You’ve probably heard by now that 2020 was a bad year.
And while we all struggled for so many reasons, a lot out of our control, I also struggled with finding good books in 2020. It sucks when the thing you’re using as a form of escapism turns out to also be a slight pile of garbage, doesn’t it?
I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of hope in the 2021 releases in case I end up being let down, but I would consider myself to be cautiously optimistic. I think there are a lot of promising releases in 2021 that I can put cautious faith in, and I feel like these should be books on your radar, too.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken – January 5th
Alexandra Bracken was one of those authors that really got me back into reading years ago and I’m pretty excited for this new standalone from her. It sounds great, the response has been pretty good, and I feel like this is a good book to kick off 2021 with. It’s also a truly gorgeous book with amazing interior design, which hypes me up a smidge more. Fingers crossed.
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal – January 19th
This series snuck up on me. I had received the first book from Owlcrate in 2019 but only read it last year, and I was super surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The story and narrative are really interesting and well done, and I love the characters and budding romance happening. The cliffhanger was pretty heart thumping so I might be a smidge impatient for the conclusion.
The battle on Sharr is over. The dark forest has fallen. Altair may be captive, but Zafira, Nasir, and Kifah are bound for Sultan’s Keep, determined to finish the plan he set in motion: restoring the hearts of the Sisters of Old to the minarets of each caliphate, and finally returning magic to all of Arawiya. But they are low on resources and allies alike, and the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return.
As the zumra plots to overthrow the kingdom’s darkest threat, Nasir fights to command the magic in his blood. He must learn to hone his power into a weapon, to wield not only against the Lion but against his father, trapped under the Lion’s control. Zafira battles a very different darkness festering in her through her bond with the Jawarat—a darkness that hums with voices, pushing her to the brink of her sanity and to the edge of a chaos she dare not unleash. In spite of the darkness enclosing ever faster, Nasir and Zafira find themselves falling into a love they can’t stand to lose…but time is running out to achieve their ends, and if order is to be restored, drastic sacrifices will have to be made.
Lush and striking, hopeful and devastating, We Free the Stars is the masterful conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology by New York Times–bestselling author Hafsah Faizal.
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo – March 30th
This is most likely the end to the Grishaverse (for now) and I’m super intrigued to see how Bardugo ties it all up. I thought King of Scars was a great improvement from The Grisha Trilogy and I enjoyed most of the storylines she came up with for these characters, and while others don’t like how it’s not just about Nikolai, I’m thrilled with the plots for him as well as Zoya and Nina thus far (minus the character she brought back last minute). If I put all my hope on one book, it’s this one.
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.
The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – March 9th
The Brown Sisters is one of my most recent favourite romance series and I am actually pretty excited for this one! I love how Hibbert writes and how her characters continually surprise me, so I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of fun in store for Eve’s book. The Brown Sisters deserves so much love.
In Act Your Age, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.
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.
The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell – April 13th
I know what you’re thinking: haven’t I seen this listed before? Yes, you have. Because when I wrote my Books That Can Save 2020 list, this was still set to be published in December! And then it got pushed back! To April 2021! So, clearly, I’m super looking forward to this book and very much need it in my hands. This series is one of the best I’ve read in a while and I need to know how it’s all going to end before I explode. Stressed and impatient is a terrible combination.
Evade the serpent.
Heed the curse.
Rewrite the present.
Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.
But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.
Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.
Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.
Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – May 25th
I think Taylor Jenkins Reid is a super fascinating author and though I’ve only read two of her books, I was impressed so much. This book sounds really interesting and definitely different than what I’ve read before, so I’m definitely gearing up to read this one. I wonder what kind of narrative this be and how it will compare to the other vastly different yet perfect narratives of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six. Seriously, check those out if you haven’t yet. Such amazing works.
Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.
Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout – June 1st
Am I having issues with Armentrout as of late? Sure, but I still can’t help but be a little excited for this book. I feel like The Harbinger series is much better than its source series and on the bright side the writing and narrative work for this book, and I’m still interested in the plot; basically, it’s working for me. So I can still read this series. But if you ask me, this is the only Armentrout book worth spending my money on in 2021.
Danger, betrayal, and enticing forbidden love clash in book three of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Harbinger trilogy!
When Angels Fall
Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger.
Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options—and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome.
As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain—nothing will ever be the same.
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia – June 1st
Am I biased to this release because I’m friends with the author? Maybe. But there are many reasons to be hype for this book. First of all, look at this cover! The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! Second of all, a historical fiction and murder mystery thriller, all set in the Roaring 20s? Sounds like a must read to me. Lastly, this is released two days before my birthday so I already know what I want for my gift. I’m so proud of my friend and I not only can’t wait to read it but for everyone else to, as well. Seriously, I’m not over that cover. That’s the thing dreams are made of.
The start of an exciting new historical mystery series set in 1920s Harlem featuring Louise Lloyd, a young black woman caught up in a series of murders way too close to home…
Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.
Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.
When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her.
Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.