The Pond Book News #67 – The December 2020 Line-Up

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! Now onward to the brilliant books!

Book Releases This Month [December 1st – December 31st]

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows. 

It’s FINALLY HERE! The long awaited finale to the An Ember in the Ashes series is finally here and I’m ready for my heart, soul, emotions, etc. to be shattered, destroyed, and flamethrowered. I’m currently up to date with the series and cannot wait to see how it concludes – and if you’re not up to date, read it! (And if you need any convincing, read this!)

Releases on December 1st. Add this book to Goodreads!

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing. When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost.

I’m so so incredibly excited for Heiress Apparently! I mean, read that blurb. Secret family history, fame, descendants from Chinese royalty, a romance, discourse on representation in Hollywood – I just love the sound of this so much and I can’t wait to dive in and meet Gemma.

Releases on December 1st. Add this book to Goodreads!

Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang

Eleven-year-old Thom Ngho is keeping a secret: she’s strong. Like suuuuper strong. Freakishly strong. And it’s making it impossible for her to fit in at her new middle school.

In a desperate bid to get rid of her super strength, Thom makes a deal with the Monkey King, a powerful deity and legendary trickster she accidentally released from his 500-year prison sentence. Thom agrees to help the Monkey King get back his magical staff if he’ll take away her strength.

Soon Thom is swept up in an ancient and fantastical world in where demons, dragons, and Jade princesses actually exist. But she quickly discovers that magic can’t cure everything, and dealing with the trickster god might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Sign me up for any Sun Wukong retelling! Girl Giant and the Monkey King sounds like an absolutely delightful middle-grade story. I can’t wait to read this depiction of the Sun Wukong legend and how Thom grapples with her power and being swept into a new world. How exciting!

Releases on December 1st. Add this book to Goodreads!

A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.

There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.

Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?

With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.

She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.

How gorgeous does this sound?! I love stories based on folktales and mythology, and A Curse of Roses sounds so enchanting and magical and compelling. I love the questions posed in the blurb, and I cannot wait to read this and see how this story unfolds.

Releases on December 1st. Add this book to Goodreads!

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

If you’ve read Vo’s first book, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, then you’ll understand why I’m incredibly excited to read this book (and if you haven’t read it yet, get on it)! I’m looking forward to returning to cleric Chih’s world and immerse myself in Vo’s beautiful and powerful worldbuilding and be introduced to a new cast of amazing characters.

Releases on December 8th. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

How gorgeous is this book cover! We don’t often get stories with a fourteen year old protagonist, so I am so delighted that we’re getting Perfectly Parvani next year and with an Iranian-American protagonist front and center too! This sounds utterly delightful – a story about navigating change, friendships, and the Muslim Ban in Iran – and I can’t wait to read this.

Design: TBA

Cover Reveal: Bacchanal by Veronica Henry

What a gorgeous cover – and so mysterious and intriguing too! Bacchanal is a historical fantasy set in the Depression-era, with a magical carnival with an ancient evil that dwells within it, and focuses on a woman with growing powers. This sounds so fascinating and look forward to reading it in 2021.

Illustration: Christina Chung| Art Direction: Michael Jantze

Cover Reveal: Almost Flying by Jake Arlow

Hello, a queer middle-grade book! And look at the two precious girls holding hands on the book cover! This adorable and lovely friends-to-crushes story sounds absolutely delightful, and the story is set in a week-long amusement park road trip. I cannot wait for this!

Illustrator: Maria Fazio

Cover Reveal: The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Ever since reading Gods of Jade and Shadow, you can sign me up to literally any book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. And listen – I love this cover so much. We don’t know much about this book yet – other than it’s a fantasy with swords and sorcery and is about revenge and redemption.

Illustration: Fang Xinyu | Design: TBA

Cover Reveal: Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca

Rajani’s first book, Midsummer Mayhem, was an absolute delight and I’m so excited that we’re getting a companion book, Much Ado about Baseball! I’m living for the Shakespeare influences, and I look forward to meeting Trish and Ben, and their story about math, baseball, and magic!

Illustration: Chloe Dijon | Design: TBA

Book Announcement: A YA rom-com with a Bangladeshi lead, a love triangle, and Jane Austen influences

I’m loving that we are getting more Bangladeshi rom-coms lately, and The Love Match sounds absolutely delightful. Sign me up for any romantic-comedy with complex relationships, family who are involved in the main character’s life, and romance. 2022 cannot come soon enough.

Book Announcement: Darcie Little Badger is publishing more Lipan Apache-centred YA stories!

Hooray to more Native American representation! I’ve heard so many amazing things about Elatsoe, and I’m thrilled that the author is getting to write more books about an identity and experience that’s always under-represented in media. I’m so looking forward to this!

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