The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera Review

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault RiveraThe Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #2)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Pages: 544

Summary: Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows.

Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.

As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home?

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Phoenix Empress expands on the world of Hokkaro and delves deeper into a period of empress Shizuka’s past! Exquisite writing, action, adventure, and a plot that uncovers more about the world you thought you knew, Arsenault Rivera’s latest book, is a brilliantly explored sequel!

If you were to ask me what my most memorable historical/epic fantasy books are in recent years, I wouldn’t hesitate to say: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera!

When I turned the very last page of Tiger, I was left emotionally drained, but in a good way. I fell in love with both Shizuka and Shefali–their lives, complexities, and the beautiful friendship + relationship they formed! From the moment I started The Phoenix Empress, it was like returning home.

I’ll be honest, because I’d been so captivated by The Tiger’s Daughter, I did put off reading Phoenix because I just wasn’t prepared to get back to it right away during release! However, I’m glad I didn’t because after that ending (WOW!) I don’t have to wait as long for The Warrior Moon! 😭💖❤

Set in the Hokkaran Empire, this series follows Qorin warrior Barsalai Shefali and divine empress-to-be O-Shizuka. Since birth their fates have been destined to remain tied together. Over the course of  story, Shefali recounts her childhood with Shizuka through letters as they grew up together, became the best of friends, and learned more about the feelings they have for one another.

From the elegant writing style, to the way Arsenault Rivera crafts her characters through the eyes of Shefali, brings everyone and everything in this world to life!

What I loved about The Tiger’s Daughter was seeing how it ended on such a happy note with them finally seeing each other again after an 8-year separation.

However when The Phoenix Empress begins, we learn their reunion is short-lived as Shizuka is busy with politics, meetings, and other important duties as empress and her time with Shefali is constantly being cut short.

While both books have their dark and impactful moments, The Phoenix Empress definitely showcases a more grounded darkness as Shizuka recounts the depression and change she underwent with Shefali’s forced dismissal.

What I love about this series so much is not only the attention to detail that lends itself to the characters and world, but also the symbolism and parallels that I uncovered even more as I read Phoenix!

From plum blossoms, Shizuka being the storyteller this time around, how Shizuka loses her tears, and the backstory as to why Shizuka can barley look into the reflection of water anymore, these were the kinds of details I picked up on while reading that lent so much meaning to the story in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Shizuka however is not exactly the same as we or Shefali remember her in book 1! Still recovering from loneliness and the trials of war, there are ghosts that Shizuka calls to the surface that have haunted her during the time of Shefali’s absence.

The Phoenix Empress explores the effects of war, both internally and externally as Shizuka is transformed from confident empress to an empress now led astray by her lost love. But in Shefali’s absence, she now uses her loss for the time being to transform Hokkaro into a more united country.

From working in a Kyuuzen Temple to banding together a Xianese army to fight against the blackblood demons, and taking up the role as a soldier, Shizuka learns a lot more about her country and its people.

I would definitely say that Shizuka’s journey and travels during the war and alongside the Xianese were some of my favorite sections to read about!

Though there are so many of Shizuka’s scenes and moments I loved throughout Phoenix, if I had to pick a favorite I’d have to say that mine was when she connected with her ability to raise flowers and regrew The Wall Of Flowers! The descriptions to her connection with the world around her and just the ethereal presence I felt while reading it made it one of the many memorable scenes of Shizuka’s time in the army!

Shizuka has this light inside of her that I could sense with every chapter and new journey she was headed on! Even in the face of difficult trials, she pushed on and never gave up! Though there were many moments that caused her pain, she knew there was nothing worse than not being with Shefali and that pushed her to change herself and her world!

As with The Tiger’s Daughter, the novel jumps between the past and the present. Though this time instead of letters, its Shizuka telling Shefali stories of what happened during her absence.

In the present, not only does Shefali see how Shizuka is still recovering, but she’s also attempting to fight the demon that has slowly begun to take her over and learns the devastating news that she may only have months to live.

This sequel was interesting in a lot of ways, because with The Tiger’s Daughter we’re following Shizuka & Shefali’s lives literally starting at their births to their late 20’s. However, in Phoenix we’re following mainly Shizuka, this time through a set period of her life and why it left her such a changed person.

