March 2020 Book Releases by Black Writers
1. Pale Colors in a Tall Field by Carl Phillips (Expected Publication Date 3/3/2020)
Carl Phillips's new poetry collection, Pale Colors in a Tall Field, is a meditation on the intimacies of thought and body as forms of resistance. The poems are both timeless and timely, asking how we can ever truly know ourselves in the face of our own remembering and inevitable forgetting. Here, the poems metaphorically argue that memory is made up of various colors, with those most prominent moments in a life seeming more vivid, though the paler colors are never truly forgotten. The poems in Pale Colors in a Tall Field approach their points of view kaleidoscopically, enacting the self's multiplicity and the difficult shifts required as our lives, in turn, shift. This is one of Phillips's most tender, dynamic, and startling books yet.
2. These Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card (Expected Publication Date 3/3/2020)
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
3. On the Corner of Hope and Main: A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins (Expected Publication Date 3/3/2020)
Trent July has been the mayor of this historic town for the past four years, but now he’s ready to let someone else take up the mantle. Barrett Payne, a former Marine, decides he wants the job. But when a surprise candidate also enters the ring, the town has opinions on who would be the best candidate.
And of course that’s not the only drama, as Malachi “Mal” July continues to make reparations for the damage he’s caused and to the people he’s betrayed, especially his lady love Bernadine. Is she finally ready to forgive him and let the past go?
As the residents of Henry Adams have learned, life will throw obstacles their way, but it’s how they come together and rise above these challenges that keep the bonds of their close-knit community strong.
4. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewel Parker Rhodes (Expected Publication Date 3/3/2020)
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.
5. The City We Became by N.K. Jemmison (Expected Publication Date 3/3/2020)
Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
6. Un-nappily in Love by Trisha R. Thomas (Expected Publication Date 3/10/2020)
Venus is ecstatic about her husband’s new career as a movie star thanks to a role in a searing romantic drama with costar Sirena Lassiter. That is, until Venus learns Jake and Sirena’s relationship goes back further than Jake wants to admit. Venus isn’t happy when the new “It” team’s hectic promotion schedule takes them to exotic locations while she must stay behind with a business to run and a daughter to raise. However, it’s not long before Venus senses danger. When she receives advice from her one-time archenemy, Trevelle Doval, the queen of late-night evangelical television, Venus, in her trademark style, decides to save her marriage by any means necessary. But when the paparazzi get involved, all hell breaks loose. Will Venus be able to keep her man or has she lost Jake forever?
7. Nappily in Bloom by Trisha R. Thomas (Expected Publication Date 3/10.2020)
Airic and his famous televangelist wife, Trevelle Doval, make the evening news when Airic is accused of domestic battery and his life is suddenly turned upside down. But when Venus and Jake try to suspend Airic’s visitation rights with Mya, they discover that Airic isn’t willing to go down without a fight.
Meanwhile, Jake’s best friend, Legend, turns up on his doorstep with trouble not far behind. The past is back with a vengeance, including blackmail, murder and enemies who are looking for payback. But everything takes a dangerous new turn when Venus goes missing. For Jake it’s now a race against time to save the woman he loves.
8. A Pheonix Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Gril Magic, Resistance, and Hope Edited by Patrice Caldwell (Expected Publication Date 3/10/2020)
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.
9. So We Can Glow: Stories by Lessa Cross-Smith (Expected Publication Date 3/10/2020)
From Kentucky to the California desert, these forty-two short stories expose the glossy and matte hearts of girls and women in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more.
Teenage girls sneak out on a summer night to meet their boyfriends by the train tracks. A woman escapes suffocating grief through a vivid fantasy life. Members of a cult form an unsettling chorus as they extol their passion for the same man. A love story begins over cabbages in a grocery store. A laundress' life is consumed by obsession for a famous baseball player. Two high school friends kiss all night and binge-watch Winona Ryder movies after the death of a sister.
Leesa Cross-Smith's sensuous stories will drench readers in nostalgia for summer nights and sultry days, the intense friendships of teenage girls, and the innate bonds felt between women. She evokes the pangs of loss and motherhood, the headiness and destructive potential of desire, and the pure exhilaration of being female. The stories in So We Can Glow--some long, some gone in a flash, some told over text and emails--take the wild hearts of girls and women and hold them up so they can catch the light.
10. The Case of the Missing Hello House: A BeBe Barber Mystery by Denene Milner (Expected Publication Date 3/17/2020)
11. Lakewood by Megan Giddings (Expected Publication Date 3/24/2020)
When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, and the full extent of the family debt is revealed, the black millennial drops out of college to support her family and takes a job in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan.
On paper, her new job is too good to be true. High paying. No out of pocket medical expenses. A free place to live. All Lena has to do is participate in a secret program—and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood. An eye drop that makes brown eyes blue, a medication that could be a cure for dementia, golden pills promised to make all bad thoughts go away.
