Reviews

Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popović / Unique magical abilities, Wicked curses & Sisterly-motherly bonds

WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE  (Hibiscus Daughter #1)

Author: Lana Popović

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover, 416 pages

To-be Published: August 15th 2017

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BlurbAll the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

This book has one of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever seen. I’d go as far as to say it’s on par with Laini Taylor. It’s magic.

Wicked like a wildfire is a novel about twin sisters who have the ability to manipulate beauty. They live quiet lives with their mother, Jasmina, who has the ability to make pastry that transports people and evokes beautiful imagery of places in their minds. She is fierce, insanely protective and a bit paranoid. She forbids her daughters from ever “gleaming” in public and from ever falling in love.

  • Iris has the ability to see flowers as fractals and can turn her kaleidoscope visions into glass-work. She is as fierce as Jasmina and is quite a rebel, often fighting with her mother.

  • Malina can interpret moods as music and has the ability to entrance people with her musical abilities. She’s the sweet, cinnamon-roll twin who’d never hurt a fly.

The sisters’ sheltered life is abruptly turned upside down when their mother is attacked. To save her, the girls set off in search of answers, accompanied by two of their close friends. Slowly they start to unravel their mother’s mysterious past and discover a curse that looms over their family line.

I haven’t seen anyone point this out but I feel it’s incredibly important to mention that Wicked like a wildfire has some diversity. The book is set in Montenegro and the twins are half-Japanese. There’s also a F/F romance and it is the purest, most adorable thing ever. Also, the twins’ close friends are Romani.

This is a book that so perfectly explores the relationships between sisters and mothers and daughters. It was especially beautiful to witness the relationship between Iris and Malina; it brought me near tears several times throughout. The characters felt so real and incredibly complex. There was a lot of girl power; the women introduced in this book are all beautiful and deadly in their own ways. The magical aspects of this book are truly original and everything has an almost circus-like + witchy vibe, which I adored. The writing is absolutely gorgeous; lush, magical and out-of-this-world. One of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It did take me some time to get into the story and I wanted some of the side characters to be more fleshed-out, but aside from that, I really recommend this book!


Lana Popović

Lana Popović’s debut YA contemporary fantasy, WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE, is forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in Summer 2017. Lana studied psychology and literature at Yale University, and law at Boston University. She is a graduate of the Emerson College Publishing and Writing program and works as a literary agent with Chalberg & Sussman, specializing in YA. She lives in Boston, subsisting largely on cake, gimlets, and eyeliner.

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Reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzie Lee / A Grand Tour of Europe w/ Highway men & Pirates

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Blurb

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover, 528 pages

Published: June 27th 2017

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An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Trigger Warning : N-word used several times

The Gentleman’s guide to vice & virtue was one of the most charming books I’ve ever read. The characters are the best thing about this book to be honest, the story didn’t impress me much.

  • Monty is a troublemaker– a drinking, partying, and infuriating rascal. His already-tense relationship with his father is strained further when he’s expelled from his school. His father then sends him off on a Grand tour of Europe, joined by his best friend Percy (whom he has the biggest crush on) and his little sister, Felicity.
  • Percy is a curly-haired, biracial cinnamon roll. You’ll adore him instantly, I guarantee. He grew up under a noble white family but is subjected to racism and discrimination from others, worsened by the fact that he is epileptic.
  • Felicity is a 15-year-old but intelligent af and 100% snarky. I love her. She has a passion for learning but is obviously faced with an obstacle as women were not allowed education at the time. I don’t think it’s explicitly stated but I’m pretty sure she’s asexual.

Monty, being the complete (lovable) asshat he is, makes one huge mistake that leaves him naked during a fancy party of high-society men and women, and in possession of a very valuable item. Soon, he and his companions are subjects of a manhunt across all of Europe. As they slowly discover the secrets of the item, they grow increasingly reluctant to giving it back. They’re now wrapped up in a plot of sinking islands, alchemy, pirates, highway men and one pissed off Duke.

