The Pond Book News #17 – Centering Stories of Color: Queer Romcoms to Fantastical Adventures

issue #17

Welcome to Issue #17!

The trees are whispering…

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 10th – November 16th]

Color Outside the Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna

40960763This modern, groundbreaking YA anthology explores the complexity and beauty of interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships where differences are front and center.

“When people ask me what this anthology is about, I’m often tempted to give them the complicated answer: it’s about race, and about how being different from the person you love can matter but how it can also not matter, and it’s about Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, colonial India, a flower festival, a garden of poisons, and so, so much else. Honestly, though? I think the answer’s much simpler than that. Color outside the Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful people in love.” — Sangu Mandanna, editor of Color outside the Lines

Oh friends, I’m so excited for this one! CW and Xiaolong have talked at length about why they absolutely adore this book, and it sounds like the stories written for the anthology also explore themes such as white supremacy, family, and Black Lives Matter. Queer and/or interracial relationships have never really been explored in mainstream YA before, so I’m sure this will come as a vitally important book to the people who need it! The stellar lineup of authors featured in this anthology definitely also helps its case.

Releases on November 12. Add this book on Goodreads.

When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

41908418Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.

Sprout heard along the grapevine that this book has great representation with a black biracial main character, and they are very excited for its release! I’m already intrigued by the theme of astronomy that is sprinkled throughout the blurb (star nerds ftw!) and as a fan of gradients and bold lettering, I also adore the cover of this book!

Releases on November 12. Add this book on Goodreads.

All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

35277317. sy475 Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

I’m so glad that we’ve been getting so many wonderful releases exploring Muslim identity as of late. This book presents such an interesting premise, and its story as well as its themes—Islamophobia, growing up a minority & disguising your heritage—sound absolutely vital for today’s social climate. I hope this book finds the readers that will hold it close to their hearts!

Releases on November 12. Add this book on Goodreads.

Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

43192642. sy475 The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.

Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.

Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.

I’ve been hearing many wonderful things about Tasha Suri’s writing recently, and her books have been pitched as slowburn fantasies with both compelling characters and striking themes, all rooted in lush fantasy worldbuilding inspired by Mughal India. What a pitch! While this book isn’t a direct sequel to the author’s Empire of Sand, it’s set in the same universe as the first book!

Releases on November 12. Add this book on Goodreads.

Book News

Cover Reveal: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

I- I am so smitten with the warm golden ambiance that is suffused throughout this cover. And this aesthetic is so apt too, considering the book is one about a world where women bleed gold (which is an in-universe metaphor for the commodification of women). I am very eagerly anticipating this debut!

Cover Reveal: The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is a novel in verse about being mixed-race and gay, while also celebrating drag as a fearless expression of queer identity. And I needed this like… yesterday. I’m an enormous fan of poetry (I had that embarrassing teenage phase where EVERYTHING I wrote was crappy poetry), and I’m absolutely delighted that marginalised communities are utilising the medium to tell new and powerful stories previously untold in our shared communities.

Cover Reveal: Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchell

When I first laid my eyes on this masterpiece of a cover, I drew a deep breath, and  then couldn’t help but smile at “Queer We Go Again”. It sounds like this is a follow-up anthology in the footsteps of All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Agesexploring queer characters in modern times instead of the previous historical bent. I am doubtlessly intrigued by this, and have definitely added the earlier anthology to my TBR!

Cover Reveal: Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hilbert

I woefully don’t read a lot of romance novels, but the blurb for this already sounds like everything I need in a good love story: the “high-strung, confident, mildly cynical woman meets a grumpy-but-actually-sunshine man with a heart of gold” is just fireworks waiting to explode, and I also love that the blurb also implies that the protagonist is pan/bi or queer! The cover for this is adorable, and I have no doubt that this romance will also be one for the ages.

Cover Reveal: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

HELLOOOOO MERMAIDS! I don’t talk about it nearly enough, but mermaids (and their siren cousins) are my absolute favorite mythical creatures, and I’m beyond elated that we’re getting this beautiful Black siren fantasy next year! This book is pitched as a contemporary fantasy about misogynoir, which just… yes??? June is all too far away, friends.

