Happy Halloween, bibliophiles! 🎃 Since 2020 derailed my original halloween plans (I was going to be Rogue from X-Men, but I’ll probably save that for next year), I just slapped on some dark eyeshadow and drew bats on my face with eyeliner, because why not. We’re carving pumpkins later (I’m gonna try and do the Fargo logo, I’m probably gonna screw it up but it’ll still be fun), and we’re watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice later!
It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is vampire books, just in time for Halloween! I haven’t read much vampire literature (and let it be known that I will never touch anything related to Twilight with a ten foot stake pole), but I have some on my TBR, so except for one book, this is all from my TBR.
This one’s a collection of short stories! I’ve read novels by a few of these authors, but I’m especially excited for what Heidi Heilig has to over. I have this one on hold at the library, and it looks like it’ll be coming soon!
Whew, my week went from “relaxing snow day” to “dear god I have at least 4 different tests and projects due next week” in the span of 24 hours…it’s only Tuesday, have mercy on my poor soul…
Hence why I’m writing this review a little later than usual. I’ll probably be a bit less frequent with my posting in the upcoming weeks, but I can do the usual memes and reviews, at the very least. ✌️
Anyway, I preordered this book back in July, mostly just on the basis of a) Amie Kaufman and b) THAT PRETTY COVER. It came in the mail with Skyhunter a few weeks back, and I’m pleased to say that The Other Side of the Sky was a genre-bending success!
North and Nimhara are from worlds that couldn’t be more different than each other. But a twist of fate will bring them together, with possibly disastrous consequences…
North is the prince of his domain in the sky, a floating city fueled by advanced technology. A tragic accident with his aircraft causes him to crash, thrusting him into the world below. The world that, legend has it, is uninhabitable.
The legends were wrong.
In the lands below lives Nimhara, anointed at a young age as the living vessel of the divine. But her people are suspicious of her–every god and goddess has a unique aspect. Nimhara has yet to summon hers.
North’s crash landing thrusts them both headfirst into the words of an ancient prophecy, once that may spell the end of both of their worlds. Will Nimh and North be able to join forces and save their homes?
Melding opposing worlds of science in magic is uncommon in literature, and it may be for good reason. Both of the times I’ve read books with such concepts (see The Wrinkled Crown, Story Thieves), it’s fallen disappointingly flat. But never fear–The Other Side of the Sky is the shining exception to that rule! Though most of the book is set in Nimh’s terrestrial, magic-oriented home, the fantasy and science worlds both felt seamlessly fleshed out–and packed with lovely imagery, at that.
Going off of that…this is honestly worldbuilding that I could–and want to–lose myself in. Every inch of this fantastical realm felt so lived-in and authentic, and there wasn’t any instances where I felt like information was being unceremoniously dumped over my head. The imagery only accentuated the fact–rich, vivid, and immersive, it made reading this novel not just a way to take a break from my (overwhelming) reality, but an experience in and of itself.
And the characters! I really haven’t read much by Meagan Spooner (save for These Broken Stars and Unearthed, which are others that she co-wrote with Kaufman), but Amie Kaufman (or, at least *partially* Amie Kaufman) never misses the mark with every aspect of the characters, from their individual personalities to their chemistry. Nimh was not only intelligent and resourceful, but she had an authentic vulnerability to her as well. Anyone with a big responsibility on their shoulders (even though I don’t know anybody who’s actually a living/god/goddess/goddexx…hello?) will absolutely relate to her. North was similarly cunning, but it was kind of funny to see how bumbling he first was upon landing in Nimh’s world and seeing how he coped with knowing nothing at all about his surroundings. Made for some great character development, too.
Oh, and the representation! Both Nimh and North are implied to be POC, and North not only has two moms, but was in a polyamorous relationship with a girl and another boy, so he’s poly and bi! 🙂 (Sidenote…I kind of imagined North like Hunter from Raised by Wolves…random, but I thought it was worth noting…)
All in all, a vividly designed and lushly written melding of science fiction and fantasy. 4 stars!
The Other Side of the Sky is the first in a duology, followed by an untitled second book set to be released next year (2021). Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner together are also the authors of the Starbound Trilogy and the Unearthed duology. Kaufman and Spooner have also written several series on their own, including the Elementals trilogy (Kaufman), the Illuminae Files (Kaufman, cowritten with Jay Kristoff), the Aurora Cycle (Kaufman, cowritten with Jay Kristoff), the Skylark trilogy (Spooner), Hunted (Spooner), and Sherwood (Spooner).
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
I’m so glad that we have a snow day…I was trying to find a good day to fit this post in, and now we have the perfect opportunity!
As some of you know, this week, October 25-31, is Asexual Awareness Week, or Ace Week for short! The whole week is meant to celebrate everyone on the asexual spectrum (asexual, aromantic, demisexual, and more) and spread awareness about the community. All too often, this community is unjustly discriminated against, even in LGBTQ+ spaces, which never fails to break my heart. Well, if I haven’t made myself clear enough, I’ll just go out here and say that everybody on the asexual spectrum is so loved, so valid, and so beautiful!
So for the occasion, I decided to compile a list of YA books with characters all over the asexual spectrum–among them on this list are characters who are asexual, demisexual, aromantic, and more. Thing is, SHAME ON ME FOR NOT READING ENOUGH ASPEC LITERATURE. I try my best to, and I found some examples, but not enough ones that I’ve actually read to make a substantial list. So, the first half of this post is ace books that I’ve read, and the other half is ace books that are on my TBR.
Let’s begin, shall we? Show our
THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR ASEXUAL AWARENESS WEEK
I’m so lucky to have gotten an eARC of this one over the summer. Besides having great asexual representation, the author is Lipan Apache, and so is Elatsoe! A wonderful paranormal murder mystery with lots of lovely ghost critters.
REPRESENTATION: Zoey (one of three protagonists with alternating POVs) is asexual
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Another five-star read of mine this year. There’s no shortage of great LGBTQ+ representation from this one; beyond Zoey’s asexuality, and the other two protagonists (Val and Marion) end up being in a wlw relationship.
REPRESENTATION: Nathaniel (one of two protagonists with alternating POVs) is aromantic/asexual
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Another lovely sci-fi with a bluish purple color scheme on the cover! There’s a beautiful scene where Nathaniel discovers his identity, and it’s so tenderly beautiful. Plus, there’s a wlw relationship between the other protagonist (Anna) and another secondary character as well!
REPRESENTATION: Luca (secondary character who is supposed to play a major role) is demiromantic/asexual
I put this on my TBR over the summer and completely forgot about it, so hopefully I can read it soon…
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels? What are your thoughts? Any other books with ace rep that you recommend?
Oh, and one more thing: I just found out a few hours ago that today is also Intersex Awareness Day! I hardly see any intersex rep in literature, so if any of you have good intersex book recs, don’t hesitate to tell me about them in the comments!
Before I begin, thank you so much for 300 followers! Thank you so much for sticking around, tagging me in things, and spreading the word and the bookish love 💗
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.
I’m back with another paranormal read for this fine spooky season. This one just came out this July, and all it took for me to put it on my TBR was the comparison to Sawkill Girls in the description. (Again–I’m a woman of simple tastes 🤣)
Let’s begin, shall we?
GOODREADS MONDAY (10/19/20)–GHOST WOOD SONG by Erica Waters
Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.
If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.
Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.
But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.
In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.
Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.
There’s only one thing that I love more than a good paranormal story…and that’s an LGBTQ+ paranormal story! I just checked, and Erica Waters has confirmed that the protagonist is bisexual, and there are two lesbian characters as well!
In the description, there’s several common YA tropes that I spotted (a YA heroine with an [ahem] interesting name and a love triangle), but at least Ghost Wood Song sounds like it at least puts a fresh twist on some of them. I may despise love triangles, but hey, this one isn’t where the two love interests are two white boys that are identical in everything but hair/eye color and personality. So I think it’ll do me some good to stick around.
Also, I love the connection to music! The premise of calling the departed from their graves with the power of music is such an inventive idea, and I have my fingers tightly crossed that Waters will execute it well.
All in all–bi protagonist and spooky vibes? Say no more.
I’ve been thinking about this song quite a lot in the past few weeks…
I always make playlists for my WIPs, but this one’s snaked its way into the outline for the story I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. Desperately hoping to channel some weird, Legion-esque vibes for a certain scene to channel this kind of energy…
That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
I don’t usually read seasonally (unless it’s Spooky Season, of course), and that wasn’t the reason that I requested this eARC, but I’m happy to say that All Our Hidden Gifts was a delightful read that’s perfect for this time of year! Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was a sweet mix of paranormal fantasy, horror, and contemporary fiction.
Maeve’s sentenced to cleaning out the closet for her in-school suspension, but she soon learns that the job might not be as boring as she thought it was.
