A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson Review

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly JacksonA Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson (Good Girl’s Guide To Murder #1)

Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egemont UK)

Release Date: May 2, 2019

Pages: 433

Available Through The Book Depository: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

Cover Design: Lizzie Gardiner

Summary: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is the kind of mystery that you won’t be able to put down! Perfect for fans of small town mysteries, Pippa Fitz-Amobi plans her senior project around solving the 5-year old murder case of Andie Bell! But once she dives deeper into her project she begins to realize, someone out there doesn’t want her to solve it. Through immersive storytelling, twists, turns, and a brilliant blend of journalism and true crime, Jackson’s debut is not one to miss!

The best kinds of mysteries are the ones that keep you up till early hours of the morning to piece everything together (like this one― I stayed up till 1 a.m. to finish it)! Jackson’s debut is brilliantly crafted in how it’s layered and uncovers more details, that begin to paint a clearer picture as to what really happened to Andie Bell.

Set in the fictional small town of Little Kilton, Buckinghamshire we learn Pippa is working on an independent senior project for her school. As an aspiring journalist, she decides to solve the closed case of the 2012 murder of Andie Bell. Everyone in town assumes her boyfriend, Sal Singh was the murderer. But Sal was always known as a kind, friendly guy, so does it add up?

Pippa isn’t so sure! Consumed by the case, she’s eager to solve it because she knows Sal wasn’t the real killer. Early on in the book, we’re presented with mixed media from transcripts to reports, messages, even occasional diagrams that adds another layer of intrigue solving the case alongside her.

What I appreciated about this book is how Jackson just throws us right into the plot early on and has the characters develop slowly throughout Good Girl’s Guide! It made the reveals and gaps in the case that much more intriguing, because these characters have many secrets/hidden dimensions. Jackson does a wonderful job at layering all these facts, figures, and suspect stories to still leave the reader completely surprised as to where it’s going.

Each addition to the case just continued to present theory after theory, to the point where I was unsure of what to believe! It’s that kind of uncertainty that made this such a gripping read. Also, I’ll actually try to keep this review pretty vague and spoiler-free because I felt what made it such a great reading experience was knowing only the basics!

Jackson does a spectacular job at misdirecting the reader and leaving you with tons of suspects and clear evidence, yet you’re still left guessing for a good majority of the book! That’s what I love and look for in mystery― even as I was solving the case along with Pippa, my guess as to who killed Andie was constantly changing.

Now, it’s a fact that I hardly ever read mysteries (at least the contemporary ones). If I do, it really depends on the summary and as someone studying Journalism I was immediately captivated by the use of journalism, investigative reporting, etc. I appreciated all the journalism details that reminded me of topics I’ve learned in my major like FOIA requests, approaching sources, the importance of wording in reporting, and overall just incorporating this area of study in such a deeply explored way.

As mentioned in my Backlist Bookshelf post, there’s a present, obvious presentation to the story that feels a lot like a true crime podcast, where everything just fits so well! That’s because Jackson herself is a big fan of those types of podcasts. As mentioned in my post, Jackson highlights Serial as a big influence for Good Girl’s Guide.

I also wanted to highlight that early on as I read this book, I originally started the US edition. However, when I found my UK copy it was clear that details of the story and even character-specific moments from Pippa in the text, were altered for the US audience. For example, in the UK edition its set in Buckinghamshire and for US audiences its set in Connecticut. Now with that in mind, I couldn’t help but feel that the original version was the best reading choice, it felt like the prose had more freedom to add more dimensions to Pippa’s personality. There’s just a unique voice to it, that for me made the story even more engaging.

There were moments Pippa breached some ethical guidelines in trying to reach sources, as did the local reporter Stanley Forbes when we learn how he first reported on the case. He clearly had racist views, which in my opinion biased his reporting extremely. So, being one of the main, prominent reporters it was no surprise the town looked to Sal with such guilt. Reading that moment from an aspiring journalist perspective, did not sit right with me. Where Pippa on the other hand, sticks to uncovering the facts and doesn’t twist the narrative to fit her desired outcome–I appreciated how unbiased she was in uncovering the truth.

Pippa begins reaching out to Ravi Singh, Sal’s younger brother, one who prefers to avoid the public eye. But when Pippa explains what she’s learned and the two slowly become friends, they decide to work together!

