Goodbye 2020, hello 2021. This year is full of promise and new experiences. I’m not sure what you’ve added to your new year resolutions, but number one for me is read even more.
If you happen to like that idea, here’s a list of new books to jump on this month.
Actually, before we start… do you want to listen to these instead? Put your earphones on and let those mellifluous voices transport you to other worlds? Get 2 audiobooks for the price of one when you sign up for Libro.fm, the first audiobook service that supports local bookstores! I will tell you more about this offer at the bottom, enjoy the recommendations now!
1. Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler
When I’m in charge of these lists, I’m a little biased. I’m sorry but so far the Moose Springs Series only gets better with each book. Lana & Rick 4ever. So, of course, I’m eager for book three to be in my hands so I can read about River Lane and Easton Lockett. River is in town for a fresh start in her career by making a documentary about sweet ol’ Moose Springs. Cue Easton Lockett, the town’s gentle giant and mountain guide. He’s tasked with getting River and her crew up and down Mount Veil. Unfortunately, bad weather strikes and everyone’s at risk. Easton mostly at risk of falling deeply in love.
2. Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder
Do you want to go on an amazing magical adventure? This book is full of action: an heir must raise a powerful phantom while a High Savant (I don’t know what that is by I’m excited to find out), a race tries to steal children for the sea, and a swoon-worthy guide keeps many secrets. All the while Ash, a scribe, is tasked with observing and recording history in the making. I’m always on the hunt for a hypnotic young adult series so I’m eager to read this one.
3. The Conjurer by Luanne G. Smith
This book is the third of Smith’s Vine Witch Series. Though I’m not a huge fan of historical fantasy the first line of the book description has me very intrigued. It says, “Sidra didn’t murder her husband. Yet even a jinni can’t wish away a wrongful imprisonment.” So the novel follows Sidra as she tries to prove her innocence.
4. Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift
This young adult fantasy is the first of a duology about Adraa and Jatin. They are royal heir to their respective magical kingdoms and are arranged to be married. The animosity between them is unrelenting until the criminal world of Belwar has them using secret identities to find the real enemy. The pair must near to trust each other to find their answers but only time will tell if being together is what strengthens or weakens them.
5. The A to Z of Mindfulness by Anna Barnes
While 2020 is over, I’m still “hungover” from the pandemic and this book screams self-care. Anna Barnes writes about how to live life mindfully and to find new ways to stay connected to the world around us. There are infinite ways to kindle your sense of wonder in the everyday and Barnes uses the alphabet to cover her favorite.
6. The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
Beatrice Clayborn just wants to practice magic like the men are allowed, but instead her family has put everything they have into making her a great prize for the Bargaining season where men and women of means negotiate the best marriages. Her family is buried in debt so only her marriage can save them if she finds a wealthy enough suitor. Of course, things never go as planned and a Magus takes a grimoire she’s eying and only gives it to her if she gives her her first kiss to her adversary’s brother, Lavan. The more she gets involved with Lavan’s family the more complicated her future becomes.
7. Love is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann
This contemporary romance is about Phoebe who thinks love is for, well, losers. That is until she meets Emma at a local thrift shop. I think that’s really all you need to know? It sure was enough for me to add it to my TBR.
8. Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez
I have yet to read Woven in Moonlight, but at least when this is out I can binge both at once. In the second book we follow Catalina Quiroga, a Condesa without a country. She’s been banished to Yanu Jungle and though her chances of survival are slim, she knows she’s destined to rule. This young adult fantasy is the South American Tomb Raider.
9. Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker
Paige Parker is a professional organizer and everything in her life is perfectly… organized. Now she’s got a perfect vacation planned in honor of Singles Day. Unfortunately, her perfect vacation is set in a dormant bed & breakfast run by single father Lucas Croft. When Paige comes to town, their respective worlds collide. Even though this book isn’t out yet, I’ve read a snippet and the sassy voice of Paige and the gruff tone of Lucas are just the thing for any romance reader.
10. The Heiress by Molly Greeley
This novel is a queer retelling of Pride and Prejudice. However, instead of looking at Elizabeth and Darcy, the focus is on Anne de Bourgh. Anne has been prescribed laudanum since birth, but when her father dies and she is left with a fortune, she decides to change her fate. She moves to London and stops taking her medicine to see what life can be like if she lets herself be brave.
11. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Jane has just arrived in Alabama and as an invisible dog walker, no one would notice if she nabbed jewelry or discarded tchotchkes. No one even thinks to ask her for her real name. Until recently widowed Eddie. His wife and her best friend drowned in a boating accident, and to Jane that’s an opportunity. He’s rich and handsome which means he could offer her protection she’s only ever dreamed of. As the pair fall for each other, Jane is haunted by Bea, his dead wife. How could a plain Jane ever compare to his rags to riches wife? Full of suspense and feminist sensibility, this forbidden romance will pique your interest.
12. People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
@the_mamabare is an “Instamum” who doesn’t hold back. As cracks in her marriage begin to show, the more vulnerable she becomes and her family gets closer and closer to danger. This psychological suspense is full of questions about social media and the dark side of influencer culture.
13. If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault, police brutality, immigrant trauma, victim-blaming, domestic violence, alcoholism, depression, anxiety.
This generational novel is told in prose, poetry, and illustration about Kiran and her daughter Sahaara. Kiran is a Punjabi Sikh woman is assaulted by her fiancé’s brother and becomes pregnant with Sahaara. Her fiancé and family don’t believe her so she leaves India to start anew in Canada. Eighteen years later, Sahaara is eager to help her mother who is facing deportation. Learning the truth about her birth, Sahaara wants her mother to speak out against her attacker who is now a political figure in Punjab. This novel is filled with bonds and traumas as both women learn how to use their voice.
14. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Alexandra Bracken gave us The Darkest Minds and now she’ll be gracing us with Lore. This novel is about Lore Perseus who fled the brutal world of Agon. Instead of participating in the hunt for nine Greek gods forced to walk the earth as mortals by descendants of ancient bloodlines she pushed against the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. As the next hunt dawns, an old friend and goddess Athena seek her help. As someone who is really into Greek mythology plots, I’m definitely going to be giving this one a read.
15. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
A Black teen learns she has godly ancestry and she has to learn how to use the powers of her bloodline to save both her human and newfound world. Marketed as The Hunger Games meets Tomi Adeyemi and Angie Thomas, this book is sure to be fun to read as we go on an adventure with half-god and half-human Rue.
16. I Must Belong Somewhere by Dawn Lanuza
Poetry and prose, this collection is about struggle and finding the silver lining. There are a plethora of difficult themes discussed including sexism, bullying, and mental health. I think it’s a great way to ring in the new year as we consider how the world treats us versus how we should treat ourselves.
17. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
Racism is the cat that really came out of the bag in the last few years. (It’s always been out of the bag for some of us, but that’s neither here nor there.) Since race is something that we can never avoid and also something we can never experience for someone else, reading these two sisters’ absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism is simply one way to practice anti-racism.
18. You Have a Match by Emma Lord
Taking a DNA test isn’t supposed to be anything more than a way to get Leo to notice Abby, until it is. Her report informs her she has a secret older sister, Savvy. A sister who is an Instagram star and a year and a half older than Abby. The solution? To meet her at summer camp and find out why Savvy was given up for adoption. As Abby’s crush for Leo gets bigger, she has to also learn about how to put all the awkward pieces of her family together because no matter how messy, they may also garner the greatest reward.
19. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
This novel is a fictional account not of teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith who is killed under mysterious circumstances after a social justice rally, but about her sister Happi who is left dealing with the scar of loss. Though it’s well intentioned Happi wonders why her sister is deemed “one of the good ones”, should it matter if Kenzi was good? Isn’t being human enough? This book looks like it will make me have 100 epiphanies and cry (in a good way) for hours. I’m thinking we all need to pick this one up ASAP.
20. When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris
Staying on a slightly similar theme with the book above, this novel is YA mystery thriller about a brown-skin, brown-eyed, black-braided girl who’s gone missing–and since she’s a Black girl, no one seems concerned. Even Jay Murphy thought his sister, Nicole, probably put herself in a situation with her drug dealer boyfriend that was no one’s fault but her own. But it’s been a while and Jay is wishing he were a better brother, so he’s going to do what the police can’t and bring her home.
21. Roman + Jewel by Dana L. Davis
Romeo and Juliet meets Hamilton? Yes please. Jerzie Jhames wants to land the lead on Broadway’s Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera with a diverse cast and modern plot twists. Unfortunately, her dreams are crushed when she is made the understudy to famous star Cinny. Tensions on set grow when a video of her and the male lead, Zeppelin Reid, goes viral. People debate who should actually play Jewel. With Cinny’s sights set on Zeppelin, Jerzie knew she shouldn’t have fallen for the lead. Star-crossed love is designed for doom. Will the play change Jerzie’s life for better or worse?
22. The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz & Tiffany D. Jackson
Malcom X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz works with author Tiffany D. Jackson to write a powerful account about Malcom X’s adolescent years in jail. This story shows us Malcom Little struggling with his past as he grapples with race, religion, and justice in the 1940s. As I mentioned earlier, reading about race is a simple but big way to open our perspectives and learn about things we cannot experience for ourselves. If you’re like me and get bored with dense non-fiction, this is a great option.
23. The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks
This YA Romance follows best friends Evie and Caleb. All 17 years of her life, Evie hasn’t been interested in dating since she’s been too busy with her rendezvous with both mathematics and anxiety. Until a mathematically gifted transfer student comes along. While that may seem like good news, Caleb is devastated because he figured that when Evie wanted to fall in love, it’d be with him. His logical solution is to use an online forum to woo Evie.
24. Single and Forced to Mingle by Melissa Croce
Melissa Croce writes a singles’ guidebook because, well, being single is a great lifestyle. She offers her sage advice with tons of humor. While this book wasn’t made with COVID-19 in mind, it’s a book I’m excited to pick up so I can stop simping about being single and just enjoy it for now.
25. Hopeless Romantic by Marina Adair
Marina Adair writes about Beckett Hayes and Levi Rhodes finding love. Beckett runs a personal concierge service and an unofficial special needs advocate by helping train emotional support companions. But she doesn’t get a lot of spare time for her passions and definitely not for love. Until a good-natured new man comes to town impossible to resist. Levi Rhodes had to postpone his sailing trip when his father died, and his sister got pregnant. After he helps his grieving mother and plays father-figure to his niece, he finally starts considering going back out to sea… until Beckett walks into his bar and dreams.
We hope at least a few titles on this list caught your attention! Reading has been so cathartic for me this past year, I want everybody to start reading again like we used to. Because of this, I am incredibly happy to announce that in 2021 we are also starting our very own The Tempest Book Club!
It’s kicking off as you read this, in January 2021. You can read all about it on our brand-new Instagram Books page (which you should totally follow if you’re reading this article!). Take the leap, visit our page and discover what this month’s pick will be!
If you’re more of a lone reader type and are looking for even more book suggestions, take a look at all the 2021 releases we’re most excited about.
As promised, a note on audiobooks:
Libro.fm is the first and only company that lets you purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite local bookstore. The Tempest special offer: get 2 audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99) with your first month of membership with code TheTempest. Offer only valid for new members in Canada and the U.S. through this link.
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