The 2021 Book Tag: an Original Tag

Hey everyone! I’m back, with a SUPER exciting post! I introduce to you, my 2021 book tag!!!

To be honest, when I made my 2020 book tag last year, I did not expect to make one again this year. The 2020 book tag was to reflect a crazy year that none of us expected and none of us ever hoped to relive. But, while 2021 has been better in a lot of ways, we are still definitely not out of this mess. A lot of things still happened this year, and so I did end up choosing to make another book tag.

Disclaimer: As I, Phoenix, live in the United States of America, the events that these tags reflect are mainly based off of my own experience of things happening directly around me. Therefore, I won’t be including significant events that have happened elsewhere in the world in this tag. HOWEVER, if you are from another country and think of an event that was impactful around you, feel free to add another question to this tag that you think goes with that event!

Here are the rules and announcements for this tag! (Please copy and paste at the beginning of the tag!)

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the United States of America, if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Below is a list of the questions and their corresponding events in 2021:
Please note: while I tried my best, not all of these may be in chronological order.

  1. A sequel that did not live up to expectations (general 2021)
  2. A book where everything immediately went badly (Attack on the USA capital)
  3. A book where things seemed to change for the better (President Joe Biden’s inauguration)
  4. A book where science/some kind of sci fi thing plays a major role (Vaccines)
  5. A book where the characters get a reprieve (general, middle of the year)
  6. A book about sports/centered around competition (Summer Olympics 2021 2020)
  7. A book with a terrifying plot twist (Delta Variant)
  8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)
  9. A book where there are HUGE consequences to an event/action/etc. (supply chain backups due to covid)

My answers:

A sequel that did not live up to expectations

After spending a bit of a ridiculous amount of time looking through my goodreads ‘read’ shelf, and determining that I no longer read many book serieses (that’s a word, definitely), I’ve decided on Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I really enjoyed book one, Children of Blood and Bone; in fact, it was one of my favorite books of whatever year I read it. And sure, the second book was good…it just wasn’t as good as I expected, compared to the first book.

A book where everything immediately went badly

I mean, honestly the whole beginning of She Who Became the Sun is pretty harsh. I mean, Zhu is left with…nothing and kinda has to remake her whole life (which of course she then does quite successfully).

A book where things seemed to change for the better

There were definitely some light parts in Act Cool, but there were also several times when it dealt with some much harsher topics, especially as it got closer to the end of the book (please check trigger warnings before reading!!!). While in the end, things weren’t totally resolved and happily-ever-after etc, it did seem to be a more hopeful ending.

A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Not gonna lie, I was absolutely thinking about this book when I wrote this prompt. I mean, it kind of fits…perfectly. In The Ones We’re Meant to Find, it’s a futuristic world where a bunch of cities are literally in the sky because of flooding stuff and climate change, and tech plays a HUGE role overall in the story.

A book where characters get a reprieve

The fact that it actually took me quite a bit to think of a good response to this really says something about authors…when I think ‘get a reprieve’ I more imagine a pause in the actions near the middle of the book, but that just doesn’t happen much!!! In the end, I’m going with Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, because there’s one point when the two main characters just kinda go off on their own and chat which is always nice when characters get away from everything like that.

A book about sports/centered around competition

As a sports fan and someone who plays sports and someone who reads as well, I’ve read several books about sports (though books are rather lacking in the sports department honestly). But I’ve chosen Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name for this prompt, because I actually got this book when I was much younger but just wasn’t very interested! I finally read it in August and sped through it, absolutely loving it!

A book with a terrifying plot twist

This book had the kind of plot twist to make me go, ‘wait, no!’ out loud. What the heck??? The River Has Teeth is one that I took an entire Sunday and just read it straight through, barely putting it down. It was spooky and enticing and, of course, shocking.

A book with awesome behind-the-scene characters (if you can’t think of anything, then side characters)

Honestly, I’m going with good old Hunger Games here. When I say ‘behind the scenes’ I kind of mean characters who don’t get a lot of page time but are always still helping, and in Hunger Games the people who stand out to me are Portia and Flavius. They were just kind of background supports that were pretty great. There was also a lot of things in the Hunger Games with behind the scenes characters, with the whole games; though of course not all of the other people were ‘awesome’.