Monty starts out as a self-centered scoundrel. As a white, privileged male, he is oblivious to his sister’s and his best friend’s situations. But this journey forces him to witness firsthand the racism and sexism his two companions face. He says and does ignorant stuff but is called out and put in place by Percy and Felicity. He learns, he grows. He comes to know more about his best friend and his sister, and that was truly beautiful to see.

Aside from that, the romance was just…

Monty and Percy are my OTP. Perfect amount of angst and tension, and the most swoony kissing scenes. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED BY THE ROMANCE. I started shipping them from the very first page and just thinking about them warms my heart. SO ADORABLE, I MIGHT CRY. It’s supposed to be fantasy but there are no fantasy elements so don’t go in expecting that. I admit I was about to give this 4 stars but the ending just sold me and the whole book was so fun, I just couldn’t rate it any lower.


Mackenzie Lee

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING and THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE (HarperCollins), as well as the forthcoming THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY (coming in 2018 from HarperCollins) and SEMPER AUGUSTUS (coming in 2019 from Flatiron/Macmillan). She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

She currently calls Boston home, where she manages an independent bookstore, drinks too much Diet Coke, and pets every dog she meets.

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Reviews

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews : Nimona + Runaways Vol. 1


NIMONA

by Noelle Stevenson                                 

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I know a lot of people loved this graphic novel but I’d have to say I didn’t like this one as much. I did enjoy the characters and I did have fun reading it because there were some damn funny parts, but, overall, I felt like it was a bit under-developed. I loved Nimona and Blackheart, but I just wanted more. I wanted more depth to the world and the characters. I also wish there was more to the storyline. I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters and I didn’t buy the closeness between them (although it was cute).
The story didn’t really grip me in anyway and I found myself putting it down multiple times. I should say I didn’t like the artwork either. It wasn’t bad or anything; it just wasn’t a style I like.
There are some things I enjoyed: I loved Nimona’s ruthlessness, I enjoyed the dialogues (especially the banters between Blackheart and Nimona) and the relationships were adorable. The ending was bittersweet but very fitting. I felt like it wrapped up perfectly.


RUNWAYS DELUXE, Vol. 1 (Runaways Deluxe #1)

by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa

In Pride & Joy, six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains Finding strength in one another, the shocked teens run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives – vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy. In Teenage Wasteland, the Runaways find a kindred spirit in a daring young stranger and welcome him into their fold. But will this dashing young man help the teenagers defeat their villainous parents… or tear them apart? Plus: who do you send to catch a group of missing, runaway teenage super-heroes? Marvel’s original teen runaway crimefighters, Cloak and Dagger, make their first major appearance in years In The Good Die Young, the world as we know it is about to end, and the Runaways are the only hope to prevent it Our fledgling teenage heroes have learned how their parents’ criminal organization began, and now they must decide how it should end. As the Runaways’ epic battle against their evil parents reaches its shocking conclusion, the team’s mole stands revealed, and blood must be shed. Which kids will still be standing when the smoke finally clears?

In this graphic novel six teenagers who’re forced to meet once every year for their wealthy parents’ secret meetings decide to sneak in on their parents one night only to find out that they’re a secret criminal society.

This synopsis had me hooked from the very beginning and the actual novel both surprised me in a good way and also disappointed me a bit. The story follows a bunch of teens who must decide between their love for their own parents and turning in the parents for the greater good. I loved how their dilemma was handled; the kids’ reactions and thought processes felt realistic to the circumstances. I also loved the characters (some more than others) and the relationships within the crew. There is a bit of diversity in this graphic novel and that another huge plus for me as well.

What I didn’t particularly like was the art. It’s not bad artwork at all; it just wasn’t to my taste for some reason. I don’t know. And some of the dialogue had me cringing, especially the ones between romantic couples. That’s another thing; I didn’t like any of the romance storylines (except maybe one that started developing in the very last few pages. I’m all for that couple).