This book weaves in, but never makes it too obvious, of the central themes of friendship and family. Ravi has felt guilt, sadness, even pain for the things left unsaid when Sal and Andie’s case was closed. But, because of Pippa’s help, he realizes he can finally get the answers he’d been searching for. They become like partners in crime, their friendship was so organic and one of my many favorite dynamics of the story (loved when he kept calling her ‘Sarge’ 😂). Also, the family dynamics between Leanne, Victor, Josh and Pippa were nicely crafted and they (alongside the other characters) really came to life!

Another positive that I think is due to Jackson’s writing is because I was fully invested in each clue that was uncovered, I hardly noticed the POV change between the main story (3rd) and Pippa’s 1st-person reports. She knows how to keep her audience engaged and the flawless shift between perspectives made for an opportunity to learn even more about Pippa’s thought process.

While the writing isn’t the most descriptive, it was crisp and left just enough to allow the reader to envision the setting, the chilling, fun, and mysterious atmosphere in their own way!

As we’re presented with the basics of the case, we quickly dig deeper into both Andie and Sal’s past. This leads us to wonder how their friendship circle and other people in their lives may have been involved.

Pippa’s suspect list continues to grow and that makes us begin to question everyone. There’s tons of twists and turns as Pippa is also trying to track the killer who begins to target her and scare her into dropping the case. As the messages become more and more serious, we begin to fear if their closer than we think and if Pippa will be brave enough to continue seeking the truth!

Now onto my personal gripes (*with minor/vague spoilers). I will say this is easily one of my new favorite YA Mystery novels and I will absolutely be reading the future books!! However,  I noticed there’s many questions Jackson presents in the text (mainly in Pip’s logs and throughout some chapters). My main issue with that is, it seemed to be more about diverting your attention when we had already learned the information and so to me, it felt a bit repetitive as it pointed it out again. Also, while the cast is all great, it did feel like we only knew certain characters (like Naomi, Howie, Cara, etc.) only on a surface level. It seemed like the reader only got to know certain sides that only one side to their personality and how it served the story. Depending on the scene, it would have been nice to get more depth to their character.

Another issue (this is more of a specific personal gripe) was that in other than just a brief flashback, we never really got a clear explanation as to WHY Pippa is so interested in this case. Is it more of her personal love of true crime? (That’s really cool), but it seemed like Pippa’s enthusiasm for this case overshadowed any deeper reason for why SHE needed to be the one to solve this crime.

My other issue was that while the last 1/4 is where the mystery really begins to make sense, it was really rushed and our questions are given answers. But as with any mystery, it is surprising even if it came a bit too quickly.

However, this clearly such a well-researched, journalistic-style mystery, and really is such a gripping, undoubtedly thrilling taleIts masterfully crafted and I’m thrilled this is a series! Looking forward to seeing where Pippa’s journey is headed next in Good Girl, Bad Blood!

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is reminiscent of Serial as it blends true crime, journalism, and a page-turning mystery you won’t be able to put down! Well-crafted, intriguing, and filled with a great cast, a quirky main character who will lead you through this mystery that only gets more complex with each chapter! A unique mystery debut sure to leave readers satisfied!

Backlist Bookshelf: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Today’s post is a little bit different! So, I’m sure we all have a TBR of some kind (whether digital or physical) that’s overflowing with books we’ve been meaning to read but just haven’t yet!Backlist Bookshelf 24hr.YABookBlog

To share a glimpse into that TBR I’ve created Backlist Bookshelf which’ll be an occasional feature here on 24hr.YABookBlog to chat a bit more about a book that’s been on my physical bookshelf that I finally decide to pick up & read! I’ll discuss my early opinions on it so far, favorite moments, or any other book-related thoughts!

Today’s feature book is titled:

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly JacksonA Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson (A Good Girl’s Guide #1)

Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egmont UK)
Release Date: May 2, 2019

Summary: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

I’ve been interested in discovering more UKYA books this past year and this was a book I was immediately drawn to because of the cover, doesn’t it just scream murder mystery?

Then, once I read the summary my Journalism brain was immediately fascinated and also because it definitely gave off Serial podcast vibes, I knew I had to get a copy ASAP!

Earlier this month, I’d actually gotten a physical copy from my local library and since my UK copy was hidden away somewhere in my bookish stacks, I just decided to pick up the US edition!

