Recommending Books From Authors Of Color Inspired by Dark Academia

Dark Academia is an aesthetic I’m utterly fascinated by. I first discovered it through Tumblr, though in recent years it’s increased in popularity due to Instagram and more recently, TikTok. It’s an aesthetic that at its core promotes the pursuit of learning, literature (oftentimes classics), the arts, and feels almost timeless. Although its origins are unknown, it can be defined by this NYT article as a niche subculture where there’s a “heavy emphasis on reading, writing, learning — and a look best described as traditional-academic-with-a-gothic-edge” (New York Times, Bateman 2020).

After re-watching ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ atleast 3 times in the past month, my love for dark academia returned which quickly led me reading up on articles, watching videos, and getting lost in those tumblr aesthetics again. However, it’s also an aesthetic that has rightfully received criticism for traditionally ignoring POC or other marginalized communities. That’s why today I wanted to share a list of books written by authors of color that either are pitched as OR remind me of the Dark Academia aesthetic featuring YA, Manga, and SFF!

Young Adult

1. Nocturna by Maya Motayne (A Forgery Of Magic #1)

Summary: To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Why: Easily one of my favorite fantasy novels, what stuck with me about Nocturna was Motayne’s focus on culture, history and the Spanish language that weaves its way throughout the entirety of its story. They can be seen so vibrantly through it’s setting, the country of Castallan. These elements fit that academic idea that are a foundation of this aesthetic. [This YA Fantasy is also #ownvoices as its inspired by Maya’s Dominican heritage].

2. Ace Of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Release Date:
June 1, 2021

Summary: Gossip Girl meets Get Out in this YA Contemporary Thriller about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Why: Àbíké-Íyímídé has pitched the novel as featuring the DA aesthetic and is set at an elite private school.

3. How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao (HWFA #1)
Release Date: August 3, 2021

Summary: In a YA thriller that is Crazy Rich Asians meets One of Us is Lying, students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too. 

Why: Similar to the novel mentioned above, Zhao has also pitched the novel as featuring this particular aesthetic as well.

Science Fiction Fantasy / Epic Fantasy

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

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

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

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

Why: In this spin off to Suri’s Books Of Ambha it features a young grief-stricken woman with magic in her blood and a scholarly prince who work together to save a crumbling empire. Have I mentioned that Arwa alongside studious prince Zahir literally spend chapters reading, studying, analyzing poetry and discussing tea together?! That is such a Dark Academia mood!

Manga

5. Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo

Summary: Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

Why: Dark Academia is also known for it’s focus on the mystery or thriller atmosphere and this manga perfectly captures that…with a twist! A spy, telepath, and assassin become a fake family and are attempting to infiltrate an elite private school for the master spy Twilight to complete his mission. There’s also the element of pursuing knowledge that becomes apparent as you are intertwined with the unique role of each member of the Forger family. But of course, many secrets are kept in this dark, thrilling, and entertaining series.

Hope you enjoyed my intro to my Dark Academia book recommendations, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments below! Planning on making more posts like this again soon, thanks for reading!

Is this an aesthetic you enjoy or any elements in particular you enjoy about DARK ACADEMIA? What are your thoughts on the books recommended in this list?

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson Review

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly JacksonA Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson (Good Girl’s Guide To Murder #1)

Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egemont UK)

Release Date: May 2, 2019

Pages: 433

Available Through The Book Depository: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

Cover Design: Lizzie Gardiner

Summary: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is the kind of mystery that you won’t be able to put down! Perfect for fans of small town mysteries, Pippa Fitz-Amobi plans her senior project around solving the 5-year old murder case of Andie Bell! But once she dives deeper into her project she begins to realize, someone out there doesn’t want her to solve it. Through immersive storytelling, twists, turns, and a brilliant blend of journalism and true crime, Jackson’s debut is not one to miss!

The best kinds of mysteries are the ones that keep you up till early hours of the morning to piece everything together (like this one― I stayed up till 1 a.m. to finish it)! Jackson’s debut is brilliantly crafted in how it’s layered and uncovers more details, that begin to paint a clearer picture as to what really happened to Andie Bell.

Set in the fictional small town of Little Kilton, Buckinghamshire we learn Pippa is working on an independent senior project for her school. As an aspiring journalist, she decides to solve the closed case of the 2012 murder of Andie Bell. Everyone in town assumes her boyfriend, Sal Singh was the murderer. But Sal was always known as a kind, friendly guy, so does it add up?

Pippa isn’t so sure! Consumed by the case, she’s eager to solve it because she knows Sal wasn’t the real killer. Early on in the book, we’re presented with mixed media from transcripts to reports, messages, even occasional diagrams that adds another layer of intrigue solving the case alongside her.

What I appreciated about this book is how Jackson just throws us right into the plot early on and has the characters develop slowly throughout Good Girl’s Guide! It made the reveals and gaps in the case that much more intriguing, because these characters have many secrets/hidden dimensions. Jackson does a wonderful job at layering all these facts, figures, and suspect stories to still leave the reader completely surprised as to where it’s going.

Each addition to the case just continued to present theory after theory, to the point where I was unsure of what to believe! It’s that kind of uncertainty that made this such a gripping read. Also, I’ll actually try to keep this review pretty vague and spoiler-free because I felt what made it such a great reading experience was knowing only the basics!

Jackson does a spectacular job at misdirecting the reader and leaving you with tons of suspects and clear evidence, yet you’re still left guessing for a good majority of the book! That’s what I love and look for in mystery― even as I was solving the case along with Pippa, my guess as to who killed Andie was constantly changing.

