Lunar Maria by Kwan-Ann Tan Review

Lunar Maria by Kwan-Ann TanLunar Maria by Kwan-Ann Tan

Publisher: Ghost City Press

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Pages: 17

Cover Design: Charity Young

Available Through the Ghost City Press Website: Lunar Maria

Summary: This micro-chapbook is a part of the 2019 Ghost City Press Summer Micro-Chap Series. In the author’s words Lunar Maria is “a myth about the moon, a dysfunctional relationship, and some longings for home- centered around Chang’e.”

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Lunar Maria is a stellar poetry collection that focuses on Chang’e, Chinese goddess of the moon! Tan crafts each and every poem with a distinct message and tale to be told. While weaving in beautiful imagery of nature alongside a clear story, she chronicles a tale of self, identity, and the deep complexity of emotion!

I’ll definitely expand more on this in my upcoming 2020 Reading Goals post, but in the new year I hope to challenge myself in terms of what I read. This means branching out to explore different formats of storytelling, such as chapbooks or reading more literary magazines!

My first read of 2020 is perfect start to that goal, considering its a poetry collection from an indie publisher that publishes chapbooks + micro-chapbooks that showcase poetry and short fiction!

From its very first pages, Tan immerses you in her wonderful collection with the story of goddess Chang’e and verses such as this:

I raise my head to view the moon, bow it, longing for my hometown.

Each poem (with 10 total) is crafted through such unique and beautiful imagery. They capture striking and vivid emotions linked with the oceans, lakes, even the moon!

There’s a variety of themes that are present throughout this collection and are explored through Tan’s descriptive writing! Lunar Maria includes themes of self, balance, finding home, and the complexities of love.

The jumps across time among each of the poems flows so naturally (between Chang’e’s story and a young woman returning home from school). This further showcases the distinct story that’s woven throughout each poem that also feel incredibly personal.

While I fell in love with every poem in this collection, I wanted to highlight a couple that really stood out to me: vi. mare tranquilitatis / the sea of tranquility, mare nectaris / the sea of nectar, & i. lacus somniorum / the lake of dreams.

The Sea Of Nectar is so visual and detailed, it beautifully lists comparisons of moonlight hitting earth! Its a gorgeous poem and really stood out to me.

The Sea Of Tranquility captures through such vivid emotion, a young woman returning home, making mooncakes, and enjoying the festival with her grandmother. It beautifully illustrates family, home, also the sense of love and calm that both bring.

Tan’s writing not only allows for a captivating story to be told with each poem, but also illustrates distinct emotions that shine throughout the verses. Not only that, but there’s a certain tone and mood that’s set through Tan’s impactful use of language and vivid imagery.

Kwan-Ann Tan is a Malaysian writer and beautifully explores the Chinese legend of Chang’e, which centers around immortality and how she became goddess of the moon.

Lunar Maria is a poetry collection I’d definitely see myself revisiting in the future! I’m also looking forward to checking out more of Ghost City Press’s published works, because these poems were fantastic!

Please check out this delightful collection, because its both moving and beautifully written! If your looking for magnificent storytelling explored through poetry, Kwan-Ann Tan’s is a short but phenomenal collection that I highly recommend!

Lunar Maria weaves in powerful storytelling through a wonderful collection of poetry! This a unique set of poems unlike any I’ve ever read before, filled with impactful themes, beautiful imagery, alongside wonderful writing while evoking such distinct emotions with every verse!

This book was also my first pick for #QuietReadathon, which is a readathon I’m hosting all about reading & inspiring conversation around underrated/quiet books! 📚🌿 If your interested in joining, check out all the info here!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee Review {Graphic Novel}

Sea Sirens by Amy ChuSea Sirens by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee (Artist/Illustrator) (A Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure #1)

Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Pages: 144

Available Through The Book Depository: Sea Sirens

Summary: Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap’n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions–and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Sea Sirens is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel with a unique art-style, a delightful story, and wonderful cast of characters! Trot finds herself in an underwater kingdom with her cat Cap’n Bill, where an ancient deep-sea battle rages on between Sirens & Serpents! Powerful themes of family and friendship, alongside adventure, are present all throughout Chu and Lee’s spectacular graphic novel! This one is a must-read!

Sea Sirens follows Trot, whose a dedicated surfer girl living in Huntington Beach, Cali. & her one-eyed cat Cap’n Bill who she rescued as a stray on the beach! They both get taken to an underwater kingdom of Sirens & Serpents when powerful wave pushes them underwater!

READ THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL–ITS FANTASTIC!! 💖 I was looking forward to this one for months because the beautiful cover immediately had me add it to my TBR and the story inside is just as beautiful!

Trot is a surfer girl at heart and the story starts with her spending the day at the beach surfing and her grandfather enjoying fishing! But, her grandfather goes missing (due to his dementia) and she’s heartbroken! Luckily he’s found, but her workaholic mother tells her she can’t go out to the beach without her, to ensure her grandfather’s safety!

