A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman Review

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings by Ellen Oh and Elise ChapmanA Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman (w/ stories from: Renée Ahdieh, Elsie Chapman, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E.C. Myers, Ellen Oh, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, & Alyssa Wong)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins/Epic Reads)

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Pages: 336

Summary: Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A Thousand Beginnings And Endings is a stunning anthology that contains 15 short stories inspired by East and South Asian Folklore/Mythology. Through immersive writing and such heart, each unique tale comes to life on the page!

“We longed for nuance and subtlety, and layers, the embedded truths about culture that- more often than not-can only come from within…”— From The Editors (Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman) 

I just wanted to share this quote in the beginning on the Editor’s page (that I loved) and it just really stuck with me throughout the entirety of reading this collection.

While I’m still debating between 4 & 4.5, ratings aside, overall this was a stunning anthology with incredible stories that bring to life mythology and folklore with some unique spins. (Each story also contains an author’s note sharing the inspiration and impact of each legend/folktale/mythology).

For this review I decided to make a short review for each story!

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★

This first story follows the Filipino folktale of Maria Makiling! Centering around a mountain goddess and a nearby villager named Bulan, Chokshi’s story chronicles their love for each other, but also the trials and uncertainty that come with it. Chokshi’s writing as always is descriptive, lyrical, and just beautiful! This story is filled with hope, love, heartbreak–so much emotion is poured through each moment of this story! It was definitely one of my favorites!

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong: ★★★★★

Wong’s story centers around the Chinese tradition of The Hungry Ghost Festival (or Yu Lan) which takes place around “the seventh month of the lunar calendar, during late summer.” Olivia takes a trip to Arizona to visit the Grand Silver Hotel to cook a banquet for the Ghost Festival, which involves setting out food for ancestor’s, who may be alone or have unfinished business on earth, allowing them a chance to move on.

Wong’s writing allows for the Olivia’s past from the family tradition of cooking for the Ghost Festival through the women in her family, to her childhood of also doing that with her mother (who passed away), & to the present where she continued her mother’s work and wanted to honor her.

Wong’s storytelling builds the importance of family, honoring those of the past, the impact of loss, acceptance, and how family guides us and in turn, how we learn to guide ourselves + forge our own paths.

I loved the all the characters from Carlos (the hotel owner’s son), to Mei Ling ( a ghost who Olivia met in her past, when she joined her mother on a trip to her 1st Ghost Festival), even the characters just mentioned in passing from Olivia’s past girlfriend, her family, etc.

I wish that Wong’s story could be an entire novel! I would love to read more about Olivia and her story! Olivia’s Table was a spectacular story, I loved it! ❤

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee: ★★★★☆

Set in the near future, Yer lives in a world of technology, robotics & androids. Inspired by the Hmong Folktale The Woman And The Tiger, in this sci-fi tale, Yer goes through feelings of loneliness and distance, with her father (a former robotics engineer) very busy with work, she sets up a plan with her neighbor & friend, Alang, to see what he’s up to!

With the loss of her mother, Yer wants to feel closer with her father, but has kept his distance, always busy with work.

We also get the interwoven plot-line of recalled androids and how it impacted Yer’s father’s job and the loss of her mother. It was interesting and unique element to the story that I loved!

I loved the setting especially through the description of a jungle setting with technology! The mystery and sci-fi elements are built + weaved into the story so perfectly (As a fan of sci-fi novellas, I really enjoyed this story!).

Over the course of the story, we learn more about the androids and Yer’s past! So, while a couple elements for the world-building + character development could have been expanded on, I overall really loved this story!

Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra: ★★★★☆ ½

This story is inspired by an Indian folktale of Mirza and Sahiba and within the story Charaipotra states their romance is “a warning, a lost-in-love couple…immortalized in an elegy of lust, familial drama, betrayal, & murder…”

In this story, Charaiporta spins this into a what-if tale taking place in the modern day, centering around Taara who is out dancing at a club with her friend Leela. From the club to dinner at a restaurant, even at her mother’s jewelry store, she see’s this guy, Nick, everywhere who seems to recognize her.

I loved how Taara’s mother later at their store, references the tale of Mirza and Sahiba & a story from her past about a guy she knew, because by the end when Taara see’s Nick again, it was a subtle hint that I didn’t see at first, but he leaves behind a gold anklet (that her mother has a pair to!).

With that I saw how this was a what-if reincarnation story and looking back, loved how the mystery and overall story was crafted and laid out!

The Counting Of The Vermillion Beads by Aliette De Bodard: ★★★★☆ ½

Inspired by the Vietnamese folktale of Tấm Cám where they are stepsisters and Cám is envious of Tấm’s marriage to the king, and overall they aren’t really on equal terms. However, De Bodard changes this by having the sisters support and help each other and loved how powerful that message came through in this story!

Tam & Cam work as cencus girls in the palace, but long for freedom beyond its walls. Tam is able to cross over the wall and transforms into a bird and the rest of the story follows Cam and the courage she gains to be free too!

The symbolism, writing, and powerful messages of sisterhood + freedom are so beautifully explored in this story and I really loved it!

The Land Of The Morning Calm by E.C. Myers: ★★★★★

Following the Korean epic, Chasa Bonpuli, which centers around dieties of the afterlife, ghosts (Gwisin), and much more, this story follows Sunny and how her and her father + grandfather are still aching from the loss of her mother, 5 years ago.

I loved this story so much, from the characters, story, and even the gaming/RPG elements! There’s a lot of symbolism in this story (seen especially through the game called The Land Of The Morning Calm).

This story follows Sunny’s journey back to the game since her departure from it since her mother passed + with the recent news that it’ll be taken offline.

With such powerful themes throughout this story, Sunny comes to accept the loss of her mother through the journey of the game and–it was so beautifully written!! I just felt so much from this story, it was amazing!!

The Smile by Aisha Saeed: ★★★★★

This story is inspired by a South Asian legend, where Anarkali (a dancer girl) and how she served in the court and Prince Saleem fell in love with her. Many different stories say the king sentences her to be buried in a brick tomb, even the prince helped her escape!

In Saeed’s tale, we follow Naseem who is a dancer and lives in the palace. Prince Kareem loves her, but we get the sense that Naseem longs for something more beyond the palace.

I loved this story so much, I wish Saeed would write an entire novel about this story! I loved all the setting, plot, & characters from Naseem, the prince, Naseem’s maidservant Simran, Tarek, a guard who is also Simran’s love.

This story is about freedom, sacrifice, and choice! It isn’t necessarily sad, but can be seen as both happy + sad! With Naseem forging her own path and accepting that the love she had, wasn’t exactly what she longed for.

Girls Who Twirl And Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber: ★★★☆☆ ¾

This story is told through both a modern day celebration Navratri and the battle between shape-shifting demon Mahishasur & Durga (according to Chhibber “a physical manifestation of divine female energy” or the union of deities: Vishnu, Shiva, & Brahma).

I loved that this story explored actions and the consequences that come with them as Jaya, Jessica, & Nirali try to get back at  boy from Jaya + Nirali’s childhood (Dinesh) who embarrased Nirali when she was younger and who wasn’t all that nice to Jaya.

With Jaya focused on her & her friends plan to get back at Dinesh, it also leads Jaya to think about their plan or feelings of anger/grudges whenever she sees the Durga statue.

With that it led to an alternate story of the battler of Mahishasur & Durga  which really symbolized main themes of the story, that I found to be very interesting. Such as good vs. evil, the consequences of actions, how anger can sometimes lead to rushes in/poor judgement etc. There’s also a great focus on female friendships!

Those elements were all explored very cleverly, however, the pacing of the story did make it feel like the story dragged for me and some background characters/elements could have been expanded on a bit more!

Nothing Into All by Renée Ahdieh: ★★★★★

Inspired by the Korean fairy-tale of The Goblin Treasure, Ahdieh introduces us to Chun and Charan, brother and sister, who have been inseparable since they were young and love the outdoors (& were in search of goblins). However, an accident that causes Chun’s hand to burn, they soon start to drift apart.

Now years later, Chun has an almost jealousy for her sister and her future as a bright music student and with word that she’s caught the eye of one of the best trackers in their village, the adventure to the Goblin Tree is the only thing that still keeps them close.

