Latinx YA Book Releases To Add To Your TBR {2018}

Latinx YA Book ReleasesToday on the blog, I’m so happy to share with you upcoming 2018 YA Books that feat. Latinx characters or are by Latinx authors that I’m really looking forward to reading + ones to add to your TBR!!

Being Latina myself, its just so amazing + inspiring (not only being an avid YA reader + aspiring author) to see so many upcoming YA Books from Latinx authors 😍✨📚

The list will be split up by genre/category + release date/pages (if available) & publisher!(Note: Dates may be subject to change)

I did my best to compile a list of as many as I could, but if there were any I happened to miss, please feel free to comment so others can know about it too!

Contemporary

1.The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos (Feb. 1, 2018, Carolrhoda Books, 344 Pages)

Summary: Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

2. Flight Season by Marie Marquardt (Feb. 20, Wednesday Books, 352 Pages)

Summary:Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

3.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (March 6, HarperTeen, 368 Pages) 

Summary: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

4. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (May 8, Razorbill, 272 Pages)

Summary: Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

5.Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro (May 22, Tor Teen, 384 Pages)

Summary: A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift. 

6.The Fall Of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez (June 12, Philomel Books, 448 pages) *Today, Jen from PopGoesTheReader just featured The Fall Of Innocence Cover Reveal!

Summary:For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She’s forced down the memories–the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she’s tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.

But when a startling discovery about her attacker’s identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she’d shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.

A compulsively-readable tragedy that reminds us of the fragility of human nature.

7. Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid (TBA 2018, Harlequin Teen)

Summary:The summer after senior year is not going as eighteen-year-old Lu Charles expected: after her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her, she finds herself unable to write her relationships column for Misnomer, the popular e-zine that feels so central to her identity. Then, she meets Cal, a handsome, charming and decidedly un-single stranger. Or is he?

Cal’s ever-practical girlfriend Iris is looking ahead to her first year of college, and her plans do not include a long-distance boyfriend. When Lu learns that Cal and Iris have planned to end their relationship at the end of the summer, she becomes fascinated and decides to chronicle the last months the couple will spend rogether. But the closer she gets to both of them, the harder it becomes to untangle her own feelings toward Cal from the story she’s writing. When Lu’s ex-boyfriend Leo unexpectedly comes back into the picture, Lu will have to decide what she wants—and from whom—or risk losing it all.

Fantasy

1.Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez (June 5, Imprint, 448 Pages)

Summary: Not you without me, not me without you.
Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

2.The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera (The Tiger’s Daughter #2) (August 28, Tor Books, 400 Pages)

Summary:The Phoenix Empress, the sequel to K Arsenault Rivera’ the wildly buzzed about The Tiger’s Daughter, an epic historical fantasy in the vein of Patrick Rothfuss and Naomi Novik.

Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows.

Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.

As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home? 

Dystopia

1. Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera (August 21, Simon Schuster BYR, 352 Pages)

*Note: I double-checked not only Rivera’s twitter + the publishers website & Dealing In Dreams is set to be out in 2019! Apologies~

Summary: At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Sixteen-year-old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search of the mysterious gang the Ashé Riders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles crews and her own doubts but the closer she gets to her goal the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone—she cares about.

Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?

Graphic Novels

1. Moonstruck Vol. 1 by Grace Ellis, Shea Beagle + Kate Leth (Artists) (March 27, Image Comics, 120 Pages)

Summary: Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late. (*Features Latinx characters, not by Latinx authors)

Magical Realism

1.Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Oct. 9, Feiwel & Friends, 320 Pages)

Summary: A magical realist Snow-White & Rose-Red meets Swan Lake, in which two sisters become rivals in a game that will turn the losing girl into a swan. 

Urban Fantasy

1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #2) (June 5, Sourcebooks Fire, 352 Pages)

Summary:Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

Latinx YA Books 2018

What Latinx YA Books are you looking forward to? 😄🎉📚📚

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

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The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes Review

The Arsonist by Stephanie OakesThe Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Publisher: Dial Books (PenguinTeen)

Release Date: August 22, 2017

Pages: 493

Summary:It starts with a fire. A diary. A murder.

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, she doesn’t believe that her mother killed herself three years ago. And since her father is about to be executed for his crimes, Molly is convinced that her mother will return to her soon. Finally, the hole in her heart will stop hurting.

Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with serious girl problems and the most embarrassing seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer…or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.

