Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Quarantine Releases (76)


Over the long weekend we got a nice pile of snow and ice. This made for great snuggling-up-inside weather. While I didn't read a book, my family had a fire and worked on a puzzle all day, which was fun. We're set to get more snow later this week, and I'm hoping I get a snow day out of it! If I'm lucky I'll be able to curl up with one of these new books!

Beyond the End of the World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Perfect for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Laini Taylor, this much-anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s The Other Side of the Sky is a thrilling race against time—with a tantalizing star-crossed love and an electric conclusion.

Time to find a way between worlds. Time to find each other again. Time to do the impossible.

Above, in the cloudlands, Nimh has no memory of her past, only an aching, undying certainty that she has left something—someone—behind. But while she struggles to recall her identity, an imposter wields her name with deadly purpose.

Below, on the surface, North looks to the sky, desperate to join the person he loves and return to his world. But with only a traitor willing to help him, and others clamoring for him to take Nimh’s place, his home seems more unreachable than ever.

Tragedy looms as the cloudland engines falter and mist rains terror on the surface, and in their desperation to reunite and save their people, Nimh and North face one ultimate question: can they defy their love and their destiny to save their homes?

Or will the spark between them ignite their worlds, and consume them all together?

Places to Purchase:

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Dana Schwartz’s Anatomy: A Love Story is a gothic tale full of mystery and romance.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books—she’ll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares—until Hazel.

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Places to Purchase:

Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

The Mirror: Shattered Midnight is the second novel in the innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, J.C. Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it. 

Zora Broussard has arrived in New Orleans with not much more than a bag of clothes, a beautiful voice, and a pair of enchanted red shoes. Running from a tragic accident caused by her magic, Zora wants nothing more than to blend in, as well as to avoid her overbearing aunt and mean-spirited cousins. Music becomes Zora’s only means of escape, yet she wonders if she should give it all up to remove the powers that make her a target, especially as a Black woman in the South. 

But when Zora gets the chance to perform in a prominent jazz club, she meets a sweet white pianist named Phillip with magic of his own, including a strange mirror that foretells their future together. Falling into a forbidden love, Zora and Phillip must keep their relationship a secret. And soon the two discover the complicated connection between their respective families, a connection that could lead to catastrophe for them both. In the era of segregation and speakeasies, Zora must change her destiny and fight for the one she loves . . . or risk losing everything.

Places to Purchase:

Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei

A. L. Graziadei's Icebreaker is an irresistible YA debut about two hockey players fighting to be the best—and the romance that catches them by surprise along the way.

Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league's top draft spot. 

The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey's infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he's willing to risk for it.

This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.

Places to Purchase:

Bound by Firelight by Dana Swift

After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa's punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante... but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already... Now, can they save themselves?

The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

Places to Purchase:

Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

From the moment Sunny Nwazue discovered she had magic flowing in her blood, she sought to understand and control her powers. Throughout her adventures in Akata Witch and Akata Warrior, she had to navigate the balance between nearly everything in her life–America and Nigeria, the “normal” world and the one infused with juju, human and spirit, good daughter and powerful Leopard Person.

Now, those hard lessons and abilities are put to the test in a quest so dangerous and fantastical, it would be madness to go…but deadly not to. With the help of her friends, Sunny embarks on a mission to find a precious object hidden deep in a magical realm. Defeating the guardians of the prize will take more from Sunny than she has to give, and triumph will mean she will be forever changed.

Places to Purchase:

Lawless Spaces by Corey Ann Haydu

Perfect for fans of Deb Caletti, this poignant coming-of-age novel in verse follows a teen girl who connects with the women of her maternal line through their journals and comes to better understand her fraught relationship with her mother.

Mimi’s relationship with her mother has always been difficult. But lately, her mother has been acting more withdrawn than usual, leaving Mimi to navigate the tricky world of turning sixteen alone. What she doesn’t expect is her mother’s advice to start journaling—just like all the woman in her family before her. It’s a tradition, she says. Expected.

But Mimi takes to poetry and with it, a way to write down the realities of growing into a woman, the pains of online bullying, and the new experiences of having a boyfriend. And all in the shadows of a sexual assault case that is everywhere on the news—a case that seems to specifically rattle her mother.

