Bookish Opinions: Sharing My Book-Related Thoughts

There’s lots of bookish opinions I’ve realized I NEVER had time to talk about on the blog, so I thought today’s post would be a fun idea to learn more about overly specific thoughts I have about book-related topics, certain books or just share some opinions with you all! 📚✨

I know disclaimers aren’t necessary, but I’d just like to add: these are just how I feel about these particular ideas and thought it would be interesting to share! I’d LOVE to hear what you think (no matter if you agree or disagree), I’m genuinely interested in starting discussions about these opinions and hear about what you think too.

Starting off with I guess a more “controversial” one: The Book Community needs to let go of Six Of Crows

Okay wow that was a lot, let’s unpack this! While I read it initially during release I had a great time with SOC and the subsequent Crooked Kingdom, it just feels like there’s other books out there I truly love that don’t have the same amount of attention that this duology gets, whether its with fanart, discussions, and just content in general. Other bookish fandoms online are in another word just, dead outside of occasional goodreads reviews or tweets, maybe a booktok or two. While Leigh Bardugo crafts this duology well, I personally just don’t love it as much as everyone else does & the more that time has passed tbh, I now find it to be super overhyped.

I just get tired sometimes of seeing SOC held up as a pinnacle of the perfect fantasy book with flawless character arcs, worldbuilding, execution of heists, representation, dialogue etc. and while it’s easy to see why so many people agree, there’s just so many books out there I think deserve equal if not more praise too.

SOC is the kind of book that’s kind of stuck in my mind for a bit too long and I wish it didn’t. The downside to its immense popularity is that there’s this stigma that nothing can exceed or improve on what it’s done in YA Fantasy (which of course is not true). So, at times the Six Of Crows duology seems to feel like an enduring title in the book community consciousness which won’t find a replacement.

My reading habits have changed a lot over the past couple years and I’m more eager to annotate my books

I know, right? I’ve always been the kind of person to be super protective of my books as I’m sure many of us are but I think back in 2018 when The Gilded Wolves came out I really wanted to keep track of my digital notes and quotes in a much easier way so then it got me to tab up my arc, which I had a lot of fun doing! Now when I look at the unread books on my tbr shelf, I feel motivated to, if not highlight them at least just sticky tab or write my thoughts on sticky notes and stick them onto the pages. Surprisingly I’ve become more comfortable in planning this thanks to booktok!

I personally don’t like how books are pitched through Tropes online

Wow there’s a lot I can say about this topic!! To start, it feels like to me I didn’t really notice this becoming more of a thing until a couple years ago on twitter (2018-2019 ish?) or maybe it’s always been there and I just never realized until this past year? I’m not sure but now when I’m seeing books talked about or pitched on my timeline, it feels like there’s more of an emphasis on tropes to describe character dynamics and general plot points (especially in fantasy) which also kinda comes off as a spoiler to me. I think what makes me dislike this idea a lot is that because literary tropes are obviously in lots of stories anyways without us realizing, it makes them stand out a lot more and therefore, makes me think too much about how they’re being executed. Like basically if someone hears ‘enemies-to-lovers’ I’m sure we’ll have very different ideas on how we want to read it in a story right? 

What makes me dislike this as the emphasized way to talk about books, is that it gives you certain expectations about the characters or character dynamics without having read the book yet or experiencing the story for yourself, which oftentimes for me never turns out how I want it to. While I truly believe in the genuine value of describing books in this way, I just HATE how it messes with my expectations of a story.

I’d prefer Book Adaptations take more risks than try to copy the book directly onto screen

Ever since writing my article about Animated Book Adaptations, I still stand by this idea that book adaptations need to take more risks not only when adapting the novel, but with the medium too. There’s infinite opportunities to take the spirit of a book and still make the adaptation fresh and different. Especially if studios decided to take a novel and turn it into a stunning piece of animation…tbh I think animated adaptations can potentially be the future!

Despite its flaws, Netflix’s Shadow & Bone does a good job at taking Leigh’s source material and trying to make it work for a TV series to add a bit more to the world while also tackling the story in a unique way.

I’m the kind of reader who ends up appreciating or reaching for lesser known & under-the-radar books

I feel like I’ve always been this way, especially when I first got into YA. For example when YA Dystopia was still big, I never really gravitated towards Divergent or The Hunger Games, instead the first book that introduced me to dystopia was Marie Lu’s Legend Series which from my perspective back then, didn’t seem as hyped up.

The books I often find myself reading and loving usually also end up being books that take more unique approaches to traditional genres or categories, while also taking risks to tell a story that for me, comes across as one-of-a-kind and overall, aren’t talked about as much.

I don’t mind First-Person POV when reading a book

I usually see whether based on ratings, reviews or other bookish content that people don’t really like the use of 1st person POV. I’m sort of on the unpopular side of this where I actually love it and whenever its done well, I find it can elevate the book every time! I like that the author can come up with a unique voice to match the character and make their journey feel so personal because of it.

When it comes to popular or even just new YA releases, I feel like there’s a 50% / 50% chance I’ll either get to it within a reasonable time or after an entire year

With so many books I need to catch up on, this list evidently gets bigger and bigger every year! However with books that are pretty popular or getting lots of buzz leading up to release, I notice I often struggle with prioritizing them in a timely fashion and then end up not reading them. I think its partly because of all the praise I hear, I just hesitate because of my personal expectations. While I genuinely want to read all of the books to stay in the loop with all the conversation, these days I take a bit longer to read them. Or its often just because there’s so many new titles coming out and I can’t figure out what to pick up. But I guess that just means there’s more books in the future to look forward to! ❤

The Gilded Wolves is still underrated in my eyes when it comes to YA Fantasy

Okay there’s so many that fit this too, but TGW is one that always sticks out to me! The crew and their deeply complex stories, the clever puzzles, the enchanting setting and dazzling story are utterly brilliant, truly not being appreciated enough! I genuinely love all of the characters and think they definitely rank high on the list of my favorite crews of all time. Séverin, Laila, Zofia, Enrique, Hypnos, their dynamics + shenanigans on heists or whichever adventure they are on, priceless!

Hardcover or Paperback? Depends on the book, but in general I like both

I feel like there’s a clear preference with this one and for me I actually don’t mind either! They both have their value in my eyes and I enjoy both of them for different reasons. For example with bigger fantasy books, paperback seems more convenient. However, if there’s a book I absolutely love and want to display on my shelf, hardcover is the way to go. Overall, I find myself jumping back and forth between these two.

Thanks so much for joining me on first bookish opinions post, I hope you had fun reading more of my thoughts & I’d be happy to make more of these posts in the future (also recommend me more topics to cover if you think there’s something you’d like to hear my thoughts on)! Any specific ones you want to chat more about? I’d be happy to in the comments too!

