Most Anticipated Books: June 2021

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?

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?

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?

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?

Mini Book Reviews

The cover of Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma. It looks like the girl is in a frame in an art gallery. The girl has light skin and dark brown hair, and she is wearing red glasses. The tagline is Fortune favors the bold. The girl is Chinese American, and her name is Gemma Huang.

I think I’ve written this multiple times: I struggle with writing reviews. However, the only way to get better is to keep practicing. Here are three mini reviews of books that I received ARCs of in 2020. The fact that I received these books from Netgalley/the publishers did not impact my opinions.

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

This is the first book in a series called Daughters of the Dynasty. The main character, Gemma Huang, defers her college acceptance at UCLA to follow her dream of becoming an actress. She ends up going to Beijing for her movie. Admittedly, I don’t really remember the storyline because I read this in September 2020, but I do remember the social commentary was a nice element in addition to the main storyline about Gemma and her family.

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

I think this was the first 2021 book I read, and I absolutely loved it! Tessa Johnson loves writing and reading about romance, so when she’s accepted into a creative writing program at an arts school, she accepts. However, she’s unable to find the words she needs to write. Her friend, Caroline, suggests she try to live out the romance that she wants to write about. If you’re looking for a book with a fun and introspective plot, then read Happily Ever Afters.

Overall, I read this book in September of 2020, so I do need to re-read it. I greatly enjoyed the fact that this book is about all types of love: romantic, friend, and self all play a role in this novel.

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

This is the very first book I read this year, and it was another read I loved. Recently, I’ve gotten into books that take place during senior year of high school. Rani, who is South Asian American, is going through her senior year of high school. Rani starts to date Oliver, who is white. As a teen, I definitely related to Rani’s journey of learning who she is. This book needs to be read, as I also am learning about my own identity. Please note that this book deals with toxic relationships and fetishization.

What have you recently read? What review advice do you have for me?

Thoughts I Had While Reading We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal – SPOILERS

We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal.

Hello everyone!! I am currently reading We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal. I thought it would be fun to do a reaction post of my thoughts and emotions while reading this book. I am taking this idea from Epic Reads: An Ember in the Ashes live read is one example. It was such an honor to be a part of the Zumra, and I’m so happy this book is in the world. Warning: there will be spoilers for the entire book. Again, there will be spoilers. Also, I will be starting from about 12% into this book.

