It feels like a while since I’ve done a book tag, and regardless of whether or not that’s completely true, I decided to do one. I found this one over at Classy x Book Reviews (Amanda and Antonia have a fantastic blog, check it out if you haven’t already!), and the tag was originally created by Rachel @ Life of a Female Bibliophile. Sci-fi is my favorite genre, so of course I had to do this tag!
Let’s begin, shall we?
🪐INTERGALACTIC BOOK TAG🪐
SPACE: name a book that is out of this world – that takes place in a world different from our own.
Crownchaserstakes place in an entirely new galaxy—a lot of interesting planets are explored throughout the duology!
BLACK HOLE: Name a book that completely sucked you in.
I know I use this book for every tag, but Aurora Risingsucked me in like no other book has—when I first started reading it, I blew through hundreds of pages without moving, and after I finished it, I ended up re-reading it three times before setting it down for something else. (Why yes, this is my favorite trilogy, why do you ask?)
LIGHTSPEED: Name a book you are anticipating so much that you wish you could travel at lightspeed to get to it.
As disappointing as Persephone Stationwas, I will say that it has one of those beautiful covers that you can’t help but stare at.
MULTIVERSE: Name a companion or spin-off series you love.
The Sound of Starsand The Kindredare companion books set in the same universe, and I loved them both! Very different thematically, but they were both fantastic in their own ways.
GRAVITY: Name your favorite romantic pairing that seems to have a gravitational pull to each other.
Alright, I know I shouldn’t double up, but Kal and Auri from the Aurora Cycle are my all-time favorite book couple. And Kal’s attraction is even called The Pull, so how could I not use it for this prompt?
THE BIG BANG: Name a book that got you started on reading.
As far as sci-fi goes, The Search for WondLawas what got me hooked on sci-fi literature. It’s been a while since I’ve re-read it, but I love to look back through the illustrations; Tony DiTerlizzi is just as talented as an artist as he is a writer.
ASTEROID: Name a short story or novella that you love.
To Be Taught, If Fortunateis a wonderful novella, and the concept is so inventive—what if, instead of transforming planets to our needs, we transformed ourselves?
GALAXY: Name a book with multiple POVs.
Sky Without Starsis told from three POVs (Alouette’s POV is my favorite), and it’s a fascinating sci-fi retelling! I’d highly recommend the whole trilogy.
SPACESHIP: Name a book title that would be a great name for a spaceship.
Iron Widowwould be SUCH a cool name for a spaceship. I’m picturing some sort of sharp-edged battleship for it. Skyhunterwould work too.
Ever since I read The Sound of Stars back in 2020, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Alechia Dow’s next book. I preordered The Kindred last year knowing that I’d love it, and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Sound of Stars, it was a wonderfully sweet and rollicking novel.
After a violent, class-based revolution ravaged the Monchuri system, the Kindred program is introduced to quell the chaos; in order to ensure equal representation within the kingdom, mind pairings between citizens from all over the system.
Felix and Joy are paired by the Kindred, but their backgrounds couldn’t be more different; Felix is the Duke of the Monchuri system, while Joy is a commoner in the poorest planet in the system. But when the rest of the royal family is assassinated and Felix is put under suspicion, they escape together—only to crash-land on Earth. With the galaxy hunting for them and targets on their backs on Earth, the two must find a way to return home and prove Felix’s innocence.
The Kindred wasn’t quite as potent as The Sound of Stars was for me, but in no way does that mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, it’s solid proof that if I see Alechia Dow’s name on a book, I’ll probably read it.
Despite the trigger warnings I listed, The Kindred is fairly light-hearted; even with all of these topics discussed (all with aplomb), it still manages to be a feel-good, tender read throughout. The themes of racism and fatphobia (mostly with regards to Joy) are handled in a sensitive way that doesn’t dull their importance, but the book is consistently light-hearted and warm. It hits the perfect balance of not diminishing these themes and keeping levity within the book, and it’s the perfect book if you want sci-fi that will cheer you up!
