Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2021”! I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting about, but in a glance at my to-read list and things I can remember off the top of my head, here are ten books I’m looking forward to that are coming out in the latter half of 2021. I can’t believe the year’s halfway gone already!! It’s been such a busy year, but I have a good feeling that the rest of this year is going to be amazing.
- Well, This is Exhausting: Essays by Sophia Benoit– I’ve followed Sophia on Twitter for so long and have loved her presence on social media, so I’m excited to read her essays!
- The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling – I love the vibes of this cover?? It’s a witchy romance out just in time for the spooky season.
- Little Thieves by Margaret Owen – I have not read her duology yet even though I own them, but this has all of the fairy tale vibes I’m here for.
- A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow – I really enjoyed her debut novel, and this retelling and reworking of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is calling my name.
- The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – I thoroughly enjoyed Starling’s debut, and this looks like the gothic horror I’ve been wanting (especially after reading Mexican Gothic).
- Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood – This is a Jane Eyre retelling, and I love seeing what writers do with that story.
- Gilded by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t read the superhero trilogy of hers yet, but I’ve enjoyed everything else Meyer writes. The cover of this looks so good too.
- Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – After reading Mexican Gothic (and I’m in the middle of The Beautiful Ones now), I’ll read anything Silvia writes!!
- The Penguin Book of Dragons by edited by Scott G. Bruce – Penguin puts out such great collections, and after their mermaid book a while back, I’m excited to see one come out about dragons!
- Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter – Having just read The Helm of Midnight by the same author, I’m looking forward to reading more of their work! This is recommended for those who like Martha Wells’ Murderbot series, and anything to do with robots/A.I./first contact is everything I enjoy.
What new releases are you looking forward to reading in 2021??
Title: Malice by Heather Walter
Series: Malice Duology #1
Published by Del Rey Books
Published: April 13th 2021
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
Sleeping Beauty is probably one of my favorite fairy tales, especially when the tropes are explored and subverted, and the second I heard about Malice
I knew I needed to read this. It was everything I hoped for!
Malice deftly weaves the familiar and the new, setting up the familiar Sleeping Beauty tropes while fleshing out the fantasy world in which Alyce and Aurora live because the history, politics, and landscape add so much to the story. Alyce is a Dark Grace, assisting the palace and its courtiers with her skills, when she meets Aurora and her world begins to shift. Alyce’s struggle with her true self and wanting to fit in add so much depth, and I loved that her identity scared even herself. It ties in so much with the feeling of being queer, that society tends to tell us we’re wrong for being who we are or that it’s evil. This is the first half of a duology, so there’s a lot left to be discovered in Alyce’s true self and how much of a villain she becomes later on, but I hope that it’s explored more and that she learns more about her own history.
The romance between Alyce and Aurora is so layered, and I hope there’s a lot more buildup and exploration of their romance in the second book. So much of this first one felt like an introduction to the world and these characters that the last third of the book felt rushed, so I hope the second one develops more specifically with the characters now that we have this world set up for us to explore. Aurora is nothing like what we often expect from Sleeping Beauty retellings – a quiet, almost simple girl who has one set of desires and nothing else – because this Aurora is feisty, willing to fight for what she believes in, and questions everything. She also surprises Alyce by saying that she wants to be just like her, something Alyce never thought she’d hear anyone say. The romance in this feels natural and right, never forced (though sometimes a little insta-love, but it is a fairy tale after all), and it’s all I want out of a sapphic romance – fantasy with both fluff and depth.
Overall, I enjoyed this so much, from the characters to the worldbuilding, and I’m looking forward to the sequel and anything else Walter releases in the future!
Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! The latest feature for these reads are all of the books on my Summer TBR!
Comedian Jessica Krys’s standup routine
Laugh Factory, Chicago, March 20, 2011
I’ve got a question for you: How the fuck did we end up with the name “Dark One” anyway? This guy shows up out of nowhere in a cloud of fucking smoke or whatever, literally rips people limb from limb — apparently using only the power of his mind — recruits an army of minions, levels whole cities, brings about a degree of destruction heretofore unknown to humankind … and “Dark One” is the best we can do? We might as well have named him after the creepy guy in your building who looks at you a couple seconds too long in the elevator. You know, the one with the really moist, soft hands? Tim. His name is Tim.
Personally, I would have gone with something like “Portent of Doom in the Form of a Man” or “Terrifying Fucking Killing Machine,” but unfortunately, nobody asked me.
Many thanks to Mariner Books for sending me a complimentary copy to feature and review!
Title: I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-young, Sophie Bowman, Sung Ryu
Published by Harper Voyager
Published: April 6th 2021
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher, Work
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
“Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.”—Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite
Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities
In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.
In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?
This collection of intertwined short stories is so meticulously well done that I need to read everything else by Bo-Young. It’s not apparent from the get-go that these stories are connected because it starts out small, goes to the outer limits of the universe, and comes back around, but the way in which these are connected are so human at times in a way that only science fiction seems to be able to do.
Kim Bo-Young’s collection is something I’d recommend to you if you read and enjoyed Ted Chiang’s or Ken Liu’s writing as it has the very human, philosophical quality found in their works because no matter how far we as humans remove ourselves from the planet Earth – physically, emotionally, or spatially – there is always something calling us back.
From the letters and communication between two lovers trying to coordinate their paths through space and time to the overwatch of celestial beings on humanity, each of these stories makes you believe in something considered both small and big in the grand scheme of the universe – love, life, and hope. And those three things are often what truly matter in the grand scheme of things. The day-to-day choices that bring us closer together, no matter what the universe has in store for us all.
This comes highly recommended from me, and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.
Many thanks to Harper Voyager for a review copy! All opinions are my own.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring three movies coming out in the next month!
- Zola – dir. Janicza Bravo – based on a Twitter thread from 2015, this looks like it’s every bit as wild and hilarious as the story told in that thread! Releases June 30, 2021.
- Marvel’s Black Widow – dir. Cate Shortland – I feel like some of us (me) have been waiting for like ten years for a Black Widow movie, and I’m excited to see where this one goes. Releases July 9, 2021.
- Space Jam: A New Legacy – dir. Malcolm D. Lee and Terence Nance :: This looks FUN and I hope it has a lot of little throwbacks to the original. Releases July 16, 2021.
What are you looking forward to seeing this summer?