Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron – Book Review

I loved Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron! It’s an excellent sequel to Rena Barron’s first book in this trilogy, Kingdom of Souls. Reaper of Souls picks up right where Kingdom of Souls left off.

SPOILERS FOR KINGDOM OF SOULS:


When we last left Arrah and Rudjek, they defeated Efiya and now their main concern is the Demon King. However, a new player has emerged, and her name is Dimma. Throughout Reaper of Souls (no major spoilers), we find out more about Dimma and the Demon King. What I love about Barron’s writing is that each perspective feels different. Sometimes, authors can struggle with writing from multiple perspectives that are all in first person, but Dimma, Arrah and Rudjek all sound very distinctive.

I also hear a lot that second books are sometimes not as good as the first, but this is not true for Reaper of Souls. Now, Arrah and Rudjek still have to confront the reach of the demons while also healing from the horrific events of KOS. Rudjek now has anti-magic, while Arrah has her magic from all of the tribes to help her try to locate any tribal survivors. Both are separated on different journeys, and Barron is able to make their journeys entwine even when they’re away from each other.

Overall, this sequel is amazing and I will be waiting in anticipation for the final book of this expansive and captivating fantasy trilogy.

Midyear Book Tag ft. 100 books read!!

Hello everyone! I’m hoping to post more over the next month – I’ve been busy with my academic summer program. However, I am proud to say that I’ve read 100 books as of 7/24 – I thought Darling was my 100th book, but it was actually Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance. No spoilers except for plot descriptions to sequels! So minor ish spoilers for We Hunt the Flame, The Tiger at Midnight series.

Favorite Book of 2021?

Obviously, I cannot choose just one: here are three RELEASED books that I consider to be new favorites. We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal is about Zafira and Nasir’s journey after WHTF and after magic is restored, the Zumra have to figure out what to do next.

Ace of Spades is one of the best dark academia novels I’ve read. Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is an author to watch and her debut is definitely a #1 YA must read. AOS talks about anti Blackness and how pervasive it is in schools and how it pervades society and generations. Chiamaka and Devon are great characters and that epilogue!!!

The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala is a fantastic ending. I love morally grey characters and will definitely miss Esha and Kunal. I hope to see Teerdhala write more and I hope more people read The Tiger at Midnight series.

Honorable mentions: XOXO by Axie Oh, How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao (it would be up here too but I don’t have a finished copy yet), Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (simply magnificent, best new fantasy series of 2021)

Favorite Sequel?

Fun fact: I was on the Zumra (Hafsah Faizal’s street team)!!! That didn’t influence how much I loved WFTS – I am also doing a re-read with some others on bookstagram and I love Nasir and Zafira’s dynamic.

Sequel you haven’t Read Yet, But Want to?

Technically, I am reading these ones right now, but Our Violent Ends and When Night Breaks!! Chloe Gong and Janella Angeles are amazing and Gong was the first author I interviewed on my blog. Also, The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi – have not read this one yet.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Literally all of these. I don’t think I need to explain.

5. Biggest disappointment?

Oh gosh. Please don’t come at me, but Counting Down With You – listen, the author seems super nice, but I just didn’t like it? And the brown girl is “saved” by the white guy trope is so old. *note: others have read this book differently and I know it is important, so please don’t take my opinion as saying you shouldn’t read it. Also, A Dark and Hollow Star – I noticed after reading a goodreads review that EVERY mc is white – I think there’s a discussion around having token diversity vs. actively seeking out sensitivity readers when white people write about people of color and being inclusive. I am not educated enough about this topic, but I think it is something to think about. (Obviously token diversity is never good.)

6. Biggest surprise

The Iron King by Juliet Kagawa! It made faeries better for me. I am in love.

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Katie Zhao is incredible and I am so grateful to be a part of the Sinclair Students. I read HWFA before I joined, so I knew I wanted to talk about this book and get others to buy it. It’s the first YA academia book I’ve read with an all Asian cast. HWFA is a murder mystery yes, and it talks about anti Asian racism and mental health.

*Note: I am not East Asian American or an immigrant so I cannot speak on the representation. I also got a copy early from the publisher and that did not influence my opinions of this book, my opinions are only influenced by me.

8. Newest fictional crush

9. Newest favorite character

10. Book that made you cry

None.

