Manga Starter Kit: Recommendations For Book Bloggers

With the amount of manga reviews on the blog, frankly this post shouldn’t have surprised me! Over the past few weeks, I decided it was finally time to share my own personalized list of manga series for book bloggers who are new to the space or those who just want to learn about more series. When I found it such a struggle to pick up prose novels in 2020, manga really helped save my reading for the year! There’s thousands of series out there that even I feel overwhelmed at times. From the distinct artwork to engaging story that builds across each volume, I’ve found so much joy in rediscovering my love of manga again, so my hope is to share that with you through today’s post!

Before diving into the post, I often get asked where to find some of these manga or where to read them, so I’ll also be listing resources for sites to read digitally, etc., with that said onto the list!

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil, a Rún by Nagabe

Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Release Date:
January 27, 2017
Translator:
Adrienne Beck

Summary: Once upon a time…In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins. This is a story of two people–one human, one inhuman–who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.

Despite having only read two volumes of The Girl From The Other Side now over 3 years ago, the artwork alone makes this series quite memorable. I definitely remember when it was a booktube favorite some time back, but with the quiet simplicity to the story, it definitely feels like a perfect starting point for bloggers new to manga! What keeps me tethered to this world is not only the threads of mystery, but the endearing characters of Shiva (a human girl) and her monster/demon-human hybrid guardian named Teacher. The almost cross-hatched, fairytale-esque artwork is also equally haunting and captivating. I do hope to continue this series soon and believe it’s worth the read.

Current # of Volumes out: 10Bookshop The Book Depository

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Translator: Stephen Kohler

Summary: In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: She wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with a gift for magic. Resigned to her un-magical life, Coco is about to give up on her dream to become a witch…until the day she meets Qifrey, a mysterious, traveling magician. After secretly seeing Qifrey perform magic in a way she’s never seen before, Coco soon learns what everybody “knows” might not be the truth, and discovers that her magical dream may not be as far away as it may seem…

The Witch Hat Atelier series is PHENOMENAL, truly has solidified itself as one of my favorite fantasy manga series of all time! Shirahama’s artwork is presented to almost tell its own story alongside the main plot, with influences from European or old-style fairytale artwork. Through her attention to detail when it comes to the unique paneling, overlapping her artwork on the panels, creating a 3-dimensional environment, and how she stylizes her frames to interact and blend alongside the characters is nothing short of brilliant. Coco is a girl whose grown up loving magic, but has no magic of her own. It’s only when her path crosses with that of a traveling witch named Qifrey, that her adventure in the world of magic begins! Witch Hat also has some of the best character designs I’ve ever seen with a story that’s equally captivating! There’s great worldbuilding, a unique magic system twists, mystery, friendship, and adventure! Highly recommend this as a series beginner, it’s breathtaking and a true masterpiece in the making.

– Current # Of Volumes: 7 – BookshopThe Book Depository

Spy X Family by Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Translator: Casey Loe

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!

If your kind of story can best be summed up as an amalgamation of top-tier tropes and found family, then you must pick up Spy X Family! This action-packed, espionage comedy follows a master spy whose next mission involves going undercover to keep the peace between two neighboring countries. His mission your wondering: It’s to create a FAKE FAMILY. With an assassin as a wife and a telepath for a daughter, the Forger’s must present themselves as the “perfect family” and still keep their own secrets underwraps. Humor and hijinks ensue with each volume and you won’t be able to put it down. Pick up this series, you will NOT be disappointed!

TROPES include: Found family, marriage of convenience, secret-keeping, and every volume is pure CHAOS!

– Current # Of Volumes: 4 – BookshopFree Preview of Vol. 1 on Viz Media

I Hear The Sunspot by Yuki Fumino

Publisher: One Peace Books
Release Date:
November 3, 2017

Summary: Because of a hearing disability, Kohei is often misunderstood and has trouble integrating into life on campus, so he learns to keep his distance. That is until he meets the outspoken and cheerful Taichi. He tells Kohei that his hearing loss is not his fault. Taichi’s words cut through Kohei’s usual defense mechanisms and open his heart. More than friends, less than lovers, their relationship changes Kohei forever.

