With so many new and shiny books constantly being released and paraded all over bookstagram, I think the fall is a nice time to dive back into some of those backlisted books that have been sitting on our shelves for a while. I am really bad about buying stacks of books at a time and immediately grabbing the newest ones off of the pile and then forgetting about the others. However, I hope to focus mostly on some of those forgotten stories over the upcoming months. That plan gave me an idea to spotlight some really awesome backlist books for others to pick up soon!
Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard – Series Not Yet Finished
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
This book got a lot of hype when it was first released a few years ago, but has since been drowned out by more recently released hyped books. I actually put off reading it for a long time until I was reminded of it when the sequel was released. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?! This book became an instant favorite and I could not put it down. I loved the focus on the friendship between the two girls and found the plot to be super engaging.
Zodiac (Zodiac, #1) by Romina Russell – Completed Series
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
I never see anyone talking about this book series and that is really such a shame because I absolutely loved it. It was so unique and I like that the setting revolves around the astrological zodiac. All of the characters are fun and interesting and the story isn’t afraid to get dark at times. If you are looking for a science fiction series that has been completed, this might be one you should look into picking up.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – Standalone
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
I feel like Ruta Sepetys’ WWII novels tend to get more universal praise and recognition than this hidden gem of a story. The 50’s New Orleans setting was a nice change of pace from the usual historical fiction time periods and I think the author did a great job bringing it to life.
Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1) by Moira Young – Completed Trilogy
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba’s world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
I actually have every book in this trilogy and I read them all a long time ago, but I plan to do a full reread soon. However, I do remember devouring this book. It was released during the dystopian craze a while back, but I would compare it more to Mad Max and other such post-apocalyptic stories. It’s fast-paced and follows a kickass heroine that everyone loves to read about. And if you can’t take my word for it, then just know that this book has been nominated and won a bunch of awards.
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke – Standalone
The American South in the twenty-first century. A plantation owned for generations by a rich family. So much history. And a dead body.
Just after dawn, Caren walks the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house in Louisiana that she has managed for four years. Today she sees nothing unusual, apart from some ground that has been dug up by the fence bordering the sugar cane fields. Assuming an animal has been out after dark, she asks the gardener to tidy it up. Not long afterwards, he calls her to say it’s something else. Something terrible. A dead body. At a distance, she missed her. The girl, the dirt and the blood. Now she has police on site, an investigation in progress, and a member of staff no one can track down. And Caren keeps uncovering things she will wish she didn’t know. As she’s drawn into the dead girl’s story, she makes shattering discoveries about the future of Belle Vie, the secrets of its past, and sees, more clearly than ever, that Belle Vie, its beauty, is not to be trusted.
A magnificent, sweeping story of the south, The Cutting Season brings history face-to-face with modern America, where Obama is president, but some things will never change. Attica Locke once again provides an unblinking commentary on politics, race, the law, family and love, all within a thriller every bit as gripping and tragic as her first novel, Black Water Rising.
A murder-mystery and old family secrets set on a plantation in Louisiana… How could this book not be perfect to pick up during October?! Simple: it couldn’t. The atmosphere is creepy and soulful, while also shedding light on today’s culture and racial politics. While this is the only book by Locke that I’ve read (so far), I know that I will enjoy anything she writes.
City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson – Standalone
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up this book. However, it immediately captured my attention and never let go. I haven’t read many books set in modern day Africa, so it was nice to know that the author actually spent most of her career working with NGOs and the UN in Africa.
The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen, #1) by Alison Goodman – Completed Trilogy
London, April 1812.
On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
This trilogy has become one of my all-time favorite. It’s a super fun genre-bending novel mixing historical fiction and paranormal. It is one of the most well-researched novels that I’ve read and Goodman did a crazy good job of bringing Regency England to life. Also, two thumbs up for the broody hate-to-love romance, which I’m always a sucker for.
Do you tend to read more recent releases or backlist titles more? What are some of your favorite backlist novels? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them?