2019 Winter + Spring Wrap-Up

You may have noticed, since January, I haven’t really posted a single wrap-up, there’s a couple of reasons for that:

1: I was starting to feel burned out doing wrap-ups each month & though I loved my new format, it was just starting to get a bit tiring for me!

2: I’ve been working on some new blog projects, posts, etc. and that’s been taking up a lot of my time:

The biggest one, which I hope you’ll check out is a new bookish website I launched called The Booked Shelf!! 😆📚✨🎉🎊

The Booked Shelf was inspired by my Book Bytes feature! I explain more about my inspiration for launching it on the site, but basically if you want to stay updated on the latest YA book news from cover reveals, adaptation news, and more, I recommend giving it a look!

I also started The Traveling ARC Project back in May to get #OwnVoices ARCs to more #OwnVoices readers/reviewers! It went pretty well for my first time putting something like this together! 

I am also planning one for the fall and I’m really looking forward to it! My next Traveling ARC Project will be for Sara Faring’s The Tenth Girl!  😍💞

and 3: I just haven’t been reading as much as I have in the past–which is fine with me because I get to spend more time focusing on the quality of book over quantity, but that meant I wasn’t as motivated to post wrap-ups either because I felt they would be pretty brief anyways!

For my future wrap-ups on the blog though, I’m planning on them being seasonal so I can take more time to talk about the books I’ve read over a longer period! I’m looking forward to sharing not just my thoughts on the book but other factors as well!

So with that said, so far in the year of 2019 throughout Winter & Spring, I’ve read a total of 23 books! 😍💞📚✨🌸❄

My first book of 2019 was:

Fierce Fairytales Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita GillFierce Fairytales: Poems And Stories To Stir Your Soul by Nikita GillLibrary ∣ Started January 1 + Finished January 2 ∣ My Rating:★★★★☆

With every start to the new year I always make it a goal to have my first book be a poetry book! I’d heard of Nikita Gill before, but Fierce Fairytales was my first collection from her! Within this collection she not only included poems, but short stories too. She weaves modern twists & inspiring messages into this collection that transforms classic fairy tales!

The first 2019 book that I rated 5-stars was:

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiThe Gilded Wolves  ARC∣ Started January 3 + Finished January 8 ∣ My Rating: ★★★★★

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: I could gush about this book all day–I adored it! From the lush and descriptive writing, immersive setting of 1880’s Paris, scheming & heists!! Also Séverin, Enrique, Tristan, Zofia & Laila captured my heart and I adopted them all from page 1! 😭🌸✨💞

With The Gilded Wolves, this was also the first book that inspired a new blog feature, Reading Diary! I hope to get back to this feature again with upcoming books, but essentially I tracked my reading progress each day and wrote my thoughts in real-time on what I’d read so far!

Also inspired by new/upcoming releases I created these new blog features too:

1Bookish Theories:

I was inspired to create this feature while scrolling through twitter and seeing all the books people were excited for! Bookish Theories is a post where I list my thoughts or theories on what I think will happen in a book before its released–the book that started it all was: King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (which I still need to read 😂✨)

2Bookish Buzz

This feature was created because I always find books that are upcoming/newer releases that need more buzz surrounding them! So through this feature I plan to share anticipated releases that I want to promote more and spread the word about them!

My first post was titled  Bookish Buzz: Upcoming Books That Need More Hype!

Out of all the books I’ve read so far this year, here’s one with the lowest amount of Goodreads ratings, but I highly recommend checking it out because I think this book is really great!
↠ Its also diverse + #ownvoices (Latinx YA)

The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues1.The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues

Told through a past & present POV, Marco Suarez in his senior year of high school, who has everything planned out. But, he wasn’t expecting his childhood friend Sally to return so suddenly after having disappeared since freshman year and he can’t seem to ignore his first spark with Sally!

I’d say out of all the books I’ve read so far in 2019, this book is probably the most underrated! It focuses on friendship, love, family, and is also such an impactful and moving story that reminds us its the little moments in life that can shape who we are!

The cast is not only incredibly diverse, with Dominican, Korean/Jewish rep., but also featuring the main character Marco & his family who are Cuban-American!

The Universal Laws Of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues is such a relatable YA Contemporary that stresses the importance of the little moments in life and the important people within it, that shape us into who we are!

I can’t recommend this book enough, please pick it up if your looking for a new YA Contemporary to immerse yourself in!

Out of the 3 sequels that I’ve read so far this year, my favorite has been:

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault RiveraThe Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera

This is the sequel to one of my all-time favorite epic fantasy The Tiger’s Daughter! As far as sequels go, The Phoenix Empress has to be one of the most memorable I’ve read so far in 2019! It expands on the world of Hokkaro, introduces a lot of great new characters, and delves deeper into empress O’ Shizuka! I don’t want to spoil much, but it expands on the lore, world, and if your looking for a series with a dynamic cast of wonderful female characters, this is a great series!!

