Mid Year Wrap-Up Discussion {2020}

Happy July everyone! We’re well past the halfway point of 2020 and today’s post is to highlight all the bookish and blog-related things that happened this year so far! 📚💞✨

In my (almost) 5 years of book blogging, I’ve never written any kind of mid-year post and this year felt especially different in many ways. 2020 reminded me that although we put copious amounts of effort, time, passion, and dedication into our book blogs, platforms, you name it…we can’t forget to take time for ourselves.

For many of us this year may have been challenging, but we have to acknowledge and remind ourselves of how far we’ve come in 2020. Now, onto all the bookish things!

Adaptations

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze ChooOut of all the book-to-movie / film / tv adaptations I’ve seen, one of the most memorable for me has been The Ghost Bride on Netflix which launched this year!! From its cinematography, screenplay, gorgeous visuals, chemistry between characters― it worked as an adaptation because it took risks to differentiate itself from Choo’s novel while also keeping the spirit of the story.

Set in 1890’s Malaya, you follow Li Lan who finds herself becoming a ghost bride to support her family. But, she quickly finds herself caught between her world and the afterlife, solving the mystery of the now dead son, Lim Tian Ching and more along the way.

While only 6 episodes long, you feel so connected to the cast, world, and captivating story of magic, sacrifice, love, the paranormal, and much more. Li Lan (Peijia Huang), alongside her spirit guide Er Lang, Tian Bai, everyone in the show just brought these characters to life in such a surreal way that I’m just HOPING there’ll be more seasons to explore in the show because it was phenomenal. Also, the series does a fantastic job at highlighting more of the comedy/humor of the story over the more present melancholy of the original novel (which is done in such a FANTASTIC way).

Out of all the book adaptations I’ve heard of, The Ghost Bride has honestly not gotten the love it deserves. Its such an underrated series that deserves more love & hype! Choo herself is an author of Malaysian descent and the cast/crew are of a Taiwanese and Malaysian background as well. To add onto that, I loved that this was a Malaysian-language drama because there’s so many English-language book adaptations out there and this was the very first non-English one I’ve ever seen!

If I were to pick my all-time favorite adaptation, I would not hesitate to say The Ghost Bride, if your looking for a book adaptation that will captivate you start to finish, please watch this one!

As I’m sure many are already aware, Shadow And Bone has wrapped up production as of February and I’ve had a lot of fun covering the news over at The Booked Shelf . Excited in getting more updates, seeing Alina’s story and the Grishaverse world come to life on the small screen!

Blogging

So far this year I’ve posted 35 times on the blog and have reviewed 22 books. My goal for reviews has been to delve deeper into characters, themes, basically like a blog essay to explore different layers to a book. I’ve been extremely proud of this so far in 2020 and a recent review that I feel highlights all these different elements is for Scavenge The Stars  by Tara Sim.

I created a new feature called Backlist Bookshelf to highlight books on my physical TBR and hopefully I’ll find time to feature more books soon! There was a special author interview featuring June Hur to celebrate her debut novel The Silence Of Bones posted in April.

Books

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

One of my biggest reading surprises so far this year has been without a doubt, A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson! As mentioned in my review, contemporary mystery novels aren’t my go-to genre and if I do decide to read them, it really depends on the summary. I was wholly invested in Pippa’s case, the journalism aspect, and just the unique story overall! This mystery really left me guessing till the very end and I recently bought the sequel, so hopefully I’ll find the time to add it to my TBR.

One of my most disappointing reads so far has been Fence Volume 2 by C.S. Pacat. No doubt, its such a fun and fast-paced story about a guys fencing team, plus its super entertaining! But, it feels like the story is way too fast-paced and yet it also feels like nothing even happened. The characters still feel a bit static and I have lots to say about the art! So overall not my favorite, but I can see why people enjoy it! It was really really difficult to narrow down my favorite books of the year so far as of this month (because there’s so many), but hopefully in the coming months I’ll talk more about them.

One of my recent book reviews has been for Upright Women Wanted and if I were to pitch it, I’d say its about Queer librarians on horseback fighting for justice! Its a unique mix of genres that shows a unique setting of Dystopian/Sci-Fi Western! Esther (our main heroine) goes on a journey to grow and discover what she wants as she faces truths

Upright Women Wanted

around her, but she’s not alone and has librarians to help her out like Cye: our nonbinary library assistant who shows Esther all that she needs to know and there may be some sparks that fly between them! This novella has been one of my recent favorites and not only is it tons of fun, but I also feel not many have talked about this one so definitely pick it up!

Inspired by my 2020 Readathon (more details below under #QuietReadathon) I wanted to prioritize more backlist and underrated books. As I reviewed my reads of the year so far, one of my biggest reading accomplishments has been checking out books that have been under the radar. I hope to continue this well into the rest of the year.

I’ve also realized that a highlight of my reading has been getting into audiobooks more! Its been hard for me to focus on reading recently, so they’ve been super helpful. Not only has my reading speed gotten a bit slower, but I’ve come to the realization that this year has really turned me into a ‘mood reader’ too. Book ratings have also become a complicated thing for me recently, but I can say in 2020 I’m really appreciating the 4-star rating!

Also, I got myself a TBR basket and I’m in love with it ❤

Discussions

So far this year I’ve posted 1 blog-related discussion which asked the question: “Are Book Bloggers Getting Paid?” and why its important to talk about. Included in the post are some stats, among other facts & figures. I feel its an important conversation to have and was one of the with the quickest “draft to post” discussions I’ve ever written.

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

In 2020 I’ve reflected on whether I should review every book I read and I’ll definitely try to experiment with this more in the year. Its easy for me to want to review every book I read because there’s always some thoughts that linger in my mind with each one. However, the dilemma is although I want to talk about a book from my own unique perspective, it takes time. I have noticed its put a hold on the number of books I’m reading yearly. So, maybe at some point this year I’ll try different kinds of reviews or review styles to still share some of my thoughts, while still making time to read more.

I also have some fun discussions and posts in the works and hopefully I’ll have them up during the summer! Here’s a sneak peek as to some of the topics: library, manga, reviewing books, fun bookish lists/recommendations, underrated books!

#QuietReadathon

My first readathon, #QuietReadathon launched this year and its really made me reflect on choosing more underrated and lesser-known books, even adding more to my TBR. Its a fun and stress-free readathon that’s brought a good variety to my reading this year.

The Booked Shelf

The Booked Shelf is a passion project that I’ve really put in a lot more time/effort to keep up and its been such a fun adventure. For those who don’t know, I launched it in the summer of last year to highlight YA Book news and keep people up-to-date in the YA booksphere. So far this year a lot of the news has featured cover reveals, but I hope to get back into posting more general bookish news too.

Misc.

If you didn’t know, I’m launching a PODCAST this year!! The trailer has been live since June and I’m gonna be working on EP. 1 this week (though I said it’d be out by June 😂😅). But don’t worry, the podcast will be up and running soon!

