Category Archives: TBR

June TBR

Since it’s June, aka Pride Month, I’ve decided to focus on reading books featuring LGBTQIA+ authors and/or main characters. I’m really happy with the TBR stack that I’ve put together, but with my mood-reading tendencies and the many great books to choose from, who knows what will happen!

Books from my physical TBR shelf I’d love to get to:

The Weight of the StarsOne Last StopWhen the Moon Was OursPlain Bad HeroinesThe Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4)Olympia Knife

2 of these are from my Top 10 2021 TBR (When the Moon was Ours and Plain Bad Heroines); 2 are highly anticipated 2021 releases (One Last Stop and the Becky Chambers).

Audiobooks/ebooks:

Detransition, BabySomebody's DaughterThe Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits, #1)

 

Are any of these on your list for June?

Reading Tracking Experiment!

So last week, when I was participating in 2 simultaneous week-long readathons, I noticed a definite uptick in my reading productivity, as well as a corresponding reduction in stress since I was channeling a lot of my spare time and thoughts into books. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could duplicate the reading productivity and stress-reducing aspects of a readathon without an actual readathon going on the week afterwards, by self-tracking my reading day to day without any prompts or the social aspects of a readathon. I wasn’t sure whether it would be something I would be able to stick to, whether I’d lose interest, or whether tracking my daily reading would make me feel better or worse about the amount of reading I was getting done, but I thought I’d find it at least kind of interesting nonetheless. And I did!

So, here are my day-to-day stats for my week-long reading tracking experiment. It was a pretty typical work week (aka fairly busy), with a good amount of friends/family time on the weekend, so I think it was a pretty good snapshot of what I can achieve reading-wise when I actually keep track and push myself a bit. I didn’t try to make myself read anything in particular, and instead mostly started out by continuing books I’d started during the readathons last week.

Day 1

Pages read: 14% of Neon Gods (eARC), 20 pages of Honey Girl, 112 pages of The Body Myth

Books started: Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Books finished: None

Day 2

Pages read: 64 pages of The Body Myth, 22 pages of Riot Baby, 13 pages of Hummingbird Salamander

Books started: Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuychi, Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer

Books finished: The Body Myth

Day 3

Pages read: 92 pages of Riot Baby, 17 pages of Hummingbird Salamander

Books started: None

Books finished: None

Day 4

Pages read: 60 pages of Riot Baby

Books started: None

Books finished: Riot Baby

Day 5

Pages read: 56 pages of Honey Girl, 1 hour of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake on audiobook

Books started: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Books finished: None

Day 6

Pages read: 33 pages of Honey Girl, 1/2 hour of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake on audiobook

Books started: None

Books finished: None

Day 7

Pages read: 76 pages of Honey Girl, 20 pages of Act Your Age, Eve Brown, 5 1/2 hours of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake on audiobook

Books started: None

Books finished: Honey Girl

As you can see, I did pretty well! I managed to read and/or listen to at least something every day, I read from a variety of books, and I was actually able to finish some of them. Let’s take a look at my overall stats for the week as well:

Reading experiment wrap-up stats:

Total pages read: 913 pages

Total books finished: 3

The Body MythRiot BabyHoney Girl by Morgan Rogers

Books started, but not finished: 4

Neon Gods (Dark Olympus, #1)Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (Winner Bakes All, #1)Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)Hummingbird Salamander

So, my reading experiment week ended up being very similarly productive compared to my readathon-laden previous week (last week I read a total of 986 pages and finished 4 books, only slightly more than this week). I still felt motivated and enjoyed tracking myself, and I think that in itself helped inspire me to read more than I would in a typical week, even without an official readathon going on.

I had fun doing my reading experiment this week (even though I’m pretty sure no one but me will actually find this interesting!) and I’m actually considering repeating the experiment next week to see whether or not I can keep up the momentum. We’ll see!

Most Anticipated Books of 2021, Part 3

I’m back again with part 3 of ? of my most anticipated book releases of 2021!

