A Recipe For Magic by Kat Howard and Fran Wilde Review

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

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

Release Date: November 9, 2017

Pages: 12

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

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

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

My Rating:★★★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh1. Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Rebel Seoul Full Review

Publisher: Tu Books ( Imprint of Lee & Low Books)

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Pages: 389

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This brilliantly plotted YA Sci-Fi/ Dystopia is set in a futuristic Korea and follows Lee Jaewon who is an ex-gang member, who now attends a prestigious military academy. He learns more about his government after an exam gets him assigned to looking after Tera (a super soldier). The writing and plot are so detailed and complex that you get such an immersive view into this sci-fi/dystopian future that Oh delivers with so much heart. This is very much a character and plot-driven story that just builds and builds to the very end! There’s action, politics, intrigue, and robots! 

Gray Wolf Island Tracy Neithercott2. Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Gray Wolf Island Full Review

Publisher: Knopf BYR

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: When Ruby’s twin passes away, she sets out to fulfill her last wish to find the rumored treasure of Gray Wolf Island. There’s mystery, great character dynamics, and atmospheric writing that really brings the story to life. If your looking for an adventure tale with vivid setting, characters, and a hint of magic, this is definitely the book for you!

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes3. The Little Queen by Meia Geddes

The Little Queen Full Review

Publisher: Poetose Press

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Pages: 110

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This is an enchanting story that reads very much like a timeless fairy tale as we follow The Little Queen as she sets out a journey across her kingdom, figures out what it means to be a ruler, and makes new friends along the way. For such a short book, I really resonated with the inspiring messages about life, overcoming fears and change! I easily became connected to the characters and the magical world of The Little Queen.

Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman4. Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (Vengeance Road #2)

Retribution Rails Full Review

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 374

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Retribution Rails was wonderful conclusion to Vengeance Road! With a new set of characters set 10 years after and told through dual POV, we follow Rose Riders gang member Reece Murphy and aspiring journalist Charlotte Vaugn as the search for the owner of a mysterious gold coin brings them together! I loved the characters so much and this was such a plot-driven story that you really get a full scope of 1880’s Arizona. While there were so many things I loved about this book, the pacing did get pretty slow throughout the middle, felt some characters could have been expanded on a little more and wanted even more development with Reece & Charlotte! But overall this was such a character-driven and action packed addition to Vengeance Road that really stands great on its own!

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O' Neill5.The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’ Neill

The Tea Dragon Society Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: October 18, 2017

Pages: 72

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows Greta when she saves an injured tea dragon and is given the opportunity to learn more about them. This story is just so heart-warming and adorable! With friendship and the beauty of art and craft such prevalent themes of this story, you really become enchanted by the world of the tea dragons! Its also very diverse with characters of color, glbt relationships hinted at throughout, characters with disabilities and differing body-types! The Tea Dragon Society is whimsical, magical, and enchanting! Such a wonderful read!

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga6. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Here We Are Now Full Review

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 304

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Another deep and character-driven YA Contemporary from Jasmine Warga! This novel is about family and you really sense that throughout the story. Following Tal, she reconnects with her rock-star father when he shows up at her door to explain that his father is passing away and would like her to see him. From there she learns more about what caused her parents to split and the importance of family, music, and new beginnings! You know when you read a book at just the right time? That’s what reading Here We Are Now was like! I loved the writing, characters, and the important themes weaved throughout. If your looking for a moving and intricately woven YA Contemporary, this is definitely one to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

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

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄✨📚

Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman Review

Retribution Rails by Erin BowmanRetribution Rails by Erin Bowman (Vengeance Road #2)

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 374

Summary: REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Retribution Rails takes readers back into the world of Vengeance Road! Set 10 years later, we follow an outlaw and an aspiring journalist as the unlikely duo team up to bring down the infamous Rose Riders!

Honestly, I’d never really read westerns until Vengeance Road (back in 2015), but since reading it I found I really enjoyed them and can always expect tons of action and adventure. When I finished Vengeance Road, I’d always felt there was much more to tell from this era of the wild west. With Retribution Rails, I was so happy to be able to return to this world again & with new characters!

Following the POV of Reece Murphy and Charlotte Vaughn, they find themselves crossing paths and joining forces to bring down a dangerous gang, which Reece himself is a part of.