As they both reach the tree (alongside some falling acorns), Charan finds herself taken underground to the land of the goblins and in exchange for 2 acorns, is given a magic club + a chance to make her wishes come true!

Though magic comes at a price as Chun (who out of jealousy & the need for his family to have better fortune) takes the club and then its up to Charan to find him!

The ending left me wanting so much more from this story! Ahdieh’s writing from emotion, characters, setting, food, etc. always has me immersed in her stories!

It was a fantastic story all around!

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia: ★★★★★

In Kanakia’s story, (inspired by The Mahabharata)  a young man (who we don’t know the name of), is in a valley with hundreds of other people & creatures, to prep for some unknown battle. He comes here because one day after school, he was found by a god and was chosen, additionally he has thought constantly of what it means to be a hero.

To start this story was odd, but in a way that made it so interesting (think speculative fiction)! The first person POV really made this story for me! You get so much emotion, humor, & thought-provoking conversation from this main character throughout the story, and he just feels so real!

Just like the main character, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on and if he’ll make it back home!

I really loved this story it was fast-paced, had such a great + comedic main character, & I loved following his journey!

Code Of Honor by Melissa De La Cruz: ★★★★☆

Following the Filipino folktale of the Aswangs, (vampire-like beings), De La Cruz’s story centers around Aida, who is an Aswang. Originally from the Philippines, she flees after her mother is killed and travels across the world to end up in New York, to find others just like her!

The story was immersive and fast-paced, I was sucked in from the very beginning! The story essentially tells us everything about Aida and her life leading up to the present, where her diary has been taken and she has some suspicion of who it may be (Lilah, a classmate who doesn’t really like her).

Throughout this story I loved the strong message weaved throughout, that all Aida wants is a sense of belonging!

Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman: ★★★★★

A retelling of the Chinese Folktale, The Butterfly Lovers, follows Liang who is a recovering soldier and awaits the news of the war. He disguises himself as a girl and wants to head to the city armory. There he meets Zhu and the 2 become fast friends, but Liang knows he’s quickly falling in love with her.

Chapman’s writing brings the characters, setting, symbolism, everything to life! I would love a full length novel about Liang, Zhu & their amazing friendship 😭💕♥♥

The friendship forged between them was so beautifully written. From the secrets they share to the love they clearly have for each other–captured my heart! ❤

The symbolism of the butterfly, from the latest design of butterfly bullets (that unfurl within someone within seconds of being shot), to how butterflies means so much to the ending!!

I don’t want to spoil too much, but this story was beyond stunning! I smiled, cried–I loved this story! 

Daughter Of The Sun by Shveta Thakrar: ★★★★★

Thakrar’s tale retells the epic of Princess Savitri and Prince Satyavan. Similar to her story, the legend tells of Savitri choosing to be with Satyavan, despite his death coming in a year.

Savitri carries a light within her and as she works for a museum on an estate, she finds herself longing for freedom. She even gets told that one day she will find someone who reflects her light back to her.

So, she takes a trip through a nearby forest + lake and sees a boy, Sayavan, and its clear that he is her mirror (who is symbolized to be of darkness and her of light).

She doesn’t want to see him go, so she takes him from the lake that was going to allow him to reach home.

Despite an aspara’s warnings, she wants to get know him and he wants to know her. So, she gets told that she has one year to be with him!

The lyrical writing brought so much vibrancy to the setting, characters,folklore, and story! I adored reading about Savitri & Sayavan’s beautiful relationship, the connection they share!!

This story is about love, selflessness, and taking chances!

I loved everything about Daughter Of The Sun and I wish this was a full-length novel 😭💕💕

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon:★★★★★

Based on the Chinese legend of The Cowherd & the Weaver Girl, Pon’s story follows the 7th daughter of The Jade Emperor & Heavenly Queen, who calls herself Hongyun, and how she falls in love with a mortal boy, Cowherd.

Told from a 1st person POV, we follow her story of how she met Cowherd and how she learns more about what it means to be human, as she finds herself playing and then falling for him.

