Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 31 – June 6, 2021

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

I’d say this first week of summer has been pretty fantastic! The weather’s warming up, and I’ve had lots of time to read in the hammock. I also made a trip to my favorite bookstore and got some books, and they all look amazing! My drawing motivation also came back, so I’m glad for that. I had another good shift at the library as well, and it’s always good to be in that atmosphere.

I also restarted that first draft of my sci-fi WIP! I fixed up some parts of the plot that I wasn’t comfortable with, and now I feel like my heart’s really in it.

Also, just a heads up – I won’t be posting anything past Monday next week since I’ll be on vacation for a week. 🙂

And happy happy pride! 🏳️‍🌈

Pride GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse, #2) – Becky Albertalli (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Upside of Unrequited (9780062348708): Albertalli, Becky:  Books

The Hidden World of the Fox – Adele Brand (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Hidden World of the Fox: Brand, Adele: 9780062966100: Amazon.com: Books

The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2) – Bethany C. Morrow (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: A Chorus Rises: A Song Below Water novel (9781250316035): Morrow,  Bethany C.: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Between Burning Worlds (System Divine, #2) – Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Amazon.com: Between Burning Worlds (2) (System Divine) (9781534410664):  Brody, Jessica, Rendell, Joanne: Books

The Orphanage of Gods – Helena Coggan

The Orphanage of Gods by Helena Coggan

Chameleon Moon – RoAnna Sylver

Chameleon Moon - Kindle edition by Sylver, RoAnna. Literature & Fiction  Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles, #1) – Aileen Erin

Amazon.com: Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles Book 1) eBook: Erin, Aileen:  Kindle Store

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books

YA Reads for Black History Month

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Phew, I’m so glad to be on a long weekend…we have the day off school today and next Monday, so I think I’ll have some much needed time to wind down…

As some of you may know, here in the U.S., the month of February is Black History Month! So for the occasion, I decided that it would be a good idea to make a post full of my favorite YA reads from #OwnVoices Black authors. Now more than ever it is critical to share stories from marginalized voices, and in the current climate that much of the world is in, uplifting POC voices should be at the forefront of creative endeavors.

Image result for black history month gif

I’ve made a list of YA reads of all genres for this post, all of them 4-5 star reads for me. So let’s begin, shall we?

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The Sound of Stars – Alechia Dow

Image result for the sound of stars book

GENRES: Sci-fi, dystopia, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Sound of Stars was one of my favorite reads of 2020! A diverse cast, a tender romance, and no shortage of music and book references. Other than the ending, it’s pretty much everything I could want in a book.

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph – Brandy Colbert

Image result for the revolution of birdie randolph

GENRES: Contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is one of those special novels that simultaneously touches on a myriad of important issues, but still retains a lighter, slice-of-life mood. Romantic, sweet, and so inclusive!

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now – Dana L. Davis

Image result for tiffany sly lives here now

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one, but Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now has stuck with me ever since. A resonant story about family, mental health and grief.

A Song Below Water – Bethany C. Morrow

Image result for a song below water cover

GENRES: Magical realism, contemporary, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m always on the hunt for good mermaid books, and I’m glad to say that A Song Below Water was such a unique novel! It certainly isn’t without its flaws, but this was a solid piece of magical realism.

Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Image result for punching the air book

GENRES: Poetry/Novels in verse, contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t read an awful lot of poetry, but Punching the Air hit me so hard. This was a truly powerful novel about the corruption of the justice system and the transformative power of art.

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Image result for children of blood and bone

GENRES: High fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one and my memory of it’s a bit hazy (oops), but from what I remember, Children of Blood and Bone was such a well-written and well-crafted fantasy! (Plus, that gorgeous cover…)

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

Image result for the stars and the blackness between them by junauda petrus

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, LGBTQ+, romance, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was one of my first reads of the year, and wow, such a beautiful novel! I loved the relationship between Audre and Mabel, and the writing was so tender. Highly recommended.

Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson

Image result for monday's not coming book

GENRES: Mystery, thriller, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mystery isn’t my go-to genre, but Monday’s Not Coming was truly astounding. Haunting, gripping and suspenseful–everything a mystery novel should be, really.

