F Is For Friday – September 25 2020

How to participate in the meme:
1. Credit the creator of this tag and link back — Nomadic Worlds
2. Answer the four questions to the best of your ability.
3. Most important of all, enjoy yourself!

Questions:
F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)
I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.
F – Favorite quote of the week/day
F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.


Before I get started I just want to talk about the injustice that has been given to Breonna Taylor this week. It’s so infuriating and frustrating to see this Black woman get no ABSOLUTELY NO justice for her death. After all this time with people who used her murder as a meme, as a martyr and some people just as a means to make themselves look better. It’s a fucking disgrace. It’s painful. I am just so angry for her and her loved ones. So today I’ll like everyone to keep in mind the system in America where we have allowed police to kill Black citizens.

I’m going to link the Louisville Bail Fund and also update this post with some petitions and places to donate. But I know that can never be enough to help mend the amount of injustice that has taken place. Black Lives Matter. Black Women Matter.


F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)

My latest bookish obsession is actually my current read which is MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! I’m slowly reading through this and savoring it because it’s such a good gothic story that embraces the genre while also being a critique of colonialism and white privilege and I’m probably going to have a raving review for it in October! I have yet to finish but I am adoring the writing, the characters particularly our heroine Noemí Taboada (she is a boss ass bitch!!) and the atmosphere. I am also finding the best fan art for it on Twitter!

I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.

I’m still working on finishing MEXICAN GOTHIC but I do hope to fit in some books I have gotten from the library such as BURN OUR BODIES DOWN, GIRL, SERPENT, THORN and A WICKED MAGIC. As you can tell I’m in spooky mode when it comes to reading!

F – Favorite quote of the week/day

The most appropriate quote for this politically tumultuous time comes from a most recent watch of ENOLA HOLMES on Netflix (which I recommend!) Sherlock Holmes is talking about how politics bore him and this character, Edith tells it to him straight why that’s such a white male privileged take!

“Because you don’t know what it is to be without power. Because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.”

F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

All the things I’m grateful for this week have been film and show related. Media has such a strong grasp on me right now.

1) ENOLA HOLMES – As mentioned above I recently watched this and it was quite delightful. I may do a full review on it just for fun. Not a perfect film by any means but it was still very enjoyable and it just made me feel a little better. Millie Bobby Brown knocks it out here and she’s going to be starring in another YA novel adaptation that she’s producing which is so cool.

2) BRIGHT STAR – Another film that I’m working on reviewing because it was so beautiful and I just discovered it by randomly looking for period drama as on Amazon Prime! This is a gorgeous but also sad film about John Keats and his short lived romance with his muse, Fanny Brawne. There’s so much I want to discuss about this film but if you’re looking for an underrated biopic, this is one that you should watch!

3) PRIDE & PREJUDICE (just everything P&P) – I will sometimes get in a kick for everything P&P and I recently watched the 2005 film and the 1995 miniseries again and they always cheer me up! I know that the debate between which of these adaptations is the best always comes up but I like them both for their own reasons! I do prefer the 2005 version in terms of filmmaking and the 1995 for being a more straight and thorough adaptation of the novel. But anyways look at them!!!!

4) SUCCESSION – I started this show on Sunday (the day of the Emmy’s when it won some awards) and it is something. The way I’m going to describe will most likely turn some people away from watching because at first I was apprehensive of watching it because it’s exactly what I’m about to tell you it is: rich white people doing rich white people things. But make no mistake that this is a darkly humorous and satirical comedy about these kind of privileged white people, so you’re able to laugh at these people screwing up and failing because they’re terrible people! You don’t want any of them to succeed and I think the show is so much better for not trying to find ways to redeem them. The show actively is telling you to not root for them. It’s somehow so brilliant in a time when the privileged keep doing stupid shit.

5) THE OWL HOUSE – Easily one of my favorite and in my honest opinion one of the best children’s animated series right now! The first season just ended at the end of August but I highly recommend it if you want creepy, witchy autumn vibes right now. It’s just a good and engaging show. I have a full review wrote up for in October so be on the lookout for that one 👀.


Have a happy weekend and happy reading 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – What’s on My Fall 2020 TBR 🍂

This is a Top Ten Tuesday post, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Click here form more on this weekly meme and for future topics

Here in the Northern hemisphere it’s the first of FALL!! While I live in the state where I don’t actually get to experience the glory that is fall weather. The crispy crunchy leaves, the breeze in the air, there is actually a little bit of a breeze today so I’m taking that as a good start to fall.

With the weather as it typically is here, I have to use books to get that vibe of fall coziness and some spooky stuff mixed in.

This fall here are some of the books I would like to most get around to reading! This is a mix of upcoming releases and books that I would just really like to read before fall is over with or at least before the end of the year!


THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB

I have yet to read a book from this author and I know I should get on that but I’m really fascinated by this story’s synopsis surrounding a girl who makes a Faustian deal to live forever and the consequences that of course come with that decision.

THE POPPY WAR BY R.F. KUANG

This is one of the most hyped series on my Twitter timeline. It feels like everyone has read this and I do own it and the sequel THE DRAGON REPUBLIC. It sounds so epic and dark and just everything I kind of want to read right now.

HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES BY HOLLY BLACK

I’m so excited for this that I’ll probably retread The Folk of the Air trilogy to get even more hyped for it. I’m all here for this bit of fanservice Holly Black is giving us!

Another super popular series on Book Twitter. Plus an adaptation coming on the way! It’s been described as kind of like The Godfather and has a unique fantasy story along with it. So ready to start this series!

LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN

If not one of my most anticipated reads of the year, LEGENDBORN promises a lot.It’s epic fantasy with a Black girl at the front and center inspired by Arthurian legend!! It sounds cool and I’ve been following the author on Twitter and she’s just so passionate about this story and I love to see it.

PLAIN BAD HEROINES BY EMILY M. DANFORTH

This is from the author of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST and I’ve been surprised that there’s not too many people talking about it. I actually haven’t looked too much into it, I think it’s dark academia apparently??

A DEADLY EDUCATION BY NAOMI NOVIK

LOVED Spinning Silver so much and I’ll gladly read anything Naomi Novik writes. This is dark academia x fantasy vibes and a magical school setting with a strong and morally grey female character.

A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN BY ROSEANNE A. BROWN

Another diverse YA fantasy that sounds like my jam! This one is also getting an adaptation. I also follow the author on Twitter she is so sweet and I love what she said about her story. This promises a great enemies to lovers romance which I’m all about!