Lets chat! What are some of your bookish opinions? Thoughts on the ones I’ve shared? 📚💭

Recommending YA Books That Deserve More Love

Hey everyone! Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my favorite backlist books and realized as time goes on, it becomes difficult to dive back into my old favorites with the sheer amount of new titles being released each year. It’s impossible to keep up with ALL the books, so today’s post is comprised of some marvelous reads that’ve been out for a while that I believe deserve more love. 💕✨

I’m so happy to be chatting with you all today about books I’ve adored that I definitely feel like should be recognized even more. Whether your looking for an urban fantasy, epic fantasy, contemporary, or thriller, this list is indeed for you if you are need of some backlist gems!

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Genre: Urban Fantasy┃Young Adult
Release Date: June 27, 2015 (Feb. 2017 2nd Edition)

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of Vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they’re going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?

Why you should read it: I still think about the unique concept that Kan delivered here― people gifted with superpowers live in a city they protect in the night! It also features a Queer / POC cast (Māori, Samoan, Indian, & Chinese characters) plus aro-ace and genderfluid rep. Friendship is also an integral part of this story as bonds are strengthened and new allies are made. Though years have passed, I continue to remember the fond memories I had reading this, truly a hidden gem in urban fantasy that delivers a fresh take on superheroes, highly recommend reading this. (Plus, if you want to support indie books and authors, you should also pick this up!)

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Genre: Young Adult ┃ Contemporary
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything? Actually, a lot. Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret. All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse. You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Why you should read it: What continues to stay with me about this superb novel is the use of a mixed media format which makes Alaine’s journey feel so personal as it deeply revolves around family, especially her mother! With Alaine being an aspiring journalist, I also found the element of journalism to be explored in such a thorough way. This truly is a moving, character-driven YA Contemporary story that explores many deep themes.

Shatter The Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Genre: Fantasy ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019

Available Through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground… With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

Why you should read it: Firstly, umm DRAGONS, but also the detailed worldbuilding. If you’re in the mood for a “quiet” fantasy novel this one is perfect because the protagonist Maren is more of “reluctant hero” who isn’t looking for adventure, but certain events propel her to do so and she learns a lot about her world. The worldbuilding has tons of layers to it from the politics, to the setting, history, dragon lore, and lots more that develops the further you read. Also has a great cast of characters that leave you wanting to know more about them!

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Horror ┃ Thriller ┃ Young Adult
Release Date: April 13, 2021

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends. To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own. When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

Why you should read it: Moldavsky uses elements from the horror genre in such a genius way that comes through in the writing, the way the story is told, its atmosphere, the intriguing characters and in so many other ways. Rachel is an awesome protagonist and this novel cleverly delves deep into her arc. This book truly blew my mind and is probably one of the most brilliant books I’ve read this year, I need more people to read this breathtaking and page-turning YA Thriller!

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Genre: Contemporary┃ Romance ┃Young Adult
Release Date: July 30, 2019

Available through: The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy?

Why you should read it: This is a perfect read if you’re in the mood for a YA royal romance (its also set during summer)! Alongside that, its character-driven / focused where the story centers Zora’s dreams and her development when she gets thrust into a royal spotlight. Its cute, fun, and a sweet read that I think deserves much more love!

That concludes the list, I hope you found a new underrated gem to dive into and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new feature!

What are some YA Books you’ve read that you think deserve more love or recognition? Thoughts on the books I’ve listed here?

Personal Library Book Tag (ORIGINAL)

Recently I found myself thinking about my book collection and my personal objectives for my shelves in the future, so from there I had the sudden inspiration to create my first ever tag titled the Personal Library Book Tag!

The books we gather for our collection and bookshelves is something personal and reflective of our own bookish tastes, what stories we enjoy, or even books we aspire to read one day. So through this tag I wanted to explore what my own collection means to me as a reader.

All the questions and prompts are inspired by thoughts I’ve had about what’s on my own bookshelves that I’m sure many readers or bookish content creators can relate to! Overall I thought this would be an incredibly fun way to share more about the books I have and with that said, hope you enjoy today’s post!

  • RULES:
  • Link back to the original creator’s post 24hryabookblogPersonal Library Book Tag
  • Answer the questions / prompts
  • Tagging is not required, but you can if you want to 🥰
  • Feel free to use my graphic for your own post (with credit) if you’d like or create your own

1: How do you organize the books on your shelves?

My go-to is organizing by genre or category. My favorite shelf probably has to be the one with all my fantasy books. I like that its a big enough space where I can fit a lot onto a single shelf and though I never knew this about myself until my collection began to grow, I personally don’t mind fitting genres/sub-genres together in that space. My adult fantasy, sff, and YA fantasy all share space on the fantasy shelf and I like how it reflects the variety of books that I enjoy discovering.

2: Any particular aesthetic or niche genre of books you’d like to see more of on your shelves?

One that I’ve seen a lot more of recently is Dark Academia. While I do have a couple like If We Were Villains from M.L. Rio and Vicious by VE Schwab, I’d love to add more to this minute collection because this aesthetic is just so fascinating to me and I love how it inspires my creativity when I journal or even just the visuals on an intellectual level.

My copy of Vicious also has a lot of sentimental value to me because it was the first adult sff book I’d ever read and owned (I also clearly remember reading it while I was still in school, so the dark academia interests still stays with me I guess 😂✨?)

3: Pick a book on your shelf and share the personal story behind it!

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter! I adore Ally’s books so much and it was her Heist Society Series (which PS is a part of) that turned me into the reader I am today and got me to not only love YA, but reading as a whole.

I vividly remember counting down the days until the third book of this series back came out back in 2013 and was so happy to have found it sitting on the shelves of B&N on release day…from which I then started the book in the evening to end up finishing it at 6 am. It was the first time I ever stayed up late to finish a book and probably the first novel I’d saved up money for to buy the day of release.

4: Name a book (or books) in your personal collection that people would be surprised to see that you own.

Cris Tales artbook and Felicity by Mary Oliver!

I haven’t talked about this nearly enough on the blog, but I’d been looking forward to a new video game called Cris Tales for a couple years now and since the game just released not too long ago, I got a copy of the artbook with my collector’s edition. I think people would be surprised to know that I do own this, just because I obviously tend to read more fiction and don’t often discuss lots about my love of art and artwork.

I’ve never been one to read much non-fiction or books with personal essays/poems, but I remember the simple, nature-themed covers of Mary Oliver’s books always drew me to want to add them on my goodreads. Since then I’ve bought one of her books called Felicity, which is a collection of poetry.

5: What’s a book that you own that’s still on your TBR?

So many, but are we really that surprised? One I can think of is King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo! While the Grishaverse isn’t my all-time favorite fantasy world, I am interested to learn what happens to Nikolai and the other characters and see how Bardugo brings a close to the universe. And…just a lot of latinx-authored books and sff titles (i’m sorry but there’s just too many to name). I will say that I recently got a copy of Lobizona by Romina Garber and am so hyped to read it, just need to find the time!

6: Name a book (or books) you desperately want to add to your personal library:

Legenborn by Tracy Deonn

Iron Heart by Nina Varela

Anna-Marie McLemore’s other books that I don’t already own too

7: Any particular goals you have for your collection?