The Black Kids – Christina Hammonds Reed

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GENRES: Fiction, historical fiction (1990s)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Even though it’s set in the 1990’s, The Black Kids has no shortage of timely themes, and stands out as a powerful and immersive historical fiction novel. Highly recommended!

Raybearer – Jordan Ifueko

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GENRES: High fantasy, fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have a distinct memory of looking through reviews for Raybearer before I picked it up; it was a struggle to find any sort of reviews with ratings below 4 stars (I usually try to read reviews in the 3-2 star range before reading most books), and everybody and their mother seemed to be gushing about it. But I’m glad to say that Raybearer absolutely lived up to that hype, and I now count myself among the legions of 4-star ratings!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A. Brown

Image result for a song of wraiths and ruin

GENRES: Fantasy, high fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I just finished this one last week (bought it with a gift card I got for Christmas!), and I must say, absolutely worth buying! Complex protagonists, and a writing style that all at once felt nostalgic and wonderfully fresh and unique. (I’ll try to review this one next week!)

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels, and what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA novels from #OwnVoices Black authors? Any recommendations?

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Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews

Triplet Mini Reviews: A Song Below Water, The Infinite Noise, & Raybearer

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Such a relief that the week is almost over…

I mentioned last week that I’m starting to do some mini review posts, so this is my first stab at it. I have a little sticky note function on my laptop where I organize all my blog-related post ideas and such, and I realized that I had WEEKS worth of books to review for my Book Review Tuesdays, and I wanted a way to review more of them without stretching everything out too long. (If I do, I tend to forget certain details of the books.) So, I have a solution: this won’t be on a schedule, but I’ll put three or more books into one review when the mood strikes me, or if I’ve just been reading lots of good content. Without further ado, here’s my first batch of mini reviews–books that have nothing to do with each other, but ones that I rated all 4 stars!

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrow
My copy, ft. some shells that I’ve collected from beaches over the years (kind of proud of this pic skdfhshf)

For their whole lives, Effie and Tavia have felt like it’s them against the world. Living as Black girls–and sirens, at that–in the middle of Portland is no easy task, and the world is set to subdue them by all means. In the midst of a siren trial and a celebrity’s revelation, the girls are forced to keep their identities under wraps–but the resurfacing of Effie’s past and a fatal accident from Tavia may put their lives in jeopardy.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and one of the books I bought for my birthday. There’s hardly any quality YA mermaid/siren literature out there, and I’m glad to say that we can add this to the pantheon of siren books that deliver! Of course, it isn’t without its flaws; I liked both Tavia and Effie as characters, but their voices writing-wise felt nearly indistinguishable. The writing was casual and conversational, which was both a blessing and a curse–it made the world feel genuine, but it had a tendency to drag some of the prose/plot down at times. Morrow does such a wonderful job of incorporating all these mythical creatures into our world, and she combines both Western European and Central African mythos in terms of them, which I loved.

And without spoiling anything, I LOVED the twist with Effie. No rhyme or reason, just loved it. All in all, a timely piece of magical realism!

GENRE: Fantasy, urban fantasy, magical realism, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2. The Infinite Noise (The Bright Sessions, #1), Lauren Shippen

My library copy ft. a few issues of Giant Sized X-Men (1975 & 2020)

Caleb Michaels has it all–good grades, a stable home life, and he’s the star of the football team. But something is shifting inside of him; not only has he become incredibly attuned to the emotions of others, he can see them as they appear. He thinks he’s crazy, but Dr. Bright, his new therapist, has the correct wording–Caleb is an Atypical, someone born with abilities far beyond the normal human being.

As he grapples with his newfound powers, he meets Adam, a loner with magnetic emotions. They grow closer together and begin to fall for each other, but can Caleb keep his Atypical secret?

