The Pond Book News #59 – A Week of Lovely Cover Reveals: Cute Contemporaries & Anticipated Sequels

Welcome to Issue #59!

The trees are whispering…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.

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! This week Xiaolong and Sprout are excited to be teaming up to bring you another week of book news! Now, onwards to the brilliant books!

Book Releases [October 4th – October 10th]

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

Xiaolong: How cool does this book sound?! (Only right answer: Very cool.) Blazewrath Games is a merging of fantasy and contemporary and dragons and SPORTS that we never knew we needed and I’m so excited to read this! We also had Amparo Ortiz, the author, visit our blog for Latinx Heritage Month, so don’t forget to read our awesome interview with her!

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

Spell Starter by Elsie Chapman

Yes, Aza Wu now has magic back. But like all things in her life, it has come at a great cost. After the tournament, Aza is able to pay off her parents’ debt to Saint Willow. Unfortunately, the cost of the gathering spell she used to strip Finch of his magic has put her permanently in the employ of the gang leader. Aza has been doing little errands using real magic — collecting debts, putting the squeeze on new businesses in the district. But that had never been the plan. Saint Willow is nothing if not ambitious and having Aza as a fighter is much more lucrative than as a fixer. Especially if she can control the outcome. Aza is going to have to put it all on the line again to get out of this situation!

Xiaolong: Spell Starter is the devastating and intense sequel to Caster, a story set in a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy where magic comes with a cost and usually at the expense of the magic-caster’s body. This is an exciting sequel and if you missed my blog tour stop and the fanart I drew for Spell Starter, you can find it here!

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwama Mbalia

Tristan Strong, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, is suffering from PTSD. But there’s no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge. Tristan must return to Alke–and reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby–in order to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation. Anansi, now a “web developer” in Tristan’s phone, is close at hand to offer advice, and several new folk heroes will aid Tristan in his quest, but he will only succeed if he can figure out a way to sew broken souls back together. 

Xiaolong: Tristan Strong is back in this sequel – and we cannot wait to read this! A delightful middle-grade story about one young Black boy’s power who carries a heavy weight on his shoulders. Now back from his adventure into a world of African-American folk tale heroes and African gods, Tristan now faces new challenges.

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

Broken Wish by Julie C. Dao

Hanau, Germany

Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow. But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner—none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.

Xiaolong: Broken Wish sounds as vicious and delicious as her Forest of a Thousand Lanterns story – and I’m pretty excited to read it. Blending fairytale tropes, this story is about a curse that spans four generations in the same family. I’m so curious to read Broken Wish and read more about darker magic, mysterious curses, and misunderstood women.

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu

Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link’s close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what’s more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest.

As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link’s younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.

Sprout: Okay, so hear me out: a queer atmospheric fantastical YA thriller by an author of color following a boy who drowned in an impossible lake within a forest that only our protagonist can find. Honestly, if that doesn’t hook you already, I don’t know what else would! Especially with THAT cover! Friends, I am so very excited for this book, and to finally be able to start looking for it in stores.

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 

Sprout: This heartfelt middle-grade is said to be perfect for fans of Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, and I am on board from this recommendation alone. Plus, reading this interview with the author about the book is just filled with love for the author’s birthplace of Karachi, Pakistan, where the book is also set, which makes me so excited for this story!

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung

Best friends Matt and Eric are hatching a plan for one big final adventure together before Eric moves away: during the marching band competition at a Giant Amusement Park, they will sneak away to a nearby comics convention and meet their idol-a famous comic creator. Without cell phones. Or transportation. Or permission. Of course, their final adventure together is more than just that-really, it’s a way for the boys to celebrate their friendship, and their honest love and support for one another.

Sprout: Hooray for platonic love between boys! I love love love the premise of this book and its message that affection between young boys should be celebrated regardless of its nature! This looks like it’s going to be such a fun middle-grade adventure, and I hope that it finds the young readers that will need this story in their lives!

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Xiaolong: V.E. Schwab’s long-awaited book is finally here and I’m certain that, for most of you, this book needs no introduction. Following the story of Addie LaRue, who makes a deal to live forever but spends the next 300 years of her life being forgotten by the people that she meets – until she meets a young man in a bookstore that remembers her name.

Releases on October 6. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Xiaolong: We at the Pond absolutely adore Emery, and eir long-awaited cover for Meet Cute Diary is finally here! I’m so excited for this YA romance – and if you don’t know much about it, rectify that immediately! For the curious, you can learn more about Meet Cute Diary by reading the interview that we did with Emery back in Asian Heritage Month!

Cover Reveal: Force of Fire by Sayantani DasGupta

Xiaolong: How gorgeous is this book cover?! If you know me, you’ll know that I love illustrated book covers and that I love seeing kids of colour front and center looking powerful and awesome! If Sayantani’s first series, Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, is any indication, then I can expect a whimsical story about magic, South-Asian inspired worldbuilding, and awesome girls!

Cover Reveal: Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence

Xiaolong: As much as I love illustrated covers, there’s something so… wonderful and empowering and fulfilling to see a young model of colour on a book cover. Debbi has been blessed with lovely covers – check out Keep It Together, Keiko Carter! – and I love Just be Cool, Jenna Sakai so much. This sounds like an awesome story about working towards a journalism scholarship, crushes, and how confusing middle school can be! It’s not often that I read middle grade books that tackle crushes, so I’m excited to read this book!

Cover Reveal: The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Xiaolong: The Good Luck Girls is an incredible book that I read last year – a fantastical Western about girls who escape servitude and become outlaws in search of freedom. I’m loving how these two covers look together – and I’m particularly excited for The Sisters of Reckoning and to see where my favourite girl outlaws will go next.

