The Pond News Issue #13 – A Wild Week of Exciting Releases, Covers, and Magic All Around

issue #13_pv

Welcome to Issue #13!

Sprout the sparrow, doing a curtsy with their eyes closed and a smile on their face. Their cape swooshes in the wind with their arm extended in their curtsy.The trees are whispering…

Friends, welcome to another exciting week of The Pond Book News! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse book releases, cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! We also feature three incredible people in the book community every week, to highlight the important work that readers do in celebrating the books they love. Onward to the news!

Book Releases this week [October 13th – October 21st]

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret.

Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon–and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year.

With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized . . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny?

Looking at all the reviews that have been posted for this book, I think it’s safe to say that Faryn has already captured many hearts all around. The premise sounds really exciting, and I can’t wait to dive into this adventure across Chinatowns and Chinese folklore. This is one of my own most anticipated releases as well!

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

This blurb? This concept? Everything. I know this is a really anticipated book on for many, many people, and I can definitely see why! I’m always down for a good sibling relationship taking center stage in my stories, and the whole fantasy setting of goddesses and a world that never spins sounds absolutely thrilling. I’ve never read Rin Chupeco before, and this may very well be my first. 👀

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this graphic novel, and let me tell you friends—if you love warm and quiet stories, magic, and gorgeous art, you’ll want to pick this up. The story was so pure and soft, and the characters were effortlessly diverse and a joy to follow. Reading this felt like a warm and cozy Sunday afternoon, curled up with blankets and a hot mug of cocoa. I’m so excited for more people to get their hands on this wonderful book!

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher’s chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog — donning the moniker Technician — to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner’s tyrannical laws.

Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father’s respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father’s elusive affection is worth chasing at all.

Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner’s secrets at any cost — even if it means betraying her own heart.

When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic — before the Commissioner ends them first.

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m generally a hard-sell for sci-fi premises, but this sounds like such an epic adventure that I’m intrigued. Nathaniel’s arc here also reminds me of a certain Fire Nation prince who escapes an abusive father and legacy, which makes me go all 👀 because I love this character and his arc to bits. I’ve heard that this is a very queer book (with explicit f/f and ace representation), which just fills my heart even more!

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it-–is that a doll?-–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

God, how often do we get an MG fantasy so richly steeped in African/African-American culture and mythology? I know the Riordan Imprint has published some amazing books to date, all by diverse authors, so I truly cannot wait to see Tristan Strong shine his own light into the lives of kids who need this representation.

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.

Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.

But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.

Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.

Already, the premise of this book sounds poignant to today’s society—I’ve also personally experienced the dual-reality of what it’s like to live in a culture not wholly your own, to have to hide certain “sides” of yourself when you’re interacting with different communities. This book has already received praise from its early readers as well, so I am honestly, fully excited for a book that promises to explore this dynamic thoroughly within its pages. I’m also a sucker for stories that juxtapose old myths and folktales with reality, so this is going to be WAY up there on my TBR when I can get around to it!

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Jackpot by Nic Stone

Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?

Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.

Nic Stone previously wrote Dear Martin, which was a quick favorite among a couple of my friends! I’m excited for what will no doubt be an incisive look into how race intersects with class privilege in this book, which to my knowledge is a sorely represented intersection in YA so far? Which is wild considering how pervasive it is in the lives of so many people worldwide!

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther–inspired Nigeria.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

Another stellar sci-fi entry on this list, this time featuring a gorgeous black protagonist! That a war-torn, futuristic Nigeria has separated our two main sisters is a solid premise already filled with heart-wrenching stakes, and I personally cannot wait to see how this book will unravel its story and themes as they try to find each other again.

Releases on the 15th of October. Add this book on Goodreads.

Book News

Cover Reveal: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

ALRIGHT FRIENDS, we begin this week’s whopping 13 cover reveals with the brilliantly vibrant cover of Elizabeth Acevedo’s upcoming book! I absolutely adore the concept for this book cover and cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of one, though I already have a desperate need to get around to reading both her previous books as well. Acevedo in general is such a badass author and person—so says literally every single profile of her I’ve read—and it looks like she isn’t stopping her roll anytime soon.

Cover Reveal: We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal

It’s here! Look at how gorgeous this is! Faizal’s debut made such a big splash in the reading community when it arrived earlier this year, and we’re finally getting to see the inklings of a sequel to the beloved characters. I love that more and more unapologetically Muslim authors are getting the recognition they deserve!

Cover Reveal: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

This cover! is so sparkly! And I love it! I think this cover suits the atmosphere of the book perfectly—with its mysterious silhouettes and its lush velvet curtains—and I’m so excited to delve into a world of diamonds, mystery, and magicians come release date!

