Books To Look Forward To In 2019

Writing these posts about new releases are always a struggle. How do you pick the right books? There are so many! It’s hard to make a good selection. The list I’ve created now are mostly books that I personally look forward to. Some I’ve just heard about, others I’ve known about for a while. I’ve deliberately included diverse books and stayed away from mainstream authors. I want to highlight indie authors and authors from smaller presses, #ownvoices and LGTBQ+ books.

Since I’m looking far ahead not all the books have a cover or summary yet. I’ll do my best to tell you what I can about these books to convince you to keep your eyes open for them. If you have books that you think should be on this list, leave the title and author in a comment below so I can add it.

The Pathkeeper by N. J. Simmonds

The old cover

Release date: May 29

The Pathkeeper will celebrate a relaunch in May and I’m excited. Simmonds has added new scenes to the existing story and it’ll only make the story even more compelling. I’m a big fan of extras and I’m willing to spend money on more of the things I love. Having a new edition, with a new cover and more words is perfect. And since I know that I already love it, only makes me more excited that it’ll find new readers.

Read my review of the first edition.

Son of Secrets, the sequel to The Pathkeeper will hit the shelves in November. Simmonds has been teasing small bits of it over the past years. She’s spoiled a few names and settings. There’s not much else known about this book, but I know that it’ll be good. This is one I’ll preorder as soon as it becomes available.

Summary
What if every coincidence was a tiny miracle? What if our life was already mapped out before birth? What if someone had the power to change the path we were destined to follow?

Ella hates her new life in London, she misses Spain and she’s struggling to get over her past until she meets Zac. He has always loved her but he isn’t meant to be part of Ella’s story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and will force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense, a world more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

The Blood Prince by Josie Jaffrey

Release date: February

The Blood Prince is the third book in the Sovereign series. I’ve already reviewed The Gilded King and The Silver Queen and I can’t wait for this one. Jaffrey’s writing is straightforward and her stories keep drawing you in. Jaffrey self publishes her book and hasn’t done a cover reveal yet, nor has posted a summary. So I don’t know much about it except that it will answer a question that popped up in the first book and I’m really curious if it’s going to be a twist or if I already know the answer.

Read my review of The Gilded King and The Silver Queen.

Summary

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Release date: May 28

I love reading about witches, so this one is high on my list. Stories about witches in Salem might be overdone, but this plot sounds refreshing so I want to give it a try.

Summary
Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Release date: June 25

The nine-tailed fox is an interesting mythological creature. As with most Asian demons, she’s out for your soul, but there are so many ways you can write about her. Gumiho might be the first full novel that I’ll read about the fox and I’m really looking forward to what Cho does with the mythology. The Korean setting also makes it interesting.

Summary
No one in modern-day Seoul believes in the old fables anymore, which makes it the perfect place to for Gu Miyoung and her mother to hide in plain sight. Miyoung is a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, who must eat the souls of men to survive. She feeds every full moon–eating the souls of men who have committed crimes, but have evaded justice. Her life is upended when she kills a dokkaebi, a murderous goblin, to save the life of a human boy. But after Miyoung saves Jihoon’s life, the two develop a tenuous friendship that blooms into romance and starts them on a path that forces Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Release date: January 15
Dragon Pearl is one of the first three books Rick Riordan announced for his ‘Rick Riordan Presents’ imprint at Disney. He didn’t hesitate to take this project one and I think he was right to pick this up. The story sounds interesting with a perfect mix of Asian mythology and space. I don’t usually read anything in the science fiction genre, but this is the kind of book that will help me get into the genre. And just look at the cover. Isn’t it beautiful?

Summary
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her.

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen

Release date: January 29
Time travel is one of the concepts that I’m really interested in.
Summary
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Release date: May 14

I want to read more books by writers outside of Europe and North America and Nafiza Azad’s The Candle and the Flame certainly drew my attention. The cover alone sold me, but the summary also sounds interesting. I’m looking forward to getting to more about the mythology she uses in her story and maybe she’ll inspire me to explore more of the culture and their stories.

Summary
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Release date: May 28

I’m a big fan of Japanese stories. Anime, games, live action dramas, movies, everything. I want to read more books set in contemporary Japan though. That’s what drew me to I Love You So Mochi.

Summary
Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Release date: February 5

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is teased as the ‘African Game of Thrones’, but I’ve never read Game of Thrones so I have no idea what this means. What I do know is that this is something totally different from I usually read but with tropes that I love. That’s reason enough for me to give this one a go and let myself be surprised.

Summary
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: ‘He has a nose,’ people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent — from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers — he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Release date: November 5

Erin Morgenstern is one of the authors whose books I’d buy without question. The Night Circus is one of my favourites and I regularly reread it. The Starless Sea is not related to Morgenstern’s first book and I’m more than okay with that. It’s a book about stories and just the ones you can find in books. I might actually look for this book at the airport since we’ll be flying to Tokyo shortly after it’s released. The Starless Sea will make that 12-hour flight a lot more pleasant.

Summary
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

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