Dark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway Review

Dark Of The West by Joanna HathawayDark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway (Glass Alliance #1)

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Pages: 480

Available Through The Book Depository: Dark Of The West

Summary: Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Dark Of The West is a historical fantasy-esque tale, weaved together with WW-infused elements! This novel is filled with geopolitics, intrigue, and an incredibly complex cast of characters! Hathaway’s debut is a slow-building, but wholly immersive novel that will keep you thinking with each and every page!

You know those books that just have such a layered and complex world, that you can picture yourself hopping on a plane & heading to that fictional setting?

Dark Of The West was one of those books! The way Hathaway built the history, evolving politics, atmosphere, and beliefs of differing countries such as Etania, Savient, and the South, made the setting come to life on the page, all while allowing me to truly immerse myself in the complex world!

The 20th-Century style setting with planes, castles, electricity, emerging technology, we’re just some of the fascinating elements that also lent itself to this wholly unique setting.

Princess Aurelia and pilot/general’s son Athan are both eager to carve their own paths for themselves! But family feuds going back generations force them to try and uphold their parent’s values that they aren’t entirely sure they understand.

According to her bio & author interviews I’ve read, Hathaway adores history! Throughout Dark Of The West you can see where her inspiration builds and heightens the complex elements to her world.

Dark Of The West was a book I was waiting months for because the summary just hooked me and it sounded like my kind of book–star-crossed love, pilots, politics, etc.! I was bummed when this book was pushed from 2018 to 2019, but now that I’ve finally read this gem of a novel, I was left emotionally devastated and I’m not even sure how I can wait for book 2!

What I love about Dark Of The West so much was the characters–wow these characters! Athan, Aurelia, Cyar, Reni, Violet, even cunning and deceptive characters like the General, Arrin, & Havis–I found myself understanding all of the different layers to them and they truly came to life throughout this entire book!

Athan is eager to follow his own destiny away from the Academy, his ruthless father the General, and all the expectations he’s been born into! At the start of the novel, we see that he is continuously hiding his brilliance in order to trick his father and avoid getting tangled even further into the schemes and brewing war!

You can sense the tension and anxiety that Athan feels because he knows he’ll never be like his cold, older brothers Arrin & Kalt and doesn’t want to take part in his father’s plans to rule over more of their world. The cunning dynamic between Arrin & Athan was probably one of my favorite sibling dynamics throughout this book!

What Hathaway did so brilliantly is portraying these opposing mirrors to Athan and Aurelia as characters! They have a foil or mirror that in our minds–if led on some other path, could have easily become, but through Hathaway’s complex politics and layered sides to Athan + Aurelia, we see that there’s many different sides to the entire cast that we can only uncover through the each distinct POV as the novel develops.

First person lends itself to not only seeing all the characters from a different angle, but also the multi-layered world and politics that build throughout Dark Of The West! The writing is beautiful and poetic! Writing itself, in my opinion, is also an important element to world-building, especially through 1st person & Hathaway’s vivid and elegant writing style not only captured that heart, but also played a huge role in how I viewed the story!

Aurelia finds comfort in journeys through the forest, but also loves to paint! We learn that with the loss of her father, she continues to carry on the beauty of painting with her. I loved how this also contrasted with Athan’s love of sketching!

I loved Aurelia, she was such a brave and brilliant heroine who inspired me, while also reminded me of my own strength that often goes unseen & I adored that so much!

Aurelia and Athan find themselves crossing paths when the General hatches a plan to go to Etania & visit the queen, Aurelia’s mother, with a political meeting in mind alongside revenge against his long-time rival. However, in reality he knows politics are tough for the queen and wants to find a way to seize her throne, all while using his son Athan to keep him close and uncover more through the princess.

What surprised me was how Aurelia never really found out who he was, even when things get intense near the last 1/4 of the book! I’m scared for what’ll happen when she does find out who he really is & what it’ll mean for their dynamic going forward in future Glass Alliance books!

Family and friendship, alongside trust and loyalty were big themes present throughout Dark Of The West which I found were developed so incredibly well! There’s Athan & Cyar’s friendship–their dynamic was so beautiful to read about because there’s not that many books I can recall that have such a strong guy friendship or having it done in such an in-depth way like in this book!

We also can’t forget Violet & Aurelia’s friendship–which is cemented with the support they have for one another.

Family of course is also a very integral part to this story that you sense with every page! From Athan & Aurelia’s expectations, their older siblings, parents, and all the political scheming + underlying intrigue that goes on with them throughout the book hidden to both Athan & Aurelia!

There’s many secrets that are hidden between both families and I loved how Hathaway weaved them into the story and exploring why family and history play such huge roles in the main conflict of this novel! It was brilliantly cemented into the story.

The romance that develops between Aurelia and Athan is so beautiful, subtle, and yet heart-breaking all at the same time!! We know going in that their both on opposite sides of this war, but I couldn’t help but continue to root for them so much! (& constantly remembering about that prologue *both beautiful + haunting* didn’t help either 😅😭💔)

Another underlying element to this book that I found fascinating was how it explored this internal war between the Dakar’s & Isendare’s without there having actually been a war throughout the book-through the scheming & politics sparked by the death of Athan’s mother.

The politics are multi-layered and full expanded on throughout the novel, that builds its way into many different pieces of the story.

I wish I could put into words all the love I have for this book & my beloved crew of Aurelia, Cyar & Athan! They captured my heart from their first introductions ❤ I just–love each of them with all my heart and want them to be protected at all costs in book 2 😭💖

I suppose my only minor critique which did not take away from my complete adoration for this book, is that the pacing is a bit slow at times. This is very much a politically-driven novel with intrigue and court politics, so its very much a story to be experienced that you really absorb through Aurelia & Athan, which is why it is at 4.5!

