Bookending Winter: 2021 Releases I Can’t Wait to Read

Bookending Winter is an event hosted by Sam of Fictionally Sam and Clo of Cuppa Clo in which book bloggers from all over get together to discuss books using summer themes. There are lots of great prompts I’m excited to respond to.

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Sam of Fictionally Sam.

What are your top ten most anticipated reads for next year?

While there are tons of new releases I’m excited for in 2021, I’m going to prioritize books I own but haven’t read yet. See, I have this nasty habit of buying books faster than I can read them. I’m sure many of you are equally as cursed.

However, this means I’ll probably fall behind on new releases. That leads me to the question: which new releases will I make an exception for? Looking at my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf, it was actually easy to pick out only ten books. I just might be able to achieve my reading goals for 2021. So, what are my exceptions? Let’s find out.


Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Summary: With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know… until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along— the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

Release Date: February 23

My Impression: Rogers has said this book is more about Grace’s internal struggles than the romance, but either way I need to read this book. It sounds really good, especially for the place I am in life right now.


A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Summary: The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.

A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.

A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.

The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts— until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

Release Date: February 23

My Impression: I keep trying faerie books and I keep being disappointed, but this could finally be the one to break that streak. Why? Because the faeries are queer.


The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

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.

Release Date: March 23

My Impression: I’ve heard nothing but good things from early buzz. I’m also always down for a F/F romance in a fantasy novel. 


Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Summary: Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom— and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain— except the lengths they will go to win this game.

Deadly, fierce, magnetically addictive: this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word.

Release Date: April 20

My Impression: A precarious alliance? That leads to angst and romance (I’m pretty sure)? A Jamaican-inspired world? Sign me up!


One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

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.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

Release Date: June 1

My Impression: I have been eagerly anticipating this book since I read Red, White, & Royal Blue last year. I haven’t found a F/F romance I love quite as much as that one, but I think this might finally be it. Leave it to Casey McQuiston to outdo herself.


The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Summary: Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters— but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

Release Date: June 10

My Impression: I’ve been meaning to read Tasha Suri’s work for a while, but this one might be the place I start. Yes, the reason is once again because it’s a fantasy with a F/F romance.


She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

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.

Release Date: July 20

My Impression: Having grown up on Mulan, I am programmed to be intrigued by any story where a woman pretends to be a man for reasons. This particular story sounds dark and intense. I suspect it’s going to blow me away.


A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Summary: Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students— girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

Release Date: August 3

My Impression: I mean, it’s a sapphic dark academia story. I’ve been waiting for this book since it was announced a couple years ago.


Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Summary: From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hands sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

Release Date: September 7

My Impression: I was so bummed when the release date for this book got pushed back from 2020 to 2021. But we’re finally going to get it and I couldn’t be more excited.


The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

Summary: Sequel to The Midnight Lie.

Release Date: September 14

My Impression: I really enjoyed the first book. I desperately need to find out what happens after that cliffhanger and if Sid and Nirrim are able to live happily ever after.


What 2021 releases are you excited for? Tell me about them in the comments!

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