When a train robbery led by the Rose Riders goes wrong, Reece not only crosses paths with aspiring journalist Charlotte, but sees it as the perfect opportunity to escape.

But knowing he’s still tied to the Rose Riders, he follows a hunch that could finally earn him his freedom.

Reece was definitely my favorite character! From the moment he is introduced you can see the guilt and anger he feels as a member of the Rose Riders. Being forced to ride with them ever since they killed his loved ones, he can’t help but also feel obligated towards them, especially the leader Luther (having no one else by his side). However, its clear he wants to regain his life and no longer be known as the “Rose Kid” but Reece. So when he gets a tip on where the infamous cowboy is (the one who gave Reece a gold coin that got him caught up with the Rose Riders in the first place), he wastes no time following the lead & tracking him down!

Charlotte is determined to break her way into the world of journalism with her story on the unveiling of a new railroad. However, with her uncle rumored to be taking over her family’s fortune left behind by her late father, she knows this story will allow her to support herself and her mother, allowing them a way out. She soon finds herself caught up with Reece and the Rose Riders as she sets out for a new story. When she finds herself with no one else but Reece, she is left unsure whether she can trust this “dangerous” member of the Rose Riders who claims he’s ready to be free of the gang once and for all.

What I loved about Retribution Rails so much was how plot-driven the story was and how unique Charlotte & Reece were. I just adored them both so much and really felt they came alive, through their own engaging voice. Written through 1st person POV, we follow them as their paths cross and learn what they are willing to do for their freedom.

~It was also great to see diversity within this novel, with Reece being biracial (half Mexican).

Over the course of Retribution Rails, you really become connected to the characters and I loved the dynamic between Reece & Charlotte! What made their relationship so well done was the development that builds from them not really trusting each other to slowly relying on one another and having that trust gradually form, even well towards the end! I just loved their relationship so much & loved how there was practically no romance, but you could definitely see their connection!

It was great to see cameos from Vengeance Road & have them be such an integral part of the story as it progresses, but overall Retribution Rails really stands on its own!

The writing delivers so much to the characters & plot, you really feel immersed into this era of the wild west. From the setting to the integral development of railroads and strives of journalism, the writing makes these aspects such huge parts of the story which really bring it to life! The main characters, Charlotte & Reece especially, just come alive and you really understand them by the end of this novel.

While the plot was so engaging, I couldn’t help but feel the pacing to be pretty slow towards the middle and found the plot started to drag just a bit! I also felt some side characters could have had more development. Additionally, while the ending really builds to a great conclusion I did find it felt somewhat rushed and just wanted more from Reece & Charlotte <3!

Character-driven and immersive, Retribution Rails is a fantastic addition and conclusion to Vengeance Road!While it does have cameos and builds off some of the events of Vengeance Road, its a unique tale that really stands on its own. The wild west will come alive as you follow Charlotte & Reece on their adventures to bring down the Rose Riders as they also attempt to gain their own freedom! 

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes Review

The Little Queen by Meia GeddesThe Little Queen by Meia Geddes

Publisher: Poetose Press

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Pages: 110

Summary:When her mother and father pass away, the little queen must figure out how to be a little queen. And so she begins her adventures, journeying away from her palace and into the world to determine how she should go about going on. The little queen soon encounters numerous folks who teach her a thing or two: the book sniffer, the dream writer, and the architect of silence are just a few. Along the way, the little queen finds friendship, love, and meaning in being a leader in her world. The Little Queen is a magical exploration of self-discovery, vocation, community, and home.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Little Queen is a beautifully written tale follow a girl who is unsure whether she can be queen. Told through an enchanting writing-style, the Little Queen goes on a journey across her kingdom and learns more about herself, life, and her kingdom!

First off I just want to say thanks so very much to Sil from TheBookVoyagers for introducing this book to me (follow her if you haven’t, she’s amazing; always supporting/championing diverse books! She’s such an inspiring book blogger & is just lovely <3)

I read her review of this novella and it sounded like such a delightful and magical read, I put it on my tbr right away!

From the very first line, I fell in love with The Little Queen! It reads very much like a timeless fairy tale. The writing is simple, but delivers magic & wonder with each page! It such a memorable tale that was just inspiring and magical!