However, Trot doesn’t let that stop her from surfing, so she finds a way to sneak out. She and Cap’n Bill catch a bad wave and get thrust to the bottom of the ocean where Sirens and Serpents are in battle! Luckily, Cap’n Bill is ready to chase the serpents away! The Siren princess, Clia invites them to stay in her kingdom– now Trot & Cap’n Bill are celebrated for their bravery (but mainly Cap’n Bill 😂)!

The story continues with Trot & Cap’n Bill exploring the kingdom, being celebrated with a feast, and learning more about the battle between Sirens & Serpents, alongside the history of the Queendom of the Sirens (I loved the scene introduced early on when princess Clia shows her a mural of their history commissioned by her great-grandmother)!

Clia, princess of the Sirens introduces Trot to her world, as does Queen Aquareine, and the 2 develop a friendship over the course of the story.

One of my favorite parts was seeing the inventions/magical objects of the Siren’s world that continuously immerse Trot into this underwater kingdom! There’s one object in particular that added so much to the story and that was a special pearl necklace that allows Cap’n Bill to talk! I loved getting to hear what he had to say and it added so much to the story!!

I don’t want to spoil things, but there’s a few plot twists that send Trot, Cap’n Bill, and Clia on a rescue mission!

Of course with the Sirens being familiar/fascinated with human world (but not exactly interacting with it so close to the surface). I really enjoyed learning more about this split between their world and ours through their fascination with the ships that sink in their territory! I also loved learning about the Sirens love of charting the ocean territories–I hope that’s explored more in upcoming releases!

The politics and world-building of the underwater kingdom were so beautifully explored and had so much depth, yet still left a bit of mystery that I can’t wait to learn more about it in future books!

Sea Sirens draws inspiration not only from Vietnamese folklore and fairytales, but mainly L. Frank Baum’s children’s fantasy novel published in 1911 titled, The Sea Fairies!

Now onto the representation! This graphic novel mainly features Vietnamese representation! Trot herself is Vietnamese-American and her grandfather is Vietnamese! It was great to see the rep. explored through the use of language and elements of Vietnamese folklore/fairytales! The representation and culture is woven throughout the pages of this beautiful story!

The art itself is so unique! There’s the use of watercolor and vibrant line-work present throughout the whole graphic novel! I really paid attention to the artwork throughout each panel and was in awe at the stunning art that not only immersed me, but left me captivated! The design of the characters, settings, and color palette brought everything to life!

Sea Sirens ends on a wonderful note hinting at more to come and I can’t wait!!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee is a beautiful and immersive graphic novel that’s filled with adventure when Trot gets sucked into an underwater kingdom! From the story to artwork, themes, and so much more–this is a wonderful graphic novel that you don’t want to miss!

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? 😍📚✨🎉🎉

 

November 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean1.Empress Of All Seasons by Emiko Jean 

ARC| Started November 2 + Finished November 8 | My Rating: ★★★★☆ | Empress Of All Seasons ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Empress Of All Seasons is a wonderfully character-driven YA Fantasy that’s inspired by deeply woven Japanese Mythology! There’s intrigue, action, politics, adventure, and rising rebellion! Mari is part Yokai (those who have the ability to transform into monsters or other supernatural creatures) and we soon learn her mother has been training her all her life to prepare her for a competition in the royal palace where all female contestants must battle within the 4 seasonal rooms for the prince’s hand in marriage! Mari definitely had a bit of an anti-hero vibe which I loved so much! Told through 3 POV’s we follow Mari, her childhood friend Akira, & Prince Taro! The character-development and plot are explored in ways you don’t really expect and the world is incredibly immersive. Though the pacing was a bit uneven at times and the writing was rather direct & simplistic, above all Empress was a book that really subverted tropes and expectations as the story developed!

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri2.Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri (The Books Of Ambha #1)

ARC |Started November 9 + Finished November 12 | My Rating:★★★★★ |Empire Of Sand ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Empire Of Sand has easily become one of my favorite books of all-time and I HIGHLY recommend this utterly fantastic epic fantasy debut! Set in a world inspired by India’s Mughal Empire, we follow Mehr who’s the daughter of a governor who is 1/2 Ambhan & Amrithi (those descended from desert spirits). When her Amrithi powers put her in jeopardy, she must now embark on a journey and leave her family behind to a religious temple taken there by Mystics while, through complex circumstances, she becomes married to a fellow Amrithi (Amun). The two learn more about each other and the power they have when faced with important choices and a mysterious and important religious figure in the temple! One of my absolute favorite elements of Empire was the dynamics between Mehr & the other characters (especially Amun <3). The writing is lush, vibrant and allows you to connect with everything from the characters, world, complex themes, etc.! I can’t put into words just how phenomenal this book is! I loved everything about it, from the writing, story, deeply explored & complex themes of choice, love, family, and so much more! The richly detailed story is immersive, magical, & complex! Suri’s debut is not one to miss and I’m incredibly excited to see where the series is headed!

