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?

YA Book Comparisons by Authors Of Color and Unfair Critiques of BIPOC Work {Book Blog Discussion Revisited}

As it often happens in the book community, discussions are often recycled, repeated, in an almost yearly cycle. However, one cannot ignore the nuance and expansion that each of these discussions brings (no matter how monotonous), which sheds a new light on a different angle of which to view it. Today I’m revisiting an article I wrote originally in October of 2019 to explore the idea of comparative titles or reader comparisons in general, and how they impact the ratings/perception of YA Fantasy novels, particularly by authors of color.

Due to specific expectations or perhaps the overworked concept of “comp titles,” the main point of my 2019 article was to showcase how these books, almost always by authors of color are harshly critiqued or left with unfair ratings due to surface level comparisons. So why am I revisiting this discussion again? Well news broke on November 4 that Hafsah Faizal’s upcoming 2022 novel (which sounds phenomenal btw) titled “A Tempest Of Tea” would be a new fantasy duology featuring a “gang of outcasts and a deadly heist.”

According to Faizal via Twitter, in the span of less than 24 hours, 19 to be exact, her unpublished book with only an announcement already started getting compared to no surprise… Six Of Crows.

Many in the book community, rightfully so, have taken to Twitter speaking out against this unfair critique. As mentioned in my 2019 discussion, surface-level comparisons such as these often undermine the lengthy discussions and research authors of color input to delve into topics such as colonialism, slavery, race, and much more unlike the white authors to which their novels get compared to. Especially when authors of color are crafting works based on their own distinct experiences or culture.

It’s truly disheartening to see because it instills this idea *specifically* among the book community (or industry) whether it’s readers, publishers, etc. that authors of color or BIPOC folks, can’t have their novels stand on their own. In my previous piece I examined this through The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and Nocturna by Maya Motayne (which are both excellent YA Fantasy titles).

*Note: I’m not here to completely disregard comp titles or anything, because without a doubt they can invaluable tool to increase awareness, draw in similar readers, or help titles during different stages of the publishing process. For information on the usefulness of this method, I recommend reading “Comp Titles: An Elevator Pitch For Your Book” from the Penguin Random House blog ‘News For Authors’.

As mentioned numerous times by authors, readers, and so on, SOC did not invent heists nor will it ever be the only novel that does so. (Especially since Ally Carter’s Heist Society came out in 2010 and is often forgotten). Maybe I’ll delve into this in another discussion, but I feel this largely has to do with the rise in online book community spaces just as SOC was released and hyped up which then in turn, led to this book being pushed and later cemented among that wave of readers, reviewers, etc. finding their online space.

Now back to my main point, in the end us as readers need to be more cognizant that as publishing continues to become more inclusive and diverse, we need to understand that many communities of color have not had their chances at telling the stories we’ve encountered hundreds of times. While of course not every book is for everyone (which is absolutely valid), I think if anything, this is a great opportunity for readers to see how authors use their unique and distinct backgrounds to explore tropes/storytelling from their particular lens.

In an article from Bustle on November 24, celebrating Sabaa Tahir’s finale to the ‘An Ember In The Ashes’ quartet, Tahir mentioned how there is still much work to be done in “[diversifying] YA publishing,” additionally she stated:

Over and over, authors from marginalized groups are told, ‘We already have a book like this,’ or ‘We already have an author like you.’ But books by marginalized authors shouldn’t be a quota you fill…”How many vampire books written by white authors? Dozens. I’ve nothing against that, but authors from marginalized groups deserve the same respect. Just because authors have similar experiences or ethnic backgrounds doesn’t mean their stories will be identical. We contain multitudes and our work is meaningful and distinctive.

Sabaa Tahir via ‘The An Ember In The Ashes Series Might Be Over, But Sabaa Tahir Is Just Getting Started’ from Bustle

Where traditionally, marginalized and BIPOC writers have been on the outskirts, we should not overlook the strides made when a new author of color publishes, because each one is an accomplishment, inspiration, and hope for a future beaming with new writers waiting to tell their own stories too.

I will yet again, leave on this quote from Leigh Bardugo herself in a 2016 article from Bustle, where she states, “The truth is, I get a lot of praise for diversity, but there are far more diverse fantasy worlds out there.”

Any additional thoughts you’d like to add to this discussion? or Any related topics your interested in sharing? 📚✨

Additional articles from fellow book bloggers that also discuss this topic:

1.Michelle from MagicalReads7 post The Gilded Wolves Vs. Six Of Crows

2. CW from The Quiet Pond posting about Book Recommendations: Diverse Heist Stories (That aren’t SOC)

Blog Tour: Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon {Q&A}

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De LeonDon’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster)

Release Date: August 18, 2020

Pages: 336

Available For Pre-Order: The Book DepositoryBookshop 

Cover Artist: Elena Garnu

Summary: First-generation American Latinx Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.

Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! Being left with her increasingly crazy mom? Fine. Her heathen little brothers? Fine, fine, fine. But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted.

Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school. In her old school, Liliana—half-Guatemalan and half-Salvadorian—was part of the majority where almost everyone was a person of color. But now at Westburg, where almost everyone is white, the struggles of being a minority are unavoidable. It becomes clear that the only way to survive is to lighten up—whiten up. And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine.

But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.

To celebrate the upcoming August 18th release of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, I’ll be sharing a Q&A with Jennifer to chat all about her debut! 📚🎉

1. Hello Jennifer, thank you for joining me on the blog today, ‘Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From’ is weeks away from release! Can you tell us what its all about?

