August Wrap-Up // New favorite book, and a month full of bookish discussions!

Hey Guys!

Welcome back to a Monthly Wrap-Up! We have officially reached the end of summer. I’m sad to see it go but excited to see what will come next! I hope everyone had a fantastic August!

In August, I read three books in total. A little less than usual, but I’m glad that I read more than one book. All of them were above three stars which I was happy about!

Let’s get started!

Books I read in August

Ace of Spades:

This has become one of my all-time favorite books. Everything was perfect, and if you haven’t read this book, please do!

Our two main characters, Devon and Chiamaka, are some of the most relatable characters. You want to help them from being the hateful actions by Aces. 

The mystery behind Aces is so compelling, and you won’t be able to stop reading. It was intricately twisted, and once everything is revealed, you’ll be shocked in a state of horror. (5 Stars)

Before We Were Blue:

I had signed up for a book tour for this book through TBR and Beyond Tours, not expecting to get it. I had signed up for tours with TBR and Beyond Tours before but had never gotten one. Until now. If you don’t get picked for a tour when you sign up, don’t get discouraged! You’ll get one!

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Schwartz did a brilliant job portraying eating disorders and didn’t try to add any glamorization. We follow Rowan and Shoshana on their healing journey and the struggles they encounter along the way.

This book also features a reality tv subplot which was an original idea, and I liked how the author was not afraid to shy away from showing the harsh realities of fame. This book also has asexual representation, which is great since many YA books don’t! (3.5 Stars)

The Bones of Ruin:

I was on a book tour for Turn the Pages Tour, which I had an amazing time on!

I enjoyed the main character, Iris, and the challenges she had to face throughout the story. I found her to be a mary sue character, but otherwise, I liked the mystery she had to discover who she truly is.

This book also had major squad goals vibes, and I loved reading the bickering between all of them. It had me laughing so much and supporting them all the time.

There was a type of love triangle in this book. What I mean by type is…there was a love square. I only found one of the love interests that would work out and thought all the other love interests were unnecessary. (3 Stars)

Best Blogger Posts in August // News in August

Best Blogger Posts!

News in August

Congrats to you all!

Updates!

I have officially gained over 100 followers on my blog! Thank you to all who decided to give me a chance and stick around for my content! I’m excited to see what the future will take us!

To celebrate, I will be hosting a Q&A session where you can ask me whatever questions you want! If you would like to participate by submitting a question, fill out this form!

Top Posts in August…

Thank you for checking out this post! I hope you all have a wonderful September!

See you next time!

Book Recs based on popular TV shows and Movies // The Umbrella Academy

Hello everyone!

I’m back today, here to do another Book Recs based on TV shows and Movies. For today’s edition, we will be covering the hit TV show on netflix: The Umbrella Academy! I absolutely fell in love with this show, and thought it would be a cool one to cover.

Now, Let’s get started!

What’s the Umbrella Academy about?

The Umbrella Academy resolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted siblings that are reunited after their father’s death. As they start to figure out how their father died they start to uncover shocking secrets while also dealing with an impending threat to earth.

If you haven’t checked it out, you totally should!

Book Recommendations based on the show

Renegades:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Similarities between the two:

  • Characters have unique powers
  • Both include superheroes or wanting to be one
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Include themes of revenge and vengeance

Six of Crows:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Similarities between the two:

  • Dysfunctional families
    • Threaten to kill each other many times // tension
  • Include themes of revenge and vengeance
  • Trying to save their world from an impending threat
  • Lighthearted moments interjected between the dark and violent story

Vicious:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Similarities between the two:

  • Characters have unique powers
  • Includes themes of revenge and vengeance
  • Dysfunctional Family
  • Experiments to receive powers and to see how they work
  • Time jumps between certain periods

Skyhunter:

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?

