Driving By Starlight by Anat Deracine ARC Review

Driving By Starlight by Anat DeracineDriving By Starlight by Anat Deracine

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 288

Summary: Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it’s illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it’s a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Driving By Starlight is a phenomenal YA Contemporary! Set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia best friends Leena and Mishail are no stranger to small rebellions! Told through an impactful and beautifully written 1st person POV, Deracine’s debut explores with such depth  family, love, friendship, feminism, and so much more!

You know when a book immerses & impacts you so much throughout its entirety and it leaves you thinking for so long after the final page?

That’s what reading Driving By Starlight felt for me!🌟❤

Driving By Starlight is a thought-provoking read and I loved every single moment of it!

Deracine’s debut is one to read ASAP + Add to your TBR if you haven’t already!! This gem of a novel follows Leena on her journey as she navigates love, family, friendship, and contemplates about her future during her senior year, while also encountering strict laws and rules for women within Riyadh.

It was just so moving and captivating, this novel has easily made it to my list of all-time favorite YA Contemporary novels + favorite books of all time!!

Told through such an emotional, thought-provoking, and descriptive POV, we follow Leena and her best friend Mishail who are inseparable!

With strict rules within their town, they find themselves being a bit rebellious. Whether its walking out on their own late at night, wearing western clothing, changing out of or not wearing their abayas etc.

However because of the strict rules within society & fear of being caught by the religious/cultural police , Leena, Mishail, and her friends find themselves unable to fully take hold of their futures.

Deracine’s writing is poetic, moving, and honest! While reading, I may have tabbed quotes/passages at least 20+ times!! 😂💞✨

Told through a first person POV, we follow Leena who has such courage and determination throughout the entire novel shows us how much she is willing to sacrifice for her friends, family, and future!

She lives with her mother and spends as much time as she can with her best friend Mishail! However, her father is in prison for being a rebel against the government and in his absence, must take care of herself and her mother, while also working her hardest towards a future she dreams of!

As for Riyadh, from the descriptions of the deserts, city, clothing, politics, society–everything, Deracine delivers the setting in such a way that it balances the beauty and everyday life for Leena, while also discussing in such a real and honest way, the injustice within society for herself, among other women.

Leena dreams of continuing her passion and pursuit of law after high school. However, the strict rules for her within her town make it increasingly difficult for her to pursue her dreams.

Leena herself is so worldly and just wants to fight for a future she dreams of and, just wants more! However, her fears of what it could mean for her best friend + family, just captured my heart and I rooted for her with each and every page!

I’m not really sure how to go about explaining the plot, because there’s just so much that happens! But, I will say that all though it follows Leena & her story, its also about her friends and family, who come to life through her POV.

Additionally, you truly understand each and every one of the characters when you reach the very end!

There are also quite a number of themes explored throughout this novel, with the three main one’s being family, friendship, and the complexities of being a woman within the restrictions of society!

There’s mystery as well, in terms of the fate of Leena’s father, who we know is currently in prison. However, though he is mentioned throughout the novel, Deracine builds his character with such complexity and mystery, that we see the impact he has made on a number of characters as we delve further into the plot! I loved how Deracine explored his character!

I also loved how female-centered this story was! A majority of the cast is female and this novel also explores female friendship + dynamics incredibly!

Leena, Mishail, and her friends Bilquis, Sofia, and Aisha all attend the same all-girls school and are not strangers to a bit of rebellion themselves (which is why Headmistress Maryam Madam does what she can to ensure their safety, even if she’s well aware of their rebellious schemes).

However, things begin to change when an attack on a neighboring all-girls school, Najd National, introduces the girls to a new friend + Saudi American, Daria Albukhair.

Daria slowly but surely joins Leena + her friend group, but as Daria introduces the girls to a bit more rebellion, Leena not only finds herself worried for her friends safety, but feels she may also be losing her best friend Mishail to Daria.

While this fear that Leena encounters does take more of a central role towards the middle of the novel, the complex friendship is explored so incredibly well, with its ups, downs, and everything in between throughout the novel’s entirety!

Deracine also does a phenomenal job at weaving her characters together! From side characters that become such more prominent as the story progresses, to characters who you see a multitude of sides from as well, the threads of each of these characters weaves in such a way that is truly unforgettable!

