Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/31/22) – Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak (Unstoppable, #2)

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I liked the first book in Charlie Jane Anders’ Unstoppable trilogy, Victories Greater Than Death, so when I saw book 2 at the bookstore the other day, I figured I’d give it a shot. I ended up giving it the same rating as book 1, but for different reasons; it felt like a middle book, but that wasn’t always a bad thing.

Now, tread lightly! This review may contain spoilers for book 1, Victories Greater Than Death. If you have not read it and intend to, proceed with caution!

For my review of Victories Greater Than Death, click here!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak (Unstoppable, #2) – Charlie Jane Anders

Tina and her band of unlikely heroes have saved the universe—for now. But what comes next?

Tina has begun her studies at the Royal Space Academy, but every day, she’s still haunted by her transformation. As she begins to lose her former self, she questions whether or not her duty is worth it. Elza, already feeling distanced from Tina, enters a competition to become a princess, but is faced with the ghosts of the past in the famed Palace of Scented Tears. And Rachael, the quiet artist of the group, is struggling with the loss of her artistic abilities after a run-in with a strange artifact. All the while, the threat of the xenophobic Compassion is on the rise, and if it’s to be stopped, the three friends must reunite amidst their personal struggles.

TW/CW: sci-fi violence, murder, xenophobia, anxiety, descriptions of injury

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak had the unmistakable feel of a middle book. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

Despite some of its shortcomings, Charlie Jane Anders’ brand of space opera is a breath of fresh air in the world of YA science fiction. The worlds she creates are multilayered, complex, and immersive, and all of the aliens in them are equally creative. For sci-fi fans looking for a series that’s endlessly creative, look no further. What makes it even better is the vast range of diversity present—just to name a few, we have a queer protagonist, a Black, Brazilian, queer protagonist, and a plus-sized protagonist with anxiety as the stars of Dreams. There’s queer rep aplenty in Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, and there’s something for everybody—it’d be hard to find some facet of yourself represented in some way in these books.

That being said, there were certain aspects of Dreams that I wasn’t as big of a fan of. Anders’ writing was what stuck out to me in this book in particular. There’s not much dressing on her prose; that isn’t always a bad thing, but it felt very bare-bones to me—lots of “[they] felt,” “[they] knew,” “[they] saw,” etc. I forget if this was as exacerbated in book 1, but this was what took away from my enjoyment the most in Dreams. At times, it almost had the effect of being talked down to—not an ideal writing style.

Additionally, I feel like the plot and pacing weren’t as strong as book 1’s were. While Victories moved at an almost dizzyingly breakneck pace, Dreams was comfortable to slow to a crawl, which was necessary for the character-building, but did little to move the plot forward. The plot itself was also lacking—it explored the paths of Tina, the protagonist of Victories, as well as Elza and Rachael. All of their POVs were interesting in concept, but Rachael’s tended to drag along. Although I love all of the characters that Anders created, it would’ve benefited the book so much more to just be from Tina’s POV; her plot was the most compelling of the three, and yet, it’s the one that the least time was allotted to. Once the three were reunited towards the end, it picked up, but before the last third of the book or so, it bordered on being a slog—I’m so surprised I’m saying that, given how overwhelmingly fast-paced Victories was!

However, as in Victories, the themes were as strong and timely as ever. Togetherness, acceptance, and fighting xenophobia and prejudice are at the heart of this story, and with such a diverse and lovable cast, these themes shone brighter than ever. It’s just the kind of sci-fi story we need right now, and I’m excited to see how it ends next year!

All in all, a victim of second-book-syndrome that made up for some of its flaws with its timely themes and loving and accepting energy. 3.5 stars!

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak is the second book of the Unstoppable trilogy, preceded by Victories Greater Than Death and concluded by the forthcoming Promises Greater Than Darkness, slated for release in 2023. Charlie Jane Anders is also the author of All the Birds in the Sky, The City in the Middle of the Night, Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and several other novels and short story anthologies.

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out my May 2022 Wrap-Up for today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

May 2022 Wrap-Up 🎓

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

We’re almost halfway through 2022 already (!), but I’d definitely say that this month was the most momentous one of this year.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Wow. So I really am done with high school.