Jennifer: Thank you for having me on the blog! Yes, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From follows 15- year-old Liliana Cruz, a Latinx teen from Boston, as she transfers to a majority white high school. She’s dealing with so much—best friend troubles, annoying little brothers, her dad traveling (again), and she’s trying to fit in at her new high school in Westburg. As a result, she deals with micro-aggressions and racism and stereotypes—and all the while there’s this cute guy…But yes, the racial tensions in the school come to a boil and Liliana has some difficult choices to make.

2. What inspired your novel and did you find anything about the story, either change or evolve during the writing process?

Jennifer: This is the book I wish I could hand to my younger self. It is the story I wanted—and needed—to hear, but didn’t get a chance to see in literature. Later, when I became a public school teacher I saw that while some progress had been made in the category of Young Adult fiction in terms of diversity, there was still a long way to go. So I became even more inspired to write the book that I could eventually give my students. The story definitely evolved during the writing process! For starters, I had the story originally set in the nineties—but I was told that this is technically “historical fiction” (I know!) and that readers might have an easier time connecting if the story was contemporary. Second, the original draft was told in third-person. But once I started writing in first person, Liliana’s voice took over the mic—I mean, the pen, and she just led me the rest of the way.

3. As an #OwnVoices contemporary what would you say you drew from your own experience that found its way into the novel?

Jennifer: Growing up I often moved between two worlds—physically and metaphorically. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, where most of my friends were white and either middle-class or affluent. My parents were born in Guatemala and worked really hard to get our family to live in a neighborhood with a strong school system. That was their ultimate goal: give my sisters and I a solid education. But every weekend we would drive thirty minutes to Boston and visit with extended family. I loved spending time with my cousins and tías and tíos and grandmother. It felt like a different world. So, in writing Liliana’s character, I tried to draw on my experiences of moving in between worlds because she does this on a daily basis when she takes the METCO bus to Westburg and then back home to Boston.

4. According to the summary we see that Liliana has to navigate a wealthy and white high school which forces her to code switch and create two distinct worlds. What inspired you to incorporate this overarching theme of the book and was it something you felt should be present early on in the writing process?

Jennifer: Absolutely. For me, it was super important to show Liliana navigating two distinct worlds. It was the crux of the story, even in the earlier drafts. Code-switching, from my own experience, can be exhausting. And it can take a mental toll, too. I wanted to show how one character, Liliana, is confronting the need to code-switch for the first time in her life, at least on this level. Up until now she has lived and breathed solely in the bubble of her neighborhood in Jamaica Plain, an area of Boston. But that all changes when she joins the METCO program and begins going to school at a predominantly white school. Although I didn’t have this exact experience of being part of the METCO program, I did feel that I had to constantly code-switch depending on where I was and who was in the room—and this only amplified once I got to college.

4a. Based on the summary, it looks like your debut will discuss various themes from Latin-American identity, race, and immigration to name a few. Which theme or topic did you feel the most inspired to explore and is there a particular message that you wanted to get across to readers?

Jennifer: Such a great question! As I was writing Liliana’s story, I felt inspired to show how Liliana herself is learning so much about her culture and identity and background as she navigates a new world—Westburg. Liliana is not an “expert” on Latinx culture or even Central American culture. She has more questions than answers. I think so many second- generation teens can feel this way. I know I did. On one level, you don’t fit in with the “mainstream culture” but then on another level, you don’t exactly fit in with your parents’ culture either. All the while, people—even well-intentioned ones—ask questions like I’m Wikipedia or something. It took me a long time to learn more about Guatemala, where both my parents are from, and I still have so much to learn. So, yes, I hope this book inspires readers, especially young people, to learn more about their family and their background(s), because we are all from somewhere.

5. What did you enjoy the most writing about Liliana’s character? & Why?

Jennifer: Ooooh, I loved writing Liliana’s voice. She is sassy and smart and has a real funny way of saying things—she doesn’t hold back. And I love that about her.

6. As a Latina reader myself I feel like  ‘Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From’ will make it a point in navigating Latina/Latine identity and I think that’s great. Is that something important you were hoping readers take away from the novel?

Jennifer: Definitely. I hope that this book can shed (more) light on the understanding that the the Latinx community is not a monolithic one. Yes, we share so many commonalities (on levels of language, culture, family traditions, etc.), but just the same, there are as many differences between someone who identifies as Puerto Rican vs. Mexican vs. Guatemalan vs. Venezuelan, and so on and so forth. I also hope that readers—again, especially young people and especially Latinx teens—can close the book and feel proud of where they’re from, that they feel empowered by their history and not burdened by it.

7. Can you share one of your favorite quotes in ‘Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From’?

Jennifer: Sure!

“I’m sick of people asking me where I am from. No—where I am ‘from-from.’ I am sick of people assuming I wasn’t born in this country or that I don’t speak English or that I eat rice and beans every night for dinner.” Two girls laughed. But in an I got you way. I felt lighter and lighter. And I couldn’t stop.

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From is releasing August 18, 2020! Thank you for joining me on the blog tour today. 

Are you looking forward to reading Jennifer De Leon’s debut? 🎊🌸📚✨

Blog Tour: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust {Book Recommendations}

Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa BashardoustGirl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: July 8, 2020

Pages: 336

Available Through The Book Depository: Girl Serpent Thorn

Summary: A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

As part of today’s blog tour for Girl Serpent Thorn, I’ll be recommending some YA Sapphic fantasy books! Many of these I’ve read and adored, so the recommendations will definitely feature some underrated favorites that deserve more hype.

