Graphic Novel & Comic Recommendations Featuring Women Of Color

This past weekend it was D23 (an expo to showcase/celebrate Disney properties + announce upcoming Disney projects)! One of those projects that had many (including myself) incredibly excited was that there is now a live-action series for Ms. Marvel in the works for Disney+.

To celebrate that announcement, I’m sharing a list of comics and graphic novels featuring women of color! A lot of these series are ones that have really stuck with me with their immersive stories, wonderful artwork and above all, feature inspiring female leads!

831. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (artist)

Publisher: Marvel

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! 

I remember when I first getting back into graphic novels, this was a series I picked up in my early days as a book blogger (2015) and fell in love with it! Not only was it the first female-led superhero series I’d ever read, but also I loved that it had a diverse lead (Muslim & Pakistani-American). Also, after looking at my Goodreads, I really need to catch up on this series! I can’t wait to see how the Disney+ series turns out, looking forward to seeing Kamala on screen! ⚡❤

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 12. Sera And The Royal Stars by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (artist), Raúl Angulo (colorist),  Jim Campbell (letterer), & Tim Daniel (design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: July 17, 2019 (issue #1) & Jan. 2020 Vol. 1

Full Review: Sera And The Royal Stars Issue #1

Summary: Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars-now trapped on earth-and save her people from dearth and death.

Its been such a long time since I’ve found myself reading comic/graphic novel series and keeping up with them regularly, that is until, I discovered Sera And The Royal Stars! The first issue introduces colorful and detailed artwork, the world of Parsa is expansive, and I can’t wait to see where Princess Sera’s epic journey takes her next as she embarks on a quest at the height of her country’s civil war! This is a fantastic series and I highly recommend picking it up if you love fantasy tales with ancient prophecies, epic journeys, immersive world-building, and more! 💖💫

goldie-vance-vol-13. Goldie Vance Vol. 1 by Hope Larson (writer) & Brittney Williams (artist)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Full Review: Goldie Vance Volume 1

Summary: GOLDIE VANCE IS ON THE CASE

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day be the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills, and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles, or chasing a helicopter to do it!

If your looking for a fun, 1960’s-set graphic novel filled with mystery and featuring a diverse cast (biracial, queer, & Black rep!) pick this series up! I’ve only read volume 1, but I really want to get back into this series again because I love mystery stories! 🔍🌟

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder4. M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder (author & artist)

Publisher: Insight Comics

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Full Review: M.K.F.: Book One

Summary: A fantastic adventure following the story of Abbie, a deaf girl with a mysterious power, who is traveling across a vast desert to scatter her mother’s ashes.

In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity.

This story is not about that youth.

It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine and scatter her mother’s ashes. But the way is filled with sandstorms, wild beasts, and rogues that wield inhuman powers and prey on poor desert dwellers. When one of these rogues threatens the town where Abbie takes refuge, she must choose between running, or unleashing her own hidden power to meet danger head-on.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.

This is one of those graphic novels that in my opinion, is highly underrated! It has a lot of diverse representation within its main cast (featuring brown-skinned characters and Abbie, the MC, is deaf). I fell in love with this incredibly unique and moving story about Abbie who’s trekking across the desert alongside her giant pet bird, to spread her mother’s ashes! The artwork is beautifully illustrated and introduces so many different elements from some sci-fi/fantasy and is incredibly character-driven as she finds refuge in a small town and makes new friends! I remember reading MFK: Book One back in 2017 and was so excited to pick up the next volume, I haven’t heard much about a continuation recently but I do hope to one day see another installment of this wonderful series! 💖🏜

The Avant-Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin

5.The Avant Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin (writer), Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (Colorist), & Ed Dukeshrire (Letterer)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Summary: When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this upcoming series and I’m counting down the days until its release! I’ve also been wanting to get into more sports-related stories and this one looks fantastic- not only does it feature a diverse cast, but its also about a women’s basketball team, and has a lot of queer representation! The Avant-Guards looks incredible and I’m hyped to read it when its finally out on shelves! 🏀🎉

And that’s my list of comic and graphic novel recommendations featuring women of color! I highly recommend checking out all of these wonderful female-led series and adding them to your TBR if you haven’t already! 📚❤

Are any of these on your list? Do you have any other recommendations you think I should check out? 📚✨🎉

Book Of The Month YA July Box Review

Hey everyone 24hr.YABookBlog here! (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 Today on the blog I’m doing my first book box review, for Book Of The Month YA!

