Category Archives: TBR

Most Anticipated Books of 2022, Part 2!

It seems like not very much time has elapsed since I posted Part 1 of my most anticipated book releases of 2022, but since then I’ve found out about a ton more enticing upcoming reads. Again, these are listed in order of anticipated release date (which is subject to change!) and I’m only including books that already have covers, descriptions, and tentative release dates available.

 

The Latinist

The Latinist by Mark Prins (anticipated release 1/4/22) – The academic setting and Greek mythology retelling elements of this one have really caught my eye; I was also lucky enough to be sent a free copy of this early 2022 release, so be on the lookout for an upcoming review.

From Goodreads: Tessa Templeton has thrived at Oxford University under the tutelage and praise of esteemed classics professor Christopher Eccles. And now, his support is the one thing she can rely on: her job search has yielded nothing, and her devotion to her work has just cost her her boyfriend, Ben. Yet shortly before her thesis defense, Tessa learns that Chris has sabotaged her career—and realizes their relationship is not at all what she believed.

Driven by what he mistakes as love for Tessa, Chris has ensured that no other institution will offer her a position, keeping her at Oxford with him. His tactics grow more invasive as he determines to prove he has her best interests at heart. Meanwhile, Tessa scrambles to undo the damage—and in the process makes a startling discovery about an obscure second-century Latin poet that could launch her into academic stardom, finally freeing her from Chris’s influence.

A contemporary reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo myth, The Latinist is a page-turning exploration of power, ambition, and the intertwining of love and obsession.

 

How High We Go in the Dark

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (anticipated release 1/18/22) – This book has comparisons to two other novels I loved, so I’m willing to overlook the fact that it does involve a pandemic aftermath. I was also sent a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so hopefully I’ll be posting that early in the new year.

From Goodreads: For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.

 

Love & Other Disasters

Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (anticipated release 1/18/22) – I’m constantly looking for appealing-sounding romances from new-to-me authors, and this one involves a plot element I really enjoy (a cooking competition show!) and a nonbinary main character. Hoping to discover a great new romance author with this one.

From Goodreads: The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)

Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.

After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.

As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.

 

Manywhere: Stories

Manywhere by Morgan Thomas (anticipated release 1/25/22) – When Roxane Gay blurbs a book, I listen. The fact that this is a short story collection, one of my favorite kinds of books to read, is just a bonus.

From Goodreads: The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection, Manywhere, witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, at whatever cost. As each character traces deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.

A trans woman finds her independence through the purchase of a pregnancy bump. A young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themselves in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A young writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag. And in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.

Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories rebound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent.

 

This Woven Kingdom (This Woven Kingdom, #1)

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi (anticipated release 2/1/22) – Mafi wrote a trilogy that helped me to an absurd degree with my stress levels in grad school (the Shatter Me trilogy; I’ve never read any of the newer books because I love the original ones too much) and her newest YA fantasy sounds like it could have an interesting enemies-to-lovers romance element.

From Goodreads: To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

 

Not the Witch You Wed

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher (anticipated release 2/8/22) – I love that paranormal romance is becoming more mainstream alongside contemporary romance, and it’s been awhile since I’ve read a good werewolf book. I was approved for an eARC of this one via NetGalley, so it’s going on my January TBR for sure.

From Goodreads: Magic-less witch Violet Maxwell wants nothing to do with alpha wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne—the man who broke her fragile, teenage heart. But when the two of them are forced by arcane Supernatural Laws to find mates, Violet and Lincoln agree to fake-date their way to a fake-mating in order to conjure themselves some time.

The joke’s on them. When old feelings make a reappearance—along with Violet’s magic—they both realize there’s nothing fake about their feelings. But there are old secrets and looming threats that could snatch away their happily ever after, again. One thing’s for sure: magic doesn’t make dating and love any easier.

 

Under One Roof

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood (audio anticipated release 2/8/22, ebook anticipated release 5/3/22) – The great news for 2022 is that Ali Hazelwood, author of my favorite romance of 2021, is publishing 3 contemporary romance novellas starting in Feb, which will first come out as audiobooks and then as ebooks. I don’t want to speak too soon, but might this make her one of my most-read authors of 2022? Either way, I’m extremely excited for these novellas, which follow three women scientists and best friends.

