Pride Month TBR

For the first time in quite a while I don’t have any readathons to join, so instead I’ve built my TBR around just whatever I wanted to read? Which is a weird concept for me. I decided to read primarily queer books since it’s Pride Month, so 15 of my 17 books are queer and/or by queer authors! The other two are for #content so they get a pass.

Without further ado, let’s get into the list!

ARCs

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

I love creepy magic, and this book sounds like exactly that. Sapphic YA horror with a mystery twist? I genuinely cannot imagine a way for me to dislike this, I expect it to be a 4 star read at minimum. Also, southern gothic aesthetics are some of the best so I’m certain this book will have the Vibes™.

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

Not gonna lie, I don’t know much about this book aside from the fact that the main characters are awful people and I intend to keep it that way until I pick this book up. If I remember correctly I believe one of the protagonists is ace, which I absolutely love, but beyond that i have no idea what this book is about.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and I got the ARC on my birthday so I knew it had to go on my TBR immediately. I love how queer YA sci fi is becoming, and reading a book about sapphic rebels taking down giant robot gods sounds like my kind of fun.

New Releases

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Gothic fantasy with a queer protagonist? Yes please! I know there was quite a bit of blowback from the community on the bi female main character ending up with a man, and as a bi person who is very much still bi when dating someone of the other gender, I’m genuinely pumped to support a book that shows that side of being bisexual.

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

This is a book club pick from one of my Discord servers, but to be honest with you it was on my TBR before that anyway. I’ve heard a myriad of good things about this book, so I can’t wait to lose myself in this story the way I just know that I am going to.

Backlist Books

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

I read The Empress of Salt and Fortune in May and became completely obsessed with this series, so I’m going to inject the second on directly into my brain. Hopefully this will hold me over, since book 3 isn’t coming out until 2022, and that is very far away.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass was not my favourite, (also what’s up with Bashardoust’s books starting with Girl) but I enjoyed the writing style/pacing/characterization quite a bit and the premise of this book sounds much more up my alley. I think I’ll like this one much more.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

This book has been all over both Twitter and TikTok and it sounds extremely up my alley so I’m giving it a try. I’ve also heard that there’s no romance focal point, which sounds great as I love when queer characters just get to be queer. Plus, can you really go wrong with dark academia? i don’t think so.

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

I won an ARC of this book many moons ago and haven’t gotten around to finishing (or even starting) it and I figured there’s no better time than Pride Month. I’m very ready for an unlikeable lesbian protagonist, especially since “unlikeable” characters usually end up my favourite, and I hope I get to see Emanuela kick some ass.

The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

This is my romance buddy read for June, and I’m excited to dive into my first Talia Hibbert book since everyone has been recommending her to me lately. We ended up picking this one because the hero is bisexual and so are both of us, and I’ve heard really great things about the way he’s written!

It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian

This was on my TBR last June and I did not get around to reading it, which is a shame. This year it’s pretty close to the top, partly because I’ve been experiencing the joy of romance more, and partly because historical gays are my shit. I have it on good authority that this book is excellent, so I’m expecting to love it.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

If I don’t read this this month my roommate is liable to kill me in my sleep, so suffice to say it’s very close to the top of my tbr. It also one of two mermaid books on this list, because everyone knows mermaids are queer. I am a slightly bit worried this book is going to make me afraid of the ocean but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

This is another buddy read that I’m pumped to get to. I actually managed to snag an ARC of Gideon the Ninth so it’s been quite a while since I read it, which just means that I am in no way prepared for how batshit insane this is going to be. Hopefully it doesn’t kill me.

Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Byrn

The second mermaid book! One of my friends has been recommending this to me for years, and it was recently on sale on kindle so I snagged a copy just for this. The main merfolk character in this book is non binary which is really exciting, and I know there’s also pirates in this one which is my favourite combination ever.

Heartstopper Volume 2 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Vol 1 felt like a warm hug so I’m incredibly ready to read the second one. Nick and Charlie warm the cockles of my cold, dead heart and I need to read the rest of their story like I need to breathe.

A Sapphic RomCom Worth Going Feral Over

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Adult, Romance
St. Martin’s Griffin, June 1 2021
e-ARC, 432 pages
Buy on Bookshop

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove

her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

My Review

5 stars

I went into One Last Stop trying very hard not to compare it to Red, White and Royal Blue, which I think is the best move as they are very different books, in the best way possible. As such I’m going to continue to not compare them in this review, because I think doing so does a disservice to the magnificence that is One Last Stop.