However, above all I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to see where Hathaway continues The Glass Alliance! Though, I’m not sure I’ll be entirely prepared! 😅🎉🎉

Dark Of The West is haunting, but beautifully crafted novel that will leave you captivated! The fascinating characters, immersive setting, brilliantly explored politics, and layered storytelling make Hathaway’s novel a must read! This debut is a historical-inspired fantasy that has so much depth and heart, leaving you eager for the sequel right away!

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera Review

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

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Pages: 544

Summary: Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows.

Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.

As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home?

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Phoenix Empress expands on the world of Hokkaro and delves deeper into a period of empress Shizuka’s past! Exquisite writing, action, adventure, and a plot that uncovers more about the world you thought you knew, Arsenault Rivera’s latest book, is a brilliantly explored sequel!

If you were to ask me what my most memorable historical/epic fantasy books are in recent years, I wouldn’t hesitate to say: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera!

When I turned the very last page of Tiger, I was left emotionally drained, but in a good way. I fell in love with both Shizuka and Shefali–their lives, complexities, and the beautiful friendship + relationship they formed! From the moment I started The Phoenix Empress, it was like returning home.

I’ll be honest, because I’d been so captivated by The Tiger’s Daughter, I did put off reading Phoenix because I just wasn’t prepared to get back to it right away during release! However, I’m glad I didn’t because after that ending (WOW!) I don’t have to wait as long for The Warrior Moon! 😭💖❤

Set in the Hokkaran Empire, this series follows Qorin warrior Barsalai Shefali and divine empress-to-be O-Shizuka. Since birth their fates have been destined to remain tied together. Over the course of  story, Shefali recounts her childhood with Shizuka through letters as they grew up together, became the best of friends, and learned more about the feelings they have for one another.

From the elegant writing style, to the way Arsenault Rivera crafts her characters through the eyes of Shefali, brings everyone and everything in this world to life!

What I loved about The Tiger’s Daughter was seeing how it ended on such a happy note with them finally seeing each other again after an 8-year separation.

However when The Phoenix Empress begins, we learn their reunion is short-lived as Shizuka is busy with politics, meetings, and other important duties as empress and her time with Shefali is constantly being cut short.

While both books have their dark and impactful moments, The Phoenix Empress definitely showcases a more grounded darkness as Shizuka recounts the depression and change she underwent with Shefali’s forced dismissal.

What I love about this series so much is not only the attention to detail that lends itself to the characters and world, but also the symbolism and parallels that I uncovered even more as I read Phoenix!

From plum blossoms, Shizuka being the storyteller this time around, how Shizuka loses her tears, and the backstory as to why Shizuka can barley look into the reflection of water anymore, these were the kinds of details I picked up on while reading that lent so much meaning to the story in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Shizuka however is not exactly the same as we or Shefali remember her in book 1! Still recovering from loneliness and the trials of war, there are ghosts that Shizuka calls to the surface that have haunted her during the time of Shefali’s absence.

The Phoenix Empress explores the effects of war, both internally and externally as Shizuka is transformed from confident empress to an empress now led astray by her lost love. But in Shefali’s absence, she now uses her loss for the time being to transform Hokkaro into a more united country.

From working in a Kyuuzen Temple to banding together a Xianese army to fight against the blackblood demons, and taking up the role as a soldier, Shizuka learns a lot more about her country and its people.

I would definitely say that Shizuka’s journey and travels during the war and alongside the Xianese were some of my favorite sections to read about!

Though there are so many of Shizuka’s scenes and moments I loved throughout Phoenix, if I had to pick a favorite I’d have to say that mine was when she connected with her ability to raise flowers and regrew The Wall Of Flowers! The descriptions to her connection with the world around her and just the ethereal presence I felt while reading it made it one of the many memorable scenes of Shizuka’s time in the army!

Shizuka has this light inside of her that I could sense with every chapter and new journey she was headed on! Even in the face of difficult trials, she pushed on and never gave up! Though there were many moments that caused her pain, she knew there was nothing worse than not being with Shefali and that pushed her to change herself and her world!

As with The Tiger’s Daughter, the novel jumps between the past and the present. Though this time instead of letters, its Shizuka telling Shefali stories of what happened during her absence.

In the present, not only does Shefali see how Shizuka is still recovering, but she’s also attempting to fight the demon that has slowly begun to take her over and learns the devastating news that she may only have months to live.

This sequel was interesting in a lot of ways, because with The Tiger’s Daughter we’re following Shizuka & Shefali’s lives literally starting at their births to their late 20’s. However, in Phoenix we’re following mainly Shizuka, this time through a set period of her life and why it left her such a changed person.

As with The Tiger’s Daughter, Arsenault Rivera’s writing is not only beautiful and descriptive, but also so poetic! Her writing is styled in a way where your left knowing so much about the setting, culture, character’s lives, and vastness of the story with each line.

While there were so many I loved, here were some of my favorite lines that I found throughout reading Phoenix:

“Letters are only paper. They may tear or fall apart or burn or eighty other things. Words can live forever, if we give them a voice…” (37).

“The most honorable thing in the world is to safeguard others…” (277).

“I do not consider the impossibility of a thing before I resolve myself to do it…” (354).

We get to know even more about the different lands across Hokkaaro such as Shiseiki and especially Xian-Lai! Through Shizuka’s efforts to grant countries their freedom from years of Hokkaran rule, we get to see even more depth to the history and culture of these vast countries.

Though Shizuka isn’t with Shefali for some time, we learn that Shizuka had been living in Xian-Lai with a fellow empress and learned about a long-lost cousin. I loved them so much, not only were they such deeply explored characters, but also as with Tiger, we see a vast array of powerful and inspiring female characters!