Now onto a more personal update. Its not something I talk about often, but I’ve really been neglecting my mental/physical health recently and *nothing serious, however I found myself more stressed than usual and it really took a toll on me these last couple weeks. Thankfully I’m doing yoga, mediation, among other things to keep myself active and manage my stress. And in all honesty, I’m feeling a lot better. This also got me thinking I may (?) take a small Twitter break this month or next to focus more on reading, my blog, and more importantly, myself. Twitter has made such an impact on my blog, the blogger friends I’ve made, etc., and its been a really important platform for me and my blog, but what these past few weeks have taught me is that there comes a point where you need a break and that’s okay!💞

This has been a wrap-up of some bookish things from 2020 so far! Thanks so much for reading and hope you’ve celebrated your book accomplishments too! 🥳💞

What are some book or blog-related things that’ve happened to you this far into the year? Let’s discuss! 🤩📚🎉

Are Book Bloggers Getting Paid? {Book Blog Discussion}

What makes the book community an astounding place to be is the variety of bookish content that can be created across blogs, bookstagram, and even booktube. We created these platforms because of our love for books and connect with like-minded readers who feel the exact same way.

However, inspired by Cielo @Bellerosereads recent thread, its abundantly clear that book bloggers hardly see any payment for their work. Many say in the 4 years (maybe even more) they’ve been creating content, they’ve maybe made $20 through affiliates however a vast majority have made $0.

Why could this be? Lifestyle, fashion, and beauty bloggers according to this recent 2020 Huffington Post article are making a couple thousand dollars when creating blog posts alongside other social media content.

Although these are isolated cases, it’s clear that brands are able to pay for their content not only through Instagram, but also for blog content that has a good shelf-life in regards to whatever product their looking to promote.

Before we get into more logistics lets talk a little more about what companies are usually looking for when promoting, in this case lets talk about upcoming book “X.”

If “X” is a debut that publishers are really looking to sell many will include national print publicity, social media campaigns, and I’m sure there’d also be early ARC mailings alongside word-of-mouth or influencer promotion.

So who would this blogger be and why should you care? Well it all depends on whether the publisher is looking to reach out to a micro- or macroinfluencer. Micro, much like you or me are the bloggers who have followers from 1k to 10k. Why these kinds of influencers are important is because, the close and tight-knit readership fosters and maintains direct interaction with followers, creating a sense of community.

Microinfluencers very much carry more weight over the longterm and that’s because our audience is our peers (fellow blogger friends, readers, etc.). We are not here to market, but to simply build connections over our love of books.

Additionally, Influencer Marketing Hub also shared that in response to “The State Of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report,” 91% of brands, marketing agencies, and other industry professionals who participated, believe that influencer marketing is effective. I won’t find it surprising to see these numbers increase or the state of influencers evolve over the next year and into 2021 , especially with the impact of the virus.

I know I’ve found myself reading and picking up certain books more because fellow book bloggers or bookish creators had talked about it, even hyped it up through their posts!

For example if “Blogger A” is your fellow blogger friend, wouldn’t you want to pick up this book more because they wrote about how great it is?  This all leads back to the influence that bloggers carry and how that doesn’t really reflect necessarily in payment or compensation for our work. What we essentially are is free marketing.

However I also want to highlight the work that bloggers have done to push publishers into offering ARCs to more #OwnVoices reviewers. Through specific contact lists, blogger-run book tours, etc. I can speak for myself and say that I’ve been contacted over the past year for promotion of books from Latinx authors (Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and Each Of Us A Desert).

It seems like publishing and the world of books is still catching up to the idea of  sponsored/paid influencer marketing like the other juggernaut industries such as lifestyle or beauty, for instance. But I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Now I’m not here to say we need to be making millions of dollars on a single post, but I am hoping to highlight other industries that are able to pay for this kind of publicity. We do valuable work, so us bloggers should appreciate and recognize our contributions to the book community.

There’s such a variety of ways bloggers can be compensated (not only through reviews) there can be blog tour posts, book lists, etc. The beauty of blogging is how creative the written word can become.

Now where do we go from here?

Transparency is important and talking about these topics matters, so this is very much a great start. As bloggers, we need to acknowledge and bring more awareness to our influence in the book community. Even if we may not get paid, its important to be open with fellow creators and encourage conversation with publishers to compensate for the time and work we put into talking about their books.

This Publishers Weekly article that examines tapping into the power of influencers from 2018 states that “many influencers below that [10,000] threshold…create great content…influencer-created content works better than brand-created content, always, always, always.”

We need to remember our value and worth as content creators, even when there are days it feels like no one is reading our stuff. As bloggers it’s important to not only support each other, but help one another. Us book bloggers are part of an ever-evolving and growing community, so we need to support and hype each other up!

Let’s read each others blog posts, like tweets, donate to their Ko-fi’s, Patreons, even a simple comment can go a long way. If we want to see change for the book blog community, we have to be part of that change.

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite bookish brands! It can even be that book subscription box or candle you like! A simple email can help establish you and your blog.

There continues to be fantastic bloggers creating such inspiring content and delving into this topic of payment for our work is an important starting point.

Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion! If you are a book content creator what’s your thoughts on this topic?  📚✨

Share your story, how long have you been a blogger and have you seen any compensation for your work? 💖📚

How Audiobooks helped my reading during Quarantine + Updates

Audiobooks usually aren’t my go-to when it comes to reading, however I noticed during Quarantine they became a pillar for structuring my reading time.

As I was focusing on my classes online and staying indoors, my reading had definitely slowed down (at least when it came to novels written in prose). It became difficult for me to stay focused on what I was reading, so I was grateful to have started using sites like Scribd to enjoy audiobooks (also utilizing my library’s digital catalog more).

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

Between the two, Scribd is definitely my preferred choice for now because libraries can have a bit of a wait time on books. When seeing just how many audiobooks were available, it made me prioritize more backlist/indie titles too and that’s something I’m planning to hopefully continue for the rest of the year.

During Quarantine not only have I been able to get through my library checkouts more, but its also gotten me to think more about reaching for the backlist books on my physical TBR (which also inspired my new blog feature Backlist Bookshelf).

So far the easiest way for me to get more reading done has been to read a physical copy while listening to the audiobook. I’m also getting reading done faster because I recently noticed how short audiobooks can be! Now books are getting read in the span of 2-3 days instead of my usual reading speed.

As Way Too Fantasy mentioned, “listening to a book is a much different skill from reading print off a page…” Being more of a print reader, I’ve noticed delving into audiobooks is working with a different reading muscle than I’m used to, but its really been fun to get back into reading more books again.

There’s been such a variety of books I’ve been able to get through during my time at home too from manga to graphic novels, novellas, non-fiction and of course, YA!

In all the years I’ve been reading, I rarely reached for audiobooks, so 2020 will definitely be one of the years with the highest amount I’ve ever listened to (so far its 3 total 📚). Because I’m more of a fiction podcast listener, its also been difficult for me to get into audiobooks  cause I’ve definitely gotten used to fiction/audio drama’s more scripted style of storytelling. But, I’m happy that the audiobooks I have listened to so far have been great!