As with The Tiger’s Daughter, Arsenault Rivera’s writing is not only beautiful and descriptive, but also so poetic! Her writing is styled in a way where your left knowing so much about the setting, culture, character’s lives, and vastness of the story with each line.

While there were so many I loved, here were some of my favorite lines that I found throughout reading Phoenix:

“Letters are only paper. They may tear or fall apart or burn or eighty other things. Words can live forever, if we give them a voice…” (37).

“The most honorable thing in the world is to safeguard others…” (277).

“I do not consider the impossibility of a thing before I resolve myself to do it…” (354).

We get to know even more about the different lands across Hokkaaro such as Shiseiki and especially Xian-Lai! Through Shizuka’s efforts to grant countries their freedom from years of Hokkaran rule, we get to see even more depth to the history and culture of these vast countries.

Though Shizuka isn’t with Shefali for some time, we learn that Shizuka had been living in Xian-Lai with a fellow empress and learned about a long-lost cousin. I loved them so much, not only were they such deeply explored characters, but also as with Tiger, we see a vast array of powerful and inspiring female characters!

From Boazhai (Xian-Lai’s empress), Shizuka’s cousins Sakura & Daishi and general Xianyu (Baozhai’s older sister)–to of course Shefali & Shizuka themselves, I love the complexities, different dynamics and strengths that are seen among this cast of female characters! They are each unique, captivating, and inspiring in their own ways!

Since Tiger, we’ve known that it was Kenshiro who had let word out that Shizuka and Shefali we’re together, forcing the cruel emperor to separate them. However, since then we’ve seen how Shizuka has come to forgive him and I loved seeing how much these characters: Kenshiro, Baozhai (whose his wife), Sakura, Daishi, become one huge family alongside Shizuka & Shefali when they uncover more about the lore of their world, the monsters that still lurk, and a looming battle with a god that they still have much to learn about!

Though its slowly woven into the story and a lot more present nearing the last 1/4, I loved the expansion on the mythology and lore of the gods and how I see it playing such a crucial part in book 3, The Warrior Moon!

A mysterious chapter under the name of The Eternal King, uncovers that this god is the one who’s possibly been invading Shefali’s mind under the name of The Scholar since the start of the book! After getting a bit of backstory and how he can literally change the essence of who a person is & shape it into whatever he wants–I’m so interested to see how this is developed (but also a little worried for Shefali).

I also loved this discussion of gods explored even more when throughout this book we’ve seen that Shizuka’s claims of her & Shefali being gods wasn’t so far-fetched after all. It turns out there is a cycle of deities that rise out of chaos and live on through a destined group of people. This reveal was probably one of the most surprising elements of the book, but I loved how this led the cast to use it to their advantage and formulate a better plan at trying to save their world.

It seems there’s a looming war on the horizon and I can’t wait to see how my 2 brilliant warriors Shefali & Shizuka team up to take down the Eternal King! *Spoiler– I was not expecting him to be an ancient emperor! I’m interested to see where this is headed in book 3!

As with Shefali, we learn more here & there about the infection running through her. Though its something she keeps a lot to herself throughout the book, I loved reading about her development between her and her brother–finding that common ground again to talk to one another! I also loved learning more about her niece Baoyi!!

Probably another one of the most heartbreaking moments of this book aside from following Shizuka’s loneliness, was the fact that since her return Shefali hadn’t yet seen her mother!

Knowing she wanted to reconnect with Shizuka and spend time with her, I cried when she received a letter from her mother stating how proud she was of her and that they would meet again soon!

As mentioned above, though the main narrator changed for this book, I loved that no matter what I still felt a connection to the world! From the lush nature descriptions to the many people Shizuka meets along her journey, and the way more information is uncovered about the land of Hokkaro.

For me personally, I did find the pacing to be slower than Tiger and am surprised it took me practically a month to read this sequel, considering I’d gotten through Tiger in just a couple days. Though, I think that’s due to the difference in writing-style between Shefali and Shizuka, so it took me a little longer to get through this book!

