Shady Ladies List: March 2018

Looking for a great read AND want to support emerging women authors? You've come to the right place.  

Each month the Shady Ladies List highlights debut and sophomore books being published so you never miss out on discovering your new favorite author!

This month women take us to future West Africa in the YA fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone, to rat-pack era Las Vegas, inside the perfect-looking homes of our neighbors, the upper echelons of Manhattan society, and Italy -- and that's just the fiction! Ciao Bella!

A very happy publication day to them all!

📚 Received a review copy | 💖 Loved it | 💯 Can't wait to read it



by Elizabeth Church

March 6, 2018 | Ballentine Books

💯 I loved Elizabeth’s debut novel, The Atomic Weight of Love, about the wives of the scientists in Los Alamos who developed the nuclear bomb. These women were often brilliant scientific minds in their own right, but put their careers on hold to support their men. The novel explores those relationships and the impact of having your talents and voices hushed. This time Elizabeth turns to Rat Pack-era Vegas and her powerful heroine, Ruby, in the trappings of a showgirl. This is an author who mines the hidden lives of women.



by Emily X.R. Pan

March 20, 2018 | Little Brown

I know little about this title other than that, like Children of Blood and Bone, it is a young adult novel getting very positive notices. In fact, it is a Book of the Month Club selection for March – alongside fellow emerging author Jessica Strawer. Emily uses the magical realism style to explore the topics of coming of age, family history, art grief and love. John Green, author of "Fault in Our Stars," calls it a very special book.




by Christina Lynch

March 20, 2018 | St. Martin’s Press

📚 Do you have a Spring Break getaway coming up? This is one to pack! It’s effervescent.  How can you go wrong with escaping to Italy, plus a little intrigue and exploration of America’s place in the world. This review pretty much sums it up: “Imagine Beautiful Ruins plus horses; Toujours Provence with spies, a mystery and sex. The Italian Party is a fizzy, page-turning delight that begs for a Campari and soda!"



by Nova Jacobs

March 6, 2018 | Touchstone

💯The description of this book -- “a literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down—and protect—before others can get their hands on it – makes me think it could be this summer’s Davinci Code. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it. (Paperback in April!) With starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, I’d expect to see this one in airport newsstands!



by Lauren Hilgers

March 20, 2018 | Crown

📚 As soon as I opened my review copy of this book, I knew wanted to set everything down and consume it. Hilgers scored the trifecta – starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist – for her deep reporting following a family as they flee China fearing persecution and come to America only to find the dream is complicated. Hilgers takes us inside the hidden spaces immigrants must navigate to gain citizenship. A critical read that puts another face to the debate over immigration and empathy in this country.


by Tomi Adeyemi
March 6, 2018 | Henry Holt & Co.

📚💯 This book is fire! Tomi uses a young adult fantasy novel to address the very adult -- and relevant -- issues of power and race. As Madeline L’Engle says: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” When I finished Children of Blood and Bone, I shouted “No! Not over!” and startled poor Lovey. But that’s OK: COBAB is the first in a trilogy that already has a movie deal. This is one of the most anticipated books of 2018.


by Rebecca Kauffman

March 20, 2018 | Counterpoint Press

If the accolades mean anything, this novel is poised to be a breakout success. I haven’t read it yet, so I’ll leave it to Chicago Review of Books to tell you why you should: "Novels about friendships are the new fad but trust me when I tell you that this one is truly superlative. A gracefully endearing story, which delves deeply into the nature of childhood friendship while also shining a light on chronic illness and LGTBQ rights.”



by Kate Greathead

March 13, 2018 | Simon and Schuster

👓 I’ll just let Vogue take this one: “For a privileged Manhattan daughter who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, raising a child alone is pearl-clutchingly radical in Greathead’s wryly observed, 1980s-set first novel.” And Marie Claire: “A deft exploration of conflict, both class and interfamilial, in 1980s blue-blood New York.” It sounds like an excellent pairing with “She Regrets Nothing” by Andrea Dunlop.



