The Pond Book News #109 – Asian Stories in the Spotlight: Romance, Time-Travel, & a South Asian SFF Anthology!

Welcome to Issue #109!

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!

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Book Recommendations – 9 Books by Indigenous Authors that We’ve Read and Loved!

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

November is Native-American Heritage Month, and we wanted to share the joy of indigenous books with you all! Heritage Months are a call to reflect on and thoughtfully engage with colonial histories and realities, but they can also be an opportunity for us to uplift and celebrate achievements of Indigenous people. Though today’s book recommendation post takes place during Native-American Heritage Month, our hope is that you will read these books, not just in November, but also every other year of the month as well and engage with Indigenous literature all year long.

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Book Review: Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis – Black Girl Magic, Poverty, and Raising the Dead Goes Terribly Wrong

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis, reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond
Synopsis:

Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?

However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.

But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.

If you were living in poverty living with the constant anxiety of housing insecurity and you discovered that you not only could raise the dead but could sell your services for several thousand to bring someone’s loved one back, would you do it? This is a question that is asked again and again in Bad Witch Burning, Jessica Lewis’s dark and phenomenal debut. Bad Witch Burning may be the kind of story that pulls you right in and never lets you go, but it is also, unexpectedly emotionally-charged, heart-wrenching, and utterly devastating story that I loved.

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Book Review: Fools in Love edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos – A Fresh and Diverse Anthology for Lovers of Tropey Romance Stories

Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos. Contributors: Rebecca Barrow, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, Julian Winters. Reviewed by CW at The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love romance tropes. I love the emotional beats of the stories, I love all the expectations that come with tropes and readying myself for the inevitable ‘ah!’ moment where the trope blooms into something wonderful and exciting, and I love the inevitability of it all. So when I saw that Fools in Love, edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos, was an anthology dedicated entirely to reimaginings of romance tropes? Count me in!

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