2021 releases

40+ New 2021 Book Releases to Get Excited About

I am so ready to leave this trash year behind  (fingers crossed it does not reset on the 1st of January) so let’s focus on the future and talk about ALL the 2021 releases that I am super excited about! It’s gonna be a long one, but it’s a way for both you and me to have a list to check back in with during the year! You all know that I mostly read Fantasy, Literary Fiction and Romance, so expect that in this list! There’s like over 45 books on this list because I have no self-control. ALSO, what if we made a book club in which we read one of these each month. A girl can dream. Sidenote: I hope you all are proud of me for making the covers small because this is so long. Was not an easy decision. Now let’s get into it!


Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories

Release Date: 12th of January
Publisher: Hogarth

Goodreads summary: Mariana Enriquez has been critically lauded for her unconventional and sociopolitical stories of the macabre: populated by unruly teenagers, crooked witches, homeless ghosts, and hungry women, they walk the uneasy line between urban realism and horror. The stories in her next collection are as terrifying as they are socially conscious, and press into being the unspoken — fetish, illness, the female body, the darkness of human history — with unsettling urgency. A woman is sexually obsessed with the human heart; a lost, rotting baby crawls out of a backyard and into a bedroom; a pair of teenage girls can’t let go of their idol; an entire neighborhood is cursed to death by a question of morality they fail to answer correctly. Written against the backdrop of contemporary Argentina, and with resounding tenderness towards those in pain, in fear, and in limbo, this new collection from one of Argentina’s most exciting writers finds Enriquez at her most sophisticated, and most chilling.

I LOVE a good short story collection and Mariana Enriquez is pitched as someone reminiscent of Borges who I love. But just the exploration of fetish, illness and the female body are already buzz words and I am really excited about this one. Also, we stan the cover. 

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz

Milk Blood HeatRelease Date: 2nd of February
Publisher: Grove Press

Goodreads summary: Set among the cities and suburbs of Florida, each story in Milk Blood Heat delves into the ordinary worlds of young girls, women, and men who find themselves confronted by extraordinary moments of violent personal reckoning. These intimate portraits of people and relationships scour and soothe and blast a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and what we may, or may not, owe one another.
A thirteen-year-old meditates on her sadness and the difference between herself and her white best friend when an unexpected tragedy occurs; a woman recovering from a miscarriage finds herself unable to let go of her daughter—whose body parts she sees throughout her daily life; a teenager resists her family’s church and is accused of courting the devil; servers at a supper club cater to the insatiable cravings of their wealthy clientele; and two estranged siblings take a road-trip with their father’s ashes and are forced to face the troubling reality of how he continues to shape them.
Wise and subversive, spiritual and seductive, Milk Blood Heat forms an ouroboros of stories that bewitch with their truth.

Like I said, I LOVE a good short story collection. Also, personally, if a blurb has the word ouroboros in it I am bound to read and love it. Short stories hyper focusing on relationships are a definite yes from me. Plus, Hannah loved it, so a win all around. 

Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen

Land of Big NumbersRelease Date: 2nd of February
Publisher: Mariner Books

Goodreads summary: A debut collection from an extraordinary new talent that vividly gives voice to the men and women of modern China and its diaspora.
Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers depicts the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.
Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited. Twins take radically different paths: one becomes a professional gamer, the other a political activist. A woman moves to the city to work at a government call center and is followed by her violent ex-boyfriend. A man is swept into the high-risk, high-reward temptations of China’s volatile stock exchange. And a group of people sit, trapped for no reason, on a subway platform for months, waiting for official permission to leave.
With acute social insight, Te-Ping Chen layers years of experience reporting on the ground in China with incantatory prose in this taut, surprising debut, proving herself both a remarkable cultural critic and an astonishingly accomplished new literary voice.

Again, a short story collection focusing on the history and government of China but through the people? Cannot wait.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Winter's OrbitRelease Date: 2nd of February
Publisher: Tor Books

Goodreads summary: Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Don’t you just love a brilliant queer space opera with the RWRB pitch and with the best trope of bad boy and scholar romance? Me too. 