A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc

It most certainly did not take me long to find a book for this prompt. I’m going with The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl, which I read just last month. The huge consequence is kind of the main plot; Holly chooses to get turned into a vampire by her boyfriend. But then he dumps her, and she’s left as a 16 year old forever. She’s also connected to him, as he’s her maker, so she’s required to follow him wherever he goes. Also, she’ll have crimped hair forever.

Well, there are my answers to my 2021 book tag!!! I’m so excited to be doing this again, and I cannot wait to see everyone’s answers! This tag is open to anyone who wants to do it, as it’s an original tag, but I will tag a few people just to get things going:

Madeline @The Bookish Mutant
Alex @The Scribe Owl
Maria @The Character Study
Ashmita @The Fictional Journal
April @Booked Till Midnight

What did you think of my 2021 book tag? Have you checked out my 2020 book tag? What are some of your favorite books from 2021?

The Bookish Blog Tag

Hey, everyone! It’s been a very long time since I actually did a tag, and I have so many stacked up in my drafts folder that I decided to do one FINALLY!

I was tagged for this tag by the lovely Madeline @The Bookish Mutant, way back in January (sorry it took so long to do it!) Her blog is absolutely amazing so please go check it out!

I’m pretty sure this is going to be an extremely hard tag to do, given that it’s basically general ‘favorites’ in the book world, but let’s see how it goes!

Also, I’ve come up with a new sign-off graphic, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!

What are 1-3 of your favorite books of all time?

Oh, a bookworm’s least favorite question. But seriously, how in the world am I supposed to choose THREE??? That being said, I can’t even remember the plot of the last book I read, how am I supposed to remember what plot of all the books is my favorite?

After a great amount of indecision, I’ve decided to go with Felix Ever After (Kacen Callender), Loveless (Alice Oseman) and I’ll Give You the Sun (Jandy Nelson). But honestly, don’t trust me on this. Felix Ever After and Loveless are probably correct, but I really don’t know what I’d say for the third book. I guess I’ll Give You The Sun will go in here for now.

What are 1-3 of your favorite authors of all time?

Also EXTREMELY hard. My first two are almost certainly Leigh Bardugo and Alice Oseman, but I really can’t think of a third author, so I’ll just leave it at those two

Who is your favorite female character of all time?

This is officially the hardest tag I’ve ever done. I think I’m going with Fie from The Merciful Crow for this one because even though it’s been such a long time since I read this book, I remember loving it! I honestly don’t see a lot of hype for this book around, which is disappointing because I definitely enjoyed it a lot!

Who is your favorite male character in a book?

This one might be a little easier, but still. Very difficult. As to not overthink things, I’m just going to go with Jesper from Six of Crows because I feel like if I actually go look through my books, I’m going to end up with a lot more indecision. And Jesper is a very cool character.

What is your favorite mythical world?

Who am I kidding? Of COURSE it’s the Grishaverse, same as Madeline! Everything about the world that Leigh Bardugo has created is stunning and just so brilliantly done! Though, I think a close second in worlds would be the one from The Merciful Crow. (Read. The. Merciful. Crow.)

What book has your favorite cover?

I scrolled through all 612 books on my goodreads shelves (and wow am I glad that I’m fairly conservative in adding books to my tbr) and came up with nine contenders. In the end, I think I’m going to have to go with The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah. It’s not the prettiest cover, and it wasn’t my favorite book, but there’s something about that cover that I LOVE.

What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

I don’t watch many movies so I honestly don’t know what to say for this one. I feel like Moxie is gonna be pretty good, but I haven’t actually watched that yet, so I don’t wanna say that before I watch it. Other than that, though, I couldn’t tell you what this one might be.

If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be?

Aaah I’m always very iffy on book to movie adaptations because it seems like a lot of times things are going to get messed up! However, for this one I’m going to say Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth. Its plot has very distinct plot points, which I think is good for a book being turned into a movie because the movie gets those plot points. Also, it’s super funny and the characters are great.

What was your favorite childhood book?

I legitimately don’t know what this means. Like when you say ‘childhood,’ how far back do you mean? I read Percy Jackson in 3rd and 4th grade, so that might work? But before those…oh boy I did not know what a good book was.
When I was very young, I remember reading the ‘Rainbow Magic’ series and loving them, getting basically all of them, and…wow. If you don’t know what they are, basically they’re books about two girls who meet some fairies and then help them. Each book is centered around a different fairy, who the girls meet at the beginning of the book and then turn into fairies (they have some special dust that lets them turn into fairies or something?) in order to help solve a problem the fairy has. They’re extremely repetitive, and there are some very odd fairies (Fatima the Face-painting Fairy…Monica the Marshmellow Fairy…there’s just so many books that they had to get creative I guess!)

