Where’s All The Book-to-Video Game Adaptations? {Book Blog Discussion}

It’s no surprise that I’m eager to see book adaptations break the mold when it comes to the medium in which they are told (you can read my discussion on Animation, here). So when I read adult SFF author Alix E. Harrow’s Tweet wondering why more books aren’t being adapted into video games, there was a lot I had to say on the subject which led me to create today’s post.

In the years before I found my love for reading, video games were my go-to hobby. Similar to my TBR though, there’s many games I’ve neglected to return to over the past few years, I’m always keeping updated on new or interesting titles that catch my attention. It’s my firm belief that mediums such as animation and video games are very much sidelined when it comes to creating adaptations based on written source material. They are an innovative form of storytelling that can be done in an endless number of formats, yet is often left out of the adaptation conversation. Now I’m very aware of the budget (and technology) required to create projects of this scale…however, I find that I’m always left wondering the “what ifs” and the potential to create a more interactive, immersive experience through the video game format.

One that many are aware of such as The Witcher, which is now a hit Netflix series, was actually first adapted into a successful video game franchise, starting in 2007 as an action RPG. Even Sir Terry Pratchett’s expansive Discworld Series was adapted into a point-and-click adventure game in the 90’s.

Book adaptations in a way are occupying a unique space right now where they are going direct to consumers, for example through Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services [with Shadow And Bone, Always And Forever, Lara Jean (To All The Boys 3) slated to arrive early this year]. Now consider mobile games you can play directly on your phone, software like Steam to download games instantly, etc.

The biggest space where I can see already published books being developed into video games is most definitely in the SFF, science fiction and fantasy genres. With a variety of publishers from Tor to Harper, Orbit, etc., there’s lots of potential to bring epic sci-fi/fantasy series, novellas, you name it to the unique market of gaming too.

The reason video games carry such a particular and notable weight in terms of adaptations is the immersive quality to them. When you enter the world of a video game, you become the main character (or characters) in a way you can’t do when watching the finished product of a television series or film. Sure you experience both in very distinct ways, but video games offer the exclusive opportunity for you to experience the world, connect with the cast, and carry on the story at your own pace as the MC yourself.

Similar for book-to-screen adaptations, video games can embed the story elements of our favorite books (especially fantasy or science fiction) through a plethora of ways, such as the expansive world or setting, character design, outfits, the environmental storytelling, architecture, npc dialogue, even the soundtrack.

Video games at their core are comprised of challenges or quests, engaging mechanics, and a fundamental goal for it’s story. The reason that books can make such an impact in this already wide-ranging market with genres, animation, and narratives of all kinds is that they carry all the these key ingredients that can carry over into a fun, dynamic video game space.

However, aside from storytelling another vital piece of the video game recipe is the gameplay (or combat) itself. From puzzle games, to open-world settings, RPG’s, strategy, visual novels, VR, action-adventure, and so on…the narrative within books themselves can allow for an endless of possibility of gameplay mechanics in order to tell the story.

The story and game design (or mechanics) in my opinion, work best when they are interconnected and benefit or even build each other to tell plot in the best way possible. The activity of reading a book and playing a video game, require very different muscles. For one, in video games it’s all about interaction, strategy, in order to actively progress through. However, that’s exactly why they would make such a great medium for adapting books, for those who are familiar with the story, now you become a part of it. Speaking to the other characters, voyaging across the setting, or something as simple as interacting with environment.

There’s also infinite possibilities when choosing core elements of the book’s plot, character, dialogue and world to create specific tasks, goals, or quests, even cutscenes that dictate how the in-world setting and story of a video game would operate. Thus, this creates an incredibly narrative-driven experience.

Now for the rest of the post I’m going to list a few books that I think would make great video games and delve into what I think the best gameplay/mechanic and narrative that would fit best with a particular book! Now there’s tons of books I’ve read that would make amazing video games, but these are just some I think I could explain with the most clarity…however, of course PLEASE recommend your own and share your dream book-to-game adaptations with me in the comments as well!

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano: Because I’m currently reading the sequel as I draft this post, there was a spark of an idea I just couldn’t let go of!

This game I can perfectly picture (with cover artist, Mirelle Ortega’s beautiful artwork) as a very cute point-and-click, narrative game where the player can create delicious and magical treats from the Amor y Azúcar Panadería as the main character Leo.

