Posted in Books

YA Books for AAPI Heritage Month

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I’m (almost) back! Today marked my last AP exam of the year (had four exams this week…hhhgh…), so now that I have most of the big tests out of the way, I can start getting back on a more frequent blogging schedule. Of course, I’m not *quite* done with the school year just yet, but the only finals I have left are for my easy classes, so I don’t think there’s anything terribly strenuous on the immediate horizon. 🙂

But I wanted to make this post because here in the U.S., the month of May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! So for the occasion, I decided to compile some of my favorite #OwnVoices AAPI YA novels of all genres. As always, it’s essential to diversify your reading pool 365 days a year, but especially with the tragic hate crimes and harmful stigmas surrounding AAPI people in the U.S. and elsewhere, it’s especially important to uplift AAPI voices.

So let’s begin, shall we?

Aapi Aapi Month GIF - Aapi AapiMonth AapiHeritageMonth - Discover & Share  GIFs

YA BOOKS FOR AAPI HERITAGE MONTH

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: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one, but I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. Raw, unapologetic, and resonant, Ngan builds such a rich world, unforgettable characters, and a plot that kept me at the edge of my seat. The sequel was a disappointment, unfortunately, but I think I’ll stick it out for book 3.

This Time Will Be Different – Misa Sugiura

Amazon.com: This Time Will Be Different eBook: Sugiura, Misa: Kindle Store

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For anyone who seeks to make change in their community, this one’s a must-read! A beautiful story of family, history, and everyday resistance.

Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

Love Hate & Other Filters - Social Justice Books

GENRES: Fiction, contemporary, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

After reading two of her books and a short story, I can now say that Samira Ahmed might just be a new favorite author of mine! She never misses, and her debut is no exception; a raw and beautiful tale of love, family, and fighting back against bigotry.

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

GENRES: Historical fiction, fantasy, retellings (Romeo and Juliet), romance

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

I tried (and failed) to set my expectations at a reasonable level after all the hype this one got, but I must say, this one is worth a good portion of it! A fresh and original spin on Romeo and Juliet set against the background of 1920’s Shanghai, complete with warring gangs and strange monsters.

Warcross – Marie Lu

Amazon.com: Warcross (9780399547966): Lu, Marie: Books

GENRES: Science fiction, romance, dystopia

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Marie Lu’s one of my favorite authors, and it was hard to pick just one of her books for this post, but I ended up on this one because a) it was my first exposure to her AMAZING writing and b) I don’t talk about it an awful lot, so why not give it some more love?

Besides that gorgeous cover, there’s something for everybody here: futuristic Tokyo, a clever and lovable heroine, mysteries within competitive video games, and secret plots.

Almost American Girl – Robin Ha

Amazon.com: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir (9780062685094): Ha,  Robin, Ha, Robin: Books

GENRES: Graphic novels, autobiography

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

GAAAH, this one’s beautiful! This one’s an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel, centering around the author’s experience as a Korean immigrant to the U.S. and the transformative power of art and comics.

Ash – Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

GENRES: Retellings (Cinderella), fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amid the bountiful Cinderella retellings out there, this one truly stands out, with lush writing reminiscent of the narration of Pan’s Labyrinth and classic fairytales, and a warm and resonant sapphic romance. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a retelling worth reading!

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

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

GENRES: Fantasy, historical fiction, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you’re a fan of Six of Crows, I AM ONCE AGAIN ASKING YOU TO DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND READ THIS BOOK. Lovable and authentic characters, a complex world and system of magic, heists for famed artifacts, and political intrigue – this one has it all.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao

Amazon.com: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress Book 1)  eBook: Dao, Julie C.: Kindle Store

GENRES: Retellings, high fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you love antiheroes, corruption arcs, or stories from the perspective of the villain, than this book is for you! Rich, dark and compelling, this is a must-read duology for any YA fantasy fan!

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Descendant of the Crane (9780807515518): He, Joan: Books - Amazon.com

GENRES: High fantasy, mystery

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I know I never stop blabbing about this one, but this is a prime example of genre-bending done right: a stunning blend of fantasy and murder mystery! I’m so surprised that more people haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it if you haven’t. (And I can’t wait for The Ones We’re Meant to Find! It looks amazing, but I can’t find it at my library…[impatient screeching])

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

The Henna Wars — Adiba Jaigirdar

GENRES: Fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and I’m so glad to say that it delivered! A diverse, sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance with important discussions about cultural appropriation, the immigrant experience, and sexuality.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these books, and what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA books by AAPI authors?

