The Best New Book Releases Out August 15, 2023

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Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

August has been quite the month — within the book world as well as outside of it — and it’s only halfway over. Book world-wise, the 99-year-old publishing company Simon and Schuster was sold to the same company that Toys “R” Us went bankrupt under, the Feminist Book Club was broken into for the third time, and some hockey romance fans got ultra messy.

Then there are this month’s book releases! Which have been bangers of all genres, written by both beloved and debut authors alike. Today’s are a mix of time-traveling book lovers, vampires in 19th century Mexico, a horror twist on Sleeping Beauty, and more.

Before we get to them, please check out the Maui Relief Effort Readathon, which ends August 28th and benefits the victims of the devastating wildfires in Hawai’i.

cover of The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

With The Invisible Hour, the author of Magic Lessons shows the power of reading and how rebellious it can be. Mia Jacob is at the edge of hopelessness when she discovers a book with a story that seems to closely resemble her life. Though written hundreds of years before, the society in The Scarlett Letter has more than a few similarities with the Massachusetts cult Mia has lived in ever since her mother discovered it as a pregnant runaway teen. The Community, as it’s called, has banned books, but Mia’s mother encourages her to read, leading her to independence, love, and a bit of time travel.

vampires of el norte book cover

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

I really loved Cañas’ The Hacienda and am super excited for this one. It’s the 1840s, and Mexico has long been threatened by invaders from the north. But there’s another kind of monster that threatens the country’s borders. And when Nena and Néstor were young, it was one of these monsters that attacked Nena and caused Néstor to flee. He’s been fleeing ever since, and doing his best f-boi impression to drown out the guilt of having abandoned his best friend. The two are united, though, when Néstor is part of a militia to fight off the Americans, and Nena is that militia’s curandera, or healer. She (understandably) feels some type of way about how he bolted nine years ago, but the real threat soon takes precedence over any long-held grudges.

cover of T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

After Kingfisher’s What Moves the Dead comes another novella that twists familiar stories into something dark, interesting, and even a little funny. This revisits Sleeping Beauty, but it’s not about the girl in the tower. Instead, it follows Toadling, who was stolen as a child by the fairies and given an idyllic childhood. After she grows up, they ask a seemingly simple favor of her — to go back to the world of humans and protect a newborn child. But fairies are eternally shady, and there’s a bit more to it than that. Hundreds of years pass, and when Muslim knight Halim searches out the tower covered in thorns to break the curse he’s heard about, what he finds is Toadling, who will slowly reveal exactly what she’s been keeping in the tower all this time (and who may, on occasion, turn into a toad when things get a little too real).

cover of An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas Vann

An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas Vann

Though 25-year-old Melanie Carvajal has worked hard to get to where she is, she’s since hit a bit of a wall. Her Miami Herald job is at risk if her writing doesn’t become more inspired, and on top of that, there’s a distance she feels between her and her mother. When she gets the chance to prove herself through an assignment, though, she’ll travel to her mother’s native Colombia, where she’ll connect with family and finally come to realize all it took for her mother to move to the U.S.

cover of Fever House by Keith Rosson

Fever House by Keith Rosson

When professional backbreaker Hutch goes to collect past due drug money in a raggedy apartment, what he collects instead is a severed hand. A severed hand that he soon realizes causes uncontrollable violence in anyone in close proximity to it. When he calls on Nick to take the hand, well, off his hands, Nick and his singer mother get pulled into the fight for humanity. Government agents are after the hand as bloodthirsty crowds follow it, and family secrets are exposed.

cover of The Secret to a Southern Wedding by Synithia Williams

The Secret to a Southern Wedding by Synithia Williams

Second chances, older couple cuteness, and quirky small-town romance goodness collide in Williams’ new book, where Dr. Imani Kemp takes the time out of her overly booked schedule as an OB-GYN in Florida to stop her mother’s hasty marriage in Georgia. The wedding, in Imani’s eyes, is coming too soon, especially considering how her mother’s last marriage went. But the son of the would-be groom, Cyril, feels the opposite way, and he’s determined to undermine Imani’s undermining. Naturally, the two see a little something in each other.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:

  • 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’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!