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes

I read this charming novella back in 2017 and more people should read it! The Little Queen is unsure of whether she’s fit to rule. This leads her to embark on a journey across her kingdom making friends, learning more about the world, and to better understand who she is meant to be.

The magical/fantasy elements are presented in a quiet sort of way and the story overall reads like a timeless fairy tale. Out little queen finds friendship, love, and its such a delightful read.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Words cannot describe the love I have for this book! It follows twins Lil and Kizzy who find themselves taken from their Traveller community and forced to work at a prince’s castle, but at its core its about the bond these sisters share despite the horrible situation that’s upon them, to take charge of their own destinies. The novel features Romani culture and underlying vampire lore.

Hargrave’s writing evokes the style of an old historical fairytale, while her stories center on the journey of young women seeking independence, while navigating friendship and family. The Deathless Girls however is a much different tale that is essentially a dark, gothic retelling of The Brides Of Dracula! Themes of love and sisterhood are woven into every page of this book, though at times it is heartbreaking.

Crier's War by Nina Varela

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Ayla seeks vengeance against the automae, but finds herself falling in love with the heir Crier instead! The politics, intrigue, unique world, and poetic writing are just some of the many things I love about this book.

Its a story about vengeance, hope, revolution and the way Varela weaves those masterfully into the story just highlight how brilliantly the world is crafted! Crier and Ayla each have their own personal journeys that teach them so much about the world they thought they knew. They each have their secrets, but it also explores the ferocity of emotion and how that also influences the automae/human philosophy that’s established.

Shatter The Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Shatter The Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

This is also a more quiet fantasy that follows Maren who essentially goes undercover and becomes an aromatory for the palace to figure out where her girlfriend was taken. Along the way she learns more about dragons, the world’s empire and much more on her quest of rescuing someone she loves! Its a character-driven story with a fun, unique plot.

Also, what makes this book incredible is how it really is a story about Maren who starts off as a reluctant hero, but as she learns more about the world around her there seems to be a transformation to her as a character too and I really appreciated that! Overall if your looking for a character-driven, YA fantasy adventure with dragons, I recommend this!

To conclude the tour, I wanted to recommend some upcoming 2020/2021 Sapphic fantasy books (YA & SFF) that you should have on your radar:

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Release Date:
September 8, 2020

Summary: In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Each Of Us A Desert by Mark Oshiro

Each Of Us A Desert by Mark Oshiro
Release Date:September 15, 2020

Summary: From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.

Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous mayor. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy
Release Date: April 20, 2021

A queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

Hope you enjoyed checking out my Girl, Serpent, Thorn Blog Tour & thank you to the publisher! 📚🐍💗

Are you planning on reading Girl Serpent Thorn? Any Sapphic fantasy books you recommend?

Mid Year Wrap-Up Discussion {2020}

Happy July everyone! We’re well past the halfway point of 2020 and today’s post is to highlight all the bookish and blog-related things that happened this year so far! 📚💞✨

In my (almost) 5 years of book blogging, I’ve never written any kind of mid-year post and this year felt especially different in many ways. 2020 reminded me that although we put copious amounts of effort, time, passion, and dedication into our book blogs, platforms, you name it…we can’t forget to take time for ourselves.

For many of us this year may have been challenging, but we have to acknowledge and remind ourselves of how far we’ve come in 2020. Now, onto all the bookish things!

Adaptations

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze ChooOut of all the book-to-movie / film / tv adaptations I’ve seen, one of the most memorable for me has been The Ghost Bride on Netflix which launched this year!! From its cinematography, screenplay, gorgeous visuals, chemistry between characters― it worked as an adaptation because it took risks to differentiate itself from Choo’s novel while also keeping the spirit of the story.

Set in 1890’s Malaya, you follow Li Lan who finds herself becoming a ghost bride to support her family. But, she quickly finds herself caught between her world and the afterlife, solving the mystery of the now dead son, Lim Tian Ching and more along the way.

While only 6 episodes long, you feel so connected to the cast, world, and captivating story of magic, sacrifice, love, the paranormal, and much more. Li Lan (Peijia Huang), alongside her spirit guide Er Lang, Tian Bai, everyone in the show just brought these characters to life in such a surreal way that I’m just HOPING there’ll be more seasons to explore in the show because it was phenomenal. Also, the series does a fantastic job at highlighting more of the comedy/humor of the story over the more present melancholy of the original novel (which is done in such a FANTASTIC way).

Out of all the book adaptations I’ve heard of, The Ghost Bride has honestly not gotten the love it deserves. Its such an underrated series that deserves more love & hype! Choo herself is an author of Malaysian descent and the cast/crew are of a Taiwanese and Malaysian background as well. To add onto that, I loved that this was a Malaysian-language drama because there’s so many English-language book adaptations out there and this was the very first non-English one I’ve ever seen!

If I were to pick my all-time favorite adaptation, I would not hesitate to say The Ghost Bride, if your looking for a book adaptation that will captivate you start to finish, please watch this one!

As I’m sure many are already aware, Shadow And Bone has wrapped up production as of February and I’ve had a lot of fun covering the news over at The Booked Shelf . Excited in getting more updates, seeing Alina’s story and the Grishaverse world come to life on the small screen!

Blogging

So far this year I’ve posted 35 times on the blog and have reviewed 22 books. My goal for reviews has been to delve deeper into characters, themes, basically like a blog essay to explore different layers to a book. I’ve been extremely proud of this so far in 2020 and a recent review that I feel highlights all these different elements is for Scavenge The Stars  by Tara Sim.

