Time for Part 2 of one of my favorite posts! It’s my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2021 (see Part 1 here). I have once again tried and failed to be circumspect in my choices, as there are thirty-three books here, but at least that’s less than the forty-six Part 1 had!
The Other Black Girl
Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
I’ve seen excellent reviews of this, and the summary alone is really, really intriguing. I love thrillers with social commentary, and I’ll read anything that’s compared to Get Out.
The Wolf and the Woodsman
In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.
But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.
As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.
I’m not sure how I came across this book initially — maybe I just came across Ava on Twitter — but I knew immediately that this was my shit. Not only are the comps (Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale) some of my favorite books, but this is supposed to be enemies-to-lovers featuring lots of body horror and steeped in Jewish culture. Plus, I follow Ava on Twitter and Instagram and she just has such brilliant takes!
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
I really enjoyed this author’s debut; I remember I read the whole thing on a plane ride and I couldn’t put it down. This one sounds even better, with a much more interesting and dynamic plot. I love the dark academia and creepy Greek mythology vibes!
Seven Deaths of an Empire
The Emperor is dead. Long live the Empire.
General Bordan has a lifetime of duty and sacrifice behind him in the service of the Empire. But with rebellion brewing in the countryside, and assassins, thieves and politicians vying for power in the city, it is all Bordan can do to protect the heir to the throne.
Apprentice Magician Kyron is assigned to the late Emperor’s honour guard escorting his body on the long road back to the capital. Mistrusted and feared by his own people, even a magician’s power may fail when enemies emerge from the forests, for whoever is in control of the Emperor’s body, controls the succession.
Seven lives and seven deaths to seal the fate of the Empire.
I’ve heard this is grimdark epic fantasy, and I really, really love this cover!
The Return of the Sorceress
Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of destroying the usurper. But this will mean turning to unlikely allies and opening herself up to unpleasant memories that have been suppressed for many years. For Yalxi is no great hero, but a cunning sorceress who once forged her path in blood – and must reckon with the consequences.
A fantasy novella from one of my favorite authors! I really loved Moreno-Garcia’s take on high fantasy in The Beautiful Ones, one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve been really hoping she would put out another high fantasy. I’m excited for this magic system and some beautiful writing!
We Have Always Been Here
Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the ship–all specialists in their own fields–as they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.
Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passes–and that’s when things begin to fall apart. Park’s patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothing–neither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itself–is as it seems.
Like I always say, I don’t read too much sci-fi, but this one features one of my favorite space travel tropes: trapped in space and creepy things start to happen. I also tend to enjoy sci-fi that still acknowledges “Earth culture,” so to speak; in other words, it’s too far off in the future that it’s a totally alien world.
Survive the Night
It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.
Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?
What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing—survive the night.
Every year, I am hype for the new Riley Sager release, and every year, I am inevitably disappointed. Well, no, that’s not quite true — I did really enjoy Lock Every Door, and I still haven’t read The Last Time I Lied, so really it was only two novels that were so-so. And they’re never bad, of course, they’re always a thrilling ride. I love that this is set in the 90s and seems to be playing on a retro slasher film vibe.
The River Has Teeth
Natasha’s sister is missing. Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger. She’ll do anything to find answers.
Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her. But Della has her own secrets to hide.Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong. Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. They are each other’s only hope.
I’m just…really into YA horror these days. What can I say. Also witches!
She Who Became the Sun
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.
I’m not clear on what makes this fantasy, but it’s being published by Tor, so…I’m sure there’s some fantastical element? I’ve heard this compared to The Song of Achilles and The Untamed. I was lukewarm about the former and have never watched the latter. However, there’s this cover. I would sell my literal soul for this cover. I know there’s no correlation to the content inside but I can’t help it when this is one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. Also, everything I’ve heard about it suggests it’s truly epic and heartfelt; the woman-dressed-as-man trope can be a hit or miss for me, but when it’s a hit, it’s a HIT.
The Parliament House Press
If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise…
In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother. When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives.
However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret. With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town.
I loooove how creepy this sounds! This is supposed to feature Lovecraftian and Cosmic horror so I am very much here for that.
The Dead and the Dark
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
Again, YA horror, but this sounds so interesting! The daughter of a ghosthunter! Missing teens! Ghosts! This is supposed to be super creepy, so I’m into it.
A Lesson in Vengeance
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.
Dark academia by Victoria Lee! This book is super duper hyped, and for good reason; the summary is excellent. It actually kind of reminds me a lot of Plain Bad Heroines, but I hope I have a better experience with this than that (I DNF’d Plain Bad Heroines). Also it’s sapphic!
The Devil Makes Three
When Tess and Eliot stumble upon an ancient book hidden in a secret tunnel beneath the school library, they accidentally release a devil from his book-bound prison, and he’ll stop at nothing to stay free. He’ll manipulate all the ink in the library books to do his bidding, he’ll murder in the stacks, and he’ll bleed into every inch of Tess’s life until his freedom is permanent.
