The Pond Book News #21 – A Big Welcome to the New Year & Decade – and These New Diverse Books!

The Pond Book News, Issue 21: A Big Welcome to the New Year & Decade - and These New Diverse Books!

Welcome to Issue #21!

The trees are whispering…

Xiaolong the axolotl, closing her eyes like she is listening, and holding a pen and paper.Welcome back to the first issue of The Pond Book News for 2020! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse book releases, cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! We also feature three incredible people in the book community every week, to highlight the important work that readers do in celebrating the books they love. 

Today, Sprout is busy with assignments, so Xiaolong will be taking over the book news! What do you think of your Sprout pose?

Book Releases This Month [January 1st to January 13th]

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

It’s finally here! I’ve been anxiously awaiting Tara Sim’s new book for a long time, and I’m thrilled that we can finally read it this week! I’m really looking forward to this diverse retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. Though I’ve admittedly never read the original work, I’m really looking forward to diving into this fantasy retelling of a classic featuring characters of colour!

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

So here’s a really awesome fact: the book cover of Woven in Moonlight was illustrated by the author herself! Isn’t it gorgeous? But I’m so excited for this book friends – I love that there are more Latinx reads, and I’m pretty excited that the story is a fantasy that is inspired by Bolivian history and politics. How cool is that?

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Shadowshaper: Legacy by Daniel José Older

A house divided

Sierra and the shadowshapers have been split apart. Juan, Anthony, and Izzy are in jail, anxiously waiting to find out what will become of them. Back in Brooklyn, the other shadowshapers have been getting threatening messages from whisper wraiths, catching strangely shaped figures stalking them, and fending off random spirits. A war is brewing among the houses, and the very magic of the shadowshapers is at stake.

The fate of the worlds

Sierra is determined to protect her own in the coming conflict. Even if that means keeping secrets from them. But a deal with Death by one of Sierra’s ancestors has far-reaching consequences in the battles of the present, and as old fates tangle with new powers, Sierra will have to harness the Deck of Worlds and confront her family’s past if she has any hope of saving the future and everyone she loves. Only doing so will mean following the magic to places the shadowshapers have never gone before . . . and may never return from.

If you haven’t read the Shadowshaper series yet, then here’s the sign you’ve been waiting for: read it! The Shadowshaper series is a wildly imaginative Latinx urban fantasy, and you’ll love how the imagery in this book comes to life – literally. Shadowshaper Legacy is the conclusion of the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the high-stakes story will conclude.

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

2019 was such a fantastic year of diverse contemporaries, and I’m pretty confident that 2020 will be another year of great contemporaries as well. I’ve heard so much about Loveboat, Taipei and I’m so excited to finally read it for myself! (Also, how gorgeous is that cover? Looking at it makes my soul warm.) I’m really looking forward to this book’s exploration of culture and family, as well as its story about growing and learning about yourself.

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

This is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and a book that I’ve heard a lot of praise and love for. Moreover, the protagonist of this series has cerebral palsy – which is a disability I rarely ever see represented.

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


We Used To Be Friends by Amy Spalding

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. 

I love stories that center entirely on friendships, but I am utterly intrigued by this book’s premise: that this is a story about a ‘break-up’ between two childhood best friends. I think this is a book that is very needed, particularly when friendship break-ups can be so devastating — and yet, we rarely see books about it. I’m really looking forward to this contemporary – which also apparently has queer rep!

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the wealthy coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything, much less how the rest of his life will play out.

Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames.

Now with Trice living under the same roof, the wall between their bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Beneath the angst, their growing attraction won’t be denied. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken Trice’s heart and being. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

The fact that one of the first books of the year to release in the decade is a book about two Black protagonists and their friendship and romance makes me so happy. I love the sound of A Love Hate Thing, and I’m really looking forward to reading this book, which sounds like it has a lot of emotional complexity and a compelling story about relationships.

Releases on January 7th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Book News

Book Release: The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is coming to the US!

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling was one of my favourite books of 2019, but readers outside Australia had difficulties getting a hold of this book. Good news though: The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is now coming to the US – and with a new cover as well!


Cover Reveal: One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell has a book cover!

How cute is this cover?! I’m loving the influx of illustrated covers lately, and I love how simple and cute this one is! One Way or Another is a holiday romance that centers on a main character with anxiety. It sounds like this book has an alternating narrative, which writing device I’m really interested in and really enjoy reading, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this story plays out!


Cover Reveal: Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins has a cover!

I’m absolutely mesmerised by this book cover – isn’t it just so wonderful? It’s art. I’m also really excited to read this book too when comes out late in the year. Another diverse contemporary, Here the Whole Time follows two boys, Felipe and Caio, who have to spend 15 days together — except, Felipe has had a crush on Caio since forever and he feels insecure about his body. I’m not sure what to expect from this book, but, whatever the story will take me, I am excited and thrilled to see another book that explores body positivity and is queer.


Cover Reveal: K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee has a book cover!

With the immense love for K-Pop on the rise, I’m thrilled to see that there is going to be a story about a Korean-American teen and about Korean pop! But this story isn’t just about the glam and hype of K-Pop. Stephan Lee, the author, has said that this book will be about “love triangles, rivalries, crazy training schedules, and the fun of K-pop, it has a real heart and gets into family, friendship & the courage to speak up“. Exciting!


Book Community Spotlight

Book blogger: Sakhile from Sakhile Whispers

I’m thrilled that one of the first book bloggers I’ll be spotlighting in this new decade is Sakhile, an incredible book blogger over at Sakhile Whispers! Sakhile is a South African book blogger, and regularly features and talks about diverse books. She’s currently running a challenge over a blog called the ‘Complete a Series or Two Challenge‘ – a challenge where you try and complete book series you’ve started but haven’t finished yet!

Find Sakhile on her book blog, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram!


Bookstagrammer: Les from Lesbeebooks

If you love a bookstagram feed that is gorgeous and yet minimalist, then you’ll love Bee’s bookstagram! Not only does Bee exclusively feature books with LGBTQIA+ representation, she also features a lot of Australian YA literature! Bee is also a blogger at Lesbrary, a book blog that features books bi and lesbian books – so if you’re looking for bi and lesbian rep? Then you know where to go!

Find Bee on Instagram and at Lesbrary.


Booktuber: Brody from Et tu, Brody?

Brody is a Native-American booktuber I only just discovered, and I absolutely love all of their content! I love the energy that they bring to their videos and I truly believe that they deserve more attention and love for their incredible videos. I particularly enjoyed watching their booktube video, ‘Books That Topped Me in 2019‘ (a title that made me laugh!) as well as their ‘Winter 2019 Book Rec Bonanza‘ video!

Find Brody on Youtube and Twitter.

5 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #21 – A Big Welcome to the New Year & Decade – and These New Diverse Books!

  1. Happy New Year! I haven’t been reading for a very long time but seeing the books made me excited again. I’ve already added three of them on my never-ending tbr and thanks for this post because I’ve been looking for people to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

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