Recommending YA Books That Deserve More Love

Hey everyone! Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite backlist books and realized as time goes on, it becomes difficult to dive back into my old favorites with the sheer amount of new titles being released each year. It’s impossible to keep up with ALL the books, so today’s post is comprised of some marvelous reads that’ve been out for a while that I believe deserve more love. 💕✨

I’m so happy to be chatting with you all today about books I’ve adored that I definitely feel like should be recognized even more. Whether your looking for an urban fantasy, epic fantasy, contemporary, or thriller, this list is indeed for you if you are need of some backlist gems!

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Genre: Urban Fantasy┃Young Adult
Release Date: June 27, 2015 (Feb. 2017 2nd Edition)

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of Vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they’re going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?

Why you should read it: I still think about the unique concept that Kan delivered here― people gifted with superpowers live in a city they protect in the night! It also features a Queer / POC cast (Māori, Samoan, Indian, & Chinese characters) plus aro-ace and genderfluid rep. Friendship is also an integral part of this story as bonds are strengthened and new allies are made. Though years have passed, I continue to remember the fond memories I had reading this, truly a hidden gem in urban fantasy that delivers a fresh take on superheroes, highly recommend reading this. (Plus, if you want to support indie books and authors, you should also pick this up!)

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Genre: Young Adult ┃ Contemporary
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: 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.

Why you should read it: What continues to stay with me about this superb novel is the use of a mixed media format which makes Alaine’s journey feel so personal as it deeply revolves around family, especially her mother! With Alaine being an aspiring journalist, I also found the element of journalism to be explored in such a thorough way. This truly is a moving, character-driven YA Contemporary story that explores many deep themes.

Shatter The Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Genre: Fantasy ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019

Available Through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground… With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

Why you should read it: Firstly, umm DRAGONS, but also the detailed worldbuilding. If you’re in the mood for a “quiet” fantasy novel this one is perfect because the protagonist Maren is more of “reluctant hero” who isn’t looking for adventure, but certain events propel her to do so and she learns a lot about her world. The worldbuilding has tons of layers to it from the politics, to the setting, history, dragon lore, and lots more that develops the further you read. Also has a great cast of characters that leave you wanting to know more about them!

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Horror ┃ Thriller ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: April 13, 2021

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends. To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own. When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

Why you should read it: Moldavsky uses elements from the horror genre in such a genius way that comes through in the writing, the way the story is told, its atmosphere, the intriguing characters and in so many other ways. Rachel is an awesome protagonist and this novel cleverly delves deep into her arc. This book truly blew my mind and is probably one of the most brilliant books I’ve read this year, I need more people to read this breathtaking and page-turning YA Thriller!

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Genre: Contemporary┃ Romance ┃Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy?

Why you should read it: This is a perfect read if you’re in the mood for a YA royal romance (its also set during summer)! Alongside that, its character-driven / focused where the story centers Zora’s dreams and her development when she gets thrust into a royal spotlight. Its cute, fun, and a sweet read that I think deserves much more love!

That concludes the list, I hope you found a new underrated gem to dive into and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new feature!

What are some YA Books you’ve read that you think deserve more love or recognition? Thoughts on the books I’ve listed here?

Book News: YA Books Optioned For Adaptations

In just the past couple years alone no doubt you’ve probably read about Young Adult novels being optioned for a book-to-screen adaptation. With the success of adaptations such as ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,’Moxie,’ including the recent ‘Shadow And Bone’ which reached 55 million views in its first month (according to Deadline), it wouldn’t be surprising to see even more YA novels headed to our screens in the coming years. That’s why today I’ll be highlighting some of the many books currently under option to get the tv or film treatment, that you may or may not know about!

For clarification, an option basically means that the studio (or whoever acquires the novel) is given exclusive rights to purchase the material to then adapt or start the process of adaptation with an author’s work for a set period of time. There’s also lots of other factors involved that influence the process of getting the book to screen (credit: Optioning Literary Material by Mark Litwak [Entertainment Law Resources]).

With that out of the way, here’s a list of 10 books that are are optioned for an adaptation:

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Harper Teen (Quill Tree Books)
Release Date: September 5, 2017

Summary: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

Originally to be developed as a half-hour series through HBO with J.J. Abrams and Chris Kelly attached, a recent update was revealed on May 6 through Deadline that Entertainment One (EOne) has now acquired the rights to adapt Silvera’s novel for television. Drew Comins is attached as a producer through EOne alongside Executive Vice President of scripted TV, Jacqueline Sacerio.

The Wrath And The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Summary: In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

On November 20, 2020 it was revealed through a Deadline exclusive that Ahdieh’s novel is set to be adapted into a television series with 1212 Entertainment, which optioned the rights. 1212’s Roberto Grande and Joshua Long are also attached. According to the article, “former Bron Studios EVP of Domestic Television and ex-WME agent” Pippa Lambert will also develop alongside Grande and Long through her production company Hellcat.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date:
May 5, 2020

Summary: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Bruna Papandrea through her production company Made Up Stories, acquired the rights to Acevedeo’s novel to be developed for television, revealed exclusively through Deadline on December 15, 2020. Alongside a partnership through Endeavor Content, Papandrea is set to be an executive producer alongside Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Janice Park, who are part of the Made Up Stories team. Acevedo is also set to executively produce and write the pilot.

Anna K by Jenny Lee

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Summary: Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie. As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

During August of 2019, it was announced through Deadline that HBO Max won the rights to Anna K. with a “pilot commitment.” Set to be developed as a television series, not many updates have been given as of yet however Lee mentioned in a 2021 author tour/discussion to celebrate the sequel Anna K Away that although there’s not much to share, it’s “still in development…I can’t talk about it because there’s some movement…we don’t have anything big to announce yet but I’m hopeful that sometime soon we will…”

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 18, 2018

Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all. In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

During October of 2020, it was announced through Deadline that writers Aziza Barnes and Natasha Rothwell are developing Zoboi’s Pride for HBO as a series. Barnes will be the screenwriter and Rothwell will work alongside as executive producer. The company Alloy Entertainment is producing in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television.

The Witchland Series by Susan Dennard

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Summary: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

During September of 2018 it was originally announced through Deadline that Dennard’s Witchland novels would be developed as a live-action television series, which was picked up by the Jim Henson Company. However an update was shared through Dennard’s social medias in October of 2020 stating that the production had new additions to the team: two showrunners and a director. Julie and Shawna Benson are not only showrunners but also writers alongside Alice Waddington whose directing.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: September 12, 2017

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

During September of 2020, sites such as Variety announced that Warcross would be adapted as a television series where Made Up Stories and producer John Cameron picked up the rights. Executive producers include Adam Lash, Cori Uchida, alongside Papandrea, producer Janice Park and Cameron (who will direct the pilot). Alongside them, Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Lu herself will also serve as executive producer.

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date:
May 14, 2019

Summary: People lived because she killed. People died because he lived. Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

As of February 2021, it was announced that STXtv would be developing We Hunt The Flame as a one-hour television series, according to Deadline. The entertainment company is currently in the process of finding screenwriters for the project and Faizal will serve as an executive producer.

A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2, 2020

Summary: For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

While not many details are known as of yet, it was revealed through Brown’s Twitter during September 2020 that A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin had television rights acquired by ABC Studios.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: September 20, 2020

Summary: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Before the novel was published Deadline reported during March of 2020 that Amazon, Sony Pictures TV, and John Berman’s studio-based Osprey Productions landed the rights to develop Inheritance Games for television. During September 2020, it was announced that Grainne Godfree (Legends Of Tomorrow) will be writer and executive producer on the project. Barnes is also attached as co-producer.

Did you know about any of these upcoming book-to-screen adaptations? Which of these books are you looking forward to seeing on the TV screen?

June TBR: Reading New Releases & YA Books

Hello everyone, back with another TBR list on the blog! While I managed to continue my average of about 5 books per month, for June I’m feeling inspired to read even more and finally get through some recent releases that have been sitting on my to-read list for quite a bit.

With summer almost here, I thought it’d be a perfect time to list a variety of books I’m hoping to read. Now that this month definitely seems more manageable alongside the smaller batch of new releases and me being a perpetual mood reader, the goal is to finally catch up on some of my grand 2021 reads!

While being a mood reader has definitely messed with my reading schedule recently, I’m feeling pretty confident that most of these spectacular titles will get read soon and I’ll have lots of reviews to share on the blog this month (including those from past my past list). As expected, there’s a great number of YA here, however I’m also highlighting a couple adult fantasy titles that I’ve been eagerly awaiting too. Here’s my ambitious list of reads for the month:

June TBR (Current Reads)

Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

Debut ┃ #Ownvoices Iranian-American rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Released: May 18, 2021

Originally I got this exciting debut as an ARC, but when my library re-opened and Parvin was finally available I decided to read the finished copy instead. Following 14-year-old Parvin Mohammadi, she’s a high school freshman who got her heart broken over the summer after her boyfriend told her she’s “too much.” Then when she meets a cute boy during orientation, she sets out to win the ultimate homecoming date and decides that following the romantic heroines in her favorite movies is the way to go. Or is it?

This book is in one word…FANTASTIC! Parvin’s voice is incredibly funny and the true spirit of this book! While Perfectly Parvin has such a great cast of characters, humor, hijinks, even interweaves themes like friendship, its a story ultimately about self-acceptance as Parvin learns to be true to herself. Though, one of my many favorite parts about this book is definitely the friendship between her, Ruth & Fabián. Seeing these friends support each other as they start their new adventure in high school is so great, they face a few ups & downs sure, but ultimately are by one another’s sides. I personally have not seen enough people talk about this book and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (Burning Kingdoms #1)

Trilogy #Ownvoices Indian-inspired fantasy and Sapphic rep. Adult Epic Fantasy Release Date: June 8, 2021

If you’ve followed my blog for a few years now, you’d know Tasha is one of my favorite epic fantasy writers, who wrote the wonderful Books Of Ambha duology. I fell in love with how she crafts her worlds, weaves in politics, alongside deeply complex character arcs, and the absolute joy I had when receiving an ARC was indescribable. I’ve recently started this one and from page one just immersed myself into another one of her phenomenal worlds.

The story follows Malini, a princess whose forced to be imprisoned in a temple by her dictator brother. Soon, the princess finds herself getting tangled up with Priya, a maidservant, who has some secrets of her own.

I can’t wait to learn more about Malini and Priya, seeing where their journeys are headed in this magical world. If you have yet to add this book to your to-read list, it can be best pitched as: Morally grey lesbians who want to set their empire ablaze!!

June TBR (Unread)

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Standalone #Ownvoices Latina & Puerto Rican rep. YA Dystopia & Sci-Fi Released: March 5, 2019

After so long, I finally read Lilliam’s books starting with Margot Sanchez! She’s become one of my new favorite authors and I’m making it goal to catch up on all her previously published novels. From the summary alone, Dealing In Dreams has been on my radar for years and its a Latina-written dystopia? Sign me up! The story is set in a near-future US where girl gangs rule the streets as they fight for power, freedom and survival.

Following Nalah, she hopes to keep her crew safe and to do so she sets her sights on the Mega Towers. But in order to gain a spot there, she’ll have to prove herself with a vital mission in search of a mysterious gang.

The concept sounds so thrilling and I’ve heard it’ll cover such a variety of themes that I can’t wait to explore. Very much looking forward to diving into this one!

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Vietnamese-American rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Released: February 9, 2021

Who knew the fictional trope of rival restaurant-romance would be my new favorite? Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai work at their families competing pho restaurants, but a chance encounter has sparks flying! Despite their families history of rivalry will their love prevail?

I’m back in a YA Contemporary mood too, so I’m hoping to read through as many as I can this month as well.

Not entirely sure what inspired this recent interest in rivalry romance, but I am here for it! This sounds like such a delightful read and have seen lovely reviews from fellow bloggers that have me even more pumped to read Le’s debut.

The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Asian rep. ┃ YA Sci-fi / Dystopia ┃ Released: May 4, 2021

The book internet and especially book twitter, has been raving about this book for quite some time, so safe to assume I have pretty high hopes for this intriguing contemporary/sci-fi twist. Following two sisters, Cee lives on a deserted island while Kasey is living in a protected eco-city. When Cee disappears, Kasey decides to retrace her steps and figure out what happened.

I like how this book is mixing sci-fi, dystopia and a bit of mystery too. Books that mashup quite a number of different genres always intrigue me and I’m quite curious to see how its all tied together.

I’m most interested in not only learning more about the sister dynamic, but also the intriguing setting that He has built. I’d love to get to this one as soon as I can so I can finally be part of the conversation and hype surrounding this YA title!

