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GIVEAWAY: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage!

I am SO excited about this giveaway – I know you’re all sick of hearing me talk about this book (and there’s still a month to go before it’s released on July 17!) but #sorrynotsorry. This morning I have THREE ARCs of Zoje Stage’s debut, Baby Teeth, up for grabs, so let’s jump right into it!

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

Who doesn’t love evil little kids? Publishers Weekly called this one a “creepy, can’t-put-down thriller” and GoodReads included it in their round-up of the hottest mysteries and thrillers of 2018. I expect this one will find its way into MANY beach totes this summer!

To enter for a chance to win one of THREE copies (!!!), all you need to do is fill out this form and that’s it! Easy peasy! I’ll be keeping the giveaway open until July 1 when I’ll announce the winner in that day’s weekly wrap-up post. Good luck!

ALSO, if you’re in the Pittsburgh area, Penguin Bookshop will be hosting the launch party for Baby Teeth at 7pm July 17! I’ll be there, will you??

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recently added.

It’s time for another edition of recently added! Lately I’ve been going through publisher catalogs, meaning a few of the more recent posts have featured upcoming titles, rather than spreading some backlist love. But I’m thrilled to say there’s one backlist title included in this one – and I’m definitely hoping to track down a copy!

The Phantom Lover by Elizabeth Mansfield
My last book read in May was Lady Elizabeth’s Comet, a Regency novel from the 80s that I fell absolutely head over heels for! In that story, a 28-year-old woman is considered far past marrying age, but that’s perfectly fine; Elizabeth has no time for men and would much rather follow her life’s dream of discovering a comet, thank you very much. I loved that book and have been on something on an old school romance kick ever since. I was instantly intrigued when I came across The Phantom Lover: Nell travels to Thorndene Castle to flee a man and falls for a ghost. Okay, I’m guessing the ‘ghost’ isn’t actually a spirit haunting the castle, though I would give the book MAJOR points if that were the case!

A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux | September 18, 2018
Despite having several of Jude’s books on my To Read list, I’ve only read one: The Girl from Summer Hill, a Jane Austen retelling (you know I love those even though I have never read a single Austen novel eek!) and one of my Top Reads of 2016! So yeah, I really need to read more of her books and this upcoming mystery sounds great! Sara Medlar has sold millions of books and is basically one of the names in romance. Bored with retirement, she decided to venture back home and get to work breathing life back into an old mansion she loved as a child. Sara’s estranged niece also happens to move back to town after accepting a position sure to jumpstart her career. When two skeletons are discovered, Sara and Kate, along with one of Sara’s houseguests, Jack – the summary doesn’t exactly specify who he is, someone helping remodel the mansion?? – team up to get to the bottom of their town’s past.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White | September 25, 2018
Let’s be real: that cover immediately caught my eye. Kinda gross, but perfect for a Frankenstein retelling! I’m extremely curious about this one, all the more once I read some reviews stating this one is more on the historical side than fantasy. The early reviews are positively glowing. This one already has almost a 4.5 rating and there are still three more months until its release! UM WHILE TYPING THIS I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE BUFFY SPIN-OFF SERIES COMING OUT IN JANUARY!! Okay, Slayer, I need you. (Also, so many Elizabeths in this post!)

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt | December 18, 2018
Not gonna lie, I almost didn’t include this one because a cover doesn’t seem to exist without that bonus story sticker. BUT my historical romance loving heart can’t wait for it, so here we are. Freya is a number of things: the daughter of disgraced nobility, in a secret order of Wise Women, and living under an assumed name. But what she is NOT is forgiving. When she attends a party and sees the Duke of Harlowe, aka the man responsible for ruining her family, she vows then and there to get revenge. I already love her. Though he’s being blackmailed and forced to attend the party in order for his secrets to remain hidden, the moment Christopher sees Freya he realizes his troubles have only begun. Yessss!!

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weekly wrap-up 6/17

Happy Father’s Day!! We celebrated my brother’s birthday and Father’s Day (part 1) last night, with part 2 going down next weekend. Definitely looking forward to it! Do you have any special plans??

Two weeks ago I mentioned Sips by and earlier in the week my first box arrived!! Keep your eyes peeled for my reveal of the teas I received and my thoughts!

• I’m in full on cookout mode and this herbed red potato salad is calling my name. No mayo! Vegan! Super simple!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Just one review this week but oh man was it a good one: Morgan Matson’s Save the Date was my very first of her books but it definitely WILL NOT be the last!


Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd
Miss Eleanor Sheffield is highly skilled in antiquities and can easily spot a fake among the real deals. However, as a woman – an unmarried woman at that – she’s not able to run the family business on her own. Things become even more complicated when the death of a client leaves Eleanor as the sole guardian of a baron’s priceless collection. As the trustee, it’s up to Eleanor to decide whether the pieces go to a museum or to the baron’s son – the man who broke Eleanor’s heart. I hadn’t hear of this one before it arrived at my door but it sounds like a ‘me’ book!! Thank you, Tyndale!

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland
A few months ago I received an ARC of this one and now the gorgeous hardcover graces my shelves. Be sure to check back this coming week for my thoughts: a woman who prefers books to people. Three mysterious delivers. Secrets from her past. Yes please! Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
AHHHHHHH NEW KATE MORTON DOES IS EVEN MATTER WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT?!?!? Thank you, Atria!

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Source: Finished hardback via publisher (Thank you, Simon Teen!)
Summary: Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge. There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Genre: Contemporary, YA

As far as bloggers go, I’m fairly new to YA. I really only started getting back into the genre once I began this blog 7 years ago, and even then my YA picks were sporadic and limited to those authors I had already known. So I missed out on a ton of authors and books the rest of the community adores. One of those authors? Morgan Matson. I can’t begin to count to number of tweets, reviews, posts I’ve seen praising her and her work – but it wasn’t until last week that I finally sat down with one of her novels to discover for myself just how fantastic she is. Coincidentally, I included Save the Date in my list of the June releases I can’t wait to read. I don’t think I have ever received a book in the mail and read it the same week. That alone should tell you all you need to know about my feelings for this one!

Charlie’s big, boisterous family is her rock, her grounding place. The youngest of five children, she’s now the last one left in the nest so to speak, her other siblings have all grown up, some of them moving on the other side of the country. But this weekend? This weekend will be magical. Charlie’s sister Linnie is getting married and the Grants will be together again for one last time in their childhood home before it’s official sold.

Despite Charlie’s utter delight as the siblings begin to make their way back through the door, the wedding is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. The wedding planner has been charged with embezzlement, a dry cleaning mix-up leaves the groom with a purple (and too small) tux, there’s the house alarm on the fritz that won’t stop going off, the wedding band can’t play anything other than Journey covers.. This was supposed to be the perfect weekend, one last chance to make memories before moving out of the house for good. What else could possibly go wrong? (As it turn out, everything).

I wish someone would have forced me to read one of Morgan’s books earlier! Where has she been all my life?? Although the Grants (and the wedding drama) were totally over the top, Save the Date was so much fun! The sibling dynamic and the banter between them (even estranged Mike) was great. They loved each other fiercely, but they also knew exactly where to strike for maximum pain. They have years of inside jokes and made-up games that, unfortunately, an outsider could never hope to keep up with – specifically Brooke, Danny’s surprise plus date for the wedding. My heart went out to her: no one knew Danny was bringing a girlfriend and they instantly decided they didn’t like her. She quickly caught on to the fact that her presence was neither known nor wanted, and she was basically a third wheel the entire time (when she wasn’t outright ignored or left to fend for herself). It wasn’t until Charlie was desperate that she had her big moment where her feelings changed, but by then, it was too late.

There is a touch of romance here, but it takes more of a backseat to the Grant family, and I was completely okay with that! Charlie had a massive crush on Jesse, Mike’s best friend, for years. And finally, during Christmas break, Jesse sees her as more than Mike’s little sister. Then there’s the new wedding planner’s assistant, Bill. Though it seems to set up a love triangle, this story line seems added on as an after thought (or possibly setting up a future book??).

By far my favorite part was the comics. Charlie’s mother is the creator of Grant Central Station, a newspaper comic that is finally ending after a 25-year run. The wedding will coincide with the final comic in the Sunday paper. While the comic Grants were fictional, their antics were very much based in fact – for better or worse. Also, on the inside of the dust jacket there’s a large illustration of the fictional Grants that I love and I wish it was a real comic strip!

While I felt the story began to drag a bit toward the end – this book is nearly 400 pages – I loved every moment spent with the Grants. The banter is great, the characters are fantastic, and the added bonus of the comic strip was perfect. Save the Date is my very first Morgan Matson novel…but it definitely won’t be the last!