I also read 2 books that could be categorized as nonfiction and of them, my favorite was:

planting stories--the life of librarian and storyteller pura belpréPlanting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise + Paola Escobar

This beautifully illustrated and heartwarming picture book, chronicles and celebrates influential storyteller, librarian, and author Pura Belpré! She moves from Puerto Rico to New York, while carrying the stories and folktales she grew up hearing from her abuela!

It also chronicles her achievements as she continued her work as the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City!

Planting Stories also emphasizes the importance of diversity in storytelling and its impact, and above all, celebrates the power of stories!

Dark Of The West by Joanna HathawayAlso out of the 23 reviews I’ve written so far in 2019, my favorite review would have to be for Joanna Hathaway’s Dark Of The West!

I did a little bit of research about Hathaway’s inspiration for Dark Of The West and I felt it added something more to my review! Additionally, I just loved how I explored the different elements of the story, characters, setting, etc. alongside my personal interpretations of this wonderful book!

I also wrote one of my first discussion posts back in June titledSlice Of Life Fantasy + Book Recommendations, where I explain this unique genre of stories I particularly enjoy and offer some recommendations from manga , middle grade, even graphic novels!😍✨💞🍃

And to conclude this seasonal wrap-up, this is my most recent read & a book I HIGHLY recommend you add to your TBR:

The Best Lies by Sarah LyuThe Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Release Date: July 2, 2019

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu ARC Review

If you follow me on twitter, than you’d know how much I’ve been freaking out about how amazing this book is and that this a book that I need more people to check out!

Told through a past and present POV, The Best Lies is an incredibly introspective novel that explores friendship, love, and trauma. We follow our main character Remy, whose boyfriend Jack has just been killed, but here’s the thing—its her best friend Elise who did it, but she can’t remember exactly what happened!

Now, as she becomes part of an investigation into his death, she has to recount her memories with her best friend Elise as she uncovers the truth about what happened!

This novel explores a lot of heavy topics such as toxic friendship and abuse, however, I can’t put into words just how much I fell in love with the main characters Remy and Elise!  They really came to life and this is easily one of my favorite YA Contemporary/Mystery debuts of the year & all-time!!

So I don’t want to spoil much more than that, but I hope you check out Lyu’s debut–its fantastic!! 😭💞✨

Thanks so much for joining me in my first seasonal wrap-up!! 😍💞🌸❄📚

What have been some of your favorite books so far this year? Any you recommend?

September 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram1.Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

ARC | Started August 25 + Finished September 3 |Rating:★★★★☆| Darius The Great Is Not Okay ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: A moving and deeply character-driven debut! I loved how Khorram explored the character-dynamics + relationships that Darius has and how they differ between each other. Darius takes a trip with his family to visit grandparents in Iran. This trip isn’t just about him connecting more with his cultural background, but also allowing him to carve a space for himself when he is unsure of where he fits in. He also makes a new friend while there, Shorab. They play soccer and their friendship is given so much page-time & development! Because depression is very much present in Darius’s life, we see how its impacted his views of situations and people around him, etc, so there’s a great exploration of mental health. There’s such a focus on family, friendship, and acceptance of ones-self that are such central themes to the book. My only major issue that impacted my rating, was that many times there were pauses written in to Darius’s thinking (b/c its 1st person; “um”). I felt it never really added anything to the story and because we already know the anxiety Darius feels, it felt very unnecessary and was a bit overused. But aside from that, overall what makes Darius The Great Is Not Okay such a wonderful debut to check out is the depth to the characters and story!

Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun Volume 32.Monthly-Girl’s Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 by Izumi Tsubaki

Owned | Started + Finished September 6 |Rating:★★★★☆ | Monthly-Girl’s Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Monthly-Girl’s is a brilliant & underrated manga series that follows Chiyo who has a crush on one of her classmates Nozaki & through hilarious scenarios filled with misunderstandings, becomes his assistant & meets tons of new friends! What makes this series so great is the unique and dynamic cast of characters that you connect with so easily and the clever ways the author puts comedic spins on romance/romance tropes! This volume focuses more on the side characters and their development. My only minor issue is that in this volume its more focused on the scenarios & skits that the plot doesn’t really connect & did feel a bit different than the previous volumes. However, this manga series continues to be one of my favorites, with brilliantly-timed jokes, fun & immersive skits & similar to volumes 1 & 2, puts the cast in such hilarious situations while also bringing them to life with each page!

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad3. Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Library | Started + Finished September 13 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Fence Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence is a fast-paced character-driven series that is incredibly immersive as it introduces you to the world of championship fencing! Fence Vol. 1 follows Nicholas Cox as he tries to prove he’s ready to get into the leagues of championship fencing, but with his loss against championship fencer Seiji Katayama, he gets set back quite a bit, but vows to challenge him again one day & win! This 1st volume not only introduces the main cast, but also whats at stake for Nicholas as he finds himself at the King’s Row boarding school & with his roommate being none other than, Seiji! I go more into depth as to why I rated this lower than when I read the single issues, but basically after a re-read I found the characters to be a bit static & the first few issues overall seem more as set up for something much bigger than the story its really giving you in this volume! Aside from that, Fence Vol. 1 is a fun series filled with friendship, rivalries, championships, & of course–fencing!

