Hello! It’s been 5 months since I last blogged and I am delighted to say that I’m back! This year has had a messy beginning for everyone and I hope you all understand why I have not been blogging for the past coupe months. I will explain it all in this overview along with some books and music I’ve been indulging in lately!
Number of Books Read: 47
I am quite behind on my goal of 200 books this year which is quite disappointing but I cannot say I could’ve possibly read that many with all that has happened thus far.
Since I have not been blogging, I will list some of my latest and greatest reads in a “mini review” format!
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
I can’t recommend this book enough. This text is a science-fictional romance that speaks of yearning, gender normality, and unconditional love. It’s quite short and any reader can finish it within a couple hours if they are as engrossed as I was. I highly recommend reading the text multiple times to fully enjoy it’s weighted lyricism and beauty—an emotional masterpiece.
Slay by Brittney Morris
Rating: 5 out of 5.
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
Morris does a wonderful job creating an emotional and action-packed “tour de force” surrounding the ideas of inclusivity, community, and realism. Elements of mystery and sci-fi are incorporated into this story conveying international and local black experiences through realistic and strong characters. I definitely cried while reading this, and I truly believe it will shake any reader’s heart who devours it.
The Princes Gambit and Kings Rising by CS Pacat
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Prince’s Gambit synopsis:
With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master,Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.
Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to thedangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .
Kings Rising synopsis:
His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.
On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.
Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?
I don’t know why I waited so long to finish the ‘Captive Prince’ trilogy but I’m so glad I did because holy shit these last two books had me on such a reading hangover I was out for weeks. Beautifully constructed world building, plot, and character development that wretched my heart and kept me on my knees for the entirety of the way. The fact that I can seamlessly string together all three books amazes me and I am undoubtedly re-reading the trilogy to find whatever jewels Pacat may have hidden weaved within it’s pages.
So much has happened since my last post before my blogging break in early February; from COVID-19 to me getting a job and studying!
In late February I was hired at Barnes & Noble which is the absolute dream! I work as a cafe barista and bookseller and it’s been fun so far in the little experience I’ve had before COVID-19 reigned terror in the Bay Area. That kept me pretty busy but simultaneously gave me the chance to read and purchase plenty more books for book reviews!
When COVID-19 started to take it’s toll on the world, students were pulled out of school and to be frank, teach themselves at home. This made learning what I needed to be learnt incredibly hard and took a lot of time out of my days next to studying for AP exams. I was drained and didn’t have the motivation or energy to blog as I was not used to studying all day on my own with little guidance. Balancing blogging with school and other hobbies has always been a weakness of mine, but I’m glad to say that I’ve improved drastically!
I am excited and happy to be back as a blogger, and I hope you all are finding balance in your lives as well!
Hello! I am back with a new and interesting tag I saw on Kristin Kraves Books’ blog. I’m extremely curious to see the similarities and differences bookworms have when it comes to deciding what texts to read!
Do you judge a book by its cover?
Book covers have come quite a long way in terms of illustrations, graphics, and grabbing a reader’s attention. As I see it, it’s exceedingly difficult to not judge a book based on it’s cover before reading it’s pages or synopsis. I am ashamed to admit that I have indeed bought a book solely for the way it’s cover will look on my shelves, but most of the time a cover is the last thing I worry about when it comes to deciding if I should purchase a book or not.
Focusing just on a cover, what attracts you to pick it up?
Unique and interesting titles are what attract me most on a book’s cover! I love when a book’s title is clever and/or intriguing; especially when it compels me ask about it’s connection with the text, that’s the jackpot for me. When it comes to the visuals, I tend to take interest in darker more muted colors (red is an exception) with interesting illustrations and graphics! I almost never pick up a book with images of people on the cover—whether it be drawn or photographed—unless the title is super interesting. Texture also plays a pretty surprising role in my judgement of a cover as well! I love when there is more than one texture on a cover/dust-jacket and I don’t really have a good explanation as to why.
Do you read the synopsis first, or prefer to go in knowing nothing about the book?
If I’m buying a book I plan to read and enjoy, I will always read the synopsis. To be frank I find it insane that some readers can purchase books they know nothing about!
Do you have any auto-buy authors?
I do not! If I really enjoy a text and it’s author is releasing a new book, I will definitely take interest in it—but never buy it blindly. I always read the synopsis like any other book no matter the author to determine if I will purchase it or not.
Are you more likely to pick up a book if it has specific elements/themes?
Of course! Most of the time I browse for books I’m looking for certain themes and tropes that I enjoy. So obviously if a text claims to contain these things, it has a significantly better chance of me reading it than not. Books with psychological and philosophical themes/ideals like what it means to be human or how far a person can go fueled purely by love is the kind of shit I live for! I will also shamelessly admit romance is something I definitely look forward to seeing in fictional texts.
Do you ever read a book that has generally negative reviews just to form your own opinion on it?