From Boazhai (Xian-Lai’s empress), Shizuka’s cousins Sakura & Daishi and general Xianyu (Baozhai’s older sister)–to of course Shefali & Shizuka themselves, I love the complexities, different dynamics and strengths that are seen among this cast of female characters! They are each unique, captivating, and inspiring in their own ways!

Since Tiger, we’ve known that it was Kenshiro who had let word out that Shizuka and Shefali we’re together, forcing the cruel emperor to separate them. However, since then we’ve seen how Shizuka has come to forgive him and I loved seeing how much these characters: Kenshiro, Baozhai (whose his wife), Sakura, Daishi, become one huge family alongside Shizuka & Shefali when they uncover more about the lore of their world, the monsters that still lurk, and a looming battle with a god that they still have much to learn about!

Though its slowly woven into the story and a lot more present nearing the last 1/4, I loved the expansion on the mythology and lore of the gods and how I see it playing such a crucial part in book 3, The Warrior Moon!

A mysterious chapter under the name of The Eternal King, uncovers that this god is the one who’s possibly been invading Shefali’s mind under the name of The Scholar since the start of the book! After getting a bit of backstory and how he can literally change the essence of who a person is & shape it into whatever he wants–I’m so interested to see how this is developed (but also a little worried for Shefali).

I also loved this discussion of gods explored even more when throughout this book we’ve seen that Shizuka’s claims of her & Shefali being gods wasn’t so far-fetched after all. It turns out there is a cycle of deities that rise out of chaos and live on through a destined group of people. This reveal was probably one of the most surprising elements of the book, but I loved how this led the cast to use it to their advantage and formulate a better plan at trying to save their world.

It seems there’s a looming war on the horizon and I can’t wait to see how my 2 brilliant warriors Shefali & Shizuka team up to take down the Eternal King! *Spoiler– I was not expecting him to be an ancient emperor! I’m interested to see where this is headed in book 3!

As with Shefali, we learn more here & there about the infection running through her. Though its something she keeps a lot to herself throughout the book, I loved reading about her development between her and her brother–finding that common ground again to talk to one another! I also loved learning more about her niece Baoyi!!

Probably another one of the most heartbreaking moments of this book aside from following Shizuka’s loneliness, was the fact that since her return Shefali hadn’t yet seen her mother!

Knowing she wanted to reconnect with Shizuka and spend time with her, I cried when she received a letter from her mother stating how proud she was of her and that they would meet again soon!

As mentioned above, though the main narrator changed for this book, I loved that no matter what I still felt a connection to the world! From the lush nature descriptions to the many people Shizuka meets along her journey, and the way more information is uncovered about the land of Hokkaro.

For me personally, I did find the pacing to be slower than Tiger and am surprised it took me practically a month to read this sequel, considering I’d gotten through Tiger in just a couple days. Though, I think that’s due to the difference in writing-style between Shefali and Shizuka, so it took me a little longer to get through this book!

Above all though, I really loved this book a lot! The Phoenix Empress‘s plot plays a lot with time and through that, we see this wonderfully executed timeline that lends a new perspective to the empress and world we thought we knew! Though Shefali & Shizuka especially, shows so much vulnerability in this novel, seeing her growth and the family that’s formed between her & many other characters has definitely got me ready to see where their journey is headed in their Ascendancy!

The Phoenix Empress is an epic continuation to a brilliant fantasy series! This unforgettable sequel expands even more on the world of The Tiger’s Daughter than you first expect! Powerful and dynamic female characters, expansive lore and world-building, politics, action, adventure, and so much more, make The Phoenix Empress a unique and impactful sequel! The wait for The Warrior Moon will be tough, but so worth it!

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Its been so long since I’ve made monthly book release posts! In 2019, I really want to talk more about the upcoming books I’m excited to read!! 😍💕📚✨So, here’s my list of January releases that are on my TBR! 

January 2019

Contemporary

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat1.I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat
Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)
Release Date:
January 1, 2019
Summary: The story of one woman’s quest to move to Los Angeles and got a job in animation…and how you can too.

When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in…the Valley…this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi2.Black Enough: Stories  Of Being Young & Black In America edited by Ibi Zoboi; Including Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland, Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani, Renée Watson, & Rita Williams-Garcia
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (EpicReads)
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough. 

The Love And Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan3. The Love & Lies Of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Contemporary Mystery

Spin by Lamar Giles1.Spin by Lamar Giles
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord’s (aka DJ ParSec) career–and life–has come to an untimely end, and the local music scene is reeling. No one is feeling the pain more than her shunned pre-fame best friend, Kya, and Paris’s chief groupie, Fuse. But suspicion trumps grief, and since each suspects the other of Paris’s murder, they’re locked in a high-stakes game of public accusations and sabotage.

Everyone in the ParSec Nation (DJ ParSec’s local media base)–including the killer–is content to watch it play out, until Kya and Fuse discover a secret: Paris was on the verge of major deal that would’ve catapulted her to superstar status on a national level, leaving her old life (and old friends) behind. With the new info comes new motives. New suspects. And a fandom that shows its deadly side. As Kya and Fuse come closer to the twisted truth, the killer’s no longer amused. But murdering Paris was simple enough, so getting rid of her nobody-friends shouldn’t be an issue…

Fantasy

The Girl King by Mimi Yu1.The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Publisher:
Bloomsbury YA
Release Date:
January 8, 2019
Summary: Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy!

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.

Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye2.Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (Circle Of Shadows #1)
Publisher:
Balzer + Bray
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo3.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:
Imprint
Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Summary: Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

*Because I have so many theories about King Of Scars, keep an eye out for Bookish Theories a new feature where I share all my thoughts & theories for upcoming books!

Historical Fiction

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden1. Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Summary: As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants.

Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.

Historical Fantasy

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi1. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
ARC Review To Come
Publisher:
Wednesday Books
Release Date:
January 15, 2019
Summary: Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Mythology

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard1. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Release Date: January 3, 2019
Summary: Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!

Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.

She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.

Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

Retellings

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale1.The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date:
January 22, 2019
Summary: Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

What January 2019 Books Are You Looking Forward To? 😍📚✨🎉🎉

 

July 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)1.Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)

Library | Started July 1 + Finished July 5 |Rating: ★★★★☆ | Artificial Condition Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven continuation to The Murderbot Diaries! Artificial Condition follows Murderbot who is trying to learn more about its past by looking for the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit (where it went rogue). Similar to All Systems Red, I love how immersive the world is! In this novella, there’s some new characters, and its great that the tech introduced to this world gets expanded on, which in general adds even more to the world building! I did find however, that the crew that Murderbot joins in this novella were a bit forgettable and the pacing was pretty slow! However, this is easily one of my favorite speculative fiction/SFF novellas and I can’t wait to see where book 3 is headed!

Little Witch Academia Vol. 12. Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari & Keisuke Sato (Artist)

Owned | Started + Finished July 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, magical adaptation to the Little Witch Academia anime! If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend watching the 2013 short & then watch the Netflix anime (its amazing!! ) So, Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari, who comes from a non-magical family, and attends the Luna Nova Academy (an all-female academy for witches!). The manga basically follows her journey to get to Luna Nova, making new friends (like Lotte & Sucy), and getting into some pretty sticky situations while at Luna Nova! Its a pretty quick read, but the characters, plot and art are just so well done! Little Witch Academia is a fun and immersive read that I highly recommend if your looking for a light manga to get into!

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion3.Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion

Library | Started July 10 + Finished July 11 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Someday, Somewhere Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Someday, Somewhere is a deeply moving contemporary that has main characters you’ll fall in love with! Told through a dual POV, this book follows Dominique and Ben and the connection + relationship that forges between the both of them! The eloquent writing is honestly what brings out the heart of each of the main characters! Ben is a musical prodigy and Dom dreams of becoming a dancer! The book starts when she sees Ben preform at Carnegie Hall and his music moves her to tears! Champion does a phenomenal job at building both Dom & Ben, from truly getting to the depths of their hearts and understanding their hopes, dreams, and fears! It was also great to see such diversity in this novel, from Dom who is biracial (1/2 white + Ecuadorian), her father is Ecuadorian, her best friend Cass is gay + black, Someday, Somewhere also explores bipolar disorder, though its subtly weaved into Ben’s POV, it becomes more of a central part of the novel nearing the end! My only minor issue is that ending was a bit rushed, but Someday, Somewhere is definitely a lyrical, moving, and character-driven YA Contemporary I recommend checking out!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch4. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Library | Started July 14 + Finished July 17 |Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾ | Love & Luck Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Love & Luck was a character-driven and atmospheric YA Contemporary perfect for summer! Following Lina’s friend from Love & Gelato, Addie. She & her brother Ian are forced to stick together by their mother (or risk dropping their school sports) and make their way to Italy (to meet up with Lina), but she quickly gets sucked into a road trip across Ireland alongside Ian & his friend/tour guide Rowan. She takes with her a guide-book (she found in the hotel she was staying at)  to overcome heartbreak & with Ian’s detour through Ireland corresponding with similar stops in the heartbreak guide +sports on the line, Addie knows she has no other choice but to tag along! Welch does such an amazing job at really building her main characters and allowing you to really understand them by the end! I also loved that this book really focuses on family and friendship. However, I did find there were some issues for me from the “guide sections” of the book that really slowed the pacing, side + some ‘main’ characters being pretty forgettable, & a certain plot point that could have been expanded on!

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris5. Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (Spectacle #1)

Library | Started July 18 + Finished July 18 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Spectacle Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is a captivating graphic novel! Set in the Samson Brother’s Circus, we follow twin sisters Anna & Kat (Anna is an engineer + part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower). The circus is stuck in the desert for some time, so to lift people’s spirits, Jebediah Tetanus, the circus owner, decides to throw a party! Anna enjoys the party as she waits for her sister, but when she returns to her room, she finds her twin sister, Kat stabbed in the back. Suddenly she learns that Kat is a ghost & Anna is the only one able to see/communicate with her. So they team up and begin to find answers over what happened to Kat! The plot, characters, magic system, paranormal elements, mystery, humor etc. are all wonderfully explored + developed! So, even with so many different elements they all fit together and your never left lost or confused, additionally the mystery just continues to build over the course of the story! The art is beautiful and there’s so much diversity from representation to body types, and nearing the end it hints at lesbian rep.! Spectacle Vol. 1 is a magical and mysterious graphic novel that I loved so much and highly recommend!

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James6. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James

Owned | Started July 24 + Finished July 26 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Loneliest Girl In The Universe Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is a thought-provoking YA Sci-Fi with so many layers! Romy is the only left aboard the space craft, The Infinity! She plans to continue her ship’s mission to make it to Earth II, but a news of a potential war on earth brings about a  lot of change for Romy on her journey! With communication cut between her & her NASA therapist on earth, she luckily gets word of a ship (The Infinity) that plans to join hers on Earth II. Now Romy is communicating with its pilot, J and the two find themselves a little less lonely as they are still light years apart! This novel isn’t just a sci-fi, with elements of mystery + thriller, as Romy has to face many different challenges throughout this book! The world-building is fantastic, the characters, plot, setting, pacing are all so incredibly done! If your looking for a unique YA Sci-Fi, The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the book to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #13

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Sacred Lies Trailer Review

Engagement In Book-Related Content & On Book Blogs {Book Blog Discussion}

Plans For August:

~ Read even more! While for July I was really happy with the quality of books I read more than the quantity, I definitely want to catch up on my TBR before my summer vacation ends! 📚✨

~ I want to try and share another podcast review & I also have a podcast/YA Book-related post I’ve been working on and can’t wait to share! (Keep an eye out on the blog for it this week!) 😍💕🎙📚✨

~ Continue with my summer reading bullet journal! ☀📚📝✨ (I may make a post about it, but I’m not entirely sure yet 😂💕!)