Not only is the storytelling of this series incredibly wholesome, but Meriano develops a unique magic system surrounded by baking and brujeria skills of the Logroño family.

The backgrounds of the bakery, even the specific baking ingredients, and magical items the Logroño family uses would all be at the center of this quiet contemporary fantasy game.

Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim: From the moment I stepped into the lavish, tropical, rich and detailed setting of Moray, a thought that stuck with me throughout the entirety of the novel was…”WOW, this needs to be an video game tbh.” This Monte Cristo retelling is filled with revenge, corruption, but at its heart a tale of legacy and identity that would be perfectly executed as action role-playing game.

I can clearly picture this novel as an adventure RPG filled with quests, treasures, sea faring, intrigue, and above all an open world where you can be both Cayo and Amaya as they uncover more secrets about the dual-sided city of Moray.

The setting and atmosphere that Sim weaves throughout the novel would perfectly transition to a format for players to explore the world themselves as they journey either Cayo or Amaya’s stories.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: This idea did not even cross my mind until I saw fellow booktwt friends mention that TGW would make an amazing puzzle game, and I agree!

Set in Paris 1889 and on the verge of the Exposition Universelle, Chokshi’s magic system and adorable crew of misfits would be perfect as a visual novel melded with the strategy of a puzzle game to tell the story of the crew on a mission to hunt down an ancient artifact.

What would be at the core of this fictional game, in my opinion, would be the atmospheric soundtrack, detailed characters/text boxes and backgrounds making for fun interactive puzzles across Paris, even the focus on narrative to uncover the secrets, but also delve into the various themes Chokshi centers into her novel.

Skip by Molly Mendoza: One of my favorite graphic novels of 2019, this graphic novel that blew me away with its beautiful storytelling and surrealist, colorful artwork (Seriously if you haven’t read this graphic novel please read my REVIEW if you need more convincing).

This is set in a post-apocalyptic world where protagonists Bloom and Gloopy are from different dimensions and become best friends, while also trying to find their way back home. When I think of this as a video game, I picture it with a Journey-esque quality (if you know what game I’m talking about) where there’s no health bar/status and is just about exploring the open world setting and interacting with the world or characters.

Basically no overly serious quests, just traveling in a marvelously illustrated world and immersing yourself in the aesthetics of it all. I also picture the cutscenes done in the style of Mendoza’s artwork from the graphic novel.

Perhaps for a future post I can share more of these ideas for book-to-game, but to conclude I had a lot of fun writing + crafting this post, and sure hope you enjoyed reading it. Perhaps one day studios will experiment more in animation and video game adaptations when it comes to books!

Do you have an dream books-to-videogame adaptations? What kind of game format do you imagine and thoughts on the ones I mentioned above? 📚🎮💖

Bookish Buzz: Upcoming Books That Need More Hype!

Bookish Buzz is the working title for my newest blog feature and I’m beyond excited to share it with you all!

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞📚✨ Bookish Buzz was originally going to premiere on my blog as monthly releases feature, but since I hadn’t kept up with it last month, I’m trying out something a little different for this first post! But I do hope to share my original idea in the near future!

To start Bookish Buzz, I’m sharing a list of some of my most anticipated/upcoming YA Books, including a manga & middle grade novel that I feel need more buzz! 🎉📚

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 11.Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Witch Hat Atelier is a manga I’ve been looking forward to for months–I first heard about it at a convention and immediately added it to my TBR! It takes place in a world where magic is a part of the everyday! However, it’s known that those with magic in this world are born, not made! Coco is a girl who was born without magic, but aspires to become a witch. One day, when a magician travels through her village, she realizes that the magic everyone knows of in her world, is not as it seems.

The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala2.The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala (The Tiger At Midnight Trilogy #1)

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

The Tiger At Midnight is a YA Fantasy debut set in a fantasy land inspired by ancient India! The story follows Esha an assassin who goes by the name of Viper and Kunal a soldier who longs to see more to the world! Both the rebel and soldier cross paths and make difficult choices for the future of their world as it grows more volatile around them with each day. What drew me into this book was the characters, I’m all here for character-driven YA Fantasy & I can’t wait to learn more about where Esha & Kunal’s journey is headed! (ARC Review To Come)

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki3.Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’ Connell

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Publisher: First Second Books (Fierce Reads)

This graphic novel follows Frederica Riley who is reeling from a break-up with the most popular girl in school, Laura Dean. Her best friend Doodle, introduces her to a medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. As Laura Dean continues to come back & their relationship becomes more complicated, Freddie questions if Laura is the one she really needs to break up with. I’ll admit I first heard about this graphic novel when the cover was revealed, but as soon as I read the summary I was super interested in checking it out, Laura Dean sounds like it’ll explore the complexity to love/loss & it also features a queer relationship!