Dr. Bright has INTENSE Professor X vibes, and I am 100% HERE FOR IT.

my gif 1k movies ian mckellen X-men Charles Xavier I'M NOT SORRY patrick  stewart cherik Erik Lensherr lizewskii •

Even if you aren’t familiar with The Bright Sessions podcast (like myself), this a superpowered romance that is not to be missed! The writing instantly hooked me, and I blew through the first 100 pages in no time, enjoying every bit of it. Much of the dialogue felt authentic and genuine, and Shippen does a wonderful job of developing Caleb and Adam as characters, as well as their romance. It’s just such a feel-good, heartfelt gem of a contemporary sci-fi novel. I can’t wait to read A Neon Darkness now!

All in all, The Infinite Noise is a must read for fans of both LGBTQ+ romance and superhero sci-fi!

GENRE: LGBTQ+, contemporary, romance, science fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3. Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko

My library copy, ft. my backyard and a cool filter

Up until the age of 11, Tarisai has led a sheltered life, shielded from the outside world in an enclosed mansion with only servants and tutors–and her mother, if she’s lucky–for company. But when her mother sends her off to compete for a place on the council of Aritsar’s Crown Prince, she realizes that she bears a powerful curse–if she is chosen, she will have no choice but to kill the Prince in cold blood.

Tarisai finds the family she never had in the council, but the curse continues to haunt her. Will she give into the curse, or be able to forge a path for herself?

I absolutely didn’t expect to like this novel as much as I did! Raybearer really has it all–rich, African-inspired mythology, detailed worldbuilding, political intrigue, actions, demons, you name it. The best aspect for me was the cast of characters–though some were not developed as much, Ifueko has created a cast with impeccable chemistry that you can’t help but root for. Sanjeet was my personal favorite character–he reminded me so much of Kal from Aurora Rising 🥺

The Lady is also a very compelling antagonist, and I loved the morally gray turn that the book takes in the last third or so. There’s some important themes about assimilation and family, making it for a timely fantasy.

All in all, a multilayered and compelling fantasy with a lovable found family!

GENRE: Fantasy, high fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today’s song:

NEW EELS

BOTTOM TEXT

That’s it for these mini reviews! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 31–September 6, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

With the second week of school now under my belt, I’ve started to get used the schedule. Of course, our school has the option of either hybrid (online and in-person) or 100% online, and everybody’s going to hybrid next week, so the schedule’s changing yet again…whee…

But this week has been alright. I have now inherited the role of the president of my school’s book club (!!!), so I’ve been trying to rope all of my bookish friends into joining now that all of the seniors have graduated. There’s a strange kind of power in moderating a google classroom…

My reading week hasn’t been *as* productive, but I went through my whole birthday book haul (I loved TRUEL1F3, but it just took me a while to read), and I loved them all! Expect lots of reviews soon 🙂 The same has been true of writing–I’ve been struggling with stretching out the plot a bit, but we’re nearly at 300 pages, so I suppose that’s a plus. I also went back to the library in-person for the first time, finished Devs [loud screaming], started Raised by Wolves, and later today, I’m going to the movies for the first time since February! (Safely, of course) I can’t wait to see Tenet!

devs hulu | Tumblr

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Burning Kingdoms (The Smoke Thieves, #3)–Sally Green (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Burning Kingdoms by Sally Green

A Song Below Water–Bethany C. Morrow (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: A Song Below Water: A Novel (9781250315328): Morrow, Bethany  C.: Books

TRUEL1F3 (Lifelike, #3)–Jay Kristoff (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) by Jay Kristoff: 9781524714000 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Four Dead Queens–Astrid Scholte

Amazon.com: Four Dead Queens (9780525513926): Scholte, Astrid: Books

The Black Kids–Christina Hammonds Reed

The Black Kids | Book by Christina Hammonds Reed | Official Publisher Page  | Simon & Schuster

The Good Neighbors, vol. 1: Kin–Holly Black and Ted Naifeh

The Good Neighbors: Black, Holly, Naifeh, Ted: 9780439855655: Amazon.com:  Books

Raybearer–Jordan Ifueko

Amazon.com: Raybearer (9781419739828): Ifueko, Jordan: Books

The Spaceship Next Door–Gene Doucette

Amazon.com: The Spaceship Next Door (9781328567468): Doucette, Gene: Books

The Infinite Noise–Lauren Shippen

Amazon.com: The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel (The Bright  Sessions Book 1) eBook: Shippen, Lauren: Kindle Store

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at One Book More, and it looked like a lot of fun! I can’t seem to find who created the tag, so if you know who originally created it, please let me know so I can tag them! 🙂

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020?