Cover Reveal: The Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Real talk: the first time I read the pitch for this book, I was absolutely enamored. We’ve seen protagonists who are half-gods, sure, but never have I personally seen a character who’s a half-star. You can absolutely bet money on me hiding into this world of courts and magic and lyrical prose the first chance I get.

Cover Reveal: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

This looks adorable! I’m really fascinated by all the releases that have been announced as of late surrounding elections and voting and the inherent tension that comes with these tenets of society, but I think this is the first one I’ve seen to tackle voter disenfranchisement. 2020 will be a really interesting year for contemporary book releases, and I’m glad that a book on such a vital topic will also get a chance to make its voice heard.

Cover Reveal: The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful hasn’t even been out for a full week yet, and already we have a cover reveal for its sequel! We love that our diverse authors are out here THRIVING! I still have yet to get my hands on the first book, but knowing that this dark fantasy doesn’t end with the first book may honestly be key to my heart surviving the book at all (especially if it comes with a cliffhanger ending, my heart can’t take all this suspense @ authors please).

Cover Reveal: The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala

Look at how vibrant this cover is! The silhouette of the archer contrasts so starkly and beautifully against the bright yellow background, which makes the whole composition look that much more striking. I know a lot of readers loved the first book for its romantic tension and game of cat-and-mouse between its two main characters, and I hope that this installment in the trilogy lives up to those expectations!

Cover Reveal: Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantel Acevedo

I love all the brilliant Latinx covers we’re getting lately! This one is especially adorable too, with its illustrated main cast and the dazzling city skyline. ALSO the premise for this sounds absolutely amazing—an adventure following a girl who discovers she’s a  reincarnated versions of one of the Nine Greek Muses? With Sirens and squad shenanigans? I neeeeeed this now okay.

Cover Reveal: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

The art for this cover looks downright breathtaking. I love love love the illustration choices here, and the book concept also sounds hauntingly gorgeous. I’ve been a mood for spoopy stories lately, and this book about family, tradition, and a mysterious sister that might be trying to communicate from beyond the grave sounds exactly like what I need.

Cover Reveal: The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

Did I hear… enemies-to-lovers bi f/f YA fantasy? I’m already sold. But also look at this stunning cover, friends! The gilded wave, the red moon cycles! I’m so excited for this story about witches and queens and sacrifices, and for the dark spoopy tension that this book promises!

Cover Reveal: The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

So you definitely don’t need me to tell you how drop-dead gorgeous this cover is, right? Because I haven’t read the book that this is the sequel to at all, nor do I really know the characters or the impossible stakes that are surely at play here, but I’m already ready to plaster a giant print of this book cover all over my bedroom wall. Tran Nguyen is just… a genius of an artist, and I think I’ll always be head-over-heels in love with her work. ON A MORE LITERARY NOTE, a lot of my friends really loved The Storm Crow for its spot-on depression rep and complex characters, and it’s definitely one that I need to work on picking up!

Cover Reveal: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

This cover is so sweet! I’m really glad that more and more romance books are being published recently with people of color front-and-center, and the premise of this book—of three women discovering they have been catfished by the same jerk—already sounds like it’s going to be a WILD adventure.

Cover Reveal: The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

This cover gives me ALL the Ghibli feels, and I am so here for it. I absolutely adore covers (and books!) with prominent themes surrounding nature and gardens and flowers, so this already looks and sounds entirely up my alley! The blurb for the book sounds equal parts sweet and enchanting too. (Also peep the adorable cat in the corner! I would definitely die for him.)

Book Announcement: Dahlia Adler’s YA contemporary about summer flings and queer teen romances

I can already sense the shenanigans emanating from this pitch. Biphobia who??? We only stan messy disaster queers in this household. I saw this cross my feed when it was a Twitter pitch, and I’m more than excited to see it turn into a real, book-shaped thing!

Book Announcement: A novel on adoption, family and belonging from Summer Heacock Eric Smith

Books about family are sometimes the hardest to write (and read), because these themes come from such deep and visceral parts of our identity, so I’m glad that there’s going to be an #ownvoices book about being an adoptee out in the universe soon! It’s a topic that even I don’t quite know how to approach myself, so I’m really looking forward to reading about the experience from the people who will undoubtedly treat it with the most care and compassion.

Book Announcement: An adorable Simbang Gabi romance from Carla de Guzman

For the uninitiated, Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition, and it’s extravagant. Christmas in the Philippines is nothing to joke about! I’ve always had a soft spot for holiday romances, and this lovable matchup between a baker and a barista sounds like it’s going to be all parts charming and sweet and adorable!