But, once I finally found my UK edition and decided to start reading that one instead, I realized how different both editions actually are! This is something I’ll hopefully get into in my review (possibly?)…But, I find it super fascinating to see how the original version was translated for a US audience (from the setting to specific school details that changed completely) that was something I wasn’t expecting but its definitely something I’ll pay more attention to when reading UK YA Contemporary books!

I’l admit, just based on my first impressions reading them both back-to-back, it feels like I’m getting a bit more detail from the UK edition (however I also feel its probably a matter of how the prose is edited more tightly for the US audience?). Either way, I’m glad I’m sticking with my UK copy, it feels like there’s a bit more background to the case & Pip as a character that I’m getting in far greater length.

However, what I personally love about the US edition is how its using more graphics for the mixed media!

So for a school assignment, Pippa is investigating a 5-year-old case that happened in her town and from page 1, you get right into all those details which is great! I love that Jackson has made the book more focused on the plot itself (the case, Pippa’s evidence, etc.) and slowly revealing more to the characters and the mystery as she types up her reports.

The case really gives off Serial S1 podcast vibes, which makes so much sense considering I read up that the author actually loves those kinds of podcasts! According to Jackson’s list from Egmont, Serial was the start of her “true-crime obsession” and one of the biggest influences for Good Girl’s Guide!

Also as someone studying Journalism, I’m having so much fun examining the journalistic reporting, seeing how Pippa is seeking out other journalists and sources who were familiar with the case? Its all super fascinating! Excited to keep on reading!

Thanks for joining me on my first post for Backlist Bookshelf, let me know of any books on your TBR! & Thoughts on this new feature? 😁📚🎉

Have you read A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder? What are your thoughts on this book? 🔎📚📍

Blog Tour: Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell {ARC Review}

Songs From The Deep by Kelly PowellSongs From The Deep by Kelly Powell

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon Teen)

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Pages: 304

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Songs From The Deep

Summary: The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

*Received ARC from the publisher as part of the blog tour*

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Songs From The Deep is an atmospheric murder-mystery debut, set on an island town surrounded by sirens! When everyone is convinced a murder was the work of sirens, violin-player Moira and lighthouse keeper Jude work together to solve the case! Moira’s atmospheric narrative voice delves deeply into the characters and lore of the town! Powell delivers a story about friendship and self-growth that will captivate you, as she weaves together a quiet, character-driven mystery led by a dynamic duo!

Songs From The Deep is a novel that just from the basics of the story alone, just had me incredibly excited to check it out! There’s an island town surrounded by sirens, a childhood friend duo teaming up to solve a murder mystery, and one is a violin player and the other a lighthouse keeper? I mean how cool does that sound?

Overall I had such a fun time reading this book because from the main characters, to the setting and intrigue of the mystery, it all leaves you wanting to know more! Moira and Jude  I felt I learned so much about them and their history, and there’s just such a unique energy to them that just made me so happy every time they were on-page together solving the case! I’ll tell you, I was heartbroken when I reached the end because, Moira and Jude were just wonderful characters to get to know and they really come to life in ways its difficult to explain.

The way Powell laid out the town of Twillengyle, you can sense the deep fog, hear the crash of beach waves, the eerie and overall, atmospheric feel of a town that’s filled with life through Moira’s elegantly constructed and first person POV!

According to her bio, Powell is interested in maritime history and nautical folklore. From the very first chapter, you can sense how those interests built into the world and the atmosphere, creating a setting so vivid and unique: from the element of sirens and their lore and overall just the way the town is described with the small details.

I’d definitely say this is a quiet YA Mystery, which makes it very character-driven, slow building, and incredibly introspective through 17-year old Moira Alexander’s POV. Because of that, you are left with a certain sense and perception of the town that creates a unique image in your mind. You are able to connect to characters very quickly as well, which makes the mystery such a fun ride as you gather more pieces with each turn of the page!

Moira plays the violin for the sirens that surround her island town, because she’s grown up, both learning and understanding them through her father, who was a well-known researcher of these mystical creatures (even according to the detective, he laid the foundation for a lot of the knowledge of sirens the town is now aware of). She knows these sirens are dangerous, but seems to understand them in ways that no one else does (not even her mother).

That’s something that really shines through her POV as well, just all the knowledge she has about the sirens and her town makes the mystery a lot of fun trying to piece together!

Later that same night she runs into her childhood friend, who she hasn’t spoken to in years, 19-year old Jude Osric. He warns Moira that there’s been a murder at the beach near his lighthouse and that it could be the work of sirens.

