I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia Review

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

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

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

My Rating:★★★★★

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

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

Her poems always leave me feeling hopeful and inspired!

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

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

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

Literary Listens: YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any YA Books you think would be great as podcasts?

Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations For Writers

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

You can also check out my first post recommending podcasts based on YA Books Here!

Today’s post is all about storytelling!

While I do love reading, I also enjoy writing and there are so many ideas for novels that I’m eager to draft and that’s where podcasts come in.

When I find myself feeling unmotivated to write or find myself getting writer’s block, I listen to podcasts featuring authors and hosts that discuss writing/storytelling. After listening to authors or hosts discuss writing, writing tips, etc. it just inspires me to get back to my current WIP and keep on writing!

Storytelling is something I enjoy in a number of forms (Books, TV Shows, Video Games, etc.) and these podcasts are ones that I highly recommend if your looking to keep yourself inspired to create stories!88 Cups Of Tea With Yin Chang

1. 88 Cups Of Tea with Yin Chang

Summary: 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang is a podcast for the aspiring and professional storyteller alike. On the show, Yin chats with international bestselling novelists, screenwriters, and filmmakers about their journey to success. They also discuss career advice and “how-to’s” for listeners to apply actionable steps towards their own storytelling careers. 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang is a safe space for listeners to learn, and to feel empowered, inspired, and motivated. Welcome to our tribe of storytellers!

Why: Ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, Yin Chang’s interviewing brings such a great energy to the chat while following each storyteller’s journey, while providing great tips and advice for those eager to tell a story!

First Draft With Sarah Enni2. First Draft Podcast 

Summary: A podcast series featuring interviews with young adult and middle grade authors, about books, creative writing, an epic road trip, music, bookstores, tall tales & more.

Why: Sarah Enni (host) delivers a great in-depth conversation with authors interviewed both from Young Adult & Middle Grade. Its a fun podcast to listen to because I learn more about the authors themselves aside from just their path to publication among other aspects to their writing.

PubCrawl Podcast3. PubCrawl Podcast

Summary: Authors & publishing pros blogging about all things reading, writing, books, and booze. Reading You Under The Table Since 2012.

Why: I’ve just started listening to this podcast and I love the “Writing Mechanics” episodes! From what I’ve seen it also features a number of series surrounding tips for writing, authors, publishing, etc.  It offers a wide variety of writing and publishing advice and really goes in depth on a number of topics! Some of those include:

~Characterization: Discussing different character types such as protagonists + villains

~Publishing 101 (201, 301, Etc.): Discussing aspects of publishing + the publishing industry

~Troubleshooting Craft: Expanding on issues or elements that come up when plotting/drafting (Killing off characters, Expanding/Elaborating, and Earning Emotional Payoff

Have you listened to any of these podcasts?

Any recommendations for more writing podcasts to check out?

Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {Manga Review}

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 1The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1}

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

Summary: In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as “Teacher.” Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her aunt, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: As though it were a fairy tale, The Girl From The Other Side is both dark and enchanting!

This manga was utterly fantastic!! I found this one while scrolling through Goodreads and it was the cover that originally had me sold! However, once I read the summary I knew I would adore it!

The story unfolds as we come to learn about the rules that govern the world for the Outsiders, who are still human to some degree, but are creatures of darkness that can turn men to monsters with a single touch.

A dark and mysterious plot drives this manga forward, with such in-depth characters and themes of family, and the shades in between light + darkness!

Shiva, a young girl, lives on the Outside w/ Teacher who is her guardian (+ an Outsider himself) in a quiet little cottage and watches over her as she waits for her aunt to return.

Shiva is a very optimistic child and is eager to explore what’s in the forest beyond the small cottage where they both live.

However, Teacher wants to ensure her safety and keep an eye on her at all times, because he doesn’t want her to become an Outsider as well!

Teacher is a very kind and understanding, however when its discovered he has a secret which is vitally linked to Shiva, he is unsure of what to do because he wants to ensure her happiness.

Regardless, he does all he can to keep Shiva safe, even when she finds herself deep in the forest and runs into guards from a near by town.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Outsiders and how they came to be, yet the guards from a near by town suspect it was neighboring town, however no one knows for certain.

There’s a big discussion on how we view those who are different (w/ the Outsiders vs. Insiders for instance) when guards search the woods of the Outside to ensure the safety of their town as they continue their search to rid themselves of Outsiders.

The sophisticated, yet subtle artwork is masterfully done. Teacher, for instance, being an Outsider is a hybrid sorts (donning a shadowed animal-head, mouthless face and piercing eyes). However through the art his expressions are carried through mostly his eyes, yet also in the elegant way he carries himself.