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

Fake AccountsRelease Date: 2nd of February
Publisher: Catapult

Goodreads summary: On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend’s phone and makes a startling discovery: he’s an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. Already fluent in internet fakery, irony, and outrage, she’s not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she’s relieved—he was always a little distant—and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women’s March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.
Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York and increasingly alienated from her friends and colleagues, our unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, embarking on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat meetups, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms. She begins to think she can’t trust anyone–shouldn’t the feeling be mutual?
Narrated with seductive confidence and subversive wit, Fake Accounts challenges the way current conversations about the self and community, delusions and gaslighting, and fiction and reality play out in the internet age.

Did I add this book because it starts with a woman finding out her boyfriend is a conspiracy theorist? Yes. But also this feels like fiction by way of Jia Tolentino’s essays with explorations of selfhood on the Internet so sounds like a win. 

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)Release Date: 9th of February
Publisher: Delacorte

Goodreads summary: 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.

YA Fantasy! An order of powerful girls that defend the emperor! Can’t wait! Also, cover!!! 

We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough

We Are the Ashes, We Are the FireRelease Date: 9th of February
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Goodreads summary: 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 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.

I really enjoyed McCullogh’s Blood Water Paint, plus I love that this is focused on a girl fighting for her sister to get a free trial against a rapist. Sounds like it will ruin me, can’t wait. 

Kink: Stories edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell

Kink: StoriesRelease Date: 9th of February
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Goodreads summary: Kink is a dynamic anthology of literary fiction that opens an imaginative door into the world of desire. The stories within this collection portray love, desire, BDSM, and sexual kinks in all their glory with a bold new vision. The collection includes works by renowned fiction writers such as Callum Angus, Alexander Chee, Vanessa Clark, Melissa Febos, Kim Fu, Roxane Gay, Cara Hoffman, Zeyn Joukhadar, Chris Kraus, Carmen Maria Machado, Peter Mountford, Larissa Pham, and Brandon Taylor, with Garth Greenwell and R.O. Kwon as editors. The stories within explore bondage, power-play, and submissive-dominant relationships; we are taken to private estates, therapists’ offices, underground sex clubs, and even a sex theater in early-20th century Paris. While there are whips and chains, sure, the true power of these stories lies in their beautiful, moving dispatches from across the sexual spectrum of interest and desires, as portrayed by some of today’s most exciting writers.

More short stories! Currently reading this one, and I am really enjoying it. Stories that explore kink, desire and sex, and so far, they were mostly great! Really recommend you keep an eye out for this one. It’s quite niche, but really good. Plus just look at that lineup. 

The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare

The Bride Bet (Girl Meets Duke, #4)Release Date: 9th of February
Publisher: Avon

Goodreads summary: How to lose a duke in ten years…without losing your heart.
Once upon a time, two sworn enemies – the bookish daughter of a scholar and the devilish heir to a duke – made a pact: If they were both still single in ten years, they would marry each other. It was a joke, Nicola thought. A duchess? Her? But when the Duke of Westleigh returns a decade later, he’s serious. He needs an heir, so he’s holding her to their marriage bargain—diamond ring, lavish gown, engagement ball, and more. Nothing Nicola says can dissuade him. When she calls him arrogant, he praises her honesty. When she makes social stumbles, he catches her fall. And when she gets exasperated, the duke can’t seem to get enough. For reasons she can’t fathom, he claims that no other woman will do. He’s betting he can change her mind, with logic and passion. She’s betting she can change his mind, just by being herself. And as the clock ticks down to a wedding day, neither is counting on losing their heart.

Final book in the Girl Meets Duke series brings ONLY superior tropes: enemies to lovers, scholar x bad boy AND a marriage of convenience. I think this will be my favorite in the series and I really enjoyed all the rest.

Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi

YolkRelease Date: 2nd of March
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads summary: Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her. On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer. Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.

I have not read Choi’s previous books but I am so weak for a sister story. This one sounds heartbreaking so cannot wait to cry. 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)Release Date: 9th of March
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads summary: Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…
Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

We stan Talia Hibbert and this series in this house. Plus, this sounds like it will be my favorite in the series – sounds like the perfect sunshine x grumpy pairing. 

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

Sweet & Bitter MagicRelease Date: 9th of March
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Book

Goodreads summary: 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.