One of my biggest goals is to look through the books I already have and figure out if there’s any that can be unhauled. I don’t unhaul often, so I’m sure there’s some that’ve been collecting dust on my shelves and it’ll give me an opportunity to figure out what I want my personal bookshelves to have. One of my other goals is to also find a way of organizing or displaying them that I can be fully happy with. Every few weeks I find myself looking at my shelves seeing how they can be rearranged, but find it tough to actually do something about it. It’s a work in progress, but I’m hoping to work on that over the next year.

Hope this tag gave a little more insight into my collection and my shelves, I had a great time putting this post together!

Now, time to tag a few fellow book bloggers! I TAG:

-Cande from CandeReads -Sofii from Abookathought – Savanna from BoookedOnAFeeling -Joanna from TheGeekishBrunette – Marta from MonogamistReader -Lilly from Lairofbooks -Lila from Hardcoverhaven
-Joy from Ohsrslybooks -Jasmine from HowusefulItIs -Cherelle from Aboltoutofthebook -Lisa from Waytoofantasy – Elaine from Elaine Howlin – Amanda from BookishBrews – Erin from ReadingOnAStar – Cossette from Teatimelit

– Or if your looking for a new book tag, consider yourself tagged!

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantel Acevedo Review

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantal Acevedo (Muse Squad #1)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins)

Release Date: July 7, 2020

Pages: 357

Available Through The Book Depository & Bookshop

Cover Artist: Jonathan Stroh

Summary: Callie Martinez-Silva didn’t mean to turn her best friend into a pop star. But when a simple pep talk leads to miraculous results, Callie learns she’s the newest muse of epic poetry, one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology tasked with protecting humanity’s fate in secret.

Whisked away to Muse Headquarters, she joins three recruits her age, who call themselves the Muse Squad. Together, the junior muses are tasked with using their magic to inspire and empower—not an easy feat when you’re eleven and still figuring out the goddess within.

When their first assignment turns out to be Callie’s exceptionally nerdy classmate, Maya Rivero, the squad comes to Miami to stay with Callie and her Cuban family. There, they discover that Maya doesn’t just need inspiration, she needs saving from vicious Sirens out to unleash a curse that will corrupt her destiny.

As chaos erupts, will the Muse Squad be able to master their newfound powers in time to thwart the Cassandra Curse . . . or will it undo them all?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Review: Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse weaves together mythology, humor, adventure and much more to tell the story of Callie Martinez-Silva whose whisked away into the world of myths, legend, even magic after learning she’s one of the Greek Muses! Acevedo presents such a wonderful start to a fun middle grade duology!

Callie is an 11-year-old Cuban-American girl who is just going about her average life like enjoying concerts with her best friend, going to school, and trying to survive sixth grade, when lots of weird things start happening to her ― from a freak “almost” metro accident to turning her best friend Raquel into a new pop sensation, Callie’s life quickly takes some surprising turns.

But what she slowly begins to realize is in moments of peril or worry for those close by, Callie can inspire confidence in those around her. These events introduce her to the world of Greek Myths when she learns she’s one of the new Muses (Muse of Epic Poetry). After confirming this huge discovery, she learns that alongside her fellow muses, they are tasked with protecting a Fated One, a person destined to change the world, which turns out to be none other than her studious, “nerdy” classmate Maya Rivero. Befriending Maya and connecting more with the Muse Squad becomes a central part of Callie’s mission as she and the Squad attempt to stop the Cassandra Curse before its too late!

This book is an absolute whirlwind filled with tons of fun moments, but also never falters in presenting an important message about the hero within. Muse Squad was truly a joy to read because it not only delves into tons of themes and ideas, but seeing how the characters bounce off each other, even discovering more about how this world of myths blends into modern day, is so intriguing! What I loved the most was seeing how the story balanced the mythology with the average, everyday life stuff: highs and lows of friendship, family dynamics, school projects, and the hardships of growing up!

Told from a first person POV, Callie’s voice is what makes this story shine! Not only following her journey as a character, but also seeing how the writing successfully blends the magic, myths, humor, and adventure as the plot jumps across Miami, the world of Greek mythology, and the Muse Headquarters (the V&A Museum in London).

The story balances the magical elements alongside friendship and family incredibly well. Callie lives with her mom and twin brothers (Fernando and Mario), their dynamic is so strong and really a foundation for Callie who is also learning more about her family’s history when she learns that her aunt was a former Muse. Seeing this important thread help Callie to cope and also learn where she fits into the Muse world was a subtle but ever-present layer in her story. But on the other hand, Callie is also grappling with her own jealousy and insecurities as she’s unsure how to patch things up with her best friend Raquel who seems to be consumed by the life of fame after Callie’s Muse powers make her a dazzling pop star, who slowly changes throughout the story. There’s a sense of gloom for Callie who is unsure of how to reconnect with Raquel, but it also delves into all the emotions and how they take time to overcome. However, befriending Maya and the Muse Squad remind her she isn’t alone, plus also an ever-present idea that friendship is a process.

The characters all had their own unique quality to them and if you like stories with big casts, this book is definitely for you! Callie and Maya’s friendship was incredibly sweet, but seeing Callie learn to forge to new friendships even when she was still feeling down about reconnecting with Raquel was a highlight because the other Muse Squad girls were so fun: Thalia is the outgoing, funny one, Nia is a lover of science, and Mela is the more realistic one. What I loved the most was seeing all of them with Callie, their dynamic is truly something else when their all hanging out together and I adored that!

The magic system was interesting also, Acevedo establishes the mythological elements so well that for someone like me who just knows the basics, it still feels like something incredibly new. The magic is very unique to each character and seeing how that works in tons of different scenarios was great, but at its core the element of TEAMWORK truly shined! There’s also lots of great action scenes, mystery, and seeing how the Greek myths slowly blend their way into the story even more was always a surprise.

However, I did find it take a bit of time for me to understand the magic system better. The magical elements were somewhat confusing for me at first (due to it being from Callie’s POV while she herself was unsure what was happening), so slowly but surely I got adjusted to the rules of Muse world, but it quickly became the center of what made this story so lively! Genuinely loved seeing Callie embark on her own journey growing into her Muse powers, learning more about her Tia, and growing alongside her friends Thalia, Nia, Mela, and Maya.

Acevedo’s novel is without a doubt, the kind of story that will leave you feeling hopeful, while immersing you in the magical tale of myths and heroism. This is one of those books that left me with so much wonder, curious as to how much more of this world there is left to explore. The fun characters, voice, the heart of the story, messages, friendship, and sense of adventure came together in such an awesome way that leave the reader with just an introduction to this Muse Squad world.

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse, is a fun, middle grade adventure that explores greek myths, carries inspirational messages throughout, and introduces readers to new group of heroes to root for! Inspirational and delightful, this is a fantastic duology opener that’s a refreshing, entertaining spin on classic myths!

