Hello Fellow Readers,

I hope you are well and keeping safe. Just a few days of lockdown left here in the UK, but to be honest with you, not much changes for me, I will still stay home and go out just for groceries or a walk. I actually look forward to December. I have a few days off and lots of books I want to read before the end of the year. I will also be planning contents for the next couple of weeks and working on my 2021 reading journal. Exciting times.

It is also an exciting week. We have a massive bunch of mystery thriller books coming out on 1 December and I hope you are ready:

The Cousins – Karen M. McManus

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

This is the most awaited release of the month. From Karen M. McManus, the New York Times bestseller author of One of Us is Lying, is a new mystery thriller novel that will make you reconsider everything you know about your family, and is told from the perspective of four siblings. The Cousins is out on 1 December.

The Bitterwine Oath – Hannah West

Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?

San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.

The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

The Bitterwine Oath is another mystery thriller/fantasy to keep you on your toes during Christmas time. This gothic novel is written by the author of The Nissera Chronicles trilogy and it will be available on 1 December.

The Good Girls – Claire Eliza Bartlett

The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl.

Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.

After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.

Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.

High school – check. Small town – check. Mysterious murder – check. With The Good Girls, Bartlett explores themes of rape culture and misogyny, with – from what I heard – a good LGBT+ representation. If you have appreciated the writer’s previous YA fantasy works – We Rule The Night and The Winter Duke, you can’t miss this. The Good Girls is out on 1 December.

The Ballad of Ami Miles – Kristy Dallas Alley

Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.

With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world… and about herself.

The Ballad of Ami Miles is not really a mystery-thriller, but it’s catalogued as science fiction/dystopian story. It explores the topic of dealing with mental health but also religious cult. It sounds so weird but at the same time so intriguing. This is out on 1 December.

A Curse of Roses – Diana Pinguicha

With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food. Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death? With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more. She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.

A Curse of Roses is a retelling of the Portuguese legend of The Miracle of Roses. It’s a fantasy story with elements of historical fiction, #OwnVoices tale, about choosing between love and duty. It’s one of the most awaited releases of the month and it will be finally out on 1 December.

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy – Melissa de la Cruz

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent—he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.

This is a new fantasy series from Melissa de la Cruz, award-winning author of both YA and adult novels such as Blue Bloods and The Descendants. This series is an in-between YA and MG, and in Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy, where real life and fairy-tales are all mixed together and the plot is just a massive retelling of all the biggies. This is out on 1 December.

And we cannot miss a dose of contemporary romance for our TBR:

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre – Robin Talley

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything. Lead actor need a breath mint? She’s on it. Understudy bust a seam? Mel’s sewing kit is at the ready. Not only is her Plan A foolproof, she’s got a Plan B, and a Plan C, because actors can be total fools.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley brings us a story about secret rendezvous, deadly stage props, and high school musicals. This LGBTQ love story has gathered lots of five star reviews and it is recommended for Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour fans. It’s out on 1 December.

Heiress Apparently – Diana Ma

Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing.

When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost. 

This is the first book of a new trilogy – Daughters of the Dynasty. It’s a romantic YA series that tells the story of (fictional) descendant of China’s empress, which should appeal to fans of American Royals and Loveboat, Taipei. Heiress Apparently is out on 1 December.

Admission – Julie Buxbaum

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things, this novel explores the reality of someone who is hyperprivileged, and the competitive and often bribed system of college admissions. This realistic novel takes inspiration from real facts and it will be available on 1 December.

WOW! That’s a lot of new releases, all concentrated in one day.

Which of these books do you plan to add to your TBR?