Aapi Heritage Month GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Ok I think I can officially forgive her for MASSEDUCTION because THERE IS NOT A BAD SONG ON THIS ALBUM! Expect a review soonish…

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

Posted in Book Tags

Schitt’s Creek Book Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎆

This tag’s been *patiently* waiting in a little sticky note on my computer since the beginning of quarantine, so I figured that it would be good to start the year off with a cute book tag. I watched most of Schitt’s Creek in 2019, but I finished up the last season at the very beginning of quarantine, and it’s so consistently funny and feel-good!

I found this tag over at Kayla’s Wordsmithy, and the tag was originally created by Julie @ Pages and Pens and Aimee Reads over on Booktube.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SCHITT’S CREEK BOOK TAG

JOHNNY ROSE: An uplifting book with a good message

Schitt's Creek Johnny GIF | Tell-Tale TV

My first thought was This Time Will Be Differenta beautiful tale of resistance, friendship and family. (Plus, that cover…)

This Time Will Be Different — Misa Sugiura

MOIRA ROSE: An over-the-top character you can’t help but love

Unacceptable Schitts GIF - Unacceptable Schitts Creek - Discover & Share  GIFs | Schitts creek, Creek, Funny comedy

Jax from Heart of Iron steals the show in both books in the duology–no shortage of witty quips and HEAPS of sass. He’s the best.

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1) by Ashley Poston

DAVID ROSE: A book that represents your aesthetic

All The Schitts Creek Gifs You Need - Funny Or Die | Funny comedy, Schitts  creek, David meme

Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam perfectly fits the bill for this prompt–a quiet, atmospheric sort of space opera with an interstellar romance woven in.

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden | Avery Hill Publishing

ALEXIS ROSE: Best character growth/arc

Go Alexis GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I recently finished Among the Beasts and Briars (which was PHENOMENAL, by the way), and I loved Fox’s growth throughout the book. I guess being accidentally transformed into a human against one’s will just does that to the brain.

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

STEVIE BUDD: A book with a favorite ride or die friendship/group

Emily Hampshire Stevie Budd GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

I love all of the chaotic space misfits in Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine’s Honors trilogy, especially in book 3, Honor Lost. They’re all just so distinct in personality and bounce off each other so well, and they’re all just so sweet together.

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel, Aguirre, Ann:  Kindle Store

TED MULLENS: Favorite book with an animal on the cover

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Definitely not my favorite book, per se, but The Storm Crow has quite a few animals on the cover.

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephson

PATRICK BREWER: Ideal love interest

Pop Tv Medication GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Aurora Burning. One word: Kal.

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff: 9781524720926 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

COMMUNITY SERVICE: A book you read for school/buddy read/readathon challenge you had low expectations for but ended up being amazing

Amazon.com: All Out of Pretty (9781939547484): Palmer, Ingrid: Books

I read All Out of Pretty for my school’s book club a few years ago, and it blew me away! Difficult to read, for sure, but raw and powerful. I’d highly recommend it.

“EWW, DAVID!”: A book you DNF’d because the content was too much for you

Ew David GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I wouldn’t say that Infinity Son was “too much” for me, per se, but it was just a steaming mess. I just couldn’t put up with it after about the 25% mark or so.

Amazon.com: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle) (9780062457820): Silvera, Adam:  Books

“LOVE THAT JOURNEY FOR ME”: Best series ender/overall series progression

Amazon.com: TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) (LIFEL1K3) (9781524714000): Kristoff, Jay:  Books

TRUEL1F3 was my absolute favorite of the Lifelike trilogy, and such an explosive end to a trilogy like no other.

“EAT GLASS”: An author/series you broke up with

Eat Glass GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I got through the first four books in the Shatter Me series (definitely hit-or-miss, but book four was great), but then Defy Me came along with all these flat-out RIDICULOUS twists that made no sense at all, so I gave up.

Amazon.com: Defy Me (Shatter Me) (9780062676399): Mafi, Tahereh: Books

“VERY UNINTERESTED IN THAT OPINON”: A popular opinion that you disagree with

David Rose Comedy GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Alright, let me just say it out front: I did NOT enjoy The Cruel Prince. The worldbuilding was great and I liked the little illustrations, but none of the characters were likable. At all. And Jude and Cardan’s relationship is all kinds of toxic. (HOW AND WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE HIM?)

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! And if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek yet, I highly recommend it!

Pop Tv Catherine Ohara GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Realizing that both the Fargo: Year 4 score AND the long awaited Legion Season 3 score/covers came out recently was the best kind of late Christmas present

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

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (5/23/20)–Books about Plants/Flowers 💐

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Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’ve decided to start doing a weekly 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 plants/flowers–it can be in the plot, the cover, or the title.

