Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey Review

Upright Women WantedUpright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Publisher: Tor.com (Tor Books)

Release Date: February 4, 2020

Pages: 176

Available Through The Book Depository: Upright Women Wanted

Cover Design: Will Staehle

Summary: “That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Upright Women Wanted is a dystopian novella that follows Esther, a stowaway who joins a group of Librarians as they travel across the American southwest! Set in a near-future Wild West, Gailey delivers a character-driven, atmospheric tale of adventure featuring a band of Queer women librarians!

Pride Month has recently started and I’m thrilled to have picked up this novella! It was so much fun and the unique fusion of genres is something I admire about Tor’s work. My love of fiction podcasts has made me realize that I adore genre mashups and that became even more clear as I read Upright Women Wanted. Also, this book has definitely gone under the radar so please pick it up!

After Esther Augustus witnesses the execution of her first love Beatriz, she finds herself hiding in a Librarians wagon, who travel across towns to deliver “Approved Materials” by the State.

Daughter of a high-ranking official/ Superintendent, she isn’t entirely sure of what her plan is…even after being told to marry someone she has no interest in and her love is dead, but one thing is certain…she had to flee. What follows is traveling across deserts and towns in the American Southwest, fighting bandits, deputies, and more importantly, fighting for justice!

Esther, whose lived a very sheltered life, wants nothing more than to avoid bringing trouble to her fellow Librarians: Bet, Leda, and Cye (who uses they/them pronouns). But she realizes that living on the fringes of this dystopian world means she must learn to finally accept herself and grow, despite the challenges ahead.

Told through a 3rd person POV, its so easy to find yourself in the atmosphere of the wild west and the unique world that Gailey has delivered. In the near-future, the US is divided into Quadrants and while there’s knowledge about our modern-day technology, now people have preferred to live in an old western society. There’s a grittiness to the world that sticks in your mind as you turn each page.

After some convincing, Esther sticks with the Librarians to become a bookbinder and learns their job is something so much more than just delivering books and media. As they reach isolated towns across the states, she learns more about the government she’s known all her life and the Librarians who are changing it!

While this is very much a journey story, Gailey puts such a focus on Esther’s own personal story and her own internal development. She’s finding the confidence within, alongside accepting herself as she is. From her fears about bringing harm and trouble to the Librarians, even her uncertainty of where she belongs in the world are beautifully cemented into the narrative.

As the Librarians take Esther towards Utah, she also meets Genevive, Trace, and Amity who become part of the crew. Among all of them, I felt Amity really got more page-time/development, especially nearing the end! She gets Esther to face some truths about the world around her. Amity is mysterious, clever and all around great character who I had fun reading about. Her dynamic with Esther was another one of my favorite character moments in the story!

Esther and Cye had such a beautiful dynamic that develops throughout the entirety of the novella and I adored them so much!! Cye shows her the ropes and I loved seeing the both of them grow together.

From the beginning of Upright Women Wanted, we see there’s this internalized misogyny and Queerphobia throughout this futuristic society. It was fascinating to explore those ideas and challenge them through a near-future and Western setting (where in reality, the history of the Wild West has been incredibly diverse). Gailey brilliantly juxtaposed this idea of a typically assumed non-diverse part of history with Queer representation and powerful female characters!

The world itself was fantastic and getting to explore it through the tiniest of details, was a lot of fun! There’s specific types of gravel that highlight a town’s wealth, different roles for Librarians, even minor hints as to life before the Quadrants / territories. I was also fascinated with learning how vital the Librarians job is in getting Materials across the country. The descriptions develop a clear setting in your mind and above all, its such an atmospheric story.

Its incredibly easy to lose yourself in this world and not only follow the journey, but also learn about the different characters and layers to them that get revealed little by little.

The themes explored throughout this novel are layered and subtle in some ways, but are so present when you look at this story as a whole. From the element of found family, themes of friendship, and hope of rebellion for a better society. The exploration of love and self are also present as Esther connects more with the Librarians.

Upright Women Wanted also presents Queer rep.! There’s f/f rep. (Bet and Leda), even a lovely relationship that develops between Esther and Cye. There’s also nonbinary representation as Cye uses they/them pronouns (however uses ‘she’ when in town).

After reaching that last page, I NEED more adventures with Cye and Esther!! 💖

While this is an all-around fantastic novella, I wanted to delve into why its 4 stars, for me personally. The concept of the Librarians and the Materials they deliver across the country, alongside their underlying rebellion and their roles as librarians in general was so fascinating…BUT, I felt the novella just barely got through the surface of what they are capable of. I really just wish the concept was developed a bit more, because its such a highlight of the world.

I also wish there were additional plot points to become more familiar with the Librarians and just get to know these characters a bit more. Overall there’s a brilliant and unique idea that Gailey presented I just felt there needed to be more plot-wise to explore it.

As with all Tor novellas, I’d be thrilled to see future books set in this world, perhaps even a series? But from what I’ve read, I think its a standalone. Also, because of how unique the story was and all that it explores, this was probably one of my toughest reviews I’ve written in a while. If my review has convinced you to read or check out this wonderful novella, please let me know, I’d love to chat about it with all of you! 💞

Upright Women Wanted is a spectacular dystopian, western novella featuring a great cast of characters, Queer librarian spies, adventure and so much more! The immersive world, unique concepts, and underlying themes make this a great novella worth checking out. Its Hopepunk meets the Wild West!

How Audiobooks helped my reading during Quarantine + Updates

Audiobooks usually aren’t my go-to when it comes to reading, however I noticed during Quarantine they became a pillar for structuring my reading time.

As I was focusing on my classes online and staying indoors, my reading had definitely slowed down (at least when it came to novels written in prose). It became difficult for me to stay focused on what I was reading, so I was grateful to have started using sites like Scribd to enjoy audiobooks (also utilizing my library’s digital catalog more).

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

Between the two, Scribd is definitely my preferred choice for now because libraries can have a bit of a wait time on books. When seeing just how many audiobooks were available, it made me prioritize more backlist/indie titles too and that’s something I’m planning to hopefully continue for the rest of the year.

During Quarantine not only have I been able to get through my library checkouts more, but its also gotten me to think more about reaching for the backlist books on my physical TBR (which also inspired my new blog feature Backlist Bookshelf).

So far the easiest way for me to get more reading done has been to read a physical copy while listening to the audiobook. I’m also getting reading done faster because I recently noticed how short audiobooks can be! Now books are getting read in the span of 2-3 days instead of my usual reading speed.

As Way Too Fantasy mentioned, “listening to a book is a much different skill from reading print off a page…” Being more of a print reader, I’ve noticed delving into audiobooks is working with a different reading muscle than I’m used to, but its really been fun to get back into reading more books again.

There’s been such a variety of books I’ve been able to get through during my time at home too from manga to graphic novels, novellas, non-fiction and of course, YA!

In all the years I’ve been reading, I rarely reached for audiobooks, so 2020 will definitely be one of the years with the highest amount I’ve ever listened to (so far its 3 total 📚). Because I’m more of a fiction podcast listener, its also been difficult for me to get into audiobooks  cause I’ve definitely gotten used to fiction/audio drama’s more scripted style of storytelling. But, I’m happy that the audiobooks I have listened to so far have been great!