Book Announcement: A queer 24-hour contemporary adventure from Navdeep Singh

Do I sense… possibly more pan/bi representation? 👀 In any case, this story sounds super fun, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting more news about its release!

Book Announcement: A historical YA about Black Wall Street, young love, and the horror of racial riots by Randi Pink

This is giving me very If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson vibes, which was one of my favorite books of 2018! Young love explored through the lens of social issues, especially extreme racism and anti-black sentiment, is always such an effective and heart-wrenching way of nailing in the truly horrific consequences of these hate crimes. I have high hopes for this for sure.

Book Announcement: A West-African fantasy about magical soldiers and Orisha gods by Deborah Falaye

Honestly these days, every time I read a new blurb from a diverse fantasy author about their upcoming books, I am always floored by the all the unique premises and the hints of absolutely stellar fictional universes, most of them truly one-of-a-kind and never-before-seen. This one is no different. The stakes for this already sound so real and riveting that I am sold.

Book Announcement: A queer Mulan-inspired alt-history debut about gender identity and rebellion by Shelley Parker-Chan

Given that this story uses two of my absolute favorite stories as comp titles, to say I felt immense joy upon seeing this announcement would be… an understatement. There have been so many great Mulan retellings and reimaginings lately, and friends, I am living for it. I am so excited for a new title that promises to explore gender identity as a prominent theme, though! I think there is so much undiscovered potential here, and I am definitely keeping an eye out for more news about this book.

Book Community Spotlight

Book Blogger: Lauren at Love Yo Shelf

In this household, we celebrate and support new diverse bookish members of the community! Lauren co-runs Love Yo Shelf with fellow co-blogger Orianna, and their baby blog was created just last month! I am so impressed by how clean and functional their blog already is, and I cannot wait to see more posts from them. Read their about their mission in their introduction post here, and a great bookish post to start from on their blog is Lauren’s review of Girls of Storm and Shadow!

Find Lauren on her book blog, Twitter & Goodreads!

Bookstagrammer: Nicole at A Myriad of Books

Nicole is a fabulous Korean-American bookstagrammer, and her feed is so pretty! I love the soft textures that make a consistent reappearance in all of her photos, and how everything is all at once simple, elegant, but also cozy. Those shelfies too are such goals!

Find Nicole on her bookstagram, book blog and Twitter.

Booktuber: Olivia at iLivieforbooks

This Pond’s featured booktuber this week is a little different in terms of her content, but she’s still all parts bookish brilliance! Along with her standard booktube content, Olivia also does occasional videos where she makes art out of physical books—she draws on the naked hardbacks, gives the pages gorgeous sprayed edges, filling them with intricate designs—and both the processes and end results are absolutely stunning. A great place to start with her channel is one of her most popular videos where she turns her copy of Children of Blood and Bone into a piece of actual visual art, and her follow-up video, which includes links on where to find her luminous (and now official) COBAB journal!

Follow Olivia on her booktube channel & Twitter!

6 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #17 – Centering Stories of Color: Queer Romcoms to Fantastical Adventures

  1. Thank you so much for the feature oh my goodness 🙈The Quiet Pond is one of the purest, most uplifting blogs I’ve ever come across and it’s genuinely so affirming to have been seen by all of you!


  2. Ah I always love reading these posts <3. How do you manage to find all this book news?! I just can't believe it- it's so amazing! The All-American Muslim Girl and the Mulan retelling and The Gilded Ones and so many others sound so good!! I'm especially excited for Navdeep Singh Dhillon's book- as an Indian girl, I'm always looking for good rep (still haven't found someone like me in a book- but with the rapid progress that YA is going through, I think I might soon!!). Also, just wondering, how do you get a book community spotlight? I've actually started a fantasy-themed blog with characters and a plotline and it's launching next week- it would be amazing to have some buzz spread, especially since we focus on having an inclusive and diverse community with a variety of posts (books, art, news & representation, etc.). Thank you so much! ❤


  3. Read When The Stars Lead To You and loved it so much! ❤ Can't wait for the release of Color Outside The Lines 😀 Loved reading this issue!!


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