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg4.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Fantasy theme park– that’s what drew me to this book right away! Set in the immersive fantastical theme park, The Kingdom, we follow Ana who is engineered to make visitor’s dreams come true! She finds herself falling in love with employee Owen, but when she’s accused of murdering him one night, she’s now a part of a trial where she recounts her story. The Kingdom is told through testimonies, interviews, and Ana’s own memories of him. I’m so excited to read this because the unique sci-fi, thriller/fantasy concept sounds right up my alley!

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash5. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Mariam Vakilian, NYU Freshman, hasn’t dated in months since her high school boyfriend Caleb broke up with her. But, when she remembers about an almost-expired coupon for a virtual reality dating service, she decides to give it a try! However, things get a bit complicated when her matches include her ex-boyfriend and new best friend Jeremy! I’m beyond excited to read this book–I mean its a college-set YA Contemporary/Rom-Com, with a past ex, & VR! I’m always looking for college-set YA Contemporary and the story sounds so good!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu6. Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and illustrations by Janet K. Lee

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers

The summary and beautiful cover drew me into this upcoming middle grade/graphic novel! Trot is a surfer and alongside her one-eyed cat Cap’n Bill, they catch a big wave and get sucked into an underwater kingdom! But a sea battle rages in these waters. Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King & Trot & Cap’n are caught in the middle of it!

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu7.The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Simon Pulse

This is an upcoming YA Contemporary psychological thriller from debut author Sarah Lyu! I don’t read many thrillers, but after reading the summary I was hooked! It follows Remy Tsai whose boyfriend Remy is now dead and it was all due to her best friend, Elise. As an investigation is underway, she tries to piece together what happened and find the truth. I’m also always looking forward to reading & supporting YA debuts!

Truly Madly Royally y Debbie Rigaud8. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Point Paperbacks

Zora Emerson is independent, smart, and ready to change the world! She’s prepped to attend a prestigious summer program, but what she wasn’t expecting was to connect with Owen– a prince! Now she’s being invited as a Owen’s guest to his older brother’s wedding and isn’t sure she’s ready for the spotlight! This book sounds so cute & I don’t think I’ve read a royalty romance before–so I’m super excited to read this one! 💞👑

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite9.Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Alaine Beauparlant, high-school journalist, gets suspended for a prank gone-wrong. Spending her time in Haiti at her family’s estate, she’s reconnecting with her mother, working at her aunt’s start-up to help local children in need, and connecting with fellow intern Jason. But when she finds letters, articles, & emails from her mother, she learns it’ll not only save her project, but also help her to better understand her estranged mother! This novel is not only set in Haiti, but also told through letters, emails, etc. and I’m SO hyped to get to this, I was recently sent an ARC and can’t wait to read this book it sounds fantastic!

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen10.The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: September 24, 2019

Publisher: Tor Teen

If your new to my blog, then you probably haven’t seen me rave about the audio drama podcasts I review/recommend! The Infinite Noise is actually based on The Bright Sessions sci-fi podcast by creator Lauren Shippen. The podcast follows those with superpowers, or Atypicals who get therapy from Dr. Bright! The cast of characters, plot, and discussion of mental health are just some of the many things that make The Bright Sessions a fantastic story! If you haven’t listened to this podcast, do it!! Its fantastic & I’m so happy to see it getting attention in the book/YA Community. This book specifically follows one of the main characters Adam from the podcast and delves more into his backstory. So as a big fan of this podcast, I’m eagerly anticipating this book and HIGHLY recommend checking out the wonderful podcast!

Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell11.Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Moira Alexander searches for a killer on her island town, where sirens lurk along its shores. She plays her violin at the sea’s edge, but one day finds a dead boy along the shore, she has a feeling its not the sirens. She tries to search for the killer alongside lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, her childhood friend! Now their trying to find who ever is responsible, before its too late! When this book was first announced I knew Id have to read it! Murder-mystery, sirens, violinist & lighthouse keeper crime-solving duo?? Sign me up! This story sounds like a really unique YA mystery and I’m really looking forward to checking this book out!

These are all the upcoming books I’m so hyped to read & I can’t contain my excitement for them! 😍❤📚🎉🎉

Which of these books are you looking forward to? Any not on this list?? 

Lets Discuss In The Comments! 😄🎉📚

 

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

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

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins/Epic Reads)

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Pages: 336

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

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

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

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

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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

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

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

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

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

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: ★★★★★

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

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee: ★★★★☆

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Smile by Aisha Saeed: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a fantastic story all around!

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia: ★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon:★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells Review

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

Publisher: Tor.com

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 158

Summary: It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Artificial Condition continues the adventures of Murderbot as it attempts to uncover more about its past and how it went rogue. The sequel to the Murderbot Diaries delivers the humor and mystery that made All Systems Red so great, with the ongoing development of Murderbot!

If you didn’t know, I love Tor novellas!  I easily get immersed in the unique stories delivered with each one and a novella that I fell in love with last year was Martha Wells, All Systems Red!

It followed an AI/SEC Unit that has called itself Murderbot and is part of a group of scientists on a distant planet filled with coastal islands and forests, conducting research!

It essentially introduced us to Murderbot and allowed us to learn more about it and what exactly it was looking for as it also clued us into its mysterious past.

Artificial Condition is even more character-driven than the previous novella as Murderbot, now on its own, takes charge to find the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit, where it went rogue and seek the answers its been searching for about its past.

It was great we were able to finally get more insight to the story we heard all about in All Systems Red!

Told through a first person POV, what makes this novella so unique is that we’re able to follow Murderbot’s perspective, which is both serious and funny!

Murderbot, being an AI knows a good amount about people, but still finds itself being awkward around them and just prefers to watch and marathon dramas, like Sanctuary Moon!

Murderbot’s perspective is funny and kind of relatable, with its seriousness/awkwardness/honesty about interacting with people! It never feels awkwardly written or too direct with Wells’ writing.

The exploration of this world though Murderbot delivers just enough about the new side to this world, from the setting, atmosphere, and especially technology.

The tech of this futuristic world gets expanded on a lot more which added more depth than just general world building, which was a unique angle for this story!

What I loved about this sequel was the introductions to new characters like its newest clients and ART, a transport bot, that becomes a new friend to Murderbot and exploring their dynamic change and grow while in the beginning they didn’t really start off on the right foot.

One of the best parts of this novella, was definitely the dynamic between Murderbot & ART.

Wells also explored, in a really great way, the unique tech. through different bots and units!

While story mainly follows Murderbot’s journey to seek answers, there’s also an overarching story in which it gets a new set of clients as a security consultant + gets involved in an interesting case that involves getting a group’s research files back from untrustworthy mining director, Tlacey.

It was interesting to see more of the setting and different side of scientific research in this novella and especially through Murderbot’s new job.

I did find that the group Murderbot works with this time around wasn’t as memorable as the group from All Systems Red, and felt the plot was a bit slow. Though that is because I had hoped there would be even more page-time dedicated to Murderbot’s journey to uncover the mystery of its past. (But there was a minor cameo to a character from the All Systems Red crew, which did make me so happy!)

However, I really cannot wait to read novella 3, Rogue Protocol, because what also makes the Murderbot Diaries so great is that they always leave on an open + somewhat unexpected note, where your left wondering what will happen next!

Artificial Condition is a character-driven follow-up to All Systems Red! This science fiction/ speculative fiction novella series is immersive, thought-provoking, and entertaining all around! With character-development, unique world-building, and so much mystery, The Murderbot Diaries continues to be such a great sci-fi novella series!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting to uncover even more in Murderbot’s story!

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts I’ve Recently Discovered! {Freebie}

top-10-tuesday-podcastsTop 10 Tuesday is a feature originally from The Broke And The Bookish now at That Artsy Reader Girl!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know I love podcasts and discuss them more in my feature Literary Listens!

So with today’s topic as a freebie, I thought it would be perfect to share my recently discovered podcasts that I really love, specifically audio dramas!