I love to read book reviews! I definitely take positive reviews into account when I decide whether to read a book, but I never let negative reviews do the same. Every text should have a shot at being indulged.
Do you ever buy a book just because another booktuber/blogger has talked about it a lot?
Hyped books tend to be incredibly overrated for me once I read them. As a result, I take into account other’s positive opinions on a book when it comes to purchasing texts. However, I will never let another person’s judgement be the only reason to spend my money.
Is there anyone whose book recommendations you always trust?
Yes! I know plenty of bloggers and friends with the same tastes in literature who I go to for book recommendations! I can always trust in Goodreads to find books that fit my palette as well. I may make a separate post about this in the future.
I tag everyone to take a crack at this tag as it really opened up my eyes to what I do during book browsing! It also taught me to be more open minded when it comes to book covers, I will definitely try to explore more vibrant covers the next time I shop.
I’m currently writing an overview of what I’ve been doing these past few months as I haven’t been blogging. I’ll get that out as soon as I can!
Happy “love” month and Top 10 Tuesday! It is February so it only seemed fair to recommend some romantic texts to read while love is in the air! Here we go!
There’s no particular order of importance for his post.
1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.
This book was so fun and such a joy to read. I had a blast experiencing Olive and Ethan’s hate for each other turn into a steamy romance; the slow burn keeping you fed but never satisfied until the perfect moment. Christina Lauren’s classic humor certainly shines through as always, brightening up my day every time I open the book! I happen to have written a book review for this text with tremendously more detail, so do not hesitate to check it out!
2. One Day in December by Josie Silver
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered.
Gosh, was this an emotional roller coaster… One Day in December had me completely engulfed and engaged from start to finish. I read the whole text in one reading sitting, and to this day I do not regret one second of it. It displays the kind of love that defies all odds and makes the reader really believe that something so powerful exists. You get to experience Laurie and Jack’s independent ups and downs throughout 10 excruciating years of their lives as one of the most torturous slow burns I’ve ever experienced.
3. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
Now, this book is a lot steamier than the rest—which isn’t an issue for me, but I know it is for a lot of people. It was so good to watch Stella experience love for the first time and learn how to handle and express it. I was incredibly uncomfortable reading some parts from awkwardness alone, but that made it so ridiculously satisfying when the perfect scene showed up. You learn a lot about the importance of consent, sex, and the perspective of those with disabilities which makes this book one of my all time favorites.
4. Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…
Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.
The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?
This book is adorable. A perfect, light-hearted read for a sunny day at the park or a cozy stay-in-bed kind of weekend. I can’t fathom becoming such close friends (and more) with a childhood celebrity crush, the story is so unreal and dreamy. Entertaining and swoony, this book is definitely one to recommend!
5. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling.
Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.
Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.
As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.
“Uh oh” was quite literally what escaped my lips as a warning and a whimper after reading this synopsis for the first time. Why? Because this is my shit. Few people know just how obsessed I am for the ‘boss x assistant/intern’ trope—it’s unbelievably sacrilegious. This is one of those texts that I will put anything down to read, and once you read through the first couple of pages, you’ll know why.
6. The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
Khai is geeky and obsessive but it is not conveyed in the quirky way everyone expects. Esme is determined and confident but with a little twist of her own as well. Gosh this book was sweet but also so hot. The whole text is trial and error seduction and I am absolutely living for it. I can’t ever get enough of this series and how it never fails to emphasize the importance of consent, family, love, mental illness/disease awareness, and so many other things that I wish were present in every book.
7. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy.
The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts.
But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love. In a novel as hilarious as it is heartwarming, debut author Rachel Winters proves that sometimes real life is better than the movies–and that the best kind of meet-cutes happen when you least expect them.
This novel was not only adorable but hilarious and uplifting. It is ridiculous and so much fun to read! Evie is a wonderful character and I always find myself rooting for her success, and Rachel Winters always finds a way to make the concluding love interest as obscured as possible. I had such a good laugh reading this, and I know other readers will too!
8. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
This books is one of the cutest texts I’ve ever come across! The story concept is so fucking adorable and fun to read. I have such a blast devouring it page by page as Gavin and his alpha-male-bad-boys learn the art of “wooing.” I always find myself unsuccessful at containing giggles or passionate swooning when reading about how hard these men try to express their love. This book is so sweet and such an amazing experience!
9. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
I definitely read a lot of rom-com, and this one really stands out to me because of it’s quirky over-dramatized romance and hilariously immersive writing. Not only is there a conflict between the two main characters, but their families as well; which creates a whole web of drama and thrill. I finished this book quite quickly, and it is definitely a unique and fun read!
10. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.
The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?
Things You Save in a Fire is a compelling and romantic story about courage, love, sexism, and friendship. Katherine Center does a wonderful job expressing the shitty part of life with so much integrity. I was emotionally devoted from every chuckle to every moment that shattered my heart when reading this. This is the perfect mushy romance for chilling in a warm blanket and indulging in a cup of hot tea.
I have so many other romances I want to list but alas this is a ‘Top 10 Tuesday’ after all! I will most definitely be writing about them in the future is more specific categories! I know this post had them a little spread out on the spectrum.
Valentine’s Day is so soon! I don’t really celebrate it discounting the large abundance of romance I read―but that’s honestly an every-day occurrence.
“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations…Both love and hate are mirror versions of the same game – and you have to win. Why? Your heart and your ego. Trust me, I should know.”
The Hating Game
Sally Thorne’s debut novel has been popular in the romance world for quite some time now. I’ve read it a couple times in the past and very much enjoyed it! As always, the synopsis before the review:
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing 3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
A classic enemies-to-lovers romance, The Hating Game sets the stage in ‘Bexley & Gamin’; a merged book publishing cooperation in which Lucy and Joshua work. Lucy Hutton is a quirky and unique character with Christina Lauren’s classicly written humor and eccentricities, and Sally Thorne’s own written touch of charisma. She’s a loyal worker for ‘Bexley Books’ and horrified with its recent merge. Joshua Templeman, a seemingly dull, arrogant, and introverted man feels the same way; originally from ‘Gamin publishing’. With the merge, Lucy and Joshua work beside each other in their office—and they absolutely hate it.
The book doesn’t fail to demonstrate just how much they don’t get along. From Lucy’s asinine variations of ‘IHATEJOSHUA4EV@’ as her desktop password to Joshua swearing he’d quit his job if Lucy became his boss—and vice-versa. Not to mention that both of them are brawling over a newly opened promotion as a chief operating officer in the workplace. With this, their already aching tension strains even further as they both constantly attempt to thwart each other’s plans to impress the executive board. Nonetheless, I think the “fighting” was hilarious and have a hard time believing it is anything above banter despite how often the two passionately mention their loathing for each other. I do wish the hate was stronger, but if that means Sally Thorne has to dull down the comedy than I’m pretty content with how it is now.
“‘What are you imagining? Your expression is filthy.’
‘Strangling you. Bare hands.’ I can barely get the words out. I’m huskier than a phone-sex operator after a double shift.
‘So that’s your kink.’ His eyes are going dark.”
The Hating Game
Lucy and Joshua recognize their infatuation with each-other fairly early in the book, though it is relatively subtle and they are able to dismiss it to a certain degree. Lucy becomes friends with a co-worker Danny, and tells Joshua she is attracted to him out of spite. She finds herself confused about how she should hold herself around Joshua as her feelings for him become more and more prominent. Not to mention that he appears to be equally attracted to her after a particularly risqué kiss in the elevator. Her situation with Danny does become a conflict later on in the text, and Sally Thorne throws plenty of other challenges their way to test just how passionate they are. The book twists and turns as it progresses until the two finally learn to accept that their “hate” for each other isn’t hate at all, it’s love.
The book was delightful—hilarious as expected, and emotionally demanding as all romance should be. However, I found myself cringing at some parts that were meant to be sweet, instead of eliciting the endearing “awwww” like I should be. Lucy’s family owns a strawberry farm, leading to Joshua giving her the pet name “Shortcake” which isn’t as imaginative nor ingenious as he probably thinks it is. I found myself curling up every time I read that nickname and I do understand why others find it to be the most adorable thing, but it was pretty torturous for me. Moreover, there’s this clever lead up from the beginning of the book where Joshua explains the reason behind all these markings Lucy often sees him write on his planner. I know the scribbling is related to her the moment it is first mentioned; and when he finally elucidates it later on in the text, all the charm is lost for me.
When I closed the book after finishing it for the first time, I found an astonishing lack of satisfaction. The text didn’t have nearly as much closure as it could’ve. I had hope thinking there would be an epilogue, but was disappointed when I flipped the pages to find nothing but the customary acknowledgments and upcoming book spoilers. Lest you think that means it has a bitter ending—it doesn’t. Lucy and Joshua’s relationship concludes as happy as it could be, I just desire to know how they move on from there.
TheHating Game is an exhilarating read for anyone who wants to take in a good romance. I was able to read this entire book in one sitting—everyone mourn for my back— and was intrigued from beginning to end. The constant bickering between Lucy and Josh is my absolute favorite thing, pulling more giggles out of me than I’d like to admit. Sally Thorne’s witty dialogue and clever storytelling has everyone wanting more, and I most definitely see why.
Sally Throne’s latest book, 99 Percent Mine was published almost exactly a year ago; which I enjoyed as well! Her next book Second First Impressions is scheduled to publish September 29th this year, and many with me included can’t wait to gorge ourselves on the pages. Sally Thorne has already proved to be an amazing rom-com author, and I anticipate reading plenty more of her work in the future.