The writing brings a vibrant life to the story as well as being told through a great fantastic 1st person POV, with Hongyun speaking directly to the reader.

Its a beautifully written tale of love and the beauty that comes with it. While there is also some heartbreak, it leaves you on a hopeful note! This story was wonderful!

Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa:★★★★☆

Kagawa’s story centers around the famous mythical Kitsune of Japanese mythology. The story follows Takeo, who saved a fox when he was younger. He grows up to be a rice farmer in his small village. With a bad harvest season, he heads to offer rice to Inari (the rice god) in hopes that his village can be saved from the tax collectors.

But soon finds himself in the house belonging to Yuki and her family. He has to head home, but Yuki (trying to convince him to stay) reveals she is actually a Kitsune.

She agrees to help his family/village and get the rice ready for the collectors only if he promises to return to her + her family for 1 year right after!

I loved the writing-style of this story a lot! You really get to know each character, the setting, the stakes, and the story had me immersed start to finish!

I can’t explain, but overall it wasn’t exactly a 5-star read. However, I really enjoyed it!

There were stories I definitely loved, liked, and some moments here & there where I didn’t connect fully with some, but ratings aside this is definitely an anthology I recommend!

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings is an anthology that is filled with rich and fascinating retellings of East and South Asian mythology + folklore! The stories within this anthology cover and explore a number of themes all while allowing the each author to bring a unique spin to their favorite folktales & stories!

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Winter}

Today I’m happy to share with you a list of Diverse 2017 YA Books coming out during the Winter months that I’m not only looking forward to, but ones that you should definitely add to your TBR!

Going into 2017, its important we continue to support our diverse authors/books!

YA Books recommended in these seasonal posts will be ones that feature:

~POC Authors/Characters + ~LGBTQ+ Characters +~#OWNVoices ,etc.

I will categorize books both in alphabetical order + by genre (Note: Dates are subject to change)

What Diverse 2017 books are you looking forward to? Any I missed? Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below 🙂

Contemporary 

allegedly-by-tiffany-d-jackson1.Allegedly by Tiffanie D. Jackson

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

american-street-by-ibi-zoboi2.American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary: On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez2.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez 

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary: From the backyards of suburban Florida to the parched desert of New Mexico, Because of the Sun explores the complexity of family, the saving grace of friendship, and the healing that can begin when the truth is brought to light.

Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.

But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.

Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

city-of-saints-thieves-by-natalie-c-anderson3.City Of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Summary: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silvera4. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

ARC Review To Come

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Publisher: Soho Teen

Summary: When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

the-hate-u-give-by-angie-thomas5.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Release Date: February 24, 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Summary: “You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.”

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Retelling

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin1.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

ARC Review To Come

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones2.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Science Fiction

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20171.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Razorbill

Summary: Empress 

Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

The Ship Beyond Time2.The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #2)

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Summary: The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy.

 

2017-diverse-ya-books-tbr-winter

October 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

175645191.Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Walk On Earth A Stranger Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Pages: 436

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: An immersive mash-up of Fantasy & Historical Fiction! I loved the atmosphere Carson weaved into this story and the characters are all well developed! However, due to slow pacing and not getting enough from the plot, I was a little disappointed. But once I reached the end, I definitely found myself interested to see what happens in the sequel!

the-female-of-the-sepcies2.The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female Of The Species Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 344

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts:  McGinnis discusses rape/rape culture through multiple POV’s among other topics that weave together to craft an important read with phenomenal writing and complex+well-developed characters.

forest-of-memory-by-mary-robinette-kowal3.Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

Forest Of Memory Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Pages: 88

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A mysterious and immersive short story! There were so many unique concepts from an antiquities dealer, AI tech part of daily life, and a futuristic setting of the Pacific Northwest! Its a quick read and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. My only issue was the slow pacing and there were some aspects discussed that I wish were given more of a central role! Highly recommend if your looking for a short but different Sci-Fi story!

4.The Universe Of Us by Lang Leavthe-universe-of-us-lang-leav

The Universe Of Us Full Review

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A delightful collection of poems about love and loss with a central theme/backdrop of space and the universe. However I did take away 1/2 a star b/c not all of them revolve around this theme, which is what I was expecting. Regardless, its a quick but very moving collection.

