Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Releases I was Excited for but haven’t Read Yet

"Tope Ten Tuesday" in a white font mimicking handwriting on navy starry skies

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

This week’s prompt was “Books I was Excited for but haven’t Read yet” and it felt mostly aimed at “book that have been sitting around a while.” However, I’ve done one like that recently without particularly thinking the schedule through! For this prompt, then, I’m focusing on books that released in the UK (either as first release or, if it was a HB originally, now as PB) in the past four months that I want to read soon.

1. THE CITY OF DUSK, by Tara Sim

Book cover for THE CITY OF DUSK: title in silver on roundel of a city surrouned by black and gold decorative pattern

THE CITY OF DUSK is not Tara Sim’s first book, but it is the first book of hers that’s got a UK publisher. It is also the author’s first adult book, about warring heirs and magic.

It caught my attention because of the US publisher – Orbit. I love Orbit’s list in both countries, and I honestly don’t need to know much about a book to give it a go if it’s published by them. I was initially sad that it didn’t seem to have been picked up here. Luckily, it had been, just (in typical UK fashion when not announced as part of a US deal) announced much later!

2. THE BONE SPINDLE, by Leslie Vedder

Book cover for THE BONE SPINDLE: title in bronze on purple thorns with red

THE BONE SPINDLE is a YA fantasy debut that’s been pitched as a “gender-bent Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones.” It sounds like such a fun pitch.

I like gender-bent takes on fairy tales as that tends to give a lot more agency to the women (vs “traditional”, which is a reason I’m not such a fan of fairy tale retellings.) Plus Sleeping Beauty is one of the fairy tales I haven’t seen adapted much until recent years, which is probably because the princess has no agency as she’s asleep and there are some iffy questions around consent given the whole sleeping thing.

3. THE BLOOD TRIALS, by N. E. Davenport

Book cover for THE BLOOD TRIALS: title in yellow on blue above a Black girl in warrior's clothes with a dagger

THE BLOOD TRIALS is a 2022 debut that is categorically adult (based on who the UK and US publishers are, the author’s comments, and early reviews) but is unfortunately being hyped as YA by readers. I suspect that this is largely due to the female author and the very YA-style cover.

I don’t know too much about this book, beyond revolution, magic, and possibly being science fantasy, but I know the author’s critique partner. The CP has been screaming about this book so long I figured it was definitely one to pick up and read myself.

4. A LESSON IN VENGEANCE, by Victoria Lee

Book cover for

Though this came out in the US last year, A LESSON IN VENGEANCE wasn’t published here until this year (and by a publisher who often releases later here.)

I felt rather so-so about Victoria Lee’s debut duology, THE FEVER KING and THE ELECTRIC HEIR, but I’ve enjoyed dark academia books of late, so I thought I’d give this one a try. Some people I know have rated it highly too, which nudged me to pick it up. I think it’s sapphic, potentially slightly historical (late 90s?) but I am probably very wrong on that final score!

5. FIRE BECOMES HER, by Rosiee Thor

Book cover for FIRE BECOMES HER: title in gold on navy sky above a girl in a gold dress

I found out that FIRE BECOMES HER was getting a UK publication about two weeks before release, which is what ultimately put it on the to-read list. Like A FAR WILDER MAGIC, this is Rosiee Thor’s second book, but the first to get a UK edition. I haven’t read her first book though.

What drew me to this book was the fact it’s about an aroacespec character in a 1920s inspired world ambitiously climbing the ranks during an election by manipulating a candidate. Every single bit of that sounds like my sort of thing.

6. REALM BREAKER, by Victoria Aveyard

Book cover for REALM BREAKER: hand bleeding holding sword on gold above

This is one I waited for PB before reading. I really like RED QUEEN but it’s been so long between the end of that series and this new one by Victoria Aveyard that I was very meh about the whole release because the wait made me lose interest.

However, since the original release, I’ve heard some things that make me more interested in the book – namely that, though it’s been marketed as YA, it feels much more like adult. The prevailing theory is that it’s YA only because of her past success, so trying to retain brand and audience. No idea how true that is, but I am hoping it feels much more adult as that’s more my thing.

7. THE BALLOON THIEF, by Aneesa Marufu

Book cover for THE BALLOON THIEF: title in white on blue with image of a hijabi-wearing girl

The final YA fantasy on this list, THE BALLOON THIEF is a UKYA debut. The fact they list is pretty skewed to YA does match my general reading habits so far this year of favouring other age ranges by percentage read.

I don’t really know much about this one – I mostly bought it as it’s UKYA (and I like to support the UK industry), and I like one of the editors who worked on it. I think it’s got something to do with revolutions? I’ve seen mixed reviews of it, so we’ll see what I end up thinking of it.

8. THE TWO-FACED QUEEN, by Nick Martell

Book cover for THE TWO FACED QUEEN: title in black above line drawing of an enthroned woman on white

This is another “waited for PB” this time for an adult fantasy. THE TWO-FACED QUEEN is the sequel to THE KINGDOM OF LIARS, which I enjoyed.

I originally thought that this series was a standalone with companion, but I have recently discovered that it’s in fact a trilogy. With that new knowledge, I am now wondering if I might not just wait until the final book comes out and binge my way through. After all, they are quite chunky books and I have a very big TBR I could focus on in the meantime.

9. HOLLOW EMPIRE, by Sam Hawke

Book cover for HOLLOW EMPIRE: title in gold above a crown on clouds

HOLLOW EMPIRE is the sequel to CITY OF LIES. This PB did technically come out at the start of December 2021, but I think there must have been a printing error/backlog as it wasn’t actually available to anyone until about February this year (hence I’ve snuck it onto this list.)

I read and loved CITY OF LIES at the end of 2020 (I think??) It is a great example of a siege book done right, and so I’m eager to finally see what comes next for the siblings. Unlike the previous, I am pretty certain that these two are more or less standalone companions following the same characters.


Book cover for BLACKHEART KNIGHTS: title above a knight on a motorbike in front of the hourse

BLACKHEART KNIGHTS is a very modern take on Arthurian legend where, as you might have guessed from the cover, the knights ride motorbikes rather than horses.

While I was so-so about Laure Eve’s THE GRACES duology (YA contemporary witchy fantasy) this adult fantasy (also a duology) sounds very different. I have a love-hate relationship with Arthurian stories, but I don’t think this is a direct reimagining (which is where my issues usually come in around whether the physical landscape is being used as a character), so going in with that idea might help. As it’s come out in PB and there’s a sequel somewhere on the way, it felt like time to pick this one up.

What recent books do you want to read?

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Releases I was Excited for but haven’t Read Yet

  1. Ironically, though Tara Sim’s newest book is the only one of hers that’s had a UK publisher, it’s also the only one I haven’t read. I loved the Timekeeper trilogy, which I was able to get through advance copies on Netgalley and Edelweiss, so I’d definitely like to read The City of Dusk, just not sure when. I also have A Lesson In Vengeance which I got when it released earlier in the year but still haven’t read yet, I feel like it’s one of those that I’m probably going to save for the autumn because it just has those kinds of vibes.
    My TTT:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saving LESSON for autumn sounds like SUCH a good plan. Why does dark academia have such autumnal vibes? Hope you enjoy CITY when you get around to it and maybe I’ll investigate the others after I read it – TIMEKEEPER does sound cool!


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