The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo Review

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 336

Summary: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

**TW for trypophobia*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Way You Make Me Feel is not a YA Contemporary to miss! With a phenomenal cast of unforgettable characters, brilliant writing-style, and a plot that will immerse start to finish, this is a must-read summer YA Contemporary!

The very 1st novel I read by Goo, was I Believe In A Thing Called Love! I love YA Contemporary and after that book, I knew I would read her future books as well!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a book that is not only a fun and unique story, but also weaves in serious themes revolving around friendship and especially family!

What I also loved about The Way You Make Me Feel, is that even though I got through it within a matter of days, it felt I was with these characters + this story for so long! For me, that’s the best kind of story, where you become so attached to the story, setting, characters, and can’t believe the story is over when you’ve reached the last page!

Clara Shin, our main character, is the star of this novel and I loved her so much! She’s fierce, confident and a bit of trouble-maker!

As summer vacation is on the horizon, Clara has it pretty much planned out: she’s counting down the days to visit her mother Mãe in Tulum, Mexico, while her dad Adrian, works on his KoBra food truck (Korean & Brazilian fusion food).

However, when a school prank gets out of hand with her school nemesis, Rose Carver, her summer is about to change!

In order to pay for the damages caused by the prank, she now has to work on the truck with Rose and feels her entire summer has come crashing down!

Now she’s working with her nemesis, trying to find time for herself and friends Patrick + Felix, make time to plan her trip to visit her mom, and maybe begin to have feelings for a guy (Hamlet) she meets near one of the KoBra stops!

Goo’s writing not only brings the characters to life, but also the vibrant + diverse LA setting! I loved how she brought the setting to life through the littlest details, like the never-ending traffic XD, the weather, food and classic LA stops!

There is also such great diverse representation and I loved that!!~♥♥*:✧ From the Korean-American & Korean-Brazilian rep., to Hamlet who is Chinese-American, Rose who’s Black, hinted at gay rep. (Patrick), and Mexican-American rep. (Felix), Goo does such an amazing job at creating such a diverse cast of incredible characters!!

I loved each and every character! From Clara, her parents, her friends Patrick Keen & Felix Benavides, to Rose, Hamlet Wong, all the main characters just came to life from their very first introductions and I loved them so much!!

The relationships and dynamics are so real and just develop so wonderfully! From Clara & Rose’s development into a beautiful friendship, to the dynamic between Clara & her dad, + the slow but steady development of Clara’s relationship with Hamlet!

Clara is a very confident and rebellious teenager! She speaks her mind and I just loved her so much! She starts off a person who quickly brushes things off, but over the course of the novel begins to find herself changing and growing throughout the summer.

From her outlook on relationships, friendships, commitments, etc. I adored her fierce and confident side, while also loving how she began to view things from a new angle as her summer plans turned out different than she had hoped!

The relationship she develops with Hamlet was so cute! Hamlet was so kind, optimistic, ans just so sweet and I loved his contrast to Clara, seeing their dynamic grow was so lovely!!~ Their development was so well done, I loved their banter and how they grew and changed with each other throughout the summer!

Now as for the dynamic with her dad, Adrian Shin, its clear that while there is such a strong father/daughter bond between them. What I found relatable to their dynamic with my own parents, was the fun/comedic moments they’d share♥♥*:✧~

I loved seeing how Clara not only strengthened her relationship with her dad, but by the end was able to see how even though she saw a lot of herself in her mom, also saw the strengths in her dad that her mother didn’t have.

What I also admire about Goo’s work, is the development of family in her novels, especially this one! From Clara’s parents not being married, but still keeping in contact, the bond Clara has with her dad, and the overall the complexity of family in this novel is something I love and related to so much in this book! Also the family dynamic Hamlet has with “grandparents,” who are actually grandparents of family-friends while his parents are working in China!

I also adored the friendship that developed between Clara & Rose! While they didn’t get along in the beginning, they really formed this beautiful friendship and learn a lot from each other along the way.

