Summer TBR 2021

Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing amazing. I for one am very excited for the summer because it finally means I can read outside!

(PS: Click on the covers of the books to add them to goodreads.)

First, let’s recap!

In my Spring TBR post, I said I’d read nine novels, and complete one manga series. Well I’m happy to report that I read all of them! This is actually why I love seasonal TBRs. You feel so much less stressed, and you can read at your own pace. I mean, let’s face it. How many of us will constantly read 10+ a month? Then again, some of you amazingly fast readers have really proven me and my slow reading skills wrong. 😆 I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t feel pressured to go by strict TBRs. Read at your own pace, and read what you want. But hey, to each their own.

With that said, onto the TBR!

1. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould 

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

I received an ARC for this book via Netgalley, and I can’t wait to dive in!

2. Any Day with You by Mae Respicio

Any Day with You by Mae Respicio: 9780525707608 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

Any Day With You looks like such a sweet summer read, so of course I had to add it to my Summer TBR!

3. Alice By Heart by Steven Sater

Alice By Heart: Sater, Steven: 9780451478139: Books - Amazon.ca

I believe this novel was based off of a musical, which is really cool!

4. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

I Love You So Mochi: Kuhn, Sarah: 9781338302882: Books - Amazon.ca

This will be a re-read for me, which is rare considering I never re-read. But I’m feeling ~adventurous~ this summer so why not!

5. Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

This has been on my library shelf for quite some time, so I should probably get to it sooner or later. 😅

6. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

I’m currently reading this one as loving it! This is also a buddy read with the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books.

7. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel : McQuiston, Casey: Amazon.ca: Books

After disliking One Last Stop, I unfortunately have low expectations for Red, White and Royal Blue. But second time’s a charm?

8. Hazel and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea: Blake, Ashley Herring: 9780316535458:  Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve heard such amazing things about Ashley Herring Blake’s books, so when I saw this one at the library, I just knew I had to check it out!

9. Glitter Gets Everywhere by Yvette Clark

Glitter Gets Everywhere: Clark, Yvette: 9780063034488: Amazon.com: Books

This book is, in a way, outside of my comfort zone. So all the more reason to read it!

10. This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

This May End Badly | Samantha Markum | Macmillan

Samantha Markum’s debut looks incredible! So when I saw that it was available to request on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. Luckily, I was approved to read it and I’m so excited to dive in!

11. When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Sorry about the blurry image, but essentially, I picked this one up on a whim and am excited to see where it takes me!

12. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

The Bones of Ruin | Book by Sarah Raughley | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

I picked this one up mainly because the premise sounded so unique, and that cover is just beautiful!

13. What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

After loving Lindsay Currie’s Scritch Scratch, I just knew I had to pick this one up too!

13. Sunkissed by Kasie West

Sunkissed: West, Kasie: 9780593176269: Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve never read a Kasie West novel before, but this seems like such a fun summer read!

14. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is one of my anticipated releases for 2021. So I can’t wait to read it!

15. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

I’ve seen so many bloggers rave about this one, so of course I had to pick it up!

16. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys: Thomas, Aiden: 9781250250469: Books - Amazon.ca

I put this one on hold at the library about six months ago, and it was finally ready to read last week! Cemetery Boys was my most anticipated release of 2020, so I’m super excited to finally read it.

17. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 

Ace of Spades : Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Amazon.ca: Books

The page count of this book is intimidating, but I’m hoping to get to it sometime this summer nonetheless.

18. More to the Story by Hena Khan

More to the Story: Khan, Hena: 9781481492096: Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve been wanting to read more middle grade lately, so I’m hoping to pick this one up soon. It just looks so adorable!

19. From Little Tokyo with Love by Sarah Kuhn

From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn

I’ve been waiting for this one to release, so I’m really excited to start reading it! And doesn’t that cover look stunning?

20. Shortcake Cake by Suu Morishita

Shortcake Cake, Vol. 1 (Volume 1) : Morishita, suu: Amazon.ca: Books

I’m hoping to finish this manga series before October, as it’s a fast and fun series!