I’d love to have been more organized with talking about all of these fantastic-sounding books, but I hear about different books at different times, thus the 3 (so far…) posts about them. A few of these books have already been released, because I was late hearing about them and still wanted to highlight their awesomeness (and because I still haven’t read them yet, either), but most are coming out sometime in the next few months. (Apologies in advance for helping your TBR grow exponentially.) They’re listed in order of release date, and I’ve included links and Goodreads synopses for more info. Enjoy!

 

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap (release date 2/9/21) – I’m a huge fan of short story collections, and this one sounds gorgeous and intriguing; it’s also published by Kelly Link’s indie press, and I’ve loved several of their previous releases.

Goodreads synopsis: Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, “A Spell for Foolish Hearts” to the terrifying tension of the urban legend “Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.”

 

The Centaur's Wife

The Centaur’s Wife by Amanda Leduc (release date 2/16/21) – After reading Amanda LeDuc’s nonfiction work Disfigured (which is part memoir and part discussion of the portrayal of disability in fairy tales) this month, I’m really interested to check out her fiction.

Goodreads synopsis: Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived. But the mountain that looms over the city is still green–somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Heather is one of the few who know the mountain, a place city-dwellers have always been forbidden to go. Her dad took her up the mountain when she was a child on a misguided quest to heal her legs, damaged at birth. The tragedy that resulted has shaped her life, bringing her both great sorrow and an undying connection to the deep magic of the mountain, made real by the beings she and her dad encountered that day: Estajfan, a centaur born of sorrow and of an ancient, impossible love, and his two siblings, marooned between the magical and the human world. Even as those in the city around her–led by Tasha, a charismatic doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife and other refugees–struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting.

In the Quick

In the Quick by Kate Hope Day (anticipated release 3/2/21) – I still haven’t read the other Kate Hope Day book that’s on my TBR (If, Then), but this one sounds too good to skip over.

Goodreads synopsis: June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.

She seeks out James, her uncle’s former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry’s fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell’s fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create–and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.

Equal parts gripping narrative of scientific discovery and charged love story, In the Quick is an exploration of the strengths and limits of human ability in the face of hardship and the costs of human ingenuity. At its beating heart are June and James, whose love for each other is eclipsed only by their drive to conquer the challenges of space travel.

 

I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories

I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-Young (anticipated release 4/6/21) – Another short story collection, and one that includes science fiction!

Goodreads synopsis: One of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.

In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.

In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?

 

Madam

Madam by Phoebe Wynne (release date 5/18/21) – I’ve realized that dark academia is a subgenre that really works for me, and I’ve found myself adding any book that seems like it fits the category to my TBR.

Goodreads synopsis: For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.

 

Somebody's Daughter

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford (release date 6/1/21) – I don’t generally include much nonfiction on my most anticipated lists, which is strange since I do read a good amount of it, and I’m hearing quite a bit of buzz about this one.

Goodreads synopsis: For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. Despite having only vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes he’s the only person in the entire world who understands her. She thinks she understands him too. He’s sensitive like her, an artist, and maybe even just as afraid of the dark. She’s certain that one day they’ll be reunited again, and she’ll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there.

Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates; when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley finally finds out why her father is in prison. And that’s where the story really begins.

Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.

 

The Wolf and the Woodsman

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (release date 6/8/21) – I love any kind of dark fairytale/folklore retelling, and I badly want to set aside my TBR to pick this one up ASAP.

Goodreads synopsis: In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

 

For the Wolf (Wilderwood, #1)

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten (release date 6/15/21) – see above, with dark fairytale retellings. Lots of buzz about this one, which I believe is YA but am not 100% sure; it might be more of a crossover.

Goodreads synopsis: For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

 

It Happened One Summer

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (anticipated release July 13th) – I’ve been picking up a lot of contemporary romance this year, and I’m quite liking the sound of this one, from an author I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Goodreads synopsis: Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

 

Notes from the Burning Age

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North (release date 7/20/21) – The synopsis of this one is pretty vague, but definitely intriguing. I’ve yet to read anything by Claire North, but this may be my opportunity.

Goodreads synopsis: Once, we lived through the Burning Age—the time when we cared so little for the world that it went up in flames. It was a punishment. But it was also a gift, and centuries of peace followed.

Once, Ven was a holy man, studying texts from the ashes of the past, sorting secrets from heresies. But when he gets caught up in the political scheming of the Brotherhood, he finds himself in the middle of a war, fueled by old knowledge and forbidden ambition.

