Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers by Erica Hannickel
The epitome of floral beauty, orchids have long fostered works of art, tales of adventure, and scientific discovery. Tenacious plant hunters have traversed continents to collect rare specimens; naturalists and shoguns have marveled at orchids’ seductive architecture; royalty and the smart set have adorned themselves with their allure. In Orchid Muse, historian and home grower Erica Hannickel gathers these bold tales of the orchid-smitten throughout history, while providing tips on cultivating the extraordinary flowers she features.
Consider Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria, the two most powerful women in nineteenth-century Europe, who shared a passion for Coelogyne cristata, with its cascading, fragrant white blooms. John Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, cultivated thousands of orchids and introduced captivating hybrids. Edmond Albius, an enslaved youth on an island off the coast of Madagascar, was the first person to hand-pollinate Vanilla planifolia, leading to vanilla’s global boom. Artist Frida Kahlo was drawn to the lavender petals of Cattleya gigas and immortalized the flower’s wilting form in a harrowing self-portrait, while more recently Margaret Mee painted the orchids she discovered in the Amazon to advocate for their conservation.
The story of orchidomania is one that spans the globe, transporting readers from the glories of the palace gardens of Chinese Empress Cixi to a seedy dime museum in Gilded Age New York’s Tenderloin, from hazardous jungles to the greenhouses and bookshelves of Victorian collectors. Lush and inviting, with radiant full-color illustrations throughout, Orchid Muse is the ultimate celebration of our enduring fascination with these beguiling flowers.
Queen of Myth and Monsters by Scarlett St. Clair
Isolde, newly coronated queen, has finally found a king worthy of her in the vampire Adrian. But their love for each other has cost Isolde her father and her homeland. With two opposing goddesses playing mortals and vampires like chess pieces against one another, Isolde is uncertain who her allies are in the vampire stronghold of Revekka.
Now, as politics in the Red Palace grow more underhanded and a deadly blood mist threatens all of Cordova, Isolde must trust in the bond she’s formed with Adrian, even as she learns troubling information about his complicated past.
Scatterlings by Resoketswe Manenzhe
In This journey, someone will get lost, someone will give up and turn back, and someone may go all the way to the end. All these people will try to tell you the story of what happened. Abram, a South African winemaker who might be English or Dutch (depending on whomever happens to be listening to his troubles) will tell you that things went wrong when his wife stopped loving him, when his children couldn’t be citizens of their country of birth, and his country tried to put him in prison and steal his vote and estate. He will also tell you that in a twist of irony, his treason came about because he loved his wife and children.
Abram’s wife, Alisa, will tell you that things went wrong much earlier than that. She will outline the details of her displacement with some simplicity. This is what she knows: her ancestors were brought to the Caribbean islands as slaves, she was born in 1882, and after her birth parents died she was adopted by an Englishman who raised her in the United Kingdom.
Then there’s Dido, their troubled, eldest daughter; there’s also an angry man along the way and a woman who kept a secret she shouldn’t have. That’s how the story starts. And even the wind doesn’t know who will get lost, who will turn back, and who will eventually reach home.
Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green
At the start of summer, Jack and Nate find themselves dumped as their respective exes, Dylan and Tariq, start up a new relationship together. Not only that, their exes start posting pics on social media, showing the whole world how fabulous their new life together is!
Jack and Nate are reeling. Not to be outdone, they decide to create their own ‘highlights reel’ and show their exes that they’re having an even better time.
But between the depressing motorway service station motels, damp campsites, and an ultimate showdown with the exes, something epic really is happening: Jack and Nate are learning to get over their heartache and open themselves up to new possibilities for love.
So, This Is Love by Tracy Andreen
In the sequel to Tracy Andreen’s debut romantic comedy So, This Is Christmas, Finley and Arthur are back at boarding school and neither quite knows where the other stands–are they couple? Are they not a couple? What does one magical Christmas Eve kiss in Oklahoma mean for their relationship status? This confusion isn’t helped by the re-entry of old enemies into their school lives, especially ones that may or may not be crushing on Arthur. Finley is at a loss when navigating the complexities of her new (maybe) relationship, which could very well turn into love. . . if she doesn’t blow it.
How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler
A queer, mixed race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature: the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs, the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams, the bizarre Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena), and other uncanny creatures lurking in the deep ocean, far below where the light reaches. Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a book that invites us to envision wilder, grander, and more abundant possibilities for the way we live.