I hope you enjoyed reading my Summer TBR. Feel free to read spring’s TBR here. I’d love to know what’s on your TBR this summer too! Have a great day!

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June Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking about all the books I read in June. Much to my surprise, I read 12 novels, two of which were carry over books from May. I also completed my goodreads reading challenge of 25 books, which I never thought would be possible! Anyways, let’s get right into it!

Novels I Read

(ARC) We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon: (4.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was my first Solomon book, and will definitely not be the last! You can read my review here.

Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors: (5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I loved this so much!! It’s incredibly joyful and educational. I l highly recommend it. Review to come!

(ARC) Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza: (4.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was a huge surprise, but in the best way possible. If you love fairytale retellings, than this is a must read! Review to come!

(ARC) One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston: (1.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐ After hearing such great things about the book, I was super excited when I got around to reading it. But One Last Stop was such a disappointment. Feel free to read my review here. –Buddy read with the amazing Calliope!

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ This was both fast paced and educational! Which I’ve come to know is my favorite combination.

Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan: (3.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ I’ve been meaning to get into Dugan’s writing for quite a while now. And well, this was just okay. Review to come! –Buddy read with the amazing Calliope!

A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A Taste for Love was such a surprise! I adored this one immensely. Review to come!

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ I enjoyed my time reading this one, but it wasn’t very memorable.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, and well, it was just meh. I loved the witty banter and lists, but nothing stood out to me unfortunately. Review to come!

May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was the most conflicted rating I’ve ever given. The main characters weren’t likeable at all, but it was such a whirlwind of emotions. Review to come! –Buddy read with the lovely April @ Booked Till Midnight!

Your Heart My Sky by Margarita Engle: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ Your Heart My Sky is an incredibly heart wrenching story told in verse. I learnt a lot about Cuba in the 1990s, which was great! However, the ending was too unclear.

Graphic Novels and Manga read

Blue Lock Volume 12 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This volume was really interesting! However, it didn’t stand out as much as the previous ones.

Blue Flag Volume 6-8 by Kaito: (4.75 out of 5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This series is incredibly eye opening and emotional, so I’m sad to see it end. My only complaint is that some questions where left unanswered. Nevertheless it’s still such a great manga that I highly recommend!

Moriarty the Patriot Volume 2 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ While I admired certain concepts, others didn’t make much sense and seemed unnecessary. It’s still a great series though!

Spy x Family Volume 2 by Tatsuya Endo: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Spy x Family is such a cute and fun series! And this volume definitely proved that statement.

A Sign of Affection Volume 3 by Suu Morishita: (4.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I really enjoyed this volume! It was super relaxing to read, if that makes sense. 😆

Shortcake Cake Volume 8 by Suu Morishita: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think I put the wrong picture but essentially, this volume was really gripping!

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar and Khoa Le: (4.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was such a stunning story with beautiful art. It was like a warm hug!

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley, Nguyen Quang, and Kim Lien: (5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I LOVED this!! It’s an incredible picture book with a beautiful message. I definitely recommend it!

Total Number Of Books Read: 24

Total Number Of Posts Published: 

Average Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 out of 5 stars

I didn’t have enough time to hop over on the blogsphere last month. So if I missed any of your posts, feel free to link them down below!

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read four novels, read three netgalley ARCs, and drink more water. Luckily, I read over four novels, and got through three of my Netgalley ARCs! Did I drink enough water though…Maybe?

Some of my goals for July include…

  • Finish two netgalley ARCs
  • Read 10 novels
  • Drink lots of water

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my June in books, I’d love to know about yours too! If you’d like, you can read last month’s wrap up here. Have a lovely day!

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Blog Tour: Blood Like Magic // A Review and Mood Board!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is an exciting one because I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury. Enjoy!

Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1) by Liselle Sambury

Book Info

Title: Blood Like Magic

Author: Liselle Sambury

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publication Date: June 15th 2021

Synopsis

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

Content Warnings: Whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an eating disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect.

Find out more about Blood Like Magic with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//Indiebound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!

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Review

Filled with thrilling adventure and lovable characters, Liselle Sambury delivers a 2021 release you do not want to miss.