Fifteen Hundred Miles From The Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Mexican-American/Chicano rep. + Gay rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Releasing: June 8, 2021

Julián Luna has everything planned to get out of his suffocating Texas town and finally live true to himself. But after a accidentally coming out on Twitter, plans are now derailed. But when a crush named Mat slides into his DM’s, Julián slowly realizes he doesn’t have to face it all alone. Firstly just want to say from that summary alone this looks like it’ll be such a character-driven journey, while also sounds equally heartwarming and intense, I can’t wait, plus more Latine YA? YAY!

Also wanted to add a special thank you to Jonny for sending along a copy, hoping to read this delightful debut asap!

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #2)

Sequel Adult Historical Fantasy Releasing: June 8, 2021

The Golem And The Jinni is easily top of the list for my favorite historical fantasy novels of all time, it was also one of the first adult novels I’d ever read and has a special place in my heart. Without exaggeration, I can confidently say I’ve waited literal YEARS for this book (over 4 to be exact). I won’t spoil what happens in the first novel, but essentially the story follows a golem named Chava and a djinn named Ahmed who find their paths crossing in 1890’s New York. These unlikely friends learn what its like to live among humans and yearn to forge their own paths.

The amount of depth and detail you learn about the cast, the meaningful themes, and fantastic world building are just some of the many spectacular things I love about this novel. This book truly got me to admire and uncover more adult fantasy when I was a younger reader so, very thankful to Wecker’s tale! I’ve been waiting for this sequel for what feels like forever and I can’t believe it’s finally here.

What titles are you hoping to read during June? Any new releases or backlist books you’re looking forward to? Any recommendations you’d like to share?

Beyond The Clouds Vol. 1 by Nicke {Manga Review}

Beyond The Clouds Vol. 1 by Nicke (BTC #1)

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Pages: 212

Available Through The Book Depository and Bookshop

Summary: Living beneath the haze of Yellow Town, young Theo has never seen the stars. He works as a mechanic and spends his off hours digging through the town’s trash heap for abandoned treasures. He’s always had the soul of a dreamer, but he’s given up on living the kind of fantastical life he’s read about in books.

Then, one day, he finds an amnesiac, injured girl with wings, and everything changes. Theo’s talents help fix her wing, and their quest will take them beyond the clouds, farther than either could have imagined.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Beyond The Clouds is a fantastical, steampunk manga following Theo, a young mechanic, yearning for adventure, as he embarks on a journey after finding an amnesiac girl with wings. Through artwork that evokes the style of watercolor and delightful storytelling, this is truly a magical start to a new series!

Some hangs heavy over the dream-like city in Beyond The Clouds and young Theo grew up learning that there was a particular kind of magic in books, filled with fantastical stories that could allow him to go anywhere — and within him, that yearning for adventure is still there. As a mechanic at Chikuwa’s repair shop, he always makes time to inspect the junkyard and discover treasures. However, what he isn’t expecting is to find a girl with wings who has no memory of who she is and where she’s from, thus the adventure begins.

As Theo and Mia begin their delightful friendship, he always makes it a point to mention that Mia’s sorrow and loneliness is something he knows all too well. So he takes in upon himself to help erase her fears with the power of a good story. Their friendship was an absolute highlight of this first installment and although there is more to the dynamic I hope gets explored, Theo’s kind heart helps both him and Mia in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Through its slice-of-life atmosphere Nicke pulls you into Theo’s daily routine as a mechanic, running errands, digging for lost treasures, and his adept skills to help Mia adjust to having lost a wing and her memory. Mia and Theo’s friendship is the foundation for intense scenes woven throughout volume 1 from the explanation of Mia’s unique shadow powers and Theo’s quest to find a special medicine for her later on. I think those emotions propel the story in ways so unexpected, but much appreciated.

When I first discovered this manga through the GORGEOUS cover, it’s natural to assume the story within will be equally whimsical, with an imaginative, dream-like quality to it, but what I got was something much more. While this volume is a really broad stroke introducing an intricate, steampunk world it also leaves you with a sense of nostalgia for stories that’ve left you feeling that any fantastical world is possible.

Nicke’s artwork is presented with a light, sketchy quality to it leaving readers enchanted at the scope of the world we’ve barely scratched the surface of. No matter what page you turn to, there’s a feeling of wonder that just never leaves you, the more you follow the adorable duo. The detailed panel frames and artwork that exist outside the confines of the panel boxing was also reminiscent of Kamome Shirahama’s style, which is one of my favorites. The cover also reflects the sheer beauty of the watercolor style in a rainbow of colors.

Mixing the soft, sketch-like art and underlying whimsy of the plot conjures the feeling of reading a beloved fairytale, or reminiscing on a childhood story. The way Nicke wondrously succeeds in leaving readers with this indescribable feeling of nostalgia and wonder is in one word, magical.

The world is established with much detailed about the creatures (anthros and hybrids), but also an even more magical forest outside of Yellow Town filled with fairies and unique plants. The backgrounds really cement you into the steampunk/fairytale setting as well.

While all these elements work so incredibly well to establish a rich world, it felt like there wasn’t enough time to explore or take it in. We are sort of thrust into the setting which is a beautiful backdrop for sure that I would have loved to learn more about from the customs, locations, and world as a whole. Driven by its plot, I do hope to discover more about the world and all the minute details established here, in future volumes.

Beyond The Clouds is a quiet, magical story filled with stunning artwork, unique characters, while also establishing a compelling, spellbinding world through a plot that will leave readers with a sense of nostalgia, whimsy, and adventure!

March TBR: Prioritizing ARCs and Backlist Books

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a while since I’ve shared any kind of TBR list on this blog, but I’ve been feeling inspired to chat more about the books that’ve interested me and that I’m been eager to read.

I struggle with creating TBRs because I’ve realized over the past year, I would definitely say that my reading habits have transformed me into more of a “mood reader.” I’ve also been feeling a lot more motivated to create content on the blog besides reviews and hopefully these kinds of posts will help me stick to some kind of monthly schedule.

I’d love to chat about all the books I’m hoping to get to this month and would love to hear about what your reading plans are too! So here’s my ambitious TBR over the next couple weeks:

March TBR (Current Reads)

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Debut #OwnVoices Puerto-Rican rep.YA ContemporaryReleased: Feb. 2, 2021
I first received this book as an ARC, but of course with my reading schedule being all over the place, I haven’t gotten to finishing this one quite yet. But I’ll be honest…2021 has made me reflect on the importance of taking time to read a book and not just rushing through, which is exactly why it’s taken me a bit longer to finish up Maldonado’s book.

Overall, I’m loving Charlie’s journey in this as she learns to have a better relationship with her body, navigate love, and improve her relationship with her mom. Maldonado has written Charlie in such a realistic way, her narrative voice is interwoven with humor and heart, plus there’s such a great cast of characters! If you have yet to add this phenomenal debut to your To-read list, I highly recommend it!

Down Comes The Night by Allison Saft

Debut Bisexual rep. YA Fantasy Released: March 2, 2021

In addition to my current interest in dark academia, perhaps I should also add gothic literature to the list? Following a healer named Wren, she takes a job at a crumbling manor where she learns she’ll have to heal her kingdom’s sworn enemy! The writing is so atmospheric, I’m also just so intrigued by the setting and characters. This is another book I’m taking my time with because not only am I reading way too many things at once, but also really want to immerse myself in the magical world.

Hoping to finish this one soon, I also made an aesthetic which was lots of fun!

March TBR (Unread)

Storm The Earth by Rebecca Kim Wells (Shatter The Sky #2)

Sequel Bisexual & Sapphic rep.YA FantasyReleased: Oct. 13, 2020

Last year around early 2020 I finally read Well’s Shatter The Sky and fell in love with it. Maren is on a quest to rescue her girlfriend Kaia whose taken by prophetic seers of their empire. When Maren comes up with a plan to find a dragon to go look for her, she gets tangled up in the politics and intrigue, even makes new friends when she enters undercover in the empire’s stronghold. There’s a lot of dragon lore, interesting characters, and a unique world I’m eager to learn more about in the sequel.

I’m eager to see how Maren’s journey wraps-up especially as there’s a few plot threads that surprised me near the end. Originally I got an arc of this one, so I’m debating whether to read my arc or just borrow a library copy.

Satoko And Nada Vol. 4 by Yupechika

FinaleJapanese & Saudi-Arabian rep.ContemporaryReleased: Dec. 29, 2020

I’ve gotten quite into the habit of starting a lot of manga series, but never finishing them. However, with only 4 volumes, Satoko & Nada captured my heart each and every time. This series follows exchange students Satoko (Japanese) and Nada (Saudi-Arabian) who become roommates and the best of friends! Across each volume, you follow their daily adventures, featuring a very slice-of-life atmosphere that’s just too wholesome!

I’m literally sobbing because this will be the last volume, but trust the author to deliver a wonderful conclusion to their adventures in America. I might be putting this one to the side for a bit, because I’m so not ready to say goodbye to these characters just yet.

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Debut#Ownvoices Black Rep.YA ContemporaryReleased: Jan. 5, 2021

After getting through Charlie Vega so far, I realized I’m also in such a contemporary romance/rom-com mood! Tessa, a dedicated writer, gets into a creative writing program, but along the way loses that spark. So with her friend Caroline, they create a romance novel-inspired list of steps to help Tessa get inspiration through a real-life love story of her own.

This just sounds like a super fun read and I’m interested in seeing what Tessa learns along the way.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

StandalonePan & Latinx rep. (#OwnVoices)YA Magical Realism & Fairytale retellingReleases: March 16, 2021

If you didn’t know, Anna-Marie is one of my all-time favorite authors!! They write the most beautiful Latinx fairytales and of course it’s no surprise I’d be reading their newest novel. It looks like this novel will deeply explore healing and as always, McLemore delivers such a wonderfully developed cast of characters, delves into many themes, and much more!

Also got an arc of this one, so hopefully I can get to reading it during March and share my review!

Content warning: PTSD and SA

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (Magic Of The Lost #1)

DebutSapphic rep Epic FantasyReleases: March 23, 2021

Earlier this month I got a copy of The Unbroken! 2021 is the year I’m looking to read and catchup on adult sff/ epic fantasy, so I’m adding Clark’s debut to the list to hopefully motivate me to get through the newer releases.

The story sounds great as its set in a North-African inspired desert colony/empire. There’s even a grumpy soldier / princess dynamic and I’m so fascinated in immersing myself in this epic world.

What have you read during the month of March? Any recommendations or new releases you’re looking forward to?

Like This YA Book? Read This Manga! {Blog Discussion}

After making this tweet about manga and Young Adult Books, even a recent thread involving a certain manga in the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2020, I felt it was finally time to share a highly anticipated post:

If you like this Young Adult Book, read this Manga!

Manga is a very well-known medium, but it can seem like it sometimes isn’t widely discussed as it could be on our side of the book internet. Also, as mentioned above, with a particular *newly released manga being the only GR selection among many that’ve exploded in the world of manga publishing, well I just had to create this list! While I’m very much not an expert on all the fantastic manga series out there, my goal is to inspire you to check out some of these truly extraordinary titles!

If you like SIX OF CROWS, read Spy X Family by Tatsua Endo

Why: Six Of Crows is well known for its group of misfits banding together and slowly growing into a tight-knight family. While at the same time it features a complex cast of characters that are continuing to grow amid the trauma they’ve carried with them, because of that you would love Spy X Family!

With its very unique concept, this series follows a genius spy who needs to create a fake family in order to complete his mission of keeping peace between two rival countries. Now a spy, telepath, and assassin are living together, and each carries their own secrets. There’s brilliant comedy, a phenomenal cast of characters, and an entertaining plot you won’t be able to put down!

For those who also appreciate the clever, ruthless, mastermind who will do whatever he needs to in order to get the job done, while simultaneously unleashing a monstrous side if those he loves are in peril, then Kaz Brekker stans you need to meet Loid Forger from Spy X Family.

Similar to Six Of Crows, if you enjoy the dark, corrupt intrigue of the world, dysfunctional found family dynamics, and a page-turning story, well then Spy X Family should definitely be on your to-read list.

Some of the genius tropes you can expect in this series include literal FOUND FAMILY, marriage of convenience, and more! Two volumes in and this manga truly gets better with each one.

If you like I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, read Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

Why: When I reflect on I’ll Give You The Sun, something that will always stick with me was the intense focus on art. Similarly with Blue Period, the main character Yatora becomes consumed by the passion of painting.

The metaphorical imagery, whether its in Nelson’s writing or Yamaguchi’s artwork reminded me of the other, so that’s why I’d recommend reading Blue Period if you remember the realistic intensity to the twins Jude and Noah.

I haven’t read Blue Period yet, but the artwork is incredibly stunning and based on the summary the character journeys are very much reminiscent of each other, so I recommend checking it out!

If you like CRIER’S WAR, read A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow by Makoto Hagino

Why: Having just finished Tropical Fish, it gave me major Crier’s War vibes because at its heart, it has a SAPPHIC romance that’s filled with lots of slow-burn and yearning! Without spoiling too much, both of these series showcase the intense emotion that our main protagonists feel because in reality, Crier x Ayla and Konatsu x Koyuki, are the only ones that truly understand each other on a deeper level.

In both series, the worldbuilding plays a major role in how our protagonists are able to interact! In Crier’s War, the element of the Automae has created a divide which leads Ayla to immersing herself in Crier’s world. Where in the contemporary setting of Tropical, the school’s mandatory rule for students to join a club leads new student Konatsu to connect more with aquarium club member Koyuki as both girls are instantly drawn to each other!

There’s a poetic beauty to each of these books through the writing, the yearning, and metaphorical way of looking at the stories! Each couple navigates their own loneliness and weight of responsibility, but deep down, its about the way love can allow them to grow!

If you like Every Heart A Doorway, read Restaurant To Another World by Junpei Inuzuka

Why: Despite the major differences between these books, I think the “portal fantasy” idea is what makes Restaurant a perfect read-alike if you enjoy the Wayward Children Series!

Haven’t finished this one yet either, but where you learn about the different worlds across McGuire’s books, Restaurant takes you to multiple within a single novel as it follows a restaurant in Tokyo that connects to many different places, as the reader meets all the unique guests that make their way to “Western Cuisine Nekoya.”

Where both books are also very similar is the focus on characters apart from their own world and what brings them to another magical place! An additional fun comparison: they both have magical doors!! (*Note: Every Heart A Doorway is the only SFF title on this list, however the rest of it has been YA).

That concludes my Part 1 of my “Like this? Read That!” Series! Very much looking forward to creating a Part 2 of this sometime in the future because although this list took quite a bit of work (and I’m just remembering tons of books I completely forgot), there’s honestly such a variety of manga series out there that deserve recognition too! ☄✨

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to pick up some of these titles and lets chat about them in the comments! Have you read any of these manga titles or will you be adding them to your TBR? 📚🎉

Are Book Bloggers Getting Paid? {Book Blog Discussion}

What makes the book community an astounding place to be is the variety of bookish content that can be created across blogs, bookstagram, and even booktube. We created these platforms because of our love for books and connect with like-minded readers who feel the exact same way.

However, inspired by Cielo @Bellerosereads recent thread, its abundantly clear that book bloggers hardly see any payment for their work. Many say in the 4 years (maybe even more) they’ve been creating content, they’ve maybe made $20 through affiliates however a vast majority have made $0.

Why could this be? Lifestyle, fashion, and beauty bloggers according to this recent 2020 Huffington Post article are making a couple thousand dollars when creating blog posts alongside other social media content.

Although these are isolated cases, it’s clear that brands are able to pay for their content not only through Instagram, but also for blog content that has a good shelf-life in regards to whatever product their looking to promote.

Before we get into more logistics lets talk a little more about what companies are usually looking for when promoting, in this case lets talk about upcoming book “X.”

If “X” is a debut that publishers are really looking to sell many will include national print publicity, social media campaigns, and I’m sure there’d also be early ARC mailings alongside word-of-mouth or influencer promotion.

So who would this blogger be and why should you care? Well it all depends on whether the publisher is looking to reach out to a micro- or macroinfluencer. Micro, much like you or me are the bloggers who have followers from 1k to 10k. Why these kinds of influencers are important is because, the close and tight-knit readership fosters and maintains direct interaction with followers, creating a sense of community.

Microinfluencers very much carry more weight over the longterm and that’s because our audience is our peers (fellow blogger friends, readers, etc.). We are not here to market, but to simply build connections over our love of books.

Additionally, Influencer Marketing Hub also shared that in response to “The State Of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report,” 91% of brands, marketing agencies, and other industry professionals who participated, believe that influencer marketing is effective. I won’t find it surprising to see these numbers increase or the state of influencers evolve over the next year and into 2021 , especially with the impact of the virus.

I know I’ve found myself reading and picking up certain books more because fellow book bloggers or bookish creators had talked about it, even hyped it up through their posts!

For example if “Blogger A” is your fellow blogger friend, wouldn’t you want to pick up this book more because they wrote about how great it is?  This all leads back to the influence that bloggers carry and how that doesn’t really reflect necessarily in payment or compensation for our work. What we essentially are is free marketing.

However I also want to highlight the work that bloggers have done to push publishers into offering ARCs to more #OwnVoices reviewers. Through specific contact lists, blogger-run book tours, etc. I can speak for myself and say that I’ve been contacted over the past year for promotion of books from Latinx authors (Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and Each Of Us A Desert).

It seems like publishing and the world of books is still catching up to the idea of  sponsored/paid influencer marketing like the other juggernaut industries such as lifestyle or beauty, for instance. But I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Now I’m not here to say we need to be making millions of dollars on a single post, but I am hoping to highlight other industries that are able to pay for this kind of publicity. We do valuable work, so us bloggers should appreciate and recognize our contributions to the book community.

There’s such a variety of ways bloggers can be compensated (not only through reviews) there can be blog tour posts, book lists, etc. The beauty of blogging is how creative the written word can become.

Now where do we go from here?

Transparency is important and talking about these topics matters, so this is very much a great start. As bloggers, we need to acknowledge and bring more awareness to our influence in the book community. Even if we may not get paid, its important to be open with fellow creators and encourage conversation with publishers to compensate for the time and work we put into talking about their books.

This Publishers Weekly article that examines tapping into the power of influencers from 2018 states that “many influencers below that [10,000] threshold…create great content…influencer-created content works better than brand-created content, always, always, always.”

We need to remember our value and worth as content creators, even when there are days it feels like no one is reading our stuff. As bloggers it’s important to not only support each other, but help one another. Us book bloggers are part of an ever-evolving and growing community, so we need to support and hype each other up!