Fantasy or Sci-fi? (Or neither?)

These days, I honestly don’t read much of either, but I’d definitely go with fantasy. I used to read fantasy all the time, and I still definitely read it much more than sci fi, though I’ve headed towards reading realistic fiction more these days. Sci fi, I’ll occasionally delve into, but I just don’t enjoy those books as much as fantasy or realistic fiction.

Well, that’s it for this tag! It’s so nice to FINALLY be doing tags again since it’s been so long, and I’ve met so many new people since then! That being said, I tag:

Susana @Susana Loves Books
Maria @The Character Study
Jan @The Doodlecrafter
Ritz @Living, Loving, Reading
Saniya @Sunnyside Reviews

What are some of your favorite books and authors? What do you think about mine? Do you do tags often? I’d love to chat with you! (PS what do you think of my new sign-off graphic???)

The Last Ten Books Tag

Okay, I have a LOT of tags to do. I mean, I think we all do. But I have a LOT. This year, I’ve been doing one tag a month, but it looks like that’s going to be too few. I’m going to try to do two tags this month but honestly, who knows if that’ll happen.
It’s not often that I do a tag that I wasn’t tagged for but I saw this tag on Never Not Reading and it just looked so interesting and I had to try it out! Let’s get right into it!

The Last Book I Gave Up On

It’s not often that I DNF a book and I believe that the last book I gave up on was War Girls, back in December. It was nothing against the book, I swear, I was just in a big reading slump and was definitely not in the mood to pick up sci fi. I’m going to have to pick it up again eventually but it’s definitely not near the top of my list of books to read soon.

Last Book I Re-read

Oh, wow, I do not reread books very often. I’m a little annoyed about this but the last book I reread was one that I had to read for school, because we were writing an essay on it and I wanted to refresh my memory. So, the last book I reread was, unfortunately, 1984 by George Orwell. I didn’t enjoy it the first time and I didn’t like it the second, either.

Last Book I Bought

Well this one is gonna have to be Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. I finished King of Scars around the middle of last month and immediately pre-ordered Rule of Wolves from the bookstore (and I got it three days before it was published which was a very nice surprise).

Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t

This is not something I do often, if ever. There may have been a time during which I thought I read a book a while ago and so I said I read it, even though I didn’t, but I cannot think of anytime that that has happened at the moment and if it did, it probably happened a long time ago.

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins of

Nope! I don’t think that I have ever done this because I am too terrified of getting WORDS on the book (words that are not part of the book, I mean). It’s just…the pages look so nice, and pristine…how in the world could I RUIN it like that???

Last Book I Had Signed

Well, the last book I got that was signed was The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna because I got it in an Owlcrate box. So I have several books that I got signed because of Owlcrate. However, the only book that I have personally signed is All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace–I read it basically a year ago now (for some reason the date April 12 sticks out in my head when I think of AST…maybe that’s when I read it, maybe my brain is just weird…I definitely read it in April, though) and I really enjoyed it so I went and emailed the author, telling her that I was sad I couldn’t reread it because I’d gotten it from the library. And shockingly enough, I got a response in which she told me she could send me a copy of the book!!! Directly from the author!!! To me!!! When it arrived, it was personally signed with a message to me and this is probably my biggest book-related accomplishment ever.

The Last Book I Lost

Uuuuuuh I honestly cannot remember the last book I lost. The only thing that I can think of–you know when you lend a book to a friend and then they just…never give it back? Yeah, so I believe one of my friends who I literally never talk to anymore has Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Fredrick, a middle grade mystery, and one of my friends has Ella Minnow Pea, which I lent to her because it’s a really strange book and she wanted to read it because I told her that. Lastly, one of my friends has To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo which she borrowed right before quarantine happened so I haven’t had a chance to get that one back. I have no idea if I’m ever going to get these books back, I might like to get Absolutely Truly back one day just because I own the second one and it’s sorta annoying to have the second but not the first and I’d like TKK back because it was a good book. I don’t really care about Ella Minnow Pea though.

