One of my favourite months of the year is December because I think it’s such a wonderful time of year. From snow fall, to cuddling up on the sofa with hot chocolate, there is a certain magic to the month and winter reading is an absolute must! I get through a lot of books in December, which makes me super excited for all of this month’s newest releases.
I managed to find twenty-four titles hitting shelves in December and honestly, I’m so excited for some of these releases. Coronavirus may have delayed the publication of some amazing books like Admission, but I’m so excited to finally get my hands on a copy! There are a lot of books here that have me excited. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Week One ❄ 1st – 7th
admission ❄ julie buxbaum
young adult, contemporary, realistic
december 1st (delacorte)
It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.
As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?
the ballad of ami miles ❄ kristy dallas alley
young adult, lgbt+, science fiction
december 1st (swoon reads)
Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.
With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known, and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world… and about herself.
the beast of bellevue ❄ grace chen
young adult, contemporary, retelling
december 1st (reading harbor)
When 17-year-old Dylan Albright mischievously creates a dating website posing as his unsuspecting heartthrob brother, he doesn’t realize what is at risk is his own heart. Locked in Bellevue Sanatorium, 17-year-old Ava Pierce stumbles upon soccer star Alec Albright’s photo and ‘Hire-A-Friend’ dating service. Eager to get out and meet her prince charming, she sets out in search of her own independence. But what happens when the love of her life is not who she thinks he is?
A twist on a tale as old as time, the Beast of Bellevue explores the meaning of friendship, the value of beauty, the boundaries between the virtual world and real world, and the importance of developing one’s self-identity.
the bitterwine oath ❄ hannah west
young adult, contemporary, fantasy, horror, mystery, paranormal
december 1st (holiday house)
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copycat killer? Or a man-hating murderess?
Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true-crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real. And magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.
But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims–including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
the cousins ❄ karen m. mcmanus
young adult, contemporary, mystery, thriller
december 1st (delacorte); december 3rd (penguin)
Milly, Aubrey and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised…and curious.
Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.
The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.
a curse of roses ❄ diana pinguicha
young adult, fantasy, historical, lgbt+, retellings
december 1st (entangled: teen)
17-year-old Yzabel of Aragon is engaged to the young King of Portugal, and under her touch, food turns into flowers…
With the populace starving, and barely surviving herself, Yzabel doesn’t only need to end her curse—she must reverse it somehow. Turn flowers into food. Desperate, she sets to find Fatyan, an immortal rumored to live nearby, but she is imprisoned by an old enchantment. So they must strike a bargain: Fatyan will teach Yzabel how to master her magic, and Yzabel making a deal with Fatyan will release the magical bonds holding her captive.
As she learns to control her power under Fatyan’s guidance, they grow closer in a way Yzabel has never felt for her betrothed. But she must keep this part of their relationship secret, or else lose her claim to the throne. If Yzabel is forced to leave Portugal, shamed for loving another woman, the people she was determined to save will surely die.
day one ❄ kelly devos
day zero duology #2
young adult, adventure, fantasy, science fiction
december 1st (inkyard press); december 2nd (harlequin teen)
Three months ago, all I wanted was to stay up late playing video games and pretending things were fine. But with my parents’ role in a massive political conspiracy exposed, I ended up on the run, desperate to rescue my little brother, Charles, from the clutches of The Opposition.
I used to hate my father’s obsession with disaster prepping. But as I fight my way across a war-torn country and into a secret military research facility with only my stepsister to count on, I realize that following Dr. Doomsday’s Guide for Ultimate Survival might be our only hope of surviving to see Charles again.
Once, I had it all. The right backstory. The right qualifications. But my life as a student journalist was destroyed forever in the explosions that triggered the country’s meltdown. Now I’m determined to help Jinx get our little brother back. But we also have to find our own reasons to survive. Somehow, I’ve become the first reporter of the new civil war. In a world where your story is your ultimate weapon, I have to become the toughest freedom fighter of all.
defending the galaxy ❄ maria v. snyder
sentinels of the galaxy #3
young adult, science fiction
december 2st (harlequin teen)
Year 2522. Oh. My. Stars.
Junior Officer Ara Lawrence here, reporting for duty. Again. It’s situation critical for the security team and everyone in the base – including my parents – with a new attack from the looters imminent, a possible galaxy-wide crime conspiracy and an unstoppable alien threat. But this all pales in the face of my mind-blowing discovery about the Q-net. Of course, no one believes me. I’m not sure I believe me. It could just be a stress-induced delusion. That’s what my parents seem to believe…
Their concern for me is hampering my ability to do my job. I know they love me, but with the Q-net in my corner, I’m the only one who can help the security team beat the shadowy aliens from the pits we discovered. We’re holding them at bay, for now, but the entire Milky Way Galaxy is in danger of being overrun.
