F/F February: Most anticipated 2020 sapphic releases

Hi everyone,

This February I’ve been participating in FFFebruary, a readathon run by Charlotte (@darashirazi) on Twitter. As well as reading only sapphic books for all of February, I’ve also been posting every day on Instagram to celebrate my favourite f/f books. So continuing this trend, today I want to talk about the 2020 sapphic releases I can’t wait to read! This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just some of the incredible books coming our way this year!

The Seep by Chana Porter

This book published in January, and my pre-order finally arrived in Australia this week! I’m already half way through and it is such an interesting read. Part social commentary, part alien invasion, The Seep follows trans woman Trina as tries to grieve and recover from when her wife wished to be a baby again, and the aliens give her that wish.

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Another January release, Scavenge the Stars follows a chaotic bisexual in this genderbend retelling of The Counte of Monte Cristo. Not gonna lie, a woman with a dagger on the cover will always sell a book to me.

Cherry Beach by Laura McPhee-Browne

Cherry Beach is all about the power and love of friendship. Hetty and Ness have been best friends forever, and are now moving from Melbourne to Toronto. But Ness has a secret: she’s hopelessly in love with Hetty. In Toronto, in contrast to their life growing up, Hetty’s life seems to disintegrate, whilst Ness meets Hope. But as Hetty falls apart, Ness might lose the person she loves most. This dark, sapphic book just sounds so incredible! Publishing: February 4

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

This is the first of Gailey’s 2020 releases and it is a good one!!! Queer librarian spies on horseback trying to save the world from fascists with resistance propaganda in a Western style setting. Publishing: February 4

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies is inspired by the true events of the Vardø storm, which wiped out all the men of Vardø, and the 1620 witch trials. A witchhunter Scotsman and his wife, Maren, travel to Vardø to find the women independent and free. As Maren grows close to one of the women, the witchhunter sees evil and seeks to rule. I can’t wait for this feminist, witchy novel about love and evil to arrive. Publishing: February 11

The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood

Csorwe knows when she’s going to die. She’s a sacrifice to her gods. But on the day she’s supposed to die, a powerful mage offers her freedom to follow him, and become his sworn shield, assassin and thief. Also including a very slow burn f/f romance! Publishing: February 11

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

This sequel to 2019’s excellent We Set the Dark on Fire is one I can’t wait for! After We Set the Dark on Fire was written from Dani’s POV, We Unleash the Merciless Storm looks to Carmen and her role in the rebellion. Publishing: February 25

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

This is set in the same universe as The Winner’s Trilogy (which I haven’t actually read so know nothing about). But sapphic fantasy is always high on my list to read so here this is! Nirrim is one of the low-class inhabitants of the Ward. There, she cannot wear colour or eat sweets. When she encounters Sid, a traveller who brings rumours of magic, she is persuaded to seek the magic for herself. Publishing: March 3

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

2020 is the year of queer witches, and this is just one of them! This one sounds particularly intriguing to me as it’s inspired by Celtic mythology, features a bi teen in a conservative small Irish town who suffers from somatic OCD, and an infamous serial killer called The Butcher King. Sign me up right now. Publishing: March 3

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

The second of Sarah Gailey’s super queer 2020 releases! And what a bad ass cover. A group of queer witches must try to right a wrong (a dead boy) but their magic keeps failing! Publishing: March 3

The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven

Bi! Romcom! Science! Geek! I adored Laura Steven’s The Exact Opposite of Okay, it holds the award for funniest book I’ve ever read. So of course when she announced a bisexual romcom about a teen who discovers a scientfic breakthrough that makes you irresistible to everyone around you, I have to read it! Publishing: March 5

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

OHHHH this one sounds so good! During WW2, Hetty is tasked with evacuating and looking after the mammals from the natural history museum. At Lockwood Manor, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty finds herself drawn to the mysterious and traumatised daughter of Lord Lockwood, Lucy. But animals start disappearing and Hetty is sure she’s being followed down dark corridors… Publishing: March 10

Don’t You Know I Love You by Laura Bogart

Angelina only just escaped from under her violent fathers’ thumb. But after a car accident, now she’s back. As her father aggressively pushes for an accident settlement, she grows close to Janet, an artist who inspires her to create unsettling art that shows her scars and forces her to face the abuse. Publishing: March 10

Queerleaders by M.B Guel

Cheerleading but make it really really gay: enter this book. Mack doesn’t expect to fit into at school. She’s well used to being different. But now she’s mysteriously become a cheerleader magnet, but is it a set up, or could she actually have a chance at romance? Publishing: March 15

Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

Another one that sounds so incredibly interesting with an odd profession at its heart! Nell works in biological sciences exploring poisons and antidotes. She’s also obsessed with her mentor, Dr Joan, writing journals and research notes dedicated to her, as the lives of her and Joan along with several others become tangled in a web of desire and affairs. Also check out that cover!!! Publishing: March 31

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

An f/f romance between a queen and her SPYMASTER?! Hot damn, yes please. Together, they must decide what to sacrifice, for both the kingdom, and each other. Publishing: April 6

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlan

Codi and her friends spend most of their time inside playing games, not out at parties. But when they decide to crash a party, Codi finds popular kid Ricky, kissing another boy, and the two form an unexpected friendship. As the summer progresses, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and introduces her to popularity, parties, and a cute girl called Lydia. Only problem is, her friends have no idea. Publishing: April 21

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Another stunning cover!! On a pirate ship, Flora takes the identity Florian to earn respect amongst the crew. But on board, Florian is drawn to passenger Lady Evelyn, who is on her way to an arranged marriage. With witches and mermaids, gender fluidity and Asian folklore, I predict this book will be one of my favourites of the year! Publishing: May 5

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

Nothing beats the description from the author’s Twitter for this one: “pitched as stranger things in the french revolution, there’s an ensemble cast of queer disasters, two girls in love and a bi love triangle. plus strange science, swashbuckling action and a little magic 💀”. THE BI LOVE TRIANGLE IS HERE AND WE LOVE TO SEE IT. Also I lucked out with an ARC for this and I literally cannot get the song “I’ve got a golden ticket” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out of my head when thinking about this. Publishing: May 5

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Lesbian witch forms a coven with three popular girls after she casts a spell for them. This books aims to subvert the traditional ‘cliquey mean girls’ and instead focuses on the strength of female friendship as they fight the witchhunters who want to steal their magic. Publishing: May 12

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Two teens set up rival businesses, Nishat is celebrating her culture, Flávia is appropriating. But as they get to know each other, Nishat can’t quite get over her crush. Discussions around the intersection of queerness and race by a QPOC! If you support any book this year, support this one! Publishing: May 12

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

A 1920’s New Orleans SUPER QUEER historical murder mystery oh my days this is perfect! I give you a tweet from the author:

“🏳️‍🌈MC Millie is bi (hello bi love triangle!)
🏳️‍🌈Her BFF Marion is gay & performs in drag
🏳️‍🌈Her aunt is a lesbian in a committed relationship w/ a woman
🏳️‍🌈They all work in a queer-friendly speakeasy
🏳️‍🌈A few people are straight I guess?”

Also it comps to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery and this makes me even more excited!!

Publishing: May 12

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

By day: rivals at a competitive Arts Conservatory, fighting for the chance to win a scholarship. By night: unknowingly collaborating with each other on a fanfiction graphic novel. What happens when their online personalities begin to fall in love? Any romcom with fanfiction has me SOLD! Publishing: May 26

Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

A love story about a showrunner and her assistant and what happens when they accidentally spark the paparazzi rumour mill by laughing together on a red carpet. Publishing: May 26

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

More of that good enemies to lovers shit but make it S A P P H I C. Each year, the Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. But when Lina tries to save her brother from the fate, the friend who helped her is chosen instead. So Lina offers up herself. Enter love stuff. City dying. All the tragic must choose who to save, the city, or each other. I LOVE IT. Publishing: June 2

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smith

What could possibly go wrong when you make a binding agreement to break up at the end of a summer full of cliched romance? Well, love for one… Publishing: June 9

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

This book explores the life of a woman caught between her culture, religion and sexual identity. From the age of 12, when she was yelled at by a group of men for baring her legs in the biblical city of Bethlehem, through her time in the US, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon, we follow her as she is lead to The Ledge, a treatment facility for “love addiction”. Publishing: June 9

The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton

Modern day noir thriller, set in Hollywood, with a sapphic lead who spends her time blackmailing lecherous old men. But when one of her targets ends up dead, she takes on one last job to get out of the game for good. A twist on the feminist revenge story! Publishing: July 14

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

A historical f/f romance with:

• a grumpy widowed engraver working far too hard to keep her print-shop going until her son is old enough to take over

• a middle-aged lady beekeeper who goes striding about in trousers and loves bucolic poetry

•a Queen on trial in Parliament and the press

•luxuriant English gardens with extremely naughty statues

•satirical ballads about tight pants

•… and more than you probably ever wanted to know about early 19th century beekeeping!