Above all though, I really loved this book a lot! The Phoenix Empress‘s plot plays a lot with time and through that, we see this wonderfully executed timeline that lends a new perspective to the empress and world we thought we knew! Though Shefali & Shizuka especially, shows so much vulnerability in this novel, seeing her growth and the family that’s formed between her & many other characters has definitely got me ready to see where their journey is headed in their Ascendancy!

The Phoenix Empress is an epic continuation to a brilliant fantasy series! This unforgettable sequel expands even more on the world of The Tiger’s Daughter than you first expect! Powerful and dynamic female characters, expansive lore and world-building, politics, action, adventure, and so much more, make The Phoenix Empress a unique and impactful sequel! The wait for The Warrior Moon will be tough, but so worth it!

Latinx YA Book Releases To Add To Your TBR {2018}

Latinx YA Book ReleasesToday on the blog, I’m so happy to share with you upcoming 2018 YA Books that feat. Latinx characters or are by Latinx authors that I’m really looking forward to reading + ones to add to your TBR!!

Being Latina myself, its just so amazing + inspiring (not only being an avid YA reader + aspiring author) to see so many upcoming YA Books from Latinx authors 😍✨📚

The list will be split up by genre/category + release date/pages (if available) & publisher!(Note: Dates may be subject to change)

I did my best to compile a list of as many as I could, but if there were any I happened to miss, please feel free to comment so others can know about it too!

Contemporary

1.The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos (Feb. 1, 2018, Carolrhoda Books, 344 Pages)

Summary: Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

2. Flight Season by Marie Marquardt (Feb. 20, Wednesday Books, 352 Pages)

Summary:Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

3.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (March 6, HarperTeen, 368 Pages) 

Summary: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

4. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (May 8, Razorbill, 272 Pages)

Summary: Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

5.Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro (May 22, Tor Teen, 384 Pages)

Summary: A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift. 

6.The Fall Of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez (June 12, Philomel Books, 448 Pages) *Today, Jen from PopGoesTheReader just featured The Fall Of Innocence Cover Reveal!

Summary:For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She’s forced down the memories–the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she’s tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.

But when a startling discovery about her attacker’s identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she’d shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.

A compulsively-readable tragedy that reminds us of the fragility of human nature.

7. Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes (September 18, Simon Pulse, 416 Pages)

Summary:Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

8.The Resolutions by Mia Garcia (November 13, Harper Teen, 320 Pages)

Summary:New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.

From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.

Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.

But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.

9. Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid (TBA 2018, Harlequin Teen)

Summary:The summer after senior year is not going as eighteen-year-old Lu Charles expected: after her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her, she finds herself unable to write her relationships column for Misnomer, the popular e-zine that feels so central to her identity. Then, she meets Cal, a handsome, charming and decidedly un-single stranger. Or is he?

Cal’s ever-practical girlfriend Iris is looking ahead to her first year of college, and her plans do not include a long-distance boyfriend. When Lu learns that Cal and Iris have planned to end their relationship at the end of the summer, she becomes fascinated and decides to chronicle the last months the couple will spend together. But the closer she gets to both of them, the harder it becomes to untangle her own feelings toward Cal from the story she’s writing. When Lu’s ex-boyfriend Leo unexpectedly comes back into the picture, Lu will have to decide what she wants—and from whom—or risk losing it.

Fantasy

1.Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez (June 5, Imprint, 448 Pages)

Summary: Not you without me, not me without you.
Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

2.The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera (The Tiger’s Daughter #2) (August 28, Tor Books, 400 Pages)

Summary:The Phoenix Empress, the sequel to K Arsenault Rivera’ the wildly buzzed about The Tiger’s Daughter, an epic historical fantasy in the vein of Patrick Rothfuss and Naomi Novik.

Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows.

Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.

As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home?

Dystopia

1. Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera (August 21, Simon Schuster BYR, 352 Pages)

*Note: I double-checked not only Rivera’s twitter + the publishers website & Dealing In Dreams is set to be out in 2019! Apologies~

Summary: At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Sixteen-year-old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search of the mysterious gang the Ashé Riders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles crews and her own doubts but the closer she gets to her goal the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone—she cares about.

Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?