Now, it’s a fact that I hardly ever read mysteries (at least the contemporary ones). If I do, it really depends on the summary and as someone studying Journalism I was immediately captivated by the use of journalism, investigative reporting, etc. I appreciated all the journalism details that reminded me of topics I’ve learned in my major like FOIA requests, approaching sources, the importance of wording in reporting, and overall just incorporating this area of study in such a deeply explored way.

As mentioned in my Backlist Bookshelf post, there’s a present, obvious presentation to the story that feels a lot like a true crime podcast, where everything just fits so well! That’s because Jackson herself is a big fan of those types of podcasts. As mentioned in my post, Jackson highlights Serial as a big influence for Good Girl’s Guide.

I also wanted to highlight that early on as I read this book, I originally started the US edition. However, when I found my UK copy it was clear that details of the story and even character-specific moments from Pippa in the text, were altered for the US audience. For example, in the UK edition its set in Buckinghamshire and for US audiences its set in Connecticut. Now with that in mind, I couldn’t help but feel that the original version was the best reading choice, it felt like the prose had more freedom to add more dimensions to Pippa’s personality. There’s just a unique voice to it, that for me made the story even more engaging.

There were moments Pippa breached some ethical guidelines in trying to reach sources, as did the local reporter Stanley Forbes when we learn how he first reported on the case. He clearly had racist views, which in my opinion biased his reporting extremely. So, being one of the main, prominent reporters it was no surprise the town looked to Sal with such guilt. Reading that moment from an aspiring journalist perspective, did not sit right with me. Where Pippa on the other hand, sticks to uncovering the facts and doesn’t twist the narrative to fit her desired outcome–I appreciated how unbiased she was in uncovering the truth.

Pippa begins reaching out to Ravi Singh, Sal’s younger brother, one who prefers to avoid the public eye. But when Pippa explains what she’s learned and the two slowly become friends, they decide to work together!

This book weaves in, but never makes it too obvious, of the central themes of friendship and family. Ravi has felt guilt, sadness, even pain for the things left unsaid when Sal and Andie’s case was closed. But, because of Pippa’s help, he realizes he can finally get the answers he’d been searching for. They become like partners in crime, their friendship was so organic and one of my many favorite dynamics of the story (loved when he kept calling her ‘Sarge’ 😂). Also, the family dynamics between Leanne, Victor, Josh and Pippa were nicely crafted and they (alongside the other characters) really came to life!

Another positive that I think is due to Jackson’s writing is because I was fully invested in each clue that was uncovered, I hardly noticed the POV change between the main story (3rd) and Pippa’s 1st-person reports. She knows how to keep her audience engaged and the flawless shift between perspectives made for an opportunity to learn even more about Pippa’s thought process.

While the writing isn’t the most descriptive, it was crisp and left just enough to allow the reader to envision the setting, the chilling, fun, and mysterious atmosphere in their own way!

As we’re presented with the basics of the case, we quickly dig deeper into both Andie and Sal’s past. This leads us to wonder how their friendship circle and other people in their lives may have been involved.

Pippa’s suspect list continues to grow and that makes us begin to question everyone. There’s tons of twists and turns as Pippa is also trying to track the killer who begins to target her and scare her into dropping the case. As the messages become more and more serious, we begin to fear if their closer than we think and if Pippa will be brave enough to continue seeking the truth!

Now onto my personal gripes (*with minor/vague spoilers). I will say this is easily one of my new favorite YA Mystery novels and I will absolutely be reading the future books!! However,  I noticed there’s many questions Jackson presents in the text (mainly in Pip’s logs and throughout some chapters). My main issue with that is, it seemed to be more about diverting your attention when we had already learned the information and so to me, it felt a bit repetitive as it pointed it out again. Also, while the cast is all great, it did feel like we only knew certain characters (like Naomi, Howie, Cara, etc.) only on a surface level. It seemed like the reader only got to know certain sides that only one side to their personality and how it served the story. Depending on the scene, it would have been nice to get more depth to their character.

Another issue (this is more of a specific personal gripe) was that in other than just a brief flashback, we never really got a clear explanation as to WHY Pippa is so interested in this case. Is it more of her personal love of true crime? (That’s really cool), but it seemed like Pippa’s enthusiasm for this case overshadowed any deeper reason for why SHE needed to be the one to solve this crime.

My other issue was that while the last 1/4 is where the mystery really begins to make sense, it was really rushed and our questions are given answers. But as with any mystery, it is surprising even if it came a bit too quickly.

However, this clearly such a well-researched, journalistic-style mystery, and really is such a gripping, undoubtedly thrilling taleIts masterfully crafted and I’m thrilled this is a series! Looking forward to seeing where Pippa’s journey is headed next in Good Girl, Bad Blood!

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is reminiscent of Serial as it blends true crime, journalism, and a page-turning mystery you won’t be able to put down! Well-crafted, intriguing, and filled with a great cast, a quirky main character who will lead you through this mystery that only gets more complex with each chapter! A unique mystery debut sure to leave readers satisfied!

Backlist Bookshelf: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Today’s post is a little bit different! So, I’m sure we all have a TBR of some kind (whether digital or physical) that’s overflowing with books we’ve been meaning to read but just haven’t yet!Backlist Bookshelf 24hr.YABookBlog

To share a glimpse into that TBR I’ve created Backlist Bookshelf which’ll be an occasional feature here on 24hr.YABookBlog to chat a bit more about a book that’s been on my physical bookshelf that I finally decide to pick up & read! I’ll discuss my early opinions on it so far, favorite moments, or any other book-related thoughts!

Today’s feature book is titled:

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly JacksonA Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson (A Good Girl’s Guide #1)

Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egmont UK)
Release Date: May 2, 2019

Summary: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

I’ve been interested in discovering more UKYA books this past year and this was a book I was immediately drawn to because of the cover, doesn’t it just scream murder mystery?