If you’ve never heard of them before, Audio dramas are basically fiction/fictional stories told through an episodic podcast format.

If any of the audio dramas I mention interest you, or if there are any audio dramas you recommend, definitely let me know in the comments & lets discuss!

I’m always on the look out for new ones to listen to!~ (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

The top 2 are ones I’ve only listened to maybe 1, 2, or 3 episodes so far or am still on episode 1, but am really loving! As for the others, they are one’s I’ve either caught up with or am almost caught up with and highly recommend checking out!

Saffron and Peri Podcast1.Saffron And Peri
Summary:
Saffron and Peri is a fantasy comedy that blends modern day life with classic fairytale elements. It follows the adventures of the loquacious Saffron, professional fairy godmother extraordinaire, and her best friend Peri, a djinnia who runs the Magic Support Department. Our story starts when they meet Tristan, an aspiring godparent in need of guidance.

Kalila Stormfire's Economical Magick Services2.Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services
Summary: 
Glamour spell gone wrong? Astral projection got you untethered? Want to know why your angry dead rich father is haunting you? Consider Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services. After a controversial fallout with her coven, Kalila Stormfire must juggle complex clients and an anonymous critic hellbent on besmirching her new business. The decaying urban block where Kal operates appreciates her affordable experience in a broad range of supernatural ailments and remedies. Still, Kal is not sure if her talent is enough to stop whoever has been posting bad reviews and persuading customers to cancel appointments. If you like stories about minority witches in modern-day working class neighborhoods, meddling love goddesses, and morally ambiguous spellcraft…this is the tale for you.

Girl In Space Podcast3.Girl In Space
Summary: 
Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen biweekly for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

 

Victoriocity Podcast4.Victoriocity
Summary:A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

So there you have it! Those are the recent podcasts I’ve listened to! Have you listened to any of these or are they one’s you’d be interested in listening to? 😄✨🎙

Lets discuss in the comments! 

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Empire Of Sand is an upcoming debut fantasy book that I am beyond excited to read!! I originally heard about this book when the author, Tasha Suri, announced her book deal on twitter & immediately put this book on my TBR.

As of April 10, Book Riot revealed the cover & I’d love to share it + talk about why I’m really looking forward to this book!

Here is the summary for Empire Of Sand:

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. Unbeknownst to her, she can manipulate the dreams of the gods to alter the face of the world.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she is coerced into their service, as they are determined to harness her magic for the glory of the Empire. She must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist the mystics’ cruel agenda — and should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

I actually have an upcoming SFF TBR list which not only lists this book, but also brings up that I really have been more interested in SFF books within the last year & am really hoping to talk about SFF books more on my blog!

So ever since I read the summary for Empire Of Sand, I knew this would be a highly anticipated book for me!

Not only does the plot sound so unique and just–fantastic, but I’m really intrigued to learn more about the magic system and our main character Mehr’s power/ability to manipulate the dreams of gods.

The magical and fascinating world that Suri has created sounds utterly captivating! It sounds like there’ll be tons of magic, mystery, and adventure with a brave and determined heroine & I am beyond excited to read Mehr’s story!! (´▽`ʃƪ)💕✨

I’m also intrigued to learn more about the mysterious Empire and the mystics that Mehr will face.

Now for the cover…

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri

I absolutely love it!! (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

Everything from the colors to the font and the dagger in the center!

The progression from dark to bright red alongside the faded stars in the background brings a elegance and pop to the cover!

I also love the designs on the dagger, they also really brighten the cover with the stark contrast to the reds.

Overall I love the design and mystery this cover brings for the book! Its such a beautiful cover, I adore it!! 😭💕📚✨

Empire Of Sand is set to be released November 13, 2018!

So what are your thoughts on the Empire Of Sand cover? Are you planning to read this book?? 📚✨

Lets discuss in the comments below! 😄✨

Literary Listens: Audio Drama Podcasts That Need Book Adaptations

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-bannerIf you’re new to my blog, Literary Listens is a feature I created to share my love of podcasts while also incorporating my love for books! When I’m not reading, I also love listening to podcasts, especially audio dramas!

Today’s post is all about audio drama book adaptations! If you didn’t know, The Bright Sessions was recently picked up by Tor Teen to have a book series written by the creator Lauren Shippen! This audio drama series told through recordings, follows Dr. Bright as she provides therapy to people with supernatural abilities.