From Goodreads: Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn….

As an environmental engineer, Mara knows all about the delicate nature of ecosystems. They require balance. And leaving the thermostat alone. And not stealing someone else’s food. And other rules Liam, her detestable big-oil lawyer of a roommate, knows nothing about. Okay, sure, technically she’s the interloper. Liam was already entrenched in his aunt’s house like some glowering grumpy giant when Mara moved in, with his big muscles and kissable mouth just sitting there on the couch tempting respectable scientists to the dark side…but Helena was her mentor and Mara’s not about to move out and give up her inheritance without a fight.

The problem is, living with someone means getting to know them. And the more Mara finds out about Liam, the harder it is to loathe him…and the easier it is to love him.

 

Stuck with You

Stuck With You by Ali Hazelwood (audio anticipated release 3/8/22, ebook anticipated release 6/7/22) – the second of Ali Hazelwood’s three 2022 contemporary romance novellas!

From Goodreads: Logically, Sadie knows that civil engineers are supposed to build bridges. However, as a woman of STEM she also understands that variables can change, and when you are stuck for hours in a tiny New York elevator with the man who broke your heart, you earn the right to burn that brawny, blond bridge to the ground. Erik can apologize all he wants, but to quote her rebel leader—she’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.

Not even the most sophisticated of Sadie’s superstitious rituals could have predicted such a disastrous reunion. But while she refuses to acknowledge the siren call of Erik’s steely forearms or the way his voice softens when he offers her his sweater, Sadie can’t help but wonder if there might be more layers to her cold-hearted nemesis than meet the eye. Maybe, possibly, even burned bridges can still be crossed….

 

The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods, #1)

The City of Dusk by Tara Sim (anticipated release 3/22/22) – I enjoy books with unlikely friendships and alliances formed by people who should otherwise be enemies, and this first book in a new fantasy series sounds like it’s going that route.

From Goodreads: Set in a gorgeous world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, The City of Dusk is the first in a dark epic fantasy trilogy that follows the four heirs of four noble houses—each gifted with a divine power—as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war.

The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.

But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.

Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.

But their defiance will cost them dearly.

 

The Bone Orchard

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller (anticipated release 3/22/22) – This sounds like an extremely weird and unique fantasy from Tor, a publisher I’m always following, and I’m hoping it will be a surprise hit with me the way that Gideon the Ninth was.

From Goodreads: Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.

But now–Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil — her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.

Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.

 

Comeuppance Served Cold

Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds (anticipated release 3/22/22) – One of two 2022 Tor fantasy novellas whose covers and synopses immediately caught my eye!

From Goodreads: A respected magus and city leader intent on criminalizing Seattle’s most vulnerable magickers hires a young woman as a lady’s companion to curb his rebellious daughter’s outrageous behavior.

The widowed owner of a speakeasy encounters an opportunity to make her husband’s murderer pay while she tries to keep her shapeshifter brother safe.

A notorious thief slips into the city to complete a delicate and dangerous job that will leave chaos in its wake.

One thing is for certain—comeuppance, eventually, waits for everyone.

 

Below Zero

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood (audio anticipated release 4/5/22, ebook anticipated release 7/8/22) – This is the third and final Ali Hazelwood contemporary romance novella coming out next year, and it sounds like it could be my favorite of the three, based on the enemies-to-lovers premise.

From Goodreads: Hannah’s got a bad feeling about this. Not only has the NASA aerospace engineer found herself injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station—but the one person willing to undertake the hazardous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

Ian has been many things to Hannah: the villain who tried to veto her expedition and ruin her career, the man who stars in her most deliciously lurid dreams…but he’s never played the hero. So why is he risking everything to be here? And why does his presence seem just as dangerous to her heart as the coming snowstorm?

 

Woman, Eating

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda (anticipated release 4/5/22) – This literary vampire novel sounds fascinating and like it may be an interesting take on feminism through the concept of vampirism.

