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, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.
When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.
But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.
As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.
Reasons to read it: This is being pitched as “Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.” It deals with transphobia and what it’s like to be a newly transitioning trans woman, while also being joyful and soothing. It’s got cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts. It’s also a celebration of music and has a sapphic romance. What’s not to love?
Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes: Essays by Phoebe Robinson
In her brand-new collection, Phoebe Robinson shares stories that will make you laugh, but also plenty that will hit you in the heart, inspire a little bit of rage, and maybe a lot of action. That means sharing her perspective on performative allyship, white guilt, and what happens when white people take up space in cultural movements; exploring what it’s like to be a woman who doesn’t want kids living in a society where motherhood is the crowning achievement of a straight, cis woman’s life; and how the dire state of mental health in America means that taking care of one’s mental health—aka “self-care”—usually requires disposable money.
She also shares stories about her mom slow-poking before a visit with Mrs. Obama, the stupidly fake reassurances of zip-line attendants, her favorite things about dating a white person from the UK, and how the lack of Black women in leadership positions fueled her to become the Black lady boss of her dreams. By turns perceptive, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, it’s also a collection that will stay with readers for years to come.
Reasons to read it: This is the newest book from author, comedian, actress, and producer Phoebe Robinson. You might remember her previous two books of essays: You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay — which is a title that resonates differently in 2021. Expect a lot of humor from these takes on the current cultural moment, but also cuttingly incisive commentary.
Summers Sons by Lee Mandelo
Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.
As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers to possess him.
Reasons to read it: This is a queer southern gothic with dark academia elements. It’s being pitched as The Secret History meets Fast and the Furious, but it’s also an examination of toxic masculinity and the pervasive white supremacy in academia. This is a creepy, consuming read that will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve closed the covers.
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.
That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
Reasons to read it: This is bestselling author Rachel Hawkins writing under the pen name Erin Sterling, and if you like seasonal fall reads but don’t want to jump full into horror, this is the perfect October book for you. This is the first book in this paranormal romance series following a group of witches. It promises Hocus Pocus vibes, but with a lot more heat. So curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and The Ex Hex for a perfect autumnal reading experience.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
An ancient text—the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky—provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone.
Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
Reasons to read it: This is the newest from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See. It feels a little silly to try to pitch this, because it’s hard to think of a more beloved book club book than All the Light We Cannot See, so this will already be on a lot of people’s radars. This is dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come.” It’s an ambitious, hopeful novel about coming of age in a broken world. Cloud Cuckoo Land explores the human responsibility of stewardship, and the different ways these characters find resilience and redemption in difficult times.
The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward
In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.
A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.
An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.
Reasons to read it: If you’d rather ring in Halloween month with a horror read, this one should be on your list. Stephen King called it a “true nerve-shredder,” and it’s being pitched as “perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Haunting of Hill House.” Also, one of the narrators is a cat!
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
This is only scratching the surface of the books out this week! If you want to keep up with all the latest new releases, check out:
Book Riot’s YouTube channel, where I discuss the most exciting books out every Tuesday!All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts (including me!) 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!