Similarities between the two:

  • Uncover a mystery and find out life changing secrets
  • Have to save the rest of the world from an impending threat
  • Mysterious society where not much is known about it // have to break in and uncover secrets
    • The Commission and The Karensa Federation
  • Experimentation

These Violent Delights:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Similarities between the two:

  • Dysfunctional family
  • Themes of vengeance and violence
  • Trying to stop an impending threat from ending the world
  • Lighthearted moments between the dark and violent story

The Diabolic:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Similarities between the two:

  • Trying to stop an impending threat from ending the world
  • Robotic characters
  • Try to protect the characters they love or are related to
  • Break into mysterious society try to learn more and blend in
    • The commission and the Galactic court

A Darker Shade of Magic:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Similarities between the two:

  • Characters have powers
  • Deadly book duo // Hazel and Cha Cha // Kell and Lila
  • Trying to stop an impending threat from destroying the world
  • Bloody and Violent

Illuminae:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Similarities between the two:

  • Plays with time and going to different time periods
  • Trying to fight an impending threat
  • Robotic characters
  • Uncovering a mystery

Strange the Dreamer:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Similarities between the two:

  • A character who can talk to ghosts
  • Dysfunctional family
  • Trying to uncover the past
  • Trying to stop an impending threat

What did you think of my picks? Have you watched The Umbrella Academy?

Is there a show // movie you would like me to cover next time? Thanks for checking out this post!

July Wrap-Up // Only one month of summer left!

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to a Monthly Wrap-Up! Another month has gone by so fast! We only have one more month of summer left! I hope all of you had an amazing July!

In July, I read four books in total!

All of them are above three stars except one. Looks at Heart of the Impaler.

This means I read two fewer books than last month, but I’m still happy that I at least read some books.

Let’s get started!

Books I read in July

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: This has now become one of my all-time favorite books. I loved all the characters, and Evelyn was such a great morally grey character. The way this book handles women in the entrainment industry and showing how they are treated was done beautifully. The ending was so shocking, and I was not expecting it to go that route. The romance in this book was good at showing that not all relationships are as perfect as they seem. (5 Stars)

Iron Widow: Another fabulous book! This is Xiran Jay Zhao’s debut book, and let me tell you, they knocked it out of the park! Worldbuilding has to be one of my favorite aspects of this book. It was unlike anything I have seen before. Transformer mechs powered by Qi energy, transformer-type aliens, and fighting back against oppressive patriarchy. It also has a polyamorous relationship, rare in YA, and a strong, powerful main character. (4 Stars)

Also, Xiran Jay Zhao has a youtube channel with great content, so I would recommend you check that out as well!

Namesake: So this book I did not review on my blog. Since this is the sequel to Fable, I decided that I’m just going to review this book on Goodreads since I never talked about the first book on here. I’ll do a mini-review right here. Honestly, I found this book to be pretty mediocre. I still enjoyed our main character, Fable, and loved her character development in this book. I wish that we got more from the side characters. Many of them still felt flat. I hated the romance in this book. I have never really liked the love interest, West. (3 Stars)

Heart of the Impaler: Before this book, I had never given a book one star. But this book broke that record. I hated this book from beginning to end. From flat characters to poor world-building, to skipping over action scenes and slow pacing. There was nothing redeemable about this book.(1 Star)

Best Blogger Posts // News in June

Welcome all these new bloggers to the book blogsphere!

Best Blogger posts!

Updates

If you didn’t know already, I will be doing my first book tour! I will be on tour with Turn the Pages Tours, and will be on tour for the book: The Bones of Ruin!

My post will be up on September 4th so stay tune for that!

I am also so close to 100 followers, and it would mean the world to me if you followed me if you aren’t already!

Top Posts in July…

Thank you for checking out this post! I hope you all have a wonderful August!

See you next time!

Going through the decades // Book Recs for each time periods

Hey everyone!

Today, I’m going to give recommendations based on a wide variety of periods! This can include all periods and not just recent ones. These will also include books that I have not read yet, but I’m planning to in the future! I hope you enjoy this post!

Let’s get started!

Before Common Era

Ivory and Bone:

Two clans. Only one will survive.