From Goodreads: A young, mixed-race vampire must find a way to balance her deep-seated desire to live amongst humans with her incessant hunger in this stunning debut novel from a writer-to-watch.

Lydia is hungry. She’s always wanted to try Japanese food. Sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside – the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and iced-coffee, ice cream and cake, and foraged herbs and plants, and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But, Lydia can’t eat any of these things. Her body doesn’t work like those of other people. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London – where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time – is much more difficult than she’d anticipated.

Then there are the humans – the other artists at the studio space, the people at the gallery she interns at, the strange men that follow her after dark, and Ben, a boyish, goofy-grinned artist she is developing feelings for. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can’t bring herself to feed on them. In her windowless studio, where she paints and studies the work of other artists, binge-watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer and videos of people eating food on YouTube and Instagram, Lydia considers her place in the world. She has many of the things humans wish for – perpetual youth, near-invulnerability, immortality – but she is miserable; she is lonely; and she is hungry – always hungry.

As Lydia develops as a woman and an artist, she will learn that she must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human sides, her mixed ethnic heritage, and her relationship with food, and, in turn, humans – if she is to find a way to exist in the world. Before any of this, however, she must eat.

 

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (anticipated release 4/19/22) – I haven’t yet picked up another Emily St. John Mandel book since loving Station Eleven, but this one sounds fascinating (and possibly Cloud Atlas-esque?).

From Goodreads: Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

 

From Bad to Cursed (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #2)

From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper (anticipated release 5/17/22) – I really enjoyed Harper’s contemporary paranormal romance Payback’s a Witch, and think I’d enjoy picking up another book set in the magical small town next year.

From Goodreads: Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa’s nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right.

But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.

Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.

 

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (anticipated release 5/24/22) – I’ve heard a lot of great things about Emezi’s books, and this appears to be their take on a romance novel. Although I’d also like to get to Freshwater in the near future, I’m probably more intrigued by the description of this one, their newest release.

From Goodreads: Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?

 

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian (anticipated release 6/7/22) – The Queer Principles of Kit Webb was a surprise historical romance hit for me in 2021, and this book is a companion piece to Kit Webb, with most of the action taking place (I believe) contemporaneously to the other book.

From Goodreads: Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats—they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

 

Juniper & Thorn

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid (anticipated release 6/7/22) – I’m actually in the middle of Reid’s debut historical fantasy The Wolf and the Woodsman at the moment, and am finding her writing a mixture of history, mythology, and fantasy very compelling; I’ll be interested to check out her next book as well.

From Goodreads: Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

 

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot #2)

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (anticipated release 7/12/22) – I liked A Song for the Wild-Built, the first novella in Chambers’ new philosophical, solarpunk science fiction series, and will be curious where Chambers takes her tea monk and robot protagonists next.

From Goodreads: After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.

They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.

Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?

 

Just Like Home

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey (anticipated release 7/19/22) – This book sounds weird, intriguing, and weirdly intriguing.

From Goodreads: “Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

 

Spells for Forgetting

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young (anticipated release 8/2/22) – I don’t read very much mystery, but this one, which involves isolation, a years-old murder, and a possible romantic subplot, really interests me.

From Goodreads: A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.

Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.

August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.

 

High Times in the Low Parliament

High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (anticipated release 8/9/22) – This Tor novella sounds super fun and unique–I enjoy books that involve fairies, and this sounds like it could be funny as well.

From Goodreads: Lana Baker is Aldgate’s finest scribe, with a sharp pen and an even sharper wit. Gregarious, charming, and ever so eager to please, she agrees to deliver a message for another lovely scribe in exchange for kisses and ends up getting sent to Low Parliament by a temperamental fairy as a result.

As Lana transcribes the endless circular arguments of Parliament, the debates grow tenser and more desperate. Due to long-standing tradition, a hung vote will cause Parliament to flood and a return to endless war. Lana must rely on an unlikely pair of comrades—Bugbite, the curmudgeonly fairy, and Eloquentia, the bewitching human deputy—to save humanity (and maybe even woo one or two lucky ladies), come hell or high water.