Hello! Long time no read… I’ve been so busy with AP Exams and USABO lately it’s driving me insane! Today I was able to carve out some writing time for a ‘Top Ten Tuesday’! I do have my own TTT; however, this prompt is really fun and I will be doing these ones more often!
In this weeks TTT, I will list 10 book covers that I absolutely love to look at. There are so many amazing illustrators and artists out there contributing to the making of book jackets! I have to say I prefer a mix of matte and shiny finishes for a dust jacket; though if I had to pick one or the other, matte is definitely more appealing for me. When it comes to colors, I love the whole spectrum! As of now a majority of the books I have on my shelves are murky and on the darker side, but I’d love to have brighter colors!
The color scheme on this cover is fantastic; and I love the way this book looks on my shelf. In fact, the cover is the amazing mix of matte and glossy I mentioned earlier! All three books in this trilogy look amazing, but I enjoy the colors on the first text the most.
2. Red Queen Collector’s Edition by Victoria Aveyard
Now, the ‘Red Queen’ series is one I’m actually not the fondest of, but nonetheless I had to snatch this collector’s edition! The hardcover and page edges are red, making the whole book a delightful treat for the eyes. The hardcover actually is a mix of matte with glossy drips that I absolutely love. So simple yet it makes the whole thing so incredibly beautiful!
3. Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
This cover is illustrated by the lovely Charlie Bowater, and I love the dull but warm color scheme! It seems like it would be a book on the brighter side, but on a shelve it fits in with the darker books just fine. I usually don’t enjoy covers with “people” on it per-say, but this one is definitely an exception.
4. Circe by Madeline Miller
On the actual dusk-jacket, all of the orange shown in this image is a metallic gold along with hints of matte black. This one looks and feels like a treasure sitting snug in my bookshelf; always catching the light and twinkling. I can never get enough gold on my shelves but this cover has me more than satiated.
5. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I love this cover so much for the sole reason of how it looks with the book’s sprayed edges. The pages are sprayed red on the edge, with the hardcover being of the same color. It just looks…so freaking good. The dust-jacket is matte except for the title which is glossy, and I love the subtle tinge of red on the cover while the rest of the book is that same color!
6. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
If you couldn’t already tell, red is my favorite color when it comes to book covers. V.E. Schwab’s books always have simple and bold illustrations which makes them so fun to look at. This dusk-jacket has a matte finish and bright spine to really stand out on shelves!
7. Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast
This book’s cover is mostly matte with a metallic touch. I like it so much because of it’s beautiful spine (not shown) and the way it hides the amazing metallic hardcover! This illustration also reminds me of how curious I was when first looking at the book, wondering what the image of a dandelion could possibly mean. An attractive cover for an attractive publication.
8. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
First of all, the way the letters change colors to blend in with the rest of the cover is amazing. The texture of this dusk-jacket is actually super unique; a scratchy matte on one half with a glossy finish on the other. I love the way the texture and color changes from one side to another! One lighter half while the other darker makes the whole image complex despite how simple it may seem.
9. The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
There is so much to say about this cover. Most importantly, it’s beautiful. In the bookstore, this book cover made me instantly interested in it’s story’s world and conflicts. I really do adore the aesthetic of sea animals “swimming” in the sky, which is a more personal reason to why I adore this illustration so much. The dust-jacket is matte except for a glossy title, and I’m content it’s this way because it lets me just focus solely on the beautiful scene of London thriving deep beneath the ocean’s surface.
10. Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
This is one of the brightest books I have on my shelves, and I am so incredibly thankful for it. This cover has a glossy finish and lovely neon color scheme, bringing my dark shelves to life! Doesn’t it make you so curious? Gosh, I love this cover so much. Despite it being so vibrant, the background is on the darker side of the spectrum. Its a super cool mixed feeling to encounter when looking at the illustration!
It was super fun to do this prompt for this week’s ‘Top Ten Tuesday’! There is a whole entire list of prompts and I’m super excited to visit all of them in the future!
The next blog post will be a book review! So stay tuned!
Viola! It’s 2020! 2019 zipped pass me before I could blink and so many wonderful things happened! Not only that, but it’s already a new decade! What the hell?! Time is moving much to quickly. Time to reflect on not only what I read. but what I experienced outside of the shelves as well.
Number of Books Read: 162
162 books read this year! Whew, what a bunch. I read some pretty amazing books this year, and only had to suffer through a few iffy ones. I have a gigantic list of books I need to write reviews for, and I’m working on them one at a time!
This year wasn’t too bad! There were definitely times where it was rough but those are inevitable. I started my blog this year and it’s been such a fun and expressive hobby, I’m so glad I decided to start this site!
I had the opportunity to learn more than I could ever ask for this year, and I’m so grateful for it. I recognize just how much I’ve grown as an intellectual and a person! I’ve opened up many doors for the incoming year, and I hope I get the chance to waltz and explore through every single one of them.
