The City Of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty Review

The City Of Brass by S.A. ChakrabortyThe City Of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Pages: 528

Summary: Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass? A city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The City Of Brass is an enchanting and immersive fantasy debut! We follow Nahri as she embarks to the City Of Brass and learns more about who she is! There’s politics, intrigue, vivid world-building, and a richly plotted tale that will take you on a grand adventure!

Set in 18th century Cairo, The City Of Brass follows Nahri, a thief who uses her tricks as a con artist, abilities to speak a number of languages (even ones where she is unaware of their origins) and her ability to sense ailments or sickness in people, just to get by.

When she gets called to heal a young girl by the name of Baseema, whose been possessed by a djinn, or more specifically an ifrit, she soon finds herself being attacked by ifrit and ghouls, until Dara, an ancient djinn warrior comes to her rescue!

He helps her flee and tells her that she’s being followed and it won’t stop until she’s safe in Daevabad, the legendary City Of Brass.

She’s never believed in magic, regardless of the tales she hears, but that all changes when she embarks on her grand adventure!

While on their way to The City Of Brass, Nahri learns more about her origins as both she & Dara learn more about each other and of the magic + history of Daevabad.

What really surprised me about this novel aside from the intricate plot, was the dual POV! I was not expecting it and it really brought depth to the overall story and you can’t help but fall in love with both of our narrators, Nahri & Ali.

We have Nahri, the main character to who finds herself leaving her home in Cairo behind to reach the City Of Brass and Alizayd al Qahtani, a prince of Daevabad who lives within the City Of Brass.

Additionally, a few prevalent themes I found in this novel was identity and acceptance. As Nahri learns more about her origins, we see her coming to accept this new identity and past she never knew she had. Yet, we also see how she struggles to understand who she is as she finds herself forcing to adapt to this new identity in the City Of Brass.

As for Ali, he knows he will always have his fascination for the human world and not be the outgoing or forceful ruler as his brother Muntadhir, but accepts that he is well aware he wants to bring change to his city and will do what he can.

Throughout the story, we also learn more about Ali’s family, like his brother, sister, and father, and the stark differences that make Ali feel like he doesn’t belong and the change he hopes to bring to Daevabad if he is to ever become ruler.

I also really loved how Chakraborty built Narhi and Ali’s development when they slowly start to build a friendship, how alike they really are and how they find where they belong in their world.

I loved following both of them on their own individual journeys and seeing how their stories intertwine as the story progresses.

While both Nahri & Ali are equally fascinating & compelling characters, I couldn’t help but really love Ali!! He’s smart, shy, and underestimated at points throughout, but just wants to do whats right for the city and his people.

I really find stories surrounding djinn to be so fascinating and this novel really builds a rich history into this 19 century setting, from the culture of the djinn, differing tribes, to Suleiman & his seal. Additionally, what also drew me to this book aside from intriguing summary, was the mention that it was perfect for fans of The Golem And The Jinni (one of my all-time favorite books 💕)

While this novel is more fast-paced, I definitely found that elements of this novel really reminded me of The Golem And The Jinni and can see why they were compared!

I’ve always been hesitant with 3rd person POV, but Chakraborty easily weaves in both Nahri and Prince Ali’s POV’s beautifully as they build both the setting and history of the world, not only of 19th century Cairo, but of Davebad too!

Through the writing-style you really get a wide scope of not only the world, but the characters too and can’t help but connect with them as you learn more about their past and their own agendas.

The characters and mystery of the plot were just some of the many aspects that I adored about The City Of Brass so much! ❤ ❤

The overall world and atmosphere of the story is immersive and magical. The City Of Brass was one of those novels, for me, that really took me on an adventure and just immersed me into such a complex and dazzling world!

I’m also a big fan of politics woven throughout fantasy tales, and this novel really makes it such an integral part of the story (especially through Ali’s POV). From the inner workings of the palace as Ali tries to keep his own secrets hidden, to the politics that surround the differing djinn as they live in Davebad.

The plot is rich and there’s so much depth to it, once you reach the last page, you just have to know more!

My only issue was that the plot did start to get slow-paced at some points throughout and was hoping for some more depth to Dara and the writing at points to expand on certain aspects of the plot.