Let’s read each others blog posts, like tweets, donate to their Ko-fi’s, Patreons, even a simple comment can go a long way. If we want to see change for the book blog community, we have to be part of that change.

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite bookish brands! It can even be that book subscription box or candle you like! A simple email can help establish you and your blog.

There continues to be fantastic bloggers creating such inspiring content and delving into this topic of payment for our work is an important starting point.

Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion! If you are a book content creator what’s your thoughts on this topic?  📚✨

Share your story, how long have you been a blogger and have you seen any compensation for your work? 💖📚

Fence Vol. 2 by C.S. Pacat Review

Fence Issue 2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The MadFence Vol. 2 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna The Mad (Artist) & Joana Lafuente (Artist)

Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom Studios)

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Pages: 112

Available Through The Book Depository: Fence Volume 2

Cover Illustration: Johanna The Mad

Summary: Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place on the Kings Row fencing team, alongside sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama, to win the right to go up against his golden-boy half-brother.

Tryouts are well underway at King’s Row for a spot on the prodigious fencing team, and scrappy fencer Nicholas isn’t sure he’s going to make the grade in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossibly odds, and his seemingly unstoppable roommate, the surly, sullen Seiji Katayama. It’ll take more than sheer determination to overcome a challenge this big!

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾

My Thoughts: Fence Vol. 2 is a fun and fast-paced continuation to the series! Tryouts at King’s Row force both Nicholas and Seiji overcome challenges as they work towards finding their place on the team! This volume focuses on the deeper, emotional sides of the characters and what’s at stake if they don’t make the cut!

Fence is one of the first comic series that really motivated me to pick up more single issues as it got released weekly in 2018! I’ve reviewed the first 3 issues and Volume 1 on the blog and felt this was a series that would really draw me in with its complex characters and unique story. After reading this volume, I can’t say for sure whether I love this series as much anymore, but I’ll admit it is a lot of fun!

What all readers can appreciate about this series is how interesting, fast-paced and fun the story is! Everything feels heightened, dramatic, but that’s what makes it super enjoyable.

Nicholas is struggling to find his place on the King’s Row team, but as tryouts continue he gets the push he needs to finally be a more focused fencer. While Seiji on the other hand, is starting to struggle. I liked that contrast between the two and it made for an interesting arc in this volume. My favorite characters definitely include Bobby & Dante, but I feel that it’s Seiji and Nicholas’s dynamic that’s keeping me invested in this series!

We get more of a glimpse into Seiji’s past and his connection to Jesse―that moment really surprised me, but it was one of my favorites. Another one included finally seeing Nicholas find his ground in fencing and I appreciated that we as the reader get to note his dynamic energy and have it shine through. It’s clear he has the skills and he’s not yet perfected them, but this volume showcased his potential to be a better fencer! A major story arc was definitely seeing the matches and who’d be paired with Nicholas & Seiji.

This volume mainly focuses on the tryouts alongside the development and interactions between 2 characters, such as Nicholas & Bobby, Seiji Vs. Aiden, Adien & Harvard, etc. It’s in the way this series highlights how two characters bounce off each other and the moments they share that always leaves you wanting more!

However, I still feel like the pacing of this series moves way too quickly, while at the same time it can feel like not much is even happening. There’s not any major plot progression other than the tryouts and I can kind of sense Pacat’s plan, but so far this volume all just felt like build up. The story always feels like its ending too soon, even when realistically not too much has happened yet.

As for characters, I like them all and their enjoyable, but they still feel a bit static (and Aiden continues to be my least favorite). Again, I liked the more quiet, personal moments with Harvard, Seiji, even Nicholas. But with a mix of static personalities (characters that need more development), minimal plot progression and a story that seems stuck, its starting to get difficult for me to feel super attached to these characters (aside from my favorites) and their journey.

But of course there were moments that stood out to me, so I’ll highlight some of my favorites: ↠ Seeing a moment of Seiji’s past when he & Jesse were young fencers together
↠ Nicholas better focusing on his fencing
↠ Bobby being happy to get advice from Seiji ❤
↠ Getting more into Seiji’s character

Now onto more critiques! While I really appreciate that the art gives a lot of focus to particular characters or certain emotions at intense moments, the art itself is still rather simplistic and I find that the backgrounds have barley any detail. In some scenes it makes the school feel empty. As a positive though, the art looks more suited to be animated for a cartoon adaptation, especially with how extremely fast the story goes.

The paneling felt a bit off in this one too. The pages were presented with a lot of wasted space, odd cropping choices, and with the big panels, there’s a lot of full page art that never really ended up adding a whole lot to the story, in my opinion. There can definitely be more room for background detail, more panels, and dialogue.

Overall though, I’m interested in seeing where the story is headed because it truly is just a fun, entertaining series with an interesting cast of characters and mystery as to where their journey at King’s Row is headed!

Fence Vol. 2 is a solid continuation to the series! There’s more time spent between characters, developing the more personal moments. The cast has somewhat of a clearer focus as to their own personal stories, with much more hinted at in future volumes. Nicholas and Seiji’s dynamic really takes the stage in this volume! With mystery, fencing rivalry, and a fast-paced story, this series always leaves you wanting to know what happens next!

I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review today😍📚🤺

 Fence Vol. 2 review from Autumn at Chaptermalliumpkin

As a 5-star review, Autumn goes into detail as to how this series completely stole her heart, the rivalries between the team, and how connected she feels to the characters! I also love the chapter-by-chapter breakdown, it reminded me of even more details in the series I forgot! If your a fan of this series, check out Autumn’s fabulous review (it even includes a great bookstagram) 📸💞

2019 Book Blog Wrap-Up

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 It feels like 2019 just started and now can you believe we’re going into 2020?

In today’s blog post I’m wrapping up 2019, which includes sharing my favorite blog posts, highlighting specific accomplishments, and reflecting on my 2019 book blogging year as a whole! I’m also currently drafting my list of top reads of the year, so keep an eye out for that in 2020!

I just want to start by saying that in 2020, it’ll mark my 5 YEARS as a book blogger! I’m incredibly grateful to the wonderful bookish friends I’ve made both on/offline and just–thank you so much to each and every one of you for checking out 24hr.YABookBlog, it really means a lot to me! 💖💖

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiFirstly, in 2019 one of my first 5-star reads was The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi! From the phenomenal world-building, intricate plot/backstories, dazzling writing to following the AMAZING crew of Séverin, Hypnos, Enrique, Zofia, Laila & Tristan (I literally adopted all of them from pg. 1 & want to protect this crew no matter what)– My expectations were extremely high for Chokshi’s newest series and I’m happy to say that at every turn this book continued to go above and beyond!