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag │2021

There’s no way we’ve already made it towards the halfway point of 2021 — it’s been a unique year for me when it comes to reading and media in general (I’ve definitely seen myself gravitate towards different genres and categories of books, plus I’ve been watching a lot more anime too). Surprisingly I’ve never EVER done the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag before in my 5 years of blogging, but have always had such fond memories of watching them on booktube, being super curious about others reading progress. So, I thought it was time to finally share one of my own!

I’ve also noticed there’s not always too much chatter on here about the books I’ve read once a review’s been posted. Though constantly I’m always thinking about how a book I’ve read has stuck with me in some way and doing this tag gives me more opportunity to go more in depth on how some of these amazing books have left an impact!

Before diving into all the bookish questions, I also wanted to share one of the super fun projects I’ve been trying out this year and that’s: Tracking my bookish stats! (though I have been behind on updating it…whoops!) But what’s made it such a great experience so far is how personal it can be with the fact I can create my own categories, isn’t something stressful and can be more about discovering my own personal reading preferences! I’m hoping to keep the momentum going till the end of the year to see what the statistics say about my reads and any other interesting things I find. Now onto the questions:

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky: There are no words to describe the sheer brilliance of this novel…okay maybe some! I knew going into it that I would end up loving it but wow, did it surprise me!

Rachel Chavez is starting over at a new school and finds herself tangled up in the Mary Shelley Club, a secret society on campus obsessed with horror. I loved Rachel, there’s a sarcastic voice to her, but in the end all she truly wants is to fit in and overcome her dark, traumatic past.

I’m honestly a novice when it comes to the horror / thriller genre, but Moldavsky’s novel really delivers on those classic elements even for a beginner like me, I understood how she was utilizing the genre in such a clever way to tell this story.

Moldavsky effortlessly brings a descriptive, sharp language with her writing that evokes all those classic horror or thriller movie vibes. The story is an absolute page-turner, the cast of characters are so well developed, alongside atmosphere, suspense, and fantastic storytelling The Mary Shelley Club was easily a 5-star read for me this year. Such a phenomenal book, I LOVED it. [Full ARC Review]

Best sequel of 2021 so far?

Oculta by Maya Motayne: Do I have a series finishing problem? Absolutely! I can think of at least 5 where I stopped after a certain point and just never continued reading. However, this year there quite a number of sequels that blew me away. If I were to pick one it would definitely have to be Oculta, the second book in the Nocturna Trilogy.

The development that Alfie and Finn undergo in this book are just unparalleled in ways I cannot describe. This book has got everything, more worldbuilding, politics, intrigue mystery, magic, humor, adventure its got it ALL. I could not put it down, the speed at which I read through this book (according to goodreads like..a day?!) was astonishing even to me because its at over 400 PAGES! With every fiber of my being I wanted to take my time reading this and not speed through, but it was just TOO good how could I put it down?

Truly loved being in the world of Castallan again and especially how personal Alfie and Finn’s journeys felt while reading this book. The growth highlighted in this story was just absolute perfection, they each have their own responsibilities and complicated emotions, but still manage to find a way to each other even when things get complicated. Am completely stoked for the third book, how will I possibly wait? I’m not even sure.

New releases you haven’t read yet, but want to?

The year of 2021 has been filled with many amazing books without a doubt and I have I read a majority of them? Sadly…no. But here’s a list of some that I definitely have on my radar still: Yolk by Mary HK Choi, Wings Of Ebony by J. Elle, Ace Of Spades…SO MANY fantastic YA are out this year I need to catch up on lots! Other’s that come to mind:

  • The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
  • Ravage The Dark by Tara Sim
  • June Hur’s books
  • The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He
  • Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2021?

During June, I actually got an ARC of this in the mail which is Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices From The Latinx Diaspora edited by Saraciea J. Fennell. Though I haven’t read it yet, I flipped through and skimmed some of the entries and cannot wait to take my time reading through its entirety. It’ll feature poems and personal essays from some amazing writers in the Latine community, so I’m pretty excited about this one! I think what stuck out to me about this one was how with lots of YA anthologies they focus more on presenting fiction, but I like that these are more personal and how some are written from the authors own unique experiences. Eager to read and review this one for the blog!

Biggest disappointment?

For this I’d probably have to say Those Not-So-Sweet Boys volume 1 from Yoko Nogiri! I’m still pretty new to shojo manga and one of the first mangas that introduced me to the demographic was Nogiri’s Love In Focus series. However, with Not So Sweet the more I think about it the more I realize the characters were quite bland and there’s nothing too memorable about them. The concept is interesting, but being 200+ pages it felt there could have been more time given to establishing the characters themselves to offer them some extra dimensions. Still on the fence about continuing this series, so this was probably one of the more disappointing reads for me as I was really hoping to like this one more!

Biggest surprise?

Aren’t the best kinds of books the ones you pick up out of nowhere and end up loving? The biggest and best surprise for 2021 was definitely Wondercat Kyuu-Chan Vol. 1 from Sasami Nitori, which is a full-color manga series about a guy who adopts an abandoned cat who’s very extraordinary and unique. I’ve probably re-read this volume like 5 times already!! It’s incredibly funny, heartwarming, silly, wholesome and FUN! You can expect a full review on the blog in the near future, still debating whether I should review by volume or after a few more have released (stay tuned for that!).

I love that its in full color, it just adds to the charm of the story, but everything from the artwork, to the vignettes, and humor comes together so spectacularly…ahh this manga makes me wish I had a wonder cat!!

Favorite new author?

Going to cheat with this one and say basically all the new-to-me authors this year. There’s definitely lots of books that I ended up loving this year from either debuts or established writers whose work I picked up in 2021. However, I love discovering more writers and overall I’m happy to have had my reading be at least over 50% new authors.

Newest fictional crush?

Okay those familiar with my blog will probably know I’m a Qifrey stan, he’s a patient and understanding mentor who also harbors a covert desire for vengeance (against an evil group of witches) as he offers main character Coco, the chance to be his apprentice and learn how to become a witch herself. He’s from the Witch Hat Atelier series and the most recent volume that released this year Vol. 7 is in one word: Intense. There’s such an aura of mystery surrounding his story, he’s also incredibly well-written, and there’s only a tidbit of his past we learn in the latest volume, but I can’t wait to learn more about his backstory as the series continues. Kamome Shirahama seems to be developing a lot of intricate plot threads to her cast, Qifrey included and I am here for it!

Newest favorite character?

Gotta say Charlie from Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado. She is just FABULOUS! She’s tackling first love, learning to love herself as she is, and working to pursue her dreams as a writer. But overall she’s learning to be more confident as a fat girl and her story is filled with so many heartfelt, inspiring messages! I truly wish there could be more books with her Brian, her best friend Amelia, and her mom ahh I just adored reading Charlie’s story. I’d been really looking forward to reading this book for a couple years now and wow, it was phenomenal, I’m still thinking about it (also Parvin too, uhh I adore them both equally). Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a YA Contemporary that should be on your radar if it isn’t already!

Book that made you cry?

Oculta yet again, which I was not expecting! But of course, falling completely in love with the worlds / characters once more, there’s a lot of intrigue, conflict, and mystery to this book that of course some Alfie and Finn moments had left me a puddle of emotions okay?