With battles on too many fronts, it’s looking dire. But one thing I’ve learned is when people I love are in jeopardy, I’ll never give up trying to save them. Not until my dying breath. Which could very well be today…
the frozen prince ❄ maxym m. martineau
the beast charmer #2
young adult, fantasy, romance
december 1st (sourcebooks fire)
Noc, leader of the assassins of Cruor, may have broken the curse that’s kept him trapped for so many years, but the dark magic won’t be denied. If he doesn’t kill Leena―the girl he can’t live without―then his own life will be given as payment. To make matters worse, the truth of his past has fallen into the hands of his enemies, threatening everyone he’s ever loved.
And their time is running out.
Leena has finally come into her own as a Charmer and would do anything to help Noc survive. When she learns of a magical creature that may be able to save him, she gathers her courage and sets out for the frozen north. But what starts as a hunt for answers quickly turns deadly, and soon Leena, Noc, and their trusted band of assassins find themselves face-to-face with an enemy more terrible, and powerful, than they could have ever imagined.
the good girls ❄ claire eliza bartlett
young adult, contemporary, LGBT+, mystery, thriller
december 1st (harperteen)
The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl.
Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.
After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.
Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.
heiress apparently ❄ diana ma
daughters of the dynasty #1
young adult, contemporary, romance
december 1st (amulet books)
❄ debut author ❄
Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing. When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost.
it only happens in the movies ❄ holly bourne
young adult, contemporary, romance
december 1st (hmh book);
originally published october 2017 (usborne)
Audrey is over romance. While dealing with her parents’ contentious divorce, a breakup of her own, and shifting friendship dynamics, she has every reason to feel cynical. But then she meets Harry, her fellow coworker at the local cinema. He’s brash, impulsive, and a major flirt. And even though Audrey tries to resist, she finds herself falling for his charms. But in this funny, insightful, and ultimately empowering novel, love—and life—isn’t what it’s like in the movies.
lies the guardians tell ❄ herman steurnagel
lies of the guardian #1
young adult, dystopian, science fiction
The Guardians Protect Us. Or so they claim.
A vision of a strange world. Powers that can heal or destroy. Murder by those they were supposed to trust
Sierra Runar has lived in the Sphere her entire life. A protective force field is the only thing separating the remnant of humanity from the toxic world the ancients left behind. The Guardians, ancient artificial intelligence & humankind’s saviors, have looked after them ever since. However, after a series of devastating events Sierra realizes the Guardians are not all they claim to be.
Forced to re-evaluate the world around her, Sierra is sent on a quest to find the man who remembers the wars. Through love, loss, friendship and trust, Sierra will need to discover what she’s capable of in order to protect a world that wasn’t supposed to exist.
link by link ❄ meg dailey (editor)
featuring work by: elle beaumont; m. dalto; pam dunn; kristin jacques; candace robinson; lesie rush; c. vonzale lewis; jess moore; lauren emily whalen
anthology, fantasy, retellings, paranormal
december 2nd (midnight tide publishing)
Link by Link is a collection of 9 stories of ghosts, spirits, and creatures unnamed, all come to teach lessons we won’t soon forget. From sweet Christmas tales to terrifying holiday hauntings, these stories take a dive into the past in the hopes of creating a better—or at least different—future.
the love curse of melody mcintyre ❄ robin talley
young adult, contemporary, lgbt+, romance
december 1st (harperteen); december 12th (hq young adult)
Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything. Lead actor need a breath mint? She’s on it. Understudy bust a seam? Mel’s sewing kit is at the ready. Not only is her Plan A foolproof, she’s got a Plan B, and a Plan C, because actors can be total fools.
What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.
a sky beyond the storm ❄ sabaa tahir
an ember in the ashes #4
young adult, fantasy, sci fi, romance
december 1st (razorbill); december 10th (harpervoyager)
Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…
The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.
At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.
Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.
And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.
what she found in the woods ❄ josephine angelini
young adult, contemporary, mystery, thriller
december 1st (sourcebooks fire);
originally published july 2019 (macmillan)
Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.
Over-medicated and under-confident, she’s fearful she’ll never escape her past.
Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.
But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realises she can’t trust anyone.
Not even herself.