There was a time when the world burned. Now, some want to set the fire again . . .

 

The Love Hypothesis

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (anticipated release 9/14/21) – I love a good fake dating romance, and the title of this one makes me think of favorite The Kiss Quotient, which is hopefully a good sign.

Goodreads synopsis: As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

 

Light From Uncommon Stars

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (anticipated release 9/28) – Possibly the book on this list I’m most excited for. It sounds completely unique while also being compared to two books I absolutely loved; I’ve already added it to my wish list.

Goodreads synopsis: Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

 

The Ex Hex (Ex Hex, #1)

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (anticipated release 10/5/21) – I used to read tons of paranormal romance, but have been having trouble finding good books in the genre in recent years. This is one of a few witchy books coming out in the fall that’s caught my eye.

Goodreads synopsis: Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

 

Payback's a Witch

Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper (anticipated release 10/5/21) – See above! Really liking this witch romance trend.

Goodreads synopsis: Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

 

Comfort Me With Apples

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente (anticipated release 10/26/21) – Valente is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I expect this novella to be as fantastic and unique as everything else I’ve read from her so far.

Goodreads synopsis: Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect. It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect. But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?

 

All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #2)

All the Feels by Olivia Dade (anticipated release 10/26/21) – I really enjoyed Dade’s fandom-heavy contemporary romance Spoiler Alert last year, and we got introduced to All the Feels’s main couple in that one; it’ll be great to return to that world again.

Goodreads synopsis: Following Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade returns with another utterly charming romantic comedy about a devil-may-care actor—who actually cares more than anyone knows—and the no-nonsense woman hired to keep him in line.

Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.

Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.

When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.

 

All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains, #1)

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman (anticipated release 11/9/21) – True, I’ve been picking up less YA lately, but this one sounds too strange and interesting not to pick up.

Goodreads synopsis: After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet–a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

 

 

 

What books are you looking forward to in the rest of 2021? Did any of these make your list, and what books do you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

May TBR

My TBR for May is looking like it’s going to mainly consist of my current reads, carried over from April. I’m not yet sure exactly where I want my reading to go after I finish those, but I do have a few ideas.

Current reads I need to finish:

Writers & LoversAct Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)Thin GirlsBroken (in the best possible way)

Writers & Lovers and Thin Girls (both contemporary literary fiction) were two of my most anticipated 2020 releases; Act Your Age, Eve Brown (contemporary romance) and Broken (memoir/essay collection) are two of my most anticipated releases of 2021.

Re-reads:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

I absolutely loved the Netflix adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, Shadow & Bone, and after I finished watching it I found myself really wanting to reread Six of Crows. I’ve barely started my re-read, and I love remembering how much I love this book.

New-to-me reads:

Writing into the Wound: Understanding trauma, truth, and languageHow the Blessed LiveLikes

I temporarily got a Scribd subscription so that I could listen to the audio of Roxane Gay’s essay Writing Into the Wound, which is only about an hour long but I’m sure is just as fantastic as Gay’s other work. And I also want to pick up a book from my Top 10 2021 TBR; I think I’m leaning towards short indie novel Where the Blessed Live. I’d like to pick up a short story collection as well; I’m leaning towards Likes by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum.

March TBR

I keep telling myself I’m going to step away from making TBRs, since I’m a mood reader at heart, but then I somehow end up setting a TBR anyways because at the start of the month I’ll be just beginning a whole new set of books and want to talk about them. My TBR for March has unintentionally become very fantasy-heavy, which is interesting because in Feb I gravitated the most towards nonfiction and in January mainly contemporary fiction and romance. Am I somehow accidentally focusing on certain genres every month? That would have been a really cool yearly reading goal if I’d actually planned on doing that.

Anyways, here’s what I’m thinking for March! I’ve sort of loosely organized the books into categories that they sort of fit.