Publishing: July 14

Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

A lesbian love story set in the afterlife! When Ash dies, she becomes a girl-reaper, someone who collects the souls of the dead and takes them to await their fate. But she vows to see her first love again, dead or alive… Publishing: August

Iron Heart by Nina Varela

Crier’s War was one of my favourite sapphic reads last year and I have no doubt Iron Heart will be just as good! Filled with all the enemies to lovers to enemies trope we could ever need, I won’t say much as I don’t want to spoil the first one if you haven’t read it yet. But watch out for this one. Also THAT COVER!! So SHINY. Publishing: September 8

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

This book has another of my favourite covers, look how gorgeous that pink is!! When Corinne’s secret girlfriend dies, she struggles to mourn for a person no one else knew existed. The only person she can talk to is her dead girlfriend’s ex. A story about making sense of grief and how to be honest with yourself. Publishing: September 15

Burning Roses by S.L Huang

Two queer older ladies, combining Western and Chinese folklore (Red Riding Hood and Hou Yi the Archer). The two must join forces to fight deadly sunbirds, and embark on a quest for immortality. Publishing: September 29

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J Hackwith

I very recently read the absolutely amazing The Library of the Unwritten and it was one of the most fun fantasy novels I’ve read in years! The sequel is out this October, and we go back to Claire and Brevity, Hero and Ramiel to solve new mysteries in the library. Oh and did I mention Claire is a pansexual librarian which literally just fills me with so much delight because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen pansexual written down in a fantasy novel before?! Publishing: October 6

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

A “tiny chaos lesbian” accidentally destroys the only person in her town who can create water and now everyone’s f**ked so she has to go save the world. Or burn it down. Publishing: October 13

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

The Never Tilting World was my first Rin Chupeco book and I really enjoyed it! A kingdom split in two, half in unending heat and sun; the other in constant snow and ice; one of twin sisters at the helm in each realm. This is the sequel and will carry on the quest to put the world back together. Publishing: November 10

Ruinsong by Julia Ember

A sapphic phantom of the opera, hell to the yes. Cadence has been forced to torture the nobility with her magic voice, under the rule of her Queen. But when an old friend comes back into her life, she has to decide whether to rebel or become a monster. God this sounds so good. Publishing: November 24

A Miracle of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

This is an f/f retelling of the Portugese myth A Miracle of Roses, where a princess wants to reverse a gift that turns all the food she touches into flowers. This sounds so different to any other fairytale I’ve read so very excited for it! Publishing: December 4

Consensual Hex by Amanda Harlowe

There isn’t much about this one in the public yet, but it sounds INCREDIBLE. The author’s website describes it as “coven of queer witches at an elite women’s college who employ their powers to exact revenge on the frat boy warlocks using magic to cover up sexual assault on campus”. Publishing: fall

Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

I give you one of the most amazing author descriptions for a book ever: “If you like: magic derived from bones, migratory islands, a distant DOOM, a failing empire, a palace of locked doors and secrets, an heir with a father she can’t help but disappoint, a jaunty smuggler with a tragic past, creepy magical constructs, DOOM getting a bit more real now, two women in an established relationship working through class differences, magical animal companions, and dumplingssss!” Publishing: 2020, I assume fall/winter

Wow what a list!! 40 super sapphic books! I’m so excited for all of these. I know there are some amazing ones I’ve missed or not heard of yet so I apologise if I missed your favourite! But I would love to know: what’s your most anticipated 2020 sapphic book release? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 Tuesday: Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.

Hi everyone,

This week I’m coming to you from:

  • The middle of a work conference…
  • Which I was forced to go to during the middle of manuscript deadline hell….
  • And where there is a strict “no exceptions” to the evening social rule…
  • So if we want to get any of our work done (because of course the deadline doesn’t change even if you pull us out of the office for a week!!), we have to stay up until the early hours to do so….

So life is great right now. So great.

Okay rant over. Let’s get onto to celebrating why I rate books 5 stars! You know, I’ve never actually considered what makes me rate 5 stars in huge detail, outside of thinking about the one specific book I’m reviewing. I’m not even sure if there are recurring elements – I think to rate 5 stars, pretty much every part of the book needs to be incredible right? So I decided to go through all my 5 star reads of 2019, and go down a very statistical direction to identify the common themes and elements between those books. This is what I got.

It’s gay

Yup. No surprises here. If a book has LGBTQIA+ characters, I am on the squee express and will love that book. For some stats, 71% of my 2019 five star reads were queer! And that makes me so happy. I love reading books about people like me, so it is no surprise that most of my 5 star reads are loudly, proudly queer. Bring on the 2020 gays.

My 5 star examples:

A morally grey protagonist/villain

Give me our morally grey protagonists and villains. I love characters that do bad things for good reasons. I love when authors play with the idea of good and evil, when I don’t know who I’m supposed to be supporting, when there’s no clear idea of who is good and who is evil. God I love it so much. Give me morally grey every day.

My 5 star examples:

Excellent mental health rep

Much like queer books, seeing characters cope with mental health, in both real life-settings or fantasy worlds, just makes my heart hurt because I’m seeing people like me. It can be hopeful, which for obvious reasons, is fantastic to read as way of finding hope myself. But even if it is hopeless, it makes you feel seen and understood as a reader, and for a second, you can feel less alone because there’s someone out there who feels like you do.

My 5 star examples:

Nails the ending

So many of my 4 star books last year were fantastic….until the ending. Nailing the ending is such a difficult part of writing, and it has such an impact on my ultimate enjoyment of the book. I want an ending that is as brutually emotional as every page before it has been. I want knowledge and understanding of what’s happened. I don’t need all the ends tied up, but I want to feel something on the last pages. You can shock me, hurt me, thrill me. But the ending should make me feel something.

My 5 star examples:

Breaks my heart

So almost 50% of my 5 star reads of 2019 broke my heart. I don’t necessarily mean they made me cry – I’m a difficult reader to make actually cry, though I do tear up a lot. I like books that make me have a visceral emotional reaction, and let’s be honest, that kind of reaction usually comes when a book is stabbing you in the heart and ripping you open. I want to feel my chest physically hurt because I can’t believe what’s happening on the page. I need to be so emotionally invested in the characters, that what happens to them hurts me as much as possible. That’s definitely worth 5 stars.

My 5 star examples:

So to conclude, basically I want a queer, depressed, murder muffin to make me cry. Which does actually sum up several of the books I’m very excited for this year, so I clearly definitely have a 5 Star Type.

2020 TBR: Most anticipated contemporary

Hi everyone,

In 2019, I was introduced to the world of contemporary novels! Previously, I was very much a heavy speculative fiction reader, but found myself a little exhausted reading all of fantasy last year. So I picked up my first contemporary and fell in love with the genre! They are so easy to read and always feel like a breathe of fresh air compared to SFF. Here’s a list of 31 of my most anticipated contemporary novels publishing in 2020!

Loveboat, Taipei – Abigail Hing Wen

Quick summary: Crazy Rich Asians crossed with La La Land?!

Release date: January 7

Goodreads blurb: For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

We Used to be Friends – Amy Spalding

Quick summary: Two best friends growing apart

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: January 7

Goodreads blurb: Two best friends grow up—and grow apart—in this innovative contemporary YA novel

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

Tweet Cute – Emma Lord

Quick summary: Rival fast food workers who hate each other in real life fall in love in anonymous chat room

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Not so Pure and Simple – Lamar Giles

Quick summary: Confronting toxic masculinity and what it means to be a ‘real man’

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: In his first contemporary teen novel, critically acclaimed author and two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means to be a “real man.”

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?

Don’t Read the Comments – Eric Smith

Quick summary: Online trolling breaks into real life; gaming gaming gaming I cannot wait!!

Release date: January 28

Goodreads blurb: Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

Quick summary: Kids of NASA employees falling in love

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Foul is Fair – Hannah Capin

Quick summary: Macbeth retelling, revenge fantasy of girl destroying her rapists!

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes. 

Break the Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

Quick summary: Gymnastics, romance with coach’s son, teammate rivalries

Release date: February 18

Goodreads blurb: Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics.

A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She’s made the United States’ gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She’s on top of the world.

The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most–but not all the gymnasts are as supportive.

With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach’s ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn’t date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world?

Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn’t need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she’s not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey’s determination be enough?

Of Curses and Kisses- Sandhya Menon

Quick summary: Modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a boarding schools yes please1

Release date: February 18

Goodreads blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 

Only Mostly Devastated – Sophie Gonzales

Quick summary: Every romance movie of your teen years in perfect book form: Grease meets Clueless meets 10 Things I Hate About You. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this, and it is INCREDIBLE!

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.

When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right?

Right. 

Anna K – Jenny Lee

Quick summary: Anna Karenina retelling!!

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

If These Wings Could Fly – Kyrie McCauley

Quick summary: Magical realism, crows invading a town, with sisterhood bonds and impact of domestic violence

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Mindy McGinnis, Kyrie McCauley’s stunning YA debut is a powerful story about the haunting specter of domestic violence and the rebellious forces of sisterhood and first love.

Tens of thousands of crows invading Auburn, Pennsylvania, is a problem for everyone in town except seventeen-year-old Leighton Barnes. For Leighton, it’s no stranger than her house, which inexplicably repairs itself every time her father loses his temper and breaks things.

Leighton doesn’t have time for the crows–it’s her senior year, and acceptance to her dream college is finally within reach. But grabbing that lifeline means abandoning her sisters, a choice she’s not ready to face.

With her father’s rage worsening and the town in chaos over the crows, Leighton allows herself a chance at happiness with Liam, her charming classmate, even though falling in love feels like a revolutionary act.

Balancing school, dating, and survival under the shadow of sixty thousand feathered wings starts to feel almost comfortable, but Leighton knows that this fragile equilibrium can only last so long before it shatters.

And the Stars Were Burning Brightly – Danielle Jawando

Quick summary: Mental health and suicide, trying to find out why a family member took their own life

Release date: March 5

Goodreads blurb: An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

Harley in the Sky – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Quick summary: After Starfish I will read anything by Akemi, including this amazing circus runaway story

Release date: March 10

Goodreads blurb: Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.

We are Totally Normal – Rahul Kanakia

Quick summary: Complicated process of discovering your sexuality after hooking up with friend

Release date: March 31

Goodreads blurb: Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.

But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know – Samira Ahmed

Quick summary: Part contemporary, part historical, elements of mystery, I would read anything by Samira after the absolute incredibleness of Internment

Release date: April 7

Goodreads blurb: Told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed traces the lives of two young women fighting to write their own stories and escape the pressure of familial burdens and cultural expectations in worlds too long defined by men.

It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her professor parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.

Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron.

Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed. 

Little Universes – Heather Demetrios

Quick summary: Aftermath of a tsunami, two sisters trying to recover from the loss of their parents.

Release date: April 7

Goodreads blurb: One wave: that’s all it takes for the rest of Mae and Hannah Winters’ lives to change.

When a tsunami strikes the island where their parents are vacationing, it soon becomes clear that their mom and dad are never coming home. Forced to move to Boston from sunny California for the rest of their senior year, each girl struggles with secrets their parents’ death has brought to light, and with their uncertainty about the future. Instead of bringing them closer, it feels like the wave has torn the sisters apart.