Their forced to work together on the KoBra truck, but what surprised me (considering Rose’s very upfront/honest personality) was how she really opened up to Clara + we learn she really finds it difficult to make friends and has anxiety! Seeing how Clara really made so many efforts to make Rose feel included + get her out of her shell was so beautiful to read!

Now I’m going into 1 aspect I didn’t really like (mentioned in the TW), so I may rate this book at 4.5 instead of 5, but still deciding on an exact rating:

**I suppose my only minor issue was the “trypophobiascene. Now, I’ve never felt triggered while reading a book before, so this was–an odd experience. I personally did find this scene triggering and just wanted to mention where it is, in case others who read this book are unaware! I find explaining this for me personally is also a bit triggering, so readers, just be wary & apologies if I’m a bit vague because of it.

I don’t usually read reviews before starting a book (so I was unaware of this scene before hand), but I had seen a couple reviews mention it, after I finished the book and looked on GR. Note: its discussed on pg. 84* (Basically Clara mentions wanting to send her dad certain triggering photos, (aka where the Trypophobia is discussed).

*Acquadimore’s reviews are always so great and found the TW discussed in her review of The Way You Make Me Feel as well!

Aside from that scene however, I really did love this book so much!

Clara undergoes quite a journey as she begins to consider and change her rebellious nature from the start of the novel. She see’s friends + family in a new light, and finds herself growing because of that!

The themes central to this novel that are explored so incredibly well and are at the heart of this story are family & friendship! There is such depth to them that are explored through Clara’s POV and her adventures throughout the summer and I loved that!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a fun + delightful YA Contemporary that captured my heart from page 1! With such incredibly developed characters and themes, a unique and immersive plot, summer adventures, and so much more, this is a perfect YA Contemporary for summer!

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April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts I’ve Recently Discovered {Freebie!}

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi Review

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. ChoiEmergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 400

Summary:For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Emergency Contact is character-driven and complex YA Contemporary, with so much heart and depth! Through Choi’s writing, Emergency Contact handles and discusses a number of difficult subjects, develops a dynamic cast of characters, and delivers a romance like no other! 

Okay so originally I got an ARC of Emergency Contact, but at the times I really wanted to read it, school just got so busy! So when my library copy came, after about being maybe 100+ pages in, I decided to start it over.

I’m so glad I did because while I really loved it the first time, taking the time to re-read & catch-up had me even more invested in Emergency Contact than I was before!!

I adored Emergency Contact so much & if your familiar with my blog, you’ll know I hardly read contemporary romances. But from the summary (& amazing cover!! ♥♥I knew I had to read this book!

And this YA Contemporary has easily made it to my list of all-time favorites!!

This novel follows 2 POVs with the 1st being: 18 yr. old Penny Lee, who is about to start her first year of college in Austin, Texas and dreams of becoming a writer, then there’ Sam Becker, 21 yrs. old, who works at House Coffee in Austin (+ is an an incredible baker!) and dreams of becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Penny has a difficult relationship with her mom and has felt she’s been forced to grow up on her own. She feels college (in a new state) will make things different for her and allow her the new start she needs.

Sam is stuck. He’s working/living at the coffee house and barley getting by, while also having been neglected by his mother as the years went by and having an absentee father. He also has an ex-girlfriend Lorraine, who’s recently decided to contact him, though he is still trying to get over their break-up.

Penny’s college roommate Jude (and her friend Mallory) decide to take a trip to House and it turns out Sam is Jude’s uncle.

Jude makes it clear to both Penny & Mal that she doesn’t want them to get into any kind of relationship with Sam. Both Jude & Sam are close, so Jude doesn’t want things to be complicated.

However, when Sam’s ex comes back into his life, with news that she may be pregnant, Sam is not sure what to make of the situation and quickly gets overwhelmed.

After having a panic attack, Penny notices him shortly after and decides to help him. Offering to take him to the hospital then back to House, the two talk for a bit & soon form a bond with each other. Then they decide to be each others emergency contacts.

