The Pond Book News #22 – Sprout’s Back! This Week’s Queer Fantasies and Desi Book Announcements

issue #22

Welcome to Issue #22!

The trees are whispering…

Sprout the sparrow, doing a curtsy with their eyes closed and a smile on their face. Their cape swooshes in the wind with their arm extended in their curtsy.Friends, welcome back to another exciting week of The Pond Book News! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse book releases, cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! 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. 

Sprout is finally back from running their errands and assignments! They’ll be taking over the news again, and also honestly think that Xiaolong’s Sprout impression last week was very impressive indeed. Now, onward to the news!

Book Releases This Month [January 12th to January 18th]

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

A strong contender for first on the list this week! This book is said to be a retelling of Andersen’s fairytale The Red Shoes, with sapphic and trans representation. Dancing plagues were actually real, historical events, and I’m so genuinely excited to see a fantasy twist to the story by such an acclaimed author. One of my 2020 resolutions is to finally, finally pick up an Anna-Marie McLemore book, since she’s been so highly recommended for f/f fantasy and her lush writing.

Releases on January 14th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

34510711. sy475 Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

This book is so highly anticipated in the community that it’s hard for me to overstate how exciting a week this is for Silvera fans! Based on what I’ve heard, his first fantasy novel is shaping up to be a diverse (both in terms of queer and POC representation) universe filled with both magical creatures and compelling sibling dynamics—I hope it lives up to the hype for the readers who are looking forward to this!

Releases on January 14th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

36353103Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be…

This book is Rick Riordan Presents’ first Native American mythology-focused book, which we really haven’t seen much of in the publishing industry! Race to the Sun revolves around Nizhoni, a Navajo seventh-grader, and the legend of the Hero Twins from Navajo mythology. All the releases from this imprint have been fun, fast-paced, and beautifully diverse, and I can’t wait to dig into this one once it’s out in the world.

Releases on January 14th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer

40778901. sy475 It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

That cover! That cover! I want to frame it up as a print on my wall, because the distressed grunge texture? The absolutely gorgeous golden detail? I adore this so much! This is set in the same universe as Meyer’s previous book Beneath the Haunting Sea, and it promises a world filled with gods and ill-fated deals, and bartering for power over the life of your best friend. I’m so excited for this!

Releases on January 14th. Add this book on Goodreads.


Book News

Sequel Reveal: The saga of Tristan Strong continues!

REJOICE, friends! Tristan Strong still has adventures to go on and quests to complete! There hasn’t been any new information regarding the plot or cover of this sequel yet, but I’m so excited regardless! The last book in the series was so well-received for its African-American mythology and ambitious plot structure, and I have faith that this will be just as good as the first!


Cover Reveal: The Fallen Hero by Katie Zhao

Ahhhh, friends, how perfect is this cover!? So many people have fallen in love with Faryn from the first book in this series, and the witty humor that explored diaspora identity while whisking you away to rip-roaring adventure filled with Chinese mythology. The illustrations for the series are absolutely stunning, and I’m so jealous of anyone who’s able to display a lovely full set of these books on their shelves.


Cover Reveal: Three Keys by Kelly Yang

The week bestows upon us yet another adorable and gorgeous illustrated Asian book cover, praise be the book deities. Front Desk was an illuminating story about immigrant struggles, poverty, and believing in yourself, and I’m sure the sequel to such a well-loved book will too resonate with the lives of the readers it graces. Very excited for this one!


Cover Reveal: Dragon Bones: Conquest by Celeste Harte

This is a fantasy book forthcoming in February from a small press publisher! The blurb promises arranged marriages, spies, and secret powers, and I’m very intrigued to learn more about the story as the release date grows closer.


Cover Reveal: Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

The final entry to The Shadow Game trilogy has been announced! This YA fantasy trilogy documents a young lady’s foray and subsequent dealings in the City of Sin, where gangs and mafias run a tight and dangerous game of politics. I know much love has been poured out for this series in the community, and I hope the finale to Enne’s story is as satisfying as the previous stories have been for fans of the books!


Alternate Cover Reveal: If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman

This cover is just the sweetest! I adore that a fat woman of color is unapologetically happy and so prominently featured front and center. It makes my heart so warm that we’re finally getting good ownvoices body positive fiction about women! Along with the alternate cover, this new edition of the book will also have some revised writing as well to reflect the author’s last few years spent learning and growing. And friends, in this Pond we truly stan authors that learn and grow and change for the better 🙌


Book Announcement: Indian fantasy middle-grade series forthcoming from Sangu Mandanna

Sangu Mandanna is such a beloved author around these parts that I’m so excited to see more of her stories out in the world! The concept already sounds so interesting—art therapy? demon kings and stepping into sketchbooks?—more news couldn’t come sooner!


Book Announcement: Princess & the Pauper, but with twin sisters! A YA fantasy duology from Sarena and Sasha Nua

I am so, so hype for this! I grew up loving the prince/pauper formula, and this looks like it plays to all the good good “separated at birth” tropes, written by authors of color! I can’t wait to hear more about this book as it gets developed. Also how cool is it that this book is actually being written by twin authors?


Book Community Spotlight

Book blogger: Nandini from Novels and Nebulas

Nandini is such a positive presence in the book blogging community for her endless advocacy of Asian books and excellent SFF, and she recently switched to self-hosting for the new year! Even though a lot of her blog is still under construction, everything already looks so good and well-organised, and I’m so excited to see more from her after this fresh start! Friends, do yourself a favor this year and check out her involvement at the South Asian Reading Challenge (along with Fanna!) for some sweet sweet Asian book recommendations, as well as her post on how to build better reading habits, just in time for some new year’s resolutions!

Follow Nandini on her book blog, Twitter, and Goodreads!


Bookstagrammer: Scarllet at iamlitandwit

Friends, I’m in love with Scarllet’s feed! The layout is made up of all kinds of different photos, so it feels a little more like mashup of a personal IG and bookstagram than a traditional bookstagram feed, but the theme is so cohesive and beautiful! The books that Scarllet highlights are also really diverse and lovely, too. I’m personally enamored with this photo she took of This is How You Lose the Time War—which I’ve coincidentally heard of as a very good sapphic novella—the depth of field and floral patterns are such a feast!

Find Scarllet on Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Booktuber: Allie at alliewithbooks

Allie’s booktube videos are just as aesthetic as they are fun to watch, and I think Allie’s channel is an excellent place to land if you’re looking to introduce someone to the wonderful world of booktube! The way she talks about and describes her books make them feel so accessible, and paired with the incredible warm visuals? Her whole channel is beyond lovely! A few good places to start are her videos about her favorite books of 2019 and her latest video documenting an absolutely stunning bookshelf tour.

Follow Allie on Youtube and Twitter!

2 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #22 – Sprout’s Back! This Week’s Queer Fantasies and Desi Book Announcements

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