How the Book Internet is influencing our reading {Book Blog Discussion}

For us avid readers its no surprise we have countless avenues of which to discover new books and connect with like-minded people:

Bookstagram, Book Blogging, Booktube, and Book Twitter, to name a few!

The internet is not only changing how we’re reading, but also what we’re reading!

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash booksFrom book recommendation threads on twitter, bookish articles listing the newest books of the season, to a new haul on booktube, the latest book on your to-read shelf is never far behind.

According to the Publishers Weekly article titled How Has the Internet Changed Book Culture, a PubTechConnect panel was recapped where the panelists, consisting book online book editors and writers, discussed the internet’s effect on literary culture.

“…what the internet allows us to do in changing the way we interact with books is see what people connect with…[,]how people form identity communities, and how those communities affect what they read and how they read it…”

These spaces create and build connections to share our love of books whether it’s a review talking about our favorite characters and plot points or through another form of creative book content. We find ourselves seemingly unable to stop refreshing our feeds because the newest post may introduce us to our next favorite book or a new bookish friend!

Even Vox shared an article in December of 2018 showcasing the influence Instagram (or Bookstagram) has in helping independent bookstores and getting people to buy more physical books. The platform is encouraging readers to not only support their local communities, but also build one online through a love of reading.

With all of this in mind, its not all that surprising then that print sales of books have been on the rise compared to the drop in sales for ebooks and audiobooks.

Good E-Reader, an online news agency which focuses on audiobooks, e-readers, digital publishing and ebooks, shared that in January 2019 the revenue for ebooks had declined 4.9% since last year.

Similarly with audiobooks, Publishers Weekly stated that those sales had the steepest drop in unit sales at 28.9%.

Now back to focusing on “what” we’re reading, it’s clear that depending on who’s in your feed, that will absolutely influence the books you notice and will want to pick up!

Personally, I’ve made so many wonderful friends and seen my TBR grow continuously by following readers and other bookish accounts on Twitter that align with my love of Young Adult, Latinx Books, SFF, etc. & have introduced me to more romance and indie published recommendations that I may not have considered before!

To look at this topic from another perspective, take manga for instance! A recent article from Bound Into Comics shared that manga has found more success in overseas markets and has seen its popularity increase.

Though there are many factors involved, from a book community standpoint, one can’t ignore the increase of manga on Booktube!

Booktubers who mainly read YA are now reading and hauling manga titles! I can only theorize its due to the lasting wave of YA Contemporary in 2015 & 2016 that many began to pick up more manga. It was mainly through Ichigo Takano’s Orange, which falls into the genre of contemporary, realistic fiction (mental health), and merges with a bit of sci-fi, that this newly released manga was put onto many people’s radars, which opened the doors for more booktubers/viewers to discover manga.

This, in my opinion, set the stage for more manga to weave its way into YA Booktubers TBRs!

Now if you scroll through the feed of predominately YA booktubers, many of them are not only starting to pick up more manga, but also encourage other viewers and fellow booktube friends to do the same. This has also led to more manga bookclubs or read-a-thons online.

From my perspective, as a long-time watcher of booktube, being a book blogger for over 3 years, and keeping updated on the newest buzzed books, it’s not surprising that the impact of the internet is allowing for more conversation, especially influencing and inspiring readers to pick up more diverse and inclusive titles!

It’s amazing to see how influential the internet is in the the direction of the book market, what stories we’re seeing next, allowing us readers to curate our TBRs, find new recommendations, and open our eyes to new stories that we may not have known about otherwise!

Its also important to note, the impact word-of-mouth and recommendations from online friends or influencers is continuing to have on the books people decide to add to their To-Read lists, or pick up themselves!

While there’s a variety of factors involved into what gets readers to pick up certain books, one can’t ignore all the good it’s doing to bring people together, introducing them to new fictional worlds, and inspiring them to keep on reading!

There’s many pockets of the internet where one can find new bookish content and discover their next great read and that is something that I don’t see stopping anytime soon!