Then, once I read the summary my Journalism brain was immediately fascinated and also because it definitely gave off Serial podcast vibes, I knew I had to get a copy ASAP!

Earlier this month, I’d actually gotten a physical copy from my local library and since my UK copy was hidden away somewhere in my bookish stacks, I just decided to pick up the US edition!

But, once I finally found my UK edition and decided to start reading that one instead, I realized how different both editions actually are! This is something I’ll hopefully get into in my review (possibly?)…But, I find it super fascinating to see how the original version was translated for a US audience (from the setting to specific school details that changed completely) that was something I wasn’t expecting but its definitely something I’ll pay more attention to when reading UK YA Contemporary books!

I’l admit, just based on my first impressions reading them both back-to-back, it feels like I’m getting a bit more detail from the UK edition (however I also feel its probably a matter of how the prose is edited more tightly for the US audience?). Either way, I’m glad I’m sticking with my UK copy, it feels like there’s a bit more background to the case & Pip as a character that I’m getting in far greater length.

However, what I personally love about the US edition is how its using more graphics for the mixed media!

So for a school assignment, Pippa is investigating a 5-year-old case that happened in her town and from page 1, you get right into all those details which is great! I love that Jackson has made the book more focused on the plot itself (the case, Pippa’s evidence, etc.) and slowly revealing more to the characters and the mystery as she types up her reports.

The case really gives off Serial S1 podcast vibes, which makes so much sense considering I read up that the author actually loves those kinds of podcasts! According to Jackson’s list from Egmont, Serial was the start of her “true-crime obsession” and one of the biggest influences for Good Girl’s Guide!

Also as someone studying Journalism, I’m having so much fun examining the journalistic reporting, seeing how Pippa is seeking out other journalists and sources who were familiar with the case? Its all super fascinating! Excited to keep on reading!

Thanks for joining me on my first post for Backlist Bookshelf, let me know of any books on your TBR! & Thoughts on this new feature? 😁📚🎉

Have you read A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder? What are your thoughts on this book? 🔎📚📍

Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Review

Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret RogersonSorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon Teen)

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Pages: 456

Available Through The Book Depository: Sorcery Of Thorns

Summary: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Sorcery Of Thorns is the latest novel from Margaret Rogerson, its a book that’s enchanting, immersive, and weaves together a tale that pays homage to the power of books!

Elisabeth Scrivener was orphaned, but taken in to the Great Library of Summershall where she grew up surrounded by books and wants nothing more than to become a warden, moving up the ranks from an apprentice librarian!

She continues her studies and knows she is nowhere near ready, so it’s of course a surprise when the Director calls her to assist in moving a grimoire into their facility. This not only ensures its well sealed, but examined and the text within it preserved for the future.

A grimoire comes to life one night that leads Elisabeth on an adventure across the kingdom where she gets tangled up in forbidden sorcery and complicated magic that threatens her world! She stops at nothing to uncover secrets and solve the mystery of grimoires that have become dangerous monsters, aka Maleficts.

With the Director’s death, we see that it acts as catalyst for Elisabeth to take action! I really loved how you could see the Director was a mother figure to her (wanting to show her potential) and it was through the little actions that Elisabeth did in which we saw that her mentor would have been proud, in using her knowledge to help others! Though we see the Director really did have a lot of faith in Elisabeth by leaving her Demonslayer and reminding her that her there is so much to the world of the Great Libraries that leave her many options.

Throughout Sorcery Of Thorns, Rogerson weaves mystery, intrigue, adventure, and as a standalone, I appreciated how all these different elements we’re layered into the story.

According to a feature interview from Kirkus, its mentioned that the journey Elisabeth embarks on mirrors Rogerson’s own upbringing learning more about the religion she grew up with.

“As a teenager, I was discovering a lot of things about the world that were very contrary to what I had always been told as absolute truth…”

As Elisabeth steps away from her world of libraries, she learns more about the world around her and is shocked by the sexism and other societal norms she’s never encountered before.

As a YA Fantasy standalone I loved how Rogerson layered not only the themes of this story, but also the clever foreshadowing, character development, exploration of the world, and plotting!

The way she structured Sorcery Of Thorns was done in such a brilliant way where I was always surprised at the littlest of details! She’d find ways to bring them back 50 or so pages later that had me amazed at how descriptions of characters, backstory, etc. played such a huge part as we uncovered more about the direction of the story.

As an aspiring YA Fantasy writer, I found she explored a lot of different elements in very interesting ways from the growth of Elisabeth and her finding her way, to the layers of world-building that slowly unfold, even the direction of the plot. I felt that the way she weaved all these elements together left me inspired as a writer and I’m looking forward to rereading this book again in the future–maybe annotating it to uncover more that I may not have noticed before!

Told through a 3rd person POV, Rogerson not only allows us to follow Elisabeth on her journey, but also allows us to understand the new friends and people she meets along the way! From sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, his demon servant/best friend Silas, the Director, Elisabeth’s best friend Katrien, even Ashcroft!

Honestly though, if I had to pick my favorite characters, I’d say that I loved Elisabeth, Nathaniel, Silas, & the Director all equally!

There’s not only insight into the main characters, but also the world of Asustermeer and its 5 libraries, the Otherworld of demons where Silas comes from, and even the world of grimoires.

Rogerson’s descriptive writing builds a gritty, dark, and expansive world, unlike any I’ve ever read before! There’s dark magic, but also threads of hope, adventure, moments of humor–overall there’s a lot of different tones and atmospheres to this story that get uncovered and cements itself into this magical tale! Even the tiniest of details from the green sparkles of Nathaniel’s magic to the metallic smell of sorcery made the setting feel lived in and very grounded in reality because we had so many different layers to explore.