Trying to understand her place in the world, Mimi dives into the uncovered journals of her grandmother, great-grandmother, and beyond. She immerses herself in each of their lives, learns of their painful stories and their beautiful sprits. And as Mimi grows closer to each of these women, she starts to forge her own path. But it isn’t until her mother’s story comes to light that Mimi learns about the unyielding bonds of family and the relentless spirit of womanhood.

Places to Purchase:

Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between edited by Laura Silverman

A charming and inclusive YA anthology all about games—from athletic sports to board games to virtual reality—from editor Laura Silverman and an all-star cast of contributors.
 
From the slightly fantastical to the utterly real, light and sweet romance to tales tinged with horror and thrills, Game On is an anthology that spans genre and style. But beneath each story is a loving ode to competition and games perfect for anyone who has ever played a sport or a board game, picked up a video game controller, or rolled a twenty-sided die.

A manhunt game is interrupted by a town disappearing beneath the players' eyes. A puzzle-filled scavenger hunt emboldens one college freshman to be brave with the boy she's crushing on. A series of summer nights full of card games leads a boy to fall for a boy who he knows is taken. And a spin the bottle game could end a life-long friendship.

Fifteen stories, and fifteen unforgettable experiences that may inspire readers to start up that Settlers of Catan game again.

Places to Purchase:

Coming Back by Jessi Zabarsky

A beautiful graphic novel fantasy romance that follows two young women who have to go on their own separate adventures to discover the truth about themselves and about each other. 

Preet is magic.

Valissa is not.

Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet's love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time Preet breaks the village's most sacred laws, and is rejected from the only home she's ever known and sent into a new world.

Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?

A beautiful story of two young women who are so focused on proving they're meant to be together that they end up hurting each other in the process. This gorgeous graphic novel is an LGTBQ+ romance about young love and how it can grow into something strong no matter what obstacles get in the way.

Places to Purchase:

The Runaway Duchess by Joanna Lowell

A runaway bride dumps a duke and rewrites her own love story in this enchanting Victorian historical romance from the author of The Duke Undone.

Pretty and pampered, Lavinia Yardley always dreamed of becoming a duchess. But family disgrace forces her into marriage with the most vile duke in England, and she finds herself desperate for a way out. When a rustic stranger mistakes her for globe-trotting botanist Muriel Pendrake at a train station, Lavinia has a split second to decide whether to submit to her fate or steal someone else's.

Neal Traymayne spent his youth traveling the world as Varnham Nursery's most daring plant hunter. Now he runs the nursery and is ready to settle down with a like-minded wife who'll fit right in with his large, happy, down-to-earth family. His correspondence with Muriel Pendrake proved they're the perfect match. Odd that the woman in the flesh seems more like a society belle than a scientist.

As they tramp the Cornish moors together, Lavinia and Neal discover a wild and rare desire. But this blossoming love is rooted in lies, and when the real Muriel Pendrake shows up, they can't hide from who they are. The truth may wither their hopes of happiness, or it may bloom into the sweetest love of all.

Places to Purchase:

I know I say the same thing every week, but look at all these amazing books! I am especially excited to read Icebreaker and Anatomy! What books are you looking forward to reading this week?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Quarantine Releases (75)


It's the first week back in class, and everything is insane. My university has had over 1,000 positive cases so far and some estimates have almost the entire undergraduate class getting covid, which I am not excited about. Three of my four classes have gone temporarily online, but one professor is stubbornly keeping us in person. Grrr... So far, I'm just barely managing by sticking my head in books, like the new ones coming out this week!

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long

After angering a local gangster, seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen must flee with her prize fighting wolf, Iska, in tow. A team of scientists offer to pay her way off her frozen planet on one condition: she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Though Sena always swore she’d never race after it claimed both her mothers’ lives, it’s now her only option. 

But the tundra is a treacherous place, and as the race unfolds and their lives are threatened at every turn, Sena starts to question her own abilities. She must discover whether she's strong enough to survive the wild – whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.

A captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths.

Places to Purchase:

My Find Fellow by Jennieke Cohen

Culinary delights abound, romance lingers in the air, and plans go terribly, wonderfully astray in this cheeky and charming historical tale, perfect for fans of Bridgerton or Dickinson.

It’s 1830s England, and Culinarians—doyens who consult with society’s elite to create gorgeous food and confections—are the crème de la crème of high society.

Helena Higgins, top of her class at the Royal Academy, has a sharp demeanor and an even sharper palate—and knows stardom awaits her if she can produce greatness in her final year.

