There’s so many incredible books coming out this month, and most of them appear to be mystery/thrillers. I’m extremely excited for all of the books on this list because September is a great time to stock up for the winter season. Get ready to curl up with a spooky good book as the cold weather sets in!
The Holiday Trap (Sept. 6th)
Author: Roan Parrish
Genre: LGBTQ Holiday Romance
My Thoughts: I love the idea of a lesbian holiday romance novel, and that’s exactly what this is. September is such a great tie for this novel to come out because it kicks off the holiday season with a bang. This is also a bit of a wife swap situation (although not actually), which is insanely fun and I can’t wait to read it.
Goodreads Summary: For fans of Alexandria Bellefleur and Alexis Hall comes a charming, hilarious, and heartwarming LGBTQIA+ romcom about two separate couples finding love over the holidays from acclaimed author Roan Parrish!
Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.
Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.
Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.
Fairy Tale (Sept. 6th)
Author: Stephen King
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy
My Thoughts: It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Stephen King book, but I’m intrigued by this foray into Young Adult fantasy for him. His books are always fantastical in their horror, but the way this description is worded it makes me feel like there will be much more world building in the fantasy world than is typical. I think King is one of the most talented authors in existence, and I’m excited to read this book.
Goodreads Summary: Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
The Two Lives of Sara (Sept. 6th)
Author: Catherine Adel West
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Thoughts: This historical fiction book looks like it centers around literature and music, with an added emphasis on romance, and I absolutely love that. Although it looks like you can read this book as a standalone, it is a companion novel to Saving Ruby King, West’s debut novel. It’s unclear to me how much they tie in together, but it does appear that you should, at the very least, read both eventually.
Goodreads Summary: A young mother finds refuge and friendship at a boardinghouse in 1960s Memphis, Tennessee, where family encompasses more than just blood and hidden truths can bury you or set you free.
Sara King has nothing, save for her secrets and the baby in her belly, as she boards the bus to Memphis, hoping to outrun her past in Chicago. She is welcomed with open arms by Mama Sugar, a kindly matriarch and owner of the popular boardinghouse The Scarlet Poplar.
Like many cities in early 1960s America, Memphis is still segregated, but change is in the air. News spreads of the Freedom Riders. Across the country, people like Martin Luther King Jr. are leading the fight for equal rights. Black literature and music provide the stories and soundtrack for these turbulent and hopeful times, and Sara finds herself drawn in by conversations of education, politics and a brighter tomorrow with Jonas, a local schoolteacher. Romance blooms between them, but secrets from Mama Sugar’s past threaten their newfound happiness with Sara and Jonas soon caught in the crosshairs, leading Sara to make decisions that will reshape the rest of their lives.
With a charismatic cast of characters, The Two Lives of Sara is an emotional and unforgettable story of hope, resilience, and unexpected love.
Typecast (Sept. 13th)
Author: Andrea J Stein
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
My Thoughts: Andrea Stein is an agent that I have worked with in the past to help promote books, and although I didn’t end up getting an ARC of this one, I am very excited to read it! I love that it’s about a 31 year old protagonist, young enough that she hasn’t settled down, but old enough that she’s not a high schooler. It’s a gap in the market that I’m glad someone is trying to fill.
Goodreads Summary: Callie Dressler thought she’d put her past where it belonged—behind her. But when her ex-boyfriend brings their breakup to the big screen, she can no longer deny that their history has been looming over her all along.
At thirty-one, Callie Dressler is finally comfortable in her own skin. She loves her job as a preschool teacher, and although living in her vacant childhood home isn’t necessarily what dreams are made of, the space is something she never could have afforded if she’d stayed in New York City. She knows her well-ordered life will be upended when her type A, pregnant sister, Nina; adorable four-year-old niece; and workaholic brother-in-law move in, but how could she say no when they needed a place to crash during their remodel? As Nina pointed out, it’s still their parents’ house, even if their mom and dad have relocated.
As if adjusting to this new living situation isn’t enough, the universe sends Callie another wrinkle: her college boyfriend—who Callie dumped ten years earlier for reasons known only to her—has a film coming out, and the screenplay is based on their real-life breakup. While the movie consumes her thoughts, Callie can’t help wondering if Nina and her friends are right that she hasn’t moved on. When a complication with Nina’s pregnancy brings Callie in close contact with Nina’s smart and funny architect, Callie realizes she’d better figure out whether she wants to open the door to the past—or risk missing out on her future.
Hysterical: A Memoir (Sept. 13th)
Author: Elissa Bassist
My Thoughts: All too often, medical professionals don’t believe women who say that they’re in pain. Bassist writes this memoir about how her pain was in fact “caged fury finding expression”, and while I am excited to read it, a part of me wonders if this will add to the number of people who don’t take women’s pain seriously. Either way, I’m excited to read her story and see what she went through.
Goodreads Summary: Equal parts medical mystery, cultural criticism, and rallying cry, writer Elissa Bassist shares her journey to reclaim her authentic voice in a culture that doesn’t listen to women.