First, let’s talk about the plot. A futuristic world revolving around a BIPOC Canadian witch sounded amazing. Luckily, the book was just as good as I hoped it’d be! The plot was constantly moving, and I was gripping on to every page wondering what would happen next.

Moreover, the characters were very likeable! Our main character Voya is strong and relatable. She constantly tries to put on a brave face, even when the odds aren’t in her favour. Her friends and family also play a huge role in the book. I absolutely adored the best friend dynamic, as well as Voya’s relationship with her grandmother. It was so unique and amazing to see!

The dialogue had it’s snarky and witty aspects to it, that I will admit, were very enjoyable. Voya and her best friend Keis had some sweet moments, but kept a steady flow of sarcastic banter. 

Unfortunately though, I did have some trouble with the writing. It was a bit too dull, which then caused the pacing to slow. I also think the book would have benefited from more descriptions and less dialogue. Blood Like Magic is set in the future, so I was hoping to get more insight on how things would work 30+ years from now. 

The overall enjoyment level of Blood Like Magic is fairly high. Personally, I feel as though it could have benefited from a shorter page length. Nevertheless, if the idea of futuristic witches intrigues you, then I say read on!

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars)

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Mood Board

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About The Author

Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian author who grew up in Toronto, and her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. She is represented by Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency.

Want to follow the author? Visit the links down below!

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//YouTube//Twitter//

This tour was organized by TBR & Beyond Tours

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed! Have a fabulous day!

Let’s Discuss; How I Create Bookish Content

Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing great. Today I’ll be talking about how I create bookish content. I’m actually participating in Dani @ Literary Lion and Rukky @ Eternity Books‘ monthly discussions! Feel free to check out their other discussions if you’re interested. Anyways, let’s get into it!

How I Come up With Post Ideas

Step 1: Go to sleep

Step 2: Contemplate life

Step 3: Jump out of bed to write down a post idea

Step 4: Realize your idea doesn’t make sense the next morning

How I Plan My Posts

I actually keep a schedule on google calendar, and sometimes on notion. I typically prioritize blog tours, and monthly wrap-ups. Next, I plan my reviews. Reviews are the easiest posts to make, but the hardest to write. Well, at least for me. 😆 I aim to post one review a week. Third comes tags. These posts are quite time consuming, so I don’t write them all that often. Lastly, I plan other miscellaneous posts like this one.

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What the Editing and Graphic Design Process Looks Like

I always look over my post. So if you find a typo after my vigorous re-editing of the same sentence, please forgive me. 🙈

In terms of graphic design, I use picrew and canva. They’re easily accessible sites that are perfect for beginner bloggers like myself! However, I hope to upgrade my graphics within the next year. We’ll see though. 🙂

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My Posting Schedule

I try to post every Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday. However, I don’t have a specific posting schedule. For the most part, I post whenever I feel like it.

So, how do you create your bookish content? Let me know in the comments down below!

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Author Interview With Tori Sharp!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Tori Sharp is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have them here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her debut graphic novel; Just Pretend.

Just Pretend: Sharp, Tori: 9780316538855: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synosis from goodreads)

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart. 

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Tori! I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we begin the interview, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Tori: So nice to be here! Sure, random facts are a specialty of mine. My favorite socks have stars on them, I prefer iced coffee to hot even when it’s snowing, I can bend my thumbs down to touch my wrists, and I’ve been a swing and blues dancer for nine years. Besides being a children’s author and illustrator, I’m also an associate literary agent, and I live in Seattle, WA!

2. Congrats on debuting your first graphic novel! Just Pretend is amazing, and I can’t wait for other people to read it as well. May I ask, what inspired you to write it?

Tori: Thank you—you’re making me blush! I decided to write Just Pretend because I wanted to tell a story that sympathizes with kids whose parents are divorced, and is simultaneously a fun, sparkly romp. Almost every kid is going to know someone whose parents split up, but you don’t realize how that situation impacts every aspect of your life unless you’ve actually lived it. It’s not unusual to have divorced parents, but it can be complicated for a kid to try to express what it’s like. I hope this book will encourage kids to actually talk about it with people they trust.