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes4. Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

ARC |Started September 15 + Finished September 18 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Analee, In Real Life Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Milanes delivers another stunning YA Contemporary! This novel follows Analee who finds things difficult to say in real life, but through her favorite online RPG, she plays as a character who is all the things she aspires to be: brave, outgoing, and always willing to take chances! The plot is fantastic, wonderfully paced, and told through a relatable 1st person POV! Milanes’s novel follows Analee learning to come out of her shell when she decides to start a fake relationship with Seb Matias who is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, thinking she can win back her friend Lily, who’s also part of the popular crowd. The friendship/relationship that develops between the 2 was so incredibly developed and I loved how the each grow with each other’s help. I loved it!! Aside from Seb & Analee’s relationship, there’s also themes of family, love & loss that is explored as we also learn that Analee’s mother’s death 3 years earlier has left both her and her father still grieving. Analee learns more about her stepmother Harlow & step-sister Avery! The incredible characters, plot, and themes explored made Milanes’s latest book another on of my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books! I loved everything about Analee, In Real Life and highly recommend it if your a fan of: Online RPGs, fake dating, diverse cast of characters, exploration of family, friendship, & love! 

Wildcard by Marie Lu5.Wildcard by Marie Lu (Warcross #2)

Owned | Started September 20 + Finished September 21 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Wildcard Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Wildcard was such a unique finale, but also delivers new elements that made it different from Warcross, in a great way! I found it delivered more on political intrigue and character-development, even hints of a psychological thriller in a way, that added many layers of depth to what we remember in Warcross. Without spoiling too much, I also enjoyed the addition to new characters and seeing a different side to the stakes introduced previously in book 1! My only minor issue is that because it is more character-driven and intrigue heavy, story/character threads did feel a bit slower and the development felt a bit uneven at times. However, Wildcard is definitely a finale that will leave you at the edge of your seat as the stakes and the game, changes!

The Carrying by Ada Limón6. The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón

Library | Started + Finished September 26 | Rating: ★★★★★ | The Carrying: Poems Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Limón’s collection explores life, death, identity, womanhood, youth, and so much more through a writing-style that has such vivid imagery and paints so many different emotions with each poem! Limón’s poems (broken up into 3 parts) really leave you thinking and reflecting as each line carries such weight and depth. I also loved the beautiful imagery/view of nature and how it connects to so many differing emotions explored throughout this collection! The Carrying is easily one of my favorite poetry collections of all-time. It really left an impact as it explored so much about life and reflecting on the intense and emotional moments in life! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Latinx YA Book Recommendations For Your TBR! {2018 + 2019}

Waiting On Wednesday #10

Book Bytes #15

Latinx Book Bingo TBR! {Book Blog Discussion}

~ I also started a Medium page for my blog on the 7th just add onto what I post on my blog! But, overall I think it’ll be where I have more discussions, you can check it out Here
The posts currently on it talk about annotating books & audio dramas!

Plans For October:

~ Catch up on ARCs! I feel like this’ll probably be my goal each month for the rest of the year 😅📚✨There’s ARCs I hope to read ahead of time before release & review them on the blog! 💖📚✨

~ I’ve been listening to some new podcasts recently, so I’m also going to plan out some more reviews and recommend some new ones! 😍💞✨🎙

~ Read more than last month! I feel like I’m a pretty behind on recent releases, so I really want to try to get back on track with my TBR! 📚✨🎉🎉

What books did you read this month? Any bookish plans for October? 😍💕📚🎃✨

August 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings by Ellen Oh and Elise Chapman1.A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

Library | Started July 28 + Finished August 2 | Rating: ★★★★☆ | A Thousand Beginnings And Endings Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is a wonderful YA anthology that contains 15 short stories inspired by East & South Asian Folklore/Mythology! There are stories inspired by myths/folklore from Korea, the Philippines, China, India, Vietnam, & much more! Every author’s story delivers its own unique spin to their favorite tales. Within each story, the writing pulls you in! While there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, this is not an anthology to miss! While I loved so many of the stories, these were some that were definitely my favorites: Forbidden Fruit, Olivia’s Table, Land Of The Morning Calm, The Smile, Bullet Butterfly, & Daughter Of The Sun!

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch2. Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch

Owned | Started August 3 + Finished August 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ | Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fans of the Return Home podcast do not want to miss out on this short story collection! Filled with 16 short stories, Heimbuch expands on the world of the Return Home podcast, by centering the stories around the lesser known settings and characters! Told through different mediums, each story builds into the world or even an episode of the show! Because the stories are more character/plot-driven, there are moments when the descriptions were a bit minimal! However, this is a great addition for readers looking to learn more about the world of Return Home!

Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo3.Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy #1)

Owned | Started + Finished August 14 |Rating: ★★★★★ |Tattered Sundays feat. Shadow And Bone

Overall Thoughts: Not much to say other than I loved it even more than when I read Shadow & Bone the first time! What I loved about this re-read was how I focused more on the characters & their development! I just found myself loving the characters even more (like The Darkling, Alina, etc.) and connected to the story more on a level of characters & world-building/development than just the story as a whole. I picked up on little details I forgot the first time around that also helped me as an aspiring YA Fantasy writer! 

Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody4. Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game #1)

Library | Started August 9 + Finished August 22 | Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾ | Ace Of Shades Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Ace Of Shades is an immersive YA Fantasy that delivers such unique and different elements through its world! What I loved the most about this book was the main characters, Enne & Levi! The dual POV really built them both as characters, but also how they see the world of New Reynes. However, there were elements that made this book fall a bit flat for me: Pacing, made-up swear words, repetition of phrases, & lack of expansion on the world + some characters! Aside from that however, the way Foody crafts her stories makes it unexpected & immersive! The journeys that Enne & Levi have ahead, is what will definitely keep me invested in  book 2!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Podcasts In Publishing feat. Sadie by Courtney Summers {Literary Listens}

Book Bytes #14

Sacred Lies Mini-Series Review

YA Contemporary Books That Need Netflix Adaptations {Book Blog Discussion}

Tattered Sundays: Shadow & Bone + My Heart And Other Black Holes

Plans For September:

~ Catch up on ARCs & read more! I was a bit disappointed at the lack of ARCs I was able to get through this month, so next month I’m really planning to catch up + read/review upcoming ARCs & ones from a week ago! 💖📚📚🎉

~ Post TBR Lists! I’ve been drafting a couple TBR lists that I’ve had in the works for a while, but just haven’t had the chance to share yet! I’m definitely planning to share them & recommend some great upcoming books! 📚✨💖💕

~ I’ve also been planning another Literary Listens post & I’m really looking forward to sharing this one! 😍💕🎙✨

~If I make time for it, I definitely want to finish up my summer reading bullet journal & talk about it on the blog! ☀📝✨📚

What books did you read this month? 😍📚

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

June 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina Vakueva1.Heavy Vinyl Volume 1 by Carly Usdin +Nina Vakueva (Heavy Vinyl #1)

Owned | Started/Finished June 1 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Heavy Vinyl Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, diverse, graphic novel with so much girl power set in 90’s New Jersey! Heavy Vinyl follows Chris who works alongside her all-female co-workers at her local vinyl store. With anxiety, she wants to fit in with her new friends but hasn’t gotten the chance! That is until a case of missing singer introduces her to the world her co-workers have been hiding from her: their vigilante fight club! Now she’s tagging along with them to solve the mystery and maybe uncover more along the way! This is an incredible graphic novel that’s character-driven, diverse, and just a fun story! Friendship is at the heart of Heavy Vinyl and it really shows with each page. Additionally, there’s a lot of fantastic representation among the main cast/side characters: f/f & m/m relationships, lesbian rep., black & Puerto Rican rep., interracial relationships! I adored this graphic novel so much & highly recommend it!  I think there’s only 1 volume planned which is sad, because it ends on at place leaving you to want more from the story & characters, so definitely pick it up & support it, you won’t be disappointed!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters2.Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Owned| Started June 3 + Finished June 7 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½| Running With Lions Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A coming-of-age YA sports contemporary, that really focuses on characters! Sebastian Hughes is ready for his last summer of soccer training camp with his teammates, before senior year. However things get a bit complicated when his former friend, Emir Shah, shows up. Though regardless of their past, Sebastian is eager to make Emir feel at home! Through a 3rd person POV, the characters, plot, summer setting/atmosphere come to life! A huge aspect of this novel is the way Winters explores sexuality, with characters identifying as gay and bisexual + through the teammate’s support + acceptance of each other throughout the entire book! The characters really grow as they spend their time at Camp Haven and I loved seeing their friendship dynamics with each turn of the page! The plot, characters, etc. are all wonderfully developed and the pacing is great! Highly recommend checking out Winter’s debut!

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl3. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

ARC| Started June 9 + Finished June 12 |Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾| Neverworld Wake Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Neverworld Wake was an intriguing YA Contemporary that blends with science fiction! Beatrice Hartley gets the opportunity to reconnect with her friends from boarding school at an estate, since the year or so since her boyfriend Jim’s passing. But when a mysterious man arrives, he tells them they’ve been caught in the Neverworld Wake and only one person can make out alive by the end. The mystery that surrounded Neverworld and how the info was revealed was both delivered and explored at perfect moments throughout the story. While the plot and mystery remain such huge parts of the story, I did find myself not enjoying this book as much as I’d hoped. The writing (which is 1st person) never really made me find a connection to Bea as a character and with the simplicity to the writing, some elements of the story, like side characters were pretty forgettable. However, what definitely made Neverworld Wake an immersive read, was definitely the mystery, and exploration + complexities to the Neverworld!