If I could rate a book 6 stars, it would be this one. If you told me I could only bring one book with me to a deserted island, this would be at the top of the list. I don’t know when this book wrapped itself so firmly around my heart, but it happened sometime in the midst of this 432 page masterpiece.

August, the protagonist, is a character that is both incredibly relatable and so real that she feels like you could run into her on the street. I loved watching her settle into herself, and her growth throughout the book was honestly inspiring, but the part about August that made me fall in love with her was the way she’s so obviously lost.

A huge part of One Last Stop is about finding yourself. Sometimes literally in the case of my favourite 70’s lesbian (more on that in a second), but the metaphorical way August had to find herself was something I can deeply relate to. McQuiston does such an excellent job of showing us little snippets of August’s internal turmoil and it genuinely left an ache in my chest at some points. August is very much a millenial mood.

Of course this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk about the love of my life, the star of the show, the one and only Jane Su. We don’t see a lot of butch representation in romance, and Jane was a refreshing deviation from that norm. Watching her struggle to figure out who she was and what had happened to her was heart breaking, and I had to remind myself several times that the romcom label on this book ensured she would get a happy ending, because sometimes it seemed very far out of reach!

The romance, my god the romance. Jane and August make one of my favourite fictional couples of all time. They’re both puzzles with jagged edges, but they still slot together so perfectly. Watching them grow as people together, watching them help each other through the tough spots, felt like something I shouldn’t be seeing. Their connection was electric.

I’d be remiss not to mention the side characters. I wish I could be friends with Myla, Niko, Wes and Isiah. They’re such an inviting and interesting group of characters, but they all work with each other so wonderfully. I adored the way they absorbed August and Jane into their little found family unit, and I would like to know where I sign to be next.

I really enjoyed the plot and stakes of this book. I could literally feel the desperation from our main characters as things starting coming together. I think one of my favourite things about romance as a whole is how deeply rooted the feelings are in a story, and One Last Stop does such a fantastic job of exploring them.

This is genuinely one of the best books I’ve ever read, and one of the incredibly rare books I can see myself rereading. One Last Stop is a book that makes you fall deeply in love, with it’s characters and it’s romance and the quiet magic of finding yourself in a big scary world.

Chat With Me

📻—What is your favourite romantic comedy?

📻—Are you planning on reading One Last Stop?

📻—What are some of your favourite fictional relationships?

Your New Middle Grade Favourite

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

Middle Grade, Fantasy/Mythology
Rick Riordan Presents, May 4 2021
e-ARC, 336 pages

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim’s thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.

Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan!

Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.

My Review

This reivew is a little late, seeing as this book came out on May 4th but I dived head first into a reading slump shortly after getting this ARC. I figured better late than never so here we are!

The Last Fallen Star is a rare book and I have many, many good things to say about it. I read this entire book—all 336 pages—in one day because I just could not put it down. The pacing was excellent, Kim gave you just enough space to process what had just happened before she threw you into the next whirlwind. I personally read a lot of middle grade for this exact reason, the books are always structured in such a way that you feel like you’re experiencing everything alongside the characters. I felt fully immersed in the story the entire time I was reading it.

Another thing that I usually love about middle grade is the characters, and the people populating this world felt like the kind of people 12 year old me would have wanted to hang out with. Our protagonist Riley is such a delightful character, loyal almost to a fault and full of love for her family and her community. She’s the kind of main character that’s incredibly easy to root for, and you want her to win, even when it seems near impossible.

The other characters in this book are just as engaging and complex. Emmett, Riley’s best friend, may just make my list of favourite characters of all times and I really thought he was a unique character within middle grade. Hattie was such an interesting foil to her sister. Brash where Riley was reserved, confident where Riley is insecure. Watching Riley be inspired by her sister’s characteristics and use them to grow into her person was a true pleasure.

One of my favourite thing about this book was the dynamics, especially between Riley and Hattie. They’re very different people, but throughout the book you can see them adopting each other’s best qualities. I loved their bond and how much they cared for one another.

Technically The Last Fallen Star is set in Los Angeles, but it’s nothing like the LA you or I could visit. Kim managed to take one of the most famous cities in the USA and make it magical, with secret buildings masquerading as grocery stores and goddess appearing at Santa Monica Pier. Every aspect of this world felt rich and layered like a chocolate cake waiting to be cut into.