Hannah is a secret poet who wants to be seen, but only knows how to hide. The pain pills she stole from her dead father hurl her onto the shores of an addiction she can’t shake and a dealer who turns her heart upside down. When it’s clear Hannah’s drowning, Mae, a budding astronaut suddenly launched into an existential crisis—and unexpected love—must choose between herself and the only family she has left.

Little Universes is a book about the powerful bond between sisters, the kinds of love that never die, and the journey we all must make through the baffling cruelty and unexpected beauty of human life in an incomprehensible universe.

What I Like About You – Marisa Kanter

Quick summary: A love triangle with only two people – and their online personna; and a cupcake book blog!

Release date: April 7

Goodreads blurb: Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can…but in the real world, it’s more complicated. In this debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Marisa Kanter hilariously and poignantly explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

Clique Bait – Ann Valett

Quick summary: Thriller contemporary about a girl taking down a clique of mean girls – this sounds so much like Mean Girls the film and I am so here for it

Release date: April 28

Goodreads blurb: Pretty Little Liars meets Burn for Burn in this thrilling debut from Wattpad star Ann Valett.

Chloe Whittaker is out for revenge. Last year her best friend Monica’s life was unceremoniously ruined by the most popular students at their high school, so this year Chloe plans to take each and every one of them down. She traded her jeans and T-shirts for the latest designer clothes, deleted everything on social media that would tie her to Monica (and blow her cover), and carefully devised a way to befriend the members of the popular clique. Now all that’s left to do is uncover their deepest, darkest secrets and reveal them to the world.

Chloe has the perfect plan…that is, until she begins to fall for one of the people she’s determined to destroy.

Loveless – Alice Oseman

Quick summary: ACE PROTAGONIST, coming of age, journey to self-acceptance

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: April 30

Goodreads blurb: The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.

The Life and (Mediaeval) Times of Kit Sweetly – Jamie Pacton

Quick summary: Mediaeval themed restaurant who only get boys dress up knights so let’s fight the fucking patriarchy yaaaaaassss

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: Moxie meets A Knight’s Tale as Kit Sweetly slays sexism, bad bosses, and bad luck to become a knight at a medieval-themed restaurant.

Working as a wench―i.e. waitress―at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Quick summary: Verse novel from contemporary queen Elizabeth Acevdeo

Release date: May 14

Goodreads blurb: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives

Something to Talk About – Meryl Wilsner

Quick summary: Romance between Hollywood showrunner and her assistant when media declare them a couple

Genres: Contemporary, romance, adult

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

I Kissed Alice – Alice Birch

Quick summary: Enemies-to-lovers f/f romcom in the fanfic community

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: For fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and FangirlI Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

You Should See Me In A Crown – Leah Johnson

Quick summary: Queer girl falls in love with the competition for prom queen

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: Becky Albertalli meets Jenny Han in a smart, hilarious, black girl magic, own voices rom-com by a staggeringly talented new writer.

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Six Angry Girls – Adrienne Kisner 

Quick summary: Feminist novel set within mock trial teams, with a side of knitting

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: June 2 

Goodreads blurb: A story of mock trial, feminism, and the inherent power found in a pair of knitting needles.

Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.

But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.

The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth

Quick summary: Binding agreement to have a romance only for a summer….what could possibly go wrong?!

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

I’ll Be the One – Lyla Lee

Quick summary:What a stunning cover!!! Competition to be the next K-Pop star!

Release date: June 16

Goodreads blurb: The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.

The State of Us – Shaun David Hutchinson

Quick summary: Kinda makes me think of a YA Red, White & Royal Blue? Sons of two presedential candidates falling in love.

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: July 21

Goodreads blurb: David Linker at HarperCollins has bought We Are the Ants author Shaun David Hutchinson‘s The State of Us, the story of Dean and Dre—the 16-year-old sons of the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States—who fall in love on the sidelines of their parents’ presidential campaigns. The book is planned for summer 2020; Katie Shea Boutillier at Donald Maass Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights. 

Girl, Unframed – Deb Caletti

Quick summary: Contemporary thriller about unwanted attention – and what a killer cover!

Release date: September 1

Goodreads blurb: A teen girl’s summer with her mother turns sinister in this gripping thriller about the insidious dangers of unwanted attention, from Printz Honor medal–winning and National Book Award finalist author Deb Caletti—perfect for fans of Courtney Summers’s Sadie.

Sydney Reilly has a bad feeling about going home to San Francisco before she even gets on the plane. How could she not? Her mother is Lila Shore—the Lila Shore—a film star who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else…certainly above her daughter.

But Sydney’s worries multiply when she discovers that Lila is involved with the dangerous Jake, an art dealer with shady connections. Jake loves all beautiful objects, and Syndey can feel his eyes on her whenever he’s around. And he’s not the only one. Sydney is starting to attract attention—good and bad—wherever she goes: from sweet, handsome Nicco Ricci, from the unsettling construction worker next door, and even from Lila. Behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.

It’s unnerving, how beauty is complicated, and objects have histories, and you can be looked at without ever being seen. But real danger, crimes of passion, the kind of stuff where someone gets killed—it only mostly happens in the movies, Sydney is sure. Until the night something life-changing happens on the stairs that lead to the beach. A thrilling night that goes suddenly very wrong. When loyalties are called into question. And when Sydney learns a terrible truth: beautiful objects can break.

The Roommate – Rosie Danan

Quick summary: Creating a women’s pleasure focused and fighting a porn empire this sounds incredible

Release date: September 15

Goodreads blurb: Rosie Danan’s THE ROOMMATE (previously Never Have I Ever), in which an awkward socialite gets more than she bargained for in her new roommate and the sparks that fly between them, risking their hearts and the wrath of a porn empire after they launch a website focused on women’s pleasure.

I am so impressed with all of these covers! Bookshelves everywhere are going to look stunning! Are there any contemporaries you’re looling forward to that I haven’t mentioned? I would love to know!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Science fiction

Hi everyone,

Continuing the let’s all add to our TBRs series, it’s time to get spacey. Science fiction is a genre I traditionally haven’t read much in. However, I read some absolutely epic SF books in 2019 and I hope to continue that next year! Here are some of the techy reads coming your way…

***

Oasis – Kataya de Becerra

Quick summary: Thriller at an archaeological dig in a sandstorm

Release date: January 7

Goodreads blurb: The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage. 

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

The Seep – Chana Porter

Quick summary: Dreams can become reality, what happens when you’re left behind?

Genres: Science fiction, adult

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

The Stars We Steal – Alexa Donne 

Quick summary: The Bachelorette in space

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Malice – Pintip Dunn

Quick summary: God I love virus novels. Here for this trope. 

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: What I know: a student in my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who it is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out their identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill them. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice she’s lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way―because now she’s drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved…

The Sound of Stars – Alechia Dow

Quick summary: Alien born in a lab, with feelings and forbidden creativity 

Release date: February 25

Goodreads blurb: Don’t miss this spectacular debut novel… Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity? This road trip is truly out of this world! A beautiful and thrilling read for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth.

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.

Rebelwing – Andrea Tang

Quick summary: C y b e r n e t i c D r a g o n s 

Release date: February 25

Goodreads blurb: 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.

Finna – Nina Cipri

Quick summary: Be gay, do multiverse time travel 

Genres: Science fiction, adult 

Release date: February 25 

Goodreads blurb: When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

A Pale Light in the Black – K.B Wagers

Quick summary: Military competition to see who’s the best at boarding ships and other space military things 

Genres: Military science fiction 

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: The book centers on the rivalry between military branches, which plays out through the Boarding Games—a competition pitting service members against each other to see just who is best in events like tactical problem is solving, piloting, fencing and martial arts, and, of course, boarding actions. And while other military science fiction features the exploration and defense of far-flung reaches of space, the Neo-G protects the area closer to home—a force we could very well see in our own lifetime. Made up of a band of retired veterans and raw recruits with sub-par equipment and the scorn of the military establishment, the NEO-G are the ultimate underdogs.

The first book in the NEO-G series comes out in hardcover in Spring 2020 from Harper Voyager, starting with A Pale Light in the Black. There are currently two books planned in the series, with the option to continue.

Bonds of Brass – Emily Skrutskie

Quick summary: Pilot falls for heir to galactic Empire and most choose rebellion or the empire

Release date: April 7

Goodreads blurb: A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.

Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.

But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?

Goldilocks – Laura Lam

Quick summary: Shit this sounds good, like a cross between Becky Chambers and Emma Newman: space thriller when trying to find livable new planet 

Release date: April 30

Goodreads blurb: Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

This is Station Eleven meets The Martian – a bold and thought-provoking new high-concept thriller.

Last Girls – Demetra Brodsky

Quick summary: End of the world bunker situation, stunning cover 

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins 

Quick summary: Hunger Games prequel! 

Release date: May 19

Goodreads blurb: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

Fragile Remedy – Maria Ingrande Mora

Quick summary: Genetically engineered humans to cure diseases 

Release date: June 16

Goodreads blurb: Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.

Goddess in the Machine – Lora Beth Johnson

Quick summary: I adore technology seen as gods years in the future trope 

Release date: June 30

Goodreads blurb: Andra wakes up from a cryogenic sleep 1,000 years later than she was supposed to, forcing her to team up with an exiled prince to navigate an unfamiliar planet in this smart, thrilling sci-fi adventure, perfect for fans of Renegades and Aurora Rising.

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her. 

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

All These Monsters – Amy Tinterra 

Quick summary: Monster fighting girls 

Release date: July 7

Goodreads blurb: Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.

When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.

Crownchasers – Rebecca Coffindaffer

Quick summary: Lara Croft meets Star Wars, there needs no further summary 

Release date: September 29

Goodreads blurb: Lara Croft meets Star Wars in this young adult space opera, in which a wisecracking intergalactic adventurer becomes the odds-on favorite to win a deadly, cross-galaxy contest to become the quadrant’s next emperor; too bad she has no intention of winning.