While I honestly loved each and every character so much, there are a few I wanted to talk about!

First is headmistress Maryam Madam! While its clear she only wants whats best for the girls, we see how she connects more with Leena and her family as the story progresses! She is such a great character and I loved seeing how her character evolved throughout the novel and that there’s so much more to her than we first expect!

I also really loved Faraz, who is the son of Hossein, (who was a friend of Leena’s father, growing up)! He is so kind and supportive of Leena throughout the entire book! While he only has a couple scenes, he becomes such a prominent character and I loved him so much!!

Similarly, I also really loved Ahmed’s character, who is Daria’s cousin! He connects with Leena easily through her father, who he knew as rebel! Seeing how they connect through a way that Leena finds such difficulty talking about was also so incredibly explored + developed, and similarly to headmistress Maryam Madam & Faraz, Ahmed is a character who develops so much and you see differing sides of him throughout Driving By Starlight!

Continuing with the writing, there were just so many quotes and moments that were so thought-provoking and really left me seeing Leena and her story from so many different angles.

I honestly adored everything about Driving By Starlight! Its immersive, makes you think, has heart wrenching + heart-breaking moments, builds characters and their stories is such a fascinating and absolutely incredible way!

I loved the complex characters, story line, themes, powerful messages of hope–basically everything!!

So, if you haven’t picked up Driving By Starlight yet, I cannot recommend it enough! This novel is truly such a gem!!

Driving By Starlight is a spectacular novel! With an honest, moving and emotionally captivating story, phenomenal characters, and powerful messages, Deracine’s debut is a must read!

Advertisements

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter Review

Not If I Save You First by Ally CarterNot If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 297

Summary: Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Carter’s latest novel, Not If I Save You First, is filled with intrigue, politics, and mystery! This page turner is mystery, thriller, and character-driven story all in one!

As a long time fan of Ally Carter’s books, I always look forward to reading what she comes up with next!

She integrates politics and mystery so seamlessly into everyone of her novels and that’s just one of the many reasons I really love her books!

Not If I Save You First follows Madeleine“Maddie” Rose Manchester, daughter of a Secret Service Agent and Logan, the president’s son.

An attack within the White House when they were 10, leads Maddie + her father to stay off the grid for 6 years in Alaska.

In that time, Maddie has been writing letters to Logan, but we quickly learn she hasn’t gotten responses. This leads her to believe, that maybe she’s lost her only friend.

Then when there’s news that Logan will be staying with them, the story takes off from there!

Now, when Maddie’s tasked with watching over him, it turns out they aren’t completely off the grid as they thought.

When its revealed someone is after Logan (and is later kidnapped), its up to Maddie to save him and when she does, they have to find answers.

Over the course of the story, they work together and unravel the mystery all while trying to stay alive in the Alaskan wilderness.

As they uncover more about what caused their friendship to end so abruptly, they also team up, help each other and maybe attempt to revive, what they felt was a long-gone connection!

I loved seeing the unique dynamic between Logan + Maddie. It was interesting to see their friendship during their younger years in the beginning + seeing how it drastically shifts in the present.

The characters and their development, especially Logan and Maddie is another aspect of the novel that I really enjoyed!

Carter does such an amazing job at keeping her characters and their development consistent throughout her books and it shows throughout the entirety of Logan and Maddie’s interactions.

The mystery as to who was after Logan and why, kept me turning the page! There’s so much mystery and things left unsaid that made it fun figuring out who was behind all this!

As for the plot and considering its a standalone, the story easily wraps up and any loose strings are pretty much resolved.

*I also loved the Gallagher Girls reference to the Blackthorne Institute!! ❤ ❤ Being a long-time fan of Carter’s books, it was fun seeing that little easter egg!!

However I will admit, the story itself was pretty slow towards the middle (when Logan + Maddie spend a lot of time trying to lose their tracks of Stefan, who’s chasing them). It did lead to a bit of repetitiveness of the setting and with that, not much happening plot wise when Logan+Maddie are trying to escape Stefan.

Additionally, the big reveal as to who was behind it did feel pretty rushed, as did the ending itself.

I will admit, the build-up itself was so incredibly done and kept raising the stakes with each moment.