I got distracted from all that with my AP tests at the beginning of the month (ecstatic that I’ll never have to take them again), but once the middle of the month hit, the realization started to sink in. Then I graduated—in freezing spring snow at an outdoor venue, no less. Certainly a day to remember. But it’s over now—strange to think that those four (very weird) years have come to a close. And now college is on the horizon…

With all that going on, I didn’t have as much time to read. It wasn’t quite as good of a bunch, either—I still had a few gems, but I had a lot more 2-3 star books and a DNF too. Haven’t had much writing time either—I did a little more outlining for the WIP sequel, but I’m turning my attention to something new—I figured that since my brother and friends are starting to suggest edits, it’s probably too soon to start the sequel.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching Heartstopper and sobbing at the coming-out scene, going to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (mixed bag, but it was fun) and Everything Everywhere All at Once (TEARS), seeing Spoon live (AMAZING), and listening to the new Wilco, Smile, and Arcade Fire.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 17 books this month! Less than usual, but it was a lot like April in terms of reading—I was super busy with AP tests, graduation, and all that jazz this month, but I was still able to read some good books here and there.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Forget This Ever Happened

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Chosen and the Beautiful

3 – 3.75 stars:

A Magic Steeped in Poison

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

5 stars:

Art Matters

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Art Matters – 5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

I’ve had this on repeat for almost a month straight not gonna lie
love this album but this song is my favorite
another great album, although I haven’t been able to let this one quite sink in yet
more soccer mommy!!!!
lovely album!
CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TICKETS TO SEE THEM IN SEPTEMBER AAAAAAA
not a perfect album, but when it’s good, it’s FANTASTIC—case in point


DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MAY GOALS?

  • Get through the AP tests: made it! sucked to have two in one day, but I made it.
  • Finish high school strong! (aAAA STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GRADUATING—): got straight A’s, so I’ll say I finished strong! and now I’m done with high school! would you look at that…

GOALS FOR JUNE:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy the first month of summer/pride month!

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 23-29, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

My sense of time has been w a y off this week; I’m still recovering from all the chaos and festivities from graduation last week, so this week has all been coming down from all that. The weather’s warmed up after that big snowstorm we had on the day of graduation, and I’ve been trying to get some stuff done for college and get some more reading done.

I haven’t been able to read or write much this month, so I’ve been trying to remedy the reading part, at least. I’ve had more time to read this week, and it’s been a hit or miss batch this week, but I found some great ones (one of which was a graduation present from my parents—thank you! 💗) I have some Fantastic Four comics that I want to read next week (from my dad and my brother, after realizing that I hadn’t read any while we were discussing the new Doctor Strange), so that’ll be fun.

As far as writing goes, I haven’t written much lately—more outlining, but I’m not sure if I should go on editing the WIP, fine-tuning its sequel, or just starting something new. I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’m not sure what I’ll write…we’ll see.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing when I can, playing guitar, seeing Spoon live (amazing, as they always are), listening to the new Wilco, and watching Everything Everywhere All At Once (tears were shed).

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea, #1) – Judy I. Lin (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak (Unstoppable, #2) – Charlie Jane Anders (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Chosen and the Beautiful – Nghi Vo (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Art Matters – Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

“Wait, it’s all Fantastic Four?”

“Always has been.”

Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four, vol. 1 – Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four, vol. 1 – Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

Fantastic Four, vol. 2 – Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

Fantastic Four, vol. 3 – Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

Fantastic Four, vol. 4 – Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham

Today’s song:

one of my absolute favorites from this album—and a serendipitous play while we were driving home after seeing Everything Everywhere All At Once

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

The Cat Markings Book Tag 🐈‍⬛

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I was tagged a while ago to do this by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories, and since I love cats, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! The tag was originally created by Laura @ The Corner of Laura.

Rules

  • Link back to the original creator (The Corner of Laura) and link back to this page(otherwise, the original creator won’t get a notification).
  • Thank whoever tagged you and link back to their post
  • You may use the graphics and don’t forget to credit the original creator
  • Tag 5 or more other people.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🐈‍⬛THE CAT MARKINGS BOOK TAG🐈

BLACK CATS: Black rescue cats take 13% more time to re-home than cats of other colors. Pick a book that doesn’t get the love it deserves.