THE VANISHING HALF BY BRIT BENNETT

I really hope to at least read this one before the year is over. The premise is intriguing and timely and I’ve heard great things about it.

KINGDOM OF THE WICKED BY KERRI MANISCALCO

Yet another popular author who has a popular series (STALKING JACK THE RIPPER) that I have yet to read. I did put SJTR on my library holds so maybe I’ll get it before this one but I was intrigued by this one mostly because of the enemies to lovers romance and it has something to do with the Seven Deadly Sins.


That’s it for what I want to read this fall! Let me know down below if you have any of these on your TBR or if you have already reof these yet.

Top Ten Tuesday – Floral Horror Covers

This is a Top Ten Tuesday post, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Click here form more on this weekly meme and for future topics

Today’s topic is a Cover Freebie!! Freebie topics are always fun and easy and I had many ideas for this but I was led to this idea since it’s close to spooky szn 🎃!!! I wanted to share a a trend I’ve noticed recently (not saying it hasn’t probably been done before) when it comes to horror books: floral horror. Basically these are horror books that feature flowers/plants. I am going to admit that I am using the word “horror” loosely for some of these books which maybe would fit more into murder mystery or dark fantasy but let’s just pretend it’s all under the same umbrella of horror. Just for my sake 😉

I think this is an interesting trend because a pretty cover doesn’t typically go together with what most people associate with horror but I think that may be the intent of the artist and/or publisher. To attract people who like pretty covers to read horror stories. I like both so these appeal to my taste. Then again we did get a movie like Midsommar which is both pretty and disturbing.

Flowers can be deadly. Literally. There are flowers than can kill you.

I tried to look into the covers and see if the artists were going for metaphors or deeper meaning with the flowers in the covers. Some actually did, some seem to be for more ~ aesthetic~ purposes which is honestly fine. I did some deep dives on the internet and looked up what some of flowers meant. However I have also learned that I could not identify different types of flora if my life depended on it. Like I know what a rose and a sunflower looks like. But other than few other flowers, IDK. I’m not an expert on these things. I just think they’re pretty.


WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power / Cover by Aykut Aydoğdu & Regina Flath – OUT NOW

Definitely the most attention grabbing one is this gorgeous yet horrifyingly creepy cover of WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power. It’s so pretty but if you think about it too long it’s kind of terrifying and twisted. This is how the author described the cover/story in an interview for the cover reveal.

Girlhood is its own kind of horror. Girls grow up steeped in it, in that slow-burning fear, in that sneaking sense that our bodies aren’t our own. In writing Wilder Girls, I wanted to take that horror and make it something else. Something you can touch. Something you can fight against, if you want, or keep tucked inside. Wilder Girls is about agency; it’s about hope; it’s about the things girlhood tries to drive out of us. I’m so proud to be sending it out into the world with this stunning cover – I hope you enjoy it.

HORRID by Katrina Leno / Cover by Tran Nguyen – Release Date: September 15 2020

It should not be a surprise that this cover is on this list because this one of my favorite covers for this year. But at the same time I’m not sure if the black flowers have any sort of deeper meaning. It just looks horrid but in a good way. I can’t wait to read this horror that’s inspired by Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

HOUSE OF HOLLOW by Krystal Sutherland / Cover by Aykut Aydoğdu – Release Date: April 2021

Of course the same artist for WILDER GIRLS goes absolutely hard on another YA horror. This one gives me Midsommar vibes and the insects and blood make it even more creepy and chilling. The artist definitely does pretty body horror very well. “Beautiful, unsettling, haunting” as described by the author. Which is a perfect description!

THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS by June Hur / Cover by Pedro Tapa – Release Date: April 2021

This book is a historical murder mystery that takes place in Joseon Korea on Jeju Island. So I looked up what kind of flowers exist on Jeju Island. I found out that Jeju Island is most known for canola blossoms (which are a gorgeous yellow), cherry blossoms, red azalea, and rhododendron blossoms. I don’t know if any of the flowers on the cover are these variety of flowers but I’d like to think they are. But regardless this is such a lush cover that would be fill in with colors like a coloring book page. But use of flowers with the two girls sort of hiding or disappearing within the flowers may represent secrets lurking.

WHAT BIG TEETH by Rose Szabo / Cover by Corey Brickley – February 2021

I’ll be honest and say I don’t have much to say about the floral aspect of the cover design here since I think the most obvious draw is the face with fangs. BUT THERE ARE FLOWERS in the background. This is a horror story and it’s about a family with “monstrous” secrets. Mwahaha.

IN THE RAVENOUS DARK BY A.M. Strickland / Cover by Natalie C. Sousa – Release Date: May 2021

The author, via me looking at their Twitter, feed helped me figure out that the flowers are poppies and that this book is inspired by Greco-Roman culture and mythology. So with those little tidbits in mind, I did a quick Google search. Poppies in Greco-Roman myths were used as offerings to the dead and often represent eternal sleep. Cool. Also it’s a skull made from flowers!!!

PRIDE & PREMEDITATION by Tirzah Price / Cover by Dan Funderburgh & Corina Lupp – Release Date: March 2021

LOOK ANOTHER SKULL MADE OF FLOWERS!!! I can assume these are lillies, tulips etc. I don’t really know but it just looks pretty. Also this is a Pride & Prejudice murder mystery retelling so I’m in for a treat when I get my hands on this book!

MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia / Cover by Tim Green – OUT NOW

The only adult title I have on here, I know, but I really think this is a beautiful cover. Also one book I can’t wait to read soon. Of course there’s the yellow flowers that the main character is holding. Then there’s the wall decor which is very stylish and gothic. But it also may represent the feelings of entrapment which is a common theme of horror/gothic tales.

CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas / Cover by Mars Lauderbaugh – OUT NOW

As described by the author in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Lady Death and the marigolds represent Dia de Muertos, the holiday during which Cemetery Boys takes place. This cover is the perfect mix of beauty, magic, mystery and unapologetically Latinx!” So glad to see that the flowers do play an important role in the story here. It’s also a book on my immediate TBR. I just got my copy in the other day!!

WATCH OVER ME by Nina LaCour / Cover by Pippa Young – Release Date: September 15 2020

It’s pretty!! And it’s a ghost story! I have no idea what these flowers are but again it’s pretty and I’m actually very hyped for this book!


That’s that for my Top Ten! Let me know what you think and share your own posts if you joined in! Also let me know if you know anymore about these flowers than I do lol.