The City Of Brass is a richly woven tale with politics, fascinating world-building, and a stellar cast of characters! You’ll find yourself turning the page as you become enchanted with the mysterious and immersive city of Davebad!

This is not a debut to miss!

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November 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh1. Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Rebel Seoul Full Review

Publisher: Tu Books ( Imprint of Lee & Low Books)

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Pages: 389

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This brilliantly plotted YA Sci-Fi/ Dystopia is set in a futuristic Korea and follows Lee Jaewon who is an ex-gang member, who now attends a prestigious military academy. He learns more about his government after an exam gets him assigned to looking after Tera (a super soldier). The writing and plot are so detailed and complex that you get such an immersive view into this sci-fi/dystopian future that Oh delivers with so much heart. This is very much a character and plot-driven story that just builds and builds to the very end! There’s action, politics, intrigue, and robots! 

Gray Wolf Island Tracy Neithercott2. Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Gray Wolf Island Full Review

Publisher: Knopf BYR

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: When Ruby’s twin passes away, she sets out to fulfill her last wish to find the rumored treasure of Gray Wolf Island. There’s mystery, great character dynamics, and atmospheric writing that really brings the story to life. If your looking for an adventure tale with vivid setting, characters, and a hint of magic, this is definitely the book for you!

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes3. The Little Queen by Meia Geddes

The Little Queen Full Review

Publisher: Poetose Press

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Pages: 110

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This is an enchanting story that reads very much like a timeless fairy tale as we follow The Little Queen as she sets out a journey across her kingdom, figures out what it means to be a ruler, and makes new friends along the way. For such a short book, I really resonated with the inspiring messages about life, overcoming fears and change! I easily became connected to the characters and the magical world of The Little Queen.

Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman4. Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (Vengeance Road #2)

Retribution Rails Full Review

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 374

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Retribution Rails was wonderful conclusion to Vengeance Road! With a new set of characters set 10 years after and told through dual POV, we follow Rose Riders gang member Reece Murphy and aspiring journalist Charlotte Vaugn as the search for the owner of a mysterious gold coin brings them together! I loved the characters so much and this was such a plot-driven story that you really get a full scope of 1880’s Arizona. While there were so many things I loved about this book, the pacing did get pretty slow throughout the middle, felt some characters could have been expanded on a little more and wanted even more development with Reece & Charlotte! But overall this was such a character-driven and action packed addition to Vengeance Road that really stands great on its own!

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O' Neill5.The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’ Neill

The Tea Dragon Society Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: October 18, 2017

Pages: 72

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows Greta when she saves an injured tea dragon and is given the opportunity to learn more about them. This story is just so heart-warming and adorable! With friendship and the beauty of art and craft such prevalent themes of this story, you really become enchanted by the world of the tea dragons! Its also very diverse with characters of color, glbt relationships hinted at throughout, characters with disabilities and differing body-types! The Tea Dragon Society is whimsical, magical, and enchanting! Such a wonderful read!

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga6. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Here We Are Now Full Review

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 304

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Another deep and character-driven YA Contemporary from Jasmine Warga! This novel is about family and you really sense that throughout the story. Following Tal, she reconnects with her rock-star father when he shows up at her door to explain that his father is passing away and would like her to see him. From there she learns more about what caused her parents to split and the importance of family, music, and new beginnings! You know when you read a book at just the right time? That’s what reading Here We Are Now was like! I loved the writing, characters, and the important themes weaved throughout. If your looking for a moving and intricately woven YA Contemporary, this is definitely one to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: Podcast Recs. Based On YA Books {Sci-Fi}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄✨📚

Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott Review

Gray Wolf Island Tracy NeithercottGray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Publisher: Knopf BYR

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 336

Summary:Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Character-driven, chilling, and atmospheric, we follow Ruby as she sets out with a task to find the fabled treasure on Gray Wolf Island! With a beautiful writing-style, fantastic cast of characters, and both mystery + adventure with every page, you’ll be immersed as you uncover the secrets woven throughout the story!

What I loved about Gray Wolf Island so much, was how the descriptive and atmospheric writing-style really brought setting and characters to life! It really builds the setting, emotions, and depth to the story!

Ruby Caine lives in the sleepy town of Wildewell, where rumors and theories about the treasure on Gray Wolf Island are always churning. Her twin sister Sadie has been passionate about finding the treasure and Ruby knows it. So, sadly when Sadie passes away she leaves Ruby with a task, to discover the treasure she could never find.

So one year later, with the present grief of losing her twin, she still keeps the promise in the back of her mind. When by a chance of fate, browsing the public library with Doris, the elderly woman she’s in charge of looking after at the town’s nursing home, she finds a copy of Treasure Island with a poem which reads much like a riddle, that she believes will help her find the treasure and honor her twin sister.

From there she enlists the help of Elliot Thorne, a wannabe bad boy who comes from a long-line of treasure hunters and the knowledge that could help Ruby on her adventure. He then gets his friends, Gabe Nash and Charlie Kim to tag along on the adventure. When Doris finds out about the treasure hunt and that they need a boat, she tells the group that her granddaughter Anne Lansing would be a great addition to the team.

Then the 5 set out to uncover the mysteries woven throughout the poem and find the treasure!

The characters we’re all written so well! Through the descriptive and beautiful writing, they really come to life through Ruby’s POV. Another great addition to the mystery and depth of the story, was the 2nd POV introduced early on, which follows a boy who wakes up on Gray Wolf Island with no memory of how he got there or who he is, and how his journey ties to the overall story of Gray Wolf Island.

The plot itself carries a lot of mystery as we find out more about the history of the town of Wildwell, Gray Wolf Island itself, Ruby, her team, and the secrets some carry with them.

With such a unique plot, I kept making connections and figuring out just where this mystery was headed with each turn of the page! I fell in love with each of the main characters: Ruby, Sadie, Elliot, Anne, Charlie, & Gabe!

The connections these characters have with each other was so well written and you really become connected with them through the unique and atmospheric writing. You feel like you know so much about them with such few lines.

Gray Wolf Island also really develops on important themes such as family, friendship, grief, and acceptance. While also having humor and balancing dark and lighthearted moments so well!

I loved the banter between Ruby and Elliot & the beautiful friendship between Anna & Ruby! Also having a twin myself, it was so easy to connect with Ruby and understand the grief + loss that she felt so deeply and the duty she held to honor her sister’s wishes.

It was also great to see diversity within this novel. There’s Charles Kim, who is Korean, Anne Lansing & Doris, who are Native American. The town itself is also discussed throughout with some Native history. This novel also heavily incorporated elements of magical realism (If you’ve read this novel or are planning to, I would also recommend checking out Anna-Marie McLemore’s Wild Beauty).

As the novel progresses, the team gets into the web of mystery as they attempt to find the treasure and encounter some trouble along the way, when its revealed they must reveal secrets as the journey continues.

My only issue was that while the story flowed so well, nearing the end, it felt much slower for me personally and the end felt rather rushed. 

The mystery really comes together as you discover more about these characters and the island! The plot really goes in directions you don’t expect and has such great twists when you learn more about the island and its treasure!

Gray Wolf Island is a unique, atmospheric, and magical tale with twists, turns, and really focuses on the friendship and adventure that Ruby has as she attempts to find a mysterious treasure to honor her twin sister! The plot, vivid setting + writing, and characters will stay with you long after the final page!

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh Review

Rebel Seoul by Axie OhRebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Publisher: Tu Books ( Imprint of Lee & Low Books)

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Pages: 389

Summary: After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Rebel Seoul is a detailed, richly plotted, and character-driven debut! With action, intrigue, and so much depth to the characters, world, and politics of this story, its a unique and immersive YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia to check out!

“Love is a country. It’s vast and endless and full of unbreakable hope.”

Rebel Seoul for me, was one of those books where your just so immersed in the story and become so connected to the world, characters, and in fitting all the pieces of the plot together, that by the time you reach the last page, you can’t believe its over.

Set in a futuristic Korea, we follow Lee Jaewon who is an ex-gang member, now a part of a prestigious military high school, Apgujeong Academy.

What was so fascinating about the setting, was how Oh contrasted the old with the new as seen through Neo and Old Seoul. While both are technologically advanced, through the writing you get a sense of the minute differences that set them apart and how it almost represents Jaewon’s conflict in understanding who he is and where he feels he belongs.

Told through a 1st person POV, the story starts off with Jaewon at a concert for a band C’est La Vie,  with his friends Bora and Minwoo in Neo Seoul. Then on his way back to Neo Seoul he notices a girl in the crowd, but quickly dismisses it as he heads back.

