Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2022 Wrap-Up 🐕

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

February’s been a little chaotic, but again, in comparison to last year, it was a good month. I’m leaving it feeling a little tired, but I’m excited for spring!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I’ve had a lot of studying to do this month…feels like I’ve had a quiz or a test every week to every other week. Yeesh. But at least I can say that I’ve done well on all of them, so I suppose there’s that going for me.

As far as reading goes, I started the month out with a week-long slump, but once I found some better books, the month improved so much! I read a lot of great books for Black History Month and discovered some new authors that I’d love to read more of. I ended up re-reading a little, and it felt lovely to immerse myself back into the Pioneer duology.

Writing-wise, I’m nearly done editing my second draft! I got in lots of good editing time and polished up a whole lot of my WIP. I haven’t been able to write much in the past few days, but we’re getting to short stories in my creative writing class, which I’m super excited about!

But by far, the highlight of the month was getting Ringo, our new corgi puppy! He’s 8 weeks old, and he’s just the SWEETEST LITTLE GUY 😭

WHO COULD RESIST THAT FACE

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 21 books this month! More re-reads than I expected (I forgot to connect my Kindle to the wifi while I was away in Florida so I read some of my old books), but a good bunch for the most part. I read a lot of books for Black History Month as well and discovered some new authors!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Beasts of Prey

3 – 3.75 stars:

Home

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Pioneer

5 stars:

Memento

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): Skin of the Sea4 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

the queer joy this song gives me
I haven’t been able to stop listening to this for WEEKS
WHAT AN ALBUM!
what a haunting, absorbing song…obsessed
not my usual vibe, but I can’t get over how atmospheric this one is!
this album took a second listen to fully grow on me, but there’s no doubt there are some gems—like this one! it grew on me afterwards (I was in a weird mood when I listened to it the first time through). still not the same without Graham Coxon, though.

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY FEBRUARY GOALS?

  • Make another Black History month list—I’ve read so many amazing books by Black authors since last February!—did that! See “Some posts I’m proud of”
  • Review some of the albums that are coming out next month!! (So many!!) rip to Everything Was Beautiful getting pushed back, but both my album reviews from this month can be found under “Some posts I’m proud of”
  • Actually post some art here, if I get the time…it’s about time

well

uh

oops

GOALS FOR MARCH:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Spend some time with Ringo (of course)

Today’s song:

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

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Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 7-13, 2022

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

This week has generally been quiet; reading poetry in my English classes, studying for far too many quizzes and tests for my liking, and enjoying four relatively sunny days before we got snowed on again. Just low-key, and I like it that way.

I broke out of my brief reading slump, and I really liked most of what I read! I’ve been continuing to focus on books by Black authors this month for Black history month, and I’ve been finding lots of sequels to books that I’ve been eager to read (Redemptor, Adulthood Rites, etc.). I also got to stop by the comics shop, so I got some single-issues to read as well.

In the writing department, I’ve gotten more serious about the editing process; I’ve gotten into the weeds of re-reading and doing a more comprehensive edit, and I’ve been working on resurrecting a few brief scenes. I’m getting better at snipping out some of these continuity errors, but I got [ahem] sidetracked by deciding my one human character’s birthday, so 🥴

writing drawing gif | WiffleGif

Other than that, I’ve just been studying, listening to Portishead, Mitski, and the new Spoon album, and watching Raised by Wolves. We’re also getting a new puppy soon, and we got to visit the litter yesterday!! THEY WERE SO CUTE 😭 We’ll be taking one home in a few weeks, and I will most definitely post a picture when we get him!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Noor – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Noor: 9780756416096: Okorafor, Nnedi: Books

Redemptor (Raybearer, #2) – Jordan Ifueko (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2): 9781419739842: Ifueko, Jordan:  Books

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves – Meg Long (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves: A Novel: 9781250785060: Long,  Meg: Books

White Smoke – Tiffany D. Jackson (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK

(fairly sparse this week since I wasn’t able to volunteer at the library, but here’s what’s on the agenda for now)

Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2) – Octavia E. Butler

Amazon.com: Adulthood Rites (The Xenogenesis Trilogy Book 2) eBook : Butler,  Octavia E.: Kindle Store

The Road – Cormac McCarthy (for school)

The Road (Oprah's Book Club): Cormac McCarthy: 9780307387899: Amazon.com:  Books

Today’s song:

SUCH A GOOD ALBUM DANG I’ll try to review it soon

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (2/8/22) – Noor

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve realized that Nnedi Okorafor is an author that I end up coming back to frequently—I’ve piled a whole lot of her books on my TBR over the years, and I’m almost never disappointed by what I read, whether it’s Remote Control or Lagoon. She’s an incredible sci-fi and Afrofuturism author, so I jumped at the chance to read Noor. I picked it up last week, and although it had some flaws, it was an endearing and immersive novel!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Noor: 9780756416096: Okorafor, Nnedi: Books

Noor – Nnedi Okorafor

Originally, AO’s name stood for Anwuli Okwudili. But she prefers the name Artificial Organism; over the years, she has gained several prosthetics and synthetic organs due to a birth defect and a car crash in her teenage years. AO is proud of the person she is, but the rest of the world is not so kind—especially when she’s caught in the middle of a violent conflict. While on the run, she meets DNA, a herdsman and a fugitive who is willing to aid in her escape. But the desert is full of dangers—the biggest of all the infamous Red Eye, said to swallow all who enter it.

jupiter's red spot great red spot gif | WiffleGif

TW/CW: murder, violence, ableism (internalized & treatment of protagonist), catcalling

[looks at this cover] why did I ever question that I like girls

Since I started on the Akata Witch series way back in middle school, Nnedi Okorafor has always been an author that I come back to. Her worlds are consistently filled with rich detail and endearing characters, and Noor was no exception. Okorafor’s newest novel is filled with cutting commentary, immersive worldbuilding, and no shortage of unique characters!

Nnedi Okorafor has a writing style that I adore; her worldbuilding and characters are stellar as they are, but she has such a way with words that everything that I mentioned practically jumps off the page. Her metaphors are often humorous and highly specific, and in Noor‘s case, they served to flesh out the characters and world even more so. Her writing never fails to impress, and Noor is another testament to the fact.

Okorafor’s characters are always endearing, but the protagonists of Noor especially shone! AO was such a unique and complex character; her backstory was more in-depth than a lot of protagonists that I can think of, and the intricacies of her history and personality were delved into without steering towards info-dumps. She and DNA had great chemistry along their journey; they bounced well off of each other both in terms of banter and personality. Even the side characters were given so much care, from the Oz-like Baba Sola to DNA’s cows.

As much as I loved all of these elements, there were a few facets that brought Noor down in some places. I have mixed feelings about how AO’s disability was portrayed; while it was clearly depicted that AO is proud of being disabled (and it’s so cool to see a Black disabled character!), there’s a lot of internalized ableism that goes unaddressed. In particular, the way that AO describes herself as “broken” and “crippled” rubbed me the wrong way. I may not have a physical disability, but the latter of the two has been known as outdated language for quite some time, and beyond that, it seems a little contrary to the part of the blurb about AO embracing herself. It’s…a good start, but it’s got some holes.

In addition, Noor had a lot to say, but it suffered from trying to cram commentary on so many different topics in a relatively short span—only 224 pages for my hardcover copy. All of the commentary was fantastic—corporate greed, environmentalism, the Western world’s misguided belief that all of Africa is “poor” and “diseased,” and how society treats disabled people are just a few of them. Problem is, while all of these are mentioned, there is so little room in the plot for them that they ended up being underdeveloped snippets. 224 pages was enough to sustain the plot, but the commentary, which was clearly meant to be the forefront, was forgotten in the dust, for the most part.

But all in all, a highly creative work from a sci-fi author who never misses. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

Desert GIF - Night Canyon Timelapse - Discover & Share GIFs

Noor is a standalone, but Nnedi Okorafor is also the author of Remote Control, Lagoon, the Nsibidi Scripts (Akata Witch, Akata Warrior, and Akata Woman), the Binti trilogy (Binti, Home, and The Night Masquerade), and several other books for teens and adults.

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 Reads for Black History Month (2022 Edition)

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

It’s February again, and in the U.S., February is Black History Month! For the past few years, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading and read books from a variety of BIPOC authors all year round, but during this month, I like to take the time to uplift Black voices and authors. It’s crucial to open yourself up to new perspectives and insights, and all it takes is picking up a new book. (But as always, read books from BIPOC authors all year round!)