She is not convinced that her former violin student Connor Shehan, was killed by sirens. Moira’s grown up around them to learn the details about them only she can really notice, and is determined to prove it. When the local detectives Dale and Thackery. This leads her to journey’s across town piecing together clues and speaking with her local townsfolk, to gather as much as she can to build her case!

What I loved about Songs From The Deep so much was the fact that the rekindling friendship between Moira + Jude, even the ups and downs of navigating it, are such vital parts of the story!

We learn that Jude’s family (mother, father, & older sister) were taken by sirens when he was younger. He was left alone to look over the local lighthouse!

Slowly, Moira and Jude began to drift away and I loved how layered their history was as you uncover more about their deep friendship.

Powell’s debut is not just a murder mystery, it’s also about the characters (especially our main duo), the town and how siren’s are so deeply woven into its folklore, history, alongside the past of Moira and Jude’s families.

I fell in love with both Moira and Jude so much! Their dynamic is built on friendship and you see that although they grew up being the best of friends, it’s this murder-mystery that really brings them back together! Throughout the entirety of the book,  there’s a big emphasis on friendship and although there are some developing romantic moments, it progresses perfectly as they slowly build of their relationship.

Also, just as friends, they have such great chemistry and work together as such an incredible team! While there is a hint at romance, I appreciated that a good 98% of this book focuses on them as friends and their growth! The romance is really sweet too and I  never felt it took away from the story, it was developed so perfectly!

They have their ups and downs in the friendship for sure, where they have to confront truths about themselves in order to better understand just how much their friendship means to the both of them. Its through the little moments where they show their vulnerable sides, forgive, or ensure each other’s safety where you see how much they care!

A majority of this novel though, really focuses on Moira not only as she gathers clues, but also how us as readers learn more about her town and the people within it. For example, as she gathers more evidence she decides to talk to her former teacher Ms. Nell Bracken, who was Connor’s teacher too! There’s also local kids who knew her and Jude growing up, and the local detectives who work on the case!

I appreciated how there many interwoven details that influenced different layers of the story and our main characters. Such as Moira’s reasoning for keeping to herself until the mystery begins,  which was due to the passing of her father and the grief that came with that. There’s also a secret she kept from Jude, where in time she found it much easier for them to just drift apart, even how her grief played a part in her leaving the local music hall for years where she was a rising star.

Next I wanted to talk more about the setting! A main location of the story is Jude’s lighthouse, its where they meet up and hangout for a majority of the book. There’s so much history within it, how it ties into Jude’s family and Moira’s past when they used to hear legends and tales, and explore the beach together, its a place with a lot of history for them both. I loved how this was a place they could just feel comfortable and rekindle their friendship!

This is an interesting tidbit, but before going into the book and well within the first few chapters I was picturing a modern-day setting just with sirens. But, I learn very quickly when they mentioned telegraphs, this is NOT set in modern day. Its more of a historical urban fantasy-esque world and that was something that really surprised me 😂😅✨

When it comes to the town and sirens themselves, again there were just all these little details and the way the prose just captures the setting so well! For example, there’s a brief line about sea pink flowers that represent good luck or the legends that surrounded different things around town like a small well or the lighthouse! Even reading from Moira’s POV that shows the complexity to the sirens and how sympathetic she is towards them, compared to others that live in Twillengyle.

There were a couple critiques I did want to dive into that lowered my rating. First, I felt the build-up to the mystery was so fantastic and that’s what kept you reading however, when the reveal is finally introduced, I felt it concluded very briefly and while it did surprise me, I felt it could had further explanation as to the motives. Also, very minor but there were a couple more characters I felt could have had more page time to be developed!

I also really wish there could have been more plot points added to get more of Jude/Moira together and just getting more perspective of the town from Moira’s eyes, because I loved Powell’s writing so much!

Again, this is more of a personal preference, but the writing does deliver a slow, atmospheric pace to the story, but I think it worked well because your left knowing so much about the characters and world! I loved that a lot!

I’m also just left a mess of emotions because I felt the ending wrapped up really nicely and again, just emphasized that strong bond Moira and Jude have together! I would love to read more books with them together solving more mysteries or just delving more into the town itself!! I loved these 2 so much!! 💖💖 (keeping my fingers crossed 😭💖💙)

Songs From The Deep is a YA debut that delivers a quiet murder-mystery tale through an incredibly detailed and immersive writing-style! If your looking for a character-driven mystery, atmospheric writing, and a dynamic detective duo, this is a great book to pick up! Enchanting, immersive, and filled with mystery!!