Graphic Novels

1. Moonstruck Vol. 1 by Grace Ellis, Shea Beagle + Kate Leth (Artists) (March 27, Image Comics, 120 Pages)

Summary: Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late. (*Features Latinx characters, not by Latinx authors)

Magical Realism

1.Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Oct. 9, Feiwel & Friends, 320 Pages)

Summary: A magical realist Snow-White & Rose-Red meets Swan Lake, in which two sisters become rivals in a game that will turn the losing girl into a swan. 

Retellings

1. Pride by Ibi Zoboi (September 2018, Balzer+Bray/Harper Teen, 304 pages)

Summary:Zuri Benitez, a young woman with four wild sisters is contending with a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister Janae starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius — that is, until they’re forced to find common ground and they start to bond.

Urban Fantasy

1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #2) (June 5, Sourcebooks Fire, 352 Pages)

Summary:Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

Latinx YA Books 2018

What Latinx YA Books are you looking forward to? 😄🎉📚📚

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

Book Blog Discussion: 2017 Wrap-Up

Happy Holidays!! 😄🎄🎉 Wow 2017 really flew by and I can’t believe 2018 is actually here already!~

This past year really was big for me both personally and for my reading/book blogging~

So today I’ll be sharing some bookish stats/accomplishments with you about reading, book blogging, etc. that I reached in 2017!

1.Books Read In 2017

Originally I planned to set a goal for at least 15 books (mentioned in my 2017 Book Blog Goals {Bookish Goals} post)

Its a pretty reasonable goal I’m planning to set for myself each year and I’m happy to have accomplished it by completing:

72 Books 🎉📚📚

There were so many fantastic books I read this year! Ones that took me on grand adventures, made me cry, smile, etc.! While there are more to add to this list, here are just some of the 2017 books that truly stuck with me throughout the year or whenever I read them + are ones that constantly come to mind, when I think about my 2017 reading as a whole! These books are ones that truly captured my heart & I hope, if you haven’t read them, my reviews inspire you to pick them up too:

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesWintersong by S. Jae Jones

The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Full Book Review To Come)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

The Victoria In My Head by Janelle MilanesThe Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Also mentioned in my 2017 Bookish Goals post, I really wanted to make more of an effort to read more diversely and just promote diverse books more!

With that said out of the 72 books I read, 31 of them were either written by authors of color or #OwnVoices books!

I know I can definitely push myself to read even more diversely in 2018 & really want to continue to do so! I already have back-list 2017 titles from #OwnVoices or authors of color I cannot wait to read 😄📚✨💕~

2.Book Blogging Accomplishments

In the 2 years I started 24hrYABookBlog, I never expected to make new friends and just have my blog grow to where it is now!

I’m so grateful to have gotten to know and even meet such inspiring book bloggers  through social media/blogging or even in person through book events!

That has definitely been one of the highlights of 2017! 😍💕📚

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-banner3.Blog Features

One of my newest and most favorite blog features I expanded on in 2017 was Literary Listens! If you’ve never read/heard of it, its basically a blog feature where I discuss books and podcasts! 😍🎙📚

Its a blog feature I always have so much fun writing for and definitely hope to continue with it, this new year!

I also drafted new blog features around the last few months of the year & I hope to share them in the coming months!

4.Misc. Bookish Accomplishments

There were such memorable bookish accomplishments I achieved in 2017! Some were unexpected & took me completely by surprise!

~Creating my very 1st Bookish Vlog (for Yallwest)/ Doing my very first interviews with authors! 😭💕📚📹

~Adding more books to my ARC collections! ( One definitely includes Rebel Of The Sands)

~Holding my first ARC Giveaway 

~Being contacted by a publisher to review a finished copy of an anticipated book release

~Getting my first package of unsolicited books from publishers (Never thought this would happen in 2017!!)

~Reviewing/receiving more ARCs! With some of my biggest surprises being S. Jae-Jones Shadowsong + Marie Lu’s Warcross

AND:  Reaching 200+ blog followers & 1k+ on twitter! 😭💕📚

5. Most Popular Book Blog Posts

Out of the over 90 book blog posts I created this past year, here are some that had the most views:

Life After Legend by Marie Lu Review

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Fall}

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Winter}

Uncaged Wallflower by Jennae Cecelia Review

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books {Sci-Fi}

What were your 2017 Bookish Accomplishments or stats? Whether it be for reading, book blogging, etc.!