I Hear The Sunspot holds a special place in my heart being one of the first mangas I’d read after not picking one up for years! Focused heavily on its characters, this series will capture your heart from page 1. Following college students, Kohei has a hearing disability, struggles connecting with others and making friends, feeling quite lonely. Then one day he meets outgoing Taichi, so the two become friends and maybe more? Their friendship and relationship is a fundamental layer to this story that is present across each volume that I’ve read so far! The deeply personal, emotional journeys of Kohei and Taichi are what keep you anchored to this quiet, moving series till the very end. Fumino’s series also takes time to thoroughly discuss and explore different layers to Kohei’s hearing disability. Definitely a more quiet, sweet, slow-burn kind of contemporary, but so worth the read!

– Current # Of Volumes: 4 – BookshopThe Book Depository

The Fox & Little Tanuki by Mi Tagawa

Publisher: Tokyo Pop
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Translator: Katie Kimura

Summary: Long ago, the gods granted a few special animals great powers… but not all those animals used their magical abilities for good! Senzou the Fox Spirit in particular grew too brash and arrogant, abusing his strength until the gods imprisoned him for his bad behavior. Three hundred years later, he’s finally been released, but only on one condition– he can’t have his any of his abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become an assistant to the gods. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!

This manga is equal parts sweet and entertaining, while also tugging at the heart strings! Senzou is an evil fox spirit whose been freed after 300 years and his task (in order to regain his powers), is to train a tanuki cub, turning it into a servant of the gods. Have I also mentioned this features the GRUMPY x SUNSHINE trope? The evil, nefarious fox slowly begins to care for the tanuki while also maintaining his cold exterior (top tier execution of this trope!). I can definitely see this as a great starter manga because the story is quite straightforward, but also layered with mystery to the main characters and filled with lots of Japanese mythology. It’s such a page-turner!

– Current # of Volumes: 3 – BookshopThe Book Depository

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa

Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date:
February 27, 2018
Translator: Amanda Haley

Summary: Time for a change of pace. Yuugo Hachiken flees the hustle and bustle of city life to enroll at Oezo Agricultural High School. At first he’s just trying to outrun his problems, but instead he finds a place for himself in this quaint rural community. Having always been at the top of his class, Yuugo assumes a rural school will be a breeze, but mucking out stables, gathering eggs, and chasing errant calves takes a lot out of him-and fills him with something he’s never experienced before. Surrounded by endless fields and fresh air, Yuugo discovers a new connection to the land and to life…Springtime begins at Ezo AG! Between the classrooms and cowpatties, the boy becomes a man.

Out of all the series in this list, Silver Spoon is one I haven’t read but from the summary alone it looks to be a nice introduction to a slice-of-life series, which I think bloggers would really enjoy. As a book blogger who is still trying to find new manga series this one appealed to me because it seems like a very wholesome, slower paced story. Also, interesting fact, if the author’s name looks familiar its because she also wrote Full-Metal Alchemist! [Unread]

Current # of Volumes: – BookshopThe Book Depository

Love In Focus by Yoko Nogiri

Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Translator: Althea and Aldena Haley

From the creator of New York Times bestselling manga That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! comes a feel-good romance about a teenage girl whose passion for photography leads her to a new school, a new dorm, and a new love triangle! Mako’s always had a passion for photography. When she loses someone dear to her, she clings to her art as a relic of the close relationship she once had…Luckily, her childhood best friend Kei encourages her to come to his high school and join their prestigious photo club. With nothing to lose, Mako grabs her camera and moves into the dorm where Kei and his classmates live. Soon, a fresh take on life, along with a mysterious new muse, begin to come into focus!