With that said, I also have some amazing news: I’m now an affiliate for Book Of The Month YA 😍🎊🎉📚 This is such an incredible opportunity and I’m excited to be sharing this with all of you!

I do have an affiliate link Here if you’d be interested in getting your first box! I do get a commission and you can get your first box for $9.99 if you use the promo code ‘WHOA’ and shipping is always FREE! + another bonus, if you don’t like the current month’s picks, you can roll your credits over to the next month.

I’d already been familiar with Book Of The Month via bookstagram (mainly) and its wonderful to see Book Of The Month having launched a box for readers of YA!

If you’ve never heard of Book Of The Month, its a monthly book box but what makes this one special is that you can pick which book you want (with 5 options each month).

For their July box I decided to pick Symptoms Of A Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra! My tweet below shows what was in this box: Symptoms Of A Heartbreak, a Book Of The Month cookie, and emoji pins!

I’m was really happy with this box and not just because its my first book box! What I noticed as soon as I received it was that I was glad Book Of The Month has kept their boxes very minimal–either with just a book or in this case, with a couple of swag items!

As cool as all those book box unboxings look with the candles, totes, etc. realistically, I don’t think I would use all that stuff on a regular basis! That’s why I’m glad there’s boxes like Book Of The Month YA–its nice to get a couple of items, but with the box ranging from $10-$15 its great that the focus is on the book itself!

Thank you so much for joining me for my first ever bookish unboxing! 😍📚📦

Have you heard of the Book Of The Month book boxes? 📚💌✨

How the Book Internet is influencing our reading {Book Blog Discussion}

For us avid readers its no surprise we have countless avenues of which to discover new books and connect with like-minded people:

Bookstagram, Book Blogging, Booktube, and Book Twitter, to name a few!

The internet is not only changing how we’re reading, but also what we’re reading!

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash booksFrom book recommendation threads on twitter, bookish articles listing the newest books of the season, to a new haul on booktube, the latest book on your to-read shelf is never far behind.

According to the Publishers Weekly article titled How Has the Internet Changed Book Culture, a PubTechConnect panel was recapped where the panelists, consisting of online book editors, a bookstore owner, and author, discussed the internet’s effect on literary culture.

“…what the internet allows us to do in changing the way we interact with books is see what people connect with…[,]how people form identity communities, and how those communities affect what they read and how they read it…”

These spaces create and build connections to share our love of books whether it’s a review talking about our favorite characters and plot points or through another form of creative book content. We find ourselves seemingly unable to stop refreshing our feeds because the newest post may introduce us to our next favorite book or a new bookish friend!

Even Vox shared an article in December of 2018 showcasing the influence Instagram (or Bookstagram) has in helping independent bookstores and getting people to buy more physical books. The platform is encouraging readers to not only support their local communities, but also build one online through a love of reading.

With all of this in mind, its not all that surprising then that print sales of books have been on the rise compared to the drop in sales for ebooks and audiobooks.

Good E-Reader, an online news agency which focuses on audiobooks, e-readers, digital publishing and ebooks, shared that in January 2019 the revenue for ebooks had declined 4.9% since last year.

Similarly with audiobooks, Publishers Weekly stated that those sales had the steepest drop in unit sales at 28.9%.

Now back to focusing on “what” we’re reading, it’s clear that depending on who’s in your feed, that will absolutely influence the books you notice and will want to pick up!