Fields Of Fire by Hannah West3.Fields Of Fire by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles #1.5)

Owned | Started + Finished November 16 |My Rating: ★★★★☆ | Fields Of Fire Full Review

Overall Thoughts: An immersive novella that brings reader’s back to the land of Nissera from West’s debut, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars! This short story runs parallel to KOAAB and follows a group of spies as they attempt to uncover the identity of an alchemist linked with a dangerous weapon that could turn the tides of war! Following Drell, Reed, Gannan, & Skye–they scope out a local inn and attempt to gather intel. What made this novella so much fun was how through West’s writing, you were easily immersed in the story and action. One of my favorite dynamics was Drell & Gannan as they go undercover as a couple at the inn! There’s a good amount of backstory for such a short novella. My only minor issues are that the world itself did take me a bit to fully re-connect with and there were minor/side characters I wish had more development. However, this novella above all is a tale that is filled with intrigue as it builds a little more into the Nissera Chronicles and left me absolutely excited to dive into Realm Of Ruins the companion/spin-off!

This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada4.This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #2)

Library | Started November 17 + Finished November 21 | My Rating: ★★★★☆ | This Cruel Design Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Suvada’s sequel delivers on even more depth and exploration in terms of Cat as a character and her past, the world, even the technology introduced in This Mortal Coil! As Cat is faced with the conflict of the past she knows vs. the past everyone else remembers of her, she is faced with loneliness and we learn much more about her life as Jun Bei! Cat & the crew are tasked with finding Lachlan and an antidote to a quickly mutating virus. There’s new characters (like Mato–who really surprised me) and a more centralized focus on the characters and city of Entropia which really allowed for a unique kind of depth! However, I did sadly take off a star with the fact that we already know the end-goal going into TMC, I found the pacing to be really slow and the introduction of a character later into the story, which I found to really take away from the centralized group already in the story! However, the plot was great and I loved the character-development and as with Suvada’s ending to This Mortal Coil, This Cruel Design leaves you wanting the next book right away!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Travels feat. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Pre-Order Book Swag, Using Libraries, & Why Libraries Matter To Me As A Book Blogger {Book Blog Discussion}

2018 Reads Giveaway List! for my current Giveaway on Twitter

~ For November 2018, overall I had a pretty solid reading month, but I was expecting to read a couple more books! 😭📚✨

Plans For December:

~ With this being the last month of 2018, I want to try & finish up some 2018 releases that I’ve kept on my TBR throughout this year and have really been looking forward to reading! 😍❤📚

~ Share a podcast review that has been sitting in my drafts for the past month 🎙✨😂 Its a really great podcast and I’m really looking forward to recommending it!

~ I want to try and beat my previous amount of books read in 2017 (which was 72)! Hopefully it’ll happen? I have 10+ books I want to finish before 2019, so I’m going to try & stick to it! 📚🍀✨

~ Finalize some 2019 posts, hopefully share some 2018 TBR Lists & maybe a yearly wrap-up? (I’m still thinking about it 😂✨📚📚)

This has been my November 2018 Wrap-Up! What books did you read in November? & What’s on your End-Of-The-Year TBR? 😍📚📚✨

October 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi1. Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2.5)

Library | Started September 12 + Finished October 1 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Star-Touched Stories Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This collection is not one to miss for fans of The Star-Touched Series! They explore love, loss, acceptance, finding one’s inner strength & so much more! The 3 stories within this collection include: Death And Night, Poison And Gold, & Rose And Sword. What I adored about this collection is that even though it supplements the series, there continues to be so much development that adds more to the TSTQ world overall, in such a fantastic way! While I did take my time reading this collection, it was until I got to the last story that I was really savoring each moment with these characters & I still wasn’t ready to leave this world behind (B/c this is the final Star-Touched novel). I’m really going to miss Maya, Amar, Aasha, & my fave duo Gauri & Vikram 😭✨❤ My only minor issue is that there was some slow pacing throughout Aasha’s story. I adored this collection so much and felt it wonderfully wrapped up the series!

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab2.Vengeful by V.E. Schwab (Villains #2)

Owned | Started September 27 + Finished October 8 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½|Vengeful Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Vengeful is the sequel we’ve waited years for! This novel is brilliantly dark, action-packed, & character-driven! What Schwab does that really takes this sequel in a different direction, is allowing the story to focus more on new/side-characters (like Marcella & June) and there’s also the introduction to this mysterious organization called EON. I loved getting more to Eli’s backstory and overall seeing the fate of these characters I loved, 5 years later! Schwab brilliantly incorporates numerous POVs across a varied amount of timelines and with series in particular, masterfully ties everything together. As to why it wasn’t a full 5, the pacing did feel a bit slow when I finally saw where the story would lead. As the book progressed, I actually found myself less interested in June as a character, & I really wanted more scenes of Victor & Eli (b/c I adore these messed up super-villains so much!! ❤❤) Above all, Vengeful was an epic, dark, twisted continuation to the Villains Series, that took everything I loved from Vicious & brought it to an entirely new level!

The Royal Tutor Volume 2 by Higasa Akai3. The Royal Tutor Vol. 2 by Higasa Akai (The Royal Tutor #2)

Owned | Started + Finished October 15 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |The Royal Tutor Volume 2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Royal Tutor is one of my favorite manga series and I was so happy to be continuing it with volume 2! Heine, the tutor, now begins is introductory lessons with the princes. What makes this volume shine is the focus on the characters (mainly princes) and the strong tight-knit bond they share. Their always there to support each-other & I loved seeing my favorite princes be there for one another 😭❤❤✨ The plot unfolds in a great way (as do the mysteries) and the comedy in this series is fantastic! My only minor issue is that I’m really hoping to get more expansion on the setting & there are 2 side characters who barley have any page time, so I don’t feel like I know a whole lot about them. The Royal Tutor continues to be a great manga series with a main cast you can’t help but adore & filled so much humor. I’m really looking forward to the 3rd volume!

