I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat Review {Graphic Novel}

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie NourigatI Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat

Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)

Release Date: January 1, 2019

Pages: 96

Available Through The Book Depository: I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation

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.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Natalie Nourigat’s graphic novel chronicles her journey of getting into animation all while providing informative knowledge + advice of understanding and getting into the industry! This story is informative, fun, and filled with humor!

This graphic novel begins as Nourigat shares that she started as a freelance comic artist in Portland. As her hometown became more expensive, she still longed to break into the animation industry!

Then, she gets an opportunity to move to LA when a friend offers to host her stay.

From there, Nourigat shares her journey into what it took for her to land her jobs in the animation industry. It’s very technical and from what I read, a fun and informative graphic novel that details the process of getting your work out there and providing an insider look at getting into the industry of animation.

What I loved a lot while reading this story, was that even for those not in animation, Nourigat shares wonderful advice for anyone on the hunt for a job!

Such as building your resume/portfolio, being persistent in applying to as many positions as you can, using free time to enhance your skills for the career your interested in, and the importance of connecting with others in the industry face-to-face!

The art mainly features warm pastel colors, the designs feel so animated and lively, evoking strong emotion. The art also explores the vibrant LA setting! I also loved all the humor thrown into this story!

It was interesting seeing an outside and aspiring artist perspective on adjusting to life in LA!

Nourigat’s journey was one that featured many ups & downs, shows that the search for a job varies and isn’t the same for everyone. But reminds the reader that never giving up and continually motivating yourself to chase after your dreams is a big part of the process too!

Animation has always been interesting to me and looking up fanart and webcomics online in my free-time is always fun & leaves me inspired as an aspiring writer! So, though I’m not an animator/illustrator myself (though I wish) I loved reading about the details of breaking into the industry!

There’s a lot of little details and information that I never knew from my surface-level knowledge of the industry that was a lot of fun to learn more about.

I also loved how the ending features other artists in the industry, such as Angie Wang who works as a prop designer on Steven Universe and Kellye Perdue who’s a storyboard artist of one of my most anticipated upcoming cartoons, Infinity Train!

For me personally however, because this novel is very technical about the animation industry, I did find the story to be a bit text heavy at some points.

Overall though, I had such a fun time reading this graphic novel and learning more about Nourigat’s journey.

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation is an informative graphic novel that’s above all a fun read that shares an animator’s journey of going after her dreams in LA! The art is expressive, Nourigat’s artistic style and use of pastel colors give life to this unique story! Anyone looking to get into animation or wanting to feel inspired by the journey of a fellow artist, should definitely give this a read!

Advertisements

The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan ARC Review

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina KhanThe Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Pages: 336

Available Through The Book Depository: The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali

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?

*Received ARC through author’s giveaway*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Sabina Khan’s debut is a character-driven YA Contemporary that explores a number of topics from family, to love and acceptance. It also tackles a number of sensitive and tough issues such as homophobia and abuse. Rukhsana’s journey is one filled with so many layers as she rebels against her conservative parents to live her life with the love of her choosing!

2019 is really a year for even more inclusive and diverse novels! Love And Lies is a contemporary I had been looking forward for a while! Not only did I want to learn more about Rukhsana’s story and her journey, but I’ve also been thinking a lot more about different representations I can support more and boost as a blogger, such as Lesbian + f/f rep!

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali follows 17-year-old Rukhsana who is ready to head to Cal Tech with her girlfriend Ariana, despite what her conservative Bengali-Muslim parents may think.

She’s ready to start her new life and she’s kept her relationship a secret for months. However, everything changes when Rukhsana’s mother catches her kissing her girlfriend and everything she’s been dreaming of, is shattered.

Now after tricking Rukhsana into a trip, her parents are taking her to Bangladesh in order to find a husband for her before she goes to university.

As I was writing this review I found it difficult to get all my thoughts together, mainly because I just felt so many different emotions while reading this book.

I was angry with with how Rukhsana’s parents (mainly mother) was treating her. I was waiting for the moment that her mother would see how her solution was not the right one, see from Rukhsana’s perspective, and develop a more open-minded way of seeing the situation.

