Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for all of your support, and I’m so thankful to have such a welcoming community here. 💗
I think this was a topic for Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back, but I don’t usually do those since I do my book reviews that day. But it reminded me of a problem I often have—really enjoying a book, then never getting around to finishing the rest of the series. Too often, the sequel(s) immediately go on my TBR, and then…just disappear into oblivion and stay there for a few years. So this post is to call attention to some fun series—trilogies and duologies alike—that I need to finish, and a reminder for myself to finish said series.
I had so much fun with London Shah’s unique take on dystopia, The Light at the Bottom of the World, so I was eager to read the sequel! Book 2 came out last year, and the sad part is that I regularly saw it at my local library and never got around to picking it up. Someday…
For my review of The Light at the Bottom of the World, click here!
A lot of people didn’t seem to be as much of a fan of Into the Crooked Place as I was; I understand the sentiment that it was too similar to Six of Crows (Wes certainly was…), but I think it had a really inventive and twisty take on the YA heist fantasy genre. City of Spells came out last year, and it’s been sitting on my Libby wishlist for far too long…
I haven’t even listened to the podcast that these books were based on (although I’ve heard it described as “X-Men if they got therapy,” so you’ve sold me there), but I’ve had so much fun exploring Lauren Shippen’s tender, superpowered world. Some Faraway Placecame out last year, and I’ve been meaning to put it on hold for so long…
One of my best friends got me hooked on these fantastic books, and they’re proof that fantasy writers just don’t do nearly as much as they should with dragons. DRAGONS!!! (Also a protagonist that I imagine looking like a fantasy Black Widow…love Annie) Furysongcame out this August, and I’m patiently waiting for it to be available on Libby…
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 Crowsor 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 📖
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 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.
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.
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 Curseswas 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 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!
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.
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!
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!
That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
I refuse to believe that it’s almost April…one year since the original quarantine, nope…
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
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.
And I’m SO CLOSE to 400 followers! I LOVE YOU ALL 🥺
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…
I’d had this novel on my TBR for a good two years or so, but I forgot about it until I saw it on display at my local library. I picked it up as soon as I could, and man, I’m so glad I did! I’ve started to lose faith in a lot of YA dystopian novels, but London Shah shows us all the way to do it almost exactly right.
London, 2099. The entire city has been swallowed by the rising oceans, and humankind ekes out a living, in fear of the evolved creatures of the sea and the genetically-modified Anthropoids who lurk alongside them.
Leyla McQueen makes a living as a submersible racer, and when she enters a prestigious competition, she doesn’t enter for the fame or the fortune – all she wants to do is save her father, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. But after the Prime Minister refuses her pleas after she wins the competition, she sets out on her own to find him, leading her through a dark, watery world of secrets and lies.
This bookwasn’t perfect, but man, I’d do anything to have a debut as good as this! London Shah restored my faith in dystopian literature, and The Light at the Bottom of the World is practically a guidebook on how to do dystopian YA right.
Shah’s worldbuilding is what stood out most to me. There’s rich history in every chapter, presenting a post-apocalyptic world swallowed by rising oceans, where the last pockets of humanity war with the deep and corrupt governments tighten an iron fist around the needy. I loved seeing how the inhabitants of this drowned London eked out a living, from the submersible races to the ruined architecture.
Leyla McQueen was also the perfect protagonist for this book! Besides having great #OwnVoices British-Muslim rep, she was just the kind of main character that we could root for – quick-witted, clever, sassy, determined, and fueled by a love for her father and a flaming desire to make things right. Her chemistry with Ari was great, and she was so spirited and authentic in a way that most dystopian protagonists aren’t. Plus, I may not be a dog person, but Jojo was so adorable and must be protected at all costs 🥺
The only pitfall about The Light at the Bottom of the World for me was the writing. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it just felt a bit lacking. Everything was quick and to the point, without much metaphor or dressing. Now, I’m not saying that it needed to be bright purple prose, but I feel like it could have used a bit more vivid imagery and language. The plot made up for it though; I truly felt the adrenaline of the characters for the whole book, whether it was in the breakneck submersible races or a daring prison break.
Either way, a fantastic YA dystopia with a lovable cast of characters and a fascinating world swallowed by the waves. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!
The Light at the Bottom of the World is London Shah’s debut novel, and it is the first in the Light the Abyss duology, followed by Journey to the Heart of the Abyss, which is slated for release on October 26, 2021.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! Whew, it feels like I haven’t done an update in a while…
Luckily, this week has been fairly light school-wise, seeing as it was the last week before everything let out for Spring Break. It was one of the interim weeks where I checked out whatever feels right from the Kindle library before my physical library books came in, but everything that I read (and re-read) was great! March has been a great month for reading, for the most part. Perfect time for it, too – we’ve had a super snowy March this year, so all the better to stay inside and read.
I’ve had more time to post stuff here too, and I’ll definitely be doing more over Break before I have to prepare more for the SAT, so that’s been a lot of fun. I have a whole bunch of book tags laying dormant in my blog sticky note, so…
AND THE AURORA’S END COVER REVEAL! AAAAAH!
Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, working out the kinks on my short story, watching Falcon and The Winter Soldier (alright? I guess?) and the first half of the Snyder Cut of Justice League (AAAAH), and volunteering at the library. I definitely need a break…
Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I hope all is well where you are. As always, I hope you’re healthy, I hope you’re physically and mentally okay, and I hope that you’ve found a way to make the best of this quarantine. 💕
I wanted to do another DtTBRH session last week, but I figured I should space these posts out a little bit. But anyway, my TBR has a neverending need to be cleaned out, so I’ve decided to make another post. Plus, I’ve found it to be really fun. Here we go again, bibliophiles…
1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
2. Order on ascending date added.
3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
The Green Street Cinema has always been a sanctuary for Ethan. Maybe it’s because movies help him make sense of real life, or maybe it’s because the cinema is the one place he can go to still feel close to his dad, a film professor who died three years ago. Either way, it’s a place worth fighting for, especially when developers threaten to tear it down to build a luxury condos.
