March Book Haul & ARC Mountain Update

(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

This is the first haul post since September; I’ve included my book hauls in the monthly adventure log for the last six months, but my patrons requested that the hauls be on their own again because the monthly posts were getting kinda long. And I get that. But I am here to bring the people what they want: a book haul for March 2021!

As always, I want to reiterate that you do not need to buy and own a lot of books in order to be considered a book blogger or lover. I am quite frugal with everything else so that I can buy books because I love them, but I do not ever want to make you feel bad if you cannot afford to buy books or have poor access where you live.

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Physical Book Haul

Apparently I like to buy things when feeling sad… and uh, March was an expensive month for me. Thankfully I was just a pre-ordering monster instead of buying the books outright. I think I’ve got every anticipated release pre-ordered through June at this point. This is Fine.

Physical Book Haul March 2021
My physical book haul for March 2021

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Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children’s Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut and adapted by Ryan North

Publisher: Boom! Studios | Release Date: September 15, 2020 | Pages: 192
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

cover for the Slaughterhouse Five graphic novelThe first-ever graphic novel adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great anti-war books. 

An American classic and one of the world’s seminal antiwar books, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is faithfully presented in graphic novel form for the first time from Eisner Award-winning writer Ryan North (How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Albert Monteys (Universe!). 
 
Listen: Billy Pilgrim has…
…read Kilgore Trout
…opened a successful optometry business
…built a loving family
…witnessed the firebombing of Dresden
…traveled to the planet Tralfamadore
…met Kurt Vonnegut
…come unstuck in time.
 
Billy Pilgrim’s journey is at once a farcical look at the horror and tragedy of war where children are placed on the frontlines and die (so it goes), and a moving examination of what it means to be fallibly human.

My copy of the Slaughterhouse-Five graphic novel finally came in! It had been backordered for literally months thanks to the pandemic, but it finally came in!

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The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman

Publisher: Viking Books | Release Date: March 30, 2021 | Pages: 32
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Poetry

cover for The Hill We ClimbOn January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

Like many people, Amanda’s inaugural poem moved me and I just… wanted to support her and have a copy of the poem for my collection. No regrets. (I also received an audiobook copy from Libro.Fm, which is great.)

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The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

Publisher: Pushkin Press | Release Date: October 26, 2017 (this edition) | Pages: 160
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Horror, Short Stories

cover for The King in YellowI cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men’s thoughts lengthen in the afternoon… I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with the beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth – a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.

The four uncanny and terrifying tales contained between these covers are all linked by their reference to a certain notorious play, a cursed, forbidden play that has spread like a contagion across the world, a play in which the second act reveals truths so terrible, and so beautiful, that it drives all who read it to lunatic despair: The King in Yellow.

These stories are some of the most thrilling ever written in the field of weird fiction. Since their first publication in 1895 they have become cult classics, influencing many writers from the renowned master of cosmic horror H. P. Lovecraft to the creators of HBO’s True Detective.

Contains: ‘The Repairer of Reputations’, ‘The Mask’, ‘In the Court of the Dragon’, ‘The Yellow Sign’

I legitimately bought this book 100% because of the Deadbolt Society mystery box that Vicki and I did during our birthday getaway celebration. The references to the book and play within it made me want to own & read the original work.

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Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Publisher: DelRey Books | Release Date: September 29, 2020 | Pages: 394
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Thriller, Horror

Read my Spoiler-free Review

cover for Our Last EchoesKara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance.

Sophia’s first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.

A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who’s following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.

Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion.

After reading and loving Rules for Vanishing, I pre-ordered myself a copy of Our Last Echoes and was not disappointed! I also bought the audiobook to read along.

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She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BFYR | Release Date: March 30, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Retellings

cover for She's Too Pretty to BurnInspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, power and violence. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot—full of adventure—and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next.

One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect… one stalker. This is the summer they won’t survive.

New love spirals into lethal danger in this expertly plotted YA thriller.

Sapphic retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray was really all I needed to know before pre-ordering this book. Related, but have you ever felt haunted by a book? I swear that I’ve thought about Dorian Gray so much in 2021 and it’s weird.

