book discussions

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US vs UK Book Cover Battle!

Hey everyone ~ I saw this trend floating around the YouTubes recently and thought I would do my own version on here! I am for sure one who is a sucker for a good cover, so I thought this would be a fun idea to see which cover, either the US or the UK, I love the most ~ Let’s gooooo

Round 1: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

WINNER: US! (but both are super pretty)

I really love both of these covers and feel like I am constantly switching between the two as to which one is my favorite. There is just something so gorgeous about the US design that I just could not pick the UK cover in the end. I remember when I unboxed my US copy a couple of months ago and it was by far the prettiest cover I have seen in a while. I just love all the colors ~~

Round 2: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

WINNER: UK!

I absolutely adore that Alice Oseman is coming out with these new covers that are hand drawn for all of her books. I think they look so cute individually and together. The US cover is pretty bad not going to lie. It is just not very eye grabbing for me and does not seem like something I would enjoy. I probably would not have picked it up if not for the new UK covers, so this was an easy choice for me

Round 3: And I Darken by Kiersten White

WINNER: US!

Whew this is a bit of a throwback for me because I read this book way back when it came out a few years ago and really loved it. I really need to re-read the first book to continue on with the rest of the trilogy haha. BUT ANYWAY ~ I think the UK cover captures the story a little bit more, but I just really love the purple colors on the US edition. I also am not the biggest fan of people on the covers, so that was another drawback for the UK one.

Round 4: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

WINNER: UK!

As yes this wonderful book. I actually have many editions of this book but my favorite is by far the UK edition. The neon blue color truly takes your breath away and I just really adore it so so much. The US cover is not one of my favs because I do not really like the color scheme.

Round 5: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

WINNER: BOTH??

This one was really hard for me because both covers have good and bad things about them. They both are pretty simplistic, which I normally do not gravitate towards very often. However, I just finished the book and think the US edition makes more sense for the story in general and those 7 stars on the cover (if you know you know). But I also really love the flowers and the blue color on the UK edition. I am so torn! If I had to pick one, I guess I would go with the US one because it makes more sense with the aesthetics of the story itself (:

I’ll probably do another one of these soon ((:

THANKS FOR READING !!!!! ❤ JILL

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5 ways my reading has changed! (in the past 5 years)

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to do a little bit of a different post and talk about how my reading habits/tastes have changed over the past few years. As someone who has been a reader for most of her life, I find it so interesting to look back and see how I have changed in relation to reading. There aren’t many flashy graphics in this post, just mostly me talking. Hope you enjoy!

1. Audiobooks

Honestly, Audiobooks is what inspired this whole post because I used to HATE audiobooks. Maybe hate is a strong word, but I personally just could not concentrate on an audiobook. I did not judge anyone who wanted to listen… they just were not for me! I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and felt pretty disconnected from the story overall. HOWEVER, nowadays I literally listen to my audiobook every single night before I go to bed or whenever I am doing chores around my apartment. Audiobooks have saved my LIFE so many times, especially when I have to read long classics for school. There are some months where I only read 1 to 2 books physically and the rest are on audiobook. As a full-time English major at university, sometimes my eyes just will not allow me to read anything else physically. Enter audiobooks to the rescue! I really recommend you try them out, even if you couldn’t get into them before. ALSO… audiobooks have really opened my eyes to my local libraries and I get all my audiobooks for free through Hoopla or Libby. I could go on and on about how thankful I am that audiobooks exist but I will leave it here (((:

2. eBooks

Ah yes… did we predict this one would be coming too after audiobooks? Although I will probably always prefer to hold a physical book in my hand, my appreciation for eBooks is constantly growing. I remember when I was little getting into an argument with my grandparents about how I thought Kindles were stupid ( I was only 12 forgive me) xD Now I read lots of ebooks through my library on my iPad! If there is a book I don’t want to spend money on, as books can get pretty expensive, and there is no audiobook available, ebooks to the rescue! I also love reading graphic novels and comics on ebook because those can get really expensive when you buy them physically. Overall, again, as a full time student who does not have the money to spend on books all the time, ebooks are such a lifesaver. (:

3. Harsher Ratings

When I go back in my Goodreads, nearly every single book that I read 5 years ago I have given 5 stars xD Even books that I do not remember liking very much. I remember there was a time where I thought 3 stars was a really bad rating and I would have had to not like the book at all to give it a whole 3 stars haha. Now I give 1 stars fairly often and it has become much more difficult for me to give out those glowing 5 star ratings. The book must be truly special for me to rate it that high. Although I can admire my younger self for having such high opinions of all these books, I think my ratings now are much more honest and my reading abilities have gotten more critical as well!