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926 ...

I think everybody saw this one coming, but seriously, Aurora Burning was PHENOMENAL in every sense of the word.

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WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR?

Amazon.com: The Survivor: A Pioneer Novel (9780062658098): Tyler ...

Since I probably shouldn’t put Aurora Burning in twice, I’d say The Survivor. What a beautiful end to an inventive and underrated series!

IS THERE A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT YOU’RE REALLY EXCITED FOR?

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

The Sound of Stars came out in late February, and it sounds like an incredible novel!

WHAT IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR?

Amazon.com: The Burning Kingdoms (The Smoke Thieves ...

The Burning Kingdoms is the final book in the Smoke Thieves series, and I am SO EXCITED TO GET MY HANDS ON IT. I requested an eARC of it and it got declined, but I requested it again, so we’ll see how that goes…

Top 20 Fingers Crossed GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT SO FAR?

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #2) by ...

After the groundbreaking masterpiece that was Girls of Paper and Fire, Girls of Storm and Shadow failed to pack the punch that its predecessor had.

meh gifs | WiffleGif

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SURPRISE SO FAR?

Amazon.com: The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace) (9781481442725 ...

I had low/average expectations for The Scorpion Rules, but it ended up blowing me away! I really want to read the sequel soon…

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE NEW TO YOU/DEBUT AUTHOR?

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman ...

I just discovered The Invisible Library series and Genevieve Cogman this April, and I’m so excited to read more of her novels! I have The Burning Page on hold, and it shouldn’t arrive for a few more weeks, but I can’t wait…

WHAT ARE 6 BOOKS THAT YOU WANT TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?

Excluding some of the TBR ones that are already on here…let’s see…

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston has never disappointed me, and I am ECSTATIC to read Among the Beasts and Briars!

Amazon.com: The Good for Nothings (9781250311252): Banas, Danielle ...

Even though the art style of the cover kinda makes me angry, The Good for Nothings sounds like it’s right up my alley! I also requested an eARC of this one, so we’ll see how it goes…

Amazon.com: A Song Below Water: A Novel (9781250315328): Morrow ...

Not only does A Song Below Water sound like a timely and beautiful novel…SIRENS. SIRENS!

Amazon.com: Goddess in the Machine (9781984835925): Johnson, Lora ...

Another eARC I requested (and was declined, and that I requested again…), Goddess in the Machine sounds absolutely FASCINATING.

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel ...

The final book in the Honors series, I’m eagerly awaiting to read Honor Lost! (My school librarian got to read it before me…kind of jealous, not gonna lie…)

Amazon.com: Kingsbane (The Empirium Trilogy) (0760789267772 ...

After finishing Furyborn recently, I can’t wait to see how the series continues in Kingsbane!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TAG!

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Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Book Review Tuesday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (12/9/19)–A Song Below Water

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one caught my eye not long ago: Not only is it a premise set around sirens, but a) they’re POC sirens, and b) it’s a pretty obvious metaphor for the other? COUNT ME IN! I’ve yet to read it (obviously…), but I’ve got high hopes…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (12/9/19)–A SONG BELOW WATER by Bethany C. Morrow

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

 

So why do I want to read this?

As I said earlier, I’m always aching for a good mermaid/siren novel. Not only that, our siren protagonists, Tavia and Effie, are both POC.

What I got from the synopsis is that the whole siren/human situation is an incredibly dicey one, with a history of prejudice, discrimination, and fear. (Sound familiar? Hello, almost every minority that I can think of in the U.S. and elsewhere…) If all goes well, this sounds like an excellent metaphor for minority groups and the other, well-supported by its plot and characters. And who wouldn’t swoon over that gorgeous cover?

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A Song Below Water doesn’t come out until June of next year, and you know that I’m eagerly awaiting its release! 😀

 

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Stay tuned for more content later in the week! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and remember: you are so loved. 💗

 

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