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Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Publisher: Swoon Reads | Release Date: March 23, 2021 | Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Retellings

Spoiler-Free ARC Review

cover for Lost in the Never WoodsWhen children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

I adored this book more than words could express and am more than happy to have a finished copy on my shelves. I also received an audiobook copy from Libro.fm’s influencer program.

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Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Release Date: March 9, 2021 | Pages: 368
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy

cover for Sweet & Bitter MagicIn this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first.
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Electronic Book Haul

I behaved and didn’t succumb to kindle sales!

Physical ARC Arrivals

I’m incredibly blessed and so thankful that publishers send me books to read and review, and am hoping to read these books soon so I can pass them on to other readers*.

Photo of physical ARCs received in March 2021
Physical ARCs received in March 2021

* In the coming months, I hope to bring Flapping Pages out of hiatus and pass along some of the books I receive. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list to be notified when the program regains its wings!

I also received a finished copy of Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas from the publisher as a surprise, but I didn’t include it in this haul because I gave that copy away as I’d already pre-ordered one for my collection! But thank you so much, Swoon Reads! 💖


Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Publisher: Flatiron Books | Release Date: May 18, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary

cover for Tokyo Ever AfterIzumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

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The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Publisher: Putnam | Release Date: July 13 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Horror

cover for The Taking of Jake LivingstonGet Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

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The Descent of the Drowned (The Descent of the Drowned #1) by Ana Lal Din

Publisher: White Tigress Press | Release Date: March 15, 2021 | Pages: 360
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy

cover for The Descent of the DrownedShe is bound to serve. He is meant to kill. Survival is their prison. Choice is their weapon.

As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion.

Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father’s name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother’s people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul.

But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma’s and Leviathan’s destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key.

Set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, The Descent of the Drowned is a tale about power, identity, and redemption, and what it takes to hold on to one’s humanity in the face of devastation.
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Electronic ARC Approvals

Oops, my finger slipped and requested a few books on Netgalley.


Redemptor (Raybearer #2) by Jordan Ifueko

Publisher: Amulet Books | Release Date: August 17, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy

cover for RedemptorThe hotly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling YA fantasy about Tarisai’s quest to change her fate.

For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.

Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.

Raybearer was one of my favorite books of 2020, so I’m incredibly happy to have an eARC of the sequel!

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Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

Publisher: Wednesday Books | Release Date: October 26, 2021 | Pages: 352
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Retellings

cover for Bright Ruined Things“A deftly-plotted tale about ambition and belonging, Bright Ruined Things takes Shakespeare’s The Tempest and brilliantly reimagines its themes of family and love. Cohoe writes with a magic that dazzles and cuts right to the core.” – Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights

Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all…


The only life Mae has ever known is on the island, living on the charity of the wealthy Prosper family who control the magic on the island and the spirits who inhabit it. Mae longs for magic of her own and to have a place among the Prosper family, where her best friend, Coco, will see her as an equal, and her crush, Miles, will finally see her. Now that she’s eighteen, Mae knows her time with the Prospers may soon come to an end.

But tonight is First Night, when the Prospers and their high-society friends return to the island to celebrate the night Lord Prosper first harnessed the island’s magic and started producing aether – a magical fuel source that has revolutionized the world. With everyone returning to the island, Mae finally has the chance to go after what she’s always wanted.

When the spirits start inexplicably dying, Mae starts to realize that things aren’t what they seem. And Ivo, the reclusive, mysterious heir to the Prosper magic, may hold all the answers – including a secret about Mae’s past that she doesn’t remember. As Mae and her friends begin to unravel the mysteries of the island, and the Prospers’ magic, Mae starts to question the truth of what her world was built on.

In this YA fantasy, Samantha Cohoe wonderfully mixes magic and an atmospheric setting into a fantastically immersive world, with characters you won’t be able to forget.

I think I screamed when I saw this cover come across my Twitter timeline, friends. I love everything Jazz and art deco, so the aesthetics of this cover speak to me on a deep level… and the book sounds SO GOOD!? I’m fortunate that I have a really good relationship with the Wednesday publicist and she happily sent me a widget.