I’ve listened to The Black God’s Drums, Scavenge The Stars, and more recently Upright Women Wanted (book review in-progress). Out of all of those, my favorite audiobook has definitely been for The Black God’s Drums which was narrated by Channie Waites, who did a stellar job! Because it’s a novella I thought I wouldn’t even need the audiobook, but I’m so glad to have discovered it. Waites brought such an engaging performance that looking back, I loved the novella because of the audio even more and its definitely on my list of all-time favorite audiobooks.

Overall, I’m glad I ended up having lots of luck with my audiobook choices so far! The next one I might be looking into is for Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land its wonderful to see authors narrating their own book, so I’m looking forward to this one! (If you’ve listened her audiobooks, let me know what you think in the comments💞)

Updates

If you’ve been following me on Twitter you may have seen a tweet about a special announcement a couple weeks ago. I was really hesitant to talk about it here whether casually in a review or make an entire post about it…but I’m incredibly passionate about this special project so I guess its time I finally talked about how I’ve officially started…a PODCAST!! Titled The Booked Shelf Podcast, each episode will cover a different book/bookish/storytelling-related topic. I recently launched the trailer on YouTube and if everything works out, I’ll be debuting my first episode later this month! 😍🎙🎊

Its been a little over a week since protests began around the world in response to the recent Black lives lost. During this time, I’ve reflected on the ways I can do more (not only in my personal life) but also through the use of my platform to uplift and boost Black voices and authors / creators. So over the next few weeks, I plan to post here on the blog a list of upcoming YA Books from Black authors or even Black-authored books that need more hype (hoping I’ll have time to share both).

Hope you enjoyed today’s more casual discussion post, maybe I’ll post another one like this soon? 🥰📚💖

Have you been listening to any audiobooks recently? Any books or other media you’ve been enjoying? 📚💖 Are there any bookish / blog updates you’d like to share? 💞

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark Review

The Black God's Drums by P. Djeli ClarkThe Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

Publisher: Tor.com (Tor Publishing)

Release Date: August 21, 2018

Pages: 111

Available Through The Book Depository: The Black God’s Drums

Cover Illustration: Chris McGrath

Summary: Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Instead, she wants to soar, and her sights are set on securing passage aboard the smuggler airship Midnight Robber. Her ticket: earning Captain Ann-Marie’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper keeps another secret close to heart–Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities concerning Creeper and Ann-Marie… 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Black God’s Drums is a fantastic novella that fuses steampunk and history, set in 1884 New Orleans! Creeper, an orphan, sees the potential for something much greater when she learns of a scientist and his weapon that could bring chaos across the city. There’s descriptive world building, mystery, African mythology, and much more in this masterfully crafted historical fantasy novella set during the post Civil War era!

I hope I’m not alone in this when I say that P. Djèlí Clark packs so much into this 111 page novella, that it deserves to have its own full-length novels! It felt like there was still so much lore and history yet to be discovered in Clark’s steampunk/science fiction fantasy New Orleans once I reached the end! I’d been really looking forward to reading this for years because as always Tor continuously releases such brilliant stories, especially when it comes to their novellas! I remember learning about it through the cover reveal a couple years ago and after reading the summary I knew I had to check out this steampunk SFF novella!

Creeper is a 13-year-old orphan surviving on the streets of New Orleans and she is graced by the goddess Oya, the African orisha of wind and storms, who speaks to her through her mind. Her connection with the goddess allows her to see a premonition of something dangerous on the horizon.

She quickly learns of Dr. Duval, a Haitian scientist, whose meeting with confederate state soldiers to exchange information about a powerful weapon known as the Black God’s Drums, keeping that information close, she finds her way to a bordello (where her mother used to work) to exchange information of her own with the captain, Ann-Marie!

With this exchange, she hopes it’ll offer her an opportunity for a new life, perhaps even one filled with adventure!

This leads to the Creeper (whose real name is Jacqueline) and Ann-Marie working together to learn where the scientist’s trail leads and what it could mean for the city if the weapon falls into the wrong hands (such as confederate soldiers). They follow their sources that offer more insight into the scientist’s work and what it could be used for.

Told through a 1st person POV, there’s so much heart and such a vibrant energy/voice to Creeper that brings the world to life. The history and fusion of the world building alongside the steampunk elements are developed so well because we’re in her head. Clark layers the history of the civil war, Haitian revolution, atmosphere of 1800’s America, alongside masterfully weaving in mythology and steampunk technology! With the way Clark executes this tale, it feels like this version of New Orleans could have truly existed back then! (*Side note: this novella gave me such fiction podcast vibes, its  definitely inspired me to work on a list of recommendations based on SFF books! Hoping to get it posted sometime in the future *・゚:✧ ✧゚ *!!)

New Orleans acts as a neutral port city that is the central hub for such a diverse Black diaspora where many cultures are represented, from Haiti, Trinidad, and the Caribbean.

Clark cleverly delivers this neutral city as a “bridge” between the US alongside Caribbean, while still increasing the political tension and expanding on the layered history during the time. As mentioned in this Nerd Daily Q&A, he brilliantly weaves together cultural history and that of slavery alongside mythology and balances these so perfectly:

“I knew I wanted it to be steampunk, and I knew I wanted it to both centralise and subvert the histories of slavery and emancipation. New Orleans turned out to be the perfect place that could bridge these various worlds: a geographic space connected to the North American mainland yet also a port city with ties to the Caribbean.” 

Clark includes the modern technology of the time such as telegraphs, railway stations, and much more! However it’s also through the description of the weather, atmosphere, factory smoke, upcoming Maddi grá festivities, and colorful town houses that add that element of realism alongside the steampunk elements from airships to the Black God’s Drums and the dangerous Drapeto gas. Alongside that, there’s also a focus on African folklore and myth as we learn more about the goddesses Oshun & Oya, even Shango!

You can tell Clark put so much thought into the way the history would be presented in this world and it never once felt underdeveloped or rushed. For someone like me who has really minimal knowledge of Black history during this time, I felt I learned so much that definitely inspired me to do my own research after reading this book!

Language itself also plays such a big part in this novel, adding another layer to the world itself as characters had different dialects and ,as mentioned above, also featured characters from different backgrounds.

One of my favorite dynamics in this novella was between Creeper and captain Ann-Marie. They really are like to sides of a coin and I loved seeing their friendship grow. They learn so much about their abilities and seeing them work together made this such a fun adventure! Not only is Creeper connected to Oya, but Ann-Marie is also connected to an orisha named Oshun, whose tied to the water.

At its heart, this is a story about 2 Black women embracing their inner power and it’s such a beautifully explored layer of the story that really comes together by the end!

The cast of characters were all great and it’s so clear that Clark has woven so much history into each of their distinct stories, but throughout this novella he cleverly leaves a lot to readers imaginations (like the nuns, Feral, Madame Diouf, even Ann-Marie’s ship mates Francois, Nogai & Ravi). Also mentioned in the article above, I got this sense that there was a lot more to Ann-Marie and her Midnight Robber crew and as it turns out, Clark originally had the novella in her perspective!

Though I absolutely adored this book, I personally felt like the story was getting a bit rushed near the end (though of course it has to do with the structure of being a novella), hence the 4 stars. It wraps up really nicely and Clark hints at a future for Creeper in Orleans alongside Ann-Marie!

I’ll also add that with the fast-paced nature of the story and specific/direct world-building, I’d recommend this novella if you enjoyed Six Of Crows or if your looking for a good historical mystery with a great ensemble cast, I also recommend this if you love The Diviners! Alongside reading The Black God’s Drums in book form, I listened to the audiobook as well and I suggest checking it out too!