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore5.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

When The Moon Was Ours Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A beautifully written magical realism novel with so much diversity and important themes, remarkable characters, and a writing style that is truly magical! I highly recommend this book. With character development at its core, McLemore delivers a story of the importance of family and self-identity!

our-chemical-hearts-krystal-sutherland6.Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Our Chemical Hearts Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnams Sons Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 313

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A YA Contemporary with equal parts humor and heartbreak! What I loved about this novel was definitely the characters! They were wonderfully written. If you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell or John Green, definitely check out Our Chemical Hearts! Its an engaging and honest tale of first love! Highly recommend

descender-volume-1-tin-stars7.Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen

Full Review To Come

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: September 24, 2015

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fascinating Sci-Fi comic which features AI Tech + Robots!! I don’t usually read much sci-fi, but this comic had been on my radar for quite some time, so I decided to give it a shot & wow I loved it! The watercolor art-style is absolutely stunning and the story is very unique! More to come in my full review!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Crooked Kingdom Playlist

Book Bytes I #7

YA Book Recommendations For Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Cover Reveal

What Did You Read This Month? 🙂

 

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Cover Reveal

As of October 13 the cover for Victoria Schwab’s sequel/finale to her Monsters Of Verity Duology, Our Dark Duet was revealed!

Here is the cover!! (originally from EpicReads)

✨🎻✨🎻✨🎻

……

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-reveal

A Masterpiece!! ❤ ❤ 🎻✨💖🎉🎉

I adore this cover from the color to the details of the background!! ❤ ❤

Its great that it matches This Savage Song perfectly from the somber/mysterious tone the cover gives to the instrument in the background, additionally its interesting to see the background also feature another part of the city of Verity!

Our Dark Duet is set to be released June 13, 2017!

What Are Your Thoughts On This Cover? 🙂

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below!

 

Book Bytes I #5

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

Each month I share with you, title reveals, book to movie news & so much more!

1.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #3

Jenny Han’s 3rd and final book in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

titled Always & Forever Lara Jean 

will be released:

2.Darkest Minds Director

On July 12, Alexandra Bracken announced a director is attached to direct the book to movie adaptation for The Darkest Minds!

Director of Kung Fu Panda Jennifer Yuh Nelson will be at the helm of this project!

More can be read on The Hollywood Reporter article character Here!

3.Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary

As of July 15, PenguinTeen + HappilyEverAfter (USA Today) revealed a 10th Anniversary edition of Vampire Academy, which will be released November 29!

+ it comes with a “never-before-published short story, set in the Vampire Academy world.”

4. Story Of A Girl Director/Star Attached

As of July 18, it was announced that Sara Zarr’s 2007 novel Story Of A Girl, will be directed by Kyra Sedgwick and star Kevin Bacon.

Deadline states that production will begin in September with the movie being brought to Lifetime for a 2017 debut.

5.Everything, Everything Stars Attached

As of July 20, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson will be starring in Everything Everything & will play the main leads Maddy and Olly.

Full article from THR can be found Here.

6.This Savage Song Optioned By Sony

On July 21, The Hollywood Reporter also announced that Victoria Schwab’s latest novel +  NYT Bestseller This Savage Song, was picked up by Sony.

Full article can be found Here.

What Book News Have You Heard? 🙂

YA Books I’d Love As Graphic Novels

YA Books I'd love As Graphic NovelsOn my blog you may have noticed I’ve been reading+reviewing more comics/graphic novels which got me wondering… which of my favorite YA novels would I love to see as graphic novels?

I’ve put together a list below of books that I feel would make great graphic novels!

Thoughts On My List? + Any books you would love to see as graphic novels?

Lets discuss in the comments below 🙂

Eleanor And Park And Fangirl Rainbow Rowell1. Eleanor & Park/Fangirl 

With the 80’s background of Eleanor&Park it would give great visuals as a graphic novel! + ever since the announcement of it being optioned for film (back in 2014) I would just love to see some sort of adaptation!

As for Fangirl, Rowell’s writing-style creates such a relatable coming-of-age story surrounding socially-anxious  Cath, who finds solace in writing/reading everything Simon Snow (especially fan fiction) and what she experiences during her first year of college!