While there were certainly some flaws with Love in the Time of Global Warming, I still think it’s a very unique and underrated book.

WHITE CATS: A study showed that 20% of purebred white cats are deaf. Pick a book with great disability rep.

I will never stop singing the praises of Sick Kids in Lovegreat romance, and even better disability rep!

GINGER CATS: 80% of ginger cats are male. Name your favorite male character.

It’s hard to pick just one character from the entirety of literature, but I love Kal and Finian from Aurora Rising, Baz from Carry On, and Jax from Heart of Iron.

TORTOISESHELL CATS: Nearly all tortoiseshell cats are female. Name your favorite female character.

Again, impossible to pick just one, but I love Auri from Aurora Rising, Zara and Beatriz from Honor Among Thieves, Catherine from The Smoke Thieves, and Ellie from The Sound of Stars.

CALICO CATS: Calico cats are considered lucky in many cultures. Name a character that you wish was your best friend.

I’d love to be friends with most anyone from the main cast of The Smoke Thieves except for Ambrose.

TABBY CATS: Tabby cats are considered to be the most extroverted and social cats. Name a character who’s the life of the party.

Rooney from Loveless is definitely a major extrovert and partygoer!

A CLOWDER OF CATS: The collective nouns for cats include a clowder, a glaring, a cluster, and a litter. Name your favorite fictional squad.

I’d be sorely remiss if I didn’t put Aurora Risings Squad 312 for this prompt!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

saw these guys open for Spoon on Tuesday night, and they were pretty great!

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/24/22) – A Magic Steeped in Poison

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I saw A Magic Steeped in Poison pop up on several blogs I follow whenever it first came out, and I figured I’d give it a go; I’ve become slightly jaded with a lot of YA fantasy by this point, but I was intrigued by the unique concept of tea magic that this novel promised. I bought it the other day, and I just recently finished it—lush and immersive, with a world that I loved getting lost in.

Enjoy this week’s review!

A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea, #1) – Judy I. Lin

In Ning’s world, tea is everything. The shennong-shi—masters of the art of tea-making—are revered in her society, known for conjuring magic and omens through their tea.

After an incident with poisoned tea kills Ning’s mother and incapacitates her sister, she turns to the only option to save her family. In the imperial city, there is a competition to find the most worthy shennong-shi in the kingdom; the winner earns the favor of the princess. Knowing that it may be the only way to save her sister, Ning ventures into the city, but what waits for her there may be more than she bargained for.

TW/CW: poisoning, loss of loved ones, violence, murder, animal cruelty

my brain can’t decide between “Tea” by Jim Noir or “Have a Cuppa Tea” by The Kinks as my internal soundtrack for this…a little help here?

As a reader, I’ve started to grow tired of some many of the beats that most YA fantasies follow—chosen ones, love triangles, and not much “fantasy” other than a basic magic system. I’m glad to say that A Magic Steeped in Poison was a breath of fresh air in that department, filled with lush prose and steeped (no pun intended) in Chinese culture and mythology!

First off, can we all take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this cover is? WOW. Seriously still in awe of how gorgeous it is. DANG. That is ART right there.

now, back to our scheduled program…

What immediately stands out about A Magic Steeped in Poison is Judy I. Lin’s prose. Like the brewing tea that shows up in so much of the book, it’s lush and immersive, filled with all sorts of sensory details that make the world feel all the more fleshed out. Lin’s writing makes it easy to picture the world that she’s created, from Ning’s rural home province to the luxury of the Imperial City. I could smell the tea, feel rain on my skin, and sense the tension that hung in the air during the shennong-shi competition.

I didn’t get overly attached to any of the characters, but Ning worked as the perfect kind of protagonist for A Magic Steeped in Poison; her determination, her hard-working spirit, and her devotion to her craft and family made her just the kind of protagonist to root for. For me, most of the other secondary characters weren’t as fleshed out, but I did like Lian as a secondary character, and the budding romance between Ning and Kang was totally sweet 🥺 (more of that!!! please!!!) I wanted more from these characters, but as a baseline, they were still good to work with.