Again, if there are ever ANY future novellas in this series, I will definitely be reading them…and if there’s ever a possibility for full-length novels? Even better!

The Black God’s Drums is wonderful SFF novella with descriptive world building, action, adventure, mystery and brilliantly weaves together steampunk alongside 1800’s history! In my opinion, this is a clever historical fantasy tale that deserves more hype!

I’m also getting back into reading some of the more quiet books on my TBR for my year-long readathon called: #QuietReadathon! So, reading this novella completed the challenge of ‘Backlist Boost,’ & ‘Read a book with under 5k ratings on Goodreads.’ If your looking for a fun, stress-free readathon to enjoy, I hope you’ll check it out! 😍💖

Realm Of Ash by Tasha Suri Review

Realm Of Ash by Tasha SuriRealm Of Ash by Tasha Suri (The Books Of Ambha #2)

Publisher: Orbit Books

Release Date: November 12, 2019

Pages: 496

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Realm Of Ash

Summary: The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.

Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.

Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.

*Received a finished copy from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Realm Of Ash takes readers back to the Ambhan Empire, now following Arwa, Mehr’s younger sister! Filled with politics, intrigue, and rich world-building, Suri’s  novel delivers a tale that explores grief and identity following 2 protagonists who attempt to figure out who they are, as the world around them has established their identities! A journey of grief, self, and hope, Suri’s return to her epic fantasy inspired by Mughal India is not one to miss!

Empire Of Sand was easily one of my favorite SFF/Epic Fantasy debuts of last year! I fell in love with the deeply rooted themes, brilliantly crafted story, alongside her wondrous writing, interwoven with her fantastic world building/characters!

Even though I was SO looking forward to diving back into the world and following Arwa’s journey, I actually put off reading it for about a week because I just couldn’t believe the book was an actual thing I could hold in my hands!!

Once I did pick it up, I quickly immersed myself back in the Ambhan Empire! However, it wasn’t until I made it further through the book that I realized Suri creates such an introspective and quiet journey for her protagonists in a way that always manages to captivate me― even to the point where I could reflect on the important messages she weaves throughout her novel and found them inspiring for my own life (for Realm I’ll get back to that more in a bit).

Set 10 years after Empire Of Sand, we follow Mehr’s younger sister Arwa, who’s now in her 20’s and a widow, establishing her identity as she reconciles with her grief.

Though, its also a journey about Arwa learning to embrace the Amrithi heritage she’s had to keep hidden for most of her life. As we learn in EOS, the Amrithi are oppressed and pushed towards the fringes of society. Due to that, she has been raised to focus more on her Ambhan heritage, casting deep down this other half of her, which could be the key to saving the empire.

The overarching plot thread that develops of the course of Realm Of Ash involves the Empire and how it slowly crumbles after the Maha’s death (who Mehr met in EOS). Though what stood out to me, compared to Mehr’s journey, was how both sisters viewed the empire in slightly different ways as well. All Arwa remembers are moments here & there where her sister would attempt to tell her more about her Amrithi blood, yet wasn’t allowed to become familiar with that part of herself growing up.

Where we see Mehr’s Amrithi roots guide her, we see with Arwa she’s grown up to feel like its a curse for her. Early on it ROA we see these two different paths converge as Arwa learns to embrace the Amrithi side of her as it plays an influential part in saving the empire.

At the start of the novel, Arwa takes time to reflect in the hermitage after the loss of her husband Kamran, who was also a commander at Darez Fort. Slowly the story unravels more about her personal emotional journey, but also that to unlock her Amrithi heritage. Much to her dismay, she befriends one of the widows there who offers her a chance on a new path, in the heart of the royal palace of the empire.

Arwa soon finds herself at the royal palace quickly immersing herself in the court politics and meets Zahir the studious illegitimate prince who’s invisible to the eyes of his other royal siblings (though not Princess Jihan).

Arwa is told to assist Zahir and he teaches her all about the mysterious realm of ash. As the story progresses, the two find ways to root themselves in this place (with the help of Arwa’s Amrithi blood) to find a way to cure the ills of the Empire’s curse, which has brought famine and uncertainty to the people.

The realm of ash is this metaphysical/literal realm where people can walk and dive deep into a world that roots them to their past and history (both familial and cultural). This realm is where Arwa and Zahir attempt to traverse to find the Maha’s ash and use it to bring balance back to their world.

Before going more into my review let me just say when I read about the curse inflicting the Empire I was internally fangirling so much because, it reminded of the conflict in one of my favorite comics Sera And The Royal Stars– it also features a fierce female lead who’s on a journey as her kingdom crumbles around her! (Highly recommend it, its amazing & is getting released as a graphic novel next year)  I really need more people to talk about this comic, but back to the review 😂✨:

What Suri captures beautifully, are the incredibly important themes throughout the novel: Grief and Identity.

Through Arwa’s perspective we are taken on a journey not only of grief, but also healing. Suri brings up many questions in regards to how Arwa processes these complex emotions, rolled up with the fact that her Amrithi heritage is coming to light around her.

The process of grief and mourning, what happens after? What do we owe others in regards to our grief? Including the healing process both for ones self and the world around them…Arwa’s perspective captures all of these layered ideas, emotional responses, and reactions masterfully as we follow Arwa on her journey to set her own path.

One of my favorite scenes was between Arwa and Gulshera, one of the widows, who reminds her of the “noblewoman’s art” and history through archery. However, it’s not just about learning to use a bow and arrow, Suri cleverly uses this scene as a metaphor to showcase how Arwa can use her grief and direct it towards a new path! I kept that scene close to heart throughout the entirety of this book and long after I finished it. It represents a turning point for Arwa as she learns to channel her grief and not let it take control of her! 

Additionally, as Arwa (and us as readers) learn more about soft prince Zahir, we then begin to see this is really his story too. Their journey both as they develop their relationship and head to the realm of ash, allows them to question/better understand who they are in a world that has established their identities.

The further along I got into the story, the more I appreciated how central the theme of identity was! How we define ourselves and how the world around us influences that, these were the thoughts turning in my mind as I read…in one of my university classes we actually delved into this topic of identity and how the world shapes it. Additionally, its something I’ve personally been giving more thought as I continue to learn more in school, etc. and it felt so validating to have that theme explored in many different layers and just–be something that really resonated with me at this moment in my life!

Arwa believes her only role after her husband’s death is to be a mourning widow, Zahir feels he is meant to always remain in shadow.

However, its also about how the 2 of them grapple with the identities they are assigned, but how they also use them to their advantage!

Similar to EoS, the world-building in Realm Of Ash is fantastic! There’s so much traveling in this book, so if you love journey stories, I recommend it!

In addition, I absolutely ADORED the layered politics of this novel. Often times it can seem like they slow the pacing of fantasy world, because they can influence and encompass many different facets of a society. However, Suri masterfully examines court politics, their influence on the world, and the layered castes of society that are each trying to find their footing as the world crumbles around them.

That’s also explored through the layered background as to how the Maha’s death influenced the balance of the world and how it impacts so many groups of people within the world.

Now onto the plot! There are many different layers to the story that are explored and I don’t want to spoil them all, but its a slow/steady progress from the hermitage, palace, realm of ash, and additional threads that force Arwa & Zahir to journey together to hopefully save their empire.