I’ve been so incredibly busy lately as well. As of now I’m applying for multiple internships and university programs this summer (because otherwise I’ll have nothing to do and get bored to death). Pursuing in molecular biology is such a handful but I love it so much. It’s great to know I love something I’m good at! That doesn’t always happen for me.
I feel like music is a strong way to express someone’s feelings and demeanor at a certain time. So I decided to start listening songs I’ve been frequently enjoying to better reflect how I’ve been!
Songs I’ve been listening to:
YOUTH! by BOYCOLD (feat. Bewhy, HAON & Coogie)
You Know by Oui Oui
Love on Top by Beyoncé
Drive by Jay Park (feat. GRAY)
Paris in the Rain by Lauv
Pure Happiness by Jooyoung, george
Burn by Phillipa Soo
말해줄게요 by 어반폴리
2019 was a year of learning and growth. I’m so happy I was able to read so many fantastic books as well! I can’t wait to see what next year brings…
Welcome 2020! With a new year comes new goals, and new knowledge. I saw this tag on Clo’s blog ‘Cuppa Clo’ that is created by Rae at ‘Book Chronicles’! It’s open to everyone and seemed like such a fun way to start off the year!
The ‘Caraval’ series by Stephanie Garber and ‘Folk of the Air’ series by Holly Black both reached their conclusions in 2019. I have to say I adore both those trilogies and find them to be pretty memorable! The thrill of anticipating the release of a book in a series to see the fates of characters you know and love is so exhilarating. I love it!
Authors That You’ve Recently Found And Would Like To Read More Of In The New Year?
I recently discovered the author Renée Adieh by reading her book ‘The Beautiful’ a while back! The text was pretty awesome and I’m eager to read her ‘Wrath & The Dawn’ series which I still haven’t got my hands on yet.
Most Anticipated Book Turned Movie/TV Show?
Oh gosh, I binged all of ‘His Dark Materials’ the other day on HBO based off the series of the same name by Philip Pullman. I remember reading the book series years ago! I barely remember anything that happened in the books but watching the series feels so nostalgic despite it being newly released! I will definitely keep up with that show.
Name A Character That You Wouldn’t Mind Sharing A Kiss With At Midnight?
Oh gosh. There are obviously characters I really love but I’ve never thought of them in this way before. Most of them have significant others as well! It feels dirty to list those that have lovers…is that so wrong? I would probably give Nikolai Lantsov from the ‘Grishaverse’ by Leigh Bardugo a peck on the cheek, however after reading ‘The King of Scars’ I think he has a little crush on you-know-who…
How Many Books Do You Hope To Read In 2020?
I know this is ambitious, but I hope to read 200 books in 2020! I was able to read around 160 books this year which is pretty insane, so I believe I may be able to hit the 200 mark. I’m not going to kill myself trying to hit that number, but it’s a good motivation to read plenty more this year.
Will You Participate In The Goodreads Reading Challenge Or Any Others?
Yes! As of now I’m participating in the ‘Goodreads Reading Challenge’! I just recently started a Goodreads! I know I’m very very late in doing so. I’ve been filling in as many books as I can think of that I’ve read, and giving them star ratings for quick reviews! Please feel more than welcome to friend me!
Any New Year’s Resolutions?
Start working! I’ve applied to various jobs and already am going to interviews soon. These books aren’t buying themselves!
Make sure I have time to read! My life is only getting busier, and I want to make sure reading isn’t eliminated from my schedule.
Keep a 4.0! I have a 90% and above in all my current classes, and I’d like to keep it that way…
Continue self studying! I self study languages and neuroscience as a hobby. Right now I am studying Korean and Japanese simultaneously (I know I’m crazy). 여보세요! こんにちは！Neuroscience has always been something I was interested in, I plan to take a program at a university over the summer to learn even more! I’m pretty thirsty for knowledge over here…
Cookand bake more! I have to admit, I eat out—a lot. Whether it’s a restaurant, cafe, or bakery, I’m always spending money on food! I’m not a terrible baker and cook, so I’d like to make my own meals! It’s a good life skill I need to work on.
I hope you all have an amazing 2020; I give you best wishes! To anyone that would like to participate in this tag, feel free to do so! Just make sure to follow the rules and link me (I’d love to read your post)!
Hello booksworms! Today I will recommend one book published from every year up until 2019 (it will be a TTT but with 9 books not 10)! Today is New Years Eve in America, so I thought this would be a great way to celebrate the past decade! Here we go!
2010: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?
Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.
Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?
I remember when this book released it was a huge deal. Everyone adored Percy Jackson and the expansion on his world was amazing. The series is a breeze to read and super fun!
2011: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyoneinvolved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
This book is stunning. The visuals are beautiful and I crave to enter this world every time I read of it. An amazing story, perfect for a blooming imagination.