Penelope Pickering is going to prove the value of non-European cuisine to all of England. Her contemporaries may scorn her Filipina heritage and her dishes, but with her flawless social graces and culinary talents, Penelope is set to prove them wrong.

Elijah Little has nothing to his name but a truly excellent instinct for flavors. London merchants won’t allow a Jewish boy to own a shop, so he hawks his pasties for a shilling a piece to passersby—but he knows with training he can break into the highest echelon of society.

When Penelope and Helena meet Elijah, a golden opportunity arises: to pull off a project never seen before, and turn Elijah from a street vendor to a gentleman chef.

But Elijah’s transformation will have a greater impact on this trio than they originally realize—and mayhem, unseemly faux pas, and a little romance will all be a part of the delicious recipe.

Places to Purchase:

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor's son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Places to Purchase:

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder

Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and All the Stars and Teeth. 

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn't believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who's been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi--until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she's stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way--not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane's heart, along with whatever else she's after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

Places to Purchase:

The Monarchs by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

In this thrilling conclusion to New York Times best-selling authors Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige’s The Ravens duology, loyalty, love, and friendships are tested as sorority sisters Scarlett and Vivi must face the forces of hell itself when a rival sorority threatens to wreak havoc on campus.

The ultra-exclusive Kappa Rho Nu—the Ravens—are determined to restore balance to the world. After destroying an ancient talisman and barely saving their sorority in the process, they’ll go to any lengths to keep their secret as Westerly’s most powerful coven of witches.

Scarlett Winter, a legacy Raven, has finally gotten what she’s always wanted: Scarlett is Kappa Rho Nu’s newest president. Unlike her mother or older sister before her, Scarlett has a vision for a more unified Kappa, one where no sister falls to the forces of wicked magic. But the powers of the presidency have their own pitfalls. And with the pressures of alumni bureaucracy and past failures weighing on her, Scarlett finds herself at risk of losing the very thing that defined her: her magic.
 
As a new member of Kappa Rho Nu, Vivi Devereaux finally knows what it’s like to belong. She has her Kappa Rho Nu sisters behind her and, with Scarlett’s blessing, Vivi’s happily dating her first college crush (who also just happens to be Scarlett’s ex). When Scarlett assigns Vivi the coveted role of social chair, Vivi is determined to live up to her Big’s expectations. But Vivi’s studies in witchcraft take a deadly turn when she uncovers a new form of magic, one that has mysterious ties to Kappa Rho Nu’s past and the vengeful demon once tied to their talisman.

With the weight of their newfound roles and the terrible price of destroying the talisman haunting them, Scarlett and Vivi must save their sisterhood when the forces of hell itself and a rival sorority threaten to unleash havoc on the Ravens.

Places to Purchase:

Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek

A sparkling YA debut rom-com about a popular high-school girl, her ex-boyfriend-turned-best-friend, and the girl they both fall for--perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli or Casey McQuiston.

Sam Dickson is a charismatic actress, ambitious and popular with big plans for her future. Ros Shew is one of the smartest people in school--but she's a loner, and prefers to keep it that way. Then there's Christian Powell, the darling of the high school soccer team. He's not the best with communication, which is why he and Sam broke up after dating for six months; but he makes up for it by being genuine, effusive, and kind, which is why they're still best friends.

When Christian falls for Ros on first sight, their first interaction is a disaster, so he enlists Sam's help to get through to her. Sam, with motives of her own, agrees to coach Christian from the sidelines on how to soften Ros's notorious walls. But as Ros starts to suspect Christian is acting differently, and Sam starts to realize the complexity of her own feelings, their fragile relationships threaten to fall apart.

This fresh romantic comedy from debut author Rachel Roasek is a heartfelt story about falling in love--with a partner, with your friends, or just with yourself--and about how maybe, the bravest thing to do in the face of change is just love somebody.

Places to Purchase:

Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

In the heart-pounding conclusion to the Wings of Ebony duology, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicole Yoon calls “bold, inventive, big-hearted and deeply perceptive,” Rue makes her final stand to reclaim her people’s stolen magic.

Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out.

But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit—with half a foot back in Houston and half a heart that is human as well as god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past.

When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve…because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed—it will be Rue herself.

Places to Purchase:

Nightrender by Jodi Meadows

Kingdoms will fall, gods will die, and hearts will be broken in this sprawling new fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jodi Meadows. 