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby Review

York The Shadow Cipher by Laura RubyYork: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (York #1)

Publisher: Walden Pond Press

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Pages: 476

Available Through The Book Depository: York: The Shadow Cipher

Summary: It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

*Received book 1 of this series as part of an upcoming Blog Tour* 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Shadow Cipher is an immersive and clever middle-grade novel that melds fantasy, steampunk, & history set in an alternate modern-day New York! When they’re soon to be evicted from their apartment, the famous Moringstarr tower, Tess Biedermann, Theo Biederman & Jamie Cruz try solve the famous Old York Cipher to save their home before its too late! Ruby’s novel is a captivating tale filled with mystery, adventure, and clever puzzles!

York: The Shadow Cipher is a book that had been on my TBR for years–I’d actually started it a couple years back, but sadly hadn’t gotten around to finishing it. But, now that I’m going to be reviewing the sequel for an upcoming blog tour, I’m so glad I was given another chance to return to it!

If you didn’t know, Laura Ruby also wrote a wonderful YA magical realism book back in I think 2015 (?) called Bone Gap (which was one of my favorite books back in 2015–I highly recommend it!!). As I read York: The Shadow Cipher, I realized something about Ruby’s books:

Her tales deliver such unique reading experiences for me personally, that I can only get from the first read-through! The atmosphere, characters, and immersive quality of her stories/writing is what draws me in with each page and allows me to connect with the plot and her unique cast of characters!

Twins Tess & Theo get tangled up in a centuries-old cipher so with the help of their classmate/neighbor Jamie, they attempt to solve the riddles and save their home! The clues lead them back to uncovering the answers to the impossible cipher hidden within their apartment–The Morningstarr Tower and the city of New York.

What really kept me surprised was the ciphers/puzzles throughout the book. There’s riddles that lead the crew to different places across New York, but are also focused on history. I never really knew where the journey was headed next, but that kept me reading because I just loved being surprised at where the next piece in this puzzle was coming from.

The Shadow Cipher is told through various POVs (3 mainly), but they all had distinct voices and the writing flowed well all throughout the book! The writing-style was descriptive, unique, but also incredibly fun to read.

Although there’s an overarching story here, I loved that there were many underlying themes that journeyed across the novel as well. From family, friendship, & having a place of belonging to name a few, were just some of the wonderful themes explored in this book!

I loved that each of these were tackled through different characters from Theo, Jamie, to Tess.

I found tat the adventurous atmosphere of the story really allowed me to picture everything from the setting to the inventions, and plot itself so vividly and overall, it really came to life on the page–it was incredibly cinematic!

The characters are all so well developed and though there are some who we never really meet or pass in & out of the story, I found that they all felt incredibly real and I could picture them throughout the book.

Its hard to say which character was my favorite, because I enjoyed them all in different ways, but I have to say Jamie Cruz was one of my favorites! I loved how his adoration of comics and superheroes really added another layer of depth to his story and how he viewed the world! His POVs were definitely my favorites! He was almost always looking towards the positives and was just a really uplifting character to read from–he also had a hobby of sketching/drawing which he used to draw out certain locations or parts of the cipher along the way, which was fun to read about.

The Shadow Cipher is also an incredibly character-driven story! Tess, Theo & Jamie all have their own personal journeys and its great they each had their own time away from the main story at points, just so us as readers could get to know them more as characters! overall just really felt developed as characters and I found they really grew little by little over the course of the book.

The alternate New York was fun to explore also because of the unique inventions! I loved how Ruby really built these unique inventions from the Mornigstarrs into the cipher/puzzles in ways I wasn’t really expecting, but found fun all the same. There’s just so much creativity to this world that although its based on a real place, there was just that spark that made New York feel like a completely different world.

The plot was just really unexpected and overall I enjoyed being invested in the Cipher just as much as Theo, Tess & Jamie! There were some plot twists and secrets that I didn’t see coming, but overall the story left me curious as to where the plot is headed in the sequel.

I did rate it 4 stars because although this book was such a fun read, I did feel the pacing was a bit slow at points and the pacing seemed to vary throughout the story as well. The ending itself also just also left me feeling like I needed a little something more. Overall though, I loved the main cast, the humor, and thought-provoking ciphers and I can’t wait to see what happens as the series continues!