Also check out these artists. They are all amazing. They’re indivual work is so impressive my favorites are Tran Nguyen’s, Pedro Tapa, and Aykut Aydoğdu.

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine / Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt

ROAD OUT OF WINTER

Author: Alison Stine
ISBN: 9780778309925
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books

Many thanks to the publisher for letting me participate in this blog tour and granting me access to the ARC for this title.

Surrounded by poverty and paranoia her entire life, Wil has been left behind in her small Appalachian town by her mother and her best friend. Not only is she tending her stepfather’s illegal marijuana farm alone, but she’s left to watch the world fall further into chaos in the face of a climate crisis brought on by another year of unending winter. So opens Alison Stine’s moving and lyrical cli-fi novel, ROAD OUT OF WINTER.

With her now priceless grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, Wil upends her life to pursue her mother in California, collecting an eclectic crew of fellow refugees along the way. She’s determined to start over and use her skills to grow badly needed food in impossible farming conditions, but the icy roads and desperate strangers are treacherous to Wil and her gang. Her green thumb becomes the target of a violent cult and their volatile leader, and Wil must use all her cunning and resources to protect her newfound family and the hope they have found within each other.

Chapter One

I used to have dreams that Lobo would be arrested. The sheriff and his deputies would roll up the drive, bouncing on the gravel, but coming fast, too fast to be stopped, too fast for Lobo to get away through the fields. Or maybe Lobo would be asleep, and they would surprise him, his eyes red, slit like taillights. My mama and I would weep with joy as they led him off. The deputies would wrap us in blankets, swept in their blue lights. We were innocent, weren’t we? Just at the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time, involved with the wrong man—and we didn’t know, my mama didn’t know, the extent.

But that wasn’t true, not even close. 

I sold the weed at a gas station called Crossroads to a boy who delivered meals for shut-ins. Brown paper bags filled the back of his station wagon, the tops rolled over like his mama made him lunch. I supposed he could keep the bags straight. That was the arrangement Lobo had made years ago, that was the arrangement I kept. I left things uncomplicated. I didn’t know where the drugs went after the boy with the station wagon, where the boy sold them or for how much. I took the money he gave me and buried most of it in the yard.

After his station wagon bumped back onto the rural route, I went inside the store. There was a counter in the back, a row of cracked plastic tables and chairs that smelled like ketchup: a full menu, breakfast through dinner. They sold a lot of egg sandwiches at Crossroads to frackers, men on their way out to work sites. It was a good place to meet; Lisbeth would come this far. I ordered three cheeseburgers and fries, and sat down.

She was on time. She wore gray sweatpants under her long denim skirt, and not just because of the cold. “You reek, Wil,” she said, sliding onto the chair across from me.

“Lobo says that’s the smell of money,” I said.

“My mama says money smells like dirty hands.”

            The food arrived, delivered by a waitress I didn’t know. Crinkling red and white paper in baskets. I slid two of the burgers over to Lisbeth. The Church forbade pants on women, and short hair, and alcohol. But meat was okay. Lisbeth hunched over a burger, eating with both hands, her braid slipping over her shoulder.

“Heard from them at all?” she asked.

“Not lately.”

“You think he would let her write you? Call?”

“She doesn’t have her own phone,” I said.

            Lisbeth licked ketchup off her thumb. The fries were already getting cold. How about somethin’ home made? read the chalkboard below the menu. I watched the waitress write the dinner specials in handwriting small and careful as my mama’s.

“Hot chocolate?” I read to Lisbeth. “It’s June.”

“It’s freezing,” she said. 

And it was, still. Steam webbed the windows. There was no sign of spring in the lung-colored fields, bordered by trees as spindly as men in a bread line. We were past forsythia time, past when the squirrels should have been rooting around in the trees for sap. 

“What time is it now?” Lisbeth asked.

I showed her my phone, and she swallowed the last of her burger.

“I’ve got to go.”

“Already?”

“Choir rehearsal.” She took a gulp of Coke. Caffeine was frowned upon by The Church, though not, I thought, exclusively forbidden. “I gave all the seniors solos, and they’re terrified. They need help. Don’t forget. Noon tomorrow.”

The Church was strange—strange enough to whisper about. But The Church had a great choir; she had learned so much. They had helped her get her job at the high school, directing the chorus, not easy for a woman without a degree. Also, her folks loved The Church. She couldn’t leave, she said.

“What’s at noon?” I asked.

           She paused long enough to tilt her head at me. “Wylodine, really? Graduation, remember? The kids are singing?”

“I don’t want to go back there.”

“You promised. Take a shower if you been working so my folks don’t lose their 

minds.”  

“If they haven’t figured it out by now, they’re never going to know,” I said, but Lisbeth 

was already shrugging on her coat. Then she was gone, through the jangling door, long braid and layers flapping. In the parking lot, a truck refused to start, balking in the cold.  

I ordered hot chocolate. I was careful to take small bills from my wallet when I went up to the counter. Most of the roll of cash from the paper bag boy was stuffed in a Pepsi can back on the floor of the truck. Lobo, who owned the truck, had never been neat, and drink cans, leaves, and empty Copenhagen tins littered the cab. Though the mud on the floor mats had hardened and caked like makeup, though Lobo and Mama had been gone a year now, I hadn’t bothered cleaning out the truck. Not yet.

The top of the Pepsi can was ripped partially off, and it was dry inside: plenty of room for a wad of cash. I had pushed down the top to hide the money, avoiding the razor-sharp edge. Lobo had taught me well.

I took the hot chocolate to go.

In the morning, I rose early and alone, got the stove going, pulled on my boots to hike up the hill to the big house. I swept the basement room. I checked the supplies. I checked the cistern for clogs. The creek rode up the sides of the driveway. Ice floated in the water, brown as tea. 

No green leaves had appeared on the trees. No buds. My breath hung in the air, a web I walked through. My boots didn’t sink in the mud back to my own house in the lower field; my footprints were still frozen from a year ago. Last year’s walking had made ridges as stiff as craters on the moon. At the door to my tiny house, I knocked the frost from my boots, and yanked them off, but kept my warm coveralls on. I lit the small stove, listening to the whoosh of the flame. The water for coffee ticked in the pot.

I checked the time on the clock above the sink, a freebie from Radiator Palace. 

“Fuck,” I said aloud to no one.

Excerpted from Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine, Copyright © 2020 by Alison Stine. 
Published by MIRA Books

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

So here are in the middle of an influenza pandemic and during one of the hottest years ever and I happen to be reading a story about a post apocalyptic society set in an endless winter. Honestly its quite the experience. Just the cool down I needed. So I cranked my AC down to a chilling temperature to get that feel of wintery apocalyptic dread that ROAD OUT OF WINTER delivers on.