Book Announcement: Saraciea Fennell’s exciting anthology subverting Latinx myths and stereotypes

PLEASE give me more anthologies featuring the experiences of people of color! I’m literally beyond excited for this, especially since it features so many beloved names in the YA community! This is Latinx EXCELLENCE. I’m also really interested in seeing how this anthology weaves together both stories and poetry, too!

Book Announcement: A queer Scandinavian romp with winter horse-racing from Carly Heath

More books with ace protagonists!! This book sounds like it’s going to be a real adventure, with its squad of queer teens and horse-racing! I love books about headstrong teens that defy the expectations of their elders and communities, and I hope to love this too!

Book Announcement: Angeline Boulley’s thriller navigating a murder and Native American identity

We really don’t get enough high-interest YA (or really kidlit in general) surrounding Native American communities and identities, so I’m really fascinated by the premise of this book! From the blurb, it already sounds like it’s going to be a thorough exploration of identity and what it means to belong to a community, which are always evergreen topics regardless of the season.

Book Announcement: Quidditch meets dragons in Amparo Cortiz’s upcoming contemporary fantasy novel

HELLO, QUIDDITCH MEETS DRAGONS? Sign me up! I absolutely adore How To Train Your Dragon, and I can’t tell you how much buzzing is going on in my head that this book used the movies as one of their comp titles. Please give me all the cute and heartbreaking relationships between humans and their mythical and magnificent pet creatures forevermore @ universe amen.

From Page to Screen: A gothic retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses finds its way to TV!

I had the pleasure of reading House of Salt and Sorrows over the weekend last week, and friend, I absolutely adored the gothic themes and spooky vibes of the book. That the story might be turned into a TV series delights me to no end! I’m so excited to see how the crew will adapt all the creepy scenes and the gorgeous, haunting manor by the sea.

From Page to Screen: Misa Sugiura’s flower-filled contemporary about race, identity, and justice optioned for TV

This Time Will Be Different mainly follows a girl who learns to fight for her family’s flower shop, but it’s also a candid exploration of race, justice, and learning to love again. I know this book is a beloved one to many (including Xiaolong!), so I really hope that the adaptation will do this important story justice.

Book Community Spotlight

In keeping with #LatinxHeritageMonth, this week’s featured community members are all wonderful Latinx bookish people who are doing the great work of supporting Latinx readers and writers as well!

Book Blogger: Cande from Latinx Magic

If you’ve been around the bookish community for a bit, chances are that you’ve definitely seen Cande around (you can even find Cande with her kind comments in the Pond pretty often). You can find a series she is doing here for Latinx Heritage month, where she recommends a lineup of excellent books by Latinx authors, from Latinx retellings to books about food to MG reads! Cande is a constant force of positivity in the community, and all of us here at the Pond are grateful for the work and kindness she’s put out into the world!

You can find Cande on her blog, Twitter and Instagram!

Bookstagrammer: Dani from Metamorpho Dani

OKAY, how lovely is this photo? Dani’s entire feed is LITERALLY aesthetic goals—I adore the nostalgic, faded look that all her photos have, and how cohesive her entire theme is. I know from firsthand experience that maintaining this level of consistency is really hard, and I will always be in awe of people who are able to pull this off flawlessly. I also love the pops of color Dani adds to her photos with the flowers and little streams of stars, and the soft textures that always show up in her feed. Definitely go check out Dani’s amazing work, friends!!

Follow Dani on her bookstagram here, as well as her Twitter and blog!

Booktuber: Joce from Yogi With a Book

From the very first moments of her hilarious intro, I knew I was going to love Joce’s content and sense of humor. And I was right! Joce is eloquent and wonderfully relatable with the thoughts that she shares, and a couple of videos were more than enough to get me subscribed to her channel (and I’m usually pretty picky with my subs!). If you’re new to her channel like I was, her 1k subscriber Q&A/assumptions video is a great place to start, and a fantastic intro to Joce as a reader and a person!

Follow Joce on her booktube channel, Twitter and Instagram!

2 thoughts on “The Pond News Issue #13 – A Wild Week of Exciting Releases, Covers, and Magic All Around

  1. I literally can’t deal with all these stunning covers 😍 I loved Mooncakes SO MUCH! I hope everyone reads it because it’s so precious. Really love and appreciate these posts, they’re so helpful!! Thank you for taking the time to do them 🥰.


  2. Ooo, so many awesome new books! I want them all! Dragon Warrior and Never Tilting World especially tickle my fantasy radar, but I’d like to check out Our Wayward Fate for a satisfying chaser of reality. Thanks for sharing!


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