2023 Books Preview

2023 Books Preview

Last week we enjoyed a trip down memory lane with our staff's favorite reads of 2022. Remember 2022? There were some great books way back then! But the coming year might be the best one yet.

One of the perks of the job is early access to upcoming books. Publishers want us to read stuff as early as possible so we can nominate for the IndieNext List, start some buzz on social media, and most importantly, order boxes and boxes of our favorite new titles. Personally, I read almost everything in bound, printed advance reader's editions (ARCs), also known as galleys. Even more titles are available early via digital review copies, but I can't stand staring at the screen any more than I can help it.

Our booksellers aren't quite as finicky as me, and they've previewed the books below in all kinds of formats. These books are coming out between now and midsummer, so if you spot one that you can't wait to read, pre-order it now. Subscribers to our First Editions Club and Charter Kids Book Box will also get a sneak peek at upcoming books that will be signed by the author(s).

Did we miss something? Let us know! We love ordering books with specific customers in mind, so don't be shy.

Enjoy and see you soon!

Steve
Founder & Manager


HELL BENT by Leigh Bardugo

"Visceral and haunting, this soothed my sequel-craving soul in a way that I did not think possible. Watching Alex combat the spiteful zombie of her former life, all while refusing to give up on the ghosts of her present, was satisfying to the utmost degree. Of course, now I'm stuck back where I was before- on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what comes next. CRAP."

- Amy

IN THE LIVES OF PUPPETS by TJ Klune

"A master at building beautiful and cozy worlds while simultaneously covering difficult topics, TJ Klune could write a book about litter by the side of the road and I would still be SO EXCITED. His newest novel promises to be a combination of The Swiss Family Robinson and Wall-E, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it."

- Amy

BIG SWISS by Jen Beagin

"Greta is a transcriber for a sex therapist who becomes infatuated with a client she refers to as Big Swiss. When she meets Big Swiss out in the wild, she gives her a fake identity and a the two quickly become "enmeshed." In spite of the breach of ethics, Greta decides to continue her relationship with Big Swiss at any cost."

- Sydney

CHLORINE by Jade Song

"This is the coming-of-age story of Ren Yu. She is a swimmer whose life and self-worth is tied to the pool. But Ren Yu has other aspirations: to become a mermaid, no matter how painful, and no matter how bloody things will need to get."

- Sydney

THE WAGER by David Grann

"The author of the award-winning and relentless bestseller Killers of the Flower Moon presents this swashbuckling true tale of shipwreck, survival, and murder on the high seas. At its heart, this is a deeply researched true crime account, but told in a thrilling narrative style that will enthrall readers. This figures to be the big narrative nonfiction book of the spring."

- Steve

NEWPORT COTTAGES 1835-1890 by Michael C. Kathrens

"Newport history buffs know that Kathrens is possibly the greatest living architectural historian of our city's iconic Gilded Age 'cottages.' In this gorgeous new volume, he shifts focus to the first wave of summer homes built before the Vanderbilts arrived on the scene. This is an important addition to the story of the City-by-the-Sea, and we can't wait to display copies in our store."

- Steve

THE TRACKERS by Charles Frazier

"Few writers are better at capturing the uniquely dual nature of our American pride and neurosis, the way the myths of the past can haunt human lives in the present. Here it is the mid-30s and the Depression casts a long, vampiric shadow. Much like in our own age of COVID and unrest, the characters don't know if they'll ever escape its doomed gravity. But with Val's WPA mural project and John's political ambitions, a new dawn may be around the corner. That is, if they can escape their own burdens first. This is yet another American masterpiece by one of our national treasures."

- Steve

MY FATHER'S HOUSE by Joseph O'Connor

"Thrilling, heartbreaking, and pitch perfect in every respect, this is historical fiction at its very best. Readers of all types will swarm to this novel of Rev. Hugh O'Flaherty's Escape Line out of Nazi-occupied Rome. I read the final 160 pages in one sitting and almost wept at having to say goodbye. Thankfully, this is the start of a trilogy, and I hope I can still read other novels while waiting for the second in the series."

- Steve

WE ARE GOING TO BE PALS! by Mark Teague

"I'm pretty sure I have witnessed friendships forming almost exactly like this, and the charming (one-sided) narrative paired with Teague's amazing illustrations made me laugh out-loud through the whole thing. I am SO excited to read this aloud to children and fellow booksellers alike."