In the middle of nothingness is the continent of Salvation.

Reality bends easily here. Villages disappear. Forests burn forever. Pockets of inconsistent time are everywhere, their boundaries strung with yellow ribbon. And the three kingdoms of Salvation have been at war for a thousand years.

But the greatest threat is the Malice, an incursion from the demon plane slowly tearing its way through the world's weakest seams. Seams that--once split--will lead to the total unraveling of night and day, light and dark, life and death.

Not that the human world takes much interest. Of more concern is the upcoming marriage of Rune Highcrown, Prince of Caberwill, and Johanne Fortuin, Princess of Embria--the serpent bride, a girl of famous cunning--which offers a possible end to the ancient conflict. But Rune has noticed the growing darkness, and he is determined to summon mankind's only defense: Nightrender, the hammer of the gods, an immortal warrior more weapon than girl.

There is only one problem. The last time she was summoned, she slaughtered every royal in Salvation, and no one knows why. Will she save humanity from the Malice... or plunge it deeper into the fires of eternal war?

Places to Purchase:

The Storyteller by Kathryn Williams

With the mystery of Maureen Johnson and Brittany Cavallo and the historical intrigue of Romanov, this enthralling story follows a teenage girl’s quest to uncover the truth behind her secretive great aunt Anna, who just might be the long lost Russian princess Anastasia.

It’s not every day you discover you might be related to Anastasia…or that the tragic princess actually survived her assassination attempt and has been living as the woman you know as Aunt Anna.

For Jess Morgan, who is growing tired of living her life to please everyone else, discovering her late aunt’s diaries shows her she’s not the only one struggling to hide who she really is. But was her aunt truly a Romanov princess? Or is this some elaborate hoax?

With the help of a supremely dorky, but undeniably cute, local college student named Evan, Jess digs into the century-old mystery.

But soon Jess realizes there’s another, bigger truth waiting to be revealed: Jess Morgan. Because if she’s learned anything from Aunt Anna, it’s that only you can write your own story.

Part mystery, romance, and historical fiction, this genre-bending YA will pull readers into one girl’s journey of discovering the impossible tale of a long-lost aunt—and through her, the importance of being true to yourself.

Places to Purchase:

Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne

A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A great companion for readers of Nic Stone, Amy Fellner Dominy, and Renée Watson. 

When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, Darius, and the California life she has known.

Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. At school, she can't shake the feeling everyone knows what happened--and how it was her fault. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G's class. There, Angel's classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from novels like The Bluest Eye, The House on Mango Street, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Push speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past.

Award-winning author Mahogany L. Browne weaves together prose, poems, and vignettes to tell the story of Angel, a young woman whose past was shaped by domestic violence but whose love of language and music and the gift of community grant her the chance to find herself again.

Places to Purchase:

Hopepunk by Preston Norton

A heartfelt and funny new novel about forgiveness and redemption, and about how hope is the ultimate act of rebellion, perfect for fans of John Green and Becky Albertalli.

Growing up in a conservative Christian household isn’t easy for rock-obsessed Hope Cassidy. She's spent her whole life being told that the devil speaks through Led Zeppelin, but it’s even worse for her sister, Faith, who feels like she can’t be honest about dating the record shop cashier, Mavis. That is, until their youngest sister hears word of their "sinful" utopia and outs Faith to their parents. Now there’s nowhere for Faith to go but the Change Through Grace conversion center…or running away.

Following Faith’s disappearance, their family is suddenly broken. Hope feels a need to rebel. She gets a tattoo and tries singing through the hurt with her Janis Joplin-style voice. But when her long-time crush Danny comes out and is subsequently kicked out of his house, Hope can’t stand by and let history repeat itself. Now living in Faith’s room, Danny and Hope strike up a friendship...and a band. And their music just might be the answer to dethroning Alt-Rite, Danny’s twin brother's new hate-fueled band.

With a hilarious voice and an open heart, Hopepunk is a novel about forgiveness, redemption, and finding your home, and about how hope is the ultimate act of rebellion.

Places to Purchase:

Medusa by Jessie Burton and Olivia Lomenech Gill (Illustrator)

A dazzling, feminist retelling of Greek myth from the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist, stunningly illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill.

Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . and destiny itself.

Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation.

