Five on Friday – 5 ARCs on my TBR List

Nothing like some late-night browsing on NetGalley, am I right? Faced with insomnia the other night this week, I coped by requesting a ton of ARCs (advanced readers copies), despite wanting to focus on books I already own this year.  I was lucky enough to be approved for several of them, so I thought I would share what books I will be reading and reviewing in the upcoming weeks.


1. The conductors

The Conductors

Author: Nicole Glover

Series: Murder and Magic

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis: A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Meet Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband, Benjy, have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

In this vibrant and original novel, Nicole Glover joins a roster of contemporary fantasy writers, such as Victor LaValle and Zen Cho, who use speculative fiction to delve into important historical and cultural threads.


Conductors on the Underground Railroad with magic and murder? Sign me up. I am actually a huge fan of historical fiction and read it almost exclusively before I got into reading fantasy novels, so I am very excited by the prospect of the combination of two of my favorite genres, combined with murder mystery, in one novel!


2. The Mask of Mirrors

Mask of Mirrors

Author: M.A. Carrick

Series: Rook and Rose

Release Date: January 21st, 2021

Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis: The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick.

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its

way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.



I was accepted for The Mask of Mirrors the evening before it released, ah! I feel incredibly lucky and am also reading as fast as humanely possible to get my review written, since the novel already released. Luckily, it’s an amazing novel and I am enthralled.


3. The helm of midnight

Author: Marina Lostetter

Series: The Five Penalties

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Synopsis: A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power–the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.



This synopsis gives me serious Jack the Ripper vibes in a fantasy setting! There are so many great new trilogies, like The Five Penalties starting this year! Waiting for the next entries in the series is going to be torture.


4. the stolen kingdom

Author: Jillian Boehme

Series: N/A

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Tor Teen

Synopsis: For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.


The Stolen Kingdom seems to have literally everything I could want—romance, political intrigue, and hopefully a strong heroine. I can’t wait to read this!




5. a master of djinn

A Master of Djinn

Author: P. Djèlí Clark

Series: Fatma El-Sha’arawi

Release Date: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Tordotcom

Synopsis: Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…


I am really intrigued by this alternative history steampunk Cairo that offers up LGBT+ representation. It doesn’t hurt that author S.A. Chakraborty blurbed the novel either. She seems to blurb everything I love, so I’m really hyped for this novel.



Hope you enjoyed this sneak peak on what ARCS I will be reading and reviewing in the upcoming weeks. I’m already eyeing up some other novels, such as Nothing but Blackened Teeth. So much for tackling the novels I already own. What upcoming releases have caught your eye so far this year? Let me know in the comments below!


Five on Friday : 5 Arcs on My TBR List - Blogging with Dragons

Posted January 22, 2021 in Book Reviews, Five on Friday


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