- Amy

KLYDE THE KRAKEN WANTS A FRIEND by Brooke Hartman and Laura Borio

"A fun story about a cheerful Kraken who just wants to make friends, with a good message and lovely illustrations. Bonus read-aloud points for rhyming!"

- Amy

PERILOUS TIMES by Thomas D. Lee

"A modern take on the Arthurian legend of Sir Kay, who is reborn in London to fight against corrupt politicians, the growing climate crisis, and an evil Sir Lancelot. This is is an Arthurian retelling that looks forward as much as it looks back . . . and a rollicking, deadpan-funny, surprisingly touching fantasy adventure."

- Joe

A DOOR IN THE DARK by Scott Reintgen

"Six young magicians find themselves stranded as their portal spell goes wrong. As the dust settles they find that one of them has died, and the secrets of the remaining five begin to unravel."

- Joe

WITCH KING by Martha Wells

"Martha Wells is one of the best living writers of Science Fiction AND Fantasy, full stop. Fans of her ‘Murderbot’ series might not be familiar with her exceptionally rich fantasy worlds yet, but they’ll have their chance this year with her first in a new fantasy epic. This is my absolute number one most anticipated book of 2023, and I’m going to need you to all read this with me so I have people to yell about it with."

- Amy

SOME DESPERATE GLORY by Emily Tesh

"Set on a space-station in some not-so-distant human future, a splinter of humanity pits themselves against the alien race that destroyed Earth.  Poisoned by grief, this last group of soldiers have distilled their hatred into zealotry, and raised their children with one aim; revenge. Look- just trust me- it's amazing."

- Amy

HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS AND UNFAIRLY CUTE by Talia Hibbert

"Talia Hibbert's Young Adult debut follows ex-best friends who must suddenly cooperate on a survival course in the woods. Hibbert's talent for portraying nuanced people in relatable ways has made her one of my favorite authors, and I can't wait to see how she does in this new genre."

- Amy

GUARDIANS OF THE DAWN: ZHARA by S. Jae-Jones

"This is Book 1 in an exciting new YA fantasy series. S Jae-Jones brings to life a world of magicians, monsters, and reincarnated warriors set in a culture based on Chinese myth. In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever."

- Joe

More British Library Tales of the Weird

"Early last summer I became dangerously addicted to this spectacular anthology series of paperbacks published by the British Library. Each volume is organized around a specific theme (insects, weather, tattoos, mad science, Cornwall) or author (William Hope Hodgson, Algernon Blackwood). I obsessively collected almost all of them, and 2023 promises maybe the best yet. If you get hooked like me, check out the Whiskey and the Weird podcast."

- Steve

DON'T FEAR THE REAPER by Stephen Graham Jones

"Jones secured a permanent spot in our bestseller list with The Only Good Indians, then added My Heart Is a Chainsaw (a Signed First Editions Club selection) in 2021. If you read that one, you may wonder (no spoilers!) how there could be a sequel, but here it is, and Jones' passionate love for the golden age of slasher flicks shines through once again. Like his best work, it's a slow burn of dread (and a few laughs) until the blood starts flying in the final 80 pages."

- Steve

THE GOLDEN SPOON by Jessa Maxwell

"Someone turns up dead on the set of TV's hottest baking competition, and Maxwell builds each character like a perfectly crafted recipe. As a baking enthusiast myself who enjoys the occasional mystery, I knew I couldn’t resist a book that was described as the perfect mixture of “Knives Out” and an Agatha Christie novel. Nor did I expect an innocent baking show premise to be so cutthroat."

- Crete

THE SALT GROWS HEAVY by Cassandra Khaw

"I'm excited for this one. A murderous mermaid makes a companion of a mysterious doctor and goes on a journey through a subarctic forest. The two come upon a village of children, who are overseen by three surgeons known as "the saints", and have an affinity for a blood sport. The mermaid and doctor are pushed to their darkest depths, in hopes that they just might make it out alive."

- Sydney

A HUMAN FOR KINGSLEY by Gabriel Evans

"With classic, timeless illustrations and a unique spin on the classic story of a new pet, this is a sweet, tender and deeply funny story about the power of friendship, and one dog’s mission to find his perfect person."

- Amy

LEEVA AT LAST by Sara Pennypacker and Matthew Cordell

"This is by an author/illustrator Dream Team and it's a lovely, hilarious standalone novel for 3rd-6th Graders. If you're a parent like me, you might be getting overwhelmed with graphic novels and Books 2, 6, 8, 17 of all the series out there. Leeva at Last is a sweet throwback and I'm looking forward to reading it with my son."

- Steve