Everything I loved about The Sound of Stars was in The Kindred in spades! Felix and Joy were such endearing characters, and their chemistry together was perfect. They had conflicting personalities on the surface level (with Felix being the more reckless one and Joy being more sensible and reserved), but as they bonded, their relationship became the textbook example of “opposites attract” done well! Plus, it’s always wonderful to have queer couples like them front and center. Joy is demisexual/asexual, and I believe Felix is pansexual or queer? (Felix’s sexuality wasn’t specified, but it’s mentioned that he’s been in romantic relationships regardless of gender so I’ll say queer for now.) Alechia Dow never fails to give us the diverse stories we need.
As far as the plot goes, I wasn’t invested in it as much as I was the characters. Most of it was a bit predictable—not much subtext, surface-level political intrigue, a neat and tidy end to the conflict, and all that. But I didn’t mind this time; the focus was supposed to be on Felix and Joy’s romance, after all. The Earth part of the story was funny most of the time; I didn’t get as many of the music references this time, unlike with The Sound of Stars (definitely not a Swiftie here haha), but the fact that there’s a black cat named Chadwick sold me. BEYOND CUTE.
My other main problem with The Kindred was the aliens themselves. It’s one of my main pet peeves in sci-fi in general: aliens that look like humans, but with a few very minor differences. Although there were some side aliens that were described as non-human, Joy and Felix and their species were just…humans with better technology? Eh…I will say though, at least they’re not white this time. In particular, Joy is plus-size and Black-coded, which was a vast improvement from the white-coded aliens that usually end up in the aforementioned trope. I’m willing to let it slide this time (sort of) because a) Alechia Dow is a great writer and b) diversity.
All in all, a romantic, diverse, and all-around feel-good sci-fi from an author that I’ll be sure to watch in the future. 4 stars!
TheKindred is a standalone, but it is set in the same universe as The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow’s debut novel. You don’t have to read one to understand the other, but there are nods to The Sound of Stars throughout The Kindred. Alechia Dow is also the author of the forthcoming Sweet Stakes (expected to be released in 2023), and contributed to the anthology Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I’m glad to be out of school for Thanksgiving break…I need some time off.
This book tag has been sitting in my blog sticky note for a while, but I figured it would be the right occasion to do it since I’ve just finished Aurora’s End (🥲). The tag was originally created by Jemma @ Starry Eyed Reader, and I found the tag on her blog as well. The Aurora Cycle is my favorite series, so I just had to do this tag!
Let’s begin, shall we?
💫SQUAD 312 BOOK TAG💫
TYLER JONES—THE ALPHA: Your favorite main character
I’m trying to stray away from using any of the Aurora Cycle books for these prompts, which makes this question…[ahem] difficult…
But for this one, I chose Ellie Baker from The Sound of Stars—she’s rebellious and relatable, and she runs a secret library! Great taste in music, too.
SCARLETT JONES—THE FACE: Which character could talk themselves out of anything?
Jesper from Six of Crows would be able to fast-talk himself out of anything and everything. Would the other Crows approve? Probably not, but that’s not what matters here, right?
ZILA MADRAN—THE BRAIN: A super smart character who would probably kill you
FINIAN DE KARRAN DE SEEL—THE GEARHEAD: Your favorite piece of fictional technology
Does a ship count as a piece of technology? This was a hard one, but the Harbinger—a giant ship that ferries the souls of the dead—from The Soul Keepersis a really cool concept for me. It’s most of the reason that I picked up the book in the first place.
KAL GILWRAETH—THE TANK: A book that made you angry
(my boy Kal deserves a better prompt than this…😔👊)
I DNF’d An Absolutely Remarkable Thingat around the 30% mark; I was already debating whether or not to put it down, but the bisexual rep was HORRIBLY offensive for me, so I jumped ship. Would NOT recommend.