As someone who struggles to get into shojo titles, I think Love In Focus is a great place to start for book bloggers. It follows Mako a passionate photographer who moves into a boarding house and attends a new school after joining a photo club with her childhood friend Kei. However, she soon finds a new subject for her photos, one of the boys who lives at the boarding house too. While it can seem like an obvious love triangle situation here, the way the characters backstories unfold and their dynamic with Mako felt very well developed. I personally loved the art-style and how it portrayed lovely backgrounds, character designs, and if you want to read a series for the interesting romance, friendship, etc. this is a WONDERFUL series that I recommend. At only 3 volumes, this is also a great pick if you are interested in checking out short, completed series!

Current # Of Volumes (Completed): 3 – BookshopThe Book Depository

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsubaki

Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Translator: Leighann Harvey

To the eyes of classmate Chiyo Sakura, high school student Umetarou Nozaki–brawny of build and brusque of tongue–is a dreamboat! When Chiyo finally works up the courage to tell Nozaki how she feels about him, she knows rejection is on the table…but getting recruited as a mangaka’s assistant?! Never in a million years! As Chiyo quickly discovers, Nozaki-kun, the boy of Chiyo’s dreams, is a manga artist…a hugely popular shoujo manga artist, that is! But for someone who makes a living drawing sweet girly romances, Nozaki-kun is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart in reality. And so Chiyo’s daily life of manga making and heartache begins!

Nozaki is truly the single greatest piece of romantic comedy fiction [emphasis on COMEDY] I’ve ever read (and watched). The plot itself starts on a rather hilarious note and sets the tone for all future shenanigans that follow throughout this series. Chiyo is a high school student who has a crush on her classmate Nozaki, but when she finally gathers up the courage to tell him how she feels, he 100% misunderstands her, leading Chiyo to become his manga assistant. From that point on, Chiyo’s connecting with more of her classmates and Nozaki, building some awesome friendships, but seeing them grow together across their various wacky adventures is a highlight of Tsubaki’s series. What follows is great comedic timing and an utterly clever subversions of typical romance/shojo tropes! Presented in the 4-panel style, the reason this series would appeal to book bloggers is because its very episodic so you can enjoy it at your own pace and the author’s fun spin on tropes you might not have seen before. This is a fantastic series I picked up early on as I was getting back into manga in 2016 and it truly holds up year after year! Tsubaki’s brilliant take on tropes makes this series a memorable one, still going strong at 11 volumes!

Current # Of Volumes: 11 – BookshopThe Book Depository

Additional Recommendations // UNREAD

Here’s a few more mangas that I’ve been planning on reading and based on the summary they definitely sound like they would appeal to book bloggers who are searching for more series!

Natsume’s Book Of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa

Takashi Natsume has always been aware of the supernatural world, but after he inherits a magical book from his grandmother, the supernatural world is aware of him! Takashi Natsume can see the spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now he’s a troubled high school student who has come to live in the small town where his grandmother grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the Sight from the mysterious Reiko. When Reiko was Takashi’s age, she bound the names of demons and spirits in her Book of Friends, enslaving them to her capricious whim. Now Takashi is the owner of the book, and the creatures will do anything to get their names back.

I don’t often reach for older manga series, but the way mythology blends in a contemporary setting sounds like a lot of fun it also seems like a quiet series, focused on the characters and the world. I’m looking forward to checking this one out!

The Apothecary Diaries by Natsu Hyuuga

After breaking a “curse” on the imperial heirs, a palace servant with training in herbal medicine is promoted up the ranks to food taster…and right into the thick of palace intrigue in this lushly illustrated period mystery series! Maomao, a young woman trained in the art of herbal medicine, is forced to work as a lowly servant in the inner palace. Though she yearns for life outside its perfumed halls, she isn’t long for a life of drudgery! Using her wits to break a “curse” afflicting the imperial heirs, Maomao attracts the attentions of the handsome eunuch Jinshi and is promoted to attendant food taster. But Jinshi has other plans for the erstwhile apothecary, and soon Maomao is back to brewing potions and…solving mysteries?!

What’s drawn me to this series is the story which sounds so fascinating, a historical series following a food taster who gets tangled up in palace intrigue, court politics, and mysteries?! Sign me up! The cover itself is also gorgeous and this one sounds like it’ll be a very page-turning read!