4. Annotating / Tabbing

Whew this one might make some people uncomfortable but… I have recently started writing all over my books. *GASP!! I used to always mark up my school books, as that was a requirement at my middle and high school, and I have kept doing that through university because it helps me think and keep track of things. I never used to annotate my YA books or books that I read for pleasure… the most I would do is maybe put some sticky tabs on some of my favorite parts. However, nowadays I like to write in those books too! I normally pick one pen color to go throughout the whole book and come up a few tab colors that I think match the book cover. Then I go at it. I used to want to keep my books in absolute pristine condition. But I’ve realized now it’s more fun to make them my own and it’s so cool to look back a couple months after I read a book to see my thoughts on it. Although I totally respect the non-annotaters, I personally don’t feel anxious about writing in my books anymore ~~

5. More Genres + Diversity

The final major way my reading has changed is that it has gotten so much more diverse, especially in the last year or so. I used to read primarily only YA fantasy or YA contemporaries. However, after taking a year break from reading, I came back this year ready to explore anything really (except horror hehe). I now love so many things from middle grade, to adult romance, to YA thrillers. I really am open to anything at this point. I also have been loving discovering books from different cultures as well. My old reading habits used to unfortunately focus on white authors writing stories about white characters. I really have been making an effort to read more diversely this year and I have just discovered so many fantastic stories my ignorant self was unaware of. Overall, more genres and more diversity has really enriched my reading and I am so happy I’ve decided to branch out!

THANKS FOR READING ~ Jill ❤

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Anti TBR Book Tag!

Hello everyone ~ Today I decided to talk about all the books I have NO interest in reading. Maybe sometime in the future I might consider these… but for now I really have no interest in them (: If these are some of your favs I mean no offense!! I wasn’t tagged by anyone… I just wanted to do this today ~

This tag was created by Nicole & Her Books over on YouTube! Click here for her original video ~

Let’s goooooo ~~~

1. A popular book EVERYONE loves that you have no interest in reading?

~ Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Now, does EVERYONE love this book? Not exactlyyy… but I have seen a ton of people gushing about this book lately. I used to adore Twilight and I just recently re-watched all the movies. However, I really do not have any interest in this one from Edwards POV! It’s super long and I really cannot see myself reading it anytime soon. I just don’t think I need/want an additional narrative set in the Twilight universe. I know I’m probably in the minority but yeahhh just not super interested at the moment ~

            

2. A classic book (or author) you don’t have an interest in reading?

~ Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

As an English Literature major who does enjoy a good classic every once in a while actually found this question pretty difficult. I normally am pretty open when it comes to classics and would be willing to read a lot of different options. I ended up going with Little Women just because I have recently seen the movie and really loved it. The book itself is very big and I personally think I am fine just knowing the story through the movie adaptation (*gasp I know!). I might read this at some point in my life but at least for now it’s not on my radar ~~

            

3. An author whose books you have no interest in reading? 

  ~ Maggie Stiefvater         

This one might make a few people sad haha. I have read the Raven Cycle season by her and truly just did not enjoy it at all. I know that is some people’s favorite series of all time. It just was not for me! Because of that, I really do not have any motivation to pick up her other books. The concepts of them do not really appeal to me either. Perhaps in the future… but not right now (:

4. An author you have read a couple of books from & have decided their books are not for you? 

~ Christina Lauren

As someone who has recently discovered new adult/adult romance this year, I went through a phase where I thought Christina Lauren was the only romance author out there. However, I have found that through reading about 6 of their books (since they are an author duo) I do not really enjoy them. I give them normally between 2 and 3 stars and I know now that there are romance authors out there that fit my taste a little bit more ~ I have not read their YA book, Autoboyography, so maybe I will give that one a chance at some point.

5. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into & couldn’t? 

~ Horror

I absolutely cannot do anything spooky in terms of books, TV shows, movies, etc. I am the biggest wimp that exists when it comes to things like that. I can even get scared just from reading middle grade ghost stories haha. So, safe to say Stephen King is off my radar!

6. A book you have bought but will never read?

~ Save the Date by Morgan Matson

This is sort-of random but I took a look at my shelves and saw this book on there and realized I will probably never read it. I bought it when it came out a few years ago and was really excited about it. However, it just does not sound like something that would interest me anymore. I also have heard not the best things about it. Older YA contemporaries aren’t really my jam anymore ~

7. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started & have dnf’d? 