I created a new feature called Backlist Bookshelf to highlight books on my physical TBR and hopefully I’ll find time to feature more books soon! There was a special author interview featuring June Hur to celebrate her debut novel The Silence Of Bones posted in April.

Books

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

One of my biggest reading surprises so far this year has been without a doubt, A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson! As mentioned in my review, contemporary mystery novels aren’t my go-to genre and if I do decide to read them, it really depends on the summary. I was wholly invested in Pippa’s case, the journalism aspect, and just the unique story overall! This mystery really left me guessing till the very end and I recently bought the sequel, so hopefully I’ll find the time to add it to my TBR.

One of my most disappointing reads so far has been Fence Volume 2 by C.S. Pacat. No doubt, its such a fun and fast-paced story about a guys fencing team, plus its super entertaining! But, it feels like the story is way too fast-paced and yet it also feels like nothing even happened. The characters still feel a bit static and I have lots to say about the art! So overall not my favorite, but I can see why people enjoy it! It was really really difficult to narrow down my favorite books of the year so far as of this month (because there’s so many), but hopefully in the coming months I’ll talk more about them.

One of my recent book reviews has been for Upright Women Wanted and if I were to pitch it, I’d say its about Queer librarians on horseback fighting for justice! Its a unique mix of genres that shows a unique setting of Dystopian/Sci-Fi Western! Esther (our main heroine) goes on a journey to grow and discover what she wants as she faces truths

Upright Women Wanted

around her, but she’s not alone and has librarians to help her out like Cye: our nonbinary library assistant who shows Esther all that she needs to know and there may be some sparks that fly between them! This novella has been one of my recent favorites and not only is it tons of fun, but I also feel not many have talked about this one so definitely pick it up!

Inspired by my 2020 Readathon (more details below under #QuietReadathon) I wanted to prioritize more backlist and underrated books. As I reviewed my reads of the year so far, one of my biggest reading accomplishments has been checking out books that have been under the radar. I hope to continue this well into the rest of the year.

I’ve also realized that a highlight of my reading has been getting into audiobooks more! Its been hard for me to focus on reading recently, so they’ve been super helpful. Not only has my reading speed gotten a bit slower, but I’ve come to the realization that this year has really turned me into a ‘mood reader’ too. Book ratings have also become a complicated thing for me recently, but I can say in 2020 I’m really appreciating the 4-star rating!

Also, I got myself a TBR basket and I’m in love with it ❤

Discussions

So far this year I’ve posted 1 blog-related discussion which asked the question: “Are Book Bloggers Getting Paid?” and why its important to talk about. Included in the post are some stats, among other facts & figures. I feel its an important conversation to have and was one of the with the quickest “draft to post” discussions I’ve ever written.

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

In 2020 I’ve reflected on whether I should review every book I read and I’ll definitely try to experiment with this more in the year. Its easy for me to want to review every book I read because there’s always some thoughts that linger in my mind with each one. However, the dilemma is although I want to talk about a book from my own unique perspective, it takes time. I have noticed its put a hold on the number of books I’m reading yearly. So, maybe at some point this year I’ll try different kinds of reviews or review styles to still share some of my thoughts, while still making time to read more.

I also have some fun discussions and posts in the works and hopefully I’ll have them up during the summer! Here’s a sneak peek as to some of the topics: library, manga, reviewing books, fun bookish lists/recommendations, underrated books!

#QuietReadathon

My first readathon, #QuietReadathon launched this year and its really made me reflect on choosing more underrated and lesser-known books, even adding more to my TBR. Its a fun and stress-free readathon that’s brought a good variety to my reading this year.

The Booked Shelf

The Booked Shelf is a passion project that I’ve really put in a lot more time/effort to keep up and its been such a fun adventure. For those who don’t know, I launched it in the summer of last year to highlight YA Book news and keep people up-to-date in the YA booksphere. So far this year a lot of the news has featured cover reveals, but I hope to get back into posting more general bookish news too.

Misc.

If you didn’t know, I’m launching a PODCAST this year!! The trailer has been live since June and I’m gonna be working on EP. 1 this week (though I said it’d be out by June 😂😅). But don’t worry, the podcast will be up and running soon!

Now onto a more personal update. Its not something I talk about often, but I’ve really been neglecting my mental/physical health recently and *nothing serious, however I found myself more stressed than usual and it really took a toll on me these last couple weeks. Thankfully I’m doing yoga, mediation, among other things to keep myself active and manage my stress. And in all honesty, I’m feeling a lot better. This also got me thinking I may (?) take a small Twitter break this month or next to focus more on reading, my blog, and more importantly, myself. Twitter has made such an impact on my blog, the blogger friends I’ve made, etc., and its been a really important platform for me and my blog, but what these past few weeks have taught me is that there comes a point where you need a break and that’s okay!💞

This has been a wrap-up of some bookish things from 2020 so far! Thanks so much for reading and hope you’ve celebrated your book accomplishments too! 🥳💞

What are some book or blog-related things that’ve happened to you this far into the year? Let’s discuss! 🤩📚🎉

Are Book Bloggers Getting Paid? {Book Blog Discussion}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now where do we go from here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Releases Of May and June I’m Looking Forward To!

