Posted in Books

Start ‘Em Young: YA Books to Transition Younger Teen Readers into YA Literature

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been an avid reader from a young age. I read voraciously throughout my pre-teen years, but as I got older, I began reading “older” books—I had been introduced into the wonderful world of YA literature. But it wasn’t quite as smooth as I thought; although young adult books generally encompass a teenage experience, there can often be a wide range of content. While some YA books are lighter and more suitable for younger teens, many range into the “older” teen spectrum that often deals with heavier and more mature subject matter. For me, at least, I think it’s good to have “transition” books for younger YA readers—books that are distinctly “teen,” but aren’t quite as graphic for someone who isn’t mature enough to handle certain topics. I’m doing my best not to make generalizations about the maturity of younger teenagers here, since I was one not so long ago, but I feel like it’s not the best idea to start an 11 or 12 year old on something as dark as Six of Crows or Illuminae. So for those reasons, I’ve decided to compile some books that I think would be great to introduce younger readers to the wide world of YA literature.

Let’s begin, shall we?

📖BOOKS TO TRANSITION YOUNGER TEEN READERS INTO YA 📖

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson

GENRES: fantasy, high fantasy, romance

Sorcery of Thorns had the feel of a lot of middle-grade fantasy novels—not enough magical libraries in YA literature, such a shame 😤

For me, this novel had the perfect balance of whimsy and complexity, and presented a beautiful fantasy world full of magical books and demons!

The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

GENRES: historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism

Marie Lu’s books tend to stray on the darker side, but The Kingdom of Back is the perfect standalone for any reader to get into her books. This one is a favorite of mine—such a beautifully-crafted fairytale!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder

GENRES: historical fiction

Sisters of the Wolf wasn’t my favorite book, but part of what stood out to me about it (apart from the amazing research that went into the prehistoric setting) was that it hit the perfect balance between middle grade and YA—it’s dark enough to be separated from middle grade, but still palatable for a younger reader transitioning between the age groups.

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor

GENRES: fantasy, paranormal, horror

Like Sisters of the Wolf, The Soul Keepers is the perfect bridge between middle grade and YA; even though most of the characters are written as older teens, the level of dark elements struck the perfect balance between younger and older teen readers.

Curses – Lish McBride

GENRES: fantasy, retellings, romance

Nothing like a good fairytale retelling to introduce a reader to YA! Lish McBride’s sense of humor never fails to make me smile, and Curses was a continuously clever and hilarious retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If there’s any Beauty and the Beast retelling to start a reader on, it’s this one.

The Tiger at Midnight – Swati Teerdhala

GENRES: fantasy, high fantasy, romance

The Tiger at Midnight has all of the elements of a classic YA fantasy book, and it’s the perfect choice for introducing a reader into the vast world of YA fantasy! I don’t know why I haven’t picked up the next few books—book 1 was a lot of fun!

Geekerella – Ashley Poston

GENRES: fiction, romance, rom-com

For a reader who wants to jump into romance, the Once Upon a Con series is a perfect starter! Plus, what’s not to love about comic cons, books, and tons of pop culture references?

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

GENRES: LGBTQ+, science fiction, retellings, romance

Speaking of retellings…here’s one for readers who are keen on Arthurian legends! Once & Future presents one of the most inventive Arthurian legends I’ve read in a while—space, corporations, curses, and more! It’s wonderfully queer all around as well.

The Light at the Bottom of the World – London Shah

GENRES: dystopia, science fiction, romance

There are a lot—and I mean a lot—of astoundingly mediocre and ridiculous YA dystopias that tried to jump on the Hunger Games train, so why not start off a reader with something that’s genuinely fun and inventive? The Light at the Bottom of the World is a stand-out, action-packed and creative, with a determined protagonist that you can’t help but root for!

I Love You So Mochi – Sarah Kuhn

GENRES: fiction, romance

Here’s another light and sweet romance! I Love You So Mochi is the perfect feel-good romance, and it doubles as a spectacular coming-of-age story about finding your passion and your place.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are some other books that you’d recommend for younger teens who are just starting to read YA? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? Tell me in the comments!

Today’s song:

this is such a fun album!! not a bad song here

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

Posted in Book Tags

The Book Club Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

My school district called a very rare snow day today, so I had the day off!! I’ve still had quizzes to study for, but it was so nice to sleep in and spend the day in pajamas. So here I am, still in my pajamas.

This tag is an original from Becca @ Book It With Becca. (If you don’t follow her already, check out her blog, it’s great!) I’m the president of my high school’s book club, so this is the perfect tag for me!

RULES:

  1. Answer the tag (prompts below) on the platform of your choice (blog, booktube, twitter, anything goes!): If you’re part of a book club, yourself, you can answer with the books you’ve read with them — or you can freestyle it with whatever book fits the question! Or with a specific character from a book who matches the prompt. Really, however you want to do it!
  2. Link to the original post and give me a pingback or comment below, so I can see your answers.
  3. Tag friends! They can be fellow book club members or simply bookish friends who make your day a little brighter.
  4. The most important rule: Have fun!

I’m going to try and use books that I’ve read in my school book club for this tag…let’s see how it goes…

Let’s begin, shall we?

📖THE BOOK CLUB BOOK TAG📖

AVALANCHE ⇆ X-MEN GIF SERIES - KURT WAGNER; ONE - Wattpad

THE FEARLESS READER—reads everything, constantly, and probably started the book club, not realizing how much work it would be to keep everyone on-track

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789268267: Turton,  Stuart: Books

We read The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle last year, and it was so creative and complex—very fearless in its premise and execution!

THE ACADEMIC—tries to elevate the conversation and suggest Serious Books but is always stymied by the rest of the group (generally doesn’t mind)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: 9780307743527 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Technically, I didn’t get to discuss this one (since my school is pretty big, we have two lunch periods, and we have book club during lunch) since it was in the lunch I wasn’t in, but I read it anyway since I’d been meaning to read it for a while. I think The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only “classic” book I’ve read for book club in all 4 years of high school.

THE JOYRIDERnever knows what book the club is reading but happily shouts encouragement and brings refreshments

Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by A.R. Capetta

Once & Future is very much a joyride—across time and across space!

THE AGENT OF CHAOSjust what it sounds like: enjoys stirring things up and dropping chaos bombs before disappearing in a cloud of smoke

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

On some level, every single main character from Six of Crows is an agent of chaos; the same can be said for all the twists within Kaz’s heists. (Is there a Wylan pun in here somewhere too?)

THE MOMis very concerned with the emotional and physical health of the rest of the group and of the characters in the books

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (The Hazel Wood, 1): 9781250297327:  Albert, Melissa: Books

Whew, this was a hard prompt…

I settled on The Hazel Wood for this one because of its emotional, introspective nature; even though it’s steeped in magical realism, there are lots of themes of looking inward as opposed to the outward fantasy.

THE LOVABLE GHOUL— Mostly harmless but likes to stand in the corner muttering — we pretend it’s normal

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes was the first book that I ever read for my book club, but it didn’t really do anything. My experience was that it was entertaining, but rather forgettable. Not bad, but not life-changing either.

I TAG:

Lets Read GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

NEW LUCY DACUS SINGLE AAAAAAA

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/15/21) – Entangled

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of A.R. Capetta for a while, but I’ve never gotten around to reading their debut. I’ll read any promising space opera that I come across, and judging from how fantastic Once & Future was, I’m hoping this novel will be more of the same.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/15/21) – ENTANGLED by A.R. Capetta

Entangled (Entangled, #1) by A.R. Capetta

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alone was the note Cade knew best. It was the root of all her chords.

Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan. 

 Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws—her first friends—on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.

So why do I want to read this?

Snail Mail - "Heat Wave" (Official Video) on Make a GIF

I’m already a sucker for space opera, but guitars? A cherry-red guitar, to be exact? [aggressively slams credit card on the table]

I’ve read nearly everything of A.R. Capetta’s, so that’s already a motivation for me to read Entangled. Their prose is consistently hooking, and their LGBTQ+ representation never fails. Once & Future is their only other sci-fi book, so I’m hoping that reading Entangled will give me a glimpse of how they’ve grown in the genre since then.

Even if it wasn’t A.R. Capetta, I would have 100% been on board! We’ve got a whole host of factors that are simultaneously drawing me in—aliens, outlaws, galaxy-spanning quests…what’s not to love? Plus, I already adore the concept of Cade as this reluctant, wandering traveler who just wants to play guitar. I feel you, Cade, I feel you.

The reviews on this one are leaning on the mediocre side (3.54 at present), but at this point, I’m undeterred. Most of the complaints have been about the flimsy science, which, well…I know when a piece of media is just sticking “quantum” onto every other word to make them sound smart, but I also deliberately didn’t take a physics class, so it shouldn’t be a major issue. As for the execution (the other major complaint)…well, I guess I’ll see for myself.