Witches! Saphics! Enemies to lovers! Fantasy! Woo! 

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

How Beautiful We WereRelease Date: 9th of March
Publisher: Random House

Goodreads summary: “We should have known the end was near.”
So begins Imbolo Mbue’s powerful second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations to the villagers are made—and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle would last for decades and come at a steep price. Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.

I have not read Mbue’s debut but I just love this premise so much, and I really think this has the potential to be one of my favorite books. 

There’s No Such Thing As an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

There's No Such Thing as an Easy JobRelease Date: 23rd of March
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Goodreads summary: A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing – and ideally, very little thinking. She is sent to a nondescript office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end can be so inconvenient and tiresome. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly – how did she find herself in this situation in the first place? As she moves from job to job, writing bus adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear, and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful….

This is supposedly a mix between Convenience Store Woman and My Year of Rest and Relaxation and I think that sounds amazing. Plus, I’ve been seeing so much good buzz for this I am super excited.  

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)Release Date: 23rd of March
Publisher: Orbit

Goodreads summary: Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

A North-African inspired fantasy, featuring an annoyed princess and an annoyed soldier, wrapped up in a story about war, rebellion and espionage of my dreams. Plus, I love a war fought in bedrooms. Just saying. 

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, #2)Release Date: 30th of March
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Goodreads summary: The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology. King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

I had some issues with the first book in the series (review HERE) but I am tentatively excited for this, because I love Nikolai and Zoya a lot, and I am excited to see where this story wraps up. 

Girlhood by Melissa Febos

GirlhoodRelease Date: 30th of March
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Goodreads summary: In her powerful new book, critically acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them. When her body began to change at eleven years old, Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs.
Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny.
Written with Febos’ characteristic precision, lyricism, and insight, Girlhood is a philosophical treatise, an anthem for women, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self.

I have wanted to try some of Febos’ writing for a while, and after reading her story in Kink, I am even more excited, since I really enjoyed her writing. I love essays that blend the personal and the academic, and I always like nuanced views on womanhood, so I am super excited for this one. 

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Twice ShyRelease Date: 6th of April
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Goodreads summary: Maybell Parrish has always been a dreamer and hopeless romantic. But living with her head in the clouds has long been preferable to dealing with reality, whether it’s navigating the wild world of dating apps or getting her coworkers to show her a little respect. So when Maybell inherits a stately old Tennessee manor from her Great Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start. But when she arrives at her new home, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the manor practically falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s just as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.
Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than any of the many other dying wishes Great Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls and silences, she realizes they might have more in common than she ever dreamed. And as the two slowly begin to let their guards down, they just might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

While Hogle’s first book did not quite hit the mark with me (the premise was just not it), I am quite excited to try her books out further. And again, forced proximity with this kind of character dynamics is just what I like in my Romance.

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

To Love and to LoatheRelease Date: 6th of April
Publisher: Atria

Goodreads summary: The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.
After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.
Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

Frenemies with benefits in a historical rom-com! 

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

The Intimacy ExperimentRelease Date: 6th of April
Publisher: Berkley

Goodreads summary: Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.
Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.
Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

Again, Danan’s debut was not my favorite BUT I did love Naomi who was a side character in the first one, so I  really hoped she’d get a book and she did! So fingers crossed I like this one more than the first one. 

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Second First ImpressionsRelease Date: 13th of April
Publisher: William Morrow

Goodreads summary: Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

Since I am the most basic person, I ADORE The Hating Game. Thorne’s sophmore novel was a mess in my opinion, but I have so much hope for this one. Plus, it has these really cute side story vibes, so I am hoping I will love it. 

The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter

The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1)Release Date: 13th of April
Publisher: Tor Books

Goodreads summary: In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power–the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.
Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.
It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

This is a serial killer fantasy! I am so hyped for this one. 

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open WaterRelease Date: 13th of April
Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Goodreads summary:Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential debut of recent years.

Hyper focusing on a relationship while also exploring themes of race and masculinity is definitely a buzz blurb for me. I have an eARC of this one and I am really excited for it. 

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler DynastyRelease Date: 13th of April
Publisher: Doubleday

Goodreads summary:The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.