The aspects of Korean mythology and culture woven in are incredibly cool, and I had so much fun with the way they shaped the story. Every single major character in this book was Korean, and it was really interesting to see the way their community brought them together even when they may not have ever talked outside of it.

This is the first book in a series, and I really liked the way Kim ended this piece of the story even if it caused me great amounts of emotional distress. It was masterfully crafted to wrap up most of the plot lines in the first book while still leaving space for the story to continue and I can’t wait to get my hands on book two!

Chat With Me

🌟— What are some of your favourite sibling dynamics?

🌟—Do you read middle grade? If so, what’s your favourite?

🌟—Have you read The Last Fallen Star? Do you plan to?

May TBR

As of writing this I am currently 11 books behind on my reading challenge, which is down from the beginning of April when I was 17 books behind, but still not particularly excellent. To help combat the backlog I’m going to be participating in two readathons in May! Both are month-long, and I might do a mini weekendlong readathon to help me push through!

Minecraft Readathon

I’ve participated in this readathon once before, and I had quite a bit of fun so I’m excited to participate in it again. This year I’m playing as a Farmer, mostly because those are the prompts I liked the best, and the advantage is the ability to replace 3 prompts with a different professions prompts, which I took full advantage of.

Hit Bedrock (read a book over 500 pages): Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Why am I reading this book? I wish I could tell you. I only gave King of Scars 2 stars, and I sincerely doubt that this one is going to get higher, but I desperately need to know how much more Bardugo is going to fuck up her world before she calls it quits. However, I’ve already decided that this will be the last Grishaverse book I read because I just can’t stand to see someone figuratively shit on their own past work.

Find Diamond (read a 5 star prediction): Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

I’ve given 5 stars to every other book in the Three Dark Crowns series, so it seems fair to assume that the last instalment will be the same. I’ve put this book off for a very long time because I don’t want this series to be over, but I think it’s time to finally find out what happens before someone spoils it for me.

Breed 2 Animals (read a book with an animal on the cover): Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Yes this is the second Bardugo book on my TBR, but I’ve been meaning to get to Ninth House since it came out, and it just keeps getting pushed back so I’m taking this opportunity to finish it. Also, it was the first book I thought of when I saw this prompt which has to mean something. Right?

Invade an Ocean Temple (read a book with historical elements): The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

This book might be a stretch for this prompt, I’ll be the first to admit that, but I really want to get to it because I’ve seen so many differing opinions on it. I’ve liked every other Schwab book I’ve read, but this one doesn’t seem particularly up my alley so I’m interested to see whether or not I actually like it myself!

Fill a Bucket (read a book targeted to your age demographic): One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

This is the first of 3 arcs I’ve put on this list, and I thought about saving this to read for Pride month, but I want to get to it before the release date. I loved the writing Red, White, and Royal Blue so I think this will be a new favourite!

Bake a Cake (read a feel-good book): A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

This is also my romance buddy read for May, and I’m incredibly excited to get to it. I have a feeling it’s going to make me hungry and I am fully prepared for that. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary, but I haven’t dipped my toe in the water in a while so if I like this I might try to pick up more.

Asian Readathon

This is the third year I’ve participated in this readathon, and I’m, just as excited for this year as I was for the two previous! I have a bunch of books by Asian authors that I want to read that are not on the list, but these are the ones I picked for these challenges.

Read any book by an Asian author: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

This is probably my most anticipated release for all of 2021, so I was over the moon when I saw I got an arc. Pacific Rim is only of my favourite movies, and we definitely need more polyamorous relationships in YA. I am incredibly ready to dive head first into what I’m sure will be an insane adventure.

Read any book featuring an Asian protagonist: The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

I technically got an arc of this book a couple months ago and then fell into a massive reading slump that had me blacking out almost the entire month of march in my reading journal. Now that I’m back I want to make this a priority, so I’m including it in this TBR!

Read any book written by an Asian author in your favorite genre: The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

The Never Tilting World made me fall in love with this world, so it’s high time I read the sequel. This will actually be my third Rin Chupeco book, so I suspect that after I finish this series I’m going to end up finishing The Bone Witch trilogy next. At this point I’ll read anything Chupeco publishes, if I’m honest with you.

Read any book written by an Asian author that’s not US-centric: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

I’ve actually read both this and the next book on the list, and I absolutely adored this one. Vo’s writing is absolutely excellent, and the style this was written in was so interesting. I found myself completely hooked as pieces of the puzzle were slowly revealed and I’m going to devour the next book in this series in preparation for the rest of the series.

Read any nonfiction book written by an Asian author: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

As I mentioned, I’ve already read this and it was,,, not my favourite. Overall I liked the concepts Kaur was trying to explore, but I don’t think her style of poetry is really my thing. I’m not necessarily surprised about that, but I had never read anything by her so I thought I would give it a shot! I probably won’t be picking up her other books, unfortunately.

Other Books

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

Seasonal TBRs are actually a new thing for me, I never used to set them but I now find them incredibly helpful in deciding what to read. My brain natural operates on a quarterly system, so I consider this my January to March tbr, and I’m extremely excited to get to all of these!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. For more information, you can take a look here.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Not only do I have a burning desire to read this, if I don’t one my friends is liable to actually murder me before my twenty-fourth birthday. Urban fantasy is one of my favourite genres, and I am a MASSIVE fan of Arthurian legend, so there is absolutely no way this isn’t a smash hit for me. It’ll probably be one of the first books I read in 2021!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

If I don’t read this book I’m gonna combust, and it will not be pretty. I’m a HUGE Shakespeare fan, and historical fantasy is such an amazing genre for a retelling of Romeo & Juliet. I’ve heard so many amazing things about These Violent Delights, and so many people have told me I will absolutely love it, that I am practically over the moon with excitement.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

This is the only book on this list that I’m not certain I’m going to love. I know a good handful of people that have read it, and from what I’ve heard it’s slower, and more character driven which usually is not my forte. Nonetheless I want to give it a try, because books can always surprise you!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

This book is going to break my heart into a thousand pieces and I am so incredibly unprepared for the person I will be when I close it. I actually read A Torch Against the Night and A Reaper at the Gates earlier this year via audiobook, but I prerdered a hardcover copy of this one and I have a feeling that is going to make the pain hit me a lot harder.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

Another series ender that is probably going to rip my heart out and stomp on it, everything I’ve heard about The Burning God has, quitely frankly, made me absolutely terrified to read it. I’ve had approximately five friends finish it since it came out, and all of them have come to me screaming about it. I’m not ready lmao.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

I won an (annotated!!!) arc of this book and I am incredibly excited to get to it! I recently finished writing my own Slavic fantasy, which is why I haven’t gotten to it sooner, so I am pumped for a different take on Slavic folklore, especially one that features a sapphic main character. Plus i heard there were bears? You can never go wrong with bears.

Burn our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Corn book!! I loved Wilder Girls when i read it in 2019 and I’ve had a copy of Burn our Bodies Down on my shelf since like, August but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Rory Power’s writing is so clean and direct, it cuts to the bone without worrying about the spurting bloog, and she manages to make the horror aspects so naturally ingrained in the world that I can’t wait to see what she does with this story.

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

This may seem like an odd choice, but I’m going to be buddy reading this with a friend so I just had to include it. Also, I’ve been on a massive Descendants kick lately and this is just that hyperfixation migrating into reading, instead of just movie watching. I don’t expect this to be objectively good, but I do expect to enjoy it a whole lot.

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

This is the only book on this list I don’t have a copy of because it isn’t out yet, but the Wayward Children series has very quickly become a favourite and one of the things I look forward to every January. As a former horse girl, I am also very ready for some good old fashioned horse girl representation.

The Scrapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up since it came out in September, so I’m looking forward to picking it up this winter. Witchy lesbians are absolutely my shit, and the popular girls/social outcast dynamic is giving me big Undead Girl Gang vibes, and I love that book.

Chat With Me

❄️— Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

❄️— What books are on your Winter 2021 TBR?

❄️— Are there any books I don’t have on here that you think I would love?

Six of Crows Is Not the Only Book in the World

A week ago Hafsah Faizal announced her next book, a heist fantasy called A Tempest of Tea, and as per usual people came out of the woodwork to compare it to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Comp titles are an important part of young adult marketing, but it becomes a little fishy when every heist book is compared to SoC, especially when all the books have in common is the heist aspect.

The same thing happened when Roshani Chokshi announced The Gilded Wolves, and even after the first book release reviews poured in comparing it to Six of Crows. The only similarities between the two books are they follow the basic formula of a heist novel. This would be like comparing A Court of Thorns and Roses to The Cruel Prince because they both have faeries.