Books from reading challenges (Top 10 TBR for 2021 and/or TBR shelf poll): I’m trying to pick up at least 1 book per month from my Top 10 TBR for 2021 list (so that I don’t fall behind and have to read them all in November/December like last year) and hope to continue that streak with Black Sun. Black Sun also won a TBR shelf poll I did over on my Bookstagram account where I had people vote for the book from my shelf they thought I should pick up next; that also turned into a whole other TBR challenge where I decided to try to read as many of the recommended books as possible before the end of the year. One of those is And Again by Jessica Chiarella, which I’ve actually already started and am enjoying so far. I’m also really glad to be picking it up finally, since I think it’s been on my shelf for about 5 years now.

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)And Again

2021 releases (new releases and/or eARC): One of my most anticipated books of 2021, A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas, came out in Feb and I’m kind of surprised I haven’t finished it already. I’m about 70 pages in and definitely enjoying returning to the world, but haven’t yet been in the mood to sit down and really immerse myself in the book; I assume I’ll do that in March. I also want to get to a NetGalley eARC, Malice, which is a Sleeping Beauty retelling.

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)Malice

Other books I really want to read: I wanted to start a new short story collection immediately after I finished What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi last month, and I chose Tender by Sofia Samatar, an SFF collection that was nominated for several awards. I also want to pick up one of my Book of the Month selections this month (I’m trying to do the Book of the Month challenge, and to win you need to read at least 12 2020 or 2021 picks over the course of a year), and I’m leaning towards Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, which I keep hearing great things about.

TenderTranscendent Kingdom

Most Anticipated 2021 Book Releases, Part 2

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 (Wayfarers, #4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: A Novel

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

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 (Stay a Spell, #3)

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

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

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

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 (A League of Extraordinary Women, #3)

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!

Romance Reads on my 2021 TBR!

In 2020, I read more romance than I think I ever have in previous years; the promise of an HEA (happily ever after) was something that was much-needed last year for me and for many readers who found ourselves turning to the romance genre. As I’ve been thinking about my reading going into 2021, I’ve been thinking a lot about what romance books I’m interested in picking up and focusing on this year, particularly since I discovered so many great new-to-me books and authors in 2020. To help myself keep track of all the awesome-sounding romance books on my radar to pick up this year, I figured I’d go ahead and organize them for myself here. It’s a mixture of 2021 releases and backlist titles, because as I discover more new-to-me romance authors I generally also start looking into their backlists.

Romance authors I can’t wait to read more from:

Mhairi McFarlane (I loved If I Never Met You)

Don't You Forget About MeJust Last Night

Lucy Parker (after I read The Austen Playbook, I want to read all of the books in her London Celebrities series)

Act Like It (London Celebrities, #1)Headliners (London Celebrities, #5)

Tessa Dare (tied for my most-read author of 2020!)

The Bride Bet (Girl Meets Duke, #4)Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5; Castles Ever After, #4)A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2)

Evie Dunmore (Bringing Down the Duke was the first historical romance I really liked, and got me on board with the subgenre)

A Rogue of One's Own (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2)Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women, #3)

Previously read and loved romance authors who have new books coming out in 2021:

Alisha Rai (Modern Love and Forbidden Hearts series), Sally Thorne (The Hating Game), Casey McQuiston (Red, White, and Royal Blue), Emily Henry (Beach Read), Talia Hibbert (Take a Hint, Dani Brown), Juliette Cross (Wolf Gone Wild)

First Comes Like (Modern Love, #3)Second First ImpressionsOne Last StopPeople We Meet on VacationAct Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)Witches Get Stitches (Stay a Spell, #3)

Historical romance authors I really want to get into in 2021:

I’ve heard really good things about Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean, and Stacy Reid.

The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)My Darling Duke (Sinful Wallflowers, #1)

Backlist romance reads I’m intrigued by:

The Simple Wild (Wild, #1)Fables & Other Lies

2021 releases from new-to-me authors:

Talk Bookish to Me: A NovelSweethand (Island Bites, #1)Honey Girl

 

What romance reads are on your TBR for 2021?

Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2021 (Part 1)

It’s that time of year again, when the year starts to wind down, new book releases become more and more sparse, and I start to look ahead at all of the shiny new releases coming in the next year. I started compiling this list awhile ago and it has absolutely exploded since then, as I’ve heard about more and more enticing new releases coming in 2021. This is not at all an exhaustive list–it’s a very specific one consisting of all the books I’m personally excited for, and that I hope will interest you too. Like previous years, there are a lot of past favorite authors represented on this list, but there are also a bunch of new-to-me authors that I’m intrigued by. And genre-wise, we’re all over the place, which is exactly how I like it.