Saniya: I love the message, it’s so sweet.

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3. The cover is so pretty! What was the cover design process like?

Tori: I’m incredibly happy with how the cover turned out—honestly it was the most daunting part of making the book! I feel confident drawing sequential art (like comics), but struggle sometimes with composing static illustrations. So, naturally, I started by enthusiastically staring at graphic novel covers on Pinterest. Next, I walked around my neighborhood and tried to visualize the coolest possible cover for Just Pretend. Daydreaming is a crucial, foundational step to any illustration. Then I drew a whole bunch of thumbnail sketches and showed about a dozen of my favorites to the team at my publisher, and they preferred this concept out of all the options. I think it’s perfect, and I love the fonts and the background color that the design team landed on.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you illustrated the cover yourself!

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4. If I may ask, could you please describe the storyline of Just Pretend in emojis?

Tori:

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5. Lastly, what do you hope young readers will take away from your novel?

Tori: If kids read Just Pretend and then spend some time creating something of their very own, whether that’s through writing or drawing or a fully embraced daydream, then I’d be so happy. Making things is its own kind of magic.

Saniya: That’s such a heart warming message, I love it!

About The Author

Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.

Add Just Pretend to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Ms. Sharp for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

Blog Tour: Made In Korea // Author Interview With Sarah Suk!

Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

Made in Korea | Book by Sarah Suk | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster Canada

Book Info

Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 18, 2021

Synopsis

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

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Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.

2. Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?

Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a
celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.

Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆

3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?

Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.

4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!

Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine?

Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to
help me focus.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!

6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?

Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.

7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?

Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.

Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!

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Giveaway (US/Canada Only)

One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.

Click this link to enter the giveaway!!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fc15a59531/

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About The Author

Sarah Suk (Author of Made in Korea)

Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Suk’s debut novel is amazing, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a great day!

Blog Tour: The Other Side of Perfect // Author Interview With Mariko Turk!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely YA novel, The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…

The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Book Info

Title: The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 11, 2021

Synopsis

Content Warning: protagonist is dealing with a lot of anger and some depression, various experiences of racism

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg–and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it. After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected–namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for. But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet–something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.

Find out more about The Other Side of Perfect with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Mariko! I’d just like to say how amazing it is to have you here with us today! Before we start, do you mind telling us some random facts about yourself?

Mariko: Hello and thanks so much for having me! Some random facts about me are: I love tea and tacos, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Colorado, when I’m at home I exclusively wear pajamas, and my favorite flowers are hydrangeas!

2. Congrats on your debut! I’m so incredibly happy for you! If I may ask, what inspired the making of The Other Side of Perfect?

Mariko: It was inspired by a couple of different things. First, right after college, I broke my leg while dancing ballet. Second, I’ve always been interested in how people grapple with the negative aspects of the things they love. For instance, I love ballet, but I know it has its share of harmful aspects—like its lack of diversity and its reliance on racial stereotypes in many classical pieces. So I started wondering, if ballet perpetuates these negative things, does that mean I shouldn’t love it? And if I do still love and support it, what does that mean about me?

When I decided to try writing a YA novel, I imagined what would happen if a 16-year-old half-Japanese girl who dreamed of dancing professionally had a career-ending injury and had to deal with losing something she loved with all her heart and with wondering if she ever should have loved it in the first place. Her story became The Other Side of Perfect.

Saniya: Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking response Ms. Turk!

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3. The Other Side of Perfect tells the story of a young girl of color as she navigates racism, ballet, and love. The diversity is amazing! What was your experience writing the novel?

Mariko: This book is so special to me because it’s the first book I ever finished! So in a lot of ways, my experience writing it felt so new. I pantsed the first draft. I knew the general idea and some of the characters, but I figured out the themes and the plot as I went along, and it went pretty quickly. I finished in a few months. But then I spent about two years revising. I actually loved the long revision process because it gave me a chance to make the themes richer and more complex, and get to know the characters on a deeper level.

Saniya: I’m glad you loved the long revision process!

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4. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would you say?