I was scared and anxious for Rukhsana seeing how her parents viewed her after learning about Ariana and you can’t help but just feel sad.

Obviously you’re supposed to be frustrated with Rukhsana’s mother for treating her this way (which I certainly was), but you also can’t help but feel frustrated with Ariana as well. Mainly because, it was tough reading how she wasn’t easily able to understand how difficult the situation was for Rukhsana to get out of.

Ariana isn’t Bengali and with community explored so much throughout this novel–especially seen through the Bengali community that Rukhsana’s mother has strong ties with– it was frustrating to read that Ariana found the situation so easy to overcome.

Ariana was very focused on what Rukhsana ought to do, that she didn’t think about what was holding her back and making it tough for her to be open about the both of them.

However, there were obviously so many bright and shining elements in Rukhsana’s life that gave her and us hope!

I love how family and love are such central elements to this novel. We see that Rukhsana, regardless of her parents views, learns she has a strong support system behind her–her brother Aamir, friends, Ariana, her cousin Shalia, Sohail (one of the guys who becomes Rukhsana’s potential husband) and especially her grandmother.

Rukhsana herself doesn’t give up to try and fight for the love she and Ariana share.

Rukhsana’s grandmother is one of the shining lights in her life during her time in Bangladesh. She’s worried whether or not her grandmother will accept her for being gay, but soon finds just how accepting she is.

I loved the dynamic with Rukhsana’s grandmother because through her diary we learn of her past that was very difficult for her–living through abuse. rape, and an arranged marriage she was not happy with (tw). However, although she went through many difficult situations she is always supportive of Rukhsana and reminds her to never stop believing for the life she wants.

I was also surprised to learn more about Rukhsana’s mother through the diary as well. She had a difficult childhood and it was surprising to learn about what she went through in her backstory.

One of my favorite dynamics of this book was definitely Rukhsana with her brother Aamir! He’s continually shown to be a supportive younger brother and though its clear he’s the favorite of the family, he still gives it his all to be there for Rukhsana and help her get out their parents idea.

I also loved seeing Rukhsana & Sohail work together! I don’t want to spoil what happens, but wow–his story arc really surprised me and I was not expecting it! He was another one of my favorite characters in this book.

In terms of representation, this novel features Bengali-Muslim characters (Rukhsana and her family), lesbian rep (Ariana & Rukhsana), gay rep (Sohail), and is set mainly in Bangladesh.

Khan does a great job at making it easy to get into Rukhsana’s head (with the novel being in 1st-person) and with that, make the story incredibly immersive and fast-paced.

Though it’s obvious, I also loved that Khan explored and made clear that not every person (regardless of coming from the same background) thinks the same way about certain issues and topics.

I found myself easily connecting with the main and supporting characters. For the most part, a majority of the characters of the characters (besides Rukhsana’s friends from school) felt very developed.

However, for me personally, the reason I did take off a star was the fact that I did find the writing to be a little difficult to really connect with. In terms of story its great, but the writing I found made moments a bit too quick and it was very simplistic at times.

With the style of writing, it made Rukhsana’s POV feel surface level at times (in terms of descriptions and certain character development) and made her emotional development feel rushed and disconnected at points.

Aside from that, Khan’s debut is one that is filled with heart, depth, all while showcasing the complexity of love, relationships, and family.

I’m also so happy to see how (though its more present near the end) Rukhsana’s parents were putting in more effort to change their views and accept Rukhsana fully. Though its obviously the point, I’m also still frustrated it took so long for her parents to change.

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali is a debut that explores culture, family, identity, love, and so much more! Khan’s YA Contemporary is a character-driven tale that follows a heroine determined to live and seek out a life of her choosing regardless of what her parents believe. Khan weaves in numerous complex topics all while creating a story that is both impactful and hopeful!

Similar to my Gilded Wolves review, I’m getting back into shouting out fellow book bloggers reviews of books I’ve read! So I recommend checking out😍💕📚✨:

The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali Review from Fadwa over at WordWoonders

I’ve followed Fadwa’s reviews for years! I love the writing-style and depth to her reviews in regards to the characters and how they connect with the story!

Overall she goes into a lot more depth about the topics I discuss in my review and I just love how she formats all the elements and discussions within her reviews about books she reads! Definitely read her review of Rukhsana if you need more convincing to check it out!

