7 New Books to Read in 2023
I’ve been watching the new book releases for weeks now, but it wasn’t until mid-January that I could really dig in and figure out which releases I’m looking forward to most. So, if you’re looking to load up your pre-orders, here are some of the FICTION new books I’m most excited about in 2023.
(Find my list of upcoming NONFICTION releases here!)
I have to admit, I’ve bounced off of Grady Hendrix a few times. Something just hasn’t clicked for me, despite the fact that I love all of his ideas. But I’m excited for this one. Two siblings have to figure out what to do with their parents’ home after the parents pass away. Selling it seems like the most obvious choice, since the COVID pandemic has left them both broke. However, it seems like maybe the house doesn’t want to be sold.
Reunions, grief, and familial relationships are some of my favorite topics to explore in fiction. So I’m ready to give this one a go!
Another haunted house story, this one set in Vietnam. Jade Nguyen arrives from America at her estranged father’s ornate French home in Vietnam, ready for five stressful weeks. She doesn’t fit into either culture, she’s hiding her sexuality, and she just needs to do this and get out. But the house is sending her terrifying messages, messages that no one else in her family seems to notice.
This is a YA horror title. It’s been a while since I’ve read YA, since I burned out thoroughly on it during my grad school research. But the gorgeous cover caught my eye before I even read what it was about.
I know very little about Xianxia, the wildly popular Chinese fantasy genre. But it’s been on my radar for a while. I happened to come across Bitter Medicine, which is inspired by Xianxia, online and the premise was intriguing. Elle, a Chinese immortal, is working in disguise at a fairy temp agency to hide from her murderous younger brother. Meanwhile, a French elf named Luc is the agency’s top security expert, and he needs Elle’s help on his next mission. It looks fun, exciting, and passionate, so I think it will be a really fun way to dip into a brand-new genre this year.
I’m fascinated by the rise of spiritualism in the 19th century. It was a time of genuine mystery, as well as mind-boggling con artistry. I’ve used it in a few of my short stories, going for both the charlatan and authentic angles. But the London Seance Society brings forth the idea of using seance to solve murders. A skeptical woman seeks answers to her sister’s death from an acclaimed spiritualist. But the two become embroiled in another, deeper mystery.
Going into this book without knowing whether to take the spiritualism at face value is extremely exciting. I love an unreliable narrative and, while I don’t know if this book is going to be one itself, there’s a thrill in not knowing before I start reading.
The blurb describes the characters in this book as a “loose circle of lovers and friends” within Iowa City over the course of a year. Beyond the three at the center of the story, there’s also an array of others who come in and out of each other’s lives with volatile consequences. I like books that showcase people who are often ignored in other stories. The ones who do the necessary, but unglamorous, work that society takes for granted and shows them living and loving and getting messy.
And when a story is character-driven with a strong sense of place? That’s exactly what I’m looking for. So, while I haven’t read this yet, I’m putting it on hold as soon as I can.
A Dominican-American family gathers together at the call of Flor, the family matriarch who can see when someone will die. But is it Flor’s own death that she’s seen? Or is it something else? As the family gathers, their own secrets are revealed even as Flor keeps hers. This one looks like a big, detailed family saga, which is one of my favorite things to dive into. And if you add some magic on top of that mundanity? I’m so ready.
(Note: No Cover Image Available!)
I recently read A Marvellous Light, which is Book One in this series. It’s a slow-burning queer historical fantasy that I did not realize was the first in a series until I was nearly done. Book Two is currently sitting on my shelf, possibly overdue at the library. A Power Unbound, the final book in the series, focuses on a tragic, antagonistic character that showed up for all of three pages in Book One. However, from the way the characters continued to talk about him, I had a feeling he’d be back. And apparently this is his story.
A Marvellous Light is a thick read. It’s a lovely book, but it’s got a slow pace that I noticed a lot of reviewers criticizing. I adore a slow-paced book (you can tell from some of my own reviews), so I’ve loved watching the characters and relationships slowly develop. I imagine A Power Unbound will be very similar.
There are so many more new books coming out this year. And I can’t forget the sheer number of backlist titles AND the fact I buy way too many books at the used bookstores around me. But these seven titles stand out the most and I’m so excited to read them in the coming year!
(If you want a FREE ebook to read this year, sign up for my mailing list and receive The Vanishing House, a North County Paranormal Unit prequel novella. Two paranormal investigators go into a house on what should be a simple mission. But when only one comes out, his team will have to solve the mystery and save their friend with no help from their higher-ups.)