The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

16th Century

My Lady Jane:

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

My Contrary Mary:

Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?⠀

Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀

Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper’s nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.⠀

18th Century

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue:

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.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Note: Does not stay in the 18th century but it’s a story that goes till 2014

My Plain Jane:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

My Calamity Jane:

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou

JANE (a genuine hero-eene) Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.

The Gilded Wolves:

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

20th Century

The Diviners:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened… 

These Violent Delights:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Between the Shades of Gray:

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

The Book Thief:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Daisy Jones and the Six:

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. 

Malibu Rising:

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme:

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

Concrete Rose:

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man. 

Early 21st Century // 2000’s

A Very Large Expanse of Sea:

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments – even the physical violence – she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her – they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds – and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. 

The Fault in our Stars:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Thanks for checking out this post! What are some of your favorite books that occur in different time periods?

See you next time!

Book Recs based on popular TV shows & Movies // Julie and the Phantoms

Hey Guys!

I’m starting a new series on my blog, which is Book Recs based on popular TV shows and movies! Each week, we will focus on a different show or movie and then give book recommendations based on it! This week we will focus on the show: Julie and the Phantoms!

Let’s get started!

What is Julie and the Phantoms about?

The series follows Julie, who lost her passion for music after her mom’s death. But when she is visited by the ghosts of three musicians from 1995, Julie becomes inspired to start singing and writing songs again.

If you haven’t watched the show, then you should go check it out!

Book Recommendations based on the show

Cemetery Boys:

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.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Similarities between the two:

  • Involve summoning ghosts by accident
  • Both include LGBTQ+ relationships
  • Both have a sense of urgency to get things done quickly
  • Lovable characters
  • Theme of being yourself and not being afraid to show who you are

I feel that if you like Julie and the Phantoms, you’ll certainly enjoy this book. Julie and the Phantoms is a musical, so I would pair this with the song, Now or Never. I would pair these two together because they both have a sense of urgency that we have to get this done now, or we’ll never get to again.

“Keep dreaming like we’ll live forever/But live it like it’s now or never”

– Julie and the Phantoms, Now or Never

You Should See Me in a Crown:

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Similarities between the two:

  • LGBTQ+ relationships
  • Supportive friend groups
  • Trying to achieve dreams and make an impact on the world
  • Theme of being yourself and not being afraid to show who you are

Out of all the songs played on Julie and the phantoms, I feel like the song that would best fit this book is stand tall. Many times through, You Should See Me in a Crown, Liz has a fierce determination to achieve her dreams, and nothing holds her back. She had many struggles, but she wouldn’t let that stop her but, rather, find a way around that hurdle.

“And it’s one, two, three, four times/That I’ll try for one more night/Light a fire in my eyes”

– Julie and the Phantoms, Stand Tall

City of Shattered Light:

As darkness closes in on the city of shattered light, an heiress and an outlaw must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other.

As heiress to a powerful tech empire, seventeen-year-old Asa Almeida strives to prove she’s more than her manipulative father’s shadow. But when he uploads her rebellious sister’s mind to an experimental brain, Asa will do anything to save her sister from reprogramming—including fleeing her predetermined future with her sister’s digitized mind in tow. With a bounty on her head and a rogue A.I. hunting her, Asa’s getaway ship crash-lands in the worst possible place: the neon-drenched outlaw paradise, Requiem.

Gun-slinging smuggler Riven Hawthorne is determined to claw her way up Requiem’s underworld hierarchy. A runaway rich girl is exactly the bounty Riven needs—until a nasty computer virus spreads in Asa’s wake, causing a citywide blackout and tech quarantine. To get the payout for Asa and save Requiem from the monster in its circuits, Riven must team up with her captive.

Riven breaks skulls the way Asa breaks circuits, but their opponent is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The A.I. exploits the girls’ darkest memories and deepest secrets, threatening to shatter the fragile alliance they’re both depending on. As one of Requiem’s 154-hour nights grows darker, the girls must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other before Riven’s city and Asa’s sister are snuffed out forever.

