Lisa’s Looking Forward To #123 – September 7th, 2021

Posted September 1, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in LLFT / 12 Comments

Lisa’s Looking Forward To #123 – September 7th, 2021

Once again I’ll be joining up with the Can’t Wait Wednesday posts hosted by Wishful Endings.

As usual, the first official release week of a month has a TON of books to share. So let’s just get started!

This is one that I actually got a finished copy of from Bookish First. I should be reading and posting a review before pub date hopefully!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. 

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:

Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.

Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.

Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.

Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.

As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

Love the cover and it sounds like a good contemporary read.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

This one sounds like an adorable premise, and again, the cover totally got me!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Get ready to laugh out loud with this hilarious romantic comedy featuring:
• A grumpy firefighter who thinks his way is the only way
• A bubbly yoga teacher who prefers to go with the flow
• Adorable Dalmatians who swap places—and the chaos that ensues
• An opposites-attract romance that’ll warm your heart


Violet March and Sam Nash are as different as night and day and have been enemies ever since Violet accused Sam of dognapping her beloved Dalmatian. Sam knows that’s impossible—for one thing, his dog Cinder is a well-trained fire safety dog who never steps out of line. Violet’s dog Sprinkles, on the other hand, has never met a command that she didn’t ignore completely, much like her bubbly owner. So when Sprinkles and Cinder accidentally switch places during the annual police vs. fire department softball tournament, Violet is thrilled by her dog’s sudden perfect behavior, while stubborn-yet-charming Sam is horrified to find that his dog no longer listens.

But when the dogs are eventually switched back, Sam and Violet are shocked to find that not everything is as simple as it seems. And a little puppy love might be just the thing they’ve been missing… 

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

This was one I was really excited for and so I reached out to the publisher earlier this year for a copy. I love books that have to do with circus performers in any way, even if I feel like they don’t do that well because teens today may not have ever been to a circus or really know what they are anymore. I did get an ARC and am currently reading it. I should be doing a review later this week!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London, perfect for fans of The Last Magician and The Gilded Wolves.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die. 

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t. 

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is. 

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I really like the cover, and the comparison in the blurb to Black Mirror intrigues me as well.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

BLACK MIRROR meets Darcy Coates in this exploration of the dangerous, dark side of beauty in the digital age, with a gothic, haunted-house setting.

When Izzy is dragged from Brooklyn to a tiny town for her parents’ new job, she’s not thrilled. The silver lining is the gorgeous old mansion she’s moved into: the former home of an artist’s muse who died tragically in a fire. But the house has its quirks: whole floors are closed off, paintings are covered up, and cell reception is nonexistent.

Izzy throws herself into starting an Instagram fashion account using the gowns and jewelry she finds hidden away in the house. She looks perfect in the photos–almost unnaturally perfect–and they quickly go viral. Soon she’s got a new best friend, a potential boyfriend, and is surrounded by a group of girls who want the photoshoots and fame for themselves. But there’s a darkness in the house, and a darkness growing in Izzy, too. When girls start dying, it’s clear that something–or someone–in the house is growing in power, with deadly intentions.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I like the idea of the demonologist parents, makes me think of Ed and Lorraine Warren that are now famous from the Conjuring movie series.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents’ reputation as demonologists. Not to mention she’s the family outcast, lacking her parents’ innate abilities, and is terrified of the occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver is supposed to be enjoying the summer before his senior year, spending his days thinking about parties and friends. Instead he’s taking care of his little sister while his mom slowly becomes someone he doesn’t recognize. Soon he suspects that what he thought was grief over his father’s death might be something more…sinister.

When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they come face to face with deeply disturbing true stories of cults, death worship, and the very nature that drives people to evil.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

Another one where the first paragraph of the synopsis made me want to read it. While I’ve never read anything by Jenny Han, I do love her tv series from her books. I also love the cultural aspect it sounds like it will have.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.

Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.

But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.

The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.

But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

The cover grabbed me first, but then it also sounds like a fun rom-com.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

In this witty and heartfelt rom-com debut for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Emily Henry, and Tessa Bailey, an Indian-American woman signs herself and her boyfriend up for a matchmaking site to prove they’re a perfect match, only to be paired with her ex instead.

High school sweethearts Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao were the golden couple, until the day he broke her heart. Now, six years later, Rita has turned her passion for furniture restoration into a career and has an almost-perfect boyfriend, Neil. The last thing she needs is for Milan to re-enter her life, but that’s exactly what happens when her mother, an unfailing believer in second chances, sets them up. Milan is just as charming, cocky, and confident as he was back in school. Only this time, he actually needs her business expertise, not her heart, to flip a hard-to-sell house for his realty agency. 