Through the artwork, Nagabe also brings an eeriness to the world itself, but transports the reader in an instant.

The Girl From The Other Side is a dark, mysterious and magical tale that has so much depth from its characters to plot, you will be hooked from page 1!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Review

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 2017Empress Of A Thousand Skies (Empress #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

Summary: CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Belleza delivers a character driven sci-fi space opera that discusses very timely issues + politics as a princess + a tv celebrity find themselves on the run!

Empress had so many great elements! It was very plot + character driven and had little to no romance for most of the novel.

Being told through dual POV (3rd person) and it worked extremely well for this story! Because both characters aren’t exactly together for most of the novel, we get to see the politics, culture, etc. of the unique worlds from differing perspectives.

Aly, due to his Wraetan background is seen as different by others and fears if he is to do anything to damage his reputation while on TV, it would look bad for all Wraetans. Reading that made me feel so bad for Aly (with all the pressure upon his shoulders). Reading from his POV brought up very relevant and timely issues one could mirror to our own world that is sadly still seen today, how there are those out there who aren’t as accepting when they view people from other cultures and see them only as “different.” Which is so wrong!

Through Aly’s POV we see that just because he is Wraetan, he is framed from Rhee’s assassination.

Aly really goes into depth about his war-torn home and the struggles he’s faced to get to where he is. I loved the expansion on this subject, not only because it mirrors our own and gives perspective, but it shows how wrong/harmful these ideas are and can be.

As with Rhee, she flees her home planet after she nearly escapes an assassination attempt on her own life. She finds herself charting across different planets to track down who she suspects is behind her assassination and reclaim her throne!

She was very determined and came up with plans, however usually hesitated when the moments to enact her revenge finally came. With this all suddenly upon her, it would make sense that she would have her reasons for hesitation. Regardless, while she does make mistakes, she grows and no matter what happened along the way, she stayed true to herself and her goal. She never strayed away from it!

My heart broke reading what he had faced! I loved reading from both POV’s however Aly’s was definitely my favorite! Aly lost his family, his home, faced discrimination but no matter what, he kept pushing forward and never gave up fighting to clear his name.

From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure there is a sequel! So I’m hoping with the next one, Rhee, Aly and the other characters introduced are given even more background and development, because there was so much mystery surrounding these characters.

I loved the unique aspects that Belleza was able to weave into this story, from the memory cube technology to the unique creatures found across the planets.

Additionally, a majority of the cast of characters were people of color, which is amazing!! I’m always happy to read a book with a diverse cast!! ❤

For the plot as a whole, I was kept surprised with each and every page! I could never guess where the story was headed which I adored, because it kept me invested from start to finish!

As for the pacing it was rather slow for me, however the mysteries that unfold had me turning the page to figure out who was behind it all!

As mentioned + introduced above, Belleza continued to discuss very timely issues such as immigration, politics, views on technology & privacy + so much more!

That is an aspect I loved so much about Empress! She really makes them an integral part of the plot and overall themes of the novel that really have you thinking all through out the entire story.

Additionally, there are so many layers to the story as a whole. Essentially, from Rhee’s perspective you learn there is a treaty in place and while it made the worlds stable when Rhee’s father established it, there’s still discrimination and tension between the planets.

Now as to why it wasn’t a full 5-stars:

First off I will admit, the summary was a little misleading for me, because going into the book I assumed Rhiannon + Aly would be together for most of the novel, however that wasn’t the case which is what I was expecting.

There were some moments I wish the worlds themselves were fleshed out a little more, while a lot of social issues are brought up within each world and discussed when Aly or Rhee visit them, in terms of descriptions + atmosphere I wanted a little more!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies is a thought-provoking story which takes the time to discuss very timely issues, introduces multi-layered politics and world-building, puts characters and plot at the center, and overall delivers a refreshing and unique tale in YA Sci-Fi!

February 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 8

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamilton1.Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Traitor To The Throne Full Review

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel that truly surprised me! Hamilton focuses more on the politics and world of Miraji, while expanding on the magic/mythology. Her writing style as with Rebel keeps the story moving and really immerses you into the story! I am beyond excited for what’s to happen in Rebel Of The Sands #3!

kings-cage2.King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

King’s Cage Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: The world and characters really develop over the course of this novel compared to the previous installments. There is much needed expansion beyond Norta & many aspects of the world and politics surprised me + really added more depth to the world. However with the addition to multiple POV’s, there was 1 POV in particular really dragged the story  & did more of *showing instead of *telling.  Additionally, there are certain characters who I wish were present more. Regardless, Aveyard’s 3rd installment was entertaining and kept me turning the page! Interested to see how the Red Queen Series ends in Book 4!

welcome-to-the-ballroom-volume-13.Welcome To The Ballroom Vol. 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome To The Ballroom Full Review To Come

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: A great introduction to a new manga series about Tatara, a high school student who gets involved with ballroom dancing! I wish there was more development with the characters b/c they were all introduced wonderfully! Overall there’s comedic moments, dynamic characters and a unique plot that has me eager to read the next volumes!

