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Pub Day Shout-Outs! October 4, 2021 featuring Mbalia, Clayton, and Colbert

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)

Here are three books coming out today that I'm excited to read!

Book Cover of Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia

Kwame Mbalia's Tristan Strong Keeps Punching (Amazon |

Description from Publisher:

"Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the finale of Kwame Mbalia's trilogy, in which Tristan Strong faces off with his archenemy, King Cotton, once and for all.

"'Imagine if you combined Anansi the Spider, John Henry, and Marvel into, like, one book.'--New York Times best-selling author and Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander

"After reuniting with Ayanna, who is now in his world, Tristan travels up the Mississippi in pursuit of his archenemy, King Cotton. Along the way they encounter new haints who are dead set on preventing their progress north to Tristan's hometown of Chicago. It's going to take many Alkean friends, including the gods themselves, the black flames of the afokena gloves, and all of Tristan's inner strength to deliver justice once and for all.

"Shocking twists, glorious triumphs, and a cast of unforgettable characters make this series conclusion as satisfying as it is entertaining."

Why I want to read it: I absolutely loved Book 1 of this series, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, which I talked about in episode 170 where we discussed author imprints. (Don't miss Jen's review of that one!) I can't wait to get back to Tristan and his amazing group of friends and allies! I haven't read Book 2 yet but always love the joy of reading multiple books in a series back to back.


Book Cover of Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton's The Mirror: Shattered Midnight (Amazon |

Description from Publisher:

"The Mirror: Shattered Midnight is the second novel in the innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, J.C. Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it.

"Zora Broussard has arrived in New Orleans with not much more than a bag of clothes, a beautiful voice, and a pair of enchanted red shoes. Running from a tragic accident caused by her magic, Zora wants nothing more than to blend in, as well as to avoid her overbearing aunt and mean-spirited cousins. Music becomes Zora’s only means of escape, yet she wonders if she should give it all up to remove the powers that make her a target, especially as a Black woman in the South.

"But when Zora gets the chance to perform in a prominent jazz club, she meets a sweet white pianist named Phillip with magic of his own, including a strange mirror that foretells their future together. Falling into a forbidden love, Zora and Phillip must keep their relationship a secret. And soon the two discover the complicated connection between their respective families, a connection that could lead to catastrophe for them both. In the era of segregation and speakeasies, Zora must change her destiny and fight for the one she loves . . . or risk losing everything."

Why I want to read it: I am here for everything that Clayton writes! I loved The Belles and The Everlasting Rose, and I also thoroughly enjoyed Clayton's story in Blackout. (Don't miss where Sara talked about The Belles recently on episode 193!) I also love seeing the way that she collaborates with other authors, and this series is certainly centering collaboration! This is Book 2 in the Mirror series, and I can't wait to dive in!


Book Cover of Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert

Brandy Colbert's Black Birds in the Sky (Amazon |

Description from Publisher:

"A searing new work of nonfiction from award-winning author Brandy Colbert about the history and legacy of one of the most deadly and destructive acts of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre.

"In the early morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob marched across the train tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and into its predominantly Black Greenwood District—a thriving, affluent neighborhood known as America's Black Wall Street. They brought with them firearms, gasoline, and explosives. "In a few short hours, they'd razed thirty-five square blocks to the ground, leaving hundreds dead. The Tulsa Race Massacre is one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in US history. But how did it come to pass? What exactly happened? And why are the events unknown to so many of us today? "These are the questions that award-winning author Brandy Colbert seeks to answer in this unflinching nonfiction account of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In examining the tension that was brought to a boil by many factors—white resentment of Black economic and political advancement, the resurgence of white supremacist groups, the tone and perspective of the media, and more—a portrait is drawn of an event singular in its devastation, but not in its kind. It is part of a legacy of white violence that can be traced from our country's earliest days through Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement in the mid–twentieth century, and the fight for justice and accountability Black Americans still face today. "The Tulsa Race Massacre has long failed to fit into the story Americans like to tell themselves about the history of their country. This book, ambitious and intimate in turn, explores the ways in which the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre is the story of America—and by showing us who we are, points to a way forward."

Why I want to read it: I loved The Voting Booth and Little and Lion and am eager to read more by Colbert. Additionally, I absolutely loved Randi Pink's Angel of Greenwood, a YA lit historical fiction novel that focuses on the Greenwood Massacre, and it left me wanting to learn more about this horrific and important event in America. (See my review of that one here!) This one sounds fascinating and powerful, and I know that Colbert will be shedding light on an event American history has too long avoided.


There are so many books that sound absolutely amazing coming out today! Here are three more I'm excited to read.

Alix E, Harrow's A Spindle Splintered (Amazon |

Claire Vaye Watkins' I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness (Amazon |

Roshani Chokshi's Once More Upon a Time (Amazon |


(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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