I loved Say Nothing so much that I will read anything Radden Keefe writes, but I am especially hyped to see his take on the opioid crisis. 

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Su Hitchcock

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small TownRelease Date: 20th of April
Publisher: Random House

Goodreads summary: A lyrical and heartfelt collection by an award-winning writer that connects the lives of young people from small towns in Alaska and the American west. Each story is unique, yet universal.
In this book, the impact of wildfire, a wayward priest, or a mysterious disappearance ricochet across communities, threading through stories. Here, ordinary actions such as ice skating or going to church reveal hidden truths. One choice threatens a lifelong friendship. Siblings save each other. Rescue and second chances are possible, and so is revenge.
On the surface, it seems that nothing ever happens in these towns. But Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shows that underneath that surface, teenagers’ lives blaze with fury, with secrets, and with love so strong it burns a path to the future.

This is my perfect book! Short stories, rural small towns and really heartfelt human stories. Plus, I LOVED The Smell of Other People’s Houses (review HERE). One of my most anticipated on this list!

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Son of the Storm (The Nameless Republic, #1)Release Date: 11th of May
Publisher: Orbit

Goodreads summary: A young scholar’s ambition threatens to reshape an empire determined to retain its might in this epic tale of violent conquest, buried histories, and forbidden magic.
In the thriving city of Bassa, Danso is a clever but disillusioned scholar who longs for a life beyond the rigid family and political obligations expected of the city’s elite. A way out presents itself when Lilong, a skin-changing warrior, shows up wounded in his barn. She comes from the Nameless Islands–which, according to Bassa lore, don’t exist–and neither should the mythical magic of ibor she wields. Now swept into a conspiracy far beyond his understanding, Danso will have to set out on a journey that reveals histories violently suppressed and magic only found in lore..

Forbidden magic and an oblivious scholar who meets a magical warior just hits differently. Beyond excited to check this one out! 

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on VacationRelease Date: 11th of May
Publisher: Berkley

Goodreads summary: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart–she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown–but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together–lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

I really enjoyed Beach read (like literally everyone else; review HERE) and this new books sounds SUPER angsty and I cannot wait to read it. 

Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2)Release Date: 18th of May
Publisher: Scholastic 

Goodreads summary: The stakes have never been higher as it seems like either the end of the world or the end of dreamers approaches.
Do the dreamers need the ley lines to save the world . . . or will their actions end up dooming the world? As Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde try to make dreamers more powerful, the Moderators are closing in, sure that this power will bring about disaster. In the remarkable second book of The Dreamer Trilogy, Maggie Stiefvater pushes her characters to their limits – and shows what happens to them and others when they start to break.

Still cannot believe she titled the book Mister Impossible. If you want to read more of my thoughts on Call Down the Hawk so you can read a title that makes sense, my review is HERE. But this is my top most anticipated release alongside one other, which we’ll get to soon.  Also, I hate this cover. 

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

AriadneRelease Date: 21st of May
Publisher: Flatiron Books 

Goodreads summary: As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

I love the story of Ariadne, and I do love a good Greek myth retelling so of course I am HYPED to read this one. 

And now books that come out on my birthday! 

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the BeautifulRelease Date: 1st of June
Publisher: Tor Dot Com 

Goodreads summary: Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
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 is one of my favorite authors I discovered this year, and this book is like Gatsby but with magic, and also Asian and queer and clearly SUPERIOR. Cannot wait literally. 

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last StopRelease Date: 1st of June
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin 

Goodreads summary: For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

I already read this one, and I am so excited for everyone to read it because this book will be so loved. While this premise was decidedly not for me, McQuiston’s writing feels so safe and warm, so get excited about it. 