Restaurant From Another World by Junpei Inuzuka

In Tokyo lies a small restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya,” ordinary in every way–save one. Every Saturday, its door connects to another world! Follow along as a cavalcade of curious guests from half-elves to samurai, dragons, halflings and vampires enter its premises, all with the same goal in mind: to fill their stomachs with the most mouth-watering of foods.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you would know I’ve been trying to finish this series, especially book 1, for YEARS (hopefully putting it on yet another list will motivate me). It’s genuinely such a cozy, feel-good series that more people should read. If quiet, fantasy stories are your thing, you should check this out! Its about a seemingly typical restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya.” However, on Saturdays it opens up a portal where all kinds of people and magical creatures sit and enjoy some delicious food. Technically I’ve only started the light novel, but I love how each visitor and food is talked about in-depth. Such a unique series!

Resources:
If you are looking for more accessible ways to read manga here are a couple apps/websites for you to check out if you’d like to read a few chapters (or entire series) of select manga titles:

*Bookwalker is an online digital manga store that offers previews, however it doesn’t include Viz Media titles

Hope you enjoyed my manga starter recommendations, this is hopefully only just PART 1 of a new series on the blog! Thanks for reading! If you are new to these titles, I do hope you’ll check them out!

✨Do you read a lot of manga? What are some starter series you recommend or have any particular favorites? Have you read any from this list? ✨

March TBR: Prioritizing ARCs and Backlist Books

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a while since I’ve shared any kind of TBR list on this blog, but I’ve been feeling inspired to chat more about the books that’ve interested me and that I’m been eager to read.

I struggle with creating TBRs because I’ve realized over the past year, I would definitely say that my reading habits have transformed me into more of a “mood reader.” I’ve also been feeling a lot more motivated to create content on the blog besides reviews and hopefully these kinds of posts will help me stick to some kind of monthly schedule.

I’d love to chat about all the books I’m hoping to get to this month and would love to hear about what your reading plans are too! So here’s my ambitious TBR over the next couple weeks:

March TBR (Current Reads)

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Debut #OwnVoices Puerto-Rican rep.YA ContemporaryReleased: Feb. 2, 2021
I first received this book as an ARC, but of course with my reading schedule being all over the place, I haven’t gotten to finishing this one quite yet. But I’ll be honest…2021 has made me reflect on the importance of taking time to read a book and not just rushing through, which is exactly why it’s taken me a bit longer to finish up Maldonado’s book.

Overall, I’m loving Charlie’s journey in this as she learns to have a better relationship with her body, navigate love, and improve her relationship with her mom. Maldonado has written Charlie in such a realistic way, her narrative voice is interwoven with humor and heart, plus there’s such a great cast of characters! If you have yet to add this phenomenal debut to your To-read list, I highly recommend it!

Down Comes The Night by Allison Saft

Debut Bisexual rep. YA Fantasy Released: March 2, 2021

In addition to my current interest in dark academia, perhaps I should also add gothic literature to the list? Following a healer named Wren, she takes a job at a crumbling manor where she learns she’ll have to heal her kingdom’s sworn enemy! The writing is so atmospheric, I’m also just so intrigued by the setting and characters. This is another book I’m taking my time with because not only am I reading way too many things at once, but also really want to immerse myself in the magical world.

Hoping to finish this one soon, I also made an aesthetic which was lots of fun!

March TBR (Unread)

Storm The Earth by Rebecca Kim Wells (Shatter The Sky #2)

Sequel Bisexual & Sapphic rep.YA FantasyReleased: Oct. 13, 2020

Last year around early 2020 I finally read Well’s Shatter The Sky and fell in love with it. Maren is on a quest to rescue her girlfriend Kaia whose taken by prophetic seers of their empire. When Maren comes up with a plan to find a dragon to go look for her, she gets tangled up in the politics and intrigue, even makes new friends when she enters undercover in the empire’s stronghold. There’s a lot of dragon lore, interesting characters, and a unique world I’m eager to learn more about in the sequel.

I’m eager to see how Maren’s journey wraps-up especially as there’s a few plot threads that surprised me near the end. Originally I got an arc of this one, so I’m debating whether to read my arc or just borrow a library copy.

Satoko And Nada Vol. 4 by Yupechika

FinaleJapanese & Saudi-Arabian rep.ContemporaryReleased: Dec. 29, 2020

I’ve gotten quite into the habit of starting a lot of manga series, but never finishing them. However, with only 4 volumes, Satoko & Nada captured my heart each and every time. This series follows exchange students Satoko (Japanese) and Nada (Saudi-Arabian) who become roommates and the best of friends! Across each volume, you follow their daily adventures, featuring a very slice-of-life atmosphere that’s just too wholesome!

I’m literally sobbing because this will be the last volume, but trust the author to deliver a wonderful conclusion to their adventures in America. I might be putting this one to the side for a bit, because I’m so not ready to say goodbye to these characters just yet.

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Debut#Ownvoices Black Rep.YA ContemporaryReleased: Jan. 5, 2021

After getting through Charlie Vega so far, I realized I’m also in such a contemporary romance/rom-com mood! Tessa, a dedicated writer, gets into a creative writing program, but along the way loses that spark. So with her friend Caroline, they create a romance novel-inspired list of steps to help Tessa get inspiration through a real-life love story of her own.

This just sounds like a super fun read and I’m interested in seeing what Tessa learns along the way.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

StandalonePan & Latinx rep. (#OwnVoices)YA Magical Realism & Fairytale retellingReleases: March 16, 2021

If you didn’t know, Anna-Marie is one of my all-time favorite authors!! They write the most beautiful Latinx fairytales and of course it’s no surprise I’d be reading their newest novel. It looks like this novel will deeply explore healing and as always, McLemore delivers such a wonderfully developed cast of characters, delves into many themes, and much more!

Also got an arc of this one, so hopefully I can get to reading it during March and share my review!

Content warning: PTSD and SA

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (Magic Of The Lost #1)

DebutSapphic rep Epic FantasyReleases: March 23, 2021

Earlier this month I got a copy of The Unbroken! 2021 is the year I’m looking to read and catchup on adult sff/ epic fantasy, so I’m adding Clark’s debut to the list to hopefully motivate me to get through the newer releases.

The story sounds great as its set in a North-African inspired desert colony/empire. There’s even a grumpy soldier / princess dynamic and I’m so fascinated in immersing myself in this epic world.

What have you read during the month of March? Any recommendations or new releases you’re looking forward to?

Book Blogger Resources: Crafting Book Reviews

In the world of book blogging, book reviews are a staple of the community. Our thoughts, emotions, and musings on a particular book can surprisingly be compiled into a single post. However, this task is not always easy and crafting a review takes time.

Once you close the final page, your mind is probably reeling with endless thoughts on how the world, characters, and story made you feel (whether positively or not).

Regardless, it takes time and there’s many story elements to consider when writing reviews and in reality, us bloggers put ourselves under such pressure to accomplish this seemingly impossible task time and time again.

Book reviews are a way for us to sort of unveil our own experiences when reading a particular book and if we absolutely love it, reviews have the special sort of magic in making us feel like we are pushing the book into readers hands right then and there.

That’s why in my second Book Blogger Resources post, I’ll be sharing a broad list of resources filled with articles (and blog posts) that can help guide you in your own reviews. In addition, I will also highlight some of my own tips and offer any advice I can.

📚☕ BLOGS & ARTICLES 📚☕

The Quiet Pond: CW crafted a list featuring 63 prompts to help you when you are stuck on writing a book review. Featuring categories such as writing, plot, characters, worldbuilding, etc. this post highlights different angles you can examine these elements from with the variety of questions. There’s also questions focusing on positives / negatives for more clarity too.

