Past Tense

Vampires, Shipwrecks, and Natural Disasters

Hi historical fiction fans!

The coffee shops may be bringing back pumpkin spice early this year, but let’s not get it twisted: we’re not to fall quite yet. Considering we’re talking about vampires this week, I felt the need to remind you. But these new releases and recommendations are perfect for any time, trust me.

Have you ever wanted to be as up-to-date on new releases as the contributors here at Book Riot? Well, we might have just the thing you need. Book Riot’s New Release Index will keep you in the know about all the latest books. New books for days. Subscribe today — you won’t be able to read them all, but it’s fun to try! 

Bookish Goods

Green, blue, or purple bookmark with tassels and color-coded ombre sticky tabs for annotations

Annotation Bookmarks from Aethereal Books

These neat annotation bookmarks are perfect for readers who make a lot of notes while they read. Now you don’t need to worry about having sticky tabs handy — they’re right there on your bookmark! $10

New Releases

Vampires of El Norte Book Cover

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas (August 15, 2023)

Isabel Cañas wrote one of my favorite historical fiction novels last year, so I’m thrilled to see she’s back with another. In this supernatural western, a curandera and a vaquero are brought back together when the United States attacked Mexico in 1846. Though their reunion — and the causes for it — are shocking, it’s the creatures haunting the cavalry by night that truly plague them. Only if they can work through their past will they be able to come together to vanquish these creatures of the night.

Rage the Night Book Cover

Rage the Night by Donna Morrissey (August 29, 2023)

Based upon a tragedy that took place in Newfoundland in 1914, Rage the Night follows the story of a man searching for answers about his birth after a deathbed confession upends everything he thought he knew about himself. When his journey takes him across Newfoundland and aboard a rickety ship, his tale intersects with that of a historical disaster that still resonates to this day.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Speaking of historical disasters, here are two books that feature the immense strength and community required to weather natural disasters.

The Children's Blizzard book cover

The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

When a freak blizzard traps the unprepared schoolchildren of a Dakota territory schoolhouse, school teachers barely older than the children themselves are left to make terrifying decisions that will decide their fates. It’s a story of hardship, courage, and survival based on the accounts of survivors.

Outrun the Moon book cover

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

A girl attempting to fight her way out of poverty in Chinatown through admittance to an elite girl’s school finds herself trapped in a makeshift encampment after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake levels her home and school. What’s left of the city is on fire as girls wait to be collected by their families. But Mercy isn’t one for waiting. Even if she’s just a girl up against a natural disaster, she’s determined to do something to help.

That’s it for now, folks! Stay subscribed for more stories of yesteryear.

If you want to talk books, historical or otherwise, you can find me @rachelsbrittain on Goodreads, Instagram, and Litsy, my favorite bookish social media.

Right now I’m reading Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree. What about you?