  1. Absoultely devastated that Ummi is dead and Zafira and Lana’s village is destroyed.
  2. Why would the village be attacked?
  3. I wonder how Zafira feels/what her interactions with Nasir will be.
  4. “There was always more to lose.” Nooooo, I really hope there’s a happy ending for the Zumra.
  5. I wonder how Lana will react to the Jawarat.
  6. “I can be lots of fun, Zafira.”
  7. “You seem to have no trouble being the end of me.”
  8. Hafsah Faizal is really good at balancing actions and descriptions. I can’t wait to see more of the Great Library.
  9. “Tears aren’t a measure of heart. We grieve in different ways.”
  10. I like that Zafira and Nasir are having a heart to heart conversation. It’s nice to see them let down their guard now that they’ve journeyed together.
  11. Love seeing Kifah’s interaction with the team.
  12. I’m interested in seeing more of the House of Dreams.
  13. I think Zafira’s relationship with the book is the most intriguing aspect so far.
  14. A vision.
  15. What is happening?!
  16. Maybe the hilya will play a role in Hafsah Faizal’s next series?
  17. This world building is so immersive and immense. I think WFTS will be even better than WHTF. The characters seem to be moving around a lot, which I like. – Chapter 14
  18. Love that Nasir is opening up to friends.
  19. “What was next?” Yeah, what IS NEXT, NASIR?
  20. Kifah and Nasir are not just allies, they are friends.
  21. Also love seeing Zafira and Lana’s relationship.
  22. Nasir is a poet.
  23. So the Lion is Altair’s father.
  24. I really can’t tell what Altair’s fate will be.
  25. Pausing at chapter 17 – 2.24.21. I really like this book so far! I feel like WHTF set up a lot of everything that’s happening now. I like the fact that we’re seeing the characters interact more with the world outside of each other.
  26. How did the Lion get there?
  27. They are definitely pining.
  28. “It was quite something, to be the cause of another’s joy. To be the pride of someone’s eye, if only for a fleeting moment.”
  29. So since Altair and Nasir are related, I wonder when we’ll see Nasir’s powers?
  30. I love Kifah and Zafira’s friendship.
  31. I appreciate that Deem is still mentioned.
  32. Oh my gosh.
  33. I would 100% buy a graphic novel of WHTF and WFTS.
  34. Now I’m really interested in seeing if/how Nasir uses his power.
  35. The world has expanded so much in terms of where Zafira is traveling.
  36. “Already wearing the crown, I see.”
  37. “I’m not either,” Zafira said, looking away with a barely restrained groan.
  38. Already fighting?
  39. Another daama!
  40. Oh no. Zafira shouldn’t have to give up her Baba’s dagger.
  41. Oh my gosh.
  42. Oh my gosh.
  43. So Altair was unifying the kingdom – what will happen at the end to his relationship w/ Nasir?
  44. Zafira.
  45. “He was alone without her, a soul-deep desolation. Drifting in a world where no one really saw him.”
  46. Faizal is one of my all time favorite writers.
  47. “She didn’t think it was possible to stand footsteps away and miss him even more.” I hope Zafira and Nasir talk soon.
  48. Dreamwalk. Interesting.
  49. They’ve found the Lion’s hideout!
  50. An arrow!!!! Noooo!!!
  51. So much is happening.
  52. “. . .her fingers brushed his, warmth tangling for the briefest of moments.”
  53. The tension between Zafira and Nasir.
  54. I hope Altair gets out of there soon.
  55. “She laughed, and his heart leaped at the sound.”
  56. I’m so ready to see this world come to life in the TV adaptation.
  57. I think a book about Altair before WHTF would be interesting.
  58. Ok finally Altair and Nasir are back together.
  59. “and unleashed her arrow, knowing it was her last.” WHAT.
  60. “His compass. His queen. His life.” My heart, oh my gosh.
  61. I do not accept this.
  62. OMG Yasmine and Zafira are reunited!!!!
  63. Love the fact sisters play such an intergral role in this book. Zafira and Lana’s relationship is so great to see.
  64. Zafira and Nasir are reunited!!!!
  65. Chapter 70.
  66. Zafira’s character development and journey is so amazing.
  67. Oh my gosh.
  68. “He bit back a smile at her flustered attempt to act unflustered.”
  69. “Let me be your everything.”
  70. “Sweet snow, this was going to be some journey.”
  71. So much has happened and I don’t want this book to end.
  72. The Silver Witch is back.
  73. “. . .I do love a challenge.”
  74. Hirsi!!!
  75. The Great Library is on fire!!
  76. PART THREE: THE END OF THE BEGINNING.
  77. OH MY GOSH!!!
  78. This Nasir and Altair team-up is one of my favorite parts so far.
  79. Nasir gives his crown to Altair!!!
  80. “Why be one of nine when I can be the one?” Kifah is one of my favorite characters of all time!!!
  81. WHAT.
  82. It’d be interesting to see a story about Qismah.
  83. ZAFIRA IS BACK!!!
  84. “I hear Sarasin is in need of a calipha.”
  85. “And to think, once upon a time, Nasir Ghameq, Caliph of Sarasin and Crown Prince of Arawiya, had wished he could feel nothing at all.”



Oh my gosh. We Free the Stars is my second five star read of 2021. I am so happy with how this duology ended and I now want to go back and re-read it again. I’ll probably be writing a review soon, but here are my top three favorite moments in the meantime: Zafira and Kifah traveling together, Zafira using the Jawarat, and when Zafira comes back at the end.

2021: Most Anticipated Books

Some of my most anticipated 2021 fantasy books!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I updated my blog (nearly a month), and I’m typing this today as I try to find inspiration for my research project for school. I thought that typing about my most anticipated books of 2021 would help me. So far, I’ve read three new books this year. This list will consist of books that I haven’t read yet (just so everyone knows, Wings of Ebony by J. Elle is one of my favorites of 2021 and will for sure be on my end of the year list. I love Rue and how she learns about her identity and forges a new path for herself). There will be spoilers for sequels!! If you see a * (asterik), that means there will be spoilers for the previous book.