Between 2016 and 2018, Elissa Bassist saw over twenty medical professionals for a variety of mysterious ailments. Bassist had what millions of American women had: pain that didn’t make sense to doctors, a body that didn’t make sense to science, a psyche that didn’t make sense to mankind. But then an acupuncturist suggested some of her physical pain could be caged fury finding expression, and that treating her voice would treat the problem. It did.
Growing up, Bassist’s family, boyfriends, school, work, and television had the same expectation for a woman’s voice: less is more. She was called dramatic and insane for speaking her mind; she was accused of overreacting and playing victim for having unexplained physical pain; she was ignored or rebuked like women throughout history for using her voice “inappropriately” by expressing sadness or suffering or anger or joy.
Because of this, she said “yes” when she meant “no”; she didn’t tweet #MeToo; and she never spoke without fear of being “too emotional.” So, she felt rage, but like a good woman, repressed it. In Hysterical, Bassist explains how girls and women internalize and perpetuate directives about their voice, making it hard to emote or “just speak up” and “burn down the patriarchy.” But her silence hurt more than anything she could ever say. Hysterical is a memoir of a voice lost and found, and a primer on new ways to think about a woman’s voice, where it’s being squashed and where it needs amplification. Bassist breaks her own silences and calls on others to do the same—to unmute their voice, listen to it above all others, and use it again without regret.
I’m the Girl (Sept. 13th)
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA LGBTQ Mystery Thriller
My Thoughts: This book looks so addictingly good that I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. It’s a teen thriller, which I always feel cautious about, but it appears that the focus is on the character development and internal thoughts of the protagonist, which is always my favorite type of book to read. I will be reading this book as soon as I possibly can.
Goodreads Summary: The new groundbreaking queer thriller from New York Times bestselling and Edgar-award Winning author Courtney Summers.
When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty—but who is guiltiest.
A spiritual successor to the 2018 breakout hit, Sadie, I’m the Girl is a masterfully written, bold, and unflinching account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?
The Killing Code (Sept. 20th)
Author: Ellie Marney
Genre: YA LGBTQ / Historical Fiction / Thriller
My Thoughts: World War II novels used to be my favorite genre, and this book appears to be in the same vein as Codename Verity, one of my favorite historical fiction books of all time. The twist here is that there’s a murderer, and it’s coming to get them while they codebreak.
Goodreads Summary: A historical mystery about a girl who risks everything to track down a vicious serial killer, for fans of The Enigma Game and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility in Virginia. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: Government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.
Secrets So Deep (Sept. 27th)
Author: Ginny Myers Sain
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
My Thoughts: I love the cover of this novel so much. The letters practically pop out from the cover, even when just seeing it on the screen. This paranormal thriller looks fun for fans of paranormal thriller in general, especially those who enjoy a good family secrets unveiling.
Goodreads Summary: From the bestselling author of Dark and Shallow Lies comes a darkly atmospheric paranormal thriller about a seventeen-year-old girl returning to an exclusive theater camp to uncover the truth of what really happened there twelve years ago, the night her mother drowned.
Twelve years ago, Avril’s mother drowned at Whisper Cove theater, just off the rocky Connecticut coastline. It was ruled an accident, but Avril’s never been totally convinced. Local legend claims that the women in the waves—ghosts from old whaling stories—called her mother into the ocean with their whispering. Because, as they say at Whisper Cove, what the sea wants, the sea will have.
While Avril doesn’t believe in ghosts, she knows there are lots of different ways for places, and people, to be haunted. She’s spent the past twelve years trying to make sense of the strange bits and pieces she does remember from the night she lost her mother. Stars falling into the sea. A blinding light. A tight grip on her wrist. The odd sensation of flying. Now, at seventeen, she’s returning to Whisper Cove for the first time, and she might finally unravel the mystery of what really happened.
As Avril becomes more involved with camp director Willa and her mysterious son Cole, Whisper Cove reveals itself to her. Distances seem to shift in the strange fog. Echos of long-past moments bounce off the marsh. And Avril keeps meeting herself—and her dead mother—late at night, at the edge of the ocean.
The truth Avril seeks is ready to be discovered. But it will come at a terrible cost.
Spells for Forgetting (Sept. 27th)
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Magical Mystery / Thriller / Romance
My Thoughts: It seems like a lot of the books I’m adding to the list this month are fantasies in some way. This book is a mystery that takes place in a magical small town. I adore small town novels because there’s always such an interesting quality to the small town dynamic. As someone who grew up in a town that was no longer small but used to be, I find the way it “was” fun to fantasize about.
Goodreads Summary: A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.
Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.
August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.
Evocative and compelling, Spells for Forgetting is a vivid exploration of lost love and the unraveling of a small town and its many secrets.
The Winners (Sept. 27th)
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
My Thoughts: This book is the third in the Beartown series, and although I haven’t read any of the series, I know that it’s beloved by many. This book has gotten rave reviews already and so it’s sure to live up to the standard that fans of the series and Backman have set. As an added bonus, this cover is absolutely beautiful.
Goodreads Summary: Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The residents continue to grapple with life’s big questions: What is a family? What is a community? And what, if anything, are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect them?
As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.
So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home?