This post offers a lot of distinct elements to think about when trying to write a review. I enjoy looking back at this post when I’m unsure of other topics to cover in an occasional review.

Purdue Owl (Online Writing Lab): As a university student, this site has been a life-saver when it comes to citations, however I recently discovered this wonderful article on “Writing A Book Review” and believe it has a lot of phenomenal key concepts to think about as you’re reading.

It mentions 5 broad elements that can make up the structure of your review such as Characters, Themes, Argument, Key Ideas, and Quotes. There’s great descriptions for each of these and overall I love how this post was structured.

Grammarly: Through a very easy to read How-To, Grammarly’s blog post features some tips on what to include when writing, such as a hook to capture reader’s attention and how to describe your praises or critiques. It also features examples which can be really helpful.

📚☕ 24hr.YABookBlog Reviewing Tips 📚☕

Figuring out what sticks
Once I finish a book there’s always a particular element that stayed with me long after I finish reading. It can truly end up being anything from the arc of a character to the atmosphere, writing, or a combination. Focus on a particular element that stuck with you about the book, to help anchor your review.

Whether I loved the book or thought it was okay, there’s always something I got out of reading it and recognizing that has helped me to gather my thoughts more clearly over the years.

Short Reviews
Despite my preference for writing long reviews, there’s a lot of value in short reviews. They don’t have to be 1,000 word essays if you don’t want them too. Remember that your opinion is what matters and as long as you get that across, don’t worry about the length. As the old saying goes, sometimes “less is more!”

Figuring out your structure
Sometimes this can change even for me depending on the book, but as general rule I always like to include at least 1-3 core elements of a book to discuss. This helps me create a beginning, middle, and end when explaining my thoughts.

For example: I recently read A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen which is a prequel/origin story to an antagonist in her podcast The Bright Sessions. Something that helped me figure out these core elements was using Tip #1 [Figuring out what sticks], which ended up being how she humanized the villain who is also our protagonist. This then led me to find my other elements to discuss such as the canon of the original podcast and the character’s emotional journey.

“She does a fantastic job at humanizing even the most morally questionable characters, if anything it made me realize why creators are hesitant at crafting stories from villains perspectives…”24hryabookblog, Excerpt from my review of A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen

Don’t Ignore Worldbuilding Details
Whether it’s a fantasy, sci-fi or even contemporary, authors always take time to build a world for the story they tell. As you read, take note as to what those details are. Often times the world can give a lot of insight into the plot, society as a whole, atmosphere, how the protagonist(s) interpret it or how the world influences the characters themselves. Noticing these details can help you to explain the worldbuilding in your reviews, or perhaps the character’s place within it.

Worldbuilding can appear in a variety of ways such as the magic system, the setting, writing style, and even the development or expansion of specific details as the story progresses.

Brief BONUS tip on reviewing comics (or graphic novels) insp. by StoriedShelves response to my post asking for topic suggestions in this post:

This is something I’ve learned over the years and I’m always practicing with each review, but I think it’s important to also look at the art style. Think about how the art style adds to the story and describe what you like about it. While the story can be more fast-paced than a typical prose novel, I’d say take time to look and appreciate the art too.

To conclude, these are just some of my tips for including particular elements within a book to your review if you’re struggling or stumped on how to approach certain parts of the process. Sometimes it can feel like quite the challenge and as Marie from Drizzle And Hurricane Books said so graciously in her 2018 blog post which captured my thoughts exactly, “Reviewing a book starts the moment you are reading…” Your thoughts, opinions, and emotions are a part of the reading experience from beginning to end, so be sure to consider that if you need extra guidance in your posts.

Hope my post has offered some value to all of you bookish reviewers and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

✨ What do you enjoy about writing reviews? ✨ How do you decide what you want to write about in your book review? ✨ Will you use any of the resources or my personal tips in your own reviews?

*Note: If you do end up using my personal tips and were influenced by reading my post, PLEASE let me know & link this post (credit me) it would mean a lot to me knowing my resources helped other reviewers or bloggers out there with their own posts!

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! 😍📚✨