The next day, he heads to school and an assembly takes place right before exams for Jaewon & class to determine military placement throughout the Neo States. The Director of the NSK (Neo State of Korea) is there not only announcing the latest accomplishments of the NSK with the Neo Alliance, but keep spirits up as the Acts of war continue.

As the story continues, Jaewon not only uncovers more about his past but the secrets within the Neo States of Korea as he works in the Tower, a government building of the NSK where he meets Tera, an enhanced soldier a part of the Ameratsu Project who has been trained to fight in the God Machines, aka militaristic giant robots.

Through the first person POV, you really get depth to the plot and the setting of the Neo Korea States, not only through the futuristic technology, intricacies of the government and military which pilots these states, but even through the day-to-day life Jaweon lives as he finds his place and learns more about the cities he thought he knew.

Through his time at the Tower, he begins to connect with Tera (the soldier he’s assigned to look after), while Alex is assigned with Ama and notice just how desperately she wants to live a normal life and how for her, she accepts that just isn’t possible, but she’s willing to take any chance she can get.

While there is romance hinted at throughout, this is very much a plot and character driven story! But you can’t help but love the dynamics between Jaewon & Tera ❤ ❤

I loved the connection and friendship between Ama & Tera! Very much like sisters, they look after each other, support each other and understand they are all each other has since growing up in the Tower together.

The characters we’re all so well-written and really came to life. We have Alex, one of his best friends and son of the Director, his other friends Bora & Minwoo, then there’s 15-year old soldier prodigy General Tsuko, and Tera + Ama.

Oh’s writing did a fantastic job at really detailing her futuristic setting which really allows you to see the Neo States from many angles, which is an aspect that I loved so much about this book. Additionally, while this is also a futuristic sci-fi, I also really loved how Oh added the normal everyday, with school, concerts, and friends in this action-packed and detailed story.

There are so many connecting pieces to the plot that with each chapter you understood more of the complexity of the setting, politics, and technology that run the futuristic world. I love that no matter what, I felt like I understood this world + its characters (main & secondary) so much, I never felt like there were aspects that felt underdeveloped or absent in any way. Oh really builds so much into this world, that by the time you reach the last page, you understand it so well!

My only minor issue would be that I just wanted more to the story, because there is just so much that you learn along the way, that you get so invested in the characters and their journey, that when you reach the build-up to the end, it feels like there’s still so much more to learn.

Rebel Seoul is a dynamic YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia that has so much depth and heart, you can sense it with each page! From the intricacies of the setting, world-building, plot, and characters, you’ll find yourself wanting to know more once you’ve reached the final page!

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books

literary-listens-podcast-recommendations-based-on-ya-booksIf you’re new to my blog, Literary Listens is a feature I created to share my love of podcasts while also incorporating my love for books! When I’m not reading, I also love listening to podcasts, especially audio dramas!

Its a blog feature I always have fun writing about & my hope is to introduce readers to cool new podcasts!

You can also check out my most recent feature, which was “Publishers and Podcasts” where I discussed TorLabs and speculated how Young Adult and Teen publishers could incorporate podcasts into their publishing!

Today I will be recommending and pairing up some Audio Drama Podcasts with Young Adult Science-Fiction Books!

YA Sci-Fi is a genre is a genre I’m just starting to get into, but hopefully the recs. I share today inspire you to pick up the books or podcasts mentioned!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20171.If You’ve Read: Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza OR Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller

Listen To: The Strange Case Of Starship Iris

Why:They feature rag-tag crews as they chart across space! All 3 are very character-driven and have such unique and immersive worlds/world-building!

Shadow Run  Cover RevealShadow Run + Starship have a fantastic group/squad dynamic that will have you rooting for them even in the wackiest situations!

Additionally, there’s diversity both in the novels + podcast!

~Empress: Features a predominantly diverse cast (Filipino + Black characters)

~Shadow Run: Features POC main/side characters + gender-fluid and gay representation

The Strange Case Of Starship Iris~Starship: Features a w/w relationship/romance, nonbinary, Chinese and Indian MC’s/representation

Summary: In 2189, Earth narrowly won a war against extraterrestrials. The Strange Case of Starship Iris is about what comes after. It’s a story of outer space, survival, espionage, resistance, identity, friendship, found family, romance, and secrets.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada2. If You’ve Read: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Listen To: The Elysium Project

Why: Both heavily feature science, scientist parents, genetics in a near-futuristic U.S., and have tons of action/adventure!