Winters Orbit – Everina Maxwell

Quick summary: Queer space opera previously published on AO3 

Release date: I hope Winter 

Goodreads blurb: Winter’s Orbit is a queer, romantic space opera. In an unforgiving empire, a scandal-prone prince and a dutiful scholar, who are forced into a political marriage, try to prevent an interplanetary war. It’s about empire and notoriety and the media, but also about being locked in your own head. It starts with a diplomat who’s determined to endure his own private hell if that’s what duty requires of him, and it’s about what happens when the wall around him starts to crumble. 

(Previously published online as Course of Honour)

***

It was only when I made this list that I realised pretty much all the SF I am looking forward to is released in February, with a few books in other months, and that cannot possibly be right?!

So, please let me know the science fiction you are looking forward to reading next year! I need more sci-fi on my TBR! (Preferably not Feb, but I’ll take any recs…)

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Fantasy! (Part 2)

Hi everyone,

And so the 2020 celebration continues – today I am here with part 2 of my fantasy to watch out. Today’s list has some of my most anticipated of the year, many which don’t have covers yet but which I am SO KEEN to see and read!! I hope you are too!

***

Woven in Moonlight – Isabel Ibañez

Quick summary: Bolivian politcs and history in a fantasy setting, weaving magic to hide messages in tapestries!

Release date: January 7

Goodreads blurb: A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

Spellhacker – M.K England

Quick summary: Fantasy heist, capitalism, magic as plague

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure. 

The Shadows Between Us – Tricia Levenseller

Quick summary: Another marriage story to kill the other half, authors of 2020 really are fighting marriage aren’t they?!

Release date: February 25

Goodreads blurb: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Mermaid Moon – Susann Cokal

Quick summary: Mermaid searching for mother on land, what sounds very like a Little Mermaid retelling

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: An award-winning author tells of a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother in a captivating tale spun with beautiful prose, lush descriptions, empathy, and keen wit.

This is just a children’s tale; would you wreck your ship for it?
Would you drown for a mere mother’s story?

Sanna is a mermaid — except her mother was landish, not seavish. The undersea witch who delivered her cast a spell that made her people, and her mother, forget her birth. Sanna longs to find her mother so much that she apprentices herself to the witch, learns the magic of making and unmaking, and fashions herself a pair of legs to go ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands, the nearest anyone can remember to where they left her mother. There, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses and a community desperate for a miracle — and into a baroness who would do anything to live forever. From the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Kingdom of Little Wounds comes an original fairy tale of belonging, sacrifice, choice, hope, magic, and mortality.

The House in the Cerulean Sea – T.J Klune

Quick summary: Caretakers of magical youth, orphanages, the antichrist….

Genres: Fantasy, romance, adult (I think?)

Release date: March 17

Goodreads blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Elysium Girls – Kate Pentecost

Quick summary: I saw ‘scrap metal horses’ and immediately added

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: April 14

Goodreads blurb: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

The Extraordinaries – T.J Klune

Quick summary: Fanfic + fandom community, superheros

Genres: Fantasy

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

The Scapegraces – Hannah Abigail Clarke

Quick summary: Witches, covens, bonds of female friendship, subvertion of the mean girl trope!!

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.

Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.

A Song Below Water – Bethany C Morrow

Quick summary: YA siren fantasy! Murder trial!

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. 

Forest of Souls – Lori M Lee

Quick summary: Another incredible cover! Royal spies, and Spider Kings, and an ancient forest possessed by souls?!

Release date: June 23

Goodreads blurb: Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.

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 lightwender 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 lightwender 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.

Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron

Quick summary: Sapphic Cinderella retelling, featuring her last living descendant

Release date: July 7

Goodreads blurb: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them. 

Ghost Wood Song – Erica Waters

Quick summary: Ghosts and magic fiddles and murder

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, young adult

Release date: July 21

Goodreads blurb: Shady Grove is her father’s daughter, through and through. She inherited his riotous, curly hair, his devotion to bluegrass, and his ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle.

That cursed instrument drowned with him, though, when his car went off the road, taking with it the whispering ghosts, nightmares, and the grief and obsession that forced her daddy to play.

But Shady’s brother was just accused of murder, and so she has a choice to make: unearth the fiddle that sang her father to the grave and speak to the dead to clear her brother’s name, or watch the only family she has left splinter to pieces.

The ghosts have secrets to keep, but Shady will make those old bones sing.

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker – Lauren James

Quick summary: Afterlife setting, ghosts with magic, learn how to possess the living

Release date: September 3

Goodreads blurb: What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a world of ghosts with magical powers – shape-shifting, hypnosis, or even the ability to possess the living. As she learns more about their community, Harriet is willing to do anything to unleash her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy. Because who knows what grudges people have been holding onto for millennia, just waiting for a reckless girl to give them the chance to get vengeance. 

The Ones We’re Meant to Find – Joan He

Quick summary: After Descendant of the Crane I will read anything by Joan He. And this Black Mirror inspired novel on an Earth decimated by natural disasters is NO DIFFERENT.

Release date: Fall 2020

Goodreads blurb: Jennifer Besser at Roaring Brook, Macmillan has won at auction North American rights to Joan He’s YA novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find. Pitched as We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, the story follows two sisters, one living on a deserted island with little memory of who she was, the other fighting to save an Earth decimated by natural disasters, while believing her sister to be dead. Publication is set for fall 2020; John Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management did the two book deal.

Jade Fire Gold – June C.L Tan

Quick summary: Chinese mythology, The Last Airbender, saving your grandmother – this is one of my most anticipated fantasies of the year!!

Release date: Fall 2020

Goodreads blurb: Told in a dual POV narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by Chinese mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.

In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic. 

Blazewrath – Amparo Ortiz

Quick summary: Sports fantasy with dragons!

Release date: Fall 2020

Goodreads blurb: Blazewrath, a comtemporary fantasy pitched as How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch Through the Ages, about 17-year-old Luna Torres, who after rescuing a prized dragon from an attacker is awarded a spot on her native Puerto Rico’s Blazewrath World Cup Team. But the return of the Sire, an ancient dragon who’s cursed to remain in human form, threatens to compromise this year’s tournament. Publication is set for Fall 2020. 

Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart

Quick summary: Bone shard magic make mammoth monsters as soldiers

Release date: Late 2020

Goodreads blurb: BONE SHARD DAUGHTER is set in an empire of many islands, where bone shard magic fuels monstrous constructs that enforce law and order. Yet the emperor’s rule is failing and whispers of revolution carry from island to island. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and heir, and only she can save the empire and its people. But to do so, she must master the art of bone shard magic – and unlock the secrets of her own forgotten past.

Master of One – Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

Quick summary: Thief accompanies evil sorcerer to kidnap a fae prince and then falls in love with said prince 

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: November 17 

Goodreads blurb: Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has bought Danielle Bennett (l.) and Jaida Jones’s YA fantasy, Master of One. When a common thief finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his punishment is to join an evil sorcerer on a perilous journey to uncover a lost fae relic. The relic turns out to be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince. Together they must save the world from the evil sorcerer, while trying not to fall in love with each other. Publication is set for fall 2020

Ruinsong – Julia Ember 

Quick summary: Phantom of the Opera retelling!! Music magic! Possible enemies to lovers? Rival factions need to unite a country? 

Genres: Fantasy, romance 

Release date: November 24 

Goodreads blurb: Revolution or silence?

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence is forced to use her power to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when Cadence is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must make a choice: take a stand to free her country from a tyrant — or follow in her queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

***

That’s it for my fantasy list so far! Still have my science fiction list to go and then between my horror post (here!) and Part 1 and 2 Fantasy, all speculative fiction will be done! Wait…minus my retellings post (cause 2020 got a LOT). Onto contemporary and historical and sequels and authors of colour and oh my gosh there are just too many 2020 books to talk about.

I hope everyone is continuing to have a wonderful holiday period!

Paws out for now,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Fantasy! (Part 1)

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is having a relaxing holiday period! I am definitely enjoying the food of Vietnam. But thanks to the joy of scheduling WordPress posts, I can still talk about all the amazing 2020 releases we have coming. Today I bring you Part 1 of my Fantasy 2020 list! There are some absolutely killer titles here – and what I think might FINALLY be the return of vampires?! THANK GOD I HAVE MISSED THEM.

I hope you find some titles to add to your TBR in this lists of 2020 fantasy books!

***

Seven Deadly Shadows – Courtney Alameda & Valynne E Maetani

Quick summary: Shinto priestess enlists help of death gods to stop destruction of humankind

Release date: January 28

Goodreads blurb: Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

Diamond City – Francesca Flores

Quick summary: Assassins! Questionable sense of morality! Dark magic! Romance!

Release date: January 28

Goodreads blurb: Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!

Upright Women Wanted – Sarah Gailey

Quick summary: Woman escaping arranged marriage hides in queer librarian spy wagon after her best friend is executed for resistance propaganda.

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: “That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

All the Stars and Teeth – Adalyn Grace

Quick summary: Mermaids and pirates and soul magic oh my

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

Quick summary: Switching lives trope, noble who wants to be a physician, peasant girl wants to do magic, ace, lesbian + trans rep

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies. 

The Unspoken Name – A.K Larkwood

Quick summary: F/F orc inspired fantasy, sacrificial magic, spies, assassins, everything a fantasy needs really

Release date: February 11

Goodreads blurb: What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. 

Ink in the Blood – Kim Smejkal

Quick summary: Tattoo magic that represents the will of god

Release date: February 11

Goodreads blurb: A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself. 

Wicked as you Wish – Rin Chupeco

Quick summary: Snow Queen and other fairytale references, with spelltech! I love magic and tech together

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated…

Witches of Ash and Ruin – E. Latimer

Quick summary: Modern witchcraft and Celtic mythology! Bisexual, OCD witch! Serial killers!

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down. 

The Midnight Lie – Marie Rutkoski

Quick summary: Have never read The Winner’s Trilogy but this is set in that world by sapphic

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves. 

