It’s the last month of 2020. Good riddance. I plan to spend it reading. The great thing about books though is we can transport ourselves to a world entirely different. Or if you love non-fiction, you can learn so much about the world from a new perspective. Snug at home with a stack of books is, in my humble opinion, the quintessential way to spend the holiday season.
As luck would have it, I have been blessed with the opportunity to share with you some of the most anticipated book releases for December 2020, so I hope to make it worth your while.
Actually, before we start… do you want to listen to these instead? Put your earphones on and let those mellifluous voices transport you to other worlds? Get 2 audiobooks for the price of one when you sign up for Libro.fm, the first audiobook service that supports local bookstores! I will tell you more about this offer at the bottom, enjoy the recommendations now!
This had to go first because I’m obsessed with Sabaa Tahir and got to ~meet~ her despite our lockdown. This release is the much anticipated final book to her Ember In The Ashes series. Some people know the series, some people don’t so, I won’t spoil the previous books with the summary. However, this one starts a few months after the third book’s ending. If you like fantasy, overthrowing governments, and jinn then, start this series.
This book is a little different. It’s an illustrated hardback full of 15 classic tales for kids 8+. There’s Dorothy, Mulan, Athena, and so many more heroines who, in true Tempest fashion aren’t waiting for a boy to save them. Instead they are strong, charming, and bold females. I’m excited to get my hands on it since it looks like art and magic in the form of a book.
In this fourth collection with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen amazing and diverse authors (including Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Tochi Onyebuchi and so many more) grace us with stories about princesses, misunderstood monsters, and vanishing memories. This is a great compilation of short young adult fantasy stories to dig into and escape reality.
After the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, I felt like everyone really got into the dark side of college, and just general scheming rich people try to get away within educational settings. I’m not sure if it’s the frequency illusion at play or if we all have just become a little more obsessed with the drama of it all. That being said, it’ll be fun to read a fictional contemporary young adult that will remind me of 2019 instead of 2020.
This thriller is about what happens after Juno moves in with the Crouch family. At first, she thinks they have a perfect life, but close proximity seems to prove otherwise. As is the case with most, if not all thrillers, Juno decides to get involved with whatever dark secrets the Crouches have.
Homeira Qaderi writes an exceptional memoir about her choices and the unimaginable struggle of being a mother in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Being pregnant at that time with regular suicide bombs and paranoid soldiers happening around her, Qaderi ended up journeying to the hospital on foot. However, giving birth to her child was just the beginning of all the dangers she’d face.
Yolanda Vance was a lawyer until she turns in her corrupt bosses to save her career. Now she’s working undercover for the FBI to watch over an African-American “extremist” activist group. Before she knows it, there’s a suspicious death, dark money trying to silence her efforts, and an unexpected romance. Yolanda will have to choose between a cause that gives her life meaning or the goals of her past self.
Confession, this book is only new to the US. I was super interested when I read the description, and so even though it’s been out in other countries, I decided to share it with you all. Kia Abdullah’s novel is set up as a courtroom thriller. The victim is accusing four boys of an unthinkable act. The defendants have a seemingly solid alibi and come from hard-working immigrant backgrounds. In comes Zara Kaleel, a former lawyer, ready to defend the victim in the most intense trial of the year despite the backlash she gets from strangers and her own community.
To make up for mentioning a book that will only be new in the US, I thought it’d only be fair to name a book that will be new internationally. Set in Sydney, Australia, The War Widow (Dead Man Switch in America) is a historic fiction mystery. After World War 2, Billie Walker reopens her late father’s private investigator agency. Tasked with finding a young German immigrant, she is led to the dangerous underworld for the high-class society of Sydney. People she questions start dying, and Billie quickly realizes that the war isn’t as over as she originally thought.
There’s something so fun about young adult novels that I can never really put my finger on. I’m not past my twenties, but still, the naivety is always either supremely refreshing or frustrating. I can’t wait to see which one this turns out to be. Melody McIntyre is clumsy with love, especially when they are during her school plays. Her solution? Swearing off of it for the production of Les Mis. Naturally, Odile Rose, a rising actor, auditions for the play. Odile is amazing, and now Melody has to make sure she doesn’t let love mess it all up again. Bonus: this book has plenty of LGBTQIA+ representation.
Virginia Reeves is given a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead a group of women in the Arctic to find the lost Franklin Expedition. Unfortunately, Virginia finds herself on trial when not all the women return. In this historical fiction mystery, you’ll ache to learn what really secrets were each woman hiding on that trip?
The stars of this historical fiction are orphans Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. After years of being molded by nuns, they finally break free from the expectations of womanhood and do what their hearts have longed. They soon find themselves surrounded by glitz and glamour; unfortunately, everything comes crumbling down when World War I begins. They must make choices harder than ever before and gain the courage to stand tall even when the world splits them apart.
Is a marriage of convenience trope your kryptonite? Alyssa Cole is an excellent romance author and has come to save our winter reading list with this contemporary romance. As a newly crowned king, Sanyu agrees to marry in the name of duty, and Shanti Mohapi finally gets to be a queen. Unfortunately, Shanti is seen as an outsider unbefitting of a throne, but Sanyu is surprised to see just how capable his bride is and can’t help falling in love. As the kingdom goes restless and Shanti is taken, it is Sanyu’s turn to prove he can lead his people… and catch a queen.
Some days we just want a cozy Agatha Christie-vibe read. This December, we are to be graced with a fictional novel about Agatha Christie’s mysterious eleven-day disappearance. Her car is found at the edge of a pond with some tire tracks nearby, and no one knows where she’s gone. Before they can solve it, she appears, but with amnesia, her reappearance doesn’t do much to fill in the blanks of those eleven days. Though this is fictional, I’m sure it’s as close to an answer as we’ll ever get.
This new decade started with an unprecedented amount of bad news. I think we’d all benefit from a book to help us with our emotions. Lauren Martin was more than happy to write a book for us. With so much success from her blog, Martin makes a book about how to handle the self-doubt and triggers of everyday life as a woman. She uses her story to help readers understand their own. This book is proof you can give yourself the best life, despite those pesky negative moods.
Naya has been burned by her abusive ex-boyfriend, but as life continues to be unpredictable, she decides to tackle her checklist to help rebuild her confidence. One night, as she starts her to-do list, she meets a man more than happy to help her check each item off. As the list comes to an end, their relationship becomes more and more complicated. Thus leaving her to decide–should she protect her old life and career or make way for a Naya that’s happy to flirt with the unknown.
We all love a good superhero story, and thankfully Alexandra Monir writes this DC Icons series about the Black Canary. Dinah Lance is stuck in a world where women have been stripped of all their rights due to the patriarchal Court of Owls that have been dictating Gotham City. However, 17-year-old Dinah can’t forget the sound of a woman singing when she was a child. This takes her down a path of seeing just how powerful finding her voice is. Singing is forbidden but she’s determined to have her voice be heard. Maybe it’ll be powerful enough to bring down the Court of Owls. I can’t wait to read this fun and powerful young adult superhero story.
Even if you’re not a “book nerd” like myself, there are so many different books out there waiting for you. These releases vary from thriller to romance so hurry up and get to reading!
As promised, a note on audiobooks:
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As The Tempest editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll love, too. Just so you know, The Tempest may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Heads up — prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication.