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11 New Releases We Can’t Wait to Read in February 2020

by  | January 30

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whatever your relationship status, February 14 can be fraught with the pressures of heightened expectations. But have no fear, because we all have one true love that will never let us down: books! No matter what’s going on in our lives, we can always turn to the literary loves who hold a place in our hearts and on our bookshelves. So if you’re looking for an escape from the lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy nonsense of February, let these brand-new releases—which are as delightfully varied as a box of chocolates—serve as your loyal valentines.

Molly Bit

Molly Bit

by Dan Bevacqua

Molly's Pick #1:

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I had been looking forward to reading Molly Bit by Dan Bevacqua ever since I saw its cover depicting the Hollywood Sign set against a gorgeous, glamorous California sunset. The Hollywood Molly Bit experiences, however, is not all red carpets and award speeches. Instead, we’re exposed to the seedy underbelly of La La Land, full of tenacious and morally ambiguous characters, told with a dark comic flair. If you liked Daisy Jones & the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, you’ll love Molly Bit.

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Suffrage

Suffrage

by Ellen Carol DuBois

Molly's Pick #2:

I thought I knew a lot about the women’s suffrage movement—after all, I wrote most of my elementary school reports on Susan B. Anthony before my mom gently suggested I expand my interests (and so began my Amelia Earhart obsession)—but Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote by Ellen Carol DuBois greatly expanded my knowledge. Marking 100 years since women won the right to vote, Suffrage takes a well-researched and comprehensive approach to telling vivid stories of the relentless and complex women behind the suffrage movement. We must not forget that the right to vote was hard fought and that there’s still a lot of fighting to do (and here begins my Stacey Abrams obsession).

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Behind Every Lie

Behind Every Lie

by Christina McDonald

Saimah’s Pick:

I recently finished Christina McDonald’s debut thriller, The Night Olivia Fell, and loved it. I can’t wait to read this new twisty mystery from the author, in which Eva Hansen wakes up in the hospital to find out ­that her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was struck by lightning and can’t remember what happened. But when the police start considering her as a suspect, she knows she has to discover the truth. She heads to London to her mom’s old home to find some answers. The story is told in alternating points of view, with Eva searching for answers and her mom guarding the secrets of her mysterious past.

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Don't Let Me Down

Don't Let Me Down

by Erin Hosier

Holly’s Pick #1: 

As a music lover with a deep appreciation for the Beatles, Don’t Let Me Down immediately drew me in.  This powerful memoir outlines a father-daughter relationship and their bond through music as told by the author, a literary agent. Despite her father’s mood swings and volatility, Erin adored her dad growing up, and they bonded over Beatles songs.  Even so, the author is eventually inspired to ponder the meaning behind the music and question her father’s authoritative role in her life. Erin experiences family secrets, tragedies, and self-righteous rebellion in the 1970s, and she shares how she came to reconcile how her father shaped her life and her relationships with boys and men as she grew up.

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Feast Your Eyes

Feast Your Eyes

by Myla Goldberg

Holly’s Pick #2: 

I am entirely excited to read this powerful story of a fiercely independent woman’s exploration in art as she attempts to find her voice. On a quest for artistic recognition in the late 1950s through the 1970s, Lillian Preston comes into the national spotlight. Her partially nude photographs of her daughter would likely be regarded as works of artistic expression in today’s society, but decades ago they landed her an arrest. Narrated by Lillian’s daughter, Feast Your Eyes (now publishing for the first time in paperback) presents a collection of memories, interviews, and journal excerpts to paint a vivid portrait of one woman’s dedication to art and authenticity (and the effect it had on her daughter).