Heist stories have been around for hundreds of years. Leigh Bardugo did not wake up one morning and invent them. Comparing every heist book, especially ones written by people of color and queer folks does a massive disservice to those books. Every heist book is not similar to Six of Crows.

Even worse, is people that claim these books are SoC rip-offs, as if a white woman’s shoddily constructed diverse cast can hold a candle to characters of color written by actual people of color. I enjoyed Six of Crows, but we, as in white people, need to stop holding it up as a paragon of diversity when there are authors of color out here writing heist stories with diversity that doesn’t feel like a checklist.

White people need to step back and look at why our default reaction to a heist book is “this is just like “Six of Crows” and moreover, why you use that as a weapon against marginalized authors when it costs exactly zero dollars to not do that. Heist stories belong to everyone, and I for one am excited to see more of them hit the market.

A Little Book With a Big Heart

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore & Tehlor Kay Mejia

Young Adult, Magical Realism
HarperTeen, September 22nd 2020
e-ARC, 320 pages

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.

Blog Tour Information

I was lucky enough to get selected for this book tour, so I’d like to extend a big thank you to Karina @ Afire Pages and HarperTeen for the opportunity to join this blog tour! I recieved an ARC in return for my participation, but of course that didn’t affect my opinions at all. You can find more infortmation about the tour on Karina’s blog here!

You can also enter an international giveaway for a finished copy here!

My Review

5 out of 5 stars

It’s rare a book feels as much like a warm hug as this one does, but I think that makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s not that Miss Meteor is light and fluffy, in fact it deals with a myriad of heavy topics such as coming out and bullying. It’s that the end message, the one that struck home for me, is that people will love you in spite of, or even because of, your differences.

I’m a long-time fan of Anna-Marie McLemore and a more recentish fan of Tehlor Kay Mejia but I think this is a cowritten project I’ve been waiting for. Their writing flows together so smoothly, it really just reads like two voices speaking in tandem telling the same story. YA has had a lot of cowritten books come out in the past few years but I genuinely think this one is a standout. If you don’t think you like cowritten stories, give this one a try before giving up.

The best part about this book, by and large, was the characters. Chicky and Lita were both so incredibly well fleshed out, and all the side characters were incredible and vivid. I feel like there’s a favourite for everyone in this book, everyone should be able to find at least one character that resonates with them. It’s such a uniquely enjoyable experience to feel like you’re inhabiting someone elses world, rather than simply reading a book.

Competition/tournament books are also one of my favourites, and I think McLemore and Mejia did an absolutely fantastic job at crafting the Miss Meteor Pagent and the storylines that go with it. I was enamoured by the way they weaved all the pieces of the plot into it, although I don’t think I would necessarily call it the axis of the story (more on that in a second)it was certainly a focal point. The message behind it was so well done too, Lita never falls into the trap of cattiness that so often perpatrates beauty pagent stories, and I loved her even more for it.

The true axis of Miss Meteor is, in my opinion, the relationship between Chicky and Lita. They spend most of the book orbiting each other, getting closer and then pulling away again when things get heavy or scary. Their story is one I think we’ve all experienced, losing a friend and losing a piece of yourself alongside them, and it made the ending for this book all the more impactful.

I’d be remiss not to talk about the representation in this book, because there’s so much of it. Chicky and Lita, as well as both of their families, are Latinx, as is a side character. I can’t personally speak to how good that particular type of rep was on a detailed level, but nothing stood out to me as gross or problematic about it. Chicky is also pansexual, as in says it on the page, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in a book. There’s also a side character that is trans, and it’s one of the best representations of a trans boy in young adult.

The takeaway from this should, hopefully, be threefold: 1) we need more books where platonic relationships are at the forefront, 2) if you like any of McLemore or Mejia’s books you should pick this up, and 3) we all need a Lita to our Chicky, or vice versa.

About the Authors

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of The Red Shoes based on true medieval events, is forthcoming in January 2020.

Tehlor Kay Mejia is a YA author and poet at home in the wild woods and alpine meadows of Southern Oregon. When she’s not writing, you can find her plucking at her guitar, stealing rosemary sprigs from overgrown gardens, or trying to make the perfect vegan tamale. She is active in the Latinx lit community, and passionate about representation for marginalized teens in media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @tehlorkay. Her short fiction appears in the ALL OUT and TOIL & TROUBLE anthologies from Harlequin Teen. Her debut YA fantasy, WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, is out 2/26/2019 from Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins, with a sequel to follow. Her debut middle grade, PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE DROWNED PALACE, releases from Disney-Hyperion/Rick Riordan Presents in 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. METEOR, co-written with Anna-Marie McLemore, is out summer 2020 from HarperTeen.

