In search of something good to read? USA TODAY's Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.

1. “The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires,” by Grady Hendrix (Quirk, fiction, on sale April 7)

What it’s about: A true crime-loving book club in Charleston, S.C., is on the case when a handsome new neighbor moves in and people start dying. The publisher pitches this one as “Steel Magnolias” meets “Dracula,” which is all the pitch anyone needs.

The buzz: “This powerful, eclectic novel both pays homage to the literary vampire canon and stands singularly within it,” says a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

2. “How Much of These Hills Is Gold,” by C Pam Zhang (Riverhead, fiction, on sale April 7)

What it’s about: Two orphaned immigrant siblings set off to bury their father during the twilight of the gold rush in a haunting adventure that blends Chinese symbolism with the American West.

The buzz: “In her debut novel… Zhang plainly cherishes the genre’s broad themes. Everything else that defines the Western gets run through a shredder,” says a ★★★ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.

More: 100 books to read while stuck at home during the coronavirus crisis

3. “Chosen Ones,” by Veronica Roth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, fiction on sale April 7)

What it’s about: Fifteen years ago, five teenagers singled out by a prophecy banded together to take down the Dark One. They saved the world, and everything went back to normal … for everyone except them. What becomes of heroes after they save the world? And what if it was never actually saved?

The buzz: “Roth makes a bold entrance to adult fantasy,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

4. “Conjure Women,” by Afia Atakora (Random House, fiction, on sale April 7)

What it’s about: This haunting story spans generations, before and after the Civil War, exploring the legacy of one Southern plantation and three women it spawned: Miss May Belle, a “conjure woman” renowned for her healing spells, her daughter and student Rue, and their master’s daughter, Varina.

More: 'Be good to each other': Alicia Keys discusses new memoir, shares hopeful messages amid coronavirus

The buzz: “Life in the immediate aftermath of slavery is powerfully rendered in this impressive first novel,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

5. “Afterlife,” by Julia Alvarez (Algonquin, fiction, on sale April 7)

What it’s about: Antonia Vega is left reeling after her husband’s sudden death – and then finds a pregnant, undocumented teenager from Mexico in her garage.

The buzz: “In this bighearted novel, family bonds heal a woman's grief,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
Read or Share this story: