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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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 Monthly Wrap-Ups

January 2021 Wrap-Up 🌨

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I figured this year that monthly wrap-ups would be a fun way to track my reading progress. This is my first stab at it, so we’ll see how it goes…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Screaming Thom Yorke GIF | Gfycat

January was…an interesting month? Definitely had its ups and downs, I’d say. The school year started out super stressful and overwhelming, and I had to take a week and a half off blogging. But after getting over that initial hump, the workload started to get more manageable, and it’s stayed that way, for the most part, knock on wood.

As far as writing goes, I finished the initial edits on my first draft of the sci-fi WIP I’ve been steadily chipping away at since November 2019 (or thereabouts). I’ve now started outlining it before moving onto draft two; the filler chapters…why did I write so many filler chapters…

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I found a lot of good music though! I’ve been listening to loads of Julien Baker lately (I can’t wait for the new album in February!), and I thoroughly enjoyed getting into the scores for Fargo and Legion. I just got into Lucy Dacus too, and No Burden was a good album, for the most part.

And it’s generally just a relief to have Joe Biden in office. Hey, he’s not perfect, but it’s quite a nice change to not have to worry about my basic human rights being taken away on the daily. 🙂

READING AND BLOGGING

My Goodreads challenge is for 250 books at present (I lowered it in anticipation of schoolwork), and I read 20 books in January! (Not counting a few single-issue comics.) This is the first year where I’ve been paying attention to how many books I’ve actually read in a month, so it’ll be interesting to see how my progress waxes and/or wanes.

So without further ado, here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather: 9780553539547 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
Haunting the Deep

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) by Roshani Chokshi
The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
I’m Thinking of Ending Things

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Zero Repeat Forever – 4.75 stars, rounded up to 5

Amazon.com: Zero Repeat Forever (1) (The Nahx Invasions) (9781481481854):  Prendergast, G. S.: Books

I’m too lazy to list every single post that I’ve made this month (and I think that it’d be rather tedious to go through, anyway), so here are some of my highlights.

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

I Believe In You All GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

GOALS FOR FEBRUARY:

Film Animated GIF | Beetlejuice movie, Beetlejuice, Michael keaton  beetlejuice
  • Read more books by Black authors for Black history month! (And make a post about it!)
  • Listen to & review Little Oblivions (Julien Baker) when it comes out!
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Finish my initial outline for my sci-fi WIP?

Since I already posted today, check out today’s weekly update for today’s song.

And that wraps up my January! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!