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Release Date: 1st of June
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Goodreads summary: Society darling Persephone Dimitriou wants nothing to do with her mother’s ambitions. She’s biding her time until she’s able to leave the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start her doctorate degree. The one thing she never planned on? Her mother ambushing her with an engagement to Zeus—a man with more than a few dead wives in his past. Persephone will do anything to escape that fate…even flee the sparkling upper city and make a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed was a myth.
Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. Not even for the woman who flees into his territory as if the very hounds of hell are on her heels. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent his entire life craving? It’s all the excuse he needs to agree to help her—for a price. She’ll be his for the summer, and then he’ll see her safely out of Olympus and away from her mother and Zeus.
Hades and Persephone’s deal might seem simple enough, but they both quickly realize it’s anything but. With every breathless night spent with Hades, Persephone wonders at her ability to leave him behind. And Hades? Now that he has a taste for Persephone, he’s willing to go to war with Olympus itself to keep her…

Hades and Persephone romance!!! In a new romance series titled Dark Olympus? MY GOD. I cannot wait to read this, but also see what the other books in the series will be about. 

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Animal: A NovelRelease Date: 8th of June
Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Goodreads summary: Honestly, sometimes I think it’s the only recourse. Killing men in times like these.
Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.

Literally wtf. But I am quite excited because that tagline is brilliant and also I really enjoyed Taddeo’s non fiction Three Women, so I am excited to see which (weird) path this takes. 

Daughter of Sparta by Claire M. Andrews

Daughter of SpartaRelease Date: 8th of June
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Goodreads summary: Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.
Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

More Greek myth retellings! But this time it’s Apollo and Daphne AND it’s YA Fantasy so an all around win. 

The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie M. Liu

The Tangleroot Palace: StoriesRelease Date: 15th of June
Publisher: Tachyon Publishing 

Goodreads summary: Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.

I adore Monstress, I think it’s one of the best pieces of writing and fantastical world building ever, so I am SO SO excited to read Liu’s debut short story collection, I think it will be WONDERFUL. 

Darling by K. Ancrum

DarlingRelease Date: 22nd of June
Publisher: Imprint 

Goodreads summary: 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?

I have wanted to read K. Ancrum for so long, and I absolutely never see Peter Pan retelling so I think this will be really good. And it’s a YA thriller, so new and exciting things for me in 2021. 

Witchshadow by Susan Dennard

Witchshadow (The Witchlands, #4)Release Date: 22nd of June
Publisher: Tor Teen 

Goodreads summary: Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling, young adult epic fantasy Witchlands series continues with Witchshadow, the story of the Threadwitch Iseult.
War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again.

I will literally self-combust when I have this in my hands.  I adore this series, and Iseult is basically my favorite character EVER, so I am naturally holding my breath until this comes out in June. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT. 

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Filthy Animals: StoriesRelease Date: 22nd of June
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Goodreads summary: In the series of linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, set among young creatives in the American Midwest, a young man treads delicate emotional waters as he navigates a series of sexually fraught encounters with two dancers in an open relationship, forcing him to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness. In other stories, a young woman battles with the cancers draining her body and her family; menacing undercurrents among a group of teenagers explode in violence on a winter night; a little girl tears through a house like a tornado, driving her babysitter to the brink; and couples feel out the jagged edges of connection, comfort, and cruelty.

The truth is I still have not read Real Life BUT I did read Taylor’s story in Kink and I loved it so naturally I cannot wait to read this collection. Plus, American Midwest and linked stories sounds so so promising. 

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

Star EaterRelease Date: 22nd of June
Publisher: Tor Dot Com

Goodreads summary: Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she is able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Order’s magical bloodline horrifies her, but the Sisters of Aytrium have sworn to pay a price for the safety of their nation.
Elfreda wants out, whatever the cost.
So when a shadowy cabal approaches her with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Order, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

This premise is SO INTRIGUING, and I love everything Tor Dot Com does, plus there’s cannibalism in here so the hype is real.

Nobody, Somebody, Anybody by Kelly McClorey

Nobody, Somebody, AnybodyRelease Date: 6th of July
Publisher: Ecco

Goodreads summary: A moving and darkly comic debut novel about an anxious young woman who administers a self-made “placebo” treatment in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild her life.
Amy Harney has a job as a chambermaid for the summer, but on August 25, she will take the exam to become an EMT (third time’s the charm!) and finally move on with her life. In the meantime, she doesn’t mind scrubbing toilets immaculately clean or tucking the sheet corners just so. In fact, she tells herself that her work is a noble act of service to the rich guests at the yacht club.
Amy’s profound isolation colors everything: her job, her aspirations, even her interactions with the woman at the deli counter. And as the date for the EMT exam comes closer, Amy’s anxiety ratchets up in a way that is both familiar and troubling. In desperation, she concocts a “placebo” program—a self-prescribed regimen for her confidence, devised to trick herself into succeeding.
When her landlord, Gary, starts to invite her over for dinner—to practice his cooking skills as he awaits approval of his Ukrainian fiancé’s visa—Amy makes her first friend since her mother’s passing. Alongside this unexpected connection comes a surge of hopeful obsession that Amy knows she must reckon with before the summer’s end.