When we finally reach the end, there was just a lot happening at once and overall felt a bit too fast-paced when it was revealed.

Overall though, I’m interested to read what Ally releases next! I always look forward to reading her novels and always have so much fun reading them!

Character development and mystery are at the heart of this story! Not If I Save You First is a uniquely plotted YA mystery/thriller and page-turning read! Though the pacing and ending suffer a bit, its an entertaining read perfect if your looking for a YA Contemporary/Thriller-Mystery standalone!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo Review

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Pages: 336

Summary: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

**TW for trypophobia*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Way You Make Me Feel is not a YA Contemporary to miss! With a phenomenal cast of unforgettable characters, brilliant writing-style, and a plot that will immerse start to finish, this is a must-read summer YA Contemporary!

The very 1st novel I read by Goo, was I Believe In A Thing Called Love! I love YA Contemporary and after that book, I knew I would read her future books as well!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a book that is not only a fun and unique story, but also weaves in serious themes revolving around friendship and especially family!

What I also loved about The Way You Make Me Feel, is that even though I got through it within a matter of days, it felt I was with these characters + this story for so long! For me, that’s the best kind of story, where you become so attached to the story, setting, characters, and can’t believe the story is over when you’ve reached the last page!

Clara Shin, our main character, is the star of this novel and I loved her so much! She’s fierce, confident and a bit of trouble-maker!

As summer vacation is on the horizon, Clara has it pretty much planned out: she’s counting down the days to visit her mother Mãe in Tulum, Mexico, while her dad Adrian, works on his KoBra food truck (Korean & Brazilian fusion food).

However, when a school prank gets out of hand with her school nemesis, Rose Carver, her summer is about to change!

In order to pay for the damages caused by the prank, she now has to work on the truck with Rose and feels her entire summer has come crashing down!

Now she’s working with her nemesis, trying to find time for herself and friends Patrick + Felix, make time to plan her trip to visit her mom, and maybe begin to have feelings for a guy (Hamlet) she meets near one of the KoBra stops!

Goo’s writing not only brings the characters to life, but also the vibrant + diverse LA setting! I loved how she brought the setting to life through the littlest details, like the never-ending traffic XD, the weather, food and classic LA stops!

There is also such great diverse representation and I loved that!!~♥♥*:✧ From the Korean-American & Korean-Brazilian rep., to Hamlet who is Chinese-American, Rose who’s Black, hinted at gay rep. (Patrick), and Mexican-American rep. (Felix), Goo does such an amazing job at creating such a diverse cast of incredible characters!!

I loved each and every character! From Clara, her parents, her friends Patrick Keen & Felix Benavides, to Rose, Hamlet Wong, all the main characters just came to life from their very first introductions and I loved them so much!!

The relationships and dynamics are so real and just develop so wonderfully! From Clara & Rose’s development into a beautiful friendship, to the dynamic between Clara & her dad, + the slow but steady development of Clara’s relationship with Hamlet!

Clara is a very confident and rebellious teenager! She speaks her mind and I just loved her so much! She starts off a person who quickly brushes things off, but over the course of the novel begins to find herself changing and growing throughout the summer.

From her outlook on relationships, friendships, commitments, etc. I adored her fierce and confident side, while also loving how she began to view things from a new angle as her summer plans turned out different than she had hoped!

The relationship she develops with Hamlet was so cute! Hamlet was so kind, optimistic, ans just so sweet and I loved his contrast to Clara, seeing their dynamic grow was so lovely!!~ Their development was so well done, I loved their banter and how they grew and changed with each other throughout the summer!

Now as for the dynamic with her dad, Adrian Shin, its clear that while there is such a strong father/daughter bond between them. What I found relatable to their dynamic with my own parents, was the fun/comedic moments they’d share♥♥*:✧~

I loved seeing how Clara not only strengthened her relationship with her dad, but by the end was able to see how even though she saw a lot of herself in her mom, also saw the strengths in her dad that her mother didn’t have.

What I also admire about Goo’s work, is the development of family in her novels, especially this one! From Clara’s parents not being married, but still keeping in contact, the bond Clara has with her dad, and the overall the complexity of family in this novel is something I love and related to so much in this book! Also the family dynamic Hamlet has with “grandparents,” who are actually grandparents of family-friends while his parents are working in China!