This is one of those reads where I felt a bit out of my comfort zone since lately I’ve been reading YA contemporary, so going from that to a climate change apocalypse sci-fi for adults is a stark difference.

Plus this has the fun little addition of having a cult! Cults are very much my thing and I have to say that the one in this story is so well done. It added to the psychological element of this book that slowly creeps on you and it’s characters.

And I adored Wil! She’s a Bi female lead who sells weed to get by. I appreciate this hustle. I also appreciate and was delightfully surprised by this fact since I had no idea it would be here but it was and it was refreshing that the queer rep was well executed. Her character arc is so well done and nuanced. Along with most of the characters the story’s setting and tone help to bring out Wil’s darker and grittier side. The sides of humanity that come out when we are trying to survive.

My biggest draw to any story like this is the survival element and how it affects the characters psychologically. Surviving something makes us act in different ways. These parts where things go bad made it feel so real. Because societal collapse is a very real thing that could happen as soon a tomorrow.

I highly recommend you check this out for yourself if you’re willing to dive into a bleak, gritty story that is hard hitting and hard to put down once you really get into it. It does take its time but I thought it was worth it despite the slow build up.

ALISON STINE lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Buy Links: 
Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:
Author Website
Twitter: @AlisonStine
Instagram: @AliStineWrites
Goodreads

F is For Friday – August 28 2020

How to participate in the meme:
1. Credit the creator of this tag and link back — Nomadic Worlds
2. Answer the four questions to the best of your ability.
3. Most important of all, enjoy yourself!

Questions:
F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)
I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.
F – Favorite quote of the week/day
F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.


F – feature your latest book obsession

This is kind of hard for me to answer right but uhhh I guess the library? Which I’m always obsessed with because 1) its the library which means free books 2) I work at one. I’ve been getting more books from the library lately since there has been some great releases. Maybe I’ll do a library haul in the future (?)

I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine is my weekend read. I have a blog tour coming up for it so yeah I should definitely get on it. It’s a bleak, winter, near future dystopian. Perfect read for a summer full of sweltering heat and pandemic illnesses. There’s a few other books that I have my eye on that I may pick up but it’ll depend on my mood.

F – Favorite quote of the week

I discovered this on the Twitter timeline and I had to retweet. It’s been stuck with for a while so I might as well share. I feel like its super fitting for the time we’re living in and how much of a bizarre summer it’s been.

I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

F – Five things you’re happy/grateful for this week

1) MY MOM
2) MY DAD
3) MY PETS
4) PEOPLE WHO WEAR MASKS
5) PEOPLE WHO AREN’T RACIST, HOMOPHOBIC, XENOPHOBIC, SEXIST, OR JUST ANYONE WHO IS NOT BIGOTED. 🙂


Thanks for reading if you did and I appreciate you! Have a good weekend 🙂

Candid Convo #1: What the Hell Have I Been Doing This Year?

Welcome to this thing I’m doing now.

I’ve had this idea in my head since March/April and then the Covid-19 pandemic started. I thought about starting this anyways around that time because I wanted a way to vent about things and talk about various, non-bookish things and maybe even get ~personal~. But I put it off not only due to the pandemic but also with the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement, I felt that it was absolutely not the time or place for me do this kind of thing. I’ve been focusing my time, energy and money on BLM and social justice causes. I’ll link a carrd down below if you want to know more about the current events happening in the world.

Then there’s the fact that this has been yet another bad mental health year for me, especially with depression. Not that the world being on fire helps but its especially been a struggle for me this year to do the things I’m SUPPOSED TO DO for this blog: read and blog.

Not that I haven’t been doing either of those things. I’ve been offered to join blog tours (cool!!!) and read ARCs but at the same time it’s taken away from me being able to read books I want to read for my own pleasure and amusement and not just obligated reading. In the near future I’m going to go more into this topic so be on the look out for that post.

I have been trying to keep up with other bloggers’ content this year as well but I’m deeply sorry if I haven’t been social or engaging as much as I wish I could be. I’ve been meaning to share a lot of new bloggers I’ve discovered this year on my blog and also just be more interactive but alas ~mental health~.

Since COVID-19 has disrupted my life as much as everyone elses’, I’ve been working (which is a whole other candid convo), watching shows and films, playing video games (especially Animal Crossing: New Horizons), and listening to music to try to keep my sanity. With all the media I’ve been taking in this year, I’ll have plenty of non-bookish things to review and discuss with y’all soon lol.

While this year I haven’t focused on books as much as I would like too, I do have some blog post ideas that have been lingering for a long while. Some that may take a while to come into fruition but we’ll get there when we get there.

Thanks for reading if you did, let me know what you think of this, and just whatever is on your mind. 🙂


I’ve you want to know about what I’m up to or talking about follow me on my Twitter where I’m pretty much on all the time.

ISSUES GOING ON IN THE WORD

BLOG TOUR: Body Talk Review – Edited by Kelly Jensen

Thanks so very much to Algonquin Books for Young Readers for providing me a digital review copy via NetGalley and letting my join in on this blog tour!

SYNOPSIS

It’s time to bare it all about bodies!
 
We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story.
 
In Body Talk, thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists share essays, lists, comics, and illustrations—about everything from size and shape to scoliosis, from eating disorders to cancer, from sexuality and gender identity to the use of makeup as armor. Together, they contribute a broad variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live in their particular bodies—and how their bodies have helped to inform who they are and how they move through the world.
 
Come on in, turn the pages, and join the celebration of our diverse, miraculous, beautiful bodies!


REVIEW

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read non-fiction in a while and I was glad to have the chance to read this one. BODY TALK is all about the ins and outs of our bodies. From the way we look on the outside to the way that our bodies make us feel on the inside.

Complex, diverse, impacting, hopeful, and emotional. These are some of the words I’d use to describe this anthology. This anthology made me feel so many emotions from relating to the pains of being insecure about how I look and feel about my own body to being uplifted by the more humorous tales. From tackling scoliosis, body hair, body dysmorphia, endometriosis, chronic illness, achondroplasia dwarfism, teeth, makeup, being fat, puberty, blindness, the color of ones’ skin, BODY TALK offers multiple accounts of the joy and pains of literally living with ourselves told through multiple mediums, such as essays, comic strips, and illustrations.