Personally, I’ve made so many wonderful friends and seen my TBR grow continuously by following readers and other bookish accounts on Twitter that align with my love of Young Adult, Latinx Books, SFF, etc. & have introduced me to more romance and indie published recommendations that I may not have considered before!

To look at this topic from another perspective, take manga for instance! A recent article from Bound Into Comics shared that manga has found more success in overseas markets and has seen its popularity increase.

Though there are many factors involved, from a book community standpoint, one can’t ignore the increase of manga on Booktube!

Booktubers who mainly read YA are now reading and hauling manga titles! I can only theorize its due to the lasting wave of YA Contemporary in 2015 & 2016 that many began to pick up more manga. It was mainly through Ichigo Takano’s Orange, which falls into the genre of contemporary, realistic fiction (mental health), and merges with a bit of sci-fi, that this newly released manga was put onto many people’s radars, which opened the doors for more booktubers/viewers to discover manga.

This, in my opinion, set the stage for more manga to weave its way into YA Booktubers TBRs!

Now if you scroll through the feed of predominately YA booktubers, many of them are not only starting to pick up more manga, but also encourage other viewers and fellow booktube friends to do the same. This has also led to more manga bookclubs or read-a-thons online.

From my perspective, as a long-time watcher of booktube, being a book blogger for over 3 years, and keeping updated on the newest buzzed books, it’s not surprising that the impact of the internet is allowing for more conversation, especially influencing and inspiring readers to pick up more diverse and inclusive titles!

It’s amazing to see how influential the internet is in the the direction of the book market, what stories we’re seeing next, allowing us readers to curate our TBRs, find new recommendations, and open our eyes to new stories that we may not have known about otherwise!

Its also important to note, the impact word-of-mouth and recommendations from online friends or influencers is continuing to have on the books people decide to add to their To-Read lists, or pick up themselves!

While there’s a variety of factors involved into what gets readers to pick up certain books, one can’t ignore all the good it’s doing to bring people together, introducing them to new fictional worlds, and inspiring them to keep on reading!

There’s many pockets of the internet where one can find new bookish content and discover their next great read and that is something that I don’t see stopping anytime soon!

Thank you so much for checking out this discussion! Feel free to share your own personal experiences on how the internet or the online book community has influenced how/what your reading! 😍📚🍃

Which online bookish communities do you go to for your next read? 📚✨💖

Hey 24hr.YABookBlog here  (~˘▾˘)~💞📚✨ I wanted to share a little bit about the inspiration behind this blog discussion! It was mainly influenced by the PW article listed above titled “How Has the Internet Changed Book Culture.” I felt inspired by what the article mentioned about building community and how it impacts what we read! I felt as a book blogger + someone who keeps up to date on the newest book news/trends, etc., I had a lot to say on the subject! 

This discussion also would not have been possible without the other fantastic resources I linked above like Vox, Good E-Reader and Publishers Weekly! Close to 3-4 hours of work went into this article, but it was such a fun one to create! 

If you can, I would really appreciate if you could check out/donate to my Ko-Fi or share this article with fellow bookish people! As a university student studying journalism, if you could support the work I shared today, it would mean a lot! Thank you!! 📚💖✨📰

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal Review

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah FaizalWe Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #1)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Pages: 480

Available Through The Book Depository: We Hunt The Flame

Summary: People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: We Hunt The Flame is a YA Fantasy debut that has been highly anticipated and one you don’t want to miss! From the expansive world of Arawiya, intriguing plot, and wonderfully developed cast of characters, Faizal’s debut takes the reader on an epic fantasy adventure!

Told through dual POV, We Hunt The Flame follows Zafira, known as the Hunter, and Nasir, prince of Arawiya who goes by the title of the Prince Of Death (essentially the kingdom’s assassin!).

Zafira hunts for her people disguised as a boy in Demenhur, which is a kingdom cursed with eternal snow. She hunts within the Arz, a forest of encapsulating darkness– while many have become lost within it, she always finds her way back!

