Tantalizing Titles — May 2024 — Part One

Hello, dear readers! I had a bit of a meltdown earlier this week when the weight of all the wonderful books I’ve received but haven’t been able to read, much less review, finally took its toll on me. Doug, ofc, helped me through this by brainstorming a recap post featuring all these luscious books I haven’t yet been able to get to but am absolutely meaning to once I get the time.

So let’s begin with the first two weeks of May, and five books that published in that time that I want to highlight ahead of reading them. Just because I can’t get to them in a timely fashion doesn’t mean that you have to miss out!

Our first selection is Women And Children First by Alina Grabowski, a gripping literary puzzle that unwinds the private lives of ten women as they confront tragedy in a small Massachusetts town.

Nashquitten, MA, is a decaying coastal enclave that not even tourist season can revive, full of locals who have run the town’s industries for generations. When a young woman dies at a house party, the circumstances around her death suspiciously unclear, the tight-knit community is shaken. As a mother grieves her daughter, a teacher her student, a best friend her confidante, the events around the tragedy become a lightning rod: blame is cast, secrets are buried deeper. Some are left to pick up the pieces, while others turn their backs, and all the while, a truth about that dreadful night begins to emerge.


The next book I want to highlight is Caroline Cleveland’s debut novel, When Cicadas Cry. Zach Stander, a lawyer with a past, and Addie Stone, his indomitable detective and lover, find themselves entangled in secrets, lies, and murder in a small Southern town.

A high-profile murder case— A white woman has been bludgeoned to death with an altar cross in a rural church on Cicada Road in Walterboro, South Carolina. Sam Jenkins, a Black man, is found covered in blood, kneeling over the body. In a state already roiling with racial tenson, this is not only a murder case, but a powder keg.

A haunting cold case— Two young women are murdered on quiet Edisto Beach, an hour southeast of Walterboro, and the killer disappears without a trace. Thirty-four years later the mystery remains unsolved. Could there be a connection to Stander’s case?

A killer who’s watching— Stander takes on Jenkins’s defense, but he’s up against a formidable solicitor with powerful allies. Worse, his client is hiding a bombshell secret. When Addie Stone reopens the cold case, she discovers more long-buried secrets in this small town. Would someone kill again to keep them?


Rounding out Week One is the Young Adult historical novel Code Name Kingfisher by Liz Kessler. When Liv finds a secret box from her grandmother’s childhood she uncovers an extraordinary war-time story of bravery, betrayal and daring defiance. A story that will change Liv and her family forever…

Holland, 1942. The world is at war and as the Nazis’ power grows, Jewish families are in terrible danger. Twelve-year-old Mila and her older sister Hannie are sent to live with a family in another city with new identities and the strict instruction not to tell anyone that they are Jewish.

Hannie, determined to fight back, is swept into the Dutch resistance as an undercover agent Code Name Kingfisher. And though Mila does her best to make friends and keep out of trouble, there is danger at every turn and the sisters are soon left questioning who they can trust…


The second week brings us two more terrific novels, the first a tale of Gothic horror and the second a fantasy series prose debut from Dark Horse Books.

My Darling Dreadful Thing by Johanna Van Veen revolves around Roos Beckman, who has a spirit companion only she can see. Ruth—strange, corpse-like, and dead for centuries—is the only good thing in Roos’ life, which is filled with sordid backroom séances organized by her mother. That is, until wealthy young widow Agnes Knoop attends one of these séances and asks Roos to come live with her at the crumbling estate she inherited upon the death of her husband. The manor is unsettling, but the attraction between Roos and Agnes is palpable. So how does someone end up dead?

Roos is caught red-handed, but she claims a spirit is the culprit. Doctor Montague, a psychologist tasked with finding out whether Roos can be considered mentally fit to stand trial, suspects she’s created an elaborate fantasy to protect her from what really happened. But Roos knows spirits are real; she’s loved one of them. She’ll have to prove her innocence and her sanity, or lose everything.


Finally, we have As The Sparrow Flies by Chad Corrie. Annulis is a dying world. Nothing can stop the doom all say is coming. Some simply accept it, embracing the end. Others hold to a better future — a way of escape from the dark days ahead.

Sarah and her people sojourn the land, searching for a city none have seen but many believe exists as an escape from these troubling times. Elliott follows an army with a mandate calling for the purging of all that would hinder a glorious global rebirth.

Both are nearing an ancient city set on its own destruction. Both will be tried behind its walls in ways unimaginable. And both will have to live with the consequences . . . Thus begins Book 1 of the Sojourners’ Saga.


Let me know if you’re able to get to any of these books before I do, dear readers! I’d love to hear your opinions, and see if that will help spur me to push any of them higher up the mountain range that is my To Be Read pile!

And, as always, you can check out the list of my favorite books this year so far in my Bookshop storefront linked below!

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