While Rita begrudgingly agrees to help, she’s not taking any risks. To prove she’s definitely over him, she signs herself and Neil up on MyShaadi.com, a Desi matchmaking site famous for its success stories and trustworthy enough to convince everyone that she and Neil are the new and improved couple. Instead, she’s shocked when MyShaadi’s perfect match for her isn’t Neil…it’s Milan. Ignoring the website and her mother is one thing, but ignoring Milan proves much more difficult, especially when she promises to help him renovate the beach house of her dreams. And as the two of them dive deeper into work—and their pasts—Rita begins to wonder if maybe her match wasn’t so wrong after all….

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

School shooting stories always are emotional, and I like the way this one sounds like it is going to be handled.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Kyrie McCauley, author of If These Wings Could Fly, delivers a powerful contemporary YA novel about a trio of girls fighting for each other in the aftermath of a school shooting and the lasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby and Mindy McGinnis.

“Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir to the Bell fortune took his father’s guns to school and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra Queen.” —WE CAN BE HEROES PODCAST

Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost.

When their murals catch the attention of a podcaster covering Cassie’s case, they become the catalyst for a debate that Bell Firearms can no longer ignore. With law enforcement closing in on them, Beck and Vivian hurry to give Cassie the closure she needs—by delivering justice to those responsible for her death.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I like the idea of the ride-share/Uber romance!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

When Mari hails a rideshare to a music festival, the last thing she expects is for the car to pick up a gorgeous guy along the way. Mari doesn’t believe in dating–it can only end with a broken heart. Besides, she’s only staying at her dad’s house in Chicago for the weekend. How close can you get to a guy in three days?

TJ wants to study art in college, but his family’s expectations cast a long shadow over his dreams. When he meets Mari in the back of a rideshare, he feels alive for the first time in a long time.

Mari and TJ enter the festival together and share an electric moment but get separated in a crowd with seemingly no way to find each other. When fate reunites them (with a little help from a viral hashtag), they’ll have to decide: was it love at first sight, or the start of nothing more than a weekend fling?

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

This sounds like it could be a fun story, but also with some really deep issues.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

It’s the night of senior prom, and eighteen-year-old Julia has made a pact with her friends. (Yes, that kind of pact.) They have secured a secluded cabin in the woods, one night without parental supervision, and plenty of condoms. But as soon as they leave the dance, the pact begins to unravel. Alex’s grandmother is undergoing emergency surgery, and he and his date rush to the hospital. Zoe’s trying to figure out how she feels about getting off the waitlist at Yale–and how to tell her girlfriend. Madison’s chronic illness flares, holding her back once again from being a normal teenager. And Julia’s fantasy-themed role play gets her locked in a closet. Alternating between each character’s perspective and their ridiculous group chat, The Night When No One Had Sex finds a group of friends navigating the tenuous transition into adulthood and embracing the uncertainty of life after high school.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

Okay, as soon as I saw the comparison to The Conjuring, I was intrigued!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

The Conjuring meets Sadie when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an internship in a haunted house and finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit.

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

So for some reason the cover of this immediately made me think of A Clockwork Orange. I’m not sure why. But then I saw the mask and read the blurb, and it sounds like it could be good. It has a lot of current day issues and for teens dealing with them that makes it probably a really important read.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Geth Montego only has three friends. There’s her best friend Tovah, who’s been acting weird ever since they started applying to the same colleges. Then there’s Diego, who she wants to ask to prom, but if she does it could ruin everything. And there’s the K-pop band BTS, who she’s never seen up close but she’s certain she’d be BFFs with every member of the group if she ever met them for real.

Then Geth’s small town of New Rochelle, New York, becomes the center of a virus sweeping the world. Schools are closed, jobs are lost, and the only human contact she has is over Zoom. After a confrontation with cops, Geth gets caught up in the Black Lives Matter movement and finds herself having to brave the dangers she’s spent months in quarantine trying to avoid.

Geth’s friends, family, and hometown are upended by the pandemic and the protests. Geth faces a choice: Is she willing to risk everything to fight for her beliefs? And what exactly does she believe in, anyway?

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I love the idea of this choose your own story book! And that cover is great too.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Choose your path forward in this mystical interactive YA about the powers of friendship, self-discovery, and tarot.