Not long after making sure each of them is okay after that, they begin messaging each other and form an even closer connection via text.

What I loved about Emergency Contact so much was seeing how both Penny & Sam could relate to each other on such an emotional and deep level. They both feel such an intense loneliness and find comfort + solace with each other through the friendship/bond they share by text messaging.

Penny finds it very difficult to connect with people or surround herself with people who really understand her. Because of that, her friendship with Jude + friendship/relationship with Sam has its ups and downs.

I definitely related to Penny at times throughout, but seeing her continue to do her best to connect with Sam and better understand herself was just so beautiful to read!!

Additionally, while its clear that a friendship (and maybe something more) is forming between them, I loved that it really took its time to develop and a majority of this novel is really about Sam and Penny navigating the situations they encounter in life, while finding a deep and personal connection with each other.

Seeing Penny’s relationships change and grow with the people around her, especially her mother Celeste was so well developed and you fully understand their complex relationship by the end of the novel.

Penny and her mom haven’t always had the best relationship. Penny has felt like her mom has never been the mom she’s needed and at a young age had to be independent and do things on her own.

It honestly was so beautiful seeing their relationship grow & develop throughout the entire story! We better understand Celeste and while Penny hasn’t always had the best dynamic with her, its clear there’s room for change.

What really surprised me was the dual POV! Going in I thought it was just going to be Penny’s POV, but having both Penny & Sam’s perspectives really brought so much depth and growth to the characters (especially the one’s they both know/encounter) like Jude.

Overall the 3rd person POV really allowed me to see Sam & Penny grow and develop on their own. Additionally, seeing how they tackled the obstacles in their life & how their relationship really provided them the opportunity to form a deep connection they could never make with anyone else, was just so beautiful!!

From Penny’s POV there was Mal, Andy (her fiction writing classmate; I really like his character & his how his short relationship w/ Penny worked out), J.A. Hansen (her fiction-writing professor), and her mother!

From Sam’s POV there was Lorraine, Al (owner of House), Bastian (a 12-year old who later becomes one of the subjects for his documentary), and his mother as well!

From their very first meet where their practically wearing similar outfits, and later to the relationship they develop through text, it was all just developed so wonderfully! You really see how similar they are + how they really understand each other, and find comfort in their relationship when they both clearly feel lonely + sense of abandonment.

I also really loved the friendship between Mallory, Jude & Penny. While Mal + Penny’s dynamic doesn’t start off too well, seeing their friendship change and grow when they are given time to better know each other was just so great to read!!

What I found also added depth to this story was seeing how different they were through text vs. in-person. Seeing how they allow their relationship to grow through text and noticing how different it is in person just added a completely different layer to the romance and dynamic to Sam & Penny’s relationship!

It was also great to see such diversity/rep. in this YA Contemporary! There’s Penny & her mother who are Korean/Korean-American, there’s J.A. Hansen who’s black, and Bastian who’s Mexican-American!

My only minor issue was some moments of slow pacing, but aside from that this book just went above and beyond my expectations (So, I’m still debating between 4.5 & 5, but I think I’ll end up staying w/ 5)! Its just such a unique and deep YA Contemporary!

Emergency Contact is a raw, character-driven, coming of age YA Contemporary! Real, romantic, witty dialogue, with a unique and moving story, and such emotional depth, makes Mary H.K. Choi’s novel a must read! If your a fan of YA Contemporary or Contemporary Romance, Emergency Contact is a must read! Highly recommend it!!

Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen Review

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann ShenLegendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Pages: 128

Summary: From the beloved author and artist behind Bad Girls Throughout History comes this lushly illustrated book of goddesses from around the world. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess whose love overcame mortality. Mazu, the Chinese deity who safely guides travelers home. Lakshmi, the Hindu provider of fortune and prosperity. These powerful deities and many more are celebrated in gorgeous artwork and enlightening essays that explore the feminine divine and encourage readers to empower themselves. Ann Shen’s signature watercolors make Legendary Ladies a unique, gift-worthy homage to the mighty women within.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Legendary Ladies chronicles the heroic, inspiring, and empowering tales of goddesses from around the world! Through beautiful artwork, Shen illustrates these goddesses lives and what wisdom or guidance they can offer + inspire, if you choose to call upon them!

 If your looking to learn more about the origins and inspiring tales of goddesses from around the world, then I highly recommend checking out Ann Shen’s Legendary Ladies!

This was such a beautifully illustrated and inspiring read, that while chronicling numerous tales of heroic goddesses it also was very inspirational and moving.

Separated by sections: Creativity & Manifestation, Love, Power, Protection, and Reinvention, Shen recounts the legends behind goddesses from an array of cultures, while also explaining how each goddess can inspire or help you during certain moments in your life.

For example: If you are seeking good fortune, spiritual strength or inner strength, starting a new chapter in life, whatever the case may be, reading those inspirational messages with each goddess’s story, your left feeling hopeful and with a sense of guidance!

Another one of my favorite aspects of the novel was, with the more you read through each goddess’s tale, the more you see how threads between each of the stories, and across a variety of cultures as well, interconnect.

You see across differing eras and cultures how these inspiring ladies and their stories have such universal truths. Additionally, how their tales set up many integral and essential foundations for numerous cultures across eras!

It was great to see such diversity among each section! While many are familiar with the gods/goddesses of Greek Mythology, I loved seeing numerous cultures represented throughout the entire novel!

From Hindu, Chinese, Native American, Yoruba, Hawaiian, Egyptian, Shinto, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mayan, Aztec, and so many more, it was amazing to see such diversity throughout the sections!

It saddens me that there were quite a few goddesses I’d never even heard of before, but its so great a book like this exists because each of these goddesses has such an inspiring story to tell!

One of the most memorable goddesses that I read about (& who’d I’d never heard of before) was Nüwa, a goddess of Chinese origin. Half human & half dragon, her legend states that she molded people from clay and when crisis came, she created 5 stones (of differing colors) to create water, air, earth & wind.

Her’s was probably the story I re-read the most! And I especially loved the “Call” for the end of her story:

“Call on Nüwa when you want to create something beautiful out of the raw material of your life” (25).

+ It was so great to see rep. of Mayan and Aztec goddesses in this book too! I’m pretty familiar with the legend of Ixchel (Mayan goddess of fertility & healing) and overall it was just so great to see that representation in this beautifully illustrated book! I loved it!! ❤❤

The artwork is absolutely stunning! Each illustration beautifully captured each goddess and accentuated, I felt, each of their stories even more!

Shen masterfully highlights the stories of each goddess and the origins of their legacy.

I can’t speak highly enough about this book! The art is beautiful and each story is just inspiring!

Honestly, I just wish this book was longer! 50 seemed like far too little for me. I would read hundreds of Shen’s books about even more Legendary Ladies!!

Legendary Ladies is colorful, vibrant and has spectacular illustrations that brilliantly capture the triumphant and empowering spirit of each goddess! While allowing each story to stand on its own, Shen also manages to weave in common threads that link each of the stories so beautifully! If your looking for a bit of guidance, inspirational words, or just want to read about empowering goddesses, I highly recommend this book!

March 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

1. The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Library | Started/Finished on March 6| Rating:★★★★★| The Prince And The Dressmaker Full Review

Overall Thoughts: While breaking gender norms and putting a focus on trust and friendship, The Prince And The Dressmaker was a delightful graphic novel that has such vibrant artwork, great characters and a heart-warming story! Frances soon finds herself working for royalty when she gets assigned to create dresses for Prince Sebastian. He feels so much pressure put upon him as a prince, but when he wears dresses and takes the name Lady Crystallia, we see him truly shine! The friendship and dynamic forged between the 2 is so well done. Delightful, charming, and diverse, The Prince And The Dressmaker will capture your heart!

