New Release Spotlight: December 11, 2018

Congratulations to Michelle from Euless, TX for winning the New Release Giveaway from last week! Michelle chose the book Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump as her prize. I’m doing the new release giveaway again this week (and every Tuesday in December). You can enter at the bottom of this post. This week is another short list, but January promises a tidal wave of literary awesomeness. Hang in there!

So this is our last week of school before the holiday break! I am so excited to NOT go anywhere this year. For the first time in four years, we will actually have our family Christmas morning on Christmas morning, something we are all excited about.

I’m kind of surprised at the number of dark YA thrillers releasing this week! All three titles I found for YA deal with murder, kidnapping, and revenge. The dark themes fit better into late-October than two weeks before Christmas. Still no new Christmas releases for teens…sigh.

NOTE: Titles start with YA and go down in age to picture books at the end. Scroll to the bottom for sequels. Titles highlighted in purple are those that received two or more starred professional reviews (but none of those this week).

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This Lie Will Kill You (Chelsea Pitcher)

Goodreads reviews are decidedly mixed on this one, with many saying they figured out whodunnit long before the big reveal. Still, it sounds like an easy booktalk in my library.

One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

PAGES: 320
GENRES: Mystery, suspense, thriller, horror
THEMES: revenge, murder
READALIKES: Ten (McNeil), One of Us Is Lying (McManus)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The fear is palpable, and the surprise is real as readers gradually unravel the tangled web of lies…Part high school drama, part suspense, the fast pace will keep readers on edge from start to finish.” (Kirkus, 1 Dec 2018)

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Deadfall (Stephen Wallenfels)

Yikes, that summary sounds really intense! Professional reviews are largely positive. Goodreads reviews are mixed, but with only 17 ratings right now, it’s way too early to tell from Goodreads.

Twin brothers Ty and Cory Bic are on the run. When they encounter a dying deer in the middle of a remote mountain road with fresh tire tracks swerving down into a ravine, they know they have to help. But when they reach the wrecked car the vehicle appears empty, with signs that the driver escaped. Until they hear a sound coming from the trunk.

PAGES: 384
GENRES: Thriller, suspense, mystery
THEMES: kidnapping, crime, abuse, sex trafficking
READALIKES: I Know What You Did Last Summer (Duncan)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Aspiring chef and avid gamer Cory is worth rooting for, and his complex relationship with the volatile Ty, plus themes like physical abuse and abuse of power, adds depth. A hair-raising, explosive thriller.” (Kirkus, 1 Oct 2018)

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The Fade (Demitria Lunetta)

This reminds me of a book I read a couple of years ago, The Cellar. Except it’s what might have happened had it ended differently. Chilling. Professional reviews are positive, but the few Goodreads reviews available right now are mixed.

Something terrible happened in her basement. Haley can feel it. Four girls went missing several years ago, and the police never solved the case. But Haley knows the missing girls were murdered. How else can she explain the hostile presence in her house? The ghostly girls need something from her. And unless Haley can figure out what they want…she might be next.

PAGES: 288
GENRES: Thriller, mystery, paranormal, horror
THEMES: ghosts, crime
READALIKES: The Cellar (Preston)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “An impressively scary ghost story that will keep you up all night.” (Kirkus, 1 Nov 2018)

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Struttin’ With Some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz (Patricia Hruby Powell)

This is the true story of Lil Hardin Armstrong: pianist, composer, and bandleader in the early days of jazz. Ahead of her time, Lil made a career for herself–and for Louis Armstrong, her modest, unassuming husband. Louis might never have become the groundbreaking jazz player he was, if it hadn’t been for Lil. Scat-inspired verse celebrates how Lil overcame race and gender barriers to become the first lady of the Chicago jazz scene.

GENRES: nonfiction, biography, poetry
THEMES: jazz, feminism, prejudice, music
READALIKES: Just a Lucky So-and-So: The Story of Louis Armstrong (Cline-Ransome)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Brimming with a contagious love of jazz and its first lady, this work brings down the house.” (Kirkus starred review, 15 Oct 2018)

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Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex (Mo O’Hara)

“Your family would eat mine,” says Romeosaurus, who comes from a family of herbivores. Yes, it’s true–Juliet Rex’s family are carnivores, and Romeosaurus’s family are plant-loving herbivores. With two families up in arms (very short ones for Juliet Rex) the two friends run away, determined not to let family baggage determine who their friends should be.