Hey everyone! Today on the blog I wanted to share some of the upcoming book releases that are on my to-read list! 🥳📚💖

I’ll be highlighting YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade & Adult! There’s a ton of fantastic books, so it was really tough to narrow down the list, but I wanted to highlight ones that I haven’t talked about much on my blog or twitter. Hope everyone has been doing well and enjoy the list! 💞✨

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence

1. Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence
Middle GradeMay 5ContemporaryBookshop

Summary: Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she’s got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have…together.

But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she’s been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn’t have a crush on, the friendship she’s always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble.

Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends-even if it means losing one of them-or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?

➣ I need to catch up on so many middle grade novels and this one sounds so good! The great cover is what first drew me to it!

The Mermaid The Witch And The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

2. The Mermaid, The Witch, And The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Young AdultMay 5FantasyBookshop

Summary: A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

➣ I’ve heard amazing things about this one and it sounds like such a great fantasy/debut!!

Suncatcher by José Pimienta

3. Suncatcher by José Pimienta

Graphic NovelMay 19SupernaturalBookshop

Summary: If life wasn’t already hard enough for Beatriz — being a teenager, trying to start a band, and going to school — then she discovers that her grandfather’s soul has been trapped in an old guitar, and that the only way to free him is to play the perfect song . . . his perfect song, a song that he never actually wrote down. She’s determined to save her grandfather, but as music slowly takes over her life, she soon finds herself growing obsessed with his song, and making it absolutely flawless, at the expense of her friendships, her band, and her health.

Beatriz won’t let anything stop her, not even her own limitations. Creating a magical song is already a lot of pressure, but Beatriz will have to make some hard choices before it’s too late for her grandfather . . . and for herself.

A story filled with music, passion, supernatural secrets, and family, Jose Pimienta’s Suncatcher brings to life a contemporary story of life in Mexicali with a supernatural twist and a lot of music.

➣ This ones already been on my TBR for a while, but what has me even more hyped for this graphic novel is that its from a Latino author, it also looks like there’ll be a big focus on family and self (mixed with some paranormal)! Thrilled to check this one out.

The Archer At Dawn by Swati Teerdhala

4. The Archer At Dawn by Swati Teerdhala (Tiger At Midnight #2)

Young AdultMay 26FantasyBookshop

Summary: For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebels, the upcoming Sun Mela provides the perfect guise for infiltrating King Vardaan’s vicious court. Kunal returns to his role as dedicated soldier, while Esha uses her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to seek allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the throne.

But amidst the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel’s entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their countries and to each other.

Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives. In book two of Swati Teerdhala’s epic fantasy trilogy, a kingdom will fall, a new ruler will rise, and all will burn.

➣ I had so much fun reading Tiger At Midnight last year and I can’t wait to see where the series is headed next! My galley is waiting to be read!

A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

5. A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (SOWAR #1)

Young AdultJune 2FantasyBookshop

Summary: The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death? 

➣ I’m all here for supporting YA debuts and I have a galley of this one, so hopefully I’ll read it soon!

Sky Island by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee

6. Sky Island by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee (Illustrations) (A Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure #2)

Graphic NovelJune 9MythologyBookshop

Summary: The stunning sequel to Sea Sirens, the middle-grade graphic novel about a spunky Vietnamese American surfer girl and her cantankerous talking cat. This time Trot and Cap’n Bill have to rescue a Sea Siren friend from the clutches of a ruthless amusement park owner.

School’s out and Trot and Cap’n Bill are looking forward to a carefree summer of surfing. But trouble surfaces when Grandpa hooks a message in a bottle while fishing. Clia, the Sea Siren princess, and Anko, King of the Sea Serpents, need their help: Merla, their Sea Siren friend, has been kidnapped!

Trot, her cat, and her grandfather join the rescue effort which takes them to an old abandoned amusement park island resort, where plans are afoot for a grand re-opening. But who is behind this development? Enter Rosalie, an environmentalist with a personal grudge against the developer. She can tell them a thing or two about the mysterious Mr. Buluru and his secret plans for the park. And Trot has a pretty good idea who the new main attraction of the park will be–but not if she and her crew get to that tank and free Merla first!

Sea Sirens is a wonderful graphic novel that I feel slipped under the radar. I’ve been waiting for this sequel and I can’t wait to see where Trot’s adventure is headed next.

Satoko And Nada Volum 3 by Yupechika

7. Satoko And Nada Volume 3 by Yupechika

MangaJune 16ContemporaryBookshop

Summary: A charming fictional manga about the friendship between a Japanese woman and her Muslim roommate!

Satoko, who is Japanese, has a new roommate in America: a Saudi Arabian woman named Nada, who practices Islam and wears a hijab. While under the same roof, Satoko and Nada learn how to live together with very different customs and still have all the fun young women crave! Through mutual respect—and the hilarious adventures of their daily life—Satoko and Nada prove that friendship knows no borders.

➣ This manga series is everything I think the book community has been looking for: College-set, no romance, focus on female friendship! I adore this series and I can’t believe the 3rd volume is almost here! Please read this series, its SO good! (Full review of Satoko And Nada Vol. 1 & Vol. 2)

Forest Of Souls by Lori M. Lee

8. Forest Of Souls by Lori M. Lee (Shamanborn #1)

Young AdultJune 23FantasyBookshop

Summary: Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

➣ I actually discovered Lee’s books through her original series called Gates Of Thread And Stone! She has such unique fantasy concepts and this one sounds so cool: Sirscha is training to be a spy and then realizes she’s a soulguide? There’s also an ancient forest? This sounds fantastic!