Nasir is the ever-loyal assassin for his father (the sultan) and goes across the kingdom getting rid of those who undermine his father’s rule. He believes he will forever be cursed with a life of darkness and because of that, keeps himself isolated from the world.

Their stories become intertwined when their confronted with a mission that takes them to a mysterious island with magic no one has seen for close to a century!

I loved the entire first part of this story–introducing us to the world of Arawiya through both of our main characters in their natural elements: Zafira having hunted a deer in the Arz and Nasir, assassinating a man suspected of treason against the kingdom.

These lines from Zafira & Nasir’s opening chapters will forever be remembered in my mind anytime I think of We Hunt The Flame:

People lived because she killed…People died because he lived…

What I loved about those lines is how much they tell us about them as characters before their stories even begin! Zafira is the kind of person who always puts others before herself. Although she has her own desires & wishes, she never chooses to act on them–only on what she feels will make everyone else around her safe or happy!

Nasir has been raised to kill and is continually put in situations where he wants to show his loyalty to his father. But, he does it even knowing his father will never be proud–with that, he uses that as a shield to isolate himself from the kingdom he will be destined to rule. Luckily, he does have general Altair by his side (though Nasir begs to differ XD).

This is a debut that surprised me in so many ways and had so many elements I loved–not only the main characters, but also the expansive world, magic system, character dynamics, and intriguing plot!

Nasir and Zafira’s mission has been spurred by a mysterious entity who calls herself, The Silver Witch. Their mission promises the return of magic to their world, even if it means braving this mysterious island where the magic is wild and unexpected.

Another element to the world that I loved was that although their world has been free of magic for quite sometime, you can still sense its presence in the kingdom itself and that’s because of Faizal’s writing– it creates such vivid settings, imagery, and delivers a sense of wonder! There wasn’t a single moment where I was ever pulled out of the story! The lush prose delivers a balance to its characters, world, atmosphere, and dialogue in such a great way!

Their both tasked with finding the Jawarat, the mythical book that bring magic back to their land. But, in addition to that–Nasir is given another task to kill anyone who can get in the way (Altair included) and the Hunter!

As the story progresses where Nasir & Zafira finally meet– truths come to light and their forced to stick together if their going to find the book!

There’s also a very present/relevant theme of identity throughout the book that is explored so well between them! Both Nasir & Zafira face truths about their identity and when they are presented with new info that changes what they first believed about themselves! I felt it really showed how much depth there was to them to see the many differing sides to them not just throughout their journey, but also through them as characters–we see their strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerable moments which really surprised me!

There’s also themes of grief and loss explored throughout as well!

As for other characters, I loved the ensemble dynamics explored! Firstly with Zafira in her home village, with her sister Lana, friends Yasmine & Deen! Next it was Nasir & Altair–their dynamic/banter was the best and easily a highlight of the book!

I also find the exploration of past/current love isn’t always explored in YA Fantasy between main characters–but We Hunt The Flame really highlighted that & it was so well developed (Zafira w/ Deen & Nasir w/ Kulsum). I loved how they also symbolized the thread to their previous lives before coming to the island of Sharr.

As Zafira, Nasir, & Altair find themselves working together we also get introduced to a couple of new characters on the island:  Kifah, & Benyamin!! I loved learning more about them and found them to be such wonderfully developed characters + additions (who do get introduced mid-way through WHTF).

Overall the main crew/characters were just too precious & have to be protected at all costs!! I loved them a lot!! (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)❤

Additionally, the way Faizal used dual POV was fantastic–it offered so much to so many different elements of the story from the atmosphere, expansive world, characters, etc. The character-dynamics were also so good, not once did I feel certain characters were forgettable or lacked depth!

When talking about the world, the contrast to the setting of the frozen lands & deserts (Demenhur vs. Sarasin) were so vivid and I could picture both of them perfectly! Even the element of the forest of darkness, The Arz, was something special that really brought the setting to life & made it sparkle.