I also enjoyed the FAQs about related words and terms that are important when talking about our bodies such as disabled, fat, body positivity, accessibility, etc. Which explains thoroughly about the how, when, and why we use these words when talking about our bodies.

This is an important and unique anthology and I would recommend this to any teen or adult who is confused about how to feel about their own body as this offers a plethora of voices. Even if I can’t personally relate to some of the stories, I feel that its important to hear from people who live beyond your own experiences. There were some stories that I could relate to regardless of my own experiences that I found emotionally impactful. I recommend taking your time with one as there are many stories to take in and each and every one brings its own lasting impression.

My personal favorites were from Rachael Lippincott, Eugene Grant, Tyra Banks & Carolyn London, Sara Saedi, D.M. Moerhle, Julie Murphy, Junauda Petrus-Nasah, Rosahni Chokshi, Jourdain Searles, and Gavin Grimm.

BODY TALK is OUT NOW and I highly recommend you go out and get it from your local bookstore, online, or at your local library!

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

2020 has certainly been a year. The book world has no doubt been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the most recent Black Lives Matter movement. Book release dates have been delayed or changed to later dates, which pushed a lot of books I wanted to read into the later half of 2020. I have many 2020 releases on my radar and I wanted to share them with y’all.

Also for all of my posts I’ll be sharing this carrd for any who reads to check it out, donate and learn about the things that have happened and are currently happening in the world right now.

And before I get into talking candidly about books on my TBR I want to make my stance clear about who I am and what my blog stands for.

~Black Lives Matter!!! ACAB!!! Trans Rights!!! Free Palestine!!! Fuck ICE!!! Fuck Trump!!!~

ISSUES GOING ON IN THE WORLD CARRD

AUGUST RELEASES

AUGUST 4

THE BLACK KIDS BY CHRISTINA HAMMONDS REED

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Even though its set during 1992 California, the synopsis of this novel and the themes are still relevant and timely to current day politics and movements. I actually don’t know too much about the Rodney King Riots, which is a damn shame and honestly goes to show how much the U.S. school system fails to teach students about the U.S’s racist history.

THEY WISH THEY WERE US BY JESSICA GOODMAN

Gossip Girl meets One of Us Is Lying with a dash of The Secret History in this slick, taut murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

Okay so my interest in this mostly lies within its comp to The Secret History but I’m also compelled by the Gossip Girl comp. I really enjoy dark academia and snobby privileged kid stories set in prep schools. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure. I enjoy their pretentious names and attitudes and enjoy that by the end they usually get punished for thinking they are above everyone else. Also this was recently optioned for a TV Series, known as The Player’s Table.

LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER

Some people ARE illegal. Lobizonas do NOT exist. Both of these statements are false. Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

A werewolf fantasy series that sounds unique and actually interesting??? Sign me up!! I’ve heard from many raving reviews about this book that this is an amazing start to a new fantasy series. I cannot wait to be a part of this hype train for a fresh and diverse fantasy series from an Argentine author.

THE DARK TIDE BY ALICIA JASINSKA

The Wicked Deep meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this gripping, dark fairy-tale fantasy about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island city.

It’s a sapphic dark fantasy. That just about sums up why I’m interested in reading this. I’m a simple girl. I like witches. I like queer witches.

AUGUST 11

SIA MARTINEZ AND THE MOONLIT BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING BY RAQUEL VASQUEZ GILLILAND

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.

Y’ALL!!! I’ve been so excited for this book ever since it was announced on Publishers Weekly. It’s already optioned for a TV series! I love alien stuff and I’m interested to see how this author ties alien mythology with that of the current day politics dealing with ICE. Also I’m a sucker for not only beautiful covers, but beautifully BLUE covers.

STAR DAUGHTER BY SHVETA THAKRAR

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

Diving into my most vain reason for adding a book to my TBR, this cover is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS. But the synopsis is equally as compelling. I adore contemporary fantasy settings and I’m also fascinated with the fact that the MC is the daughter of a mortal and a star. A F*CKING STAR. That’s cool as hell.

AUGUST 25

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

One of the many upcoming YA retellings of Phantom of the Opera, but honestly bring them all on!!! I’m here for it! This one especially because it’s diverse and has some Moulin Rouge elements that make my filthy Phantom heart flutter. Can’t wait to consume this.

ELATSOE BY DARCIE LITTLE BADGER & ILLUSTRATED BY ROVINA CAI

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

An Indigenous graphic novel that sounds beautiful and magical. I can’t wait to read this. I also love the art style from Rovina Cai.

THE COMPANION BY KATIE ALENDER

The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family. Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night. And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate. But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself. Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.

This sounds delightfully creepy. I’m probably going to wait to read this for Halloween season.

HARROW LAKE BY KAT ELLIS

A can’t-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who’s not afraid of anything–until she gets to Harrow Lake.

This is everything I’ve ever wanted. This is giving me Friday the 13th and I Know What You Did Last Summer vibes. Being teen slasher stories back!


SEPTEMBER RELEASES

SEPTEMBER 1

THE INSOMNIACS BY MARIT WEISENBERG

A sharp and romantic novel about two suburban teens who can’t sleep uncovering the secrets of their neighborhood by night. Think The Summer I Turned Pretty with flashes of Rear Window

This combination of YA romance and Hitchcock thriller sounds so impressive and wild. Like romance with some freaky shit going down? I’m in.

NONE SHALL SLEEP BY ELLIE MARNEY

The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.

Two things I am obsessed with SADIE (one of my favorite YA thrillers ever) and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (one of my favorite films ever). How could I not like the sound of this???

THROWAWAY GIRLS BY ANDREA CONTOS

Caroline Lawson is three months away from freedom, otherwise known as graduation day. That’s when she’ll finally escape her rigid prep school and the parents who thought they could convert her to being straight. Until then, Caroline is keeping her head down, pretending to be the perfect student even though she is crushed by her family and heartbroken over the girlfriend who left for California. But when her best friend Madison disappears, Caroline feels compelled to get involved in the investigation. She has her own reasons not to trust the police, and she owes Madison — big time.

Uhhh prep school + murder. Gimme this now. Also this is apparently sapphic 👀👀👀

WE ARE NOT FREE BY TRACI CHEE

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.

Another part of US history that the US school system actively tries to pretend never happened, Japanese internment camps during WWII era. Like I said regarding the Rodney King riots, I don’t have much knowledge about the topic of Japanese interments camps. I’m not expecting this story to teach me everything about this topic but it’s a start for me to actually learn more about this time and also the horrific treatment of Japanese American citizens.

THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES BY ELISSA R. SLOAN

In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life.

