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

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GENRES: Contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now – Dana L. Davis

Image result for tiffany sly lives here now

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

A Song Below Water – Bethany C. Morrow

Image result for a song below water cover

GENRES: Magical realism, contemporary, fantasy

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

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

Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Image result for punching the air book

GENRES: Poetry/Novels in verse, contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

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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?

Image result for black lives matter gif

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 Book Tags

Enola Holmes Book Tag

Hey there, bibliophiles!

You probably noticed that I didn’t post anything for about a week and a half or so. The first two weeks of school were just really overwhelming and I had quite a lot of projects to do and quizzes to study for, so I had to take a little time away. But things are starting to go back to a manageable level school-wise, so I’m back. For now. And hey, three-day weekend!

Anyway, I went through some of my tags that I’ve been wanting to do, and I found this one! Enola Holmes was absolutely a series that shaped my childhood, and even though I found the Netflix movie to be a bit of a disappointment, I think we can all agree that Millie Bobby Brown is phenomenal.

This tag was created by Cielo @ Bellerose Reads, and that’s where I originally found it as well. 🙂

Rules

  1. List the rules and the prompts of the tag in your post
  2. Thank the person who tagged you and pingback to their post
  3. Give credits to the creator of the tag, Bellerose Reads, and pingback to her post.
  4. Tag at least 5 people to do the tag.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Enola Holmes: strong woman is the new black – The Movievaures

🌹THE ENOLA HOLMES BOOK TAG 🌹

ENOLA HOLMES: An independent and smart female protagonist

Amazon.com: Daughter of the Pirate King (9781250095961): Levenseller,  Tricia: Books

Alosa Kalligan from Daughter of the Pirate King was my first thought–strong-willed, independent, and the captain of a pirate ship at just 17. Gotta love Alosa.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: Your favorite mystery/thriller book

Amazon.com: Grown (9780062840356): Jackson, Tiffany D: Books

I don’t read much mystery, but Grown was such a raw and powerful book! Monday’s Not Coming was incredible too…I’ve only read three of her books, but Tiffany D. Jackson is definitely a master of the YA mystery genre.

EUDORIA HOLMES: A character that defies the rules of their society

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

Rory Thorne from How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is the perfect example for this prompt–not just defying the royal family by taking control of her situation and starting a revolution, but…I mean, eventually becoming a space pirate is the ultimate defiant move when you’re a princess, I would think.

MYCROFT HOLMES: The most annoying character you know

Amazon.com: The Hunger Games (9780439023481): Collins, Suzanne: Books

It’s been a while since I’ve read The Hunger Games, but I haaaaaaaaaaated Gale. The whole “catnip” nickname was just an instant dealbreaker…[vomits]

LORD TEWKSBURY: A character you want to protect at all costs

Amazon.com: The Gilded Wolves: A Novel (The Gilded Wolves, 1)  (9781250144546): Chokshi, Roshani: Books

Zofia from The Gilded Wolves is just too good for this world. And now that I’ve read book 2…[cries]

INSPECTOR LESTRADE: A loyal side character

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

Sanjeet from Raybearer always stayed by Tarisai’s side, and he was the PERFECT side character! I think he was my favorite character in the whole book, honestly…

MISS HARRISON: A book that aged like milk

The Familiars: Epstein, Adam Jay, Jacobson, Andrew: 9780061961106:  Amazon.com: Books

Whew, this one’s a throwback for me…

The Familiars was my favorite series for a while when I was in elementary school, but even when it was still coming out, I remember being super disappointed by the fourth book. (Unnecessary, didn’t like the style of the illustrations, cliffhanger that was never resolved…) I’ll still always have a soft spot for this series, but I remember outwardly cringing at the writing the last time I flipped through it…

LINTHORN: A character you hated from the very beginning

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

This one was a major disappointment…

Pru from Instant Karma bothered me almost from the get-go…she was just so demanding and bratty. (And hey, I get being mad for getting a C on a group project, but…would it really kill you to settle for a B?)

EDITH: Your favorite book with Black rep

Amazon.com: An Unkindness of Ghosts (9781617755880): Solomon, Rivers: Books

It was super hard to pick just one book for this prompt, but I read An Unkindness of Ghosts last summer, and it blew me away!

I TAG:

The World Is Quiet Here — Enola Holmes (2020)

Today’s song:

NEW JULIEN BAKER AND IT’S ABSOLUTELY TRANSCENDENTAL (plus this video is INCREDIBLE)

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

Posted in Book Tags

Fall Time, Cozy Time Book Tag

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of us celebrating, happy Thanksgiving! I’m extraordinarily thankful for all of you for your endless support, and I’m grateful that we’ve gotten through this year together.

I have *way too many* book tags that I’ve been tagged in/want to do piling up, but I figured that I’d go ahead and do this one because there’s not much time left until it’s winter. Thank you so much to Bertie @ Luminosity Library for tagging me! I’m not sure who created this tag, so if you know, please let me know, and I’ll credit them!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🍁FALL TIME, COZY TIME BOOK TAG🍁

CRUNCHING LEAVES: The world is full of color! Chose a book with red/orange/yellow on the cover.

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

I love all of the vibrant colors and patterns on the cover of Raybearer, and I’m glad to say that this fantasy did not disappoint!

COZY SWEATER: It’s finally cool enough for warm and fuzzy clothing! What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Amazon.com: Pumpkinheads (9781626721623): Rowell, Rainbow, Hicks, Faith  Erin, Stern, Sarah: Books

Pumpkinheads never fails to give me all the feel-good vibes whenever I’m feeling down. It’s a perfect read for this time of year, too!

FALL STORM: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose a book that you would like to read on a stormy day.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone Houses has no shortage of immaculate spooky vibes–perfect for reading when the light is low and the rain is pattering against the windows.

COOL, CRISP AIR: Makes you breathe freely–What’s the coolest character you’d like to trade places with?

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman, Genevieve:  9781101988640: Amazon.com: Books

As much of a disappointment that the rest of this series turned out to be, I would LOVE to trade places with Irene from The Invisible Library. I can’t think of a dream job that’d be better than hopping through strange dimensions to retrieve rare books.

HOT APPLE CIDER–Warm autumn drink–what under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

The Pioneer (The Pioneer, #1) by Bridget Tyler

It’s so sad to see how little recognition The Pioneer gets in the world of YA sci-fi–for me, it’s what sci-fi should be, at its core–inventive, thoughtful, timely, and riveting. If you haven’t given this duology a try, I implore you to do so!

COATS, SCARVES, AND MITTENS: The weather has turned cold, and it’s time to cover up! What’s a book cover you don’t like?

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine: 9780451414427 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

It kind of pains me to say this, since Prince of Shadows was decent and I miss Rachel Caine (😭), but I was kind of embarrassed reading this one out in public…

PUMPKIN SPICE: Time for some Starbucks! What’s your favorite fall comfort food?

If we’re talking Starbucks, I LOVE salted caramel mochas! They’re just the perfect blend of chocolate and caramel…I could go on for days…

Other than that, I’d say anything that’s on the Thanksgiving table–biscuits, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie…man, I can’t wait to eat tonight…

WARM, COZY BONFIRE: Spread the cozy warmth! Who do you tag?

I tag:

+ anyone who wants to participate! Don’t feel obligated if I tagged you, but if you see this and want to join in, by all means!

tumblr autumn gifs - Google Search | Autumn inspiration, Falling gif, Autumn  aesthetic

Today’s song (Thanksgiving edition, credit to my mom when we were cooking yesterday):

That’s it for this fall book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating!

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews

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

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

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

Let’s begin, shall we?

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

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

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

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

GENRE: Fantasy, urban fantasy, magical realism, contemporary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENRE: LGBTQ+, contemporary, romance, science fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3. Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENRE: Fantasy, high fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today’s song:

NEW EELS

BOTTOM TEXT

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