I also adored the friendship that developed between Clara & Rose! While they didn’t get along in the beginning, they really formed this beautiful friendship and learn a lot from each other along the way.

Their forced to work together on the KoBra truck, but what surprised me (considering Rose’s very upfront/honest personality) was how she really opened up to Clara + we learn she really finds it difficult to make friends and has anxiety! Seeing how Clara really made so many efforts to make Rose feel included + get her out of her shell was so beautiful to read!

Now I’m going into 1 aspect I didn’t really like (mentioned in the TW), so I may rate this book at 4.5 instead of 5, but still deciding on an exact rating:

**I suppose my only minor issue was the “trypophobiascene. Now, I’ve never felt triggered while reading a book before, so this was–an odd experience. I personally did find this scene triggering and just wanted to mention where it is, in case others who read this book are unaware! I find explaining this for me personally is also a bit triggering, so readers, just be wary & apologies if I’m a bit vague because of it.

I don’t usually read reviews before starting a book (so I was unaware of this scene before hand), but I had seen a couple reviews mention it, after I finished the book and looked on GR. Note: its discussed on pg. 84* (Basically Clara mentions wanting to send her dad certain triggering photos, (aka where the Trypophobia is discussed).

*Acquadimore’s reviews are always so great and found the TW discussed in her review of The Way You Make Me Feel as well!

Aside from that scene however, I really did love this book so much!

Clara undergoes quite a journey as she begins to consider and change her rebellious nature from the start of the novel. She see’s friends + family in a new light, and finds herself growing because of that!

The themes central to this novel that are explored so incredibly well and are at the heart of this story are family & friendship! There is such depth to them that are explored through Clara’s POV and her adventures throughout the summer and I loved that!

The Way You Make Me Feel is a fun + delightful YA Contemporary that captured my heart from page 1! With such incredibly developed characters and themes, a unique and immersive plot, summer adventures, and so much more, this is a perfect YA Contemporary for summer!

Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee ARC Review

Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui LeeOut Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Pages: 320

Summary: Marnie has never had a hard time fitting in with the guys. It would take a lot more than their goofy antics to keep her from joining them at the neighborhood sandlot to do what she loves best: play ball.

An added perk of hanging out at the sandlot? Spending time with Cody Kinski, their high school’s star pitcher and Marnie’s best friend. Sure, he can be stubborn and annoying. He also knows how to make her laugh and respects her skills on the mound. And when he gets nailed in the arm by a bone-fracturing pitch, Marnie becomes the team’s best chance at making it to the playoffs. Except no one told the guys they’re supposed to be on her side.

With her own team against her, Marnie begins questioning her abilities. And when fate throws her a curveball, can she play without losing the game, Cody, and her belief in herself?

*Requested an ARC from the publisher*

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Out Of Left Field is a fun, character-driven YA Contemporary! Lee’s debut focuses on friendship and its complex dynamics, while also delivering a unique plot! Also perfect for readers looking for more sports in YA Contemporary!

I’ve found, for me personally, that its easy for YA Contemporary to follow similar plots and fall into this cycle of familiar tropes, plot points, etc.

Out Of Left Field however, really moves away from that and overall, delivers a unique and unexpected story that really had me surprised with each turn of the page!

This novel follows Marnie Locke, an avid player + lover of all things baseball! But, when her best friend Cody Kinski (who may be something more…) gets injured during a game from a rival baseball team player, Santino Acardi, he volunteers Marnie to take his place on the school baseball team.

Now, Marnie has to prove to herself and the guys on the team that she’s ready to show the world what she’s made of and follow her dreams!

Aside from that, she has to juggle the changing dynamics with friends, and come to terms with the possible feelings she may have with Cody!

If your looking for contemporary perfect for summer, this is the book for you!

From her time on the guy’s baseball team, her complex friendship with Cody, and some surprises that come her way, its an entertaining read that really goes in unique directions that makes it stand out from other YA Contemporary novels!

Lee’s writing-style really delivers such a fun atmosphere to this novel, that really makes this novel ! Additionally, through the 1st person POV, Marnie is developed with each and every page, that her feisty personality really shines through!

What is also so great about Out Of Left Field (which I personally haven’t seen any reviews mention!) is the representation in this novel as well! (However its mainly seen through the prominent side characters!)