Book that made you happy?

Having read more manga this year, there were quite a few series that left smiles on my face! Wonder Cat of course and also my first read of the year Nicola Traveling Around The Demon’s World. Both of these were light-hearted series and I’m so glad to have given them a chance, they’ve quickly become new favorites and I’m eager to continue.

Favorite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?

I was pretty excited to watch Shadow & Bone, however despite some issues and critiques I have (mainly the unnecessary racism), what made this a great adaptation was how it didn’t follow the traditional plot of the books. Merging together the original Grisha Trilogy plus Six Of Crows, for me, added more to the world and offered unique opportunities to delve into the world in a completely fresh way.

Favorite review / post you’ve written this year?

I’ve been incredibly proud of my discussions and new blog series that I’ve launched this year, however if I was to pick one I’d probably say my favorite of 2021 has been:

Where’s All The Book-to-Video Game Adaptations?: I loved researching for this post and wondering, as a gamer myself, which books would make for unique video games and even speculating what style would work best! I’m hoping to bring more unique discussions like this one and had the best time writing this for the blog.

Aside from my favorite post from my own blog I’m also super eager to shout-out a few fellow bloggers from the community, who I’m grateful to have chatted more with, discovered, or commenting more on their content this year (tbh I’d love to do a whole blog post just shouting out some awesome bloggers because there’s SO MANY):

– Alienor from A Fox’s Wanderings: I recently discovered her blog just this year and am in love with her content! From the beautiful graphics to fantastic layout of her posts, I’m always review, check-in or reading up on the newest video game she’s playing! 💗

– Lisa from Way Too Fantasy: She makes this incredible TBR Shelf Cleanup Series that never fails to make me ponder more about my own book collection. By deciding what to get rid of or keep in her shelf, she’s always delving into a new obscure fantasy that I probably would have never heard of before if it wasn’t for her series. Its super fun and a staple in my weekly blog reading! 💫

– Joy from Ohsrslybooks: As someone who doesn’t read a lot of romance on the blog (especially adult, because this is mainly a YA space) I’m always appreciative of Joy’s content. She’s always reviewing some great romance reads and no doubt, I’m discovering some awesome recommendations through her blog! 😍

Library In The Tower: There’s always fun bookish lists and features on Library’s blog, that have such creativity! For example: On A Theme is about a particular “theme” for certain books that are listed together in a post, which is lots of fun! Super thrilled to have discovered Library’s blog this year! 📚💗

– Cossette from Tea Time Lit: After discovering Cossette through her amazing edits, I fell in love with her content! Also around the same time I started Down Comes The Night, she was an avid supporter and passionate about it and I loved reading her tweets or blog posts that really showed how Saft’s novel impacted her. Of course, I also adore reading her other content on the blog she co-runs with a few other people. Very glad to have found Cossette’s blog and read all her wonderful posts! 🥳

– Cherelle from A Bolt Out Of The Book: I distinctly remember discovering Cherelle’s blog early into January and not only fell in love with her blog graphics, but the amazing way she talks about books in her reviews! Am in awe of the way she describes all the books she reads and how her posts make it impossible for me to figure out what amazing books to read next (…like Spin The Dawn or The Ones Were Meant To Find, cannot decide)! 🤩💗

Most beautiful book you bought or received this year?

There are so many I could probably list for this post, but I wanted to highlight a more recent purchase that I’m super excited about and that’s A Trial Of Sorcerers by Elise Kova!

Back in the early days of my blog I delved into more indie YA through Elise’s Air Awakens series, which has a special place in my heart. So, this year now that a new spin-off title set in this world was finally releasing I of course had to buy a copy.

As I was delving more into who the cover artist was for this post, I thought that the original cover designer Merilliza Chan was the illustrator for Trial Of Sorcerers, but it turns out it was actually Marie Magny! I like how the cover evokes the same feel of the original series and am of course thrilled to have a copy in my collection.

Can’t wait to dive back into the Air Awakens world and this cover is just 🤩✨ I love the detail of Eira’s outfit, the colors, and beautiful background.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Well I’m sure us bibliophiles can agree there’s always a never-endling list of books we’re looking to read! Here’s a few for me that come to mind:

The sequel to Anna K., The Jasmine Throne, upcoming volumes of Spy X Family, Latinx-authored releases, also let’s just add any YA books published in 2019 and 2020 that I still haven’t read. 😂📚

That’s been the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag created by Ely & Chami. Hope you enjoyed learning more about my reading so far this year, but now I’d like to hear from you!

What are some of your favorite reads so far this year? Any you desperately want to read before 2021 ends? Have you done this tag? (If so, feel free to share below so I can read it too 💕)

Book News: YA Books Optioned For Adaptations

In just the past couple years alone no doubt you’ve probably read about Young Adult novels being optioned for a book-to-screen adaptation. With the success of adaptations such as ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,’Moxie,’ including the recent ‘Shadow And Bone’ which reached 55 million views in its first month (according to Deadline), it wouldn’t be surprising to see even more YA novels headed to our screens in the coming years. That’s why today I’ll be highlighting some of the many books currently under option to get the tv or film treatment, that you may or may not know about!

For clarification, an option basically means that the studio (or whoever acquires the novel) is given exclusive rights to purchase the material to then adapt or start the process of adaptation with an author’s work for a set period of time. There’s also lots of other factors involved that influence the process of getting the book to screen (credit: Optioning Literary Material by Mark Litwak [Entertainment Law Resources]).

With that out of the way, here’s a list of 10 books that are are optioned for an adaptation:

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Harper Teen (Quill Tree Books)
Release Date: September 5, 2017

Summary: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

Originally to be developed as a half-hour series through HBO with J.J. Abrams and Chris Kelly attached, a recent update was revealed on May 6 through Deadline that Entertainment One (EOne) has now acquired the rights to adapt Silvera’s novel for television. Drew Comins is attached as a producer through EOne alongside Executive Vice President of scripted TV, Jacqueline Sacerio.

The Wrath And The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Summary: In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

On November 20, 2020 it was revealed through a Deadline exclusive that Ahdieh’s novel is set to be adapted into a television series with 1212 Entertainment, which optioned the rights. 1212’s Roberto Grande and Joshua Long are also attached. According to the article, “former Bron Studios EVP of Domestic Television and ex-WME agent” Pippa Lambert will also develop alongside Grande and Long through her production company Hellcat.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date:
May 5, 2020

Summary: Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Bruna Papandrea through her production company Made Up Stories, acquired the rights to Acevedeo’s novel to be developed for television, revealed exclusively through Deadline on December 15, 2020. Alongside a partnership through Endeavor Content, Papandrea is set to be an executive producer alongside Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Janice Park, who are part of the Made Up Stories team. Acevedo is also set to executively produce and write the pilot.