Blanca &amp; Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore4. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

ARC |Started October 12 + Finished October 25 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Blanca & Roja ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Anna-Marie’s tales always captivate me and Blanca & Roja is no different. Her latest lush magical realism tale weaves together Swan Lake with Snow White And Rose Red and its such a beautiful story! We follow sisters Blanca and Roja, who have been raised to be rivals involving a generation-long spell where every generation in their family, one of 2 sisters will become a swan! Having grown up to believe they will always be opposites, Roja believes she will be taken by the swans. Even though this conflict exists between them, their bond is so strong & they are willing to keep secrets to help one another. However things change when 2 boys, Page & Barclay, become involved in this game. As with all of McLemore’s books, she explores identity and gender so beautifully! I adored these 4 with all my heart ❤ The dynamics explored between each of them have so many layers and are beautifully developed. The plot unravels in unexpected & magical ways! Family, love, and identity are such important themes in this novel and are explored with such depth! As with all of Anna-Marie’s novels, they are truly unforgettable & will continue to stay with me! I can’t wait for her next amazing novel~

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta5. The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta (The Brilliant Death #1)

ARC | Started October 24 + Finished October 26 |My Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |The Brilliant Death ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Brilliant Death was a book I went into with incredibly high expectations and was incredibly happy to see that it exceeded them! Set in a magical 19th Century-inspired Italian setting, we are introduced to Teo(a Strega) who goes on a mission to the country of Vinalia’s capital to save her father (one of 5 heads of the controlling families), when it seems all the families heads have fallen. She must do so, not disguised as a boy, but turned into one! With her Strega abilities, alongside her gender-fluid tutor Cielo, they both embark on this journey & discover so much along the way! The world of Vinalia is detailed, immersive, & given wonderful development + exploration! My only minor issue is that ending did feel a little rushed. However, The Brilliant Death is a wholly unique and fantastic start to a new YA Fantasy series! With exploration of gender & identity, and an adventure filled with politics & intrigue, Amy Rose Capetta’s fantasy debut is not one to miss! I’m expecting so much from this series!

Satoko And Nada Vol. 16. Satoko And Nada by Yupechika (Satoko & Nada #1)

Library| Started + Finished October 27 | My Rating: ★★★★★ | Satoko And Nada Volume 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Satoko & Nada is one of those mangas that I think will definitely be loved for fans of YA! Continuing their uni/college studies in America, Satoko and Nada find themselves becoming roommates and the best of friends! What truly shines about this manga debut is the friendship and amazing characters, from Satoko, Nada, Pakeezah, Ameena, Miracle, & Kevin! The characters are so incredibly developed and they really come to life by the end of this first volume! Satoko & Nada also discusses common misconceptions of Saudi & Islamic culture, while also discussing homesickness, etc. Its also really diverse! The pacing is fantastic, the comedy is perfect, & its the kind of story you want to re-read all over again because it leaves a smile on your face! Satoko & Nada is a fantastic manga debut and one I highly recommend if your looking for a comedic contemporary, & slice-of-life story!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Girl In Space Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Author Interview With Janelle Milanes {Analee, In Real Life}

No More Heroes: Hell Or High Water by Michelle Kan {Exclusive Cover Reveal}

Non-Fiction Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To! {Literary Listens}

Book Bytes #16

~ So overall I was pretty happy with the books I read in October & the content I posted ❤🎃✨📚😍 I’m also slowly but, surely getting back on track with my TBR!

Plans For November:

~ As always catch up on ARCs & new releases 😅📚✨ If your interested in seeing more daily reading/bookish updates definitely check out my twitter! & I’ve been in kind of Twitter slump recently, so it’d be so awesome to start bookish conversations on there 😍📚✨❤❤

~ I’ve been working on a new blog feature & I am beyond excited to be debuting it this month on the blog! (Hint: it involves recently released/upcoming fantasy books!!) 😍📚✨⚔

~ I also may have another Literary Listens post up, it could be a podcast review or a podcast recommendation list! (I’m still deciding) 🎙✨

~ I’m also prepping some December & early 2019 posts that will definitely introduce some new bookish content to my blog! ❤❤📚🎉

Thanks for checking out my October 2018 Wrap-Up! What books did you read in October? or Any blog posts you enjoyed creating last month? Are there any that your planning on reading in November? 😍📚✨💕

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi Review

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani ChokshiStar-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2.5)

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Pages: 388

Summary: Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth? 

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Readers are once again immersed into the world of The Star-Touched Queen through three dazzlingly written stories that explore love, loss, acceptance, and so much more! Star-Touched Stories is not a collection to miss for fans of the series! Chokshi’s storytelling weaves magic and wonder with each page!