Thank you so much for checking out this discussion! Feel free to share your own personal experiences on how the internet or the online book community has influenced how/what your reading! 😍📚🍃

Which online bookish communities do you go to for your next read? 📚✨💖

Hey 24hr.YABookBlog here  (~˘▾˘)~💞📚✨ I wanted to share a little bit about the inspiration behind this blog discussion! It was mainly influenced by the PW article listed above titled “How Has the Internet Changed Book Culture.” I felt inspired by what the article mentioned about building community and how it impacts what we read! I felt as a book blogger + someone who keeps up to date on the newest book news/trends, etc., I had a lot to say on the subject! 

This discussion also would not have been possible without the other fantastic resources I linked above like Vox, Good E-Reader and Publishers Weekly! Close to 3-4 hours of work went into this article, but it was such a fun one to create! 

If you can, I would really appreciate if you could check out/donate to my Ko-Fi or share this article with fellow bookish people! As a university student studying journalism, if you could support the work I shared today, it would mean a lot! Thank you!! 📚💖✨📰

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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Slice Of Life Fantasy & Book Recommendations {Book Blogger Discussion}

There’s something special about stories that explore and follow characters through their everyday lives. There’s a name for stories like this and that’s “Slice Of Life.”

While this category can apply to such a vast number of different genres, I’d personally learned about this category in my early teens as I continued watching anime and reading manga.

Goodreads describes Slice Of Life as a “…naturalistic representation of real life which has been cut out of a larger story…”

With that, I found my love for these particular kinds of stories one could best describe as Slice Of Life Fantasy!

For me, Slice Of Life Fantasy means that while a story is set in a fantasy world–has a magic system, magical creatures, or is a world that’s unlike our own–at its’ core the plot can fall into a contemporary sphere because it focuses on the characters’ typical/daily lives. It also has core elements and themes that are relatable outside of its fantasy setting! There’s still action, but from my perspective it’s used more for driving certain plot points than being an active part of the story itself!

Whether its going to school, making new friends, or being with family– there’s something special about these types of stories that I just adore!

Today I’ll share with you some books I can categorize as Slice Of Life Fantasy and I hope I can offer some wonderful new recommendations for your TBR! 💞📚

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones1. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: I’ve personally only seen the Ghibli movie, but from what I remember of it, the animation & scenery, presentation of Sophie’s life working in her family’s hat shop, and the friends she makes while staying in Howl’s castle present this Slice Of Life Fantasy atmosphere!

Summary: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars2. The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: If you were to ask me the earliest book I read which delivered this idea of Slice Of Life Fantasy it would be The Girl Of Ink & Stars! Isabella, a cartographer’s daughter, lives on the island of Joya (which has magic running through it). Isa goes on a search for her missing friend Lupe alongside her friend Pablo as she learns more about her home. There’s themes of adventure, friendship, and the importance of stories through myths. The myths themselves have been passed down to Isa through her father!

Summary: Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O' Neill3.The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (Tea Dragon #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: This delightful and beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows Greta, daughter of a blacksmith, who learns more about Tea Dragons and caring for them through tea merchant/shop owner Hesekiel, when she becomes his apprentice! The Tea Dragon Society is set in a magical, diverse world that also emphasizes craft and preservation of the arts! Greta embarks on an enchanting adventure as she learns more about the magical Tea Dragons and makes new friends!

Summary: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes 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. 

* If your looking for a recently released middle-grade graphic novel that may fall into the realm of Slice Of Life Fantasy too, I recommend Sea Sirens by Amy Chu:

Trot & her cat get taken to an underwater magical kingdom where there’s an ancient deep-sea battle rages on! There’s also Vietnamese-American rep. and exploration of Vietnamese Mythology!!

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 14. Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Witch Hat Atelier #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: In this world, magic has been kept hidden but the main character Coco has been fascinated by it her entire life and wants more than anything–to become a witch! Witch Hat Atelier connects to this wonder and hope that magic lives within each of us. The relatable themes of this story are present not only through the plot, but the optimistic and joyful main character Coco. While there’s a whimsy to it, there’s a depth and complexity to the magic system alongside the captivating world that makes it feel grounded in reality. Coco finds her seemingly “un-magical” life turned upside down as she learns more about the magic she has within herself!