My favorite thing in this graphic novel was the unpredictability. The twists in the last half were SO MIND-BLOWING. I was literally awe-struck. I usually see twists coming immediately but this one caught me off-guard. Wow.

Reviews

Want by Cindy Pon / Futuristic Taipei, High-stakes Missions & A Family of Misfits

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Blurb

WANT (Want #1)

Author:  Cindy Pon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages

To be Published: June 13th 2017 

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From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting 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 novel immediately made it to my all-time favorite list. It is, no doubt, one of the best Sci-Fi novels I’ve ever read. The world-building, the characters and the overall plot was so well-done, It felt like a movie. It needs to be a movie.

Want is set in near-futuristic Taipei where the world is heavily polluted. The sky is no longer blue, the air so infested you could barely see the sky at all. Taking this into advantage, Jin Corp manufactures protective suits and sells them at extreme prices, making it one of the most powerful companies in the world. Because of these suits, the society is divided into classes: Mei – the poor who can barely afford food let alone suits and the You– sickeningly rich people who live lavish lives and own suits, sometimes several. 

Jason Zhou is a Mei and so is his found family — the silent but deadly Iris, her girlfriend, hacker and boss-extraordinaire Lingyi, the incredibly smart Arun and smartly-dressed hustler, Victor. This band of misfits conspires to take down Jin Corp. To do that, Zhou must infiltrate the people he despises the most- the You– and even worse, he’d have to befriend Daiyu, the CEO’s own daughter.

From the very first few pages you’ll fall for Jason Zhou. He just has this confidence and intensity and it’s incredibly sexy. Swoon level 150, trust me!

Cindy Pon’s writing is just amazing, especially when it comes to world-building! I was so immersed in it and I could just picture everything so perfectly. This is where I’ll repeat: it needs to be a damn movie!!

Did I mention how incredibly diverse it is?? It’s #OwnVoices. Zhou is Taiwanese-American, there are also Indian, Chinese, and Filipino characters. The characters stole my heart, especially Daiyu who is confident af and badass. The relationships between Zhou and his friends…squad goals. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. And I adored the established F/F romance in this book so much I might cry.

There are heists, kidnapping, hacking, corruption, and murder…overall an action-packed and emotional ride. It takes on important topics like prejudice, pollution, corruption and exploitation as well as social divides and extreme economic differences. I LOVED this book so much and now that Book 2 is a thing, I’ll be sitting in a corner crying and rocking back & forth until its release.


Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine and Sacrifice, her second duology are out (Month9books). WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei releases June 13th, 2017 (Simon Pulse). She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade.

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May 2017 Wrap-Up

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May turned out to be a disappointing reading month for me! I wanted to read more than 10 books but I’ve read 8 instead. I’ve been wanting to read so many books but summer classes have started and I was just too busy. Hopefully, next month will turn out better!

 

These are the books I’ve read in May. Below each book is my rating. Click the covers to check out my reviews for each book. Most of these don’t have reviews yet!

ARCs :

                

4 star      4 star       4 star       4 star

Others :

                 

4 star      5 star      3 star        3 star

 

So far, this is what my Goodreads challenge looks like : 

 

Which of these books have you read or added to your TBR pile?  Let me know in the comments below 😀

Reviews

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum – ARC Review

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Blurb

THE WICKER KING

Author: K. Ancrum

Publisher: Imprint

Format: Hardcover, 320 pages

To-be-Published: October 31st 2017

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The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

The Wicker king centers around August and his best friend, Jack. This book reeled me in quick; I couldn’t put it down and I blew through it in a few sittings. It’s written in such a poetic and unique way. Even the formatting is incredibly unique. The chapters are very short and there are few pictures and illustrations in between. The two boys you see on the cover? Yeah, you’ll see more of them. I felt like these little snippets made the characters all the more real, almost too real…

I immediately fell for these characters. August…even thinking about him makes me want to wrap him up in a warm blanket.

