How Audiobooks helped my reading during Quarantine + Updates

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

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

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updates

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

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

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

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

Silver In The Wood by Emily Tesh Review

Silver In The Wood by Emily TeshSilver In The Wood by Emily Tesh

Publisher: Tor.com (Tor Books)

Release Date: June 18, 2019

Pages: 112

Available Through The Book Depository: Silver In The Wood

Summary: There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Silver In The Wood is a captivating, enchanting, and atmospheric novella debut which follows Tobias Finch whose looked after Greenhollow woods for hundreds of years and the new owner of Greenhollow Hall, Henry Silver! Tesh delivers an introspective tale, rooted in folklore and legend!

Ever since I read Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal back in 2016, I’ve loved keeping up with the latest novellas from Tor! No matter which one I pick up I can always expect to be transported to a unique and memorable world!

Silver In The Wood was no different! In my Cozy Fall Recommendations post that I shared recently I actually featured this book, and let me just say that the lush and detailed forest imagery and focus on folklore definitely deliver on that fall atmosphere!

This was a novella I got through in one sitting and I can’t wait to read future books in this series! Despite the length, I felt there was a great understanding of the world, mythology, and its characters.

Its very much a reflective and introspective kind of story as we follow Tobias who is tethered to the Greenhollow woods, looks after its visitors and other forest creatures (dryads, etc.). Tobias’s journey changes course when a there’s a new owner of Greenhollow Hall, Henry Silver.

As the two connect, we learn more about them, alongside the mythology and folktales that have rooted themselves deeply in their world.

Apparently the story was inspired by the Green Man myth, which I didn’t know going into it. But, I felt that going into it with vague knowledge on the plot actually made the reading experience so much fun!

Continuing with the story, Henry always finds himself coming back to Greenhollow where Tobias lives. As the two grow even closer, we learn more about Tobias and his past, including the fact that Henry may be in danger!

What I appreciated about this book so much was that there were layers to the characters that get expanded on and get revealed at a steady pace. There’s questions I had about Tobias and Henry’s past, but it was at the most perfect moments where I finally got my answers.

Tobias, we learn has lived for so long that he’s grown accustomed to the world around him, but hasn’t really found a place to set down roots. Tesh explores Tobias’s internal journey so wonderfully as he reflects on the legends of the world, the forest around him, and his growing relationship/dynamic with Henry through a detailed and personal POV.

According to a blog post from Tor, Tesh’s inspiration for the setting was inspired by:

“the ancient woodlands of the British Isles, places which although they may seem wild are in fact witness to centuries if not millennia of carefully managed relationships between human beings and the natural world…”

You can sense the imagery with the way Tesh just weaves together the details of the setting and how it becomes part of the characters in a big way too!

Through Tesh’s writing there’s a sense of wonder and charm to the woods that’s delivered through the 3rd person POV! It really shines as it dives deep into the legends of the world and how it connects to our main characters.

Another elements that are woven all throughout (which I loved) were the themes of story and storytelling. The folklore of of a notorious bandit (Red Fay), Henry’s old maps of Hallowed Woods, Tobias’s dryad friend Bramble, its these details that really bring the world to life to present a folktale within a folktale. Its lush, atmospheric, and finds its roots in the folklore/legend that’s layered into the story.

What Silver In The Wood does in such a fantastic way is weaving together the legend and folklore of the past and showing how it influences the present, as seen through 23-year old Henry, who we learn is a folklorist who is eager to learn and study more of the tales of the Hallowed Hall & woods!

That also includes the tale of Fabian Rafela (which Tobias is very familiar with). I won’t spoil what happens, but that adds another layer of mystery and conflict to the story that really keeps you hooked nearing the middle to end!

The romance between Henry and Tobias is brought to life through the quiet moments they have with one another that builds so much depth and emotion to different layers of the story.

The novella does have a bit of a slow pace to it, but the writing-style really makes the pages fly by!

Also, have I mentioned that Tobias has a very loyal cat named Pearl? 🐱

I definitely recommend this novella if your looking for an atmospheric novella, rooted in folklore, legends, followed by a delightful and unique cast of characters!

Silver In The Wood is an immersive novella that is rooted deep in folklore and legends! This is an introspective and character-driven tale that also delivers lush and atmospheric forest imagery! Its Tobias and Henry’s journeys that really root you in the story and keep you hooked till the very end! You’ll be left wondering what new adventures Tesh has set in the world of Greenhollow! 