Similarities between the two:

  • LGTBQ+ relationships
  • Lovable characters
  • Supportive friend relationships
  • Both have an importance of technology and social media
  • Making a positive impact on the world

The song that I would pair with this book is Wake Up. I decided to pair these two together because our two main characters have experienced pain and have suffered from many demons that take over their minds. But instead of letting the pain take over them, they use it to fuel them to help their world from falling apart.

It’s not what you lost / Time to come out of the dark / It’s what you’ll gain

– Julie and the Phantoms, Wake Up

Red, White and Royal Blue

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Similarities between the two:

  • Somewhat of a impossible relationship
  • LGBTQ+ relationship
  • Supportive friend group
  • Learning how to find yourself and be yourself

I had trouble pairing this book with one of the songs, but I decided to pair it with the Edge of Great. You may be wondering, why these two? I feel like they fit together well because Alex and Henry both make mistakes, and they are just trying to find themselves. They just both have so much potential for their futures, and that they are standing on the edge of great so to speak.

That this moment is ours to own / Cause we’re standing on the edge of great

– Julie and the Phantoms, Edge of Great

You’ve Reached Sam

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever

Similarities between the two:

  • Loss of someone special // grief
  • Being able to reconnect with someone who has passed
  • Supportive Friends
  • Learning how to let go of the past and looking forward to the future

To me, It was no brainier to pair You’ve Reached Sam with Unsaid Emily. Many times, we see Julie feel responsible for Sam’s death. She wishes that she could go back in time and stop that from happening. And that it will stay like that forever and that she wishes she could go back to spending more time with Sam before he died.

I’d never let you go / We start the scene in reverse / No time for goodbyes, didn’t get to apologize

– Julie and the Phantoms, Unsaid Emily

Flame in the Mist

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Similarities between the two:

  • Forbidden Romance // impossible romance in a way
  • Being recognized for talents and abilities
  • Lovable Characters
  • Magic and Mystery involved

The song I would pair with this book is Finally Free. I choose to pair these two together because Mariko feels free, in a way even though she is in enemy territory. This is because for her whole life, her path was planned out for her, and she feels she can show her skills. She feels like she is valued and that her skills mattered and are recognized. She also feels like she found a love that will support her and is a part of her.

No more faking / Come alive / And you’re a part of me

– Julie and the Phantoms, Finally Free

Tweet Cute

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Similarities between the two:

  • Forbidden Romance // impossible romance in a way
  • Experience many conflicts but learn how to overcome them
  • Supportive friend group
  • Lovable characters
  • Finding yourself and being yourself

I would pair Tweet Cute with Perfect Harmony. I feel like this song paints Jack and Pepper’s relationship of how they first start not liking each other but slowly realize they might be more to one another than they thought. They experience lots of conflicts, but by the end, they end up in perfect harmony.

Perfect Harmony / We say we’re friends, we play pretend / Two worlds collide when I’m with you

– Julie and the Phantoms, Perfect Harmony

What did you think of my picks? Have you watched Julie and the Phantoms?

Is there a show / movie you would like me to cover next time? Thanks for checking out this post!

August TBR // Trope-ical Readathon

Hey Guys!!

Welcome back to another monthly TBR! You may be wondering, why didn’t I do a July TBR? I just decided I would go with the flow rather than have a planned-out schedule. Also, you may have noticed that I have been off for a while, and that’s because I was on a short hiatus! But I’m glad to be back writing another post!

As you may have noticed, I will be participating in the Trope-ical Readathon! I have had my eye on this readathon for quite some time, so I decided I would go ahead and sign up! So I’m going to be going through my TBR for this readathon today!

Now Let’s get started!

Trope-ical Readathon

This readathon is hosted by Jen @ JenJenReviews and Rob @ bookrob13! If you are interested in participating, I linked it above under Jen’s name. I’m super excited to participate and hope to get through a good chunk of my TBR.

Common Prompts:

A reread:

The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war–and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Found Family:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.


Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart. 