CAT BRANNOCK—THE ACE: A fictional crush you’re still not over
I don’t get book crushes all that often, and my main ones happen to be in Aurora Rising (Kal and Auri are both SO CUTE, I CAN’T HELP IT…now that’s some bi panic for ya), but I’ve always thought Baz Pitch from Carry Onlooked cute on the cover art.
AURORA JIE-LIN O’MALLEY—THE GIRL OUT OF TIME: If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be?
Okay, I’m breaking my self-imposed “I’m not using the book that inspired this tag as answers for this tag” rule, because the Aurora Cycle is the only series that fits this bill. I always come back to the books; in the past two years, they’ve become so uniquely dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them in it.
+ any other Aurora Cycle fans who want to participate! If you see this tag and want to do it, I’d love to see your answers! And if I tagged you and you don’t want to do the tag/have already done it, no worries.
That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! And of course, Squad 312 forever.
I was in the mood for a book tag today, so I figured I’d give this one a shot. I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories (thank you!), and I’m not sure who created the tag, so if you know, please let me know so I can credit them!
Let’s begin, shall we?
📘3 BOOKISH THINGS BOOK TAG📘
3 READ-ONCE-AND-LOVED AUTHORS
Just so I don’t sound like a broken record, here are three that I’ve discovered more recently and loved…
Uh…I just use bookmarks, and I have no memory of using anything else…
3 UNPOPULAR BOOKISH OPINIONS
The Cruel Princewasn’t that good, and Jude and Cardan’s relationship was all kinds of toxic
Wings of Ebonywasn’t that great either, but I will say that a) I loved the unapologetic approach to racism and colonialism and b) the cover was really pretty
Alina from Shadow and Boneshouldn’t have been paired off with the Darkling or Mal – both options weren’t great, and why did she need to be paired off in the first place? (But if I could pair her off with anyone, I’d say Genya.)
3 BOOK GOALS FOR THE YEAR
Read at least 250 books (I’m at 130 right now!)
Actually get around to reading The Handmaid’s Talebc it’s been sitting on my Kindle for over a year
Don’t cry that hard during Aurora’s End(because it’s a given that I’ll cry at some point)
Now that we’re in the month of June, I’m so excited to share more queer YA books. I did a whole series last year of LGBTQ+ books in various genres, so I was struggling to think of something new for this year. So I’ve decided to compile my favorite queer books that I read between last pride month and now. (There’s a whole lot of good ones!)
But as with all kinds of posts like these, it’s important to remember that we must uplift marginalized voices in literature 365 days a year.
If you want to check them out, here are my pride month recs from last year:
LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Two of the MCs are sapphic, wlw relationship, third MC is aromantic/asexual
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
This one wasn’t without its flaws, but I loved this blend of sci-fi and fantasy! There’s also an especially beautiful scene where Nathaniel (aroace character) discovers his sexuality, and although I’m not aspec myself, I’m sure this will touch the hearts of so many ace readers.
Here’s another feel-good queer fantasy – this one’s a graphic novel! Besides the fact that there’s nothing better than witches and werewolves having soft relationships, it’s so cool to see a disabled queer character like Nova! (She’s hard of hearing, and there’s several discussions about her hearing aids.)
I don’t usually jump for contemporary, but this was SUCH A DELIGHT. Not only is it an enemies-to-lovers, multiracial sapphic romance, there’s some really important discussions about homophobia and cultural appropriation.
LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Gay MC, lesbian and trans side characters
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A beautiful, coming-of-age novel in verse about a mixed-race teen realizing his sexuality and discovering himself through drag. I don’t read a whole lot of novels in verse, but this is one you absolutely have to read!
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.
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.
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…
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?
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!
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?
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!
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?
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.
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 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 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!
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…)
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!
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?
That’s it for this list of recommendations! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
As this dumpster fire of a year comes to a close, I thought it would be nice to reflect on what made it bearable: books. Reading was what kept me going through good times and bad this year, and while I read a whole lot, there were a select few books that stood out from the rest, from new-to-me authors and authors I’ve been following for years.
(NOTE: this list also contains books that I rated 4.75 stars and rounded up to 5.)
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?
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!