Now onto the cast of characters which were..fantastic!?! I loved the cast so much even the characters you aren’t supposed to love they are written with so much depth, emotion, and impact, you sense their presence long after they’ve left a scene. As Arwa & Zahir continue their journeys it was great to get so much background to a lot of characters throughout the story : Gulshera, princes Akhtar, Nasir, Parviz, princess Jihan, the widows, the commander, & many more!

I felt there was so much background given to Zahir, the royal family, and those connected to it, especially when it comes to how they are influenced by their world. For example, Jihan and Gulshera are determined a certain role in society (Jihan has to rely on her cunning politics to ensure her pick for the throne & Gulshera not only has her role as Arwa’s confidant of sorts, but is also still loyal to Jihan). When it comes to Zahir, he has such an influential place in the palace but is left to be hidden in its depths.

Now I wanted to discuss some minor critiques that lowered my rating (though I absolutely loved this book with all my heart) 😭💖!!  (*honestly, ratings just make things complicated 😂✨)

As Arwa and Zahir work together in the tomb enclosure reading and learning more about the Realm Of Ash, while also attending political meetings, I found that I really wanted more from the royal/court politics. Again, Suri weaves them in such a way where they not only influence that particular scene, but the characters and world and its just masterfully done!

I just really wanted a bit more of it explored because in some fantasy books I’ve read with court politics they often showcase them as incredibly cunning or deceptive…but they don’t always have to be! Suri portrays the politics in a realistic and impactful way when the world itself is crumbling, it still shows all these different facets and layers to it!

Though I absolutely loved the introspective journey of Arwa, I would have loved more plot threads here & there because again, I just love this world and these characters SO much!

Also more Arwa + Zahir moments because I just adore them! I also felt there could have been more expansion and plot threads on the royals  because they were wonderfully introduced and developed that I wanted more page time with them!

I don’t want to spoil, but I will say that there is 1 character though they were a lot of fun to read about, I personally didn’t feel too impacted by them in the story and felt they could have had less page time. Aside from those however:

Once I reached the final page of Realm Of Ash I’m literally in tears right now because Arwa, Zahir, their journeys they will forever remain a part of my heart!
I am definitely looking forward to Suri’s next adventure in the Ambhan Empire! ♥♥*・✧゚*

Realm Of Ash is a deeply character-driven journey that delves even more into the immersive world established in Empire Of Sand! A tale of grief, embracing ones identity, and the journeys one seeks to find the truth to better understand themselves & their world! A phenomenal sequel that unlocks more to the Ambhan Empire than ever before!

Silver In The Wood by Emily Tesh Review

Silver In The Wood by Emily TeshSilver In The Wood by Emily Tesh

Publisher: Tor.com (Tor Books)

Release Date: June 18, 2019

Pages: 112

Available Through The Book Depository: Silver In The Wood

Summary: There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Silver In The Wood is a captivating, enchanting, and atmospheric novella debut which follows Tobias Finch whose looked after Greenhollow woods for hundreds of years and the new owner of Greenhollow Hall, Henry Silver! Tesh delivers an introspective tale, rooted in folklore and legend!

Ever since I read Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal back in 2016, I’ve loved keeping up with the latest novellas from Tor! No matter which one I pick up I can always expect to be transported to a unique and memorable world!

Silver In The Wood was no different! In my Cozy Fall Recommendations post that I shared recently I actually featured this book, and let me just say that the lush and detailed forest imagery and focus on folklore definitely deliver on that fall atmosphere!

This was a novella I got through in one sitting and I can’t wait to read future books in this series! Despite the length, I felt there was a great understanding of the world, mythology, and its characters.

Its very much a reflective and introspective kind of story as we follow Tobias who is tethered to the Greenhollow woods, looks after its visitors and other forest creatures (dryads, etc.). Tobias’s journey changes course when a there’s a new owner of Greenhollow Hall, Henry Silver.

As the two connect, we learn more about them, alongside the mythology and folktales that have rooted themselves deeply in their world.

Apparently the story was inspired by the Green Man myth, which I didn’t know going into it. But, I felt that going into it with vague knowledge on the plot actually made the reading experience so much fun!

Continuing with the story, Henry always finds himself coming back to Greenhollow where Tobias lives. As the two grow even closer, we learn more about Tobias and his past, including the fact that Henry may be in danger!

What I appreciated about this book so much was that there were layers to the characters that get expanded on and get revealed at a steady pace. There’s questions I had about Tobias and Henry’s past, but it was at the most perfect moments where I finally got my answers.

Tobias, we learn has lived for so long that he’s grown accustomed to the world around him, but hasn’t really found a place to set down roots. Tesh explores Tobias’s internal journey so wonderfully as he reflects on the legends of the world, the forest around him, and his growing relationship/dynamic with Henry through a detailed and personal POV.

According to a blog post from Tor, Tesh’s inspiration for the setting was inspired by:

“the ancient woodlands of the British Isles, places which although they may seem wild are in fact witness to centuries if not millennia of carefully managed relationships between human beings and the natural world…”

You can sense the imagery with the way Tesh just weaves together the details of the setting and how it becomes part of the characters in a big way too!

Through Tesh’s writing there’s a sense of wonder and charm to the woods that’s delivered through the 3rd person POV! It really shines as it dives deep into the legends of the world and how it connects to our main characters.

Another elements that are woven all throughout (which I loved) were the themes of story and storytelling. The folklore of of a notorious bandit (Red Fay), Henry’s old maps of Hallowed Woods, Tobias’s dryad friend Bramble, its these details that really bring the world to life to present a folktale within a folktale. Its lush, atmospheric, and finds its roots in the folklore/legend that’s layered into the story.

What Silver In The Wood does in such a fantastic way is weaving together the legend and folklore of the past and showing how it influences the present, as seen through 23-year old Henry, who we learn is a folklorist who is eager to learn and study more of the tales of the Hallowed Hall & woods!

That also includes the tale of Fabian Rafela (which Tobias is very familiar with). I won’t spoil what happens, but that adds another layer of mystery and conflict to the story that really keeps you hooked nearing the middle to end!

The romance between Henry and Tobias is brought to life through the quiet moments they have with one another that builds so much depth and emotion to different layers of the story.

The novella does have a bit of a slow pace to it, but the writing-style really makes the pages fly by!

Also, have I mentioned that Tobias has a very loyal cat named Pearl? 🐱

I definitely recommend this novella if your looking for an atmospheric novella, rooted in folklore, legends, followed by a delightful and unique cast of characters!

Silver In The Wood is an immersive novella that is rooted deep in folklore and legends! This is an introspective and character-driven tale that also delivers lush and atmospheric forest imagery! Its Tobias and Henry’s journeys that really root you in the story and keep you hooked till the very end! You’ll be left wondering what new adventures Tesh has set in the world of Greenhollow! 

Cozy Fall Book Recommendations! 🍂📚

As we make our way through October, I felt a burst of inspiration to share a list of books that I’d recommend as cozy fall reads! Today’s bookish list consists of YA, Manga + Light Novels, Graphic Novels & SFF! 🍂📚💖

These books are perfect to read with perhaps a cup of tea or a delicious fall treat. I’ve read most of these books and from my reading experience feel they fit that feeling of the fall. But, I’ll also be sharing some books I haven’t read and recommend purely based on summary, cover or expectations, finding they fit the atmospheric fall theme!

