The Pond Book News #16 – A Great Week of Diverse Teen Romances & Darling Asian Fantasies

the pond book news: issue #16, a great week of diverse teenage romances and darling asian fantasies

Welcome to Issue #16!

The trees are whispering…

Hello friends! WelcomeSprout 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. 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 [November 3rd – November 9th]

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

32605126. sy475 Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.

Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest’s Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao begin to break the spell that’s been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?

Ooooooh friends, Julie C. Dao’s earlier book, Forest of A Thousand Lanterns, was my first ever introduction to Asian YA fantasy (also known as fantasy that I finally felt represented in) so I really cannot wait for the release of this new installment in the magical world Dao has created. The quest to break the curse already sounds so compelling, and I’m so excited to see Jade grow into her role as an empress of the realm!

Releases on November 5. Add this book on Goodreads.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

43568394There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife… and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

This sounds like a perfect read for lovers of medieval fantasy! I’m always very intrigued by historically beloved stories retold from the perspective of the tale’s marginalised charactersand the blurb for this sounds like it fits that description perfectly. If you’re looking for court intrigue, changelings, and an Arthurian legend retold with a little bit of magic, you’ll want to pick this up!

Releases on November 5. Add this book on Goodreads.

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

43558747In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Friends, to be honest, I don’t even really know how to begin to describe how much Girls of Paper and Fire meant to me as a queer Malaysian-Chinese teen when I first read it. And the sequel to the brilliant Asian fantasy releases in two days! I had the privilege to read this as an ARC, and I’m practically brimming with excitement for the world to meet our warrior loves again in this new installment.

Releases on November 5. Add this book on Goodreads.

A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

3859565210 years. 3 gangs. 1 girl’s epic quest.

Valerie Simons knows the city’s gang wars are dangerous—her own brother was killed by the Boars two years ago. But nothing will sway her from joining the elite and beautiful Herons to avenge his death—a death she feels responsible for.

But when Valerie is recruited by the mysterious Stags, their charismatic and volatile leader Jax promises to help her get revenge. Torn between old love and new loyalty, Valerie fights to stay alive as she races across the streets of San Francisco to finish the mission that got her into the gangs.

I’ve been seeing many great reviews for this book floating around on Twitter lately, so to have it finally release this week is truly worthy news! Set in a San Francisco overrun with gang wars, this book is said to be a retelling of The Iliad meets The Outsiders—as gentrification is a recurrent underlying theme in the story. The MC is also half-Filipino as well!

Releases on November 5. Add this book on Goodreads.

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

39897323. sy475 Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It’s easier–
It’s safer–
It’s better–
–for the other person.
She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.
But then she meets another sick kid.
He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.
He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.
Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It’s complicated–
It’s dangerous–
It’s never felt better–
–to consider breaking that rule for him.

Isn’t this the most adorable description? I’m very glad we’re getting more and more stories with ownvoices disability and chronic illness representation, especially for a book that I’ve seen so many stellar reviews for already! I’ve been in the mood for another sweet contemporary romance as of late, so I might just pick this up myself as well!

Releases on November 5. Add this book on Goodreads.

Book News

Cover Reveal: Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Friends, I… honestly don’t even have the words. This cover is. breathtaking. I remember being absolutely blown away by the cover of the previous book in this series when it was revealed just last year, and this new cover? Doesn’t disappoint even in the slightest. I shudder to think of the brilliance that awaits us at the cover reveal for the end of the trilogy. Until then though, I’m just going to be waiting in the corner until July 2020 comes and I can finally read what happens after the patently unfair ending of the first one.

(And a point of discussion for readers who have already devoured Spin the Dawn like I have: peep Maia’s nails in the cover??? Friends I am not okay.)

Cover Reveal: A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

This cover is so charming! A Korean romcom filled with baking shenanigans and strict parents sounds equal parts relatable and positively delightful, and I’m looking forward to seeing this find this story find its cozy place in the hearts of its readers!

Excerpt (and Second Cover) Reveal: The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Fans of Chakraborty’s Daevabad series rejoice; look at that shiny shimmering goodness of the book’s US cover! The trilogy is coming to a close with the release of the final book in June 2020, which is bittersweet for sure, but I’m certain that readers are also greatly anticipating the conclusion of the magical story. I still have yet to pick up the first book myself, but I hope that readers find the ending that they’re hoping for in this final journey into the world of Daevabad!

Cover Reveal: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

A couple of things!

  • A book about a trans Latinx boy filled with ghosts, family, and gods? Hell yeah!
  • I love that this announcement came just a day before Día de Muertos!
  • The cover itself is so gorgeous! Those golden flower petals swirling around the protagonist, the skeleton and deathly imagery juxtaposed with the moon and the flowers?? Absolutely amazing.

Cover Reveal: So This is Love: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim

Honestly I dare you to read the title of this and not have the tune “So this is what makes life divine!” immediately follow in your head. It’s no secret that I harbor a deep and unbreakable love for both Disney and Lim’s writing, so coupled with the fact that Cinderella was actually my very first Disney Princess movie way back when my family owned VHS tapes, this pairing is very much a dream come true for me! I can’t wait to see what Lim does with the traditional Cinderella story.

Book Announcement: A chronically ill teen is also a magical guardian in Aimée Carter’s forthcoming middle-grade fantasy

Friends, how incredible does this blurb sound? I know next to nothing about this story, and I already want it in my hands. The next few years of publishing are going to be such an interesting time period for both readers and the industry alike, and I’m genuinely stoked at all the wonderful diverse books that are going to be published so very soon. Definitely adding this one to the priority TBR to keep an eye on! as well!

Book Community Spotlight

Book Blogger: Taasia from Librae Paints Pages

Friends, in the realm of diverse teen book bloggers, Taasia is genuinely a wonder to behold. She is hilarious, nerdy, diligentand more than deserves a follow on whichever social media platform you’re most keen on using. If you’re new to her blog, her thoughtful and incisive discussion about ARC hoarding, while perhaps being an older post, is one that stands true to the test of time. OR if you’re in the mood to read about some fantastic bullet journaling, you can also check out her latest article about her new bujo setup!

You can follow Taasia on her blog, Twitter and Goodreads.

Bookstagrammer: Ama at inkymoments

I’m smitten, friends, with Ama’s feed. Everything about itfrom composition to colors and lightingfeels so warm and cozy, and the aesthetic is absolutely GOALS. Ama herself is a Muslim-American blogger based in New York, and she also advocates for youth in STEM through her other platforms! Women of color are out here hustling and getting all the things right, and I am so here for it.

Follow Ama on her bookstagram, book blog & Twitter!

Booktuber: Library of Alexa

Alexa’s videos are so warm and wonderful! Her enthusiasm and excitement (both for books and just in general) is absolutely contagious, and I’m so happy to have found her channel through Joce and Cuddle’s stellar recommendations once again! I’m particularly fond of her TBR challenge videos (which you can find here and here) where she picks her TBR for the month through games like matching cards, or following prompts on a d20 die. I haven’t personally seen challenges like this before, and her videos are a such a fun introduction to them! I might even incorporate some of them to get out of reading slumps myself too 👀 A glowing recommendation from the Pond!

You can follow Alexa on her Booktube, Twitter & Goodreads!

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