I’ve included links to the Goodreads pages as well as synopses for all of these so that you can see if you want to add them to your TBR as well; you can also check out my 2021 shelf on Goodreads (feel free to add me on there if you haven’t already). One more caveat–I limited the list this time to books that already have both covers and release dates, since there were already SO MANY to choose from, and there will definitely be a Part 2 list coming when I’ve accumulated enough new options. (And although I’ve organized them in order of anticipated release date, all release dates are subject to change–a TON of release dates got switched around in 2020, and I’m assuming there may be some of that in 2021 as well).

Let’s get ready for 2021!

 

Lore

Lore by Alexandra Bracken (anticipated release 1/5/21) – I’ve never read anything from this author before, but as a huge fan of Greek mythology, I’ve been searching for a mythology-related fiction book that I could really get into. I was lucky enough to be approved for this eARC via NetGalley, so my review should be up before too long. Gorgeous cover, too.

Goodreads synopsis: Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths. Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods. The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Blood Heir (Kate Daniels World #1; Kate Daniels #10.5)

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (anticipated release 1/12/21) – I don’t want to post the synopsis for this one, since it’ll probably spoil some aspect of its predecessor series (the Kate Daniels series, my all-time favorite UF/PNR). Suffice it to say that our main character this time is one of the side characters from the Kate Daniels world, and although Ilona Andrews has been self-publishing this on their blog for months now, I’ve been waiting to read it until it’s been edited and compiled into a full volume. I cannot WAIT to check in with some of my favorite characters and see what’s going on in this post-magic-apocalypse world.

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6)

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release 1/12/21) – I’ve loved every installment in McGuire’s Wayward children series, portal fantasy focused on teens who enter and sometimes are rejected from magical worlds, and I’m hoping that this one lives up to the rest.

Goodreads synopsis: Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late. When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes. But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

A History of What Comes Next (Take Them to the Stars, #1)

A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel (anticipated release 2/2/21) – I enjoyed Neuvel’s scifi novel Sleeping Giants and loved his creative novella The Test, and I’m intrigued by this first-contact historical SF concept.

Goodreads synopsis: Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race. But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes. A darkly satirical first contact thriller, as seen through the eyes of the women who make progress possible and the  men who are determined to stop them…

The Bride Bet (Girl Meets Duke, #4)

The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare (anticipated release 2/9/21) – I really dove into historical romance in 2020, and although I still can’t bring myself to love most of the covers, Tessa Dare was one of the writers that really got me through this rough year. This is the fourth book in her Girl Meets Duke quartet, which I’ve really been enjoying so far, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in historical romance but don’t know where to start.

Goodreads synopsis: Once upon a time, two sworn enemies – the bookish daughter of a scholar and the devilish heir to a duke – made a pact: If they were both still single in ten years, they would marry each other. It was a joke, Nicola thought. A duchess? Her? But when the Duke of Westleigh returns a decade later, he’s serious. He needs an heir, so he’s holding her to their marriage bargain—diamond ring, lavish gown, engagement ball, and more. Nothing Nicola says can dissuade him. When she calls him arrogant, he praises her honesty. When she makes social stumbles, he catches her fall. And when she gets exasperated, the duke can’t seem to get enough. For reasons she can’t fathom, he claims that no other woman will do. He’s betting he can change her mind, with logic and passion. She’s betting she can change his mind, just by being herself. And as the clock ticks down to a wedding day, neither is counting on losing their heart.

First Comes Like (Modern Love, #3)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai (anticipated release 2/16/21) – This is the third installment in Rai’s Modern Love series, and since she’s one of my absolute favorite romance authors, this one is at the top of my TBR. Luckily, I was approved for an eARC via NetGalley, so I’ll be reading and reviewing this one soon. The main character is also one of my favorite side characters who’s appeared in several past books.

Goodreads synopsis: Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast. There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is. The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her… When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?

