Best in Books | Week 1: 29 January-4 February 2018

Welcome to the first instalment of best in books for the week of 29 January-4 February. Best in books is a weekly feature on My Cup & Chaucer that highlights the new releases of the week. It used to be with book releases in Australia that major publishers would release all new books on the same day in the week preceding each new month. Now it seems that we’re starting to follow the American style of new releases landing in stores on a rolling basis each week. I like the change and I find it more exciting this way — there’s a better chance of regular bookstore visitors finding new books and authors if they’re arriving weekly rather than monthly.

With that said, it can be harder to find new books if new releases arrive weekly. Books are turned over faster and books that were new two weeks ago get moved away from the front of the bookstore and etc. etc. you know how it goes. Rent is high and space is a premium so naturally the newest books get prime positioning. Also, there aren’t many places/blogs/anywhere really in Australia that look at new releases on a weekly basis. It’s done very well monthly, for sure, but not weekly. I am looking to fill this gap, and hopefully over the next few weeks together we can look more closely at the week’s new releases and give more attention to books that otherwise may have been glossed over in a monthly preview.

In this spirit, the first new release I want to talk about this week is a box set of books that are very important to me this week. I grew up reading The Baby-Sitters Club and before Christmas last year Scholastic published books 1-8 in the series, and I’m stupidly excited that a box set of books 9-16 will be available this week. I’ve linked to Dymocks here because they’ve got it on sale for $29.99.

Okay, let’s get stuck into the best in books for the week of 22-28 January 2018.

Thrillers

My number one book for this week across all genres is Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner. I’m still very cranky that no Australian publisher has picked up Meg Gardiner’s Unsub series and I’m hopeful that by the time book three is published in early 2019 (it’s called The Dark Corners of the Night deal was signedand the this week) an Australia will have caught up and published the series locally. For now, booksellers are ordering US stock in. I can’t speak highly enough about these books.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (Tuesday) and Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker (Thursday) are two other thrillers I’m very keen to read in February. The Wife Between Us is a book I’ve been hearing about since Book Expo last May, so the hype for this one is very real. This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan is also out on Thursday and sounds intriguing and exactly like the kind of book I’d devour.

One that I am judging by the cover alone is Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy. It’s the story of a high-school girl whose popular friends are being murdered and who fears she may be next. It’s $24.99 and with a YA-aged protagonist it could be a crossover novel? But it sounds great so I will be checking that out for sure when it’s published on Tuesday.

There’s a new one from J.D. Robb (Dark in Death) and Mick Herron (London Rules), and the book with the best hook of February 2018 (the serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury!) is finally out so look for Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh this week as well. Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt is out on Monday and looks at how powerful female friendships can be and how devastating they can be when they fall apart.

If you’re a Candice Fox, Anne Buist, or Gregg Hurwitz fan then Monday is the day for you. Redemption Point, the sequel to 2017’s Crimson Lake, is out along with This I Would Kill For, another mystery featuring the amazing Natalie King, and Hellbent, the third Orphan X thriller. (Just as an aside, if you’ve never actually read any of Candice Fox’s books, what are you even doing with your life? Her books are fantastic.)

One book that’s out this week that hasn’t (to the best of my knowledge) had an Australian release date before is Perfect Remains by Helen Fields. This book popped onto my radar last year when a few American bloggers recommended it; I ordered a copy from overseas and naturally haven’t read it yet. It’s about a serial killer in Edinburgh and the other books in the series Perfect Prey and Perfect Death are also released this week – keep an eye out for them from Monday.

Small formats (fiction)

In smaller format thrillers, keep an eye out for The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney for $19.99 along with After I’ve Gone by Linda Green (a thriller about a woman who accidentally discovers her death date is 18 months away), Final Girls by Riley Sager, Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan, How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway, and The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (the first in a new crime series). The Caller by Chris Carter is also out in a smaller format this week on Thursday. $19.99 b-format releases are the best!

It’s not a thriller but the small format of Exit West by Moshin Hamid is also out this week if you missed it last year. At a slightly higher small format price are the new editions of The Ice by Laline Paull (the author of 2014’s The Bees), which is $22.99 and out on Monday, and Enigma Variations by André Aciman (the author of Call Me By Your Name), which is $24.99 and out on Tuesday.

Fiction

If you’re not in the mood for a thriller, there are still plenty of new releases to choose from! My most anticipated fiction books of the week are definitely An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, and while I’ve not read it (or any of Kristin Hannah’s other books for that matter) I know she’s super popular and this new one is already getting great reviews. Another big one this week is Still Me by Jojo Moyes, the third book in the Louisa Clark series. You’ll be able to find that in stores from Monday, along with The Whole Bright Year by Debra Oswald (her debut Useful was one of my favourite books in 2015).

The Right Girl by Ellie O’Neill is out on Thursday and I am completely obsessed with its cover design. The Three of Us by Kim Lock, This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell (in which a private letter goes viral), and Sarah Haywood’s debut The Cactus are other fiction titles to have on your radar this week. The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier, a debut historical fiction novel from an exciting new Australian author is out on Tuesday, along with another debut novel The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce – it sounds fantastic and he was the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 25 award, so his is a name to watch.

The Cage by Lloyd Jones is out on Monday and Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills is out on Tuesday and has at its heart the chilling premise of the sudden and unexpected disappearance of the sea. In a similar I-don’t-know-what-genre-to-classify-this-book-as theme, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff is also out on Tuesday. I also don’t have a clue how to classify The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

Even though it’s been out overseas for over a year, an Australian publisher has finally decided to publish a local edition of Scythe by Neal Shusterman. If you’ve already read it and are super keen, the sequel Thunderhead has just been published overseas. Speaking of sequels, Ironheart by Jodi McAlister (following on from 2017’s Valentine) is out on Tuesday. It’s not a sequel but the highly anticipated The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is also out on Tuesday.

Non-fiction

On the non-fiction side, and one of my my most anticipated books of this week, is Zadie Smith’s collection of essays Feel Free. It’s out on Monday and I will be running to the bookstore as soon as copies arrive (edit: in the end I had to wait until Tuesday, but I was blown away by how big this collection is! Totally worth the $35 price tag). The Mind Manual by Andy Gibson is out on Tuesday and it’s from the founder of Mindapples, so it’s a great one if getting your head in check is a priority for you in 2018. Out in a smaller format is In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott, which won the 2017 Costa Biography Award; it’s about a woman who grows up in and ultimately breaks away from a cult. Insomniac City by Bill Hayes is also out in a smaller format this week.

If you’re a Dave Eggers fan then you’re in luck this week. Monday brings us The Monk of Mokha, his account of the ongoing Yemeni Civil War and one man who sought to escape it. Also this week you can find How to be Human by Ruby Wax (out on Tuesday) and Brave by Rose McGowan (out on Wednesday).

Finally, James Patterson has his name on a non-fiction title this week called All-American Murder. It has co-authors, of course, but it is the first book to fully investigate the shocking story of NFL player Aaron Hernandez.

So that’s it! This is an unusually long weekly preview as most of these are the major publisher’s big February new releases, but I know for a fact that there are plenty more excellent books hitting stores next week.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the best in books weekly feature — I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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