However, I will say that the plot felt disorganized at worst. Amidst the main plot of the shennong-shi competition, there were a lot of secondary threads that only lasted a few chapters. Their resolutions were often very rushed, and I found myself wondering whether or not they were really relevant to the plot in the end. It felt a bit like an unfinished tapestry; the main picture was all there, but all of the loose, fraying threads at the edges made it almost look sloppy.

All in all, a refreshing fantasy that engaged all of my senses with ease. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

A Magic Steeped in Poison is Judy I. Lin’s debut, and the first book in the Book of Tea duology. Its sequel, A Venom Dark and Sweet, is slated for release this August.

Today’s song:

GOOD GOD this is SUCH A FANTASTIC ALBUM UGH

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 16-22, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! Hope this week has treated you well.

It’s certainly been an eventful week on my end! It doesn’t quite feel like summer (especially since we got that Freezing Snow Even Though It’s The Middle of May™️) since it’s been so busy, but it’s been very momentous on my end—I officially graduated from high school! It was freezing cold and snowing the whole time (we were at an outdoor venue), but it was a great morning.

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to read because I’ve been so tired for the past few days, but I got through my library books, and I’m currently going through the books I bought last week. Haven’t written much at all either—maybe I’ll have to get on that next week after everything dies down…

Other than that, I’ve been getting into all kinds of festivities for graduation, listening to Bachelor and Soccer Mommy, reorganizing my bookshelf (it hit critical mass so I had to put a few books away in boxes lol), and looking forward to summer.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Loveless – Alice Oseman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fire Becomes Her – Rosiee Thor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A Magic Steeped in Poison – Judy I. Lin

Dreams Bigger than Heartbreak (Unstoppable, #2) – Charlie Jane Anders

Today’s song:

listened to this album while I was organizing my bookshelves—good stuff!

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Music

WE – Arcade Fire album review

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Welcome to another installment of “2022 is the year that the music gods have blessed us”…

Arcade Fire has been a fairly constant presence in my life for as long as I can remember; for years, I’ve been hearing and loving songs from Funeral and The Suburbs in my car, and I nearly got to see them live on their last tour (the concert was on the same day as a school trip I had 😭). So I was so excited to hear that they had another album on the way a few months ago—and now that I’ve listened to it, I love it!

Enjoy this album review!

(note: I will be excluding track 3, “Prelude,” from my review, as it’s only 30 seconds long of vague bonking noises and static.)

WE – ARCADE FIRE ALBUM REVIEW

Track 1: “Age of Anxiety I” – 8.5/10

Right off the bat, I was so impressed by this song! One of my favorite songs on the album, and the perfect opener too. With its steady beat and timely lyricism, it perfectly sets up the landscape of the rest of the album—love it!

Track 2: “Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)” – 7.5/10

Continuing the momentum from “Age of Anxiety I,” “Rabbit Hole” keeps its steady pace. As long as it is, it manages to keep itself afloat for the full seven minutes and still be consistently listenable throughout. Not as good as I, but still a wonderful continuation.

Track 4: “End of the Empire I-III” – 8/10

“End of the Empire I-III” takes a turn into slower, more introspective territory. Its lulling and waving melodies feel immersive and welcoming, and it demonstrates the extent of Win Butler’s lyricism, the intense introspection and reflection that makes Arcade Fire stand the test of time.

Track 5: “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)” – 8/10

Most of the songs on WE have at twin of some sort, and I’ve noticed a pattern—they’re never interchangeable, but they’re nevertheless inextricably connected. In the instance of “Sagittarius A*,” it’s a continuation of the slow, measured reflection of the strange mess of the world in the last two years. The lyrics are far more on the nose here (repetition of “I/we/she/etc. unsubscribe[s]), but they’re nevertheless timely. I love the little electronic strains at the end as well.

Track 6: “The Lightning I” – 8.5/10

The two “Lightning” songs were the first singles to come out of WE, and this one reminded me of why I love Arcade Fire so much. So many people, so many instruments, all in exuberant harmony—just the kind of energy that we need in these unpredictable times. Ties into the general theme of the album, from what I can discern—clinging onto hope and togetherness in a time bent on tearing us apart.

Track 7: “The Lightning II” – 8.5/10

It makes sense that the music video for the two “Lightning”s is all in one; unlike the other twin songs, this one is has the smoothest transition from one song to the other. And it continues its contagious, exuberant joy, bringing the album to a hopeful, explosive crescendo.

