Literati June Book Club | Malala’s Box

Hello! I thought I’d hop on here and share with you something exciting I’ve joined for the next three months starting this June.

Literati reached out to me not too long ago and since I’m intrigued by the concept of their brand, I’m sharing with you my box!

First off, what’s Literati?

Literati is basically a book club subscription box that you get monthly. However, unlike other boxes, these book clubs have “Luminaries” or book club leaders like Roxane Gay, Malala, Cheryl Strayed, Stephen Curry, Susan Orlean, etc.

You can participate in book club discussions with these luminaries about the book they choose for the month.

As you can already guess, I chose Malala so I got her June box! Here’s her June pick:

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

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“Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.”

Read reviews over on Goodreads (opens a new tab)

When I shared this over on my Instagram stories, one of my friends reached out and said they love this author so I’m excited to read this one!

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The book comes in a special edition with a printed stamp showing it’s Malala’s book club, a bookmark, a note from Malala about her pick, and an info card with a quote! I genuinely thought this book box was unique and more interesting than others so I’m excited to see next month’s pick already! I need to get to reading this one, though.

Do you subscribe to any book boxes? Have you heard of Literati?

** I’m not paid to promote Literati

While this box was gifted to me, all opinions are my own! **

Books by Black Authors Coming Out in 2020

Listen, we need to be reading more diversely. I know so many people who are making it a goal to read more poc authors in 2020. Every year, I share with you some of the biggest releases and I always want to make sure I’m doing this diversely. So, here’s a list of 2020 releases written entirely by black authors.

1. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

43923951“A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.”

* this book actually came out December 31st but listen, it’s close enough lol

 

2. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett [June 2nd, 2020]

48189975“From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.”

 

3. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi [September 15th, 2020]

48570454 “Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

 

4. Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles [January 21st, 2020]

43520622In his first contemporary teen novel, critically acclaimed author and two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means to be a “real man.”

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?”

 

5. Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi [February 4th, 2020]

42515198. sy475 “Following the fate of one family over the course of two decades in Nigeria, this debut novel tells the story of each sibling’s search for agency, love, and meaning in a society rife with hypocrisy but also endless life

“I like the idea of a god who knows what it’s like to be a twin. To have no memory of ever being alone.”

Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, an institution led by a charismatic pastor who is not shy about worshipping earthly wealth.

Soon Bibike and Ariyike’s father wagers the family home on a “sure bet” that evaporates like smoke. As their parents’ marriage collapses in the aftermath of this gamble, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins’ paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power.

Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence.”

 

6. Real Life by Brandon Taylor [February 18th, 2020]

46263943“A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.

A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend–and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends–some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community.

Real Life is a gut punch of a novel, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and buried histories–and at what cost.”

 

7. the Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi [August 4th, 2020]

50186188. sx318 sy475 “This is the tale of Vivek Oji. It begins with his end, his naked body shrouded on his mother’s doorstep, and moves backwards through time to unpick the story of his life and the mystery surrounding his death.

As compulsively readable as it is tender and potent, this is a fresh, engaging novel about the innocence of youth and how it clashes with culture and expectation. The Death of Vivek Oji is the story of a Nigerian childhood quite different from those we have been told before, as Emezi’s writing speaks to the truth of realities other than those that have already been seen.

‘Emezi’s surreal prose shines . . . extraordinary.’ Ayobami Adebayo, on Freshwater”

 

8. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo [May 14th, 2020]

43892137. sy475 “Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.”

 

9. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston [January 14th, 2020]

44890071 “In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston—the sole black student at the college—was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.”

 

10. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin [March 26th, 2020]

42074525. sy475 Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.”

 

 

 

Which one are you looking forward to the most?

Find any of these at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

A Guide into Classics

This is an archived post. I mean, really, this post is super old. I just thought it could be useful to some people! The original post has been deleted. Enjoy!

So many people in the world are extremely intimidated by classics and for so many different reasons. Classics can be scary due to the difficult vocabulary, their length, the essential meaning, age, or even from when they were forced to read them in high school. Too many great novels are ruined this way but that shouldn’t stop you! Sometimes it’s better to read a novel at an older age. You’re able to focus the novel with extended amount of time to read it and truly understand it’s purpose. That’s why I’m here today to explain a simple guide into reading classic novels. I’m going to start off with some basic guidelines,

  • Don’t let high school assignments ruin you! I know several people who have let reading classics in high school ruin classics for them all together. I’m sure you were forced to read How to Kill a Mockingbird or 1984, right? Shakespeare, as well! Try re-reading any of those novels now and see how you like them, but only if you really enjoyed the writing style and theme. These novels are not as bad as you think they are, especially without having to analyze them and do pages of work on them.