A Queen of Gilded Horns by amanda Joy*(asterik)

Amanda Joy was one of my favorite debut authors of 2019. I re-read A River of Royal Blood in December and absolutely love the story of Eva and Isa. The world of [name here] is so well-built, and I love seeing Eva’s character development over the course of the novel as she teaches herself that she might be a real contender for the throne. At the end of A River of Royal Blood, Eva and Isa were tied together in the Entwining ceremony, meaning each can only die by the other’s hand. However, in A Queen of Gilded Horns, Eva and Isa are on the run and are looking for allies to help save the Queendom of Myre. I highly recommend picking up this duology if you like tapping into your unknown magic powers, uniting with someone who you previously thought was an enemy, and a world with a very interesting magic system and history.

The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

First of all, I love this cover. The orange, blue, yellow, brown, and black all work so well together. This is a “thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community.” I’m also excited for this book because the main character, Daunis Fontaine, is an older teen like me. I haven’t read a lot of thrillers, and I’m looking forward to expanding my reading tastes in 2021. Furthermore, there is a preview of what sounds like a stunning start on Entertainment Weekly. I also saw that this book will be getting a TV series adaptation, so this is a high priority novel for me to read this year. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley comes out March 16th.

Xoxo by axie oh

Let’s all take a minute to enjoy this absolutely stunning cover. I would frame this. The details of the buildings as well as the romantic atmosphere make this one of my favorite YA contemporary covers of 2021. Xoxo by Axie Oh features the trope of a romance that develops between a celebrity x regular person. What I’m most looking forward in this book is seeing how Jenny learns how life doesn’t always have to be completely planned. I highly relate to this because I am going to be applying to college soon, and am already feeling the pressures of needing to be completely organized. I look forward to seeing how Axie Oh writes contemporary, as I know she’s also written a science fiction series titled Rebel Seoul.

A psalm of storms and silence by roseanne a. brown* (Asterik)

I am not exaggerating when I say that A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown made me love YA fantasy again. In 2019, I became so disillusioned with YA fantasy, as I fell out of love with so many loved YA fantasy novels. But ASOWAR? Oh my gosh. Although I have to re-read it, I distinctly remember feeling so amazed and awed by (I think this happened, correct me if I am wrong) Karina taking her throne back after learning that her advisors betrayed her. Also, Malik is allowed to be an emotional boy, which is so great to see. Furthermore, the worldbuilding makes you feel like you are right there in Ziran along with Karina and Malik as they race to find out what is stirring in the shadows of their world.

The Chariot at dusk by swati teerdhala* (Asterik)

I cannot believe The Tiger at Midnight trilogy by Swati Teerdhala is coming to an end this year. Esha and Kunal have been on such an incredibly heartbreaking journey together. This is another series I love because of how well written the political intrigue is, and I love the fact that this world is so intricately written. At the end of The Archer at Dawn, Kunal left Esha, causing both of them to become enemies yet again (I am still a bit heartbroken over this). However, from the looks of this cover, Esha and Kunal will have to work together again. I must admit that this is another series I have to re-read because I tend to forget what happens in a book unless I re-read it.

She who became the sun by shelley parker-chan

I’ve recently gotten into adult fantasy novels, so I am super excited for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan! This book is described as a “queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty” (from the summary of the novel). First of all, this cover is amazing! The yellow is so eye catching. Second of all, I cannot wait to see Zhu’s power and journey in possessing the Mandate of Heaven. I love characters who are willing to do whatever it takes because there’s so much to analyze about their motivations. I have a feeling that I’ll be seeing a lot about this book this year and beyond.

The Gilded Ones by Namina forna

I think The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna was originally supposed to come out last May, and I am so glad it is almost here!! The detailing on this cover gives me hints into how amazing the world builidng in this novel will be. I might try to convince my parents to let me end my book buying hiatus a bit early because I’ve been looking for a fantasy YA noveel to lose myself in for a while. Additionally, this is the start to a trilogy, and I love fantasy series so much. I am also excited to see this group of girls who are warriors that Deka joins.

Illusionary by zoraida córdova* (Asterik)

Incendiary was one of my favorite novels of 2020, and I’m looking forward to seeing the continuation of Renata’s journey along with Prince Castian. That twist at the end of Incendiary was so shocking. (Perhaps I should write a blog post about my favorite or most shocking moments in my favorite books? That’s a thought for another day.) I love how Renata is taking back her life and power. One element I would love to see in Illusionary is a map of the world.