Latinx YA Book Releases For Your 2019 TBR! {Winter + Early Spring}

Latinx YA Book Recommendations BannerHey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 I’m thrilled to be sharing a list of upcoming Latinx YA Books releasing this year!

As an aspiring Latinx YA Fantasy writer, it just means so much to me to see so many fantastic debuts, sophomore novels, etc. from Latinx YA authors! I’m beyond excited to read them all!

To start off this Latinx TBR List, I’ll be creating seasonal posts throughout 2019! This first list features Latinx books releasing from winter through early spring!

There’s so many amazing YA Books from Latinx authors that I’ve just been waiting to get my hands on and finally read!

As with all my previous lists, I’ll be splitting them up by category/genre and be aware that some dates may change!

Contemporary

Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi1.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.

Throw by Rubén Degollado2. Throw by Rubén Degollado
Publisher:
Slant
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Summary: “Llorona was no harmless little pigeon. She was the lechuza, the owl you see just before someone is about to die, the one that haunts you in your dreams and you never want to see in real life because it means you are about to lose someone you love.”

Llorona is the only girl Güero has ever loved. A wounded soul, she has adopted the name of a ghost from Mexican folklore. True to her namesake, Llorona cast Güero away with the coldness of the apparition she has become. But Güero—though he would never admit it to his friends—still wants to get back together with her.

Güero spends time with his friends Ángel and Smiley—members of the HCP (Hispanics Causing Panic) gang—roaming the streets of the South Texas border towns they inhabit, trying to forget Llorona even as she seems to appear around every corner.

Over three days Güero’s increasingly violent confrontations with Llorona’s current boyfriend will jeopardize the lives of Ángel and Smiley and the love he hopes to regain.

As events begin to accelerate toward their conclusion—and gang signs are thrown as both threats and claims of identity—the question arises: will Güero throw the HCP sign, or will he throw off that life? Güero’s life will be irrevocably changed by violence and loss, but who will he lose, and will he—somewhere along the way—lose himself?

Barley Missing Everything by Matt Mendez3.Barley Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Summary: Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself—or at least find something better than his mom Fabi’s cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen.

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

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

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

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

The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues4.The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Release Date:
March 19, 2019
Summary: Told through the lens of a guy in love with the cosmos (and maybe two girls), The Universal Laws of Marco explores the complicated histories that bring us together and tear us apart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dystopia

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera1.Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
Publisher:
Simon Schuster BYR
Release Date:
March 5, 2019
Summary: At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

Fantasy

We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia1.We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set The Dark On Fire #1)
ARC Review To Come
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date:
February 26, 2019
Summary: In this daring and romantic fantasy debut, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.

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

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

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

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

Science Fiction

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl1.The Last 8 by Laura Pohl (The Last 8 #1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 
March 1, 2019
Summary: Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

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

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

The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez2. The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Pérez
Publisher:
Tor Teen
Release Date:
March 12, 2019
Summary: The Tesla Legacy follows a precocious young scientist named Lucy Phelps whose fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.

One side wants her help and the other wants her dead, but both believe she is the next step in human evolution. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation—including Nikola Tesla—have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.

What Latinx YA Books Are You Looking Forward To This Season? 😄📚✨🎉

*I’ve also linked each book with its Book Depository page if your interested in ordering! They are affiliate links, so if you like my content and want to support me, it would mean a lot! 💞📚

The Wicked King by Holly Black Review

The Wicked King (The Folk Of The Air #2)the wicked king by holly black

Publisher: Little Brown & Company

Release Date: January 8, 2019

Pages: 322

Available Through The Book Depository: The Wicked King

Summary: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

Jude has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were biddable. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a faerie world.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Wicked King is a sequel that raises the stakes as intrigue and politics become a much more central role! Jude attempts to hold onto her power in Elfhame all while keeping Cardan in check! Clever twists and a greater focus on character-development makes The Wicked King a sequel you just can’t put down!

So I started this book last Thursday and was not expecting to get through 90% of it in one afternoon!