Death And Night by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★

This first story is set up to be a prequel to The Star-Touched Queen, which follows the past lives of Maya & Amar + how they fell in love! (There’s also some references to TSTQ).

Death wanders the land of Naraka, lonely with only the night sky as his solace and comfort. Then there is Night herself, who sells dream fruit (allowing people to have any kind of dream), and all she longs for is recognition or remembrance for what she’s done!

Both are death & night incarnate, and through Chokshi’s writing we get such thought-provoking passages of the movement of time, connection, longing for love, loneliness…just such moving passages that are delivered through each of them and what they long for!

Death runs into Night after hearing about her & figuring she may be the one, before Teej comes (which Death isn’t looking forward to)! They meet after an evening in the Night Bazaar and there beautiful relationship goes from there!

We see how lonely they both are, but in different ways! As their relationship develops, its so clear that they both have fears that are holding them back from being with each other. However, when they are with each other, they begin to see that each of them understands the deepest secrets + dreams within their hearts.

We learn that Death’s heart was cursed by the Shadow Wife to always lose his love and seeing how it added so much more to his apprehension of finding love at first was so incredibly developed and weaved into not only his story, but the story overall! 

I loved how Chokshi developed their relationship and through the beautiful dual POV 1st person narrative, get immersed in such a beautiful tale.

Additionally, through Chokshi exploring both Death & Night, we see how throughout the story, they unlock each others deepest dreams + wishes as they connect and grow with each other.

The descriptions and overall atmosphere of this novella was phenomenal! I could picture Naraka, Nights dream fruit, Death (who had elaborate horns on his head, which was really cool!), the worlds and place both Night & Death explore, the wondrous imagery of the night sky, dreams, etc.!

What also allowed me to really love this story is that through Chokshi’s elegant writing-style, it made me pause and think with every few lines because of how beautifully and thought-provokingly written they were! The breaks I took while reading this novella really allowed the words to sink in and for me to completely fall in love with the story of Death And Night!

Above all what really stuck with me throughout this story was the exploration of love and when you meet someone who truly understands not only do they help you become your best self, but they also allow you to face the truths that aren’t always easy to say out loud that they can clearly see!

This novella explored love, deeply moving emotions, and through such lyrical, profound writing, The tale of Death And Night, was truly one of my favorites!

Poison And Gold by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★☆ ½

Poison And Gold is a short-story/epilogue to A Crown Of Wishes, which now follows Gauri & Vikram’s friend that they met briefly during the Tournament Of Wishes, Aasha who is a Vishakanya and has left her life as a poisoner behind to be with Gauri & Vikram in the real world.

Now she’s given an opportunity by Vikram & Gauri to become their Spy Mistress and train with the current Spy, Zahril or risk being sent home and no longer being allowed among Gauri & Vikram, according to the council.

Now as she trains among Zahril, she learns more about what it means to be truly human and how as a Vishakanya, she’ll be able to avoid being found out by Zahril while proving she has what it takes to become Spy Mistress.

With my love for A Crown Of Wishes, I was so incredibly happy to return to this world where Vikram & Gauri are now married and busy with ruling over their united kingdoms of Bharata-Ujjain.

I loved seeing the beautiful friendship bloom even stronger between them & Aasha! ❤

Aasha goes through so much development within this story! First, she is still in fear of Vishakanya abilities and the destruction it brings, but over the course of the novel (even if she does have to keep it hidden) she begins to understand more about how it connects to her past when she was the in harem, but also how her powers are a part of her + how she comes to accept it on her journey to become Spy Mistress!

Her instructor, Zahril isn’t exactly all to happy with her there in the first place (& her hatred of Vishakanyas doesn’t make things much easier), but through her trials and tasks, we find how it not only allows Aasha to become more confident in who she is, but how there’s so many different facets to the role Aasha is training for!

We see how this fear of revealing her abilities also brings an element of intrigue and thought-provoking moments as Aasha questions what it means to be a Vishakanya.

There’s also f/f rep., when we learn more to Zahril’s past and how she was in love with a girl named Samza, but was killed by Vishakanyas + as Zahril begins to accept Aasha as a potential candidate, Aasha finds herself falling for her!

The writing as with all of Chokshi’s stories builds so much depth to the world & what we were already familiar with in A Crown Of Wishes! The little details also build on the emotional depth of each character and their view of the world, its magic, etc.

Overall I loved returning to the world of A Crown Of Wishes & seeing my favorite characters again + getting introduced to one of my new favorite characters Zahril! I loved how this story focused on having Aasha accept her strengths and not letting the fear overcome her!

Poison And Gold is a short story that is all about growth, friendship, love, and forging your own path! I loved it!

Rose and Sword:★★★★★

In the kingdom of Bharata-Ujijain, 10-year old Hira helps her sister on the day before her wedding by packing up her favorite toys and putting them in a chest for Meghana. But, Meghana is nervous and lashes out in anger at Hira. So, Hira heads to her grandmother’s quarters where her grandmother recounts a story of a queen on her wedding night.