A meaty book (500 paged book):

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

An audiobook or ebook:

After her life is upended by divorce and a cross-country move, 16-year-old Saskia Brown feels like an outsider at her new school—not only is she a transplant, she’s biracial in a population of mostly white students. One day while visiting her only friend at her part-time library job, Saskia encounters a vial of liquid mercury, then touches an old daguerreotype—the precursor of the modern-day photograph—and makes a startling discovery. She is somehow able to visit the man in the portrait: Robert Cornelius, a brilliant young inventor from the nineteenth century. The hitch: she can see him only in her dreams.

Saskia shares her revelation with some classmates, hoping to find connection and friendship among strangers. Under her guidance, the other girls steal portraits of young men from a local college’s daguerreotype collection and try the dangerous experiment for themselves. Soon, they each form a bond with their own “Mercury Boy,” from an injured Union soldier to a charming pickpocket in New York City.

At night, the girls visit the boys in their dreams. During the day, they hold clandestine meetings of their new secret society. At first, the Mercury Boys Club is a thrilling diversion from their troubled everyday lives, but it’s not long before jealousy, violence, and secrets threaten everything the girls hold dear.

(Post) Apocalyptic Trope:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Historical Figure:

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads? 

All happens in one day:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Multiple POVs:

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game… 

A genre you don’t usually read:

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Retelling:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

Team Challenges (Team Fantasy)

There Be Dragons:

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Read a book featuring the “Prophecy” Trope:

A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.

What did you think of my picks? Are you participating in the trope-ical readathon?

June 2021 Wrap-Up // A Good Reading Month, No Bad Books!

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to another monthly wrap-up! Another month has gone by so fast! I can’t believe that it’s been a little more than three months when I first started my blog! I hope everyone had an amazing June!

In June, I read a total of 6 books! Also, all of them were above three stars which I would say is fantastic! No bad books here! Much better than last month to say the least! I’m going to be going through some of my favorite books I read this month!

Let’s get started!

Books I read in June…

Spin the Dawn: I enjoyed this book for the most part! The first half was very enjoyable, and I loved the tailor competition! The second half of the book was disappointing and just fell flat for me. Instead of focusing on the main story, the plot took a backseat, and the romance became the main plot. (3.5 Stars)

Blood Like Magic: This has to be one of my favorite books of the year! I loved how the world was a combination of science fiction aspects like genetic manipulation and more fantastical elements like witches and magic! The characters were great, and I loved having Voya as the main character of this book! Also, the representation was fantastic, and I loved seeing it! The pacing was slow at the beginning, but it picked up the further along I read. (4 Stars)

Cemetery Boys: Julian was the best thing about this book. This book was so cute but also very emotional! I loved Yads and Julian as a couple, and they went great together! The plot wasn’t executed well, and many parts felt underdeveloped. Also, some elements felt very predictable, for example, it was easy to predict the main villain. I also loved learning about the Latinx culture and the Brujos. (3.75 Stars)

The Henna Wars: This book was so cute, and if you haven’t read it, please check it out! The Bengali representation and I loved getting to learn more about the cultures. Flavia and Nishat were so cute together! I also liked how this book dealt with serious topics within our society like racism and homophobia. YA books must tackle these subjects to educate young people and help to make a change. (4 Stars)

You Should See Me in a Crown: This was another cute sapphic romance that I fell in love with. I loved how the main plot was centered around a prom queen competition and how much this particular high school cares about it. But this isn’t just a cute romance; it also covers racism and homophobia and what it’s like to live in a small town that isn’t as accepting. Also, the references in this book were too funny. ( 3 Stars)

City of Shattered Light: I typically don’t read sci-fi books, but I loved this book! The worldbuilding was one of my favorite aspects of this book and is written flawlessly. The world-building is seamlessly woven into the story. The two main characters, Asa and Riven were great, and I loved that they were the leads! There was a love triangle, but that didn’t bother me that much, and I liked it! I do wish the side characters were developed more. (4 Stars)

Best Blogger Posts in June…

Updates:

If you didn’t already know, I am doing weekly discussions posts on my blog! If you would like me to talk about a topic, you can fill out the form below!

Request a Discussion (google.com)

Another announcement is that I will be on a short hiatus from July 6th to July 12th! I will be busy during that time, so I will not be posting at all. But after that time, I’ll be back to posting!