There’s Marnie’s best friend Sara, who is Filipino and Hispanic, and bisexual (which is explicitly stated in the text!). Then there’s Neha, who is Indian (Acardi’s girlfriend)

Marnie gets herself into a bit of a tricky situation when Acardi, Cody’s rival, actually ends up becoming her cousin! (Acardi’s mom ends up marrying Marnie’s uncle!) 

So, when Marnie learns that Acardi isn’t all that bad & he even helps her with her baseball when she gets on the guy’s team, she finds herself keeping the secret from Cody for fear that he may get upset + even feels she’s betraying him.

I loved how Santino + Marnie’s dynamic developed, he quickly becomes such a supportive friend/family member to her. I found the quick pace of their development really added more depth to the story as they rely on each other & he offers her advice!

Similarly to what I mentioned above about the unique direction of the novel, this plot point was on of them! Lee’s unexpected plot direction and overall unique execution of her story made Out Of Left Field such a memorable read for me!

The way she delivers her prose just has you so in Marnie’s head and you really get to understand her as a character, that it makes the unfolding of the plot all the more interesting + surprising!

Marnie is a feisty, confident character and I loved that about her! Additionally, Lee’s portrayal of all the teenage characters in this novel felt so raw and real! They have their drama, goals, convos about romance, and so much more, Lee just made them come to life on the page!

An interesting aspect to this novel that I loved, was the look at changes/growth after high school, as Sara + Cody discuss their futures with Marnie at points throughout the story!

Cody star player, consider’s quitting baseball after high school! This honestly was another one of those surprising moments, but was just so brilliantly delivered that it just leaves you thinking and even understanding!

As a college student, this aspect in particular was just so refreshing to read about in YA Contemporary because while it is definitely addressed in those books, the honesty at how interests may not always equate to future careers, etc. was just so—real that I loved how it was explored!

I even loved how this novel explored the changing dynamics of friendship and goals after high school as the characters contemplate how college will change things for them.

Marnie’s dynamic with the guy’s team was not easy at first, but as the novel progresses you see it change and grow as you see her determination to keep pushing on.

As for the sports aspect, I felt it was really given depth through the descriptions, through Marnie’s eyes of the games, her own personal knowledge, and how the baseball lingo is used throughout the novel at sports + non-sports related moments.

I think my only minor issues, were slow pacing at some points, not much background/expansion given to some main + side characters, and I wish the changing dynamic between Marnie & her mom (who Marnie see’s as absent/unsupportive of her passion for baseball) was given more page time!

Overall I really loved how the plot progressed and felt Lee left it at the perfect moment till the very end! Where you know all the strings are relatively tied up, but still leaves you wanting more!

Out Of Left Field is a uniquely plotted YA Contemporary, perfect for those seeking out more sports contemporary! There’s some romance, while friendship + Marnie’s passion for baseball is at the heart of this story! Fun, sporty, and a great YA Contemporary for your Summer TBR!

April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

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

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

Book Bytes I #11

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

Each month 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!

Adaptation News

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han1.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Film Release Date

With the recent announcement that the adaptation for Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before would be coming to Netflix this summer, it was recently announced by Jenny Han herself & Collider that the film now has an official release date as of April 10!

The ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ film is set to be released August 17 on Netflix!

2.Dumplin’ Soundtrack

Announced in 2017, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy had been picked up to be adapted for film with Jennifer Aniston attached to star. As of April 11, Dolly Parton tweeted + shared a blog post about writing new music for the upcoming film.

Dumplin’ has no released date announced yet.

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

3. The Prince And The Dressmaker picked up by Universal Pictures

Announced April 16 by Deadline, producer Marc Platt and Universal Pictures picked up the rights to Jen Wang’s graphic novel, The Prince And The Dressmaker.

No release date, etc. was announced.

4.The Hate U Give Release Season + First Look!

Announced April 26, EW shared a First Look at the movie adaptation to Angie Thomas’s novel The Hate U Give!

While no set release date has been announced, it has been confirmed for a 2018 (looking at Fall) release date!

Book Deals

1.Flame In The Mist by Renée Ahdieh 2 Free E-Novellas

As of April 2, through PenguinTeen’s website, Renée Ahdieh announced she would be releasing 2 free e-novellas as a part of her Flame In The Mist duology!