Places to Purchase:

Dog Star by Megan Shepherd

Based on an incredible true story, Carnegie Medal nominee and New York Times–bestselling author Megan Shepherd crafts a harrowing, propulsive girl-and-her-dog tale that will linger in your heart long after the last page.

Laika is a Cold Dog, a stray pup fighting for her life on the streets of Moscow. Then, one winter night, she is plucked from her alley to become a starflyer, a dog trained to travel into space. Distrustful of people, Laika tries to do everything she can to escape. That is, until she meets Nina.

Nina is a Cold Girl, lonely and full of questions. Her best friend has moved to America in a rush, leaving Nina to face the school bullies all by herself. Plus, her father’s work as a scientist in the Soviet Space Program grows more secretive by the day.

When the two meet in her father’s laboratory, their growing bond slowly warms the chill that has settled in each other’s hearts. As the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union grows fierce, Laika and Nina uncover shocking secrets and hard truths that will test their friendship. How will they find the courage to chase their dreams all the way to the stars?

Places to Purchase:

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy from the author of The Ex Talk.

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

Places to Purchase:

That's so many great books! Personally, I've got The Storyteller, The Bone Spindle, and Nightrender preordered, but I want all of them! What new books are you picking up this week?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Blog Tour: The Kindred by Alechia Dow


Welcome to 2022! To kick off the year we've got a celebration for an amazing new book, The Kindred by Alechia Dow! Read on to learn more about the book and get an excerpt from the first chapter!

Title:
The Kindred
Author: Alechia Dow
Release: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Pages: 400

Synopsis:

“Utterly swoony…an endearing reminder that true love can change the world”
—J. Elle, New York Times bestselling author of Wings of Ebony

To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.

You Can Find it At:

Excerpt:

Excerpted from The Kindred by Alechia Dow, © 2022 by Alechia Dow. Used with permission by HarperCollins/Inkyard Press.

CHAPTER 1
FELIX

Looking this pretty takes time.

The clothes must be expensive but not gaudy, complex but not as if I put in all my effort. My hair must look styled but like I’ve walked through a gentle, aimless breeze, and I cannot be sweaty, which, on a planet known for having three suns, is rather difficult.

Parties that start early are the worst anyway. Everyone should be thanking me, not giving me the stink-eye, which they are. For some reason, they expect me to actually show up on time.

“Look who decided to join us,” the drummer from The Monchoos mutters as I step into the dimly lit hallway. We’re from the same planet, Maru-Monchuri, but there’s no comradery between us. Who could be friends with a pompous, spoiled duke like me, right? I could be better, could be the person I’m expected to be, but why waste the effort?

I give him a quick wink as I look around. This coveted, hard-to-get gig’s on Outpost 32: a man-made station between XiGra and Hali-Monchuri—Joy’s homeworld. XiGra’s a rich planet that’s not a part of the Qadin Kingdom (yet), and Hali is a part of the Qadin Kingdom, but also extremely poor. Thankfully, this outpost is the perfect mash-up of the two: international enough to be popular among wealthy travelers, cool and gritty enough to reflect the rock ’n’ roll aesthetic.

The black stone walls are plastered with band posters, grime, and beneath it all, the touch of musicians that would either make it or break it onstage. I wonder which one we’ll be tonight.

Joy humphs in my brain, but doesn’t elaborate.

She said she wouldn’t watch me choke, couldn’t be a part of another concert experience that sets off her anxiety. And yet, she can’t stay out of my head.

Of course, I’d be paired with the most judgmental Kindred in the system.

A coordinator peeks out from the curtain, a detached comm-ball hovering around their blue tentacled head. Dosani. They’re music geniuses, and probably the friendliest species in the universe. They speak Dosan into the comm, and then it flies over to us, translating.

“You’re late. Get onstage.” The voice doesn’t sound all that friendly. Weird.

My bandmates stalk behind the curtain, leaving me there in the deserted hallway for just a second. My nerves begin to spiral in the pit of my stomach, and I reach out to her, because she’s there, she’s always there—well, usually there—and she knows what I need.

Joy, I say through our connection. We’ve been together since birth. I’m exactly three minutes older than her, and I had to wait for our chips to sync for those three minutes. Not that I can remember. Still, that’s the longest I’ve been without her in my life.