Anna K by Jenny Lee

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Summary: Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie. As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

During August of 2019, it was announced through Deadline that HBO Max won the rights to Anna K. with a “pilot commitment.” Set to be developed as a television series, not many updates have been given as of yet however Lee mentioned in a 2021 author tour/discussion to celebrate the sequel Anna K Away that although there’s not much to share, it’s “still in development…I can’t talk about it because there’s some movement…we don’t have anything big to announce yet but I’m hopeful that sometime soon we will…”

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 18, 2018

Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all. In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

During October of 2020, it was announced through Deadline that writers Aziza Barnes and Natasha Rothwell are developing Zoboi’s Pride for HBO as a series. Barnes will be the screenwriter and Rothwell will work alongside as executive producer. The company Alloy Entertainment is producing in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television.

The Witchland Series by Susan Dennard

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Summary: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

During September of 2018 it was originally announced through Deadline that Dennard’s Witchland novels would be developed as a live-action television series, which was picked up by the Jim Henson Company. However an update was shared through Dennard’s social medias in October of 2020 stating that the production had new additions to the team: two showrunners and a director. Julie and Shawna Benson are not only showrunners but also writers alongside Alice Waddington whose directing.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: September 12, 2017

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

During September of 2020, sites such as Variety announced that Warcross would be adapted as a television series where Made Up Stories and producer John Cameron picked up the rights. Executive producers include Adam Lash, Cori Uchida, alongside Papandrea, producer Janice Park and Cameron (who will direct the pilot). Alongside them, Steve Hutensky, Casey Haver and Lu herself will also serve as executive producer.

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date:
May 14, 2019

Summary: People lived because she killed. People died because he lived. Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

As of February 2021, it was announced that STXtv would be developing We Hunt The Flame as a one-hour television series, according to Deadline. The entertainment company is currently in the process of finding screenwriters for the project and Faizal will serve as an executive producer.

A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2, 2020

Summary: For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition. When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

While not many details are known as of yet, it was revealed through Brown’s Twitter during September 2020 that A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin had television rights acquired by ABC Studios.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: September 20, 2020

Summary: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Before the novel was published Deadline reported during March of 2020 that Amazon, Sony Pictures TV, and John Berman’s studio-based Osprey Productions landed the rights to develop Inheritance Games for television. During September 2020, it was announced that Grainne Godfree (Legends Of Tomorrow) will be writer and executive producer on the project. Barnes is also attached as co-producer.

Did you know about any of these upcoming book-to-screen adaptations? Which of these books are you looking forward to seeing on the TV screen?

June TBR: Reading New Releases & YA Books

Hello everyone, back with another TBR list on the blog! While I managed to continue my average of about 5 books per month, for June I’m feeling inspired to read even more and finally get through some recent releases that have been sitting on my to-read list for quite a bit.

With summer almost here, I thought it’d be a perfect time to list a variety of books I’m hoping to read. Now that this month definitely seems more manageable alongside the smaller batch of new releases and me being a perpetual mood reader, the goal is to finally catch up on some of my grand 2021 reads!

While being a mood reader has definitely messed with my reading schedule recently, I’m feeling pretty confident that most of these spectacular titles will get read soon and I’ll have lots of reviews to share on the blog this month (including those from past my past list). As expected, there’s a great number of YA here, however I’m also highlighting a couple adult fantasy titles that I’ve been eagerly awaiting too. Here’s my ambitious list of reads for the month:

June TBR (Current Reads)

Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

Debut ┃ #Ownvoices Iranian-American rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Released: May 18, 2021

Originally I got this exciting debut as an ARC, but when my library re-opened and Parvin was finally available I decided to read the finished copy instead. Following 14-year-old Parvin Mohammadi, she’s a high school freshman who got her heart broken over the summer after her boyfriend told her she’s “too much.” Then when she meets a cute boy during orientation, she sets out to win the ultimate homecoming date and decides that following the romantic heroines in her favorite movies is the way to go. Or is it?

This book is in one word…FANTASTIC! Parvin’s voice is incredibly funny and the true spirit of this book! While Perfectly Parvin has such a great cast of characters, humor, hijinks, even interweaves themes like friendship, its a story ultimately about self-acceptance as Parvin learns to be true to herself. Though, one of my many favorite parts about this book is definitely the friendship between her, Ruth & Fabián. Seeing these friends support each other as they start their new adventure in high school is so great, they face a few ups & downs sure, but ultimately are by one another’s sides. I personally have not seen enough people talk about this book and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (Burning Kingdoms #1)

Trilogy #Ownvoices Indian-inspired fantasy and Sapphic rep. Adult Epic Fantasy Release Date: June 8, 2021

If you’ve followed my blog for a few years now, you’d know Tasha is one of my favorite epic fantasy writers, who wrote the wonderful Books Of Ambha duology. I fell in love with how she crafts her worlds, weaves in politics, alongside deeply complex character arcs, and the absolute joy I had when receiving an ARC was indescribable. I’ve recently started this one and from page one just immersed myself into another one of her phenomenal worlds.

The story follows Malini, a princess whose forced to be imprisoned in a temple by her dictator brother. Soon, the princess finds herself getting tangled up with Priya, a maidservant, who has some secrets of her own.

I can’t wait to learn more about Malini and Priya, seeing where their journeys are headed in this magical world. If you have yet to add this book to your to-read list, it can be best pitched as: Morally grey lesbians who want to set their empire ablaze!!

June TBR (Unread)

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Standalone #Ownvoices Latina & Puerto Rican rep. YA Dystopia & Sci-Fi Released: March 5, 2019

After so long, I finally read Lilliam’s books starting with Margot Sanchez! She’s become one of my new favorite authors and I’m making it goal to catch up on all her previously published novels. From the summary alone, Dealing In Dreams has been on my radar for years and its a Latina-written dystopia? Sign me up! The story is set in a near-future US where girl gangs rule the streets as they fight for power, freedom and survival.

Following Nalah, she hopes to keep her crew safe and to do so she sets her sights on the Mega Towers. But in order to gain a spot there, she’ll have to prove herself with a vital mission in search of a mysterious gang.

The concept sounds so thrilling and I’ve heard it’ll cover such a variety of themes that I can’t wait to explore. Very much looking forward to diving into this one!

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Vietnamese-American rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Released: February 9, 2021

Who knew the fictional trope of rival restaurant-romance would be my new favorite? Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai work at their families competing pho restaurants, but a chance encounter has sparks flying! Despite their families history of rivalry will their love prevail?

I’m back in a YA Contemporary mood too, so I’m hoping to read through as many as I can this month as well.

Not entirely sure what inspired this recent interest in rivalry romance, but I am here for it! This sounds like such a delightful read and have seen lovely reviews from fellow bloggers that have me even more pumped to read Le’s debut.

The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Asian rep. ┃ YA Sci-fi / Dystopia ┃ Released: May 4, 2021

The book internet and especially book twitter, has been raving about this book for quite some time, so safe to assume I have pretty high hopes for this intriguing contemporary/sci-fi twist. Following two sisters, Cee lives on a deserted island while Kasey is living in a protected eco-city. When Cee disappears, Kasey decides to retrace her steps and figure out what happened.