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab Review

Vengeful by V.E. SchwabVengeful by V.E. Schwab (Villains #2)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Pages: 480

Summary: Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Vengeful is a phenomenally dark, action-packed, and character-driven continuation to the Villains Series! Taking place 5 years after the events of Vicious, the city of Merit has a new EO on its hands and she’s ready to do whatever it takes to gain the power and enact her vengeance! Fierce female characters, intricate plot + world-building, and so much more, Vengeful is the sequel we’ve been waiting for!

Before I started my blog, back in 2013/2014 I’d heard about this amazing book with superheroes, villains, & superpowers and morally grey characters (which I’d never really read much of before), that book was Vicious!

Not only did it introduce me to adult fiction, but also science fiction! I’d loved everything about it from my favorite antiheroes Victor Vale & Eli Ever, but also the exploration of super-human abilities & the complexities that come with it!

I just can’t believe that Vengeful is finally here after 5 whole years! It was such a fantastic sequel and well worth the wait!

Honestly I didn’t start Vengeful for days because I was just still in shock and disbelief that this sequel that I’d thought about reading for years, was finally released!

What made the reading it such an incredible experience was that I was actually able to see Victoria on tour & hear her talk about what would be in store for Vengeful and how it differed from Vicious!

During her discussion she talked about how she wanted to focus more on the side characters from Vicious & of course the new ones, like June & Marcella! She also wanted to really make this story a different kind of sequel than just continuing what was expected after book 1!

Hearing her discuss all these things made me go into Vengeful with a new perspective on what to expect and just made the journey of reading it start to finish, so great!

Vengeful picks up 5 years after Vicious and starts off with an introduction to Marcella Riggins, whose husband is a part of a mob,crime syndicate/family!

She takes nothing from no one! After becoming fed up with Marcus and always being underestimated, he leaves her for dead after an argument erupts between them + sets their house on fire, she awakens from her burning house with a supernatural ability to turn anything she touches, into ashes!

Now she’s on a path for vengeance against her husband and plans to take over the city of Merit and do whatever it takes to gain all the power necessary, no matter the cost, even if it means bringing down Victor & Eli!

Victor is running out of time! After being brought back to life by Sydney Clarke, he finds his ability of manipulating ones pain, isn’t exactly as it used to be! Now when he inflicts pain to the point of death, its reflected back to him, leaving him in a state of death for minutes (and the minutes keep increasing).

Eli, is now stuck within EON’s prison, a facility for those with ExtraOrdinary abilities who’ve been tracked or caught for being seen as a danger to society + are analyzed, researched, etc.! He’s being experimented on/tortured and is counting on his wits and quick thinking to help him succeed in escaping! (I felt so bad for Eli!!)

Sydney is grappling with the pain of losing her sister and the guilt for the side effects that came with her reviving Victor!

Victor, Sydney, Mitch, Dom & Sydney’s dog Dol, find themselves on the run as Victor’s plan to find a cure for his increasing time of death brings them onto EON’s radar!

EON is a budding government organization, for ExtraOrdinary Neutralization, led in part by detective Stell! 

What made Vengeful such a unique sequel, was seeing the characters we knew previously, in a new and different light! There’s so many sides and facets that are revealed about them that were hinted at in Vicious, but are given center stage in Vengeful!

From Eli’s past and how it tied into Vicious, Sydney who’s now a teenager and is going through so much internally, essentially feeling a bit alone in all of it, Dominic Rusher, an EO who was an ex-soldier & later joined Victor’s team + is now working for EON and fearing being found out!

In addition, Schwab does a fantastic job at developing and building Marcella & June’s stories where they really come to life and know so much about them, within this one book!

What also makes Vicious + Vengeful such incredible books story-wise, is how Schwab is able to divide the story into many parts, from differing POVs, past & present, etc. in such a fantastic way while having it all weave together so perfectly! Seeing how she is able to masterfully tie her plots together alongside building her cast of unique and fascinating characters, reminded me why I love this series so much!

Vicious was incredible and brilliant, and Vengeful just built onto what Schwab delivered, in an unexpected way that raised the stakes in ways I was not expecting!

I loved how in Vengeful, Schwab clearly built the main characters ARCs in a way that while for a few I saw coming, but in a thought-provoking way that shows you the good and bad sides to these characters!

Honestly I loved learning more about how Victor and Eli’s rivalry has put them on paths both similar (mainly that they want to destroy each other) and different, but also exploring how much they’ve changed. For example, they are both very much out looking for things to benefit themselves, but see it as helping for a much larger cause! I also loved seeing how there was a build up to their inevitable meet-up but in a really unexpected way, seeing as how there’s just so much history to their stories, especially Eli’s that gets uncovered as the story progresses.

Eli & Victor are two of my all-time favorite characters in this series and even though there are moments I’m loving/hating Eli in this book, their cleverness, wit, deception, and just–everything about them, reminds me why I love not only this series and them as a whole, but the exploration of villains, & morally grey characters!

**Spoiler Ahead: Honestly one of my favorite scenes is when they are working together to bring down Marcella! It showed their potential if they worked together & what could have been!*

I was honestly planning on giving this 5-stars, but because I just have so much love for Vicious, there were some elements that did lower my rating a bit!

As to why I didn’t love it as much as Vicious, that mainly had to do with a few things! It came down to pacing issues, because of how Victoria plotted the story and that I could see where it was headed as it neared the end, the pacing did begin to feel a bit slow! I also found June’s story to lose my interest a bit throughout the story and wanting way more page time between Victor & Eli (b/c I love my messed-up super-villains so much?!! ♥♥♥)

But rating aside, I loved this sequel so much and while the wait felt too long, it was so worth it, because it really surprised me!

**Before I conclude this review, I just want to say that if your a fan of Vicious & Vengeful, were also intrigued by the mysterious organization of EON and how it explored the impact of those with superpowers, and intrigued by Schwab’s exploration of superpowers in general, I HIGHLY recommend you check out The Bright Sessions podcast!

Its an audio drama podcast that explores those with superpowers and how it impacts their daily lives! It follows Dr. Bright & her patients as she conducts therapy for those with supernatural abilities! Its one of my favorites, beyond fantastic and I think you’ll absolutely love it if your a fan of Vicious & Vengeful!

Vengeful is the sequel we’ve been waiting for! Schwab’s continuation to her Villains Series, introduces complex exploration of a fantastic cast of characters, action, an intricate world, an absolutely brilliant plot, and so much more! Vengeful is dark, atmospheric, immersive, character-driven, all while building to deliver a story that’s epic, twisted, and takes the brilliance of Vicious to a whole other level!

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!

Book Bytes I #12

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month’s posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!
I’ve now split up the news into categories, to make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d like to read about!

If there’s any book news I missed or any you want to discuss, definitely leave a comment!

*With so many book deals in May, I decided to mention ones I’m personally really looking forward to/want to feature, but will link each release report for you to check out all the book deals!*

Adaptation News

1. Gentleman’s Guide To Vice & Virtue Optioned For TV

Announced May 4 by Variety, Greg Berlanti picked up the rights to Mackenzie Lee’s Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue, for Warner Bros. TV.

2.Looking For Alaska Picked Up As A Limited Series From Hulu

As of May 9, Deadline announced that John Green’s novel Looking For Alaska was picked up by Hulu and “is finalizing a deal for an eight-episode limited series from Paramount Television and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire…

3.The Hate U Give Movie Release Date

Announced May 23 by Angie Thomas through her twitter, she shared that The Hate U Give movie will be releasing: October 19 of this year!

Epic Reads also has a blog post where they summarize all the movie info regarding The Hate U Give Movie Here!

4.The Sun Is Also A Star Cast Update + Release Date

As of May 31, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Charles Melton (known for his role Riverdale) will play the role of Daniel from Yoon’s novel, The Sun Is Also A Star.

The article also mentioned that there is a set release date for The Sun Is Also A Star film, which will be May 17, 2019!

Book Deals

1.Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore + Tehlor Kay Mejia

Set to be released in 2020, authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia announced they would be co-writing Meteor, published by HarperCollins. The novel follows “two friends, one made of stardust and one fighting to save her family’s diner, take on their small town’s 50th annual pageant and talent competition in the hopes that they can change their town’s destiny, and their own” (Announced May 1).

2.Descendants Series by Tracy Deonn Walker

With the first novel of this YA Contemporary Fantasy series set to be released in Summer 2020 by Simon Pulse, its “pitched as a modern-day King Arthur retelling with Southern Black Girl Magic, the book follows a teenage girl who infiltrates a secret society of powerful magic wielders to find out the truth behind her mother’s untimely death” (Announced May 1).

3.Deathless by Namina Forna

Set for a Spring 2020 release date with Delacorte, Deathless is the first book in a YA Fantasy trilogy that is “about a West African-inspired blood ceremony that reveals whether or not females are “pure” enough to be members of the village, and an army of ostracized girls with extraordinary gifts training to kill” (Announced May 1).

4.Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Set to be released in 2020 with Simon Pulse, author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, has an upcoming YA Contemporary Romance which follows “two rival overachievers who realize they may actually love each other over the course of 24 hours on the last day of senior year” (Announced May 1).

5. Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 with HarperCollins, Alliance is a YA Historical Fiction “set in Georgian London’s high society. The book’s heroine, a contemporary of Jane Austen, uses Austen’s novels as a guide to navigate a treacherous season in which she must find a husband or lose her family estate to her sister’s villainous husband” (Announced May 1).

More Book Deals from May 1

6. As We Go Forth by Austin Siegemund-Broka + Emily Wibberley

Set to be released through Puffin in Spring 2020, As We Go Forth is “a contemporary romance told in alternating perspectives; it features Juniper and Fitz, two high school seniors with vastly different views about the future, who meet unexpectedly on their respective college tours ” (Announced May 7).

7.Finale by Stephanie Garber

Through Garber’s twitter, she announced there would be a third book to her Caraval Series, titled Finale!

While there is no set release date, it scheduled for a 2019 release (Announced May 8).

8.Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Set to be released in 2019 with Scholastic, Truly Madly Royally is a YA Rom-Com in which “16-year-old Zora meets a boy named Owen, who turns out to be a prince and invites Zora to be his guest at his big brother’s royal wedding” (Announced May 14).

9.Untitled YA Fantasy Deals by Laura Brooke Robson

Set to be released in Spring of 2020 with Penguin/Dawson, Robson’s first standalone is “an apocalyptic fantasy told in alternating POVs about the leader of a band of female elite royal aerialists, whose plan for survival depends on marrying the prince—until she meets the alluring new recruit who secretly plans to kill him” With the second novel set to be released in 2021 (Announced May 14).

More Book Deals From May 14

10. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Set to be released in 2020 with Wednesday Books, Angeles’s YA Fantasy debut is “Pitched as The Phantom Of The Opera meets Moulin Rouge…The story follows Hellfire House’s star showgirl who, haunted by a dark past, must enter a magician’s competition in order to secure her freedom from the handsome, enigmatic keeper of the club, even as mysterious accidents seem to plague her every move” (Announced May 17).

11.The Wire Crown by Sheena Boekweg

Set to be released in 2020 with Feiwel & Friends, The Wire Crown follows “The daughter of an executioner and the traitorous prince she can’t kill reluctantly join forces to dethrone a paranoid queen after discovering they are trapped in a fantasy video game where one wrong move means game over in that world—and death in the real one” (Announced May 17).

12. All Of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

Set to be released in Summer 2019 with Soho Press, All Of Us With Wings is a “fantasy imbued with elements of Aztec mythology”; it follows “a teenage governess living with her young ward Pallas’s glamorous rockstar family in San Francisco ” (Announced May 21).

13.Goddess In The Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Set to be released in Summer 2020 through Razorbill, Goddess In The Machine is about a girl and when she “wakes from a cryogenic sleep on a planet she doesn’t recognize, she must team up with the mysterious soldier who woke her to navigate a future world where technology is considered magic and its practitioners revered as Deities” (Announced May 30).

Cover Reveals + Title Reveals

1.King Of Fools by Amanda Foody

As of May 3 Amanda Foody announced on her twitter, the title to the sequel of her most recent novel, Ace Of Shades!

The sequel is titled: King Of Fools

According to Foody’s twitter post, King Of Fools will be released in Spring of 2019!

2.In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

On May 3, The Mary Sue revealed the cover to the 4th book in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children Series.

The cover reveal also included a sneak peek into some of the artwork.

In An Absent Dream is set to be released January 8, 2019!

3.The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

As of May 9, Bustle revealed the cover of Amy Rose Capetta’s Historical Fantasy debut novel The Brilliant Death!

There was also an excerpt alongside the cover reveal!

The Brilliant Death is pitched as a mafia, queer fantasy romance and is set to be released October 30, 2018!

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose CapettaFor Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one. 

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.”

4.Upon A Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

On May 7, John Joseph Adams (editor) revealed the cover to Ashok K. Banker’s debut Fantasy novel Upon A Burning Throne.

Upon A Burning Throne is the first of a series, set to be released May 7, 2019!

Upon A Burning Throne by Ashok K. BankerThe Burning Throne of the Krushan Empire consumes and turns to ashes any who is found unworthy to rule, while endowing the rightful king with immense power.

Two princes are born in Hastinaga, capitol of the Krushan Empire. They pass the Burning Throne’s Test of Fire, but one is born blind, the other an albino, and the people fear they might not be up to the task of ruling the empire. The two princes—Shvate and Adri—are driven by their determination to quell the doubts of the people and prove that they are capable of reigning. They are put to the test when a powerful demonlord with designs on the Krushan Empire sows dissent among the empire’s allies, and Shvate and Adri must lead the Krushan forces into battle to protect Hastinaga… and to prove that they are worthy of sitting upon the Burning Throne.

5.The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Revealed on May 7 via Entertainment Weekly, was the cover (including an excerpt) for Roshani Chokshi’s upcoming fantasy novel, The Gilded Wolves!

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiAccording to EW, The Gilded Wolves “kicks off an alternately glamorous and dangerous adventure, set in Paris near the end of the 19th century, with the world on the cusp of industry and power, and ancient secrets starting to get dredged up. The book centers on treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, who keeps tabs on secrets better than anyone. When an all-powerful society seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin enlists a band of experts to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris.”

The Gilded Wolves is set to be released January 15, 2019!

6.Children Of Blood And Bone #2 by Tomi Adeyemi Title Reveal

On May 11, the title for the sequel to Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, Children Of Blood And Bone was announced!

The sequel is titled:

Children Of Virtue And Vengeance

Children Of Virtue And Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi is set to be released March 5, 2019!

7.Wildcard by Marie Lu

On May 14, the sequel/finale to Marie Lu’s Warcross duology, Wildcard had its cover reveal + excerpt via Entertainment Weekly!

Wildcard by Marie Lu is set to be released September 18, 2018!

8. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Entertainment Weekly as of May 18, revealed the cover + a Q&A with Marissa Meyer for the upcoming sequel to The Renegades, which is titled Archenemies!

Additionally, Meyer also revealed that Renegades will be a trilogy!

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer is set to be released November 6, 2018!

9.The Speaker by Traci Chee

On May 21, Bustle revealed the cover to Traci Chee’s finale to her Reader Trilogy, titled The Speaker!

The Speaker by Traci Chee is set to be released November 13, 2018!

10. To All The Boys Movie Tie-In Cover

With the Netflix release of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before movie coming August 17, 2018, Jenny Han revealed on twitter, the cover to the movie tie-in edition of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before!

11.The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez 

As of May 21, Hypable revealed the cover to K.K. Perez’s 2019 sci-fi novel, The Tesla Legacy!

The Tesla Legacy is set to be released March 12, 2019!

The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez“The Tesla Legacy follows a precocious young scientist named Lucy Phelps whose fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.

One side wants her help and the other wants her dead, but both believe she is the next step in human evolution. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation—including Nikola Tesla—have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.”

12.The Girl King by Mimi Yu

On May 23, the Happy Every After blog revealed the cover + excerpt to Mimi Yu’s Fantasy debut, The Girl King!

The Girl King is set to be released in January 8, 2019!

The Girl King by Mimi YuTwo sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy for fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other.”

13.The Last 8 by Laura M. Pohl

As of May 28, Barnes & Noble Teen Blog revealed the cover + excerpt to Laura Pohl’s 2019 Sci-Fi debut The Last 8!

The Last 8 is set to be released March 5, 2019!

The Last 8 by Laura PohlA high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack!
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

14.Crown Of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

On May 29, Paste Magazine revealed the cover to Crown Of Feathers a fantasy debut where, “warriors ride phoenixes”

Crown Of Feathers is set to be released in 2019!

Crown Of Feathers by Nicki Pau PretoI had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.”

15.Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

As of May 30, Hypable revealed the cover to Young’s upcoming novel, Girls With Sharp Sticks.

According to Hypable, “Innovations Academy is an all-girls boarding school that promises to create young women fit for the highest echelons of society. They are groomed to be graceful and obedient. They know no arrogance or defiance. Until Mena unlocks a dangerous secret.

When Mena and her friends uncover the truth about their existence, Innovations Academy will find out just how big of a problem they have on their hands. With plenty of drama, twists, and romance, Girls with Sharp Sticks promises to be a page-turner.”

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young is set to be released April 2019!

16.Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid

On May 30, Pub Crawl revealed the cover to Alsaid’s upcoming contemporary, Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak!

The cover reveal also included a giveaway pack of Alsaid’s previous books and a copy of Brief Chronicle!

Brief Chronicle Of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid is set to be released April 30, 2019!

Has heartbreak broken her for good?

Dumped by her boyfriend the summer after senior year, teen love and relationship columnist Lu Charles has hit a wall with her writing. The words just won’t come to her like they used to and if she doesn’t come up with a topic for her column, she’ll lose her gig at hip online magazine Misnomer, and the college scholarship that goes along with it.

Her best friend Pete think she should write through her own pain, but when Lu overhears another couple planning a pre-college break up just like hers, she becomes convinced that they’re the answer to cracking her writer’s block. And when she meets them—super-practical Iris and cute, sweet Cal—and discovers they’re postponing their breakup until the end of the summer, she has to know more.

Have Cal and Iris prolonged their own misery by staying together, knowing the end is in sight? Or does the secret to figuring out all this love business—and getting over it—lie with them? One thing is certain—if Lu can’t make a breakthrough before summer is over, she can kiss her future goodbye.

From the acclaimed author of Let’s Get Lost and North of Happy comes a touching exploration of love, relationships, and the pain of breaking up.”

17.Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Teen Vogue, as of May 31, revealed the cover + excerpt to Lilliam Rivera’s 2019 novel Dealing In Dreams , set in the near future!

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera is set to be released March 5, 2019!

Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera“We’re introduced to sixteen-year-old Nalah, who leads the fiercest crew in Mega City. But she envisions a life beyond brutal battles, partying in the metropolis’s hottest clubs, and maintaining curfew for the city-dwellers. Nalah dreams of getting off the streets and making a home in the elite Mega Towers, an exclusive residence that has top-tier resources including a school and health center. The teen receives the opportunity to prove her loyalty to Mega City’s founder: she must cross the border and find a mysterious group called the Ashé Ryders. But as she embarks on her journey, Nalah begins to question what she must do to get what she wants. And is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?

Misc. Book News + Publisher News

1.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo Six Of Crows POV Reveal

As of May 5, Fierce Reads announced through twitter & 2018’s Yallwest Grisha Meet-Up that a Six Of Crows character would be returning w/ their POV in Bardugo’s upcoming 2019 novel:

King Of Scars

The POV will be: Nina Zenik

King Of Scars is set to be released January 29, 2018!

2. IReadYA Reveals Spring 2019 Cover Reveals

As of May 24, I Read YA revealed the covers for their upcoming spring 2019 YA Book Releases!

All the covers can be seen on their twitter!

Tours

1.Monday’s Not Coming Tour

Announced on Tiffany D. Jackson’s instagram May 9, she will be going on tour for her upcoming novel, Monday’s Not Coming!

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. JacksonMonday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

Monday’s Not Coming was released May 22, 2018!

The full tour schedule can be viewed on Jackson’s Instagram Here!

2. A Reaper At The Gates Tour

Announced May 17, Sabaa Tahir will be going on tour for the 3rd book in her Ember In The Ashes quartet, A Reaper At The Gates!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa TahirBeyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.”

A Reaper At The Gates is set to be released June 12, 2018!

The full tour schedule can be viewed Here!

And that’s the YA Book News for May! 😄✨📚

Thoughts on May’s 2018 YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚💻📰✨

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! 😄✨🎙📚

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire ARC Review

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuireBeneath The Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Pages: 160

Summary: Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

*Received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky is a colorful and charming continuation to the Wayward Children Series! Rini finds herself at Eleanor Wests home for Wayward Children looking for Sumi. Following some previous characters from Every Heart A Doorway, Beneath The Sugar takes you on a journey to the sweet and sugary world of Confection!

Though I don’t mention it much, ever since I read Every Heart A Doorway last year, its one of those books I always find myself thinking about & know it will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, there was just something about Beneath The Sugar Sky that just captivated me!

The story starts with Cora, a recent student who’s still fitting into Eleanor Wests Home For Wayward Children. She’s hanging out with her friend Nadya out by a small turtle pond near the home, when suddenly a girl named Rini falls from the sky, stating she came from the land of Confection and needs to find her mother, Sumi! If she doesn’t, Rini Onishi may cease to exist!

Now Cora & Nadya are leading Rini to talk to Kade (currently training to one day run his aunt Eleanor’s home) and Christopher, the boy with the bone flute who may hold the key to getting this journey into motion.

According to Rini they need to find Sumi’s body, essentially rebuild her and bring her back to life, to prevent Rini from disappearing and from travesty to conspire among Confection and hopefully allow Sumi (to live again) and Rini to reunite with her when the timeline is fixed.

I feel what truly made me love this book far more than the previous 2, was Kade & Chris! They are honestly my favorite characters of the entire series. They finally had more page time and I loved their banter + friendship so much! I kept thinking to myself as I was reading that I would honestly love an entire Wayward Children series just revolving around Kade & Chris! We learn much more about them as characters, got more depth to them, and their worlds than we did in Every Heart A Doorway and they just made this book so much fun to read!

Additionally as for diversity, from what I remember in Every Heart A Doorway not only do we have Kade who is trans, but it was mentioned Chris was Latinx, however what made this book so great was that McGuire specifically mentioned his ethnicity (Mexican). Overall I felt the representation for the characters of color Chris, Sumi & Rini (Japanese), were just better represented than in book 1 and I loved that!

It was also great to get even more expansion on the doors that kids go through, especially Kade & Christophers, and I felt the 3rd person narrative really brought further depth to Nonsense and Logic (as they became much more central in this novella, compared to Wickedness & Virtue). Above all, I felt because there was much more detail and depth brought to Nonsense + Logic, it further brought up many fascinating questions and new ideas surrounding all 4 types of worlds!

From candy corn fields to soda seas, and candy corn-colored eyes, the world of Confection was utterly marvelous and magical! The descriptions, characters, setting, all come to life as the mysteries of this peculiar world unravel. 

Beneath The Sugar Sky was just filled with adventure, descriptive writing that shows McGuire’s growth as a writer with this series. The writing also just brought me back to the magic I felt with Every Heart A Doorway, reintroduced and mentioned favorite characters from the previous books and overall was a great addition to the series!

I suppose my only issues with this novel in particular was the bit of adult humor. It just felt odd with the overall tone and carry-on of the series so far. To me, it just personally felt out of place. Additionally, I felt Cora’s character didn’t really click with the rest of the story. I felt she was pretty underdeveloped compared to the other characters, especially one’s introduced for a much shorter amount of time.

+ From what I read on twitter when I posted a pic. of my ARC, is that Seanan McGuire said that this isn’t the end (though I assumed it was 😂😭) of the Wayward Children Series! 💕🎉🚪✨

Colorful, whimsical, character-driven, and filled to the brim with adventure, Beneath The Sugar Sky follows a dynamic cast of characters  you will fall in love with as they go a on a journey through a sweet, dark, magical, and wondrous world to save an old friend!

Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire Review

Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuireDown Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 189

Summary: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Dark, gothic, and atmospheric, Down Among The Sticks An Bones is a a prequel which follows twins Jacqueline & Jillian and their adventures in the Moors set before the events of Every Heart A Doorway!

What I love about this series, is how McGuire is able to pack in so much story and character depth into such few pages! Every Heart A Doorway was just so unique and magical, I was happy to be getting more tales from this world💖~

Having a twin sister myself, I was beyond heartbroken at the forced separation that Jack & Jill were grown into from the very beginning and seeing the rift between them grow with each turn of the page. Reading passages of their resentment and just few feelings they had for each other, left me feeling so sad!

I felt the story started out completely strong with the background on their parents (Serena & Chester) and how their decision to have children really impacted how Jack & Jill would grow and see themselves. It really set the stage and tone for the rest of the story.

With their parents having their own selfish desires for what they wanted their perfect children to be, Lousie Wolcott (Chester’s mother) did her best with the time she spent with them to remind the girls to be themselves and not let anyone control who they want to become.

This quote resonated with me throughout the rest of the story “She had tried to make sure they knew that there were a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and all of them were valid…(34).

Jack was molded by Serena and forced to be a proper lady in her mothers eyes, while Jill was forced to be more of a tomboy, by Chester. Up until the age of 12, they lived very different lives under the same roof and there was a rift between them because of it.

Later they soon find a doorway that leads them to the Moors and their 5 year journey begins.

Jack and Jill go their separate ways and undergo their own personal journey and we get a better understanding of who they are and how they try to break free of their parent’s molds.

Additionally there is an f/f relationship that develops nearing the middle/end of the novel!

I felt the 3rd person narrative really gave a broad scope at the world and each character in this story, which made it easy to get a sense of each character, Jack & Jill’s home life + their new life at the Moors. However, there’s just something about this novel (from the writing-style) that delivered a more “telling” rather than “showing” at times, which made the novel feel rather flat in some aspects.

While the story really did resonate with me, I couldn’t help but still feel a disconnect through the writing. Additionally, unlike Every Heart A Doorway, I felt this novel’s pacing felt much slower, which took me out of the story.

Honestly I have so many conflicting feelings about this book, because while there’s a lot that I really loved about it, I loved Every Heart A Doorway a little more~ 😭❤️🚪

Aside from those minor issues, there was still so much that I really loved about this novel. The uniqueness of the plot itself, the atmosphere of the world, and I also loved the positive messages about what it means to be a girl.

Down Among The Sticks And Bones introduces a much darker and brutal world compared to the first novella, it also delivers such powerful messages on who we are vs. what we become as a product of our environment.