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi4.Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

ARC| Started June 13 + Finished June 18 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½| Not The Girls You’re Looking For Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Aminah Mae Safi’s debut explores the complexities of family and friendship (especially female friendships) in her debut! I connected with Lulu, the main character, from the very first page! She’s outgoing, not afraid to speak her mind and I just–loved her character so much.  This novel explores the messiness of friendship in an honest + complex way, and its such a huge theme of the story. Safi really allows for both friendship & family to be explored, and I was able to really see the many different sides to these dynamics. The unique plot, themes explored, character dynamics, etc. all came together so wonderfully in Not The Girls You’re Looking For to make for such a fantastic YA Contemporary!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir5. A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

Library| Started June 19 + Finished June 25|Rating:★★★★☆| A Reaper At The Gates Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is very much a darker continuation to the An Ember In The Ashes series! Character development and lore/mythology are such huge parts of this book and really take center stage. I loved seeing the development and growth to Laia, Helene, and Elias. They are such phenomenal characters and you really see where their fates lead them in this book! War and the dark aftermath of it are explored in this novel and its just heartbreaking. While this was such a great book, I found for me personally that the pacing in the first 1/2 or so made this book a bit difficult for me to really love it as with the previous ones. With the pacing, I felt that with the urgency of the stakes that are given + alongside the writing that made side characters, setting, etc. feel a bit under-developed and not as fully immersive for me in previous books. However regardless of that, as soon as I reached the end, I needed the next book right away. So, I am beyond excited to read the final book and see what Sabaa has in store for the world/story of Ember! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #12

Audio Dime Museum Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Currently Reading & YA Books On My June 2018 TBR!

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye Exclusive Cover Reveal

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Plans For July:

~READ MORE!! I feel like I just haven’t been reading much as I’d hoped (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) & before summer ends, really want to catch up on my TBR! If you have any tips to read more, definitely let me know!! 😭💕📚📚

~ Post more podcast reviews for Literary Listens! June was my first month posting audio drama podcast reviews & they were such fun posts to make!! I really hope to review/recommend more audio dramas next month too!! 🎙✨💖

~Continue working on my summer bullet journal 😍📒💕☀

What books did you read this month?? 😍📚

+ What are your bookish goals for July? Lets discuss in the comments!! ✨✨

May 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Here’s my wrap-up for May 2018! Now that I’m officially on summer break, I’m hoping to read + review more this month!! 

Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee1. Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee

ARC | Started April 28 + Finished May 10 |Rating:★★★★☆ | Out Of Left Field Full Review

Overall Thoughts: If your looking for a contemporary that doesn’t focus on romance, this is the book for you! Out Of Left Field is about Marnie as she takes the place of her best friend Cody on her high school baseball team after he gets injured. There’s such a big focus on the dynamic of friendship, life after college, + Marnie’s passion for baseball and I really loved that. The plot, in my opinion, just went in such unique directions compared to other YA Contemporary novels and continued to surprise me with very interesting plot twists! There’s also representation through the side characters (Filipino + Latinx & bisexual rep., Indian-American rep.). The pacing does get slow at some points & I wish that some of the main/side characters had more expansion + development, additionally there are some plot threads I wish could have been expanded on. However, overall Out Of Left Field is a uniquely plotted YA Contemporary that really focuses on its characters and the complex dynamics of friendship! Definitely recommend Kris Hui Lee’s Out Of Left Field if your looking for more sports in YA Contemporary!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo2. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Owned | Started May 11 + Finished May 13 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Way You Make Me Feel Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Having been a big fan of Goo’s previous novel, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, I knew I would be picking up, The Way You Make Me Feel. Clara is a bit of a troublemaker, so when she gets tasked with working on her father’s Korean-Brazilian fusion food truck w/ her school nemesis, she feels her perfect summer (w/ plans of visiting her mother) has come to an end! But, she soon finds herself changing and growing throughout the summer, making new friends, and maybe finding romance along the way. The development of family and the complex dynamic was developed so incredibly well in this book as was the friendship! The Way You Make Me Feel was a book that captured my heart from page 1 with its character-driven story, wonderful writing, and summer adventures! The Way You Make Me Feel is a must read for summer!

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter3. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Library | Started May 16 + Finished May 19 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Not If I Save You First Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Carter delivers another political thriller, with a mystery that keeps you turning the page as the stakes continue to build! Maddie, daughter to a secret service agent and Logan, the president’s son, have been friends since they were little. However after an attack at the White House when they were 10, leads Maddie to stay off the grid for almost 6 years in the Alaskan wilderness alongside her father. Maddie & Logan are soon reunited and their friendship is no longer what it used to be, yet when its revealed someone may be after Logan, they have to team up and uncover the answers. Carter does a fantastic job at seamlessly integrating politics and mystery within her novels and I always look forward to reading her books! However, through out Not If I Save You First I felt the pacing was pretty slow and while the build up to the mystery was done incredibly well, when answers are revealed it felt not only rushed, but a bit disappointing in its execution. Additionally,there was a bit of repetitiveness when it came to the setting. Overall though, Not If I Save You First was definitely an entertaining mystery thriller that really kept me turning the page!

Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine4. Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine

ARC| Started May 21 + Finished May 22 |Rating:★★★★★ |Driving By Starlight Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Driving By Starlight has easily become another one of my all-time favorite novels and is one that I will never forget!! I haven’t seen a lot of buzz for Driving By Starlight, but if you haven’t read it, please do, its phenomenal!! Set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia crafted an honest and moving YA Contemporary, which follows Leena & Mishail, who are no strangers to a bit of rebellion within their town. Due to strict laws however, they find themselves unsure of their futures as women within society. Leena dreams of attending university and studying law, but with the absence of her father (who is a rebel), needing to take care of her mother, and not wanting to leave her friends/life behind, its becoming uncertain whether she will be able to follow her dreams. Over the course of the novel, Leena goes through quite a journey! From the powerful messages, themes of family & friendship explored with such depth, incredible cast of characters, thought-provoking & beautiful writing, Deracine’s novel is phenomenal! There’s honestly so much to this amazing novel I can’t put into words, but I highly recommend reading Driving By Starlight, its a must read!

caraval-by-stephanie-garber5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Library |Started May 23 + Finished May 26 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Caraval Full Review

Overall Thoughts: I’d been putting off reading Caraval because of all the hype, but I’d recently been fortunate enough to get an ARC of Legendary and felt I’d give it a try! I’m so glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it! Garber’s writing easily pulled me into the story and crafted mystery into her novel so well, as we follow Scarlett attempting to find her sister throughout Caraval. Garber’s novel surprised me in ways I wasn’t expecting and I really enjoyed it. I did find that the repetitiveness of color to describe setting/emotion didn’t really click with me and I found other than Caraval, the world-building wasn’t really expanded on either, & I was expecting a bit more from the ending. However, I was definitely more surprised by Caraval than I expected and found it to be an immersive, mystery adventure!

Legendary by Stephanie Garber6. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (Caraval #2)

ARC |Started May 28 + Finished May 30 |Rating:★★★★☆ |Legendary Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary takes what you knew in Caraval and really makes it more of a mind game, which was very interesting! Following Tella, were back into the game of Caraval, but there are very much real-life stakes involved. I loved how Garber seamlessly weaved in the fantasy elements, however all throughout Legendary I was thinking ‘why wasn’t this introduced more in Caraval?’, but I’m glad it was added into the story! Garber introduces new settings and a character by the name of Jacks who I really loved! It takes a bit of a darker, more fairy tale vibe, but I really enjoyed it! The plot is filled with intrigue, magic, mythology of the world of Caraval, and really had me guessing & on the edge of my seat wondering where the next book is headed!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #11

The Last 8 Cover Reveal

Author Interview w/ Maura Milan about her upcoming novel Ignite The Stars

Plans For June:

~ Catch up on reading, now that I’m officially on summer break & work on my summer reading bullet journal!

~Post upcoming TBR lists/other posts that I’ve had drafted for a while! 😂✨📚

~Planning to hopefully create + share another Literary Listens post! 🎙✨💕

April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

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

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

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! 😍💕✨⚔🚀💫📚

February 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton1.Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #3)

Owned | Started January 31 + Finished on February 2 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Hero At The Fall Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Rebel Of The Sands Trilogy concludes with such a character-driven and immersive finale! Amani and the remaining rebels band together to take down the sultan. There’s so much character-development and the depth to the world of Rebel, the magic system, and politics continue to develop till the very end! My issues however continue to be the time-jumps/quick pacing through locations and how they tend to rush through character development/interactions & setting description/atmosphere. However, above all Hero At The Fall really wraps up Amani’s adventure & the trilogy as a whole, to a very satisfying conclusion!

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones2.Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (Wintersong #2)

ARC| Started February 5 + Finished on February 7|Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Shadowsong  Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Shadowsong is an enchanting and captivating finale to the Wintersong duology. I loved every moment of this book! Very much a darker continuation, this novel takes place 6 months after the events of Wintersong, focusing on Liesl as character with her internal development + growth as she comes to terms with having left the Underground + the Goblin King behind. The elegantly constructed POV continues to brings such depth and life to the many aspects from world to characters, music etc. of this phenomenal duology. The dynamic between Liesl & Josef is heavily explored in this novel & plays such a huge role in this novel. Shadowsong is a captivating, elegant, heart-wrenching, and brilliant finale to the Wintersong duology! (This novel is #OwnVoices for bipolar disorder)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton3.The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)

Owned | Started January 23 + Finished on February 9|Rating:★★★★☆ |The Belles Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Belles seamlessly weaves in political intrigue, themes and discussions of beauty, all through a descriptive and dazzling writing! Camellia Beauregard wants to secure her spot as the Favorite, but not everything is as it seems. Soon, the idea of beauty and power begin to shift as Camellia learns in her quest to prove herself as the Favorite! The descriptive, dazzling, and magical world of Orléans immediately transports you and the mythology/history of the world itself is explored in such an intriguing way! Though the pacing does slow throughout the middle, the intrigue, magic & mystery of the plot keeps you immersed! (#OwnVoices for black rep.)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman4.Starfish by by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Library |Started February 12 + Finished On February 16 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | Starfish Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Kiko wants nothing more than to get into her dream art school. Living with a family, who never seem to understand her, she learns what family means to her and figures out who she wants to be along the way. Kiko has anxiety and because of that, its difficult for her to speak her mind. However, throughout the novel she knows she has support from friends, both new & old, that help her find her place in the world.The writing flows so beautifully, though the heaviness of the story is there. The writing really allows you to see the characters in such a unique way and are given such depth. Starfish is a character-driven and beautifully written YA Contemporary that builds to an inspiring message of hope! (#OwnVoices for Japanese-American rep. + Social Anxiety)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black5.The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk Of The Air #1)