Those high-school classics you were required to read aren’t the only classics in the literary world. There is hundreds of fantastic classics up for grabs, you just have to do your research! I’ll be listing several classic books and authors near the end of this post.

  1. Don’t force yourself to read a book just because it’s a classic. If you’re willing to read a classic, make sure it’s a classic that has a plot and topic that peeks your personal interest. I’ve made the mistake of reading a classic for the sake of it being one, and I dreaded it. Read for your personal interest! I’ll put the main topics after some of the titles I mention below.
  2. Don’t let high vocabulary scare you away, or the language! For example, Shakespeare can be quite confusing to some but there are ways around it! No Fear Shakespeare is a perfect example, you can find them online and in-store. While reading a classic with higher vocabulary than what you usually prefer, look them up! Write these words down and look them up as you go. You won’t regret learning so many new words, trust me.
  3. Make sure you start off short and with something basic. You don’t have to, but it’d be easier to get into and enjoy if you do so. Near the end of this post, I’ll be putting separate lists of the lengths of each novel.
  4. Fear not, you’re allowed to watch the movies first. Many classics have movie adaptations and sometimes, it helps to understand a novel better! They may not be exactly the same or at the highest quality, but it really helped me enjoy reading the novel more. Once again, I’ll make a list of a few I know of.
  5. Surprisingly, sometimes a time era can throw you off. I know I prefer certain time periods when I’m reading books more than others. Find a time era that interests you the most!  

                                              THE CLASSICS

Novels under 300 pages:

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell – 102 pages
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 238 pages
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 192 pages
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – 277 pages
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut – 287 pages
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – 266 pages
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – 194 pages
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding  – 182 pages
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand – 105 pages
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – 76 pages
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 104 pages
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – 118 pages
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – 251 pages
  • 1984 by George Orwell – 298 pages

*These aren’t the only classics I recommend, check these authors*

POPULAR CLASSIC AUTHORS:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Ayn Rand
  • Harper Lee
  • The Bronte Sisters
  • Jane Austen
  • George Orwell
  • Mark Twain
  • H.G. Wells
  • Oscar Wilde
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Sylvia Plath
  • J.D. Salinger
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ray Bradbury
  • William Golding
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Shakespeare (how could I not mention?)
  • John Steinbeck
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Homer
  • Shirley Jackson
  • S.E. Hinton

&

SO MANY MORE!

Here are classics listed by genre for those just starting to read them! 

FICTION  

  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Adam Bede by George Eliot
  • The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

 

  • Action/Adventure

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Children’s
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Comedy
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Most Of P.G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse

Crime/Mystery
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels & 56 Short Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Fantasy
The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Historical
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Horror/Gothic
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Psychological/Philosophical
The Plague by Albert Camus
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

Romance
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Emma by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen ~ Forbidden romance
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ~ Forbidden romance
The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute

Science Fiction
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ~ A comic novel
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ~ Dystopian
Lord of the Flies by William Golding ~ Dystopian
1984 by George Orwell ~ Dystopian
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ~ Dystopian
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: WITH The Mysterious Island AND Journey to the Centre of the Earth AND Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Short Stories
Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry
The Complete Poems by William Blake
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Complete Poems by Banjo Patterson
Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Plays
The Plays of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
The Complete Works by William Shakespeare
Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde ~ Includes the novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, poems, and essays

NON-FICTION
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell ~ A comic autobiography
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Fall by Albert Camus
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Here are some good links I’ve found online about classics:

 

Happy Birthday, Haruki Murakami!

Today is Haruki Murakami’s 71st birthday! He was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1949. For those who don’t know who he is (I’d be surprised!), he’s an incredibly well-known and loved Japanese writer. His work has been translated in 50 different languages and remains on bestseller lists internationally. He has over ten fiction works and two non-fiction books. Some of his most popular books are: Norwegian Wood (1987), 1Q84 (2009-2010), Kafka on the Shore (2002) and a Wild Sheep Chase (1982).

  • Norwegian Wood (1987)

Image result for norwegian wood“Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A magnificent blending of the music, the mood, and the ethos that was the sixties with the story of one college student’s romantic coming of age, Norwegian Wood brilliantly recaptures a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.”

 

  • 1Q84 (2009/2010)

10357575A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.”

 

  • Kafka on the Shore (2002)

4929Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle—yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.”

 

and to share with you the book I am currently reading by him, it’s called the Colorless Life of Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage! It came out in 2013.