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.

* If your looking for another fantastic and more contemporary example of Slice Of Life Fantasy with witches I also recommend: Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka! Volume 1 of Flying Witch follows Makoto who goes to Aomori, Japan to live with her cousins as she continues her training to become a witch!

And those are my recommendations for Slice Of Life Fantasy books! I had a lot of fun creating this discussion and I hope you’ll check out these wonderful books!

Have you read any of the books I’ve recommended? 😍📚✨

Any books you know of that could be described as “Slice Of Life Fantasy”? 🍃✨📚

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal Review

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah FaizalWe Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #1)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Pages: 480

Available Through The Book Depository: We Hunt The Flame

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 king. 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 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 king 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.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: We Hunt The Flame is a YA Fantasy debut that has been highly anticipated and one you don’t want to miss! From the expansive world of Arawiya, intriguing plot, and wonderfully developed cast of characters, Faizal’s debut takes the reader on an epic fantasy adventure!

Told through dual POV, We Hunt The Flame follows Zafira, known as the Hunter, and Nasir, prince of Arawiya who goes by the title of the Prince Of Death (essentially the kingdom’s assassin!).

Zafira hunts for her people disguised as a boy in Demenhur, which is a kingdom cursed with eternal snow. She hunts within the Arz, a forest of encapsulating darkness– while many have become lost within it, she always finds her way back!

Nasir is the ever-loyal assassin for his father (the sultan) and goes across the kingdom getting rid of those who undermine his father’s rule. He believes he will forever be cursed with a life of darkness and because of that, keeps himself isolated from the world.

Their stories become intertwined when their confronted with a mission that takes them to a mysterious island with magic no one has seen for close to a century!

I loved the entire first part of this story–introducing us to the world of Arawiya through both of our main characters in their natural elements: Zafira having hunted a deer in the Arz and Nasir, assassinating a man suspected of treason against the kingdom.

These lines from Zafira & Nasir’s opening chapters will forever be remembered in my mind anytime I think of We Hunt The Flame:

People lived because she killed…People died because he lived…

What I loved about those lines is how much they tell us about them as characters before their stories even begin! Zafira is the kind of person who always puts others before herself. Although she has her own desires & wishes, she never chooses to act on them–only on what she feels will make everyone else around her safe or happy!

Nasir has been raised to kill and is continually put in situations where he wants to show his loyalty to his father. But, he does it even knowing his father will never be proud–with that, he uses that as a shield to isolate himself from the kingdom he will be destined to rule. Luckily, he does have general Altair by his side (though Nasir begs to differ XD).

This is a debut that surprised me in so many ways and had so many elements I loved–not only the main characters, but also the expansive world, magic system, character dynamics, and intriguing plot!

Nasir and Zafira’s mission has been spurred by a mysterious entity who calls herself, The Silver Witch. Their mission promises the return of magic to their world, even if it means braving this mysterious island where the magic is wild and unexpected.

Another element to the world that I loved was that although their world has been free of magic for quite sometime, you can still sense its presence in the kingdom itself and that’s because of Faizal’s writing– it creates such vivid settings, imagery, and delivers a sense of wonder! There wasn’t a single moment where I was ever pulled out of the story! The lush prose delivers a balance to its characters, world, atmosphere, and dialogue in such a great way!

Their both tasked with finding the Jawarat, the mythical book that bring magic back to their land. But, in addition to that–Nasir is given another task to kill anyone who can get in the way (Altair included) and the Hunter!

As the story progresses where Nasir & Zafira finally meet– truths come to light and their forced to stick together if their going to find the book!

There’s also a very present/relevant theme of identity throughout the book that is explored so well between them! Both Nasir & Zafira face truths about their identity and when they are presented with new info that changes what they first believed about themselves! I felt it really showed how much depth there was to them to see the many differing sides to them not just throughout their journey, but also through them as characters–we see their strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerable moments which really surprised me!