Library | Started February 18 + Finished on February  22 | Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾ | The Cruel Prince Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Jude and her 2 sisters were forced to go to the land of the Fae when they were young, however 10 years later all Jude wants is to fit in. Both Jude & her twin sister Taryn are bullied by the fae royalty and this just fuels Jude’s anger to prove herself to them. The descriptions of the setting and various themes of politics, intrigue, and mystery all weave together really well. There were characters I was unsure how I felt about in the beginning, but ended up truly surprising me as I read. While there were elements I really enjoyed, sadly there was a mix of reasons why I rated the book low: I did find the pacing to slow a bit and felt the direction of the plot got a bit lost at times. Personally, I also didn’t really connect with or enjoy the twin sister relationship between Jude & Taryn. I also found that big moments nearing the middle and end really had much build up, so it felt difficult to really invest myself. I also found that the morally grey/anti-heroine aspects of Jude’s character that many had mentioned, felt more sporadic than I had hoped.However, the ending did leave me interested in seeing what happens next.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo6.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

ARC | Started February 24 + Finished on February 25 | Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | The Poet X Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Poet X is such a powerful and unforgettable YA Contemporary. Told through poems, Xiomara goes on a journey of questioning and exploring many different aspects of her world from love to religion, and finding her voice through poetry. There were a number of topics explored and discussed such a relationships, body image/self-love, and tackling sexism. Character-driven and impactful, the poems are filled with so much heart, emotion, and depth. The power of Acevedo’s words shines with each page. I also really loved the dynamic between Xiomara & her twin brother Xavier and seeing their relationship change and grow as the book progressed. The Poet X is a must read, so definitely keep an eye out on this book in March! (#OwnVoices for Dominican rep. + there is also gay & Trinidadian rep.)

Additional Posts From This Month:

February 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Literary Listens: Audio Drama Podcasts That Need Book Adaptations

January 2018 Wrap-Up

Can’t believe the first month of 2018 is already over! Today I’ll be sharing my first Monthly Wrap-Up of 2018~ 

# Of Books Read: 9

Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage1.Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage

Owned | Read/Finished on January 1 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Anchors & Vacancies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Now pretty much a yearly tradition for me, I try to start off the new year by reading a poetry book, for 2018 I decided to read Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage!

This book contains 45 poems centering around the journey of a love lost and how that loss can impact a person when its difficult to let go.

This quote really stuck with me throughout the entire book:

“There’s a certain kind of ache in the chambers of my heart…”

While I really understood the complex emotions + journey Savage portrayed in the collection, on a personal level (aside from a few) many didn’t really connect with me (hence the 4 stars). However, I loved her writing-style and plan to read more of her poetry in the future.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes2. The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Library | Started December 23 + Finished on January 4 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |The Arsonist Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Told through 3 unique POV’s, The Arsonist brilliantly weaves coming-of-age, historical fiction, & Mystery/Thriller all in one! This novel follows Molly Mavity + Ibrahim, aka, “Pepper” Al-Yussef who’s paths cross when a mysterious letter brings them together to solve the mystery of Ava Dreyman, who was a resistance fighter during the time of the Berlin Wall. The friendship between Pepper + Molly was so beautifully written and you really see how lonely they feel, but the bond of their friendship reminds them that they aren’t alone & I loved that! There’s so much complexity + mystery that really makes this book surprising. I suppose my only issue was that compared to Oakes debut The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly (Which I loved), the writing for The Arsonist felt rather flat and certain aspects from side-character development to setting description, etc. fell a bit short. Aside from that, The Arsonist is a compelling story that weaves in so many differing genres/themes that I highly recommend it if your looking for a unique read!

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire3.Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #3)

ARC | Started January 7 + Finished on January 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Beneath The Sugar Sky Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky was easily my favorite book of the Wayward Children series so far! The descriptive and whimsical writing really showed McGuire’s growth as an author with this series. When Rini finds herself Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children characters, both new & returning, join Rini on her quest to the peculiar world of Confection, to bring back an old friend. Kade & Christopher are easily my favorite characters of the entire series & not only did this book remind me of that, but their banter + friendship easily made this book one of my favorites! Filled with adventure, a dynamic + diverse cast of characters, magic & mystery, Beneath The Sugar Sky is a fantastic continuation to the Wayward Children Series!