 

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen (anticipated release 8/23/22) – Speaking of unique books, this one sounds like a very interesting mix of fantastical and romantic elements, with a world that I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like before.

From Goodreads: Hart Ralston is a demigod and a marshal, tasked with patrolling the wasteland of Tanria. The realm the exiled old gods once called home is now a forsaken place where humans with no better options or no better sense come seeking adventure or spoils, but more often end up as drudges: reanimated corpses inhabited by the souls of those who’ve died in Tanria before. Hart tells himself that his job is simple: neutralize the drudges with a quick zap to the appendix and deliver them back to polite society at the nearest undertaker’s, leaving the whys and hows of the drudge problem for men without the complexities of a god in their family tree. But working alone, Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder exactly those questions he’d most like to avoid.

Too much time alone is the opposite of Mercy Birdsall’s problem. Since her father’s decline, she’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son undertakers afloat in small-town Eternity—despite definitely not being a son, and in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart Ralston, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest. The work’s not the problem—Mercy’s good at it, better than any other Birdsall—but keeping all her family’s plates spinning singlehandedly, forever, isn’t how Mercy envisioned her future.

After yet another run-in with the sharp-tongued Mercy, Hart considers she might have a point about his utter loneliness being a bit of a liability. In a moment of sentimentality, he pens a letter addressed simply to “A Friend,” and entrusts it to a nimkilim, an anthropomorphic animal messenger with an uncanny connection to the gods, (and in Hart’s case, a bit of a drinking problem). Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most–Mercy. As the two unlikely pen pals grow closer, the truth about Hart’s parentage and the nature of the drudges creeps in. And suddenly their old animosity seems so small in comparison to what they might be able to do: end the drudges forever. But at what cost?

 

 

Are any of these books on your 2022 TBR? Are there any 2022 releases you think should be on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Most Anticipated Books of 2022, Part 1!

To be honest, it’s freaking me out that we’re almost to the end of 2021. To help combat the weirdness of how fast this year is going by, here is the first part of my most anticipated new releases of 2022! I’ve included books from a variety of genres, although a bunch of them are from authors I’ve previously read and enjoyed, since those are the ones I tend to hear about first. I’m also only including books that so far have covers and tentative release date (although all release dates definitely may change, particularly with the current supply chain issues), and I hope you find some that interest you enough to add to your TBR! Feel free to comment any other books you’re looking forward to next year that I might have missed.

2022 Book Releases I’m Excited About (in order of tentative release date)

Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7)

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release 1/4/22) – I can’t believe this is the 7th book in McGuire’s Wayward Children novella series! These are portal fantasy books focused on the denizens of a school that takes in children who have been sucked into portal fantasy worlds tailored to them and then unexpectedly expelled from those worlds and are having difficulty adapting back to reality, and this newest installment focuses on a second, similar school that we haven’t heard about yet.

From Goodreads – Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.

There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…

Electric Idol (Dark Olympus, #2)

Electric Idol by Katee Robert (anticipated release 1/4/22) – This is the second book in Robert’s Dark Olympus series, which is a romance take on Greek mythology set in a modern-day city. I really loved the first book, Neon Gods, which was a Hades/Persephone romance; I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment, which takes on the Cupid/Psyche myth.

From Goodreads – In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

 

Out Front the Following Sea

Out Front the Following Sea by Leah Angstman (anticipated release 1/11/22) – one of the few 2022 releases I actually have an ARC of so far, this feminist historical fiction novel sounds especially intriguing.

From Goodreads – Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman’s survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned — it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William’s War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor — Owen — bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen’s French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.

Steeped in historical events and culminating in a little-known war on pre-American soil, Out Front the Following Sea is a story of early feminism, misogyny, arbitrary rulings, and the treatment of outcasts, with parallels still mirrored and echoed in today’s society.

 

Something Fabulous

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall (anticipated release 1/25/22) – Alexis Hall has a whole bunch of 2022 releases planned, and I’m looking to read them all since he’s one of my favorite romance authors. I’ve only read his contemporary works so far, so I’m really curious to see what he does with historical romance.