The Kindred Program was created decades ago, after The Second Chaos, aka “The Revolution. Apparently, the poor rose up, feeling like their voices weren’t heard by the rich, powerful rulers, and so the lower classes threatened a reckoning. Maru’s top scientists offered a solution: the citizens of the Monchuri system could be paired, one from the upper class, one from the lower. Establishing this would allow everyone to have a voice that could be heard, blah-blah-blah, and no more revolution. How could anyone ignore a mind pairing?

Given that I’m a duke and cousin to the Qadin royals, I was supposed to be paired with someone a little closer in economic class, because not just anyone should have a voice with the royals. Yet, I got paired with Joy.

Joy, who is dreadfully poor, living on the most impoverished planet in our system. Joy, who is my best friend, my moral compass, my judge, jury, and sometimes executioner. She’s not always my biggest fan, but she supports me in whatever I choose to do. Which isn’t much. I like traveling, adventuring to new worlds as long as my amenities are acceptable, and playing in a band. We both love music. She loves listening in as I practice, hearing new melodies outside of her Halin hymns. She thinks music has the power to transform you and make you feel anything and everything. She believes in it, just like she believes in me.

Which is why I need her right now.

Because as much as I love music—and I do, with all of my small black heart—my stage fright keeps me from making it. Already, the nausea creeps up my throat and my breaths come too fast to let oxygen into my lungs.

Joy, I say again with some urgency.

Yes, Felix…? Her question whispers through our connection. She’s there inside my mind like a perfectly clear radio channel, the only one on my brain’s frequency. She can read my thoughts, converse with me, feel my emotions. She can see what I see. She’s the one consistency in my world, and I can’t live without her. Even if our worlds seem hell-bent on keeping us apart… Nah, I don’t need to be thinking about that now.

Tell me I can do it. I run a hand through my hair and blow air out between my teeth. My feet bounce on the dirty tiles. Tell me it’s not a big deal. Easy.

You’re the most talented person I know. You can do this. And I swear, if you make me sick again, Felix, I will murder you.

I chuckle. It’s not my fault you get sympathy pains.

The stronger we accept the bond in our minds, the stronger the feelings, including negative ones. Pain, illness, anxiety, sadness, anger… It can be so intense in such bonds that if one Kindred were to die, the other might follow shortly after. It occurs in maybe one in a thousand pairings, but it happens. Until recently, I would have thought Joy and I would be one of those pairs. But she’s been pulling away more and more.

Go get onstage! They’ve been waiting hours for you and your beautiful voice. She laughs, shifting her body on the couch in her apartment, nearly toppling her sketch pad off her lap. Get up there, she commands again, and then she’s gone. She’s turned the volume down to a whisper and tuned me out.

I hate when she does that. I also don’t know how she does that. Why can’t we just always stay connected? Who needs space? Not me.

With that thought, I take another deep breath and strut down the hall. I tug on the velvet red curtain and step through onto the sticky levitating stage. We lift a few feet off the ground, but thankfully, unlike in most of the more modern venues, the floor doesn’t spin. Thank the Gods.

My bandmates stare at me, wide-eyed as the crowd goes wild. The excitement in the room is palpable, like a glittery haze that coats my limbs and makes me want to sing and dance and be alive. My chest rises and falls in sync with their cheers and stomps.

I both love it and hate it up here.

The band’s set up and the microphone’s hot. The lights are low, the room’s packed, and I’m going to sing, even if my stomach churns and threatens to upchuck my dinner of steamed hopfal leaves packed with gooey black rice.

I swagger up to that mic, my legs wobbling like jelly. “Hello. I’m—”

“I love you, Felix!” someone in the audience shouts, though who it is, I can’t see. They’re all shadows and faceless bodies from up here. Just the way I like them.

The light beats down on me, and sweat prickles at the edge of my scalp.

“I love you, too.” I laugh into the mic, which earns a few grumbles from my bandmates. “Now I want to…” I trail off as a shadowed body comes into view. Their eyes bore into mine. The face is one I’d know anywhere. A face that shouldn’t be here.

My throat dries up as he stalks through the crowd, waiting for me to finish. I step back, almost stumbling over my own feet. With a fleeting glance at my bandmates, I trip offstage and toward him.

The crowd boos. My brain’s short-circuiting. He’s not supposed to be in this part of my life. He’s part of the Duke’s life, the one I shrug off and leave at home whenever the opportunity arises. His being here can only be bad for me. It can only mean trouble.