Hope you enjoy today’s list and let me know what you think of these recommendations or feel to comment! ✨ Are there any books you think are perfect cozy fall reads? 🍂📚🍵

Graphic Novels

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O' Neill1. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Why: From its fall and spring scenery to the warm seasonal color palette, alongside its sweet, wholesome story, this is a perfect fall read! The art is soft and detailed giving you those cozy fall vibes in this utterly charming graphic novel! The Tea Dragon Society is story about friendship, craft, and overall is a delightful read! (Full Review)

Summary: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own. 

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O'Neill2. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Why: Once you pick up The Tea Dragon Society, you won’t want to miss this prequel! The story is filled with adventure from treks through the forest, festival planning, to the quiet moments of everyday life such a cooking, being with family and important themes of friendship and identity! What makes this a great fall read is that each panel is weaved with a beautiful array of color that brings to life the dense and whimsical forests, open fields, sunsets, open sky, and and timeless magic of nature! This addition to the series expands on the beautiful Tea Dragon world, even more! This series is SO beautiful from its diverse/inclusive representation to the wonderful messages it weaves throughout, alongside the utterly captivating stories! These are fantastic graphic novels to pick up! (Full Review)

Summary: Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago.

With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Manga & Light Novels

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 11. Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

Why: The art in this manga series is a true masterpiece evoking the style of old fairy tale illustrations, its detailed and utterly breathtaking! There’s attention to detail in each panel and it offers a perfect whimsical read for fall. The story follows Coco who dreams of becoming a witch, but she and many others live in a world where magic is known by only select few! Soon, she’s given the chance to learn what it takes to be a witch and embarks on a new adventure with the help of her magical instructor Qifrey! The themes, storytelling, world-building, artwork― basically every element of this first volume are phenomenal, I highly recommend this stellar manga! (Full Review)

Summary: In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: She wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with the gift for magic. She’s resigned to her un-magical life, until a traveling magician passes through her village, and Coco learns what what everybody “knows” might not be the truth.

Restaurant To Another World by Junpei Inzuka and Katsumi Enami2. Restaurant To Another World by Junpei Inuzuka + Katsumi Enami (Illustrator)

Why: In all honesty I haven’t read this light novel, but my sister has told me such great things about it and the story sounds so unique! The cover itself and the fact it focuses on cozy + delicious dining are why I’m recommending this as a great fall read! There’s a seemingly normal restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya,” however on a certain day each week, the door connects to another world where magical creatures from all over come to dine in the restaurant! The summary itself is giving me such cozy fall vibes, I can’t wait to read this + it also has illustrations (you can definitely expect a review on this in November)! 💖🍂

Summary: In Tokyo lies a small restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya,” ordinary in every way—save one. Every Saturday, its door connects to another world! Follow along as a cavalcade of curious guests from half-elves to samurai, dragons, halflings and vampires enter its premises, all with the same goal in mind: to fill their stomachs with the most mouth-watering of foods.

SFF

Silver In The Wood by Emily Tesh1. Silver In The Wood by Emily Tesh

Why: I have yet to read this Tor novella, but I am SO excited! I’m recommending this purely based on the cover, what I’ve gathered briefly (I have yet to read the full summary), and it looks like a deeply atmospheric forest-fairy tale! I have a feeling there’ll be a lot of descriptive forest and nature imagery, the only other thing I know is that there’s a cottage in the woods. Looking forward to reading this one!

Summary: There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

A Recipe For Magic by Kat Howard and Fran Wilde2. A Recipe For Magic by Fran Wilde + Kat Howard + Wendy Xu (Illustrator)

Why: I remember reading this short story when it first came out and I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful cover! The story follows Lux as she tries to prove herself at Esmé’s Night & Day Bakery. This is a story about seeking the balance in life, family, and of course―magic! You learn more about Lux’s past, what brought her to the bakery and the unique magic of this world and how it influences the baking! I mean, this story is about a cozy, magical bakery and the two women that work there-it just sounds like an absolutely perfect read for the fall! (Full Review)

Summary: At the Night & Day Bakery, spells are baked right into the sweets, cakes, and pies–sugar magic for joy, grains of patience, dark as chocolate. 

Lux’s mother taught her three recipes, with three spells baked inside. Ever since, she’s haunted strange cities’ sweet shops and cafés, seeking the familiar smells. When she found them, she’d lied so hard her teeth ached in the telling: “Yes, I have experience, yes I understand this is a certain kind of bakery, let me tell you my favorite original recipe.”

When Esmé agrees to give her a job at the Night & Day Bakery, Lux thinks she’s found home again. But regret clings to her like the smell of smoke, and nothing ruins a bake like the smell of regret.

Young Adult

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson1. An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

 Why: Featuring fae autumnal prince Rook and painter Isobel, she must travel to the atumnlands of the fae to clear her name. The cover and main setting of the world itself, just evokes to cozy fall vibes! As I read this book I could picture the fall leaves and lush craft of Whimsy (baking, painting, art), even the setting of the autumnlands and Fae court where Rook lives! I highly recommend this descriptive, lush fantasy! (Full Review)

Summary: A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel. 

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Why: From painted moons, to roses growing from wrists, and pumpkins (even ones made of glass), Anna-Marie McLemore crafts an immersive, lush, and captivating Magical Realism tale that will immerse you from page 1! This book in particular evokes fall vibes that you just have to read and discover for yourself, from their detailed prose to the vivid imagery you can sense through every element of the story (characters, setting, themes, story, etc.) I highly recommend this gem of a book! This book also features one of the sweetest YA couples I’ve ever read (I still think about them): Miel & Sam! 😭💖🌙🌹 Their friendship+relationship is an incredibly important foundation of the book! I highly recommend this novel if your looking for an atmospheric fall read that while also evoking dark folklore elements, but is a bright and shining light in SO many ways! Please pick up their wonderful book, you will not be disappointed (Full Review)

Summary: To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

And that is my list of some cozy falls reads for your TBR! 🍂📚✨

Have you read any of these? Are there any other cozy books you recommend? 

Waiting On Wednesday │ #11

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly blog feature to showcase & spotlight upcoming book releases!

It was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spines

It’s been a little over a year since I did this feature, but I’m incredibly excited to be sharing today’s book with you! Mainly because its a sequel to one of my favorite Epic Fantasy debuts of last year (and of all-time) 💖💞🎉

This week I’m spotlighting…

Realm Of Ash by Tasha SuriRealm Of Ash by Tasha Suri (The Books Of Ambha #2)

Publisher: Orbit Books

Release Date: November 12, 2019

Pages: 496

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Realm Of Ash by Tasha Suri

Summary: The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.

Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.

Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.

To say I’m merely waiting for this book is an understatement…I’m counting down the days, reading any & all quotes/updates/tweets Tasha shares periodically on her twitter, and I’m just filled with an indescribable feeling of anticipation until this book graces me with its presence!

Realm Of Ash is the sequel to easily one of my favorite epic fantasy debuts of 2018, Empire Of Sand!

EOS is set in a world inspired by Mughal India and follows strong-willed, clever, and inspiring protagonist Mehr, who’s the daughter of a governor has magic in her blood due to her mother being Amrithi!

After using her abilities, Mehr and her family are put in danger! But Mehr makes the brave decision to stay behind (meaning her father, stepmother, and little sister Arwa have to leave) and make a deal to ensure their safety by joining the Mystics at their temple.

She’s told to marry Amun, one of the mystics, but its clear that the two are fighting for the same thing, freedom! Over the course of the novel the two forge a powerful bond and remind one another that there is still hope! Empire Of Sand brilliantly weaves in themes of identity, choice, love, family, faith, and much more through Suri’s descriptive and immersive writing!