Cover Reveal: A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

Xiaolong: Not to be dramatic, but I’m hopelessly in love with this book cover. I also love Bethany’s comment about how we see the main character, Naema, in full face. This book cover is absolutely powerful, and I was even more delighted to hear that this is a sequel of A Song Below Water and centers on one of the most interesting characters in the first book. I can’t wait!

Cover Reveal: Broken Web by Lori M. Lee

Xiaolong: Okay, I was in love with the Forest of Souls book cover, but how beautiful does Broken Web look?! (Especially with that use of light? Mysterious! A lil spooky! We love to see it.) I love how this pairs beautifully with the first book, and I’m intrigued to read what happens in this book!

Cover Reveal: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Xiaolong: If you think this book cover is gorgeous, wait ’til you learn what Tokyo Ever After is about. Ready? It’s a YA contemporary about a Japanese-American teen who learns that she’s actually Japanese royalty! I am a huge fan of The Princess Diaries and the fact that we are getting a story with a similar pitch but with a Japanese character?! Oh my goodness. I need this BADLY.

Cover Reveal: Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June

Xiaolong: Oh my goodness. When Jason June said, ‘can you feel the love?’, I whispered to myself, ‘YES’. I love this book cover so much. The chemistry between the two characters! Wow. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but: I have judged it. And I deem myself EXCITED.

Cover Reveal: Love & Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura

Xiaolong: I have read all of Misa Sugiura’s books to date and I have loved all of them – loved them for her boldness to explore messy people, messy relationships, with stories that are so challenging but also vulnerable. I’m incredibly excited to read Love & Other Natural Disasters – especially since it features queer characters! fake dating! an Japanese lead! I want this so badly.

Cover Reveal: Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Xiaolong: I will literally read anything and everything that Akemi writes, and her middle-grade debut is certainly no exception! Aside from its gorgeous cover and sweet-looking characters, I’m so excited to read about a young girl who starts a new school and bonds over J-Pop with her new friends?! HELLO? This was me as a child. Oh goodness, this book is going to be so good – I can feel it.

Cover Reveal: The Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young

Xiaolong: YES! I love seeing more Native/Indigenous stories, and The Healer of the Water Monster sounds incredible. I love creation stories and reading them from different perspectives and when they’re told by different voices, so I’m really looking forward to this Navajo creation story.

Cover Reveal: The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon

Sprout: Friends, how awesome does this premise sound?! A trans protagonist, fae princes, and difficult decisions? Sign me the heck up! I love the almost comic book style of the cover illustration here, and the character art is lovely!

Cover Reveal: Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar

Sprout: Oh I love the colors in this cover so much! This is a historical middle-grade novel set in 1800’s India, which sounds like such an interesting period that we really don’t get to read much about in children stories, so I’m very very excited for this!

Book Announcement: Reclaim the Stars, a Latinx SFF anthology edited by Zoraida Cordova, finds two new voices!

Xiaolong: If you haven’t heard of Reclaim the Stars, it’s the first-ever Latinx YA SFF anthology (and look at that amazing line-up)! As an unapologetic lover and defender of YA anthologies, I am thrilled to read this – and even more thrilled to see that Circe Moskowitz (Sprout: who is a very good friend! I’m so proud of her!!) is writing a short story in Reclaim the Stars – and we can expect witchy Afro-Boricua? Love? DEATH GODS? I’m over the moon and cannot wait to read this.

Book Announcement: A grand space opera trilogy retelling about Joan of Arc forthcoming from Neon Yang!

Sprout: Neon Yang is giving us a whole trilogy worth of high-concept space opera goodness, and I am so here for it! They were previously the author of the Tensorate series, which you probably have read or at least seen recommended. 👀 It’s always so cool to see more Southeast Asian authors thriving in publishing!

Book Announcement: A coming-of-age MG about estranged family forthcoming from Kai Harris

Sprout: I always love a good story with a family secret, and can we please talk about the part of the blurb where it says “loved ones can be flawed, sometimes significantly os, and the perfect family we all dream of looks different up close”? Because dang friends, what a good, good line! I’m looking forward to hearing more news about this!

Book Announcement: An MG historical novel about traveling circuses and agricultural labor strikes by Aida Salazar

Sprout: This book’s setting is so fascinating — with the carpa and the labor strike both existing in this historical time period, while also following a small girl in migrant working family? I’m certainly going to be keeping an eye on this one for more news about its release, because my interest is piqued!

Book Announcement: A queer historical novel following a biracial woman forthcoming from Zoe Sivak

Sprout: This premise looks so interesting, friends, and it truly is lamentable that we don’t see nearly enough biracial representation in historical fiction! The fact that the author describes it as “an ownvoices triumph” makes me excited for it already.

Book Announcement: A YA graphic novel about paranormal podcasts, small Texas towns, and queer romance by Ashley Robin Franklin

Sprout: AHH I am so onboard with this new upcoming graphic novel! Strange lights, paranormal happenings and curious girls in small towns? This is absolutely my kind of story, and I’m SO SO excited for the cute queer rep in this too! I am definitely keeping this one on my radar.

Book Announcement: An MG contemporary about family secrets, estranged siblings and drama by Sabrina Kleckner

Sprout: I always love a good story with a family secret, and perhaps serendipitously this is the second middle-grade we have this week about estranged family members! I’m so curious what the protagonist’s parents were hiding now, and I’ll be sure to check out the book to find out!

5 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #59 – A Week of Lovely Cover Reveals: Cute Contemporaries & Anticipated Sequels

  1. Oh my gosh so many books I’m interested in! I’d already pre-ordered Blazewrath Games on my Audible app (eeeee it’s out tomorrow) and I’m so excited for The Broken Wish.

    But a few of these cover reveals are for such good sounding books too like Tokyo Ever After?! I’d never heard of that. So many books, so little time.

    Liked by 1 person

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