41022133. sy475 “A New York Times and Washington Post notable book, and one of the Financial Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Slate, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, and BookPage’s best books of the year

An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. Here Haruki Murakami—one of the most revered voices in literature today—gives us a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.”

 

I originally went to the used bookstore to find Norwegian Wood but it’s so popular that they didn’t have any and it’s not available to order right now either. I settled on this one because the first page was so interesting and I needed to know what happens next. It does seem sad but the writing is so beautiful so I can’t put it down. I’m not very far into it yet but I hope to finish it this weekend.

I decided that even though this book has mixed ratings, I’d let it be my first Haruki Murakami book because it was so captivating. I rarely ever pick up books I know nothing about and after reading that first page, it was hard to say no.

If you’re wondering why I am just now reading his books, I decided I would start reading more Japanese translated works since I’m learning Japanese and Haruki Murakami is an absolute legend when it comes to translated fiction. I also just wanted more books set in Japan!

 

Have you ever read anything by Haruki Murakami? What book was it and how’d you feel?

 

Find any of these at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

Upcoming YA LGBT+ Books in 2020

A new year, new LGBT+ books to look forward to. Here’s part one of my lists of upcoming YA reads:

  • Loveless by Alice Oseman [July, 9th 2020]

42115981. sy475

The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.”

 

  • Music From Another World by Robin Talley [March 31st, 2020]

44786181. sy475 “It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.”

 

  • Infinity Son by Adam Silvera [January 14th, 2020]

34510711. sy475 Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.”

My review is coming soon!

 

  • The State of Us by Shaun David Hutchinson [July 21st, 2020]

44564984. sy475 (no official description yet)

“David Linker at HarperCollins has bought We Are the Ants author Shaun David Hutchinson‘s The State of Us, the story of Dean and Dre—the 16-year-old sons of the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States—who fall in love on the sidelines of their parents’ presidential campaigns. The book is planned for summer 2020; Katie Shea Boutillier at Donald Maass Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.”

 

 

 

 

  • The Gravity of Us by Phil Stemper [February 4th, 2020]

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“As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.”

 

  • Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales [March 3rd, 2020]

38898560. sy475 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.

When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right?

Right.”

 

  • We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia [March 31st, 2020]

39297951. sy475 “Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.

But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.”

 

  • Date Me, Bryson Keller! by Kevin Van Whye [May 19th, 2020]

47550830“What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com!

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.”

 

  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson [June 2nd, 2020]

44651744. sy475 Becky Albertalli meets Jenny Han in a smart, hilarious, black girl magic, own voices rom-com by a staggeringly talented new writer.

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?”

 

  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson [April 28th, 2020]

48678512. sy475 “Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy.

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.”

Which one are you looking forward to the most?

 

Stay tuned for part two!

Find any of these at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

Pumpkinheads [MINI REVIEW]

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“Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?”

On Sale Date: August 27th, 2019
Publisher: First Second (MacMillan)
ISBNS: 9781626721623, 1626721629
Edition: Paperback & Hardcover
Page Count: 224
Genre: Graphic Novel / Young Adult Contemporary

My Rating:  5 stars ★★★★★out of ★★★★★ stars (5/5)

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

I’ve been waiting for this book since I came across a blank page, no cover listing on Goodreads titled “Pumpkinheads” by Rainbow Rowell. It was unclear what it was (obviously) and I didn’t find out until MUCH later that it was a graphic novel. To be honest with you, I love all of Rainbow Rowell’s books. She’s never failed me as a reader so I’m not hesitant to pick up a graphic novel written by her. Also, if you’ve ever read any of her books, you’d know her undying love for the Fall season. All of her books tend to take place in the Fall/Winter so it was no surprise she wrote an entire story based on a pumpkin patch.

As someone who also loves Fall more than anything, this graphic novel was a match made in heaven. I’m no stranger to a pumpkin patch and who knew I needed a romance set in one this bad? Rainbow Rowell was able to build the perfect seasonal friendship between Deja and Josiah. Not to mention, Faith Erin Hicks did a wonderful job illustrating them. I was rooting for them from the very beginning. This entire graphic novel is about Deja trying to be Josiah’s wingman because it’s their last shift at the pumpkin patch before college and he really wants to talk to this girl. Deja is the sweetest, most supportive friend in the WORLD so she spends her last day convincing him to talk to her and eventually, they look for her together.