2012: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
This book is so saccharine and adorable I love it so much. If ever in need for a cozy and fuzzy romance, give this one a go!
2013: Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors and this book was so incredibly entertaining! It’s cover is beautiful too isn’t it? Dramatic and full of modern fantasy, a highly recommended read.
2014: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
This book was actually recommended to me by a teacher of mine and I had a fantastic time reading it. Darrow is such a passionate and driven character, the story so entertaining and compelling. Not your typical dystopian.
2015: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill–the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price…
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
It is already known that I love this series very, very much. Romance and fantasy galore, it’s an amazing and unique take on faeries!
2016: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.
A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Now, I was going to put ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ by Sarah J. Maas in this spot but that seemed a bit dull so here’s another fantastic read! If you haven’t read the first book in this series: ‘Six of Crows’ I highly recommend it—because who doesn’t love a good heist?
2017: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters–strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis–survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
This story is powerful and ever so compelling. A break from fantasy and sci-fi but not at all lacking in action and entertainment.
2018: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
A powerful fantasy with a world so unique and magical. It is so fresh and new from what I’m used to reading. I love it.
2019: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
Will I ever get enough of the ‘Grishaverse’? No. Is that good? Hell yes. This book is a wonderful read and I fell quickly in love with all the new characters introduced! Highly recommended for those that loved ‘Six of Crows’!
I hope you all enjoyed all the books released this decade. I can’t wait for more, there are already so many reads I’m aching for that will be published in 2020!
I was able to pump out around 160 books read this year. My goal for 2020 is 200! What is your reading goal?
Dystopian Fiction has been a highly discussed topic for awhile now among both YA and adult readers. Today I’m going to discuss why I think Dystopian Fiction in YA is going down the shitter. This discussion post is pretty casual so my writing won’t be as formal as usual!
Dystopian Fiction in YA
Usually when someone thinks of a dystopian fiction, they think of YA. Which is understandable because to be frank, YA took the genre and basically made it their own. YA Dystopian fiction was never that horrible in the past, blockbusters like ‘The Hunger Games‘ were original and a fresh, which is how they came to be so huge for readers. Authors saw how much attention these texts received and decided to hop on the train as well, and soon enough dystopian fiction was being pumped out left and right. This is when popular series like ‘The Maze Runner‘ and ‘Divergent‘ started rising (which at the time I found to be pretty confusing because they all seemed kinda the same to me but I’ll get to that later). YA readers were eating this shit up, and authors loved it. Dystopian fiction in YA featured action, bloodshed, the supernatural, and sexy-horny teenagers; the perfect brew for an addicting read. It made sense why the genre got so huge; but because of this, it got so overused and milked, the blasphemy I’ve been seeing released these days in the genre are just snippets of old hits put together in different combinations. I think readers started realizing this too because soon the craze died out, and the books that published afterwards got considerably less attention.
At the time when the genre was skyrocketing and that was everything anyone would ever read, I was still conflicted. I saw the same tropes over and over, ones that I really didn’t like. Yes, they made for a good plot and it appealed to the masses but when I took a closer look how the fuck did authors get away with it? Here are some common tropes in YA dystopian fiction I find more than slightly skeptical and infuriating:
I saw author Jenna Moreci discuss this in a video and I could not agree more. I have no issues with teen heroes. I have no issues with teen protagonists. I just think if an author is going to make a teenager save a society from a corrupt government, make it even just a smidge believable. Do authors really expect me to believe this adolescent, amygdala dependent kid is going overthrow the government that’s been in control for a considerable amount of time, when she can’t even choose which overly-sexy-definitely-not-a-teenager idiot to date?
Why is it that I find “teens” in dystopian fiction always seem to act like they’re in their mid twenty’s—probably because that’s what they should be. If the character needs to be a bit older to make it’s actions seem believable, so be it! I get that authors want to appeal to young adults by having their characters be in the same age, but no matter how fictional the book may be, a teenager’s brain development stays true. Unless it is stated that something alters that, I find it hard to believe a teen and his or her ragtag group of problematic kids can dismantle a leadership that’s probably been in power longer than any of their lifetimes.
Where the Fuck Are Your Parents?
Why is it that whenever there are adults in YA dystopias they are either assholes, dopey, dead, or dying? Of course salvation is up to the teens because all the adults are all over the freaking place! I understand why this would be present, so that the teens can rise up which appeals to young adults; but holy shit just give me one properly mature, innately good person that isn’t well on their way to a very dramatic, early death.
This trope also makes me question how adults so stupid got into power. Brute force, yes, but to have a solid, powerfully built government no matter how corrupt takes brains I just don’t see present.