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt2. Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

Library | Started on March 2 + Finished on March 8| Rating:★★★★★| Flight Season Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Flight Season easily made it to the list of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books and it will forever have a special place in my heart! ♥♥~ Following the unique and distinct POV’s of Vivi Flannigan, TJ Carvalho & Ángel Solis, you see how their stories intertwine and the journey each of them undergo. The deep connection and friendship these characters forge was not only incredibly developed, but easily one of the many highlights of this novel! Marquardt gives such depth and insight into the 3 main characters. The plot is unique and captivating: following Vivi when she returns home for the summer after her first year of college to complete an internship at a hospital in the heart ICU, TJ who is also working there & is attempting to figure out what he wants/ the goals he wants to accomplish. Then there’s Ángel, who’s such a witty dynamic character, and is in the heart ICU (due to a heart infection) as Vivi & TJ’s patient. This novel also meant so much to me because of the Guatemalan rep.!~ Grief, family, and friendship are the main themes explored perfectly throughout this novel. The plot is unique, the romance is beautifully developed, the writing is spectacular, and there is such depth explored to the many differing aspects of this novel. Flight Season is a must read YA Contemporary! (There’s indigenous Guatemalan rep. & Brazilian-American rep.!)

Daughter Of The Siren Queen3. Daughter Of The Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #2)

Library | Started March 11 + Finished March 13 | Rating: ★★★★☆ | Daughter Of The Siren Queen Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Daughter Of The Pirate King duology wraps up with this final installment! With the comedic banter and expansion to the lore set up in book 1, Levenseller made Daughter Of The Siren Queen such a character-driven and action-packed tale! Alosa learns more about her past and now must escape her father the Pirate King when secrets are revealed! I loved that we finally get to meet Alosa’s female crew + Riden gets so much character-development! Similarly to book 1, Levenseller develops romance + banter in such a great way! I will admit though, I didn’t love this finale as much as Daughter Of The Pirate King. For me I felt the plot dragged quite a bit throughout a majority of the middle + I just wanted more plot-wise (n regards to Alosa escaping her father on her ship). However, I love that Levenseller ended her duology in such a way where it wasn’t really a sad bittersweet ending, but very much leaves you knowing Alosa + Riden’s adventures are just beginning! Really looking forward to Tricia Levenseller’s next books!

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi4. Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy Of Orïsha #1)

Library | Started March 12 + Finished March 16 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Children Of Blood And Bone Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Children Of Blood And Bone is one of those books that leaves you thinking long after the final page! From the very beginning Adeyemi introduces an immersive, magical, and thought-provoking tale. Zélie finds herself going on a perilous journey to restore magic to her world. Following 3 brilliantly woven POV’s, from Zélie to rogue princess Amari, and enemy prince Inan, Adeyemi’s writing delivers such a cinematic and complex story. With so many fantastic elements from intrigue, to action, adventure, and exploration of timely subjects, Children Of Blood And Bone left me feeling so many emotions that I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for book 2!😂✨

The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 25. The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 2 by Nagabe {TGFTOS #2}

Owned | Started/Finished on March 18| Rating: ★★★★☆ ½| The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún manga is a slow-moving tale filled with mystery, but it works so well! In this volume we learn more about Shiva and her protector Teacher, when a mysterious Outsider arrives with answers + more questions regarding their mysterious world of the “Inside” + “Outside” + the main characters themselves. The theme of identity is so important in this volume and is really explored through the character of Teacher. The author really allows the reader to put together on their own while also raising even more questions with the conclusion of each chapter. The 2nd volume to this manga series continues to build and develop this unique world, filled with such intriguing characters!

Additional Posts From This Month:

March 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Plans for April:

~I’m hoping to read at least 1 or 2 more books than last month

~Post another Literary Listens feature

~Share a list of SFF (Science-Fiction + Fantasy) Books upcoming/backlist I’m hoping to read this year! 😍💕✨⚔🚀💫📚

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 2 {Manga Review}

The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 2The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 2 by Nagabe {TGFTOS #2}

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Pages: 174

Summary:To be touched by an Outsider is to become an Outsider. A clawed, black hand reaches out to touch Shiva’s cheek in her sleep. The hand does not belong to Teacher. Who is this strange new Outsider, and what do its creepy murmurings about “mother” portend?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 2 continues to delve deep into its dark, mysterious, and magical world!

