The Pond Book News #32 – Asian-Authored Book News: Ghost Brides, Mythical Foxes & A City of Lights


Welcome to Issue #32!

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 [March 22nd – March 28th]

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.

All light in Chattana is created by one man — the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong’s prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free.

Nok, the prison warden’s perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family’s good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat’s twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice — and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.

Friends, if you love complex, diverse fantasies that have a strong undercurrent of hope and adventure: don’t miss A Wish in the Dark when it releases this week. I was very lucky to be able to read an advance copy of this, and it was one of my first five star reads of the year! This book truly has so much to say about important topics like justice and revolution, all packed up in a fun, light story that’s so very easy to get into. And if this piques your interest, keep an eye out for something coming this week in the Pond too… 👀

Releases on March 24th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since its stunning cover reveal, and I’m so glad it’s finally here! I’m craving a good, good mystery lately, and this book might just be the cure to my pining. Here’s to ghosts and sisterhoods that last beyond the grave…

Releases on March 24th. Add this book to Goodreads!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

This week’s book releases truly feel like they were personally tailor-made for me, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about this. I mentioned this book as one of my most anticipated reads for 2020, and this sentiment has remained unchanged ever since I made that post. Sapphic, Asian-inspired fantasy novella that discusses feminism and the power of stories? I am anxiously counting down the minutes till this book releases, and I hope you will join me, friend!

Releases on March 24th. Add this book to Goodreads!

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

Honestly, the fact that this book flew so under the radar that I only managed to add this at the last minute while idly browsing Goodreads is a travesty. This looks amazing, and N.K. Jemisin is such a legendary writer! Either I completely missed the memo on its promo, or this book is way more under-marketed than it should be. An updated version of Lovecraftian horror by a woman of color and a huge love letter to city living? I am picking up a copy of this for sure.

Releases on March 24. Add this book on Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

Wow hello, cover of my dreams. I love everything about this: the color scheme, the composition, the sheer QUALITY OF WORK on display here is beyond breathtaking. Vicious Spirits is already making such a splash in the book community!

Cover Reveal: How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

This cover is SO cool! The energy is very much “traditional YA thriller vibes, but make it Asian” and I am here for it. Katie Zhao has already stolen our hearts with her diaspora-driven MG fantasy series, and this book is sure to introduce her writing to a whole new audience.

Cover Reveal: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Can we talk about the textures here in this cover? The rough paint-streaked brush stroke, the kinky hair, the smooth skin! It looks perfect for an attention-grabbing YA novel in verse covering the truth and brutality of racism and mass incarceration in America.

Cover Reveal: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Oh, this cover is so interesting! Constellations are one of my favorite motifs, and I really like how the stars here are incorporated into the typography. The excerpt here is so lush and gorgeously-written too!

Cover Reveal: The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith

The Shadow War is a queer, Nazi-fighting YA set at the peak of World War II, with a touch of fantasy in a magical portal to the shadow realm. And if that isn’t an wacky premise, I don’t know what is! This is full of potential for sure, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

UK Cover Reveal: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

Friends, I am so enamored with how brilliant and colorful this cover is! The little details are everything. It isn’t often that I favor the UK version of a book cover to its US counterpart too, so I’m counting this as a victory as bookstores here often get the UK edition first, hehe.

Book Announcement: Feminist reimagining of East Asian fantasy meets Pacific Rim in Xiran Jay Zhao’s forthcoming YA!

This premise is WILD, and I am so intrigued to see where it will go! It reminds me a lot of old mecha animes, but also make them East Asian-inspired and feminist? Definitely keeping an eye on this one!

Book Announcement: An upcoming horror novella about ghost brides and disrupted weddings by Cassandra Khaw

I don’t know when exactly I started growing fond of cool, supernatural horror premises, but I am so very excited for this book! I love the title and that supporting this also means supporting Malaysian talent, heyo. Watch out for this book, friends!

Book Announcement: Filipino-inspired graphic novel about magic and wrathful sea serpent deities by Kara Bodegón

Awww, I love this! I will never tire of diverse, quirky graphic novels, and I’m already so excited to pick this up closer to the release date. The author’s art style is super cute, and also! Giant, mythical serpent creatures from Filipino folklore??? Heck yes!

Book Community Spotlight

Book blogger: Chloe at marshmallow pudding

Friends, Chloe is a teen book blogger from Hong Kong, and her blog is the most adorable thing I have had the privilege of exploring this entire week. I love her little marshmallows and the beautiful handwrittten-style font she uses! Sometimes you really just want to escape somewhere soft and sweet, and Chloe’s blog is a wonderful care package with just the right amount of cuteness. In particular, her review of The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao was very sweet to read, and I also loved her six cool book recommendations for International Women’s Day!

Follow Chloe on her blog, Twitter, and Goodreads!

Bookstagrammer: Yna at ynathemoodreader

Yna is a bookstagrammer from the Philippines, and her feed is so cute! The fluffy white background ties the photos together and lends a softness to her layout, and I love all the colorful little knick-knacks that adorn her books. Butterflies and keys are a recurring theme, and I think it’s really cool that Yna has a brand and sticks to it!

Follow Yna on her bookstagram, Twitter, and her book blog!

Booktuber: Mina at Mina reads

Mina is an icon in the book community, and she is so so close to 3000 subscribers to her YouTube channel! I always love listening to Mina’s takes on issues surrounding representation in books, and I definitely trust her book recommendations with my whole whole heart. If you’re looking to read more sapphic romance this year, go check out Mina’s video on diverse wlw book recs, where she talks about f/f books that deal with intersectionality, sex worker positivity, and so much more! Juliet Takes a Breath (which is also getting a graphic novel adaptation) is definitely getting added to my TBR after this video. Her best books of 2019 is also a stellar, diverse lineup of reads that will also expand your reading list significantly.

Follow Mina on her booktube, Twitter, and Goodreads!

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