He has to fend for himself, taking care of his mom and selling drugs for money. He is loyal to the people he loves to a fault. Jack is infinitely less responsible. He comes from a well-off family but his parents are almost never home so August is the one who takes care of him, cooking for him, keeping him company on Christmas and basically being there for him in every way.

These two have known each other from a very young age and they have a sweet-but-kinda-weird-and-toxic relationship. It’s hard to even describe, you’d have to read it to understand. It’s almost obsessive and too-dependent but then they’d do or say something to each other and it’s the cutest thing ever. Although, it’s not mentioned on page, I believe both main characters are bisexual.

When August finds out that Jack has degenerative hallucinatory disorder his immediate reaction is to try and get help, but Jack insists that they must go on a quest in this alternate world and August, being the loyal friend he is, agrees. Jack leads them deeper and deeper into the elaborate fantasy world only he can see and soon, they’re both unsure as to what’s real and what’s fantasy. Things spiral down fast and their relationship strains as they both try to figure out the connection between them. August already has too much to carry and Jack’s worsening condition leaves him unraveled. The growing tension and confusion is even alluded to by the color of the pages; they get darker and darker as you go till they become all-black near the conclusion.

Although I enjoyed this book, I found myself confused a few times and the ending kind of disappointed me a bit. I really wanted more from the ending. I want more of August and Jack in general. I can’t vouch for the quality of representation of bisexuality and degenerative hallucinatory disorder so I’m interested in hearing from others. This is a very unique book and quite an odd one as well, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I put it down. I look forward to seeing more from this author.

Note: I received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program. So, special thanks to Emma!


K. Ancrum

K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.

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Reviews

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen / Space Sci-Fi with High-stakes Competitions & Multinational Cast of Characters

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Blurb

NYXIA (The Nyxia Triad #1)

Author:  Scott Reintgen

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Published: September 12th 2017

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Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Nyxia is an action-packed, intense YA Sci-fi novel that will hook you from the very beginning and pull you in deeper with every page. It has one of the most ethnically-diverse set of characters I’ve seen in YA. The complexity of each character and the depth in which the book explores emotional conflict is truly amazing. From the beginning I was like : 

Emmett, an African-American teen from Brooklyn, is recruited by a powerful corporation to compete for a position on a secret mission in another planet. Eight teens chosen out of ten competitors will travel to a foreign planet to retrieve a newly-discovered, highly-sought substance – Nyxia. Earning a position on this mission will guarantee a mind-boggling amount of money and advantages for family. Emmett finds himself signing a contract and soon he’s pitted against nine other teens from all over the world who must compete for one of the eight available spots.

Hi-tech-based competitions await them on their journey in space, each designed to challenge their mental capacities, physical abilities and, most of all, their moral values and limits. Emmett is a genuine person and his sharp-wit and combat strength help him in many of the competitions, but he’s faced with dilemma after dilemma – what is he willing to do to win? We follow as he constantly battles with himself over who to trust and where to draw the line as to how far he’ll go.

As Emmett navigates his new life, he also can’t help question Babel corporation’s motive. Why were these ten kids chosen? And most importantly: What will ultimately be required of them for the final prize?

Despite coming from different countries and backgrounds, all these competitors have one thing common that makes them equally desperate and conflicted. Narrated from Emmett’s first person point of view, the book had me especially attached to him, but I found myself rooting for the others as well. You might be thinking that the side characters are too many to keep up with, but everything is balanced in a way that you get insight into all of them without feeling overwhelmed. Each of these characters have strengths & flaws, and well fleshed-out personalities.

I absolutely loved Emmett as our main character. His competitiveness and focused determination was refreshing. Of course, I also loved the side characters. The writing, the pacing and overall high-stakes feel really worked for me. I enjoyed the non-stop action and all the cool technology. The twists and turns in this book had me panicking one too many times.

