July Wrap-Up

Hiya! Before we start I just want to say that I’m so sorry for the month long hiatus. I’ve been very busy lately. Nevertheless, I am back and ready to delve into the book blogging world once more!

Novels I Read

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: 4.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) I really loved this one! It was beautifully written, and was a lovely introduction to Nicola Yoon’s books. Review to come!

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) This was the perfect summer read. Review to come!

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee: 4 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) Unfortunately, my expectations were too high. Nevertheless, it was still a good story! Review to come.

(ARC) Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: 4.75 out of 5 stars. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) I adored the book! But the ending was not for me. Review to come!

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: 4.25 out of 5 stars. (⭐⭐⭐⭐) Obviously, this was sad. However, I didn’t cry as much as I expected myself too?? In my humble opinion, it’s a teensy bit overhyped. Review to come!

Graphic Novels and Manga read

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Ostertag: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I really enjoyed reading this! Unfortunately though, it didn’t stand out all that much. You can read my full review here!

The Promised Neverland Volume 19 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu: 4.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) This volume had a lot of plot twists, some of which didn’t make much sense to me. Nevertheless, I’m very excited for the final volume!

The Delinquent Housewife! Volume 1 by Nemu Yoko: 3.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I had high expectations for this series, but the jokes weren’t that funny to me.

Levius/est Volume 1 by Haruhisa Nakata: 3.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I picked this one up on a whim. While I didn’t love it, the story was quite interesting. I recommend Levius/est to sci fi fans!

Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) This was…interesting.

Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban: 4.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) This was such a cute picture book!

Total Number Of Books Read: 11

Total Number Of Posts Published: 2

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

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read two netgalley ARCs, and read 10 novels. Unfortunately though, that didn’t happen. I read five novels, and only one ARC. Reading slumps happen! And that’s totally okay! I think it’s better that I took a break and just read at my own pace. :))

Some of my goals for August include…

  • Finish two netgalley ARCs
  • Read 4 novels

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my July 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 fabulous day!

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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

Image result for downstairs girl

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

Pet

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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Yesterday Is History | A Review

Hey everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Kosoko Jackson’s debut novel Yesterday Is History. Did I binge read 240 pages of this book in one day? Perhaps. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Yesterday Is History: Amazon.ca: Jackson, Kosoko: Books

Weeks ago, Andre Cobb received a much-needed liver transplant. He’s ready for his life to finally begin, until one night, when he passes out and wakes up somewhere totally unexpected…in 1969, where he connects with a magnetic boy named Michael. And then, just as suddenly as he arrived, he slips back to present-day Boston, where the family of his donor is waiting to explain that his new liver came with a side effect—the ability to time travel. And they’ve tasked their youngest son, Blake, with teaching Andre how to use his unexpected new gift. Andre splits his time bouncing between the past and future. Between Michael and Blake. Michael is everything Andre wishes he could be, and Blake, still reeling from the death of his brother, Andre’s donor, keeps him at arm’s length despite their obvious attraction to each other. Torn between two boys, one in the past and one in the present, Andre has to figure out where he belongs—and more importantly who he wants to be—before the consequences of jumping in time catch up to him and change his future for good.

What initially drew me into reading Yesterday Is History was the plot. I was looking for a book that would make me 💫feel something💫, and I’m happy to say that it delivered! This debut novel is the heart-wrenching and emotional read I needed. I was ecstatic to find that the time travel concept wasn’t confusing either!

Unfortunately though, the main character Andre was a bit insufferable. What really annoyed me was how everyone, including himself, kept on saying that he was a ‘smart boy.’ It was repeated way too many times. Aside from that, I liked that Andre was a bit selfish as it made him seem more human. I’m glad that cancer was also represented as simply a part of Andre’s identity, and not his whole entire personality. People are more than just their medical situations, so I think the author handled it very well.