House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J Maas

Quick summary: Half fae half human avenging death of friends killed by demon. Also angels.

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

The Winter Duke – Claire Eliza Bartlett

Quick summary: Sleeping beauty crossed with Anastasia retelling

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.

Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what’s right in the face of danger.

When We Were Magic – Sarah Gailey

Quick summary: More queer witches, accidental magic

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: A sly, witchy dark comedy about four teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.”

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

Raybearer – Jordan Ifueko

Quick summary: Competition to become the Crown Prince’s most trusted companions, but bond to kill him once you have his trust – what’s a girl to do?

Release date: April 4

Goodreads blurb: The epic debut YA fantasy from an incredible new talent—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.

Queen of Coin and Whispers – Helen Corocan

Quick summary: Queen + spymaster romance, duty vs vengeance, political intrigue, demi lesbian rep.

Release date: April 6

Goodreads blurb: ‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other …

Incendiary – Zoraida Córdova

Quick summary: Memory stealing – one of the most exciting magic of all of 2020!

Release date: April 28

Goodreads blurb: I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything. 

Don’t Call the Wolf – Aleksandra Ross

Quick summary: Polish fairytale, dragons and dragon slayers!

Release date: April 28

Goodreads blurb: A forest, besieged. A queen, unyielding. Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black will devour this deliciously dark Eastern European–inspired YA fantasy debut.

When the Golden Dragon descended on the forest of Kamiena, a horde of monsters followed in its wake.

Ren, the forest’s young queen, is slowly losing her battle against them. Until she rescues Lukasz—the last survivor of a heroic regiment of dragon slayers—and they strike a deal. She will help him find his brother, who vanished into her forest… if Lukasz promises to slay the Dragon.

But promises are all too easily broken.

The Dark In-Between – Elizabeth Hrib

Quick summary: Necromancy, angels and trying to find your friend in the place between living and death

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: A terrible accident brings sixteen-year-old Casey Everett’s life to a halt—literally. Pronounced dead on the beach during the year-end harbor party, Casey’s sudden return to the living is shadowed by the drowning of her best friend, Liddy.

Eager to avoid the rumors that follow her, Casey returns home for the summer, only to find that Liddy won’t let her go. A series of violent nightmares and soulless whispers threaten to drive her mad, but when she watches a boy fall from the sky, she suspects she’s actually crossed that line.

That is until Red—an angel fallen to earth to regain his wings—takes her to Limbo: a place that exists somewhere between the living and the dead. Now, in order to save her best friend, Casey must learn to walk these mysterious and dangerous paths or else risk losing Liddy to something worse than death.

The Gilded Wolves – Namina Forna

Quick summary: West African inspired fantasy, blood ceremonies and girls fighting monsters

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself. 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A Brown

Quick summary: Boy who competes to win the hand of the Crown Princess who he needs to kill to save his sister

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: For seventeen-year-old refugee Malik Hilali, the weeklong festival of Solstasia is a chance to escape his poverty-stricken life for a new one in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But just as he reaches the city’s gates, a vengeful spirit kidnaps his younger sister and offers him a deal: her freedom in exchange for the death of Crown Princess Karina Almorahad before Solstasia ends. With nothing but his own wits and dark magic he barely understands, Malik disguises himself as a nobleman and enters Solstasia to compete for Karina’s hand in marriage—the perfect opportunity to assassinate her.

But the night before Solstasia begins, an assassin murders Karina’s mother, and she inherits a court that threatens mutiny. Grief-stricken and distrustful of everyone around her, Karina resorts to using forbidden magic to bring her mother back from the dead. But resurrection comes at a steep cost, and this ritual requires sacrificing her future husband—the winner of Solstasia.

Over a week of heart-pounding celebrations and dazzling displays of magic, an unlikely bond forms between Karina and Malik, and their interactions force them to question everything they thought they knew about their world. But though they’re more alike than their enemies would have them believe, both are willing to do whatever it takes to save the ones they love—even if they have to destroy each other.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #ownvoices YA Fantasy inspired by West and North African folklore, perfect for fans of the Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone and Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books.

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

Quick summary: Gender based magic system that takes into account a trans experience YAAAAAS!! Also ghosts and rituals!

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

The Fell of Dark – Caleb Roehrig

Quick summary: 2020 is the year of the vampire. Vampire town of supernatural drama. And…I heard this has a PANSEXUAL VAMPIRE?! I need.

Release date: July 14

Goodreads blurb: The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.

Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar

Quick summary: The daughter of a STAR!!! Deciding who will rule the heavens! That cover!

Release date: August 11

Goodreads blurb: The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.

Empire of the Vampire – Jay Kristoff

Quick summary: One of several vampire books coming in 2020 and I am so here for the return of vampires.

Release date: September 3

Goodreads blurb: Twenty-seven years have passed since the last sunrise, and for almost three decades, the creatures of the night have walked the day without fear. Once, humanity fought bravely against the coldblood legions, but now, we exist only in a few scattered settlements—tiny sparks of light in a growing sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is the last of the Silversaints, a holy order dedicated to defending realm and church, now utterly destroyed. Imprisoned for the murder of the vampiric king, Gabriel is charged with telling the story of his life.

His tale spans years, from his youth in the monastery of San Michel, to the forbidden love that spelled his undoing, and the betrayal that saw his order annihilated. Most importantly, Gabriel will tell of his discovery of the Grail—the legendary cup prophesied to bring an end to the eternal night.

But the Grail was no simple chalice; and its secret was held by a smart-mouthed teenage urchin named Dior. Their journey with a band of unlikely allies would see Dior and Gabriel forge an unbreakable bond, and set the broken paragon on a road to redemption.

But now, the Grail is shattered. And with the cup of the Savior destroyed and the last Silversaint awaiting execution, what can bring an end to this unholy empire?

Empire of the Vampire is an illustrated dark fantasy epic; the bastard lovechild of Interview with the Vampire, The Road and The Name of the Wind.

A Golden Fury – Samathan Cohoe

Quick summary: Anything with science and magic entwined and I am sold

Release date: October

Goodreads blurb: Is it science or magic?

Power or possession?

1792
With Europe in the throes of revolution, a teenage alchemist is on the verge of a discovery that will change the course of history. But the cost may be her own mind….

Consensual Hex – Amanda Harlowe

Quick summary: THIS SOUND AWESOME! MeToo era witches getting revenge on their rapists.

Release date: Unknown

Goodreads blurb: Pitched as The Craft for the #MeToo era, centred on a tight group of young witches at an elite women’s college who decide to exact revenge on the warlock frat boys using magic to cover up sexual assault on their campus, voiced by a caustic antiheroine whose thirst for revenge on her rapist could be their salvation – or their downfall.

***

That’s it for now! Check back in tomorrow for Part 2 of my 2020 fantasy books!

And let me know in the comments what your most anticipated 2020 fantasy book is!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Queer books (Part 3)

Hi everyone,

YES OKAY I NEED THREE PARTS TO GET ALL THESE QUEER BOOKS ANNOUNCED. So blessed we are for the year that is 2020. And all I can think, is there are some I haven’t even included in these lists because they’ll go in my other lists…like sequels! And more retellings! And just! so! many! queer! books! Here is another 27 for you to feast your eyes and hearts upon!

***

Wranglestone – Darren Charlton 

Quick summary: Gay zombies 

Genres: Science fiction

Release date: February 6

Goodreads blurb: Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared…

In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.

An action-packed and thought-provoking debut, for fans of Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick, DREAD NATION and The Walking Dead.

Finna – Nina Cipri

Quick summary: Be gay, do multiverse time travel 

Genres: Science fiction, adult 

Release date: February 25 

Goodreads blurb: When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

A Pale Light in the Black – K.B Wagers

Quick summary: Military competition to see who’s the best at boarding ships and other space military things 

Genres: Military science fiction 

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: The book centers on the rivalry between military branches, which plays out through the Boarding Games—a competition pitting service members against each other to see just who is best in events like tactical problem is solving, piloting, fencing and martial arts, and, of course, boarding actions. And while other military science fiction features the exploration and defense of far-flung reaches of space, the Neo-G protects the area closer to home—a force we could very well see in our own lifetime. Made up of a band of retired veterans and raw recruits with sub-par equipment and the scorn of the military establishment, the NEO-G are the ultimate underdogs.

The first book in the NEO-G series comes out in hardcover in Spring 2020 from Harper Voyager, starting with A Pale Light in the Black. There are currently two books planned in the series, with the option to continue.

Look – Zan Romanoff

Quick summary: Accidentally comes out after a video is unintentionally released, coming of age story 

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: March 31 

Goodreads blurb: Things Lulu Shapiro’s 10,000 Flash followers don’t know about her:

* That the video of her with another girl was never supposed to go public.

* That Owen definitely wasn’t supposed to break up with her because of it.

* That behind the carefully crafted selfies and scenes Lulu projects onto people’s screens, her life feels like a terrible, uncertain mess.

Then Lulu meets Cass. Cass isn’t interested in looking at Lulu’s life, only in living in it. And The Hotel–a gorgeous space with an intriguing, Old Hollywood history and a trust-fund kid to restore it–seems like the perfect, secret place for them to get to know each other. But just because Lulu has stepped out of the spotlight doesn’t mean it’ll stop following her every move.

It’s a story about what you present vs. who you really are, about real intimacy and manufactured intimacy and the blurring of that line. It’s a deceptively glamorous, feminist, emotionally complex, utterly compelling, queer coming-of-age novel about falling in love and taking ownership of your own self–your whole self–in the age of social media.

King and the Dragonflies – Kacen Callender

Quick summary: might be one of the first MGs I will read in a veeery long time. In the death of his brother, Kingston tries to understand who he is. 

Genres: Contemporary, mystery, fantasy, middle grade

Release date: April 7 

Goodreads blurb: In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Stars Beneath Our Feet in this story about loss, grief, and finding the courage to discover one’s identity, from the author of Hurricane Child.