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 (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

 

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

Wild Beauty–Anna Marie McLemore

Amazon.com: Wild Beauty: A Novel (9781250124555): McLemore, Anna ...

We’ve got a whole garden in the plot, and we’ve got a bevy of gorgeous flowers on the cover…

 

This Time Will Be Different–Misa Sugiura 

Amazon.com: This Time Will Be Different (9780062473448): Sugiura ...

There’s flowers on the cover, and CJ works in a flower shop, which plays a big role in the plot.

 

The Gilded Wolves–Roshani Chokshi

Amazon.com: The Gilded Wolves: A Novel (9781250144546): Chokshi ...

I don’t think plants/flowers factor into the plot as much as the other two novels, but we’ve certainly got both fake and real flowers on the cover.

 

Tell Me How You Really Feel–Aminah Mae Safi 

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

I wasn’t as big a fan of this one (I appreciate the diverse representation, but both of the protagonists got on my nerves), but I LOVE this cover–beautiful flowers and a sapphic couple!

 

And I Darken–Kiersten White

And I Darken (And I Darken Series #1) by Kiersten White, Paperback ...

I read this one for my school’s book club last year, and it was fairly entertaining. It could have been shortened, in my opinion, but I liked it overall.

 

I tag: 

And anyone else who wants to participate, feel free! 

Flowers GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Today’s song:

I instantly thought of this song when I saw the prompt…

 

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

thank you for reading

Posted in Book Tags

Women’s History Book Tag

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Afternoon, bibliophiles!

I found this tag on The Comfy Reader, and as soon as I saw that it had to do with Women’s History…COUNT. ME. IN. The tag was created by Weird Zeal.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post.
  • Link to the creator’s blog in your post
  • Answer the questions below using only books written by women
  • Feel free to use the same graphics
  • Tag 8 others to take part in the tag

 

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Image result for girls of paper and fire

Lei from Girls of Paper and Fire is the ultimate disobedient, fierce, and patriarchy-smashing protagonist. I just got started with the sequel (Girls of Storm and Shadow), and though it’s not quite as potent as book 1, I’d forgotten how much I loved her and Wren.

 

Ada Lovelace

Image result for sky without stars book

Alouette from Sky Without Stars is a character that I always love to see in a female protagonist–daring and determined, but also incredibly intelligent, and VERY bookish!

 

Queen Elizabeth 1

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One of the perspectives that I enjoyed the most of Catherine in The Smoke Thievesand her later struggle (and GREAT successes) of ascending to the throne as Queen of Brigant.

 

Virginia Woolf

Image result for wild beauty anna marie mclemore

The prose in Wild Beauty was one of the elements that most stood out to me in the book, as flowery as the gardens of La Pradera.

 

Joan of arc

Image result for sky in the deep

Although this was only a three-star read for me, Sky in the Deep was what immediately came to mind. Eelyn was most definitely a Wonder Woman-ish character, in an almost Viking setting.

 

Mae Jemison

Image result for a conspiracy of stars

Ooh, boy, I’ve got a lot to choose from…

A Conspiracy of Stars stands out so much in the YA sci-fi genre, with its spectacular world-building and memorable writing. WHERE. IS. BOOK. THREE.

 

Rosalind Franklin

(Heeeeey, we learned about her in my bio class not long ago!)

Image result for other words for smoke

Chilling and masterfully written, it honestly saddens me how little recognition Other Words for Smoke (and anything by Sarah Maria Griffin, really) has gotten.

 

Marsha P Johnson

Image result for everything grows book

Another vastly underrated novel, Everything Grows is a beautiful and deeply relatable book about exploring one’s sexuality.

 

Amelia Earheart

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I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: The Poet X deserves every ounce of hype that it has received.

 

Your Choice

Image result for sally ride

Sally Ride has been one of my personal heroes ever since I did a project on her in 8th grade. The first American woman in space and an LGBTQ+ icon, she is continually one of my biggest inspirations. 💗

Image result for this time will be different book

With its tackling of many issues that plague our modern society today, This Time Will be Different inspires me to not just look at the big picture, but to look within local communities to remedy these ills.

 

I tag anyone who’d like to participate during this lovely Women’s History Month! 

Image result for rosie the riveter gif

 

Today’s song:

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Pancake Book Tag

I found this tag on A Little Haze Book Blog, and I figured it would be a fun tag to participate in!

the-pancake-book-tagh-1.png

Alright, here are the rules:

  • Link back to the original creator, Becky @Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic.
  • Feel free to use any of the pancake graphics in your post, or create your own!
  • Tag some people!

 

I love pancakes, so here goes nothin’…

the-pancake-book-tag-1-e1551612713788.png

Hands down, I’d say Wild Beauty.

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Not only is the story reminiscent of a fairy tale, the writing is as lush and decadent as the flowers it centers around.

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Sidenote: pancakes with lemon drizzle? Ooh, never tried that combo…I love most anything lemon-flavored, so…

I know I add this book in with most of my tags, but Finian from Aurora Rising definitely fits the bill.

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Even at the most inopportune times (edit: mostly at inopportune times), Finian always has a sassy, snappy comeback that never fails to make me laugh out loud in the most serious of scenes.

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I just can’t stop re-reading Carry On

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Though it’s a bit intense at times, I always come back to love story of Simon and Baz…and end up feeling all the feels as a result.

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Whew…I really want to re-read A Monster Calls again at some point, but man…[prepares myself for an intense outpour of tears]

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When I first read this, around two(ish) years ago, I just had to read it twice in a row. Nothing could take my mind off of it, and…yeah, I feel like I couldn’t read anything else for a few days. Gaaaaah, this one’s a killer…

 

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Indulgent feels…hmm…

If we’re talking about indulgent feels, I’d say Soul of Stars, the second installment in the Heart of Iron duology.

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Soul of Stars was everything that I wanted in a sequel–the cast of characters retained their impeccable chemistry, the plot was just as heart-racing (and heart-wrenching), a certain in-credible plot twist (loud crying) and a perfectly satisfying ending.

the-pancake-book-tag-4-e1551612967708.png

Ooh…my first thought for this one is Art from Like a Love Story.

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He’s got many year’s worth of pent-up (and…sometimes not so pent-up) anger, which coats his personality for most of the book; about 3/4 of the way through the book, we definitely get to explore deeper into him, as his relationships with some of the other characters begin to strengthen.

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No doubt, The Pioneer.

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This one had me constantly second-guessing what was going to happen next. The Pioneer is the kind of book where you think you have the plot figured out, but something makes the plot go topsy-turvy in seconds.

 

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Alright, I hate to do this to you guys, but…I really…can’t…think of any…

All of the significant romances I can think of either a) worked out near-perfectly from the star or b) everybody loves, but I still kind of despise. Oops.

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Hands down, This Time Will Be Different.

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Not only is the main character Japanese-American, we’ve got a whole, backing cast of POC and LGBTQ+ characters, not to mention the deft tackling of several issues, almost all of them stemming from racism.

 

So, that just about wraps it up!

I tag: 

 

Have a lovely rest of your day, and if I don’t post tomorrow, have a happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that! 🙂

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (9/3/19)-This Time Will Be Different

Hello there, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday–the first BRT of September 2019!

 

I just finished this one up a little under a week ago. Going into it, I’d heard a boatload of praise from it…plus, that ✨GORGEOUS COVER…✨

*ahem* moving on…

This Time Will Be Different  is such an important book for our current climate; not only is it a book about fighting against all forms of discrimination, but one of forging your own path and going where your heart tells you to go. A very impactful and moving novel.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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This Time Will Be Different

Seventeen-year-old C.J. Katsuyama has always felt torn about her dreams; her mother constantly pressures her to be a perfect, straight A student and a future programmer, but her heart lies in Heart’s Desire, her aunt’s flower shop that traces its history back to her first-generation Japanese immigrant ancestors. At Heart’s Desire, C.J. truly feels at peace, and though she hasn’t perfected her craft of making the right bouquet for every occasion, she’s quickly learning, and to her, that’s what matters.

But in a sudden turn of events, C.J.’s mother proposes to sell Heart’s Desire–and to the same company that, many years earlier, cheated it away from her immigrant grandparents. Now, C.J. feels that she truly has something to fight for–but will her efforts be in vain?

 

 

Man. I haven’t read a book quite like this in a while.

This is, in every sense of the word, a beautifully feminist novel. Not only does the plot center around dismantling racist cultures, it also tackles other, equally important topics, such as LGBTQ+phobia, the problem of the white savior, and (briefly) teen pregnancy. It all felt very real, from the relationships the characters have to the high school environment. I found myself rooting for C.J. (weeeelll…most of the time, I found her to be a tad impulsive and insensitive at some points, but it was somewhat warranted) on every page. Unputdownable and unforgettable. Not perfect, certainly, but something that everyone needs to read, especially in this day and age.

 

This Time Will Be Different is a standalone, but Misa Siguira does have another novel that came out a few years back, It’s Not Like It’s A Secret. I’ve been meaning to read it for years, but it’s never available at the library…woe is me… 😦

 

Thank you so much for reading this review! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourself!