Litty Committee: Kick Off Your 2023 Reading Challenge With These Hot Summer Releases

Litty Committee January 2023
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It’s been a hot one for Australia and for new books in January. The good people of #BookTok love to kickstart a new year with a new list of books to read through, so who are you to baulk at a challenge? Whether you read one book this year or 365, Litty Committee is here to inform you about a coupla reads that should be on your radar this month.

It’s a big one for YA readers in January, especially if you froth fantasy. That’s right, the long-awaited conclusion to Cassandra Clare‘s Shadowhunter universe will be released at the end of this month. The last book in The Last Hours series, Chain of Thorns will be her last Shadowhunters book for a while now that she’s pivoting to adult fantasy with Sword Catcher later in the year.

The BookTok community has also been buzzing over The Stolen Heir, a spin-off of a key character from the story of The Cruel Prince. This riveting new fantasy novel centres on Elfhame’s new heir and another cutthroat fae FMC. And lastly, Leigh Bardugo has finally released Hell Bent, the sequel to Ninth House. So that gorgeous, gorgeous book with that cover is finally in our claws.

Happy reading and good luck with your reading challenges this year.

Best new memoirs coming out this month

Spare by Prince Harry

Image: Random House

About the book:

From Princess Diana‘s tragic death to the “Megxit” drama, Prince Harry tells his story in his own words with this eye-opening new memoir. There’s already been a TON of hot tea spilled, so grab this book if you want to learn it all (especially some TMI deets about his sex life and beef with his brother).

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century- two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow – and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling – and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

Release date: January 11

Where to buy: Amazon ($35) | Booktopia ($43.25) | Dymocks ($45) | QBD ($39.99)

Best new fantasy book releases coming out in this month

Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare

Image: Walker Books

About the book:

Shadowhunter girlies, it’s time for the final book in The Last Hours trilogy to hit shelves. Cassie Clare’s beloved world is going on hiatus after Chain of Thorns wraps up the story of Cordelia Carstairs, Lucie Herondale and the Merry Thieves. We’re anticipating more demons, more twists, more star-crossed romance and *probably* a major character death at this point in the series. Hold onto your petticoats, it’s going to be a rough one.

Heads up: You might not want to read on if you don’t want any spoilers for this riveting Edwardian series.

In only a few short weeks, Cordelia Carstairs has seen her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble before her eyes. Even worse, she is now bound to an ancient demon, Lilith, stripping her of her power as a Shadowhunter.

After fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to forget her sorrows in the city’s glittering nightlife. But reality intrudes when shocking news comes from home: Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped the Adamant Citadel, and London is under a new threat by the Prince of Hell, Belial.

Cordelia returns to a London riven by chaos and dissent. The long-kept secret that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather has been revealed by an unexpected enemy, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion of dealings with demons. Cordelia longs to protect James, but is torn between a love for James she has long believed hopeless, and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. Nor can her friends help — ripped apart by their own secrets, they seem destined to face what is coming alone.

Release date: January 31

Where to buy: Amazon ($14) | Booktopia ($22.95) | Dymocks ($27.99) | QBD ($19.99)

The Stolen Heir by Holly Black

Image: HotKey

About the book:

Return to the world of Elfhame from The Folk of the Air series with this new story featuring an enemies-to-lovers romance, sexy fae and a cutthroat fantasy world.

Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.

Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, and the one person with power over her mother, Lady Nore, has fled to the human world. There, she lives feral in the woods, biding her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets. Suren is saved by none other than Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame, to whom she was once promised in marriage and who she has resented for years.

Now seventeen, Oak is charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He’s on a mission that will lead him into the north, and he wants Suren’s help. But if she agrees, it will mean guarding her heart against the boy she once knew and a prince she cannot trust, as well as confronting all the horrors she thought she left behind.

Release date: January 3

Where to buy: Amazon ($16) | Booktopia ($22.95) | Dymocks ($22.99) | eBay ($34.10) | QBD ($22.99)

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Image: Gollancz

About the book:

Fans of Leigh Bardugo won’t want to miss the exhilarating sequel to Ninth House, Hell Bent. Picking up where she last left off, Alex Stern is determined to venture into hell and save her friend Darlington, a preppy rich boy she can’t help but be attracted to. Perfect for fans of Holly Black‘s Book of Night and Olivie Blake‘s The Atlas Six.

Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory? Even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it.

Release date: January 10

Where to buy: Amazon ($16) | Booktopia ($22.50) | Dymocks ($24.99) | QBD ($22.99)

Best new fiction reads coming out this month

Compulsion by Kate Scott

Compulsion by Kate Scott
Image: Hamish Hamilton

About the book:

Compulsion is what happens when fictions enters the Y2K trend. This razor-sharp debut novel follows the life of Lucy, a music magazine editor who’s going through *a lot* RN. She’s got a stalker, a kinda sorta ex-husband and she’s having an affair with an ice-cold musician – y’know, the works! Like most of us are tempted to do when life gets a bit much, she’s said ‘adios’ to her old life and retreated to a remote town to start over.

Lucy, editor of a music magazine, is at the blazing neon centre, ecstatically seeking oblivion. But as her life veers from complicated to chaotic, she burns it all down to start anew in the remote seaside town of her childhood.

Past friends and compulsions reappear, along with new fascinations. One of them is Robin, photographer and lonely son of a famous producer. Recognising in each other a fellow exile and a rich source of distraction, they fall into step on daily rambles across the cliffs. Their charged conversations about music and philosophy function as both high-stakes flirtation and a stealth mechanism for understanding themselves, resulting in an intense bond that disarms them both.

Compulsion is a razor-sharp debut about the transcendence of new highs, the allure of new lows, and the relentless power of our obsessions. Music, sex, food, drugs, fashion and nature coalesce to overwhelm the senses on every page.

Release date: January 10

Where to buy: Amazon ($24.74) | Booktopia ($26.25) | Dymocks ($26.99) | QBD ($32.99)

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis
Image: Swift Press

About the book:

His first novel in 13 years, Bret Easton Ellis (who some might recognise as the author behind American Psycho) is back with another dark, psychological thriller. Prepare yourself for this sensational read about a group of privileged prep school boys exploring sex, jealousy, obsession and rage.

17-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends, even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equalled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with The Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence.

Can he trust his friends or his own mind to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires and buffeted by unhealthy fixations, Bret spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between The Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.

Release date: January 17

Where to buy: Amazon ($22.99) | Booktopia ($26.25) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($32.99)

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor

Age of Vice
Image: Fleet

About the book:

Where pleasure and power are everything, this is a story about family ties that kill. Full of dangerous gangsters, forbidden romance, fake friendships and corruption, Age of Vice will take you on a wild ride through the streets of India.

A speeding Mercedes jumps the kerb, and in the blink of an eye five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.

Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family-loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.

Release date: January 10

Where to buy: Amazon ($22.99) | Booktopia ($24.50) | Dymocks ($26.99) | QBD ($22.99)

Best new romance releases coming out this month

Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood

Image: Sphere

About the book:

You know her, you love her and if you’ve yet to jump on the Ali Hazelwood hype train, now’s your chance. For the first time ever, you can read three of her best short stories in a single volume.

This enemies-to-lovers collection includes Under One Roof, where an environmental scientist is stuck cohabiting with a big-oil lawyer; Stuck With You, a charming story where a civil engineer and her rival take their relationship to the next level after getting stuck in an elevator together; and Below Zero, featuring a stranded NASA aerospace engineer whose only hope for survival comes when her rival swoops in to rescue her from her remote Arctic research station.

Three irresistible short stories by the global phenomenon Ali Hazelwood, now available together in paperback for the first time, with an exclusive bonus chapter.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract, and rivals make you burn.

Release date: January 10

Where to buy: Amazon ($12) | Booktopia ($19.80) | Dymocks ($17.99) | QBD ($22.99)

Two Can Play That Game by Leanne Yong

Image: Allen & Unwin

About the book:

A wholesome YA romance about gaming? Shut up and take my money.

Sam Khoo has one goal in life: create cool indie games. She’s willing to do anything to make her dream come true – even throw away a scholarship to university. All she needs is a super-rare ticket to a game design workshop and she can kickstart her career.

So when Jay Chua, aka Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket, it’s war. Knowing how their Australian-Malaysian community works, Sam issues him an ultimatum: put the ticket on the line in a 1v1 competition of classic video games, or she’ll broadcast his duplicity to everyone. Thank you, Asian Gossip Network.

Meeting in neutral locations, away from the eyes and ears of nosy aunties and uncles, Sam and Jay connect despite themselves. It’s a puzzle that Sam’s not sure she wants to solve. But when her dream is under threat, will she discover that there is more than one way to win?

Release date: January

Where to buy: Amazon ($19.99) | Booktopia ($17.50) | Dymocks ($19.99) | QBD ($19.99)

The Matchmaker by Saman Shad

Image: Penguin Random House

About the book:

Saman Shad shines a spotlight on the desi community with this laugh-out-loud romcom about a modern matchmaker, who is desperate to save her business. It turns out nobody appreciates Saima’s efforts to bring couples together out of genuine compatibility, instead of class and religion. So when her finances start to plummet, she accepts a bold offer from a pair of rich parents who are desperate to see their son matched with someone from their culture. The only catch? Saima has to set him up while making it look like his own idea. Oh, and try not to fall in love with the handsome chap while she’s at it.

Saima knows that she’s a great matchmaker. She has the weekly wedding invitations to prove it. So why has her community started turning against her?

The desi community in Sydney has eyes, ears and mouths everywhere, and Saima’s feeling firsthand the impact gossip can have. Too modern, too focused on compatibility.

She’s about to pack it all up and move back in with her Ammy when an eligible bachelor’s wealthy parents show up at her door. They’re offering the biggest payday she’s had in years, but there’s a catch- she has to convince their son to accept her services without letting on that it’s his parents pulling the strings.

Release date: January 31

Where to buy: Booktopia ($26.25) | Dymocks ($32.99)