If there’s any word for this graphic novel, it’s wholesome. The entire thing was enjoyable from start the finish. The illustrations make it 10x more captivating as they’re so beautifully done. I already want to re-read this graphic novel because it’s so adorable, witty, and again, wholesome. I also wanted to quickly add that even though this is a cute, light contemporary read, it’s also has so much intellectual depth. There’s a few pages in here where Deja and Josiah are talking about fate and how they both feel entirely different about the subject. Josiah thinks things happen for a reason and it’s just fates fault but Deja thinks otherwise. She talks about how these things happen because you make them happen and I just LOVED that entire conversation. They’re truly perfect for each other.

If you’re in the mood for a quick adorable and seasonal read, definitely pick up Pumpkinheads. I can’t imagine anyone hating this novel!

 

As I’m posting this, Rainbow is still doing personalized copies from Bookworm Omaha! You can check them out here.

Find Pumpkinheads at your local bookstore!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

We Are Lost and Found [REVIEW]

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

My Rating:  stars 5 ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (5/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Source Books Fire  in exchange for a review. Thank you, Source Books! Any opinion is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

TW: homophobia (unaccepting parents)

We Are Lost and Found is one of the rare books that I found the day it was posted to Edelweiss and emailed the publisher immediately. It had everything that I love in the description — it was compared to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s set in the 80s and it follows LGBT+ teens during the AIDs epidemic. Not to mention, the cover is stunning.

Coming-of-age is one of my favorite genres for so many different reasons but I love how real the stories feel even if it’s fiction. There’s so much character development and personality throughout these types of stories. We Are Lost and Found was no different. As the reader, you follow Michael and his two best friends as they grow up in the middle of New York during the 1980s. Michael goes to this club often that’s called the Echo, where he finds himself always dancing and forgetting. He’s always hanging out with either Jamie — the performer and artist or he’s with Becky, an strong female character who’s going through a lot at home.

Helene Dunbar was able to write such an interesting and fully developed cast of characters in about 300 pages. I loved all of them — Michael, Jamie and Becky. They each had their own backstories and were nowhere near being flat side characters. They also felt incredibly realistic. I find that sometimes,  in YA specifically, friend groups just seem so unrealistic and have me thinking “these people would NEVER be friends in real life” but this set of characters makes perfect sense. Jamie and Becky are never toxic and are so supportive. They’re the most unproblematic side characters ever and I ADORE them.

Not only are the friendships in this book fantastic, but family is such a huge theme in this book. Michael’s relationship with his parents and his brother plays a big part in this book. His brother is such a great character and I feel as if I relate to both of them. A lot of the times in YA books, families are often nowhere to be seen or also just incredibly unrealistic. It was a joy to see his family play a part in this book, even if it wasn’t exactly for the best reason. I really enjoyed seeing Michael’s relationship with his brother. Seeing them grow and have a healthier relationship near the end of this book is so rewarding and refreshing. On the other hand, Michael has a tough relationship with his parents and he never knows where he stands with them after knowing what they did to his brother. He feels trapped and it’s so hard to read but it’s so well done. I think a lot of readers, especially LGBT+ and closeted readers, will appreciate this.

Since this was the first ever book I’ve read by Helene Dunbar, I had no idea what to expect in terms of her writing style. I opened this book and quickly realized, “There’s no quotations marks.” I had been buddy reading this with Amber and I texted her about it immediately because to be completely honest, I think this might be one of the first non-classic books I’ve read with no quotation marks. I love dialogue and I’m not going to lie, I find myself skimming pages and just reading dialogue. Since this had no quotation marks, I obviously couldn’t do that. This story is written in beautiful vignettes and yes, there’s no quotation marks but DAMN, is it wonderful. I quickly fell in love her way of writing. I ended up marking up my review copy with pencil everywhere. I underlined anything I found funny or lyrical. I have so many quotes that I adored from this book and can’t wait to like them all on Goodreads. Let me share some little quotes I underlined:

(please note that this is from an unfinished copy and that some of these quotes may be taken out, edited, or completely changed)

  • “Happy. And that’s the odd thing. Not being happy, but realizing it. Because how often, when you’re happy, do you have the chance to step back and notice?”
  • “Becky says to stay away. That sometimes wanting is better than having — Whatever that means”
  • In this scene, he’s talking about playing guitar. “Somehow, everything I play sounds like the same thing: longing.”
  • “It’s like I left some important part of myself at Pride, and I don’t know how to get it back.”

Also, if you’re wondering why she wrote her book this way, this is a great interview!