Forced to work together, Tess and Eliot have to find a way to re-trap the devil before he kills everyone they know and love, including, increasingly, each other.
And compared to what the devil has in store for them, school stress suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all.
I am SO hype for this. I mean, a cursed book? Accidentally releasing a devil? Please, please be very violent and creepy!
Mark of the Wicked
Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.
When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.
I’ll be honest, the cover is what drew me to this, but it’s also about a witch who isn’t interested in being good! I’m a bit hesitant considering the publisher is more romance-oriented, but if the romance doesn’t take over the plot, I think I could really like this!
Velvet Was the Night
1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.
Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman–and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.
Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ‘n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance–and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.
Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets–at gunpoint.
I’ve been reading everything Silvia Moreno-Garcia puts out for years now, and I don’t intend to stop. While all her books are completely different from one another, I adore her writing style, so I tend to like anything she puts out. This one actually reminds me quite a bit of Untamed Shore, her indie noir which is being reprinted with a different cover, and which I really liked!
Born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe is raised as an outlaw. Quick of wit and deft with a blade, Alwyn is content with the freedom of the woods and the comradeship of his fellow thieves. But an act of betrayal sets him on a new path – one of blood and vengeance, which eventually leads him to a soldier’s life in the king’s army.
Fighting under the command of Lady Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse, Alwyn must survive war and the deadly intrigues of the nobility if he hopes to claim his vengeance. But as dark forces, both human and arcane, gather to oppose Evadine’s rise, Alwyn faces a choice: can he be a warrior, or will he always be an outlaw?
Anthony Ryan is a pretty well-known name in fantasy; I own the first book in his other series but have yet to read it. I think what drew me to this is the description of a noblewoman “beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse.” Sounds great; I love me some demons.
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down…but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.
A female-led heist novel, featuring a crew of thieves whose loyalties may not be to each other! Sounds like a fun time!
The Bones of Ruin
As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…she cannot die.
Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.
To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is. If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.
Victorian London, a circus, and an African tightrope dancer who can’t die, PLUS a “dark and alluring” love interest. This sounds so strange! The summary just gets wilder and wilder the more you read along. I still have yet to read this author’s Magical Girl inspired series The Effigies but it’s also on my list!
Certain Dark Things
Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.
Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?
This is a reprint of a novel that actually came out years ago; I think it was Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s second novel. This has been slightly edited and has been given a different cover which I ADORE; I usually really hate faces on covers but I like this art style and I like how wild and colorful this cover is. I may just have to purchase this, along with the paperback of Mexican Gothic whose cover will feature a keyhole! Anyway, this book is Moreno-Garcia’s take on the vampire genre!
Beautiful World Where Are You
Faber & Faber
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young-but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
I’ve enjoyed both of Sally Rooney’s novels, though I’m not a die-hard fan. I do like her writing style, though, so I’ll likely read any novel she puts out.
To Break a Covenant
Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
More YA horror! I’m really liking this genre these days. Love the ex-mining aspect, the mystery of a mining explosion and disappearances — the summary actually reminds me a bit of that Junji Ito story with the spirals that take over a town (I’ve never read any Junji Ito, so that may be inaccurate). Definitely very spooky vibes.
The Actual Star
The Actual Star takes readers on a journey over thousands of years and six continents —collapsing three separate timelines into one cave in the Belizean jungle.
An epic saga of three reincarnated souls, this novel demonstrates the entanglements of tradition and progress, sister and stranger, love and hate. The book jumps forward and backward in time among a pair of twins who ruled a Maya kingdom, a young American on a trip of self-discovery, and two dangerous charismatics in a conflict that will determine the fate of the few humans left on Earth after massive climate change.
In each era, age-old questions about existence and belonging and identity converge deep underground. Because only in complete darkness can one truly see the stars.
Monica Byrne wrote one of the weirdest and yet most powerful books I’ve ever read, The Girl in the Road, in 2014, and she finally has a second novel out! I really enjoyed the way she interwove two seemingly disparate stories/threads in her first novel, and it sounds like she’s doing the same here, only on a far grander scale. Super excited for this!
Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery
A spirited young Englishwoman, Abitha, arrives at a Puritan colony betrothed to a stranger – only to become quickly widowed when her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. All alone in this pious and patriarchal society, Abitha fights for what little freedom she can grasp onto, while trying to stay true to herself and her past.
Enter Slewfoot, a powerful spirit of antiquity newly woken… and trying to find his own role in the world. Healer or destroyer? Protector or predator? But as the shadows walk and villagers start dying, a new rumor is whispered: Witch.
Both Abitha and Slewfoot must swiftly decide who they are, and what they must do to survive in a world intent on hanging any who meddle in the dark arts.