I’ve listened to The Black God’s Drums, Scavenge The Stars, and more recently Upright Women Wanted (book review in-progress). Out of all of those, my favorite audiobook has definitely been for The Black God’s Drums which was narrated by Channie Waites, who did a stellar job! Because it’s a novella I thought I wouldn’t even need the audiobook, but I’m so glad to have discovered it. Waites brought such an engaging performance that looking back, I loved the novella because of the audio even more and its definitely on my list of all-time favorite audiobooks.

Overall, I’m glad I ended up having lots of luck with my audiobook choices so far! The next one I might be looking into is for Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land its wonderful to see authors narrating their own book, so I’m looking forward to this one! (If you’ve listened her audiobooks, let me know what you think in the comments💞)

Updates

If you’ve been following me on Twitter you may have seen a tweet about a special announcement a couple weeks ago. I was really hesitant to talk about it here whether casually in a review or make an entire post about it…but I’m incredibly passionate about this special project so I guess its time I finally talked about how I’ve officially started…a PODCAST!! Titled The Booked Shelf Podcast, each episode will cover a different book/bookish/storytelling-related topic. I recently launched the trailer on YouTube and if everything works out, I’ll be debuting my first episode later this month! 😍🎙🎊

Its been a little over a week since protests began around the world in response to the recent Black lives lost. During this time, I’ve reflected on the ways I can do more (not only in my personal life) but also through the use of my platform to uplift and boost Black voices and authors / creators. So over the next few weeks, I plan to post here on the blog a list of upcoming YA Books from Black authors or even Black-authored books that need more hype (hoping I’ll have time to share both).

Hope you enjoyed today’s more casual discussion post, maybe I’ll post another one like this soon? 🥰📚💖

Have you been listening to any audiobooks recently? Any books or other media you’ve been enjoying? 📚💖 Are there any bookish / blog updates you’d like to share? 💞

Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know by Candace Rose Rardon

Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know by Candace Rose RardonStuff Every Tea Lover Should Know by Candace Rose Rardon

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Pages: 144

Available Through The Book Depository: Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know

Cover Design: Elissa Flanigan

Summary: Tea is arguably the most popular beverage in the world, but there’s more to know beyond the colorful boxes sold at your local grocery store. Like wine and beer, each tea variety has its own distinct history, source, and flavor profile, from Darjeeling to matcha to Silver Needle. Tea is also embedded in the traditions of many cultures around the world and is shared with others through distinctive ceremonies that include unique customs, foods, and accessories. Within the pages of this pocket-sized guide, you’ll find information, how-tos, and trivia for tea lovers of all levels. Experts and newbies alike will learn about:

• Tea Bags vs. Loose Leaf
• How to Prepare Tea
• Tea Families and Common Varieties
• Tea Traditions around the World
• How to Host an Afternoon Tea for Adults
• How to Throw a Tea Party for Children
• And more!

*Requested a copy from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A great pocket-sized guide for those wanting to learn more about tea, its history, different families, among many other interesting facts you may not have considered before! 

As an avid tea drinker, I just had to see what this book was all about and decided to request it. There’s a lot to discover in this charming guidebook! 🍵🌿🧡

Rardon’s packed a lot of detail into this and I loved how she continuously reiterated tea’s origins in China. As someone not too knowledgeable to tea history, I felt I really got a better understanding of all its different layers, sides, and overall its impact around the world.

There’s a nice highlight of tea history to start off the book, which I felt was a really great choice because its brief and pulls you right in.

Some of my favorite facts throughout the book included: Learning about a Matcha tea whisk (I never knew this was a thing!), the pros/cons of tea bags, and learning more about the specific tea families.

There’s occasional diagrams to highlight the anatomy of a tea plant, tea accessories, and illustrations near the end. Though I will say that this book is very text heavy.

It’s great Rardon focused a lot of the information on tea in Asia because, as mentioned above, that’s where a majority of its history originates. The overall presentation of each section is well thought out and offers a lot of information.

There’s lots of detail facts about the different tea families (which is one of the larger sections), there’s families I’d never heard of before. So again, it was a nice, light read for those interested in learning more about this amazing drink.

My only gripe is that although it can be quick to read, the information is all super fascinating, and Rardon has a nice writing style, it can feel a bit dense at times if you decide to read through a lot of sections in just a couple sittings. Again, the writing is good, but because there’s a lot of explanation packed into such few paragraphs, the pacing does drag.

The sections with the best writing included the timeline, parts of the ‘Tea Basics’ section, learning about the tea families and the ‘Tea Traditions Around The World.’

Another one of my favorite sections was the one about ‘Taiwan’s Bubble Tea’ aka milk tea boba. That’s probably my #1 favorite tea drink, aside from actual tea and I absolutely loved learning about its origins. That section was so much fun to read!

Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know is a delightful guide that’s packed with lots of great info and although the writing can feel a bit dense at times, it’s an enjoyable read that will also leave you wanting to make yourself a nice cup of tea!

Future Nostalgia {Book Tag}

Future Nostalgia Book TagToday, I’m doing the Future Nostalgia Book Tag, I was tagged by my wonderful friend Alicia over at A Kernel Of Nonsense and the tag was originally created by Natalie over at The Fine Art Of Reading!

Its been close to 2 years since I did a book tag, and not having a book review to share this week (I’m still making my way through A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder), I thought this would be a fun post to share! There’s also not a lot of opportunities to highlight backlist books too often on my blog, so expect lots of past releases!

FUTURE NOSTALGIA: A Book With A Strong Female Character

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

There’s so many books I’ve read that feature strong female characters and it was very hard to narrow this down. But, with the way this SFF title literally starts with these characters births well into adulthood, Arsenault Rivera explores many deep layers to both of these women’s lives, their worlds, and how their relationship grows!

I’m picking: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Shizuka & Shefali are easily one of my favorite f/f couples of all time and this book had me smiling, crying, and just SO connected to their journeys, they became a part of my bookish heart.

When I think of “Strong Female Character” my mind immediately went to this series. The female characters are the stars of this series and Arsenault Rivera crafts their stories with so much care!

DON’T START NOW: A Book With A Major Glow Up

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesI interpreted this question to mean a book where a character goes through a lot of development in order to overcome a fear or obstacle.

I’m picking: Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Analee is basically me okay? She’s incredibly anxious, shy and escapes to her favorite fictional worlds (through video games & books). She’s gotten used to her loneliness and finds it difficult to make friends. But, when she gets partnered with popular guy Seb, she slowly starts to come out of her shell. Also did I mention it has one the best Fake Dating tropes I’ve ever read? Analee starts a fake relationship with Seb, but there’s a mutual agreement that they’ll both help each other to win back people important to them!

As their fake relationship continues, this book is really one about growth and how both of them rethink their pasts to become better versions of themselves.

COOL: A Book With Awkward Moments Or Set In Summer

Truly Madly Royally y Debbie RigaudThis question really had me thinking, not because I couldn’t think of a summer book, but because there were so many to pick! I went back and forth on this one, but decided on a royal romance!

I’m picking: Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Zora is part of a summer pre-college program and finds herself meeting a random boy in the university library. But, what she quickly learns is that this guy, Owen, is a prince! Its a character-driven book with a light and adorable romance!

