The Pond Book News #78 – Shakespeare Retellings, Romcom Cover Reveals, & Exciting Fantasy Sequels

Welcome to Issue #78!

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.

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! Now, onwards to the brilliant books!

Book Releases this Week [March 14 – March 20th]

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened. 

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


Empress of Flames by Mimi Yu

Princess Lu knows that the throne of the Empire of the First Flame rightfully belongs to her. After all, she is the late Emperor’s firstborn and has trained for the role all her life. And she can’t forget made a promise to shapeshifter Nok, the boy she came to love, to win justice for his now powerless people. But even with an army at her side, Lu will need to face down a major obstacle: the current sitting Empress, her once beloved younger sister, Min.

Princess Min used to live in Lu’s shadow. But now she can control a powerful, ancient magic, and she’s determined to use it to forge her own path and a strong future for the Empire, even if that means making enemies in court. But Min’s magic isn’t entirely under her control, and she must learn how to tame it before it consumes her . . . and the entire realm.

Lu and Min are set for a confrontation that can’t be stopped. But the Empire faces threats greater than their rivalry, and even if they choose to stand together, it could cost them both the throne-or their lives. 

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


A ​Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy

Now on the run, Eva is desperate for answers about her transformation and her true heritage. Along with Aketo, a small contingent of guards, and the sister she could not kill, Eva flees Ternain in hopes of finding friends and allies to the north–not to mention Baccha–to help her decide what to do next. Princess Isa is a difficult, unremorseful captive, and Eva knows better than to trust her sister, but she wants to. Despite their history, Eva is convinced that to survive the growing unrest in the queendom, she and her sister must make peace. Since the Entwining ceremony, Eva’s and Isa’s lives have been bonded, and each can only die by the other’s hand. This perhaps provides an opening for a truce and a more hopeful future for both the sisters and the queendom, if only Isa would see reason and give up the battle for the throne.

With the two princesses on the run, the Queendom of Myre is on the brink of a revolution. And without Baccha to guide and train her magick, Eva must find a way not only to survive her own metamorphosis, but to unite all the people of Myre, including her sister, by finally taking the Ivory Throne.

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig

Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war.

Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos.

The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler

Fifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!

West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (All’s Well That Ends Well), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


Five Ways To Fall Out of Love by Emily Martin

Aubrey Cash learned the hard way not to rely on love. After all, Webster Casey, the new boy next door she’d been falling for all summer, stood her up at homecoming in front of everyone with no explanation. Proving her theory that love never lasts seems easy when she’s faced with parents whose marriage is falling apart and a best friend who thinks every boy she dates is “the one.” But when sparks fly with a boy who turns out to be Webster’s cousin, and then Webster himself becomes her lab partner for the rest of senior year, Aubrey finds her theory—and her commitment to stay single—put to the test.

As she navigates the breakdown of her family, the consequences her cynicism has on her relationship with her best friend, and her own confusing but undeniable feelings for Webster, Aubrey has to ask herself: What really happened the night Webster stood her up? And if there are five ways to fall out of love…could there perhaps be even more ways to fall back in?

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Dating Plan by Sara Desai

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.

Releases on March 16. Add this book to Goodreads!


The Descent of the Drowned by Ana Lal Din

As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion.

Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father’s name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother’s people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul.

But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma’s and Leviathan’s destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key.

Releases on March 15. Add this book to Goodreads!

Book News

Cover Reveal: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

🌱 Read our interview with Racquel during Latinx/Latine Heritage Month!

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love—and sexuality—never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

Illustration: Nicole Medina | Design: Aurora Parlagreco | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria

Hi Mich. It’s Gabe.

After burning out in her corporate marketing career, Michelle Amato has built a thriving freelance business as a graphic designer. So what if her love life is nonexistent? She’s perfectly fine being the black sheep of her marriage-obsessed Puerto Rican-Italian family. Besides, the only guy who ever made her want happily-ever-after disappeared thirteen years ago.

It’s been a long time.

Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx at eighteen to escape his parents’ demanding expectations, but it also meant saying goodbye to Michelle, his best friend and longtime crush. Now, he’s the successful co-owner of LA’s hottest celebrity gym, with an investor who insists on opening a New York City location. It’s the last place in the world Gabe wants to go, but when Michelle is unexpectedly brought on board to spearhead the new branding campaign, everything Gabe’s been running from catches up with him.