Love On The Main Stage by S.A. Domingo9. Love On The Main Stage by S.A. Domingo

Young AdultJune 25ContemporaryBook Depository

Summary: Five music festivals . . . One unforgettable summer! A new clean teen romance from the author of Love, Secret Santa.

16-year-old songwriter Nova is having the best summer of her life. Helping out with her parents’ food truck, she gets to attend not one, but FIVE different music festivals! Things get even better when she meets cute American boy, Sam, an aspiring musician like her. After sharing a magical evening dancing under the stars, Nova never expects to see Sam again. But to her surprise they keep meeting up at music festivals . . .

Nova begins to hope that their romance could become more than just a festival fling. So why is Sam so reluctant to talk about himself? And why does he have access to the VIP backstage area . . .?

➣ I’m 90% sure I discovered this book browsing through twitter! The cover completely caught my attention and I’m always looking to read more UKYA, this sounds like such a wonderful contemporary and I’m really looking forward to this one!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

10. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

AdultJune 30HorrorBookshop

Summary: From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

➣ Okay I’ve heard about Silvia’s books for so long and I’ve been excited to read Gods Of Jade & Shadow! But I’ve heard lots of my fellow Latinx blogger friends absolutely gush about this upcoming book too, especially  from my blogger friend Alicia over at A Kernel Of Nonsense! I’m trying to go into this book without a lot of knowledge, but I know its historical fiction set in 1950’s Mexico and is a mix of horror/gothic suspense!

What May and June releases are you looking forward to? 🎉📚
As a quick update: I’ve been stuck in the middle of drafting a recent book review and will try to have that up by next week! 😍📚✨

 

Future Nostalgia {Book Tag}

Future Nostalgia Book TagToday, I’m doing the Future Nostalgia Book Tag, I was tagged by my wonderful friend Alicia over at A Kernel Of Nonsense and the tag was originally created by Natalie over at The Fine Art Of Reading!

Its been close to 2 years since I did a book tag, and not having a book review to share this week (I’m still making my way through A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder), I thought this would be a fun post to share! There’s also not a lot of opportunities to highlight backlist books too often on my blog, so expect lots of past releases!

FUTURE NOSTALGIA: A Book With A Strong Female Character

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

There’s so many books I’ve read that feature strong female characters and it was very hard to narrow this down. But, with the way this SFF title literally starts with these characters births well into adulthood, Arsenault Rivera explores many deep layers to both of these women’s lives, their worlds, and how their relationship grows!

I’m picking: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Shizuka & Shefali are easily one of my favorite f/f couples of all time and this book had me smiling, crying, and just SO connected to their journeys, they became a part of my bookish heart.

When I think of “Strong Female Character” my mind immediately went to this series. The female characters are the stars of this series and Arsenault Rivera crafts their stories with so much care!

DON’T START NOW: A Book With A Major Glow Up

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesI interpreted this question to mean a book where a character goes through a lot of development in order to overcome a fear or obstacle.

I’m picking: Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Analee is basically me okay? She’s incredibly anxious, shy and escapes to her favorite fictional worlds (through video games & books). She’s gotten used to her loneliness and finds it difficult to make friends. But, when she gets partnered with popular guy Seb, she slowly starts to come out of her shell. Also did I mention it has one the best Fake Dating tropes I’ve ever read? Analee starts a fake relationship with Seb, but there’s a mutual agreement that they’ll both help each other to win back people important to them!

As their fake relationship continues, this book is really one about growth and how both of them rethink their pasts to become better versions of themselves.

COOL: A Book With Awkward Moments Or Set In Summer

Truly Madly Royally y Debbie RigaudThis question really had me thinking, not because I couldn’t think of a summer book, but because there were so many to pick! I went back and forth on this one, but decided on a royal romance!

I’m picking: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Zora is part of a summer pre-college program and finds herself meeting a random boy in the university library. But, what she quickly learns is that this guy, Owen, is a prince! Its a character-driven book with a light and adorable romance!

PHYSICAL: A Book With A Steamy Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Out of all the books on this list, this is the only one that’s an adult title. As I continue to venture out into more genres/categories, I’ve continuously heard phenomenal things about this book and series as a whole.

I’m picking: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I feel like everyone else has probably read it at this point except for me. I remember reading the first chapter or so and really want to finish it at some point before the 3rd book releases. From what I read, I remember loving it, so I’m looking forward to finishing up Hoang’s debut and gush about it alongside everyone else!

LEVITATING: A Book With “Moon” Or “Star” In The Title

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore

When I saw this question only one book came to mind at that moment!

I’m picking: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

One of the main characters in this lovely magical realism tale is Sam, he paints and hangs up moons and his best friend is our other main character Miel. The 2 of them are inseparable and the way Anna-Marie writes their friendship, relationship, and individual stories is just incredibly beautiful. I’m currently rereading it for my #QuietReadathon and I’m loving it even more when I read it the first time! Anna-Marie writes the best magical realism I’ve ever read and I highly recommend picking up their books if you haven’t already.

PRETTY PLEASE: A Book With Characters Who Support Each Other

Satoko And Nada Vol. 1While there’s many books I can list that feature supportive characters, especially in YA, I’m mixing it up and recommending a phenomenal manga series that I feel the YA/Book Community has SERIOUSLY slept on!

I’m picking: Satoko And Nada by Yupechika

This wholesome contemporary series follows the adventures of 2  exchange students who come to the US to continue their university studies. Satoko is from Japan, while Nada is from Saudi Arabia. They immediately become best friends when they decide to become roommates and its very much a slice of life series! Are you looking for a supportive female friendship, College set YA that doesn’t lean heavily towards romance, and is lighthearted and fun, while at the same time is about learning and the bonds of friendship? READ THIS SERIES!