There’s also themes of grief and loss explored throughout as well!

As for other characters, I loved the ensemble dynamics explored! Firstly with Zafira in her home village, with her sister Lana, friends Yasmine & Deen! Next it was Nasir & Altair–their dynamic/banter was the best and easily a highlight of the book!

I also find the exploration of past/current love isn’t always explored in YA Fantasy between main characters–but We Hunt The Flame really highlighted that & it was so well developed (Zafira w/ Deen & Nasir w/ Kulsum). I loved how they also symbolized the thread to their previous lives before coming to the island of Sharr.

As Zafira, Nasir, & Altair find themselves working together we also get introduced to a couple of new characters on the island:  Kifah, & Benyamin!! I loved learning more about them and found them to be such wonderfully developed characters + additions (who do get introduced mid-way through WHTF).

Overall the main crew/characters were just too precious & have to be protected at all costs!! I loved them a lot!! (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)❤

Additionally, the way Faizal used dual POV was fantastic–it offered so much to so many different elements of the story from the atmosphere, expansive world, characters, etc. The character-dynamics were also so good, not once did I feel certain characters were forgettable or lacked depth!

When talking about the world, the contrast to the setting of the frozen lands & deserts (Demenhur vs. Sarasin) were so vivid and I could picture both of them perfectly! Even the element of the forest of darkness, The Arz, was something special that really brought the setting to life & made it sparkle.

Now onto what made me rate this a 4–though rating aside, I really loved this book and the ending left on a note where I was in shock, but SO ready to read the sequel! (I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year!!). Those last few chapters–just WOW!!

Honestly, I do think that the pre-release hype had my expectations really high for We Hunt The Flame and overall my personal expectations too. I was so ready for the Assassins Creed elements to shine more throughout the book (though they were really present within Part 1) and it definitely switched gears as the story progressed– I was disappointed, but that’s only because I wanted more–I loved reading the chapters where Nasir traveled throughout the kingdom as an assassin & seeing Zafira brave enough to trek through the Arz as she outran guards!!

I did feel that because the writing is very character-focused, the plot (mainly surrounding the Sharr storyline) felt like it wandered a bit and I was hoping for more of the over-arching plot to be explored for a larger part of those chapters instead of being left to the last chunk of chapters.

Also, for me personally, I felt Nasir & Zafira’s defining characteristics (being the Assassin/Hunter) got a bit lost as the story progressed (mainly with Nasir) and I was hoping for their personas to be more of a focused part of their character that was present throughout the whole book (Hopefully that makes sense?).

But overall, like I said above there were so many wonderful and fantastic elements to We Hunt The Flame that really left this book as a memorable and favorite read of mine for sure! I can’t wait to see whats next in the sequel!!

We Hunt The Flame is a YA Fantasy debut inspired by ancient Arabia that takes the reader on an immersive, magical adventure! Faizal’s debut is an atmospheric fantasy tale that delivers such a vivid world, fantastic cast of characters, important themes woven throughout, and plenty of action! We Hunt The Flame is debut that will leave you wanting the sequel right away when you turn that final page!

I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review 😍💞📚 I recommend checking out:

We Hunt The Flame Review from Lila over at HardcoverHaven121

As an Own-Voices reviewer for Arab rep., she talks about the diverse geography of the Middle East and how accurate the setting of Arawiya was for her when listening to We Hunt The Flame on audio! She also loved how the novel showcased so many different aspects of Arab culture, such as language!

She also loved the rich prose that Faizal crafted within her novel (which I loved too!!). Though it wasn’t a perfect rating for her, I loved how she expanded on the different points in her review and her thoughts on it from the audiobook perspective!