When mysterious tarot deck turns up the closet, Maeve pockets it, learning everything she can about it so that she can put her cards to good use. Her readings soon become the talk of her Catholic school, and soon, she has customers lining up outside of the closet. But after Lily, her former best friend, draws an unknown card, she disappears days later, causing a commotion in their tight-knit community. With the help of Lily’s sibling Roe, Maeve must find the secret of this mysterious Housekeeper card before its repercussions spread beyond Lily’s disappearance.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Walker Book US/Candlewick Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
All Our Hidden Gifts had the feel of an 2000’s horror movie for a teen audience, but in the best way possible. There’s paranormal and high school drama in equal amounts, but O’Donoghue balances out both genres for a paranormal tale that teens are sure to love.
Let’s start off with my biggest complaint. I found the pacing to be rather inconsistent, especially when compared to the synopsis on Goodreads and elsewhere. The storyline with the tarot cards turned out to have less of the spotlight than I thought, and it seemed to go far too quickly–most of it was over by the time that I’d gotten a third of the way through the novel. However, the other story elements were enough to keep the novel afloat for the remainder, so it didn’t bog down the story as much as I thought it would.
Other than that, I don’t have too many complaints. O’Donoghue’s writing was fresh and cinematic, with all manner of fascinating twists and tense scenes. Even if you’re not familiar with the tarot, the story is gripping and the perfect kind of spooky, paranormal fun that you’d want to channel right around Halloween.
I didn’t get attached to most of the characters, but they were absolutely authentic; weirdly enough, I connected a lot with Lily, even though she wasn’t present for most of the novel. There’s also a lot of LGBTQ+/POC-friendly elements to the novel, most notably in Roe, who is genderfluid. So kudos for O’Donoghue for that! There’s also a prominent Filipina character as well.
All in all, All Our Hidden Gifts lacked a bit in pacing and lovable characters, but made up for some of it with a timeless blend of paranormal fun. 3.5 stars!
Expected release date: March 30, 2021
That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy Bisexual Visibility Day!
Last week (September 15) was the start of Bisexual Visibility week, which blends with today (September 23), Bisexual Visibility Day. Even though we’ve made great steps as far as LGBTQ+ progress goes, there’s still a plethora of harmful stigmas surrounding bisexual people, and not to mention bisexual erasure in the media and elsewhere. But today is a day to celebrate bisexual love, and to remind ourselves and all our bi friends of this: you are loved, you are valid, and you are beautiful.
So today, I’ve compiled a list of books with bisexual protagonists! Sadly, I wasn’t able to find as many who had #OwnVoices bi authors, but I’m always striving to read and find more.
Let’s begin, shall we?
THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BISEXUAL VISIBILITY WEEK/DAY
There’s only one thing better than a bisexual protagonist…and that’s a bisexual protagonist who’s a necromancer! Reign of the Fallen will always have a special place in my heart, and I’ll always have a soft spot for Odessa.
Speaking of sci-fi with both bisexual and disability rep…
There’s seven (later six) different POVs throughout this series, two of which are LGBTQ+; and Kaufman and Kristoff confirmed that Finian, one of these POVs, is bisexual! (And honestly? It’s perfect, he is absolutely the OG Disaster Bisexual…)
Not only is one of our protagonists biracial and bisexual, it also tackles a variety of issues, such as biphobia, sexism, fat-shaming, and mental health issues. A wonderful read for anyone familiar with the Comic Con scene!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
That’s it for these mini reviews! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
As some of you may have known, National Latinx Heritage Month started yesterday (September 15th), and ends on October 15th. So for the occasion, I figured that I would compile a list of some YA books of all genres! (All of the books listed are #OwnVoices in that respect.) As someone who’s half Latinx, this month is definitely close to my heart, and I always love seeing latinx characters on the YA scene.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR NATIONAL LATINX HERITAGE MONTH
GENRE: Poetry/novels in verse, contemporary fiction, romance
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This one was recommended to me by a friend, and it’s easily one of the best–if not the best, period–novels in verse that I’ve ever read. I know it’s gotten quite a lot of hype in the past few years, but I can say with certainty that it deserves it all.
Although I wasn’t as big a fan of this one as some of the others on this list, I loved the Latinx inspired world/magic system! One part that stood out to me was the fact that all the spells were Spanish verbs, which…okay, not gonna lie, took some of the surprise away from what the characters were about to do when I understood the words, but it’s an interesting aspect. And you can’t deny how gorgeous that cover is…
I swear, Anna-Maria McLemore can do no wrong. Her prose is so beautiful, and it’s wonderfully diverse as well. There isn’t a book by her that I wouldn’t recommend, though I haven’t read Dark and Deepest Red or The Weight of Feathers yet…
I recently received this one as an eARC, and I don’t regret it! Both of the main characters are mixed race (half Latinx/half white), and Dani is bisexual! It’s the first time in a bit that representation in a book got me THAT excited. Plus, there’s the general fantasy fun of butt-kicking girls teaming up with butt-kicking dragons.