Now onto what made me rate this a 4–though rating aside, I really loved this book and the ending left on a note where I was in shock, but SO ready to read the sequel! (I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year!!). Those last few chapters–just WOW!!

Honestly, I do think that the pre-release hype had my expectations really high for We Hunt The Flame and overall my personal expectations too. I was so ready for the Assassins Creed elements to shine more throughout the book (though they were really present within Part 1) and it definitely switched gears as the story progressed– I was disappointed, but that’s only because I wanted more–I loved reading the chapters where Nasir traveled throughout the kingdom as an assassin & seeing Zafira brave enough to trek through the Arz as she outran guards!!

I did feel that because the writing is very character-focused, the plot (mainly surrounding the Sharr storyline) felt like it wandered a bit and I was hoping for more of the over-arching plot to be explored for a larger part of those chapters instead of being left to the last chunk of chapters.

Also, for me personally, I felt Nasir & Zafira’s defining characteristics (being the Assassin/Hunter) got a bit lost as the story progressed (mainly with Nasir) and I was hoping for their personas to be more of a focused part of their character that was present throughout the whole book (Hopefully that makes sense?).

But overall, like I said above there were so many wonderful and fantastic elements to We Hunt The Flame that really left this book as a memorable and favorite read of mine for sure! I can’t wait to see whats next in the sequel!!

We Hunt The Flame is a YA Fantasy debut inspired by ancient Arabia that takes the reader on an immersive, magical adventure! Faizal’s debut is an atmospheric fantasy tale that delivers such a vivid world, fantastic cast of characters, important themes woven throughout, and plenty of action! We Hunt The Flame is debut that will leave you wanting the sequel right away when you turn that final page!

I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review 😍💞📚 I recommend checking out:

We Hunt The Flame Review from Lila over at HardcoverHaven121

As an Own-Voices reviewer for Arab rep., she talks about the diverse geography of the Middle East and how accurate the setting of Arawiya was for her when listening to We Hunt The Flame on audio! She also loved how the novel showcased so many different aspects of Arab culture, such as language!

She also loved the rich prose that Faizal crafted within her novel (which I loved too!!). Though it wasn’t a perfect rating for her, I loved how she expanded on the different points in her review and her thoughts on it from the audiobook perspective!

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen {ARC Review}

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. NguyenFake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Pages: 304

Available Through The Book Depository: Fake It Till You Break It

Summary: Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.

After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.

The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Fake It Till You Break It is a YA Contemporary Romance that you need to add to your TBR! Mia and Jake can’t stand one another, they’ve even been told they’d be the perfect couple! So, to get their parents off their backs they pretend to be in a relationship, but soon find themselves falling for each other!

Fake It Till You Break It is one of those books where I just read the summary and said “Yes! I need this book in my life!!” 

I adored this book, fell in love with the main characters, Mia & Jake, and recommend this book if your looking for a good YA Contemporary Romance with dual POV, really good romance, and exploration of a variety of themes from friendship, grief, to family!

Mia Le & Jake Adler are childhood friends–mainly because their mothers are the best of friends. For years, they’ve endured dentist visits, brunches, weekends together, but the thing is, they can’t stand to be with each other! Their moms are convinced they’ll be the perfect couple & the fact that Mia’s mom disagrees with every new guy Mia is interested in, doesn’t help either.

So to end this once and for all, Mia & Jake pretend to be a couple and get their parents off their backs for good–but the more time they spend with each other, the more they realize they may be falling in love! ❤

As I mentioned above, Nguyen’s latest YA Contemporary is told through dual POV! It honestly made the book even more fun because I was able to better understand the dynamics of this relationship from the both points of view! It really allows you to understand both Mia & Jake fully as characters (their personalities, personal journeys, etc.) while also connecting all these different pieces to where you can see that although they really don’t like each other now, they really used to be close. We see how although they leave it unsaid, but its clear they don’t want to continue being on opposite sides!

