Watch your step because we’re about to drop some COVERS! 2020 is packed full of highly-anticipated reads, from sweet to spooky, and we’re here to tell you about a few of them today in our surprise cover drop!
SKYWATCHERS by Carrie Arcos – August 18, 2020
If you loved In the Woods by Tana French or Netflix’s Stranger Things, get ready for this!! Skywatchers is a thrilling, genre-bending mystery about the history of the Cold War and the UFO phenomenon and we’re getting X-Files vibes. AND we have an excerpt to share, read below!
CAROLINE RACED THROUGH THE FOREST. ALONE. THE OTHERS should’ve been with her, but she didn’t have time to wonder what had happened to them. She had to get as much distance as she could or else she had the feeling that everything would have been for nothing. She fought the tears that threatened to come and picked up her pace.
The farther she ran, it was as if an unseen hand reached inside her mind and pulled at her memories, her feelings, the guilt and the pain at leaving, like they were nothing more than fragile strands of an intricate web. The wonder at what was happening held on until that feeling was replaced with fear. It almost stopped her, except for the image that flooded her mind.
If she could just get to the tower, she would be okay. The thought was primal. Instinctual. Programmed in her brain. Somehow she knew she would be safe there.
She kept going. But she didn’t know if she was running in the right direction. The darkness assaulted her on all fronts. The faster she moved, the more it seemed as if the trees closed in, even meeting in their tips above, making it almost impossible to see the sky. A large winged creature swooshed somewhere above her. An owl? The wings beat the air. The sound deafening and terrifying.
A large, octopus-like root tripped her left foot and she went down, scraping her knees and palms on the twigs and leaves of the forest floor. She crawled forward, stumbled to her feet.
Up ahead, a small shaft of light beamed through the treetops. Moonlight. Barely anything. But it was enough for her to get her bearings. She veered to the right. Her body now moving as if by muscle memory. And as she followed the light, all fear and sense of danger fled, as if wiped away. Her mind returned. Her sense of self. She was Caroline O’Sullivan. She was seventeen years old. She lived with her mother and stepfather. Her brother Jack died last year. Her best friend was Eleanor. She was president of the math club, even though she didn’t want to be. She and Eleanor were in the glee club. She liked cherry Coke and dancing and—
The tower loomed above as she broke through the tree line.
Just like she knew it would.
She tore through the yellow line of tape wrapped around the outer edges. Odd, she didn’t remember seeing that there before. She climbed the stairs, noting that the bad one was broken all the way through. She wondered if John or Teddy, no, it would be Oscar who probably busted it. He was big and clumsy.
Inside the tower, she crossed the floor to the red phone on the counter. She picked it up, but didn’t speak.
Suddenly, she wasn’t sure of something. She knew she had been in the tower, hadn’t she? Her shift should be almost over, but it was so dark outside. What time was it? And why was she alone? She thought back to the last thing she remembered.
She remembered Eleanor had gone home, something about making a pie. Frank and Oscar had left early, but where were John, Teddy, and Bunny? Shouldn’t they be with her?
Caroline looked up at the sky over the ocean. There was nothing in it. Nothing for miles. The moon shone bright, making the ocean glisten like a school of silver sardines was gliding along the surface. Normally she’d feel a sense of calm at such a scene. One that she grew up with. But now, suddenly, she felt as though something else was there. And a feeling of great dread came over her. Blanketing her like darkness.
“Hello?” she whispered into the phone.
She looked behind her at the closed door. Did she hear footsteps coming from the wood? Up the stairs, waiting now behind the wooden door. The door that could open any minute with something or someone behind it.
“Hello?” Caroline said again.
“Air defense, go ahead,” a woman’s voice said.
“I don’t have a plane to report, but I . . .” Caroline wasn’t sure what to say. “I’m sorry, but I think I need help. I—”
“Who is this?”
A catch in her throat or maybe a gasp. “Are the others with you?”
“No. No, I’m alone. I . . . I think something’s happened.”
“Okay. I’m sending someone to you. Just stay where you are. It’s going to be okay.”
The words offered no comfort.
Caroline didn’t know how, but she understood, as clear as she knew her own self, that everything was most certainly not okay.
She doubted it would ever be again.
A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens – July 28, 2020
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The Craft?! YES PLEASE.
Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.
During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?
Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.
When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?
Set in the atmospheric wilds of California’s northern coast, Sasha Laurens’s thrilling debut novel is about the complications of friendship, how to take back power, and how to embrace the darkness that lives within us all.
The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian – August 25, 2020
From a critically acclaimed author, a twisty and gorgeously written YA ghost story about young women separated by centuries but connected by a desire to control their futures. Read an excerpt below!
