Over the past year, I’ve really gotten into romance novels! My favorite romance novels are ones where in addition to a love story, there’s also side plots that are about the careers and interests outside,… More
I can’t believe Christmas has already passed. In some ways, I like the anticipation before Christmas more than the day itself. It’s exciting seeing all of the different holiday decorations around the city, making chocolate mousse pie, and spending time away from school.
Therefore, The Holiday Switch is an excellent Young Adult romance centered around Christmastime in Holly, New York. It felt refreshing to me because I don’t read many holiday themed romances. In The Holiday Switch, Lila Santos, high school senior, is working at the Bookworm Inn, and trying to figure out how she can earn more money to go to her number one college, Syracuse University. Lila’s winter break plans are changed when she’s assigned to train Teddy Rivera, her boss’ nephew.
Lila Santos is a relatable main character. Like me, she loves reading, has a book blog, and is Filipino American. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to read more books by Filipino American authors centered around Filipino Americans. Beyond these traits, though, Lila and I both desire for control over our lives where there are so many changes occuring. Applying for college and moving beyond the place we’ve lived all our lives requires help, sometimes from unexpected people.
Enter Teddy. Lila sees Teddy as an unfriendly coworker at first, as he is assigned the hours Lila was hoping for to raise more money for her college fund. This isn’t exactly the enemies to lovers trope because both Lila and Teddy want to see the Bookworm Inn succeed, but they have different ways of trying to draw people to the Bookworm Inn. Lila’s had an organized system for her library section of the Bookworm Inn, for a few years, while Teddy is a newcomer who has a fresh perspective on how Lila’s library should be organized.
This isn’t a spoiler because it’s on the back cover: Lila and Teddy end up accidentally switching phones. Here’s an area where I was a bit skeptical: sometimes when phones get switched, characters lie to each other and try to solve the other’s problems without asking. This is not the case for The Holiday Switch – I love the fact that Lila and Teddy communicate what their problems are. They know that they have different ways of organizing things, but in the end, they both respect and try to understand the other’s opinions.
I also like that the other people in the town are fleshed out. There’s an emphasis on community in The Holiday Switch, which is nice, as the romance and the plot nicely entwine. Ms. Velasco, Teddy’s aunt, runs the Inn, Carmela Ferreira (Lila’s best friend), is an artist who aspires to go to RISD, Pratt, or VCUarts. The town itself is like a character in the book: its fame comes because of the book turned movie “Holiday by the Lake” (which ends up playing a large role later on).
What I love most about holiday romances is that they’re all about love. Yes, The Holiday Switch is a romance novel, but there’s also signficant friend and family relationships. Lila learns more about the relationship with herself, and learns to recognize that moving out of one’s comfort zone may be easier with the support of family and friends. The Holiday Switch asks us to reconsider our first impressions of people, and to think about how love can be unexpected. This is a calming and bright read for Christmas, and I can’t wait to re-read it.
*Note: I thought all of the holiday puns were very amusing!!
Do you like reading books centered around holidays? Do you have any recommendations for holiday-themed books?
I’m the lead editor for my school’s student led newspaper this year, and this month, I wrote three book reviews for the newspaper! It’s exciting because my reviews were part of our first issue this school year. I hope you all are inspired to read these books, as they’re some of my favorites I’ve read this year.
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – Cinderella is Dead is an adventurous fairy tale with a f/f relationship at the center by Kalynn Bayron, who takes the original elements of Cindrella and turns them into a new world where the story of Cinderella is a part of history. The main character, Sophia, wants to marry her best friend, Erin, but has to attend a ball where she’ll be forced into marriage. This ball is meant to pay homage to the tale of Cindrella, but is instead a lie meant to conceal the true story of Cindrella. While escaping the ball, and her seemingly inevitable unwanted marriage, Sophia meets Constance, Cinderella’s last living descendant. Sophia finds herself embroiled in a mission to upend the patriarchal structure of her world. Overall, I loved this feminist take on the Cinderella story.
The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland – As an adoptee, The Jasmine Project stands out to me because it’s by an Asian adoptee and is about an Asian adoptee living her everyday life. Jasmine, the main character, finds her carefully planned summer upended when she finds out that her boyfriend, Paul, is cheating on her. Jasmine has no idea what she’s going to do for the rest of her summer before she starts college – until she meets three guys. Unbeknownst to Jasmine, her meddlesome family is trying to help her by setting her up with three guys to show Jasmine that she should be with someone who truly appreciates her. Throughout the book, Jasmine’s journey to love proves that love cannot be planned. The Jasmine Project is for fans of YA rom-coms and stories about self love, familial love, and all types of love.
Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists by Mikki Kendall, illustrated by A. D’Amico – Everyone should read this book because the movement for women’s rights impacts everyone. Women’s advocacy has existed for as long as human civilization, so I appreciate the fact that Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is about the intersectionality of the women’s rights movement. For example, Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya “a Muslim woman, founded a mosque and library that become the University of Al Quaraouiyine. . .the world’s oldest continually operating educational institution” (Kendall and A. D’Amico 22). Kendall’s motivating writing and D’Amico’s captivating illustrations bring the stories of women to life and illuminate the fact that the women’s rights movement is ongoing.
If you’ve read these books, what did you think of them?
I am 6 followers away from 1.4k!!! I really love how nice and inviting the bookstagram community has been, and I am so happy with my schedule of having no posting schedule – doing what I want, when I want to is so freeing. For some reason, WordPress is not allowing me to insert images, so here are links to a few of my September posts I love.
I also turned 18!! It was a great day and I got to go to a bookstore and have a slice of 17 layer chocolate cake. Chocolate cake is my favorite. Furthermore, I spent the day with both sides of my family (had to wear a mask because 1. COVID, and 2. personal health reasons).
School is honestly taking up a lot of my energy, but I’ve read nearly 120 books this year!! I’m really excited for these October-December releases: When Night Breaks, Jade Fire Gold, Our Violent Ends, Girls of Fate and Fury, and The Holiday Switch.
What books are you hoping to read before the end of 2021?
Honestly, I’m writing this for the sole purpose of warming up my brain before I do my AP Lit homework. It’s a nice rainy day, and I’m kind of just needing somewhere to write before I start analyzing poetry.
Book Related Updates
I’ve been reading at a slower pace this year, which is very beneficial. Also, I feel pretty happy because I’ve found a good way to balance school and blogging and bookstagram, which is to say the place I’m most active is on Twitter because 1. Twitter is basically for me to try to have a These Violent Delights fanpage (it’s not working. I need to remember that Twitter does not equal my personal diary.), and 2. For me personally, Twitter takes the least amount of work. I’ve met some really nice people and authors.
I heard about the sad news that Simon Pulse and Jimmy Patterson Presents are ending (unconfirmed, I can’t really tell what’s going on). Girls of Paper and Fire definitely changed my taste in reading forever, and I hope Natasha Ngan gets the advertising she deserves because GOPAF is one of my favorite series of all time.
Maybe I should actually write about what I’m reading: I have a few e-ARCs that I’m reading: Like Home and Payback (the third book in the Vale Hall series) are my two favorites right now. I also have to start Rebel Rose and Clues to the Universe. As for reviews, I need to write one for These Violent Delights, Skyhunter, and White Fox.
Balancing School and Blogging and Bookstagram
I’ve said this a lot: I’ve thrown a schedule out the window and oh my gosh, I have never felt so motivated. I like school, so it was pretty easy for me to change my mindset to being “I want to work on posting pretty photos of books” to “I need to focus on school because this is a critical year.” I think Twitter has been a bit detrimental because I do not have any drafted bookstagram posts right now, but that’s ok!! I am going to try posting everyday in December like I did last year because I love creating a theme based around the holidays I celebrate (also flatlays. I love flatlays!!).
I mean, if you want advice, here’s some: just do what you want and know that your life is your priority. I exist outside of the Internet and I have other priorities that take precedence over bookstagram and blogging. I have found that I create the best posts when I am motivated to do so for me, and not for others.
Overall, I have a lot going on right now, however, I do find blogging to be very soothing. I need to finish some of my ARCs so I can post some reviews.
What are you reading right now and would you recommend it?
Today has been SO LONG. I remember the day after election day in 2016, I cried because I did not expect the person who won to win.
I honestly mentally prepared myself for the worst today. However, when I woke up, and it wasn’t called, I felt impatient. Like, just tell me who wins!!!
Now? I feel numb. It’s hard to be hopeful seeing that so many people voted for the person who’s president right now again even after seeing four years of this mess.
Yes, whatever happens, there will still be work to be done. As a teen, I know I have so much more to learn. I could not vote this year but I will in 2022, ’24 and all of the elections after that.
I wasn’t planning to post but these are just a few of my thoughts. Here for everyone.
It has been a while. I’ve been really inactive because of school and other life things, but I am aiming to post at least three more times this month. Here’s what’s been happening in my life:
I have two days left until winter break. Honestly, I’m struggling with my research paper. Writing a literature review is complicated: you have to talk about your sources while also putting them in conversation with each other. It’s hard to get started. So far, I’ve written it, but I need to make the line of reasoning clearer.
I am proud of the fact that I finished my first dual enrollment course!! I will be taking Introductory Statistics next semester. Right now, I’m excited to have time off since my teachers aren’t assinging much work for this winter break.
Well. I have around 24-25 books to finish by the end of this year. I recently acquired a copy of A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir and am at the beginning of A Reaper at the Gates. Every book in the series just keeps getting better and better.
As for the blog, yes I have not posted in a month. I love bookstagram but I need to start cultivating my site. I know that getting a Twitter would make it easier, but I honestly need to get off Twitter because I waste A LOT of time on there. Right now, I am trying to keep it as a TVD and Wings of Ebony fanpage.
There are so many books I have to review such as Happily Ever Afters, Wings of Ebony, and Clues to the Universe. Also, Make Up Break Up!! I’m really into rom-coms these days as well as heavy fantasy novels in winter. I hope to get to The Burning God and The Ever Cruel Kingdom before the end of 2021.
Overall, I need to get through these next two days and then I can really start working on having a lot of fun posts for the end of this year! I can’t wait to share my top 10 list. I’ve read 199 books this year including re-reads. Not including re-reads: 133-134, I think! My goal was 100. That includes around 20-25 DNFs (which I will get to in 2021).
How are you? Are there any good books you’ve read lately?
Hello everyone! I’m so excited to have more time to blog now. There’s so many amazing books coming out this summer (or this June through August), so I hope you will find something to read from this list. This will be a series of three blog posts because there are A LOT of books you should have on your radar.
Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park
I received an ARC from Netgalley, and I’m really enjoying it so far! Suzanne Park is a Korean American author who also wrote The Perfect Escape, which was very enjoyable. As an Asian American teen, it’s nice to see that Asian teens who are all different and are allowed to be messy and make mistakes.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
AHH I’ve been waiting for this book for SO LONG. As an Asian American adoptee, I don’t see a lot of rep of adoptees at all, and there’s not many Asian American adoptees that I’ve seen. This is a magical, coming of age story about Jordan, who is Vietnamese and queer. I love Jordans outfit and the magical-ness of the cover with the leaves around her.
A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow
I LOVED A Song Below Water last year; it was one of my favorites of 2020. I also read Take the Mic which Morrow was included in, and Morrow is definitely one of my favorite authors. Naema looks amazing (I love all of the pink throughout the cover), and I can’t wait to see her in this book!
Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
I love Sugiura’s book This Time Will Be Different, so I am very happy to see that she has another book coming out very soon! Nozomi Nagai, who is Japanese American and lesbian, is asked by Willow to fake date, however, she wants to show Willow that she would like to real date. I love the characters on the cover and their outfits. From the reviews I’ve seen, there is also a Filipino American side character, which makes me very happy!
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
I have an e-ARC of this that I NEED TO READ!! Ahhh all of my online bookish friends have said they enjoyed this book, so I’m hoping to get to it this weekend so I can have a review written by or the week of release day. I love the cover and the flower in the “O.” This is a trilogy and includes a romance between “a captive princess (Malini) and a maidservant (Priya) in possession of forbidden magic,” and Malini and Priya have to save their empire from Malini’s traitor brother.
Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon
I really think the Rosetta’s Academy series is my favorite of Sandhya Menon’s. Her books are great when you need something that will make you feel better because they’re so cute, fluffy, and low stakes. The covers changed for the series, but I really enjoy them and the old covers as well. This book focuses on Caterina and Rahul.
Broken Web by Lori M. Lee
Forest of Souls was an entrancing start to a new fantasy trilogy in 2020 (I love the character cards and the bookmark!!) so I can’t wait to see where Sirscha and Saengo’s story goes next.
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
I’ve been following Liselle Sambury since before the cover for Blood Like Magic was revealed, and it’s almost here!! I think this duology. Voya, who is Black, is a witch who has to complete her Calling, which she has to pass to reach her powers. Voya has to kill her first love, so I’m excited to see how this goes for her!!
Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua
I’m on the Snake Squad for this book, and I’m really enjoying seeing everyone’s posts! I am on Team Rani, and Rani is a princess wanting to get out of her palace. One of the comp titles for this book has been The Tiger At Midnight, so I’m sure I will enjoy this novel. I won a copy from a giveaway Sasha and Sarena hosted, so I’m aiming to read it and review it by or the week of release day.
Rising Like A Storm by Tanaz Bhathena
Bhathena is amazing; she’s written contemporary novels and now this fabulous fantasy duology. I won an ARC of Hunted by the Sky along with a handwritten quote from Bhathena, and absolutely LOVED it. I highly recommend this duology. Also, notice Gul’s side profile!! I feel so much less self conscious about the hairs on the side of my face because I see them on Gul’s face, which is really great. If anyone wants to buddy read HBTS with me before this comes out, feel free to contact me @solaceinreading_ on Instagram.
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon
This novel is about “Black teen love.” All of these authors have books that I’ve rated five stars, so I cannot wait to see what they do together in these interconnected stories about a blackout in New York City. Also, I think that’s the Brooklyn Bridge in the background of the cover, which is super cool.
The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala
Swati Teerdhala is one of my favorite authors of all time and her first trilogy is coming to an end! Esha and Kunal have taken me on an amazing journey since 2019 when I first bought TTAM when it came out. I was also a part of the TigerWraith Warriors street team (which included Roseanne A. Brown’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, which I also highly recommend), and received character cards because of my participation in the street team. If you’re looking for enemies to lovers, gorgeous worldbuilding, and morally grey heroines, this is the series for you!
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Sci-fi is becoming one of my favorite genres and I’m so excited to see that Gearbreakers focuses on an Asian main character and her love interest, who is also Asian. This is Zoe’s debut novel, so I am planning on purchasing it and I hope you will too. Eris Shindanai takes down Windups and Sona Steelcrest is a Windup pilot, so it’ll be cool to see where their f/f enemies to lovers relationship goes. Also, I LOVE THIS COVER!!! It’s so pretty and emphasizes the power that Eris and Sona have.
What books are you excited for coming out this June?
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?
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?
I am so sorry that this post is late, first of all! The first month of school was very hectic. Let’s get right to my post for A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee for Colored Pages Blog Tours.
First of all, Lee’s writing style is so engrossing and makes me feel like I’m instantly drawn into the world of the characters of ACOS. The fact that this series remixes classics, in this case, Treasure Island, makes me very happy as a high school reader who did not enjoy books such as Little Women (also read So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow!!!!).
Second of all, I love the fact that this book is written in first person POV – Xiang is such an interesting character and I love her POV – seeing how she interacts with her mother, Anh, and her mentor. Even from the first page, I knew that this book would be one of my favorites of the year.
Thirdly, I can confidently say that you do not have to read Treasure Island to understand ACOS – they’re called Remixed Classics for a reason, and Lee definitely smashed my expectations. This series is one to read again and again and again, and I hope any teachers reading this will consider adding this series into their curriculum.
[to be updated – I have to set the table for dinner.]
Title: A Clash of Steel
Author: C.B Lee
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Two intrepid girls hunt for a legendary treasure on the deadly high seas in this YA remix of the classic adventure novel Treasure Island.
1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Head of the Dragon, is now only a story, like the ones Xiang has grown up with all her life. She desperately wants to prove her worth, especially to her mother, a shrewd businesswoman who never seems to have enough time for Xiang. Her father is also only a story, dead at sea before Xiang was born. Her single memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.
But the pendant’s true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. The revelation that Xiang’s father sailed with the Dragon Fleet and tucked away this secret changes everything. Rumor has it that the legendary Head of the Dragon had one last treasure—the plunder of a thousand ports—that for decades has only been a myth, a fool’s journey.
Xiang is convinced this map could lead to the fabled treasure. Captivated with the thrill of adventure, she joins Anh and her motley crew off in pursuit of the island. But the girls soon find that the sea—and especially those who sail it—are far more dangerous than the legends led them to believe.
CB Lee is a Lambda Literary Award nominated writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy. Her works include the Sidekick Squad series (Duet Books), Ben 10 (Boom!), and All Out Now (HarperTeen). CB loves to write about queer teens, magic, superheroes, and the power of friendship.
Lee’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Wired Magazine, and Hypable. Lee’s first novel in the Sidekick Squad series, Not Your Sidekick was a 2017 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist in YA/Children’s Fiction and a 2017 Bisexual Book Awards Finalist in Speculative Fiction. Seven Tears at High Tide was the recipient of a Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Fantasy Romance and also a finalist for the 2016 Bisexual Book Awards in the YA and Speculative Fiction categories.