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 1

HALLUCINATE: A Book With A Fun Or Whimsical Setting

I just had to highlight another manga in this tag! 💞 This is probably my favorite manga series right now. It follows a young girl named Coco who lives in a world of magic, while only those who can learn its secret can become witches. Her dream is to become a witch and she is soon forced to embark on a journey alongside other witches to begin her training!

I’m picking: Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

The artwork is absolutely phenomenal, evoking the style of an old fairytale or storybook, it’s a series with a lot of lore and a unique setting! If there were to be any fun or whimsical settings, I’d definitely pick the world of Witch Hat!

LOVE AGAIN: A Book Where The MC Proves Themselves Wrong

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesThis is probably the question I had the most trouble deciding on, because I feel that can apply to so many. But there was one in particular that’s stayed with me for a long time and I felt her journey is one of proving that she does have potential and can be so much more.

I’m picking: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I have such fond memories of this book and I fell completely in love with it. Leisl is a musical prodigy who creates such beautiful compositions and longs for the chance to find her place in the world. She’s always felt invisible, but who there’s one person in particular who sees what she can’t The Goblin King. Throughout the book she learns of the power that’s been within her all along.

BREAK MY HEART: A Book Where A Character Is Afraid Of Happiness

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoThere’s so many books featuring inspiring main characters who learn to seek out the happiness they deserve. However there’s one in particular that just resonated with me on such a deep level. Its a story about finding your way and much more!

I’m picking: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Rosa fears her family’s curse and what may go wrong if she falls in love. She’s put off major decisions and dreams because her family and her close-knit community means so much to her. But there’s so many pillars in her life that continue to uplift her and inspire, as it also allows her to seek out her happiness.

GOOD IN BED: A Book With Characters Who Are Terrible At Communicating

i hear the sunspot limit 1 by yuki fumino

This book probably surprised me the most, as its a continuation of another favorite manga series. I of course plan on reading the next book, but after a lot of reflection it was bad communication that made it disappointing.

I’m picking: I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic contemporary manga series and I honestly am so grateful for it because, I Hear The Sunspot inspired me to get back into manga again. It follows college students Kouhei (whose hard of hearing) and Taichi, a more outgoing kind of person compared to Kouehi. When they become friends and Taichi becomes his note taker, we begin to see that they have feelings for each other. That’s all I can really say without spoiling, but its such a good series. Anyways, the continuation definitely felt like a much needed addition to their story, but I just felt their relationship went kind of backwards with their lack of communication…(However I still think this series is very underrated, so I’m linking Vol. 1 above if your interested 💖)

BOYS WILL BE BOYS: A Book With Themes Of Feminism / Equality

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

I wanted to highlight a book that’s been on my TBR and based on the summary this definitely feels like a book that’ll feature themes of Feminism/Equality.

I picked: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

17-year old Jo Kuan is by night, the writer of a newspaper advice column and uses it to comment and address of societal ills during the 1800’s, under the use of the pseudonym! This summary alone sounds like Jo will discuss issues of race and gender around that time and challenge them, which I am here for! Hoping to finally pick this one up, it sounds fantastic!

That’s the Future Nostalgia Book Tag! Have you read any of the books I mentioned on this list? What are some books you’d mention for this tag? 💞📚✨

Thanks again to Alicia for tagging me 💞 & hope everyone is taking care of themselves during this time!! 💗

Bookish Buzz: Recently Released YA Books That Need More Hype!

Hey 24hr.YABookBlog here! (~˘▾˘)~💞📚✨ I’m back with my very first Bookish Buzz of 2020 also in collaboration with #QuietReadathon, my year-long readathon to inspire you to read more of those underhyped or quiet books on your TBR! 🎉🎉

Bookish Buzz, if your new to my blog or haven’t checked it out before, is a feature I created last March to talk about upcoming books I feel need more buzz!

Today I’m highlighting January and February book releases, mainly YA and 1 Middle Grade, that may have slipped under your radar 😄❤📚

January

Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim

1. Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim (Scavenge The Stars #1)

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Summary: When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore2. Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Summary: Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

The Mystwick School Of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury3. The Mystwick School Of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury

Release Date: January 21, 2020

Full Review: The Mystwick School Of Musicraft (ARC Review)

Summary: Humor and heart shine in this middle grade fantasy about a girl who attends a boarding school to learn how to use music to create magic, perfect for fans of Nevermoor and The School for Good and Evil series.

Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world’s most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end—until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn’t. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?

How To Build A Heart by Maria Padian4. How To Build A Heart by Maria Padian

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Summary: All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani5. Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Summary: Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

Diamond City by Francesca Flores6. Diamond City by Francesca Flores (Diamond City #1)

Release Date: January 28, 2020

Summary: Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

February

Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario1. Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Summary: Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.

But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.

Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

2. This Train Is Not Being Held by Ismée Williams

Release Date: February 11, 2020

Summary: When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs.

Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

With a Star in My Hand Ruben Dario, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle

3. With A Star In My Hand Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Summary: A novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo.

As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse.

A restless and romantic soul, Rubén traveled across Central and South America seeking adventure and connection. As he discovered new places and new loves, he wrote poems to express his wild storm of feelings. But the traditional forms felt too restrictive. He began to improvise his own poetic forms so he could capture the entire world in his words. At the age of twenty-one, he published his first book Azul, which heralded a new literary movement called Modernismo that blended poetry and prose.