York: The Shadow Cipher is the first book in what sets up to be a great middle-grade series with clues, puzzles, and mysteries to solve that weave together in a unique way! The great cast of characters, clever puzzles, and fascinating world are all explored through such an immersive and dynamic atmosphere! The ending will leave you interested in seeing whats next for Tess, Theo, & Jamie in the sequel!

January 2019 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

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

January 2019

Contemporary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contemporary Mystery

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

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

Fantasy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Historical Fiction

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

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

Historical Fantasy

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

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

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

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

Mythology

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

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

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

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

Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

Retellings

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ With Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month right around the corner (September 15- October 15), I thought I’d recommend a list of some upcoming YA Book Releases coming out this fall, written by Latinx Authors!

The list includes: Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Paranormal, & Retellings!

And I’m even adding in some upcoming 2019 YA Releases I’m eagerly waiting for & ones I recommend adding to your TBR right away if you haven’t already! (Get those 2019 TBRs ready!!)

With that said, onto the list!

And if there’s any I may have missed, please let me know in the comments!

Contemporary

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes1.Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
416
Summary: Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process? (ARC Review To Come!)

American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott2. American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
272
Summary: With a strong, loving family, an incredibly loyal best friend, and a budding romance with the girl of his dreams, life shows promise for seventeen-year-old Teodoro “T” Avila. But he takes some hard hits the summer before his senior year when his nearly perfect brother Manny returns from a tour in Iraq with a devastating case of PTSD.

In a desperate effort to save Manny from himself and pull their family back together, T’s fiery sister Xochitl hoodwinks her brothers into a road trip with many stops along the road to visit loved ones from their past.

The Resolutions by Mia Garcia3.The Resolutions by Mia Garcia
Publisher: 
Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date:
November 13, 2018
Pages:
416
Summary: New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.

From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.

Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.

But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems. 

Fantasy

Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria1.Beneath The Citadel by Destiny Soria
Publisher:
Amulet
Release Date:
October 9, 2018
Pages:
480
Summary: In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.

Magical Realism

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore1.Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date:
October 9, 2018
Pages:
384
Summary: The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price wepay to protect our hearts.

Paranormal

Seventh Born by Monica Sanz1.Seventh Born by Monica Sanz (The Witchling Academy #1)
Publisher: 
Entangled Teen
Release Date:
September 4, 2018
Pages:
400
Summary: Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.
 
Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.
 
The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.

Retellings

Pride by Ibi Zoboi1.Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Publisher: 
Balzer + Bray
Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Pages:
304
Summary: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Upcoming 2019 YA Latinx Books

While this list features my top 7 anticipated 2019 YA Latinx releases, definitely keep an eye out on the blog for a full list of YA & MG Latinx releases closer to (or in) early 2019!

Now here are the upcoming 2019 YA Latinx book releases I am beyond excited to get my hands on and read! I definitely recommend you add these to your TBR! ❤

1.We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

2. The Last 8 by Laura Pohl (The Last 8 #1)

3.Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

4.This Just In by Maritza Moulite & Maika Moulite

5. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

6. Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

7. Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

What Latinx YA Releases are you looking forward to?

*I’ve also linked each book cover to its Book Depository page if your interested in pre-ordering (*It is an affiliate link) If you like my content & would like to support me through those links, it would mean a lot!

Sacred Lies Mini-Series Review

Sacred Lies, which premiered through Facebook Watch as a mini-series as of July 27, is based on Stephanie Oakes debut novel from 2015, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly!

I was unsure whether or not to do a series review (until after the show was over) or maybe do a review for every 2-3 episodes (considering this is a mini-series), but I felt making a general review would be best because I feel more people (especially those in the bookish community) should definitely watch this YA Adaptation!

78If you’ve never heard of The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly, here’s a quick summary:

Seventeen-year old Minnow Bly (now handless) was able to escape the Kevinian Cult. After having spent the last 12 years of her life there, she is now in a juvenile detention center, being the only left after the Prophet was murdered and the camp was set aflame.

Now as she struggles to adjust and un-learn what she’s been taught, an FBI detective/psychologist tries to unravel her story of what led to her escaping and offers her a deal. If Minnow is willing to reveal the secrets of the cult and tell her story, she can be set free!

While it has been years since I read Minnow Bly, I did skim through some chapters as I started watching the show and really loved how true it stayed to the book! It still kept so much of the main plot points, themes, and elements of the book + overall the spirit of the it too, which was definitely there with each episode.