What I love about this is that not only will it give more depth to the world and story for fans/listeners, but also introduce the podcast to new listeners too!! 😍✨🎙

With that said, this recent announcement inspired me to share some more of my favorite audio drama podcasts that I would also love to see have book adaptations!

Hopefully today’s post also inspires you to check out these podcasts if you’ve never heard them before~(´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥

audio-dime-museum1.Audio Dime Museum
Summary: From the Just A Story team, comes a weekly, serialized experimental storytelling podcast which explores historical legends through the artifacts on display in the Audio Dime Museum. Part guided tour, part radio drama; each episode presents the curious story of one object from the collection. Meet your guide on this journey, The Curator, and learn her secrets as you delve into the world of possibility, magic and the unknown. Merging the suspenseful style of mystery with the conventions of ghost stories and the peculiarity that only historical fact can provide, this podcast is not for the faint of heart.

Why: This audio drama holds such a special place in my heart! It was the very first podcast I’d ever listened to and I believe it would make a fantastic book!

Each episode follows the Curator as she gives you the history behind one of the artifacts hidden away in her collection at the Dime Museum (All based on real-life artifacts!!).

Each story told through the curator is just beautifully written and I feel it would translate perfectly onto the page!

With each episode not only do you learn about different artifacts, but also about the Curator and her shop.

Girl In Space Podcast2.Girl In Space
Summary: Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen biweekly for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

Why: Girl In Space is honestly one of the best sci-fi podcasts I’ve ever listened to! The story is not only brilliantly plotted with incredible world-building, government secrecy, mystery, twists and turns, but the writing is also utterly fantastic!

With such a thought-provoking main character, you follow X as she’s spent her whole life cataloging on her parents ship in space, but soon learns she may not be alone as someone…or something looms close to her ship, the Cavatica!

The way the main character describes her world makes it easy to imagine and puts you into the world of Girl In Space so easily.

So overall, the fantastic story, characters, etc., would make Girl In Space a flawless sci-fi novel!

The Elysium Project3.The Elysium Project
Summary:The Elysium Project follows those who are pulled into the world of a powerful formula that allows its subjects to manipulate the world around them based on thought and desire.This is an independently produced audio drama series created and produced by Natalie Van Sistine.

Why:The Elysium Project is easily one of the most cinematic audio drama podcasts I’ve ever heard! It plays very much like a weekly tv show. I feel the science-fiction elements,unique world-building, characters and plot are just so brilliantly executed, that it would make a fantastic book!

Its very much a plot and character-driven story that I feel will translate perfectly onto the page.

There’s science, genetics, drama, intrigue, action/adventure, just so many amazing elements that all weave together to tell a fascinating story.

The Penumbra Podcast4.The Penumbra Podcast
Summary:Depending on who you ask, the Penumbra is either the grandest railway this side of Nowhere or a twice-monthly podcast series. Each episode takes the form of a 30-50 minute radio play. The Penumbra is all about stories you recognize told in ways you won’t expect. Your femme fatale might be an homme fatale; you might find that not every haunting needs a ghost. Your criminal underworld might advertise on billboards ten miles tall, and when push comes to shove your home might have a bit more heart than you’re comfortable with. It’s never just a heist, a Western, an adventure. It’s the parts we think are still fresh about those genres — along with what we find along the tracks. And what will we find, you ask? Well… see for yourself. The Penumbra is created and produced by Sophie Kaner and Kevin Vibert.

Why:This is a podcast I feel would do so incredibly well as a novel in the SFF genre (& its so diverse!). With a number of alternating/separate story lines the characters and worlds really come to life + each is written with such depth! Some of the stories on The Penumbra Podcast include:

~Juno Steel: Juno Steel is a private detective on Mars and gets himself into quite a bit of trouble as he and his secretary Rita work together to solve mysteries + cases on a futuristic/colonized Mars, or more specifically in Hyperion City.

Each episode introduces such interesting characters and always gives you something new to learn about the world! The writing specifically for this story line is told through 1st person and its done so brilliantly.

~The Coyote Of The Painted Plains: Set in the Wild West, Mary Anne is moving to Crossroads with her fiancee and dreams to continue teaching there, though its rumored to be filled bandits. However, things quickly change when she gets involved with female bandit Chance Sequoyah, though she isn’t all she seems as Mary Anne soon learns.

Additionally, this story line features an f/f relationship & the banter between Chance + Mary Anne is so well written.

*This audio drama also features diverse representation through its characters with: disability rep., bisexual rep., f/f relationship, and portrayal of anxiety + depression + Main characters throughout the series also identify as nonbinary & genderqueer.

The intricacies of each story that The Penumbra Podcast creates with each episode have me wishing it could be a book series already with the brilliant world-building + writing, and incredible cast of characters!!

Victoriocity Podcast5.Victoriocity
Summary:A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

Why: Though I’ve only just finished episode 1 of Victoriocity, I can tell it will be another to add to my new all-time favorite audio dramas list!

The story itself is just so unique and follows 2 dynamic main characters (a detective & journalist) that would translate so well onto page.

Even Greater London is a unique steampunk setting written in such a way where you really get a full scope of the world through just the first episode. There’s comedy (which is done amazingly!), mystery, and just a very intricately plotted story and world that, if adapted, could do so well as a book!

So there you have it! Those are just a few of the audio dramas I’d love too see adapted into books!!

What are your thoughts? Would you like to read these if they were adapted into books?

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 😄✨🎙📚

A Recipe For Magic by Kat Howard and Fran Wilde Review

A Recipe For Magic by Kat Howard and Fran WildeA Recipe For Magic by Kat Howard & Fran Wilde (Illustrated by Wendy Xu)

Publisher: B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy (B&N SFF Originals)

Release Date: November 9, 2017

Pages: 12

Summary: At the Night & Day Bakery, spells are baked right into the sweets, cakes, and pies–sugar magic for joy, grains of patience, dark as chocolate. 

Lux’s mother taught her three recipes, with three spells baked inside. Ever since, she’s haunted strange cities’ sweet shops and cafés, seeking the familiar smells. When she found them, she’d lied so hard her teeth ached in the telling: “Yes, I have experience, yes I understand this is a certain kind of bakery, let me tell you my favorite original recipe.”

When Esmé agrees to give her a job at the Night & Day Bakery, Lux thinks she’s found home again. But regret clings to her like the smell of smoke, and nothing ruins a bake like the smell of regret.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: A Recipe For Magic is a delightful short story that’s set in a world where magic and spells are part of the every day and find their way into delicious treats through bakeries! This is a charming and immersive story that reveals the magic in the everyday!

Lux works at the Night & Day Bakery attempting to keep her apprenticeship with Esmé, the bakery owner, and she just can’t seem to get her baking quite right. She uses her magic to try and find easy ways out and knows it shows in her baking.

There’s a level of skill that comes with perfecting the most simple + complex treats from breads to cookies, even mile high cakes.

Lux has lost a number of jobs from past bakeries and Night & Day, she feels, is just another lost opportunity. However, Esmé gives her another chance and reminds her that where magic and baking are concerned, there must be a balance.

Over the course of the story we learn more about Lux and her family, mainly her mother and how baking has always been a constant in her life. She keeps it with her no matter where she goes, as well as some troubling memories of her past.

The writing really brings the story to life. As mentioned above, with such few pages I really became immersed in this magical world with bakeries, cakes, and the warm sugary-sweet atmosphere!

The magic of this world as shown through the bakeries is conjured from memory and emotion and overall the magical elements were developed in such a unique and intriguing way. The magic does get expanded on as the story progresses and just brings so much to the already fantastical atmosphere!

I loved learning more about Lux and her past, though we don’t get too much background on Esmé, both of them really come to life and are just such unique characters!

With the emphasis on emotions throughout the story and how they are deeply connected with one’s magic, I found that Esmé’s reminders of balance and finding the equilibrium in life was so beautifully weaved into the story & message anyone can relate to!

This short story was just so fascinating, magical, and delightful, I wish there were more short stories set in this world! The whimsy and wonder of A Recipe For Magic kept me smiling throughout~

A Recipe For Magic delivers such a unique story with delightful characters and world-building in such few pages! The tale really comes to life through the vivid and charming writing-style! You’ll want more from this charming and spell-binding world long after the final page!

I originally heard about this short story from Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog + fell in love with the beautifully illustrated cover (by Wendy Xu @AngrygirLcomics) & you can check out the full story Here if your interested! ❤