I made a list of YA reads from Black authors last year (you can find it here!), but I wanted to do it again since I’ve read so many amazing books since last year. So let’s begin, shall we?

Black History Month Black Lives Matter GIF - Black History Month Black  Lives Matter Mlk - Discover & Share GIFs

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH (2022 EDITION)

The Kindred, Alechia Dow

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

GENRES: sci-fi, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ll start this list off with a recent read from an author who is quickly climbing up the ranks of my favorites! Although this wasn’t quite as good as The Sound of Stars, The Kindred was such a sweet, feel-good sci-fi romance!

The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris

Amazon.com: The Cost of Knowing: 9781534445451: Morris, Brittney: Books

GENRES: contemporary, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Cost of Knowing is immensely powerful; through the perspective of a teen with the power to see the future of everything that he touches, Morris tackles a multitude of important topics, from mental health to police brutality to grief.

A Phoenix Must First Burn, Patrice Caldwell et. al. (anthology)

Buy A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic,  Resistance, and Hope Book Online at Low Prices in India | A Phoenix First  Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black

GENRES: short stories, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Phoenix Must First Burn is a beautiful anthology of short stories of all genres that depict the Black experience—particularly Black women and nonbinary people. There’s only one short story that I didn’t like as much, but all the rest are fascinating in their own right. My favorite was Amerie’s When Life Hands You a Lemon Fruitbomb.

The Good Luck Girls, Charlotte Nicole Davis

Amazon.com: The Good Luck Girls eBook : Davis, Charlotte Nicole: Kindle  Store

GENRES: historical fiction/alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t read a lot of alternate history or historical fiction books, but The Good Luck Girls was a fantastic read! If you’re a fan of demons, ghosts, patriarchy-smashing, and sisterhood, this is the book for you.

The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta

Amazon.com: The Black Flamingo: 9780062990297: Atta, Dean: Books

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, novels in verse, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Again—novels in verse aren’t my usual choice for reading, but The Black Flamingo is a must-read! A beautiful coming-of-age story about growing up mixed-race and gay and discovering drag.

A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2), Bethany C. Morrow

A Chorus Rises eBook by Bethany C. Morrow - 9781250316028 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

GENRES: contemporary, magical realism

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

Set in the same world as A Song Below Water, A Chorus Rises explores Naema’s side of the story. Not a lot of authors write separate books from the point of view of the story’s antagonist, and this book was testament to the fact that not everything is black and white—there are several sides to every story.

Every Body Looking, Candice Iloh

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, novels in verse

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

Raw and honest, Every Body Looking is a poetic coming-of-age story of growing up as a woman, growing up Black, and growing up as the daughter of an immigrant. It’s a rough ride, but it packs a punch.

When You Were Everything, Ashley Woodfolk

Amazon.com: When You Were Everything: 9781524715915: Woodfolk, Ashley: Books

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When You Were Everything is the perfect book for anyone who has had a close friendship deteriorate. It’s messy, it’s raw, it’s painful, but above all, it felt so real and wonderfully genuine.

Ace of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades eBook : Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Kindle Store

GENRES: mystery, thriller, contemporary, realistic fiction, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t go for mysteries most of the time, but Ace of Spades was the dictionary definition of edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. All at once a nail-biting mystery and a commentary on systemic racism, this is one you can’t let pass you by.

You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson

You Should See Me in a Crown - Indiana Authors Awards

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

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

I guess I’ve bookended this list with feel-good reads…I don’t see a problem with that. You Should See Me in a Crown is a fun and tender LGBTQ+ romance about two candidates for prom queen falling for each other!

Tell me what you think! Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA books by Black authors? Let me know in the comments!

We Are Black History I Am Black History Sticker - We Are Black History I Am  Black History Africanamerican - Discover & Share GIFs

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: January 24-30, 2022

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

It’s been an alright week, I suppose. Lots of snow and ice, but no two-hour delay like last week (??). I’ve had lots of quizzes lately and I have lots of quizzes in the foreseeable future, which I’m not thrilled about, but that’s school.

I'm dreaming of a Shiro Christmas – The Significance of White in Anime (12  days) - I drink and watch anime | Anime scenery wallpaper, Anime scenery,  Anime snow

I had another mixed bag of books this week, but I found a few that I had a lot of fun with! I got Beyond the End of the World in the mail too, and it was so much fun to reconnect with that world. I’ve been gathering some books by Black authors for Black History Month starting on Tuesday, so I’m excited to get into those as well!! I also got to make a Black History Month display in the teen section of my local library, which was a lot of fun.