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weekly wrap-up 6/10

• Yesterday Matt and I spent hours driving around – one of our favorite things to do! Saturdays are Cars & Coffee days (I posted my favorite car there in my IG stories) and afterwards, we just took off, picking random turns and exploring towns. We stopped at a new (to us) cafe and wound up in my hometown at a tiny – and I mean TINY – bakery we love, Two Fat Guys and an Oven.

Bees understand the concept of zero. VERY cool!

• We binged Safe the other day, even though Dexter-with-a-British-accent weirded us out ha. But Harlan Coben is brilliant and we were hooked! What are you watching??

• It’s a rainy, stormy day here in Pittsburgh – the perfect day for staying in and reading. Last night I finished Save the Date (more on that below!) and now I’m in that limbo land between books.

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? I shared the June releases I need to get my hands on. So far, I’ve already read one, have another currently waiting for my at the library, and two others on hold.

I was so excited for Murder at the Mansion, the first in Sheila Connolly’s newest series. When a woman returns to her hometown to help breathe life back into it, things take a sharp turn after a body (her arch nemesis from high school) is discovered. While the mystery was intriguing, Kate’s character was awful. I shared a LOT of quotes in this one.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
The Grants are back together for one last hurrah in their childhood home before it’s sold. Unfortunately, absolutely NOTHING is going right for Linnie’s wedding: the wedding planner is charged with embezzlement, a dry cleaner mix-up leaves the groom with a purple suit, the band only does Journey covers, and they have a loaner dog for the weekend. Though this one was a teensy bit long, I tore through it and adored this family. Why hasn’t anyone told me to read her books before?! I’ll be sharing my review soon! Thank you, Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers!

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
This fun promo package came in the mail and I now have FOUR review copies of this book! Giveaway anyone?? Murderous, evil little girls always make for a good story. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes
When parents label a library book as inappropriate, one student takes matters into her own hands. 12-year-old June notices a Little Free Library on her walk home from school one day…and soon the banned books begin appearing, along with June’s own banned book library run out of her school locker. Thank you, Random House Books for Young Readers!

Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
Two dog walker-themed reads! This Middle Grade novel follows Jessie, alone at her aunt’s for the summer until she convinces the cranky Wes to take her on as a dog walker apprentice. Things are going great until a rival dog walker moves into town. Thank you, Abrams!

Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade
I first mentioned this one back in April in a recently added post. The only man dog walker Cora needs is her rescue Pit. All of that changes with a gorgeous – though, sadly, taken – new client. Luckily Cora’s best friend is always there to lend a shoulder to cry on…though could there be something more to her friendship with Eli? There’s also mention of an audition for a television show and I’m expecting this one to be the PERFECT summer read. Thank you, Gallery Books!

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
I love her, I love her books. Nothing more needs to be said ♥. (Though this one features the Alaskan wilderness and a budding relationship with a rugged pilot, um yes please). Thank you, Atria!

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Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly

Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly (Victorian Village Mysteries #1)
Pub. Date: June 26, 2018
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Minotaur!)
Summary: Katherine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheford, Maryland. Fifteen years later she’s got a degree in hospitality management and a great job supervising every aspect of the day-to-day operations of a high-end boutique hotel on the Baltimore waterfront. Then her high school best friend asks her to come talk with the town leaders of Asheford, but she won’t say why. Kate can’t cut her last link to her past, so she agrees to make the short trip across the state to Asheford.

Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they’ve decided that Kate’s skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker–Kate’s high school nemesis, who had a hand in driving Kate away from Asheford so many years.

But a few days later Kate receives a call from the police–Cordelia has been found dead on the mansion property, and Kate is all-but certain that her name is high on the suspect list. She finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the magnificent old house that turns out to be full of long-hidden mysteries itself. Kate knows she must clear her name and save her town–before she ends up behind bars.
Genre: Cozy Mystery

When I was contacted about some upcoming cozies, my eyes completely lit up. Though I haven’t reviewed any on the blog lately, cozy mysteries are near and dear to my heart and one in particular caught my eye. Sheila Connolly, author of several series that have forever been on my To Read list (like her Orchard series!), has once more decided to make waves in the genre with Murder at the Mansion. I was more than a little intrigued and settled in one weekend for what I expected to be a fun, murder-y ride.

