The Pond Book News #44 – Stunning Cover Reveals, Asian Fantasies, and Defiant Black Witches

issue 44

Welcome to Issue #44!

The trees are whispering…

Friends, welcomeSprout 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. 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’re still working on our Book Community Spotlight feature too, and we really appreciate everyone’s patience as we work on getting it where we want to be. Now onward to the news!

Book Releases This Week [June 21st – June 27th]

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

Happy release week to this beautiful, beautiful book! I worked on a bit of the promo design for the book which you can find on the author’s Twitter, and it delights me to no end that the world is finally going to get to meet this Asian-inspired fantasy filled with spiders and haunted forests.

Releases on June 23rd. Add this book on Goodreads!


Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Look! at this stunning cover! I have so much love for how gloriously Indian this book already sounds! I really need to read more South Asian fantasy in general, and this book looks exactly like what I need. I can’t wait to see it out in the world!

Releases on June 23rd. Add this book on Goodreads!


Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Talia Hibbert has been taking the romance world by storm with all of her recent books, and this new Brown Sisters book is definitely set to be a goddamn delight. Bodyguard romance and ambitious, career-driven women? Yes please.

Releases on June 23rd. Add this book on Goodreads!


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.

The long-awaited release day for this book has finally arrived! I am so very excited to read this found family wuxia fantasy novella. Honestly, I’m considering buying a physical copy of this just for that breathtaking cover—which has already swiftly become one of my favorite book cover illustrations of all time.

Releases on June 23rd. Add this book on Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

I have been anxiously anticipating the release of Witches Steeped in Gold for such a long time now, and this cover reveal makes me SO goddamn hype. Look at the texture, the stunning illustration! 2021 cannot come sooner, I swear.


Cover Reveal: Foreshadow Anthology, edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

I’ve been waiting for news for this book as well! Foreshadow was such a cool initiative, and I’m so excited to see all these stories collected in a single book with some craft advice too! Definitely looking to snap up this one as both a writer and an avid lover of short fiction myself.


Cover Reveal: Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi

What an beautiful cover to cap off the Aru Shah quartet! All of the series’ covers have been absolutely stunning, but I think this one takes the cake for just how lovingly rendered the Hindu influences are. So excited to see this on shelves!


Title & Paperback Cover Reveal: A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy

YES to girls with sharp, spiky objects, now and forevermore. I really love these covers! The outfits look extravagant and the HAIR texture of these lovely protagonists is gorgeous, every last detail. I really need to pick this up, huh. 👀


Cover Reveal: Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron

Oh that cover is FIERCE. We stan regal, powerful Black girls in this household. Kingdom of Souls got really good reviews last year on release, and I’m sure the sequel is set to be just as thrilling as the first!


Cover Reveal: That Way Madness Lies, edited by Dahlia Adler

This anthology of modern YA retellings of classic Shakespeare works looks so interesting, and the cover is so pretty too! I love the little details and the nods to elements in Shakespearean canon, and I’m so curious to see how authors have reimagined the beloved classics.


Cover Reveal: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

I love absolutely everything about this cover: the crackling sparks, the Black girl protagonist, and all the magic suffused in the details. And the premise too! A girl has to find out why her scholarship brother disappeared while the world thinks he did something illegal, and she finds that she has to compete in a secret magical society competition? This looks like an MG fantasy absolutely not to be missed!


Cover Reveal: One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

This book already looks to be a heartfelt contemporary about what it means to leave a legacy, and how we conceptualise certain members of a marginalisation as inherently more worthy than others, and I absolutely cannot wait. All the details in the cover are so beautiful, too! I adore how warm the colors in this are.


Cover Reveal: Shadow City by Francesca Flores

The anticipated sequel to Diamond City is hot on its heels to greet the world, and we are ready! This conclusion to the assassin fantasy duology filled with queer romance and dark magic is set to hit shelves January 2021, and I hope readers find it just as engaging as the first!


Cover Reveal: Muted by Tami Charles

Oh this is such a unique cover design, and I’m here for it! I love love love how the words and background color make the blue eyes of the protagonist really pop. And these blue eyes are themselves a compelling question for the reader as well. Always need more novels in verse from ownvoices authors!


Book Announcement: An adorable queer girl YA contemporary forthcoming from Racquel Marie!

Break out the champagne! Racquel is such an icon in the book community, and this book announcement is LONG DUE. I’m so very excited for this! More queer girls out here living their lives in the real world, please! I will literally never get enough. I’ve added this to my TBR, and I hope you’ll join me!


Book Announcement: Nina Varela’s forthcoming queer, magical MG retelling of Pygmalion and Galatea

I think no matter what happens, there will always be more space in my heart for another Nina Varela book. Crier’s War absolutely slayed me when I read it, and I’m so excited to see Nina bring her magic to a cute, heartwarming MG fantasy!


Book Announcement: An ownvoices YA contemporary about mermaids and a disabled Latinx immigrant teen from Natalia Sylvester

!!! More intersectional, ownvoices disabled representation! This book already looks so goddamn good, and I only wish I could have all these excellent, excellent 2021-2022 releases in my hands already. Please if anyone out there has a time machine, contact me. It’s a need.


Book Announcement: Nghi Vo’s full novel debut—a fantasy retelling of The Great Gatsby through a queer Asian lens

Ooooooh a novel-length debut from Nghi Vo! She previously wrote Empress of Salt and Fortune, which was such a compelling East Asian-inspired novella. I’m very excited to see where she takes The Great Gatsby through a diverse, intersectional voice!


Book Announcement: June Hur’s forthcoming YA historical mystery surrounding a murder scandal among Korean nobility

And here we have our final book announcement for the week—an upcoming release from a very beloved author indeed. Friend, if you haven’t yet picked up June’s The Silence of Bones yet and you are in the MOOD for a historical mystery set in Joseon Korea, do yourself a favor and get it! June has carved herself such a unique niche and voice in YA, and I can’t wait to see more of her stories as her writing grows and evolves!

Book Community Spotlight

…is still in the middle of transforming into something new! See our last post for more details.

One thought on “The Pond Book News #44 – Stunning Cover Reveals, Asian Fantasies, and Defiant Black Witches

  1. Ooooh I read Hunted By the Sky and it was pretty good! The cover for The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water looks gorgeous too, but the summary sounds very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

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