It’s not everyday I get to say that I’ve interacted with an author because I am timid as hell and have made the most lukewarm author interactions on Twitter. But this author happens to be a fellow book blogger!!! I’m so excited to read this not just because I’ve interacted with them but also it sounds awesome!

CEMETERY BOYS BY AIDEN THOMAS

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

We love to see when necromancy goes wrong!!! One of the most up and coming hyped books of the year, CEMETERY BOYS is going to be a ride!

FLYY GIRLS – LUX: THE NEW GIRL & MICAH: THE GOOD GIRL BY ASHLEY WOODFOLK

Meet the Flyy Girls. The group of girls who seem like they can get away with anything. Veteran author Ashley Woodfolk pens a gorgeous and dynamic series of four Harlem highschoolers, each facing a crossroads of friendship, family, and love.

There’s TWO books coming out at the same time from this new series. They’re both contemporary and aimed at a younger teenage audience. I’ve also seen where these will be released in paperback first off meaning it will be more accessible to its intended audience. I haven’t talked about it yet but I think YA novels should make paperbacks available from the start because from remembering when I was a young teen I could. never afford a hardback. MAKE YA MORE ACCESSIBLE TO ITS AUDIENCE!!!

ROAD OUT OF WINTER BY ALISON STINE

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.

I’ve been craving a near future dystopian for a while. I mean we are basically living in a dystopian so I want to escape into another one. At least one that doesn’t involve anything related to the one we’re going through.

TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM BY YAA GYASI

Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.

HOMEGOING was very good. One of my favorite reads and I’ve been waiting desperately for Yaa Gyaasi’s next novel and it’s finally here!!!

SEPTEMBER 15

WHO I WAS WITH HER BY NITA TYNDALL

Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.

I know this sounds sad but I’m here for sad. Also for bi rep! I actually don’t know too much about this one besides looking at the GR synopsis.

GROWN BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON

Korey Fields is dead. When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom

Tiffany D Jackson is well known for her hard hitting thriller contemporary stories like ALLEGEDLY and MONDAY’S NOT COMING. Stories that explore racial issues and the nuances that involve Black lives. This sounds sort of like a murder mystery with a character that sounds like R. Kelly, so this will be on the darker side. I have to mention that I love the cover. It’s minimalist but stands out so vibrantly.

HORRID BY KATRINA LENO

From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

One of my most anticipated this year. Everything about HORRID sounds like my nice spooky cup of tea. And can we talk about that cover?? It’s hauntingly beautiful.

LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

I’m calling it now that this will be the next big YA series. It’s Arthurian mythology but with a Black Girl lead. I’ve been following this author on Twitter and I trust her vision and she’s a Loki fan. I just have a feeling that this will be the YA series that I fully immerse myself into.

WATCH OVER ME BY NINA LACOUR

Watch Over Me is another stunner from Printz Award-Winning author Nina LaCour, whose empathetic, lyrical prose is at the heart of this modern ghost story of resilience and rebirth.

You had me at ghost story! This seems like it won’t be as much as much horror as it will be more of a quiet horror story that focuses more on the psyche and emotions vs spooky, which I’m okay with. I adore the cover and I think this will be a beautiful read.

SEPTEMBER 22

WHITE FOX BY SARA FARING

After their world-famous actor mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean island home—sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive. Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into the island’s surreal society, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.

This sounds cool as hell. Combing film with an eerie thriller/horror! I don’t want to look too heavily into this, this genre is IMO meant to be gone into with no knowledge of what’s to come.

VAMPIRES NEVER GET OLD EDITED BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA & NATALIE C. PARKER

Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices! In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Just right after witches, vampires are my second favorite supernatural being. Vampires are so cool and alluring. I’m very excited to read this anthology and see what kind of vampires we’ll get to see. Vampires are making a comeback baby!!!!

EVERY BODY LOOKING BY CANDICE ILOH

Every Body Looking is a debut novel in verse in the style of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds. Candice Iloh’s book tells the story of Ada–daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother–and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and in her own family.

I’ve discovered by reading THE POET X and BLOOD WATER PAINT that I actually enjoy novels in verse (?) Which was something I never expected to enjoy but now I want to read all the novels in verse out there. This even has a comp to Elizabeth Acevedo. Also this is going to be a duology and there’s something that compels me about contemporary duologies and series in general much more than fantasy ones now. I feel like it much rarer to get a contemporary set series. Unless it’s on the more romance side.

MISS METEOR BY TEHLOR KAY MEJIA & ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

Two of the biggest names in YA, both queer Latinx authors. This is the collaboration we didn’t know we needed. I’ve read AMM and I love their magical realism writing and stories.

SEPTEMBER 29

A DEADLY EDUCATION BY NAOMI NOVIK

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Listen I loved UPROOTED and SPINNING SILVER. I even bought Illumicrate’s 90 something dollar worth special cover editions for both of them. I’ll read whatever Ms. Novik throws my way. But besides my adoration for her work, this sounds cool as hell. Dark wizard school with maybe a villainous/morally grey female protagonist? I fuck so much with that shit.

BURNING ROSES BY S.L. HUANG

When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.

Uhhh this sounds badass as fuck. I don’t know much else to say. I’m here for it though.


OCTOBER RELEASES

OCTOBER 6

HUSH BY DYLAN FARROW

A stunning and timely debut from activist Dylan Farrow, Hush is a powerful feminist fantasy full of surprising insights, that casts a ray of light into the shadows of a society based on silencing and lies.

Anything that’s most likely a big fuck you to that scumbag W*ody A*len is something I like to see.

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget. France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Truth be told, I haven’t read anything from Victoria Schwab. So there’s a good chance this will be the first one form her that I pick up. What can I say? I love a good Faustian deal story and a story where someone falls for the literal devil.

WE WERE RESTLESS THINGS BY COLE NAGAMATSU

From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death.

I swear I saw a Twin Peaks comp for this book and Twin Peaks is the magic phrase to make me pick up anything. A perfectly haunted read for October.

A CUBAN GIRLS’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW BY LAURA TAYLOR NAMEY

Teenage master of Cuban cuisine, Lila Reyes, is eager to inherit her family’s Miami bakery along with her sister, Pilar. But between spring and graduation, Lila’s abuela dies, her best friend abandons her, and her long-time boyfriend dumps her. Fearing Lila’s emotional health, her parents defy her wishes and entrust her summer to family and their Winchester, England inn. Even though she’s given a space to cook at the inn, she longs for Miami, the seat of her Cuban roots. Being a Miami Cuban baker is her glorified past and destined future, forged by years of training by her loving abuela.