Sorcery Of Thorns is the kind of book that even though the writing at times is heavily descriptive, you still want to keep reading! I felt the writing style really brought a lot to this book! The world always felt real and really came to life.

What surprised me as well was seeing how Elisabeth’s world of libraries and magical books completely contrasted what the world was like in Austermeer. Where librarians see sorcerers as nothing but trouble and pure evil, outside they are celebrated and seen as average people. She learns more about not only sorcerers, but demons as she changes her perspective on Nathaniel & Silas when they team up to protect the world.

“― what had it called her?

A true child of the library…”

In terms of the foreshadowing, I found that I was more surprised than anything. As mentioned above Rogerson, weaved in the smallest details into the plot where I was not expecting and I loved that although I realized it less than 1/2 way through, they still managed to be unexpected. They were used really effectively and for so many descriptions to be used to further the plot in such an interesting way, it was something I really enjoyed!

Specifically, I personally loved how we knew who the villain was early on! Not only did it offer more action and intrigue into the story, but what makes it fun is that your constantly left theorizing of what he’ll be plotting next. That was great because we kept learning more, figured out how his plan would impact the world and how his schemes are constantly influencing the world in a lot of ways (going after each library and the consequences of going after all the top Class 8-10 grimoires).

Its not explored until Elisabeth learns more about both Nathaniel & Ashcroft’s pasts, but I really appreciated the importance of family, legacy, and remembering the family that has come before you. It wasn’t until I finished Sorcery where this really symbolized Elisabeth too, growing up orphaned in the library, seeing the Director as a role model/parental figure to look up to, keeping her legacy/teachings alive by saving the world from Grimoiers. I also loved how this journey showed Elisabeth that although she hasn’t found exactly where she wants to be yet, that’s okay because there’ll always new paths open to her!

This is also really random, but the further I read, I loved when I learned why this book is called Sorcery Of Thorns! 😭💖💫🌿

Now I wanted to get into more discussion on why I personally rated this novel 4 stars!

It’s no surprise that I was really looking forward to this book because I adored Rogerson’s debut  An Enchantment Of Ravens and had already seen so many glowing + 5-star reviews!

Although 4 stars is definitely not a bad rating in any way, there were just a few things I wanted to explore that lowered the rating for me personally.

So, as an aspiring writer its no surprise that I really want to work on the craft of writing. With that, I couldn’t help but notice that from my reading experience, I picked up on quite a few writing cues and familiar turns of phrase that took me a bit out of the story.

Also with the very direct descriptions I found the pacing was very uneven at times. There were moments the story moved constantly, but then it was stopped abruptly, it happened a while throughout the story and it was just hard for me to love the book fully because of it.

Also, while I completely understand what Rogerson was doing showing these two different sides to the world of Austermeer (librarians & the regular world), I wasn’t exactly a fan of the sexism and old-era ways of thinking. For example, there’s a scene in which Elisabeth is trying to explain the villain’s plot of using the grimoire’s & how he plans to attack each library. But, she gets seen as “mad” and is almost left to be put into a hospital.

Early on, I personally saw this world as its own universe, so I really didn’t understand why these old ways of thinking had to be present (hope that makes sense??). I see how the author used it to show the strength of the female characters when they’re in the libraries and how it differs from the realities of their world, but I found it was just kind of frustrating to read at times.

Throughout the book I was left thinking: There’s powerful/brave female characters here, but outside a Great Library position their not seen as equal to men & so quickly judged?

And lastly, while the writing is definitely a strength of Sorcery, I also found it was its weakness at points. Because the writing is so descriptive and so “perfect”,  it made the story and its flow somewhat dense. With that, certain setting descriptions made it difficult at points to picture certain elements of the world, setting, and characters (though this was definitely in more specific moments).

Overall though, this was another fun fantasy standalone from Margaret Rogerson and I’m looking forward to seeing what she publishes next!

Sorcery Of Thorns is a novel that’s packed with so many complex layers and they all find their way into the story from beginning to end that will leave the reader satisfied! There’s magic, sorcery, a great cast of characters, beautiful writing, and so much more that cement Rogerson as a master in YA Fantasy standalones! 

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu ARC Review

The Best Lies by Sarah LyuThe Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Pages: 352

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: The Best Lies

Summary: Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

*tw: for toxic friendship, mention/discussion of abuse, trauma, & moments of gaslighting

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Best Lies is a 2019 YA debut that’s a must read for fans of mystery! Remy Tsai recounts her friendship with her best friend Elise during an investigation when her boyfriend Jack is killed. The story follows a brilliant narrative told through past and present POV that weaves together perfectly! Lyu’s debut is an introspective look at love, the complex bonds of friendship, and trauma!

What inspired me to read this book originally, was the summary and gorgeous cover! But, I’d also loved that the story itself would be focusing on friendship and had a mystery to solve, because I personally don’t read many of them or if I do, I’m pretty selective. So, I took the opportunity to request a copy and I’m incredibly happy I did! There’s so many positive things I have to say about this book because throughout its entirety it kept exceeding my expectations, getting better and better!

The Best Lies is a thought-provoking novel, layered with mystery that unravels a complex view of friendship! It will grip you from the very beginning!

“The best lies are at least half true..”

Katherine “Remy” Tsai’s boyfriend Jack, is dead. She can’t remember how it happened exactly, but when the police get involved, she has no choice but to recount what happened as part of an investigation. As she sifts through one years worth of memories between her and her best friend Elise, the truth of their friendship slowly unravels!