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen {ARC Review}

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. NguyenFake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Pages: 304

Available Through The Book Depository: Fake It Till You Break It

Summary: Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Fake It Till You Break It is a YA Contemporary Romance that you need to add to your TBR! Mia and Jake can’t stand one another, they’ve even been told they’d be the perfect couple! So, to get their parents off their backs they pretend to be in a relationship, but soon find themselves falling for each other!

Fake It Till You Break It is one of those books where I just read the summary and said “Yes! I need this book in my life!!” 

I adored this book, fell in love with the main characters, Mia & Jake, and recommend this book if your looking for a good YA Contemporary Romance with dual POV, really good romance, and exploration of a variety of themes from friendship, grief, to family!

Mia Le & Jake Adler are childhood friends–mainly because their mothers are the best of friends. For years, they’ve endured dentist visits, brunches, weekends together, but the thing is, they can’t stand to be with each other! Their moms are convinced they’ll be the perfect couple & the fact that Mia’s mom disagrees with every new guy Mia is interested in, doesn’t help either.

So to end this once and for all, Mia & Jake pretend to be a couple and get their parents off their backs for good–but the more time they spend with each other, the more they realize they may be falling in love! ❤

As I mentioned above, Nguyen’s latest YA Contemporary is told through dual POV! It honestly made the book even more fun because I was able to better understand the dynamics of this relationship from the both points of view! It really allows you to understand both Mia & Jake fully as characters (their personalities, personal journeys, etc.) while also connecting all these different pieces to where you can see that although they really don’t like each other now, they really used to be close. We see how although they leave it unsaid, but its clear they don’t want to continue being on opposite sides!

Through Nguyen’s writing, you get so much humor, exploration of family/relationship dynamics and this energy that’s delivered into both of the main characters! I just adored both Mia, Jake, and their dynamic a whole lot! They just felt so realistic, I could really picture them so clearly in my mind as I was reading!

Also–the banter between Jake & Mia was so good!! They really don’t like each other, but through each POV its clear to see that they really keep a close eye on each other and care for one another even if they have trouble admitting it. ❤ They also have a lot of history, its impossible for them to avoid it during their fake relationship because they’ve just grown up with each other for so long.

There’s also a focus on self as Mia & Jake learn more about themselves and one another as they delve further into this relationship in ways they weren’t really expecting– they learn more about how present they’ve been in each others lives and what it can mean for them now and after they end this fake relationship (considering they gave themselves a 2-week window to trick their moms and break-up to be out of each others lives for good).

Following Mia & Jake’s journey throughout this book was also just fun because of their vibrant personalities and delightful banter!

Though this relationship also encounters other obstacles they face along the way–Mia has a crush on her theater classmate Ben and struggles to come to terms with her complex feelings between her crush and mortal enemy Jake! Jake also struggles with these feelings for Mia and we learn more about the estranged brother who abandoned him and his adoptive mother years ago.

I loved how this novel explored this fake-relationship dynamic and the complexities that come with it! For example, throughout the book while its obvious Mia & Jake have chemistry, we see that because Mia has also been interested in her theater classmate Ben for sometime, Jake helps set up a double-date so Mia can go out with him! Because they aren’t really a couple, both Mia & Jake confront this question if they can still keep the charade up & what is their relationship exactly??

Fake It Till You Break It also explores the complexity of family, the dynamic between Jake, Mia & their mothers, even the distance of Jake’s estranged brother Finn.

I loved that there was such a focus on mother relationships in this book!! Its something that isn’t always explored in YA Contemporary and it was just so great to see these important familial relationships explored with such depth. I personally found Jake, his adopted mother (who was his Aunt Lily), and their relationship to be another one of the strongest explored throughout the book. Jake knows that his uncle left a while back and with Finn gone, the novel explores how Lily just wanted them to be happy and nearing the end worried she wasn’t being the best mother she could–I loved this mother/son dynamic explored throughout the book. There’s also messages and themes Nguyen subtly weaved into it–while really exploring it near the end!

I also loved the female friendships that both Mia & Jake have–they were very present throughout the book and it was great their friends were such central parts of their school life & throughout the story.