Shallow Horny Teenagers
Insta-love. If that doesn’t explain more than enough about how I feel, I’m not sure what does. We’ve all seen it in dystopian YA, I know we have. Yes, we get it he’s hot and super strong or whatever but why does love need to be the first feeling authors come up with? Why can’t the chic just have a super sexy best friend, or helpful muscle-heavy teammate? Once again, I get it. Teens like romance I like romance, but this insta-love shit is driving me fucking insane. I’ve discussed this before and I will discuss it again, we like a slow… sizzling burn, not a random make-out session in the first fourth of the book. Sure the kids can be horny but who cares? Torture them. It is so much more satisfying that way.
Talking about “hot and super strong”, why does he have to always be hot and super strong? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being sexy but, the “perfect male” thing is getting so old. One dystopian love interest that made me want to smash my head against a wall a little bit less was Warner from the ‘Shatter Me‘ series—nonetheless I really loath the series as a whole but I’ll discuss about that more in the future.
I’m an Erudite I Swear
When I read YA dystopian fiction I find it very easy to realize that the way society is organized or how it may be run in the said book—is absolute bullshit. One good example is the faction trope. How is society so easily split into these certain categories? And how is that helpful to literally anyone? How are people expected to have only one of the qualities they can be sorted into? Why separate society in this way, what’s the point? It’s never clearly explained why factions are created, and whenever it is I can easily come up with a much better—much safer—solution. I’m baffled, it isn’t believable.
Why Am I Depressed
Dystopian fiction is dark, no doubt. But does it always have to be? Books in this genre tend to be so murky and sad from beginning to finish I end up thanking the heavens when I reach the end so I can continue enjoying my life. I know what some people might say “But Byunziiiiiie thats why the romance is there!” No. I refuse to have romance be the only source of happiness for both the protagonist and reader of the book. I’m completely against that type of suffering. I want lighthearted moments because those make the sorrowful ones so much more impactful. If it’s downhearted all the time I end up detaching from the characters emotionally and the whole thing is so much less compelling. Give me a bubbly dinner where all the characters talk about happy memories, or a party where they all get rip roaring drunk and dance to their heart’s desires. That way, when darkness comes I can compare the situation and the character’s feelings to how it could’ve been.
It Was a War…Or Something
Usually in dystopias, a corrupt government rises up after some big incredibly harmful event. They learn from their mistakes because of it, but attempt to resolve the issue in the worst possible way. I never came across that as a particularly annoying problem; however, it was how authors came up with these “incredibly harmful events”. Long story short—why is it always a fucking war? Not only this, but why is the war never as relevant as it should be? If this “war” is the reason behind the whole shitshow society is now, at least put some effort into making it 1. believable and 2. well-developed. “Ah yes, it was this war…now lets skip till when the two characters make-out and strip please.” I want the war explained: what were the sides fighting over? Why? Who won? Who lost? Did anyone win or did everyone suffer? What were it’s effects on the climate? Mindsets? Technology? A healthy summary is perfectly satisfactory but if all I get is “because of the war” then I’m going to kill a bitch.
The Evil Overlord
Ah yes, the evil overlord. Whenever there is a villian it’s always this all-powerful individual with a highly trained but strangely incompetent military and/or police force that always fails at catching a small group of emotionally unstable teenagers. This classic character almost never has good character development making them bland and uninteresting at most. Yes, we get it they’re evil—and?
Can’t Decide Whether the Romance or Government Is More Problematic
The chick that the author swears is completely ordinary but every alpha male bad-boy in a seventeen-mile radius will fall in love with her because “there’s just something about her…” Now she finds herself stuck in a horribly unfortunate, emotionally draining, love triangle. Not only will it be obvious who she gets with in the end, but this stupid romantic inconvenience will take up a majority of the book as a big waste of my time and patience.
There’s plenty more tropes I can’t stand, but these are the most commonly found ones in the large abundance of YA dystopian fiction I’ve read.
Yes I’m going to briefly discuss this because they always say it’s science; but why is it that whenever I look at the “science” they’re talking about—it doesn’t make any fucking sense? First of all, this bugs me plenty more than others because I am absolutely trash for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)—it’s my passion. So naturally when I read and the author starts typing out the biological, geographical, or environmental reasons behind things I get curious.
I’m almost always disappointed.
The issue isn’t that some authors are making shit up that can’t exist—though that does happen—it’s that they take certain theories, phenomenons, physical and/or biological actions or traits and exaggerate them horribly. I’ve seen it over and over; things that should be small, but for some reason are humongous and conveniently help move the plot forward or help world build and etc. An example of this I found pretty prominent is the pond succession bullshit in the ‘Divergent’ series. I thought I was the only one who realized how absolutely bull that was until I found this video on YouTube explaining it awhile back. It’s good to know I’m not the only one recognizing these problems.
To cut to the chase, it’s good to want to explain the STEM behind things in a world. But if it is done, do it correctly, and do it well. Or gremlins like me will hunt you down and cackle maniacally while dragging you towards a very slow and unnecessarily dramatic death involving a match, a stake, and a very long incomprehensible chant.
