It’s the end of an era, friends. Well, not entirely but I like to be dramatic. This post marks my last separate book haul on Reader Voracious as I will be incorporating book hauls in my monthly adventure logs instead moving forward. I know this is a bit of a re-reversal as hauls really came back in March of this year (I’m nothing if not indecisively chaotic), but this decision feels right with the new structure of my wrap-ups.
I am kicking myself for not getting around to posting my May book haul because… I kind of went a little overboard in June. I have a lot of FEELINGS and buying books suppresses them, ok? Side note: this whole not getting around to posting the hauls is why they are being merged with my adventure logs. I reduced my posting schedule at the start of the year to 2 posts a week, and it’s hard enough to fit things in that I want while maintaining a healthy balance. But let’s get into the haul, shall we?
- Physical Book Haul for May
- Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
- Physical Book Haul for June
- That Weekend by Kara Thomas
- A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna
- This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
- My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
- Darling by K. Ancrum
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
- The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
- The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
- The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson (Gifted)
- For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
- Electronic Book Haul
- Electronic ARC Approvals
- Library Requests
Physical Book Haul for May
May was basically the month of pre-orders and I love that for me because I’d already read 2 out of 4 of the new releases for the month. I call that winning!
The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (ARC)
Publisher: Erewhon Press | Release Date: September 7, 2021 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Science Fiction | Sent by Erewhon Press
Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel is a page-turning exploration of humans and machines that is perfect for readers of Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.
I’m a new fan of Cass Khaw’s work and am very thankful to have an ARC of their science fiction debut!
Savage Tongues by Azareen Van der Oloomi (ARC)
Publisher: Mariner Books | Release Date: August 3, 2021 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Literary Fiction | Sent via BookishFirst
Two decades later, Arezu inherits the apartment. She returns with her best friend, Ellie, an Israeli-American scholar devoted to the Palestinian cause, to excavate the place and finally put to words a trauma she’s long held in silence. Together, she and Ellie catalog the questions of agency, sexuality, displacement, and erasure that surface as Arezu confronts the ghosts of that summer, crafting between them a story that spans continents and centuries.
Equal parts Marguerite Duras and Shirley Jackson, Rachel Cusk and Samanta Schweblin, Savage Tongues is a compulsive, unsettling, and bravely observed exploration of violence and eroticism, haunting and healing, and the profound intimacy born of the deepest pain.
It’s been so long since I’ve read literary fiction; fun fact: I used to almost exclusively read it (along with Classics)! I read the excerpt for this so long ago that I don’t remember what my impressions were, but I do look forward to reading this one when I am in the right space for the content matter.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Book Press | Release Date: May 4, 2021 | Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Science Fiction
Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.
Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
Okay so yes, I got two editions of this book. I pre-ordered the B&N edition and also just had to get the Owlcrate box featuring the book. I was kind of disappointed in the OC edition (faint recolors on cover art aren’t my thing), so I may end up unhauling the extra copy. But I did enjoy this book and am glad it’s on my shelves.
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
Publisher: HarperTeen | Release Date: April 20, 2021 | Pages: 544
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy
Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance.
Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.
Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.
This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.
This was the April 2021 Owlcrate book, I just forgot to include it in my last haul.
Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | Release Date: May 4, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy
Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.
Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.
A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.
I’m not gonna lie: I pre-ordered this book because I saw the main character has social anxiety. That being said, I really enjoyed The Shadows Between Us (review) so I expect to enjoy this book as well.
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books | Release Date: April 27, 2021 | Pages: 320
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.
But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself — that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have one of the Goldsboro Books special edition hardcover copies of this book in existence. It’s got teal sprayed edges and looks amazing next to my Goldsboro copy of Mexican Gothic (which is how I was able to place an order for the book to begin with.)
Physical Book Haul for June
June was kind of a difficult month (which sadly & embarrassingly has been surpassed in July, yikes) and as a result I bought a good number of books. I’ve rive of these books though, so I think I’m doing okay?
That Weekend by Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press | Release Date: June 29, 2021 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Thriller, Mystery
It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it’s clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.
Three went up the mountain, but only one came back.
Now everyone wants answers – most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that… nothing. And now Kat and Jesse – her best friends – are missing.
That weekend changes everything.
What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory, but as she’s learning, everyone has secrets – even her best friends. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like what she remembers.
Words cannot express how much enjoyed this book. I won an annotated ARC from a giveaway (which I will treasure forever!) and pre-ordered the Barnes & Noble edition. Such a fan of Kara Thomas and am glad this is part of my collection – both copies!
A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Sky Pony Press | Release Date: June 29, 2021 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Science Fiction, Retellings
A prince without his kingdom.
A kingdom without its princess.
The destruction of the stars themselves.
War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake.
War or family.
Pride or peace.
As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way.
Celebrated author Sangu Mandanna promises a gripping conclusion to the Celestial Trilogy in A War of Swallowed Stars.
The most under-rated science fiction trilogy that I need everyone to read has come to a close, and I am still not okay.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA | Release Date: June 29, 2021 | Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Retellings
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.
I’m not gonna lie: I was on the fence about this one because I have so many unread YA fantasies and I’m unfamiliar with the source material… but then I saw the pre-order campaign and got myself a copy.
My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperTeen | Release Date: June 22, 2021 | Pages: 512
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction
Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀
Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper’s nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.
I adored the Lady Janies books, so of course I am excited for the Mary trilogy. Especially since the first book is all about Mary Queen of Scots! I’m interested to see how this will intersect with the Janies books given the timelines.
Darling by K. Ancrum
Publisher: Imprint | Release Date: June 22, 2021 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Retellings
On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town.
Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?
Acclaimed author K. Ancrum has re-envisioned Peter Pan with a central twist that will send all your previous memories of J. M. Barrie’s classic permanently off to Neverland.
I’m loving all the Peter Pan retellings hitting the market this year, and have heard amazing things about this one.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 432
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.
Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.
As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?
With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.
Friends, I have zero regrets about pre-ordering both the US and UK editions of this book because it was so good! It’s run on the NYT list is well-deserved and I promise one of these days I will write a review.
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 384
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy
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.
So glad I pre-ordered this one because the special printed case is STUNNING. Also I adored this book, so.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Publisher: Tordotcom | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 272
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
I am a fan of Gatsby, so of course this diverse retelling was on my pre-order list as well. I cannot be stopped!
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson (Gifted)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | Release Date: June 15, 2021 | Pages: 400
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Mystery
Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.
But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.
Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.
But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.
Okay so, I didn’t know that there was a fourth book in the series. I enjoyed Truly Devious but The Vanishing Stair felt more like filler to stretch the story out into a trilogy, so I never even read the third book. But the publisher surprised me with a finished copy and after reading a few reviews from friends, I read it. Love it!
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: June 1, 2021 | Pages: 448
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy
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.
The author has provided a list of content warnings here.
Words cannot express how thankful I am that I pre-ordered the book last minute, because I loved this book so much. I even forgive the book for the deckled edges.
Electronic Book Haul
I behaved and didn’t succumb to kindle sales!
Electronic ARC Approvals
Against all odds, I didn’t request any eARCs in May or June. I know, I’m shocked, too.
The first print run of this hardcover will have something special on the naked cover and I am here for that. Also for weather magic.
I’m back to requesting books at my local library again, and it feels so good! Although the number of holds that came in two weeks ago scares me: I think they’ve bought like 10 titles I suggested in the past lol
Do we have any books in common? What books should I read first? Let’s talk book acquisitions in the comments, friends!