This was my first exposure to McLemore, and it’s left a lasting impression on me to this day. It’s the kind of prose that makes you smell flowers and grass and want to dance through fields of colorful wildflowers.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels? What did you think? Are there any other great books by Latinx authors that you recommend? (Everybody’s putting Cemetery Boys on their lists…I still haven’t gotten around to reading it, but I have it on hold at the library…)
Another announcement before I go–guess what else started yesterday? Bisexual visibility week! Bi visibility day is September 23rd, so I’ll be compiling another list, this time for books with bisexual protagonists and authors. Stay tuned!
That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! I blatantly refuse to believe that we’re actually halfway through September…nope…
Sorry that this review’s coming a little later than you all are probably used to; I had a ton of homework to do this afternoon, but I’ve got it all done for today, so here I am now! Better late than never, I suppose.
I’ve been following and loving Sally Green’s Smoke Thieves trilogy for about a year, gobbling up books 1 and 2 in weeks flat. It’s one of the most immersive, detailed, and gripping fantasies that I’ve ever read, and now that I’ve read book 3, I can say it’s true for all three books. The Burning Kingdoms came out just under a month ago (August 25), and I was able to snag it a few days after its release when I promptly blew the contents of my bookstore gift card. In short? The Burning Kingdoms was a perfect end to a near perfect series.
WARNING: This review likely contains spoilers for books 1 and 2, The Smoke Thieves and The Demon World, so I suggest you tread lightly if you intend to read them and haven’t yet!
Catherine, Tash, Ambrose, Edyon, and March dedicated their lives to halt the impending war in its tracks. But despite their efforts, war has come, and it could cost them their lives–and the lives of their nations.
King Aloysius has unleashed his invincible boy army, powered by demon smoke, across all who dare cross his path. There, March finds an opportunity to reunite with Edyon, his beloved, after a betrayal saw them torn apart and him banished. Edyon grapples with his newfound power as the heir to the throne of Calidonia, and Tash must find her way out of the demon world.
Meanwhile, Catherine must grapple with the fate of her country and her secret addiction, while Ambrose is determined to win back her heart at all costs. Their paths will collide in order to avert this great war–but will they make it out alive?
Admit it: everybody–yes, everybody–who has ever dyed their hair has done the exact same thing as Geratan–dye it, put on a hat, and then dramatically rip it off in front of everybody. The only proper way to reveal your new hair color, if you ask me.
All of my fellow book bloggers and readers know the feeling that comes along with finishing the final book in a series. It’s like reuniting with an old friend, only to have them leave you. No matter what, though, their memory will live on in you forever.
That’s the feeling that finishing a great series gives you, and certainly the one that The Burning Kingdoms gave me. This entire series is criminally underrated, a true force to be reckoned with in the world of YA fantasy, and I’m delighted to say that book 3 is no exception!
The Burning Kingdoms is definitely one of those books where you’re just being dragged along with the character’s bad decisions–five POVs, five times the grave mistakes! (Quite a lot of “March, no–” “MARCHYES” going on). However, it isn’t to the point where you’re internally groaning in frustration, because it propels quite a lot of action, and provides for character development in all five.
As always, I loved seeing how the relationships between the characters developed. March is still my favorite of the bunch, but I had such a blast getting back into all five of their heads and exploring their internal conflicts. Green does such a masterful job of writing both authentic characters, but genuine development for them as well.
The immersive and detailed worldbuilding and politics were as sharp as ever, making for a novel that I could imagine nearly every detail of. There’s plenty of action and drama to spare, and I enjoyed every page. The Burning Kingdoms is a finale that truly has something for everyone–and delivers on every possible aspect.
All in all, a beautiful end to an underrated and immersive fantasy. 4.5 stars!
The Burning Kingdoms is the final book in Sally Green’s Smoke Thieves trilogy, preceded by The Smoke Thieves (book 1) and The Demon World (book 2).
Today (September 15) is also the start of National Latinx Heritage Month, so sometime this week, I’ll also be posting a list of Latinx YA reads to celebrate. Stay tuned! 🙂
Brain: oh, so math is boring you?
Me: yep, you got that right
Brain: so why don’t I get this REALLY DEPRESSING song stuck in your head–
Me: WAIT NO
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!