Now to talk about a significant part of this book, We Are Lost and Found is set during the 80s and the AIDs epidemic. I’m usually hesitant when it comes to books set during real life events that are as heavy and difficult to talk about like the AIDs epidemic. Let me just say this: This is such a well researched YA novel set during this time. Since I got to read this book so early, I’ve been able to talk to Helene Dunbar herself and she’s truly so passionate about this subject and the book itself. I strongly suggest you read both the Afterword and Acknowledgements when finishing this book. Also, read the interview I linked above. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know much about the AIDs epidemic besides the fact that it certainly did happen. This book exposes the most difficult and uneasy events that took place during the epidemic. There’s a few scenes in this book that I marked because they were truly excellent and captured the experience of a young, LGBT+ boy in the 80s. One of the scenes is near the beginning of the book when Michael is reading the newspaper and reading the statistics and result of AIDs. Throughout the entire book, Michael is so utterly scared of AIDs — whether it be him somehow obtaining it or his friends and brother. Another heartbreaking scene that captures the pure fear of the AIDs epidemic is when another side character ends up getting AIDs and his family doesn’t even visit him even though he’s dying because they’re scared they’ll get sick. These are such poignant scenes but they truly set the reader up for an eye opening read.

I’m planning to read more books about the AIDs epidemic since this one. I loved it even more than I thought I would. The writing was absolutely beautiful. Helene Dunbar wrote a book on such a complex topic and did it while being both poetic and light hearted at the same time. Don’t get me wrong — this book is a heavy read but it’s well worth it. There’s so much depth within this book that I didn’t quite expect but I really enjoyed it.

On a more random note, I think this would make the perfect book club book. I really love reading this along with Amber. It gives you so much to talk about and makes for incredibly interesting conversations! As a reader, you also learn so much about the AIDs epidemic from the point of view of an LGBT+ teen. Truly remarkable!

I can’t wait for this book to be released (I pre-ordered it right when I finished) so all of you can read it and hopefully love it as much as me! The description of this book seems quite accurate. I think this book has all of the things Perks of Being a Wallflower has so if you are a fan of that book, don’t hesitate to pick this one up! You might love it as much as I did.

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore! It comes out September 3rd, 2019.

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

ON MY RADAR → Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

On My Radar is a series I’ve been doing since I started blogging in 2016. I share with you books that may not have as much hype that I’m excited to read. I like sharing debut novels or books I just don’t think enough people are talking about. I usually find these books on Edelweiss and try to provide a review closer to the release date. I love doing these posts so I can boost some great books and help others find their next read!

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A gutsy, queer coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Nina LaCour, Rainbow Rowell, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx.

Only, she’s not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon to intern with her favorite feminist writer—what’s sure to be a life changing experience. And when Juliet’s coming out crashes and burns, she’s not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

But Juliet has a plan—sort of. Her internship with legendary author Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff is sure to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. Except Harlowe’s white. And not from the Bronx. And she definitely doesn’t have all the answers…

In a summer bursting with queer brown dance parties, a sexy fling with a motorcycling librarian, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out—to the world, to her family, to herself.”

Edition: Hardcover, E-book

Release Date: September 17th, 2019

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

 

Are you looking forward to this book now as well? Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads to help the hype!

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Pre-order this book at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

May Wrap Up 2019

May is finally over! May felt so much longer than it was this month. I swear it’s been month for more than 31 days, right? So, it’s time to share with you everything I read in the month of May. I finished two books this month which isn’t a lot but they both were really good!

  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor 4.5 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed Muse of Nightmares but there was just something missing in it for me. I have a feeling this is because I hadn’t read Strange the Dreamer in a really long time but I still really enjoyed it.

  1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab 5 stars out of 5

God, I love V.E. Schwab. Her writing never fails to amaze me and I always find myself falling in love with her characters. I didn’t not know what this book was about whenever I started it but I managed to binge read it all in one sitting because it was that good. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Right now, I’m currently reading the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Priory of the Orange Tree by Samatha Shannon!

 

What did you read this month?

 

June YA Releases 2019

It’s already June! Here’s some exciting upcoming June YA releases. Are you looking forward to any?

1. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson [June 4th, 2019]

42201395 “All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.”

 

2. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay [June 18th, 2019]

41941681  “A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.”

 

3. The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter [June 25th, 2019]

40242200-1 “Welcome to the Forest of Good and Evil. A dream come true, and a living nightmare.

Evil isn’t born, it’s made. One thought and action at a time. Take a good look at what you’ve made.

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed.

As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?”

 

4. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian [June 4th, 2019] 

40190305.jpg ‘It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

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

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

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

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

 

5. If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann [June 4th, 2019]

cover158454-medium “High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?”

 

6. The Beholder by Anna Bright [June 4th, 2019]

36558159.jpg “Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.”

 

Pre-order any of these at your local bookstore!