It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, as well as a few others you may have missed from recent weeks. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Finding Me by Viola Davis
This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose and my strength, but also to finding my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.
As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. They are bogarted, reinvented to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone who is searching for a way to understand and overcome a complicated past, let go of shame, and find acceptance. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be…you.
Finding Me is a deep reflection on my past and a promise for my future. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.
Reasons to read it: For an honest portrait of a life from one of the best actresses of our time. Davis will take you through a childhood stricken by poverty, set against the backdrop of the plantation her grandparents were sharecroppers for and the Rhode Island city where she was made fun of for being Black. She describes the trauma she experienced as a result of all of this as well as having an abusive, alcoholic father. Just as she shares her pain, she shares her triumph, and we get to see the result of many years of perseverance in a stereotyping industry and working on herself through therapy.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”
So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.
Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.
But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.
A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana, weaving a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.
Reasons to read it: If you like epic retellings like Circe, you’ll want to read this. The world of ancient Indian mythology comes alive as Patel shows how we should reconsider the motivations for a major female character from the Ramayana. Traditionally, Kaikeyi hasn’t been looked favorably upon, but then again, many women weren’t and haven’t been who opposed the patriarchy. Thoughtful reexaminations of antiheroes, especially female ones, are always it and this is no exception.
The Mad Girls of New York: A Nellie Bly Novel by Maya Rodale
In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable, and delicate to do the job. But then the New York World challenges her to an assignment she’d be mad to accept and mad to refuse: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for Women.
For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s, but no reporter can get in—that is, until Nellie feigns insanity, gets committed and attempts to survive ten days in the madhouse. Inside, she discovers horrors beyond comprehension. It’s an investigation that could make her career—if she can get out to tell it before two rival reporters scoop her story.
From USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale comes a rollicking historical adventure series about the outrageous intrigues and bold flirtations of the most famous female reporter—and a groundbreaking rebel—of New York City’s Gilded Age.
Reasons to read it: We don’t talk enough about Nellie Bly. Period. A late 19th century female writer infiltrating an insane asylum in New York City sounds like a plot for the latest period drama, but it is the all too real scenario Nellie Bly agreed to in order to tell the world the truth about harsh conditions mentally ill women were suffering. Although this isn’t nonfiction, many of the characters that appear were inspired by real figures in history, and Rodale does a wonderful job of immersing the reader in Gilded Age New York.
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon
1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when’s she home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
Reasons to read it: For a creepy tale that still manages to take a familiar story and give it some surprising twists. Its narrative switches between excerpts from books and different characters to present its mystery from different angles. You’ll be left wondering what is real as McMahon weaves an expertly layered story with some genuinely scary, mind bending elements.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Marra never wanted to be a hero.
As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince.
Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks:
—build a dog of bones
—sew a cloak of nettles
—capture moonlight in a jar
But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.
Hero or not—now joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar—Marra might finally have the courage to save her sister, and topple a throne.
Reasons to read it: For a dark, feminist fairytale that handles issues like domestic violence with humor and compassion. Kingfisher is a Hugo Award-winning author whose talent for superbly built worlds and endearing, interesting characters is on full display here. You’ll get to follow a knitting nun who joins forces with a dog skeleton, an ex-knight, a fairy godmother, and a necromancing witch with her demon chicken familiar to save her sister. In other words: a good time.
The Fervor by Alma Katsu
1944: As World War II rages on, the threat has come to the home front. In a remote corner of Idaho, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, are desperate to return home. Following Meiko’s husband’s enlistment as an air force pilot in the Pacific months prior, Meiko and Aiko were taken from their home in Seattle and sent to one of the internment camps in the Midwest. It didn’t matter that Aiko was American-born: They were Japanese, and therefore considered a threat by the American government.
Mother and daughter attempt to hold on to elements of their old life in the camp when a mysterious disease begins to spread among those interned. What starts as a minor cold quickly becomes spontaneous fits of violence and aggression, even death. And when a disconcerting team of doctors arrive, nearly more threatening than the illness itself, Meiko and her daughter team up with a newspaper reporter and widowed missionary to investigate, and it becomes clear to them that something more sinister is afoot, a demon from the stories of Meiko’s childhood, hell-bent on infiltrating their already strange world.
Inspired by the Japanese yokai and the jorogumo spider demon, The Fervor explores a supernatural threat beyond what anyone saw coming; the danger of demonization, a mysterious contagion, and the search to stop its spread before it’s too late.
Reasons to read it: Anti-Asian hate is not a new thing. Like many other instances of discrimination at the hands of the U.S. government, it just hasn’t been talked about enough. Katsu combines historical fiction with traditional tales from Japanese mythology to create a full picture of what it was like to experience the horror of internment camps as a Japanese American in the 1940s. Read for a tale of lore, demons, survival, and the evils of man.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!