I am lying. Brown Boy Nowhere – as a Filipino American I feel very seen.

11. Book that made you happy

XOXO!! I have no pictures but it is on my wishlist!

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

how i have no images of the entire fairyloot aeita set is wow to me but i bought it last year and got it this year.

13.What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

you already know lol – our violent ends, a psalm of storms and silence, the holiday switch, jade city.

14. Favorite book community member

May @foreverandeverly, Kate @yourtitakate, Shealea @shutupshealea, Humnah @rootedindreams, Sagarika @sagarific, Maya @mnmbooks, Jesse @bowtiesbooks.

Thank you for reading and I hope you all know that you don’t have to read 100+ books a year. I used to read 300 and that was not good because I pressured myself to not DNF a book. On a positive note, I’ve liked a lot of 2021 books!

What has been your favorite books of 2021?

July 2021 Wrap Up

Hey everyone!! This month, I read 24 new books. 6 less than last month and the same amount I read in May, which is a pretty good accomplishment because I had my academic summer program for four weeks in July. (I hope I did well because it was my last summer.) So far, I’ve read 107 books.Here’s what I read in July and my goals for August, as well as some of my favorite IG posts.

A black and white plaid blazer and skirt set along with a red shirt and an ARC of How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao (only 17 days away!!) and a sword necklace.

Favorite Quote

CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

“Beneath the beat of the sun, all he saw was the starkness of her skin and the sharp cut of her lips. But last night, beneath the glow of the moon, that skin had coaxed and those lips had beckoned. They still do.” – Nasir’s thoughts, pgs 294 to 295

Books I Read (bold = author is new to me, italisized = re-read)

  1. Everthing that Burns by Gita Trelease – started in June
  2. Blackout by Angie Thomas, Dhonielle Clayton, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon, Nic Stone, and Tiffany D. Jackson – FAVORITE
  3. Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield – FAVORITE
  4. Witchshadow by Susan Dennard – Least favorite
  5. The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala – FAVORITE
  6. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – FAVORITE
  7. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – FAVORITE
  8. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – FAVORITE
  9. Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto – FAVORITE
  10. A Chorus Rises by  Bethany C. Morrow – FAVORITE
  11. Every Body Shines edited by Cassandra Newbould
  12. What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka – Least favorite
  13. The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala – FAVORITE
  14. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury – FAVORITE
  15. The Marvelous by Claire Kann
  16. A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton
  17. Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson – Least favorite
  18. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney – FAVORITE
  19. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta – an almost 100% new FAVORITE but some things could be improved
  20. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson – FAVORITE
  21. Darling by K. Ancrum
  22. Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June
  23. Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma – FAVORITE
  24. XOXO by Axie Oh – FAVORITE
  25. Off the Record by Camryn Garrett – FAVORITE
  26. The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Overall, 14/24 books I read were new favorites!! That’s about 60%. I didn’t like Witchshadow because the plot was all over the place and some parts seemed unecessary/there were a lot of POVs. I know this series is very popular, but it just didn’t land for me. And What’s Not to Love seemed so interesting, but I really feel like I want to read more rom-coms with people of color. Xoxo and Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance made up for What’s Not to Love.

I also did a buddy read with @sagarific and @yourlocalbookreader!! It was super fun and you all should definitely follow both of them. We read Iron Widow and it was super engaging and the ending. Oh my gosh.

Finally, if you read five books from this list (cries in I can’t choose but I will for now), read Blood Like Magic, Dial A For Aunties, and The Tiger at Midnight trilogy, and Off the Record, and Rise to the Sun.

August Goals

I hope to read seven books and have my TBR! I also am hoping to finish my e-ARCs of Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong and When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles!! I also got an e-ARC of The Red Palace by June Hur. Furthermore, I hope to post more reels this month.

As for non bookish/slightly bookish goals. . .

  1. I want to finish my commonapp essay. I have a second draft. If anyone else is applying, please message me and I’d love to talk about college. Also, narrow my college list/do more research.
  2. Rewatch some shows.
  3. Relax!!! My academic program was super fun but I also like having unstructured time.
  4. Hangout with friends. Hanging out in person is different than seeing someone through a screen.
  5. Start planning for Model United Nations. It’s my last year and I really hope in person conferences will happen.
  6. Get 10 people to read How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao – it’s one of my favorites of this year!!