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-review4.The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

The Valiant Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator! The engaging and well-rounded characters made this novel so much fun to read. I do wish the story’s pacing was a little faster + had more action! Regardless, this was an immersive tale about sisterhood, family, & honor! Cannot wait to read where Fallon’s journey is headed in the sequel!

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez5.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because Of The Sun Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: The writing style is very “dream-like” and makes this YA Contemporary so unique! Dani has lost her mother and must adjust to a new life with her aunt in New Mexico. She forges a friendship w/ Paulo and he is very supportive during her time of grieving. There is an additional POV in this story, which added tons of background but did slow the story a little for me. Overall, themes of grief, family, love and loss are weaved perfectly into this novel that truly focuses on Dani’s journey as she comes to terms with her mother’s death.

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin6.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Written in verse, Laskin’s modern take on Romeo & Juliet is lyrical and fast-paced! Ronit & Jamil can’t help but fall in love. However a wall across their lands keeps them separated, but they know deep down their love won’t be fractured. Conflicts arise and their family wants what’s best for them. While there are some moments it does feel rather rushed, overall this tale delivers a message of hope!

A Conjuring Of Light7.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

A Conjuring Of Light Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Phenomenal character development + world-building weave throughout the masterfully crafted plot! A truly phenomenal conclusion to the Shades Of Magic Series!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-28.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun  by Izumi Tsubaki (Vol. 2)

Monthly Girls Full Review To Come (Vol. 1-3)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 144

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is easily becoming one of my favorite Manga series!
As always, romance/high-school tropes are given unique+comedic spins & that’s what makes it so fun to read! There is tons of character development and the plot continues to be fun, unique, & engaging! Cannot wait to read volume 3!

Additional Posts From This Month:

~None This Month~

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston Review

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-reviewThe Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

*Received a finished copy through a giveaway*

My Thoughts: Livingston delivers a character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator!

Recently announced, The Valiant will b getting a sequel!! I can definitely see how the ending would be nice to it conclude it as a standalone, but I truly fell in love with this world + characters and I’m so happy there’ll be a second book!

The first few chapters alone, really pull you into the story and wastes no time showing the complexity and depth of the main character Fallon.

While this novel does have action, it is definitely more of a character-driven story and the gladiator aspects do appear throughout the novel, but a really featured more at the end!

Fallon truly changes over the course of this story, but above all changes for herself and is an independent and determined heroine! I loved reading from her POV!

On the evening she is hopeful her father will add her to her to the warband, she gets captured and is forced to become a gladiator for Rome. Once there, she is determined to get her freedom, however along the she learns more about herself and her family, but mostly the enemy territory that invaded her home years ago.

While forced to train as a gladiator, she learns more about the people who brought her to Rome and what the costs truly are if she is to find a way back home.

The other side/main characters were also very well written and developed. Through Livingston’s writing, you really get to understand these characters, even with just a few passages! (Cai & Elka were my favorites!)

There’s so much girl power + amazing female characters. Over the course of this novel, Fallon finds friendship between her gladiatrix companions (especially Elka) even the Achillea  and its clear while they may not always get along, they are there to look after each other!

They were very much like sisters and overall I loved how the females were given a central role in this world/story!

Reading about these female gladiators was truly fascinating and it sucks there isn’t much historical record of them, but it was definitely wonderful to get a chance to read about them from this novel!

Fallon struggles with the loss of her sister and it’s clear that both her sister Scorcha & the loss of her, pushes her and has molded Fallon into the person she is.

I felt it had the perfect amount of romance! Wonderfully done! It never felt too forced and it never felt like it took over the plot or changed Fallon’s motivations in any way! Through out the novel she really focuses on earning her freedom on her own personal development, with out help from Cai and it showed just how determined she was to prove herself.

I did take off 1/2 a star b/c I felt the pacing was slow at times & I wanted more action!

Regardless, this is a very character-driven novel with twists + turns and delivers a tale about honor, family and sisterhood + foreshadows an even more epic journey to come in the sequel!