I was wary going into The Wicked King because I’d found that Jude wasn’t really the anti-heroine I was expecting, from what so many people were saying about The Cruel Prince. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what level my expectations we’re at because what was motivating me to continue this series was mainly Cardan!

The Wicked King was honestly such a step up from The Cruel Prince, I was more surprised than anything because when I rate a book in the 3-star range, I don’t usually have much motivation to pick up the sequel right away!

So, The Wicked King takes place 5 months after book 1 with Cardan on the throne all while Jude is the power behind it, trying to keep the prince in-check.

She continues to build her strength in the background all while plotting a way to keep her control and form a plan to get Oak on the throne when he’s ready!

What I found The Wicked King did so much better was showcasing the cunning and deceptive side to Jude! In Cruel Prince, were told this, but its never really given much expansion or depth (other than us knowing she wants to be accepted by the fae & constantly telling us she wants power). However, because in The Wicked King Jude finally has what she’s been after, it makes it so much clearer and easier to see where her strategic and political thinking are coming from.

The pacing is much more gripping and fast-paced as well. Early on in The Wicked King, we learn that time has passed since Jude’s deal with Cardan and we feel that sense of urgency because Jude is trying to form as many plans along the way to ensure her power as seneschal isn’t taken away before the year is up.

What I found to be super interesting which lends itself to some amazing character development was Cardan and how he feels about his role as prince! He seems to be pretty nonchalant in the beginning all while knowing that Jude is the one giving him direction on what to do!

Yet, we see these multiple sides to him throughout the novel, not only on how he feels about being prince, but also how he feels about Jude! He continues to be my favorite character in this series.

Jude finds herself attempting to undermine enemies from multiple sides when she learns from Nicasia that someone is going to betray her, Orlagh Queen of the Undersea has a plan of her own, and the mysterious Balekin (Cardan’s older brother) who seems to be plotting something while in the Tower Of Forgetting.

We also learn that there are many in Elfhame who, in secret, don’t find Cardan to be an eligible ruler and his position as High King puts him in quite a bit of danger.

What I really loved about The Wicked King a lot more about The Cruel Prince was the dynamic that built between both Jude and Cardan. Where in The Cruel Prince their relationship didn’t seem to have any solid foundation (aside from Cardan’s bullying & Jude’s one-sided lust for power), Black navigates their relationship with more tension and maturity in this book, that I finally understood the enemies-to-lovers dynamic people were talking about!

There’s this element of trust that gets explored between the both of them throughout their journey in this sequel and I loved how it also lends itself to the development of their relationship.

Jude is a character who really surprised me in The Wicked King! I didn’t really like her all that much in book 1, but seeing Black give her more solid ground for her power and motivations made me really change my view about her.

The world-building itself flowed a lot better too! Focusing more on the general, but differing ties with Cardan as King, I found it much easier to navigate the different classes of Elfahme and what they represent in the grand scheme of the world.

From the Undersea, councils, Jude’s role as seneschal, the other royals, and fae creatures, everything seemed to be developed more smoothly and I found myself understanding each and every element to the politics and the hierarchy of the world!

Even when it comes to the land of Elhame, we learn rulers have a special tie to the land that gets introduced somewhat near the middle & end, but it made for such a great addition to the vastness of the world.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Madoc in Cruel Prince either, but I loved how his storyline really takes on a antagonistic role as he stands against Jude all while we see she still wants to prove himself to her! Their dynamic is built slowly throughout the book, but was one I found was given the perfect amount of development and mystery.

I don’t usually love books where its a good 90% angst and scheming, but wow– The Wicked King got me and I’m obsessed now! I can’t wait to see what happens in The Queen Of Nothing, but I’m also scared because I don’t know if anything after The Wicked King can really top it off!

Now I’m obviously not going to give away the ending, but those last pages really sucked me in and I could not put the book down! I love how we see even more different sides to the characters and their motivations that really come into play at the end!

The writing itself is something I already loved in The Cruel Prince because I found Black’s writing-style really delivered intrigue and an immersive quality to the story! However, in The Wicked King I found it really allowed for all the different elements of the story from the politics, setting, character motivations, deception & planning, and development to come together in a much more coherent way! Everything flowed perfectly!