But there’s also some issues, Remy wants to desperately protect Elise (knowing she was involved) and seems to have blacked out during an ominous 14 minutes leading up to her boyfriend’s death.

At the start of this timeline we quickly learn that all Remy is desperate to do is escape the hardships in her life–her parents constant fighting, living with a brother whose seen as perfect by her mother, and her group of friends, quickly growing distant. That all changes on homecoming night after Remy has just been dumped by her boyfriend and is comforted by new student, Elise Ferro. Elise quickly allows Remy to understand that her happiness in any relationship is the most important and Remy finds herself in awe at Elise’s wisdom and this energy between the two of them because in those moments everything disappears and Remy finds this unmatched strength within her–they can conquer anything that gets in their way!

The two instantly click and become the best of friends! Whether its talking openly with one another, confiding in each other, or putting in effort to hang out and get out of their shells a bit more (like driving around & attending parties together). Remy also respects Elise for her fearlessness. As Remy finds herself continuously pulled into Elise’s orbit, we see they quickly begin relying on each other and promise to be at each others sides no matter what, but the bond between them slowly begins to change.

As they support and confide in each another, we learn that Elise’s life isn’t all too great either. She struggles to share her devastating personal life with Remy in the early stages of their friendship, but we soon learn more about it as she opens up: Elise lives with an abusive father and she’s lived with the fact that she  her estranged mother abandoned her at a young age, only to see her 9 years later at her funeral.

Elise quickly introduces Remy to her world of pranks to get back at those who’ve wronged others– this happens on the first night they meet when Elise persuades Remy to set fireworks near her ex-boyfriends room. Elise sees herself as somewhat of a vigilante, helping those who’ve been wronged by exes, former loves, or female classmates being bullied (This is made clear throughout the Kill Bill movies they watch together & the references that are made more apparent as the story progresses).

Their friendship which starts off loving and supportive, slowly alters into something toxic, that both Elise and Remy can’t seem to escape.

You know when you finish a book that has captivated you from the beginning & you finally reach the last page in disbelief that its over?? That’s what reading Lyu’s debut was like! This book has easily made it to my list of favorite books of the year & all time–this book ruined me…(;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) It was SO GOOD, but also heartbreaking!! I’m not sure how I’ll recover; The Best Lies was–just utterly phenomenal and I’m broken…

There’s just so much I have to say about this phenomenal book from its brilliant use of past and present POV, the writing which shows Lyu’s attention/care to her characters, and the spectacular way the plot unfolds. The Best Lies also offers an incredibly introspective look at friendship while chronicling Remy & Elise’s story throughout each and every page.

Friendship throughout this novel is many things for Remy and Elise–it’s a home, it’s love, but it’s also complicated, messy, and obsessive.

The depth of their friendship and why that is such an important foundation for people in their lives, was something that Lyu explored so heavily in this novel!! Friendship is something incredibly important to me and I loved how Lyu really developed that message through her writing.

The main characters from Remy to Elise, Remy’s parents, Christian, Jack, Remy + Elise’s other friends like Melody, Julie, Jae, and others– all feel so incredibly real in ways I can’t explain. You understand this depth to their hearts, their pain, their expectations, and even the hurt they feel (especially Remy, Elise, and her parents).

More on the writing, its a style unlike any I’ve ever really read before. Its kind of hard to explain unless you read it for yourself– you really get in the character’s head space and are pretty in-tune with their emotional state. Lyu’s writing is just incredibly good and if your looking for a novel that really shows you the depth of a character’s inner thoughts, emotions, and is layered with focus on its characters and pays attention to detail, you’d really love the writing-style in The Best Lies!

Throughout the novel, Remy struggles with the fact she isn’t the typical daughter her parents expect her to be. She smokes, isn’t taking expected AP classes like her friend Melody, and isn’t “perfect” like her older brother Christian. Lyu also explores Remy’s internal battle between her expectations and who she really is, feeling like she will always be the disappointment in her parents eyes.

I loved the relationship between Remy & Jack. They meet when Elise “abandons” her at a party and they develop this beautiful relationship that allows them to learn more about love and growth! I adored their scenes together so much because you know how much they love and care for each other!! (Also the text scene between Remy & Jack about his dog Lola was the cutest (´▽`ʃƪ) 💞 Jack’s backstory was heartbreaking, reading about his parents abandonment only to lose his grandpa (who practically raised him) a few years later. + Jack’s confession that he started swimming again because of her was so beautiful!!

Expanding on the pranks, I found they were also a brilliant metaphor for many different aspects of the story! They represent Elise’s fire, determination, and complex emotions she keeps bottled inside due to her neglect (with each prank getting more intense than the last). Similar to the Pink Caddy & Mansion, the pranks also represent this cement in their friendship, which keep them coming back to each other.

What also made this book so emotionally gripping was that you root for Elise and Remy because you see how they become this anchor in each others lives. But, knowing how the story ends–you still don’t expect it until you see the threads of their friendship slowly unraveling through their actions–your still heartbroken anyways.

I don’t want to spoil exactly what happens near the end, but when truths are revealed, I sobbed so much! Understanding the truth of their friendship and where it was headed hurt most of all.

Remy learns a lot over the course of this story about trauma and not only how it impacts someone’s life, but also what it can represent. Again I don’t want to give exact spoilers but throughout The Best Lies, Elise teaches Remy about trauma can make you stronger and if she’s survived thus far, she can make it through anything! Those were incredibly inspiring messages, but Remy (with Jack’s help) also learns that often time that pain is something to just something to accept, learn from, and move on! Both messages weave themselves perfectly into the story and develop at such pivotal points in the plot!