The discoveries made in Lakewood, Lena is told, will change the world—but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. As the truths of the program reveal themselves, Lena learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family.
Provocative and thrilling, Lakewood is a breathtaking novel that takes an unflinching look at the moral dilemmas many working-class families face, and the horror that has been forced on black bodies in the name of science.
12. It's not all Downhill from Here by Terry McMillian (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she's going to do with the rest of her life--from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale
Loretha Curry's life is full. A little crowded sometimes, but full indeed. On the eve of her sixty-eighth birthday, she has a booming beauty-supply empire, a gaggle of lifelong friends, and a husband whose moves still surprise. True, she's carrying a few more pounds than she should be, but Loretha is not one of those women who think her best days are behind her--and she's determined to prove wrong her mother, her twin sister, and everyone else with that outdated view of aging wrong. It's not all downhill from here.
But when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down, Loretha will have to summon all her strength, resourcefulness, and determination to keep on thriving, pursue joy, heal old wounds, and chart new paths. With a little help from her friends, of course.
13. Across the Way by Mary Monroe (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
Neighborhood tensions reach a breaking point in the finale of New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe's captivating series that sweeps readers back to 1930's Alabama and into the lives of two neighboring couples whose deceitful friendships and imperfect marriages are just the beginning of their troubles...
14. The Inheritance by Rochelle Alers (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
Corporate attorney Hannah DuPont-Lowell always pictured herself returning to New Orleans to retire just not yet. But after her Manhattan company abruptly lays off its staff, there's no better place to figure out a next move than the porch of her plantation-style home.
Nestled in the stunning Garden District, the DuPont House has been in Hannah's family for two centuries. With its eighteen rooms and two guesthouses, it's far more home than widowed Hannah needs. Still, it could make a wonderful inn, especially if she can convince her friends and former coworkers Tonya, Jasmine, and Nydia to join in the venture. But in the meantime, Hannah has a high school reunion to attend.
College professor St. John McNair, Hannah's one-time classmate, is still the finest guy in any room. Between Hannah's willowy, blonde beauty, and his uncanny resemblance to Marvin Gaye, they make a striking pair. And gradually, their rekindled friendship moves toward romance. Still, Hannah is too bruised by her late husband's infidelities to trust a man again. But her friends' arrival and encouragement just might show her a path through uncertainty straight to a vibrant, joyful new life
15. Saving her Shadow by Lutisha Lovely (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
When eighteen-year-old Raina Reed is given an ultimatum--her family or her first love--she chooses the latter, leaves the rigid cult community she's grown up in and finds herself shunned, ex-communicated . . . ghosted. Not seeing her parents is tolerable. Raina is happy for more time with her sweet, talented boyfriend Bryce, and enjoys the freedom found in living with him, his free-spirited cousin, Jackie, and Jackie's mom Valerie, a struggling attorney. But her heart breaks at the thought of not seeing her baby sister. Abby is ten years younger and they've never spent one day apart--until now.
While Raina embraces her new life, she can't shake her concern about Abby, especially when a lingering illness worsens and her parents refuse to seek medical help. Raina is determined to break through the religious rules that stand in the way of her sister's well-being. Drawing on her new family and support system, including chanting, angel-card reading Jackie, justice-seeking Valerie, loving Bryce--and his eccentric, praying grandmother--Raina finds her own kind of faith, one built on a love strong enough to move mountains
16. The Essence of Perfection by Nita Brooks (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
Among the uber-famous, she’s the most highly sought-after fragrance maker—and a well-kept secret. But designing a scent for pop’s newest superstar could take Nicola King and her family’s business from elite to downright legendary. Of course, mystery is part of Nicola’s brand—so no one knows she’s actually an over-cautious person who always puts her own life on permanent hold. Until her ultra-personal list of regrets is accidentally put on a social media blast—and she’s challenged to go after everything she really wants . . .
From finding a hobby to reconnecting with a family member, Nicola’s getting some surprising results. But when she reveals her deepest, darkest secret of all to her troubled sister, the fallout threatens her budding romance, her career, and her reputation. Now between ambition, heartbreak, and hard truths, Nicola must risk the courage to fix the damage—and decide what success truly means
17. Influence by Carl Weber (Expected Publication Date 3/31/2020)
When famed attorney Bradley Hudson learns of his youngest son Langston’s arrest for drug trafficking, he immediately assembles a team of lawyers and investigators, including members of his own family, to build a defense. With his reputation for being a shark in the courtroom, Bradley is confident he will get justice for his son—until he realizes he will be going up against an old foe, Assistant District Attorney James Brown. Is the ADA allowing his personal history with the Hudsons to influence his handling of the prosecution?