This was one of my favorite books of the year and I’m SO excited to see what happens in The Silvered Serpents (though I’m heartbroken that the wait for this sequel is well into September 2020 😭).

As I was reading TGW, I really enjoyed annotating my favorite quotes/moments that I felt inspired to create my first Reading Diary. This post was a lot of fun because it was nice to look back and see my initial thoughts as I read. It also felt very personal and I liked the fact that I had a place to record all my thoughts/emotions while reading and be able to share it with all of you!

2019 was a year of new features on my blog and I loved creating every single one of them: 

↠  Bookish Theories: Us avid readers always have new books to look forward to & I felt inspired to create this post because I always have theories or ideas of the direction my most anticipated books will take before their released! I had a lot of fun theorizing King Of Scars and I’m planning on finally reading it in 2020!

Book Blogger RecommendationsI’ve made a lot of wonderful blogger friends and in 2019 I wanted to highlight books they were looking forward to and inspire other bloggers to check out their content! With this feature, it was a lot of fun to see why they were excited about these upcoming releases!

Bookish Buzz: Life can get busy and its difficult to always talk about the newest releases I’m looking forward to with reviews, other posts, etc.! I’ve had SO much fun with this feature because I get to share a list of tons of upcoming books and get them on people’s radars!

Fictional Faves: As an aspiring YA writer, one of my favorite parts of the creation process has always revolved around my characters! So, I was inspired to create this fun post where I share what fictional characters would love/enjoy from our world! I DEFINITELY want to continue this feature in 2020!

In 2020, definitely expect more of these features on the blog! I’ve had so much fun creating each of these and I hope you’ll check them out in the new year! 🎉📚

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash booksI also became a Book Of The Month YA Affiliate! This was such a complete surprise to me and I’ve had a lot of fun promoting the box! There’s also a fun giveaway planned for Holly Black’s The Queen Of Nothing (my December 2019 pick!).

I was also part of a couple of fun blog tours!

2019 was also the year I posted less wrap-ups! It was something I’d actually been considering for a while and now I’ll be sticking to seasonal wrap-ups when I have time. They honestly just took up a lot of time for me this past year and I feel its taken away more stress than I initially thought! 💖

In 2019 I also created a Library Pre-Order Campaigns page and a blog post to go along with it! I’m planning to keep this updated in 2020 too! 📚📚✨

There were also tons of fantastic debuts in 2019 and I’m so happy for the amazing opportunities I had to interview some wonderful authors:

🐅⚔ Swati Teerdhala for The Tiger At Midnight

💡🎙Lauren Shippen for The Infinite Noise (based on her sci-fi audio drama podcast, The Bright Sessions)

🌙✨ Isabel Ibañez for Woven In Moonlight (coming in Jan. 2020) ↠ I’m currently reading this and if your looking for a character-driven, political YA Fantasy pick up Isabel’s book! Its also an #OwnVoices Latinx (Bolivian) YA!

I’ve also been getting back into comics and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen occasional tweets about my latest obsession: SERA AND THE ROYAL STARS!! It’s a female-led, epic fantasy adventure comic where a princess goes on a journey to help her country during their civil war! I highly recommend checking out this comic 💫🏹

During Summer 2019 I also launched The Booked Shelf, a YA Book news site! I feel there’s a lot of book news that goes under the radar, so in 2020 I hope to continue keeping this site active!

2019 was also the year for more discussions on my blog and I’ve been incredibly proud of them! In 2020 I really hope to share even more bookish discussions and spark more conversation! To highlight here are some of my favorites:

How The Book Internet Is Influencing Our Reading: In this discussion I share stats on how online bookish communities are influencing the market and explore the idea that the bookish internet determines what we read!

Animation And Its Potential To Break The Mold Of YA Adaptations: Exploring the beauty of animation, I discuss why there’s so much potential for YA Books to be adapted into animated features!

YA Book Comparisons + Discussing #OwnVoices & Diverse BooksIn this discussion I explore something I’ve noticed when it comes to book comparisons between authors of color & white authors (even how it influences peoples ratings). This is only one side of a pretty large discussion, but I had such a fun time delving into this topic and am glad so many agreed!

I don’t always talk about the latest entertainment news outside of books, but I really want to make more of an effort to do so in 2020 (even find ways to incorporate it into the blog)! So during August of 2019, I had a lot of fun sharing a bookish list inspired by the D23 announcement of a new Disney+ show in the works for Ms.Marvel!

Now here’s some 2019 Book Blog/Bookish Stats:

# Of Books Read In 2019: 54

Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 3 by Kamome ShirahamaLast book read (as of Dec. 31): Witch Hat Atelier Volume 3 ↠ This is a beautifully illustrated manga series that follows Coco, a young girl who dreams of becoming a witch! But, it can only be discovered by select few! Soon, she’s given a chance to learn what it takes to be a witch, with her instructor Qifrey! The art evokes the style of old fairy tales, the world-building, storytelling, artwork, and characters are all phenomenal! I highly recommend this manga series, its not only magical, but captivating!

Based on my 2019 Reading Goals + 2018 Wrap-Up & 2019 Book Goals posts, here are some of the goals I accomplished:

  • Goodreads Goal of 20 Books
  • Expand on blog features: I felt inspired this year to create a lot of new ones and I had tons of fun with them
  • 2019 Bullet Journal: Though I didn’t keep up with it throughout 2019, there was definitely a lot of inspiration that’s kept me motivated to complete a good number of pages & even keep up with it in 2020!
  • Read/Review More Manga: I started 4 new series and continued with 4 series! I’ve really been getting back into manga this year and I have a lot of series on my to-read list for 2020!
  • Continue reading diversely: As the years go by, I really want to continue prioritizing reading books by authors of color & #OwnVoices! Out of the 54 books I read in 2019, 41 books were #OwnVoices (so 75%) and 72% of the books I read were by authors of color!