I like how this book is mixing sci-fi, dystopia and a bit of mystery too. Books that mashup quite a number of different genres always intrigue me and I’m quite curious to see how its all tied together.

I’m most interested in not only learning more about the sister dynamic, but also the intriguing setting that He has built. I’d love to get to this one as soon as I can so I can finally be part of the conversation and hype surrounding this YA title!

Fifteen Hundred Miles From The Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Standalone ┃ #Ownvoices Mexican-American/Chicano rep. + Gay rep. ┃ YA Contemporary ┃ Releasing: June 8, 2021

Julián Luna has everything planned to get out of his suffocating Texas town and finally live true to himself. But after a accidentally coming out on Twitter, plans are now derailed. But when a crush named Mat slides into his DM’s, Julián slowly realizes he doesn’t have to face it all alone. Firstly just want to say from that summary alone this looks like it’ll be such a character-driven journey, while also sounds equally heartwarming and intense, I can’t wait, plus more Latine YA? YAY!

Also wanted to add a special thank you to Jonny for sending along a copy, hoping to read this delightful debut asap!

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #2)

Sequel Adult Historical Fantasy Releasing: June 8, 2021

The Golem And The Jinni is easily top of the list for my favorite historical fantasy novels of all time, it was also one of the first adult novels I’d ever read and has a special place in my heart. Without exaggeration, I can confidently say I’ve waited literal YEARS for this book (over 4 to be exact). I won’t spoil what happens in the first novel, but essentially the story follows a golem named Chava and a djinn named Ahmed who find their paths crossing in 1890’s New York. These unlikely friends learn what its like to live among humans and yearn to forge their own paths.

The amount of depth and detail you learn about the cast, the meaningful themes, and fantastic world building are just some of the many spectacular things I love about this novel. This book truly got me to admire and uncover more adult fantasy when I was a younger reader so, very thankful to Wecker’s tale! I’ve been waiting for this sequel for what feels like forever and I can’t believe it’s finally here.

What titles are you hoping to read during June? Any new releases or backlist books you’re looking forward to? Any recommendations you’d like to share?

Donut Feed The Squirrels by Mika Song Review {Graphic Novel}

Donut Feed The Squirrels by Mika Song (Norma & Belly #1)

Publisher: Random House Graphic

Release Date: September 29, 2020

Pages: 112

Available Through The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: Norma and Belly plan to start the day with some pancakes, but when Norma accidentally burns them, these two best friends set out to find a new treat. Chestnuts might be nice . . . but what is that delicious smell in the distance? A new food truck has parked near their tree, and these two squirrels are going to figure out how to get their hands on these “donuts” that it seems to be selling.

Mika Song gives readers something to laugh at as these squirrels try their hardest to get some donuts while just about everything goes wrong. A fun “donut caper” graphic novel that focuses on madcap action, problem-solving, and the power of working together. 

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Once finishing Donut Feed The Squirrels I knew this would be a kind of joyful comfort read I would absolutely love to revisit again in the future! Song’s graphic novel is an incredibly charming, cute, and hilarious read about two squirrels who plan a heist to get themselves some delicious donuts. This is probably one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while, its very sweet!

While what first drew me to this story originally was the watercolor artwork, little did I know that going into this with the least knowledge as possible, would make this such a delightful and special reading experience.

Norma and Belly are two squirrels who live together in the park going about their average day! But, when a pancake breakfast doesn’t go as planned they set their sights on some delicious donuts from a food truck instead. However, the problem is that a cranky donut seller is keeping them away. So the only option? Plan a HEIST of course! With the help of a couple of squirrels called Gramps and Little Bee they plan the donut heist of the century (with only 8 minutes).

From seeing their first interaction after the breakfast in ruins, to seeing the girls cook up a plan to try the delicious donuts (with teamwork of course), I knew each scene would be filled with mayhem and laughs from one page to the next. There’s not one moment where you won’t be left with a smile on your face reading about this squirrel duo planning an epic, delicious heist!

Well, the humor woven throughout this is really my kind of humor! Its situational, witty, also just written in a clever way that makes it incredibly fun to read (for example): When they turn into floofs after their first attempt at getting donuts, Norma thinking that Belly turned into a donut herself, and lots more little moments!

There’s a soft, graceful art style that shines through the natural color palette of greens, browns, etc. What adds another layer to the soft, comforting quality of this story is through the vivid ink, watercolor, and sumi brush tools used in the artwork. Visually and aesthetically its wonderful to look at.

Probably leaving this at 4.5 stars although the reading experience is an absolute 5! I think all I wanted was just a bit more from this first installment because its truly so much fun and also very CUTE? Loved the dynamics between the characters, the humor especially, and seeing the quirky story come to life through the art style. This book truly was EVERYTHING I needed right now, I adored it so much!

Random House Graphic is probably one of my new favorite graphic novel imprints right now, they’ve released such amazing titles that have become some memorable reads for me such as Séance Tea Party and Suncatcher, I’m beyond thrilled to have finally read this wacky, humorous squirrel tale too!

Donut Feed The Squirrels is an incredibly cute and hilarious graphic novel about squirrels planning a sweet donut heist! The artwork, humor, and storytelling all blend perfectly together, leaving readers eager to read the next Norma and Belly adventure!

Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 1 by Yoko Nogiri {Manga Review}

Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 1 by Yoko Nogiri (TNSSB #1)

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Pages: 208

Available Through The Book Depository & Bookshop

Summary: A DEBT OWED

Midori drops her wallet on her first day of high school, but her new classmate Ichijo swoops in to help. She wants to thank him, but he’s part of a tight-knit trio and none of them are ever in class! Rumor has it that they all got expelled for acting up, and studious Midori’s actually at risk of expulsion, too… In order to help support her family, she has a part-time job, which is against the school rules. When the chairman of the school board catches her leaving work, he says he’ll let it go—but only if she’s up to the task of bringing the three boys back to school. Well, why not? It’ll be a piece of cake…right?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Having recently finished Yoko Nogiri’s previous series Love In Focus, I was incredibly eager to see what her new series would be about! As someone who doesn’t read a whole lot of shojo titles, Nogiri makes unique stories that are perfect for a beginner like me.

So, Those Not-So-Sweet Boys is the newest series from Nogiri that follows high school student Midori who after dropping her wallet, befriends a tight-knit group of guys who never show up to class and end up getting into trouble. But when the school’s chairman figures out she has a job outside of school, he makes her a deal…get them back to class for upcoming exams and activities and he’ll help her get an alternative job approved by the school.

The only question is can she figure out why Rei Ichijo, Chihiro Goshima, & Yuki Nojo-Ieiri are so determined to stay away from school to figure out a solution in time?

There’s a lot of page-time given to developing Midori and the boys backstories which not only builds their character, but also makes it easy to see that they are not who they appear to be, which adds an element of mystery to the story as you learn more about them and learn why they feel so disconnected from school.

I like how the manga establishes the family ties / dynamics when it comes to the guys lives outside of school, especially since they come from wealthy families. Midori realizes she has to rebuild their reputation and to her surprise, she realizes how happy she is hanging out with Rei, Chihiro, Yuki and their adorable corgi! Since they were closed off to her in the beginning, its nice to see them build a solid friendship and offer Midori an unexpected hand along the way when she needs help.