YA Dystopias Now vs What They Could Be
First of all, if it’s not already clear enough: variety. I’ve seen the same shit being pumped out for much too long and it would be amazing for something fresh and unique to appear on shelves!
More importantly, there are so many challenges the world faces today such as terrorism, sexism, racism, financial crisis, climate crisis, population crisis, religious conflicts, political tensions, addictive technological crutches—the list never ends. Dystopian fiction was meant to be a way of expressing what the world and society could be if we let any of these problems get out of hand and corrupt us. It opens up people’s eyes to real world problems through compelling and powerful fiction. Extraordinary books like ‘The Giver’, ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘1984’, and my absolute favorite book in the whole world ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ are all stories that question society; and convey the consequences of our actions through what harm could happen in the future if we don’t change. Stories like these aren’t necessarily YA because they’re important for both adults and youth to read and understand, they’re neutral. Whereas, YA is targeted to—obviously—young adults; those readers usually only stick to reading YA so it’s crucial to incorporate these lessons in that category too. These days, I rarely see any deeper meaning behind recent dystopian fiction in YA; particularly bad because that audience should learn just as much as adult audiences do through reading when it comes to the real world.
Maybe it’s just me but I want to learn from a dystopian fiction when I read it. I want to finish and come out of it better, more intelligent than I was before. Is that so much to ask? YA dystopian fiction has turned more towards the entertainment side of the spectrum rather than the informational one. There are ways to write where the reader is both intrigued and learning at the same time, I promise there is. Cut the crap and enlighten readers. Hell yeah there can still be amazing action, sick supernatural powers, sexy romance, and humor; but spread awareness of the world’s challenges using tools and devices (symbolism is a classic one) as well.
That’s my short rant! I hope I’m not completely alone on this, it’s been bugging me for awhile and I felt I needed to write about it.
This is a discussion post, so what do you guys think about dystopian fiction when it comes to YA? Tell me your thoughts! I’d love to read them.
A new decade is just around the corner, along with the release of many books! Here are 10 books releasing next year that I can’t wait for! This is a regular list, no rankings:
1. (Untitled) A Court of Thorns and Roses #4 by Sarah J. Maas
Title nor cover have been released for this one, but Sarah J. Maas has hinted plenty of what it may be about! The trilogy came to a close, but I still adore the characters and would love to see more of them!
2. All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
She will reign.
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent herentire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.
Did I ever mention how much I love the concept of pirates? No matter, the point is: this book sounds amazing. I’m very excited for it; it’s indeed fantasy—but it’s different. I need a break from fae even if I do love them dearly, but never a break from fantasy. Never fantasy.
3. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princesa, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.
The concept of spinning thread from moonlight is absolutely beautiful. I’m also excited to read about the wonderful culture this book seems to give off. It looks fresh, I am very much looking forward to it!
4. Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
No cover has been released for this book yet, but the previous book’s cover in the series Serpent & Dove was beautiful, it’s been sitting nice and pretty on my shelf. I loved Serpent & Dove and all it’s unique characters, I can’t wait to see more of them!
5. The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne
Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, has only one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?
But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love, Elliot, returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one who got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.
Intergalactic bachelorette? I must have it. Not only am I a sci-fi fiend but I am a horrible romance one as well. Very hyped for this one!
6. The Damned by Renée Adieh
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.
But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
Forbidden romance—I’m all for it. The previous book in the series The Beautiful was pretty good and I’m interested to see how the plot continues to unfold in this book.
7. The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for the love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
Now, this book will either be super great—or super crappy. It’s an interesting plot and I want to see it unfold. Moreover, this cover is amazing! It would look so pretty on my shelves…I’m all for human-alien romance, it’s just one of those things that needs to be pulled off right. If it is, hallelujah!
8. Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.
First of all, this cover looks amazing. Secondly, the incorporation of Hindu mythology and celestial fantasy sounds like such a joy to read. Im curious to find out how the concept of stars as “people figures” works. Do they have powers? How the hell a star can mate with a human I have no idea but I’m excited to find out!
9. Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.
Truth be told, I will read any book where Charlie Bowater has drawn the cover no matter how good or bad the synopsis may be; so of course this book is on this list. Nonetheless, I actually think the plot is pretty interesting! I’ve been looking forward to this book for awhile and so have many others, can’t wait to read it!
10. Unravel the Stars by Elizabeth Lim
Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.
But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.
Mystery, romance, magic—what more could I ask for? Spin the Dawn was an amazing book, I loved the asian culture and hints at mythology it gave. I can’t wait to read more about Maia and how she handles these new changes and conflicts!
So that’s it! So many amazing books are coming out next year—and next decade—that I’m so excited to read!
Also, happy Christmas Eve! The holidays came so quickly it seems unreal for some reason. I’ve also been terribly sick this season which sucks but I’m getting better!