They say it’s structurally unsound and riddled with health code violations. They clearly don’t understand that the crumbling columns and even Brando, the giant rat with a taste for sour patch kids, are a part of the fabric of this place that holds together the misfits and the dreamers of the changing neighborhood the cinema house has served for so many years.
Now it’s up to the employees of the Green Street Cinema–Sweet Lou the organist with a penchant for not-so-sweet language; Anjo the projectionist, nicknamed the Oracle for her opaque-but-always-true proclamations; Griffin and Lucas who work the concessions, if they work at all; and Ethan, known as “Wendy,” the leader of these Lost Boys–to save the place they love.
It’s going to take a movie miracle if the Green Street is going to have a happy ending. And when Raina, Ethan’s oldest friend (and possible soul mate?), comes back home from Hollywood where she’s been starring in B-movies about time-traveling cats, Ethan thinks that miracle just may have been delivered. But life and love aren’t always like the movies. And when the employees of the Green Street ask what happens in the end to the Lost Boys, Ethan has to share three words he’s not been ready to say.
The synopsis does kind of ramble on unnecessarily, but I think I’m still hooked on this one. Seems cute.
2. Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness duology, #1), Robin LaFevers
Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.
Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.
As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?
I absolutely love the Beastologist series, but I’m completely cognizant that this is veeeeery different from those books. Either way, this seems mildly interesting, but not quite enough to make me want to read it. Also, the title is kinda cringey, so…
There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.
At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.
The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.
For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.
When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?
The representation sounds great in this one, but I’m not sure if I’m super invested in the plot.
Unlike the rest of the world, Iris doesn’t care about the famous high-fantasy Elementia books written by M. E. Thorne. So it’s just a little annoying that M. E. Thorne is her grandmother—and that Iris has to deal with the trilogy’s crazy fans.
When Iris gets dropped in Ireland for the movie adaptation, she sees her opportunity: if she can shut down production, the Elementia craze won’t grow any bigger, and she can finally have a normal life. Not even the rascally-cute actor Eamon O’Brien can get in her way.
But the crew’s passion is contagious, and as Iris begins to find herself in the very world she has avoided her whole life, she realizes that this movie might just be amazing…
This sounds ADORABLE. I’m getting some major Once Upon a Con vibes…
Also, I’ve never read anything by Cori McCarthy beyond Once and Future, so I’m excited to see what their solo work is like!
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.
Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…
I’ve heard so many fellow book bloggers raving about this one, and honestly, it looks SO. CUTE. I haven’t read anything by her, but judging from this and the synopsis of Loveless, it looks like Oseman’s also spot-on with her LGBTQ+ representation! 🙂
7. No Ordinary Hero (Keeper of Justice, #1), Dee J. Stone
The source: a lonely girl with an extreme superpower fueled by the negative emotions inside her.
The solution: send fourteen year old superhero-in-training Kale Zenith to be her friend and give her a reason to smile.
The problem? The girl trusts no one.
With the fate of the world in Kale’s hands, quitting is not an option. Perseverance is key to knocking down the many walls around her, and soon he gets to know Lindsay as more than just the girl who will destroy the planet.
But there’s trouble back home. A secret plot is brewing inside his superhero league, and it’s up to Kale to expose the traitor. But that takes time away from Lindsay when she needs him most. Can he save her and the world before it’s too late?
Setting aside my general revulsion at the fact that the main character’s name is Kale (I can’t tell if that’s just a hopeless blunder or an attempt to make him soon cool that crashed and burned…maybe it’s a real name? Who knows…), I smell some Not Like Other Girls and forced romance ahead.
VERDICT: LET GO
8. Uniquely Unwelcome (The Shadow World, #1), Brandy Nacole
Blurb from Goodreads: After searching all over the world for someone as unique as she is, Racquel finds herself back in her home town where she’s treated like a monster ready to kill. Racquel is one of the most unique beings ever created. Four of the most powerful beings in the Shadow World are intertwined within her, making up her unique DNA. But no matter how unique her bloodline is, she’s considered an outcast by the entire Shadow World.
Once arriving home, Racquel finds that greater evils exist and that the person she cares for most in this world, her half-sister Addie, has been kidnapped along with other Shadow World beings. Racquel finds herself facing horrible odds with those who would rather see her dead than alive.
As her journey continues, Racquel learns more about herself, what she is capable of, and that not every being looks at her as an abomination. Coy, a human captive that Racquel saves from the Vampires, starts showing kindness toward her. Racquel tries putting distance between her and the human boy but as they spend more time together it becomes harder and harder for Racquel to fight the affection she wants and needs.
But will Coy’s friendship and her new found discoveries be enough to help Racquel unravel the strangest mystery that has ever plagued the Shadow World?
Yikes, I think I just got a migraine from all those cliches…
Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.
Again, awesome representation, but beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be too much here beyond a common mystery. Guess I’m just not one for mystery.
VERDICT: LET GO
10. The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1), London Shah
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.
When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.
Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.
Ooh…besides that gorgeous cover, this one sounds INTRIGUING. Count me in.
LET GO: 5
Another 50/50 split this round! I’m glad that I cleaned some of the cliches out of my TBR list, and I’m hoping that some of my keepers are available on the Kindle library…[rubs hands together]
(Did it get cold in here, or is it just me?)
That’s it for this week’s TBR cleaning! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!