From what I gathered this story takes place well after A Crown Of Wishes and I loved reading the hints/references to it, like later in the 1st chapter, its stated that the women in Hira’s family were immune to poison and it hinted at a rumor surrounding a blue star they were born with (like w/ Aasha?) & of course the story revolving around Garui & Vikram’s wedding ❤ ❤ + seeing very early on that Hira’s grandmother is Gauri.

I just loved seeing this past/present/future timeline to see how Gauri & Vikram were doing!!

The story follows Gauri on the day before her wedding and the journey, she’s feeling so many different things (especially uncertainty, maybe fear). So, she is shocked when she realizes Vikram is sick and she stays with him as its revealed that the physicians aren’t sure whats wrong.

When its revealed that a messenger of death may come for Vikram, Gauri knows she will do whatever it takes to make sure he is brought back! So the messenger (which disguises itself as Gauri) tasks her with reaching & retrieving Vikram’s last breath from the Kingdom Of Death by passing many Gates, before sunrise!

The journey to the first gate leaves Gauri remembering her sister Maya & reflecting on an argument she & Vikram had in the past, a reminder to who she could lose if she doesn’t make it in time.

Its so clear the love each other and that they’ve both grown so much, and knowing what’s at stake, my heart broke during her flashbacks.

Next, Gauri makes it to the Gate Of Grief and into an unknown white palace, where she finds Vikram’s voice, but learns something about love, the truth that there will be a day when she loses him, and the bravery of love, (even when you let go)!

Gauri then makes it in time to get back to Vikram! I loved reading about how their wedding turned out and what Hira takes away from the story in the end, when she thinks of the anger (which was actually a sense of fear) that Meghana had before her own wedding!

Now I don’t want to spoil it, but the epilogue that finished off this story was beautiful, there were definitely some tears (I love Gauri & Vikram so much!! 😭✨❤❤)

Overall, though I absolutely adored every tale in Star-Touched Stories, my only minor issue is that the pacing was a bit slow for me as I spent quite a bit more on reading through Poison And Gold!

Also what makes Star-Touched Stories such a great short story collection as a whole, is that it also adds more the world and story itself, while also giving enough time to develop everything so perfectly from the characters, setting, descriptions, plotting, pacing, etc.

What made Star-Touched Stories so incredibly special was spending one last book with the amazing characters like Gauri, Vikram, Aasha, the past selves of Maya & Amar! I hadn’t really thought about it until I began reading Rose And Sword, and that’s when I was just savoring each page with these characters, because looking back, Chokshi’s Star-Touched novels have just stuck with me ever since I first read them and even with the many other books I’ve read, her series has truly stayed with me! I got a bit emotional as I read through Gauri looking after Vikram as he was sick 😭✨

Star-Touched Stories is a collection of three beautifully written tales that take readers back to the world of Chokshi’s Star-Touched Series! Wrapping up the series, the stories explore the complexities of loss, love, finding ones inner strength, and so much more! Chokshi’s beautifully descriptive writing delivers on building even more into the Star-Touched Queen world as a whole and the magnificent characters we’ve come to love from the series!

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? 😍📚

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

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

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins/Epic Reads)

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Pages: 336

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

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

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

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

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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

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

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

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

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

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★

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

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee: ★★★★☆

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Smile by Aisha Saeed: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a fantastic story all around!

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon:★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Bytes I #13

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

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

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

Adaptation News

1.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix Trailer

With the Netflix release of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before film releasing August 17, the first official trailer was revealed on June 21!

2.The Hate U Give Trailer

The Hate U Give film is set to be released October 19, 2018 and the first official trailer was released June 24!

Book Deals

1.The Other Side Of The Sky by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Set to be released in fall of 2020, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner will be teaming up to write The Other Side Of The Sky, with Harper Teen.

The Other Side Of The Sky is pitched as a “genre-bending romance where The 100 meets a Miyazaki-inspired fantasy world, in which the prince of a hi-tech city in the sky falls into a goddess’s ancient land ruled by magicians and prophecy” (Announced June 20).

2. Ink In The Blood by Kim Smejkal

Set to be released in fall of 2019 through HMH, is Kim Smejkal’s debut, Ink In The Blood.

Its pitched as a dark fantasy “about two friends who escape from a religious temple that they believe serves a false god, only to discover the god is quite real and is bent on revenge” (Announced June 20).

More Book Deals From June 18

3.The Last Witchdoctor by Rena Barron

Set to be released fall 2019 through Voyager UK & Harper Teen, The Last Witchdoctor is Rena Barron’s fantasy debut, with a 3-book deal.

With the story set in a West African-Inspired kingdom, it follows “a girl who is descended from a long line of powerful witchdoctors, yet fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors, and can’t cast the simplest curse. When her mother performs a ritual to conjure a better daughter, one who can wake a great and terrible Demon King, she must find a way to stop them from destroying the world” (Announced June 26).

4.The Summer I Learned Chinese by Lindsay Wong

Set to be released in summer 2020 through Simon Pulse, Wong’s YA Contemporary The Summer I Learned Chinese, “tells the story of a Chinese-American teen who takes a trip to Beijing to reconnect with her roots and find herself, after being dumped by her boyfriend and rejected from every college she applied to” (Announced June 26).

