I really can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am that fall is here! This is my favorite time of year to curl up with a blanket and a book, and my geriatric pug agrees wholeheartedly. Her preference is for me to spend as much time as possible on the couch snuggling her, and who am I to argue? If you need some books to accompany your own pet snuggles this month, check out these new titles! This will be my last blog for a little while, so enjoy and I’ll see you again next year with some winter releases!
“The Blackwoods” by Brandy Colbert
Cousins Hollis and Ardith Blackwood loved their great-grandmother dearly—and so did the rest of the country. Blossom “Bebe” Blackwood was a wildly popular Black actress, and now that she’s passed, her great-granddaughters have to navigate grieving while in the spotlight. Ardith has always loved the limelight, starring in television since childhood and dreaming of following in Blossom’s footsteps. But now that her beloved Bebe is gone, Ardith has lost her mentor and confidante, and the pressures of fame and everyone’s expectations begin to feel like too much. Hollis on the other hand, is content to live life quietly, with as much privacy as a famous Hollywood family can afford. So when personal secrets start appearing in the press, she’s left unsure of who to trust and where to turn. This is told from three different perspectives, that of Ardith and Hollis and of a young Blossom in the 1940s, struggling to make it in Hollywood. Sure to please fans of celebrity novels, this book also offers an insightful and complex look at sexism, addiction and racism.
“Sinner’s Isle” by Angela Montoya
Rosa has spent most of her life on Sinner’s Isle, an island populated by women with magic. These women, called Majestics, are feared and hated by society, so they have been kept exiled and captive on the island. The only way a Majestic is allowed to leave is if she’s bound to a wealthy man who will control her powers. The king and his noblemen visit the island once a year for the Offering, when all the Majestics who have come of age are paraded in front of them. Rosa has powerful shadow magic, and will most likely be the choice of the corrupt king. She’s desperate to escape, and when her own attempt fails she turns to an unlikely ally. Mariano, known as the Prince of Pirates, has recently shipwrecked on Sinner’s Isle. He’s eager to escape himself, preferably with treasure and aboard a stolen ship, but when he meets Rosa his plans start to shift. Yes, there’s a bit of insta-love, but there’s also some lovely banter and fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure. The Latin American folklore is seamlessly woven into excellent world-building and well–developed characters. Witches and pirates y’all.
“The Spells We Cast” by Jason June
We’ll finish up with another fantasy romance, this time with a queer cowboy magician. Nigel is 18, which means this is the year he participates in the Culling, a competition in which all 18-year-old magicians are put through various trials. The winners will join the Guild and use their magic to fight the Depraved (essentially demons), and all the rest will have their magic stripped away forever. Nigel has been raised by his grandma and distant father on their Texas ranch, and is eager not just to prove his worth as a magician but also to interact with other teens like him. What he doesn’t expect is the instant crush on his fellow competitor Orion—or the boost their magic receives when they touch. Orion is determined to win and has little time for romance, but as the two boys are pushed together in the trials their connection is undeniable. In a system designed to control magic, their combined power may prove more of a threat than an advantage, and Nigel and Orion will have to navigate dangers both from the Depraved and the Guild.