What books did you read this month?? 📚✨

I also recently started a Ko-Fi last month to be able to plan more bookish giveaways (US & INTL)! If you like my content or want to support my blog, it would mean a lot! 💕📚✨

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris Review {Graphic Novel}

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose GedrisSpectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 136

Summary: Pragmatic engineer Anna works as a psychic in the Samson Brothers Circus, but she doesn’t believe in anything supernatural—until her twin sister Kat is murdered and comes back as a very demanding ghost. Sharing a room with her sister was hard, but now they’re sharing a body while trying to identify the killer. With few leads, a troupe full of secretive folk, and strange paranormal occurrences popping up around the circus, solving the case seems near impossible. But the murderer in their midst may be the least of their problems… 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Spectacle Vol. 1 is an immersive and captivating graphic novel! Set at the Samson Brothers Circus, engineer Anna must solve the mystery of her twin sister Kat’s death, when she returns as a ghost! Aside from mystery, there’s also magic, elements of the paranormal, humor, & a wonderfully plotted story that will leave you eager for the next volume!

Similar to Heavy Vinyl this is another one to add to the list of my all-time favorite graphic novels!

Set in the old west, the Samson Brother’s Circus gets stuck in the desert and everyone is hoping the train will be fixed so they can move onto the next town, with water running low & the heat of the desert taking a toll on them!

We follow Anna & Kat, twin sisters who work at the circus. Anna is an engineer & part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower. (Anna’s also built an interesting future predictor machine, which I thought was really cool & I loved how it weaved into the story later!)

Jebediah Tetanus, the circus founder/owner, decides to throw a party. As Kat is getting ready, she tells Anna to just go by herself and have fun instead of waiting for her.

As Anna is somewhat enjoying the party & drinks a bit too much, she stays for a while longer than expected and returns to her room to find her twin sister stabbed in the back.

Shortly after, she finds that Kat is ghost and Anna is the only one that can see her. When the Jebediah learns of what happened, he tells Anna that its best for her to solve the mystery in secret.

So as Anna begins unraveling the mystery, she finds herself with more questions than answers.

The plot unravels in such a great way, from the murder mystery, seeing more to the circus behind the scenes, learning more about the people in the circus & their connection to Kat, & more about the mystery surrounding why Kat has returned as a ghost & other strange/unique abilities that Kat & Anna have because of it.

What I loved about this graphic novel so much was the story! Aside from the murder mystery, there’s so much more to it than just that. It progresses in such a way where your never feeling like its dragging and your getting so much to the characters & story, while its still retaining the air of mystery!

It was great to get the perfect amount of backstory on so many great characters, from Carl, Kat’s assistant, Flora, Anna’s new friend who helps her solve the mystery, & so many others in the wonderful & memorable cast of characters!

The element of the paranormal is so well explored in Spectacle! From Kat as a ghost and the unique abilities that Anna gets, etc. the more that the unique lore about ghosts in this world, the more that it really expands on the mystery, but also makes you second guess what you thought you knew about Kat & her current situation!

I loved seeing the occurrences from seeing other ghosts, strange dreams, Kat being able to connect to Anna through her ghost & become a part of her & much more– all of these differing elements really made it stand out and was built so well into the story!

There’s also such great humor throughout the story! I found myself laughing a number of times and I really loved the sense of humor weaved throughout the story & characters.

Spectacle is also very diverse: from characters with differing body types, characters who identify as having dark & light brown skin, Chinese rep., & its hinted at, that there is lesbian rep.!

As for the art it is stunning! I really love the art-style that was used, its very detailed and colorful & overall I love this style of art so much!!I find it really goes so perfectly with the story!! Its beautiful!!

Spectacle is an all around fantastic graphic novel to check out! If your a fan of mystery, stories set in a circus, maybe even elements of the paranormal, Megan Rose Gedris’s Spectacle Volume 1 is a must read graphic novel! Highly recommend it!! 🎪✨

Book Bytes I #12

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

Each month’s posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!
I’ve now split up the news into categories, to make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d like to read about!

If there’s any book news I missed or any you want to discuss, definitely leave a comment!

*With so many book deals in May, I decided to mention ones I’m personally really looking forward to/want to feature, but will link each release report for you to check out all the book deals!*

Adaptation News

1. Gentleman’s Guide To Vice & Virtue Optioned For TV

Announced May 4 by Variety, Greg Berlanti picked up the rights to Mackenzie Lee’s Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue, for Warner Bros. TV.

2.Looking For Alaska Picked Up As A Limited Series From Hulu

As of May 9, Deadline announced that John Green’s novel Looking For Alaska was picked up by Hulu and “is finalizing a deal for an eight-episode limited series from Paramount Television and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire…

3.The Hate U Give Movie Release Date

Announced May 23 by Angie Thomas through her twitter, she shared that The Hate U Give movie will be releasing: October 19 of this year!

Epic Reads also has a blog post where they summarize all the movie info regarding The Hate U Give Movie Here!

4.The Sun Is Also A Star Cast Update + Release Date

As of May 31, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Charles Melton (known for his role Riverdale) will play the role of Daniel from Yoon’s novel, The Sun Is Also A Star.

The article also mentioned that there is a set release date for The Sun Is Also A Star film, which will be May 17, 2019!

