffed and displayed in Kat's future apartment in order to always watch over her.
Four years later when her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat, her two older sisters, and their father are plunged into a debilitating, lonely grief. With a distinct voice that is wry and heartfelt, Kat weaves together what is part ghost story and part excavation of her family's history of loss spanning three generations and their immigration from China and Hong Kong to America and Cuba. This redemptive coming-of-age story uncovers the uncanny parallels in Kat's lineage, including the strength of sisterhood and the complicated duty of looking after parents, even after death.
Small Bodies of Water by Nina Mingya Powles
Release Date: August 5th
"Home is many people and places and languages, some separated by oceans."
Nina Mingya Powles first learned to swim in Borneo - where her mother was born and her grandfather studied freshwater fish. There, the local swimming pool became her first body of water. Through her life there have been others that have meant different things, but have still been, in their own way, home: from the wild coastline of New Zealand to a pond in northwest London.
This lyrical collection of interconnected essays explores the bodies of water that separate and connect us, as well as everything from migration, food, family, earthquakes and the ancient lunisolar calendar to butterflies. In powerful prose, Small Bodies of Water weaves together personal memories, dreams and nature writing. It reflects on a girlhood spent growing up between two cultures, and explores what it means to belong.