Mariko: To just write and not worry about if it’s “perfect” or not. My tendency to edit as I wrote really slowed me down and stopped me from finishing so many projects because I’d get so caught up in individual sentences and paragraphs that I’d lose steam. The Other Side of Perfect is the first book I ever finished, and it’s because I told myself I had to keep moving. I knew I’d have lots of changes to make. Sometimes I realized what those changes should be when I finished a chapter. But I didn’t go back to change them until I had a full draft.

Saniya: I loved what you said about how you just need to keep moving. It’s so easy to get caught up in little things, when we should really just be moving forward instead of holding ourselves back. Well said!

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5. Racism is something that many people of color experience, and it really hurts my heart to see kids experiencing discrimination. Why do you think it’s important to portray authentic  and diverse characters in the media?

Mariko: I think it’s so important for all young people to be able to see themselves in the stories they read and watch. And not just in one book or movie here and there, but in many. Young people deserve multiple stories that they relate to and that speak to them and their experiences in various ways. So in other words, diverse characters shouldn’t only star in stories about racism and discrimination, but also in stories about love and friendship and family and school and everything else.

Saniya: I couldn’t agree more.

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6. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from The Other Side of Perfect? Thank you so much for your time Ms. Turk!

Mariko: I hope one message readers take away is that there’s a way out of isolation and unhappiness. And that finding the way out might be tough, messy, and take longer than you want it to, but that it can also be funny, exciting, and full of unexpectedly spectacular possibilities. Thank you for these wonderful questions!

Saniya: This is such a beautiful message! Thank you once again for answering my questions. It was truly a delight to have you. 🙂

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About The Author

Mariko Turk grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in creative writing. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature. Currently, she works as a Writing Center consultant at the University of Colorado Boulder. She lives in Colorado with her husband and baby daughter, where she enjoys tea, walks, and stories of all kinds.

//Website//Twitter//Instagram//Goodreads//

Thank you so much for reading this blog tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed it. Ms. Turk’s debut novel is lovely, and I can’t wait for you to read it! Have a fabulous day!

Ten YA Novels By BIPOC Authors You Need To Check Out!

Hi all! Today I’ll be talking about some YA novels by authors of color that I believe need more recognition. I tried to pick books that aren’t necessarily as present in the book community so that you could discover some new voices!

Disclaimer: Some synopsis’ are summarized by me, others are taken from goodreads.)

(PS: To add the books to goodreads, simply press on the book covers.)

1. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

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The story centers around seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan. By day, she works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. By night, Jo writes for a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” And the story takes off from there in such an intriguing way.

This is a young adult historical novel about fighting racism and gendernorms, and I am 100% here for it!

2. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer (Raybearer, #1) by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer revolves around Tarisai, a teen who has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. However, The Lady wants Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust, as she as compelled to obey this order. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Doesn’t this sound like such a unique fantasy story? I definitely think so!

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3. Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

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Butterfly Yellow is a story about a young Vietnamese girl and her little brother. As they get ready to go to America, her brother Linh is ripped from her arms, leaving Hằng behind in Vietnam. After six long years, she makes it to Texas, USA as a refugee. Once Hằng finally reunites with her brother Linh, he doesn’t remember her! She has come so far, and will do anything to bridge the gap between them.

This is an incredibly heart wrenching and beautiful novel.

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4. The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves

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The New David Espinoza revolves around a teenage boy named David. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully’s slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up— do what it takes to become a man—and wow everyone when school starts again in the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that’s full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he’ll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything. 

Male body dysphoria is something I rarely see present in books, so I’m happy to see the issue being addressed! This is also an own voices novel.

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5. This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams

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This is a young adult romance featuring two New York teens; Isabelle and Alex. Isabellle is a dancer, and Alex, a baseball player who wants to be a poet. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.

This is an authentic young adult drama with one of the best family dynamics I have ever seen!

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6. Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices: Amazon.ca:  Ali, S. K., Saeed, Aisha, Alfageeh, Sara: Books

This is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

This book is just the cutest thing ever! If you’re looking for an own-voices Muslim rep, this is definitely the book for you!