Elysium Girls – Kate Pentecost

Quick summary: I saw ‘scrap metal horses’ and immediately added

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: April 14

Goodreads blurb: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

Stay Gold – Tobly McSmith

Quick summary: Trans boy love story, falling in love with a cheerleader 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: Debut author Tobly McSmith delivers a coming-of-age teen love story about a transgender boy who’s going stealth at his new Texas high school and a cisgender girl who is drawn to him, even as she’s counting down the days until graduation. Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Becky Albertalli, and Jenny Han.

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Funny and poignant, clear-eyed and hopeful, Stay Gold is a story about finding love—and finding yourself.

Date me, Bryson Keller – Kevin van Whye 

Quick summary: Arrogant jock boy dared to date the first person who asks every Monday morning, doesn’t count on falling in love 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: May 19

Goodreads blurb: What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com!

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.

Camp – Lev A.C Rosen 

Quick summary: Comedic commentary on toxic masculinity within the queer community 

Genres: Contemporary, humour, young adult 

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: From the author of the acclaimed Jack of Hearts (and other parts) comes a sweet and sharp screwball comedy that critiques the culture of toxic masculinity within the queer community.

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

The Ship We Built – Lexie Bean 

Quick summary: Learning how to stand up for yourself, this sounds utterly heartbreaking 

Genres: Contemporary, middle grade 

Release date: May 26 

Goodreads blurb: “Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . . . When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know.

Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn’t want anyone he knows to discover them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it’s not safe for others to know. Now, the kids at school say he’s too different to spend time with. He’s not the “right kind” of girl, and he’s not the “right kind” of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he’s not ready to talk about yet.

But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it’s like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.

Tender and wise, The Ship We Built is about the bravery it takes to stand up for yourself–even to those you love–and the power of finding someone who treasures you for everything you are.

Hideous Beauty – William Hussey

Quick summary: Boyfriend killed in car crash, now have to unravel the mystery of his life as secrets come to light…

Genres: Contemporary, mystery/thriller

Release date: May 28

Goodreads blurb: When Dylan and Ellis’s secret relationship is exposed on social media, Dylan is forced to come out. To Dylan’s surprise they are met with support and congratulations, and an amazing reception at their highschool dance. Perhaps people aren’t as narrow-minded as he thought?

But Dylan’s happiness is short-lived. Ellis suddenly becomes angry, withdrawn, and as they drive home from the dance, he loses control of the car, sending it plunging into Hunter’s Lake. Barely conscious, Dylan is pulled free of the wreck, while Ellis is left to drown.

Grief-stricken, Dylan vows to discover what happened to Ellis that night and piece together the last months of his boyfriend’s life – and realises just how little he knew about the boy he loved.

If We Were Us – K.L Walther

Quick summary: queer love….square?!

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: June 1

Goodreads blurb: Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.

When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

Six Angry Girls – Adrienne Kisner 

Quick summary: Feminist novel set within mock trial teams, with a side of knitting

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: June 2 

Goodreads blurb: A story of mock trial, feminism, and the inherent power found in a pair of knitting needles.

Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.

But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.

Where We Go from Here – Lucas Rocha

Quick summary: Shining the light on HIV, set in Brazil

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.

Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.

Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.

When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has — had — been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.

That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and self-acceptance.

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go. 

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows – Olivia Waite

Quick summary: Beekeeper falling in love 

Genres: Historical romance 

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: In this historical f/f romance you’ll find: 

• a grumpy widowed engraver working far too hard to keep her print-shop going until her son is old enough to take over

• a middle-aged lady beekeeper who goes striding about in trousers and loves bucolic poetry

• a Queen on trial in Parliament and the press

• luxuriant English gardens with extremely naughty statues

• satirical ballads about tight pants

• …and more than you probably ever wanted to know about early 19th century beekeeping!

Afterlove – Tanya Byrne

Quick summary: Afterlife story, girl-reapers not grim-reapers, collecting souls

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: July

Goodreads blurb: The story follows 16-year-old Ash Persaud who is hit by a car on New Year’s Eve. Afterwards, Ash exists in the afterlife where she is one of three fierce girl-reapers who collect the souls of the city’s dead to be taken to await their fate. But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy Morgan, and she’s determined to see her again, dead or alive.

The Summer of Everything – Julian Winters 

Quick summary: Geek culture, comics, 90s alt rock and working in a bookshop 

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: August

Goodreads blurb: Comic book geek Wesley Hudson excels at two things: slacking off at his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local used bookstore, is threatened when a coffeeshop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his annoying brother needs wedding planning advice. When all three problems converge, Wes comes face-to-face with the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

Now, confronted with reality, can Wes balance saving the bookstore and his strained sibling relationship? Can he win the heart of his crush, too?

Full Moon in Leo – Brooklyn Ray 

Quick summary: Yule romance between an ex-convict and witch! 

Genres: Contemporary romance, Adult 

Release date: October 

Goodreads blurb: A Yule-set romance in which a recently released ex-convict seeks the safety and solitude of his aunt’s small town, only to find himself unexpectedly charmed by the owner of the local apothecary—a handsome witch determined to show him both the joys of the holiday season and the magic in the mundane.

Master of One – Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

Quick summary: Thief accompanies evil sorcerer to kidnap a fae prince and then falls in love with said prince 

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: November 17 

Goodreads blurb: Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has bought Danielle Bennett (l.) and Jaida Jones’s YA fantasy, Master of One. When a common thief finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his punishment is to join an evil sorcerer on a perilous journey to uncover a lost fae relic. The relic turns out to be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince. Together they must save the world from the evil sorcerer, while trying not to fall in love with each other. Publication is set for fall 2020

Ruinsong – Julia Ember 

Quick summary: Phantom of the Opera retelling!! Music magic! Possible enemies to lovers? Rival factions need to unite a country? 

Genres: Fantasy, romance 

Release date: November 24 

Goodreads blurb: Revolution or silence?

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence is forced to use her power to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when Cadence is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must make a choice: take a stand to free her country from a tyrant — or follow in her queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Jake in the Box – Ryan Douglass

Quick summary: Get Out inspired horror about spirit of school shooter trying to possess a kid to finish the job 

Genres: Horror, young adult

Release date: Fall 2020

Goodreads blurb: Stacey Barney at Putnam has bought HuffPost writer Ryan Douglass’s YA debut, Jake in the Box, a Get Out-inspired horror story about one of the only black kids at an elite suburban Atlanta prep school who is being haunted by the ghost of a school shooter. Publication is planned for fall 2020; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Until You Came Back – Jay Coles

Quick summary: Sportsmance + all the feels with a complicated mother/son relationship 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: Winter 

Goodreads blurb: Little, Brown has acquired Until You Came Back, a contemporary YA novel by Jay Coles. The book is about a teen whose world is turned upside down when he develops feelings for a new recruit on his basketball team at the same time that the mother who abandoned him eight years earlier returns home. Publication is planned for winter 2020.

Elatsoe – Darcie Little Badger

Quick summary: Ace MC, indigenous ancestral magic, tracking down murderer 

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, young adult 

Release date: Unknown

Goodreads blurb: Elatsoe is a ghostly YA set in a contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant peoples. When Elatsoe’s beloved older cousin dies under mysterious circumstances, Elatsoe must track down his murderer in a town none too willing to give up its dark secrets. The book will be illustrated by Rovina Cai, illustrator of And the Ocean Was Our Sky.

The Passing Playbook – Isaac Fitzsimmons

Quick summary: Another sportsmance! Trans kid falling in love with Christian teammate. And told they can’t play soccor due to the F on his birth certificate!

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: Unknown

Goodreads blurb: Ellen Cormier at Dial has acquired, at auction, debut author Isaac Fitzsimons’s The Passing Playbook, and an untitled second project. The #OwnVoices YA contemporary novel features a queer, biracial, transgender protagonist fighting for his rights and falling in love for the first time on the soccer field. When Spencer is benched due to the “F” on his birth certificate, he has to make a choice: cheer from the sidelines or fight the ruling even though it would mean coming out to everyone, including the conservative Christian teammate he’s falling for. Publication is set for summer 2020; Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.

Ghost Dragon – David R Slayton 

Quick summary: Gay dragons 

Genres: Fantasy 

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: An apprentice mage must solve the murder of his seditious master at the hands of the impossible–a ghost dragon–while uncovering secrets that will force him to choose between the magical empire of his people and the mundane province of the boy he loves.

Burning Roses – S.L Huang

Quick summary: Mix of western and Chinese folklore, fairytale, old women kicking ass

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.

Burning Roses, a gorgeous fairy tale of love and family, of demons and lost gods, arrives in 2020.

How it All Blew Up – Arvin Ahmadi

Quick summary: Social commentary on immigration policy after interrogation on journey back home 

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: The story of a gay, Muslim, Iranian-American teenager named Amir, How It All Blew Up opens with Amir declaring that he is not a terrorist, but is gay, as he, his immigrant parents, and his younger sister are separated and then interrogated by U.S. Customs officers upon their arrival at JFK Airport from a trip abroad to Rome.

***

Pheewwwww – we got there! Now of course, these are just some of the amazing range of queer books coming in 2020, but these three posts are filled with the books I am incredibly excited for. I know there is absolutely no way I will ever be able to read all of these, but I can dream!

I hope everyone is having an amazing holiday period – see you at the next post where I’ll be looking at the fantasy releases coming in 2020….and it be chonky!!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Queer books (Part 2)

Hi everyone,

It is now Part 2 of my ‘you seriously need to add all these amazing queer books to your TBR’ posts. Another 25 to celebrate, still more to come. I am rapidly running out of time to create these posts before I go on holiday, so fingers crossed I manage to get them all done in time… For now, I hope you find some books to read next year with Part 2 of 2020 Queer books to look out for!

***

We Used to be Friends – Amy Spalding

Quick summary: Two best friends growing apart

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: January 7

Goodreads blurb: Two best friends grow up—and grow apart—in this innovative contemporary YA novel

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

Spellhacker – M.K England

Quick summary: Fantasy heist, capitalism, magic as plague

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure. 

The Seep – Chana Porter

Quick summary: Dreams can become reality, what happens when you’re left behind?