~ The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

This is a book that I read earlier this year and just could not get into. I have heard some of my friends talk about how amazing this book and series is… but I just did not enjoy it. I have no interest in continuing on with the series and kind-of regret reading this first one. I might just not have been in the mood for YA fantasy when I read it but oh well!

8. A new release you have no interest in reading?

~ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

This is not a super recent release… but I have not wanted to read this book ever since it came out. Similar with Midnight Sun, I used to be a huge Hunger Games fan and adore the movies. I just personally do not want/need more books in this world. I have also heard some pretty negative things about this books which makes me not want to pick it up more. Maybe if people were really loving it I would give it a shot… but it looks like I’ll be sitting out on this one (:

*** Anyone who wants to do this… I TAG YOU!! ***

THANKS FOR READING ❤ JILL

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End Of The Year TBR (to-be read)!!!

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to make a post and highlight some YA books I really want to get to by the end of the year. Will all of these get read? Probably not! But it’s never a bad idea to set some goals for yourself (: All of these are books that I have been looking forward to reading for a while and I just really need to get to them soon ~

1. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This book is a Korean inspired fantasy story that also integrates Korean Drama elements. I have heard so many great things about it! As someone who has watched over 30 K-Dramas, I am so excited to read a book that is inspired by them! It follows a girl named Miyoung who is secretly a Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, which is a prominent figure in Korean mythology. She ends up meeting a human boy named Jihoon and ends up forming a special bond with him. The story goes off from there! Like I said, I love anything having to do with Korean culture, so I am thrilled to see what I think about this now (:

2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This would be a much anticipated re-read for me! I read this book back when it came out and I remember really enjoying it. However, I completely forgot all that happened. Now, with the fourth book coming out soon, I am excited to revisit this world in anticipation for the final installment. I know this is a Roman inspired fantasy that follows a spy named Laia and a soldier named Elias and they end up forming a forbidden type of bond that puts them in jeopardy. I’ve heard this series just gets better and better as it goes on so I cannot wait to re-read this one and hopefully continue on with the series after!

3. Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This was one of my most highly anticipated books for the end of the year and it is finally here! This has been getting so many rave reviews and it sounds like the perfect fall story. I just picked it up tonight actually and I hope that I can actually read it before Halloween. It follows a Latinx trans boy named Yadriel who accidentally raises the school bad boy from the dead. From there, the two team up and have to uncover some mysteries. It just sounds like an cute little ghost story that I am probably going to really love (:

4. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson

Link to the first book The Kiss of Deception HERE!

This is the sequel The Kiss of Deception, which I read earlier this year. I originally bought this entire trilogy many years ago and never got around to it. I finally picked up the first book and was so pleasantly surprised that it was so much fun. I really wanted to pick up the next book before I forgot everything that happened!! The first book follows a princess named Lia who flees her kingdom to escape an arranged marriage. In response, her betrothed and an assassin are both sent after her and she does not know which one is which (neither does the reader!). Although the first one was a bit cringey, I still had so much fun and can’t wait to see where the story goes! I’ve heard wonderful things.

5. A Songs of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This West African inspired fantasy has been on my radar since it came out. I’ve just never had the time to fully devote to it! This debut has been getting sooo many glowing reviews and I cannot wait to experience it for myself. It follows a girl named Karina who, in order to resurrect her mother, has to obtain the heart of a king. We also follow Malik who, when his little sister is abducted, must kill the crown princess, who just happens to be Karina. So, the two head off on a journey of falling in love while also desiring to kill each other. I cannot wait to read it! xD

6. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This is an audiobook that I have saved for a while and recently I really just feel like it is time to read it! I have a few of Alice Oseman’s books on my shelves but have not read any of them yet. Some people I follow absolutely love this book so I thought it would be a good place to start. The Goodreads summary is pretty vague but it seems like a coming of age story where people have to confront their pasts. I really kind-of want to go into the story blind though, so I am going to keep it at that!

7. Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Link to the Goodreads page HERE!

This is another book that has been on my radar since I first saw the cover and the title. I have it on hold at my library, but I keep pushing it back! Hopefully I will get to it soon. This book is set many years after the original Cinderella story and now all the girls in the kingdom are required to attend a ball to find their Prince Charming. However, Sophia does not agree with this and tries to reject this tradition. When she tries to escape, she meets the last descendant of Cinderella and together they vow to take down the king. I have heard amazing things about this book and I think it will be a fun ride!

THANKS FOR READING – JILL ❤

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Top 5 YA Contemporaries of 2020!

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to do a post about some of my favorite contemporaries that I have read in 2020 ~~ Not all of these released in 2020, but they are new to me in 2020 (: I wanted to highlight some of these because I love all of them a lot! Let’s get started ~

1. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary from Goodreads:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Why I Loved It: This book overall was such a treat. Elizabeth Acevedo is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and, since I have read all of her books, I can confidently say that this is my favorite. One thing that I really enjoyed about this book is the fact that Emoni has a daughter at the age of 14. I feel like this is not normally featured in YA novels and, especially in the past, teen pregnancies were looked down upon by society. So, I just really loved watching Emoni raise her daughter and try to go to high school all at the same time. This book also just made my mouth water because Emoni has a special gift of being able to cook food so good it can make people recall memories. Overall, this was just a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

2. You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Summary from Goodreads:

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?

Why I Loved It: I read this book early this summer and it just put the biggest smile on my face. A Black, queer girl competing for homecoming queen? What an amazing story! I loved following Liz on her journey as she struggles to find her way in high school and smash the racist tendencies of her classmates and school. Overall, this book just made me so happy and I am so glad that I decided to pick it up ~

3. Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.

Why I Loved It: This book is one that continues to stick with me even though I read it a couple of months ago. This book takes place during the AIDs crisis in America and I had never read a book set in this time period and following these types of characters. It really made me want to research more into this topic and I think that is a good sign for a book. I think this is such an important story and it really gives a realistic view of the hardships that LGBTQ individuals had to face during this time, especially gay men. This book is bursting with diversity and I really enjoyed getting to know our messy but lovable cast of characters. It also inspired me to listen to some Madonna songs and that was fun! This book is incredibly sad as one can imagine, but I still loved it so much.

4. Slay by Brittney Morris

Summary from Goodreads:

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Why I Loved It: This book was SO cool. Whenever I talk about this book I cannot stress enough just how cool the entire story and the world is. SLAY, the video game in this world, was so imaginative and unique, as it is a VR type game that is centered around Black culture. I thought our main character Kiera was such a wonderful voice and I enjoyed reading her story and how she has to face the racism in her everyday life. This also was such an amazing audiobook because we actually get different small chapters from people all over the world with different voice actors! I’ll never forget how I stayed up until 6 am one night listening to this book because I just could not get enough. I highly recommend this one ((:

5. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar

Summary from Goodreads:

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

Why I Loved It: I feel like I talk about this book a lot on this blog, but it’s just SO good! I found this book to be so hilarious and heart warming while also dealing with some pretty serious topics like transphobia and homophobia. This is another book that just has so much diversity within and it really is worth the read. The characters were all lovable, especially Felix. Even though the characters make some messy decisions, that just made them feel more real to me. Also the cover for this book is just stellar!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THANKS FOR READING — JILL

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🍂 Finally Fall Book Tag 🍂

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to do a Book Tag that I have seen going around Booktube lately that combines cute fall prompts with book recommendations ~ This tag was originally created by Alina Milena over on Youtube. Unfortunately, the video has been set to private.

Let’s get into the questions ~

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting

Answer: Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

🍂 This story has some of the most lush world building that I have read in a long time! Jordan Ifueko’s way with words blew me away the more and more I read this book. This story takes place in a fantasy world inspired by African folklore and culture and I just ate it up!

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief

Answer: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

🍂 This beautiful story told in verse follows two sisters who do not know of each other’s existence until their father dies in a tragic plane crash based on a true story. As one sister lives in New York and the other in the Dominican Republic, their father’s death devastates both of them in different ways but also allows them to find each other. I think this summary perfectly describes why this book fits this prompt (:

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new

Answer: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

🍂 Technically a memoir, this story follows the life of George Johnson, who is a Black queer activist. In this book, George compiles essays about his childhood and what it was like to grow up with all of his different identities. I definitely learned a lot while reading this and think it is a beautiful story everyone should read!

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of

Answer: The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

🍂 I am doing a throwback for this one because I just recently re-read this series to prepare for Chain of Gold and fell in love with all of these characters again. I would absolutely love to be a part of their family because they all love each other so much ❤

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines

Here is my fall color book stack which I came up with at the last minute! (:

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story

Answer: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reed

🍂 Although not a YA book, I thought this book was the perfect answer to this prompt. This follows a woman named Eveyln Hugo as she tells her life story as a 1960s movie star and all she has to sacrifice to be famous. It also follows all the husbands she has along the way and what happens to each marriage. This book is one of my favorite books of 2020 so I wanted to gush about it somewhere on this blog!

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read

Answer: The Call by Peader O’Guilin

🍂 This is a throwback for me because I have not read this book in years! I personally do not like dark, creepy reads all that much and try to avoid them if I can. I actually did not personally enjoy this book because I thought it was much too creepy. However, I still wanted to include it because I know so many people love horror books. It follows this creepy reality where at any moment you could be “called” to go into this land filled with horrors. If that sounds like your thing, maybe give it a try!

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day

Answer: You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

🍂 I read this wonderful story over the summer and just fell in love with it! It follows a Black girl named Liz Lighty who has to run for prom queen in order to win a scholarship for her dream school. The catch is, her high school has never had a Black prom queen before. Overall, this story put the biggest smile on my face and made me want to cheer for the characters at the end of it. It also has a f/f romance in it and it was just the sweetest book!

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon

Answer: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

🍂 Strange the Dreamer used to be my favorite book of all time back in 2017-2018. I absolutely fell in love with everything inside of it. Since it’s been so long, I’ve really been wanting to re-read it to make sure that it still deserves that favorite book of all time rating! Also, I never actually read the sequel (oops). So, needless to say, I want to revisit this one soon ~~

THANKS FOR READING!!

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Top 5 YA Fall Releases I Cannot Wait To Read

As September is drawing to a close, I thought that it would be fun to talk about some new YA releases that I am very excited to read this fall season! Let’s gooooo ~~ (NOTE: all designs were created by me, minus the book covers themselves xx)

1. Grown by Tiffany D Jackson

Release Date: September 15th, 2020

Summary from Goodreads:

Korey Fields is dead.

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

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

Why I Am Excited: I have heard so many wonderful things about this book from early reviewers. It seems like it packs a very heavy emotional punch. From what I’ve seen in early reviews, this book deals a lot with sexual assault and emotional manipulation, refusing to shy away from the horrors of the situation. Although the topics in this book do not seem easy to get through, I am looking forward to experiencing this story for myself. Also the cover is just so gorgeous!

2. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Release Date: September 15th 2020

Summary from Goodreads:

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Why I Am Excited: A King Arthur inspired fantasy novel that features a kick-ass Black main character?? Sign me up! This story seems so fresh and unique I cannot wait to get to it and see if I love it. I’ve also heard there is a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in this book so that is a big plus ~ Also, the average Goodreads rating is a whopping 4.6… one of the highest ratings I have seen for a debut novel! Long story short, I’m not sure when I will read this but hopefully it will be soon (:

3. Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin (sequel to Serpent and Dove)

Release Date: September 1st, 2020

To avoid spoilers, here is the summary for the FIRST BOOK, SERPENT AND DOVE on Goodreads:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Why I Am Excited: Blood and Honey is finally here!! YAY! I just got to Serpent and Dove earlier this year and really enjoyed it. The first book deals with love, magic, friendship, and the consequences of having too much power. I picked up the audiobook for Blood and Honey a few days ago, and I am a little more than 50% of the way through it. This series is full of wit and sass and I cannot get enough of the intricate world. So far, Blood and Honey picks up right where Serpent and Dove left off and has been non-stop action from the get-go. This second book is also quite a deal darker than the first one. It really delves into the two main characters, Lou and Reid, and they have to face their many flaws head on. Although I am not finished with it quite yet, I am really enjoying it.

4. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Release Date: September 1st, 2020

Summary on Goodreads:

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.

Why I Am Excited: Listen… this story just sounds so wonderful and everyone I have seen read it lately says that it is absolutely amazing. We got a Latinx, transgender, and queer boy who summons the ghost of the school bad boy by accident. The premise alone makes me laugh out loud with delight. xD Also, Aiden Thomas made history as the first out transgender author to have a book about transgender characters make it to the New York Times Bestsellers list 🎉 I cannot wait to get to this spooky and heartwarming story!

5. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Release Date: August 18th, 2020

Summary on Goodreads:

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Why I Am Excited: I have to say the cover drew me in to this book first. I have the physical copy of it and I can say with confidence it is one of the best designed books I have laid eyes on. It’s just so pretty!!! As is the common theme with this post, I have heard other reviewers just raving about this book, especially Black reviewers, which makes me so excited to get to this one. This is a West African inspired fantasy, which is something you do not see very often in YA unfortunately. I knew that as soon as I saw this book and the praise it was getting that I had to pick it up! I am currently reading it (I’m only about 20 pages in) and so far the writing is blowing me away.

THANK YOU FOR READING – Jill