I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia Review

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae CeceliaI Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

Summary: How often do you daydream? For most, it is many times a day. We stare out the window instead of the task in front of us. We fantasize about where we would much rather be, the significant other we long for, our ideal job, the body we hope to see in the mirror, a healthier mindset, pure happiness in our lives and the lives of others, peace in this chaotic world. However, how many of us daydreamers believe these pleasant thoughts will truly turn into our reality? Daydreams are more than just short bursts of happiness that only our minds can see. I know I am more than a daydream; and you are, too.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: I Am More Than A Daydream is inspirational, filled with messages of positivity, self-growth, and finding the confidence within yourself to follow your dreams!

Earlier this year I read Cecelia’s Uncaged Wallflower and adored it and I loved her latest collection just as much! ❤

Her poems always leave me feeling hopeful and inspired!

Discussing body image, following your dreams, and finding your inner strength, this latest collection reminds the reader that while we all are set on differing paths and may face obstacles along the way, that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them to make our dreams come true!

If you haven’t read Cecelia’s collections, please do!
All throughout her poems she weaves in messages to inspire daily growth and positivity!!

Above all, I Am More Than A Daydream is a wonderful collection of poetry that reminds us that our daydreams can become reality!

Literary Listens: Publishers And Podcasts

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-bannerLiterary Listens is my newest blog series/feature where I discuss podcasts & books!

My most recent post was “YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations,” which you can check out Here!

This weeks post is all about publishers and podcasts!

As of May 1, Tor Books announced it would be launching ” ‘Tor Labs,’ a new serialized fiction podcast imprint.

Their first project is set to be “Steal The Stars” written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of podcast thrillers The Message and LifeAfter, which will have weekly episodes starting August 2-November 1. This “Noir Science Fiction Thriller” plot is set to center around the “story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO.

According to Senior Editor Marco Palmieri, from The Verge “no US book publisher, as far as we knew, was doing audio dramas — plays written to be performed by voice actors.

With podcasts gaining such popularity right now, this got me wondering, “Would YA/Young Adult and Teen publishers consider getting into podcasts?

If they did, how could it work?

After some thought here are some ideas I considered that could link a print book with audio:

~Author interviews

~First chapters/excerpts or bonus content converted to an audio drama format

~Behind The Scenes

~Similar to Tor Labs, perhaps teaming up with established audio drama podcast creators to deliver an original serialized podcast

Considering podcasts are free to find/download through iTunes, it could also be just a fun way for readers to hear more from their favorite authors or books!

Aside from the traditional book this is an interesting venture to deliver/experience stories!

Storytelling can come in a number forms whether its books, podcasts, etc. and considering the dynamic, groundbreaking, and immersive power of podcasts and audio dramas, I can definitely see this as a new way for publishers to connect with readers in a different way!

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you think more publishers will/should consider podcasts as a way to deliver stories?

Let’s discuss in the comments below! 🙂

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Review

Amina's Voice by Hena KhanAmina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

Summary: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Amina’s Voice is a beautifully written and above all fantastic novel which weaves in important themes, following Amina Khokar as she navigates culture, family + friendship, and identity!

Amina’s Voice is a novel I highly recommend! It was fantastic!

Khan’s writing delivers so many facets to Amina’s story! Not only do we see Amina’s strong family dynamic, her struggles with shyness and fears of losing her closest friend Soojin, but also the questions she has about her culture and religion.

This novel discusses the importance of culture, faith, and community.

I don’t think I’ve read any novels with Pakistani/Muslim representation, but I’m glad Amina’s Voice was the first! I adored this novel so much!

Amina and Soojin are best friends, however when Emily (a classmate who’d bullied them in the past ) begins talking with Soojin and gets invited to join them on a class project, Amina feels she may be losing her best friend.

Additionally when Amina gets signed up by her parents for a Quran recitation (being extremely shy/nervous in front of crowds) she begins to feel her world is falling apart.

The first person POV allows the reader to get into Amina’s head, follow along her journey to find her voice and slowly but surely find strength to tackle the problems she encounters.

