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First up in book world goings-on: Reading icon LeVar Burton was on a recent Jimmy Kimmel episode where he shared a video to help spread awareness about book bans. The hero we need but don’t deserve. And, if you follow book clubs, Jamie Canaves gave us another awesome roundup of what all the book clubs are getting into for February.
As for today’s releases, unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of great romance coming out, some of which I’ll get into below. Otherwise, there’s the continuation of the queer science fiction and fantasy series The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Ann Older, and What Feasts at Night by T. Kingfisher. If a Japanese cozy foodie mystery feels more your speed, there’s The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai, translated by Jesse Kirkwood. Finally, for my graphic novel lovers, there’s the highly relatable going-away-to-college tale Freshman Year by Sarah Mai, and the queer feminist reimagining of the Korean Fox Maiden legend with The Fox Maidens by Robin Ha.
As for the books below, there’s a spicy retelling of Sense and Sensibility, a haunting look at WWI, a queer murder mystery in Ghana, and lots more.
Sex, Lies and Sensibility by Nikki Payne
In this Sense and Sensibility retelling, Nora’s life has been stressing her out as of late. Her father just died, and what’s more, she found out he had a whole other second family during the reading of the will. On top of that, a leaked spicy tape of hers just went viral. Maybe that’s why she’s so willing to try to work with the forgotten beach house inn in a place in Maine where she and her sister are the only Black people for miles. But when she comes across “Bear” Freeman, the guy giving tours all across her newly inherited property, she sees him as a (handsome) annoyance. He sees her as a pretty city girl who will pack it up by week’s end. But we all know that’s not how it’ll go down.
More romance to get you right this week of Valentine’s: lesbian sports romance How You Get the Girl by Anita Kelly, spiteful rom-com At First Spite by Olivia Dade, spy rom-com The Spy and I by Tiana Smith, and YA contemporary romance This Is How You Fall in Love by Anika Hussain.
The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden
Arden had me in a vice grip with her Winternight Trilogy, so I know this one is going to hit. During WWI, Laura is a talented field nurse who becomes wounded and later discharged. After she returns home and hears of her brother Freddie’s death during combat, something doesn’t sit quite right with her. To get to the bottom of what’s going on, she returns to the war by volunteering as a nurse in Belgium. There, she hears of haunted trenches and a mysterious wine that makes soldiers’ worries disappear. Through another timeline, we learn that months ago, Freddie did happen upon a mysterious man who could make the terror of the trenches evaporate. What happened after this meeting is the question.
My Side of the River by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez
When Gutierrez was 15, she felt like things were going pretty well. As a freshman in high school, she was top of her class and looking forward to college. But then her parent’s visas expired, and they were forced back to Mexico. This left Gutierrez’s brother in her care, and both of them parentless. As an unaccompanied, homeless youth, she became one of the statistics she wanted to avoid, but she and her brother persevered to make it in the land of so-called dreams.
No One Dies Yet by Kobby Ben Ben
Ghana declared 2019 The Year of Return — a time 400 years since the first slave ships sailed from Ghana when the country opened its doors to the Black diaspora to give them a chance to reconnect with their roots. It’s during one of these returns to home that Americans Elton, Vincent, and Scott arrive in Accra. They want to explore historic transatlantic slave trade sites and get a little taste of the queer scene. But a murder happens, and through the narration of their two guides — the disparate Kobby and Nana — we’re walked through the who and why in a sometimes funny, sometimes spicy tale.
Private Equity by Carrie Sun
Carrie Sun has always worked hard. She excelled in school, graduated early from MIT, and entered the corporate world, all in the name of the American Dream her parents wished for her when they immigrated to the U.S. from China. But once she hits 29, she starts feeling like something’s missing. So, she drops out of a master’s program and quits her job. When she gets the opportunity to work for one of the most respected hedge funds in the world, she jumps at it. Soon, luxury and privilege like she’s never known are opened up to her, but it also starts to swallow her whole.
Neferura by Malayna Evans
Neferuru joins the other historical girlies — Kaikeyi, Medea, and Circe for starters — who are having their stories told from from fresh, new perspectives. The titular Neferuru was a princess and high priestess of Kemet, whose mother was the Pharaoh. When she learns of a plot to overthrow her mother, she knows she must act. But the alliance she forms with a powerful and enigmatic tattooed wise woman comes at a higher cost than she first imagined.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources:
- All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Release Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!