Every month I cover the hottest new book releases – some of them come from my favorite authors, some from genres I love and some are popular with other readers.
This month I’m covering 18 of the most eagerly awaited books about to hit the shelves. So, many more books to add to your TBR list!
Highlights of June 2021:
- A fiction at the heart of which is raw female rage
- An exploration of 48 countries that fell off the world map
- A psychological study into why and how “want” works
Excited to find out what else you could be reading this month? Keep scrolling to see our top picks for new books releasing in June 2021.
The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin
Murphy Shepherd has made a career of finding those no one else could—survivors of human trafficking. His life’s mission is helping others find freedom.
But then the nightmare strikes too close to home .
When his new wife, her daughter, and two other teenage girls are stolen, Murphy is left questioning all he has thought to be true. With more dead ends than leads, he has no idea how to find those he loves.
After everything is stripped away, love is what remains.
Hope feels lost, but Murphy is willing to expend his last breath trying to bring them home.
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel
Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed―tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her sock drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.
For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green. The girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are taking on a system stacked against them and uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive. Because it’s hard to let go of the past when the past won’t let go of you.
Three unforgettable narrators join together here to tell a spellbinding story with wit, wonder, and deep affection. As she did in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel has written a laugh-out-loud-on-one-page-grab-a-tissue-the-next novel, as only she can, about how expanding our notions of normal makes the world a better place for everyone and how when days are darkest, it’s our daughters who will save us all.
Animal by Lisa Taddeo
Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.
Here is the electrifying debut novel from Lisa Taddeo, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Three Women, which was named to more than thirty best-of-the-year lists and hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “a heartbreaking, gripping, astonishing masterpiece” (Esquire). Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society. With writing that scorches and mesmerizes, Taddeo illustrates one woman’s exhilarating transformation from prey into predator.
MYSTERY & THRILLER
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
Daughter of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews
Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.
Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.
A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.
Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy
Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of nine “Miracle Babies” conceived without male DNA, raised on an experimental commune known as the Homestead. When a suspicious fire destroys the commune and claims the lives of two of the Homesteaders, the remaining Girls and their Mothers scatter across the United States and lose touch.
Years later, Margaret Morrow goes missing, and Josie sets off on a desperate road trip, tracking down her estranged sisters who seem to hold the keys to her mother’s disappearance. Tracing the clues Margaret left behind, Josie joins forces with the other Girls, facing down those who seek to eradicate their very existence while uncovering secrets about their origins and unlocking devastating abilities they never knew they had.
Freed by E.L. James
You are cordially invited to the wedding of the decade, when Christian Grey will make Anastasia Steele his wife. But is he really husband material? His dad is unsure, his brother wants to organise one helluva bachelor party, and his fiancée won’t vow to obey . . .
And marriage brings its own challenges. Their passion for each other burns hotter and deeper than ever, but Ana’s defiant spirit continues to stir Christian’s darkest fears and tests his need for control. As old rivalries and resentments endanger them both, one misjudgement threatens to tear them apart.
Can Christian overcome the nightmares of his childhood and the torments of his youth, and save himself? And once he’s discovered the truth of his origins, can he find forgiveness and accept Ana’s unconditional love?
Can Christian finally be freed?
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor
In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young creatives in the American Midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.
One of the breakout literary stars of 2020, Brandon Taylor has been hailed by Roxane Gay as “a writer who wields his craft in absolutely unforgettable ways.” With Filthy Animals he renews and expands on the promise made in Real Life, training his precise and unsentimental gaze on the tensions among friends and family, lovers and others. Psychologically taut and quietly devastating, Filthy Animals is a tender portrait of the fierce longing for intimacy, the lingering presence of pain, and the desire for love in a world that seems, more often than not, to withhold it.
An Atlas of Extinct Countries by Gideon Defoe
Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didnt deserve to exist in the first place. Occasionally they explode violently. A few slip away almost unnoticed. Often the cause of death is either ‘got too greedy’ or ‘Napoleon turned up’. Now and then they just hold a referendum and vote themselves out of existence.
This is an atlas of 48 nations that fell off the map. The polite way of writing an obituary is: dwell on the good bits, gloss over the embarrassing stuff. This book refuses to do so, because these dead nations are so full of schemers, racists, and con men that it’s impossible to skip the embarrassing stuff.
Because of this – and because treating nation-states with too much reverence is the entire problem with pretty much everything – these accounts are not concerned with adding to the earnest flag saluting in the world, however nice some of the flags might be.
The Light of Asia: The Poem that Defined The Buddha by Jairam Ramesh
‘The Light of Asia’ is an epic poem by Sir Edwin Arnold that was first published in 1879. It quickly became a huge sensation and has continued to resonate powerfully across the world over the last century and a half. Weaving together literary, cultural, political and social history, Jairam Ramesh uncovers and narrates the fascinating story of this deeply consequential and compelling poem that has shaped our thinking of an ancient sage and his teachings. He brings into this unusual narrative the life of the multi-faceted poet himself who, among other things, was steeped in Sanskrit literature. Sir Edwin Arnold’s English rendering of the Bhagavad Gita was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s abiding favourites. Sir Edwin was also in many ways the man who shaped Bodh Gaya as we know it today.
The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore
1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened—by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.
The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they’ve been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line—conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.
No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose.
Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anne Sebba
In June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a couple with two young sons, were led separately from their prison cells on Death Row and electrocuted moments apart. Both had been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union, despite the fact that the US government was aware that the evidence against Ethel was shaky at best and based on the perjury of her own brother.