They are set to take place in between the ending of Flame In The Mist and the beginning to Smoke In The Sun.

The 2 e-novells are titled:

Yumi & Okami

Yumi is set to be released April 24, 2018 & Okami is set to be released May 15, 2018!

2.The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

Set to be released in 2019 by Flux Books, Barthelmess’s debut The Quiet You Carry is about “17-year-old Victoria, who, after she’s kicked out of her toxic family, must contend with a chaotic foster home, dodge prying eyes at school, hang onto her college dreams, and somehow protect the stepsister she left behind” (Announced April 2).

3.Cacophony by Kelly Powell

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, Powell’s debut Cacophony is a “a work of magical realism, following a violinist working with a lighthouse keeper to ‘solve a murder on an island that is also home to deadly sirens who prey on the inhabitants.’(Announced April 10).

4. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Set to be released in Summer of 2019 by Scholastic, Kuhn’s YA Debut,“I Love You So Mochi, is about a Japanese-American fashionista who journeys to Japan on a quest of self-discovery after her college plans fall apart; along the way, she reconnects with her estranged grandparents and finds romance with a med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot” (Announced April 12)

5.The Candle And The Flame by Nafiza Azad

Set to be released in 2019, Azad’s debut The Candle And The Flame is “Set in a city along the Silk Road that has become a refuge for those of all faiths, the YA fantasy is about a young woman with mysterious origins and two clans of powerful djinn who threaten to destroy her peace, and the unlikely alliances she’ll make to survive” (Announced April 12).

6. Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Set to be released in Spring of 2019, Fan’s steampunk fantasy, Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon is “In a world inspired by Qing dynasty China, a warrior girl, Anlei, teams up with a young thief to save her village from shadow spirits. But, after arriving at the Courts of Hell, a discovery challenges everything they know about who the real enemy is” (Announced April 12).

7.Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Set to be released in Fall of 2019, Yoon’s debut Frankly In Love, is “a fresh and relatable take on identity and race as seen through the eyes of a Korean-American teen caught between his parents’ traditional expectations and his own Southern California upbringing” (Announced April 12).

8.All Boy’s Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Set to be released in Winter of 2020, Johnson’s YA Memoir, All Boys Aren’t Blue ” takes stories from his life growing up as a queer black teen to show readers how they can fight for themselves or be allies in the struggle for equity and equality” (Announced April 12).

9.Rebel Seoul Companion by Axie Oh

Axie Oh author of her 2017 debut Rebel Seoul, announced she would be working on a companion novel set to be released in Fall of 2019 (Announced April 13).

10.Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Set to be released in spring 2019, Sarvenaz Tash author of The Geek’s Guide To Unrequited Love and Three Day Summer, announced she would be releasing a “futuristic rom-com” titled Virtually Yours, which is “about a college freshman who tries out a virtual reality dating app, only to be matched up with the high school ex she’s still not over” (Announced April 24).

Cover Reveals + Title Reveals

1.Girl Squads by Sam Maggs

As of April 9, Nerdist revealed the cover for Magg’s upcoming novel:

Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History

There’s also a Q&A along with the cover reveal going more in depth to the design of it!

Girl Squads is set to be released October 2, 2018!

2.Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Happily Ever After revealed the cover to Spooner’s upcoming fairy-tale retelling Sherwood along with a Q&A on April 9.

This Robin Hood retelling is set to be released in March of 2019!

3.Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Revealed on Nic Stone’s twitter as of April 13, was the cover to her upcoming YA Contemporary Odd One Out!

Her book is about “three kids of color trying to navigate the intersections of friendship and romance and figure out who it’s okay to love.”

Odd One Out by Nic Stone is set to be released October 9, 2018! + An excerpt of Stone’s book was also shared on EW as of April 20!

4.Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

LGBTQReads revealed the cover for Tammi’s upcoming Queer, Greek-Mythology Fantasy, Outrun The Wind!

There’s also a discussion w/ the author on her inspiration for her novel!

Outrun The Wind is set to be released November 27!

5.A Map Of Days by Ransom Riggs

As of April 25, Penguin Teen and USA Today shared that Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Series will be adding a 4th book! A Map Of Days, according to USA Today, “kicks off a new trilogy in Riggs’ best-selling young-adult saga…”

Both a cover reveal and release date were announced!