My feet are on autopilot as he nods his head over to a private booth reserved just for us. I can feel my bandmates’ glares, but they begin strumming on their guitars as if I was never really a part of their group anyway—which I wasn’t. The drums pick up and the audience forgets all about me and my promises of a good time as they dance.

My visitor wears a long black tunic embroidered with crimson thread and matching pants. His golden hair’s slicked back and his vibrant golden eyes flash as I slide into the booth first. He takes the seat opposite me, flips on the privacy switch in the center of the table, and then folds his hands on the table as a translucent wall falls around the perimeter of the booth.

We sit in silence for only a moment but it feels like a lifetime as my heart hammers unsteadily in my chest.

“Do you know why I’m here, Duke Hamdi?” he asks finally, his head tilting to the side.

I suck my teeth. “My parents think I’m at some interplanetary summit for the children of dignitaries on Kippilu and they found out I was lying?”

“I don’t work for your parents.” Arren huffs, leaning back. “I work for the Qadins. You may remember them as the royals that pay for the pricey state-of-the-art ships you use to jump planets and slum in music halls—” he waves his arm at the room “—your flashy clothes and instruments that you seemingly never play onstage, and the countless opportunities that have been provided to you over the course of your short life.” There’s a bitter edge to his words that has me sitting taller. “You are a disappointment to their name.”

Arren’s a royal advisor—the royal advisor, and he has done enough over the years to earn my fear and respect. But there has to come a time when I crack.

Tonight, I was going to finally get over my stage fright and make a name for myself that had nothing to do with my actual name. All of my hard work, practicing until late at night, and pushing myself to new limits both artistically and mentally would have paid off. Instead, I’m here, missing my chance, being scolded for chasing my dreams by the royal advisor that threatened my Kindred’s life.

I will not forget, and I will not forgive.

“Do you think by doing all the Qadins’ dirty work, it’ll make you one of them? Do you think they consider you their equal?” I try to twist my lips at the corners, even if dread sinks into the bottom of my stomach. “What’ll happen if I go into politics like they so desire and come for your job?” I’m balancing on the tip of a sword, and at any second, I’ll get cut.

“You’re a fool.” Arren chuckles, though there’s no humor in it. “I do not wish to be a Qadin. I am not their equal. And you…” He trails off suddenly to look at the carefree dancers and the band that went on without me. “You have responsibilities that come with your title.”

“There are other dukes, other cousins.” My nostrils flare as I watch him. “Why do they hold me to such high standards when the others are free to do what they want?”

“Because you are meant to be much more than you are. Soon, you’ll need to step in and step up.” He holds my gaze now, and in it, I see a flicker of something that’s not frustration. It’s a thoughtful, plotting look. Arren’s got plans, and he wants me to follow them. “Soon your Kindred will marry and move on with her life. But where will you be? Failing on the stages of dingy bars—because at some point the good ones will stop booking you no matter your title—and burning through your trust fund? Do you know how many people would kill for the opportunities you have?”

Something about that question furthers my unease. Who would kill for opportunities? The Kindred Program makes sure that people are heard and happy. Murder doesn’t happen anymore. Citizens are content with their roles in life.

“Don’t you have other things to do, like I don’t know, figure out the Ilori conflict or something? Aren’t they trying to colonize us? The Qadins should be putting their energy into that, not whatever this is. What could they possibly want with me? I have no power or ambitions in politics.”

“The Qadins didn’t send me, so I don’t rightly know.” He stands, running his hands down his spotless tunic as I digest that news. If they didn’t send him, why is he here? “I came because I am looking out for your best interests. King Qadin would have no issue ignoring your existence, but I know you have a great destiny. One day, you may have power, and you could create change. Stop this music nonsense and join me, join my side. Together, we can pave our own paths in this kingdom. You could find your voice, since you can’t seem to find it onstage, and finally reach your potential. I believe in you—can you say that about anyone else?”

I barely keep the anger from my voice as I shuffle my legs beneath the table. “Is that why you threatened my Kindred?” I remember the way he had guards surround her without her noticing, pointing their weapons at her as he made me promise to never see her. Never allow her into my heart. “Was that your way of believing in me?”