Track 8: “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” – 7/10

This is my least favorite song on the album, but it’s nonetheless sweet, especially considering that Win Butler wrote it for his kid. The lyrics are more than a little on the nose, but they’re lyrics that everybody needs to hear growing up, which is what makes them so lasting. Sweet stuff.

Track 9: “Unconditional II (Race and Religion) (feat. Peter Gabriel)” – 10/10

MORE REGINE CHASSAGNE PLEASE AND THANK YOU

I’ve had this on repeat for a solid week—my favorite song on the album! Régine Chassagne’s vocals have an infectious joy and excitement to them, and combined with the harmonious music and message, it makes for the best song on the whole album. It’s already the highlight of the album, but having PETER GABRIEL, FOR GOD’S SAKES—that makes it even better!

Track 10: “WE” – 7.5/10

A gentle, slow ease out of a fantastic album. Even though Arcade Fire’s strength is in their numbers and varied instruments, sometimes their acoustic pieces are almost just as good. That’s the case of “WE”—not the best song on the album, but a perfect segway out of an adventurous album and a softer comedown from “Race and Religion.”

I averaged out all my ratings from each track, and it came out to a solid 8.2! I feel like that’s an accurate portrayal of my thoughts; WE is, without a doubt, high in the ranks of my favorite albums of 2022 so far—timely, but still rife with the infectious joy that makes me love Arcade Fire as much as I do.

Since this is an album review, consider the entire album to be today’s song.

That’s it for this album review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/17/22) – Gallant

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve only started reading V.E. Schwab’s books since last year, when I read the Shades of Magic trilogy and loved it (for the most part). Since then, I’ve had most of her other books on my TBR, including this one. It unexpectedly came on hold at the library recently (originally I was probably at…#43 on the waitlist or something💀), and so I jumped at the chance to read it. What I got was a lush and atmospheric fairytale and an ultimately satisfying read!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Olivia Prior knows little about her past. All the clues she has are in her dead mother’s journal, which seems to chronicle her descent into indescribable madness. After graduating from the Merilance School for Girls, Olivia has nowhere to go, until she is invited by letter to Gallant, the Prior family home. She is met with hostility by her estranged, distant relatives, but soon discovers a dark secret: every place in the world has its shadow, but the shadow at Gallant may be larger and more unpredictable than any of the Prior family could have expected.

TW/CW: animal death, ableist language (outdated), blood, murder, loss of loved ones, violence

Strange, dark, and atmospheric, Gallant is a lovely gem of a modern, Gothic fairytale. It’s only my third or fourth (though I remember next to nothing about This Savage Song) foray into Schwab’s writing, but it’s enough to almost put her at auto-buy/checkout status for me!

Where Gallant excels is the atmosphere surrounding it. Even though the supernatural aspect of the book isn’t explicitly shown until the last third or so, there was a consistent air of darkness that hung around it. Every description, from Olivia’s experience at the Merilance School to the mystery of the Gallant house, was filled with dark and creeping prose. It called to mind so many pieces of media that I love—I know Coraline (and Neil Gaiman in general) and Guillermo del Toro have been common comparisons, but they absolutely fit the bill. Reminded me a lot of Courtney Crumrin too.

But what created this atmosphere was all V.E. Schwab’s writing. She has such a unique way with words, and her specialty with crafting immersive settings is much of what made Gallant a success for me. Everything from Olivia’s mother’s descent into madness to the supernatural occurrences converging into Olivia and her cousins was described in such an artful, deliberate way that I could almost feel the dark atmosphere like misty fog on my skin. It’s hard to think of a writing style as unique and layered as V.E. Schwab’s.

However, I still had some complaints. From reading the Shades of Magic trilogy, I felt like the plot itself was what dragged some of the books down. The same was true for Gallant; although the setting, characters, and general premise were set up and well-executed, the plot itself felt nebulous at best, clinging to the singular plot thread of Olivia moving from the girl’s school into her mysterious family home. Everything sped up in the last third of the book or so, and the elements of that section were some of the most interesting—I wanted more!