PHYSICAL: A Book With A Steamy Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Out of all the books on this list, this is the only one that’s an adult title. As I continue to venture out into more genres/categories, I’ve continuously heard phenomenal things about this book and series as a whole.

I’m picking: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I feel like everyone else has probably read it at this point except for me. I remember reading the first chapter or so and really want to finish it at some point before the 3rd book releases. From what I read, I remember loving it, so I’m looking forward to finishing up Hoang’s debut and gush about it alongside everyone else!

LEVITATING: A Book With “Moon” Or “Star” In The Title

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore

When I saw this question only one book came to mind at that moment!

I’m picking: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

One of the main characters in this lovely magical realism tale is Sam, he paints and hangs up moons and his best friend is our other main character Miel. The 2 of them are inseparable and the way Anna-Marie writes their friendship, relationship, and individual stories is just incredibly beautiful. I’m currently rereading it for my #QuietReadathon and I’m loving it even more when I read it the first time! Anna-Marie writes the best magical realism I’ve ever read and I highly recommend picking up their books if you haven’t already.

PRETTY PLEASE: A Book With Characters Who Support Each Other

Satoko And Nada Vol. 1While there’s many books I can list that feature supportive characters, especially in YA, I’m mixing it up and recommending a phenomenal manga series that I feel the YA/Book Community has SERIOUSLY slept on!

I’m picking: Satoko And Nada by Yupechika

This wholesome contemporary series follows the adventures of 2  exchange students who come to the US to continue their university studies. Satoko is from Japan, while Nada is from Saudi Arabia. They immediately become best friends when they decide to become roommates and its very much a slice of life series! Are you looking for a supportive female friendship, College set YA that doesn’t lean heavily towards romance, and is lighthearted and fun, while at the same time is about learning and the bonds of friendship? READ THIS SERIES!

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 1

HALLUCINATE: A Book With A Fun Or Whimsical Setting

I just had to highlight another manga in this tag! 💞 This is probably my favorite manga series right now. It follows a young girl named Coco who lives in a world of magic, while only those who can learn its secret can become witches. Her dream is to become a witch and she is soon forced to embark on a journey alongside other witches to begin her training!

I’m picking: Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

The artwork is absolutely phenomenal, evoking the style of an old fairytale or storybook, it’s a series with a lot of lore and a unique setting! If there were to be any fun or whimsical settings, I’d definitely pick the world of Witch Hat!

LOVE AGAIN: A Book Where The MC Proves Themselves Wrong

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesThis is probably the question I had the most trouble deciding on, because I feel that can apply to so many. But there was one in particular that’s stayed with me for a long time and I felt her journey is one of proving that she does have potential and can be so much more.

I’m picking: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I have such fond memories of this book and I fell completely in love with it. Leisl is a musical prodigy who creates such beautiful compositions and longs for the chance to find her place in the world. She’s always felt invisible, but who there’s one person in particular who sees what she can’t The Goblin King. Throughout the book she learns of the power that’s been within her all along.

BREAK MY HEART: A Book Where A Character Is Afraid Of Happiness

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoThere’s so many books featuring inspiring main characters who learn to seek out the happiness they deserve. However there’s one in particular that just resonated with me on such a deep level. Its a story about finding your way and much more!

I’m picking: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Rosa fears her family’s curse and what may go wrong if she falls in love. She’s put off major decisions and dreams because her family and her close-knit community means so much to her. But there’s so many pillars in her life that continue to uplift her and inspire, as it also allows her to seek out her happiness.

GOOD IN BED: A Book With Characters Who Are Terrible At Communicating

i hear the sunspot limit 1 by yuki fumino

This book probably surprised me the most, as its a continuation of another favorite manga series. I of course plan on reading the next book, but after a lot of reflection it was bad communication that made it disappointing.

I’m picking: I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1 by Yuki Fumino

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic contemporary manga series and I honestly am so grateful for it because, I Hear The Sunspot inspired me to get back into manga again. It follows college students Kouhei (whose hard of hearing) and Taichi, a more outgoing kind of person compared to Kouehi. When they become friends and Taichi becomes his note taker, we begin to see that they have feelings for each other. That’s all I can really say without spoiling, but its such a good series. Anyways, the continuation definitely felt like a much needed addition to their story, but I just felt their relationship went kind of backwards with their lack of communication…(However I still think this series is very underrated, so I’m linking Vol. 1 above if your interested 💖)

BOYS WILL BE BOYS: A Book With Themes Of Feminism / Equality

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

I wanted to highlight a book that’s been on my TBR and based on the summary this definitely feels like a book that’ll feature themes of Feminism/Equality.

I picked: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

17-year old Jo Kuan is by night, the writer of a newspaper advice column and uses it to comment and address of societal ills during the 1800’s, under the use of the pseudonym! This summary alone sounds like Jo will discuss issues of race and gender around that time and challenge them, which I am here for! Hoping to finally pick this one up, it sounds fantastic!

That’s the Future Nostalgia Book Tag! Have you read any of the books I mentioned on this list? What are some books you’d mention for this tag? 💞📚✨

Thanks again to Alicia for tagging me 💞 & hope everyone is taking care of themselves during this time!! 💗

Warrior Of The Wild by Tricia Levenseller Review

Warrior Of The Wild by Tricia LevensellerWarrior Of The Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Pages: 329

Available Through The Book Depository: Warrior Of The Wild 

Cover Design: Nekro & Liz Dresner (Jacket Design)

Summary: How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Warrior And The Wild is viking-inspired YA Fantasy filled with adventure, fun and witty banter, romance, and delivers a fast-paced story perfect if your looking for a standalone tale! Rasmira is sent to the Wild where she encounters monsters, meets new friends, and can only be redeemed by killing a god that causes mayhem across the villages!

Ever since I read Tricia’s debut Daughter of The Pirate King, she became a new favorite author! Her books are always such fun, unique, and immersive fantasy tales. They’re also so readable that you can get through them in just a couple sittings (like I did). I loved that because its been a while since I read a book within the span of a couple days and this is exactly the kind of read I needed!

I’m also looking forward to reading the recently released YA The Shadows Between Us because not only is it a Tricia Levenseller book, but there’s a mysterious Shadow King, royalty, and the main character Alessandra wants to take the kingdom for herself?! How epic does that sound?

So back to Warrior, you see a complete transformation from Rasmira as she goes on her  quest where it becomes a tale of survival, trust, friendship, and discovery in this viking-inspired world!

Rasmira Bendrauggo is next in line as leader of her village, Seravin! With her father being the master of the village, she’s trained most of her life to be one of the toughest axe-wielding warriors (being the youngest of 5 older sisters) and although the other guys in her training group are always quick to tease her, she’s grateful to have her friend Torrin.

However, when she’s set up and banished to the Wild during her ceremony, her only way to get back into her village and father’s good graces is to complete an impossible quest (Mattugr) by killing a god. More specifically, Peruxolo, a god filled with magic that demands goods/payment from villages each year.