Fifteen years ago Katie – now Kate, thank you very much – left her go-nowhere hometown after graduating and never looked back. Now working in the heart of Baltimore, her days are filled with running high end hotels and making sure the guests’ every needs are fulfilled. Out of the blue she receives a call from her best friend, asking her out to lunch, there’s something they need to discuss, but Lisbeth doesn’t mention specifics.

As it turns out, Asheboro is rapidly dying. Their town was quiet back in high school, now it’s more like a ghost town. People are leaving for larger cities like Baltimore, going where the jobs are. Lisbeth asks Kate for her help in turning things around, starting with the old Barton mansion, which the town nearly went bankrupt purchasing. Perhaps a blessing in disguise, Kate receives word her hotel has been bought by a foreign corporation…and she’s now out of a job. Could bringing Asheboro back to life be just the thing she needs?

But returning to her hometown means coming face-to-face with her past – literally. Cordelia was the most popular girl in school and made it her life’s mission to make Kate’s miserable. Cordy still sees herself as Queen Bee and has her own plans for the Barton place. Until she’s discovered dead on the front steps.

Oh dear. Murder at the Mansion would have been a really entertaining read…if Kate wasn’t in it. She was just plain awful, she thinks she’s better than everyone else because she left her town and has (had, rather) a high-paying job. I never highlight quotes from ARCs, but I couldn’t help myself here. At one point, when having lunch with her best friend, Kate thinks “I almost smiled: her crises and mine were so very different. She worried about misplaced baseball gloves, while at the hotel I had to track down international shipments of high-priority documents and make sure they reached the right people.” Ugh. Lisbeth is supposed to be her best friend – though they came off as mere acquaintances – and more than once Kate mused on how Lisbeth had stayed home to raise children, while big, powerful Kate earned multiple degrees and didn’t need a man (“Was I too smart for the men I met? Too successful?“).

Kate also seems like a stranger in town, a place where she grew up. At one point she asks “Does it snow much? Big storms?” Now, after I graduated, I moved from my own hometown. Yet I lived there long enough to know how the winters are. Kate’s comment also struck me as odd because she lives within driving distance of the town.

What really sealed the deal for me with Kate, however, was how she treated the town librarian. Kate graduated 15 years ago. I graduated 12 years ago. Kate is only three years older than me, making her 33. Audrey was a grade of two above her in school, yet at one point, Kate thinks of her as “an aging woman with a serious crush“. An aging woman? This entire crush plotline suffered from a serious case of telling – as the reader, I certainly didn’t see any signs of Audrey’s feelings for the mansion’s caretaker, a Civil War historian. “Audrey had fixated on Josh as her last best hope for love, or at least for escape from Asheboro, perhaps even knowing how unlikely it was that he was attracted to her.” “She really has nowhere else to be. Sad, isn’t it?” I came to despise Kate.

As for the mystery itself, the Big Reveal was a bit of a letdown unfortunately, though I enjoyed it far more than I did Kate’s character. Her plans for saving the town involve literally turning the place into a Victorian village, meaning all the modern shops need to go. Instead, they’ll move in a butcher, a saddle-maker, a hat shop. And she expects the shop owners to cough up the money.

Sadly, I’m in the minority here, but I wasn’t a fan of this one. Murder at the Mansion could have been a really fun, entertaining read…the only problem? The horrible main character. Unfortunately, the grand estate and Civil War history couldn’t save this one.

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June 2018 releases I need to get my hands on!

Dreams of Falling by Karen White | June 5, 2018
What can I say? It’s a new Karen White, it takes place in the South, and there’s a 50-year old secret. Um yes please.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson | June 5, 2018
And I’m already cheating! I literally (as in yesterday), received this one in the mail and raced through the other book I was in the middle of! Charlie’s sister is getting married this weekend and it’ll be the first time all four of her older siblings have been home together in years. Charlie is determined to make this one last hurrah before the house is sold, one last weekend filled with laughter and memories…and so far it’s been a complete disaster. Relatives aren’t speaking, her brother brings his brand-new (and horrible) girlfriend, the wedding band will only play covers.

I’m a little ashamed to say this, but I have never read a Morgan Matson book. I knooow. SO many bloggers and friends adore her and I’m thrilled to finally get to know her work!