I think that’s as much as I can say without spoiling too much of EOS, so if you haven’t read this yet, please do and come back so we can discuss (I need more people to talk about this amazing book with!)

So back to Realm Of Ash, this is a sequel set many years after EOS following Arwa, Mehr’s younger sister, her empire is crumbling and the only possible hope for peace is journeying to the realm of ash! Alongside her journey she’ll be joined by an illegitimate prince who uses forbidden magic! But the journey will force them to question things about the empire they’ve grown up in their entire lives…

There are many things I want to discuss, but I really don’t want to spoil EoS, so if your looking forward to Realm Of Ash, keep an eye out for a Bookish Theories post!

I’m so ready to see Arwa go on her own epic adventure and based on Tasha’s tweet it tells me the very important details I need to know about Realm Of Ash, like the “soft Ravenclaw illegitimate prince” 😂💙🎉

I am incredibly excited to see where Tasha takes this series next in one of my most anticipated sequels, Realm Of Ash! 💙💙

Have you read Empire Of Sand? Are your looking forward to this sequel? What’s your Waiting On Wednesday book? 📚

Latinx Book Recommendations For Your 2019 TBR!

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ Latinx Heritage Month has recently begun and to celebrate, I’d love to share a list of #OwnVoices books written by Latinx authors you should add to your TBR!

This year I’m making it even bigger, even though my blog primarily focusing on YA, I’d love to highlight even more genres/categories this year from YA to SFF, Poetry, and more!

I’ll also be featuring a “Backlist Boost” with as many books as I can to promote more Latinx authors & their books!

Which Latinx books are on your TBR? Any on this list your looking forward to reading? 📚✨

Contemporary (Young Adult):

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes1. Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 18, 2018

Summary: Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

↠ ARC Review: Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes (5 stars)

Barley Missing Everything by Matt Mendez2. Barley Missing Everything by Matt Mendez

Publisher: March 5, 2019
Release Date: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon Teen/Riveted Lit)

Summary: Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself—or at least find something better than his mom Fabi’s cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen.

His best friend JD has plans, too. He’s going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He’s got a camera and he’s got passion—what else could he need?

Fabi doesn’t have a plan anymore. When you get pregnant at sixteen and have been stuck bartending to make ends meet for the past seventeen years, you realize plans don’t always pan out, and that there some things you just can’t plan for…

Like Juan’s run-in with the police, like a sprained ankle, and a tanking math grade that will likely ruin his chance at a scholarship. Like JD causing the implosion of his family. Like letters from a man named Mando on death row. Like finding out this man could be the father your mother said was dead.

Soon Juan and JD are embarking on a Thelma and Louise­–like road trip to visit Mando. Juan will finally meet his dad, JD has a perfect subject for his documentary, and Fabi is desperate to stop them. But, as we already know, there are some things you just can’t plan for…

↠ Backlist Boost: American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott

Color Me In by Natasha Diaz3. Color Me In by Natasha Diaz

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 20, 2019

Summary: Who is Nevaeh Levitz?

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.

Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.

It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite4. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika & Maritza Moulite

Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Summary: When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

↠ Backlist Boost: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

↠ ARC Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (4 Stars)

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno5. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Summary: Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that’s what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.

As her college decision looms, Rosa collides – literally – with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

↠ Book Review: Don’t Date Rosa Santos (4.5 Stars)

The Education Of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera6. The Education Of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: February 21, 2017

Summary: THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

The Fall Of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez7. The Fall Of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: June 12, 2018

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.

Backlist Boost: Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante8. The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Marisol Morales and her little sister Gabi are detainees of the United States government. They were caught crossing the U.S. border, to escape the gang violence in their country after their brother was murdered. When Marisol learns that the old family friend who had offered them refuge in America has died and they are going to be sent home, they flee.

They hitchhike, snagging a ride with an unassuming woman who agrees to drive them to New Jersey, but when Marisol wakes up in D.C. she learns the woman is actually a government agent. Indranie Patel has a proposal for Marisol: she wants Marisol to be a Grief Keeper, someone who will take another’s grief into their body. It’s a dangerous experimental study, but if Marisol agrees she and Gabi will be allowed to stay in the United States. If the experiment fails the girls will be sent home, which is a death sentence. Things become more complicated when Marisol meets Rey, the wealthy daughter of a D.C. Senator, and the girl she’s helping to heal. Marisol likes Rey’s short hair and sarcastic attitude. But she didn’t expect the connection from their shared grief to erupt into a powerful love.

Suddenly being forced from the United States isn’t just a matter of life and death, but a matter of the heart.

The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey9. The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Summary: From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess10.The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

Publisher: Flux (Flux Books)
Release Date: March 5, 2019

Summary: Victoria Parker knew her dad’s behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won’t stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can’t stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won’t leave you alone?

The Resolutions by Mia Garcia11. The Resolutions by Mia Garcia

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Teen)
Release Date: November 13, 2018

Summary: New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.

From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.

Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.

But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.

↠ Backlist Boost: Even If The Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos12. The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Summary: A powerful exploration of love, identity, and self-worth through the eyes of a fierce, questioning Puerto Rican teen.

Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn’t think she has time for love. She’s still struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school–who happens to be trans–all bets are off. Verdad suddenly has to deal with her mother’s disapproval of her relationship with Danny as well as her own prejudices and questions about her identity, and Danny himself, who is comfortable in his skin but keeping plenty of other secrets.

↠ Backlist Boost: The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues13. The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 19, 2019

Summary: Told through the lens of a guy in love with the cosmos (and maybe two girls), The Universal Laws of Marco explores the complicated histories that bring us together and tear us apart.

In the summer before eighth grade, Marco Suarez kissed his best friend Sally Blake. This was his first spark.

And since then, whenever he’s thought about that moment, he’s traveled through a wormhole—of sorts—to relive those brief seconds when time sped up (or, rather, his view of time distorted) and he kissed her.

And then, at the end of that year, she disappeared, leaving in that way that people sometimes leave—alive and well and somewhere out there but gone, nonetheless. She never even said why.

And now in their senior year, Sally unexpectedly returns and Marco is shaken. Still, he holds tightly to his carefully choreographed life. A life that is full of reasons why first sparks don’t matter:

Reason 1: He has a girlfriend. Her name is Erika Richards.
Reason 2: He’s leaving on a full scholarship to college.
Reason 3: He’s busy with his friends and making money to help support his family.

But as Marco navigates the final days of high school, he learns that leaving home is never easy and a first spark is hard to ignore.

↠ ARC Review: The Universal Laws Of Marco (4.5 Stars)

Dystopia & Sci-Fi (Young Adult):

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera1. Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Release Date: March 5, 2019

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

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. 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 for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other 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 do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl2. The Last 8 by Laura Pohl (The Last 8 #1)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 5, 2019

Summary: Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia3. We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (WSTFDOF #1)

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Epic Reads)
Release Date: February 26, 2019

Summary: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.

Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.

And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.

Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

↠ ARC Review: We Set The Dark On Fire (4 Stars)

Graphic Novels:

Hotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre1. Hotel Dare by Terry Blas (Writer), Claudia Aguirre (Artist), & Mike Fiorentino (Letterer)

Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Summary: It’s not your typical family vacation when Olive, and her adopted siblings Darwin and Charlotte find themselves falling into other worlds as they explore Grandma Lupé’s strange hotel.