I’m incredibly happy with over 75% of my ‘Read’ books in 2019 having been from #OwnVoices authors, authors of color, or having inclusive representation in some way! 😍💜

I’m proud of what I accomplished in 2019 and in 2020 I want to continue not only reading but actively promoting inclusive books as much as I can! 💞📚

  • Keep up with Bookstagram: I managed to post over 52X’s in 2019 and I’m definitely in a much happier place with Bookstagram! Though I still have some gripes with it, I really want to continue posting more actively in 2020! 
  • Change my book review style: Over the past few years I’d been wanting to bring more depth to my reviews and this is a goal I’m VERY happy to have accomplished this year! My goal is to continue making my reviews more personal and tackle more layers to every book I read! One review that I’m really proud of that explored this was Sorcery Of Thorns!
  • Be more social on Twitter: Twitter is probably one of the 1st places I go to (besides my blog) to have more conversation! I’m pretty shy, but I feel that this year I definitely made more strides to be social on the platform: I made so many new blogger friends and I hope in 2020 to bring more conversation and just promote more books!

Now here are some goals that I didn’t anticipate at the start of 2019, but accomplished them throughout the year:

  • Read Non-Fiction: I read 3 books that could count as nonfiction titles and I’m glad I branched out to this genre!  I don’t reach for or read nonfiction all too often, but I’ve added more to my TBR this year and hope to explore the genre more in 2020!
  • Track my library check-outs: I‘ve utilized my library each and every year, but this year I started a library tracker list in my bullet journal to see how many of my ‘Read’ books in 2019 were titles I’ve borrowed. I also created a separate list to track how much money I saved from checking out at the library! In 2020, its my goal to save even more money as a book blogger and I want to start a list ASAP at the start of the new year!
  • Creating new content: Though I didn’t post as much as previous years, I’ve been very happy with the discussions, blogs, and posts that I’ve created in 2019! There was definitely a creative fulfillment that I felt and that energy is something I want to take in 2020!
  • Starting a Readathon: Earlier this month, I shared the info for my first readathon in 2020! It was something that I never expected to have created, but I hope you’ll be able to join me in the #QuietReadathon! This readathon is to inspire more conversation and prioritizing of the quiet/underrated books on our TBRs!

And those were just some of the highlights of my blog in 2019! Thanks so much to everyone for making 2019 an unforgettable year! 😄📚🎉✨

What were some of your 2019 Bookish or Blog accomplishments? Lets discuss!! 😍💞📚💫

Bookish Buzz: New YA Books That Need More Hype!

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ I’m back with another Bookish Buzz! Originally debuting on my blog back in March, I created this feature to promote upcoming books that I feel deserve more love!

However, I wanted to change it up a bit today and not only promote upcoming books, but also a couple recently published or backlist titles!

A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai1. A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers (The NOVL)

A Match Made In Mehendi is a wonderful YA Contemporary debut that you need to add to your TBR if you haven’t already! This is such a fun and heart-warming debut that follows Simi who comes from a long line of family matchmakers. But being the artist that she is, instead of following the usual family tradition she creates an app, to help her & her best friend Noah improve their high school status. But, things get a bit complicated when a match doesn’t sit right with one of her classmates. This book shines in so many ways from the first-person POV, she’s confident and passionate as an artist and her voice just draws you into the story from page 1! The characters, atmosphere, and plot all come together in such a fantastic way, easily making this one of my favorite YA Contemporary reads of 2019! (Full Review)

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

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Imprint (Fierce Reads)

Set in 1970’s Argentina, The Tenth Girl follows Mavi who is escaping a military regime. She starts her new life undercover as as a teacher at a renowned finishing school. But there’s mysteries and secrets that loom within the house and Mavi is determined to uncover them. The writing is wonderfully atmospheric and delivers that perfect eerie vibe for fall. I personally love reading from 1st person, so reading from Mavi’s (and a second) POV just takes me right back into the setting and mystery of the story wherever I stop. I haven’t finished it yet, but the mystery is written in a way that I really appreciate where it slowly unfolds and your bringing the pieces together little by little! Can’t wait to finish it!

Rebel Heart by Axie Oh3.Rogue Heart by Axie Oh

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Tu Books

I’ve been looking forward to the next Rebel Seoul book for so long and I can’t believe its finally here! I remember absolutely loving the first book, where Axie introduces us to the political-driven and intriguing Neo states of Korea. From there we follow Lee Jaewon who wants to prove himself as a soldier, but instead learns much more about his country that he thought he knew. From its technological advancements to the central political themes, I fell in love with this debut back in 2017! I’m really looking forward to seeing whats next in Rogue Heart, which’ll have espionage, even more government secrecy and politics!

The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah4.Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Set in an underwater Great Britain at the end of the 21st Century, we follow Leyla McQueen who is determined to set her father free and prove his innocence by participating in a submarine competition that’ll take her outside of London for the first time. She’s also joined by a new companion as she also uncovers government secrets along the way! The summary alone just captivated me and I’ve been beyond excited to read this debut! It looks like there’ll be tons of action, adventure, and I can’t wait to learn more about Leyla.

Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell5.Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon Teen)

I recently finished this debut and let me tell you, if you love beautifully written, detailed and atmospheric YA Mysteries, you should definitely pick up Songs From The Deep! Set on an island town surrounded by sirens, violin player Moira and Lighthouse keeper Jude team up to solve a murder! I will say it is a slow and quiet type of mystery and focuses on its main characters (who were former childhood friends) as they reconnect and piece together the clues of the case. The focus on the m/f friendship between Moira and Jude is fantastic and easily a highlight of this book! The world-building is wonderful and both the setting and atmosphere really deliver through Moira’s POV! I highly recommend checking out this debut, its out tomorrow! (Full Blog Tour Review)

Thousand Fires by Shannon Price6. A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Available Through The Book Depository

Publisher: Tor Teen

This is a book I’ve really been looking forward to because of the unique concept and it drew me in right away. Not only is it pitched as a modern retelling of Iliad, but is also set in San Francisco and is an #OwnVoices Filipina YA! The story centers around Valerie Simons who is no stranger to the rival gangs of San Francisco, her brother was killed by one of them 2 years ago. She’d given an opportunity for revenge by the mysterious gang known as the Stags– led by “charismatic and volatile leader” Jax. She becomes torn along the way of what path she should choose and where the journey will lead her. This book just sounds incredibly unique and character-driven, Price’s debut is one that I will definitely be checking out.

Thanks for checking out Bookish Buzz! Are you looking forward to any of the books featured? 😍💖📚🎉

What new YA Books are on your radar? 😄📚📚