Breakout by Kate Messner | June 5, 2018
I unfortunately totally forgot I had a netgalley copy until it was archived. Whoops. I raced to my library’s site and immediately put in a request. Nora is looking forward to her summer vacation in Wolf Creek..until two inmates escape from a maximum security prison. This one is told through comics, news articles, and texts and it sounds great!

The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman | June 12, 2018
While most bloggers know Eleanor from her YA Blood of Gods and Royals series, I’m more interest in her nonfiction. Sex with Kings and Sex with the Queen were consistent sellers back in my bookseller days. I typically don’t review the trivia/pop-sci/pop-history books I read, but I’m a HUGE fan of them. This one sounds like a book written for me!

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck | June 12, 2018
Hamilton Lightfoot is tasked with an excruciating decision: fight for the British Crown or join his fellow colonists. After witnessing the red coats mercilessly slay his family, Hamilton writes a letter to his beloved. Esther, the daughter of a loyalist working for a British Lord, is also torn: does she remain loyal to her father or choose Hamilton? Centuries later, Chloe is the daughter of Hollywood royalty, though her great roles tend to be death scenes. Desperate to get her big break, she takes on a role in a Revolutionary War piece. Jesse moves to LA to make a new start, trying his hand at screenwriting after discovering old family letters.

So there’s a lot going on here and I am so ready for it.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
I’ll admit, I’m a little hesitant to dive into this one. Behind Closed Doors was one of my favorite books of 2016. 2017’s The Breakdown, however, was a giant letdown. Still, I’m intrigued: while on vacation, Finn and Layla stop at a gas station. Finn runs in, but when he comes out, Layla is gone. Nowhere to be seen. Ten years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, their shared grief brought them together. Just before they’re to be married, Finn receives a phone call: someone has seen Layla. Could she still be alive after all these years? Just what happened the day she went missing?

Sail Away by Celia Imrie | June 19, 2018
Suzy Marshall was the star of a massively popular 1980s TV series. Since the show ended, however, the phone calls slowed, the job offers ceased. When her agent calls with a role – one that would have her traveling to Zurich – she readily agrees, only to have the play be abruptly canceled with Suzy forced to take a job on a cruise ship in order to get home. With the purchase of a new apartment having fallen through, Amanda is in limbo. That is, until she sees an ad for a cruise. Three weeks on the water seems to be just the thing to get her away from her worries.

Two of our good friends from Matt’s Cars and Coffee meet-ups are HUGE cruise fans. Though Matt and I have never been, we’ve gotten the bug from listening to their stories and the moment I saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read. Easy, breezy chick-lit is perfect for lazy summer days.

Takedown by Laura Shovan | June 19, 2018
A girl who loves wrestling. I mean, what else needs to be said??

The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport | June 26, 2018
I’ve been on the waitlist for this one since my library first announced an order for it. I love Helen and her books and will read anything she writes about the Romanovs. Also, maybe it’s time for me to finally update my Romanov reading list?? (That one is four years old – eek!)

Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein | June 26, 2018
Sasha seems to have it made: she’s got a great apartment with her bestie, a recent journalism degree, and a gorgeous fiance. When her dream career falls through, however, she lands a gig as a matchmaker for New York’s elite. Though Sasha’s inexperienced at matchmaking, she jumps in headfirst, never batting an eye as the pages-long boyfriend requirements or the career-driven professional who wanted a family years ago. She’s able to help her clients find true love just like she has, but then Jonathan betrays her. …and Sasha’s life quickly spirals out of control, and right into the arms of a man she had previously set up with one of her clients.

Yep, another fluffy, fun romance. This one already has some fantastic reviews!

Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs | June 26, 2018
An Amish community is rocked to its core and that’s all I needed to know about this one! Caleb is bound by a deathbed promise to take care of his niece and nephew. Disaster strikes and suddenly Caleb finds himself in a world of high-tech medicine. The blurb mentions a clash of cultures played out in a courtroom and I’ve even more curious about this one!

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay | June 26, 2018
Seven-year-old Wen and her parents are vacationing in a remote cabin surrounded by the woods where their closest neighbor is two miles down a dirt road. One day when Wen is outside playing, a man appears, telling her none of what happens is her fault, and that, though her parents won’t allow the man and his friends inside the cabin, Wen needs to help them save the world.

Stephen King is a big fan of Tremblay’s and that’s good enough for me! I really enjoyed his 2015 novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, and this apocalyptic tale sounds like it’ll be intense and downright chilling.