Now onto some of the minor elements that made me drop a star! Though I love the writing, I did find because its very character-centric, the descriptive elements to the setting and world weren’t as present. Additionally, I wasn’t much of a fan of Taryn & Viv’s storylines, I felt they took away from Jude’s overall story (which was much more engaging) and did slow the pacing a little.

Also similar to The Cruel Prince, I still don’t buy that Taryn & Jude are twins! As I mentioned in that review, they are just too different and don’t get enough page-time together where I can really see them as twins.

Overall though, I really had fun reading this book! It surprised me in a lot of ways and I’m looking forward to book 3!

The Wicked King is an immersive and page-turning sequel to The Cruel Prince! There’s a more focused development on the characters and inner politics involving the throne of Elfhame! From Jude attempting to hold onto her power with Cardan on the throne, mysterious enemies, and intrigue at every turn, this is a great continuation to the Folk Of The Air Series!

January 2019 Wrap-Up

During the month of January I read 5 books! I’m really happy with this number & the books I read, because a lot of them were part of a TBR list I created for myself in my bullet journal!

Fierce Fairytales Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill1. Fierce Fairytales: Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill

LibraryStarted January 1 + Finished January 2My Rating:★★★★☆ Fierce Fairytales Full Review

Overall Thoughts: I’d never read any of Gill’s poetry before, but after reading this book I definitely want to check out more of her collections in the future! I loved the modern twists and inspiring messages she wove into Fierce Fairytales! Gill transforms fairy-tales/classic fairy tale elements within each piece of the collection to turn it into something wholly unique and I loved that! However, there were definitely some elements that made me take off a star: You can clearly see the message and emotion she’s trying to evoke, but with the plainness in writing, it comes off as very direct and abrupt. The pacing did drag a bit too. However, there we’re definitely some poems & stories that I adored, which I found both showed the strongest writing and imagery: Badroulbadour, Shoemaker’s Son, Rapunzel Rapunzel & Moon Dragon! 

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves #1)

ARC Started January 3 + Finished January 8My Rating: ★★★★★ The Gilded Wolves ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Though 2019 has just started, I know for a fact that The Gilded Wolves is one of my all-time favorite books of the year! The dazzling setting & world-building, phenomenal characters (banter especially), plot, dialogue–I could go on & on–were fantastic!  This book was just too high quality and I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover. I adored this crew so much: Séverin, Hypnos, Enrique, Tristan, Zofia & Laila–I loved each of them so much!! Chokshi really builds their backstories, motvation, growth + vulnerability where you are left truly understanding these wonderful characters! There’s multiple heists, puzzles, a mysterious society, intrigue, and non-stop adventure! The Gilded Wolves is a masterfully crafted historical fantasy & not a book to miss! 

*Another one of my reviews for The Gilded Wolves was also featured on Bookish if you want to check it out! 

i hear the sunspot limit 1 by yuki fumino3. I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino ( Sunspot #3)

OwnedStarted January 10 + Finished January 11My Rating: ★★★★☆ I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: It was great to return to the world of I Hear The Sunspot again! This is the series that got me back into manga again and I fell in love with the story and characters! Suspot centers around college students Kouhei & Taichi who become friends and fall for each other! Kouhei is hard of hearing and this series also goes into great length to discuss and explore hearing disabilities! The introduction to new side characters make the story even more interesting. Though I did find that Kouhei and Taichi’s relationship in terms of development does take a step backwards. But, I am so interested to see where Kouhei & Taichi are headed in this series! I highly recommend this manga because the story is impactful, the two main characters Taichi & Kouhei go through so much development, and there’s a lot of discussion about hearing/ hearing disability! Highly recommend this manga series, its SO underrated!