The fascinating characters, world, and world-building will have you hooked from the very beginning! They are very plot-driven The Elysium Projectstories and will keep you guessing as to what’ll happen next!

Summary: The Elysium Project follows those who are pulled into the world of a powerful formula that allows its subjects to manipulate the world around them based on thought and desire.This is an independently produced audio drama series created and produced by Natalie Van Sistine.

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan3.If You’ve Read: No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Listen To: The Bright Sessions

Why: Both feature groups of people with superpowers/supernatural abilities and have great diverse representation in their casts of characters (POC, anxiety rep., characters with different sexualities)

The Bright SessionsSummary: Dr. Bright provides therapy for the strange and unusual; their sessions have been recorded for research purposes. The show documents these patients’ struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright.

If your looking for more space podcasts, definitely consider checking out, Girl In Space! Its a fairly new podcast with 4 episodes out and it has Girl In Space Podcasteasily become one of my favorites! The writing and plot are absolutely incredible! I highly recommend it (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥~

Here’s a summary: Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen biweekly for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

If you’ve read any of the books mentioned or have suggestions for other YA Sci-Fi titles that would go along with any of these podcasts, definitely leave a comment!

Additionally, if you’ve listened to any of the podcasts mentioned, are planning to, or have other sci-fi podcast recommendations, lets discuss in the comments!  😄🎙✨

October 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore1.Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty Full ARC Review

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Wild Beauty was such a lush and magical tale, one I’ll never forget! It follows Estrella and the Nomeolvides women as they live on La Pradera, conjuring up the most beautiful flowers. However, when a mysterious boy named Fel appears, Estrella and the cousins uncover more about the mysteries that surround the gardens of La Pradera. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is unique + wonderful, and delves into many themes that weave their way throughout the novel, such as love, family, and sisterhood. There is also such fantastic representation from the Latinx culture, genderqueer, and bisexual characters! Another amazing novel from Anna-Marie McLemore, I highly recommend!! ❤ ❤

The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV and Ryan Sygh2.The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV + Rian Sygh

The Backstagers Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Such a fun and diverse graphic novel! When Jory attends a new all-boys school, his mom convinces him to find some sort of after-school activity to join. He soon finds himself joining the drama club and becomes friends with the stage crew aka The Backstagers! He quickly finds out that there’s magical tunnels backstage and soon gets tangled up with the adventures backstage! As for diversity, there’s so much representation from Jory (black) to Aziz (Middle-Eastern), gay and trans rep. too! The Backstagers is a fun graphic novel with a fantastic cast of characters, great magic/fantasy elements, and themes of friendship/adventure woven throughout!

Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller3.Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller 

Elizabeth And Zenobia Full ARC Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This was a fun, atmospheric and light paranormal middle grade story! The plot is so unique and it has a lot of important themes of family, self-growth, and friendship. Following Elizabeth & her imaginary friend Zenobia, they embark on adventures while staying at Elizabeth’s father’s childhood home which is supposedly “haunted” and they learn more about it.

All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry4. All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry

All The Wind In The World Full Review

Publisher: Algonquin Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 264

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Sarah Jac and Jame Holt travel across ranches to gain enough money to one day stop working and settle to have a ranch of their own. However an accident causes them to flee and then they find themselves on the Real Marvelous (which is supposedly cursed). Slowly they find themselves drifting apart and it is heartbreaking to read, but also so emotional 😥 All The Wind In The World is so atmospheric and weaves in contemporary-dystopian/magical realism genres together so well and in such a unique way! Its was also great to see diversity, with Sarah Jac who is mixed-race and an m/m relationship developed through out the novel. 

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada5. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #1)

This Mortal Coil Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 432

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This Mortal Coil is a brilliant sci-fi/dystopia debut! I loved this book so much! We follow Catarina Agatta, who is a brilliant gene-hacker and her geneticist father, Dr. Lachlan Agatta who left her with an important mission. Soon she embarks on a journey with Cartaxus soldier Cole to unlock an antidote which could save thousands of people from a rapidly mutating plague. Suvada introduces such fascinating technology in a detailed and complex dystopian future. This is an action-packed, character-driven tale you don’t want to miss!

