15 Adult Fiction Books From BookFest That Go Straight to the TBR Pile

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Rey Rowland


A daydreamer and a bit of a lost cause, Rey loves stories. Whether they're book shaped or you can see them on a screen, a story always hides in the corners of her mind. She's working on a few stories of her own, always accompanied by her trusty cat.

BookFest came and went and it was amazing! It was a place in which everyone loved stories and you got to geek out about them both with authors and other readers. I had never gone to an event like this and I left absolutely overwhelmed. You could choose from different panels, and I focused on BookFest adult fiction books. There were so many stories I’d never even heard about.

I especially can’t believe the amount of new books on my TBR. Between listening to writers, librarians, and book reviewers rave about these books, I just knew I had to write this list. So without further ado, I present 15 BookFest adult fiction reads that I look forward to reading!

15 Adult Fiction Books From BookFest

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Évike doesn’t have any magic. So when the Woodsmen come for her, her village turns her in. But while traveling, monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive. Killing everyone except her and Gáspár Bárány, the captain and a disgraced prince. Évike and Gáspár strike a deal, and they must learn to work together to survive and to save the kingdom from Gáspár’s brother, a cruel man who wants to seize the throne and begin his reign of violence. The Wolf and the Woodsman is inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, and it’s one of the few books on this list that are already out!

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

Not all coming-of-age stories are written for younger audiences, and this is the case with Ozeki’s latest novel. It follows Benny Oh, who begins to hear voices after his father dies. The voices belong to the things inside his house. A sneaker, a Christmas ornament and even wilted lettuce speak to Benny. Eventually the voices follow him outside, where he discovers a strange yet magical new world. But that’s not all. One day, Benny meets a book. His Book. It tells him his own story and it teaches him about the things that really matter in life. This book will be out on September 21 but you can preorder it now!

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Katrina Nguyen is a young transgender violin prodigy. Shizuka Satomi is almost done delivering souls to the devil in exchange for salvation, and she has her sights on Katrina. But something unexpected happens when Shizuka meets Lan Tran in a donut shop. Lan is an interstellar refugee, a mother of four, and a retired captain, and her kind eyes and smile might just change Shizuka’s life. In Light from Uncommon Stars, the lives of these three women intertwine in a mix of fantasy and science fiction that explores identity, hope, family and love. This book will be out September 28 and you can preorder it today.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Set in an Edwardian England full of magic, A Marvellous Light follows Robin Blyth who, after a mistake, is named the liaison to a hidden magical society. That’s how he discovers a secret world of magic, mystery, curses and visions that lurks beneath the surface of all he’s ever known. Even worse, his predecessor has disappeared under mysterious circumstances that might change everything, and Robin has to work with his cold counterpart, Edwin Courcey, to uncover a secret many a person has died to keep. It’ll be out on November 2, or you can preorder it now. Just make sure you don’t miss it!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Malini is an exiled princess who dreams of vengeance while imprisoned in an ancient cliffside temple. There, she meets Priya, who’s her maidservant and hides powerful magic. Priya wants nothing more than to save her family. But one day Malini discovers Priya’s magic, and their paths become irrevocably tangled. So they strike a bargain and they must work together to defeat the evil emperor — Malini’s brother Chandra. This book is the beginning of a new fantasy trilogy that promises magic, adventure, intrigue and SO MUCH PINING. The best thing? It’s already out!

The Hubris of an Empty Hand by Mahyar A. Amouzegar

This short story collection is made up of eight stories that explore the frailty and complexity of being human. They revolve around a divine gift that falls into earthly hands and the consequences this poses for both humans and gods. The settings and characters of this book are terrestrial, divine, and my favorite: somewhere in-between. It’s a book about love, sacrifice, and the human desire to be remembered and known. Mark your calendars, for this beautiful, ineffable book will be out on September 30 (and you know the gist, preorders are available now).

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Wallace is a certifiable Scrooge — an obsessed office worker whose life is his work — except he’s dead. So a reaper comes for him at his funeral, and a man named Hugo — who’s the owner of a peculiar tea shop — promises he will help him cross over. But Wallace isn’t ready to die yet, he doesn’t want to abandon a life he feels like he hasn’t truly lived yet. So he’s given a week. Seven days to live a lifetime. Full of love, fantasy, compassion and kindness, this book has been described as being hugged by a warm blanket. It’s out September 21, but don’t forget that you can preorder it as early as today!