Rebelwing by Andrea Tang4. Rebelwing by Andrea Tang (Rebelwing #1)

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Summary: Business is booming for Prudence Wu.

A black-market-media smuggler and scholarship student at the prestigious New Columbia Preparatory Academy, Pru is lucky to live in the Barricade Coalition where she is free to study, read, watch, and listen to whatever she wants. But between essays and exams, she chooses to spend her breaks sweet-talking border patrol with her best friend, Anabel, in order to sell banned media to the less fortunate citizens of the United Continental Confederacy, Inc.

When a drop-off goes awry, Pru narrowly escapes UCC enforcers to find that her rescuer is, of all things, a sentient cybernetic dragon. On the one hand, Pru is lucky not to be in prison, or worse. On the other, the dragon seems to have imprinted on her permanently, which means she has no choice but to be its pilot.

Drawn into a revolution she has no real interest in leading, Pru, Anabel, and friends Alex and Cat become key players in a brewing conflict with the UCC as the corporate government develops advanced weaponry more terrifying and grotesque than Pru could have ever imagined.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller5. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Summary: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Thanks for joining me on my return to Bookish Buzz! Will any of these books be on your radar?

Are there any recent book releases you think need more buzz? 📚🎉

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Love To Read Someday

Hey everyone, 24hr.YABookBlog is back and with my first Top 10 Tuesday of 2020! I’m currently in the middle of trying to plan out my next read, uni. has gotten busy this past week, so I thought it’d be great to share a fun post today. As always, Top 10 Tuesday is now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl.

I noticed today’s was a freebie and had a great idea in mind. I’ve realized there’s so many books I genuinely want to read, but with other life priorities I just never get to reading them when I want to!

So that’s why my Freebie today is:

Top 10 Books I’d Love To Get To Someday

Honestly there’s way more than 10 that would be able to go onto this list, which is why it was tough to narrow down (but due to my indecisiveness, I’m listing 8 😂) . In the comments lets discuss, are any of these books you’d love to read someday (hopefully soon like me?). Any other books you keep setting aside to definitely read later?

The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore1.The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

If you didn’t know, Anna-Marie McLemore is easily one of my favorite authors. I discovered their books when I first read: When The Moon Was Ours. Not only did I rediscover my love of magical realism, but also this is an earlier read that helped me to discover more Latinx YA authors! The Weight Of Feathers was their debut and I’ve just been waiting for the perfect time to read it. There’s a rival family, traveling family of performers and the story itself sounds utterly captivating! My goal is to read it this month or at least sometime during 2020 💖

Summary: The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray2. Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (The Diviners #3)

I first read this series back in 2013 and I completely fell in love with it! The ensemble cast unique world, merging the 1920’s with the paranormal, and the utterly captivating story, I’ve held onto such fond memories of this series! With the recent release of The King Of Crows, the 3rd book is high on my current TBR! 💙

Summary: New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming…

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

b7b4c010-4ab1-0133-ebe4-0aa00699013d3.The Rose And The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath & The Dawn #2)

This is another series on my list of “I read the first book, but I’ve been putting off reading future books” list. I still remember being left wanting to know what happened after The Wrath & The Dawn, but hadn’t found the time to pick this up! Hopefully it’ll be soon because I’d love to revisit this world and follow Shazi again! 💞

Summary: In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The Education Of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera4. Lilliam Rivera 

I’m cheating a bit here and listing an author whose books I really want to get to! I own all her books and am ready to read them all this year. My plan is to get to all of them before her upcoming book, Never Look Back is out! 💞💫

Also, it recently had a wonderful cover reveal from Entertainment Weekly which I recommend checking out here!

Summary: THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio5.If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio 

I’d seen this cover floating around a couple years ago and I’d added it to my TBR asap I mean its a fantastic cover right?

I’ve actually been discovering and meaning to look into more dark academia/adult literary fiction lately and this book sounds right up my alley! Shakespeare, mystery, the arts, possible secret societies? If We Were Villains captures an aesthetic I didn’t know I needed until recently! This is a must-read for me in 2020! 💖🖤

Summary: Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo6. King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Alongside Language Of Thorns, this is yet another YA Fantasy author whose books I’ve been meaning to catch up on and just haven’t yet! I mean I feel like everyone’s read this book and I’m the only one Ever since I did my Bookish Theories, I’ve really wanted to sit down and continue all the Grishaverse adventures and see if I’m right about some of them! Also, I’ve heard this is a more political installment in the universe and I’m looking for more political fantasy so this one is a must! ✨

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.

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth7. Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth

Its only up until the last couple years where I’ve gotten back into superheroes again and this book has been on my TBR shelf just waiting to be read! Not much else to say other than this is diverse, Queer YA about superheroes? I’m in! 💥

Summary: Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden8.The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Every time I encounter this book or series on social media, I see nothing but praise! I also adore historical fantasy, so this is a series I’ll hopefully get to this year during winter or fall! I bought this book last year when Barnes & Noble had a sale and its been sitting on my TBR shelf ever since! Also, this looks like one of those series that’ll have such magical writing, lush world building, a gripping story and great characters that’ll have me eager to start the sequel! ✨❄

*Also random side note, but have you SEEN the beautiful UK covers?

Summary: At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Thanks for joining me for my first Top 10 Tuesday of 2020! Any books you’d love to read someday? Any from my list that you recommend? Lets discuss! 😍📚💖✨