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera4. The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #2)

OwnedStarted December 22 + Finished January 25My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ The Phoenix Empress Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Phoenix Empress is a phenomenal continuation to this epic fantasy series! The Tiger’s Daughter chronicled Shizuka and Shefali’s lives starting when they were born to their unfortunate separation later in life! However, in the end they are reunited, but not for long as we see in The Phoenix Empress–Shizuka is still haunted by events in her past as a soldier during Shefali’s absence and Shefali is attempting to understand the darkness that now runs through her! The detail, insight into the characters, and further development of the world are just some of the many things I loved about this sequel! There’s a cast of dynamic and incredible female characters, expansive lore, politics, and immersive plot made The Phoenix Empress such a fantastic sequel! I can’t wait to read book 3, The Warrior Moon!

planting stories--the life of librarian and storyteller pura belpré5. Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise + Paola Escoba

LibraryStarted January 29 + Started January 29My Rating: ★★★★★  Planting Stories Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Planting Stories is a must-read picture book that chronicles the life and legacy of storyteller, librarian, and author Pura Belpré! She uses her power of storytelling to not only spark a love of stories, but also to get more Latinx (& especially Puerto Rican folktales) in the library! The art, with its use of warm colors evokes a sense of magic in this heartwarming story! She moves to New York from Puerto Rico and becomes the 1st Puerto Rican librarian in the city. Both the writing and illustrations bring Belpré’s story to life. From the impact of Belpré’s legacy to the importance of having diversity/representation among stories, this picture book is must-read!

Additional Posts From This Month:

2018 Wrap-Up & 2019 Book Blog Goals {Bookish Goals}

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi {Reading Diary}

Upcoming 2019 YA Book Recommendations From Book Bloggers
feat. Adriana, Jordan, Marie, & Sil

The Gilded Wolves {Reading Playlist}

YA Book-To-Movie Adaptations Releasing In 2019!

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Optioned For TV! {Book Blog Discussion}

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo {Bookish Theories}

Flyest Fables Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

~ It wasn’t until I was writing this wrap-up that I realized how many additional posts I created! If you have time, I’d love if you could give one of them a read–it would mean a lot! ❤❤ I had so much fun creating all my non-review posts this month & January left me inspired to create more! 😭✨📚

~ I also created a new banner for my wrap-ups & I really like how it turned out!

Plans For February:

~ More podcasts reviews! I listened to my first podcast of the year this month and really want to bring back my fiction podcast reviews! 🎙✨❤

~ Stay on track with my monthly bullet journal TBRs!

~ Create more non-book review posts! 😍📚✨

So that was my January TBR! Thoughts on what I read? What books did you read in January? 😍📚🎉🎉

Flyest Fables Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

flyest fables podcastFlyest Fables created by Morgan Givens

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Episodes: 8

Running Time: Episodes range from 15 to 26 minutes

Summary: Flyest Fables brings you anthology style and critically acclaimed hopepunk fables for the 21st century. Created by Morgan Givens.

My Thoughts: Flyest Fables is an anthology audio drama podcast! There’s a magical book and an even more magic tale inside, just waiting to be read! Merging contemporary with fantasy, this is an inspiring podcast that showcases brilliant storytelling!

As my audio drama podcast lists grows as high as my TBR, I’ve made it a goal for 2019 to get back into listening to podcasts and review them more!

My first podcast of 2019 is a 2018 debut titled, Flyest Fables!

Created by Morgan Givens, this anthology-style audio drama is a podcast that focuses on black and brown protagonists who encounter a magical book with their name mysteriously engraved on the cover and get immersed in a fable that’s more than it seems upon first glance!

Episode 1, “Like Little Mice Mocking His Humiliation,” follows 6th-grader Antoine leaving class before the final bell! He’s trying to outrun bullies who’ve bothered him since kindergarten and luckily finds a fence near the school with a hole he hadn’t noticed before.

From there he passes through to escapes the bullies, but as he continues walking he soon finds a bench and a book with his name on it!

Filled with blank pages, it isn’t until he finds his moment of peace when he starts singing that the book quickly fill with words!

Not just any words, but a story of a far away land and a princess on a quest!

He looks at the book one more time and gets lost in the story of the Princess Keisha from the Kingdom of Orleans.

It turns out she’s been on a quest and to return home with a flower that would heal her mother, the Queen.

But as she trudges through the desert, she’s unsure if she’ll make it back in time because the journey itself was filled with lots of misfortune. As weeks pass though, she thinks back to the quartermaster and her mother’s words that stay with her as she finds her kingdom slowly getting closer and closer!

“I am not behind you, why do spend so much time there?…Or [is it that you] spend so much time looking at the past?…”

“It would be so easy to turn around…but I will not…”

As the story starts getting good, Antoine’s phone starts ringing from his mother to pick him up and realizes he’d been transported into that story for hours! As he tries to explain to her what happened, he keeps the book by his side waiting to return to that magical tale!

