Tantalizing Tales — June 2024 — Part Two

Idk what it is about this summer, but my kids are driving me nuts while they’re home on vacation this year. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the fact that their father decided that he didn’t like my summer camp idea and decided to not actually make alternate plans for them. But they’ve 100% been taking up a ton of my time while I try to work, which means I’ve absolutely fallen behind on my already ridiculous mountain of reading.

Fortunately, this column makes me feel a little less bad about not getting to all these great books in time. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to make time in the future, but why make you wait, dear readers, till I do?

First on this list of tantalizing June releases I want to dive into is the evocatively titled The Vixen Amber Holloway by Carol LaHines. Ophelia, a professor of Dante, is stricken when she discovers that her husband Andy has been cheating on her with a winsome colleague. She figuratively descends into the underworld as she obsessively tracks her subjects, growing more and more estranged from reality the further she goes. For Andy’s betrayal has reawakened a much earlier trauma of abandonment by her mother at the age of eight. When Andy and Amber become engaged, Ophelia snaps.

This story is a jailhouse confessional, a dark comedy, an oeuvre of women’s rage, a suspenseful revenge fantasy, and a moving portrait of one woman’ s psychological breakdown, all in one slender volume.


The next book on my list is the latest in Meg Gardiner’s bestselling UNSUB series. Shadowheart is a heart-pumping, action packed case of serial killer vs. serial killer – full of bloodshed, twists, turns, chills, and top tier police work that will keep you guessing alongside our heroine FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix.

In a Tennessee prison, Efrem Judah Goode draws haunting portraits of women he claims he has killed. Around the country, desperate families of the missing seek answers in his eerie drawings. And on darkened back roads and New York City streets, a new killer poses duct-taped bodies at the sites of Goode’s murders.

Two serial killers are locked in a twisted rivalry. To stop the brutal slayings, Caitlin must unravel the connection between Goode and the Broken Heart Killer before their warped competition destroys anyone else in their path. Caught between a manipulative psychopath and a ruthless UNSUB, Caitlin has to dive into not one but two dark and twisted minds. She will risk everything, plunging into the depths of their depraved clash to hunt down an unstoppable killer.


I absolutely adore Claudia Gray’s Jane Austen-inspired Mr Darcy & Ms Tilney series, and have the third book, The Perils Of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, waiting as a reward for whenever I finally catch up to all my paid work reading. Juliet, the daughter of Henry and Catherine Tilney, and Jonathan, the son of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, have been summoned by Fitzwilliam’s imperious titular aunt to figure out who could possibly have the temerity to attempt to assassinate a lady of quality such as herself.

After a year apart, Jonathan and Juliet are thrilled to be reunited, even if the circumstances — finding whoever has thus far sabotaged Lady Catherine’s carriage, shot at her and nearly pushed her down the stairs — are less than ideal. It doesn’t help that their respective fathers have accompanied the young detectives to Lady Catherine’s Rosings estate, and that the two men do not interact with the same felicity enjoyed by their children.

With attempts against Lady Catherine escalating, and no one among the list of prime suspects seemingly capable of committing all of the attacks, the pressure on Jonathan and Juliet mounts — even as more gentle feelings between the two of them begin to bloom.


Next up is a book that I was completely sold on the instant it was described to me as a horror novel that blends Get Out with Parasite, Marcus Kliewer’s debut We Used To Live Here. Apparently, it’s soon to be a Netflix movie starring Blake Lively, too!

As a young, queer couple who flip houses, Charlie and Eve can’t believe the killer deal they’ve just gotten on an old house in a picturesque neighborhood. While working on the house one day, they hear a knock on the door. A man stands there with his family, claiming to have lived there years before and asking if it would be alright if he showed his kids around. Being a people pleaser to a fault, Eve lets them in.

As soon as the strangers enter their home, uncanny and inexplicable things start happening, including the family’s youngest child going missing and a ghostly presence materializing in the basement. Even more weird, the family can’t seem to take the hint that their visit should be over. Charlie suddenly vanishes, and Eve slowly begins to lose her grip on reality. Something is terribly wrong with the house and with the visiting family — or is Eve just imagining things?


Finally, we have Gabriella Buba’s Saints Of Storm And Sorrow, the epic first book in The Stormbringer Saga, a fiercely imagined Filipino-inspired fantasy duology.

María Lunurin has been living a double life for as long as she can remember. To the world, she is Sister María, dutiful nun and devoted servant of Aynila’s Codicían colonizers. But behind closed doors, she is a stormcaller, chosen daughter of the Aynilan goddess Anitun Tabu. In hiding from the Codicíans and their witch hunts, Lunurin does what she can to protect her fellow Aynilans and the small family she has created in the convent: her lover Catalina and Cat’s younger sister Inez.

Lunurin is determined to keep her head down — until one day she makes a devastating discovery that threatens to tear her family apart. In desperation, she turns for help to Alon Dakila, heir to Aynila’s most powerful family, who has been ardently in love with her for years. But this choice sets in motion a chain of events beyond her control, awakening Anitun Tabu’s rage and putting everyone Lunurin loves in terrible danger.

The goddess of storms demands vengeance. And she will sweep aside anyone who stands in her way.


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!

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2024/06/28/tantalizing-tales-june-2024-part-two/


  1. In re Stormbringer Saga, I guess Elric was a long time ago.

    1. Hahaha, if even I didn’t think about it, it might be a little too niche for the target market.

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