Okay, I do LOVE the cover, but the tagline of “novel about an anxious young woman who administers a self-made “placebo” treatment in a last-ditch attempt to rebuild her life.” is just brilliant and if that ain’t me. We love disaster women! 

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1)Release Date: 20th of July
Publisher: Tor Books

Goodreads summary: In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

A literary fantasy reimagining the rise of the Ming dynasty of my dreams. 

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)Release Date: 17th of August
Publisher: Berkley

Goodreads summary: To most people, Quan Diep is nothing but a surly-looking, underachieving playboy. The problem is he’s not any of those things. And now that he’s the CEO of an up-and-coming retail business, he’s suddenly a “catch,” and the rich girls who never used to pay any attention to him are looking at him in a new way—especially Camilla, the girl who brushed him off many years ago.
Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep almost as much as germy bathroom door handles. Or so she tells herself. She will never admit that she has a secret crush on him, especially because he only has eyes for her charismatic and newly engaged younger sister Camilla. Over the years, Anna has worked hard to overcome her OCD, but she’ll still need to find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement, and with it, a crucial real estate development deal.
Slowly, Anna breaks down Quan’s dangerous and careless exterior while peeling off her own tough, protective shell. But when Quan discovers Anna’s true intentions, he’s forced to confront his own hurtful past and learn to forgive, while Anna must face her greatest challenge: truly opening herself up to love.

We finally get Quan’s book! I loved Quan in the first two books in the series and The Kiss Quotient is one of my favorite romances ever, so I am so so excited to get to this one.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Release Date: 2nd of November
Publisher: Tor Dot Com

Last but not least is another Tor Dot Com gem. This book is a historical Fantasy by the likes of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell  and here are how Tor Dot Com is pitching it via AO3 tags:

  • overthinking under-powered spiteful librarian/genial jock with surprising layers
  • UST (unresolved sexual tension)
  • VRST (very resolved sexual tension)
  • fantasy of very bad manners
  • hurt/comfort
  • Houses That Love You
  • bound by blood
  • bound by sexy magical restraints
  • gratuitous library porn
  • homicidal hedge maze
  • sleeves rolled up forearms
  • Messing About In Boats


OMG I cannot believe I did it! 40+ releases to get excited about! Tell me which ones from the list you are most excited about but also some that are not on the list but you cannot wait to read! 

In the meantime, happy reading




* If you want to buy any of the books I talked about, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link if you’re in the USA! You buy a book and support local bookstores, and I get a small commission! Even if you do not want to use my own affiliate link, I would still recommend using Bookshop.org since a lot of independent bookstores are struggling and this is a nice way to help them out.  You can even find your favorite local bookstore and support them directly! 

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27 thoughts on “40+ New 2021 Book Releases to Get Excited About

  1. Ooooh, new Tessa Dare! I am very excited! (enemies to lovers is one of my favourite tropes)
    I also did not know that Marjorie Liu has a short story collection coming out, these are excellent news!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tessa Dare is one of the few historical romance writers whose writing I adore a lot. I think the genre is too often too angsty for me. I really should get to her backlist at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. omg so many 2021 releases that sound amazing!! (i was one of the people who voted to include them all in the twitter poll u posted lol) also LMAO im still not over mister impossible…its giving me generic spy comedy vibes 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i love this list marija!!! i’m SO excited for she who became the sun, the chosen and the beautiful, the unbroken, and darling. and thank you so much for putting the tangleroot palace on everyone’s radars because it looks amazing and i just know i’m gonna love it as much as i love monstress 😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing list! Unfortunately I didn’t really like Blood Water Paint but the cover of We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire is STUNNING and that summary sounds amazing so I may have to give it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

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