Lyu also includes an incredibly open authors note within the ARC which delves more into the themes explored throughout The Best Lies. I can’t put into words how admired I am of Lyu to include this message and how the themes hit close to home for her. The themes explored throughout this book feel just so real and you sense that through the complex main heroines of Remy and Elise!

Overall this debut just resonated with me in so many ways, I could sympathize so much with main characters, understand their hardships and connect with the story on such an introspective level. Although I’ve never personally experienced topics like these explored throughout the book, the deep exploration of friendship, its incredibly complex layers, and how people’s past (or trauma) just impacts them in many intricate ways is something that Lyu develops so so incredibly well!

The Best Lies is an utterly brilliant mystery thriller novel with a deeply layered, complex view on friendship, trauma, and so much more! Lyu’s debut explores so many themes, provides an introspective look at its main cast, and brilliantly unfolds the tale of an intricate friendship that turns to obsession! 

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu comes out in July and its a fantastic debut, so definitely pick this book up!

Bookish Buzz: Upcoming Books That Need More Hype!

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

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

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Publisher: First Second Books (Fierce Reads)

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

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg4.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

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

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash5. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Simon Pulse

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Point Paperbacks

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Inkyard Press

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Tor Teen

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

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

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

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

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

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

Lets Discuss In The Comments! 😄🎉📚

 

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Its been so long since I’ve made monthly book release posts! In 2019, I really want to talk more about the upcoming books I’m excited to read!! 😍💕📚✨So, here’s my list of January releases that are on my TBR! 

January 2019

Contemporary

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat1.I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat
Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)
Release Date:
January 1, 2019
Summary: The story of one woman’s quest to move to Los Angeles and got a job in animation…and how you can too.

When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in…the Valley…this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi2.Black Enough: Stories  Of Being Young & Black In America edited by Ibi Zoboi; Including Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland, Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renée Watson, & Rita Williams-Garcia
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (EpicReads)
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough. 

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan3. The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Contemporary Mystery

Spin by Lamar Giles1.Spin by Lamar Giles
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career–and life–has come to an untimely end, and the local music scene is reeling. No one is feeling the pain more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s chief groupie, Fuse. But suspicion trumps grief, and since each suspects the other of Paris’s murder, they’re locked in a high-stakes game of public accusations and sabotage.

Everyone in the ParSec Nation (DJ ParSec’s local media base)–including the killer–is content to watch it play out, until Kya and Fuse discover a secret: Paris was on the verge of major deal that would’ve catapulted her to superstar status on a national level, leaving her old life (and old friends) behind. With the new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that shows its deadly side. As Kya and Fuse come closer to the twisted truth, the killer’s no longer amused. But murdering Paris was simple enough, so getting rid of her nobody-friends shouldn’t be an issue…

Fantasy

The Girl King by Mimi Yu1.The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Publisher:
Bloomsbury YA
Release Date:
January 8, 2019
Summary: Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy!

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.

Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye2.Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Circle Of Shadows #1)
Publisher:
Balzer + Bray
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo3.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:
Imprint
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

*Because I have so many theories about King Of Scars, keep an eye out for Bookish Theories a new feature where I share all my thoughts & theories for upcoming books!

Historical Fiction

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden1. Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.

Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.

Historical Fantasy

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi1. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Wednesday Books
Release Date:
January 15, 2019
Summary: Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Mythology

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard1. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Release Date: January 3, 2019
Summary: Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!

Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.

She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.

Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

Retellings

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale1.The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

What January 2019 Books Are You Looking Forward To? 😍📚✨🎉🎉

 

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan Exclusive Cover Reveal!

Today on the blog I have a cover reveal I am incredibly excited to share with you all! (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

To give you a bit of background, last summer I read this action-packed and character-driven superhero book called, No More Heroes!

Within Michelle Kan’s novel, we learn Vigilantes are those with supernatural abilities and they use them to keep their city safe! In book 1, we get introduced to a group of super-powered teens who get more than they bargained for when they meet a Vigilante just like them who gets involved in a bit of a mystery when other Vigilantes begin getting killed off!

It focuses so much on friendship and the plot is wrapped up in so much mystery and adventure, the pages just fly by!

I’d been hoping for a sequel one day to see what more adventures Kan had in store for the Vigilante crew and now, that moment has arrived!

Here is the official cover and summary for the sequel to No More Heroes, titled:

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water

No More Heroes Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water is book 2 in the No More Heroes series, which is set to be released in 2019!

Here is a full summary: 

The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes the world over – and since the Vigilante Killers were taken down six months ago, order has returned to the community once more. Vigilantes everywhere have resumed their usual rhythm, defending their domains within the safety of the shadows, and all is right with the world. So when an old enemy resurfaces and asks them for their help, the Vigilantes of the City are reluctant, to say the least. But some offers are hard to turn down, and soon Team City find themselves diving headlong into a mystery that will test their limits, their capabilities as Vigilantes, and their relationships with each other.

If your looking for a fun, action-packed, diverse #OwnVoices, superhero tale, Michelle Kan’s No More Heroes is definitely the book to check out! 🌃💥📚

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan is also now available to add on Goodreads!

You can also add book one, No More Heroes on Goodreads too:

No More Heroes

What are your thoughts on the cover? ✨📚🎉

If you’ve read No More Heroes or are planning to, lets discuss in the comments below! + What are your favorite superhero books?

Sacred Lies Mini-Series Review

Sacred Lies, which premiered through Facebook Watch as a mini-series as of July 27, is based on Stephanie Oakes debut novel from 2015, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly!

I was unsure whether or not to do a series review (until after the show was over) or maybe do a review for every 2-3 episodes (considering this is a mini-series), but I felt making a general review would be best because I feel more people (especially those in the bookish community) should definitely watch this YA Adaptation!

