February 2023 Book Releases

The month of love has five books I'm anticipating reading. A mythology retelling, a fantasy middle grade, a foodie romance, a teen Pride and Prejudice retelling, and a cute realistic book about boba and amigurumi dolls!

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

(Release Date: February 7th, 2023)
They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster. 

The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge—on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.

Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
As one of those people who fell in love with Greek Mythology thanks to Percy Jackson, I can't turn a blind eye to Stone Blind (sorry for the pin, but I had to 😅). Medusa is such an interesting character in Greek Mythology. Reading a take on her backstory could be amazing.

The Pearl Hunter by Miya T. Beck

(Release Date: February 7th, 2023)

Set in a world inspired by pre-Shogun era Japan, this is a stunning debut fantasy in the vein of Grace Lin about how a young pearl diver goes to the ends of the earth to rescue her twin sister, who has been stolen by a ghost whale.

Kai and Kishi share the same futon, the same face, and the same talent for pearl diving. But Kishi is the obedient daughter, while Kai tries to push the rules, and sometimes they fight. Still, when Kishi is stolen and killed by the legendary Ghost Whale, nothing will stop Kai from searching for her, deep in the ocean, hoping for a way to bring her back to life.

But such a rescue is beyond the power of an ordinary mortal. Kai strikes a deal with the gods: she’ll steal a magic pearl in exchange for her sister’s soul. As she journeys across treacherous landscape, Kai must navigate encounters with scheming bandits, a power-hungry war lord, and a legion of conniving fox spirits.  And when a new friendship becomes something almost as powerful as her love for her sister, Kai must make impossible choices and risk everything just to get home again.

Woven through with Japanese culture and legends, this many-layered story will grip readers of all ages.

I read a Korean picture book called The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story last year. It's about a tradition of divers diving and obtaining the "treasures" of the ocean to sell at the market. The title reminded me of that book. Of course, this one has sisters and a fantasy element that makes it sound like one of the Rick Riordan Presents books. I'm expecting great things.

Best Served Hot by Amanda Elliot

(Release Date: February 21st, 2023)

By day, Julie Zimmerman works as an executive assistant. After hours, she’s @JulieZeeEatsNYC, a social media restaurant reviewer with over fifty thousand followers. As much as she loves her self-employed side gig, what Julie really wants is to be a critic at a major newspaper, like the New York Scroll. The only thing worse than the Scroll’s rejection of her application is the fact that smarmy, social-media-averse society boy Bennett Richard Macalester Wright snagged her dream job.

While at the Central Park Food Festival, Julie confronts the annoyingly handsome Bennett about his outdated opinions on social media and posts the resulting video footage. Julie's follower count soars—and so does the Scroll’s. Julie and Bennett grudgingly agree to partner up for a few reviews to further their buzz. Online buzz, obviously.

Over tapas, burgers, and more, Julie and Bennett connect over their shared love of food. But when the competitive fire between them turns extra spicy, they'll have to decide how much heat their relationship can take.

My love of foodie reads and my attempt at finding contemporary romance books I'll actually like make Best Served Hot an obvious read. I read in a review that the romance actually takes a backburner and self-growth is more of the central plot which makes me want to read it even more. And the enemies-to-lover aspect... Yep, I have to give this one a try.

Lola at Last by J.C. Peterson

(Release Date: February 28th, 2023)

This Pride and Prejudice–inspired tale—a companion to JC Peterson’s Being Mary Bennet—spins a modern Lydia Bennet’s life into a tumultuous and hilarious coming-of-age journey, complete with misadventures, misunderstandings, mayhem, and a romance worthy of Darcy and Elizabeth themselves.

Lola Barnes’s summer is not off to the best start.

Fresh off a scandal that tanked her social status, Lola has somehow managed to also alienate her twin sister, lose the friends she thought she had, and put a . . . fiery end to the first party of the summer.

(The boat was barely on fire, for the record—and all the partygoers were just fine.)

Lola is given an ultimatum: jail time, or spend the summer with the nonprofit Hike Like a Girl.

Everyone seems to expect Lola to fail. But even as Lola encounters bugs, blisters, and bears (oh my!), she finds something greater that she’d been missing all along: unexpected friends, a sweet romance, strength she didn’t know she had—and herself, Lola, at last.

It's a Pride and Prejudice retelling with Lydia Bennet as the star. That's all I needed to know but she's also spending the summer in the great outdoors? Hell, yeah. If I like this companion novel I'll read Being Mary Bennet. I'm ecstatic to read this book at a time when I'm into most YA that's saying something.

(Release Date: February 28th, 2023)
This middle grade contemporary follows a big-hearted Taiwanese American girl as she aims to gain her family’s acceptance and save her favorite boba tea shop by selling her handcrafted amigurumi dolls.

Pearl Li is ready to spend the summer before seventh grade hanging out with her two best friends, crocheting the cutest amigurumi dolls, and visiting her favorite tea shop, Boba Time. Its quirky owner, Auntie Cha, is the only adult Pearl can confide in about her art—if only her tech-obsessed family would understand her love of crafts!

After Pearl learns of Boba Time’s financial troubles, she decides to sell her amigurumi to raise money for the shop. But as she navigates the ups and downs of running a business, Pearl realizes that monetizing her passion is more complicated than she could’ve ever imagined. Can Pearl save Boba Time before it’s too late?
This absolutely adorable cover reeled me in. I love that Pearl is starting her own business and it's something creative like an amigurumi doll. I think it's going to be super cute and a story where family takes a central stage. 

What books are you excited about this February?