OPEN THE DOOR. ADVENTURE AWAITS.

Olive and her adopted siblings Charlotte and Darwin are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel and it’s all work and no play. They’re stuck inside doing boring chores but they soon stumble upon an incredible secret… Behind each room door of the hotel lies a portal to a different strange and mysterious place. The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are opened, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before they tear themselves apart.

Skip by Molly Mendoza2. Skip by Molly Mendoza

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.
Release Date: July 23, 2019

Summary: A colorful, unpredictable postapocalyptic world comes alive in Skip, when two unlikely friends, Bloom and Gloopy, find themselves tossed from dimension to dimension. Gloopy is running toward adventure, and away from their home and friends who don’t understand their creative talent. Bloom is desperately trying to return home to their lake, and avoid the terrible violence of the city. Instead, both Bloom and Gloopy find what they need in each other, and bravely return home to challenge their fears and create beauty in their own worlds.

As Bloom and Gloopy skip through dimensions and encounter weeping giants, alligator islands, and a topsy turvy 2D world, they find comfort in each other and learn that sometimes, your greatest fear reveals where your strengths lie.

Magical Realism (Young Adult):

All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry1. All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: October 10, 2017

Summary: Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.

When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.

↠ Backlist Boost: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
↠  Book Review: All The Wind In The World (4 Stars)

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore2. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: October 9, 2018

Summary: The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

↠ ARC Review: Blanca & Roja (4.5 Stars)

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore3. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Summary: To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

↠ Backlist Boost: The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Middle Grade:

Love Sugar Magic-A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano1. A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano (Love Sugar Magic #1)

Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Summary: Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

↠ Book Review: Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble (5 stars)

Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy2. Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy

Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Release Date: April 30, 2019

Summary: Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer–and life as she knows it–is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.

Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.

But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and–to everyone’s surprise–Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?

The Other Half Of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel3. The Other Half Of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel

Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: August 20, 2019

Summary: Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole.

One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage.

One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden.

One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes4. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes (The Storm Runner #1)

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Release Date: September 18, 2018

Summary: Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno — for his one good leg. What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy.

A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in — unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?

Mystery/Thriller (Young Adult):

Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal1. Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 4, 2019

Summary: Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring2. The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Publisher: Imprint (Fierce Reads)
Release Date: September 24, 2019

Summary: At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Poetry:

Chula by Amanda Alcántara1. Chula by Amanda Alcántara

Publisher: Self-Published via Amanda Alcántara
Release Date: March 21, 2019

Summary: “Chula” is an imaginative bilingual collection of intimate poems, short stories, memories and vignettes about the life of a Dominicana before and after moving to the United States.

Dealing with childhood curiosities, struggles faced by women, identity, pleasures, heartache, and joy, this work is an exploration of self.

↠ Backlist Boost: Nocturna by Maya Motayne (Dominican YA Fantasy)

The Carrying by Ada Limón2. The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón

Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Release Date: August 14, 2018

Summary: Vulnerable, tender, acute, these are serious poems, brave poems, exploring with honesty the ambiguous moment between the rapture of youth and the grace of acceptance. A daughter tends to aging parents. A woman struggles with infertility—“What if, instead of carrying / a child, I am supposed to carry grief?”—and a body seized by pain and vertigo as well as ecstasy. A nation convulses: “Every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal.” And still Limón shows us, as ever, the persistence of hunger, love, and joy, the dizzying fullness of our too-short lives. “Fine then, / I’ll take it,” she writes. “I’ll take it all.”

↠ Backlist Boost: Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón
↠  Book Review: The Carrying: Poems (5 Stars)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Harper Teen (Epic Reads)
Release Date: March 6, 2018

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.

↠  Backlist Boost: The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Middle Grade in verse)
↠  ARC Review: The Poet X (4.5 Stars)

SFF:

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes1. Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes (Chilling Effect #1)

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: September 17, 2019

Summary: Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

Gods Of Jade And Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia2. Gods Of Jade And Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 23, 2019

Summary: The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera3. The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #1)

Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 3, 2017

Summary: Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

And there’s my list of Latinx book recommendations! This was such a fun list to make and as a reader from a Latin-American background I can’t put into words how amazing it is to see this list of books grow with each year 😭💖📚📚

Many of these I have yet to read, but I’m excited!! My plan is to get to them during Latinx Heritage Month and throughout the rest of 2019–📚📚🎉

What Latinx Books are on your TBR? Any other book recommendations for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month? 😍📚✨

I also recommend checking out these amazing Latinx read-a-thons going on currently, that are being hosted by great Latinx book reviewers in the community: Latinx Book Bingo & Latinx-A-Thon (ends Sept. 24)

The AM Archives Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

The AM ArchivesThe AM Archives created by Lauren Shippen

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Episodes: 1 (Ongoing)

Running Time: 24 Minutes

Release Schedule: Weekly

The AM Archives Podcast is available through Luminary

Summary: This sci-fi series picks up where hit podcast The Bright Sessions left off. The original series followed a group of therapy patients with supernatural abilities as they uncovered the secrets of their therapist, Dr. Bright. Six months after The Bright Sessions concludes we begin again with The AM Archives, a Luminary exclusive that tracks the mysterious Dr. Bright as she tries to reform the institution that once betrayed her. Along with time traveler Sam Barnes and ex-enemy Owen Green, Dr. Bright helps “Atypicals” learn how to use their abilities. But in an effort to defang The Atypical Monitors, the trio comes face to face with a patient unlike any other…

My Thoughts: The AM Archives brings you back into the world of The Bright Sessions with an all-new story to tell! This first episode reintroduces the listener to familiar characters like Dr. Bright, Sam, & Agent Green! The world of The AM was shrouded in mystery, however this series shows a new perspective to this core setting of The Bright Sessions universe!

This is a series that I’ve been really looking forward to because it is a spin-off to a favorite audio drama podcast of mine, The Bright Sessions!

The AM Archives Episode 1 is a new chapter in this universe that will leave listeners ready for all that’s to come next in this series.

Six months have passed with Dr. Bright, Sam, and Agent Green finalizing their work to the new AM facility.

Throughout the episode there is a lot of discussion (with ideas they bounce back & forth among each other) to ensure the new facility works in the best interest for not only its new image, but being more inclusive/personal to Atypicals as a whole, and the patients especially!

When fictional universes have continuations, sequels, etc. it can seem like there’s often rehash or excessive reminder of past events. With The AM Archives that is not the case!

The information that’s relayed to us, in my opinion, offers important reminders listeners ought to keep in mind (about the AM facility, Tiers, dynamics of the AM) that will be vital as the story progresses.

The world-building was definitely a highlight of this episode. While we’re all familiar with this universe of The Bright Sessions with Atypicals, the AM facility, etc., The AM Archives really symbolizes the growth to the organization and all the progress that’ll surely follow.

What I loved about this first episode was that I could hear the excitement, also anticipation that these characters are working towards and the change they are eager to bring to the world of Atypicals.

I’m looking forward to the new AM and how they really want to be more inclusive of Atypicals in their division now!

We’re introduced to a couple new characters right away–there’s Jackson Crawford, a new agent assigned to the facility who came all the way from The AM’s HQ.

From my perspective I see how his introduction may sort of symbolize this “old vs. new” view of The AM, but he’s very eager to help the organization as much as he can.

There’s also Maggs, Operations Manager for the AM! She’s also wanting to bring change to the AM as well and I loved that she’s all for making The AM feel more personal and inviting!