Genres: Science fiction, adult

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

The Circus Rose – Betsy Cornwell

Quick summary: Snow White and Red Rose retelling!!

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: January 21

Goodreads blurb: From a  New York Times  bestselling author, a queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family. YA fantasy perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Mackenzi Lee, and Laini Taylor.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

When We Were Magic – Sarah Gailey

Quick summary: More queer witches, accidental magic

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: A sly, witchy dark comedy about four teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.”

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

The House in the Cerulean Sea – T.J Klune

Quick summary: Caretakers of magical youth, orphanages, the antichrist….

Genres: Fantasy, romance, adult (I think?)

Release date: March 17

Goodreads blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

We Were Promised Spotlights – Lindsay Sproul

Quick summary: Homecoming queen secretly in love with her best friend

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: March 26

Goodreads blurb: The Miseducation of Cameron Post meets Everything Leads to You in this queer young adult novel.

Taylor Garland’s good looks have earned her the admiration of everyone in her small town. She’s homecoming queen, the life of every party, and she’s on every boy’s most-wanted list.

People think Taylor is living the dream, and assume she’ll stay in town and have kids with the homecoming king–maybe even be a dental hygienist if she’s super ambitious. But Taylor is actually desperate to leave home, and she hates the smell of dentists’ offices. Also? She’s completely in love with her best friend, Susan.

Senior year is almost over, and everything seems perfect. Now Taylor just has to figure out how to throw it all away.

Lindsay Sproul’s debut is full of compelling introspection and painfully honest commentary on what it’s like to be harnessed to a destiny you never wanted.

Music from Another World – Robin Talley

Quick summary: Set in the 70s during the height of anti-gay fervour in America, two girls trying to be who they want, bonding over punk music

Genres: Historical fiction, young adult

Release date: March 31

Goodreads blurb: It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery. 

The Stone of Sorrow – Brooke Carter

Quick summary: Icelandic fantasy, evil witch, Valkyrie and elves, runecasting competition

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: April 7

Goodreads blurb: In a land of myth and ice, seventeen-year-old Runa Unnursdóttir is not the runecaster her clan has been hoping for. She spends her days daydreaming of sailing away and exploring the world instead of studying the runes and learning her spells. The villagers consider her odd, in looks and in manner. She’s nothing like her talented sister, Sýr, keeper of the sacred moonstone that ensures the village’s continued survival. But when a rival clan led by an evil witch raids the village and kidnaps her sister, Runa is forced to act. With a fallen Valkyrie by her side, and the help of a gorgeous half-elf Runa is not quite sure she can trust, the apprentice must travel to the site of an ancient runecasting competition to try to win back the magical gem. But the journey will not be easy; the three unlikely companions encounter malevolent and supernatural creatures at every turn. Somehow, Runa must summon the courage and strength to face her destiny, a destiny she never wanted. Or die trying.

Loveless – Alice Oseman

Quick summary: ACE PROTAGONIST, coming of age, journey to self-acceptance

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: April 30

Goodreads blurb: The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.

The Extraordinaries – T.J Klune

Quick summary: Fanfic + fandom community, superheros

Genres: Fantasy

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

When You Get the Chance – Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson

Quick summary: Canadian road trip novel

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: When You Get The Chance is the “super queer, super Canadian, road-trip-to-Toronto-Pride YA novel,” as described by Ryan, and is scheduled to be published by Running Press Kids in the spring of 2020.

The novel follows “cousins Mark [from the East coast of Canada, written by Ryan] and Talia [from the West coast of Canada, written by Stevenson] on a road trip to Pride in Toronto as they search for love and adventure and uncover family secrets along the way.”

The Mermaid, The Witch and the Sea – Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Quick summary: “Magic and mayhem on board a pirate ship”

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a rich, riveting fantasy set in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. Deftly entwining swashbuckling action and Asian folklore in a land dominated by an imperial class, Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s inventive debut novel conjures a diverse cast of characters seeking mastery over their fates while searching for answers to big questions about identity, equality, and love. 

The Scapegraces – Hannah Abigail Clarke

Quick summary: Witches, covens, bonds of female friendship, subvertion of the mean girl trope!!

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.

Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.

Felix Ever After – Kacen Callender

Quick summary: One of my most anticipated reads for 2020!! Trans teen falling in love and discovering their identity. Check out that fucking cover!!

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve. 

The Summer of Impossibilities – Rachael Allen

Quick summary: Group of girls forced to spend the summer together: two fall in love with each other!!

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: Skyler, Ellie, Scarlett and Amelia Grace are forced to spend the summer at the lake house where their moms became best friends.

One can’t wait. One would rather gnaw off her own arm than hang out with a bunch of strangers just so their moms can drink too much wine and sing Journey two o’clock in the morning. Two are sisters. Three are currently feuding with their mothers.

One almost sets her crush on fire with a flaming marshmallow. Two steal the boat for a midnight joyride that goes horribly, awkwardly wrong. All of them are hiding something.

One falls in love with a boy she thought she despised. Two fall in love with each other. None of them are the same at the end of the summer. 

I Kissed Alice – Alice Birch

Quick summary: Enemies-to-lovers f/f romcom in the fanfic community

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: For fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and FangirlI Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

The Friend Scheme – Cale Dietrich

Quick summary: Son of a criminal who doesn’t want to be a criminal, falling in loooooove

Genres: Thriller, romance, young adult

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: Part thriller, part romance, The Friend Scheme is another twisty #ownvoices YA novel from Cale Dietrich, author of The Love Interest.

High schooler Matt’s father is rich, powerful, and seemingly untouchable—a criminal with high hopes that his son will follow in his footsteps. Matt’s older brother Luke seems poised to do just that, with a bevy of hot girls in tow. But Matt has other ambitions—and attractions.

And attraction sometimes doesn’t allow for good judgement. Matt wouldn’t have guessed that when he makes a new friend, one who is also carrying a secret. The boys’ connection turns romantic, a first for both. Now Matt must decide if he can ever do the impossible and come clean about who he really is, and who he is meant to love. 

The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth

Quick summary: Binding agreement to have a romance only for a summer….what could possibly go wrong?!

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

I’ll Be the One – Lyla Lee

Quick summary: K-Pop sapphic romance, competition looking for next K-Pop star

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: June 16

Goodreads blurb: The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.

When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.

But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself. 

The State of Us – Shaun David Hutchinson

Quick summary: Kinda makes me think of a YA Red, White & Royal Blue? Sons of two presedential candidates falling in love.

Genres: Contemporary, romance

Release date: July 21

Goodreads blurb: David Linker at HarperCollins has bought We Are the Ants author Shaun David Hutchinson‘s The State of Us, the story of Dean and Dre—the 16-year-old sons of the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States—who fall in love on the sidelines of their parents’ presidential campaigns. The book is planned for summer 2020; Katie Shea Boutillier at Donald Maass Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights. 

Ghost Wood Song – Erica Waters

Quick summary: Ghosts and magic fiddles and murder

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, young adult

Release date: July 21

Goodreads blurb: Shady Grove is her father’s daughter, through and through. She inherited his riotous, curly hair, his devotion to bluegrass, and his ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle.

That cursed instrument drowned with him, though, when his car went off the road, taking with it the whispering ghosts, nightmares, and the grief and obsession that forced her daddy to play.

But Shady’s brother was just accused of murder, and so she has a choice to make: unearth the fiddle that sang her father to the grave and speak to the dead to clear her brother’s name, or watch the only family she has left splinter to pieces.

The ghosts have secrets to keep, but Shady will make those old bones sing.

Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall

Quick summary: Closet bi teen who’s girlfriend dies and she can’t talk to anyone about it

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: September 15

Goodreads blurb: In which a closeted bisexual teen girl loses her secret girlfriend in a car accident, and finds herself mourning the loss of a person and relationship no one around her knew existed, completely unable to talk about it with anyone.

The Ghosts We Keep – Mason Deaver

Quick summary: Dealing with grief and PTSD in the wake of the death of their twin, non binary MC

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: I don’t know….does anyone know?!

Goodreads blurb: “THE GHOST WE KEEP is the story of Liam Cooper who is a non-binary kid still trying to figure things out. So they’re still in the closet, but mostly because that’s where they’re most comfortable right now. They have a crush on their best friend Joel, and they’re desperately hoping that something will come of it and they’re trying to get the nerve to ask Joel out.

Things come crashing to a halt when Liam’s twin brother is killed in a tragic accident. Suddenly Liam sees their brother’s face in the mirror, and they have to contend with being half of a whole. The book is about grief, rejection, fear, dealing with PTSD. It comes from my own experience of losing my father in 2017 (in the exact way Liam loses their brother).

The book is dark, I’m not going to lie it may be difficult for a lot of readers. Liam goes through a lot, they deal with their own gender, losing the person they love the most, rejection from people around them. There is a scene (so far at least who knows what edits may do) where Liam considers taking their own life.

These are things both I and my mother experience after my father was killed. And this is my way of getting through that.” — From the author

A Miracle of Roses – Diana Pinguicha

Quick summary: Retelling of the Portugese miracle of roses

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: December

Goodreads blurb: Diana Pinguicha’s A MIRACLE OF ROSES, pitched as an f/f #ownvoices retelling of the Portugese miracle of the same name, where the Princess of Aragon enters a bargain with an Enchanted Moura so she can reverse her gift that turns all the food she touches into flowers, to Lydia Sharp at Entangled Teen, by Travis Pennington at The Knight Agency.

***

Annnnnnd that’s it for part 2! I still have so many to share with you and so little time to create these posts before the new year… I really should’ve started earlier. When this post goes out, I will be in Vietnam and very much enjoying having a short break, eating lots of incredible foods! I have two days to write all these posts before I fly. Will I suceed?? I guess we’ll find out…

Are you looking forward to reading any of these books?

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

2020 TBR: Queer books (Part 1)

Hi everyone,

Well this is the beginning of the mammoth task of taking my near 100 long list of queer books releasing in 2020 and putting them into a form that will hopefully allow others to discover these books and add them to your TBR for next year! There are so many I am excited for, this list is merely the first 25 on my list! So without further ado, get excited and start cheering for these amazing queer books for 2020….