78If you’ve never heard of The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly, here’s a quick summary:

Seventeen-year old Minnow Bly (now handless) was able to escape the Kevinian Cult. After having spent the last 12 years of her life there, she is now in a juvenile detention center, being the only left after the Prophet was murdered and the camp was set aflame.

Now as she struggles to adjust and un-learn what she’s been taught, an FBI detective/psychologist tries to unravel her story of what led to her escaping and offers her a deal. If Minnow is willing to reveal the secrets of the cult and tell her story, she can be set free!

While it has been years since I read Minnow Bly, I did skim through some chapters as I started watching the show and really loved how true it stayed to the book! It still kept so much of the main plot points, themes, and elements of the book + overall the spirit of the it too, which was definitely there with each episode.

I’d even noticed some character descriptions were spot-on to Minnow Bly!

Sacred Lies Facebook Watch TV SeriesWhat makes a mini-series format work so well for Sacred Lies, is seen through its pacing and development.

For instance, when the first 3 episodes aired on the 27, I marathoned them and was so happy both as a fan of the book and show in general, because the show allowed for more time with the characters (mainly the side characters), even more than in the book from what I remember!

You get even more emotional depth to characters and the story because your seeing it not just from Minnow’s perspective (like in the book), but also from other characters like the psychologist, Doctor Wilson, too!

Each actor and actress delivers so much to their role and was so happy with how much they brought the character to life!

Elena Kampouris portrayed Minnow incredibly! Because this novel centers around Minnow who grew up in a cult, her acting brings just–so much to Minnow as a character and the show itself! Especially when seeing her life during the cult (with her family) and after, now that she’s the only one left and learning the truth behind what she was taught for years!

In terms of characters, one of my favorite parts was seeing Minnow’s growth as a character whether its trusting people and trying to make friends (like her roommate Angel), or learning to read, we see her strength with each moment!

Additionally, because the story is told through Minnow’s past at the cult and the present, it delivers the mystery surrounding the Kevinian Cult, Kevin himself, and what led to Minnow escaping, in a way where the pieces are delivered little by little, but in a brilliant way!

Having read the book, it was amazing getting to see these characters I loved, like Minnow come to life. Also, through the episodic + multiple perspective/timeline format, you really get to the root of each character and understand them no matter how little screen time they have.

It also has somewhat of a psychological aspect to it, where you feel you get into the characters heads a bit and understand them in a different way.

Each character in the show adds so much to their respective scene. Every scene matters and you get more not only from the characters, but from the story and it all ties together in a brilliant way!

If you haven’t read The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly or watched Sacred Lies, please do! I haven’t heard many people (especially in the book community) talk about it, which makes me so sad! This is an incredible & really spot-on adaptation which further explores the novel through the depths of its characters on the show!

To celebrate the release of Sacred Lies, I’m also having a giveaway on my twitter (which is INTL) for a copy of The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly!

Overall its an all-around great show to watch! There’s mystery, suspense, an amazing cast of characters, and a perfectly executed story that has you on the edge of your seat after each episode!

If your looking for another YA book adaptation, please check out Sacred Lies! You won’t be disappointed!

As of today, August 10, there are 4 episodes currently out with new ones each Friday available to see by logging into Facebook and seeing it through Facebook Watch @ 6pm Est & Pst!

Have you watched Sacred Lies? OR Have you read The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly and started watching the adaptation too?

What are your thoughts on Sacred Lies?

Book Bytes #14

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month, posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!
I’ve now split up the news into categories, to make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d like to read about!

If there’s any book news I missed or any you want to discuss, definitely leave a comment!

Adaptation News

1.The Miseducation Of Cameron Post Trailer

With the August 3 release of The Miseducation Of Cameron Post film, the first official trailer was revealed July 5!

2. Sacred Lies Mini Series Trailer

Set to premiere July 27 through Facebook as a mini series (with new episodes each Friday), the trailer for Sacred Lies (based on Stephanie Oakes novel, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly) debuted July 16 from Penguin Teen!

3. All The Bright Places Movie News

On July 23, Jennifer Niven, author of All The Bright Places, announced through her twitter that the character of Theodore Finch would be played by Justice Smith!

Additionally Deadline released an article stating that director, Brett Haley is also attached to the project!

4. Legend picked up by BCDF Pictures

Marie Lu author of the Legend Trilogy, announced as of July 26 that Legend was acquired by BCDF Pictures (after having been with CBS Films since 2011).

Through twitter, Lu stated “I want to emphasize that our rights were sold again MAINLY BECAUSE of your continued, steady love for Legend both online and in person. I cannot ever thank you all enough…”

According to The Hollywood Reporter a script has been put together, but no other news as of yet!

Book Deals

1.The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

NOVL announced as of July 9, that Holly Black’s The Folk Of The Air trilogy, would be getting an e-novella, set during The Cruel Prince & before The Wicked King.

According to The NOVL’s blog post, “It’s told in a letter from Taryn to Jude about how she fell in love with Locke.”

This $2.99 e-novella, will be released October 2, 2018!

2.The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Set to be released June 13, 2019, The Paper & Hearts Society is book 1 in a trilogy, which follows Tabby Brown who is “tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate “ (Announced July 17).

3.Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 is Isabel Ibañez’s debut, Woven In Moonlight, through Page Street Books!

This #OwnVoices Bolivian-inspired political fantasy follows “a magically gifted weaver who plays the role of double agent to restore her queen to a troubled throne, but upon confronting a masked vigilante and a warm-hearted princess, she discovers that corruption comes in all forms ” (Announced July 19).

4.American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Set to be released in Spring of 2020 with Knopf, Anuradha D. Rajurkar’s Contemporary debut, American Betiya follows “a teenage artist grappling with forbidden love, family boundaries, and her boyfriend’s exoticization of her Indian heritage” (Announced July 24).

