Why does it feel like there are 984 days in January? Maybe it’s the cold weather, the sun setting at an early hour or the decompression period after the holidays. Perhaps it is a combination of all three factors. Whether or not you have the January blues, reading is a great way to pass the time and transport you to another place and time. That said, here are the new book releases for January 30, 2024.
Note: I use affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase I may get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!
Hard by a Great Forest
by Leo Vardiashvili
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Saba is just a child when he flees the fighting in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with his older brother, Sandro, and father, Irakli, for asylum in England. Two decades later, all three men are struggling to make peace with the past, haunted by the places and people they left behind.
When Irakli decides to return to Georgia, pulled back by memories of a lost wife and a decaying but still beautiful homeland, Saba and Sandro wait eagerly for news. But within weeks of his arrival, Irakli disappears, and the final message they receive from him causes a mystery to unfold before them: “I left a trail I can’t erase. Do not follow it.”
In a journey that will lead him to the very heart of a conflict that has marred generations and fractured his own family, Saba must retrace his father’s footsteps to discover what remains of their homeland and its people. By turns savage and tender, compassionate and harrowing, Hard by a Great Forest is a powerful and ultimately hopeful novel about the individual and collective trauma of war, and the indomitable spirit of a people determined not only to survive, but to remember those who did not.
Midnight on Beacon Street
by Emily Ruth Verona
Publisher: Harper Perennial
A suspenseful and entertaining debut thriller—and love letter to vintage horror movies—in which a teenager must overcome her own anxiety to protect the two children she’s babysitting when strangers come knocking at the door.
October 1993. One night. One house. One dead body.
When single mom Eleanor Mazinski goes out a for a much-needed date night, she leaves her two young children—sweet, innocent six-year-old Ben and precocious, defiant twelve-year-old Mira—in the capable hands of their sitter, Amy. The quiet seventeen-year-old is good at looking after children, despite her anxiety disorder. She also loves movies, especially horror flicks. Amy likes their predictability; it calms the panic that threatens to overwhelm her.
The evening starts out normally enough, with games, pizza, and dancing. But as darkness falls, events in this quaint suburban New Jersey house take a terrifying turn—unexpected visitors at the door, mysterious phone calls, and by midnight, little Ben is in the kitchen standing in a pool of blood, with a dead body at his feet.
In this dazzling debut novel, Emily Ruth Verona moves back and forth in time, ratcheting up suspense and tension on every page. Chock-full of nods to classic horror films of the seventies and eighties, Midnight on Beacon Street is a gripping thriller full of electrifying twists and a heartwarming tale of fear and devotion that explores our terrors and the lengths we’ll go to keep our loved ones safe.
by Suzie Miller
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Tessa Ensler loves her job. She’s worked her way up to being a top criminal defense barrister against all the odds, and fights to defend those pleading not guilty. Tessa believes in the law, believes in the system. Her quick-witted cross-examinations and intelligence in the courtroom see her clocking up win after win – including securing freedom for men accused of rape and sexual assault. Innocence until proven guilty is, after all, the bedrock of a civilized society.
But when Tessa is raped by a coworker, she struggles to find the strength to bring him to justice in the face of the barriers and opposition within that same system. Determined to have her day in court, Tessa is forced to confront the stark reality that the law was not written for victims, and that she is the one on trial. She fights on, even as her evidence is manipulated to make her look like a liar, even while she is retraumatized in the stand.
Based on the Olivier and Tony Award-winning play, Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie is an unforgettable story of what happens when a victim is asked to navigate a system that is not set up to accommodate the lived experience of sexual assault survivors.
The Queen of Sugar Hill
by ReShonda Tate
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Bestselling author ReShonda Tate presents a fascinating fictional portrait of Hattie McDaniel, one of Hollywood’s most prolific but woefully underappreciated stars—and the first Black person ever to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in the critically acclaimed film classic Gone With the Wind.
It was supposed to be the highlight of her career, the pinnacle for which she’d worked all her life. And as Hattie McDaniel took the stage in 1940 to claim an honor that would make her the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award, she tearfully took her place in history. Between personal triumphs and tragedies, heartbreaking losses, and severe setbacks, this historic night of winning best supporting actress for her role as the sassy Mammy in the controversial movie Gone With the Wind was going to be life-changing. Or so she thought.