She feels alone during her banishment, but is mostly filled with anger at being betrayed by those she thought cared about her (Torrin & her mother). She soon meets other banished warriors, Sorren & Iric, and the closer they become she realizes the only way for them all to get back home, is to work together. Though she’s eager to work things out herself, she learns how important it is to stick together through the dangerous Wild.

Sorren is honor-bound to stay with Iric which is why he’s put a hold on completing his own quest. Both boys have a deeper sense of loyalty and kindness that Rasmira isn’t used to, but she soon realizes that she can depend on them.

While Raz’s emotional/character arc is something we have seen before, its in the surrounding mysteries and unique world of the Wild that keeps things interesting!

As the story progresses, there’s lots of questioning as to what Mattugrs really do, whether they really can change a fallen warrior. Yet, the guys realize that along their own journeys they don’t feel all too different. So Raz takes that realization to heart and on her quest to return promises to change her village’s rules, even with the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. That left a lot of wondering as to where the villages are headed once the reader finally reaches the end!

The themes present in this book also wove in inspiring messages that added even more depth to Rasmira’s character, which were fun to explore! Her conflict of being both a good warrior and not disappointing her father, while also learning to respect her feminine side was a great message that was present throughout the entirety of the book (especially showcased through the romance and friendships she creates). She learns its okay to be emotional and although she was never given the chance to show it, she learns a newfound respect for it. Trust is also a big theme explored throughout Warrior as she learns to overcome her past hurt with Torrin as she becomes even closer with Soren!

Friendship was an even bigger theme present and in true Levenseller style, its filled with a lot of banter and humor (I know this book is meant to be serious at times, but I couldn’t help but read this book as a comedy because even Raz has a snarky internal voice you can’t ignore). The same goes for the romance! Tricia always builds a lot of layers and development to the romantic relationships and this one was so well done! I never felt that any of the relationships were rushed.

Learning more about Sorren and Iric’s pasts, how loyal and honor-bound they are to each other and it was a nice alternative to Raz’s hometown where she really didn’t have any friends to rely on anymore. Getting a glimpse into their village of Restin added more history/depth to the world too!

Iric is a skilled smith, while we also learn Sorren had changed for the better, when being banished to the Wild too. From goddesses, to all the different monsters like Ziken, hyggja, and other interesting details, it made the setting really come to life.

The world itself feels confined but it really allows for the unique atmosphere and tension to build. According to an interview from Curiositales Magazine April 2019 issue, here’s what Levenseller said about how she crafted the “hardened world” of the Wild and its surrounding villages:

“… the “animals they hunt […] have tough exoskeletons; even their fruit has these tough husks. The monsters that hunt them can only be killed with the heavy swing of an axe…”

The descriptions of the world delivery a dense forest setting, alongside the culture (from what I’m guessing) is inspired by Norse myth and language!

Its through the 1st person POV that allows for not only the atmosphere to shine through, but also the various emotional layers to the story as well! Rasmira tries to recover what she’s lost, but also learns there is so much more to be gained! It was a small detail, but I loved how Tricia added that because Raz begins questioning her world more and the rules its established. I admired her resiliency, even if she faced quite a bit of hurt. She not only learns what it takes to be a leader, but also the importance of friendship and trust.

Through her perspective you also feel a connection to the characters and that’s because of how emotionally-driven her character is! You really get to know her healer sister Irrenia, the main guys, even more about Peruxolo.

There’s lots of mystery that keeps you guessing, from coming up with plans to complete the quests, to learning more about Peruxolo and how he can be defeated! One of the most interesting mysteries was Peruxolo’s past, I had many theories and there was a lot of unique little pieces thrown at the reader as to how he got his powers to keep you guessing! I also liked how like elements of minerals and bit of geology was used in very interesting ways!

It feels like your just thrown into this world without much background, but the more you delve into Warrior, it develops as it goes along. The only issues that dropped my rating stem from the world building and how the plot/writing develop at points.

In the beginning, I was struggling to really grasp this world, but that’s also because viking-inspired stories aren’t really my thing. I felt we knew only the basics of the villages the more the story progressed, but the development of the Wild was really well done. There were moments in Rasmira’s POV (mainly in the beginning) that I felt could have been more descriptive and less direct to make certain layers of her journey detailed and immersive (maybe less obvious too b/c it was easy for me to pick up on certain story beats), but again the further I read it was just lot of fun. As for certain characters, I just wanted a bit more depth to them, like Raz’s other sisters. Her mother’s journey was an interesting one too, but again there were just characters introduced who I felt we only got to know through the surface level.

As for diversity, Iric is gay and its mentioned there was a m/m relationship between Iric and his boyfriend Aros from back home. Its reflected on and develops throughout the book.

Overall if your looking to enjoy a quickly-paced, fantasy story with a unique setting, engaging plot and witty banter to keep things interesting, I recommend this standalone!

Warrior Of The Wild is viking-inspired quest fantasy that follows warrior Rasmira and the journey she undergoes in becoming a more skilled leader for her people when she’s banished to the Wild! Filled with banter, unique viking-inspired setting, mystery, romance + banter, and a fast-paced story, Levenseller’s YA Fantasy wraps up very nicely!

Its been a while since I’ve done this, so for today’s post I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review 😍📚✨:

Review: Warrior And The Wild from Ellie at PrincessOfInk

We had a lot of similar thoughts on this book and you can sense her enthusiasm all throughout her 5-star review! I also love the nice list she added at the end to sum up what you can expect from Tricia’s book!

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo Review

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze ChooThe Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo 

Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Pages: 362

Available Through The Book Depository: The Ghost Bride

Cover Design: Mumtaz Mustafa

Summary: Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Ghost Bride is a rich and immersive historical fantasy, set in 1890’s Malaya! Weaving together the paranormal, romance, alongside Chinese and Malaysian culture, customs, and mythology! Choo’s story is a captivating tale filled with adventure when Li Lan is told to she’ll be arranged in a ghost marriage!

I’d already been looking forward to reading Choo’s novel for a while, because I mean from that summary, doesn’t it sound fascinating? Well I knew the Netflix series had already released earlier this year and decided to finally give it a read!

*Quick side-note: In this review I’ll also talk a bit about The Ghost Bride adaptation and why you should watch it! (Seriously, it seems like not enough people have watched this show and its FANTASTIC + only 6 episodes)

17-year-old Li Lan’s family is struggling financially and so when the story starts, her father informs her that the wealthy Lim, has offered a her marriage proposal to become a Ghost Bride!

Even after getting to visit the Lim mansion she feels like she isn’t suited for this proposal and isn’t sure what to do. But, when Lim Tian Ching (the dead son) soon starts haunting her, she learns that his death may not have been an accident.

As she tries to escape Lim Tian’s hauntings night after night, she’s also drawn to another member of the family, his cousin Tian Bai! Though in trying to escape Lim Tian, she accidentally takes too much of a potion and finds herself trapped in the in-between of her world and the afterlife.

She journeys to the Plains Of The Dead in order to solve the mystery of Lim Tian Ching’s death, uncover secrets about her family and find her way home before its too late!

