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Friday, June 18, 2021

Nine of My Most Anticipated Books

As you'll see in this weekend's upcoming Book Chat, my reading tastes and habits have been really up in the air lately, and this has meant that I haven't really been "anticipating" a lot of books for quite some time now. I used to eagerly await emails from publishers with the upcoming season's catalogs, and their personal favorites and recommendations, and I used to pore over them for hours, making detailed lists of what I wanted to read and when it came out. 

But between my changing habits, general busy-ness, and the need to disconnect over the last year or so, I not only haven't been eagerly poring over catalogs and anticipating upcoming books, but I haven't even been paying attention. I'd be hard-pressed to tell you most of the trendy, awaiting-with-bated-breath books that are set to come out over the next year or so (or even a  lot of those that have come out this year, to be honest). 

But there have been a few that have broken through my fugue, and that I am, actually, eagerly awaiting. So I thought I'd share some of my excitement with you today, and figure out where your excitement lies, and if our mutual excitements will rub off on each other.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova 

Expected publication: September 7th 2021 by Atria Books
Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Sarah Addison Allen, this is a gorgeously written novel about a family searching for the truth hidden in their past and the power they’ve inherited, from the author of the acclaimed and “giddily exciting” (The New York Times Book Review) Brooklyn Brujas series. 
 The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers. 
 Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked backed. 
 Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is an enchanting novel about what we knowingly and unknowingly inherit from our ancestors, the ties that bind, and reclaiming your power.

I'm a fan of Córdova's (I was even part of the street team back in the day, for her debut series!), and you may already know that I love love love all things witchy. As this gives me some witchy lineage fixes AND Córdova's first foray into magical realism (a favorite style of mine), I am thoroughly in! Especially witchy lineages and slice-of-life / familial witchy stories. Ugh! I eat them up. I cannot get enough.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Published June 1st 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season. 
 In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It's wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather. 
 In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she's the only one who can make a difference. 
 In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she's terrified Sang will be the next one she loses. 
 In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves... before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos. 
Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

Do I really need to tell you why? As above, so below...

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (aka Rachel Hawkins)

Expected publication: October 5th 2021 by Avon
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong. 
 Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two. 
 That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all. 
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

I've talked before about Rachel Hawkins being a funk-breaker author for me; I just find her stories delightful! So they're always on the auto-to-get list, and are pretty much always back-burner anticipated. But I've been feeling a real shift towards romances, and as I said above: all. things. witchy. I need it.

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad 

Expected publication: August 3rd 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all. 
 Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing. 
 With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered. 
 Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars, Taraana, is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones. And that…is a fate the Wild Ones refuse to accept. Ever again.

I've known Nafiza since before I even started blogging, and though I still need to pick up her first book, The Candle and the Flame, from snippets she's shared of both, I am so excited to see the talent she's bringing to the YA world. 

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Published June 8th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
A wedding harpist disillusioned with love and a hopeless romantic cater-waiter flirt and fight their way through a summer of weddings in this effervescent romantic comedy from the acclaimed author of Today Tonight Tomorrow
 Quinn Berkowitz and Tarek Mansour’s families have been in business together for years: Quinn’s parents are wedding planners, and Tarek’s own a catering company. At the end of last summer, Quinn confessed her crush on him in the form of a rambling email—and then he left for college without a response. 
 Quinn has been dreading seeing him again almost as much as she dreads another summer playing the harp for her parents’ weddings. When he shows up at the first wedding of the summer, looking cuter than ever after a year apart, they clash immediately. Tarek’s always loved the grand gestures in weddings—the flashier, the better—while Quinn can’t see them as anything but fake. Even as they can’t seem to have one civil conversation, Quinn’s thrown together with Tarek wedding after wedding, from performing a daring cake rescue to filling in for a missing bridesmaid and groomsman. 
 Quinn can’t deny her feelings for him are still there, especially after she learns the truth about his silence, opens up about her own fears, and begins learning the art of harp-making from an enigmatic teacher. 
Maybe love isn’t the enemy after all—and maybe allowing herself to fall is the most honest thing Quinn’s ever done.

This one is technically out, and is a recent addition to my anticipated list, but I just read The Ex Talk by Solomon and oh man! It was delightful. So her her most recent YA (TET is adult) had to go straight onto my list.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Published June 1st 2021 by Orbit Books
The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf
 For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn't the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood. 
 As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he'll return the world's captured gods. 
 Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can't control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can't hurt those she loves. Again. 
 But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn't learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

I think this one may have just come out as well, but with comparisons to Uprooted and a dark fantasy/fairy tale feel to it, it's an obvious shoe-in for The List.

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Expected publication: June 29th 2021 by Bloomsbury YA
Darkness blooms in bestselling author Kalynn Bayron's new contemporary fantasy about a girl with a unique and deadly power. 
 Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch. 
 When Briseis's aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined--it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri's unique family lineage. 
 When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri's sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family. 
 From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes another inspiring and deeply compelling story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her.

This one is coming out very, very soon, and if I paid better attention to my email inbox, I could have read it already. (Well, and if I was actively taking on review copies, which I insist I'm not, even though I may have agreed to one just last night...) But: plant magic! Is there anything better suited to who I am at my core? I think not.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

Expected publication: July 20th 2021 by HMH
From New York Times best-selling author Lexi Ryan, Cruel Prince meets A Court of Thorns and Roses in this sexy, action-packed fantasy about a girl who is caught between two treacherous faerie courts and their dangerously seductive princes. 
 Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she'll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court. 
 Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie's only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm. 
 Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.

I am angsty faerie romance trash, okay? I want it. I just want it.

Curses by Lish McBride

Expected publication: July 20th 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Curses is the 'Beauty and the Beast' retelling I've been waiting for."--Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times bestselling author 
 "A unique and twisty magical romp!"--Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author 
 Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling's curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother's choosing before her eighteenth birthday. 
 Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family's cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom. Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother's debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?

Somehow, all of Lish McBride's books end up on my to-read list, and often on my shelves, and I have yet to read one of them. I don't know how it keeps happening. I fully intend to read them, and I still fully want to, and yet... Maybe Curses will be the one to, ahem, break that curse. What? Was that too obvious? Either way, gender-flipped Beauty & the Beast, I am in!

And there you have it! Ten may have made for a snazzier headline, but that's 9 books I'm anticipating getting my hands on -- and then probably, inevitable, sticking on my shelves as I repeat like a mantra, "I'm going to read it soon. Promise."

What are your most anticipated reads for the remainder of this year? Or the releases from the first half of 2021 that you either have already read and loved, or have been meaning to get your hands on? 


  1. For the Wolf caught my eye and has been a consideration for my wish list already, but Inheritance of Orquida Divina is the one I had not heard about from your list that really grabs my fancy.
    Some of my anticipation builders are: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid, Fortune's Blade by Karen Chance, and Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

    1. I'm not a fan of Kristoff's, but I'm look into the other two!


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