The writing was incredibly atmospheric! Through the 3rd person narrative, there is such depth to the unique world of this podcast and especially the main characters Antoine and Princess Keisha, but also the Kingdom Of Orleans.

Givens brilliantly juxtaposes his main protagonist with that of the fictional character to offer them and the listener with inspiring messages of hope and courage!

Antoine is a boy who’s running away from his bullies, but he gets introduced to a brave heroine who is facing her obstacles and not giving up!

Though I’ve only listened to this first episode, I can’t wait to hear more!

The voice acting was great! I haven’t looked too much into it, but I think creator Morgan Givens does all the voices and all the characters are given so much depth where I feel I know a good amount about them from just a few lines!

The atmosphere of Flyest Fables itself also delivers a feeling of optimism and hope which I love! The inspiring tales and the main characters who come to life are also sure to inspire listeners!

This young adult anthology above all showcases and spotlights positivity through its storytelling and I love that!

Speaking of storytelling, that is definitely another fantastic element to this audio drama! Even when faced with challenges, its the power of tales that remind our protagonist of his courage!

I haven’t taken a look at the other episodes yet, but I see the overarching theme of protagonists finding this magical book and with that, the stories remind them of the magic they have within themselves to channel their own strengths & bravery!

Flyest Fables is a brilliant podcast that spotlights the power and importance of storytelling! The fantastic and atmospheric writing deliver not only a unique world, but great protagonists who offer inspiring messages of courage and bravery! If your looking for a wholly unique tale that weaves contemporary with fantasy brimming with hope, I highly recommend this podcast!

Flyest Fables introduces fictional heroes while also reminding the listener of their inner hero! ✨🎙

Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar Review

planting stories--the life of librarian and storyteller pura belpréPlanting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise + Paola Escobar (Illustrator)

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Pages: 32

Available Through The Book Depository: Planting Stories

Summary: When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular stories into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and cuentistas continue to share her stories and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the power of storytelling and the extraordinary woman who opened doors and championed bilingual literature.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Planting Stories chronicles and celebrates Pura Belpré, her journey as a storyteller, bilingual librarian, and author! The illustrations are colorful, detailed, and evoke a sense of magic!

I’ve made it a priority ever since getting involved in Latinx Book Bingo last year to discover and read more Latinx books!

Planting Stories is a picture book I’d been wanting to read for quite a while and now that it finally released this month, I just had to read it before January was over!

Pura Belpré grew up in Puerto Rico as an avid storyteller and she shared the stories + folktales her abuela told her with her community! Then in 1921, she comes to America carrying those tales with her.

What started as a visit to celebrate her sister’s wedding, soon marks a new part of her life both for her and her stories when she decides to stay in New York!

Her first job is in the garment industry, but when the New York Public Library is seeking a bilingual assistant, Belpre takes hold of this opportunity and it changes her life!

When she notices the lack of Latinx stories on shelves, she uses her power of storytelling to bring those tales to the children of the library!

Belpre’s stories gather both children and families, which leads her from librarian assistant to storyteller/puppeteer, and soon–author! She publishes the folktales and other stories of Puerto Rico to allow them to reach many more readers.

Planting Stories is a magnificent picture book that reminds us of the power of storytelling and celebrates the legacy of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City!

It was so beautiful to see Spanish woven throughout this book as well!

I adored Paola Escobar’s art and illustrations! From the warm colors, detail, to the heartwarming emotions and magic it evokes!

The symbolism of flowers and trees really bring to the center how stories grow, flourish, and celebrates the power of stories.

Her art brings so much to this wonderful story!

Denise’s writing throughout this picture book, chronicles Belpré’s life in such a beautiful way! Her writing-style is also what brings a sense of magic to this story!

Those who are looking for a book that celebrates stories, influential storytellers, and the impact of stories in a community, Planting Stories is a must read!

Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates the legacy of an influential storyteller, librarian, and author! Detailed and vibrant illustrations bring the story to life! Woven throughout the pages are the importance of storytelling, diversity among stories, and their lasting impact!