Top Posts for June…

Thank you for checking out this post! I hope you all have a wonderful July!

See you next time!

LGBTQ+ Recs // Happy Pride Month!!

Hey guys!

Today I’m going to be recommending some of my favorite LGBTQ+ books in celebration of pride month! I have many recommendations, but for this list, I’m going to narrow it down to 7 of my favorites! Hope you enjoy it!

Let’s get started!

You Should See Me in a Crown

  • Cute sapphic romance
  • Prom Queen Competition to win money to go to her dream college
  • Theme of friendship
  • Representation: Liz is Black & sapphic; Mack is sapphic; multiple side characters are BIPOC; Liz’s brother Robbie is Black & has sickle cell disease

The Henna Wars

  • Cute Sapphic Romance
  • Business competition with competing henna shops
  • fierce sibling bond
  • Representation: Bengali Muslim lesbian MC, Brazilian-Irish (Afro-Latinx) bisexual LI, side Bengali characters, side Korean character

Felix Ever After

  • Includes m/m romance and a love triangle
  • About finding who you are and your identity
  • Theme of Friendship
  • Representation: Transgender demi boy, a black main character, a mixed main character, gay/lesbian/bisexual/queer characters, a disowned character

Cemetery Boys

  • Lovable m/m romance
  • Latinx backstory with Brujos who can summon ghosts and pass them on to the afterlife
  • A mystery to find a ghost and set it free
  • Representation: own voices trans Latinx (Cuban Mexican) MC, Haitian side character, Columbian side character, gay MC & love interest.

They Both Die at the End

  • Cute m/m romance
  • Set in a futuristic world where a program called Death-Cast that comes to you the day you are suppose to die
  • Theme of making the most of the time you have left
  • Representation: Mateo is gay/queer; Rufus is bisexual; and both are Latinx

Red, White and Royal Blue

  • Lovable m/m romance
  • Fake friendship between the First Son of the US and the Prince of the England after a confrontation at a royal wedding
  • Enjoyable bantering between the two MCs and great side characters
  • Representation: Alex is Mexican American and bisexual; Henry is gay/queer

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

  • Cute m/m romance
  • A classic LGBTQ+ about finding your identity
  • navigating high school drama and a secret romance
  • Representation: MC is gay; side character is black, Jewish and gay; Another side character is bisexual; Another side character is bisexual

What did you think of my picks? What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ books?

See you next time!

Trope Themed Thursdays: Meet Cutes

Hey Guys!

Welcome back to Trope Themed Thursdays! Today, I’m going to be giving some recommendations based on the Meet Cute Trope.

This will officially be the last post of my Trope Themed Thursdays!! I have enjoyed doing this series, and I hope all of you have enjoyed it as well! If you any suggestions on what I should do for my next series, Let me know in the comments!! Synopsis are from Goodreads!

Let’s get started!

When Dimple Met Rishi

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family—and from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitating toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

This book has one of the greatest meet-cutes, in my opinion. You might be thinking that when Dimple meets Rishi that I would go well, right? Since it’s a meet-cute. But no. The opposite happens. When they first meet, Rishi calls Dimple his future wife, and she proceeds to throw coffee in his face. I found this book to be so fun and a wild ride. Dimple and Rishi are such great characters, and their relationship was cute to see!

The Henna Wars

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized. 

This is another cute relationship! Nishat and Flavia start good but then with the school competition to create their own business; they quickly become rivals. But we see them go through all the ups and downs. I enjoyed the scenes where they were themselves with one another and hang out. It was heartwarming to see and loved seeing the challenges they faced overcoming them.

What If It’s Us

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

I found Ben and Arthur’s relationship to be different from the other relationships on this list because they are two different people that don’t have a lot in common, but, despite their obstacles, they still end up working. But they both tried to understand one another and work to make their relationship work. It has the charm of having a missed connection but ended up finding each other later, and terrible dates!