Months after winning the award, not only did the Oscar curse set in where Hattie couldn’t find work, but she found herself thrust in the middle of two worlds—Black and White—and not being welcomed in either. Whites only saw her as Mammy and Blacks detested the demeaning portrayal. As the NAACP waged an all-out war against Hattie and actors like her, the emotionally conflicted actor found herself struggling daily.
Through it all, Hattie continued her fight to pave a path for other Negro actors, while focusing on war efforts, fighting housing discrimination, and navigating four failed marriages. Luckily, she had a core group of friends to help her out—from Clark Gable to Louise Beavers to Ruby Berkley Goodwin and Dorothy Dandridge.
The Queen of Sugar Hill brings to life the powerful story of one woman who was driven by many passions—ambition, love, sex, family, friendship, and equality. In re-creating Hattie’s story, ReShonda Tate delivers an unforgettable novel of resilience, dedication, and determination—about what it takes to achieve your dreams—even when everything—and everyone—is against you.
by Annie Cardi
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
A Christian girl is stigmatized by her peers after seeking an abortion in this modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter for the #MeToo era.
Moving to Hawthorne was something Tess and her mom never anticipated, but after Tess’s mom loses her job, it’s their only option. Tess’s grandparents welcome them into their home, on the condition that Tess and her mom attend church, something Mom isn’t too pleased about. But Tess enjoys the church community, finding a place in youth group and the church choir. Faith fills a void Tess didn’t know she had.
After a very personal decision goes public, Tess faces daily harassment and rejection by her former friends, and singing in the church choir is no longer an option. When she meets some kids in the music room, her only place of solace in the school, she finds they don’t judge her for what’s happened, and she learns to find her voice again. Against the backdrop of the Spirit Light Festival, Tess will need to find the strength to speak out if she is to have any chance of ending a silent cycle of abuse in Hawthorne.
by Cara Tanamachi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Sometimes, when you ask the universe for your soulmate, you wind up with your hate mate instead.
On Nami’s 30th birthday, she’s reminded at every turn that her life isn’t what she planned. She’s always excelled at everything – until now. Her fiancé blew up their engagement. Her pride and joy, the tech company she helped to found, is about to lose funding. And her sister, Sora, is getting married to the man of her dreams, Jack, and instead of being happy for her, as she knows she ought to be, she’s fighting off jealousy.
Frustrated with her life, she makes a wish on a birthday candle to find her soulmate. Instead, the universe delivers her hate mate, Nami’s old high school nemesis, Jae Lee, the most popular kid from high school, who also narrowly beat her out for valedictorian. More than a decade later, Jae is still as effortlessly cool, charming, and stylish as ever, and, to make matters worse, is planning a hostile take-over of her start-up. Cue: sharp elbows and even sharper banter as the two go head-to-head to see who’ll win this time. But when their rivalry ignites a different kind of passion, Nami starts to realize that it’s not just her company that’s in danger of being taken over, but her heart as well.
by Ashley Tate
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Phoebe Dean was the most popular girl in life and death.
For the last ten years, the small, claustrophobic town of West Wilmer has been struggling to understand one thing: Why did it take young Grant Dean twenty-seven minutes to call for help on the fateful night of the car accident that took the life of his beloved sister, Phoebe?
Someone knows what really happened the night Phoebe died. Someone who is ready to tell the truth.
With Phoebe’s memorial in just three days, grief, delusion, ambition, and regret tornado together with biting gossip in a town full of people obsessed with a long-gone tragedy with four people at its heart. The caretaker, the secret girlfriend, the missing bad boy, and a former football star—just kids back then—are forever tied together the fateful rainy night Phoebe died.
Perfect for fans of Jane Harper and Celeste Ng, Tate’s literary suspense Twenty-Seven Minutes is a gripping debut about what happens when grief becomes unbearable and dark secrets are unearthed in a hometown that is all too giddy to eat it up.