Book Deals

1.Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore + Tehlor Kay Mejia

Set to be released in 2020, authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia announced they would be co-writing Meteor, published by HarperCollins. The novel follows “two friends, one made of stardust and one fighting to save her family’s diner, take on their small town’s 50th annual pageant and talent competition in the hopes that they can change their town’s destiny, and their own” (Announced May 1).

2.Descendants Series by Tracy Deonn Walker

With the first novel of this YA Contemporary Fantasy series set to be released in Summer 2020 by Simon Pulse, its “pitched as a modern-day King Arthur retelling with Southern Black Girl Magic, the book follows a teenage girl who infiltrates a secret society of powerful magic wielders to find out the truth behind her mother’s untimely death” (Announced May 1).

3.Deathless by Namina Forna

Set for a Spring 2020 release date with Delacorte, Deathless is the first book in a YA Fantasy trilogy that is “about a West African-inspired blood ceremony that reveals whether or not females are “pure” enough to be members of the village, and an army of ostracized girls with extraordinary gifts training to kill” (Announced May 1).

4.Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Set to be released in 2020 with Simon Pulse, author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, has an upcoming YA Contemporary Romance which follows “two rival overachievers who realize they may actually love each other over the course of 24 hours on the last day of senior year” (Announced May 1).

5. Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 with HarperCollins, Alliance is a YA Historical Fiction “set in Georgian London’s high society. The book’s heroine, a contemporary of Jane Austen, uses Austen’s novels as a guide to navigate a treacherous season in which she must find a husband or lose her family estate to her sister’s villainous husband” (Announced May 1).

More Book Deals from May 1

6. As We Go Forth by Austin Siegemund-Broka + Emily Wibberley

Set to be released through Puffin in Spring 2020, As We Go Forth is “a contemporary romance told in alternating perspectives; it features Juniper and Fitz, two high school seniors with vastly different views about the future, who meet unexpectedly on their respective college tours ” (Announced May 7).

7.Finale by Stephanie Garber

Through Garber’s twitter, she announced there would be a third book to her Caraval Series, titled Finale!

While there is no set release date, it scheduled for a 2019 release (Announced May 8).

8.Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Set to be released in 2019 with Scholastic, Truly Madly Royally is a YA Rom-Com in which “16-year-old Zora meets a boy named Owen, who turns out to be a prince and invites Zora to be his guest at his big brother’s royal wedding” (Announced May 14).

9.Untitled YA Fantasy Deals by Laura Brooke Robson

Set to be released in Spring of 2020 with Penguin/Dawson, Robson’s first standalone is “an apocalyptic fantasy told in alternating POVs about the leader of a band of female elite royal aerialists, whose plan for survival depends on marrying the prince—until she meets the alluring new recruit who secretly plans to kill him” With the second novel set to be released in 2021 (Announced May 14).

More Book Deals From May 14

10. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Set to be released in 2020 with Wednesday Books, Angeles’s YA Fantasy debut is “Pitched as The Phantom Of The Opera meets Moulin Rouge…The story follows Hellfire House’s star showgirl who, haunted by a dark past, must enter a magician’s competition in order to secure her freedom from the handsome, enigmatic keeper of the club, even as mysterious accidents seem to plague her every move” (Announced May 17).

11.The Wire Crown by Sheena Boekweg

Set to be released in 2020 with Feiwel & Friends, The Wire Crown follows “The daughter of an executioner and the traitorous prince she can’t kill reluctantly join forces to dethrone a paranoid queen after discovering they are trapped in a fantasy video game where one wrong move means game over in that world—and death in the real one” (Announced May 17).

12. All Of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

Set to be released in Summer 2019 with Soho Press, All Of Us With Wings is a “fantasy imbued with elements of Aztec mythology”; it follows “a teenage governess living with her young ward Pallas’s glamorous rockstar family in San Francisco ” (Announced May 21).

13.Goddess In The Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Set to be released in Summer 2020 through Razorbill, Goddess In The Machine is about a girl and when she “wakes from a cryogenic sleep on a planet she doesn’t recognize, she must team up with the mysterious soldier who woke her to navigate a future world where technology is considered magic and its practitioners revered as Deities” (Announced May 30).

Cover Reveals + Title Reveals

1.King Of Fools by Amanda Foody

As of May 3 Amanda Foody announced on her twitter, the title to the sequel of her most recent novel, Ace Of Shades!

The sequel is titled: King Of Fools

According to Foody’s twitter post, King Of Fools will be released in Spring of 2019!

2.In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

On May 3, The Mary Sue revealed the cover to the 4th book in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children Series.

The cover reveal also included a sneak peek into some of the artwork.

In An Absent Dream is set to be released January 8, 2019!

3.The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

As of May 9, Bustle revealed the cover of Amy Rose Capetta’s Historical Fantasy debut novel The Brilliant Death!

There was also an excerpt alongside the cover reveal!

The Brilliant Death is pitched as a mafia, queer fantasy romance and is set to be released October 30, 2018!

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose CapettaFor Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one. 

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.”

4.Upon A Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

On May 7, John Joseph Adams (editor) revealed the cover to Ashok K. Banker’s debut Fantasy novel Upon A Burning Throne.

Upon A Burning Throne is the first of a series, set to be released May 7, 2019!

Upon A Burning Throne by Ashok K. BankerThe Burning Throne of the Krushan Empire consumes and turns to ashes any who is found unworthy to rule, while endowing the rightful king with immense power.

