Lists

New Releases Tuesday: The Best Books Out This Week

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new books! 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.

cover of Babel by R.F. Kuang; black and white pen illustration of a very high tower in a city with birds flying around it

Babel by R.F. Kuang

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working — the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars — has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Reasons to read it: Mix together dark academia plus a critique on colonialism and its role in academia plus a little magic for good measure, and you’ve got what has got to be one of the most interesting sounding premises for a book this year. And, if you’ve read The Poppy War series by Kuang, you know she’s especially adept at crafting wonderfully complex — dare I say gray — characters within a Chinese-inspired setting. She’s said herself that she wrote the Poppy War trilogy as a sort of training for this book, which is her “love letter and breakup letter to Oxford. It gnaws at questions that have bothered me since I started graduate school — chiefly the brokenness of academia and the sacrifices that true change might require.”

A Dreadful Splendor book cover

A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers

In this wickedly whimsical Gothic murder mystery brimming with romance, betrayals, and chills, a fake spiritualist is summoned to hold a séance for a bride who died on the eve before her wedding, but as nefarious secrets are revealed, the line between hoax and haunting blurs.

Be careful what you conjure…

In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners — until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young lord peace, she will win her freedom.

Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve’s skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly — yet exceedingly handsome — gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren’t required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset’s ghost could be all too real…

A Dreadful Splendor is delicious brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for a ghoulishly fun and page-turning read.

Reasons to read it: Remember Penny Dreadful with Eva Green? Me too, and this book promises to fill the Victorian-era-séance-shaped void the show left in my heart. It’s also bound to satisfy fans of other amateur Victorian sleuths, like in A Curious Beginning, with the added bonus of Genevieve’s roguish ways — which obviously only make the journey more fun.

Love on the Brain book cover

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project — a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia — Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.

Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school — archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.

Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

Reasons to read it: Hazelwood gives another STEMinist romcom, this time full of enemies-to-lovers goodness. If you read The Love Hypothesis and loved it, you’ll appreciate the similarly charming and intelligent main character and the way anticipation for the romance is built. Also, this one is a little steamier.

Cover of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for…

Reasons to read it: This is a sweet and magical story about finding where you belong. It’s got quirky, lovable characters, a slow-burn and steamy romance, and found family — all wrapped up in a uniquely witchy tale. All around an excellent way to start off witchy season!

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy cover

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend.” Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most — Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares — each other?

Set in a world full of magic and demigods, donuts and small-town drama, this enchantingly quirky, utterly unique fantasy is perfect for readers of The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Invisible Library.

Reasons to read it: The world this romance is set in is truly unique, and it’s got all the best parts of an enemies-to-lovers romance with the unexpected element of zombies. Seriously, this book is such a ride. Plus, Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient, likened it to Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s basically got all the best things.

Other Book Riot Resources for New Book Releases

  • All the Books, our weekly new book 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!
Enter to win Book Riot's Reading the Stars and an Obvious State celestial bundle!
Fall into books as diverse as the universe with Tailored Book Recommendations