There’s also Vietnamese rep (Mia & her mother)! I don’t know if its ever explicitly stated, but that’s what I gathered from other reviews & context!

Nguyen also has this underlying theme of grief that is shown through Jake’s POV as he mentions the passing of his parents in an accident and his brother Finn who distanced himself years later. This theme was also explored subtly but it felt realistically portrayed because he still had those emotions close to him.

My only critiques that have me rating this 4-stars is the plot point revolving the mother’s and them finding out about the relationship (I wont spoil it, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting-it did feel a bit rushed too), and Jake’s reaction towards certain plot points that get revealed later on felt kid of like a bit of a step backwards for his character to me personally!

But overall, Fake It Till You Break It was a lovely YA Contemporary that surprised me and kept me so invested in the delightful main characters! So on an enjoyment scale it was definitely a 4.5! 💞

Fake It Till You Break It is a fantastic YA Contemporary Romance and you need it on your TBR! There’s fake-dating, dynamics of family, female friendships and relationships explored throughout this book! There’s also a focus on self as both Mia & Jake find themselves falling for each other and growing throughout the book! Fake It Till You Break It is YA Contemporary that needs so much more hype–its so good & I can’t recommend it enough!

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo {ARC Review}

somewhere only we know by maurene gooSomewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Pages: 336

Available Through The Book Depository: Somewhere Only We Know

Summary: 10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

*Received ARC through a festival*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Somewhere Only We Know is a YA Contemporary Romance reminiscent of Roman Holiday! Lucky, a K-Pop star & Jack, a tabloid photographer, spend the day together having adventures throughout Hong Kong! This character-driven contemporary is fun, while also having underlying messages about identity and self! As Lucky and Jack have their one-day adventure, they also learn more about each other and themselves! 

If you were to ask me of a YA Contemporary author whose newest books I always look forward to reading during spring/summer, I’d say Maurene Goo! With each book of hers I find myself falling in love with the flawed, loveable, and realistic main characters she develops alongside the unique stories she creates!

I knew going in that this book was Roman Holiday-esque and conveniently, before starting this book, it had been on TV one day and I’d actually never seen it before! But I managed to watch a good amount of it and throughout Somewhere Only We Know, I could absolutely  feel those Roman Holiday-vibes weaved into the story!

What I realized as I took my time to really read Somewhere Only We Know, was that as I finally reached that last page I reflected on how much I loved both Lucky & Jack + their journeys throughout this book! I loved it a lot!!

I found Goo’s book was really about how taking one day to do something unexpected, or even just for yourself can allow to learn more about yourself than you think!

This book is truly all about how Jack and Lucky learn from one another as they spend the day together, while realizing how their lives aren’t exactly all they hoped it would be–but how they can strive to make it something better.

The story follows 2 POV’s Jack and Lucky! Lucky is a rising star in the world of K-Pop and her upcoming performance on The Later Tonight Show is what her team is looking for to launch her career even further!

Jack is an intern at a bank his father works for. He’s not entirely happy about it, but what he keeps a secret from his parents, is his job as a tabloid reporter/photographer. He’s not entirely sure where his life is headed, as the stress of deciding whether or not he wants to go to college or where he wants to work, continuously goes through his mind.

Both Lucky and Jack find themselves spending the day together, when Lucky finds herself far from her hotel after taking a heavy amount of anti-anxiety medication and craving a hamburger! Little does she know, that she’s going to be saved by Jack!

When Jack learns who she is, he decides that in order to launch his career as a professional photographer, he’s going to have to create a story out of Lucky’s hotel escape, without her knowing.

Jack does his best to keep his job as a tabloid reporter from Lucky, while she uses her opportunity of being far from the comfort of her hotel in the streets on Hong Kong, to live out just one day of non-stop adventure!

However, along the way both Lucky and Jack finding themselves falling for each other, even as they both try to keep up lies about themselves throughout their adventure!

With the way Goo brilliantly developed both Jack & Lucky, they really came to life off the page! She also developed their relationship so wonderfully, its a mix of attraction at first-sight alongside their delightful chemistry that worked so well together!

All throughout Somewhere Only We Know, there’s a lot of discussion on identity, societal and familial pressures, and what it means to find a new dream!

Lucky finds herself stuck in this world of K-Pop that once felt like a dream, is now forcing her to face harsh realities–and throughout the book she realizes how unhappy she is. Jack, is very single-minded on his story on Lucky to launch his own career, but throughout the book as he begins falling for Lucky & learns more about her/her life–he begins to see the error in his ways!

As I mentioned above, what makes this book so beautiful is exploring how both Lucky and Jack learn more about their own desires and dreams/plans for the future because they spend time together on this spontaneous adventure! I just loved them both & following their journeys in this book! Lucky & Jack were–just the best!! 😍💞

From the great dialogue, Jack & Lucky’s own unique perspectives, setting of Hong Kong, and Goo’s delightful writing-style, Somewhere Only We Know becomes a brilliantly funny, deeply moving, character-driven, and unique YA Contemporary! It delivers so much throughout its entirety!

As we explore Hong Kong throughout Somewhere Only We Know from the weather, atmosphere, food, and various locations–the setting truly shined, especially because of the energy both Lucky and Jack brought together as characters!

My only minor issue I’d say that bumped my rating to 4 stars, is the pacing throughout some of the middle– its a bit slow, a couple characters/moments could have been expanded on just a bit more, and I felt the ending was just a little rushed near the end.

But overall, this was another great Maurene Goo YA Contemporary and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

Somewhere Only We Know is a great YA Contemporary to add to your TBR! The perfect blend of comedy, romance, wonderfully developed characters, vibrant setting, and page-turning plot makes this a delightful YA Contemporary you don’t want to miss! If your looking for a unique YA Contemporary with fun character-dynamics, romance, and adventure, Maurene Goo’s latest, is a wonderful book to check out!

The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees Review

The Waking Forest by Alyssa WeesThe Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Pages: 297

Available Through The Book Depository: The Waking Forest

Summary: Pan’s Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unexpected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more–until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Waking Forest is a YA debut that melds contemporary with fantasy and magic in an interesting way! Rhea begins questioning  what’s real and what’s not when dreams begin merging into her everyday life! With her pet fox by her side she begins uncovering and losing herself in a peculiar magic only she can see! The Waking Forest is an eerie, whimsical debut that introduces fairy tales, a descriptive writing-style, and a story that’s more than it seems!

The Waking Forest is a book I’d really been looking forward to–a girl with terrifying visions and a wish-granting witch–there’s also a magical forest and the main character has a pet fox?!?! This book had a lot of different elements that would work great together! (+ The cover is so beautiful and atmospheric–it really went with the story).

I did find the story to be a bit underwhelming and it got a bit lost along the way. But, I do see myself reading more of Wees books in the future because I loved the unique concept!

There were a lot of different elements that made this book really stand out and kept me invested–from the unpredictability of the plot, atmospheric writing, unique incorporation of fairy tales, and main themes that stay present throughout the book!

Told through dual POV’s we follow our main character Rhea who continuously has dreams about the attic in her house, but can never quite reach it. However early on in the book, she does and fears for what it could mean. Then within the attic she learns of a mysterious boy (who she calls Darkness) whose giving her some sort of test/game to play! If she wins, she can unlock all the answers he’s hiding. If not, her family will pay the price!

As she’s running out of time, she gets even more lost in this game as she tries to find the answers she’s looking for! I found this plot point to be the most interesting because it gets developed throughout the story and it was just a unique plot point I’d never really read before!

Aside from that main storyline, it also follows her everyday life with her parents, sisters (Rose, Renata, & Raisa), and their unique dynamic as Rhea’s dreams begin to worry them.

The 2nd POV follows the Witch In The Woods who lives in her sanctuary hidden deep in the forest with her army of foxes and grants wishes for a price! Throughout her POV its told in a fairytale/storyteller-type fashion as a boy (who for some time was disguised as a fox) tries to learn more about the Witch by intriguing her with a fairytale of a princess, magic, castles, and a forest!