More Book Deals From June 25

Cover Reveals + Title Reveals

1.Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

As of June 1, Penguin Teen revealed the cover to Astrid Scholte’s 2019 debut standalone fantasy novel, Four Dead Queens.

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte“Keralie Corrington is a talented pickpocket in the kingdom of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quadrant. For Quadara is a nation divided into four regions, each strictly separated from the other. Toria, the intellectual quadrant values education and ambition. Ludia, the pleasure quadrant values celebration and passion. Archia, the agricultural quadrant, values simplicity and nature. Eonia, the futurist quadrant values technology, stoicism and harmonious community. Four queens, one from each quadrant, rule as one.

When on Mackiel’s orders Keralie steals a particularly valuable item from a messenger, what seems like a routine theft goes horribly wrong. Keralie discovers she’s intercepted instructions to murder the queens. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit–valuable information that she can barter with–Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the messenger she stole from, to complete his delivery and uncover the would-be murderer. But with Keralie and Varin each keeping secrets–and the lives of the queens hanging in the balance–everything is at stake, and no one can be trusted.”

2.#RivetedRevealsWeek

As of June 4, Riveted Lit shared a post featuring cover reveals for their Spring 2019 YA Releases!

With covers being revealed from June 4-7!

3.The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Revealed June 6 via Bustle was the cover for Arsdale’s upcoming Greek-mythology inspired novel, The Cold Is In Her Bones.

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale is set to be released January 22, 2019!

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle Van Arsdale“The only life Milla has ever known is the quiet, isolated one on the family farm her strict and superstitious parents forbid her from leaving. Milla’s only saving grace is her brother, Niklas, who is her one and only friend. That is, until Iris, a girl from the village Milla has never been allowed to visit, moves into her elderly neighbor’s home. The two become fast friends, and it is Iris who tells Milla why her parents won’t let her leave: a demon is terrorizing the village, possessing girls one by one with no clear sign who could be next. That is why Iris’s parents sent her away, in an attempt to save her life… but it could be too late.

When the terrified townsfolk capture and imprison Iris with the other possessed girls, it’s up to Milla to rescue her friend and break the curse once and for all. But to do that, she will have to unravel the truth about her past, and quickly, because something in Milla is changing, and she may soon be a demon herself.”

4. Slayer by Kiersten White

Revealed on June 7 via EW, was the cover + excerpt for Kirsten White’s Slayer, which takes “readers back into the beloved world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…”

Slayer by Kiersten White is set to be released January 8, 2019!

5.You’d Be Mine Erin Hahn

Revealed through Hanh’s twitter June 8, was the cover to her April 2019 Contemporary debut, You’d Be Mine!

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn is set to be released April 19, 2019!

You'd Be Mine by Erin HahnAnnie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

6. Evermore by Sara Holland

The cover (alongside an excerpt) to Sara Holland’s sequel to Everless, titled Evermore was revealed on Bustle, June 13!

Evermore is set to be released December 31, 2018!

7.The Meaning Of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown

Revealed on LGBTReads Blog on June 20, was the cover to Jaye Robin Brown’s upcoming novel, The Meaning Of Birds!

“Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior year, Jess’s perfect world is erased when Vivi suddenly passes away. Reeling from the devastating loss, Jess pushes everyone away, and throws out her plans to go to art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever.

Desperate for an escape, Jess gets consumed in her work-study program, letting all of her dreams die. Until she makes an unexpected new friend who shows her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. Although Jess may never draw again, if she can find a way to heal and room in her heart, she just might be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi.”

The Meaning Of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown is set to be released April 16, 2019!

8. Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi

Black Enough edited by Ibi ZoboiThrough Barnes & Noble Teen Blog on June 20, the cover to Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America was revealed!

It is an anthology that features “stories by award-winning, bestselling, and emerging African American YA authors on what it’s like to be a black teen in America.”

The cover reveal also featured a Q&A with Ibi about the anthology and her upcoming novels!

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America is set to be released January 8, 2019!

9.Dark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway

Revealed on June 22 via Paste Magazine, was the new cover for Joanna Hathaway’s Dark Of The West!

Hathaway’s novel follows “a pilot and a princess on opposite sides of an impending conflict” and is set to be released February 5, 2019!

Dark Of The West by Joanna HathawayHe was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Cursein Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

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

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

10. Epic Reads Winter 2019 Cover Reveals

As of June 25 on the Epic Reads blog, they revealed a number of covers for some upcoming YA Releases set to be on shelves from this December through April 2019!

Some covers include: Angie Thomas’s On The Come Up, Evelyn Skye’s Circle Of Shadows, upcoming books from Kasie West, Mindy McGinnis, Cinda Williams Chima, & many more!

11. The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

The cover to Swati Teerdhala’s debut novel, The Tiger At Midnight was revealed via Bustle on June 25! Alongside the cover was also an excerpt!

The Tiger At Midnight is set to be released April 23, 2019!

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati TeerdhalaEsha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.”

12. We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Entertainment Weekly revealed the cover to Hafsah Faizal’s debut novel We Hunt The Flame on June 26!

“Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man to kill in the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her village. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating men foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira were exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir showed any of the pity or compassion he felt, his father would dismiss him as weak. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya — but neither of them want to be. Their paths cross when Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can save their cursed world, and Nasir is sent to kill her. But an ancient evil stirs, and the prize may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.”