“The only way out is through. And the best way through something is the truth.”
― Kosoko Jackson, Yesterday Is History

What made this novel so incredibly gut punching was Andre’s relationship with the love interests. There was one love interest in each timeline. One in 1969; Arthur, and one in the present day; Blake. The main character’s relationship with Blake felt extremely rushed and sudden. It came out of nowhere. The one in 1969 felt too insta-love for my liking, but I was anticipating it, so their relationship wasn’t surprising. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading about Andre’s relationship with his parents, and with Blake’s parents. There was something so genuine about it. In addition, his relationship with his best friend Isabel felt forced and unnecessary. She barely had a role in the story. Considering that Isabel is his best friend, it felt odd that she had little to no presence.

The dialogue in Yesterday Is History sometimes felt unrealistic. It was very picture perfect, and was too formal. Luckily, there were some moments where I pondered what was said, which was nice.

“But every time I think back on it, on every spark of joy Blake gives me, I wonder, would that spark be a roaring flame if I were with Michael?”

― Kosoko Jackson, Yesterday Is History

The writing was simple to understand, which I was very grateful for considering that this is a science fiction novel. Sadly, it felt bland at times. I really wanted to this book to be emotional because it seemed like that type of book, but it just wasn’t. (But I guess that’s more on me then the book.)

I must admit, I was planning on giving Yesterday Is History 3 stars. But my oh my this was such an addicting read! I could not put it down. If you’re trying to get out of a slump, I highly recommend this novel. Overall, it was very enjoyable. If you like science fiction, or are wanting to get into it, this might just be the book for you.

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: Use of alcohol

Final Rating: 8.5/10 or 4.25 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s your favorite science fiction novel? I’d love to know! Have a great day, and thank you for reading!

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Rogue Princess | A Review

Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Today I’ll to be reviewing Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers. Before we get into it, I would like to point out how gorgeous this cover is! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers

(Synopsis from goodreads)

A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella. Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway. All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess! Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

First, let’s talk about the plot. The original premise sounded so cool! A steampunk genderbent Cinderella retelling? Um yes!! The execution was done fairly well. However, I feel like the story was subject to bad writing. The story was all over the place, and there were too many mini plots. I didn’t know what direction the story was taking until page 220 or so. There was also a certain event that was used as a plot device even though it barely added anything to the story. Luckily, one thing that allowed me to raise my rating was the plot twist. I was definitely not expecting it.

Additionally, the main character Delia was underdeveloped. There was so much that happened in Delia’s life, yet she still stayed the same at the end of the book. She also didn’t have much of a personality aside from not wanting to marry a prince. Then again, it’s not like Prince Charming had much of a personality in the original Cinderella. Fortunately, Aidan was a very likeable character. He was passionate, fun, and his snarky remarks never failed to make me crack a little chuckle.

“If you love anything in this world, fight for it. Otherwise what’s the point of anything?”

―B.R. Myers, Rogue Princess

The side characters were definitely a hit or miss. The princes felt very comic book like, which made them seem extremely one dimensional. Prince Quinton really caught my attention though. He was mysterious and kind, and I really enjoyed reading about him. I only wish he was a little more developed though. Same goes for Prince Felix. Moreover, Delia’s sister Shania did not stop talking about men. It was literally all she would talk about. I’m not going to lie, it did annoy me quite a bit. Thankfully, the pirates were actually very cool. I loved the way the author worked them into the story too! Overall, the majority of the characters felt very one dimensional, which is unfortunate.

Furthermore, the dialogue was consistently done well. It was most certainly the highlight of the story. The dialogue really added to the enjoyment of the novel. From Delia and Shania’s interactions, to Aidan’s sassy remarks, the dialogue was undoubtedly very enjoyable.

“There is no greater power than the power of choice.”

―B.R. Myers, Rogue Princess

The writing style is where I had a lot of issues with. It was extremely dragged out at times, and felt overly repetitive. It was too blunt and the metaphors made no sense. I simply could not get into it. Due to the writing, so many moments that where meant to seem beautiful or symbolic did not make me feel any emotions. The story was also very confusing and I found myself struggling to imagine what was going on. There was also little to no world building. This led me to being heavily confused throughout the story. Luckily, despite being in third person, the story read like a first person story. I was very happy about that since I’m not a fan of third person writing.