Possibly the fluffiest of reads on my radar, I have to some fluffy romance and this promises it. The cover is so cute! Also I love Cuban food so much so I can’t wait to have my mouth water.

OCTOBER 13

THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN BY C.L. POLK

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

Sorcery is a topic of interest as I have a story idea about sorcery so it makes sense that I would want to read a story similar to what I’m writing. With this being an October release, magic will be in the air.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

Witches during the time of suffragettes sounds interesting! I haven’t read from this author yet but I have heard wonderful things about The Ten Thousand Doors of January, but also some valid critique about that novel having a mixed race MC and the author being white. So while I am interested in this novel in particular, I’ll keep my ear and eyes open on anything that seems provlematic

BLACK SUN BY REBECCA ROANHORSE

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

Rebecca Roanhorse is an author that’s been on my radar since I heard of Trail of Lightning and the praises I’ve seen everywhere on Book Twitter I am so excited to read a series from a Black Native author.

A GOLDEN FURY BY SAMANTHA COHOE

In her debut novel A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe weaves a story of magic and danger, where the streets of Oxford and London come to life, and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final chapter.

Alchemy, Philosopher’s Stone, and ~magic~? Possibly my most anticipated October release. I just my October to be filled with a book full of magical alchemy.

THE TRUTH PROJECT BY DANTE MEDEMA

Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig was sure of many things going into her last year of high school. For one, she wasn’t going to stress over the senior project all her peers were dreading—she’d just use the same find-your-roots genealogy idea that her older sister used for hers. Secondly, she’d put all that time spent not worrying about the project toward getting reacquainted with former best friend and longtime crush Kodiak Jones who, conveniently, gets assigned as Cordelia’s partner. All she has to do is mail in her DNA sample, write about her ancestry results and breeze through the rest of senior year. Done, done and done But when Cordelia’s GeneQuest results reveal that her father is not the man she thought he was but a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, Cordelia realizes she isn’t sure of anything anymore—not the mother who lied, the life she was born into or the girl staring back at her in the mirror. If your life began with a lie, how can you ever be sure of what’s true.

It’s about time someone wrote a hard hitting contemporary about ancestry and DNA tests. I think the concept is so compelling and it’s one that may not get attention with it being released alongside a lot of hyped fantasy titles but I hope it gets some recognition.

BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL BY MARA FITZGERALD

A dark, queer YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.

I’ve seen this novel mentioned so much on Book Twitter and I had waited in anticipation for its cover reveal, so I have high expectations for this book.

WINTER, WHITE AND WICKED BY SHANNON DITTEMORE

Mad Max: Fury Road meets Frozen in this striking YA fantasy about a rig driver’s journey to save her friend

By solely mentioning MAD MAX FURY ROAD, I have HIGH expectations for this to be epic and grandiose while also exploring the themes that MMFR portrayed so well. With a comp like that I can’t help but expect nothing but excellence

YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD BY JESSIE ANN FOLEY

From Printz Honor winner and William C. Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley comes the story of one girl’s battle to define herself as something other than her reputation.

Aside from the fact that this shares the title of a great Amy Winehouse song, the story of a troubled teen girl is up my alley. I haven’t seen much talk around this so I hope it doesn’t end up being a overlooked because it sounds like it could actually be good.

COME ON IN EDITED BY ADI ALSAID

This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by bestselling and beloved YA authors who are themselves immigrants and the children of immigrants.

Another anticipated anthology of mine. I can’t wait to read these stories!

OCTOBER 20

PLAIN BAD HEROINES BY EMILY M. DANFORTH

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

There’s something surprising to me that this book isn’t already being hyped up? It’s from the author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post and it’s not being talked about already?? Maybe because it’s aimed at adults but even established YA authors who venture into adult lit get some attention (Schwab, Bardugo, etc.) but it sounds like it would have strong crossover appeal. I also love the title. PLAIN BAD HEROINES. We always need those ❤️

AMONG THE BEASTS & BRIARS BY ASHLEY POSTON

Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.

No lies. I love the cover. But maybe there will be something about this that ends up drawing my attention further. I enjoy a good curse story. So there’s something with more substance that I can give for putting this on my to read list.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive. Less

OCTOBER 27

KINGDOM OF THE WICKED BY KERRI MANISCALCO

From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series… Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…And an intoxicating romance

No I haven’t read her best known series (I promise to get to it one day!!). Yes I am here because I heard this serves some excellent enemies to lovers romance. Which I am trash for. That’s all folks!

THE VALLEY AND THE FLOOD BY REBECCA MAHONEY

Debut author Rebecca Mahoney delivers an immersive and captivating novel about magical places, found family, the power of grief and memory, and the journey toward reconciling who you think you’ve become with the person you’ve been all along.

I’ve yet to hear anyone mention this title and I think it deserves some mention. It promises a beautiful, thoughtful and magical look into PTSD and grief, which are things that I can relate to.

MAGIC DARK AND STRANGE BY KELLY POWELL

The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.

This sounds like the PERFECT October read! Necromancy + murder mystery!!! I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this one.


NOVEMBER RELEASES

NOVEMBER 10

THOSE WHO PREY BY JENNIFER MOFFETT

Sadie meets The Girls in this riveting debut psychological thriller about a lonely college freshman seduced into joining a cult—and her desperate attempt to escape before it’s too late.

Say the word cult and I am yours. Also the YA marketing team is really using that SADIE comp loosely and dangerously. But I love this sound of this novel.

THE QUEEN’S COUNCIL: REBEL ROSE BY EMMA THERIAULT

Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic

Yes yes yes. It’s yet another YA Beauty & The Beast retelling. This one seems to be a more of a “what happens after happily ever after” scenario and I’m a sucker for B&TB. It all depends on the execution for me and I hope this succeeds in winning me over.

NOVEMBER 17

THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS BY CHLOE GONG

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

This sounds like it’ll be a *delight* haha It’s been a while since I’ve read a Romeo & Juliet retelling and this one will bring on a fresh new voice and take on that classic tragic love story. I also have to shoutout the author’s Twitter account has the best content!

THE BRIGHT AND BREAKING SEA BY CHLOE NEILL

Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.

So this was added to my TBR because of the cover (Rovina Cai’s art is GORGEOUS) and I have been craving some pirate/seafaring adventure stories with female leads, thanks to the resurgence of Pirates of Caribbean I’ve seen lately on my Twitter timeline. I loved Elizabeth Swann!!! PIRATE KING!!!