While the romance can seem quite obvious as its building with Midori and Rei, the way the plot is unfolding is what’s really keeping me interested. This first volume really builds the relationships / friendship between the characters that makes Nogiri’s shojo manga stand out to me every time.

The artwork has a unique style to it, especially when it comes out through character designs. The paneling on each page never feels repetitive or under-utilized either which is a plus.

I think my biggest issue is that although the story has an interesting concept and the wonder behind where the cast’s stories will go is what’s keeping me invested, YET there’s no actual strong connection I feel for the cast in general. There was nothing too memorable (for me at least) that specifically stands out about their characters. There were times that the writing could be a bit repetitive at points and plain. So for me, it came across as a bit bland in the execution.

But I found this to be a lot of fun and am very interested to see where Midori and the boys next adventure will take them! Also, in true Yoko Nogiri fashion despite how cliche it may be, the ending always leaves on a surprising note!

Those Not-So-Sweet Boys Vol. 1 is an engaging, unique shojo, being the newest series from Yoko Nogiri! The artwork and plot especially will hold your interest, with the story giving lots of focus to the characters. Although the characters feel rather plain, it’s the page-turning story that will leave you wondering where the story is headed!

I’m also shouting a fellow book blogger review! I recommend reading Joanna at The Geekish Brunette‘s Review if you’re looking for a post that dives right into the characters and what to expect from them.

Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce Review

Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Pages: 336

Available Through The Book Depository & Bookshop

Cover Artist: Jacqueline Li and Chris Kwon (designer)

Summary: After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes as she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in—if he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, one that takes her on adventures to some of England’s most beautiful places, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems…and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾

My Thoughts: Hot British Boyfriend is a fun, entertaining YA romcom filled with adventure, academia, and friendship! Ellie joins a study abroad program in England after a humiliating video goes viral. But, along the way she learns to boost her self-confidence and discovers what she’s truly passionate about. A light-hearted, fluffy debut!

Before going into my review I will say that despite my 3-star rating, I liked this debut a lot because I could see what the author was trying to do in terms of Ellie’s development throughout the book and it surprised me by putting a focus on friendship for about 50% of the story!

So, Ellie has recently moved to Washington DC with her mother and is anxious of what the new year will bring now that her friend Crystal is joining a study abroad program. However, she’s convinced her crush Andy is going to ask her to be his girlfriend at a party. After misreading the situation and humiliating herself, she can no longer face her classmates. Then, when a spot opens up for Waterford’s study abroad program at Emberton Manor in England, Ellie takes the opportunity to step away for a bit and also gain some self-confidence along the way.

As she adjusts to her new surroundings for the semester, higher-level classes, and her studious roommate Sage, Ellie quickly finds herself hatching a plan sure to give her the confidence she’s looking for, by finding a British boyfriend!

After meeting Will and his best friend Hank at a flea market, she believes in order to reinvent herself during her time there, the only thing she can do is slowly lie to her boyfriend, which in turn leads her to not be fully honest with him about her interests like unicorns and fairy gardens. There’s this underlying anxiety she feels that he may not embrace the real her, which propels her emotional arc. There’s an authenticity to this as Boyce portrayed both Ellie’s anxiety and lack of confidence consistently to emphasize her development throughout the story.

However as Ellie begins to hang out with Will more, she can’t help but feel a pull towards the new friends she’s made. Even with the help of her classmate Dev, they team up to help each other win over their crushes/loves which adds a fun layer to their dynamic. But as Ellie begins to realize Dev is really the one she can be honest with, will she make the right choice and follow her heart?

This is a nice YA Contemporary. Boyce builds in the wanderlust / adventure and academic atmospheres very well through Ellie’s perspective. From the descriptions of the locations they visit, classes, and lots more, the setting becomes such an integral part of how the character dynamics are explored. While the summary doesn’t hint at this too much either, there is a lot of focus + development on friendship and Ellie’s new friend group. Established early on, Ellie only had one friend (now ex) and has moved a lot in the past, so she’s never really had many.

Seeing how Ellie connects more and grows in ways she never realized because of her friends like Sage who inspires her to be more studious and appreciate the uniqueness of her hobbies, Dev for how they can be so honest with each other, even Huan for just being a supportive friend…these dynamics were such strong layers and I appreciated how Boyce gave this theme such an important role in Ellie’s story.

Now in England, she’s given the opportunity to meet new people and classmates she never really bonded with before. Also I know friendship is a big part of the story here, but her moments with Dev were very adorable and the slow development of their relationship kept me wondering what would happen next.

A relatable element and also interesting observation of this novel was how everyone around Ellie seems to have some sort of life plan heading into senior year, but she is still learning to accept her hobbies (gardening, building fairy houses, etc.) and learning to embrace them, while at the same time figuring out what her own academic future holds.

There’s a relatability to that feeling that consistently builds Ellie’s character as well while she’s trying to figure out what she wants to do after high school. Not many will know, but I appreciated how Boyce normalized that idea and showcased the importance of using your passions and hobbies to guide you.

Another observation I had was my personal interpretation into some “privilege” that certain characters had. Where Ellie’s classmates like Dev, Sage, and Huan are there to prepare themselves for college/uni, there’s many scenes that remind her they are there to focus on their studies. While Ellie struggles and does improve along the way, little by little, she does mostly spend that time to think more about her love life, while leaving her studies at the back of her mind. Then with Will, he comes from a rather privileged family and he is eager to break away from his family’s business to start his own, however he doesn’t have much of a solid plan and does have advantages of not needing to worry about schooling (or finances) for the time being. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing but an interesting observation that stuck with me as I read.

Overall I think what left my rating is left at 3.75 stars despite how much I liked it, was the more I realized seeing Ellie’s relationship progress with Will throughout the book not only felt too fast, but also rather hollow? Whenever she would meet up with him, I would think ‘what is even the point?’ He’s nice and all, but there’s literally nothing interesting about his character the more I read. He was also at points being unintentionally self-centered and was always focused on his own issues not really listening to Ellie that much anyways (in my opinion). Then coupled with the fact that Ellie and Dev has a WAY better dynamic, there was this superficial/pointless feeling to her relationship with Will. Then it was only about waiting about 100 pages left in the book where Ellie could finally realize that too.

However, above all I personally loved seeing the focus on Ellie’s growth as a character in figuring out what she wants to do with school and her life after high school was a nice arc to explore. Despite being the point of the book, I still think her romance with Will, surprisingly, bogged it all down. While this novel was just an okay, fun read for me personally, wouldn’t mind checking out the author’s 2nd book in this “series” (which she recently announced in March). Despite my overall feelings on it, what will stick with me was the personal journey that Ellie took and the focus on friendship!

Hot British Boyfriend is a fluffy, light YA romcom that despite some flaws, puts a focus on friendship, boosting self-confidence, and discovering ones passions!