Hello Fellow Readers,

How are you? How is your life going?

It’s quite cold here in London – at least for London standard. We are in the middle of an ice storm, called “Storm Darcy“. When my friend told me the name I laugh out loud, as I couldn’t help but think about Pride and Prejudice. It’s not majorly snowing, but it was enough to kill a few plants in my terrace. Anyway, I am digressing as usual – lol, sorry guys. Let’s move on to more fun topics – this week’s new releases:


The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna

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.

I read this book last year and if you are looking for a West African-inspired world building, with lots of badass female warriors, you will love this book. It was pitched as Children of Blood and Bone meets Black Panther and it’s a perfect description for this novel. The Gilded Ones is out on 9 February.

The Iron Raven – Julie Kagawa

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

I guess, this novel is the proof that the “rebooting” trend is now affecting the literature world as well. I haven’t read The Iron Fey series, and for those who don’t know it, The Iron Raven is a continuation of the story from the perspective of Puck. The Iron Raven is officially out on 9 February.

The Girl from Shadow Springs – Ellie Cypher

Everyone in Shadow Springs knows that no one survives crossing the Flats. But the threat of a frozen death has never deterred the steady stream of treasure hunters searching for a legendary prize hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of ice. Jorie thinks they’re all fools, which makes scavenging their possessions easier. It’s how she and her sister, Brenna, survive.

Then Jorie scavenges off the wrong body. When the dead man’s enemy believes Jorie took something valuable from the body, he kidnaps Brenna as collateral. He tells Jorie that if she wants her sister back, she’ll have to trade her for the item he thinks she stole. But how can Jorie make a trade when she doesn’t even know what she’s looking for?

Her only source of information is Cody, the dead man’s nephew and a scholar from the South who’s never been hardened by the harsh conditions of the North. Though Jorie’s reluctant to bring a city boy out onto the Flats with her, she’ll do whatever it takes to save her sister. But anything can happen out on the ice, and soon Jorie and Cody find they need one another more than they ever imagined—and they’ll have to trust each other to survive threats beyond their darkest nightmares.

This debut novel is a fantasy story about two teens who must survive the dangers of a frozen wasteland and find a way to save their loved ones, while uncovering a deadly secret. This debut novel has been pitched as The Revenant meets True Grit. It’s out on 9 February.

Game Changer – Neal Shusterman

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

Game Changer is a more contemporary fantasy story, probably one of the first YA books which briefly mentions the pandemic. I wrote my review a couple of months ago and I still highly recommend this story as it offers an interesting analysis of our modern society while bringing the character in alternative realities. Game Changer is out on 9 February.


A Pho Love Story – Loan Le

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and spark and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring phở restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao together despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

This is a romantic comedy about two Vietnamese-American teens who fall in love but have to mitigate their respective family in managing their rival restaurants. It’s described as a mix of When Dimple Met Rishi and Ugly Delicious. This novel is out on 9 February.

As Far As You’ll Take Me – Phil Stamper

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

A sweet coming-of-age story about a guy who leaves his super religious family to move to London to find a place he belongs in, and a way to start a career as a musician. You can check my review here. As Far As You’ll Take Me is out on 8 February.

We Are The Ashes, We Are the Fire – Joy McCullough & Maia Kobabe

Em Morales’s older sister was raped by another student after a frat party. A jury eventually found the rapist guilty on all counts–a remarkable verdict that Em felt more than a little responsible for, since she was her sister’s strongest advocate on social media during the trial. Her passion and outspokenness helped dissuade the DA from settling for a plea deal. Em’s family would have real justice.

But the victory is short lived. In a matter of minutes, justice vanishes as the judge turns the Morales family’s world upside down again by sentencing the rapist to no prison time. While her family is stunned, Em is literally sick with rage and guilt. To make matters worse, a news clip of her saying that the sentence “makes me want to use a fucking sword” goes viral.

From this low point, Em must find a new reason to go on and help her family heal, and she finds it in the unlikely form of the story of a 15th-century French noblewoman, Marguerite de Bressieux, who is legendary as an avenging knight for rape victims.

We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire is a searing and nuanced portrait of a young woman torn between a persistent desire for revenge and a burning need for hope.

This is an interesting new contemporary YA novel, written in prose and verse, about a girl struggling to seek revenge after her sister’s rapist escapes with no prison time. From the author of Blood Water Paint, We Are The Ashes, We Are the Fire is out on 8 February.

Which of these books will you add to your TBR?

Let’s discuss this week’s releases together in the comments!