Witches, a Puritan town, a creepy spirit/entity…this sounds SO up my alley.
The Last House on Needless Street
This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.
In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…
No clue at all what this is actually about, but it’s supposed to be very creepy? Haunted house vibes? I don’t know.
Margaret K. McElderry
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
A new Margaret Rogerson book! I’ve loved both of her previous books so I’m definitely planning on reading anything she puts out. This sounds a lot more plot heavy than her two previous novels, and I believe this is her first series too, so looking forward to seeing what she does with this!
Lore Olympus: Volume One
Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.
This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.
Lore Olympus is a super popular webtoon about Hades and Persephone that I’ve been wanting to read for ages, but I’m just really bad at reading on my laptop, so there was no way I was going to read such a long webtoon that way. But it’s now being released in physical format!
Henry Holt & Co.
When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.
As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…
Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.
Honestly, I’ll read anything that’s fantasy Gothic romance. I love the Gothic trope of being isolated on a strange estate. Plus a death god to whom the heroine is drawn? Yes please.
The Death of Jane Lawrence
St. Martin’s Press
Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.
A story inspired by Jane Eyre, Crimson Peak, and Rebecca by a well-known horror writer? YES. I am SO excited for this!
Nothing But Blackened Teeth
A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.
It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.
But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.
And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.
I’ve read and enjoyed a bunch of Cassandra Khaw’s short stories, so I’m looking forward to a whole horror novella from her! Plus I loooove the isolation trope, and even better if the characters are isolated somewhere creepy. Plus look at that cover!
Flowers for the Sea
Zin E. Rocklyn
Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.
Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.
I don’t know too much about this author or this novella, but I just love the sound of it. It’s very much got a vibe of weird horror, and it also looks to be high fantasy, which is a combo I find very exciting.
Within These Wicked Walls
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
An Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eyre retelling! From one of my favorite publishers! Love it! I really love this trend of Gothic YA.
The Four Humors
Twenty-year-old Sibel is fascinated by the human body. She’s hoping to be a doctor and plans to spend her summer in Istanbul studying for the MCAT and visiting her father’s grave. Instead, she finds herself self-diagnosing her own possible chronic illness with the four humors theory of ancient medicine. Is an imbalance of blood, bile, choler, and phlegm the cause of her physical and emotional turmoil?
Also on Sibel’s mind: her blond American boyfriend who accompanies her to Turkey; her energetic but distraught younger sister; and her devoted grandmother, who, Sibel comes to learn, carries a harrowing secret.
Delving into her family’s history, the narrative weaves through periods of political unrest in Turkey, from military coups to the Gezi Park protests. Told with pathos and humor, Sibel’s search for strange and unusual cures is disrupted as she begins to see how she might heal herself through the care of others, including her own family and its long-fractured relationships.
This could turn out to be another The Idiot situation, wherein I DNF a book for being far too literary for my tastes, but I cannot resist this summary (or this gorgeous cover). I’m always yearning for a really great diaspora book.
Nadia Shammas & Sara Alfageeh
Harper Collins Children’s
Set in a Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy world: 14-year-old-girl Aiza lives in an Empire wracked by famine and escalating border wars. Aiza dreams of becoming a knight, the most prestigious rank in the military, and the only way to elevate her status since her people, the Ornu, are second-class citizens in the Bayt-Saji Empire.
Hiding her cultural background to train as a squire, she navigates the rigorous training that all knights undergo to test their mettle, making both friends and enemies in the process.
However, everything falls apart after her friend gets badly injured during a raid and she uncovers a military conspiracy that threatens to keep the Empire in a state of perpetual war. Aiza will have to decide: turn her back on her morals and heritage, or turn her back on her dream and possibly, her only chance of freedom?
If this has an official publication date, I’m unaware, but! I follow this author on Twitter and she’s Arab and this graphic novel is Middle Eastern inspired and I’ve seen the art and it looks great! I love high fantasy graphic novels in general but an Arab work by Arab writers and illustrators is just even more exciting.
9 thoughts on “Anticipated 2021 Releases (June-December)”
The cover game on display here is STRONG! So many of these sound great too!
Right?? So many fab covers.
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Thank you for putting The Four Humors on my radar, sounds very much like a me book!!
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yes, I definitely thought of you when adding that!
ooooh, so many spooky things that sound intriguing! hoping to hear your thoughts on some of these when you get around to them. 🙂
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ha, you’re the second person to comment on the spooky books! i’m so used to spooky being part of my brand i didn’t even notice lmao
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i really love spooky books but feel like i see so few from people i follow, so i’m glad you have you put them on my radar haha
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Loving all the spooky, creepy books in this list! I had no idea that there were slight changed to Certain Dark Things. I read it last year and am super interested in what was changed!
her book the beautiful ones was revised too! i think she said it was minor things like word choice and sentence structure and such, nothing major.