Two princes are born in Hastinaga, capitol of the Krushan Empire. They pass the Burning Throne’s Test of Fire, but one is born blind, the other an albino, and the people fear they might not be up to the task of ruling the empire. The two princes—Shvate and Adri—are driven by their determination to quell the doubts of the people and prove that they are capable of reigning. They are put to the test when a powerful demonlord with designs on the Krushan Empire sows dissent among the empire’s allies, and Shvate and Adri must lead the Krushan forces into battle to protect Hastinaga… and to prove that they are worthy of sitting upon the Burning Throne.

5.The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Revealed on May 7 via Entertainment Weekly, was the cover (including an excerpt) for Roshani Chokshi’s upcoming fantasy novel, The Gilded Wolves!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiAccording to EW, The Gilded Wolves “kicks off an alternately glamorous and dangerous adventure, set in Paris near the end of the 19th century, with the world on the cusp of industry and power, and ancient secrets starting to get dredged up. The book centers on treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, who keeps tabs on secrets better than anyone. When an all-powerful society seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin enlists a band of experts to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris.”

The Gilded Wolves is set to be released January 15, 2019!

6.Children Of Blood And Bone #2 by Tomi Adeyemi Title Reveal

On May 11, the title for the sequel to Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, Children Of Blood And Bone was announced!

The sequel is titled:

Children Of Virtue And Vengeance

Children Of Virtue And Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi is set to be released March 5, 2019!

7.Wildcard by Marie Lu

On May 14, the sequel/finale to Marie Lu’s Warcross duology, Wildcard had its cover reveal + excerpt via Entertainment Weekly!

Wildcard by Marie Lu is set to be released September 18, 2018!

8. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Entertainment Weekly as of May 18, revealed the cover + a Q&A with Marissa Meyer for the upcoming sequel to The Renegades, which is titled Archenemies!

Additionally, Meyer also revealed that Renegades will be a trilogy!

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer is set to be released November 6, 2018!

9.The Speaker by Traci Chee

On May 21, Bustle revealed the cover to Traci Chee’s finale to her Reader Trilogy, titled The Speaker!

The Speaker by Traci Chee is set to be released November 13, 2018!

10. To All The Boys Movie Tie-In Cover

With the Netflix release of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before movie coming August 17, 2018, Jenny Han revealed on twitter, the cover to the movie tie-in edition of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before!

11.The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez 

As of May 21, Hypable revealed the cover to K.K. Perez’s 2019 sci-fi novel, The Tesla Legacy!

The Tesla Legacy is set to be released March 12, 2019!

The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez“The Tesla Legacy follows a precocious young scientist named Lucy Phelps whose fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.

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

12.The Girl King by Mimi Yu

On May 23, the Happy Every After blog revealed the cover + excerpt to Mimi Yu’s Fantasy debut, The Girl King!

The Girl King is set to be released in January 8, 2019!

The Girl King by Mimi YuTwo sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy for fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.”

13.The Last 8 by Laura M. Pohl

As of May 28, Barnes & Noble Teen Blog revealed the cover + excerpt to Laura Pohl’s 2019 Sci-Fi debut The Last 8!

The Last 8 is set to be released March 5, 2019!

The Last 8 by Laura PohlA high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack!
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

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

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

14.Crown Of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

On May 29, Paste Magazine revealed the cover to Crown Of Feathers a fantasy debut where, “warriors ride phoenixes”

Crown Of Feathers is set to be released in 2019!

Crown Of Feathers by Nicki Pau PretoI had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.”

15.Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

As of May 30, Hypable revealed the cover to Young’s upcoming novel, Girls With Sharp Sticks.

According to Hypable, “Innovations Academy is an all-girls boarding school that promises to create young women fit for the highest echelons of society. They are groomed to be graceful and obedient. They know no arrogance or defiance. Until Mena unlocks a dangerous secret.

When Mena and her friends uncover the truth about their existence, Innovations Academy will find out just how big of a problem they have on their hands. With plenty of drama, twists, and romance, Girls with Sharp Sticks promises to be a page-turner.”

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young is set to be released April 2019!

16.Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid

On May 30, Pub Crawl revealed the cover to Alsaid’s upcoming contemporary, Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak!

The cover reveal also included a giveaway pack of Alsaid’s previous books and a copy of Brief Chronicle!

Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid is set to be released April 30, 2019!

Has heartbreak broken her for good?

Dumped by her boyfriend the summer after senior year, teen love and relationship columnist Lu Charles has hit a wall with her writing. The words just won’t come to her like they used to and if she doesn’t come up with a topic for her column, she’ll lose her gig at hip online magazine Misnomer, and the college scholarship that goes along with it.

Her best friend Pete think she should write through her own pain, but when Lu overhears another couple planning a pre-college break up just like hers, she becomes convinced that they’re the answer to cracking her writer’s block. And when she meets them—super-practical Iris and cute, sweet Cal—and discovers they’re postponing their breakup until the end of the summer, she has to know more.

Have Cal and Iris prolonged their own misery by staying together, knowing the end is in sight? Or does the secret to figuring out all this love business—and getting over it—lie with them? One thing is certain—if Lu can’t make a breakthrough before summer is over, she can kiss her future goodbye.

From the acclaimed author of Let’s Get Lost and North of Happy comes a touching exploration of love, relationships, and the pain of breaking up.”

17.Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Teen Vogue, as of May 31, revealed the cover + excerpt to Lilliam Rivera’s 2019 novel Dealing In Dreams , set in the near future!

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera is set to be released March 5, 2019!

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera“We’re introduced to sixteen-year-old Nalah, who leads the fiercest crew in Mega City. But she envisions a life beyond brutal battles, partying in the metropolis’s hottest clubs, and maintaining curfew for the city-dwellers. Nalah dreams of getting off the streets and making a home in the elite Mega Towers, an exclusive residence that has top-tier resources including a school and health center. The teen receives the opportunity to prove her loyalty to Mega City’s founder: she must cross the border and find a mysterious group called the Ashé Ryders. But as she embarks on her journey, Nalah begins to question what she must do to get what she wants. And is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

Misc. Book News + Publisher News

1.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo Six Of Crows POV Reveal

As of May 5, Fierce Reads announced through twitter & 2018’s Yallwest Grisha Meet-Up that a Six Of Crows character would be returning w/ their POV in Bardugo’s upcoming 2019 novel:

King Of Scars

The POV will be: Nina Zenik

King Of Scars is set to be released January 29, 2018!