Week Two ❄ 8th – 14th
becoming human ❄ amy michelle carpenter
young adult, science fiction
december 8th (immortal works)
Carter just wants his old dad back. But his once genius father won’t stop raving about the existence of aliens. His dad’s claims are ruining his life. Until the girl he’s falling for starts doing strange things, magical things, things that seem a bit out of this world.
Kokab hungers to be a Perfect on a world where her emotions make her flawed. But when her people face extinction, her emotions make her the perfect candidate to go to Earth and persuade humans to accept her kinds’ immigration. Failing means a war between her people and humans. But success means she will never be close to Perfect again.
Ags dreams of the day she graduates from the Academy and can finally become a guardian of Earth. She’s eager to spend her time researching art and history of people, but when she learns her enemies are coming to Earth, she knows what no one else will believe. Her enemies will destroy Earth, and she’s willing to lose everything, including herself, to stop them.
A redneck boy. An Earth-obsessed alien. And a robotic girl. In a tale of understanding, forgiveness, redemption, and love, three teens must learn to accept one another and recognize what it truly means to be human.
escaping eleven ❄ jerri chisholm
young adult, science fiction, dystopia
december 8th (entangled: teen)
In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.
My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.
Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.
Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable—the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.
Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.
Right before he kicks my ass.
Still, there’s something about him—something that says he could be my salvation…or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on.
Week Three ❄ 15th – 21st
coming up for air ❄ nicole tyndall
young adult, contemporary, romance
december 15th (delacorte press)
❄ debut novel ❄
Ever since her mom’s cancer scare, Hadley hasn’t been one for taking risks. And after seeing her sister go through one too many heartbreaks, she definitely has no interest in dating. Hadley just wants to keep her head down and enjoy the rest of high school with her friends, focusing on her photography and getting into the art school of her dreams.
Then enters Braden, star of the swim team and precisely the kind of person Hadley avoids, all bravado and charm and impulsivity. From their first moment together, they are perfect sparring partners, equally matched. And it’s intoxicating. Braden sees her, really sees her, and Hadley decides it might be time to break all her rules.
Braden shows Hadley how to live again, and soon Hadley is happier than she’ll ever admit out loud. But that’s before her family is faced with devastating news, and Braden starts hiding a growing, dark secret. As it threatens to shatter everything they’ve built, Hadley must confront her own actions and determine if she has the strength to walk away.
oculta ❄ maya motayne
a forgery of magic #2
young adult, fantasy
december 15th (balzer + bray)
After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is travelling and revelling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.
That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime families. Now one of the four Thief Lords of Castallan, she’s forced to preside over the illegal underground Oculta competition, which coincides with the summit and boasts a legendary prize.
Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. Los Toros, the mysterious syndicate responsible for his brother’s murder, has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events all unexpectedly converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass.
But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?
this is how we fly ❄ anna meriano
young adult, contemporary, romance, sports
december 15th (philomel book)
17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window.
Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn’t quite what Ellen expects. There’s no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans.
Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF Xiumiao seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs.
But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control–Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she’s playing for keeps.
the notorious virtues ❄ alwyn hamilton
the notorious virtues #1
young adult, fantasy, science fiction
december 18th (viking books); december 18th (faber & faber)
At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.
But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.
And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for.
With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.
Week Four ❄ 22nd – 28th
I couldn’t find any books hitting the shelves in this week, but that makes sense with it being Christmas. Time to catch up on all those wonderful novels we’re about to be gifted!
Week Five ❄ 29th – 31st
black canary: breaking silence ❄ alexandra monir
dc icons #5
young adult, fantasy, science fiction
december 29th (random house)
Dinah Lance was seven years old when she overheard the impossible: the sound of a girl singing. It was something she was never meant to hear—not in her lifetime, and not in Gotham City, taken over by the Court of Owls. The sinister organization rules Gotham as a patriarchal dictatorship, all the while spreading their influence like a virus across the globe.
Now seventeen, Dinah can’t forget that haunting sound, and she’s beginning to discover that her own voice is just as powerful. But singing is forbidden—a one-way stop to a certain death sentence. Can she balance her father’s desire to keep her safe, a blossoming romance with mysterious new student Oliver Queen, and her own desire to help other women and girls rise up and finally be heard? And will her voice be powerful enough to destroy the Court of Owls once and for all?
2 responses to “Monthly Releases ❄ December 2020”
Thank you for this list Dee! Very helpful for me. 🙂 I’m looking forward to A Sky Beyond the Storm so I can binge-read the whole An Ember in the Ashes series!
I’m so glad the list was helpful!
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