***

Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

Quick summary: Switching lives trope, noble who wants to be a physician, peasant girl wants to do magic, ace, lesbian + trans rep

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies. 

The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

Quick summary: Kids of NASA employees falling in love

Genres: Contemporary, romance, space element

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Upright Women Wanted – Sarah Gailey

Quick summary: Woman escaping arranged marriage hides in queer librarian spy wagon after her best friend is executed for resistance propaganda.

Genres: Fantasy, adult, novella

Release date: February 4

Goodreads blurb: “That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

The Mercies – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Quick summary: Witch trials, inspired by true events in Norway

Genres: Historical, adult

Release date: February 6

Goodreads blurb: “Every once in a while, a modern day parable, perfectly told, reflects all that could happen in a world gone mad.” – Adriana Trigiani

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

The Unspoken Name – A.K Larkwood

Quick summary: F/F orc inspired fantasy, sacrificial magic, spies, assassins, everything a fantasy needs really

Genres: Fantasy, adult

Release date: February 11

Goodreads blurb: What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. 

Ink in the Blood – Kim Smejkal

Quick summary: Tattoo magic that represents the will of god

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: February 11

Goodreads blurb: A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself. 

The Winter Duke – Claire Eliza Bartlett

Quick summary: Sleeping beauty crossed with Anastasia retelling

Genres: Fantasy, political mystery, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.

Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what’s right in the face of danger.

Only Mostly Devastated – Sophie Gonzales

Quick summary: Every romance movie of your teen years in perfect book form: Grease meets Clueless meets 10 Things I Hate About You. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this, and it is INCREDIBLE!

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.

When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right?

Right. 

Docile – K.M Sparza

Quick summary: From the publishers website: “the most scandolous kink: love”

Genres: Science fiction, dystopia, sexy (yes sexy is a genre), adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

The Midnight Lie – Marie Rutkoski

Quick summary: Have never read The Winner’s Trilogy but this is set in that world by sapphic

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves. 

Witches of Ash and Ruin – E. Latimer

Quick summary: Modern witchcraft and Celtic mythology! Bisexual, OCD witch! Serial killers!

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down. 

The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven

Quick summary: The bisexual romance we have always needed

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: March 5

Goodreads blurb: Physics genius Caro Kerber-Murphy knows she’s smart. With straight As and a college scholarship already in the bag, she’s meeting her two dads’ colossal expectations and then some. But there’s one test she’s never quite been able to ace: love. And when, in a particularly desperate moment, Caro discovers a (definitely questionable) scientific breakthrough that promises to make you irresistible to everyone around you, she wonders if this could be the key. What happens next will change everything Caro thought she knew chemistry – in the lab and in love.

Is her long-time crush Haruki with her of his own free will? Are her feelings for her best girl friend some sort of side-effect? Will her dog, Sirius, ever stop humping her leg?

We Are Totally Normal – Rahul Kanakia

Quick summary: MC hooks up with friend, now trying to come terms with different sexuality and all the wrong labels, one of the most incredible covers of 2020

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: March 31

Goodreads blurb: Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.

But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself. 

Queen of Coin and Whispers – Helen Corocan

Quick summary: Queen + spymaster romance, duty vs vengeance, political intrigue, demi lesbian rep.

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: April 6

Goodreads blurb: ‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold … Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on each another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other …

Late to the Party – Kelly Quindlen

Quick summary: Coming of age story, closet queer ‘cool’ kid takes late bloomer Codi under wing to explore herself

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: April 21

Goodreads blurb: Seventeen is nothing like Codi Teller imagined.

She’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world.

So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi is highly skeptical. Those parties aren’t for kids like them. They’re for cool kids. Straight kids.

But then Codi stumbles upon one of those cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and an unexpected friendship is formed. In return for never talking about that kiss, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and draws her into a wild summer filled with late nights, new experiences, and one really cute girl named Lydia.

The only problem? Codi never tells Maritza or JaKory about any of it.

From author Kelly Quindlen comes a poignant and deeply relatable story about friendship, self-acceptance, what it means to be a Real Teenager. Late to the Party is an ode to late bloomers and wallflowers everywhere. 

Dangerous Remedy – Kat Dunn

Quick summary: French revolution inspired!! Magic and science!! Disaster bi girls!! Bi love triangle!! LOOK AT THAT COVER!! Potentially….my most anticipated read of 2020?! (Even though I forgot to put it on my 2020 Most anticipated post….I am the worst).

Genres: Fantasy, historical fiction, young adult

Release date: May 7

Goodreads blurb: The first in a dazzling, commercial, historical adventure series set in the extravagant and deadly world of the French Revolution. A whirlwind of action, science and magic reveals, with a diverse cast of fearless heroines, a band of rebels like no other.

Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?

In a fast and furious story full of the glamour and excesses, intrigue and deception of these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future. 

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

Quick summary: Rival henna business owners falling in love

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

The Fascinators – Andrew Eliopulos

Quick summary: Quiet fantasy, in love with best friend complicated further by dark magic

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: May 12

Goodreads blurb: HarperCollins has acquired Andrew Eliopulos’s YA debut, The Fascinators, pitched as The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, about an openly gay high school senior in small-town Georgia. He may or may not be in love with his best friend, and his hopes for his last year of school are thrown off course when old secrets, new crushes, and a brush with dark magic threaten his close-knit group of friends. The book will be published in summer 2020.

Something to Talk About – Meryl Wilsner

Quick summary: Romance between Hollywood showrunner and her assistant when media declare them a couple

Genres: Contemporary, romance, adult

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

You Should See Me In A Crown – Leah Johnson

Quick summary: Queer girl falls in love with the competition for prom queen

Genres: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: Becky Albertalli meets Jenny Han in a smart, hilarious, black girl magic, own voices rom-com by a staggeringly talented new writer.

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

Quick summary: Gender based magic system that takes into account a trans experience YAAAAAS!! Also ghosts and rituals!

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Fragile Remedy – Maria Ingrande Mora

Quick summary: Dystopian sci fi about genetically engineering humans to fight diseases

Genres: Science fiction, fantasy, young adult

Release date: June 16

Goodreads blurb: Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.

The Fell of Dark – Caleb Roehrig

Quick summary: 2020 is the year of the vampire. Vampire town of supernatural drama. And…I heard this has a PANSEXUAL VAMPIRE?! I need.

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: July 14

Goodreads blurb: The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.

Surrender Your Sons – Adam Sass

Quick summary: Conversion camp where the LGBTQ+ kids rise up!!

Genres: Contemporary, mystery, young adult

Release date: September 15

Goodreads blurb: A gay teen’s summer vacation becomes a nightmare when his religious zealot family has him kidnapped and taken to a conversion camp on a forgotten island. There, he teams up with other kidnapped LGBTQ+ teens to uncover the camp’s dark secrets.

Beyond the Ruby Veil – Mara Fitzgerald

Quick summary: Chaos lesbian finding solutions to problems she caused yes please

Genres: Fantasy, young adult

Release date: September

Goodreads blurb: About a queer, self-absorbed socialite, who accidentally kills the one person in her city who can create water–water that’s sourced from the blood of its citizens using a powerful magic–and who must now journey to discover the origins of magic, and take it for herself, before everyone in her city dies of thirst.

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I am already in awe of the incredible diverse books we will be blessed with in 2020. And this is a mere FRACTION of my list of near 100 queer reads releasing next year.

Check in next time to discover more books to add to your 2020 TBR!

What queer read are you most looking forward to read next year?

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

Top 5 Tuesday: Dear Santa…

Top 5 Tuesday is created and run by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. You can join the fun by checking out the topics for the month here.

Hi everyone,

Merry Christmas! (Almost…) Today was my last day at work (CHEEEERS ALL AROUND) and I am currently frantically writing this post about 2 hours before I have to leave for the airport to go to Vietnam!!! Whoops for leaving it this late…. This year, I basically gave my partner a list of books from my TBR for him to surprise me with some off it, because there is no way for anyone to navigate my current Goodreads TBR. So that made writing this post soooo easy because I already have a list of 5 books I would love if ‘Santa’ (*cough* Gavin *cough*) would get me for Christmas…

The Girl in Red – Christina Henry

So after an absolutely amazing year getting really into creepy horror books, I saw this one and immediately fell in love! It just sounds so terrifying and the cover is amazing – look at that AXE and that SWAGGER – and I love retellings!! So Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree…

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah

This book was one of my most anticiapted reads this year, and because I am so bad at preordering and then October was just a month from hell, I never actually got around to buying this one! I absolutely love the concept of a London underwater and am so intrigued by the this world, so Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree….

Brave Face – Shaun David Hutchinson

Okay so maybe not the cheeriest book in the world to get for Christmas. B U T. I’ve had a really pretty fucking awful few months with my mental health, and I’ve heard some incredible things about Shaun David Hutchinson and I really just wanted to read something hopeful from someone with lived experience of what I’m going through…so Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree…

Ziggy, Stardust & Me – James Brandon

This one was actually one I also put on my birthday wishlist and Gavin didn’t choose it then, so I’m interested to see if he’ll remember and know I want it enough to put it on my list again in hopes of finally reading it… Historical queer fiction has absolutely killed it this year (Like a Love Story has to be one of the best books of the decade in my view!!!) and I’d love to continue reading the brilliant books in this genre. So Dear Santa, please let this book be under my tree..

Bloodlust & Bonnets – Emily McGovern

Finally, this graphic novel is from the incredible creater of the My Life as a Background Slytherin comic. I have this comic on my wall, Emily is just absolutely hilarious and therefore might be the very first person to ever get me to read a graphic novel… because I KNOW this book will just be utterly captivating and funny. So Dear Santa, if you want me to read my first graphic novel, please let this book me under my tree…

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And that’s a 2019 wrap!! Wow! This has been a year! I have loved being a part of the weekly Top 5 Tuesdays and can’t wait to continue in 2020. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday period, and that you get some of the presents you hope Santa might bring!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco