Here are my anticipated reads of 2018 (please note that covers, release dates, and other data are subject to change without notice). Be aware: there may be spoilers below in the synopses as some of these titles are sequels to other books.
If you want to check out these books for yourself, just click on the highlighted titles which link out to the books’ respective GoodReads pages:
Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly
Release Date: January 2, 2018
My Thoughts: I loved Connolly’s debut novel Monstrous, so this book immediately went on my mental to-read shelf.
Synopsis: Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar. Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away. With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.
Wires and Nerve, Volume 2 by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: January 30, 2018
My Thoughts: Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 was great fun, so I’m eager to see how the story gets wrapped up as this is slated to be the last of the Lunar Chronicles graphic novels.
Synopsis: Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth. And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages. Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin all feature in this epic new battle. But it is Iko who must face her deepest fears when she uncovers the truth about her own unusual programming.
Thrawn #1 by Jody Houser
Release Date: February 2018
My Thoughts: I’m not a comic book person, but when news broke that Marvel was going to adapt Timothy Zahn’s 2017 novel Thrawn, I knew I had to check it out. I hope this version does the novel justice.
Synopsis: [Nothing official yet.]
Hour Glass by Michelle Rene
Release Date: February 20, 2017
My Thoughts: After reading and loving News of the World, I’ve kept my eyes out for more Westerns that aren’t technically Westerns (if that makes sense). This book popped up in my GoodReads recommendations and it caught my interest, so I placed it on my mental future release shelf to check it out.
Synopsis: Set in the lawless town of Deadwood, South Dakota, Hour Glass shares an intimate look at the woman behind the legend of Calamity Jane told through the eyes of twelve-year-old Jimmy Glass. After their pa falls deathly ill with smallpox, Jimmy and his sister, Hour, travel into Deadwood to seek help. While their pa is in quarantine, the two form unbreakable bonds with the surrogate family that emerges from the tragedy of loss. In a place where life is fragile and families are ripped apart by disease, death, and desperation, a surprising collection of Deadwood’s inhabitants surround Jimmy, Hour, and Jane. There, in the most unexpected of places, they find a family protecting them from the uncertainty and chaos that surrounds them all.
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon
Release Date: March 6, 2018
My Thoughts: Oliver Twist is one of my favorite Dickens novels, so I’m curious to see how it gets retold. Based on this book’s synopsis, it certainly sounds intriguing.
Synopsis: Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.
Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.
Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Release Date: March 6, 2018
My Thoughts: I admit that the colorful, simple cover drew my eye first, which is what led me to check out what the actual book was about. After reading an excerpt, I’m definitely intrigued as, though I normally don’t get into contemporary murder mysteries or minimalist prose, there was enough here to spark my interest.
Synopsis: Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago. But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife. As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Release Date: March 27, 2018
My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading about Russian history and was intrigued by this book’s synopsis. Granted, many novels and movies have tackled the Princess-Anastasia-may-still-be-alive plot concept, but I’m interested in this nevertheless.
Synopsis: Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia, where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.
Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious young woman claims to be the Russian grand duchess.
As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a narrative that is equal parts The Talented Mr. Ripley and Memento, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory: the nature of identity itself. The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling saga is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.
Varina by Charles Frazier
Release Date: April 3, 2018
My Thoughts: I loved Cold Mountain and I enjoy Frazier’s writing style, complex characters, and historical renderings, so I’m always willing to give any book of his a chance.
Synopsis: With her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. He instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions. The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”
Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland
Release Date: May 8, 2018
My Thoughts: I have a soft spot for historical fiction provided it offers a good story, compelling characters, and a unique take on its subject matter. The blurb to this novel reminds me of a Civil War Era Jane Eyre, so I’m curious to check it out.
Synopsis: Abigail Milton was born into the British middle class, but her family has landed in unthinkable debt. To ease their burdens, Abby’s parents send her to America to live off the charity of their old friend, Douglas Elling. When she arrives in Charleston at the age of seventeen, Abigail discovers that the man her parents raved about is a disagreeable widower who wants little to do with her. To her relief, he relegates her care to a governess, leaving her to settle into his enormous estate with little interference. But just as she begins to grow comfortable in her new life, she overhears her benefactor planning the escape of a local slave—and suddenly, everything she thought she knew about Douglas Elling is turned on its head. Abby’s attempts to learn more about Douglas and his involvement in abolition initiate a circuitous dance of secrets and trust. As Abby and Douglas each attempt to manage their complicated interior lives, readers can’t help but hope that their meandering will lead them straight to each other.
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Release Date: May 29, 2018
My Thoughts: Caraval was one of my favorite reads in 2017, so I’m eager to dive back into its story world and characters. I hope this sequel is just as fun and intriguing as its predecessor.
Synopsis: This year’s Caraval has concluded. Tella is alive—and safe, to her older sister’s relief. But Tella has secrets she has been keeping from Scarlett. Secrets like what Tella promised in exchange for the sisters’ invitations to Caraval in the first place. Secrets about the person to whom these promises were made. And secrets about Julian, the Caraval player who won Scarlett’s heart. Afraid of revealing the truth to the person who loves her most, Tella runs away to Valenda, the capital of the Empire, to find the mysterious correspondent whom Tella owes. But in the nights leading up to Elantine’s Day, a cross between a masquerade ball, a jubilee, and Caraval, no one is to be trusted.
Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: June 5, 2018
My Thoughts: Flame in the Mist was yet another favorite read from 2017, so I was hoping it would be given a sequel. I’m happy to see there will be a second novel and I hope it is just as good as the first book.
Synopsis: After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice–to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead. With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.
Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau
Release Date: June 12
My Thoughts: Eden Divided was yet another favorite read for me from 2017 (pardon me for sounding like a broken record!). I thought it was one of the more interesting YA fantasy books I’ve come across in recent years, so I’m eager to read how it wraps up as this is the last book in a duology.
Synopsis: Carys and Andreus, betrayed by everyone they believed to be allies, continue to fight to determine who will reign over the kingdom—but now, one sibling has changed the game.
The Long-Lost Home by Maryrose Wood
Release Date: June 19, 2018
My Thoughts: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is adorable and I love its intermingling of comedy, mystery, and fantasy. I’ve been waiting over a year to finish this series, so I’m eager to get my hands on this last book.
Synopsis: Unhappy Penelope Lumley is trapped in unhappy Plinkst! Even the beets for which Plinkst is inexplicably famous fail to grow in this utterly miserable Russian village. Penelope anxiously counts the days and wonders how she will ever get back to England in time to save all the Ashtons—who, she now knows, include herself and the Incorrigible children, although their precise location on the family tree is still a mystery—from their accursèd fate. Her daring scheme to escape sends her on a wildly unexpected journey. But time is running out, and the not-really-dead Edward Ashton is still on the loose. His mad obsession with the wolfish curse on the Ashtons puts Penelope and the Incorrigibles in dire peril. As Penelope fights her way back to her beloved pupils, the three brave Incorrigibles endure their gloomy new tutor and worriedly prepare for the arrival of Lady Constance’s baby. Little do they know the danger they’re in!
Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn
Release Date: June 26, 2018
My Thoughts: Thrawn earned the top spot in my favorite reads from 2017, but at the time I didn’t know Zahn had any more plans to pen further novels books (though I had my hopes). So I was excited to see we’ll be getting another Thrawn novel – with the awesome blue Grand Admiral himself again serving as the star – so this book sits proudly at the top of my to-read list.
Synopsis: [Nothing official yet.]
The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness by Robert Kondo
Release Date: July 10, 2018
My Thoughts: I read The Dam Keeper and watched the short film that inspired it (and, just to note, both are quite different). I assumed The Dam Keeper was a self-contained book but, alas, I was left with a cliffhanger. Luckily, this is slated to be its follow up and I couldn’t be happier!
Synopsis: Beyond the dam lies certain death—this is something every citizen of Sunrise Valley knows well. Yet, when a poisonous black tidal wave carries Pig, Fox, and Hippo over the dam and into the wastelands, they don’t find death. Instead they find bustling cities, each with their own dams. Pig can’t help but wonder, who is the mysterious dam keeper behind it all? But he doesn’t have time to unravel this mystery. The wave of deadly black fog will return to Sunrise Valley in four days, and its dam can’t withstand another assault. In a stolen truck and with a deranged lizard leading the way, Pig and his friends are in a race against the clock. but can they reach home in time?
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Release Date: July 31, 2018
My Thoughts: The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen tales (with The Snow Queen being number one), so when I heard about this prequel/retelling, I was immediately interested. If this book can focus more on the fantasy aspect and less on what sounds like a potential YA love story (something I’m really tired of), then this might be a fun read. Fingers – and mermaid tails – crossed! 😀
Synopsis: Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.
Jack Frost by William Joyce
Release Date: October 2, 2018 (???)
My Thoughts: I adore William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series and have long awaited its conclusion. This chapter book is intended to be the final novel, but it has been long overdue. It’s been hinted at being released for the past few years now but to no avail, so I truly hope 2018 marks its arrival at last!
Synopsis: The Guardians came together to protect the childhoods of all who dream, and they are a formidable team: Nicholas St. North, E. Aster Bunnymund, Toothiana, the Sandman, Nightlight, and Katherine have thus far prevented Pitch from fulfilling his nightmarish plans. But Pitch and his nightmare men lurk on the fringes, gathering strength, stewing in hate, and the Guardians know their guard needs one more member if they are going to vanquish Pitch for all eternity. And once they find the last in their band, they’ll travel to the secret realm of the Man in the Moon, encounter armies of Moonbots, and face the greatest battle since the Golden Age; and that is just the beginning of this grand conclusion to a series most grand.