Through Nguyen’s writing, you get so much humor, exploration of family/relationship dynamics and this energy that’s delivered into both of the main characters! I just adored both Mia, Jake, and their dynamic a whole lot! They just felt so realistic, I could really picture them so clearly in my mind as I was reading!

Also–the banter between Jake & Mia was so good!! They really don’t like each other, but through each POV its clear to see that they really keep a close eye on each other and care for one another even if they have trouble admitting it. ❤ They also have a lot of history, its impossible for them to avoid it during their fake relationship because they’ve just grown up with each other for so long.

There’s also a focus on self as Mia & Jake learn more about themselves and one another as they delve further into this relationship in ways they weren’t really expecting– they learn more about how present they’ve been in each others lives and what it can mean for them now and after they end this fake relationship (considering they gave themselves a 2-week window to trick their moms and break-up to be out of each others lives for good).

Following Mia & Jake’s journey throughout this book was also just fun because of their vibrant personalities and delightful banter!

Though this relationship also encounters other obstacles they face along the way–Mia has a crush on her theater classmate Ben and struggles to come to terms with her complex feelings between her crush and mortal enemy Jake! Jake also struggles with these feelings for Mia and we learn more about the estranged brother who abandoned him and his adoptive mother years ago.

I loved how this novel explored this fake-relationship dynamic and the complexities that come with it! For example, throughout the book while its obvious Mia & Jake have chemistry, we see that because Mia has also been interested in her theater classmate Ben for sometime, Jake helps set up a double-date so Mia can go out with him! Because they aren’t really a couple, both Mia & Jake confront this question if they can still keep the charade up & what is their relationship exactly??

Fake It Till You Break It also explores the complexity of family, the dynamic between Jake, Mia & their mothers, even the distance of Jake’s estranged brother Finn.

I loved that there was such a focus on mother relationships in this book!! Its something that isn’t always explored in YA Contemporary and it was just so great to see these important familial relationships explored with such depth. I personally found Jake, his adopted mother (who was his Aunt Lily), and their relationship to be another one of the strongest explored throughout the book. Jake knows that his uncle left a while back and with Finn gone, the novel explores how Lily just wanted them to be happy and nearing the end worried she wasn’t being the best mother she could–I loved this mother/son dynamic explored throughout the book. There’s also messages and themes Nguyen subtly weaved into it–while really exploring it near the end!

I also loved the female friendships that both Mia & Jake have–they were very present throughout the book and it was great their friends were such central parts of their school life & throughout the story.

There’s also Vietnamese rep (Mia & her mother)! I don’t know if its ever explicitly stated, but that’s what I gathered from other reviews & context!

Nguyen also has this underlying theme of grief that is shown through Jake’s POV as he mentions the passing of his parents in an accident and his brother Finn who distanced himself years later. This theme was also explored subtly but it felt realistically portrayed because he still had those emotions close to him.

My only critiques that have me rating this 4-stars is the plot point revolving the mother’s and them finding out about the relationship (I wont spoil it, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting-it did feel a bit rushed too), and Jake’s reaction towards certain plot points that get revealed later on felt kid of like a bit of a step backwards for his character to me personally!

But overall, Fake It Till You Break It was a lovely YA Contemporary that surprised me and kept me so invested in the delightful main characters! So on an enjoyment scale it was definitely a 4.5! 💞

Fake It Till You Break It is a fantastic YA Contemporary Romance and you need it on your TBR! There’s fake-dating, dynamics of family, female friendships and relationships explored throughout this book! There’s also a focus on self as both Mia & Jake find themselves falling for each other and growing throughout the book! Fake It Till You Break It is YA Contemporary that needs so much more hype–its so good & I can’t recommend it enough!

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu {Manga Review}

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka DemizuThe Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai (story) & Posuka Demizu (artist) (Promised Neverland #1) 

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Pages: 192

Available Through The Book Depository: The Promised Neverland Vol. 1

Summary: Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Promised Neverland Volume 1 is a promising start to an intriguing manga series! Following a unique cast of characters set in the Grace Field House Orphanage, things are not quite as they seem for Emma, Norman & Ray! With intrigue, mystery, & with both a great cast of characters & equally unique story, this first volume will have you turning the page, wondering what’ll happen next!