Visual Typing (Socionics) - Page 9 | Cosmos, Space art, Colorful gifs

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 Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/20/21) – Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

After falling in love with Once & Future two years ago, I knew I had to get my hands on book 2 as soon as possible. Unfortunately, after having to wait a year for its release, I couldn’t find it at the library or my favorite bookstore. But lucky for me, I managed to find it at Barnes & Noble over break, and I didn’t hesitate to buy a copy! While this sequel wasn’t as good as its predecessor, it was still a fantastic ending to a one-of-a-kind duology.

🗡BE WARNED! This review may contain spoilers for book 1, Once & Future, so tread lightly! 🗡

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel (Once & Future, 2)  (9780316449298): McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, A. R.: Books

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) – A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

My copy ft. Once & Future, a section of my bookshelf, and the same filter I use every time

A near miss has landed Ari, Merlin and their ragtag band of intergalactic knights back in time. All the way back to the Middle Ages, to be exact, the time of the very first King Arthur. There, they are faced with an impossible task: to steal the grail of King Arthur and end the Arthurian cycle once and for all. Faced with the obstacles of blending in, dodging the…shortcomings, shall we say, of the time and its people, and not messing with the canon, Ari and the others must look to the past in order to save their future.

great, thanks. — imperio

TW/CW: racism, mentions of misgendering, fantasy/sci-fi violence, colonialism, pregnancy/labor, blood, near-death experiences

Everything’s more fun when you throw your characters in space, but throwing them in the Middle Ages is…tricky. Sword in the Stars was lacking in some of the elements that I loved most about book 1, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I did enjoy it, as a matter of fact. IMMENSELY!

It’s clear how much fun Capetta and McCarthy had with throwing a slew of characters suited to life in a progressive (mostly), technologically advanced future into the Middle Ages. There’s no shortage of weird, strange, and downright hilarious hijinks that ensue on their quest for the Holy Grail, and through it all, there’s nods to Arthurian legend and its many retellings aplenty. Once again, Ari and the other characters had wonderful chemistry, bouncing off of each other well while still maintaining their distinct personalities.

That being said, the Middle Ages part was also a bit of what dragged this book down for me. Coming right on the heels of a novel that was almost purely sci-fi, it didn’t quite fit with the mood that the duology tried to maintain. They do return to the future eventually, but as someone who was particularly hooked on the “King Arthur retelling in SPAAACE” part of the premise, that part was a little bit of a letdown. That’s just the raging sci-fi fan in me, I guess.

That’s where my criticism ends, really, because Sword in the Stars was just as action-packed, fast-paced, and downright fun as book 1. Daring escapes, supernatural forces, knights, space dragons, dismantling corporate greed…you want it, this duology probably has it. I laughed, I very nearly cried, and I felt myself overflowing with joy, just like I did with book 1, and man, I’m so glad this story exists.

But beyond that, what truly shone about Sword in the Stars was its message. Throughout the whole book, there’s a resonant theme of breaking free of a cycle of conformity and injustice to become your true self. The whole story is focused on individuality and changing narratives, and especially seeing as it’s a cast of almost entirely queer characters and written by two queer authors, it really hit the right note in me. The Once & Future duology is lots of action and fun, for the most part, but at its heart, it’s a story of resistance. It’s a story of finding yourself. It’s a story of defining yourself in the face of a world that wants you to do the opposite. And for that, this novel was truly special. I’m firm in the belief that this book will save somebody’s life someday. And I don’t say that for every book.

All in all, a phenomenal ending to an action-packed, inclusive, sci-fi fantasy duology.

And bonus points for the Prince references, the Monty Python quote at the beginning, and successfully breaking the fourth wall.

4.75 stars, rounded up to 5!

Sword in the Stars is the final book in the Once & Future duology, preceded by Once & Future. A.R. Capetta is also the author of Echo After Echo and The Lost Coast, and Cory McCarthy is also the author of Now a Major Motion Picture and You Were Here.

Today’s song:

This has a combination of Sparklehorse and Fruit Bats vibes and I am HERE for it

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Weekly Update: April 12-18, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope you’ve all had a good week.

This week has simultaneously felt momentous and relaxing, what with finishing the SAT and getting my first dose of the COVID vaccine all in one day. But my classes let up on the homework after last week and I had a day off after the SAT, so I had a bit of time to relax and gather my thoughts.

I finally got around to all of my Barnes & Noble books I bought over break, and they were all great! I just finished Rule of Wolves too, and what more is there to say than [AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH]

The Good Doctor 1x06 recap: A life altering situation shakes Claire

I got another preorder in the mail yesterday (Victories Greater than Death), so it’s shaping up to be a good reading week next week!

Other than that, I did some more library volunteering (is there anything more meta than shelving your own hold?), drew some more, and watched Ex Machina. The latter of which, I have to say…good sci-fi really makes you think, and this movie ABSOLUTELY did. Highly recommended. (Also, seeing bald Oscar Isaac was so surreal on its own…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Empress of All Seasons (9780544530942): Jean, Emiko: Books

Iron Heart (Crier’s War, #2) – Nina Varela (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Iron Heart (Crier's War, 2) (9780062823977): Varela, Nina: Books

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) – A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel (Once & Future, 2)  (9780316449298): McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, A. R.: Books

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2) – Leigh Bardugo (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook – Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook by Mike Mignola: 9781506724270 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3) – Becky Chambers

Amazon.com: Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, 3) (9780062699220):  Chambers, Becky: Books

Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable, #1) – Charlie Jane Anders

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Today’s song:

Big thank you to my dad for putting this on in the car and triggering an onslaught of childhood nostalgia

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

March 2021 Wrap-Up 🧦

Happy Wednesday my dudes bibliophiles!

I refuse to believe that it’s almost April…one year since the original quarantine, nope…

GENERAL THOUGHTS

March has been…an interesting month, I guess. Definitely had its ups and downs, and it was super cold. It’s usually a really snowy month here in Colorado, and we got dumped on in the middle of the month…not quite the #Snowmageddon that everybody was saying it was going to be, but we got about two feet at my house. A lot, but we’ve had worse…

School’s been a bit rough, but I’m at least glad that everything had time to wind down before Spring Break. I have my SAT test coming up in April and my AP exams in May, so heads up, I’ll probably be less active in the next two months.

Other than that, I’ve definitely made some great progress! Mostly with my writing; I wrote my short story for the writing contest, shared it with family and close friends, got some feedback, AND I SUBMITTED IT ON MONDAY! AAAAAAAAAAAH

Screaming Cowboy GIF by Jason Clarke - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also started on Falcon & The Winter Soldier (I didn’t like episode 1 very much, but 2 got better), watched the Snyder Cut, and drank lots of tea and hot chocolate. Here’s hoping that April will be a bit better. Not that March was awful, but I could’ve done without…y’know, precalc. I’ve been listening to the new Julien Baker a lot too, as well as more Mother Mother, thanks to a playlist my friend made for me.

Also, I rewatched Fargo in its entirety. I’ll admit to curling into the fetal position and sobbing several times.

Rabbi Milligan | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
[aggressive tissue-blowing intensifies]

And I’m SO CLOSE to 400 followers! I LOVE YOU ALL 🥺

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 23 books this month! (24, if you count reading a certain B.P.R.D. twice.) I’ve definitely had a great reading month; I re-read a few favorites, and I discovered several awesome reads! And I had very few books that I didn’t like, so that’s a plus. Here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Absolute Book: A Novel: Knox, Elizabeth: 9780593296738: Amazon.com:  Books
The Absolute Book

The Absolute Book – Elizabeth Knox (⭐️⭐️)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books
The Future is Female!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Roman + Jewel – Dana L. Davis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs – Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Good Father – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

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

B.P.R.D., vol. 3: Plague of Frogs – Mike Mignola, Guy Davis (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Remote Control – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. – Colleen Nelson (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #6) – Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fox 8 – George Saunders (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy (re-read for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion
Frankenstein

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Fox 8 4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Fox 8: A Story (9781984818027): Saunders, George, Cardinal,  Chelsea: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

You betcha - GIF on Imgur
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…): done! Shaking, but done.
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions: done! Click here to read it.
  • Read at least 20 books: read 23!
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle: all done! Here are my reviews for Sisters of the Wolf and The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

How to Prepare for Exam Season Before It Even Starts | TalentEgg Career  Incubator
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!)

So let’s hope that April won’t be so chaotic.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books

Feminist YA Books for Women’s History Month

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I meant to post this earlier in the month, but, alas, school. But hey – March isn’t over yet, is it? And here in the U.S., March is Women’s History Month! So for the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite YA novels with feminist themes not just for March, but for all year round, because we should all be uplifting the voices of women every day of every year.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Celebrate Women's History Month with Talenthouse

FEMINIST YA BOOKS FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Once & Future, A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Once & Future: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy: 9781786076540: Amazon.com:  Books

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

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mean, how could the premise of an Arthurian retelling where the reincarnation of King Arthur is a POC, pansexual woman not hook you? Plus, lots of dismantling imperialism, sword fights, and an almost entirely queer cast.

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Amazon.com: Moxie: A Novel (9781626726352): Mathieu, Jennifer: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Can I rant for a minute? I loved this book to death, but the Netflix adaptation of it looks AWFUL. I watched the trailer, and it looks like it COMPLETELY misconstrued the message of the book. The movie makes feminism look like a joke; in the book, Viv was already conscious of the toxic environment of her high school, but in the movie, they (unintentionally?) painted feminism as something that was “trendy” or “what the kids are into.” (In the beginning of the trailer, Viv magically has this feminist awakening from seeing her mom’s old Riot Grrl pictures…) Also in the trailer, she only starts to notice the rampant sexism in her high school AFTER SOMEBODY TELLS HER…

[fumes] okay I’ll stop now but Y I K E S

just stick to the book, okay?

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

GENRES: Sci-fi, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, I know this has been shelved as both adult and YA, but…hey, Rory’s 15 for most of the book, so I think I can slip it in this post. Plus, what’s not to love about disobedient, patriarchy-smashing princesses in space?

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

Amazon.com: Sawkill Girls (9780062696601): Legrand, Claire: Books

GENRES: Horror, paranormal, fantasy, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Claire Legrand was a hit-or-miss author for me up until I read this one, but Sawkill Girls is such a powerful novel, both in its paranormal intensity and its resonant themes of sisterhood.

Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1) by Natasha  Ngan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

GENRES: High fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As disappointing as the sequel was, Girls of Paper and Fire still remains a book that stunned me like no other. A powerful tale of rebelling against oppression and corruption – and some lovely forbidden romance!

The Black Coats, Colleen Oakes

Amazon.com: The Black Coats (9780062679628): Oakes, Colleen: Books

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, mystery, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25

A super twisty and inventive novel with plenty of morally grey characters and secret societies. Plus, it raises some great points about vigilante justice. And there’s nothing better than getting back at misogynists and rapists, right?

The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow

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

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

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

Every time I look back at this book, I think something along the lines of “man, I’m so glad I bought this.” Secret libraries, alien invasion, quality music references, cross-country road trips, and more than a little bit of resistance. Very nearly flawless!

Music from Another World, Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Music from Another World (9781335146779): Talley, Robin: Books

GENRES: Historical fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A beautiful romance set against the backdrop of protest and resisting homophobia in 1977 San Francisco. There’s lovely representation for both lesbian and bisexual characters, and it’s such a tender and resonant read!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels, and if so, did you like them? What are your favorite feminist YA reads?

Women's History Month

And while I’m at it, might I direct you all to the Women’s History Book Tag? It was created by Margaret @ Weird Zeal, and I had such a blast doing it last March, and I figured I should direct it to your attention. 🙂

Today’s song:

The way this song reminds me of the very beginning of quarantine now –

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

Posted in Books

A YA Reader’s Guide to Space Opera 👽

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Would you look at that…for once, I actually have a post that isn’t a meme, an update, or a book tag…

I’ve been planning for this one a little bit, and I’m excited to get into it! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know how much I love sci-fi. So for this post, I decided to go semi-in-depth on my favorite subgenre of science fiction and dole out some recommendations of mine.

Let’s begin, shall we?

So first off, what is space opera anyway?

Steam Community :: :: Obi-wan has taught you well.

In all forms of media, space opera is a subgenre of science fiction. It tends to focus less on the heavy science/physics of the universe it’s in, and more on aspects such as plot and characters. There’s often adventures at a breakneck pace, intergalactic war or conflict, strange planets/other locations, and drama between a set of characters. A lot of space opera media that I’ve consumed tends to throw in a ragtag bunch of characters with nothing in common together, and then throws them into an adventure of epic proportions. (Commonly referred to in many of my posts and reviews as “[chaotic] space misfits.”) More often than not, there’s some light elements of fantasy, sometimes as placeholders to explain the workings of the universe. And, as you probably can figure out, it’s usually set in space or on a distant planet.

Star Wars is often used as the quintessential example of a space opera–dogfights in space, romance, strange worlds, and (amazing) lightsaber duels. (What more could you possibly want?) Although it’s probably not *the original* space opera, it’s influenced a huge chunk of space opera/sci-fi media for the last 40-ish years. Guardians of the Galaxy is another widely-known example of space opera, and from= the world of literature, Dune and Foundation are some of the most well-loved space opera classics.

I'm Mary Poppins, y'all! (gif) | Guardians of the galaxy, Marvel cinematic,  Marvel cinematic universe

Sci-fi has only become my favorite book genre in the past…six or seven years; for a while, I was mostly drawn to fantasy, but after reading Tony DiTerlizzi’s Search for WondLa trilogy, there was no going back. And I was raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, so it was bound to happen eventually. There’s a multitude of reasons why I’m drawn to it. Even though fantasy has virtually no limits as far as making up universes goes, there’s just something about about flying through the vast reaches of space and traveling to strange worlds that has always appealed to me. And as someone who’s been something of an outcast for the better part of my life, I’m drawn like a magnet to any kind of found-family tropes. Now, I know full well that it’s not exclusive to space opera, but everything from Star Wars to Aurora Rising has a cast of strange and distinct characters that come to see themselves as a family, and I’ve always loved the theme of finding your tribe of weirdos.

So now, if you say “space opera,” there’s a good chance that I’ll immediately want to read it. (Doesn’t mean I’ll love it–there’s good and bad books in every genre, of course–but I’ll certainly read it.)

Pin on Art

Now, I’ve compiled a list of some YA space opera recommendations! Each one is tailored to different types of readers/tastes, because I firmly believe there’s something for everybody, even if sci-fi isn’t normally your thing. So let’s get to it, shall we?

🪐YA SPACE OPERA RECS🪐

For readers who like character-driven books…

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

Heart of Iron duology–Ashley Poston

A retelling of the story of Anastasia, this unique duology boasts a diverse and lovable cast of characters, royal intrigue, creepy androids, and some really cool spaceships.

For readers who like fairytale retellings…

Amazon.com: Once & Future (9780316449274): McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, Amy  Rose: Books

Once & Future–A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy

A retelling of Arthurian legend where the reincarnation of King Arthur is a pansexual woman of color and a spell gone wrong made Merlin age backwards…into an awkward, voice-cracky teenager. Super diverse, super feminist, and super fun!

For readers who love a good found-family story…

Aurora Rising - (Aurora Cycle) By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Paperback) :  Target

Aurora Cycle–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

In short, this is what happens when you put Captain America in a spaceship with his sister, his ex, a whole bunch of random students from the bottom of his class, and a girl with a glowing eye that may or may not start an intergalactic war. Hands down, my favorite series of all time.

For readers who love a little romance…

Amazon.com: Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars (1)) (9780316394031): Gray,  Claudia: Books

The Constellation trilogy–Claudia Gray

The worldbuilding and the imagery are beautiful in all three books, but it’s really the unlikely relationship between Noemi and Abel that shines in this one. [🥺 intensifies]

For readers who like plots with high-stakes competitions…

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Crownchasers–Rebecca Coffindaffer

(Would you look at that…another pansexual protagonist!)

I had my expectations a *bit* too high for this one, but it was still a whole lot of fun! A lot of reviewers have pitched it as Aurora Rising meets The Hunger Games, and I’d say that’s pretty spot-on. I’m excited to see what Coffindaffer has up their sleeve for book 2.

For fans of steampunk…

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

Tarnished Are the Stars–Rosiee Thor

This one has elements of both sci-fi and fantasy woven in–royal intrigue on other worlds, and lots of clockwork hearts! Plus, it’s a beautiful queer story; we have a wlw romance, as well as a beautiful aro-ace coming out scene for one of the main characters.

For readers who prefer standalones to series…

Amazon.com: Last of Her Name (9781338243369): Khoury, Jessica: Books

Last of Her Name–Jessica Khoury

Another space opera retelling of Anastasia, comin’ right up…

Last of Her Name is a truly beautiful novel, with intricate and detailed worldbuilding, tender romance, and no shortage of twists that I couldn’t see coming. I do wish we’d gotten a larger glimpse into this world, but it was still satisfying as one book.