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7. Want by Cindy Pon

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Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

This is a perfect novel for all the science fiction and dystopian lovers out there!

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8. Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Despite being fictional, Internment tells the story of many people today. It’s an eye-opening book perfect for those who enjoyed The Hate U Give.

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9. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by A Collection of Authors

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

This is a collection of intersecting stories set at a powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from Nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories.

If you want to read more Indigenous own voice books, then this is 100% the book for you!

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10. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

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Pet is a rather unusual, but gripping tale about a girl named Jam. In her city Lucille, there are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Pet is a bizarre yet astounding tale that I just know whimsical fiction lovers will come to adore!

I hope you found some great books to add to your TBR! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know. Stay safe everyone! 💙

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April Wrap-Up

Hiya! Today I’ll be talking about the books I read in April! I’m actually quite happy with this month’s results. I read more books in this month than I have ever read in any month before! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Novels I Read

Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a gripping Cinderella retelling that also had a lot of sci-fi elements. Read my full review here!

(ARC) Made In Korea by Sarah Suk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) I adored this!! Made In Korea is essentially a book about rival high school businesses but make it K-Beauty, and it was so much fun. 😆 I buddy read this one with Rania and Ritz. Do check out their blogs as well! Read my review here, and my interview with the author here!

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) I read this one in two days! It was so intriguing! Yesterday Is History is a touching and quick read on time travel and love. Read my review here!

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A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was my first middle grade read of the year, and it did not disappoint! The premise is incredibly unique too. Review to come!

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(ARC) The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This was a sweet coming of age about dance and musicals. Check out my review here, and my interview with the author here!

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Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a chilling middle grade novel about a ghost that follows a girl home. Review to come!

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Graphic Novels and Manga read

Blue Lock Volumes 1-11 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) I may or may not have binged this series. It was THAT good. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so interesting! I can’t recommend it enough.

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Shortcake Cake Volumes 3-6 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. The art is incredibly stunning, but I have major issues with a lot of things in the series.

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Ao Haru Ride Volumes 12-13 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Only one more volume left! It feels so bittersweet, but I’m glad I enjoyed the series.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I didn’t like the Prince much, but it was still a cute story nonetheless.

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. I didn’t love the art style, and the ending felt rushed.

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(ARC) Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 by Junko: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a fun and light hearted manga on switching bodies with a J-Pop idol.

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Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This was so adorable!! I loved it! You can read my full review here!

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Total Number Of Books Read: 30 (A new record!)

Total Number Of Posts Published: 7

Average Rating: 7.2/10 or 3.7 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read three novels and post some of the things I was tagged to try. Luckily, I read five novels!! However, I only posted one tag. I don’t mind though. 🙂

Some of my goals for May include…

  • Finish all netgalley ARCs
  • Read five novels
  • Drink lots of water

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my April in books, I’d love to read about yours too! Have a lovely day!

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Three Bookish Things Tag!

Hiya! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do the three bookish things tag! I was tagged by the lovely Isha @ Paperbacktomes. Do check out their blog as well. 😀

Three Read Once and Loved

I absolutely adored Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! It was the perfect cozy mystery. I can’t wait to read more books by them. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk was such a great book too, I loved it so much! History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera had very gripping writing, I couldn’t put it down.

Three Titles I’ve Watched but Not Read

I have watched The Hunger Games, Moxie, and Shadow and Bone. I’ve never read them though. I’m absolutely loving Shadow and Bone so far!

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Three Characters I Love

I adored Bao from “A Pho Love Story.” He was kind and genuine. Valarie from “Made In Korea” and Zayneb from “Love From A to Z” were both goal driven and compassionate people. I loved reading about them!

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Three Current Favorite Book Covers

I absolutely love the cover of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan has a stunning cover too. Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas has such a cute cover. I really love it.

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Three Favorite Authors

Deborah Ellis is a middle grade favorite of mine. I adore SK Ali‘s writing style and characters. Yoshitoki Ōima creates such heart-wrenching and emotional stories, I love their work.

I hope you enjoyed the tag. 😄 Have you read or watched Shadow and Bone? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’d love to know. Have a great day everyone!

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