Bookish Buzz: 2018 Most Anticipated Reads by Madeleine Riley

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Happy Weekend, Readers!

Amy and I hosted another Instagram Live today to talk about the books we can't wait to read this year and once again, it was! We loved getting to chat with you all over Instagram Live about the books we can't wait to read and our reading goals for this year. (We're not recapping our goals here, but you can find my goals from last year in this post. More details on my 2018 goals coming soon!)

Below you'll find all the books we chatted about today (including the extra books Amy snuck in at the last minute!). We will be back in February for another Bookish Buzz and are taking suggestions for topics/ideas!

(P.S. We focused solely on adult picks, but if you're looking for what's coming in children's lit, check out my summary of Let's Talk Kid Lit with Lorraine.)


Atria Books is giving away free e-books in celebration of the 2nd Annual Women's March! Find all the details here.

I mentioned that I'll be appearing on The Life Well-Nourished Podcast soon to talk about books & self-care, but while you're waiting for my episode to drop, go ahead and check out the other great episodes from host Hallie Klecker!

Keep an eye out for Amy's giveaway celebrating 1k followers on Instagram!You can find her on Instagram @thebumblingbookworm.

Most Anticipated 2018 Releases



The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This title will be released on September 18, 2018.


Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

This title will be released on March 6, 2018.



Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

This title will be released on February 6, 2018.


Who is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

This title will be released on June 12, 2018.


White Houses by Amy Bloom

This title will be released on February 13, 2018.



I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

This title will be released on March 27, 2018.


Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

This title will be released on July 31, 2018.


How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

This title releases on February 6, 2018.


Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

This title will be published on February 6, 2018.


Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris

This title will be released on April 10, 2018.

Children's Review: Greenglass House by Madeleine Riley

Note: Lately, I've had many readers ask me what qualifies a book as middle grade. Middle grade is a subset of children's literature recommended for children ages 8-12. They have more complex plots and vocabulary than early chapter books, but don't contain the mature content that warrants the young adult tag. I'd recommend this particular title for students in 4th-6th grade.

I don't remember when or why I purchased this book, but I'm so glad I picked it up for my first middle grade read of the year, as it's both a fantastic middle grade novel in general, but also the perfect read for a snowy, winter day. Greenglass House is a perfect pairing for The Mysterious Benedict Society in a sub-genre of middle grade that I like to call "intellectual/adventure fiction" for in which adventures abound, quirky characters are the norm, and puzzling plots keep the reader enthralled. 

The story follows Milo, a twelve-year-old boy who lives with his parents in an old, creaky inn on top of a mountain in a coastal town known for its smuggler population. At the time of the story, Milo is just readying himself for a lazy Christmas vacation when the inn receives some unexpected guests. Milo, who dislikes change, is ruffled by the arrival of the guests during a time when the inn is usually still and silent. Of course, in the style of a classic mystery (think Agatha Christie), wintry weather arrives and the guests find themselves snowed in. Milo teams up with a girl named Meddy for an imaginary role-playing game to help pass the time until the guests leave. It soon becomes apparent, however, that each guest has a motivation for being at the inn. Milo finds himself with a mystery to solve, keeping him more than busy throughout the story and resulting in a twisty, surprise ending that had me totally entertained.

I loved this story and will certainly be recommending it to all kinds of readers this year. Besides it's obvious comparison to The Mysterious Benedict Society, I also thought it had some of the same elements that made A Series of Unfortunate Events so appealing to middle grade audiences. I liked especially that Milo, our main character, is a good example of a boy who is more sensitive than rough & tumble. It can be hard to find vulnerable boy characters in middle grade and this is a great depiction of a quieter male character. This book also draws some connections to our January reads for the Diverse Books Club, as we're reading books about adoption and fostering this month. In this story, Milo is adopted and struggles with the dissonance of loving his parents but imagining what life would have been like with his birth parents, whom he knows nothing about. Milo is dynamic in that he has complicated feelings about family and belonging, something that I think many young readers will connect with -- and to make it even better, his parents handle those mixed feelings wonderfully well. I loved the setting of this story, with the quirky inn feeling almost like an homage to a classic mystery element with a Weasley-house influence. The sequel, Ghosts of Greenglass Houselooks just as enchanting and is already on my wish list for new books this year.

Bottom-Line Rating: 5/5

  • Title: Greenglass House
  • Author: Kate Milford
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Price: $8 on Amazon
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Personal Library

The Unread Shelf: 5 Books I Already Own That I Can't Wait to Read This Year by Madeleine Riley

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This is the year for tackling the tower of books that I already own but haven't yet read. I'm following along with #theunreadshelfproject2018, an initiative run by some of the best bookish souls on the internet, with the intention of helping readers to read the books they already own.

The project is encouraging readers to tackle their unread shelves before purchasing or borrowing other books. While I'm not swearing off new books entirely (I always purchase copies of our selections for the DBC), this will be a great way for me to stay focused on reading from my own shelves. I thought about counting the number of books that I own and haven't yet read, and then I realized that I'd rather be reading. So I plucked five of my most-anticipated 2018 reads from my personal library to share with you today.


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept...

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.


The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

The author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?


How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Everyone has a story . . . but will they get the happy ending they deserve?

Emilia has just returned to her idyllic Cotswold hometown to rescue the family business. Nightingale Books is a dream come true for book-lovers, but the best stories aren't just within the pages of the books she sells - Emilia's customers have their own tales to tell.

There's the lady of the manor who is hiding a secret close to her heart; the single dad looking for books to share with his son but who isn't quite what he seems; and the desperately shy chef trying to find the courage to talk to her crush . . .

And as for Emilia's story, can she keep the promise she made to her father and save Nightingale Books?


One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.


The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890's, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.

Are you participating in The Unread Shelf Project this year? What are some of the books you already own that you're excited to read this year?