 

The Echo Wife

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (anticipated release 2/16/21) – I enjoyed Gailey’s contemporary fantasy Magic for Liars, and am very curious about this scifi thriller.

Goodreads synopsis: Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

 

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas (release date 2/16/21) – I’m not going to lie, Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series is one of my favorite fantasy/romance series, and although I’m not the biggest fan of Nesta from previous books (I’m not the biggest fan of either of Feyre’s sisters after how they treated her), I’m still looking forward to the reappearance of other favorite characters. And who knows–maybe Maas can pull off a great redemption arc for Nesta. Anything is possible?

The Russian Cage (Gunnie Rose #3)

The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris (anticipated release 2/23/21) – This is the third installment in Harris’s Gunnie Rose series, which is a sort of fantastical alternate universe Western featuring a tough, gunslinging protagonist. I really liked the first book An Easy Death, but was let down by its sequel; I’m hoping I enjoy this one more than I did its predecessor.

Burning Girls and Other Stories

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes (anticipated release 3/2/21) – this weird, fabulist short story collection sounds like it’s right up my alley; when Kelly Link is cited as a readalike, I generally have to pick it up.

Goodreads synopsis: When we came to America, we brought anger and socialism and hunger. We also brought our demons. In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center. This debut collection introduces readers to a fantasist in the vein of Karen Russell and Kelly Link, with a voice all her own. Emma Goldman—yes, that Emma Goldman—takes tea with the Baba Yaga and truths unfold inside of exquisitely crafted lies. In “Among the Thorns,” a young woman in seventeenth century Germany is intent on avenging the brutal murder of her peddler father, but discovers that vengeance may consume all that it touches. In the showstopping, awards finalist title story, “Burning Girls,” Schanoes invests the immigrant narrative with a fearsome fairytale quality that tells a story about America we may not want—but need—to hear. Dreamy, dangerous, and precise, with the weight of the very oldest tales we tell, Burning Girls and Other Stories introduces a writer pushing the boundaries of both fantasy and contemporary fiction.

Down Comes the Night

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft (anticipated release 3/2/21) – This book sounds SO GOOD. I was lucky enough to be approved for an eARC via NetGalley, and I’m anxious to get to it soon as it strikes me as a good atmospheric winter read.

Goodreads synopsis: Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself. When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom. As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (anticipated release 3/9/21) – this contemporary romance is the third installment in Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series, and as I’ve really enjoyed the other two (particuarly the second book, Take a Hint, Dani Brown) I’m definitely planning to pick this one up.

Goodreads synopsis: Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

 

Peaces

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (release date 4/6/21 ) – every Helen Oyeyemi book always sounds amazing to me, and this one is no exception (hint: there might be a Helen Oyeyemi book coming up on my Top 10 TBR for 2021 as well). Also, her covers are always gorgeous.

Goodreads synopsis: When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment–and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together. A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person–whether it’s your lover or a stranger on a train–and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.

Of Women and Salt

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (anticipated release 4/6/21) – This one sounds like a female-led, topical literary fiction book that will make waves in 2021.

Goodreads synopsis: In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

Hummingbird Salamander

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer (anticipated release 4/6/21) – I’m really glad that Vandermeer’s newest is a standalone unrelated to his previous works–not because I didn’t like them (I do! I’ve given several of his books 5-star ratings) but because I’ve been struggling to continue on in the world of his previous book Borne despite how much I enjoyed it (I have yet to pick up either The Strange Bird or Dead Astronauts; both are glaring at me from my TBR shelf as I write this). I like the idea of delving into something entirely new from him.

Goodreads synopsis: Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control. Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.

Broken (In the Best Possible Way)

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson (anticipated release 4/6/21) – I’ve listened to two of Lawson’s previous memoirs/essay collections on audio, and I plan to do the same with Broken, as I find her unique voice and humor lend themselves well to audio.

Goodreads synopsis: As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, she explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation with brutal honesty. But also with brutal humor. Jenny discusses the frustration of dealing with her insurance company in “An Open Letter to My Insurance Company,” which should be an anthem for anyone who has ever had to call their insurance company to try and get a claim covered. She tackles such timelessly debated questions as “How do dogs know they have penises?” We see how her vacuum cleaner almost set her house on fire, how she was attacked by three bears, business ideas she wants to pitch to Shark Tank, and why she can never go back to the post office. Of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

 

Malice

Malice by Heather Walter (anticipated release 4/13/21) – I will never not be a sucker for a fairy tale retelling, or for a villain protagonist. This is another one that I was lucky enough to be approved for an eARC via NetGalley, and I’m really excited to check it out.