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Follow Me

Follow Me

by Kathleen Barber

Heather’s Pick #1:

News story after news story warns us about how much information social media companies are collecting on us, and we all think we understand the dangers of giving away too much of our privacy online. Yet Kathleen Barber’s suspense novel Follow Me promises to drive home how much we still underestimate the risks inherent in our modern-day digital age. Audrey Miller seems to have the perfect life as a Smithsonian employee by day and an Instagram influencer by night. But in reality, things are complicated. For one thing, as a newcomer to Washington, D.C., Audrey only has a few people to reach out to, like an ex-boyfriend and a sorority sister she doesn’t actually know that well. Oh, and did I mention that her circle includes a stalker who feels close to her after years of following her from platform to platform, and who plans to make her fall in love with him IRL? Yeah, Follow Me sounds like it will be a creepy thriller.

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The Light After the War

The Light After the War

by Anita Abriel

Heather’s Pick #2:

I often find myself thinking about history’s seemingly unstoppable tendency to repeat itself: Reading World War II–set books reminds me that we have to find a way to break that cycle. I’m looking forward to Anita Abriel’s The Light After the War because it’s inspired by a true story that’s quite close to the author’s heart—her mother’s own escape from the Nazis. In the novel, Jewish best friends from Hungary, Vera Frankel and Edith Ban, somehow make it off a train speeding toward Auschwitz and find refuge at a farm in Austria until the war ends. That’s only the beginning of their beautifully told and bittersweet story, though, as they fight to reclaim their lives in a devastated Europe post-Holocaust, beginning careers, falling in love, and deepening their friendship.

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Things in Jars

Things in Jars

by Jess Kidd

Heather’s Pick #3:

A Gothic mystery about a female detective? You have my attention, Things in Jars! Already being praised by author Erika Swyler as “a perfect mix of hilarity, the macabre, and a touch of romance,” the book follows sleuth Bridie Devine, in Victorian London, as she investigates the kidnapping of a girl rumored to have paranormal abilities. I’ve always enjoyed a good Sherlock Holmes tale, and seeing Knives Out only whet my appetite for more brain-twisting plots and quirky characters, so Jess Kidd’s next novel is officially on my To Be Read list this spring.

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Rage Baking

Rage Baking

by Katherine Alford & Kathy Gunst

Heather’s Pick #4: 

To be honest, I’m not much of a baker. I’m the sort of person who shamelessly serves store-bought cookies at book club because I just didn’t have the time or inclination to make them myself. Rage Baking, though? THAT, I can get behind! This collection of recipes, short essays, and quotes is for women who’ve channeled their frustrations with the current state of our country into both political activism and kitchen creations. Featuring contributions from writer-activists including Rebecca Traister and Cecile Richards, as well as chefs Dorie Greenspan and Preeti Mistry, this is one cookbook I have to have. In other words, the promise of “sugar and sass” may be what has inspired me to pick it up, but I won’t be surprised if I find that one or more of the 50+ recipes tempt me to make better use of my oven too.

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The Last

The Last

by Hanna Jameson

Sienna’s Pick: 

Dystopian fiction lovers, this one’s for you! Picture it, Jon Keller gets a text message from his wife and ignores it, thinking he can always get back to her later. He’s at a conference in Switzerland and staying at a remote hotel that has a tainted history of suicides and murders. Nuclear war strikes, and Jon finds himself holed up in the hotel with a bunch of strangers, unable to get in touch with his wife and family, or anyone else in the outside world. Things get even more bizarre when a young girl is found dead in one of the hotel’s water towers, and Jon tries to piece together the mystery of who could have killed her and why. The Last, now coming out in paperback, will leave you shook and answering every single text from your loved ones right away from now on because you never know when it could be the last.

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The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

by Ken Liu

Sara’s Pick: 

Ken Liu is a master storyteller, which can be attested to by anyone who has read his breakout hit, The Paper Menagerie. Now he's back at it with The Hidden Girl, a short story collection that pulls readers into unique fantasy and science fiction realms. Featuring sixteen short stories and a new novelette, The Hidden Girl deals with contemporary issues like the effects of colonialism, war, school shootings, virtual reality, and more. Liu's ability to seamlessly craft engaging but familiar worlds is on full display here, and his three-part mini-series around AI will likely have you, your friends, your book club, and even total strangers all talking. This one’s a must-read if you're looking for something fresh in this new decade.

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