What The Ghost Bride does so beautifully is create a vivid and immersive setting that instantly transports you! From the port town of Malacca to the Plains Of The Dead, Lim Mansion, etc. they all come to life through an elegant 1st person POV.

Choo’s prose is poetic and descriptive, illustrating a vast and lush setting. You get a sense of not only time, but also weather, food, customs, interwoven with layers of politics and social class. The storytelling itself is also so unique and goes in directions I was not expecting! Alongside that, the atmosphere is there from the very beginning making it incredibly easy to picture yourself there!

Following Li Lan’s perspective rooted me even more in the setting, its characters, including the world of the living and dead that Choo crafted! Telling this story from Li Lan’s perspective brings such an emotional and descriptive depth to the world as a whole. Its so easy to be immersed into all these different layers of the story!

The 1st person POV also brings a deep sense of melancholy, knowing Li Lan’s family situation and this feeling of loneliness after losing her mother and feeling like her father has drifted away. However, Li Lan is an incredibly sarcastic, intuitive, and overall just engaging character that it only made sense to have us follow her journey through this perspective!

There’s also many lighthearted moments, weaved with humor & sarcasm that really bring a lot of funny moments throughout the story!

The cast of characters are also fantastic, I loved them! Aside from our main character Li Lan, Amah (whose like a mother to her) and Old Wong, the family chef, are both there for her and are these glimmering lights for her during this rough time.

Aside from Tian Bai and Lim Tian Ching, there’s also Er Lang (a powerful guide of sorts) and Fan, a ghost who sees Li Lan when she takes on a ghostly form.

Both Er Lang and Fan act almost as paranormal guides who help her during her journey in the Plains and the

There’s also Tian Bai, who Li Lan is instantly drawn too, then there’s Er Lang and Fan, paranormal guides who help Li Lan during her journey to the Plains, which is a ghostly mirror to her port town home of Malacca!

Speaking of The Plains, there’s this underlying politics and intrigue woven into this part of Li Lan’s journey that beautifully captures such a deep well of emotion that she herself has built throughout her life, which she now faces, in a way! From Li Lan better understanding her own romantic feelings, facing her past, and learning more about the paranormal ties that others have to her family.

There’s also a lot of mystery surrounding Lim Tian Ching’s death and his character as a whole, so though his scenes are minimal, he really brought a lot of impact to the story.  I wish there were maybe a couple more scenes with him, including Er Lang!

Speaking of Er Lang, his character surprised me the most! He’s one of Li Lan’s closest companions during her journey and I loved how he got a lot of development closer to the end. During her time in the Plains being surrounded by wandering spirits, she realizes she can trust him to help her get out of some tough situations! However, when she does finally get back home, there’s this lingering connection between them that I was not expecting, but it was interesting how it developed throughout the last third of the book.

The story itself beautifully explores family and legacy as Li Lan finds herself on a race to get back to her body in the real world. I find that was because of Choo’s descriptive and dazzling writing! The way that scenes, dialogue, setting descriptions are so beautifully crafted is what brings the mystery and layers to the story in such a perfect way!

Though I absolutely adored this book, I did want to get into a couple specifics that lowered my rating! It would have been great to get even more background description to build more of the setting of Malaya/Malacca and The Plains Of The Dead. Choo beautifully captured the folklore and setting that I could really picture myself there, I just wish there was more! There’s also a lot of conflict brought towards the end of the book that did make the way plot threads wrapped up, feel a bit rushed (in my opinion).

Also, this is just a personal gripe because I really loved this cast of characters, I wish there was just more interactions between all of them with Li Lan! She’s such a dynamic heroine and it would have been great to have more of that connection with the rest of the cast (like Fan, Er Lang, even getting more development with Tian Bai and resolution with her father).

Now onto the Netflix adaptation & the book: Honestly, I LOVE both of them equally, there are differences that set them apart, but they both have that special thing that makes both such captivating / unique stories!

I’m thinking of maybe doing a mini review of the show (possibly?), but to break it down: Just seeing Li Lan’s dynamic personality brought to life by such an amazing actress (Peijia Huang) alongside the rest of the cast too, made this one of my favorite mini-series! (Its that good that I will gladly watch it all over again multiple times ❤)

The costumes, story and how it ties together, cinematography, dialogue, character chemistry, unraveling mystery–its all done spectacularly!

Also what makes The Ghost Bride Netflix adaptation super interesting is that it blends more of the humor which is more present among the darker/paranormal elements, that even with the story changes it really comes together as a FANTASTIC show! (Seriously this show puts focus on the humor and does a stellar job at it! The comedic timing & humor is perfect 😂💖)

The Ghost Bride is a captivating story that blends romance, the paranormal that’s rooted in Chinese Folklore and Malaysian culture! This is a story about independence and discovery as Li Lan finds herself caught in the ghostly afterlife! Choo’s historical fantasy is woven with lush writing, deeply explored themes, introspective storytelling, and above all an immersive tale about love and sacrifice!

The Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi Review

The Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko MiyakoshiThe Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Release Date: August 1, 2015

Pages: 32

Available Through The Book Depository: The Tea Party In The Woods

Cover Design: Akiko Miyakoshi

Summary: On a snowy winter’s day, Kikko sets out to bring a pie to grandma. When she happens upon a strange house in the woods, the most surprising guests invite her inside for a tea party. Kikko can hardly believe her eyes…

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Tea Party In The Woods is a detailed, atmospheric, almost surreal picture book! Evoking the style of a classic fairy tale, Miyakoshi delivers a wondrous story about friendship and resilience!

The Tea Party In The Woods is a beautifully illustrated picture book that I discovered when browsing through Goodreads and I picked it up mainly because I was really in the mood to read something short!

Let me just say that this book is beautiful inside and out! Miyakoshi’s art alongside her storytelling really evokes a classic fairy tale vibe that’s sure to captivate anyone! ❤✨

The story starts with Kikko’s father headed to her grandmother’s house after a night of snowfall. She decides to follow him into the snowy woods when he forgets to take a pie for Grandma!

Along the way, Kikko accidentally drops the pie but manages to keep up with her father (recognizing his hat). But, she realizes her father has arrived at the wrong house.
Kikko quickly learns that she hadn’t followed her father, but a bear in a coat. The house it seems, is full of walking/talking animals who happily invite her to their tea party.

From there, they chat with Kikko and help her find her grandmother’s house at the end of the woods. The story beautifully explored the idea that your never alone and the importance of not giving up, even when it seems like you’ve made a mistake!

“The woods were very still. And so quiet. Kikko’s footsteps were the only sound…”

Miyakoshi evokes a fairytale-like prose that weaves together with charming storytelling and captures that idea of a comforting, quiet fantasy.

I actually reread this book multiple times in just one sitting, it was just so cute and immersive!

The art is so beautiful. Miyakoshi uses a hand-drawn pencil and charcoal illustrations to deliver art that is detailed and captures that magical winter vibe! I also found that the use of a monochrome palette, really makes the colors pop (one of my favorite pages was where it shows a pie platter where the animals place slices to help Kikko bring more to her grandmother).

There’s also a beautiful attention to shadow and detail, which is highlighted through the wintry world and animal characters. There’s a variety from deer to rabbits, bears, rabbits, and many more that Kikko meets at the party.

Every page had such a perfect attention to detail that you could really picture yourself there and the world itself feels so big, such as the tea party house and the woods themselves.

The only reason I’m personally rating this 4.5 is that I wish this was longer, the characters and the charming world Akiko crafted felt so expansive through her art. To me, it seemed like there was much more story to be told! Overall though, Tea Party In The Woods is making it onto my list of favorite picture books━ it’s charming, sweet, and wholesome!

The Tea Party In The Woods is an atmospherically detailed picture book that evokes the feeling of a classic fairytale! The storytelling, artwork, and immersive world deliver a quiet fantasy sure to captivate any reader!

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Love To Read Someday

Hey everyone, 24hr.YABookBlog is back and with my first Top 10 Tuesday of 2020! I’m currently in the middle of trying to plan out my next read, uni. has gotten busy this past week, so I thought it’d be great to share a fun post today. As always, Top 10 Tuesday is now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl.

I noticed today’s was a freebie and had a great idea in mind. I’ve realized there’s so many books I genuinely want to read, but with other life priorities I just never get to reading them when I want to!

So that’s why my Freebie today is:

Top 10 Books I’d Love To Get To Someday

Honestly there’s way more than 10 that would be able to go onto this list, which is why it was tough to narrow down (but due to my indecisiveness, I’m listing 8 😂) . In the comments lets discuss, are any of these books you’d love to read someday (hopefully soon like me?). Any other books you keep setting aside to definitely read later?

The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore1.The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

If you didn’t know, Anna-Marie McLemore is easily one of my favorite authors. I discovered their books when I first read: When The Moon Was Ours. Not only did I rediscover my love of magical realism, but also this is an earlier read that helped me to discover more Latinx YA authors! The Weight Of Feathers was their debut and I’ve just been waiting for the perfect time to read it. There’s a rival family, traveling family of performers and the story itself sounds utterly captivating! My goal is to read it this month or at least sometime during 2020 💖

Summary: The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray2. Before The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (The Diviners #3)

I first read this series back in 2013 and I completely fell in love with it! The ensemble cast unique world, merging the 1920’s with the paranormal, and the utterly captivating story, I’ve held onto such fond memories of this series! With the recent release of The King Of Crows, the 3rd book is high on my current TBR! 💙

Summary: New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming…

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

b7b4c010-4ab1-0133-ebe4-0aa00699013d3.The Rose And The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath & The Dawn #2)

This is another series on my list of “I read the first book, but I’ve been putting off reading future books” list. I still remember being left wanting to know what happened after The Wrath & The Dawn, but hadn’t found the time to pick this up! Hopefully it’ll be soon because I’d love to revisit this world and follow Shazi again! 💞

Summary: In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The Education Of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera4. Lilliam Rivera 

I’m cheating a bit here and listing an author whose books I really want to get to! I own all her books and am ready to read them all this year. My plan is to get to all of them before her upcoming book, Never Look Back is out! 💞💫

Also, it recently had a wonderful cover reveal from Entertainment Weekly which I recommend checking out here!

Summary: THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio5.If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio 

I’d seen this cover floating around a couple years ago and I’d added it to my TBR asap I mean its a fantastic cover right?

I’ve actually been discovering and meaning to look into more dark academia/adult literary fiction lately and this book sounds right up my alley! Shakespeare, mystery, the arts, possible secret societies? If We Were Villains captures an aesthetic I didn’t know I needed until recently! This is a must-read for me in 2020! 💖🖤

Summary: Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo6. King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Alongside Language Of Thorns, this is yet another YA Fantasy author whose books I’ve been meaning to catch up on and just haven’t yet! I mean I feel like everyone’s read this book and I’m the only one Ever since I did my Bookish Theories, I’ve really wanted to sit down and continue all the Grishaverse adventures and see if I’m right about some of them! Also, I’ve heard this is a more political installment in the universe and I’m looking for more political fantasy so this one is a must! ✨

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

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

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth7. Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth

Its only up until the last couple years where I’ve gotten back into superheroes again and this book has been on my TBR shelf just waiting to be read! Not much else to say other than this is diverse, Queer YA about superheroes? I’m in! 💥

Summary: Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden8.The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Every time I encounter this book or series on social media, I see nothing but praise! I also adore historical fantasy, so this is a series I’ll hopefully get to this year during winter or fall! I bought this book last year when Barnes & Noble had a sale and its been sitting on my TBR shelf ever since! Also, this looks like one of those series that’ll have such magical writing, lush world building, a gripping story and great characters that’ll have me eager to start the sequel! ✨❄

*Also random side note, but have you SEEN the beautiful UK covers?

Summary: At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Thanks for joining me for my first Top 10 Tuesday of 2020! Any books you’d love to read someday? Any from my list that you recommend? Lets discuss! 😍📚💖✨

Latinx YA Books Releasing In 2020!

Its a new year, which means new books! For one of my first 2020 bookish lists on the blog, I’ll be recommending Young Adult books releasing this year from Latinx authors 📚📚🎊

As always, the releases will be separated by category to make it easier to navigate! And if there’s any books I miss, I’ll leave additional links below!

There’s so many wonderful, incredible Latinx YA novels to look forward to this year and I hope this list will inspire you to check them out and add them to your TBRs! ✨📚

Contemporary

This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams1. This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: February 11, 2020

Summary: When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs.

Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

Salty Bitter Sweet by Mayra Cuevas2. Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas

Publisher: Blink YA Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Summary: Seventeen-year-old aspiring chef Isabella Fields’ family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. She moves in with her dad and his new wife in France, where Isabella feels like an outsider in her father’s new life, studiously avoiding the awkward, “Why did you cheat on Mom?” conversation.

The upside of Isabella’s world being turned upside down? Her father’s house is located only 30 minutes away from the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard, who runs a prestigious and competitive international kitchen apprenticeship. The prize job at Chef Grattard’s renowned restaurant also represents a transformative opportunity for Isabella, who is desperate to get her life back in order.

But how can Isabella expect to hold it together when she’s at the bottom of her class at the apprenticeship, her new stepmom is pregnant, she misses her abuela dearly, and a mysterious new guy and his albino dog fall into her life?

A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen3. A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BYR (Fierce Reads)
Release Date: April 28, 2020

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.

But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There’s her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. Told in epistolary-like style, this deeply moving novel sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places.

Running by Natalia Sylvester4. Running by Natalia Sylvester

Publisher: Clarion Books (HMH Teen)
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Summary: When fifteen-year-old Cuban American Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president, Mari starts to see him with new eyes. A novel about waking up and standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching.

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From by Jennifer De Leon5. Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon Teen/Riveted Lit)
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Summary: Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall—or rather, walls.

There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.

There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.

And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whiten up.

So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t…and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.

But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.

We Are Not From Here Jenny Torres Sanchez6. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin Teen)
Release Date: May 19, 2020

Summary: Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña have no false illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Though their families–both biological and found–create a warm community for them, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the three teens know they have no choice but to run: for the border, for the hope of freedom, and for their very lives.

Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico with their eyes on the U.S. border, they follow the route of La Bestia, a system of trains that promise the hope of freedom–if they are lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and the desperation that courses through their very veins, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know that there’s no turning back, dangerous though the road ahead might be.

Home, Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini7. Home, Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 26, 2020

Summary: Moving from Trinidad to Canada wasn’t her idea. But after being hospitalized for depression, her mother sees it as the only option. Now, living with an estranged aunt she barely remembers and dealing with her “troubles” in a foreign country, she feels more lost than ever.

Everything in Canada is cold and confusing. No one says hello, no one walks anywhere, and bus trips are never-ending and loud. She just wants to be home home, in Trinidad, where her only friend is going to school and Sunday church service like she used to do.

But this new home also brings unexpected surprises: the chance at a family that loves unconditionally, the possibility of new friends, and the promise of a hopeful future. Though she doesn’t see it yet, Canada is a place where she can feel at home–if she can only find the courage to be honest with herself.

Dystopian & Sci-Fi

We Unleash The Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia1.We Unleash The Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set The Dark On Fire #2)

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Epic Reads)
Release Date: February 25, 2020

Summary: Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.

Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.

There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

The First 7 by Laura Pohl2. The First 7 by Laura Pohl (The Last 8 #2)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Summary: Clover Martinez and the Last Teenagers on Earth are busy exploring the galaxy after leaving earth behind…even if they are homesick. So when their ship receives a distress signal from their former home, they hope against hope that it means that there are other survivors. But as soon as they arrive, they realize something’s deeply wrong: strange crystal formations are taking over Earth’s soil and threatening to destroy the planet.

Seeking the origin of the formations, the group discovers a colony of survivors hidden in the mountains. Relief gives way to panic as the teenagers realize these survivors aren’t who they seem…and Clover and her friends might not be able to escape.

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera3. All These Monsters by Amy Tintera (Monsters #1)

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (HMH Teen)
Release Date: July 7, 2020

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance.

When Clara starts training with her teammates, however, she realizes what fighting monsters really means: sore muscles, exhaustion, and worst of all, death. Scrabs are unpredictable, violent, and terrifying. But as Clara gains confidence in her battle skills, she starts to realize scrabs might not be the biggest evil. The true monsters are the ones you least expect.

Sia Martinez And The Moonlit Beginning Of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland4. Sia Martinez And The Moonlit Beginning Of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 4, 2020

Summary: It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

Fantasy

Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez1. Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: January 7, 2020

Summary: A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera2. Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (Infinity Cycle #1)

Publisher: Harper Teen (Epic Reads)
Release Date: January 14, 2020

Summary: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed. 

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

3. Diamond City by Francesca Flores (Diamond City #1)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 28, 2020

Summary: Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova4. Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova (Hollow Crown #1)

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: April 28, 2020

Summary: I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

Lobizona by Romina Garber5. Lobizona by Romina Garber (Wolves Of No World #1)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Summary: Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal…it’s her entire existence.

Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Perez6. Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Perez (Sweet Black Waves #3)

Publisher: Imprint (Fierce Reads)
Release Date: August 25, 2020

Summary: To save the kingdom, Branwen embraced the darkest aspects of her magic. But she may have lost herself––and the two people she loves most.

Tristan and Eseult are missing. As Branwen searches for them, she must hide the truth surrounding their disappearance from both the king and her lover. Above all, she must find the Queen and her Champion first.

New and old enemies circle Branwen, clamoring for power and revenge, and threatening to destroy the fragile peace that she has sacrificed everything to secure.

Magical Realism

Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore1. Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 14, 2020

Summary: Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry2. Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 24, 2020

Summary: The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window.

A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

Mystery/Thriller

Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal1. Category Five by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 2, 2020

Summary: Category Five is a new supernatural thriller from Ann Dávila Cardinal, set against the backdrop of a post-hurricane Puerto Rico.

After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.

The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matter worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.

Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat. 

Paranormal Fantasy

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas1. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: June 9, 2020

Summary: A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his conservative Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s paranormal YA debut.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Poetry

With a Star in My Hand Ruben Dario, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle1. With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon Teen)
Release Date: February 18, 2020

Summary: From acclaimed author Margarita Engle comes a gorgeous new novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo.

As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse.

A restless and romantic soul, Rubén traveled across Central and South America seeking adventure and connection. As he discovered new places and new loves, he wrote poems to express his wild storm of feelings. But the traditional forms felt too restrictive. He began to improvise his own poetic forms so he could capture the entire world in his words. At the age of twenty-one, he published his first book Azul, which heralded a vibrant new literary movement called Modernismo that blended poetry and prose into something magical.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo2. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: May 5, 2020
Release Date: Harper Teen (Epic Reads)

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.

Urban Fantasy

Shadowshaper Legacy by Daniel José Older1. Shadowshaper Legacy by Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper #3)

Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: January 7, 2020

Summary: A house divided

Sierra and the shadowshapers have been split apart. Juan, Anthony, and Izzy are in jail, anxiously waiting to find out what will become of them. Back in Brooklyn, the other shadowshapers have been getting threatening messages from whisper wraiths, catching strangely shaped figures stalking them, and fending off random spirits. A war is brewing among the houses, and the very magic of the shadowshapers is at stake.

The fate of the worlds

Sierra is determined to protect her own in the coming conflict, even if that means keeping secrets from them. But a deal with Death by one of Sierra’s ancestors has far-reaching consequences in the battles of the present, and as old fates tangle with new powers, Sierra will have to harness the Deck of Worlds and confront her family’s past if she has any hope of saving the future and everyone she loves. Only doing so will mean following the magic to places the shadowshapers have never gone before . . . and may never return from.

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani2. Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

Publisher: Harper Teen (EpicReads)
Release Date:
January 28, 2020

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her family ignores her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: She can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Japan. But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.

Not exactly skilled at fighting anything, much less the dead, Kira enlists the aid of seven powerful death gods to help her slay Shuten-doji. They include Shiro, a kitsune with boy-band looks who is more flirtatious than helpful, and O-bei, a regal demon courtesan with covert reasons of her own for getting involved.

As the confrontation with Shuten-doji draws nearer by the day, the fate of Japan hangs in the balance. Can Kira save humankind? Or will the demon king succeed in bringing eternal darkness upon the world.

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova3. Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #3)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 1, 2020

Summary: Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she’s been feeling lost. She has brand-new powers she doesn’t understand, and her family is still trying to figure out how to function in the wake of her amnesiac father’s return home. Then, on the night of her Deathday party, Rose discovers her father’s memory loss has been a lie.

As she rushes to his side, the two are ambushed and pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. There, Rose is forced to work with a group of others to save Adas. Soon, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the troubling truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters.

But if Rose wants to return home so she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.

Here’s additional links if your looking for more Latinx Books to add to your To-Read List:

Latinxs In Kid Lit: 2020 Titles By/For/About Latinx!!

Las Musas: Young Adult 2020

I also recommend checking out the wonderful Adriana from @BoricuaReads!!

Which Latinx YA books are you looking forward to?📚🎉✨