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?

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?

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.