I haven’t been writing a whole lot this week, but I’ve been having a lot of fun writing some weird poetry in my creative writing class at school. We’ll see where next week takes me.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing when I can, bundling up for the snow, watching The House on Netflix (THE ANIMATION), and playing guitar. Alright start to 2022, I think.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Tides of Mutiny – Rebecca Rode (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Tides of Mutiny by Rebecca Rode | Jimmy Patterson

Landscape with Invisible Hand – M.T. Anderson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Landscape with Invisible Hand eBook : Anderson, M. T.: Kindle  Store

The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle, #1) – Erin Beaty (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Traitor's Kiss (Traitor's Trilogy, 1): 9781250117946:  Beaty, Erin: Books

Who I Was with Her – Nita Tyndall (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Who I Was with Her: 9780062978387: Tyndall, Nita: Books

Beyond the End of the World (The Other Side of the Sky, #2) – Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Beyond the End of the World: 9780062893369: Kaufman, Amie,  Spooner, Meagan: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

JUST ME LISTENING TO THIS IS HAPPENING SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

Binti (Binti, 1): Okorafor, Nnedi: 9780765385253: Amazon.com: Books

Odd One Out – Nic Stone

Amazon.com: Odd One Out: 9781101939536: Stone, Nic: Books

Master of Poisons – Andrea Hairston

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston

This Is Our Story – Ashley Elston

Amazon.com: This is Our Story: 9781484730898: Elston, Ashley: Books

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 Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2021 Wrap-Up 🧤

(the mittens emoji looks so dismal here…the apple version looks so much cuter…)

Hi again, bibliophiles!

Here’s another monthly wrap-up of an interesting reading month…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

thor coffee gif - AllEars.Net
me drinking way too much hot chocolate over the long weekend

February was just…freezing here in Colorado. I suppose I should say “more freezing than usual” because it’s usually pretty chilly, but it rarely gets into the negatives in February, which it happened to do over the long President’s Day weekend. So, yes, lots of hot chocolate was consumed, a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender were watched (yes I finally started it), and many pairs of fuzzy socks were worn.

My workload’s been manageable and I’ve managed to keep my grades in a place where I like them, for the most part. I’ve been steadily working away at the outline for my sci-fi WIP, and I probably would have finished were it not for the writing contest that my mom found. So now I’m working away at my short story, and I’m so excited to be really writing again!

I haven’t listened to a whole lot of new stuff, but I’ve been dabbling a bit of instrumental scores, some new Danny Elfman, a bit of Spacemen 3, and of course more Julien Baker as of this Friday. I rewatched half of Fargo and I’m now caught up on WandaVision, and I can’t wait to see how the latter ends!

Also, I somehow managed to get a lot of new followers this month? I’m almost at 400 now, so thanks to all of you lovely people for sticking around 🥺

i *somehow* made this in under 10 minutes lol

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 22 books this February! That’s two more than January, and certainly a better batch too. (A lot less reads in the 2 star range and none in the 1 star range, I’m glad to say.) So here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Kinder Poison eBook: Mae, Natalie: Kindle Store
The Kinder Poison

3 – 3.75 stars:

Hellboy: Odder Jobs by Christopher Golden
Hellboy: Odder Jobs

4 – 4.75 stars:

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin | Hachette Book Group
The City We Became

5 stars:

The Punch by Noah Hawley | Grand Central Publishing
The Punch

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Before the Fall5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY FEBRUARY GOALS?

Awkward Uh Oh GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Find & Share on  GIPHY

Let’s see…

  • Read more books by Black authors for Black History Month, and make a post about it: did that! I made an effort to read a lot of books from #OwnVoices Black authors, and I found so many great reads and new-to-me authors that I want to continue reading from. Of course, it’s crucial to read books from marginalized voices 24/7/365, but I figured that it was especially important for Black History Month.
  • Listen to & review Little Oblivions (Julien Baker) when it comes out: uh…
Well Yes, But Actually No | Know Your Meme

Listen to it? I’ve done that a lot. Reviewed it? Well, it came out two days ago, so…maybe next week. We’ll see.