Life After Legend by Marie Lu6.Life After Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #3.5)

Life After Legend Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: October 2017

Pages: 21

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: As a long-time fan of the Legend Trilogy, I was so happy when this short epilogue was announced! It really brought back the emotions of reading all 3 books again. You get a little more background to the world of Legend from Day’s perspective and what happened to him parallel to the events of the Champion epilogue. This was such a fantastic addition to the Legend Trilogy that definitely will leave readers happy!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao7.Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 363

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: An immersive and magical retelling of the evil queen! This novel follows Xifeng on her journey to fulfill her destiny fore-told by her aunt. She has a darkness within her and knows she cannot escape both it and her destiny. The world is rich and atmospheric as we uncover more about Xifeng’s role to become empress and the legends and magic that spread across the land. I will admit a lot of the pre-release hype did impact my enjoyment of the book just a little bit (with some plot/world elements not as expanded on as I would have hoped). However, this is a magical, dark, and immersive retelling that definitely has me eager to read the sequel!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Fall}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄📚✨

+ I have some new blog posts (aside from book reviews) I can’t wait to share for November! 😍📚✨

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao Review

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. DaoForest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 363

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Dao’s Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns is an immersive and fantastical debut, which follows Xifeng on a journey to fulfill her destiny! With beautiful writing and rich world-building, this is a fantastic fairy-tale retelling both wholly unique and magical!

From the very beginning, you are transported to the rich and magical land of Feng Lu. Xifeng longs to be somewhere else far away from the village she’s lived in her whole life with her Guma, who’s been abusive towards her as she pushes Xifeng towards her fore-told destiny to make her way to the royal palace and become the next empress.

However the journey is not easy, with Xifeng harboring a darkness within her that she doesn’t fully understand. This leads her to betrayal among other evil deeds to complete her task, no matter the cost.

Seeing Xifeng’s inner darkness develop throughout the novel was so well done. Its fluid in a sense that it came and went as she found herself connecting or meeting different people. However no matter what occurred, it was clear the darkness within her was very strong and continued to grow as the story progressed.

There’s also intrigue, love, themes of family, destiny, and shades between good and evil! Dao really brought together all these complex themes and weaved them together all so wonderfully. You can really grasp and sense of each of these throughout the story.

My favorite character of Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns, was definitely Xifeng! I loved her character!! From the very beginning, you can tell she is already grappling with the darkness within herself. Because of it, she finds herself conflicted with pursuing her destiny or forging her own path. Though her actions and intentions to become empress are wicked and dark, you can definitely understand why as you learn more about her and what happened for her to become the person she is destined to be. She was just so well-developed and complex and I loved following her journey.

I also really loved how the romance/ complex relationship that further developed between her and Wei. Now that she is free of Guma to fulfill her destiny, she is unsure whether he can still be a part of her life. While Wei continues to convince her, she can be free to choose her own path, he begins to be unsure himself whether Xifeng is trully free from Guma. However, this novel does not focus on romance, but mainly on Xifeng as she connects more with the darkness within herself and complete her journey!

There were also tons of twists I did not see coming that I loved because they were just so unexpected, but really brought the story full circle as it developed.

The mythology and world building was great. You could really sense it through the writing from the descriptions of the setting, to the details in the weather and atmosphere of the story, which really transported me as I continued to read.

Throughout the story you can also sense the magic weaved throughout the world’s history and setting. Through the writing you can grasp the rich history weaved throughout from the legends to the magic that spread throughout the land.

Even through the writing, you get to know the characters so well, for instance Wei, Xifeng’s childhood love/friend, Guma, the palace royals, among other characters Xifeng meets along the way. They were all so wonderfully developed.

My only minor issues, were I felt there could have been a little more background to some aspects of the world, some expansion on certain plot points, and little faster pacing towards the middle. For instance, there was mention of various locations mentioned across Feng Lu and I would have loved more description or development to them. As for plot, there were points where I felt could have been expanded on just a bit more and maybe given more development.

Overall I really enjoyed Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns and cannot wait to see where Xifeng’s journey takes her in the sequel!!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns weaves in Chinese mythology with a re-imagining of the Evil Queen. Dao’s tale is an immersive, magical, dark, and character-driven debut which is wholly original and will transport you from the very first page!