From Goodreads – Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

 

Count Your Lucky Stars

Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (anticipated release 2/1/22) – the third book in Bellefleur’s Written in the Stars contemporary romance series set in Seattle features Margot, the business partner of former protagonist Elle from the first book, and I’m really looking forward to her friends-to-lovers romance.

From Goodreads – Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.

Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away.

When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?

 

The Cherry Robbers

The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker (anticipated release 2/1/22) – This is one of the more random books on this list, since I’ve never previously heard of the author, but it sounds like an interesting mix of historical fiction and a feminist family saga.

From Goodreads – New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel.

Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chapel is the second youngest of six sisters, all heiresses to a firearms fortune. They’ve grown up cloistered in a palatial Victorian house, mostly neglected by their distant father and troubled mother, who believes that their house is haunted by the victims of Chapel weapons. The girls long to escape, and for most of them, the only way out is marriage. But not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, to heart-wrenching consequences.

Ultimately, Iris flees the devastation of her family, and so begins the story of Sylvia Wren. But can she outrun the family curse forever?

 

Cherish FarrahCherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow (anticipated release 2/8/22) – Since reading Morrow’s short science fiction novel Mem, a creative take on memory and alternate history, I’ve been really interested to read more from her.

From Goodreads – Seventeen-year-old Farrah Turner is one of two Black girls in her country club community, and the only one with Black parents. Her best friend, Cherish Whitman, adopted by a wealthy white family, is something Farrah likes to call WGS—White Girl Spoiled. With Brianne and Jerry Whitman as parents, Cherish is given the kind of adoration and coddling that even upper-class Black parents can’t seem to afford—and it creates a dissonance in her best friend that Farrah can exploit. When her own family is unexpectedly confronted with foreclosure, the calculating Farrah is determined to reassert the control she’s convinced she’s always had over her life by staying with Cherish, the only person she loves—even when she hates her.

A troubled Farrah manipulates her way further into the Whitman family but the longer she stays, the more her own parents suggest that something is wrong in the Whitman house. She might trust them—if they didn’t think something was wrong with Farrah, too. As strange things start happening at the Whitman household—debilitating illnesses, upsetting fever dreams, an inexplicable tension with Cherish’s hothead boyfriend, and a strange journal that seems to keep track of what is happening to Farrah—it’s nothing she can’t handle. But soon everything begins to unravel when the Whitmans invite Farrah closer, and it’s anyone’s guess who is really in control.

Told in Farrah’s chilling, unforgettable voice and weaving in searing commentary on race and class, this slow-burn social horror will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

 

Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (anticipated release 2/8/21) – I’ve previously read two of LaCour’s YA novels and really enjoyed them, particularly subtle ghost story Watch Over Me, and I’m liking this publishing trend of YA authors writing adult literature.

From Goodreads – The debut adult novel by the bestselling and award-winning YA author Nina LaCour, following two women on a star-crossed journey toward each other.

When Sara Foster runs away from home at sixteen, she leaves behind not only the losses that have shattered her world but the girl she once was, capable of trust and intimacy. Years later, in Los Angeles, she is a sought-after bartender, renowned as much for her brilliant cocktails as for the mystery that clings to her. Across the city, Emilie Dubois is in a holding pattern. In her seventh year and fifth major as an undergraduate, she yearns for the beauty and community her Creole grandparents cultivated but is unable to commit. On a whim, she takes a job arranging flowers at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena and embarks on an affair with the married owner.

When Sara catches sight of Emilie one morning at Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate. But the damage both women carry, and the choices they have made, pulls them apart again and again. When Sara’s old life catches up to her, upending everything she thought she wanted just as Emilie has finally gained her own sense of purpose, they must decide if their love is more powerful than their pasts.

At once exquisite and expansive, astonishing in its humanity and heart, Yerba Buena is a love story for our time and a propulsive journey through the lives of two women finding their way in the world.

 

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City, #2)

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas (anticipated release 2/15/22) – although I did think it was a bit too long, I still loved reading the first book in the Crescent City series, House of Earth and Blood, and I’m very curious to see where Maas is going with this series. It definitely has a lot of similarities to ACOTAR, but it’s different enough that it’s still a great new fantasy world. Don’t read the synopsis unless you’ve already read the first book, though, or you’ll be spoiled!