Through thought-provoking writing, McGuire sets the stage for a dark but whimsical fairy tale-like world where the choices we make impact who we become.

While I had a few issues, I really enjoyed this sequel and cannot wait to read how this trilogy wraps up in Beneath A Sugar Sky!

All Systems Red by Martha Wells Review

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

Publisher: Tor.com

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Pages: 160

Summary: In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Review: All Systems Red is a fascinating  sci-fi novella told from the point of view from a serious & comedic AI unit. Great character development, unique world building, mystery, and bits of humor throughout blend together to deliver a novella that will leave you wanting more once you’ve reached the last page!

I loved this novella so much! I’m usually hesitant because of the short length, I might not get all the development, etc. I’m hoping for, but not with All Systems Red!

Just this first paragraph alone was a sign that this novella would be amazing:

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

Reading from Murderbot’s  perspective was so entertaining, hilarious and at many moments, pretty relatable too (b/c all it basically wants to do is to stay inside & avoid people 😂)

The story starts off on the coastal island of a distant planet where two teams of scientists are conducting research. The first sign of trouble is when two of the Murderbot’s scientists are examining a crater and get caught in an explosion.

After getting them to safety, they review their reports and with the Murderbot’s help, notice their report may have been altered or tampered with in some way.  Even more signs of trouble is that not only do they discover a section of their map missing, but almost land in a “hazard marker” and they can’t even contact DeltFall, the other team joining them on the planet.

They decide to see if the other team is okay with their leader, Dr.Mensah assessing the risks but ultimately agreeing they should check it out. Murderbot is always on her side, even when they get into trouble always sympathizes with her and understands the risks she must take to keep her team safe.

Along the way, it was great to see the Murderbot connect even more to its team (Dr. Mensah, Volescu, Pin-Lee, Arada and Gurathin)  even though its really hesitant in interacting with them.

Learning more about Murderbot itself (what its willing to risk and how it came to work with them) through its both serious and hilarious moments was genius!

The technology and politics of this world were so fascinating and it was great to learn about it from the perspective of an AI who understands so much, yet knows when to be comedic about it too!

They are such an integral part of the world and aside from learning more about the Murderbot & scientists, were such interesting aspects of the world/story that I’m glad to have gotten so much background on.

As the story progresses, it learns more about the government it works for and why these bad things have been going on during the mission.

I don’t really want to get into too many spoilers b/c its really an immersive and intriguing story that’s more fun when you discover it along the way.

I was worried about not getting enough world-building, but along the way as they explore the planet and try to solve the mystery, there’s so much depth to it that gets revealed.

My only minor issue was some slow pacing through out the middle. Aside from that…

All Systems Red is an immersive novella with a unique world and perfectly blends mystery, space + technology, and bits of comedy to deliver a fascinating speculative fiction/ science fiction short story that will intrigue you from start to finish!

Highly recommend to check out All Systems Red! 😍📚

Literary Listens: Publishers And Podcasts

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

My most recent post was “YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations,” which you can check out Here!

This weeks post is all about publishers and podcasts!

As of May 1, Tor Books announced it would be launching ” ‘Tor Labs,’ a new serialized fiction podcast imprint.

Their first project is set to be “Steal The Stars” written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of podcast thrillers The Message and LifeAfter, which will have weekly episodes starting August 2-November 1. This “Noir Science Fiction Thriller” plot is set to center around the “story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO.

According to Senior Editor Marco Palmieri, from The Verge “no US book publisher, as far as we knew, was doing audio dramas — plays written to be performed by voice actors.

With podcasts gaining such popularity right now, this got me wondering, “Would YA/Young Adult and Teen publishers consider getting into podcasts?

If they did, how could it work?

After some thought here are some ideas I considered that could link a print book with audio:

~Author interviews

~First chapters/excerpts or bonus content converted to an audio drama format

~Behind The Scenes

~Similar to Tor Labs, perhaps teaming up with established audio drama podcast creators to deliver an original serialized podcast

Considering podcasts are free to find/download through iTunes, it could also be just a fun way for readers to hear more from their favorite authors or books!

Aside from the traditional book this is an interesting venture to deliver/experience stories!

Storytelling can come in a number forms whether its books, podcasts, etc. and considering the dynamic, groundbreaking, and immersive power of podcasts and audio dramas, I can definitely see this as a new way for publishers to connect with readers in a different way!

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you think more publishers will/should consider podcasts as a way to deliver stories?

Let’s discuss in the comments below! 🙂