“I was following orders. I work for the Qadins, but I am not one of them, and with Princess LaTanya’s impending nuptials with her Kindred, Johann Kao, I never will be.” He shakes his head, as if he didn’t mean to say that. Admittedly, it was a weird thing to say, but then I do know from the tabloids that he’s enamored with LaTanya… Still, that thought flees my mind as he continues, “They were right to make sure you keep your distance from your Kindred. There is only one person you can rely on, Duke Hamdi, and I believe, in time, you’ll come to see that. Someday soon, you will need my help. And I won’t hesitate to give it.” He slips a card onto the table and with that, he strides off, disappearing into the dancing fray.

My fingers edge the tip of the card. It’s solid black. It’s an upload, something I’d need to stick into a holo-frame monitor to access. It probably has Arren’s private info encrypted for me, so that I can learn to live up to my potential and what—overthrow the Qadins and stage a coup with him? Why would I do that? What makes him think I want any responsibility that big? Despite what he says, I learned early that my name gets me in doors, gets me a seat at the table, but that’s it. I don’t matter. No one cares about my opinions or thoughts, so why should I have them anymore?

I shove it deep in my pocket and punch the button in the center of the table for service.

He chose this night, this moment, on purpose. He probably even had Outpost 32 book this gig for me just so he could ruin it. So I would be miserable and malleable to whatever he’s plotting. But he underestimated my indifference.

At least I’m here where I can get drunk enough to drown my sorrow as the crowd dances and the music thrums through them, and me.

At least his newest power move will keep me from thinking about Joy.

Author Bio:

Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef, teacher, and librarian. When she's not writing, you can find her having epic dance parties with her little girl, baking, reading, or traveling.

You Can Find Her At:

I hope this post has you as excited to read this book as I've been! The Kindred released on Tuesday and is available in bookstores now!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Top Ten (Or Thirty-Five) Most Anticipated Books in the First Half of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and That Artsy Reader Girl. Before I even start looking for books I know this post will be longer than ten books. There are just so many to be excited for! This is a mix of YA and romance novels, ordered by release date. You can see all the 2022 books I'm excited for - and the ones I've already read - on the Best of 2022 page!

1. The Kindred by Alechia Dow - January 4, 2022













2. Nightrender by Jodie Meadows (Nightrender Duology #1) - January 11, 2022













3. The Storyteller by Kathryn Williams - January 11, 2022













4. Anatomy by Dana Schwartz - January 18, 2022













5. Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei - January 18, 2022













6. Into the Midnight Void by Mara Fitzgerald (Beyond the Ruby Veil #2) - January 25, 2022













7. Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian (Castles in Their Bones #1) - February 1, 2022













8. Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor - February 1, 2022













9. Forward March by Skye Quinlan - February 1, 2022













10. The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey #9) - February 1, 2022













11. Mirror Girls by Kelly McWilliams - February 8, 2022













12. Finding Her Edge by Jennifer Iacopelli - February 8, 2022













13. Cold by Mariko Tamaki - February 8, 2022













14. Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O'Neil - February 22, 2022













15. League of Liars by Astrid Scholte - February 22, 2022













16. Extasia by Claire Legrand - February 22, 2022













17. Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake (Bright Falls #1) - February 22, 2022













18. The Truth About White Lies by Olivia A. Cole - March 8, 2022













19. The Wolves Are Waiting by Natasha Friend - March 22, 2022













20. Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone - March 29, 2022













21. Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate - April 5, 2022













22. Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf - April 19, 2022













23. I Am the Ghost Inside Your House by Maria Romasco Moore - April 19, 2022













24. The Long Game by Rachel Reid (Game Changers #6) - April 26, 2022

25. Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna MacGregor (The Widow Rules #2) - April 26, 2022













26. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston - May 3, 2022













27. Misrule by Heather Walter (Malice Duology #2) - May 10, 2022













28. A Cruel and Fated Light by Ashley Shuttleworth (The Hollow Star Saga #2) - May 24, 2022













29. How to Steal a Scoundrel's Heart by Vivienne Lorret (The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #4) - May 24, 2022













30. It's All in How You Fall by Sarah Henning - May 31, 2022













31. Dukes Do It Better by Bethany Bennett (Misfits of Mayfair #3) - May 31, 2022

32. Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder edited by Saundra Mitchell - June 7, 2022













33. Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler - June 7, 2022













34. Moon Dark Smile by Tessa Gratton (Night Shine #2) - June 21, 2022













35. The Song That Moves the Sun by Anna Bright - June 28, 2022













Oops. That ended up a bit longer than I intended. And that's after trimming down the list! Hope this sends to running to add books to your TBR!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...