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Saturday, December 30, 2017

18 Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in 2018

Hello Darling Readers,

I really wasn’t going to do this. I really was not going to compile a list of books I’m most looking forward to in 2018. Honestly, I always get a slight case of listicle-fatigue by this time of year (Emily Nussbaum on Twitter goes on *the best* rants against Best-Of lists), and the other day Kelly Jensen summarised it so brilliantly, why these lists are sometimes redundant in books;

And yet, here I am. Going to give you an ’18 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018’ list. Because I need to keep a record somewhere of the books I need to pre-order, AND because I’d genuinely like a place to fan-girl about certain titles.

Of course, I would like to list every singe book that I represent as agent (and that should just go without saying forevermore!) But I’ve narrowed this list of 18 books down to only those that have firm release-dates and covers. If you would like a list of those books I rep that you should absolutely look out for in 2018 (and beyond!) then please to visit here ---

The whole release-date and cover proviso also means that the below list (of only 18 books!) is also not extensive, obviously. I would, for instance, love to include Kristan Higgins’ new book ‘Good Luck With That’, scheduled for August 2018 release – but I can’t. Because there’s no cover yet. Just know that I am *terribly* excited and remaining in a permanent state of fingers-crossed that I’ll be approved on NetGalley for it. Also – I think I will literally cry when I get to hold a copy of ‘The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy’ by Mackenzi Lee in my hands (October 2nd. WHYYYYYY!!!?!)

As it is – please enjoy my very brief list of 18 Books I am Very Much Looking Forward to Reading in 2018.

Oh – and Happy New Year!
Here’s to kindness following us into a clean-slate.
And level-heads prevailing, everywhere.


The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
January 30th 2018

I seriously know so little about this book, except that a bunch of Australian booksellers who I trust 1000% were given early-copies and RAVED about it. Luckily I won’t have to wait long to know what all the fuss is about with this fantasy YA, as it’s a January release and I’ve already pre-ordered it. I am THAT confident in bookseller taste. Of course.

Women of War series
Book #1 – February 20th 2018
It’s pretty safe to say 2017 was a horror show. But there were some bright spark moments. Case in point: the first season of AFL Women's national Australian rules football league began in February 2017 with eight teams for female players. It was a landmark moment, and I am absolutely positive that it has already spawned a whole new generation of young people who just accept that women and girls can do any damn thing they want to. So I am absolutely onboard with Escape Publishing putting out a romance series that puts these women front and centre of their own romance stories. 
Right now all three of these instalments appear to be centred on female-male romance pairings (I think? Forgive me if I'm wrong!), and I do hope if that's the case that the series expands to include lesbian and other romances too. Because of course, part of what’s been great about Women’s AFL coming in has been seeing how these players have opened up conversations about LGBT+ rep in Australian sports.

R Is for Rebel by J. Anderson Coats
February 20th 2018
This blurb for the middle-grade book sounds like pure gold to me: “Princess Academy meets Megan Whalen Turner in this stunning novel about a girl who won’t let anything tame her spirit—not the government that conquered her people, and definitely not reform school!”

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole
February 27th 2018
Obviously I am a staunch Republican (American readers – don’t worry, it just means I want Australia to become a republic. Something you lot did back in 1783.) However, it goes without saying that the No.1 romance I am looking forward to in 2018 is the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Also naturally – I want everyone to bring me ALLLLLLLLL the royals romances in 2018 (I already thank Netflix profusely for A Christmas Prince, obvs).
I am eyeing YA offering Royals by Rachel Hawkins (May 2018) but the one that is giving me serious goosebumps is from one of my favourite romance authors, Alyssa Cole. The blurb alone already has me envisioning a Netflix adaptation, okay?! “Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.”

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by edited by Saundra Mitchell
February 27th 2018
Naturally, I love a YA short-story anthology. This US one does indeed sound exceptional, and I don’t think it’s unkind to say that any other YA Anthologies planned for next year’s slate and beyond will have to work hard to meet or surpass the bar that this one is sure to set: “From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.”

Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas
February 27th 2018
Considering the first book in this series – ‘Cold-Hearted Rake’ – left me, well, cold and I didn’t even attempt to crack open second book ‘Marrying Winterborne’, it’s pretty impressive that the fourth instalment of Kleypas’ historical romance series makes the cut here. But, she turned it all around with 2017’s ‘Devil in Spring’, which featured the offspring of beloved ‘Wallflowers’ couple, Evie and Sebastian in his very own romance. I was hooked, and ‘Devil’ was a favourite book of 2017 for me. ‘Hell Stranger’ will be all about a couple we met in ‘Devil in Spring’ – one half of which is Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England. YAAAAAAAAAAAAS.

White Night by Ellie Marney
March 1st 2018
“In Bo Mitchell's country town, a 'White Night' light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden?”
Ellie Marney owns my bookish heart and I will read anything and everything she writes, forever more. Because she’s a genius, and a national Australian treasure. And she writes the HANDS-DOWN best romances this side of the Southern Hemisphere.

Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs
March 6th 2018
So if you didn’t know, in January 2017 Patricia Briggs’ husband Mike passed away suddenly.  The entire book-community built around Briggs’ ‘Mercy Thompson’ and other series were devastated, since Mike played a big role in updating her website, blog and communicating to her fandom generally. None of us would have been surprised or upset if Briggs announced her publishing schedule was on-hold in the wake of his passing. But here we are, with the fifth instalment in her spin-off ‘Alpha and Omega’ series (the first we’ve had since 2015) due for 2018 release, and I know I am in absolute awe of her, and incredibly grateful that she’s still creating. 

In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira
March 6th 2018
Dellaira’s contemporary 2014 debut ‘Love Letters to the Dead’ remains one of the best YA novels I have read – easily – in the last decade. An epistolary novel framed around one young woman expounding her grief over her sister’s death by writing letters to her dead heroes – from Kurt Cobain to Judy Garland. It is a heartbreakingly earnest premise that packs a wallop with Dellaira’s pitch-perfect voice. But 2014 was also the year of Jandy Nelson’s ‘I'll Give You the Sun’ (a book, which – don’t hate me! – I really don’t rate) and I feel like Dellaira wasn’t given the proper contemporary-YA kudos she deserved. I hope with this second novel from her, she makes a bigger landing and marks herself as one of the best authors writing for teens since Stephen Chbosky.  From the sounds of it, ‘In Search Of’ could most definitely be a book to make everyone sit up and take notice; “The parallel story of a mother and daughter each at age seventeen. Marilyn's tale recounts the summer she fell in love and set out on her own path. Angie's story is about her search for her unknown father.”

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
March 19th 2018
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide.”
This Australian debut is giving me ‘The Language of Flowers’ by Vanessa Diffenbaugh vibes, maybe with the literary styling of Jessie Burton. In any case, it has had a stellar turn of international sales ( which is always a good sign that something groundbreaking is afoot … I have my eye on this one, and a very good feeling about it.

Neverland by Margot McGovern
April 1st 2018
AH! See. One of my authors I rep – but since it has a cover and release date, I absolutely had to include this one. Also because I have loved and wanted to own a flesh-and-blood book of this tale since I first read the blurb when Margot’s manuscript was shortlisted for an unpublished prize back in 2015. But don’t just take my word for it – the book is racking up some impressive endorsement quotes from authors I thoroughly admire. Like this from Allyse Near: “Darkly sublime, subversive and haunting, lush and honeyed – everything I love in a book. ”
Me too, Allyse. Me too.

Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough
April 2nd 2018
From the Blurb: “Harriet Price is the perfect Rosemead Grammar student – wealthy, smart, overachieving – while Will Everhart is a social-justice warrior with a chip on her shoulder. But when a worrying incident with their swimming coach goes unnoticed by the authorities, the unlikely pair creates an elaborate hoax to bring him down.”
Hello. I love Erin Gough, and have been waiting for her follow-up book for exactly 435-years (that’s book-years, from 2015). That this second book from her sounds like ‘The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks’ by E. Lockhart meets 1998 film ‘All I Wanna Do’ (or, ‘Strike!’ depending on your region) just fills my feminist heart with pure, fizzing joy. Also - this cover by Jess Cruickshank is to die for. 
Up your ziggy with a wa-wa brush, indeed.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
April 24th 2018
Remember that really mediocre 2016 movie starring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Jessica Chastain – ‘The Huntsman’? Well this debut book kinda sounds like that, minus the mediocrity. It’s also got a big ‘Vikings’ vibe going on (I think? I dunno? – I haven’t seen the show, but the word “fjord” is used in the blurb?) and I am here for it and I really need a new YA fantasy to get excited about in 2018.

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
April 24th 2018
Well, this is awkward. Julia Whelan is an actress who starred in one of my all-time favourite TV shows, ‘Once & Again’ … a show I used to write FanFiction for, including stepbrother-stepsister pairings of her Grace character and Shane West’s Eli. Nowadays, Julia has become one of the BEST (and my fave) audiobook narrators in the industry, and NOW she’s gone even higher in my estimation (I did not think that was possible?!) by writing a contemporary romance. And – HERE’S THE KICKER – there’s already a major motion picture adaptation in the works, starring Supergirl’s Melissa Benosist and (hold. me.) Outlander’s Sam Heughan.

Julia Whelan – I am ridiculously excited to read this, and you have exceeded my wildest FanFic imaginings by having Grace Manning grow up to write romances that Jamie Fraser will act out. I tip my hat to you, and if you’re ever in Australia let me take you out to dinner because I think we need to become best friends? Mmkay? And please don’t let this entire paragraph make me sound utterly bonkers.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
May 1st 2018
Look, I was already going to read this because Rebecca Stead is one of my favourite writers of all time. I worship the woman. And this new book of hers (coupled with the literary might of ‘A Mango-Shaped Space’ Wendy Mass) means this is a no-brainer. That the blurb is also evoking a bit of E.T. feels doesn’t hurt either; “A classic middle-grade tale of magic and friendship, about a girl who helps an old friend find home.”

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews
May 8th 2018
Okay. *BREATHE*. I can barely contain my excitement and sadness for THE VERY LAST BOOK, EVER in Ilona Andrews’ ‘Kate Daniels’ series. I just … I can’t even begin thinking about all the fan-theories floating around out there and I will need to put myself in a bunker for the few HOURS it’ll take me to consume this book. And – OMFG! – please tell me that Julie is going to get her own series with Derek and Ascanio featuring. Please please please. I have been harping on about this since forever, but now with Kate’s wrapping up I feel like I can practically taste the very real possibility of it. PLEASE. Please.

The Fortress by S.A. Jones
June 1st 2018
Full-disclosure: this is an author repp’ed by the Jacinta di Mase Agency that I work for. BUT – I have not read it yet. Delayed satisfaction, ftw! All I know is this book is a gutsy inversion of Charlotte Wood’s ‘The Natural Way of Things’ and Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. For me, knowing the pitch, it also sounds right up the alley of anyone who loves Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro’s ‘Bitch Planet’ comic book series.
Ummmm – hell yes. Gimme. The blurb also promises that; “This absorbing, confronting and moving novel asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment. It asks what it takes for a man to change, and whether change is possible without a radical reversal of the conditions that seem normal.” SIGN ME THE FUCK, UP.

Wicked and the Wallflower (Bareknuckle Bastard #1) by Sarah MacLean
June 19th 2018
Sarah Maclean is one of the best historical romance authors writing today, and a new series from her should be celebrated with a ticker tape parade. This one sounds particularly spirited and sparkly; “When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.” 

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