I’d even noticed some character descriptions were spot-on to Minnow Bly!

Sacred Lies Facebook Watch TV SeriesWhat makes a mini-series format work so well for Sacred Lies, is seen through its pacing and development.

For instance, when the first 3 episodes aired on the 27, I marathoned them and was so happy both as a fan of the book and show in general, because the show allowed for more time with the characters (mainly the side characters), even more than in the book from what I remember!

You get even more emotional depth to characters and the story because your seeing it not just from Minnow’s perspective (like in the book), but also from other characters like the psychologist, Doctor Wilson, too!

Each actor and actress delivers so much to their role and was so happy with how much they brought the character to life!

Elena Kampouris portrayed Minnow incredibly! Because this novel centers around Minnow who grew up in a cult, her acting brings just–so much to Minnow as a character and the show itself! Especially when seeing her life during the cult (with her family) and after, now that she’s the only one left and learning the truth behind what she was taught for years!

In terms of characters, one of my favorite parts was seeing Minnow’s growth as a character whether its trusting people and trying to make friends (like her roommate Angel), or learning to read, we see her strength with each moment!

Additionally, because the story is told through Minnow’s past at the cult and the present, it delivers the mystery surrounding the Kevinian Cult, Kevin himself, and what led to Minnow escaping, in a way where the pieces are delivered little by little, but in a brilliant way!

Having read the book, it was amazing getting to see these characters I loved, like Minnow come to life. Also, through the episodic + multiple perspective/timeline format, you really get to the root of each character and understand them no matter how little screen time they have.

It also has somewhat of a psychological aspect to it, where you feel you get into the characters heads a bit and understand them in a different way.

Each character in the show adds so much to their respective scene. Every scene matters and you get more not only from the characters, but from the story and it all ties together in a brilliant way!

If you haven’t read The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly or watched Sacred Lies, please do! I haven’t heard many people (especially in the book community) talk about it, which makes me so sad! This is an incredible & really spot-on adaptation which further explores the novel through the depths of its characters on the show!

To celebrate the release of Sacred Lies, I’m also having a giveaway on my twitter (which is INTL) for a copy of The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly!

Overall its an all-around great show to watch! There’s mystery, suspense, an amazing cast of characters, and a perfectly executed story that has you on the edge of your seat after each episode!

If your looking for another YA book adaptation, please check out Sacred Lies! You won’t be disappointed!

As of today, August 10, there are 4 episodes currently out with new ones each Friday available to see by logging into Facebook and seeing it through Facebook Watch @ 6pm Est & Pst!

Have you watched Sacred Lies? OR Have you read The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly and started watching the adaptation too?

What are your thoughts on Sacred Lies?

July 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #13

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Sacred Lies Trailer Review

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

Plans For August:

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

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

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

What books did you read this month?? 📚✨

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 136

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

My Rating:★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Yallwest 2018 ran from May 4-5 and I had the opportunity to interview 2 upcoming debut authors: Maura Milan for her upcoming YA Sci-Fi Ignite The Stars and Astrid Scholte for her YA Fantasy Four Dead Queens!

Astrid ScholteFour Dead Queens is set to be released February 26, 2019!

Thanks again to Astrid for taking the time to chat with me in line during a Yallwest giveaway and for being my first interview of the day! I can’t wait to read Four Dead Queens!

*The interview also includes qs. post-Yallwest*

Q1: How has your Yallwest experience been so far?

Astrid: This is my first time being here and its been fantastic! I went to the Keynote which was amazing, with Tomi Adeyemi & Tami Pierce!

I went to the Penguin Teen booth, now I’m here, and I have a lot more that I want to see and do!

1a: Would you return again in the future?

Astrid: Absolutely! It’s only been a few hours and already I’m blown away! Its so exciting!

Q3: Are there any authors, books, or panels, you’ve been looking forward to?

Astrid: The Keynote! I was really looking forward to it and anything that’s fantasy based (I love fantasy ^_^), & Sabaa’s PM keynote!

Q4: Have you managed to get any book swag or ARCs?

Astrid: I have! Shout out to fellow Penguin Teen authors, its called Always Never Yours, I also met the authors and they were super nice!

Four Dead Queens/Writing Qs.

Q5: For those who haven’t heard of Four Dead Queens, can you tell us what its about?