Overall I loved both Maggs & Jackson, their great introductions, and their interactions with Agent Green, Sam, & Dr. Bright! I can’t wait to learn more about them. There was also a new character named Dr. Sharpe who listeners get a small glimpse of in this episode and I can’t wait to learn more about her to!

The dynamic between Sam, Agent Green, & Dr. Bright was also great to listen to its something we got a lot more of near the end of The Bright Sessions, so I’m really looking forward to hearing how their relationships develop among each other!

To avoid major spoilers for the rest of the story I will say that the voice acting (writing/script included) and sound design really immerse you into this world and new adventure of The Bright Sessions! Everything comes together fantastically!

I’m incredibly excited to continue exploring The Bright Sessions universe and see where this new story is headed!

One thing to mention is that I found it funny that I hadn’t noticed until the end, the show is no longer in the format of audio recordings 😂🎙

The AM Archives is a must-listen for fans of The Bright Sessions! This first episode lays the foundation for what looks to be a great continuation to the series! From the return of past characters, to new introductions, immersive/detailed world-building of The AM, and a plot that will have you hooked, this is an audio drama you don’t want to miss! You’ll finish the first episode of The AM Archives wanting the next one right away! 🎙💡✨

Bookish Buzz: Upcoming Books That Need More Hype!

Bookish Buzz is the working title for my newest blog feature and I’m beyond excited to share it with you all!

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ Bookish Buzz was originally going to premiere on my blog as monthly releases feature, but since I hadn’t kept up with it last month, I’m trying out something a little different for this first post! But I do hope to share my original idea in the near future!

To start Bookish Buzz, I’m sharing a list of some of my most anticipated/upcoming YA Books, including a manga & middle grade novel that I feel need more buzz! 🎉📚

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 11.Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Witch Hat Atelier is a manga I’ve been looking forward to for months–I first heard about it at a convention and immediately added it to my TBR! It takes place in a world where magic is a part of the everyday! However, it’s known that those with magic in this world are born, not made! Coco is a girl who was born without magic, but aspires to become a witch. One day, when a magician travels through her village, she realizes that the magic everyone knows of in her world, is not as it seems.

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala2.The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala (The Tiger At Midnight Trilogy #1)

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

The Tiger At Midnight is a YA Fantasy debut set in a fantasy land inspired by ancient India! The story follows Esha an assassin who goes by the name of Viper and Kunal a soldier who longs to see more to the world! Both the rebel and soldier cross paths and make difficult choices for the future of their world as it grows more volatile around them with each day. What drew me into this book was the characters, I’m all here for character-driven YA Fantasy & I can’t wait to learn more about where Esha & Kunal’s journey is headed! (ARC Review To Come)

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki3.Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’ Connell

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Publisher: First Second Books (Fierce Reads)

This graphic novel follows Frederica Riley who is reeling from a break-up with the most popular girl in school, Laura Dean. Her best friend Doodle, introduces her to a medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. As Laura Dean continues to come back & their relationship becomes more complicated, Freddie questions if Laura is the one she really needs to break up with. I’ll admit I first heard about this graphic novel when the cover was revealed, but as soon as I read the summary I was super interested in checking it out, Laura Dean sounds like it’ll explore the complexity to love/loss & it also features a queer relationship!

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg4.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Fantasy theme park– that’s what drew me to this book right away! Set in the immersive fantastical theme park, The Kingdom, we follow Ana who is engineered to make visitor’s dreams come true! She finds herself falling in love with employee Owen, but when she’s accused of murdering him one night, she’s now a part of a trial where she recounts her story. The Kingdom is told through testimonies, interviews, and Ana’s own memories of him. I’m so excited to read this because the unique sci-fi, thriller/fantasy concept sounds right up my alley!

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash5. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Mariam Vakilian, NYU Freshman, hasn’t dated in months since her high school boyfriend Caleb broke up with her. But, when she remembers about an almost-expired coupon for a virtual reality dating service, she decides to give it a try! However, things get a bit complicated when her matches include her ex-boyfriend and new best friend Jeremy! I’m beyond excited to read this book–I mean its a college-set YA Contemporary/Rom-Com, with a past ex, & VR! I’m always looking for college-set YA Contemporary and the story sounds so good!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu6. Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and illustrations by Janet K. Lee

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers

The summary and beautiful cover drew me into this upcoming middle grade/graphic novel! Trot is a surfer and alongside her one-eyed cat Cap’n Bill, they catch a big wave and get sucked into an underwater kingdom! But a sea battle rages in these waters. Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King & Trot & Cap’n are caught in the middle of it!

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu7.The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Simon Pulse

This is an upcoming YA Contemporary psychological thriller from debut author Sarah Lyu! I don’t read many thrillers, but after reading the summary I was hooked! It follows Remy Tsai whose boyfriend Remy is now dead and it was all due to her best friend, Elise. As an investigation is underway, she tries to piece together what happened and find the truth. I’m also always looking forward to reading & supporting YA debuts!

Truly Madly Royally y Debbie Rigaud8. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Point Paperbacks

Zora Emerson is independent, smart, and ready to change the world! She’s prepped to attend a prestigious summer program, but what she wasn’t expecting was to connect with Owen– a prince! Now she’s being invited as a Owen’s guest to his older brother’s wedding and isn’t sure she’s ready for the spotlight! This book sounds so cute & I don’t think I’ve read a royalty romance before–so I’m super excited to read this one! 💞👑

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite9.Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Alaine Beauparlant, high-school journalist, gets suspended for a prank gone-wrong. Spending her time in Haiti at her family’s estate, she’s reconnecting with her mother, working at her aunt’s start-up to help local children in need, and connecting with fellow intern Jason. But when she finds letters, articles, & emails from her mother, she learns it’ll not only save her project, but also help her to better understand her estranged mother! This novel is not only set in Haiti, but also told through letters, emails, etc. and I’m SO hyped to get to this, I was recently sent an ARC and can’t wait to read this book it sounds fantastic!

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen10.The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Tor Teen

If your new to my blog, then you probably haven’t seen me rave about the audio drama podcasts I review/recommend! The Infinite Noise is actually based on The Bright Sessions sci-fi podcast by creator Lauren Shippen. The podcast follows those with superpowers, or Atypicals who get therapy from Dr. Bright! The cast of characters, plot, and discussion of mental health are just some of the many things that make The Bright Sessions a fantastic story! If you haven’t listened to this podcast, do it!! Its fantastic & I’m so happy to see it getting attention in the book/YA Community. This book specifically follows one of the main characters Adam from the podcast and delves more into his backstory. So as a big fan of this podcast, I’m eagerly anticipating this book and HIGHLY recommend checking out the wonderful podcast!

Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell11.Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Moira Alexander searches for a killer on her island town, where sirens lurk along its shores. She plays her violin at the sea’s edge, but one day finds a dead boy along the shore, she has a feeling its not the sirens. She tries to search for the killer alongside lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, her childhood friend! Now their trying to find who ever is responsible, before its too late! When this book was first announced I knew Id have to read it! Murder-mystery, sirens, violinist & lighthouse keeper crime-solving duo?? Sign me up! This story sounds like a really unique YA mystery and I’m really looking forward to checking this book out!

These are all the upcoming books I’m so hyped to read & I can’t contain my excitement for them! 😍❤📚🎉🎉

Which of these books are you looking forward to? Any not on this list?? 

Lets Discuss In The Comments! 😄🎉📚