Additionally, I would’ve liked to know when the book takes place in the first place—there wasn’t a concrete establishment of that. From bits of the worldbuilding and some of the language (particularly the outdated language that surrounded Olivia’s mutism), it was implied that it could’ve been anywhere from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Not necessarily essential, but it made some aspects confusing. (Same problem I had with Encanto—no way I would’ve known that it was set in the 50’s if I hadn’t googled it.)

All in all, a dark and immersive fairytale from an author that I’d love to read more from. 4 stars!

Gallant is a standalone, but V.E. Schwab is also the author of several other book series, including the Shades of Magic trilogy, the Villains trilogy, and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

YA Books for AAPI Heritage Month (2022 Edition)

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

For those of you who didn’t know, in the U.S., May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage month! I made a list of YA reads for the occasion last year (click here if you’d like to parse through), but since I’ve read so many more incredible books by AAPI authors since last May, I figured I would make another list. These are books from all genres, but all of them are from authors of AAPI heritage. And with all of these kinds of posts, I always want to impress the following: reading diversely should never be confined to one part of the year. That being said, it’s always important to uplift marginalized voices—AAPI in this case—and reading is a key way to do so.

Let’s begin, shall we?

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA BOOKS FOR AAPI HERITAGE MONTH (2022 EDITION)

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea – Maggie Tokuda Hall

GENRES: Fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

One of my favorite reads of last year, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea was a raw and tender read filled with pirates, mermaids, and resonant love. Highly recommended!

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

GENRES: Historical fiction, fiction, mental illness/disability

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A searing and powerful read that follows the story of a sixteen-year-old girl with OCD in the midst of the Malaysian race riots in the late sixties.

Gearbreakers – Zoe Hana Mikuta

GENRES: Science fiction, dystopia, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Gearbreakers is no ordinary YA dystopia—filled with mechs, found family, and fierce feminism and queerness, this is a must-read!

The Ones We’re Meant to Find – Joan He

GENRES: Science fiction, dystopia, mystery

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Mind-bending and endlessly thought-provoking, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a unique and unforgettable tale of sisterhood in the darkest of times.

Rise of the Red Hand – Olivia Chadha

GENRES: Science fiction, dystopia, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rise of the Red Hand certainly wasn’t perfect, but it’s best element was its representation; it’s one of the only dystopias that I’ve seen that’s set in South Asia!

Forest of Souls – Lori M. Lee

GENRES: Fantasy, high fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A rich and spooky fantasy that’s perfect for readers who like their traditional fantasy with a dash of necromancy, vengeful souls, and spiders.

Iron Widow – Xiran Jay Zhao

GENRES: Dystopia, science fiction, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Raw, fierce, and relentless, Iron Widow is a searing ode to those who are unafraid to take down the status quo—no matter the stakes.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know – Samira Ahmed

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, historical fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A love letter to all of the women that history erases, Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know is a sharply feminist story set in alternating timelines.

Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A powerful and unforgettable story of grief and starting over. Akemi Dawn Bowman’s writing never fails to stir up all kinds of emotions in me.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA books by AAPI authors? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 9-15, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

This week’s been surreal, to say the least. It was my last week of high school; there wasn’t much to do all week up until Friday, but it’s so strange that Friday was the last time I’ll ever have to wake up at 6 AM to go to school. (Not that I’m complaining about the “waking up at 6 AM” part.) We had a goodbye ceremony for us seniors, and tears were certainly shed. High school wasn’t perfect, but there are certainly things I’ll miss. (The fact that there was active construction going on at the school all year? Not one of them.) I actually graduate next week, so…

Reading-wise, I was able to read more than last week, but it was a hit-or-miss kind of batch. I picked up some more promising books at the library yesterday, and I stopped by the bookstore and picked up some books as well, so hopefully next week will be a little better!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing, petting Ringo, listening to the new Smile album (AAAAAAH), and trying to wrap my head around the fact that I finished high school. It’s weird. But I’m seeing the new Doctor Strange this evening—been looking forward to it all week long!! (No spoilers!!)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Light from Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Gallant – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Saving Montgomery Sole – Mariko Tamaki (⭐️⭐️)

Song of the Crimson Flower (Rise of the Empress, #2.5) – Julie C. Dao (⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua

Loveless – Alice Oseman

Fire Becomes Her – Rosiee Thor

A Magic Steeped in Poison – Judy I. Lin

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!