From Goodreads – Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it

 

A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1)

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross (anticipated release 2/15/22) – I just heard of this book, and it sounds so interesting! Goodreads is comparing it to House of Earth and Blood, which is a comparison I don’t really get from the synopsis, but it does sound like my kind of fantasy.

From Goodreads –Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

Delilah Green Doesn't Care

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (anticipated release 2/22/22) – F/F romance has always been underrepresented, so I’m always looking for new authors and books coming out, and this small-town contemporary romance sounds great!

From Goodreads – Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.

When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.

Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to…

 

Tripping Arcadia

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist (anticipated release 2/22/22) – Possibly one of the books I’m most excited about, based on the amazing synopsis and gorgeous cover. It sounds like it has hints of dark academia and mystery, and reviews mention an eat-the-rich message as well.

From Goodreads – Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston’s most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it—no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description.

By day, she is assistant to the family doctor and his charge, Jonathan, the sickly, poetic, drunken heir to the family empire, who is as difficult as his illness is mysterious. By night, Lena discovers the more sinister side of the family, as she works overtime at their lavish parties, helping to hide their self-destructive tendencies . . . and trying not to fall for Jonathan’s alluring sister, Audrey. But when she stumbles upon the knowledge that the Verdeau patriarch is the one responsible for the ruin of her own family, Lena vows to get revenge—a poison-filled quest that leads her further into this hedonistic world than she ever bargained for, forcing her to decide how much—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice for payback.

The perfect next read for fans of Mexican Gothic, Tripping Arcadia is a page-turning and shocking tale with an unforgettable protagonist that explores family legacy and inheritance, the sacrifices we must make to get by in today’s world, and the intoxicating, dangerous power of wealth.

 

Wild and Wicked Things

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (anticipated release 3/29/22) – I’ve been getting more interested in historical fantasy lately, and this one’s cover and premise very much appeal to me.

From Goodreads – In the aftermath of World War I, a young woman gets swept into a glittering world filled with illicit magic, romance, blood debts, and murder in this lush and decadent debut novel. On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface, but Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbor to be a witch.

When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money can not; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.

The Wedding Crasher

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa (anticipated release 4/5/22) – I loved Mia Sosa’s previous contemporary romance The Worst Best Man, and this sounds like another wedding-adjacent contemporary set amid a similar backdrop in DC.

From Goodreads – Just weeks away from ditching DC for greener pastures, Solange Pereira is roped into helping her wedding planner cousin on a random couple’s big day. It’s an easy gig… until she stumbles upon a situation that convinces her the pair isn’t meant to be. What’s a true-blue romantic to do? Crash the wedding, of course. And ensure the unsuspecting groom doesn’t make the biggest mistake of his life.

Dean Chapman had his future all mapped out. He was about to check off “start a family” and on track to “make partner” when his modern day marriage of convenience went up in smoke. Then he learns he might not land an assignment that could be his ticket to a promotion unless he has a significant other and, in a moment of panic, Dean claims to be in love with the woman who crashed his wedding. Oops.

Now Dean has a whole new item on his to-do list: beg Solange to be his pretend girlfriend. Solange feels a tiny bit bad about ruining Dean’s wedding, so she agrees to play along. Yet as they fake-date their way around town, what started as a performance for Dean’s colleagues turns into a connection that neither he nor Solange can deny. Their entire romance is a sham… there’s no way these polar opposites could fall in love for real, right?

 

Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky, #2)

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse (anticipated release 4/19/22) – I love Rebecca Roanhorse, and Black Sun is one of my favorite books of 2021 so far. It ends on a shocking and devastating note (no spoilers! Avoid the synopsis if you haven’t read it!) and the sequel is much needed to see what happens to this fantastical world and its characters.

From Goodreads – The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.

The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?

As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.

And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?

Welcome back to the fantasy series of the decade in Fevered Star—book two of Between Earth and Sky.