Goodreads synopsis: Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after. Utter nonsense. Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her. Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse. But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world. Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I— I am the villain.

Second First Impressions

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne (anticipated release 4/13/21) – Sally Thorne wrote one of my all-time favorite contemporary romances, The Hating Game, and I also enjoyed her most recent release 99 Percent Mine. I’m not actually sure how I feel about the synopsis of this one, but I trust Thorne’s writing.

Goodreads synopsis: Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too. Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

 

People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (anticipated release 5/11/21) – I really loved Henry’s Beach Read, which came out in 2020, and also her fabulist YA book A Million Junes. I’m glad that she’s writing more contemporary romance; this ones sounds like more of a friends to lovers romance (versus Beach Read, which was my preferred trope of enemies to lovers) but it still sounds great.

Goodreads synopsis: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

 

One Last Stop

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (anticipated release 6/1/21) – I think that after the fantastic and much-beloved Red, White, and Royal Blue, everyone has been clamoring to see what McQuiston will come out with next. This sounds like a cute contemporary but with a time-travel twist, which I’m definitely on board for.

Goodreads synopsis: Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane. All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

 

When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards, #2)

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles (anticipated release 6/8/21) – Angeles’s Where Dreams Descend left off on an intriguing cliffhanger, and I’m very interested to see where she takes the sequel; I’m hoping for more magic from badass protagonist Kallia and more dimension to the love triangle set up in the first book.

 

Darling

Darling by K. Ancrum (release date 6/22/21) – I discovered K. Ancrum’s writing this year when I picked up the fantastic The Wicker King, a YA contemporary with sort of a woven-in fantastical narrative that focused on the relationship between its two troubled protagonists, and fell in love. Again, I love a good retelling, and I find Peter Pan retellings particularly interesting because there’s so much to explore and dissect; I can’t wait to see what Ancrum does with this one.

Goodreads synopsis: On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town. Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?

Reign (Stormheart, #3)

Reign by Cora Carmack (anticipated release 7/6/21) – Similarly to Where Dreams Descend, a great cliffhanger was set up in the previous book Rage, and I can’t wait to see where Carmack takes this fantasy/romance trilogy. I’m hoping to see protagonist Aurora truly come into her power and see how she navigates a growing conflict on a greater scale.

 

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (release date 7/13/21) – Becky Chambers wrote one of my all-time favorite science fiction books, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and every time she comes out with something new it instantly goes on my TBR. I’m actually not in love with the premise of this one, but I trust her writing.

Goodreads synopsis: It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools. Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again. Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

 

A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (anticipated release 8/3/21) – this one is being recommended for fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House, so naturally I’m 100% on board; I’ve never read from this author before so I’m very much hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Goodreads synopsis: Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds. Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

 

The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (anticipated release 8/17/21) – The release date for this one was pushed back from 2020 to 2021, and I bet it will be well worth the wait. Hoang wrote one of my favorite contemporary romances, The Kiss Quotient, and since fan favorite Quan is the protagonist of this newest installment in the series, I have high hopes.

Goodreads synopsis: To most people, Quan Diep is nothing but a surly-looking, underachieving playboy. The problem is he’s not any of those things. And now that he’s the CEO of an up-and-coming retail business, he’s suddenly a “catch,” and the rich girls who never used to pay any attention to him are looking at him in a new way—especially Camilla, the girl who brushed him off many years ago. Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep almost as much as germy bathroom door handles. Or so she tells herself. She will never admit that she has a secret crush on him, especially because he only has eyes for her charismatic and newly engaged younger sister Camilla. Over the years, Anna has worked hard to overcome her OCD, but she’ll still need to find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement, and with it, a crucial real estate development deal. Slowly, Anna breaks down Quan’s dangerous and careless exterior while peeling off her own tough, protective shell. But when Quan discovers Anna’s true intentions, he’s forced to confront his own hurtful past and learn to forgive, while Anna must face her greatest challenge: truly opening herself up to love.