Any you hope to reach in 2018? 😁📚✨🎉

June 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Internet Famous by Danika Stone1. Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Internet Famous Full ARC Review

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Internet Famous is a YA Contemporary that discusses more than just blogging & fandoms. While also weaving in themes of family and independence, this novel also brings up more serious topics like cyberbullying! When conflict arises as her mother leaves town, Madi finds a way to balance her personal life and blogging, while connecting more to her family.

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia2. I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

I Am More Than A Daydream Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Another amazing collection of poetry from Cecelia! Similar to Uncaged Wallflower, her poems are filled with inspiration and positivity. However this collection mainly focuses on the inner strength we have to follow our dreams. Highly recommend checking out her poetry!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie3.The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (TASU #1)

The Abyss Surrounds Us Full Review

Publisher: Flux Books

Release Date: February 8, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven YA Sci-Fi set in a fascinating/futuristic US! Cas Leung is a Reckoner trainer and finds herself among pirates when she gets captured and is forced to train a young Reckoner to work alongside pirates! I loved the diversity (Chinese-American protag. + f/f relationship) and there was a large cast of female characters, which was awesome. I just personally wanted more plot-wise. However, I adore the world & characters and am excited to see what happens in book 2!

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera4.The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera (Their Bright Ascendancy #1)

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was phenomenal! Arsenault’s adult fantasy debut is a spectacularly written tale centering around divine empress Shizuka and warrior Shefali, and the powerful bond/relationship that they share! The world is rich and immersive, the characters are all written with such depth, and the writing is utterly beautiful! The Tiger’s Daughter had me hooked from page 1!

Keep your eye out for this novel, it is not one to miss! Cannot wait to share my full review 😍

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-reveal5. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Our Dark Duet Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Our Dark Duet was a character-driven and action-packed conclusion to the Monsters Of Verity duology! As with book 1, Schwab’s writing delivers a dark and immersive atmosphere and we see new sides to Kate and August! While there were some elements that did keep this book from being 5-stars, it was a solid conclusion and it was great following Kate & August on their adventures in Verity. 

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia6. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza And Her Monsters Full Review

Publisher: Harpercollins

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There were so many layers to this book, with discussions on internet culture, fandom/fan fiction, depression and social anxiety! I flew through it and adored it. Eliza is the popular web comic creator of Monstrous Seas and one day she meets Wallace, a popular fanfiction writer of her comic! I loved reading how their relationship developed over the course of the story. The plot was unique and engrossing + the characters were all wonderfully written. I did feel the plot rushed in some places, but aside from that Eliza & Her Monsters was a great YA Contemporary! 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells7.All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #1)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Originally this was going to be a 4, but the more I read, the more I loved it! 

A fascinating science fiction/speculative fiction short story! Told from the (both serious & comedic) point of view from an AI, we follow a group of scientists and a “Sec-Unit” as they run tests on a distant planet. Following the AI, we learn how it came to be a part of its group and along the way, how it becomes more connected to its team + what its willing to risk to keep them safe. All the characters from the scientists in the AI’s group to the AI itself, even the unique world, were all given such depth in quite a short story. There’s a second book set to be released and I cannot wait to read it!

(B/C I was on vacation I didn’t put up a full review for it, but I will definitely try to put one up on the blog soon!)

Additional Posts From This Month:

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones Cover Reveal 

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera Cover Reveal

K. Arsenault Rivera’s debut novel The Tiger’s Daughter had its cover reveal January 11, 2017!

Words cannot express just how psyched I am to read this book! I was truly captivated  from the summary and knew this would be an anticipated 2017 release!

If you haven’t heard of this book, here’s the summary:

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

The cover was originally revealed on EW with an excerpt which you can read Here!

Now for the cover….

the-tigers-daughter-cover-revealI’ve seen watercolor elements on covers before, but never for the full cover and this one is beyond stunning!

My goodness!! ✨💖💕❤️

Every element of this cover is wonderfully detailed and it truly looks like a work of art!

This sounds like a captivating fantasy and I cannot wait to read this!

It is set to be released October 2017!

Thoughts On This Cover?  

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