We Hunt The Flame is set to be released May 19, 2019!

13.Song Of The Dead by Sarah Glen Marsh

The sequel to Marsh’s YA Fantasy, Reign Of The Fallen, had its cover reveal via Bustle on June 27!

Song Of The Dead is set to be released January 29, 2019!

14. A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

On June 28, Entertainment Weekly revealed the cover (& excerpt) to Tahereh Mafi’s upcoming book, A Very Large Expanse Of Sea, which is set to be released October 16, 2018!

“It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.”

Misc. Book News + Publisher News

1.Penguin Teen 2019 YA Preview

On Penguin Teen’s website, as of June 22, a post revealed upcoming 2019 YA releases  that the Penguin Teen team is looking forward to releasing!

Many include debut authors or anticipated releases from already released series/authors!

What I’m Currently Reading & YA Books On My June TBR!

Book Blog Discussion BannerThere’s been a lot of books I’ve made made plans to read over summer and now that I’m officially on summer break, I’m hoping to read as much of these as I can this month!

So, today I’ll be sharing with you what I’m currently reading and the other books I’m planning on getting to!

Currently Reading:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl1.Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I was able to get an ARC of Neverworld Wake from Yallwest and finally started reading it early last week, but sadly put it down to catch up on a graphic novel & Running With Lions (which I’m hoping to post my review of next week!). I’m still very interested in reading Neverworld and want to try and finish it within the coming week + post my review!

From what I know about it & have read so far, it follows Beatrice Hartley who lives in her small town working at her parents ice cream parlor.

She’s been disconnected from her 6 friends after graduation for a while, with the loss of her boyfriend Jim.

Then she returns with her friends to “Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world…”

Soon, they receive a mysterious knock at the door and I think, find themselves caught in a Neverworld Wake??

Overall I’d really been enjoying it so far and want to finish it! I don’t read much mystery, but Neverworld Wake has had me intrigued!

June TBR

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova1.Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (Labyrinth Lost #2)

I read and loved Labyrinth Lost when I read it back in 2016! It centered around Alex who is a bruja and an adventure that takes her on a quest to find her family after a spell she preforms, causes them to disappear!

From the Latinx rep. to themes of family (and sisterhood), all of which I could relate to so well, I fell in love with this book, from the story to the world–everything!

Now with Bruja Born finally out, I am beyond excited to get back into this amazing world & follow even more of Alex’s adventures!

Mariam Sharma Hits The Road by Sheba Karim2.Mariam Sharma Hits The Road by Sheba Karim

Similar to Neverworld Wake, I was also able to get an ARC of this from Yallwest! This book basically centers around a group of friends who go on a road trip after their freshman year at college!

As always, I’m always looking to read more #OwnVoices + diverse books and overall, Mariam Sharma just sounded like such an amazing read, perfect for summer, so I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon as well!

And being a college student myself, I’m also just looking forward to reading more college-centered & about college-aged YA characters!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir3.A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

I’m such a big fan of An Ember In The Ashes quartet, so of course I would definitely have this on my TBR list! I can’t wait to read where Sabaa takes the story, characters, everything!!

I’ve had just– so many theories for where I think A Reaper At The Gates will be going, so I’m just counting down the days until this is out!

I’ve really been looking forward to reading more from Laia, Elias, etc. and am beyond excited to finally get my hands on A Reaper At The Gates!

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

Similar to the other ARCs above, I was also able to get a copy of Not The Girls Your Looking For at Yallwest & even met Aminah, who was so nice! Getting the chance to talk to her about the importance of representation and books in general was just so great & I’m beyond excited to read her debut novel!

Definitely check out the summary for Not The Girls Your Looking For below & add it to your TBR if you haven’t already!

“Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.” 

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings by Ellen Oh and Elise Chapman5. A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

I don’t usually read many anthologies, but when I first read the summary (& saw the gorgeous cover) of A Thousand Beginnings And Endings, I knew I’d have to read it!

This book will contain 15 short stories from authors of East and South Asia background, writing re imagined folklore and mythology!

I love reading about mythology and the blend of fantasy + mythology in this anthology sounds like it’ll be right up my alley!

I also do want to try to get into reading more YA anthologies and in general, it just sounds like an overall great read!

The Game Of Hope by Sandra Gulland6.The Game Of Hope by Sandra Gulland

Additionally, this was also another ARC I was able to get from Yallwest @ PenguinTeen’s booth, out of I think 3 other choices, The Game Of Hope was my pick!

Set in 1798 Paris, France, this novel is a YA Historical Fiction that centers around Napoleon’s step-daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais.

Wanting to go into this book without much knowledge, I do know it essentially follows Hortense as she goes about her daily life in boarding school, studies, arts, etc., but is unsure of where her future lies when her mother marries Napoleon.

I don’t usually read much historical fiction, but this novel just intrigued me from the summary and I’m beyond excited to read it!

And that wraps up my June TBR! 📚✨😍

What are you planning to read this month? Any of the books on your TBR similar to mine? Let’s Discuss! 📚✨☀