Family is a huge part of this novel. The importance and discussion of culture and faith is prevalent all throughout, especially when Amina’s uncle comes to visit.

I adored the family dynamic all through out this novel. Not only with Amina’s parents and brother, but also the dynamic of her strong/supportive community.

Regardless of age, I was able to relate to Amina so much at times I find it difficult to find my voice/speak my mind, but reading this novel just left me feeling hopeful and overall was an amazing + inspiring reading experience.

This novel is filled with such unforgettable characters and plot! If you have not read this book, definitely pick it up! You will not be disappointed.

As the story progresses, we learn that the local mosque is vandalized, and the community is devastated. However, the mosque slowly gets rebuilt with the help of so many people/communities rallying together.

Amina’s Voice is a novel that is relatable to anyone! Throughout the novel Khan weaves in themes of faith/religion, importance of family, identity and community, friendship, and the complexities of growing up. 

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire Review

Every Heart A DoorwayEvery Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 173

Summary: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Every Heart A Doorway melds fantasy with mystery, delivering a captivating tale with magic on every page!

I’d heard a lot of buzz surrounding this novel and I finally decided to pick it up!

However, I will admit with people raving about this book and seeing tons of 5-star reviews, I went in with super high expectations and while I was let down slightly, overall I’m so glad I read this book!

I adored the diversity, there’s representation from quite a few different ethnicities (Latino, Japanese) plus asexual and transgender representation!

As for plot, I was left surprised with every turn of the page. You could tell magic was weaved within each and every moment of the story. I could picture the character’s Doors/Worlds when they described them and similar to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, could grasp the history of the boarding school as the story progressed.

The story starts off by explaining Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children, a boarding school where children/teens are sent by their parents once they return from a magical world they transported to at some point in their youth.

In these other worlds, they find themselves and once they return to their own world, they find that returning isn’t as simple. They must tackle and struggle with the sense of loss that comes with leaving their wonderland behind.

The development and idea of the Doors/Worlds, I felt were so relatable because similar to my love for books and stories, there is this connection you get every time your thrust into a new world that is captivating + just captures your heart and wanting nothing more than for them to be real. That was a very powerful message and theme prevalent all through out the novel.

Every Heart A Doorway truly captures the spirit that magical or fictional worlds create for someone and I truly loved that!

Each character (Nancy, Sumi, Kade, Jack&Jill, Christopher, etc.) were all distinct and I could really understand their character within this less than 200-page story!

With each character the bits and pieces of their world became part of them and really gave them such depth and through that I could learn more about what their world was like and how it molded them and became an integral part of them once they left!

Additionally, what added so much to their character was the bits and pieces of their worlds they took with them when they returned, which you could clearly tell through their personality and 3rd person narrative.

I’m usually hesitant with 3rd person because I feel I won’t always grasp each character fully, but I’ve got to admit I truly felt connected to these characters and felt it gave me a broader scope of the world McGuire crafted.

I adored the dialogue and interactions between all the characters! Every time Jack+Jill, Nancy, Kade, Sumi, Christopher, Eleanor & Lundy interacted with eachother, I felt closer to them because I could pickup bits of their personality with each page!

(The banter/connection between them definitely reminded me of the Dregs banter from Six Of Crows/Crooked Kingdom)

My only issues was the slow pacing with the novel once I reached the middle and while I won’t spoil it, the conclusion to the murder mystery left me a little disappointed…

Additionally, there were some moments with the 3rd person narrative that the world-building in terms of the explanation of Nonsense, Logic, Wickedness and Virtue felt like it could have used a little more expansion and depth. However regardless of those minor issues…

Overall Every Heart A Doorway was a short, but immersive story filled with a dynamic cast of characters, fascinating world-building, and the perfect blend of fantasy and mystery to keep you hooked till the very end!

Waiting On Wednesday I # 9

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post originally created by the book bloggers over at

BreakingTheSpines to spotlight upcoming releases!

This week I will be spotlighting…

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-revealWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Summary: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

One of my top favorite Young Adult genres, besides Fantasy, is Contemporary, so of course When Dimple Met Rishi was an automatic add on my tbr! + I love reading/supporting diverse books!