The Can’t Miss Sequel of 2020

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Young Adult, Historical fantasy
Wednesday Books, September 22 2020
e-ARC, 416 pages

Returning to the dark and glamorous 19th century world of her New York Times instant bestseller, The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi dazzles us with another riveting tale as full of mystery and danger as ever in The Silvered Serpents.

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

My Review

If you know me, you know that The Gilded Wolves was one of my absolute favourite books of last year, and potentially ever. That means when I got approved for an ARC of the sequel I was over the moon with excitement. If you liked the first book in this series, or even if you didn’t, you need to read this book.

I loved everything about this book, from the world building to the pacing to the character development. I think this may be the best book Chokshi has ever written, and i say that as a person that has read pretty much every book she’s published (only excluding Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes).

In the interest of honesty, I wasn’t sure what direction Roshani Chokshi was going to take book 2, andf I think that really helped with my enjoyment of it. Every twist was a surprise and I could never guess what was going to happen next. This was something I enjoyed in the first book too, and in my opinion it was somehow done better in book two.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about my favourite aspect of the book: the characters. In an ironic twist of fate my least favourite character from book 1 became my favourite, and I’m still not sure how she managed to pull that rug out from underneath me. All the characters developed in really interesting ways in this book, and I personally enjoyed all the extra nuggets of backstory we got, in addition to the development. I felt like Chokshi really got to the meat of the characters, and explored the depths of them in really unique, and frankly risky, ways but they all paid off quite well.

World building is consistently something Roshani Chokshi is good at, and this is absolutely no exception. She did a fantastic job of building upon the foundation she’d laid previously, and I had so much fun learning about all the different houses, and how the Order of Babel worked. I’m also a bit of a nut for Russian culture, so the fact that most of this book was set in Russia was a lot of fun for me on a personal level.

Something that I think was really improved upon in this is the dynamics, which were good in The Gilded Wolves and are /chef’s kiss in this one. I particularily liked the direction Hypnos’s relationships took, and I geniunely think he was a missing piece of the puzzle in book 1, which was thankfully corrected for this one. I really just liked how complicated all the relationships got. They were messy and realistic and I adored every moment of it.

The tone of this book was also something that I quite enjoyed, and I really liked the way it flowed from the first book to create cohesion, while also getting progressively darker. A lot of the twists gently nudged towards the conclusion, pushing the characters more into the shadows so gradulally that suddenly it was dark out and you’d never even noticed that the sun was setting.

Now I know a lot of people found The Gilded Wolves hard to get into, but if you’re one of the people that struggled with it I genuinely recommend trying the second one before giving up on the series. It’s an excellent middle book, and well worth all the hype it’s getting!

Chat With Me

Have you read The Silvered Serpents or The Gilded Wolves? What did you think? What are books that you think do group dynamics really well?

Most Anticipated 2020 Releases 2: Electric Boogaloo

While yes, this is technically a little bit late, I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to yell about the books I’m looking forward to in the second half of the hellscape that is 2020! A few of these are debuts, and most are either standalones or the first in a series, but I’m equally excited for all of them!

I’ve organized them by release date, just to help myself keep them straight, and without further ado let’s get to the books!

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia – August 4

I read We Set the Dark on Fire for Femslash February this year, but I’d already been looking forward to this book even before that. I love middle grade, and this sounds like exactly the perfect book to escape the real world, and it comes out today!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas – September 1

I was honestly heartbroken when I heard that this book got pushed back (although I totally understand why) but now I’ve realized that just means I have more time to yell about it! This honestly sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted in a book, and I’m so very excited to get my preorder.

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron – September 22

We’re back to Sage Gushes About Middle Grade and I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t actually read Kingdom of Souls yet, despite a shiny copy sitting on my bookshelf, but that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Rena Barron’s middle grade debut, which sounds like it’s going to be a roller coaster in the best way possible.