It’s the summer before college and four best friends—Amelia, Chase, Cleo, and Logan—are on the first leg of their road trip inspired by the unique tarot deck that Amelia inherited from her grandmother. However, their trip full of visiting occult shops, bonding and sightseeing, takes a major detour as the friends discover that their tarot deck is more valuable—and coveted—than they could’ve ever imagined. As the friends race to finish this mystical scavenger-hunt across the West coast and uncover the mysteries of their tarot deck, it is you who will decide where to go next and how the story will end. With four possible final and romantic endings, you will get to make actual choices to further the friends’ road trip adventure in this unique interactive novel.

​Will you uncover the mysteries of the tarot deck and the legacy left behind? Will you help Amelia and Chase learn and grow? And will you unravel the secrets these friends keep from each other—and from themselves?

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I like the sound of this romance too. And also the cover is fun, I love the alternating blue and yellow of their clothes and the backgrounds.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Up-and-coming musician Tom thinks he met the love of his life one night a year ago, but thanks to a made-up girlfriend, he’s pretty sure he’s never going to see her again. If it weren’t for the painkillers the doctor had given him for his dislocated shoulder, he could’ve explained what really happened. But now the moment for explanations has gone, so he just keeps writing songs about her in the wild hope that she’ll hear one on the radio and understand.

Jess thinks she met a cheating liar one night a year ago, but much to her chagrin, she can’t seem to stop thinking about him. When she finally decides to take it upon herself to tell Tom’s girlfriend what happened that night, she finds out that the truth isn’t quite what she thought it was. But by then it’s too late—she’s headed to the other side of the world to launch her comedy career.

As the years go by, Tom and Jess are never far from each other’s thoughts. But every time it seems that there might be a way for them to move forward, something else conspires to keep them apart. In life and in love, timing is everything—but will Tom and Jess ever manage to get it right?

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

It sounds like this book might touch on some good points in ways we don’t always think about or that we let slide because of friends/family.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Uly would rather watch old Westerns with his new girlfriend, Sallie, than get involved in his school’s messy politics—why focus on the “bad” and “ugly” when his days with Sallie are so good? His older sister Regina feels differently. She is fed up with the way white school-body presidential candidate Leona Walls talks about black students. Regina decides to run against Leona . . . and convinces Uly to be her campaign manager.

Sallie has no interest in managing her sister’s campaign, but how could she say no? After their parents’ death, Leona is practically her only family. Even after Leona is accused of running a racist campaign that targets the school’s students of color—including Sallie’s boyfriend, Uly—Sallie wants to give her sister the benefit of the doubt. But how long can she ignore the ugly truth behind Leona’s actions? 

Together and apart, Uly and Sallie must navigate sibling loyalty and romantic love as the campaign spirals toward a devastating conclusion.

CW: Acts of racism and bigotry, racist language, and gun violence are portrayed in this novel.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

I know some people say they don’t want to read about the pandemic, but I personally like to read about things I’ve experienced and see it from other people’s viewpoints, or even just to commiserate with what I’ve been dealing with. So this one sounds good!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

A witty and thought-provoking YA love story set during the COVID-19 quarantine, written by two NYT bestselling authors, with shades of Five Feet Apart and Anna and the French Kiss . 

Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, when everything changes completely. Could there be a worse time to meet? Max’s part-time job at a supermarket is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah’s preexisting anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max, Jonah, and their friends live together but apart through hijinks, humanity, and heartbreak, Hello (From Here) cuts across urgent matters much bigger than a teenage crush. Differences of class, privilege, mental health, and sacrifice are thrown into stark relief by the profound and personal stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) looks at the first two months of the quarantine and adds falling hopelessly in love to the mess.

Sound good? Add to Goodreads HERE.

Final Thoughts:

Wow, don’t think I’ve had that many to share in a long time, 17!! And actually I had a couple more listed that turned out to have been postponed. Crazy. Lots of good books coming out. Guess that means publishing is getting back into full swing.

Have you read any of these yet? What new books are you eagerly awaiting this week?

So my monthly giveaway ended yesterday and I haven’t put up my latest EOM, but my 12th Blogoversary giveaway is still going HERE.

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12 responses to “Lisa’s Looking Forward To #123 – September 7th, 2021

  1. Jasmine Project was so good. That family was too much! Spot of Trouble was adorable. The dogs really put it over the top for me. Never Saw You Coming, Shaadi Setup, The Pick-Up – liked those too. I am curious about Perfect Timing. I love missed/made opportunity stories.

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