We follow the Little Queen as she travels across her kingdom when she finds herself unsure of whether she can even be a queen! Along the way she meets new friends & learns more about life, her world, and where she is meant to be!

With the passing of her parents, she still feels both sorrow and loneliness. She knows she doesn’t have what it takes to be queen, so she sets out on a quest to find a worthy replacement and better figure out what she wants out of life.

Along the way she meets a unique cast of characters from a Book Sniffer, Wall Sawyer, Sleep Soother, Seasons Collector, and so many more! As she learns more about each of these women, she finds she learns more about who she is, the little wonders in life, and the strength within herself to grow and learn more about her world.

What I also loved about each character the Little Queen meets, is the hidden messages each revealed about life, from the magic in the littlest of things, to the inspiring messages of growth, change, exploration and overcoming your fears to see the world from a different angle every now & again!

This is practically an all-female cast! Which was fantastic, though it is such a short story you feel so connected to the magical world and its characters. Each of the people the Little Queen encounters, has some sort of magical ability or talent that contributes to some aspect of the kingdom + world the Little Queen is a part of. Additionally, there is a sweet f/f romance that develops as the Little Queen goes on her journey~

As mentioned above, the magical and fantasy elements, while present, are delivered in a way where its read in a very subtle/quiet, but enchanting way! Where you could practically sense the magic through the page! I loved that about this novella so much!

Additionally, the writing itself is simple, but so descriptive which not only transports you, but really gives this novella the feel of a classic and timeless fairy tale. I honestly would love more books from the The Little Queen’s world, there were many moments reading this novella where I could just picture the vastness of the world.

My only minor issue was that the ending did feel a bit rushed.

Female-driven, lush writing, immersive storytelling, we follow a young queen’s journey as she finds out more about herself and what it means to be queen. The Little Queen is a delightful novella which reads very much like a timeless fairy-tale!

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh Review

Rebel Seoul by Axie OhRebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Publisher: Tu Books ( Imprint of Lee & Low Books)

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Pages: 389

Summary: After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Rebel Seoul is a detailed, richly plotted, and character-driven debut! With action, intrigue, and so much depth to the characters, world, and politics of this story, its a unique and immersive YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia to check out!

“Love is a country. It’s vast and endless and full of unbreakable hope.”

Rebel Seoul for me, was one of those books where your just so immersed in the story and become so connected to the world, characters, and in fitting all the pieces of the plot together, that by the time you reach the last page, you can’t believe its over.

Set in a futuristic Korea, we follow Lee Jaewon who is an ex-gang member, now a part of a prestigious military high school, Apgujeong Academy.

What was so fascinating about the setting, was how Oh contrasted the old with the new as seen through Neo and Old Seoul. While both are technologically advanced, through the writing you get a sense of the minute differences that set them apart and how it almost represents Jaewon’s conflict in understanding who he is and where he feels he belongs.

Told through a 1st person POV, the story starts off with Jaewon at a concert for a band C’est La Vie,  with his friends Bora and Minwoo in Neo Seoul. Then on his way back to Neo Seoul he notices a girl in the crowd, but quickly dismisses it as he heads back.

The next day, he heads to school and an assembly takes place right before exams for Jaewon & class to determine military placement throughout the Neo States. The Director of the NSK (Neo State of Korea) is there not only announcing the latest accomplishments of the NSK with the Neo Alliance, but keep spirits up as the Acts of war continue.

As the story continues, Jaewon not only uncovers more about his past but the secrets within the Neo States of Korea as he works in the Tower, a government building of the NSK where he meets Tera, an enhanced soldier a part of the Ameratsu Project who has been trained to fight in the God Machines, aka militaristic giant robots.

Through the first person POV, you really get depth to the plot and the setting of the Neo Korea States, not only through the futuristic technology, intricacies of the government and military which pilots these states, but even through the day-to-day life Jaweon lives as he finds his place and learns more about the cities he thought he knew.

Through his time at the Tower, he begins to connect with Tera (the soldier he’s assigned to look after), while Alex is assigned with Ama and notice just how desperately she wants to live a normal life and how for her, she accepts that just isn’t possible, but she’s willing to take any chance she can get.