As we delve more into her POV, we learn how lonely she is and that with each continuation of the boy’s story, she begins feeling less alone.

What I really enjoyed about this book that was underlying, but explored throughout was Wees use of fairy tale elements! But, they were incorporated in a very original way! From princesses, magical forests, witches, storytelling–it all felt familiar but also different and I enjoyed how Wees really created her own tale within a tale!

Before the reveal of how these 2 POV’s were connected, I felt that the Witch’s story line (granting wishes, getting told a story & finding herself no longer alone) seemed to mirror Rhea’s growth as well!  Rhea finds herself lost and unsure of the world, but then its through magic that she’s able to find her way again. Wees’s symbolism through both POV’s was an element that I really enjoyed as I began making my own connections as the story progressed.

The Waking Story is also very much a character-driven journey as Rhea learns more about herself as she unlocks the mysteries about these dark dreams and the magic that’s seeping into her everyday life! The way that dreams were developed near the end of the story honestly surprised me in a way I did not see coming!

There’s also the element of family and sisterhood, as Rhea lives with her 3 sisters (Rose, Renata, Raisa). Their dynamic is different and complicated, but no matter what they really do care for each other, even in the most difficult moments! Having sisters myself I liked seeing this sister dynamic explored throughout the book!

Rhea’s story is told through 1st person and found it to be a very introspective POV! While The Waking Forest could have been more developed in other areas, I found what did make this book an immersive read was reading from Rhea’s perspective. The focus on her & her dreams, and the magic that gets explored made this book incredibly character-driven where Rhea really stands out as a protagonist!

Now onto why I rated this 3.5 stars: I just felt the story/writing was just lacking in execution…The writing is very direct, vivid, and descriptive, but described things in a very odd way. It was going for a sort-of purple prose which I could see, but it just didn’t work for me personally.

I also found that as we delve more into the story, Part 2 which reveals more secrets about these 2 POVs and how they work together, was just executed in a way that felt like a bit of a let down.

There’s fantasy elements explored through the story that the Witch hears and as those get developed more in Part 2, I found myself not really connecting with them honestly. I also felt that as the secrets to the Witch’s story are uncovered, they were never really given more detail and merge with Rhea’s POV in a way that while unexpected, wasn’t developed a whole lot.

Overall, I just felt The Waking Forest‘s whimsical, oddly descriptive writing, and execution of plot just didn’t work for me personally.

However, if your looking for a really immersive YA Fairy-Tale/Contemporary fantasy that really puts a focus on its main character– The Waking Forest is definitely an interesting book to check out!

The Waking Forest is character-driven, atmospheric YA Debut that melds contemporary with fantasy in a very unique way! Through the exploration of the power of dreams, nightmares, and magic, Wees immersive debut offers a unique look at magic, if one looks closely!

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala {Reading Playlist}

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati TeerdhalaHey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 Today I’m sharing a playlist to celebrate the release of Swati Teerdhala’s debut: The Tiger At Midnight!

The Tiger At Midnight is an epic YA Fantasy that follows a rebel assassin/spy and soldier whose paths cross! This leads to a cat-and-mouse chase, where along the way they both learn more about their world and themselves!

If your looking forward to The Tiger At Midnight, lets discuss in the comments below!

Today’s playlist features songs from Kingdom Hearts 3 & Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days!

• Mount Olympus Field Theme • Mount Olympus Battle Theme • Go For It! • Olympus Coliseum •

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know by now that with every playlist, I’ve always got to find a way to include Kingdom Hearts!! 😂💖

Share your thoughts on the playlist in the comments below! 🎧✨💞

If your currently reading or planning to read The Tiger At Midnight–I’d love to hear your thoughts on this playlist! 🐯✨🎧⚔

+ Today at Books Of Wonder in NYC, Swati will be celebrating the release of The Tiger At Midnight w/ upcoming debut author Kat Cho (Wicked Fox) at Books Of Wonder!