I’ve heard great things about this novel and I know it won’t disappoint! I cannot wait to read a copy for myself in May!

Are you planning to read When Dimple Met Rishi??

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Literary Listens: YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-bannerLiterary Listens is my newest blog series/feature where I discuss podcasts & books!

Check out my most recent feature, which was “Podcast Recommendations For Writers.

This week’s post is all about “adaptations”–in a way.

I’ll be sharing with you YA Books that I’ve read, that would translate very well to audio and should have their own audio drama podcasts!

~Every now and again on Twitter, I update with my latest podcast obsession I’ve caught up with! 😂😂

While I am by no means an expert, I have listened to quite a few “Audio Drama Podcasts.” The easiest way I can explain them are, essentially stories/overarching plots (like that of a novel) told episodically through audio.

What makes them so unique compared to other mediums is that because its told through sound (sfx, voice actor/actress, etc.) everyone’s interpenetration of characters/setting can be vastly different and the episodic format of podcasts can give you an in-depth perspective on the story being told!

Now onto the list of YA Books that would make a great transition from page to audio!

six-crows-leigh-bardugo-cover1.Six Of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

The Six Of Crows duology has such a fascinating and rich world from the bustling streets of Ketterdam to the wonderfully written characters like Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and the other members of the Dregs! 

~Add in the high stakes and expansion of the world further developed in Crooked Kingdom and it would make for quite a series!

Bardugo is a master at crafting characters, descriptions and dialogue that’s witty, clever and creates such an atmosphere! If this were to ever happen and the right voice actors were found, it would truly bring her world to life through a podcast!

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

McLemore creates such vivid and unforgettable characters and through her magical writing, it delivers such a rich and magical story!

Through her lush writing style, the Latinx folklore, magical realism, and important themes and messages weaved throughout would translate perfectly!

Crafting such a magical and memorable story When The Moon Was Oursif it were to be adapted as a podcast, would be a captivating one!

This Savage Song July 53.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (TSS #1)

The uniqueness and creativity of Schwab’s worlds, especially in This Savage Song would make for such a compelling podcast! 

Through audio, the characters of Kate Harker & August Flynn would really be at the center, with the depth and emotion that Schwab brings to them in the novel a driving force, if this were to become a podcast!

~Just picture each chapter in their POV like one episode! Each chapter of the story could translate to one episode of them…recording their thoughts or relaying them through a diary??

Plus the city of Verity itself is dark yet has so much mystery that it would interesting to see unfold through a podcast! Even with its monsters like the Sunai, Corsai, and Malchai!

97800623807534.The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #1)

What I adored about Heilig’s novel The Girl From Everywhere, was not only the rich history weaved throughout, but the overall originality of the plot!

16th Century Hawaii + Ships + Maps that can take you anywhere in time? Wouldn’t that be just beyond amazing for audio?? ❤ ❤

There are so many important themes such as family, friendship and finding yourself found all through out the story. Additionally there’s a great + diverse cast of characters! (character who’s bipolar, characters of color- 1/2 Chinese, Persian)

The beautiful imagery/description of setting that Heilig weaves into her story I feel would also translate seamlessly!

With the fascinating plot, diversity and important themes, The Girl From Everywhere would make such a magnificent audio drama podcast!

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones5.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong was an enchanting tale! Along with the gorgeous writing, dazzling setting and fascinating characters, Jones’s story could really be brought to life through audio! (Like the Underground and Goblin Grove!)

~Music is a big factor in this story and as a podcast, would add even more!

Through Liesl’s elegantly-constructed POV, it would really transport the listener and bring the enchanting world to life!

Do you think these YA Books would make interesting audio drama podcasts?

Any YA Books you think would be great as podcasts?

Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos ReviewCrazy Messy Beautiful

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!

Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!

Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.

Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.

He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.

Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.

Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!

Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)

However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!

Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!

The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!

When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.

Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!

Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)

There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)

Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!

EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*

Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.

Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t.  Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…(page 24-25)