It’s Tuesday! I hope everyone in the States enjoyed the long weekend and maybe even got some reading done.
It’s a short release week for us at SBTB HQ, though next week is looking rather beefy. We have a contemporary romance, some horror that Carrie just reviewed and enjoyed, and some witchy historical fiction.
What’s on your TBR pile for this week?
The Long Game
A disgraced soccer exec reluctantly enlists the help of a retired soccer star in coaching a children’s team in this smalltown love story in the vein of Ted Lasso and It Happened One Summer — from the New York Times bestselling author of The Spanish Love Deception.
Adalyn Reyes has spent years perfecting her daily routine: wake up at dawn, drive to the Miami Flames FC offices, try her hardest to leave a mark, go home, and repeat.
But her routine is disrupted when a video of her in an altercation with the team’s mascot goes viral. Rather than fire her, the team’s owner—who happens to be her father—sends Adalyn to middle-of-nowhere North Carolina, where she’s tasked with turning around the struggling local soccer team, the Green Warriors, as a way to redeem herself. Her plans crumble upon discovering that the players wear tutus to practice (impractical), keep pet goats (messy), and are terrified of Adalyn (counterproductive), and are nine-year-old kids.
To make things worse, also in town is Cameron Caldani, goalkeeping prodigy whose presence is somewhat of a mystery. Cam is the perfect candidate to help Adalyn, but after one very unfortunate first encounter involving a rooster, Cam’s leg, and Adalyn’s bumper, he’s also set on running her out of town. But banishment is not an option for Adalyn. Not again. Helping this ragtag children’s team is her road to redemption, and she is playing the long game. With or without Cam’s help.
Seeing a lot of romance fans and writers talking about this one!
The September House
Author: Carissa Orlando
Released: September 5, 2023 by Berkley
A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.
When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee.
Margaret is not most people.
Margaret is staying. It’s her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep.
Amanda: I’ve heard good things about dark comedy in this haunted house story.
The Witching Tide
For readers of Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel, an immersive literary debut inspired by historical events—a deadly witch hunt in 17th-century England—that claimed many innocent lives.
East Anglia, 1645. Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer, and servant, has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved coastal village of Cleftwater. Rendered voiceless as a child, Martha has not spoken a word in years.
One autumn morning, a sinister newcomer appears. The witchfinder, Silas Makepeace, has been blazing a trail of destruction along the coast, and now has Cleftwater in his sights. His arrival strikes fear into the heart of the community. Within a day, local women are being captured and detained, and Martha finds herself a silent witness to the hunt.
Powerless to protest, Martha is enlisted to search the accused women for “devil’s marks.” Now she is caught between suspicion and betrayal, having to choose between protecting herself or condemning the women of the village. In desperation, she revives a wax witching doll that belonged to her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, Martha harbors a terrible secret that could cost her own freedom/life, and the gallows are looming…
Set over the course of just a few weeks that forever change the people of this village, The Witching Tide offers powerful and psychologically astute insights about the exigencies of friendship and the nature of loyalty, and heralds the arrival of a striking new voice in fiction.
Elyse: I’m always down for witchy historical fiction.