5.Color Outside the Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna

Set to release Fall 2019 through Soho Teen, is a YA Anthology edited by Sangu Mandanna.

This YA Anthology centers around “interracial relationships and the complicated, rewarding and sometimes hilarious dynamics between friends, family, and first loves.”

The collection will feature authors such as Anna-Marie McLemore, Adam Silvera, Samira Ahmed! (Announced July 26).

Cover reveals

1.Internment by Samira Ahmed

On July 2, EW revealed the cover and excerpt to Samira Ahmed’s 2019 Contemporary novel Internment.

“Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.”

Internment by Samira Ahmed is set to be released March 19, 2019!

2.The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee

As of July 6, Paste Magazine revealed the cover, alongside an excerpt of Ormsbee’s upcoming Contemporary The Great Unknowable End!

According to Paste the novel “addresses suicide, complicated families and… cults.”

The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee is set to be released February 19, 2019!

3.Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

Revealed on July 6 through her twitter, was the cover to Monica Sanz’s debut novel, Seventh Born!

Seventh Born by Monica SanzAbomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.

Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.

The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.”

Seventh Born in set to be released September 4, 2018!

4.Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Through Barnes & Noble Teen Blog on July 9, a cover and excerpt was revealed to Amy Rose Capetta’s & Cori McCarthy’s genderbent King Arthur retelling: Once & Future!

Once & Future is set to be released March 5, 2019!

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

Revealed through Swoon Reads blog on July 14, was the cover for Jenn P. Nguyen’s contemporary Fake It Till You Break It!

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen“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…”

Alongside the official cover, Nguyen also shares her thoughts on it and how it came to be!

6. The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

On July 18, Barnes & Noble Teen Blog revealed the cover, alongside a Q&A to Hanna Alkaf’s debut novel The Weight Of Our Sky!

This novel is”Set in Kuala Lumpur during the race riots of 1969, it centers on Mel, a Beatles-loving sixteen-year-old dealing with the OCD she believes is caused by the djinn she carries inside of her. When violent rioting breaks out, she must traverse a city in peril to reunite with her mother…”

The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf is set to be released February 5, 2019!

7. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

The U.K. cover for Christine Lynn Herman’s debut novel, The Devouring Gray, was revealed through MuggleNet!

The novel follows “four teens who have the power to protect their town from a monster – if their families’ dark secrets don’t devour them first.”

The Devouring Gray is set to be released in 2019! (US release date is set for April 2, 2019!)

8. The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

As of July 18, the cover for Alyssa Wees debut The Waking Forest was revealed through her twitter!

The Waking Forest by Alyssa WeesPan’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?

The Waking Forest Alyssa Wees is set to be released March 12, 2019!

9. You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

The cover for Laura Silverman’s upcoming contemporary novel, You Asked For Perfect had its cover reveal + excerpt via Bustle on July 19!

Silverman’s novel centers around Ariel Stone, “the perfect college applicant. But a failed calculus quiz threatens his valedictorian standing and sends him into a tailspin. He reluctantly—secretly—gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in calculus, and Ariel is low on options. Their time together goes better than expected, and soon, their relationship ventures beyond textbooks.

Except throwing himself into calculus and a burgeoning romance detracts Ariel’s attention from his other classes. Ariel could lose everything he’s worked his whole life to achieve. But how much is Ariel willing to sacrifice in the name of academic perfection?”

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman is set to be released March 1, 2019!

10. The Hate U Give Exclusive Covers

Announced through Angie Thomas’s twitter on July 26, it was revealed that her debut novel The Hate U Give would be getting 2 new editions, set to be released in September of this year!

A movie-tie in cover and an exclusive gold collectors edition! According to the publisher’s website, the gold collectors edition “contains a letter from the author, the meanings behind the names in the book, a map of Garden Heights, fan art, the full, original story that inspired the book, and an excerpt from On the Come Up.”

11. When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry

Revealed via Unbound Worlds, as of July 26, was the cover (alongside an interview) to Emily Henry’s upcoming novel, When The Sky Fell On Splendor, which is pitched as “The Serpent King meets Stranger Things in Emily Henry’s gripping novel about a group of friends in a small town who find themselves dealing with unexpected powers after a cosmic event.”

When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry is set to be released March 12, 2019!

12. Firestarter by Tara Sim

Released on July 31 via Hypable Books, was the cover (& excerpt) to the final book in Tara Sim’s Timekeeper trilogy, Firestarter!

Firestarter by Tara Sim is set to be released January 1, 2019!

Misc. Book News + Publisher News

1.Six Of Crows UK Collectors Edition

Leigh Bardugo announced through her twitter that there would be a Six Of Crows Collectors Edition coming October of this year, which will have: a new cover, character art, & a letter from Leigh!

For those not in the UK, Aus, & NZ, its also available through The Book Depository

2. King Of Scars UK Pre-Order

With King Of Scars releasing early in 2019, Bardugo also announced a UK Pre-Order for King Of Scars!

From pre-ordering through Waterstones, you could be entered to win 1 of 50 limited edition prints of Nikolai Lanstov (art by Kevin Wada).

3. Penguin Teen 2019 Cover Reveals

Throughout the week of July 23, Penguin Teen revealed 3 covers for their upcoming 2019 YA Releases!

The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston

Tarot by Marissa Kennerson

If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Tours

1.Wildcard by Marie Lu

Announced July 31, were the tour dates for Marie Lu’s Wildcard, the sequel/finale to the Warcross duology!

She will be on tour from September 18-24!

Full tour schedule can be found on Penguin Teen’s post Here!