Astrid: Four Dead Queens is a murder-mystery set in a fantasy world. Its a nation divided into four very distinct cultures and they are each ruled by a queen.

These queens then start being killed off one by one, so its a murder-mystery as to why they are being killed and what secrets they could possibly be hiding!

So the main character, Keralie, is trying to solve the riddle before its too late.

Q6: What inspired Four Dead Queens and in general, do you have any other writing inspirations?

Astrid: What inspired me, was mostly that I wanted to write and murder-mystery. I’ve always loved them, ever since I was a kid and I love fantasy!

So, I thought it would be unique to blend the two genres together!

I actually had a dream about a futuristic car flying past a carriage and wondered what sort of world would exist where these two very different technologies would be in parallel, so that was also a starting point.

Q7: With Four Dead Queens being YA Fantasy, do you have any favorite YA Fantasy books or authors?

Astrid: Absolutely! YA Fantasy is my favorite genre, I read a lot of it! My favorite is probably Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows duology) and Laini Taylor!

Sci-Fi-wise, because I love the blend of fantasy and sci-fi, I love Amie Kaufman!

Any kind of blockbuster sci-f or fantasy is my jam!

Q8: Is there a character from Four Dead Queens your excited for readers to meet?

Astrid: Yeah! I’m excited for readers to meet all the characters, but one that stands out is the character of Mackiel, he is really fun to write and I think readers will love to hate him 😅😂!!

Q9: With the world of Four Dead Queens being separated by four distinct quadrants, which would you say was your favorite to write about or explore?

Astrid: I think my favorite would have to be Ludia which is the entertainment quadrant. They focus on the fun and lightness of life.

I’m a kid at heart, so that one was really great to explore and develop!

Q10: Do you listen to any music when you write? If so, any songs you listened to while writing Four Dead Queens?

Astrid: I wish I could write to music! I’m one of those people who can only write in silence.

However, when I revise I can definitely listen to music. Anything without lyrics though such as movie soundtracks! I like listening to Disney, anything that is just to keep in the background.

Q11: With Four Dead Queens being a 2019 release, can you share a couple 2019 YA releases your looking forward to?

Astrid: I really want to read King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo! Really looking forward to that one, as well as Tomi Adeyemi’s sequel to Children Of Blood And Bone, Children Of Vengeance And Virtue!

Four Dead Queens by Astrid ScholteQ12: As of June 1, Penguin Teen revealed the Four Dead Queens cover! What were your thoughts on the cover and overall, how did you feel when you first saw it?

Astrid: I absolutely LOVE the cover! I was blown away when I first saw it. You can see my
gobsmacked reaction when I first saw it on Instagram Here!

The cover is so beautiful, dramatic and also mysterious! It’s perfect for my book! I worked
with Penguin to make sure the crowns suited each of the queens and their regions and I
couldn’t be happier.

Q13: Four Dead Queens was also part of a galley drop during BEA/Book Con 2018 that the Penguin Teen booth was keep a secret throughout the day! How did you feel when you saw pictures of your ARC being featured & all the readers excited to get their hands on a copy?

Astrid: It was surreal! Penguin Teen told me about their idea when I visited New York a month earlier, and I thought it was genius! Of course, I wanted to tell everyone it was *my* book, but I had to stay silent.

When they finally revealed it as Four Dead Queens, I was able to share the news on Twitter and Instagram and watch the excitement unfold. I heard the ARC drop got a little intense as people tried to grab a copy, and that there was more security than Bill Clinton’s panel! I’m so lucky that people are excited to read my book and to have such a wonderful team at Penguin Teen supporting it!

Lightning Round Qs.

1.Can you describe your book in 3 words? Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem!

2.Go-to writing snack (or drink)? Peppermint Tea, its a must when I’m writing!

3.Current Read? The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

5.Most anticipated 2018 YA Release? The sequel to Warcross, Wildcard!

6.Favorite YA Book of 2018 so far? Definitely Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone! I loved how cinematic it was and can’t wait to see the film adaptation! I’m also loving Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which I’m reading right now.

7.Can you describe your favorite kind of book in 3 words? I could say Four Dead Queens, as I put everything that I love about YA in it, but I won’t! 😉 If
I had to boil it down to three things, it would be fantasy, mystery and romance.

8.Plotter or Pantser? Pantser, 100%

Thanks again to Astrid for an awesome interview!

Are you looking forward to reading Four Dead Queens? ✨⚔👑