A Map Of Days is set to be released October 2, 2018!

6.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

EW revealed the cover to Leigh Bardugo’s upcoming novel in her Grishaverse, centering around Nikolai, titled King Of Scars as of April 30.

King Of Scars is set to be released January 29, 2019!

Publisher News

1.Epic Reads Bookmojis!

Announced April 3, Epic Reads revealed they launched an app for book-lovers called:

Bookmojis

Its a free app that ” includes a selection of YA emojis, GIFs, and stickers for us book nerds to use in all of our texts!!

According to their blog post, they’ll also be releasing new packs every month based off different book fandoms!

Its available through Google Play & Apple!

Tours

Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro1.Anger Is A Gift Tour

Announced by EW April 4, debut author Mark Oshiro, will be touring for his upcoming book Anger Is A Gift!

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

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

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

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

Anger Is A Gift is set to be released May 22, 2018!

A sneak peek of Oshiro’s upcoming novel was also released as of April 10! You can find links to download it through the publisher’s site Here!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand2.Furyborn Tour

EW announced as of April 18, that author Claire Legrand, will be on tour for her upcoming book, Furyborn!

Described as an epic feminist fantasy, Furyborn is one of the most anticipated new YA fantasy titles of 2018.

According to the publisher, Claire Legrand’s book “follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world… When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood… One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable ― until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world ― and of each other.

Furyborn is set to be released May 22, 2018!

And that wraps up the YA Book News for April 2018! ✨📚😄

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

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi {Mini-Review}

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani ChokshiAru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents (Disney Hyperion)

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 368

Summary: Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Aru Shah And The End Of Time is a beautifully written and magical tale! Filled with adventure, weaved in with Indian Mythology and folklore, and themes of family, and friendship, Chokshi’s middle grade novel is a must read!

Roshani Chokshi is easily one of my favorite authors! I adored her Star-Touched Queen duology and when I heard about her venture to middle grade, I put Aru Shah on my TBR right away!

This novel follows Aru Shah as she spends her break in the Museum Of Indian Art And Culture, which her mother runs.

Aru has a habit of telling tall tales, so when 3 of her classmates make an unexpected visit, she finds that the only thing she can do is prove her classmates wrong by showing them the Lamp Of Bharata.

Legend has it that if the lamp is lit, Sleeper (a demon) will be awoken and bring an end to time.

Aru’s mother has told her its to never be lit, but Aru believes that having it lit just once won’t bring any harm.

Aru then finds time itself is frozen and she’s now on a quest to reverse it, with the help of a new friend and a deity transformed as a pigeon named Boo.

Chokshi’s writing is superb! She blends fantasy and modern day in such a great way! I also loved the humor she weaved all throughout the book!

The 3rd person POV allows you to get an such expansive view at the magic, mythology, characters, and brilliant world that Chokshi has forged.

The characters are all wonderfully developed, you get so much about them from such few lines.

Aru is such a brave heroine and I loved her so much!!

Hindu mythology and folklore are at the heart of this novel and the magic finds its way into each page. There’s also a huge emphasis on friendship and family which is explored so incredibly well.

I also really loved how Chokshi explored the idea of fate and destiny through the quest Aru Shah undergoes as she tries to save the world!!

Its just so great to see diverse fantasy representation in middle grade! And through the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, its awesome there’ll be more series following various cultural mythologies!!

The novel not only features Aru Shah who is Indian-American, but also her friend Mini who is 1/2 Indian and Filipino.

Aru herself, goes through so much from the fear of what lighting the lamp has done to her world, to the tests she faces to prepare herself for the awakened Sleeper.

She is a determined, comical, and delightful character. I adored her so much and loved following her journey.

The story is just filled with action, adventure, mystery, and so much more!!

I suppose my only minor issue is that at points the plot did get a bit slow for me. 

When I reached the end of Aru Shah, I was so ready to read what happens next!! I can’t wait to read what happens next on her journey in: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death!

Aru Shah And The End Of Time takes you on a heroic fantasy  adventure that keeps you turning the page! Featuring Indian mythology, themes of fate, destiny, family, and friendship, through a dazzling writing style, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not one to miss!