01 Fable by Adrienne Young
There's a freckle-faced young lady staring unflinchingly at the reader from the striking cover of Adrienne Young's young adult fantasy book (with a pirate ship reflected in her blue, blue eye).
After a terrible storm that took her mother's life, young Fable was abandoned by her father, who's a powerful trader, to survive on an island filled with thieves and not much else.
She's had to rely on her survival skills to make it these long four years, and if she can find her father again, she'll have to make her way in a rough world made for men--and fight to set her own path.
Fable is the first in a two-book series, and the blurb promises "romance, intrigue, and adventure." Pirates, a plucky young heroine who rejects her expected place in society, and atmospheric descriptions of Young's imagined world. Yes, yes, yes.
02 One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
In Kate Stayman-London's One to Watch, Bea Schumacher is a popular plus-size fashion blogger who has Instagram fame, wonderful friends--and an unhealthy obsession with a male friend who's attached to someone else.
After she drunk-blogs scathing comments about the unrealistic body images of the stars of Main Squeeze (a reality TV show in which a single woman dates strangers hand-picked by the producers and aims to marry one of them), Bea is surprised when a show producer reaches out to her with an unexpected question: Would Bea consider starring in a season of Main Squeeze?
Bea finds the proposal laughable, then considers what it might mean for her career, for promoting body positivity, and maybe even for her lackluster romantic life. She's in--for a fantastic wardrobe, incredibly awkward moments, scripted romance, and a beautiful Malibu backdrop. What could go wrong?
(I finished this book! For my full review, see One to Watch.)
03 Murder in Old Bombay: A Mystery by Nev March
It's 1892 in British-controlled Bombay, and Captain Jim Agnihotri is recovering in a military hospital from an injury sustained in the line of duty.
He becomes obsessed with an unsolved mystery he keeps reading about in the newspaper: two young ladies from the same household plunged from a clock tower to their deaths, minutes apart. He's retiring from the military and has done some reporting, and Jim decides to set himself the task of determining what happened.
He becomes involved with the family whose daughter and ward died as he works to find clues, donning disguises, playing up his knowledge of different castes and social roles, and attempting to head off further disaster from those responsible for the deaths. His endearingly strong sense of duty complicates his mission as he tries to save those in need, avoid becoming emotionally entangled with a smart young woman who is out of his league socially, and keep to the job at hand.
This is an immersive story, with the flavors, sights, and sounds of colonial India underlying all of it. Nev March won the Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award for her debut title.
I received an advance copy of this title from NetGalley and Minotaur Books in exchange for an honest review. Murder in Old Bombay will be published November 10, 2020.
What are you reading now?
I haven't read a young adult fantasy book lately, and Fable is getting great reviews (Reese Witherspoon also picked it for her Hello Sunshine book club). Plus: pirates.
One to Watch intrigued me from the first murmurings I heard about it. It's a wonderful opportunity for a romantic story involving unapologetic body positivity, and I hope Bea doesn't fall into the somewhat common light fiction trap of having her self-esteem determined by men.
Murder in Old Bombay is my middle-of-the-night can't-sleep e-reader book, so I'm on cozy terms with it. I adore the colonial Indian setting and the emotionally closed off but exceptionally kind and wise main protagonist Captain Jim.