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia- September 22

I actually just got selected to be on the blog tour for this and I am over the moon excited because I love everything Anna-Marie McLemore writes, and to see them team up with an author I’ve recently fallen in love with just makes this book even better. It’s also going to be packed full of important rep, and it’s plot revolves around a beauty paegent, and I’m really excited to see how the it unfolds!

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer – September 29

I’m a sucker for a good ya science fiction and this debut sounds like it’s going to knock my proverbial socks off. It’s got one of my favourite sci fi tropes, reluctant royals, and it’s also just one big huge scavenger hunt which is just the right recipe to be one of the best books of the year.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – October 13

I am still utterly obsessed with Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning, and I’m very very ready for her to consume my soul with this book too. Prophesies! Forbidden magic! Lady captains! Politics! It’s everything you could ever want to see in a book AND it’s by an author that could make eating a sandwich sound interesting.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston – October 20

This is actually the only book on this list that I’ve already read, but it was incredibly good and I have a very strong need for that beautiful cover in hardback form. I’m also ready to force it onto all my friends that like fantasy, because it reads like a fairytale in the best way possible.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – November 4

I genuinely think this is my most anticipated release for all of 2020, because in combines all of my favourite things into one book: Shakespeare retellings, girls that are a little knife happy, the 1920’s, and monsters. What more could anyone ever ask for in a novel?

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco – November 10

As of writing this I just finished The Never Tilting World just a few days ago, so you can imagine my shock when I realized I still have over THREE MONTHS until I can get my hands on a sequel. This is honestly not fair in the slightest. I’m really, truly, honestly, on the egde of my seat to see how Rin Chupeco manages to wrap up all the twisting storylines, and I still have so many questions that I desperately need answered.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang – November 17

The Poppy War is genuinely one of my favourite adult fantasies of all time, and I am absolutely THRILLED to read the final installment in the series. At this point I fully believe Kuang can do no wrong, and from the reviews I’ve seen popping up on Goodreads it seems like I’m not the only one that holds this belief.

O.W.L.s Year 3 TBR

This is my third year of participating in the O.W.L.s and I’m really hoping to do better than last year. For those of you who don’t know, the O.W.L.s Readathon is hosted by Book Roast over on YouTube inspired by Harry Potter!! You can find out more info by going over to her channel and watching this video.

For my career this year I chose to be a Hogwarts Professor, mostly because it gives me the most options in terms of actual challenges! This won’t quite be my whole TBR for this month as I’m also part of a few book clubs but I’m not going to include those in this list.

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MY BOOKS

12024430DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS: Book set at the sea/coast — Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz 

This book has been on my radar for a really long time, but it’s one of those times where you mean to read something and then keep forgetting to until you die. Thankfully, I just picked up a copy so I’m ready to dive in, possibly literally.

 

52379179._sx318_sy475_POTIONS: Book Under 150 Pages — Predatory by Brooklyn Ray 

This is exactly 149 pages, which means it just barely counts. It’s also the third book in this series and I figure I may as well catch up before the fourth one comes out. It’s also, obviously, a novella! So I should be able to finish it pretty quickly.

 

18584855._sy475_DIVINATIONS: Assign a number to your TBR — Heartless by Marissa Meyer 

Funny enough, I was already doing this! This would be my second month of letting a random number generator pick a book on my tbr. I made a spread in my bullet journal for this and got number 13!

 

32295486._sy475_CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES: Creature with a beak on the cover — Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake 

I’ve had this book since early 2018 and I have yet to read it. However, as an Irish person and a history nerd I’m excited to jump into a book with a root in Celtic history, and I’m always on board for books with boats.

43699608._sy475_ARITHMACY: Read something outside your favourite genre — I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi 

I got an ARC of this book mid 2019 and I just, forgot to pick it up. I Hope You Get This Message has now been out for almost 6 months, but I’m still determined to get to it. If you’ve been on my blog before you’re probably away my favourite genre is fantasy, so I figured a sci-fi was a good option for this challenge!

30809786._sy475_CHARMS: White cover — A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir 

The main reason this is on my TBR for this month is because I want to be caught up in time to preorder book 4 and get the super cool preorder gift. As of writing this I’m currently 70% through book 2, and really enjoying it, so I hope book 3 also lives up to my expectations.

18079804HISTORY OF MAGIC: Books featuring witches or wizards — Half Bad by Sally Green

There are practically a million and one books in YA that have witches and/or wizards, but this whole TBR is built of older backlist title so I figured it was finally time to pick this up, after owning it for several years.

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