It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, as well as a few others you may have missed from recent weeks. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
Judy I. Lin’s sweeping debut A Magic Steeped in Poison, first in a duology, is sure to enchant fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her―the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi―masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making―she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Reasons to read it: The plot for this reminds me of the one from Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, and despite the incorporation of Asian mythology —specifically Chinese and Taiwanese in the case of this book— the two are of course very different. A magical tea tradition is such a unique angle for a YA fantasy, and it’s explored with such excellent pacing and an engaging mystery. Plus, Xiran Jay Zhao, author of Iron Widow said that it’s “A breathtaking tale with a stunning magic system rooted deep in Chinese mythology and tea-making traditions. Lin’s originality truly blew my mind. Love and magic overflows past the brim in this work of beauty.”
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q Sutanto
The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe—even the mafia—in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.
Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.
Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family—actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene—over their dead bodies—and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.
Reasons to read it: For the same group of ride-or-die aunties that you fell in love with in Dial A for Aunties. Meddy’s aunts go from trying to learn British slang to make her fiancé’s family more comfortable to being ready to risk it all against a mafia family to protect their niece. This is a dark comedy with hints of Crazy Rich Asians and a whole lot of family love.
Vagina Obscura by Rachel E. Gross, Illustrate by Armanda Veve
A scientific journey to the center of the new female body.
The Latin term for the female genitalia, pudendum, means “parts for which you should be ashamed.” Until 1651, ovaries were called female testicles. The fallopian tubes are named for a man. Named, claimed, and shamed: Welcome to the story of the female body, as penned by men.
Today, a new generation of (mostly) women scientists is finally redrawing the map. With modern tools and fresh perspectives, they’re looking at the organs traditionally bound up in reproduction―the uterus, ovaries, vagina―and seeing within them a new biology of change and resilience. Through their eyes, journalist Rachel E. Gross takes readers on an anatomical odyssey to the center of this new world―a world where the uterus regrows itself, ovaries pump out fresh eggs, and the clitoris pulses beneath the surface like a shimmering pyramid of nerves. Full of wit and wonder, Vagina Obscura is a celebratory testament to how the landscape of knowledge can be rewritten to better serve everyone.
Reasons to read it: Gross writes about how, in 1993, there was a federal mandate that “… required researchers to include women and minorities in clinical research.” Before that— and going all the way back to Ancient Greece— Gross describes just how male-centric health studies and medicine was. Coming to better understand the female body adds to the growing understanding of gender and sex, and the illustrations by Veve serve to add wonder and beauty to the journey.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
In the snowbound city of Kiev, wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son—but Hitler’s invasion of Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper—a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC—until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.
Reasons to read it: For a look into the life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who was born in 1916 in Ukraine and would go on to become known as Lady Death and history’s deadliest female sniper. Quinn’s extensive research into Pavlichenko’s life and the time are shown through excellent characterization and detailed accounts of what being a sniper required.
The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson
A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, a former orphan, who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II and discovers her own voice and sexuality and finds a family when she gets a job at a cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson.
After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, a former orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers—and Rosa, the club’s waitress and performer. As the café and all who work there embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.
But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.
Reasons to read it: This is queer, historical fiction told in verse! In Berlin! In a cabaret! And if you’re thinking of the movie Cabaret with Liza Minelli, you’re not far off. The Berlin here, with its vibrant queer community and equally vibrant characters, is brought to life in all its splendor. You’ll be laughing and crying with Hilde and the people she meets as she comes to know herself while the world prepares for war.
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May
In the aftermath of World War I, a young woman gets swept into a glittering world filled with illicit magic, romance, blood debts, and murder in this lush and decadent debut novel.
To those who are bright and young, to those who are wild and wicked…welcome to Crow Island.
On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface. But when Annie Mason arrives at the idyllic summer getaway, she never expects to discover her enigmatic new neighbor is a witch.
When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Crow Island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit blood bargains might be death.
Reasons to read it: For a sapphic, magical retelling of The Great Gatsby. May’s prose expertly builds atmosphere and mystery while a slow-burn romance develops. The side characters are really engaging, and the dynamics between all characters is interesting to see. Hannah Whitten, author of For the Wolf, said that the book is “Brimming with romance and gilded with danger, Wild and Wicked Things is a heady, lyrical gem of a book.”
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new 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 Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!