A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen4.A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen

ARC | Started January 5 + Finished on January 13 | Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½ |A Taxonomy Of Love ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The unique format & expansive timeline, made A Taxonomy Of Love a pretty unique YA Contemporary. We follow Spencer from 13-19 as he navigates life + his friendship with his new neighbor Hope Birdsong. Allen really developed the main character Spencer, while bringing so much progression & growth to his character that you can really see by the end of the novel. Throughout the story, Spencer + Hope begin to drift apart when Hope suffers an important loss in her family. Your left wondering if they’ll ever reconnect, while also seeing where their own paths are leading them. I felt however, with the constant jumps in the timeline, characters + story points had uneven development, going from extremely fast + rushed pacing to uneventful & slow moments. That made it difficult to really connect with any of the other characters, aside from a few main ones (hence the 3.5). However, Allen did a fantastic job at weaving in so many themes + developing the atmosphere of her contemporary story over such an expansive timeline!

Love Hate And Other Filters Samira Ahmed5.Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

ARC | Started January 15 + Finished on January 19 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Love, Hate & Other Filters ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Love, Hate & Other Filters tackles such a relevant + timely issue while also balancing heart-warming moments and chilling/honest ones too! I loved Maya so much, from her passion to follow her dreams of becoming a film director to the strength and courage she builds over the course of the novel. There was one important moment I found that pretty much put the entirety of the novel into focus and that was the importance of Maya’s camera. I found it represented not only a shield for Maya, but also thinking broadly how people tend to view each other lenses (or filters!). Throughout the novel we follow Maya Aziz and her journey to not only understand who she wants to become, but seeing her inspirational journey to follow her dreams and tackle whatever life throws her way!

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad6.Fence #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: 16-year old Nicholas Cox has the heart, but not exactly skill, for fencing. He’s worked from the basics and is eager to win the local tournament (Connecticut Regionals). The win from this competition could earn him a spot into a top school and allow him to receive a scholarship & continue with fencing if he is serious about pursuing it. His competition is none other than  Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy. This first issue introduces so much from Nicholas’s past to his passion for fencing & the mysterious fencing prodigy. There is so much great development, action and dialogue that will keep you hooked! Its a brilliant start to a new comic series! (Honestly, there’s tons more I discuss in my full reviews that I can’t fully explain in this wrap-up, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out Fence 💙✨🤺)

Fence Issue 2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad7.Fence #2 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #2 is very much build-up to Nicholas & Seiji’s dynamic when they begin at King’s Row and introduction to new characters on the fencing team. We definitely see the stakes set for not only the team, but Nicholas too (considering we learn there are a limited # of spots for the main team + upcoming championships). Both Issue #1 & #2 introduce characters of color + trans rep. & it does hint at gay rep.! The tension really builds in this issue and similar to Issue #1, will keep you hooked!

Fence Issue 3 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad8.Fence #3 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #3 is easily my favorite issue in the series so far! There is much more character development/background + is a very plot-driven continuation! This issue very much follows Nicholas & not only his daily campus life on King’s Row, but his determination to prove himself before his first match against a classmate. The characters from Issue #2 are getting better developed as is the gay rep. The perfect pacing, development for plotting, characters, and slight twists + turns make Issue #3, such a brilliant addition to the Fence series!

Love Sugar Magic-A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano9.Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano (W/ Cover art by Mirelle Ortega)

Library | Started January 25 + Finished January 27 | Rating:★★★★★  | Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Easily one of the best middle-grade novels I have ever read! Themes of family and friendship, alongside a delightful writing that delivers a sweet and magical tale, Love Sugar Magic was a truly unforgettable read! The story follows Leo Logroño and she comes from a family of bakers, they run the Amor y Azúcar Panadería. She’s always felt left out of the family business + feels her mother + sisters are hiding something, so a day before the Día de los Muertos festival, she sneaks her way into the bakery to see what really goes on (she soon discovers she comes from a family of brujas, who use their powers within the bakery + their treats). Now that her oldest sister Isabel knows, Leo begins to use the powers within her & experiments with the special family recipe book. However as Leo begins to lie about using her abilities to the rest of her family, she soon gets into trouble & must make very important decisions. The magic system is one of my favorite aspects about this novel, it really builds and you see how unique it is for each member of Leo’s family. The plot is perfectly developed, the writing is beautiful, the characters are spectacular, & so much more!! Such a fantastic novel, I highly recommend it!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Latinx YA Book Releases To Add To Your TBR {2018}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄✨📚

You may have noticed, I never posted one for December. Well, that was mainly because of vacation, but also because as the months passed nearing the end of 2017 when making my monthly wrap-ups, I noticed that I began to lose my enjoyment for making/posting them because I felt like I had to (being a pretty common post in the book-community). While I do enjoy them I felt it was time to change up the review format a bit to add more to make a bit more personal (adding the format of the book + when I started/finished). And I think doing that really brought back my enjoyment for them~

So similar to this one, I may be trying out this new format for the upcoming monthly wrap-ups, but again I’m really liking how this one turned out! 😄✨📚📚💻~ But, feel free to let me know what you think of the new format in the comments!