I’ve missed you.

Michelle is torn between holding Gabe at arm’s length or picking up right where they left off—in her bed. As old feelings resurface while they work to make the new gym location a reality, their reunion takes a sexy turn. Facing mounting pressure from their families—who think they’re dating—and growing uncertainty about their futures, can they resolve their past mistakes, or is it only a matter of time before Gabe says adios again?

Illustration: Bo Feng Lin | Design: Elsie Lyons | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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?

Illustration: John Picacio | Design: Lesley Worrell | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier

The past never forgets…

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.

Illustration: Elizabeth Agyemang | Design: Kerry Rubenstein | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed

In post-climate disaster Alberta, a woman infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community The world is nothing like it once was: climate disasters have wracked the continent, causing food shortages, ending industry, and leaving little behind. Then came Cad, mysterious mind-altering fungi that invade the bodies of the now scattered citizenry. Reid, a young woman who carries this parasite, has been given a chance to get away — to move to one of the last remnants of pre-disaster society — but she can’t bring herself to abandon her mother and the community that relies on her. When she’s offered a coveted place on a dangerous and profitable mission, she jumps at the opportunity to set her family up for life, but how can Reid ask people to put their trust in her when she can’t even trust her own mind? With keen insight and biting prose, Premee Mohamed delivers a deeply personal tale in this post-apocalyptic hopepunk novella that reflects on the meaning of community and asks what we owe to those who have lifted us up.

Illustration: Veronica Park | Art Direction: Jessica Albert | Add the book to Goodreads!


Cover Reveal: All the Feels by Olivia Dade

Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.

Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.

When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.

Illustration: Leni Kauffman | Design: Yeon Kim | Add the book to Goodreads!


Book Announcement: An anthology about Black geekhood with an all-star lineup edited by Karen Strong


Book Announcement: Leah Johnson’s forthcoming middle grade fantasy about Black girl magic and gay necromancers finds a home at Rick Riordan Presents!


Book Announcement: A chapter book about a STEM-loving Indian American girl saving her family’s Diwali celebration by Maya Prasad


Book Announcement: A forthcoming YA romance about a wallflower girl and a life-changing summer by Julie Abe


Book Announcement: Talia Hibbert forays into YA romance with a contemporary romance following best-friends-to-rivals-to-lovers in the Scottish wilderness


Book Announcement: A debut YA urban fantasy by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich about a magical dimension underneath New York City, grief, and do-overs


Book Announcement: Faes, witches and and forests collide in Rochelle Hassan’s forthcoming YA fantasy trilogy


Book Announcement: Alex Gino’s upcoming middle-grade novel following non-binary kids, lesbian photographers, and queer history and culture


Book Announcement: A vivid graphic novel following the last mermaid in the world, a witch princess, and a wooden knight by Rose Bousamra


Book Announcement: A YA memoir about a refugee from South Sudan by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton


Book Announcement: Myths and monsters meet in middle grade series by Salima Alikhan

Sunita Apte at Reycraft has acquired world rights to a new middle grade #OwnVoices series by Salima Alikhan. In each book, a girl named Soraya takes a field trip with her classmates and embarks on an adventure. Publication for the first book, Soraya and the Dragon, is slated for fall 2021; Jacqui Lipton at Raven Quill Literary represented the author.


Book Announcement: A middle grade debut following sisters, singing, and grief by Laura Ojeda Melchor


Book Announcement: Golems come to life in a young girl’s bat mitzvah in S. Rose Shanker’s upcoming Jewish middle grade fantasy


Book Announcement: A bi teen investigates her mother’s missing plane in Marisa Urgo’s forthcoming YA contemporary


Book Announcement: Travel through time and the stars with Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson’s forthcoming science-fantasy trilogy

Asha Akindele has lived her whole life on Gahraan, just like the rest of humanity, eking out an existence between factory assembly lines and constant terror. Then she discovers she has a sister imprisoned by Emperor Thracin, and is forced to make a choice: remain a slave, or escape and risk everything in the name of family. With the help of hopeless time-traveller Obi, who just wants to return home to London, 1812, and his almost-boyfriend, George IV, Asha must travel through the stars in an attempt to save a sister she’s never met, yet vowed to rescue – and in doing so save worlds.

4 thoughts on “The Pond Book News #78 – Shakespeare Retellings, Romcom Cover Reveals, & Exciting Fantasy Sequels

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