I can’t believe how long I’ll have to wait for Book 2! I NEED IT NOW.


Scott Reintgen

Scott Reintgen grew up in North Carolina, and took full advantage of the fact that he lived on the same street as fourteen of his cousins. It could be a little crowded, but he threw a few elbows and carved out a space for himself as the family storyteller. He enjoyed the role so much that he decided to spend most of college and graduate school investing in the world of literature. This led to a career teaching English and Creative Writing in the great state of North Carolina, where he currently lives with his wife and family. To his great delight, the demand for stories and storytellers is alive and well. As such, he can often be found at local coffee shops laboring over stories that he hopes his family, and fans, will love.

 

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My Top 10 Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2017

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like this year has been a fantastic year for YA releases so far, and the remaining couple of months are still packed with more awesome releases! So far, I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read. More and more interesting premises keep coming up and I’m just here getting pumped for everything 😀 This list was soooo hard, but I’ve forced myself to stick with just ten books I’m anticipating in the second half of 2017. Here they are:

 (Click on covers to add on Goodreads)

BEASTS MADE OF NIGHT by Tochi Onyebuchi                                                                                                 

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.


WARCROSS  by Marie Lu  

When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.


27 HOURS by Tristina Wright      

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.


THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty            

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .


WILD BEAUTY by Anne-Marie McLemore

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.


THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.


THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER by K. Arsenault Rivera

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.


THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.


THE NOVEMBER GIRL by Lydia Kang

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

 


Do you have any of these books on your TBR list? Tell me which ones you are most excited for. Let me know down below your most anticipated releases from July on 😀

Reviews

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde – Review

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Blurb

QUEENS OF GEEK

Author: Jen Wilde

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Format: Paperback, 288 pages

Published: March 14th 2017

 Buy At:  Amazon logo   Barnes & Noble    bookdepository logo

(Click Picture or underlined title to add on Goodreads)

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

After an onslaught of several complex fantasy worlds, this book was a quick and fun read that gave me all the fluff and all the feels needed.

The story is told from the POVs of two best friends: Charlie, who is an up and coming Chinese-Australian movie star and Youtuber. Also a bisexual. And Taylor, a pro-fangirl/blogger who has autism spectrum disorder and is dealing with social anxiety. And then there’s the adorable Jamie, supportive sunshine and too-good-to-be-true third best friend.

Everything takes place in a huge comic con called “Supa-Con”, and let me tell you: it is geekdom galore. I loved it. I think it’s so creative how the author utilized this one setting and made it fun, immersive and not at all repetitive. I’ve never been to any type of comic-con event but I can imagine how much of a magical haven it could be for fangirls/fanboys and all ‘geeks’, and the author perfectly captured the feeling of acceptance and contentment that comes with a community that shares your enthusiasm and passion for similar things. As a fangirl myself, I was basically drooling over Supa-Con; I even felt nostalgic and emotional several times while reading.

The romances were so cute!! The f/f romance featured in this book was the adorablest thing ever!! I loved the characters and I loved the diversity. Taylor’s struggle with anxiety resonated with me so much. Social anxiety is something I struggle with myself and this is the closest I’ve ever felt to being understood in a book. Queens of geek takes on a lot of important topic. Too many to count. Among them are harmful fandom behavior, sexism in the movie industry, supportive friendships, body-positivity, healthy relationships and so much more.

The only problem I have with it is that I wanted a bit more of a story. It felt too simple, story-wise. Also, I found some things implausible and unrealistic.

Overall, this book is the perfect summer read. Light and cute. Diverse and relatable. And it takes on several important topics.


Jen Wilde

Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl. Her debut into fiction, THE EVA SERIES, reached over three million reads on Wattpad and became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing, she loves binge-watching Netflix, eating pizza, and going to pop culture conventions cosplaying as Marty McFly.