While there is romance hinted at throughout, this is very much a plot and character driven story! But you can’t help but love the dynamics between Jaewon & Tera ❤ ❤

I loved the connection and friendship between Ama & Tera! Very much like sisters, they look after each other, support each other and understand they are all each other has since growing up in the Tower together.

The characters we’re all so well-written and really came to life. We have Alex, one of his best friends and son of the Director, his other friends Bora & Minwoo, then there’s 15-year old soldier prodigy General Tsuko, and Tera + Ama.

Oh’s writing did a fantastic job at really detailing her futuristic setting which really allows you to see the Neo States from many angles, which is an aspect that I loved so much about this book. Additionally, while this is also a futuristic sci-fi, I also really loved how Oh added the normal everyday, with school, concerts, and friends in this action-packed and detailed story.

There are so many connecting pieces to the plot that with each chapter you understood more of the complexity of the setting, politics, and technology that run the futuristic world. I love that no matter what, I felt like I understood this world + its characters (main & secondary) so much, I never felt like there were aspects that felt underdeveloped or absent in any way. Oh really builds so much into this world, that by the time you reach the last page, you understand it so well!

My only minor issue would be that I just wanted more to the story, because there is just so much that you learn along the way, that you get so invested in the characters and their journey, that when you reach the build-up to the end, it feels like there’s still so much more to learn.

Rebel Seoul is a dynamic YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia that has so much depth and heart, you can sense it with each page! From the intricacies of the setting, world-building, plot, and characters, you’ll find yourself wanting to know more once you’ve reached the final page!

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books

literary-listens-podcast-recommendations-based-on-ya-booksIf 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!

Its a blog feature I always have fun writing about & my hope is to introduce readers to cool new podcasts!

You can also check out my most recent feature, which was “Publishers and Podcasts” where I discussed TorLabs and speculated how Young Adult and Teen publishers could incorporate podcasts into their publishing!

Today I will be recommending and pairing up some Audio Drama Podcasts with Young Adult Science-Fiction Books!

YA Sci-Fi is a genre is a genre I’m just starting to get into, but hopefully the recs. I share today inspire you to pick up the books or podcasts mentioned!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20171.If You’ve Read: Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza OR Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller

Listen To: The Strange Case Of Starship Iris

Why:They feature rag-tag crews as they chart across space! All 3 are very character-driven and have such unique and immersive worlds/world-building!

Shadow Run  Cover RevealShadow Run + Starship have a fantastic group/squad dynamic that will have you rooting for them even in the wackiest situations!

Additionally, there’s diversity both in the novels + podcast!

~Empress: Features a predominantly diverse cast (Filipino + Black characters)

~Shadow Run: Features POC main/side characters + gender-fluid and gay representation

The Strange Case Of Starship Iris~Starship: Features a w/w relationship/romance, nonbinary, Chinese and Indian MC’s/representation

Summary: In 2189, Earth narrowly won a war against extraterrestrials. The Strange Case of Starship Iris is about what comes after. It’s a story of outer space, survival, espionage, resistance, identity, friendship, found family, romance, and secrets.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada2. If You’ve Read: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Listen To: The Elysium Project

Why: Both heavily feature science, scientist parents, genetics in a near-futuristic U.S., and have tons of action/adventure!

The fascinating characters, world, and world-building will have you hooked from the very beginning! They are very plot-driven The Elysium Projectstories and will keep you guessing as to what’ll happen next!

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.

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan3.If You’ve Read: No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

Listen To: The Bright Sessions

Why: Both feature groups of people with superpowers/supernatural abilities and have great diverse representation in their casts of characters (POC, anxiety rep., characters with different sexualities)

The Bright SessionsSummary: Dr. Bright provides therapy for the strange and unusual; their sessions have been recorded for research purposes. The show documents these patients’ struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright.

If your looking for more space podcasts, definitely consider checking out, Girl In Space! Its a fairly new podcast with 4 episodes out and it has Girl In Space Podcasteasily become one of my favorites! The writing and plot are absolutely incredible! I highly recommend it (´▽`ʃƪ)♥♥~

Here’s a 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.

If you’ve read any of the books mentioned or have suggestions for other YA Sci-Fi titles that would go along with any of these podcasts, definitely leave a comment!