Velvet was the Night by Silvia MorenoGarcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

For lovers of darker adult fiction, this is a haunting noir set in the 1970s in Mexico City. It follows Maite, a woman who lives for escapism the next issue of Secret Romance brings. She’s also a little jealous of her neighbor’s intriguing life. But one day her neighbor, Leonora, disappears under mysterious circumstances and Maite becomes obsessed with finding what happened to her. This sends her down a spiral of student radicals, politics and spies that could consume her life. It’s a twisted, gritty, mystery. The kind you won’t be able to put down. Velvet Was the Night will be out August 17, but you can preorder it now.

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Never Saw Me Coming is another dark, gritty book. This thriller follows Chloe Sevre, a girl-next-door honor student and a psychopath. She’s part of a study at her college, one that studies people like her who can’t understand emotions like fear or guilt. One day, one of the students in the study is murdered, which sends Chloe into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as she tries to find out who the killer is. But can she trust her fellow psychopaths to help her with this task? Kurian’s debut sounds like a perfect thriller for true crime fans (like me). With an intriguing investigation and possible suspects all around you, as a reader you’ll want to solve this murder too. Don’t forget to preorder this book before it comes out on September 7!

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull cover

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

When Laina’s brother is murdered, they think he was shot by the cops. But things are not what they seem. Monsters are real and they are finally coming into the light. As an unexpected chain of events is set into motion, monsters seek safety through visibility; werewolves are threatened into silence, secret societies are revealed and a boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization. Meanwhile, more people disappear, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests are held around the world. But why now? Full of intrigue and the occult, this first installments seems more than promising! It comes out in September 7, so go preorder it now!

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

This epic fantasy follows Touraine. She was stolen as a child and raised as a soldier for the empire. Her only loyalty is to her fellow soldiers, or so she thinks. When she’s sent back to her homeland, she discovers that her ties of blood are stronger than she thinks. On the other side there’s Luca: a rebel who’s looking for a turncoat to turn the tide of the war. That’s how the lives of the two women entangle; through bedrooms and war rooms, with assassinations and massacres, Touraine and Luca will decide the fate of their nation. The Unbroken is already out, so run and grab it!

The Perishing by Natashia Deón

Lou is a young Black woman who wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles with no memory of how she got there. She makes a life for herself, becoming a journalist and befriending a firefighter she realizes she has been drawing for years. Flashes of the past have begun to haunt her, as well as the certainty that she has met the firefighter before. So Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal being sent there on an important mission, and now has to investigate the mystery of her past as new threats appear around her. This book about love and justice, with an incredible historical background comes out on November 2, so make sure you preorder it!

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

If I could compare this book to any other, it would be David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. In a similar way, Cloud Cuckoo Land reflects the interconnectedness we have to others through space and time. In this case, that sense of connection comes from a story. This ancient text, the story of a man who longs to be a bird and fly to paradise, gives solace to Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance. Anna and Omeir are on opposite sides of the siege of Constantinople, Seymour deals with an attack on a public library in Idaho, and Konstance rides on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet. Cloud Cuckoo Land comes out on September 28. But, you guessed it, you can preorder it now!

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Listen, if there’s a book I’m looking forward to, it’s this. It’s being pitched as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles and doesn’t that sound absolutely brilliant? It follows Zhu, who was destined for a life of nothingness while her brother Zhu Chongba was destined for greatness. But when a bandit attacks them, Zhu Chongba dies, and against all expectations Zhu escapes her fated death. So she uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young novice, where she discovers she’s capable of anything to escape her fate. Then, when the monastery is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against the Mongol rule, Zhu claims her brother’s destiny for herself. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Be sure to check She Who Became the Sun out when it’s released on July 20, or preorder it now!

book cover with two hands and the title "The Death of Jane Lawrence"

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

This gothic fantasy horror is set in a darker version of post-war England. It follows Jane Shoringfield, a woman who wants to marry comfortably so that she can stay independent yet occupied with her meaningful work. Doctor Augustine Lawrence agrees with her proposal, with one condition: she must never visit his family manor Lindridge Hall. Yet on their wedding night, Jane is stranded outside of Lindridge Hall, and she finds her husband changed. He’s paranoid and afraid, thinking Jane is an apparition. The next morning, it’s as if nothing had happened. But by now Jane knows something is very wrong with Lindridge Hall. This stunningly dark book, reminiscent of Crimson Peak, will be out on October 19, but you can preorder it now.

Check out our list of other book events that happen during the summer! It’s a 2020 list, so some may not be virtual anymore, but others like the Decateur Book Festival will be online this year too.