This book is the first to focus on one half of that couple for more than thirty years, and much new evidence has surfaced since then. Ethel was a bright girl who might have fulfilled her personal dream of becoming an opera singer, but instead found herself struggling with the social mores of the 1950’s. She longed to be a good wife and perfect mother, while battling the political paranoia of the McCarthy era, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and a mother who never valued her. Because of her profound love for and loyalty to her husband, she refused to incriminate him, despite government pressure on her to do so. Instead, she courageously faced the death penalty for a crime she hadn’t committed, orphaning her children.
Seventy years after her trial, this is the first time Ethel’s story has been told with the full use of the dramatic and tragic prison letters she exchanged with her husband, her lawyer and her psychotherapist over a three-year period, two of them in solitary confinement. Hers is the resonant story of what happens when a government motivated by fear tramples on the rights of its citizens.
Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis
Gravity affects every aspect of our physical being, but there’s a psychological force just as powerful – yet almost nobody has heard of it. It’s responsible for bringing groups of people together and pulling them apart, making certain goals attractive to some and not to others, and fueling cycles of anxiety and conflict. In Wanting, Luke Burgis draws on the work of French polymath René Girard to bring this hidden force to light and reveals how it shapes our lives and societies.
According to Girard, humans don’t desire anything independently. Human desire is mimetic – we imitate what other people want. This affects the way we choose partners, friends, careers, clothes, and vacation destinations. Mimetic desire is responsible for the formation of our very identities. It explains the enduring relevancy of Shakespeare’s plays, why Peter Thiel decided to be the first investor in Facebook, and why our world is growing more divided as it becomes more connected.
Wanting also shows that conflict does not arise because of our differences–it comes from our sameness. Because we learn to want what other people want, we often end up competing for the same things. Ignoring our large similarities, we cling to our perceived differences.
Drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur, teacher, and student of classical philosophy and theology, Burgis shares tactics that help turn blind wanting into intentional wanting – not by trying to rid ourselves of desire, but by desiring differently. It’s possible to be more in control of the things we want, to achieve more independence from trends and bubbles, and to find more meaning in our work and lives.
The future will be shaped by our desires. Wanting shows us how to desire a better one.
Sach Kahun Toh: An Autobiography by Neena Gupta
In Sach Kahun Toh, actor Neena Gupta chronicles her extraordinary personal and professional journey-from her childhood days in Delhi’s Karol Bagh, through her time at the National School of Drama, to moving to Bombay in the 1980s and dealing with the struggles to find work. It details the big milestones in her life, her unconventional pregnancy and single parenthood, and a successful second innings in Bollywood. A candid, self-deprecating portrait of the person behind the persona, it talks about her life’s many choices, battling stereotypes, then and now, and how she may not be as unconventional as people think her to be.
Welcome Home: A Guide to Building a Home for Your Soul by Najwa Zebian
In her debut book of inspiration, poet Najwa Zebian shares her revolutionary concept of home–the place of safety where you can embrace your vulnerability and discover your self-worth. It’s the place where your soul feels like it belongs, where you are loved for who you are. Too many of us build our homes in other people in the hope that they will deem us worthy of being welcomed inside, and then we feel abandoned and empty when those people leave. Building your home inside yourself–and never experiencing inner homelessness again–begins here.
In Welcome Home, Zebian shares her personal story for the first time, powerfully weaving memoir, poetry, and deeply resonant teachings into her storytelling, from leaving Lebanon at sixteen, to coming of age as a young Muslim woman in Canada, to building a new identity for herself as she learned to speak her truth. After the profound alienations she experienced, she learned to build a stable foundation inside herself, an identity independent of cultural expectations and the influence of others. The powerful metaphor of home provides a structure for personal transformation as she shows you how to construct the following rooms: Self-Love, Forgiveness, Compassion, Clarity, Surrender, and The Dream Garden. With practical tools and prompts for self-understanding, she shows you how to build each room in your house, which form a firm basis for your self-worth, sense of belonging, and happiness.
The Puma Years: A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle by Laura Coleman
They weren’t alone, not with over a hundred quirky animals to care for, each lost and hurt in their own way: a pair of suicidal, bra-stealing monkeys, a frustrated parrot desperate to fly, and a pig with a wicked sense of humor. The humans too were cause for laughter and tears. There were animal whisperers, committed staff, wildly devoted volunteers, handsome heartbreakers, and a machete-wielding prom queen who carried Laura through. Most of all, there was the jungle—lyrical and alive—and there was Wayra, who would ultimately teach Laura so much about love, healing, and the person she was capable of becoming.
Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.
Set against a turbulent and poignant backdrop of deforestation, the illegal pet trade, and forest fires, The Puma Years explores what happens when two desperate creatures in need of rescue find one another.
The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature by Peter Wohlleben
A powerful return to the forest, where trees have heartbeats and roots are like brains that extend underground. Where the color green calms us, and the forest sharpens our senses.
In The Heartbeat of Trees, renowned forester Peter Wohlleben draws on new scientific discoveries to show how humans are deeply connected to the natural world.In an era of cell phone addiction, climate change, and urban life, many of us fear we’ve lost our connection to nature–but Peter Wohlleben is convinced that age-old ties linking humans to the forest remain alive and intact.
Drawing on science and cutting-edge research, The Heartbeat of Trees reveals the profound interactions humans can have with nature, exploring:
the language of the forest
the consciousness of plants
and the eroding boundary between flora and fauna.
A perfect book to take with you into the woods, The Heartbeat of Trees shares how to see, feel, smell, hear, and even taste the forest.
Peter Wohlleben, renowned for his ability to write about trees in an engaging and moving way, reveals a wondrous cosmos where humans are a part of nature, and where conservation and environmental activism is not just about saving trees–it’s about saving ourselves, too.
All book descriptions have been sourced from Goodreads.