 

Under the Whispering Door

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (anticipated release 9/24/21) – I found Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea to be a really sweet and enjoyable read, and this one sounds like it’ll be in a similar vein.

Goodreads synopsis: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead. Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over. But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life. When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days. By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

 

What books are on your radar for 2021?? Let me know if any of these made your list (or if you have any good ones that I missed!) in the comments!

End of the Year Book Tag/December TBR!

As 2020 winds down, I’ve been thinking a lot about the books I want to prioritize reading before the end of the year. Instead of a straightforward December TBR, I thought it would be more fun to combine it with the End of the Year book tag, which was created by Ariel Bissett.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?/Do you have an autumnal book to help transition into the end of the year?

Melmoth

I’m currently about 60 pages into Melmoth by Sarah Perry, which has sort of fallish vibes and which I’ve put on pause for awhile since although I really like it I haven’t been quite in the right mood. But I’m going to make myself finish by the end of the year, since it’s on my Top 10 TBR for 2020 list.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Ruinsong

There are definitely fewer new book releases toward the end of the year, but I’m really intrigued by Ruinsong by Julia Ember, described as a “dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy,” which actually comes out tomorrow.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Written in the StarsBridgerton: The Duke and I

There are two romance books I really want to finish before the end of the year; I was lucky enough to have been sent copies of both from the publisher. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur is a contemporary F/F romance set during the holidays, so I think it will make a great December read, and The Duke and I by Julia Quinn is a historical romance adapted into a Netflix series that comes out on December 25th, so I really want to have finished the book before I watch the show.

A Tale for the Time Being

I’m also trying to get to another book from my top 10 2020 TBR list, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which has been sitting on my TBR shelf for way too long.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Radiance

Yes! I think that Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente is a definite contender for favorite read of 2020, considering that her novel Deathless was sort of tied for my favorite read of 2019. Last year, several of my favorite books of the year were ones I read in December, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

Yes! I started working on ideas for my top 10 2021 TBR awhile ago, because it’s a list that I always enjoy making. I’m looking to choose 10 books that are a variety of genres and encompass 2020 releases as well as some backlist titles, but of course everything depends on what I read over the next few weeks as 2020 winds down. I’ve also been putting together lists of highly anticipated 2021 new releases; one of those posts should be up within the next few weeks.

November TBR/NaNoWriMo Game Plan/Thoughts on Reading on the Eve of the Election

I really have no idea what November is going to look like, book friends. It’s the eve of the U.S. presidential election, and it’s hard to plan ahead when there’s so much uncertainty. I’ve been spending the last few weeks volunteering for the Biden campaign, and I really hope that the hard work of so many Americans is about to pay off, but it’s a very scary time here. I actually didn’t read at all over the last week for this reason, but I’m trying to get back on track with both reading and writing for November (or at least as much as I can considering everything going on).

In an ideal universe, I was planning on doing another round of NaNoWriMo this month to hopefully finish the first draft of a fantasy novel I’ve been working on for quite awhile. I set a more modest goal (25,000 words instead of 50,000) and am planning on actually starting NaNo after the election. I’d consider any writing productivity a win at this point, to be honest.

Normally, I find TBR planning helpful during NaNoWriMo, as it helps me avoid spending time and energy choosing my next read when I’m devoting a lot more time than usual to writing. I tend to gravitate towards books by previously loved authors during this month, since I also don’t want to waste my time with disappointing reads. This month, I’m leaving things a little more open-ended, and I’m currently reading several books already that may take me a decent part of the month to complete.

Currently reading:

The House in the Cerulean SeaPiranesiWatch Over Me

Going into November, my current reads are The House in the Cerulean Sea (fantasy), Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (fantasy, by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell), and Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (YA contemporary, audiobook).

Other November possibilities:

In the Dream House: A MemoirThe Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4)

I’d really like to get to another book from my Top 10 2020 TBR list, in this case Carmen Maria Machado’s haunting memoir In the Dream House. And I sort of barely started The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker (contemporary romance) last month via ebook, then ordered the physical book after I had to return the ebook to my library.