Everything, Everything

My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This book does have a little of an insta-love feel. To me, it didn’t bother me that much in this book, but I thought I’ll let you guys know since insta-love is not as popular. I enjoyed Maddy and Olly’s relationship! I feel like they complimented each other very well. Olly was always looking out for Maddy and was respectful towards her. It was a healthy relationship, and you can tell they both care about each other so much!

Cemetery Boys

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.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

This has to be one of my favorite relationships in YA. Julian and Yadriel make such a cute couple, and I loved their interactions so much when I was reading. When Yadriel and Julian first meet it doesn’t go so well. Julian finds out he’s dead and was surrounded by total strangers. But after that first encounter, we see them develop feelings for each other and that they care about one another so much. It’s super cute to see, and they pair together nicely.

What did you think of my choices? What are your thoughts on the Meet Cute trope?

If you have any suggestions on what I should do for my next series, Let me know in the comments!

Trope Themed Thursdays: Disguises

Hey Guys!

Welcome back to another Trope Themed Thursday! For Today’s Trope Themed Thursday, I’m going to be giving some books where the main character uses a disguise to achieve their desires because they don’t fit in or because that’s the only way they can survive.

Another quick note is that I’m planning on ending this series soon so I can start another one! So before I end this series within the next few weeks, if you have any tropes you would like me to cover, please let me know in the comments!

Let’s get started!

Spin the Dawn

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

This book uses the disguises trope very well. In this world, women are not allowed to be tailors, but Maia has always wanted to be the imperial tailor. So when Maia has the opportunity to become the imperial, she disguises herself as a boy. Maia tries her best to pose as a boy while also trying to manage the court and secrets.

Some people might say that it doesn’t make sense that more people in the book realize Maia isn’t a boy, but it was noted she didn’t have a very girlish voice, and since no one expected a girl, prejudices were running deep that they didn’t even believe a woman was capable of sewing that well, so they only saw a girly boy. Young boys can also have voices that sound like girls since they are still maturing.

The Girls I’ve Been

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…

This book deals with many disguises dealing with Nora since her mother was a con woman. Due to her mom being a con-woman, Nora was drag into her schemes at a very young age, and because of this, she had to become a new girl for each scheme. Each time Nora takes on a new identity, which many years later still brings her much trauma. These past girls bring up many old memories and throw all the baggage Nora experienced into the open.

This Savage Song

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. 

In the city of Verity, it’s the monsters vs. the humans. This war has been going on for many years, and many people want the war to end. To help the war progress, August becomes a student at Kate’s new boarding school to spy on her. This disguise doesn’t go that well since Kate figures out his secret, but I loved this concept of having a monster try to blend in among humans. It’s an interesting concept, and it shows how some monsters aren’t that different from humans.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

I put this book on the list because the way the disguise trope is used is interesting and different from all the other books are listed. Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrel lost their friend Steph after he was killed. Steph had big dreams of being an artist and loved making music. Since his life was cut short, his friends decide to make his music public by creating a disguise for him called The Architect. They use this disguise to spread his music and the messages that Steph wanted to get across. Also, this is such an underrated book, so please check it out if not for this reason!!

Flame in the Mist

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

This is very similar to Spin the Dawn, which I mentioned above. In this society, women are supposed to get married and have children. Even though Mariko is far more skilled than her brother she still must do what is told of her. But things get thrown off when she is attacked by the Black Clan. She decides to get revenge on Black Clan by posing as a boy. A revenge story that deals with the infiltration of the enemy, but Mariko slowly realizing that people may be better than they seem. Also, this is such an underrated book, so please check it out if not for this reason!!

The Diabolic

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

In this book, Nemesis must disguise herself perfectly to protect herself as well as Sidonia. If Nemesis messes up, then it will not only impact herself but everyone. It’s also a very intriguing concept because Nemesis must pose as a human even though she is not a human herself. She has to be something that she is not and slowly beings to unravel the secrets in the empire. Through her disguise, she learns about humanity and changes her mind on several of her previous thoughts.

What did you think of my choices? What are your thoughts on the Disguises trope?

If you have any tropes that you like me to do, feel free to leave them in the comments!