As expected, almost immediately after I posted Part 1 of my most anticipated books of 2021, I started finding out about more and more amazing new book releases that are coming this year. Like my last post, these are from a variety of genres and they encompass both authors I’ve loved in the past and new-to-me authors, books I know a lot about and books I know almost nothing about. Hopefully you find some intriguing new reads on this list; I can’t wait until they are released and I can actually pick them up!
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers (anticipated release 2/16/21) – the fourth (and I think final) book in Chambers’s Wayfarers series, this was an automatic pre-order for me. The first book in this series, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, is one of my all-time favorite science fiction reads, so even though I was a bit underwhelmed by the third book in the series, I can’t wait to return to this universe.
Goodreads synopsis: With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop. At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through. When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other
The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck (anticipated release 2/16/21) – This book sounds really strange, fantastical, and unique; I haven’t heard very much about it, but I’m intrigued.
Goodreads synopsis: In a world just parallel to ours exists a mystical realm known only as the Gardens. It is a place where feasts never end, games of croquet have devastating consequences, and teenagers are punished for growing up. For a select group of Masters, it’s a decadent paradise where time stands still. For those who serve them, however, it’s a slow torture where their lives can be ended in a blink. In a bid to escape before their youth betrays them, Dora and Thistle–best friends and confidants–set out on a remarkable journey through time and space. Traveling between their world and ours, they hunt the one person who can grant them freedom. Along the way they encounter a mysterious traveler who trades in favors and never forgets debts, a crossroads at the center of the universe, our own world on the brink of war, and a traveling troupe of actors with the ability to unlock the fabric of reality.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (anticipated release 2/23/21) – This contemporary romance debut has been getting a lot of buzz (so much so that I ended up pre-ordering it), and I’m always looking for new romance authors to pick up.
Goodreads synopsis: With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that. This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows. In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (anticipated release 3/2/21) – Ishiguro wrote one of my favorite books of a few years ago, Never Let Me Go, and his lyrical writing style never disappoints. I still have several of his backlist titles on my TBR, but this new release sounds like it returns to the themes of Never Let Me Go and I’m thinking I’ll need to prioritize it.
Goodreads synopsis: Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane (anticipated release 5/4/21) – I’ve rapidly become a huge fan of McFarlane after loving If I Never Met You, and I’m currently reading another one of hers, Don’t You Forget About Me. I love her writing style and well-developed, lovable protagonists, and I’m really interested in the somewhat vague synopsis of this one because it sounds like it could go in a lot of different directions.
Goodreads synopsis: Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too. But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever. In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction… They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (anticipated release 5/4/21) – I was really blown away by the resonance of Solomon’s The Deep and An Unkindness of Ghosts, and I’m very interested to pick up anything from fae moving forward.
Goodreads synopsis: Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes. To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He (anticipated release 5/4/21) – This book sounds absolutely fascinating. Very cool premise and a gorgeous cover.
Goodreads synopsis: Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her. STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Switch by A.S. King (anticipated release 5/11/21) – King wrote one of my all-time favorite YA books, I Crawl Through It, and I’ve been kicking myself for not picking up more from her yet. I love how weird this book sounds, particularly as the surrealism of I Crawl Through It was one of my favorite parts.
Goodreads synopsis: Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch (Tru lives in Box #7). Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to Tru at school is when she discovers (on her first try) that she can throw a javelin farther than any human has ever thrown anything before in human history.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall (anticipated release 5/18/21) – I’m so happy to see that Alexis Hall has a new book coming out, since Boyfriend Material was my favorite romance of 2020. This sounds really cute, and is one of many baking contest-related contemporary romances coming out in 2021 for some reason (I guess because of the popularity of The Great British Baking Show?).
Goodreads synopsis: Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show. Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires. Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.
Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley (anticipated release 5/25/21) – I love that there’s a book coming out with a bookstagrammer main character. I can’t not read this one.
Goodreads synopsis: Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential Bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book. But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver. With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?
The Chosen and the Beautiful by (anticipated release 6/1/21) – Super interested to see how this take on The Great Gatsby plays out; it sounds really fantastic.
Goodreads synopsis: Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross (anticipated release 7/20/21) – This is the third book in Cross’s newest paranormal romance series that focuses on witch sisters charged with protecting New Orleans, and returns to the witch/werewolf dynamic after the last book featured a witch and a vampire.
Goodreads synopsis: Violet Savoie has a plan. A dream, rather. To open her own tattoo shop, which caters to supernaturals in need of permanent charms. As a powerful Seer, she has the potent magic to cast every kind of spell. Except the kind to give werewolves control over their beastly side. And her business partner Nico needs help in the worst kind of way. Nico Cruz has a secret. A motive, rather. To subtly stalk and seduce Violet until she finally recognizes they are fated to be together. Ever since their heated encounter in Austin on New Year’s Eve two years earlier, he’s been dying to get his hands—and his tongue—back on her body. He knows a woman like Violet can’t be courted in the usual way. Luckily, Nico has no scruples about misbehaving to get what he wants. But when his former pack roams into town, and an old friend is far too interested in Violet, his focus shifts to the threat venturing into his territory. Nico may come across as the quiet, broody one, but the intruders are about to regret stepping foot in New Orleans. And when Violet goes missing, no charm or spell can keep Nico’s wolf at bay.
Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian (anticipated release 7/20/21) – Not exactly my typical genre, but this feminist retelling of Arthurian mythology sounds really appealing.
Goodreads synopsis: Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future. On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic. When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle. As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way
All’s Well by Mona Awad (anticipated release 8/3/21) – Since Awad’s Bunny is my NEW FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME, I’m obviously going to pick up anything she comes out with in the future. I think I’ll need to do a Shakespeare refresher before picking this one up, though, as I hate missing references.
Goodreads synopsis: Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers. That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known. With prose Margaret Atwood has described as “no punches pulled, no hilarities dodged…genius,” Mona Awad has concocted her most potent, subversive novel yet. All’s Well is the story of a woman at her breaking point and a formidable, piercingly funny indictment of our collective refusal to witness and believe female pain.
Battle Royal by Lucy Parker (anticipated release 8/17/21) – Lucy Parker is one of the great romance authors i discovered in 2020, and I’ve really been enjoying her London Celebrities series. But now she’s starting a new series, and this one also focuses on a baking competition (again, apparently a theme in 2021) and sounds really fun.
Goodreads synopsis: Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess. Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple. When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they’re both determined to come out on top. The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection. In this royal battle, can there be room for two?
Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore (anticipated release 9/2/21) – Dunmore is one of my favorite historical romance writers; I love her almost Austen-esque style. I’ve read the first two books in this series that focuses on a group of women fighting for the right to vote in England, and I cannot wait for the third.
Goodreads synopsis: London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted “just” three things in life:
1. Acclaim as an artist.
2. A noble cause.
3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman.
Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain’s peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she’s stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions….When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old revenge, he has no room for his new wife’s apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her. But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything—as long as she is prepared to lose her heart.
Did any of these books make your TBR for 2021? Let me know in the comments!