2. IReadYA Reveals Spring 2019 Cover Reveals

As of May 24, I Read YA revealed the covers for their upcoming spring 2019 YA Book Releases!

All the covers can be seen on their twitter!

Tours

1.Monday’s Not Coming Tour

Announced on Tiffany D. Jackson’s instagram May 9, she will be going on tour for her upcoming novel, Monday’s Not Coming!

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. JacksonMonday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

Monday’s Not Coming was released May 22, 2018!

The full tour schedule can be viewed on Jackson’s Instagram Here!

2. A Reaper At The Gates Tour

Announced May 17, Sabaa Tahir will be going on tour for the 3rd book in her Ember In The Ashes quartet, A Reaper At The Gates!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa TahirBeyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.”

A Reaper At The Gates is set to be released June 12, 2018!

The full tour schedule can be viewed Here!

And that’s the YA Book News for May! 😄✨📚

Thoughts on May’s 2018 YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚💻📰✨

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

top-10-tuesday-podcastsTop 10 Tuesday is a feature originally from The Broke And The Bookish now at That Artsy Reader Girl!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know I love podcasts and discuss them more in my feature Literary Listens!

So with today’s topic as a freebie, I thought it would be perfect to share my recently discovered podcasts that I really love, specifically audio dramas!

If you’ve never heard of them before, Audio dramas are basically fiction/fictional stories told through an episodic podcast format.

If any of the audio dramas I mention interest you, or if there are any audio dramas you recommend, definitely let me know in the comments & lets discuss!

I’m always on the look out for new ones to listen to!~ (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

The top 2 are ones I’ve only listened to maybe 1, 2, or 3 episodes so far or am still on episode 1, but am really loving! As for the others, they are one’s I’ve either caught up with or am almost caught up with and highly recommend checking out!

Saffron and Peri Podcast1.Saffron And Peri
Summary:
Saffron and Peri is a fantasy comedy that blends modern day life with classic fairytale elements. It follows the adventures of the loquacious Saffron, professional fairy godmother extraordinaire, and her best friend Peri, a djinnia who runs the Magic Support Department. Our story starts when they meet Tristan, an aspiring godparent in need of guidance.

Kalila Stormfire's Economical Magick Services2.Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services
Summary: 
Glamour spell gone wrong? Astral projection got you untethered? Want to know why your angry dead rich father is haunting you? Consider Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services. After a controversial fallout with her coven, Kalila Stormfire must juggle complex clients and an anonymous critic hellbent on besmirching her new business. The decaying urban block where Kal operates appreciates her affordable experience in a broad range of supernatural ailments and remedies. Still, Kal is not sure if her talent is enough to stop whoever has been posting bad reviews and persuading customers to cancel appointments. If you like stories about minority witches in modern-day working class neighborhoods, meddling love goddesses, and morally ambiguous spellcraft…this is the tale for you.

Girl In Space Podcast3.Girl In Space
Summary: 
Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen biweekly for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

 

Victoriocity Podcast4.Victoriocity
Summary:A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

So there you have it! Those are the recent podcasts I’ve listened to! Have you listened to any of these or are they one’s you’d be interested in listening to? 😄✨🎙

Lets discuss in the comments! 

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Empire Of Sand is an upcoming debut fantasy book that I am beyond excited to read!! I originally heard about this book when the author, Tasha Suri, announced her book deal on twitter & immediately put this book on my TBR.

As of April 10, Book Riot revealed the cover & I’d love to share it + talk about why I’m really looking forward to this book!

Here is the summary for Empire Of Sand:

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. Unbeknownst to her, she can manipulate the dreams of the gods to alter the face of the world.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she is coerced into their service, as they are determined to harness her magic for the glory of the Empire. She must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist the mystics’ cruel agenda — and should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

I actually have an upcoming SFF TBR list which not only lists this book, but also brings up that I really have been more interested in SFF books within the last year & am really hoping to talk about SFF books more on my blog!

So ever since I read the summary for Empire Of Sand, I knew this would be a highly anticipated book for me!

Not only does the plot sound so unique and just–fantastic, but I’m really intrigued to learn more about the magic system and our main character Mehr’s power/ability to manipulate the dreams of gods.

The magical and fascinating world that Suri has created sounds utterly captivating! It sounds like there’ll be tons of magic, mystery, and adventure with a brave and determined heroine & I am beyond excited to read Mehr’s story!! (´▽`ʃƪ)💕✨

I’m also intrigued to learn more about the mysterious Empire and the mystics that Mehr will face.

Now for the cover…

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri

I absolutely love it!! (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

Everything from the colors to the font and the dagger in the center!

The progression from dark to bright red alongside the faded stars in the background brings a elegance and pop to the cover!

I also love the designs on the dagger, they also really brighten the cover with the stark contrast to the reds.

Overall I love the design and mystery this cover brings for the book! Its such a beautiful cover, I adore it!! 😭💕📚✨

Empire Of Sand is set to be released November 13, 2018!

So what are your thoughts on the Empire Of Sand cover? Are you planning to read this book?? 📚✨

Lets discuss in the comments below! 😄✨

March 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

1. The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

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

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

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt2. Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Posts From This Month:

March 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Plans for April:

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

~Post another Literary Listens feature

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

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

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

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Pages: 174

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

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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