I am no longer a creature, yet my habits remain. My desires, still the old ones. Lurking amidst the brush, watching squirrels collect acorns and deer drink from puddles. Watching my girls. I am allowed pleasure here, too, despite the warnings of the Bible my mother loved so well. It is pleasure, and my delight, to see my girls, their skin supple and sweating, their mouths eating, their fists clamping over their hips as their legs bend and stretch over the earth. The work of bodies never ends. I particularly like their hair, how it grows long and shaggy until lopped off by one of their mothers, the priestly one whose thoughts swirl like perfume in lilac time; she finds such joyful thrift in snipping the little girls’ tresses. Where I had watched Patrick feed Arthur Ganey’s horses is now a kitchen with an unlikely polished floor; over what was dirt and hay, the priestly mother sweeps up the girls’ lost tresses—gold, white, mahogany. The priestly one’s sister, a midwife, makes each daughter gulp down spoonfuls of castor and fish oil; one year, they each suffered needle jabs, given for their own good. Their tears brimmed and they winced under the puncture, their betrayed howls ringing out through the open windows.
The palomino girl loves so harshly; she sees everything as a prize to be won or lost. The unicorn girl’s love ripples uncontained; her soul is flimsy, easily stained by sadness or goaded into laughter. The dark bay foal, who has since become steady on her feet in a manner that I envy, rushes through the brush. She is a thirsty creature. I ache when I see her touch the cool water at the bottom of the ravine where Patrick liked to wash.
A house helmed by two sisters, and their three daughters. The mothers’ love, borne of their sister pact, has made a world where no men ever deigned to rule. The daughters’ love at times is heavy, a pail of milk to a waiting hand; other times, easy as a hairbrush before Sunday service. It is most visible in their hands: what they make and toss away, what they strive to hold. I watch for restfulness. The after hours of tables cleared and dishes washed and floors swept and pencils and needles jabbing at paper and cloth; here their thick love dreams and wraps over each other, like hair in a braid. This reminds me of my own sister, and I recall my beating heart, strong beneath my chemise, galloping in grief for her. I think of my own hair—long gone, a cat’s cradle for the faeries—and the relief of unwinding it each night, the burden heavy no more. I think of my own hands and what they learned about desire.
How quickly everything in God’s world disintegrates. Everything but the loneliness of young women.
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis – August 25, 2020
Get ready to read with those lights ON! Because Harrow Lake is a can’t-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who’s not afraid of anything…until she gets to Harrow Lake. Read the excerpt below!
He doesn’t answer, but I hear something. Like faint music, maybe. Not a conspicuous sound, but enough for me to know that Nolan is home. Huh. He never leaves the door to the apartment unlocked.
Sidestepping the mess, I go in. I smell last night’s takeout, the coconut oil the housekeeper uses on the leather furniture, and Nolan’s Montes—his Montecristo Relentless No. 2 cigars, which he smokes exactly twice a day. But there’s another smell, too: tangy and unpleasant.
The long foyer is dim, but there’s enough light to see that the trail leads between the stacked boxes lining the hallway, past the kitchen, and disappears into Nolan’s study. The door to the study is oak with a colored glass inlay made to look like interlocking pieces of a geometric puzzle. I’m never entirely sure what Nolan is up to when he’s locked away in there. The puzzle door is always closed—whether he’s inside or not.
It’s open now.
“Nolan, are you home?”
Still no reply, but I’ve identified the murmur coming from inside. That damned jazz record is still playing in his study—“T’ain’t No Sin,” one of his favorites. It keeps repeating the same few bars over and over, jumping like it has a scratch. Nolan won’t like that.
The red path is wider here; it has spread into the cracks around the parquet blocks, threading outward like bloated veins.
“You left the door open . . .”
The trail thickens as I edge around it and cross to the study doorway, following the path. I know there’s too much “blood” to have come from a package. I know that.
Maybe Nolan’s been called out to the studio and didn’t have time to deal with the mess. Maybe I can get this cleared up before he gets home. That would be the Optimal thing to do.
It feels wrong to go into Nolan’s study without his permission. But with two quick steps it’s done. Here the smoky scent of his Montes hangs like an invisible cloud. I spot the cigar stub sitting in a spray of ash on Nolan’s big oak desk, next to the ashtray. Next to it, not in it—as though it’s been knocked over and left like that. The feeling of utter wrongness chokes me.
Stop it. Stop it! Don’t be such a child, Lola.
Nothing has been packed away in Nolan’s study yet; he likes to keep his workspace just so. The walls are covered in shelves of books and awards and photographs taken on various film sets. These things represent his life’s work, his pride. On his desk there’s a picture of me, too. None of my mother.
Lorelei herself has been AWOL for most of my life, so she doesn’t get a spot on the desk. But she is in the framed Nightjar poster—the only movie she ever starred in. It’s Nolan’s most iconic film, shot in Lorelei’s hometown of Harrow Lake, Indiana. Nightjar earned its place on the wall, even if Lorelei didn’t.
I turn off the record player and the upbeat melody jolts to a stop. I can hear the desk phone now. It’s lying on its side, a tone of quiet distress bleeding out of the receiver. I pick it up and am reaching for the switch hook to silence it when I see him. I freeze.
Nolan is slumped against a low bookcase, arms crossed over his stomach like he just decided to sit down and relax. For a second I feel foolish for imagining anything was wrong. This is a joke, obviously. Even though Nolan never jokes, not like this.