GENRES: picture book, fiction
THEMES: star-crossed lovers, Shakespeare
READALIKES: Romeo and Juliet: A Babylit Counting Primer (Adams)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Dinosaurs dressed in medieval garb are as funny as they sound, but the cartooning never takes potshots at its improbable characters. Juliet may be a huge green tyrannosaur, but she’s also figuratively fierce in her puffy dress.” (Publishers Weekly, 8 Oct 2018)

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Harold Loves His Woolly Hat (Vern Kousky)

Harold loves his striped woolly hat. He wears it when he sleeps, when he goes to school, and even when he takes his monthly bath. But when a crow whisks the hat off his head and high up into a nest, Harold doesn’t feel so special anymore. He tries everything to get it back–offering the crow blueberries, worms, and even shiny objects–but alas, the crow will not budge. Turns out that the hat has a new special purpose: keeping three baby crows warm.

GENRES: picture book, animals
THEMES: caring
READALIKES: The Spiffiest Giant in Town (Donaldson)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Cute, expressive Harold and his experiences and interactions with Crow nicely portray the concept that a sense of self isn’t reliant on what you wear—or have—but, instead, what you do for others.” (Booklist, 1 Dec 2018)

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Isle of You (David LaRochelle)

Some days are harder to get through than others, but when you’re sad, or lonely, or angry, it helps to remember these words: the Isle of You. Take a moment to shake off your worries, then set sail to a land where your dreams can come true. Soar on the back of an eagle, hunt for treasure, watch dancing polar bears on roller skates — anything you can imagine is yours.

RECOMMENDED FOR: PreSchool-Grade 2
GENRES: picture book, Easy
THEMES: emotions, anxiety, sadness, calming oneself through visualization
READALIKES: Awesome Is Everywhere (Pasricha)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A wonderful depiction of the power of imagination that encourages young children to look inwardly when faced with life challenges. A strong choice for most shelves.” SLJ, 1 Nov 2018)

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I Wish It Would Snow! (Sarah Dillard)

This book is so me! I love the title and the hopeful joy on that little rabbit’s face. I, too, wish it would snow!!!

Winter has just begun, and one little bunny wants it to snow, hopes it will snow, and wishes it would snow. And, finally, the fluffy flakes begin to fall from the sky.

RECOMMENDED FOR: PreSchool-Grade 2
GENRES: picture book, fiction, animals
THEMES: snow, winter, anticipation
READALIKES: Little Owl’s Snow (Srinivasan)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy watching the body language of a purple bird as the bunny expresses their wishes (until the snow sets in and they presumably fly south). This acts as both a mirror and a subtle prompt to enjoy the moment.” Kirkus, 1 Sep 2018)

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The Poesy Ring (Bob Graham)

When a young woman with tears in her eyes throws a gold ring into the wind in 1830, the ring settles in a meadow, and there it stays as the seasons pass — and then the years. But the ring’s journey is just beginning, and as more years go by, it moves at the mercy of the natural world: caught in the hoof of a young deer and flung across a meadow, tilled into the field of an unknowing farmer, dropped from the mouth of a magpie into the sea where countless tides wash over it. Will the ring, inscribed with the words love never dies, end its journey at the bottom of the ocean?

RECOMMENDED FOR: PreSchool-Grade 4
GENRES: picture book
THEMES: love, passage of time, nature

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Graham focuses on the passing of time and the slow action of the natural world; in contrast to the sweet, pudgy human figures, softly tinted landscapes are airy and graceful.” (Publishers Weekly, 1 Oct 2018)

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This week’s sequels (YA):

This week’s sequels (MG):

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Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This list also appears on my New Releases–Weekly Board on Pinterest:


    • Awww…this makes me smile! I love Amazon–wish I could get it in China. They deliver here, but I have to have a Chinese ID card to get it out of Customs. We use Book Depository instead–no Chinese ID required.

  • I would love to get the book I Wish It Would Snow! by Sarah Dillard. I read a book each week to a special group of students that would love this book! Okay, to be honest, I really wish it would snow!! Thanks for all your reviews!!

    • I really wish it would snow, too! I'm so jealous of my mom and sister and the 15" snowfall they got this week. They are in Roanoke, Virginia.

  • I have really enjoyed reading your book reviews and blog. I would love to win Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. This title would be a great addition to my school library.

  • Really excited about Struttin With Some Barbecue! My students love biographies (probably due to the Who Was books) but tend to prefer chapter books to picture books, so I love finding quality MG biographies.

    • There have been so many great MG biographies coming out lately! I had never heard of Lil Armstrong before I wrote up this week's new releases.

  • I am a first year librarian and I am in love with any one of your posts! – Misty

    • Thanks, Misty! Welcome to the best job in the world! Being a first-year can be difficult and frustrating at times, but it is so worth it!


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