Additionally, if you’ve listened to any of the podcasts mentioned, are planning to, or have other sci-fi podcast recommendations, lets discuss in the comments!  😄🎙✨

October 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore1.Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty Full ARC Review

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Wild Beauty was such a lush and magical tale, one I’ll never forget! It follows Estrella and the Nomeolvides women as they live on La Pradera, conjuring up the most beautiful flowers. However, when a mysterious boy named Fel appears, Estrella and the cousins uncover more about the mysteries that surround the gardens of La Pradera. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is unique + wonderful, and delves into many themes that weave their way throughout the novel, such as love, family, and sisterhood. There is also such fantastic representation from the Latinx culture, genderqueer, and bisexual characters! Another amazing novel from Anna-Marie McLemore, I highly recommend!! ❤ ❤

The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV and Ryan Sygh2.The Backstagers Volume 1 by James Tynion IV + Rian Sygh

The Backstagers Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Such a fun and diverse graphic novel! When Jory attends a new all-boys school, his mom convinces him to find some sort of after-school activity to join. He soon finds himself joining the drama club and becomes friends with the stage crew aka The Backstagers! He quickly finds out that there’s magical tunnels backstage and soon gets tangled up with the adventures backstage! As for diversity, there’s so much representation from Jory (black) to Aziz (Middle-Eastern), gay and trans rep. too! The Backstagers is a fun graphic novel with a fantastic cast of characters, great magic/fantasy elements, and themes of friendship/adventure woven throughout!

Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller3.Elizabeth And Zenobia by Jessica Miller 

Elizabeth And Zenobia Full ARC Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This was a fun, atmospheric and light paranormal middle grade story! The plot is so unique and it has a lot of important themes of family, self-growth, and friendship. Following Elizabeth & her imaginary friend Zenobia, they embark on adventures while staying at Elizabeth’s father’s childhood home which is supposedly “haunted” and they learn more about it.

All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry4. All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry

All The Wind In The World Full Review

Publisher: Algonquin Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 264

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Sarah Jac and Jame Holt travel across ranches to gain enough money to one day stop working and settle to have a ranch of their own. However an accident causes them to flee and then they find themselves on the Real Marvelous (which is supposedly cursed). Slowly they find themselves drifting apart and it is heartbreaking to read, but also so emotional 😥 All The Wind In The World is so atmospheric and weaves in contemporary-dystopian/magical realism genres together so well and in such a unique way! Its was also great to see diversity, with Sarah Jac who is mixed-race and an m/m relationship developed through out the novel. 

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada5. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #1)

This Mortal Coil Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 432

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This Mortal Coil is a brilliant sci-fi/dystopia debut! I loved this book so much! We follow Catarina Agatta, who is a brilliant gene-hacker and her geneticist father, Dr. Lachlan Agatta who left her with an important mission. Soon she embarks on a journey with Cartaxus soldier Cole to unlock an antidote which could save thousands of people from a rapidly mutating plague. Suvada introduces such fascinating technology in a detailed and complex dystopian future. This is an action-packed, character-driven tale you don’t want to miss!

Life After Legend by Marie Lu6.Life After Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #3.5)

Life After Legend Full Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: October 2017

Pages: 21

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: As a long-time fan of the Legend Trilogy, I was so happy when this short epilogue was announced! It really brought back the emotions of reading all 3 books again. You get a little more background to the world of Legend from Day’s perspective and what happened to him parallel to the events of the Champion epilogue. This was such a fantastic addition to the Legend Trilogy that definitely will leave readers happy!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao7.Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Pages: 363

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: An immersive and magical retelling of the evil queen! This novel follows Xifeng on her journey to fulfill her destiny fore-told by her aunt. She has a darkness within her and knows she cannot escape both it and her destiny. The world is rich and atmospheric as we uncover more about Xifeng’s role to become empress and the legends and magic that spread across the land. I will admit a lot of the pre-release hype did impact my enjoyment of the book just a little bit (with some plot/world elements not as expanded on as I would have hoped). However, this is a magical, dark, and immersive retelling that definitely has me eager to read the sequel!

Additional Posts From This Month:

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

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄📚✨

+ I have some new blog posts (aside from book reviews) I can’t wait to share for November! 😍📚✨