For thriller fans…

Amazon.com: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499117): Amie Kaufman,  Jay Kristoff: Books

The Illuminae Files–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Normally, I’d try to avoid putting two series from the same author(s) in a post like this, but Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are masters of sci-fi, so I kind of *had to.* Composed of interviews, emails, security footage, and more, this is truly a trilogy like no other.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK? What are your favorite space opera books? Do you have any space opera recs for us? Tell me in the comments!

Baby Yoda Soup Baby Yoda Tea GIF - BabyYodaSoup BabyYodaTea BabyYoda -  Discover & Share GIFs | Star wars nerd, Star wars yoda, Star wars

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (10/10/20)–Books with Feminist Themes 🦸‍♀️

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

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 books with feminist themes.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR OCTOBER: 

10/3/20—Intimidating Books

10/10/10—Feminist Themes

10/17/20—Animal on the Cover

10/24/20—Wishlist

10/31/20Vampires

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Amazon.com: Moxie: A Novel (9781626726352): Mathieu, Jennifer: Books

An incredible and timely novel about fighting back against misogyny and toxic masculinity in a small town. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to take up the fight!

The Black Coats, Colleen Oakes

Amazon.com: The Black Coats (9780062679628): Oakes, Colleen: Books

I hardly see anyone talk about this one, and I highly recommend it! Not only is it about fighting back against injustice, it discusses a lot of morally gray topics.

Once & Future, A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

Once & Future: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy: 9781786076540: Amazon.com:  Books

A queer, POC retelling of King Arthur with the female descendant of King Arthur wielding the sword? And fighting back against injustice and colonialism? What’s not to love?

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand | Vampire Book Club

A paranormal tale of sisterhood that’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I had average expectations for it, but it ended up being one of my first 5-star reads of this year!

Rebel Girls, Elizabeth Keenan

Amazon.com: Rebel Girls eBook: Keenan, Elizabeth: Kindle Store

A historical fiction novel set in the 90’s, rife with punk-rock feminism and picking up the fight against injustice in a conservative town.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

power, action, gif artist, girl power, feminist, change, racism, equality,  protest, hell yeah, campaign, riot, marching, gender equality, the future  is female, women's march, thefutureisfemale – GIF

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Rainbow Book Tag 🌈

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Whew, I’m so glad that the school week is nearly over, even though it’s the first week…

It’s been low-key, for the most part, at least. I haven’t gotten dumped with review like I did on Monday for Spanish, and it’s mostly been google meets, so that’s been nice and quiet.

I found this tag over at Bookforager, and the tag was originally created by Le Book Chronicles. Here’s the objective: go through the books on your shelf (or your TBR), and pick out your favorite (if possible) book of each color of the rainbow! My bookshelf is already arranged in rainbow order (is that cheating?), so this should be fun!

RULES:

  1. Must be the dominant color of the COVER, not the spine!
  2. If you do not own a book of a certain color, just choose one that has the color on it somewhere
  3. It has to be a book you own and/or has to be the exact edition you read (e.g. there are two different overs for Me Before You, you would choose the one you read)
  4. TAG some people to do it! Whether they be Bloggers, Bookstagrammers or BookTubers

Let’s begin, shall we?

RED

Amazon.com: Inkmistress (9780062433282): Coulthurst, Audrey: Books

Inkmistress–Audrey Coulthurst

I got this one as an ARC a while back from an internship at my local bookshop!

ORANGE

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Burning–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

MY BOY KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

YELLOW

Amazon.com: Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series (2)) (9781250146076): Rowell,  Rainbow: Books

Wayward Son–Rainbow Rowell

GREEN

Amazon.com: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe Book 3) eBook: Shusterman, Neal:  Kindle Store

The Toll–Neal Shusterman

My my, lots of sequels in this tag today…

BLUE

[singing] …blue, electric blue, that’s the color of my–okay, fine, I’ll stop…

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

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

PURPLE

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

PINK

Ravenous: Connolly, MarcyKate: 9780062272751: Amazon.com: Books

Ravenous–MarcyKate Connolly

HIGHLY underrated

WHITE

Amazon.com: Everything, Everything (9780553496673): Yoon, Nicola: Books

Everything, Everything–Nicola Yoon

BROWN

Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1) by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck

BLACK

Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta

Once & Future–Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

I have quite a lot of books with black spines…very goth of me…

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Rainbow GIF by ahn0ahn0 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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