by Abby Norman

March 6, 2018 | Nation Books

This sounds all-too familiar to me: A woman knows something is wrong with her. She goes to the doctor only to be told that it’s all in her head. Or worse: Docs don't listen until a male partner confirms. This is my story of nearly every doctor’s visit, so it was refreshing, and distressing, to find Abby’s book. It’s nice not to be alone; it’s terrifying to know that this is such common practice that there was a book to be written. I suspect this will resonate with some of you Shady Ladies, too. Both Gillian Anderson (Scully!) and Padma Lakshmi wrote blurbs for it.


by Nancie Clare

March 6, 2018 | St. Martin’s Press

📚 Those Detroiters reading this will recognize the conundrum: A city completely within the boundaries of another city. Sound like Highland Park or Hamtramck? That’s Beverly Hills, completely ensconced inside Los Angeles. But it didn't start as the Beverly Hills we know today -- all stars and flash. The developers allowed anyone to settle there and so early movie stars, who wouldn't be welcome in LA, did. Clare investigates how Beverly Hills maintained its independence and gave birth to celebrity politics.


by Shobha Rao

March 6, 2018 | Flatiron Books

📚💯 This book has been in my #TBR pile for several months and I haven’t quite picked it up even though I’m excited about it. It feels like one of the first weighty novel years of the year. So why am I stalling? Shady Lady Katy brought it with her on a beach vacation and came back and said it was dark. Beautifully written, but dark. There’s just not much uplifting -- despite exploring the nature of hope -- when dealing with poverty and human trafficking. This must-read requires the right state of mind.


by Jessica Strawser

March 27, 2018 | St. Martin’s Press

📚👓 It feels as if this thriller could just as easily be set in my Detroit neighborhood as small town Ohio. A group of women gather in a backyard on a Saturday night, wine in hand, "ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far." I know the feeling: Our friends' baby monitor reaches to our front porch, so we do much summer stoop sitting. But in the book someone ends up dead.  Whodunit!?



by Chelsey Johnson

March 20, 2018 | Custom House

💯What happens when a lesbian has a one-night stand with a … man … and ends up pregnant? That’s the premise of this novel, which is being called one of the anticipated debuts of 2018 with a 100,000 first printing. It is set in Portland and while that could bring all the bad Portlandia references, early librarian reviews say it’s a love letter to that city and a refreshing rendering of LGBTQ issues in fiction.

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by Claire Evans

March 6, 2018 | Portfolio

💯 This book is on my list of most-anticipated titles for 2018. The publisher is selling it as the book for anyone who loved Hidden Figures. Which I did. And Halt And Catch Fire, the AMC television show about the dawn of the Internet – mostly told through the lens of female protagonists (as opposed to the very bro-dude Silicon Valley). I also started my career during the rise of the Internet, so I look forward to seeing the era with some distance and reflection. The biggest challenge for this book will be my own expectations.



by Anya Yurchyshyn

March 27, 2018 | Crown

As a memoirist myself, I'm always curious to see how others wrestle with this challenging genre. You need to be exposed and vulnerable, but not just air your laundry. And how do you tell your truth when it might not match -- or even upset -- those around you? Writing about her deceased parents, Anya examines their lives and how we can see these critical figures as more than just our parents but as people, flaws and all. I'm excited to see how she explores this minefield. 

Caveat 1: I do my best to make this list as complete as possible, but I may miss a few. Hit me up if you know someone who should be included. Caveat 2: I don't feature self-published authors. Caveat 3: I don’t keep a list for poetry or genre (romance, horror, etc.). It’s not because they aren’t worthy. They are. I just don’t prefer them. Caveat 4: If you see 📚, it means I was provided an advanced review copy of the book free of charge or promise of coverage. Caveat 5: Support your local bookseller! 

Shady Ladies