The Pond News! Issue #4 – Food, Dragons, F/F, and Sisters; An Exciting Week of New Books!

Text: The Pond Book News; Issue 04. Food, dragon, f/f, and sisters; an exciting week of new books! Image: An illustration of Xiaolong the pink axolotl, dressed up as Stella the dragonfly behind a booth, holding up a roll of newspaper.

Welcome to Issue #4!

Oh? You walk up to ‘The Pond Book News’ stall, expecting to see your friend Stella the Dragonfly for your weekly update of book news, except… it isn’t Stella! It’s Xiaolong, dressed up as Stella!

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, dressed up as Stella the Dragonfly; wearing a purple newsy cap, dragonfly wings, and holding up a roll of newspaper.“Hello friend!” she greets, handing your roll of book news to you. “Here’s your book news for this week!”

“Where’s Stella?” you ask as you take your weekly copy of The Pond Book News.

“She’s sick,” she says, her gills a little droopy. “She’s been working so hard, so I decided to help her with the book news this week! I bet you almost didn’t recognise me with my amazing dragonfly costume. I guess we’re just such good friends that you knew right away, didn’t you friend?”

Uhhhh. Yes Xiaolong. That’s the reason why.

Book Releases This Week [June 10th – June 16th]

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.

But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.

Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she’s never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.

But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings’ romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what’s happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . .

I’ve been looking forward to this lovely book ever since its cover reveal and I’m so excited to read this for myself! A contemporary-fantasy retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with themes of food and baking, this story sounds like a delightful middle-grade novel that sounds absolutely magical.

Releases on the 11th of June 2019. Add this book on Goodreads.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around—she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is one of my most anticipated releases and I cannot wait to read it! Featuring Chinese protagonists, a story all about cooking and food, and a story that promises romance, wholesome relationships, and explorations of family, this book sounds like a delicious treat. I can’t wait to read this!

Releases on the 11th of June 2019. Add this book on Goodreads.

Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

Mary Fan returns with another compelling and interesting premise – this time, with mechanical dragons, a story that sounds like a fairytale and myth, and a Asian female protagonist with a heck of a journey ahead of her, armed with determination and a stunning quest. I love quest stories, and this sounds like a treat!

Releases on the 11th of June 2019. Add this book on Goodreads.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Featured as one of the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge books to read this June, Tell Me How You Really Feel features two queer women of colour(!!!) and has the enemies-to-romance trope! I’m looking forward to reading this, and have high hopes that this book will be one of many queer romance contemporaries written by authors of colour.

Releases on the 11th of June 2019. Add this book on Goodreads.

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She’s asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It’s a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.

I’m particularly excited to read this — look at that premise! It sounds like this book will explore refugeeism, immigration, sister relationships, grief, and perhaps the pain that we endure and how far we will go for those we’d love. The Grief Keeper sounds like a topical and much-needed read, and I am looking forward to having my heart broken by this book.

Releases on the 11th of June 2019. Add this book on Goodreads.

Book News

Book Announcement: Grace Lin has a new book- and it’s Mulan!

I am such a big fan of Grace Lin’s work, and I am excited to hear that she will be writing an original novel inspired by Mulan! Grace Lin’s middle-grade novels and her picture books are such gems and cornerstones of Asian literature, and I’m so excited to see her book release come February 2020.

Book Announcement: We’re getting a Hanna Alkaf middle-grade novel; Malaysian folklore!

If you haven’t heard, I am a massive fan of The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf – a splendid book about mental illness and the Malaysian Riots set in 1969. You can imagine how excited I am now to hear that Hanna will be debuting her middle-grade novel, and it’ll be based on a Malaysian folktale! Words cannot describe how excited I am. I am ready.

Book Announcement: Aimee Lucido is writing a middle-grade novel about a Bat Mitzvah!

I am such a big fan of diverse middle-grade literature, and I am so excited (and interested!) in Lucido’s upcoming middle-grade novel about a 12 year old who plans her own Bat Mitzvah. It’s a mix of prose, verse, and recipes (recipes!!!!) and I am so excited to read about how Jewish identity and its complexities will be explored in this book.

Cover Reveal: Harley in the Sky has a cover!

The long-awaited cover reveal for Akemi Dawn Bowman’s new book, Harley in the Sky, is finally here! I’m so incredibly excited to read this book – a story about a teen who betrays her family and joins the rival travelling circus – and I’m loving the colours and the feel of this book cover.

Cover Reveal: Woven in Moonlight has a book cover!

I hadn’t heard of this book prior to the cover reveal, but am so glad that I discovered this gem! Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez is a story that mixes romance and magic, and is stepped in rich Bolivian history. Moreover, Ibañez illustrated the cover for her book! How wonderful is that? (Very wonderful.)

Book Community Spotlight

Book blogger: Tiffany from Read by Tiffany

Tiffany is such a wonderful book blogger and her content is stunning. I always enjoy reading her content, her sunny and warm personality that emerges in her writing, and her thoughtful reviews! Tiffany also recently upgraded her blog and is now self-hosted, and her blog is as lovely as ever. You won’t regret following her.

You can also follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Tumblr.

Bookstagrammer: Cande (@iamrainbou)

I love browsing through my feed on Instagram, and I kicked myself for not following Cande’s bookstagram sooner! I love her Instagram feed and bookish photos, and I really love the effort she puts into her displays and the composition! Cande also blogs and takes photos of books by Latinx authors, so if you’re looking for a Latinx book recommendation: look no further because Cande’s gotchu.

You can also follow her on her blog and Twitter!

Booktuber: Your Tita Kate

Kate is a new booktuber and I absolutely love her content already! Kate’s personality is already a gem on Twitter, and I’m so happy that she’s gracing us with her beauty and mind on Booktube as well. There, she shares her reading vlogs, what she’s read, and also does diverse book recommendations!! Also. She has cats. Her cats are adorable. Follow her!

You can also find her on her blogTwitter, and Instagram!


14 thoughts on “The Pond News! Issue #4 – Food, Dragons, F/F, and Sisters; An Exciting Week of New Books!

  1. Once again another great issue of the pond news, thank you for sharing all of these news! ❤ I got lucky enough to read Natalie Tan a bit early and I really enjoyed it, all of the food made me soooo happy (and hungry….). I can't wait to read Tell Me How You Really Feel, it sounds lovely, and Harley in the sky, ahh, that cover is stunning 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aw Xiaolong as Stella is so cute, and I hope Stella feels better soon!

    I got an ARC of Natalie Tan and really enjoyed it, there’s definitely really strong Chinese and Chinese-American rep and lots of mouthwatering cooking / food scenes 😋 there are so many other exciting books coming up, af;ldjas;dlk as if my TBR wasn’t long enough already.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Xiaolong dressed as Stella is so cute. AH, so many amazing books and news! I love this feature so much. I AM JUMPING UP AND DOWN EXCITED ABOUT TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL!!!! Aminah’s debut novel is one of the books I saw myself in and was so so so good her f/f romance has me more than excited!!!!


  4. I hope you feel better soon Stella ❤ but Xiaolong!! you look so so cute~ I want to squish you. Thank you so much for featuring me as a blogger spotlighted. I'm so honored to be mentioned on one of my favorite blogs of my favorite people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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