  • Read at least 20 books: did that! 22 books in February 🙂
  • Finish my initial outline for my sci-fi WIP: nope. I might’ve been able to pull it off, but like I said, short story.

GOALS FOR MARCH:

We Got This GIFs | Tenor
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…)!
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle

So that’s it for February, I guess. Here’s to a March that was…[ahem] less eventful than last March. You know what I mean.

Since I’ve already posted today, check out this week’s weekly update for today’s song.

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/15/21) – Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Happy Monday, bibliophiles! Wow, can’t believe we’re halfway through February already…

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.

Continuing with novels by Black authors for Goodreads Monday this February, here’s one that’s been sitting on my TBR for *way* too long. I’m always up for novels with different formats, and this one, paired with a distinct-sounding writing style, sounds like such a good book!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/15/21) – DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE by Maika & Maritza Moulite

Image result for dear haiti love alaine

Blurb from Goodreads:

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

So why do I want to read this?

Image result for red gif tumblr

There aren’t enough books in the world that are bold enough to be told in an almost exclusively epistolary way; it’s hard, absolutely, but the payoff, if done well, is something that’s truly unique. (See: The Illuminae Files). Dear Haiti, Love Alaine seems to consist of articles, diary entries, emails, and letters, so I’m excited to see how that format weaves into the story! Judging from the description, it looks like a perfect fit.

Also judging from the description, the writing sounds wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and I’m looking forward to some laughs and misadventures! Alaine sounds like a reasonably flawed protagonist, but just the kind of heroine you’d want to root for. Plus, THAT COVER…THE RED…

Image result for kermit gif

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! 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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/8/21) – The Gilded Ones

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.

Continuing with novels by Black authors for Goodreads Monday this February, here’s one that’s been on my TBR for almost two years. I’m always compelled by books with protagonists who are reverse chosen-ones of sorts–that is to say, characters with unique abilities, but the environment that they’re in makes it so that these abilities work against them. I’m hoping this one will deliver, and I’m sure it will!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/8/21) – THE GILDED ONES (DEATHLESS, #1) by Namina Forna

Image result for the gilded ones by namina forna cover

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

So why do I want to read this?

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[sees a book cover with even the vaguest hint of teal/turquoise on it] [slams the “want to read” button]

Wow, this one sounds so exciting! Right off the bat, what stood out to me was the significance of the color gold in this novel–normally, it’s symbolic of wealth, prosperity and good fortune in many places, but it’s fascinating to see Forna turn that common symbolism on its head and make it stand for impurity. Ooh, I like this already…

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Beyond that, I love the idea of our protagonist, Deka, joining an army of pseudo-immortal misfits with strange powers. Plus, looks like there’s demons in here somewhere…SIGN ME UP

I knew when I posted this that it would be close to the release date of The Gilded Ones, but I’d completely forgotten that it comes out tomorrow! I’ll have to put it on hold at the library, I’m highly intrigued…

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Today’s song:

I swear I’m fine this just came on shuffle this morning and I’d forgotten about it

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/1/21) – Chlorine Sky

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy Black History Month!

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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.

For this month, I’ve decided that I’ll shift my focus to books by Black authors on my TBR for my Goodreads Monday memes. I’m also planning on doing a post about it, so stay tuned…

This one was published a little under a month ago. I don’t often reach for novels in verse, but this one sounds quite powerful.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/1/21) – CHLORINE SKY by Mahogany L. Browne

Amazon.com: Chlorine Sky (9780593176399): Browne, Mahogany L.: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend. Perfect for readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Nikki Grimes. 

She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.

With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.

So why do I want to read this?

Via pinkcollapse on tumblr shared by Jaimee on We Heart It

First off, I just love that title! It’s so unique and fascinating, conjures up all sorts of interesting imagery for me.

The main draw about this novel in verse for me is the theme of growing away from toxic relationships, and learning to differentiate between the friends you should keep and the ones you should leave behind, however painful that can be. I’ve had the misfortune of getting myself into more than a few toxic friendships over the course of my short life, but I know from experience that it always hurts somehow. It’s a weird process–it’s messy, it’s ugly, but it’s inevitable. This seems to be one of many focal points in Chlorine Sky, and if the reviews I’ve skimmed are any indication, it sounds like a resonant and powerful novel in verse!

I have it on hold at the library, so hopefully I can get it soon…

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Today’s song:

The sheer nostalgia this song holds for me 😭

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