Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello! Welcome to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday which is all about the books we are most looking forward to being released in the latter half of 2019. This was quite hard to narrow down as there are so many amazing sounding books being released all the time but I’ve managed to narrow it down to 10 that I’m really rather excited about!

1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood


Summary: from Amazon

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.


I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in my fifth year of secondary school and at the time wasn’t that blown away (probably because I had to analyse it so much) but reading it again as an adult made me realise how brilliant it is. I love the TV series which I feel is a pretty faithful adaptation but I cannot wait to read about how Atwood herself envisaged June’s story continuing.

2. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead


Summary: from Amazon

Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honorable and honest men’.

In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.

The tension between Elwood’s idealism and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.


This one has been on my radar for quite a while and I can’t wait to read it. I loved The Underground Railroad and I’m hoping The Nickel Boys will be just as beautifully paced and well written. It is definitely going to be an emotionally tough book to read but the fact that it is based in reality makes it an even more important story to tell.

3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


Summary: from Amazon

Galaxy ‘Alex’ Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies, well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than she ever imagined . . .


I absolutely loved Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology and I am planning on reading her Shadow and Bone series this summer so I’m really intrigued to see what her first adult novel will be like and whether it will live up to the incredible world she has created in her YA fiction.

4. In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado


Summary: from Amazon

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope–the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman–through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.


This one, from the author of Her Body and Other Parties, drew me in initially with the strange, slighty creepy cover. It sounds like such a fascinating structure and I’m really interested to see how it works. I like books of essays immensely so this memoir really appeals to me.

5. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker


Summary: from Amazon

Sloane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita have worked in the same legal office for years. The sudden death of the firm’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge.

But the world has changed, and the women are watching this latest promotion for Ames differently.

This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues’ decision to take a stand sets in motion something catastrophic and unstoppable: lies will be uncovered, secrets will be exposed and not everyone will survive. All their lives – as women, colleagues, mothers, adversaries – will be changed for ever.


Whisper Network sounds like a hugely timely and necessary book. The #metoo movement makes a story like this one resonate all the more and I am always here for books that might make me a better feminist.

6. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky


Summary: from Amazon

Kate Reese is a single mother fleeing an abusive relationship by starting over in a new town, with her young son Christopher. But Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, is not the safe place they thought it would be…

Their world begins to unravel after Christopher vanishes into the Mission Street Woods – where 50 years earlier an eerily similar disappearance occurred. When he emerges six days later, unharmed but not unchanged, he brings with him a secret: a voice only he can hear and a warning of tragedy to come.


This is a funny one because I’m not actually a big fan of The Perks of Being a Wallflower but for some reason I’m really anticipating Imaginary Friend. I do like the way Chbosky writes so I’m going to give this one a go and see whether I enjoy it more!

7. Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kroger and Melanie Anderson


Summary: from Amazon

Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein; but have you heard of Margaret Cavendish, who wrote a science-fiction epic 150 years earlier? Have you read the psychological hauntings of Violet Paget, who was openly involved in long-term romantic relationships with women in the Victorian era? Or the stories of Gertrude Barrows Bennett, whose writing influenced H.P. Lovecraft? Monster, She Wrote shares the stories of women past and present who invented horror, speculative, and weird fiction and made it great. You ll meet celebrated icons (Ann Radcliffe, V.C. Andrews), forgotten wordsmiths (Eli Coltor, Ruby Jean Jensen), and today s vanguard (Helen Oyeyemi). And each profile includes a curated reading list so you can seek out the spine-chilling tales that interest you the most.


As stated earlier, I always like books which empower and lift women. Monster, She Wrote sounds like it will do just that and I can’t wait to find out more about the women who shaped horror and speculative fiction! Plus that cover is so fantastic!

8. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys


Summary: from Amazon

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.


History is one of my favourite things to learn as much as I possibly can about and I love when I am given an insight through reading about a time period or place that is less well known to me. The Fountains of Silence is the sort of book I just know I’ll love and I cant wait to read it.

9. Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris


Summary: from Amazon

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?
In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.


The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of the books I loved most last year so I’m eagerly anticipating reading more about Cilka who plays a small part in that story but made a huge impact with her heart-wrenching situation. I want to know more about her and what happened to her throughout her life after the horrors of Auschwitz.

10. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett


Summary: from Amazon

No one speaks of the grace year.
It’s forbidden.
We’re told we have the power to lure grown men from their beds, make boys lose their minds, and drive the wives mad with jealousy. That’s why we’re banished for our sixteenth year, to release our magic into the wild before we’re allowed to return to civilization.
But I don’t feel powerful.
I don’t feel magical.

Tierney James lives in an isolated village where girls are banished at sixteen to the northern forest to brave the wilderness – and each other – for a year. They must rid themselves of their dangerous magic before returning purified and ready to marry – if they’re lucky.

It is forbidden to speak of the grace year, but even so every girl knows that the coming year will change them – if they survive it…


The Grace Year has made this list because it just sounds so unusual and intense. The premise is troubling and compelling in equal measure and I’m really hoping the book lives up to how great it sounds because I can’t wait to read it.

Well that’s it for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the books I’m most excited to get to. I would love to know your thoughts on my list so lets chat in the comments and I can’t wait to read about all of your anticipated reads too!


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