 

Nettle & Bone

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher (anticipated release 4/26/22) – I’m generally interested in anything approaching a dark fairytale retelling, and I think that this one fits the bill.

From Goodreads – With her signature mix of the grim and the delightful, award-winning author T. Kingfisher takes the old bones of fantasy and fairytale and makes them into something entirely new in this enchanting adventure.

After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.

Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.

On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.

 

Book Lovers

Book Lovers by Emily Henry (anticipated release 5/3/22) – Henry’s previous two contemporary romances Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation have gotten a ton of love and attention and were both high 4 star reads for me; her third promises to be just as great. The book-related premise is definitely a plus.

From Goodreads – A by the book literary agent must decide if happily ever after is worth changing her whole life for in this insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

 

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (anticipated release 5/3/22) – I’m curious to see how McQuiston’s writing style translates to a contemporary YA setting!

From Goodreads – Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

 

Book of Night

Book of Night by Holly Black (anticipated release 5/3/22) – Technically this one doesn’t have a cover yet, but I love a dark contemporary fantasy, and despite having mixed feelings about Black’s YA books, this one sounds very much up my alley.

From Goodreads – In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.

Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.

 

Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus #3)

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert (anticipated release 6/7/22) – Another Dark Olympus book, because Katee Robert is being very good to us in 2022! This one is a Achilles/Patroclus/Helen romance, which is an interesting and uncommon take on the myth.

From Goodreads – In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?

 

A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables, #2)

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow (anticipated release 6/14/21) – the second novella in Harrow’s Fractured Fairy Tales series after Spindle Splintered, a Sleeping Beauty retelling I read for Dewey’s 24-Hour readathon. Maybe I’ll pick this one up during a readathon in 2022!

From Goodreads – Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.

Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone.

Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request, and save them both from the hot iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?

 

Bloodmarked (The Legendborn Cycle #2)

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (anticipated release 7/26/22) – I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN THIS SERIES! Legendborn was the best YA fantasy I’ve read in years, and the ending was so unexpected–I wish this one was coming out even sooner!

From Goodreads – All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

 

A Half-Built Garden

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys (anticipated release 7/26/22) – A science fiction book that sounds like it deals with environmentalism as well as aliens, so I’m on board.

From Goodreads – A literary descendent of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ruthanna Emrys crafts a novel of extraterrestrial diplomacy and urgent climate repair bursting with quiet, tenuous hope and an underlying warmth. A Half-Built Garden depicts a world worth building towards, a humanity worth saving from itself, and an alien community worth entering with open arms. It’s not the easiest future to build, but it’s one that just might be in reach.

On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.

The watershed networks aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal the wounded planet.

But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.

 

Husband Material (Boyfriend Material, #2)

Husband Material by Alexis Hall (anticipated release 8/2/22) – Boyfriend Material was my favorite romance of 2020, and I’m so happy it’s getting a sequel! I love main characters Luc and Oliver, and would happily read several more books about them.

From Goodreads – In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do.

Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.

 

Mad About You

Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane (anticipated release 8/9/22) – I really enjoy Mhairi McFarlane’s writing style, and although I haven’t yet finished her newest release Just Last Night, I’m still already looking forward to this one.

From Goodreads – Harriet Hatley is the most in-demand wedding photographer in town, but she doesn’t believe in romance, loathes the idea of marriage, and thinks chocolate fountains are an abomination. Which is why, when her long-time partner proposes, she panics. Suddenly Harriet is single… and living down the hall from her ex. She needs a new apartment, like, yesterday.

Enter Cal Clarke, a hopeless romantic who just experienced his own wedding-related disaster. Harriet and Cal are like chalk and cheese, but as they go from strangers to roommates to friends, it becomes clear they’re both running from something. When Harriet’s most heavily guarded secret comes to light, her world implodes. And Cal, with his witty humor and gentle advice, is a surprising source of calm at the center of the storm.

With her career, friendships, and reputation on the line, Harriet must finally face her past in order to take control of her future. Because if she’s willing to stop playing it safe and risk everything to share her truth, real love and happiness may be waiting on the other side…

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!