NOVEMBER 24

HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES BY HOLLY BLACK

This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.

I still need to finish The Folk of the Air series by reading THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, but I have to say that I’m excited for this bonus novel. It’s definitely fan service material but honestly I crave more of this series and it’s characters particularly Jude and Cardan.

RUINSONG BY JULIA EMBER

In Julia Ember’s dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

The other Phantom of the Opera retelling I’m excited for. Mostly because it’s f/f.

DECEMBER RELEASES

DECEMBER 1

A CURSE OF ROSES BY DIANA PINGUICHA

Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…

Possibly one of the most gorgeous and compelling curses I’ve ever heard of. Turning things into flowers by touching or swallowing them? Sounds nice but I would still love some food. In all seriousness this sounds lovely and it’s also a sapphic fairytale from an OwnVoices Portuguese author.

THE GOOD GIRLS BY CLAIRE ELIZA BARTLETT

Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.

Unlikeable female characters!!! That’s all I really need to be interested in a story like this. And add some murder. I’m sold!


I’ve you ever made it this far here’s a gold star for you ⭐️ and I appreciate you 🙂

Thanks for reading and let me know what 2020 releases coming up yp

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn – Blog Tour Review

Buy this book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250231642

SYNOPSIS

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell. 

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out of this world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.


REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If there’s one thing I’ve taken from reading both of Erin Hahn’s stories, it’s that she has THE KNACK, the powerful ability to write swoonworthy romance. Vada and Luke are cute, adorable, awkward, angsty All that good stuff that makes for a great teen romance. I enjoyed both characters together and on their own.

Vada is a confident, spunky teen girl with a path to music journalism that makes me feel so nostalgic because I also wanted to go down that path in high school as well. I even interviewed a music journalist for one of those kind of dumb and awkward as hell “interview a person in a career you want to into things” for school. But I can tell that Vada has the PASSION and that critical lens of a music critic that I appreciated seeing. Although I cannot tolerate Stevie Nicks slander (mostly joking) and some of her own music choices because I can’t help being a pretentious music snob.

And Luke is simply adorable. An introverted Brit who’s dad is a former punk rocker??? I feel like I definitely wrote this character in some of my own stories before because that kind of character is definitely my type.

Th side characters were quite likable. I really enjoyed the story with the Loud Lizard bar owner/Vada’s potential stepdad Phil and the dysfunctional relationship she has with her biological dad Marcus. It was a interesting side story that added some drama but not too much drama to drag down the romance. I was mostly okay with the side characters not having so much dimension since this story isn’t about them but I still wold have liked some characters to have been fleshed out a little more than a few personality traits. If I had to critique that.

Also I have to applaud the absolute power move of referencing characters and songs from your previous book because it was so good 😉

If I had anything else to critique it would maybe be the lack of diverse music choices? This is definitely a ME thing and it doesn’t affect the rating for the book but as far as someone who is interested music journalism I would think listening to an even wider variety of music other rock and sub-genres of that would be beneficial. I can see however since she’s writing for Rolling Stone she’d be more into that genre but I guess this was more focused on classic rock and alternative music which I can’t complain about.

My biggest takeaway is that MUSIC IS EVERYTHING. I’m listening to music as I type this review because of course I am. The passion found throughout the characters, the references, and writing was so fun to see. No matter what kind of music you listen to, who you listen with and where, listening and creating music is such an experience.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ERIN HAHN is the author of You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe. She teaches elementary, would rather be outside and makes a lot of playlists. So many playlists in fact, that she decided to write books to match them! She married her very own YA love interest who she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever
was at their age. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat named Gus who plays fetch and a dog named June who doesn’t.

Author website: https://www.erinphahn.com/
Author Twitter: @erinhahn_author
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17130322.Erin_Hahn
Author Instagram: @erinhahn_author

BLOG TOUR: Mayhem by Estelle Laure – Review

Thanks to the publisher Wednesday Books for giving me the opportunity to review this title via NetGalley.

A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else.

But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.

But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.


a note from the author

Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life
was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to
be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch
the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never
know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to
run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although
girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The
Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the
night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got
me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel
powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And
yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without
thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think
great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my
heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time
I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the
pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands
on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the
shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made
me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also
terrifying.I know I’m not the only one who had a scary
childhood, and I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to
smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being
hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying
to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate,
I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure


Review + Thoughts

Before I start talking about what I enjoyed about this book I do want to emphasize that this is a heavy and darker read. I’m placing the content warnings that you can read from the author’s website about MAYHEM at the bottom of this review.

With that being said I thoroughly found this to be an excellent and nuanced exploration of these difficult experiences. I could feel the raw emotion in the writing and the anger coming off the pages. Girls being angry is the kind of thing I like to read about and MAYHEM fits so well into one of my super specific favorite genres, that is feminist revenge stories with magical elements mixed in.

I also love that MAYHEM contains complex, messy, and humanized characters. Troubled, messy, and hurt women such as her mother, Roxy, her Aunt Elle, her grandmother Julianna and Neve. Victims of the patriarchy wanting revenge and justice and peace. This also ties into a secondary plot of the story that revolves around the missing girls in Santa Maria.

This book is not for everyone but I think if you’re able to handle the content and want to read a story like this, you should check it out for yourself.


Content Warnings via Author’s Website

Rape: the Brayburn family’s backstory centers around the matriarch’s rape and explores the ensuing generational trauma and its effects on the women within its lineage. The rape is on the page but is not graphically depicted.

Suicide: a suicide takes place off the page.

Drug use: there is one scene in which multiple adolescents take hallucinogenic mushrooms. There is much use of pills and alcohol by one of the adults in the story as a coping mechanism for chronic pain and trauma.

Serial kidnapping and murder: part of the story centers around an active serial kidnapper and killer. There is also murder depicted throughout, sometimes on the page and sometimes off, including the murder of two of the children’s parents, which takes place in dialogue and is not explicitly on the page.

Child abuse: central to the story is a depiction of violence experienced by a child.

Domestic violence, intimidation, and emotional abuse: also central to the story is long-term domestic violence and its attendant cycle. This is mostly off stage, however there are several scenes of emotional manipulation and intimidation, and one scene that contains stalking and breaking and entering and a physical altercation.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.

Author’s social handles
o Twitter: @starlaure
o Instagram: @estellelaurebooks

BUY YOUR COPY OF MAYHEM HERE: https://wednesdaybooks.com/galaxies-and-kingdom/mayhem/