So after finishing The Promised Neverland, I was feeling so accomplished because this is the first book I’ve finished in a little over a week (which felt like so much longer, if I’m being honest 😭💔💔). I’m also happy that this delightful manga is getting me out of my reading slump!

I’ve also really been wanting to start this series because I’d heard so many positive and great things about it! After turning the last page of this first volume, I really can’t wait to see where the story is headed!

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 introduces the reader to the Grace Field House Orphanage where the main character Emma lives! She’s the oldest (11 years old) alongside Norman, Ray & a few others who are also her age! She lives a pretty normal and happy life with the other younger kids and “Mom”, their loving caretaker.

But, things take a surprising turn when a mystery begins unraveling after Conny, a girl at the orphanage who’s getting ready to see her new family, leaves her toy behind and Emma alongside Norman, try to get it to her. Though, leaving the orphanage at night is forbidden.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this volume because the way the story unravels, its best to go in without knowing too much! Though for me personally, that’s why I’m leaning more towards a 4-star rating! From my own personal expectations I was expecting a more quiet contemporary story (with light fantasy elements), but those were just my personal expectations & Promised Neverland really takes a different turn!

I will say that my favorite parts about this manga, aside from the phenomenal characters, intriguing story, & world-building, is the themes that are interwoven throughout this volume.

If you’ve read this series, I highly recommend checking out Jeannette Ng’s wonderful thread which delves into important themes & core elements of what makes Promised Neverland filled with “defiant hope.” Her thread also inspired a lot of the themes I found while reading it and want to further explain!

Intrigue and intellect are explored heavily throughout this first volume & mainly through the older orphans like Emma, Ray, & Norman. There’s moments where they find themselves tested and facing situations where you really see the depth of their character & to the point where its clear these characters are really thinking about what’s best for everyone instead of just themselves.

Their trying to formulate plans all while gathering intel, with the perfect amount of intrigue that keeps you guessing! I never knew where the story was headed and was worried for them when their plan became a little more complicated.

No matter what conflict Emma is faced with, even if it changes how she sees the world, there’s this thread of hope & positivity that is present throughout this first volume and its inspiring!

I loved the friendship between Emma and Norman! They complement each other really well and we see that through their conflicting personalities, where Emma is energetic and confident, Norman is strategic, quiet, & resourceful.

Alongside that, I just love seeing the dynamic between Emma, Ray & Norman when they all begin working together.

Each member of the trio is unique in their own way and you see that they each have their own abilities which seems to foreshadow a bit of what strength they’ll lend to the group as their plan continues to develop. Emma is not only energetic but incredibly athletic, Norman is brilliant & strategic, and Ray is quiet, very knowledgeable and observant.

Overall I found myself connecting to each character and found each one, no matter when they were introduced, to have quite a bit of depth and feel very well developed.

The setting itself was not what I was expecting: it mixes dystopia, a bit of sci-fi, but in a whimsical sort of way that I really enjoyed & was hoping for.

As for the art-style it was wonderfully detailed. The backgrounds, character designs, and pacing/development all flowed so well!

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 is the start to a manga series both intriguing and mysterious! There’s a mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and mystery! The page-turning plot, dynamic cast of characters, and great artwork all come together in such a unique way! This manga series balances dark and hopeful, while also having intrigue, mystery, and so much more!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu {Manga Review}

Takane and Hana Volume 1 by Yuki ShiwasuTakane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu (Takane & Hana #1)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Pages: 200

Available Through The Book Depository: Takane & Hana Volume 1

Summary: A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!

After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana embarks on a hilarious journey with Takane that just might lead to love!

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Takane & Hana is an incredibly comedic manga series that follows high school student Hana Nonomura, who stands in for her sister as part of an arranged marriage to business heir to the Takaba Group, Takane Saibara and the comedic banter/ rivalry that develops between the two!