The overall enjoyment level of Rogue Princess was pretty average. It was a good story that simply wasn’t impactful. As mentioned previously, the writing and underdeveloped characters made the story less enjoyable. Nevertheless, the original concept was very unique. Rogue Princess opened my eyes to a completely new genre of books that I will certainly explore more of!

If steampunk or science fiction are genres that interest you, I highly recommend you give this book a read!

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: manipulation, death of a loved one, violence

Final Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐

Have you ever read any steampunk or science fiction novels? Let me know in the comments down below. Have a fabulous day!

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Journey To The Center Of The Earth | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I bring you the long awaited review of ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ by Jules Verne. After six long months, I finally finished it! I didn’t DNF it, I just got carried away into other books. (And that’s on reading 4 books at the same time.) For those of you who don’t know, this novel is a 295 page classical adventure that takes place in, for the most part, Iceland, England, and the center of the earth.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne - Penguin Books New  Zealand

When German professor Otto Lidenbrock stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient manuscript, it’s the first step in an epic adventure-one which will take him to the planet’s very core! Lidenbrock, together with his nephew Axel and Icelandic guide Hans, mounts an expedition downward through the layers of the Earth, coming face-to-face with strange creatures, overcoming terrific obstacles, and discovering truly wondrous sights.

First, let’s talk about the initial premise of the story. A journey into the earth sounds exciting and fun! I for one have never heard of such a unique plot, so I was rather intrigued to see how it would turn out! However, the plot execution is where the novel falls a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely did enjoy reading this classic, but the ending is what really bummed me out. The story had so much potential to grow! There were so many amazing species they talked about, and even saw, but never really discovered. Then again, there is only so much you can do in 295 pages. So overall, the plot execution was just okay. Not incredible, but considering the fact that this was most likely THE FIRST adventure novel out there at the time, I’ll give Mr. Verne a pass.

The characters where actually really interesting. First we have Professor Lidenbrock, who is absolutely hilarious. The novel is told through the eyes of Axel, the professor’s nephew. His sarcastic and rational reactions to his Uncle’s outgoing and determined behavior keeps the story lively and interesting. Hans, their Icelandic assistant, literally saves their butts ten times in row, and it gets even funnier every time. Overall, the characters were simple, yet well-crafted. Not to mention that despite being published in the early 1860s, there were no sexist or racist remarks made by the author in the novel! That pushed me to give this book an immediate extra star.

“Is the Master out of his mind?’ she asked me.
I nodded.
‘And he’s taking you with him?’
I nodded again.
‘Where?’ she asked.
I pointed towards the center of the earth.
‘Into the cellar?’ exclaimed the old servant.
‘No,’ I said, ‘farther down than that.”

― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

The dialogue was absolutely hilarious! I never ever got tired of it. The language was so easy to understand, yet it was very descriptive. Speaking of descriptive, Journey To The Center Of The Earth had me playing a literal movie in my head. It was so descriptive, but in a great way! You also learn A LOT about geology and science. However, due to the stressful situations the characters go through, it isn’t nearly as boring as reading a high school geology textbook. (No offense.)

The writing style was surprisingly simple yet energetic. It was quite easy to understand. So if classics intimidate you due to their formal and hard-to-understand nature, this book is a wonderful place to start!

I must say, I really did enjoy Journey To The Center Of The Earth. In my 2021 Winter TBR Post, I talked about how I’ve been reading this book for a while now. The reason behind that is because adventure is simply not my style. I love realistic fiction and contemporary, so that’s why I decided to take a break from the novel for a while. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly spontaneous read, and I highly recommend it to anyone eager to read a good classic novel. If classical reads aren’t your style, this is the story that will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone! (In a good way of course.)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a charming classic that everyone should read!

Age Rating: 10 and up

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read Journey To The Center Of The Earth? If not, what do you think of classical novels? Let me know in the comments down below! Take care and have a fabulous day everyone!

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