The delightful story and realistic characters would make Fangirl a truly incredible graphic novel!

It’d be a dream of mine to see both of these fantastic YA novels adapted into a graphic novel!

Heist-SOCIETY-final2.Heist Society

Ally Carter’s Heist Society Series centers around Katarina Bishop, a 15 yr. old who grew up in a family of thieves who wants out, but gets thrust back into the world she’s tried so hard to escape when her father needs her help!

Carter’s fun & fast-paced novel takes the reader to Italy, Las Vegas, even France as Kat gathers intel w/ her crew to steal back a mobster’s artwork!

The visuals would be absolutely stunning, the planning,theivery,cons & heists that ensue  would definitely keep the reader turning the page!

463. An Ember In The Ashes 

Just imagine the colorful visuals of the Empire , dark shadow creatures/monsters + the intricate details of the Masks, even Blackcliff !!

Laia & Elias undergo their own perilous journeys where they not only learn more about who they are and how their fates become intertwined, but the deep darkness and brutality that lurks within the Martial Empire!

Sabaa Tahir’s debut YA-Fantasy is packed with such dynamic characters and rich world-building and an engaging plot that would make a truly unforgettable graphic novel!

img_87694.Air Awakens Series

Elise Kova’s Air Awakens Series centers around Vhalla Yarl, a library apprentice turned sorcerer!

Through Kova’s writing-style she weaves together such a rich and vivid world/world-building with elemental magic, prince’s, libraries…everything that makes a YA Fantasy absolutely magnificent!! ❤ ❤

The cover alone, further proves this would make a magical, colorful and epic graphic novel series!

Don’t you agree?? 😀

725. 5 to 1

Holly Bodger’s feminist-dystopia takes place in 2054 where “India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity.”

Enter the main protagonists, Sudasa and Kiran who are desperate to escape!

Told in dual POV w/ prose and free-verse, Bodger’s novel could make a captivating and exquisitely  written/illustrated story!

six-crows-leigh-bardugo-cover6. Six Of Crows

Expanding on the world she created in her Grisha Trilogy, Bardugo’s Six Of Crows introduces a group of misfits a sharpshooter, thief, spy, Grisha, convict, and a runaway!

Together they takes their chances in a heist that could bring them riches beyond their wildest dreams! But the stakes are high! Can they pull it off?

Bardugo’s writing-style not only captures the complex characters and the bustling city of Ketterdam,the Ice Court+ other vividly described locations, but also is packed with humor, a little romance, and non-stop action!

From the numerous edits/fanart I’ve seen, I am absolutely certain this fast-paced, dark Ocean 11 fantasy would be phenomenal as a graphic novel!

graudin_wolfbywolf7.Wolf By Wolf

Ryan Graudin’s Wolf By Wolf, an alternate WW2 Sci-Fi centers around Yael, a former death camp prisoner who underwent experiments giving her the ability to shape-shift!

With the Axis Tour (motorcycle race) coming up, she is given a task to impersonate a motorcycle racer, with the winner getting a chance to meet Hitler!

But Yael and the resistance she joined have only 1 task: Kill Hitler!

Graudin’s writing-style not only immerses you in the era of WW2/the wonderful characters, but really shows whats at stake for Yael in this  cross-continent motorcycle-race!

The Diviners Cover8.The Diviners

Libba Bray’s YA Historical Fiction takes the main character Evie O’Neill  1920’s New York! Evie is forced to stay with her uncle in his occult museum and when her uncle is called to the scene of a murder, she wants to use her supernatural gift to catch the killer!

Speakeasies, Flappers, Jazz, murder-mysteries??+ The large/diverse cast of characters!

All of these make great elements for a graphic novel!

97804514775388.Rebel Of The Sands

Alwyn Hamilton’s Arabian-Nights/Western Mash-Up would be a spectacular graphic novel!

Because the novel is written in Amani’s POV, elements of Miraji from fouza (the currency) to the outfits, and locations are wonderfully described and from page one you are fully immersed in her world!  Alwyn’s descriptions/dialogue really bring Rebel to life!