I originally learned about Takane & Hana through Goodreads as I was scrolling the new released manga and this one caught my eye! From the summary, it seemed like there’d be enemies to lovers and a lot of funny/comedic moments and I was not wrong!

If I was to sum up this manga in one word it would be: Entertaining!

Being on the verge of a reading slump isn’t fun, but this manga series was one I’m incredibly glad I picked up because its light, filled with humor, incredibly entertaining & absolutely hilarious!

Though I never know what to expect going into a new manga series, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found yet another series that’s impressed me from page 1 and that I’m happy to say is a new favorite series!

With every page I was laughing at Takane & Hana’s non-stop enemies streak/rivalry they had going on and just seeing how these 2 dynamic main characters continuously interacted with each other!

The story starts with us learning that Hana’s older sister Yukari was originally going to be involved in the arranged marriage to Takane, but she had other plans (aka another date). So, in order to save her father’s position at the company, Hana decided to take her place!

When they first meet, things do not go as planned and we learn Takane is a bit of a jerk–& Hana is not putting up with it!

Takane, through his very brash personality, tells Hana he’s interested in her! Though they can’t really stand each other, sparks are definitely there.

Both Takane & Hana are characters with such strong & conflicting, but also similar personalities and that’s what makes their chemistry together so good!

Takane and Hana Vol. 1 chronicles their meeting, hangouts together as their “relationship” continues, among various other plot threads–mainly involving Hana & the people in her life, like her father & sister Yukari (briefly) and her best friends/school life!

What makes this series so funny is Hana & Takane obviously are trying to out-wit one another, avoid each other as much as possible, and have the upper-hand when it comes to their banter, but something keeps them coming back to each other!

I love how them being in different economic classes made for a lot of the comedic moments in this story and how in general, its a relevant and present discussion to their relationship.

As the story progresses we begin to see Takane isn’t exactly the heartless person he appears to be. It was great seeing the little moments throughout their hangouts (*like the bowling date) when Hana would notice Takane’s strides to make more of an effort to be a nicer person and be willing to try new things!

Takane & Hana made me realize just how much I love the “can’t stand one another, but secretly love each other” Trope! Every scene they have together, even if their just thinking about each other just showed how much chemistry they had & I loved seeing their interactions so much.

We also see that even though they despise each other, Shiwasu just brings such a comedic and interesting dynamic to the both of them where I never know how they’ll react to each other next!

All the supporting characters are all really well developed and bring even more humor & heart to this story! From Hana’s friends Hikaruko & Mizuki, her sister Yukari, Takane’s grandfather, & one of Hana’s classmates who seems to be like a more important character in future volumes!

The art is so expressive and detailed! It reminded me a lot of Monthly Girls-Nozaki with the expressive faces and detail to the characters! I also love how detailed the backgrounds were.

Though it is a contemporary, I found the setting and atmosphere to be very present within this volume and seeing how it explored Japan through Takane & Hana’s different backgrounds.

*I will admit that though this series is so funny & the chemistry between these characters is very good, there is a bit of an age gap between them!* (10 years) With Hana being 16 & Takane being 26–though truly it doesn’t read that way b/c Takane seems to act like somewhat of an immature guy & not his age at all. This was something I wasn’t expecting, however, the age difference is discussed at various points and is never romanticized. This element is why I’m honestly very conflicted with this review– now, I don’t condone/overlook it, but in a general sense if you can see past that to see the characters for who they are + are looking for a hilarious  manga–this is one I think would be enjoyable. The dynamic between the two also seems to walk more towards finding trust as friends? *

Regardless though, this was a hilarious manga & I can’t wait to see whats next with Takane & Hana’s interesting dynamic!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 is a brilliantly character-driven, entertaining manga that will keep you laughing! The wonderfully developed characters, dynamic between the 2 leads, and immersive plot are just some of the many elements that keeps you turning the page! This is a romantic-comedy manga series worth checking out!