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Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

Publisher: Wednesday Books | Release Date: November 9, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Retellings

cover for Within These Wicked WallsWhat the heart desires, the house destroys…

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

Let me tell you: I jumped when Wednesday Books had this up as Read Now on Netgalley! It’s been on my TBR since it was announced: Jane Eyre is a favorite of mine and this retelling sounds magnificent.

ARC Mountain Update

My attempt at an ARC ban last year kind of failed, but this year I do want to keep track of my ARC obligations a bit better. So the Reader Voracious ARC Mountain is back!

Okay so… yea, I’ve added ten books to ARC Mountain. But in my defense, I didn’t seek most of them out! It’s also worth mentioning that this number reflects some April adds but I can’t be bothered to correct it.

My goal for 2021 is to keep up with ARCs as they are released, and on that front I am doing fantastic! Of the ARCs I’ve requested or accepted so far this year, I’ve managed to read all of them by publication date. (No, I don’t count the unsolicited ARCs in the deadline category but they are listed in overall numbers.)

Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!

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Let’s go on another adventure together!

12 Comments

  1. FictionFixer

    April 15, 2021 at 8:21 AM

    That’s a lot of books!! I’m glad to hear Lost In the Never Woods was good though, ’cause I’ve been seeing it all over Twitter!

    1. Kal

      April 17, 2021 at 10:42 AM

      It was so good, and yea — with such a stunning cover it’s an easy book to screech about on social media.

  2. Evelyn

    April 15, 2021 at 9:21 AM

    I hope you will enjoy all of these! I’m jealous of your copy of Redemptor!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Kal

      April 17, 2021 at 10:42 AM

      My jaw dropped when I got the Redemptor approval email, so damn blessed!

  3. Yesha Soni

    April 15, 2021 at 9:52 AM

    Tokyo Ever After sounds amazing. Great haul!

    1. Kal

      April 17, 2021 at 10:43 AM

      Doesn’t it?! It isn’t the kind of book I’d normally give a second glance to, but I was so happy when the publisher reached out to me about it because… yea, I do want to read it hah.

  4. Birdie @ Birdie's booktopia

    April 16, 2021 at 12:54 PM

    I’m wayyy too excited for so many of these ahh! She’s too pretty to burn and Lost in the never woods are both high on my TBR and I really, really loved Sweet & bitter magic so I hope you will too!! Great post, Kal! Also fun fact: you recently followed me and I had a heart-attack lol. Your blog was one of the reasons I started blogging so very fangirl-ish moment haha! hope you’re having a great day!!

    1. Kal

      April 17, 2021 at 10:47 AM

      Oooh, I am so glad to hear you enjoyed Sweet & Bitter Magic because I feel like I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about it? Then again, I’ve been rubbish at blog hopping so what do I know lol.

      and OMG NO HEART ATTACKS! but your comment just warmed my heart so much, Birdie. Thank you for the greatest of compliments and I hope you are also having a wonderful day

  5. Annemieke

    April 16, 2021 at 10:33 PM

    Oh I am not at all jealous about Redemptor, haha 😉 I am so excited for that one.

    1. Kal

      April 17, 2021 at 10:48 AM

      I hope you’re able to read Redemptor soon! I am so excited to have an eARC and look forward to reading it… soon.

  6. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer

    April 19, 2021 at 10:05 PM

    I also snagged Within These Wicked Walls! I hope we both really enjoy it. I had a goal to only request 2-3 arcs per month this year… welllll, I blew past that for May and June. There’s just too many great books coming out. BUT I am staying ahead of schedule so I’m not being too hard on myself. 😉 Happy reading!

    1. Kal

      April 27, 2021 at 10:08 AM

      I hope we enjoy Within These Wicked Walls too, I am so incredibly hyped for it! And yea….. I did BAD with allowing arcs onto my plate the last month or so… wait until you see the damage I did in April lol. I hope you’re able to stay ahead of schedule, Dedra!

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