My Favorite Posts of July

What did you do in July?

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – The Journey of A Character Who Isn’t Afraid to Take It All

Wow. I don’t think I’ve been as immersed in or as satisfied by a fantasy book as I was by She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. It’s so easy to get into Zhu’s head and to understand what Zhu is thinking – in fact, while I usually tend to focus on how fast the plot is, this time, the part of the book that made me feel engaged was Zhu. NOTE: There will be spoiler-y quotes after the review, so if you don’t want to accidentally see any spoilers JUST read the review. I will mark the quotes section in bold. Also, quotes ARE TAKEN FROM THE ARC – I will edit this when I read a finished copy. The fact that I received a copy from the publisher and Netgalley did not influence my review.

Zhu, who is genderqueer, takes the place of Zhu’s dead brother. Zhu takes no prisoners, and really sets out to conquer the destiny that was originally meant for Chongba. I love seeing main characters who aren’t afraid to take what they desire/their destiny, and Parker-Chan really made me feel like I was able to see all of Zhu’s actions.

Obviously, the world building is fantastic – I love the fantasy elements as well as the fact that most of the violence takes place off page. I felt like SWBTS focused more on the political intrigue, which I always enjoy. Additionally, Zhu’s development from child to adult felt very well paced – I never felt like I was being rushed in the story to get to the next moment.

I do have to admit that I think some of the plot went over my head just because it’s summer, so my mind is pretty much devoted to my summer program right now, so I will definitely have to re-read SWBTS and will edit this review again at some point. Just know that as someone who’s just starting to get into adult fantasy (I think I’ve only read three: The Stars are Legion, The Poppy War trilogy, and The Wolf of Oren-Yaro), this book continues my streak of books that I could read over and over again. Overall, She Who Became the Sun is a beautiful and powerful story that I fell in love with, and I hope you all read it!

SPOILERS: Favorite quotes section

You may have ended this, but you haven’t ended me, she thought fiercely at him, and felt the truth of it shining inside her so brightly that it seemed capable of igniting anything it touched. Nobody will ever end me. I’ll be so great that no one will be able to touch me, or come near me, for fear of becoming nothing.

The eunuch showed no sign of having felt any of her thoughts. He turned his back on the monks and passed through the doors, the ceaseless flow of his incoming soldiers parting around him like a stream around a rock.

He said to them, “Burn it to the ground.”

““I suppose you’ll have little enough chance, whatever I do,” Chen mused. “But I find myself moved to improve your odds. I’ve instructed Commander Wu to give you five hundred men before your departure. How many will you have then, seven hundred or so?” His laugh was like a slab of meat hitting the butcher’s block. “Seven hundred men against a city! I wouldn’t try it myself. But let me do what I can for you afterward: if you do manage to win Lu, I’ll convince the Prime Minister to let you keep whatever you’ve taken from it. Then you’ll have enough funds for your new temple.” His black eyes glittered. “Or for whatever else you’d like to do.””

“All that means is we have to make this life count.” He stared at her. She saw the moment the relief kindled in him, of having found her again to follow. The shadows on his face were already breaking apart. Through the cracks she saw the boy in him again. He said, wonderingly, “Who did you become, when we were apart?” She smiled. “The person I was always supposed to be.”

“Zhu felt a stab of uncharacteristic pity. Not-wanting is a desire too; it yields suffering just as much as wanting.”

“After a long pause Ma said, low, “I cherish you.” Zhu smiled at her. “I don’t even know who I am. General Ouyang killed Zhu Chongba, but I’m not the person I was born as, either. How can you know who you’re cherishing?” Rain drummed on the thatched roof. The mushroom smell of wet straw pressed around them with the intimacy of another’s warm body under the blankets. “I might not know your name,” Ma said, taking Zhu’s hand. “But I know who you are.”

“You never realized that it wasn’t your name they were going to call, exhorting you to reign for ten thousand years.” As the Prime Minister fell facedown in the dirt, she said, “It was mine.”

“She didn’t just want greatness. She wanted the world. The breath she took felt like joy. Smiling with the thrill of it, she said, “I’m going to be the Emperor.”

“Behold me as Zhu Yuanzhang , the Radiant King.”

Have you read She Who Became the Sun?

Review: Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

No matter what, I think fantasy will always be my favorite genre. One book that I anticipated for a while, even before the cover was revealed, was Sisters of the Snake, an Indian inspired fantasy where the main characters switch places. I was very grateful to be on the street team for SOTS and was on #TeamRani (Rani is the princess). Sisters of the Snake is written by Sarena and Sasha Nanua, and the tagline is: “A lost princess. A desperate switch. A destiny that will shake the world.” Here is my review for SOTS:

DISCLAIMER: I was not influenced by being on the street team and by winning a copy of the book.

Right from the start, I instantly knew I would enjoy both Ria and Rani’s points of views. Both girls are trapped, but in different ways: Ria is forced to be a soldier and Rani is forced to follow her mother and father’s every command. When both are together, it’s great to see their dynamic – it feels very natural.

I liked Rani a bit more because rich princess and palaces!!!! I love that. I also thought the world building was esay to understand/fall into – the writing style of Sarena and Sasha is a good balance of descriptive, emotional, and action. Fantasy books can sometimes be hard to get into/the world building is thrown at you all at once, but this is not the case at all with SOTS.

As for the pacing, it was pretty much perfect. I never felt bored or like I was out of the loop. In the sequel, I would like to see more about the magic of the world and the history. Also, Sarena and Sasha should advocate for a map in the next book. I would recommend this for those who want a fantasy book inspired by a non-Western place, twins who don’t know they are twins, and surprising romances.

Favorite Quote

“For eighteen years, I’ve walked these halls. Cool marble floors, paisley-patterned carpets, and a frosted-glss exterior. Ornate jalis, latticed screens that filter out the hot Abai air.” – Rani, pg 19

Overall, I’m excited for the sequel and recommend this book!

Have you read Sisters of the Snake?

Life Update – 7/10/21

Interestingly, July is going well for me!!! Here’s what’s been going on in my life, including what I’ve read, a peak into my reading journal, and my thoughts as I come up on my third year bookstagram anniversary in December.

Life

I’m a part of a university’s free collegiate scholars program that I’ve been a part of since the summer before my sophomore year and I LOVE my classes this year!! I have four classes and they are all helping me. Two of them are college focused, and one is about the U.S. Census, Identity, and Politics and the other one is about The Politics of Superhero Movies. I don’t know what I’ll write my personal statement about, but I have a few ideas.

I also feel a lot less stressed this summer – I’m hoping to meet up with some of my friends this month and next month, I’m going on a family trip (we are all fully vaccinated) to see colleges in the Western U.S.

Books

I’ve read about 8 books this month.

As for bookstagram, I’m trying not to be on IG as much and I think it’s super beneficial for my mental health. Last July, I posted nearly EVERYDAY. That does not work for me. I’ve also learned not to care as much about what others think (I hope) and I’ve made some really great friends.

I got to go to the library again today (very fortunate to have a great library system in my city) and checked out some books I’m anticipating:

  1. Blood Like Magic by LIselle Sambury – I’ve followed her for a while and can’t wait to read this!!! It is a very long book and I love long fantasy novels. Also, the cover!!! Voya looks amazing.
  2. Renegade Flight by Andrea Tang – I think this is a companion novel to Rebelwing and I remember liking Tang’s writing style and world a lot.
  3. A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton – love anthologies!!! The cover is so cool and there are many details. I’m most excited for Dhonielle’s, Nic Stone’s, and Anna-Marie McLemore’s stories.

Below is an image of my book tracker in my reading journal:

Missing some information but I’ve read 7 books this month – need to read 9 more books to get to 100.

Bookstagram Anniversary – Less than six months away!

Love this photo my parent took of me!!

I think I’ll have to save up money to do a fun book haul MAYBE. I’m going to college next year, so I’ll probably limit myself to 3-5 books. I already have the Fairyloot edition of Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong preordered, so that might be my gift to myself, lol!

I don’t know where I would be without bookstagram. When I didn’t have many friends irl, bookstagram was there for me. I’m happy to say I follow a few people’s private IG’s and I hope to meet them irl someday.

What should I do for my third year bookstagram anniversary?

June Wrap Up

The past two months, I’ve managed to read over 15 books, compared to only reading four in February! I did finish school this month, so I had a lot more time. 22/30 books were YA contemporaries, which usually take me a day to read, and then fantasy novels (adult and YA) usually take me one to eight days to read. I have not read 30 books in a month in a while, and I don’t know if I want to do it again because I like taking my time while reading. However, the last time I read over 30 books in a month was in August 2019, when I was attempting to read 300 books in that year. In 2020, the most books I read in a month was in July – I read 22 books that month.

Favorite Quotes

This section will include spoilers for: An Ember in the Ashes AND A Torch Against the Night.

“You are full, Laia. Full of life and dark and strength and spirit. You are in our dreams. You will burn, for you are an ember in the ashes.That is your destiny.” – Cain, pg 400-401 of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

“Killer! Death himself! Reaper walking! If your sins were blood, child, you would drown in a river of your own making.” – pg 8, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Books read

Favorites are highlighted in bold, authors who are new to me are italisized.

  1. Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart – started in May
  2. Up All Night edited by Laura Silverman – started in May
  3. These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy – started in May
  4. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – started in May
  5. The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell – started in May
  6. Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park (ARC from Netgalley) – started in May
  7. Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
  8. Pumpkin by Julie Murphy
  9. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
  10. Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi
  11. A Phở Love Story by Loan Le
  12. The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
  13. Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
  14. The Silence of Bones by June Hur
  15. Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
  16. Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon
  17. Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa
  18. The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
  19. That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler
  20. Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass
  21. Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua
  22. Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
  23. Fight Like A Girl by Sheena Kamal (from Netgalley)
  24. Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis
  25. Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
  26. Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud
  27. The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
  28. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
  29. Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson
  30. Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

As you can see, I had ten favorites. Illusionary is the sequel to Incendiary, and now Zoraida is officially one of my favorite fantasy YA authors. To my list of favorites, I would like to add The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri and She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan and Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao; however, I haven’t finished these books yet (I also need to write reviews for them since I received all from Netgalley as ARCs).

Instagram Posts

I posted nine times in June, compared to three times in May, five times in April, twice in March, once in February, and seven times in January.

Other Life News

I’m going to the West Coast of the “US” to look @ colleges in August, so that’s fun!! I have to work on my Posse app as well and my Collegiate Scholars Program is starting next Tuesday – my last summer with them! I’m also hoping to receive my copy of The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala. I went to an online event with her and Roseanne A. Brown yesterday and would love to see them in person someday!!

In July, I’m hoping to finish IW, SWBTS, TJT, Skyhunter by Marie Lu, Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease, Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood, and Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.

How was your June?

LGBT+ Books to Read All Year

It’s pride month!! However, this is not the only time to read books by and with LGBT+ people. I’m hoping to also write a list of 10 upcoming books by and with LGBT+ people.

The Never Tilting World duology by Rin Chupeco – This book includes a f/f couple with two wlw main POV characters, Lan and Odessa. I highly recommend this book!!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – I already know I’m going to love this. Yadriel is trans and accidentally summons the wrong ghost, Julian Diaz, and the two boys have to work together to find out the circumstances of Julian’s death.

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson – a f/f YA novel about prom! Liz Lighty is a queer Black teen who enters the contest for prom royalty when the financial aid she needs for college falls through.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus – the mc, Audre, is queer, and is forced to go to Minneapolis when her mom finds out about her secret girlfriend. There, she meets Mabel. I loved Mabel and Audre’s storyline, and this is one of my favorites I read in 2020.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender – Felix Love is a demiboy and this is his love story. I remember loving this as well – another one of my favorites of 2020.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Wren and Lei are both wlw. This book got me back into YA fantasy because at the time, most of the fantasy novels I read were by white people and were not good. GOPAF is an amazing trilogy and a must read. The last book is coming out this year.

Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa – One of my favorite YA romances in a while. I heard Jonny Garza Villa speak with Julian Winters and greatly enjoyed hearing from them. Jules is gay.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow – a futuristic sci-fi novel about Ilori taking over earth, with Ellie Baker, who is demi ace, teams up with one Ilori. Alechia Dow has another book releasing next year.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – includes genderqueer protagonists. I have not finished my e-arc yet, but I want to by the end of this month. Zhu is awesome and I love Parker-Chan’s writing style.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger – the mc, Elatsoe, is Lipan Apache and asexual. I loved the writing style as well as the structure of the story – stories included throughout the overarching story of Elatsoe.

Again, read books by and including the LBGT+ community all year round. I hope you’ve found a new book to read. I cannot speak on the representation in these books, so please seek out reviews by people who are a part of the community. Do let me know if I got anything wrong about these books – I did check out other’s reviews as well as the author’s comments to verify the characters.

What books by authors who are a part of the LGBT+ community do you recommend?

Most Anticipated Books: August 2021

Welcome to the finale of my three part series of my most anticipated books of August 2021! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what books I’m excited for.

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

I’ve technically already read this book but I’m definitely going to be purchasing a physical copy (go Sinclair Students!!). There is a preorder campaign going on right now where you can get character cards (which I love). This academia novel has an all Asian cast and is about mental health and being in a competitive high school environment, and also talks about how rich people are often able to get away with a lot.

Brown Boy Nowhere by Sheeryl Lim

This book has a Filipino American main character! Angelo Rivera has to move and is the only Asian person in his all white school. Angelo has to work at “his parents’ new diner.” I am always looking for Filipino American rep, and I have high hopes for this book.

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

I LOVED The Candle and the Flame, so I’m excited to see another book by Azad. The Wild Ones is described as a “thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all.” I love this cover and all of the flowers surrounding the characters.

Like A Love Song by Gabriela Martins

I’ve had this book on my radar for a while now, and I really like Martins’ Twitter. Like A Love Song is about a Latina pop star who has to fake date a soft hearted British boy to help her career. I love the fake dating trope and am excited to see what Martins does with it.

Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

I recently read Raybearer by Ifueko and I can say that no fantasy YA book has taken my breath away in a way that Raybearer has, ever. At the end of Raybearer, Tarisai claimed the role as an Empress Redemptor. She now needs her own council, but faces assasination attempts in the finale to the Raybearer duology. There’s going to be a “handsome new stranger” in this book, so I’m so ready to see where Tarisai goes next.

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

I loved Darcie Little Badger’s Elatsoe, and I’m excited to see more books by Badger. The main character is Nina, who is “a Lipan girl in our world.” According to the synopsis, Badger “draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family.” I love the cover as well.

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

Katrell is Black and is able to talk to the dead. She accidentally raises someone from the dead. This is Lewis’ debut, and I’m very excited to see what happens in this novel, where Katrell is revealed to what may be “an even darker future.”

What books are you excited for coming out this August? What did you think of this three-part series?

Most Anticipated Books: July 2021

Hello! Here is the second part of my three part series of my most anticipated books of summer 2021.

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

I loved You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson last year and I’m excited to see that she is writing another book. This book is about “the power of music to heal and connect us all.” Rise to the Sun comes out July 6th.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

I think this book takes place in the same universe as Spin the Dawn, which I absolutely LOVED. Shiori has forbidden magic and is the princess of Kiata. Her magic is revealed and her stepmother, Raikama, is interested. However, Raikama curses Shiori’s brothers and tells Shiori she cannot speak or else one of her brothers will die. Shiori has to work with the very boy to prevent a conspiracy that wants to take the throne of Kiata. This premise sounds so cool!

Wings of Shadow by Nicki Pau Preto

This is the final book in the Crown of Feathers series! Preto is really skilled at creating an immersive fantasy world, and the plotline is unlike any fantasy novel I’ve read. I’m definitely going to re-read the first two books before Wings of Shadow.

XOXO by Axie Oh

I’m excited to see that Oh is writing a contemporary novel. This is one of my favorite covers of 2021 because I love how colorful and happy it is. Jenny is a cello prodigy, and she meets Jaewoo, who she doesn’t know is a part of one of the biggest K-pop bands. Jaewoo is not allowed to date. XOXO takes place in South Korea, and I’m excited to read a book that doesn’t take place in the U.S.

Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

Afterlove is a lesbian love story. Ash is about to become a reaper but then dies, but then gets an invitation to become a part of a group with other girl reapers. She accepts because she wants to see her girlfriend, Poppy, again – dead or alive. I love this premise and really have never heard anything like it. Afterlove comes out July 22.

What books are you excited for that come out this July?