Last year I was just getting back into reading more manga and this series continues to surprise me & its only been 2 volumes!

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún is a manga series that while it is slow-moving, I feel it works so well for the mysterious, haunting, and captivating story.

If you’ve never read this series, it basically follows a world split between “Insiders” +”Outsiders.” With Insiders being human and Outsiders being shadow-like creatures, that can curse people w/ a single tough. One of the main characters, Shiva is a girl who waits for her aunt in the forest on the side of the Outsiders and then there’s Teacher, who is somewhat of an Outsider himself. They both live in a cottage in a remote village, with Teacher watching over Shiva and protecting her from Outsiders.

Picking up right where Volume 1 left off, an Outsider similar to Teacher has located and approached Shiva. As explained in the previous volume, if an Outsider is to come into contact with a human, they can be transformed/cursed with a single touch!

It claims Shiva is a “pure soul” and may know how to find her aunt! There’s a fight between this Outsider + Teacher to ensure Shiva’s safety.

After preventing any harm from coming to her, Teacher decides its best to confront this Outsider again and see if he has any answers to where Shiva’s aunt may be!

Their walk through the forest leads them again to the Outsider and a mysterious lake. Teacher soon learns more about his own origins and is desperate to get more answers, but gets very few.

Teacher’s worry over Shiva and the fate of her aunt causes him to become distant, but Shiva to get him to stop worrying.

Back on the Inside, a search party is set up to head back into the forest to continue to track down Outsiders.

As Teacher attempts to confront and overcome his fears for Shiva and his own origins, they head into the forest when Shiva hears a voice.

This voice belongs to her aunt and she quickly convinces Shiva to head back Inside, leaving Teacher behind.

The author allows for the story to be connected by the readers with the mystery and questions that are raised with each volume.

Because this is one of those manga series that jumps in and builds as it goes, it raises more questions than answers with each volume, but I find that’s what makes it so interesting!

Themes of family and self-identity are so prevalent throughout these first 2 volumes, but I felt the theme of identity and self are the main focus of Volume 2!

The unique world-building with the “Inside” + “Outside” is so interesting. However, my only issue for this volume is that the background for the Inside still hasn’t been expanded on as much, but I’m interested in seeing the development for future volumes!

The art has a simple, but elegant style to it, which weaves together so well with the story. It also allows for the dark and almost fairy-tale atmosphere to shine through.

The Girl From The Other Side Volume 2  is a tale shrouded in mystery! With a story both charming and haunting, this manga series continues to build on its unique world and interesting characters!

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Review

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi AdeyemiChildren Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy Of Orïsha #1)

Publisher: Henry Holt Books For Young Readers (Fierce Reads)

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Pages: 525

Summary: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

*There will be a few spoilers in this review!*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Children Of Blood And Bone is an epic YA Fantasy you don’t want to miss! Written through 3 fantastic POV’s Adeyemi’s tale delves into such timely subjects, while developing a rich, magical world all throughout her brilliantly woven plot!

Children Of Blood And Bone was amazing from start to finish! I honestly don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for Book 2! 😂✨

Zélie lives in Ilorin, a small ocean village in the land of Orïsha, with her father and brother, Tzain. She, among others in her world, are either maji (those who have unlocked their magical abilities) or Divîners, those who have yet to unlock their abilites (though they are all identified by their white hair).

Majis + Divîners are looked down on by King Saran and the monarchy. With his ruthless and harsh ideologies surrounding them, they are treated brutally.

My heart broke for the Majis + Divîners and what they endured under the king and his guards.

The 3 differing POV’s were so distinct, while also weaving together and developing so well, that I truly loved each and every character from Zélie, to rogue princess Amari, and Amari’s brother, prince Inan.