 

Here are other YA Novels that I feel would make great graphic novels as well:

the raven boys63The Star-Touched Queen9780062380753

 

 

Book Bytes I #4

Book Bytes is a feature I created to give quick updates in the book community such as cover

reveals,  book adaptation & so much more!

1.Everything,Everything Director

June 1st, it was announced that Stella Meghie would be attached to direct Nicola Yoon’s 2015 YA-Contemporary Debut Everything,Everything!

More info can be found on The Hollywood Reporter article Here

2.The Song Rising Cover Reveal (Bone Season #3)

On June 2 Samantha Shannon revealed the cover for the third book in her Bone Season series!

This book has a cover change from the previous books, but Samantha assured the spines would still match!

The Song Rising is set to be released March 2017!

 

3.The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life Excerpt+Cover Reveal

On June 8 EW released an article which revealed the cover+an excerpt of The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life which is from the same author who wrote Aristotle&Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe! You can read the excerpt on the EW article Here!

It is set to be released March 7,2017!

4.Red Queen 3 Release Date+Cover

On June 8 Victoria Aveyard, author of the NYT Bestselling series Red Queen announced the third book in her series will be released February 7,2017 + a cover reveal would be coming soon!

5. A Torch Against The Night Tour

June 16, Sabaa Tahir announced the tour dates for her book A Torch Against The Night the sequel to An Ember In The Ashes.

She will be on tour from the end of August to mid-September

Full list of tour dates can be found Here!

6.The Selection Director

June 18, Kiera Cass author of The Selection Series announced a director was found for The Selection movie!

More can be found on the Variety article Here!

The Selection is currently under option at Warner Bros.

7.A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi Cover/Excerpt

June 21, on EW revealed the first chapter + the cover to the companion novel of the NYT bestseller The Star-Touched Queen 

Ch. 1 can be read Here! + Here is the cover:

It is set to be released March 2017!

A Crown Of Wishes Cover Reveal

8.The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig Cover Reveal

On June 22, YABC revealed the cover for the sequel/finale to The Girl From Everywhere!

Here is the cover:

It is set to be released March 28,2017!

The Ship Beyond Time

9. Bloodrose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves Cover Reveal

Also on June 22, Rosalyn Eves revealed the cover for her 2017 YA-Fantasy debut!

Book 1 in a new trilogy set in an alternate Victorian England!

It is set to be released March 28, 2017

 

10.Epic Reads 2017 Winter Cover Reveals

On June 27 Epic Reads revealed a number of covers for the books they are releasing from January to April!

There are a number of continuations, finales, debuts+ standalones!

You can check out the full list Here 

11. King’s Cage Cover Reveal

On June 28, Epic Reads revealed the cover for the 3rd book in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen Series

It is set to be released February 7, 2017!

12.Our Chemical Hearts Optioned for Film

On June 29, The Hollywood Reporter announced Krystal Sutheraland’s 2016 YA-Contemporary debut Our Chemical Hearts film rights were picked up by Awesomeness Films!

It is set to be released October 4 2016!

What book news have you heard this month? 🙂

 

June 2016 Wrap-Up

# of Books Read: 10

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars1.The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl Of Ink And Stars Full Review

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: May 5, 2016

Pages: 228

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A beautifully written debut! This book is filled with mystery, adventure, and an unforgettable world/characters that keep you turning the page!

You Know Me Well June 72.You Know Me Well by David Levithan + Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well ARC Review

Publisher: St.Martins Griffin

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 256 (Hardcover) 250 (ARC)

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A dual-POV contemporary that has friendship at its core!

Mark+Kate struggle to tell their crushes how they feel about them, fearing their friendship would be put at risk!

But along the way Mark & Kate help each other no matter what and find the strength within themselves to confront their crushes/friends!

Zodiac Starforce Cover3.Zodiac Starforce: By The Power Of Astra by Kevin Panetta + Paulina Ganucheau

Zodiac Starforce Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: March 9,2016

Pages: 136

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A fast-paced comic with friendship/girl-power ❤ ❤

The art-style is beautiful & the plot itself is pretty easy to follow w/ a diverse cast of characters!

How It Ends4.How It Ends by Catherine Lo

How It Ends Full Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 304

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A deep and moving story about friendship!

This book was spectacular! I found myself relating to Jessie (being quite shy) & finding it difficult to navigate friendships!

Lo’s novel tells the story of Annie & Jessie and the obstacles/tensions that threaten to destroy their friendship!

Highly recommend !!

Prodigy Graphic Novel Marie Lu5.Prodigy by Marie Lu (Graphic Novel)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers

Pages: 160

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A condensed but overall enjoyable read of Marie’s 371 page novel of the same name!

This is definitely for those who have read all the Legend books! (more background info/character development)

I will def. be reading the GN of Champion if one is to be released!

the-problem-with-forever-cover6. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem With Forever Full Review

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: May 17,2016

Pages: 480

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A deep and character-driven contemporary!

Reading from Malory’s POV while at times heart-breaking showed the reader just how strong/independent she had become! There are some aspects that did bother me, the mean girlfriend cliche and at times the pacing was quite slow! But this was a truly unforgettable contemporary!

Lady Killer vol. 17.Lady Killer Vol.1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich

Lady Killer Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 138

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark thrilling story of a housewife turned assassin! Everything about this comic was perfect! The plot is fast-paced the characters are well developed and the plot twists will leave you wondering what happens next!

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Cover8.The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: April 23,2016

Pages: 156

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Powerful and moving poems that discuss grief, acceptance, love, independence and so much more! Each poem is raw and evokes such emotion!

A must read!

This Savage Song July 59.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

ARC Review To Come

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Pages: 464

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark, but fast-paced story! The 3rd person POV makes it easy to transition from Kate to August! Twists/turns + plot twists that keep you reading till the very end!

Love & Gelato10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 3,2016

Pages: 390

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: This contemporary took me by surprise! There is so much depth to the characters + reading from Lina’s POV was never dull! Italy is brought to life in this novel and the mystery/friendship that Lina develops is enough to keep you reading!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #3          

June 2016 Releases

Literary Magazine Discussion

The Alchemists Of Loom by Elise Kova Cover Reveal

March 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read:  6

The Crown And The Arrow1. The Crown And The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh (TWATD  #0.5)

The Crown & The Arrow Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Pages: 9

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts:  It was a quick read, but I really enjoyed reading from Khalid’s perspective! Can’t wait for The Rose & The Dagger!

97800623807532. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #1)

The Girl From Everywhere Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: February 16, 2016

Pages: 464

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This was a lovely debut! Not only was the concept of traveling in this book so interesting, but this novel also has such a wonderful cast of characters! I will definitely be reading the sequel.

The Forbidden Wish3.The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This retelling of Aladdin was so unique! Every element of this story from characters to world building made this book a blast to read! Highly recommend ❤

A Gathering Of Shadows4. A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering Of Shadows Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 512

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star

Overall Thoughts: A spectacular sequel! While more character-driven, AGOS still dives deeper into the world and politics weaving them together perfectly with the plot!

Thanks For The Trouble5. Thanks For The Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Thanks For The Trouble Full Review

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This contemporary has such an engaging plot, is very thought-provoking & has such a memorable cast of characters. If your looking for a new YA Contemporary to read I highly recommend this one! ❤

204432356.The Winners Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (Winners Trilogy #3)

The Winners Kiss Full Review

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: March 29, 2016

Pages: 496

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Writing style, characters, etc.came together perfectly to bring a spectacular end to The Winners Trilogy!

Additional Favorite Posts From This Month:

Playlists:

Blackhearts / Rebel Of The Sands / The Girl From Everywhere / Unhooked

Waiting On Wednesday #5 / #6

March 2016 Releases

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig Playlist

The Girl From Everywhere PlaylistAs stated in previous Reading Playlist posts, I have made it a 2016 goal to create more playlists!

So today I’m happy to share with you The Girl From Everywhere Playlist ❤

If you have read TGFE or are interested to know more, check out my Full Review!

The songs in today’s playlist are from Kingdom Hearts (3D+Birth By Sleep + 2.5)

Enjoy :)!

+ Let Me Know Your Thoughts On This Playlist In The Comments Below!