When Night breaks by janella angeles* (Asterik)

Yes, I hope to get to cosplaying Kallia again when When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles comes out! I did a different version of an outfit I think Kallia would wear when Where Dreams Descend came out. This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing duologies I’ve ever read. At the end of WDD, we saw Kallia fall into the mirror world with Jack. Now, Kallia is on a journey to escape this world of illusions and darkness. I’m wondering what exactly Kallia’s “darker destiny” will be, and I am sure that Janella Angeles will write a show stopping conclusion to one of my all time favorite duolgoies.

the bronzed beasts by roshani chokshi

@ book boxes: You should 110% make a special set for The Gilded Wolves trilogy by Roshani Chokshi because I will buy it. This is another ending to a series that will live in my heart forever. By the end of The Silvered Serpents, I wanted to sit down and have a nice chat with Séverin, as there is the trope of once again ommitting vital information from your team. It looks like the team will be going to Venice in this novel. Roshani Chokshi’s writing styles is one of my favorites because it feels like you’re dressed up in a fancy gown in an elegant palace, however, you must be wary as danger and surprises lurk around every turn. I’m most looking forward to seeing Enrique survive and gain the renown and resources he needs as a historian. Also, cake.

The chosen and the beautiful by Nghi vo

Jordan Baker is finally getting to tell her own story and as an adopted person, I am so ready!!! In this version, Jordan is an adopted Asian woman living in NYC. One of the reasons I’m excited for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo is because we’re getting to see Jordan stand on her own, rather than a side character to Nick’s story. Also, I just noticed her gorgeous outfit. I will definitely be informing my literature teachers about this book because I have a feeling that this will be a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre.

Witches steeped in gold by Ciannon smart

By this point, you probably know that fantasy is my favorite genre, especially high fantasy novels. I mean, the tagline “Their order divides them. Their revenge will unite them.” is incredible and dramatic. I’ve been looking forward to Witches Steeped In Gold by Ciannon Smart for a while now, and we are so close to the release date. A prisoner and the daughter of a queen will have to work together to “take down a mutual threat.” Iraya and Jazmyne sound like such compelling characters, and the fact that they’re witches? I have a feeling that this will be one of my favorite books of the year. I love it when two enemies have to work together because you never know what will happen.

Girls of fate and fury by natasha ngan* (Asterik)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is another one of my favorite trilogies of all time. Girls of Storm and Shadow broke my heart. Lei and Wren are once again separated and the excerpt on The NOVL’s website reminded me of just how much Lei has gone through since the first novel. I’m excited for Girls of Fate and Fury because 1. Wren is on the cover, and 2. I remember the feeling I had when I first read Girls of Paper and Fire. I think it marked a turning point in my reader journey, as I’d never read a book like it before. I cannot wait to have this book in my hands, and I am so ready to see how Lei and Wren’s journey ends (or begins. . .).

We free the stars by hafsah faizal* (Asterik)

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. I still haven’t read this book and I am so close to spending money to download it on my parent’s Kindle. Seriously though, Zafira and Nasir have one of the best enemies to uncertain allies to friends to maybe lovers dynamics out there. The Zumra are one of my favorite teams of all time. Additionally, this cover is so evocative. A lot of my friends in the online book community have already read this, and once I do, I will definitely be sharing my thoughts with everyone in the form of a spoiler free review and a spoiler review. I’m thinking about doing a 100 thoughts Isabella had while reading We Free the Stars post. Let me know what you think of this!

Thank you so much for reading!! Let me know what your most anticipated books of 2021 are. I’ve only read six books this year, and I am looking forward to what 2021 has in store in the form of these 14 books.

YA Rom-Coms to Brighten Up Your Winter

I am in a really good mood right now. I feel focused and like I know what I am doing, so here’s a fun post for today: YA rom-coms to brighten up your winter because my city’s had such great weather the past three days, I feel good about this FRQ I just took, and it’s the start of the second quarter at my school. #NewBeginnings

Anway, here are 7 YA rom-coms I highly recommend. Rom-coms are my new favorite genre (it used to be fantasy but now I want more happiness in my life).

I’LL BE THE ONE by Lyla Lee

I received an ARC of this from Edelweiss, and I absolutely adore I’ll Be the One. Skye Shin is one of my favorite characters in YA contemporary.

KEYWORDS: Korean American mc, bisexual mc, K-pop, competition, cute dates

NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU by Kristina Forest

Kristina Forest follows me on bookstagram, everyone!!!!!!! Authors don’t even have to do that, and I really appreciate it when they do. Anyway, I LOVE NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU!!!! It’s so good and takes place in NYC in summer.

KEYWORDS: Black mc’s, NYC summer, celebrities, running around and solving a mystery with a friend (or is he more?)

HAPPILY EVER AFTERS by Elise Bryant

Best rom-com of 2021, calling it now!!! Elise Bryant actually reached out and asked me if I wanted an e-ARC and she’s so generous!!!! Also, the preorder campaign is open and I highly recommend preordering HEA because it’s so awesome.

KEYWORDS: Black mc, cute dates at bakeries, LA, high school, best friend is Filipino, family matters!!!, self love

CHARMING AS A VERB by Ben Philippe

Ben Philippe also follows me, which is very nice!!! I loved Charming As A Verb because it takes place in NYC and because I love the dynamic between the mc and his friends.

KEYWORDS: Black mc, Black love interest, NYC school year, senior year of high school omg, college apps, the future is not always what you think it’ll be

the way you make me feel by Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo’s books are some of my favorite YA romances of all time. They are consistently good and all have unique characters with different motivations.

KEYWORDS: Korean American mc, summer love, working at a food truck, enemies to friends, food, travel

I LOVE YOU SO MOCHI by Sarah Kuhn

TBH, I read this a while ago so I do not remember exactly what happens. However, I have this marked as one of my favorite books of 2019. It’s very cute and I loved the atmosphere.

KEYWORDS: cute, travel, love the writing style, yes I need to re-read this

THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT by Tanaz Bhathena

Another book I read a while ago!! This came out in 2019 and I really enjoyed how Bhathena subverts the “bad boy” trope. It’s very cute and romantic.

KEYWORDS: subverting tropes, cute, mc has interesting motivations, yes I need to re-read this

Have you read any of these books? Any YA rom-coms by authors of color you recommend?

Top 9 Most Anticipated Books: October – December 2020

Hello, everyone! Originally, this post was supposed to be for September to December books that I’m excited for, but it is now October. Here is my list of my top 10 most anticipated books of October to December 2020:

OCTOBER:

1. BLAZEWRATH GAMES by AMPARO ORTIZ: One of my favorite bookstagrammers/bloggers/all around amazing person Kate @yourtitakate loves this book, so I am excited to read this!!! I might get my own copy because I love the cover and the fact that there are magical creatures.

2. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT by AMINAH MAE SAFI: I’ve had so many positive interactions with Safi and I LOVE NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR!!!! Also, I have a personal connection to an element of this book, which is super cool.

3. CHARMING AS A VERB by BEN PHILIPPE: Definitely want to meet Philippe someday!! One of the first authors who followed me on my bookstagram, which is really kind. I love his writing style and cannot wait to read this.

NOVEMBER:

5. RENT A BOYFRIEND by GLORIA CHAO: Chao is one of my favorite contemporary ya authors!! I have a signed ARC of American Panda, which is one of my favorite books of 2018. I cannot wait to line up all of her books together.

6. REBEL SISTERS by TOCHI ONYEBUCHI: OMG, please read War Girls. This is one of my favorite duologies and I don’t read a lot of books in the sci-fi/future genre, and this is definitely my favorite.

7. THE BURNING GOD by R.F. KUANG: I have no words for how much this series has changed me, and I am sure that I will cry while reading this.

8. SUPER FAKE LOVE SONG by DAVID YOON: I loved Frankly in Love. The cover of Yoon’s next book is so cool, and the synopsis is very intriguing.

DECEMBER:

9. A SKY BEYOND THE STORM by SABAA TAHIR: 528 pages, according to online sites!!!!! I fear that I will not make it through this book without crying because I am soooo excited for this one. I’ve had it preordered since May because the preorder campaign was amazing.

This is an older YA series (well, at least in regards to when I joined the fandom) that I love and will recommend for the rest of my life.

Thank you for reading! I know I do not have a consistent posting schedule, and I am happy people are reading my posts. If you would like to interact with me more, my bookstagram is @solaceinreading_. Mental health and my family and school are my priorities right now.

What are your most anticipated books of last quarter of the year?