When Molly and Pepper are tasked with finding Ava’s murderer, they realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Arsonist is a thriller, mystery, historical-fiction, and coming of age all in one! With such depth to the main characters, threads of mystery that weave together so perfectly, and surprises at every turn, Oakes novel will have you immersed in this brilliantly crafted story! 

Having been such a huge fan of Oakes debut The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly, I knew I wouldn’t miss out on her upcoming books! Though while this one has a lesser rating compared to her 1st book, I still really loved it and had such a fun time reading it!

We follow 3 differing POV’s that all end up weaving together in such a way, you don’t expect! I know as I saw all the pieces coming together, I found the twists and turns of the story to be so well done and left me surprised!

Told through essays (Pepper), letters (Molly), and diary entries (Ava), the story unfolds in such a unique and interesting way!

Starting with Molly Mavity, she’s somewhat of an outcast at school and knows she’ll never really fit in. Her father is a convicted arsonist and currently in jail and as for her mother, is dead. But Molly believes she’s still out there somewhere and is waiting for her return.

Ibrahim, aka, “Pepper” Al-Yussef is just trying to graduate high school, so he’s given an assignment by his counselor to write essays about each of his classes.

And Ava Dreyman, a girl living in East Germany who, along with her family resist the Stasi rule and hope to one day be free of the Berlin Wall.

Molly and Pepper soon team up when a mysterious letter brings them together to solve the mystery of what happened to Ava Dreyman.

They find themselves reading her diary titled The Arsonist, visiting people from Ava’s past, traveling to Berlin, and forging a complex friendship along the way.

What I loved about Pepper & Molly so much, was the complex but underlying strong friendship that forges between them as they try to solve the mystery. While Pepper later admits he could possibly imagine a nice relationship between them, he also states their friendship was so much more important and I loved that!

Its clear throughout the novel, that they both feel pretty lonely and really want someone to connect to, feeling like they don’t really belong. Seeing just how alike they are through their POV and seeing them slowly forge their friendship was so beautiful!

Through Ava’s POV we see just how independent and brave she is, when she’s forced to leave her home in East Germany to avoid the Stasi from capturing her. She grows and undergoes so much pain and betrayal when she must leave her family and her home behind. While I loved each of the POV’s equally, her’s was just filled with so much pain and heartache that you just feel so connected to her story and want to see her be reunited with those she loves and be free.

We also get so much depth to her as we see how these traumatic events from her being forced to flee her home, to seeing her members of her family put in danger & even killed, to the betrayal she endures and how it just causes her to become a shadow of who she once was.

I wish I could put into words the complexity of the story, but truly can’t. There’s just so many brilliant points that bring these characters together in ways you just don’t see coming!

What I found made me difficult to truly rate this book a 5, was the writing-style. While I loved that it truly gave you such depth into each of the characters minds and their personalities, I couldn’t help but feel that other aspects fell a bit short. From the setting descriptions to some side characters, they weren’t given as much depth as I would have hoped, which did make it a bit difficult to truly immerse myself in this book. Additionally, the story does get slow paced throughout and due to its length did drag a little bit at some points.

Aside from that, what the writing-style brings that really makes the book stand out and truly shine, is the uniqueness of each POV and how its just brilliantly executed.

There were definitely a few side characters that I felt truly were given such depth and you felt you really knew them by the end of this novel. To start with, Pepper’s father, as we learn what brought him to the U.S. and the heartache he also endures with the loss of his wife, Lido, a friend Ava makes who allows her to find hope again when she finds herself mistakenly put into a mental institution, and Heinrich Werner, a Stasi officer who is in charge of eliminating those who rebel against current republic or attempt to flee.

Overall I highly recommend this book if your looking for a unique mystery that really delivers complex and interesting characters, while keeping you putting pieces together till the very end!

The Arsonist is a uniquely woven tale that brings in mystery, coming-of-age, historical fiction, as you follow 3 distinct POV’s that bring to life such unique and memorable main characters! With such deep underlying messages about family, fighting for what you believe, and the depths of love and loss, Oakes The Arsonist, is not one to miss!

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!

Life After Legend by Marie Lu Review

Life After Legend by Marie LuLife After Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #3.5)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: October 2017

Pages: 21

Summary: Return to the thrilling world of Marie Lu’s Legend Series with this brand-new glimpse at the trilogy’s finale!

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Life After Legend is perfect addition and conclusion which brings readers back to Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy! 

I remember when I first found out about the Legend Trilogy ( back in late 2012) and not only was it one of the first YA Dystopians I’d ever read, but from reading the very first book, Marie Lu easily became one of my all-time favorite authors.