Jen lives in a beachside town in Australia with her husband and their troublesome pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

Follow Author:  Twitter logo  goodreads logo 2

 

Bookish Posts

Why You Should Be A Picky Reader (and How)

Do you constantly find yourself wasting time choosing what to read next instead of actually reading? Does your TBR shelf make you dizzy? Too many books on your bookshelf, too many ARCs and new releases to catch up with????

Here’s my solution : BE PICKY!

Reading requires some amount of time commitment. As much as we wish to spend hours and hours poring over our current reads, there’s just too many things getting in the way. Whether we have kids, jobs, school…it’s just not as easy to carve out some reading time in our already-crammed days, which is why I think everyone should be picky as to what to read. 

I’m a picky reader. I only read books that I feel like I’d enjoy. Because of this, most of my reads in 2017 have been 5 or 4 stars. Here’s this year’s rating statistics :

As you can see, most of the books I’ve read are 5 stars!

Accept the fact that you won’t be able to get to all the books you want to read. There’ll be too many new releases that catch your eye and too many books from the last few years that you hadn’t caught up with. It seems like us bookworms are always latching onto the hope of reading all past and upcoming releases. Hype plays a big factor in adding to the ever-flowing TBR shelf. Books that you hadn’t even found interesting start getting 5-stars in your Goodreads feed or Twitter timeline and suddenly they become must-reads.

Adding 10 books per day to your TBR is all part of being a bookworm. I can’t help you with that since I’m guilty of it as well. But this leads us to the next point :

Too many books, too little time!

Seriously, ask yourselves: Why waste time on something you’re skeptical about when you can get to your most anticipated reads instead. Decide what type of books you want to focus on.

  • Diverse reads should be a priority. I hope people don’t hop in my mentions claiming that I have no right telling them what to read. It’s no secret that the publishing industry is sorely lacking in diversity. And it’s no secret that there are many harmful, problematic books being published out there. Reading Diversely and prioritizing #OwnVoices books isn’t just about enriching your knowledge and awareness, it’s also about supporting proper representation of the minority and boosting marginalized authors.
  • Find yourself losing interest in Paranormal romance, Contemporary or YA books as a whole?  Then drop them. Read the genre of books that you’ve grown fond of. Sick of love-triangles and insta-love or protagonists that are ‘not like other girls’?? Then stop reading books with all those tropes. That leads as to the next point:

How else are you going to save yourself from wasting precious time on your most hated trope? How else would you know whether a book is for you?

  • Personally, unless I’m a 100% mesmerized by a synopsis, I’ll always read reviews before getting a book. I want to know whether the synopsis really summarizes it’s premise, whether the writing is good or bearable, whether I might like that book or not. Also….(here’s where you grasp just how picky I really am)….I read status updates of some upcoming releases to decide if they should be on my TBR. If you don’t know that feature on Goodreads, I’ll be enlightening you in my next discussion post *wink wink*
  • If I hear that a book is harmful and problematic, it’s automatically removed from my Goodreads shelf. I have no interest supporting it by purchasing it. There are too many books out there I’m waiting to read; I’m not about to read a potentially harmful books just to ‘offer my own opinion’. It’s enough to hear the opinions of those who share the marginalization represented in the books. 

Setting goals is another way to be a picky reader.

  • You might want to venture into non-fiction, Middle grade or Adult Fantasy. You might want to read at least five classics this year, you might want to finish a series in the next few days. Whatever your reading goal, sticking to it is important. What I personally do is afix certain books for a certain month. I know it might sound ridiculous but it really works for me. This is my current Goodreads shelf :

This is not set in stone; I can remove or add books and I can replace it with something I want to read instead. I always start with 10 books each month and I read as much as I can. I transfer the rest to the next month.

The important thing is that I have already decided what to read and that makes my TBR more manageable, it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

I hope you find these tips helpful!! Let me know down below what you thought 😀