Welcome to Issue #28!
The trees are whispering…
Friends, welcome to another exciting week of The Pond Book News! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse book releases, cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! 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. Onward to the news!
Book Releases This Week [February 23th – February 29th]
We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?
Can my caption for this just be a scream? A long-suffering scream into the void that the universe has finally given me what I need? I’ve been waiting for this sequel for the longest longest time, and I just really need to devour this as soon as it releases okay. Please let me see my sapphic children again, book deities.
Releases on February 25. Add this book on Goodreads!
Rebelwing by Andrea Tang
Business is booming for Prudence Wu.
A black-market-media smuggler and scholarship student at the prestigious New Columbia Preparatory Academy, Pru is lucky to live in the Barricade Coalition where she is free to study, read, watch, and listen to whatever she wants. But between essays and exams, she chooses to spend her breaks sweet-talking border patrol with her best friend, Anabel, in order to sell banned media to the less fortunate citizens of the United Continental Confederacy, Inc.
When a drop-off goes awry, Pru narrowly escapes UCC enforcers to find that her rescuer is, of all things, a sentient cybernetic dragon. On the one hand, Pru is lucky not to be in prison, or worse. On the other, the dragon seems to have imprinted on her permanently, which means she has no choice but to be its pilot.
Drawn into a revolution she has no real interest in leading, Pru, Anabel, and friends Alex and Cat become key players in a brewing conflict with the UCC as the corporate government develops advanced weaponry more terrifying and grotesque than Pru could have ever imagined.
What a premise! Sentient mechanical dragons in an Asian SFF setting? With a backdrop of a prep school setting? This sounds perfect for fans of diverse sci-fi with strong, creative worldbuilding, and I can’t wait for this to exist in the world!
Releases on February 25. Add this book on Goodreads!
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
I have heard so, so much about this book, and my heart is so ready for this weird and wonderful mix of aliens and bookworms and the power of music. I’m not usually a sci-fi fan, but I’m definitely ready to be converted into one by this book.
Releases on February 25. Add this book on Goodreads!
Cover Reveal: The Shadow Chaser by J.C. Cervantes
Friends, how utterly gorgeous is this cover? Rick Riordan’s imprint has truly never disappointed with their stunning illustrated covers, and this week’s issue of book news has four (four!) whole entries of these beauties. I love this blue/green/purple color scheme so much, and can’t wait to see this on the shelf with the previous books in the series!
Cover Reveal: Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia
Tristan Strong has some undeniably strong covers, huh? (sorry not sorry for that pun) I still really really need to pick up the first book in this series, but seeing black kids looking so COOL on these book covers already makes my heart soar. These covers are doing the world a favor just by existing.
Cover Reveal: Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
These covers are so shiny and so full of pure mischief, and I can’t think of any better vibes to perfectly illustrate the Sal & Gabi series. I love how the new covers keep so much of the spirit of the old ones too—most notably the typography and the color scheme—while introducing a whole new (gorgeous) style of illustration to grace the covers of the books. I am so infatuated.
Cover Reveal: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda
Aww dang! Look at how epic this cover is! City of the Plague God is the Riordan Imprint’s dip into Mesopotamian mythology: full of legendary heroes, plagues and ancient gods loose in the modern world, and the protagonist is Muslim too! I’m so curious to learn the world that the author has created in this book, and will patiently await the turn of the year to finally get this in physical shelves.
Cover Reveal: Common Bonds: A Speculative Aromantic Anthology, edited by Claudie Arsenault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, and Ro Anna Sylver
Oh man, I adore this cover a lot: the plant theme, the shiny letters, the laughing couple on the cover! I’ve been looking to read more aro/ace-spec fiction lately, as I’m exploring what the label means to me as well, so I’m definitely keeping my eye on this release.
Cover Reveal: Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Oh, this is such an interesting cover! The creativity of using shadows to cast a face onto the sand dunes is such a cool concept. I know Mark Oshiro’s last book was truly beloved by a lot of its readers, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for his next book.
Cover Reveal: The Knockout by S.A. Patel
I adore the watercolor quality of the cover illustration, and how the beautiful henna markings are juxtaposed with a fierce fighter’s fist! I know a lot of friends who grew up learning self-defense arts, from Taekwondo to Muay Thai, and I’m excited for a book to explore the culture surrounding these sports as well as a South Asian girl’s big ambitions to rise to acclaim in her passion.
Cover Reveal: Everybody Looking by Candice Iloh
Look how colorful this cover is, with a black girl front and center! I know exactly what it feels to want to reinvent yourself when you head out for college for the first time, and I love the energy of the protagonist unapologetically pursuing what she loves. This already looks very interesting!
Cover Reveal: When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten
I am positively filled to the brim with love for this cover illustration already, and honestly? I’d be willing to buy this for the cover alone. But what we have so far of the premise also sounds incredible: this is a story about a girl whose family and community have been affected by a hurricane, and whose memory is missing pieces after the disaster. I am so incredibly intrigued already, and really, really want to read this!
Book Announcement: An MG space adventure from Christina Li
I think this pitch sounds adorable! I love that kids who come from traditionally marginalised communities get the chance to visualise themselves in fields that they’re passionate about through literature, and I think this will keep on the trend of fantastically diverse middle-grade that have been gracing our shelves lately.
From Page to Screen: A movie musical of queer graphic novel The Prince and His Dressmaker!
This is far and away the most unexpected piece of news on this list, I think, because hello!!! A movie-musical! of an unapologetically queer graphic novel (written and illustrated by a woman of color) by one of the most celebrated musical duo in Hollywood?? In Disney? It’s been whole days since this news broke, and I’m still reeling from the wonder of it all. I hope with all my heart that this sparks more movie-musical adaptations of YA novels!
Book Community Spotlight
Book blogger: Laura at Green Tea & Paperbacks
Laura is an old friend of the Pond, and one of the kindest and the sweetest book bloggers I know. I love her warm aesthetic (fellow yellow enthusiast!!!), and her presence in the bookish community has made it feel just that little bit more welcoming when I was new to the space. A great place to start with her blog is this huge post she recently wrote about exciting upcoming YA releases for the year, and I’m particularly fond of one of her older posts where she talks about her fear of writing negative reviews, which I also deeply relate to. I love that talking about the issues that we have together makes us feel less alone!
Bookstagrammer: Mridula at ecstatic_yet_chaotic
Mridula’s instagram is so deeply cozy, that I feel like I could snuggle up in her homely aesthetic alone. I absolutely love the knitted sweater that makes an appearance in all her photos, and how almost all her photos almost look like they were taken in a sunset/twilight kind of ambiance. Very toasty!
Booktuber: Liv at Stories for Coffee
Liv is a brilliant Cuban-American booktuber, and I genuinely love that her channel is an encapsulation of both her love for films and the art of cinema as well as booktube content. And nothing, I think, summarises this synergy between her twin passions more than this gorgeously captured video snapshot of her book collection—without any words—that takes a tender and unhurried look at the physical presence of the books that she owns. I just think it’s such an interesting thing that we don’t really often think about! How books themselves are sort of pieces of art, lovingly-crafted vessels of the stories they hold. I am also very fond of Liv’s video recommending some really interesting shorter books under 300 pages, all of which sound perfect for meeting reading goals and getting through slumps!