This post is sponsored by Stephanie Burgis, author of The Harwood Spellbook series – thanks, Stephanie!
In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules…
Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life.
Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.
But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks…and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago.
To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness.
A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that begins a brand-new series for adults, published on September 4, 2017 as both an ebook and a paperback. Also available now as an audiobook, read by Emma Newman!
I wanted to do a feature to spotlight some books coming out next month from non-big 5 publishers which I’m especially excited about! There are a huge amount of great books coming in February, from publishers big and small. For more comprehensive lists of releases, check out Pop Goes The Reader (I highly recommend Jen’s great value Patreon!) and Rachel and Vicky’s 2021 Young Adult Book Releases Tumblr.
Self-published, out 1st Feb.
Three people have different reasons for wanting the legendary Oracle Stone, split into pieces and hidden centuries ago. Can they work together, or will they lose everything to the vengeful spirits trapped in the stone? Talli described this on Twitter a few days ago as a “high fantasy book about magic and sorcerers and characters finding their power, which has the added bonus of being queer af.” Pretty much all of those things are relevant to my interests, so I’m sold!
Quirk Books, out 2nd Feb.
I’m kicking myself because I managed to get spoiled for this, despite generally being good at avoiding spoilers, but it sounds great! It’s the story of Jess, who just wants to survive junior year without any drama. But drama keeps happening, and her small town is getting weirder and weirder. What’s going on? I have more of an idea than I want to, due to the spoiler, but I’m intrigued to find out more!
Erewhon Books, out 2nd Feb.
This dystopian is the only February release I’ve already read (thanks to the publisher for NetGalley approval!) Chadha creates a memorable world split between the ‘haves’ who live in a climate-controlled biodome, and the ‘have nots’ struggling in the slums outside. A smuggler with a robotic arm, the sister she’s desperate to protect, and a privileged hacker must work together after they discover a conspiracy. Chadha’s world-building is excellent and the book builds to a gripping climax which perfectly sets up the next book in the Mechanists series.
Holiday House, out 2nd Feb.
Charlie is a Fat Brown girl coming of age in a white Connecticut suburb. She’s thrilled when she starts a relationship with cute guy Brian. But then she finds out he asked out her best friend first. Popular, slim Amelia is always in Charlie’s corner – but was Charlie Brian’s second choice? This sounds like a gorgeous contemporary, full of heart, and isn’t Ericka Lugo’s cover art WONDERFUL?!
Sourcebooks Fire, out 2nd Feb.
Logan loves Delilah – so much that he’s set up a hidden camera to watch her. When he catches her killing her abusive stepfather, he decides she’s not as perfect as he thought he was. Delilah’s happy to be free of her stepdad, only to find herself a victim of Logan’s twisted fantasy. But if he won’t let her go – she’ll make him. The tagline for this one is “A classic sort of love story… except somebody might wind up dead.” From that summary, I know who I’m hoping the next corpse is! This definitely looks like a tense and gripping thriller.
Sourcebooks Fire, out 2nd Feb.
When he receives a liver transplant, Andre isn’t expecting it to come with the ability to time travel. Through this, he meets two boys – Michael in 1969 Boston and Blake in the present day. Blake’s the grieving brother of his donor, tasked with teaching him about time travel. Michael is everything Blake wants to be. Can he figure out where he belongs, before the consequences of time travel catch up with him? This sounds like a wonderful read, with reviews saying the main character and both love interests are really well-written. It’s also getting a lot of praise for exploring white privilege. (Both other guys are white, and Andre has to educate both of them about racism.)
Wattpad Books, out 2nd Feb.
After intimate pictures of girls are anonymously e-mailed to their entire school, the administration’s more worried about covering their back than finding out who did it. The seven victims, plus Eden, covering the story for the school newspaper, band together to find the culprit. Can they stop them before they strike again? Reviews from early readers describe this as a very good contemporary, with hard-hitting social commentary. I’m a big fan of books with large cast of characters, as well, so this definitely seems to be one I’ll like.
Scholastic Press, out 2nd Feb.
17-year-old Denver and her friends sing their way into the orbit of Merc, biggest R&B star in the world. But their dream turns into a nightmare – can Denver fight back?
I’ve gotten hooked on verse novels in the past few years – my latest read was Louisa Reid’s superb Gloves Off – and this is being compared to books by Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds, two of the best writers around. It’s also described as a perfect readalike to Tiffany D Jackson’s Grown, which blew me away. Reviewers say that it absolutely lives up to those comparisons!
Bloomsbury YA, out 2nd Feb.
At a birthday party, Nala falls for MC Tye. The only problem is, he’s really into activism and she’s not. Rather than admit to this, she tells a couple of white lies. The two get to know each other over the summer, but the lies spiral. As the romance continues, Nala learns love is hard, but self-love is revolutionary. This is getting tons of great reviews as a heartwarming story, with lots of comments about Nala’s wonderful character growth. Watson is often described as one of the most consistently excellent YA contemporary writers active today, and this sounds like a must-read.
Bloomsbury, out 9th Feb. (UK readers, it’s 4th March over there!)
Shy, closeted Marty moves to London to start a new life where he can explore his sexuality free from his parents’ disapproval. He makes new friends, gets a boyfriend, and even travels around Europe, but with his savings running out and anxiety getting worse, can he find a place that feels like home?
I miss London sooo freaking much, so I’m always excited to read books set there, and on Goodreads, early buzz for this has been fabulous (including praise from Dahlia Adler of LGBTQReads, who’s my go-to person for amazing recommendations.) It sounds like a sweet read with excellent mental health rep.
Duet Books, out 9th Feb.
18-year-old Wen Devante, superstar Insta influencer, reaches out to Kaye, one of their 2.3 million followers. The pair form a bond via Instagram and Zoom, and figure out how to have a meaningful relationship despite the COVID-19 crisis.
This short story will only be the second piece of fiction I’ve read set against the background of COVID-19 (The first was Julianne Benford’s adult novella Unlucky In Lockdown.) I’m intrigued by the concept here and Duet Books have a great track record on shorts; their anthology Summer Love being one of my all time favourite books. (For more on Summer Love, read part 1 of my Best Indie YA Books of the Last Decade!) while I’ve been wanting to read something by Kevin for ages. It’s part of Interlude Press’s Come What May month, which will see a digital short themed around isolation released every Tuesday in February. (I think the others are all adult, but Interlude are always worth checking out!)
HMH Books For Young Readers, out 23rd Feb.
The Cohen boys next door were like a surrogate family to Jessi, until she kissed one of them, and things went wrong. It’s a year later now, though, and Luke is back from college – and wants Jessi to do something. He asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend for the last few months of his mother’s life. She agrees, and is drawn back in for one final summer. This split-timeline tearjerker sounds like an incredibly emotional read, which will definitely require numerous tissues. Early reviews are that it’s sensationally good, with TV series This Is Us being a frequent comparison.
So, what’s coming out in February that you’re interested in reading/ Any of these 12 appeal? Let me know on Twitter! Oh, and UK-based readers, don’t worry – there’s a UK preview coming next Wednesday.
Thanks once again to Stephanie Burgis, author of Snowspelled and the rest of the Harwood Spellbook series, for sponsoring today’s post. If you’d like to sponsor an upcoming post, please go to my advertising and sponsorship page for details.