Through the writing you get not only get such a strong sense of their characters, but also see how their views either change or grow as the story progresses. The way their stories intertwine was so brilliantly done and not once was I ever confused as to who’s POV I was in!

Adeyemi’s writing is cinematic and the first person POV builds Zélie, Amari, and prince Inan into such deeply moving characters, but also the family they have and how their beliefs allow them or not, to see each other and their goals in differing ways.

Overall just seeing the depth and conflict that each of the 3 main characters had and how it pushed them throughout the novel was brilliantly explored. The  complexity and depth to these characters, built and developed so well through the people they know/encounter, even the side characters!!

The antagonistic characters are also written in such a way that even though they have done such brutal and awful things, through Inan’s POV you begin to (while not sympathize) but understand where their coming from when it comes to their views on magic.

The characters are delivered with such complexity, that their motivations/personality are seen in such differing lights as you progress and I loved that! Seeing such conflicting sides to a lot of the characters just continued to build even more into the already amazing story!

Zélie soon finds the opportunity to bring magic back and with the passing of her mother (who was a Reaper; which involved having magic revolving around life and death) + the grief she endures, knows its what is best for her and the people of Orïsha! She is such a brave and determined main character, you will root for her all throughout her journey!

She soon finds herself meeting princess Amari and she joins Zélie + Tzain on their quest. What made this journey so interesting too, was how Inan wove his way into the story and seeing how much he grew as he was tasked with tracking them down!

I also loved the sibling dynamics, especially between Zélie and Tzain! Seeing how their relationship grows + changes as Tzain understands Zélie’s determination to bring magic back all throughout Children Of Blood And Bone, was written and explored so well through not only Zélie’s POV, but also Inan’s and Amari’s especially.

There’s also the amazing female friendship that develops between Zélie and Amari! Though Zélie is hesitant at first, I loved seeing their friendship, among others that Zélie makes, grow over the course of the novel! I also loved the friendship/dynamic between Tzain & Amari!

Family and the bonds we have with those we love was a theme so deeply explored throughout the novel and you got a sense of it with each page.

The world-building was excellent! There’s so many locations that are explored across Orïsha throughout this story. I find what happens most times with fantasy books is that settings almost blend together. However, that is not the case with this book!

The rich culture and mythology sweeps itself into each page of the story and continues to build till the very end. Additionally, Adeyemi explores + tackles racism and injustice + w/ inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement in this novel as well, its just so powerful and I find it’s important to see it explored, discussed, and tackled in YA Fantasy!!

Each new location is vibrant, descriptive, and atmospheric, as Zélie, Tzain, & Amari are on their quest to restore magic!

The plot has everything! Magic, adventure, politics, & so much more!

I truly loved each of the main protagonists! But the characters I felt really stuck with me, were Zélie + Inan! With these two on opposing sides and seeing how they clashed, while also forging a bond with each other as the novel progresses was developed in such a brilliant way.

Seeing especially how Inan’s allegiances change as he we learn more about him + how he grew to better understand what Zélie and other maji’s/divîners go through, was such a pivotal point in his development. While there’s still the duty he has to his father + his kingdom, he slowly begins to see how magic wielders of Orïsha are treated and the pain + suffering they’ve endured.

As an aspiring writer, I truly enjoyed the reading experience, from analyzing the writing-style to the world-building, characters, etc. I hope to write my own YA Fantasy someday and just reading Adeyemi’s novel really left me feeling inspired to continue with my writing!!

While I’m still debating between 4.5 & 4 34 , the only minor issue I had was that the pacing did slow for me at some points and specifically in a section where Zélie finds herself on a rescue mission. But other than that, I loved everything about this book!

Children Of Blood And Bone is a though-provoking, immersive, and epic YA Fantasy! Adeyemi’s brilliantly developed and complex story weaves in important themes, stellar world-building, action, adventure, and so much more! Children Of Blood And Bone will leave you on the edge of your seat, eager for the next book!