I adored each and every book in the trilogy from the amazing and complex characters, to the world, the high stakes, everything and it was so surreal returning to the world again after years of the trilogy being completed. I’d always wondered and hoped if there would ever be an addition to the trilogy at some point, so of course when the Warcross pre-order was announced, I was so incredibly happy and overjoyed. This series that has stuck with me for so long, was not over just yet.

To start, just reading the first few sentences brought me back to the dystopian future of the Republic from Day’s perspective. Similar to him, everything was slowly coming back.

We learn more about him and the life he’s been living for the past 10 years (essentially following parallel to Champion’s Epilogue). There’s not too much I can really say without spoiling obvious things, but overall reading Life After Legend just brought back so many emotions and memories from reading this trilogy that I love so much!

It was great to get more background on how the world is recovering after the Republic and just seeing where the events of the Legend Trilogy took Day to where he is now and the memories that linger close by.

This short story was just so beautiful & while I adored each and every book, just reading this brought back so many emotions and brought closure to this amazing trilogy!  (;༎ຶД༎ຶ`)

The writing was fantastic, even for such a short amount of time we get caught up on old characters, like Eden and even briefly get introduced to a new character. Marie’s fantastic writing really just brings so much to the world with such few pages through Day’s POV.

Overall Life After Legend is a short, but wonderful addition to a fantastic dystopian trilogy, that will definitely leave fans satisfied!

Warcross by Marie Lu ARC Review

Warcross by Marie LuWarcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Pages: 368

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: This action-packed masterpiece is filled with intrigue, phenomenal setting, characters, and plot, Warcross immerses you from page 1!

I flew through this book in less than a day and want to go back and read it all over again!😭✨

Everything, from the world to plot, characters, etc. that Marie Lu constructed was absolute genius!~😭❤️❤️

Warcross was a novel I went into with super high expectations, b/c obviously its Marie Lu (one of my all-time favorite authors) + I love video games/gaming! So its pretty obvious I was stoked about this book and it did not disappoint!

From the very beginning you are transported to this bright, colorful and intriguing story following Emika (Emi) Chen. She catches criminals for a living and is a brilliant hacker.

With her father having passed away, absentee mother, and one else to care for her, Emika works as a bounty hunter for the police to just get by. The novel starts off with her tracking down a gambler in the streets of Manhattan.

With the wide-spread popularity and accessibility of Warcross, rules are set up by the government to prevent players from gambling through it. And Emika finds herself catching these gamblers, among other people who use Warcross illegally!

However the hunt doesn’t go quite as planned and she doesn’t walk away with the money she needs. With roughly $13 left to her name, she’s unsure of what to do. To make matters worse, she has an eviction notice on the apartment she shares with her roommate Keira. With all the stress she’s under, to escape the real world for a little, she enters Warcross.

But after hacking herself into Warcross, she finds herself becoming an overnight celebrity and gets a call from Hideo Tanaka, her childhood idol + creator of Warcross!

Then, she’s headed to Tokyo to meet Tanaka because as it turns out, he needs her help as a bounty hunter to spy on this year’s Warcross tournament! Not only to find out about a hacker infiltrating the game, but also put an end to whatever they may be planning.

There is so much heart to this novel and you can clearly see it through Marie’s writing + Emika’s POV with the vibrant world building, clever gaming references (that I definitely picked up on), plot, setting, dialogue, everything!!

Another aspect of the world I really loved, was the futuristic tech introduced which had the ability to translate different languages, among other things and just seeing the impact of this technology on so many people was fascinating!~

Marie really brings the game of Warcross to life and after finishing this book, I wish it was real! 😭✨🕹🎮❤️💛💜

The plot itself goes in directions I was not expecting and there is so much intrigue, mystery, action/adventure and Marie balances all those aspects perfectly!

I loved all the characters equally and loved that there was tons of diversity in this novel! There’s a character who is in a wheelchair, and characters who are Latinx, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and gay representation!

My only minor issue, was that I wanted Emika to interact a little more with the side characters, because they were all written so wonderfully and I just really wanted to know more about them.

Because this book doesn’t come out for another month or so, I really want to avoid spoilers, but yes it was phenomenal!

It even pulled me out of my reading slump! The story was fun, fast-paced and just AMAZING!~ ❤

After turning the final page, you’ll be wishing Warcross was real! This fun, fast-paced, action-packed adventure with intrigue, phenomenal character-development and world-building is not one to miss!

+ Keep an eye out on the blog (around release day) for a Warcross Reading Playlist! 😍✨🎧📚