Last Book I Had to Replace

I’m honestly not sure that I’ve ever had to replace a book. I don’t really care if my books get beat up as long as they’re still readable. Even the fourth Harry Potter book that has like four pages fallen out of it, we just keep the pages with the book and then if we ever read the book we just read those four pages when we come to the part where they fell out. (we haven’t read it in a while though, because of, you know, JKR)(‘We’ refers to my sister and me in case anyone’s wondering)

Last Book I Argued Over

Well, I’m not entirely sure if this was an argument or just a discussion but basically I had a friend who read and enjoyed One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus and at one point a few weeks ago I just pointed out the problematic aspects to her just to make her aware of them (I have also read One of Us is Lying and overall I did enjoy it, though now I have been made more aware of the parts of it that are extremely problematic). We just had a discussion of whether it was okay to still enjoy the book, despite that, and why it was so problematic and things like that.

Last Book I Couldn’t Find

I’m assuming this means like couldn’t find in a library/bookstore given that there already was a ‘last book you lost’ question and I think…well, a while ago I believe I was trying to find an ebook copy of The Catcher in the Rye and my library…doesn’t have an ebook copy of that??? I was extremely surprised about that, given that it’s a classic.

Well, that ends the tag! I’ll tag:

I hope you enjoyed this tag, as it was super fun to do! Please, if you find this tag interesting, go ahead and try it, no need to be tagged! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this, it means the world! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

Christmas Book Haul

Hey guys, my family knows something and I’m very glad for it: they know that I love books.
I’m finally doing my first book haul! Most of the time, I don’t do book hauls just because I don’t usually get large amounts of books at one time! Despite being a book lover, I am VERY cheap so I hate using my money on anything including books. But Christmas, well, I don’t have to spent any money! This year I got 10 books and I can’t wait to read them all! I’m going to rank them from most want to read to least (but it’s a book so I obviously still want to read it–unless it’s some sort of research book ha ha). Let’s see what I got!
(This post features actual pictures from actual books that I actually own–not just book covers searched up on the internet! Also you get to see my wonderful floor)

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Summary:
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.


Aaaaaah I finally got it!!!! This was my most anticipated release of 2020 and I just–
Well, for a while before having read this book, I’d been saying that I loved it already, just because I’d been building up so much hype in my own head, having just read the summary. On the night of Christmas Eve, when I received this book as an early Christmas present, I read the entire thing in one sitting–that hasn’t happened for a while!
And let me say, it did not disappoint! I loved Yadriel and Julian and Maritza and it was just an awesome book altogether! I’m so glad to have read this book and to have enjoyed it as much as I did!

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Summary:
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight


I’ve seen this book around a few times and it sounds super interesting! We have magic and a strong female character and just–AAAAH. I can’t wait to bury my head into this book (okay that’s an odd thing to say that I just pulled out of the middle of nowhere but…whatever!)

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Summary:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.


A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.


But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


This book has SO MUCH hype surrounding it and I’ve heard so much about it!
The one thing I’m a little nervous about about this book is that, well, it’s a Romeo and Juliet retelling. I’m actually currently reading Romeo and Juliet in school (what a coincidence) and, well, it’s probably my least favorite Shakespeare book I’ve read so far and that’s saying something. It’s just…well, it’s really the INSTA INSTA INSTA love (that is to say, it is MORE than insta love, it’s like–aaah, I don’t know. But it’s awful). I’m just here begging that the insta love is toned down (how could it not be, in Romeo and Juliet it’s the most there could ever be in a book) but otherwise it sounds super interesting (and NOT having to decipher Shakespearean English is definitely a plus).

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Summary:
In the last days of the twenty-first century, sea creatures swim through the ruins of London. Trapped in the abyss, humankind wavers between fear and hope–fear of what lurks in the depths around them, and hope that they might one day find a way back to the surface.

When sixteen-year-old submersible racer Leyla McQueen is chosen to participate in the prestigious annual marathon, she sees an opportunity to save her father, who has been arrested on false charges. The Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. But the race takes an unexpected turn, forcing Leyla to make an impossible choice.

Now she must brave unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a guarded, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If Leyla fails to discover the truths at the heart of her world, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–or worse. And her father will be lost to her forever.


I learned about this book a while ago–nearer to the beginning of 2020 than the end. I tried to get it a few times from the library but…well I can’t remember the exact reason but the library couldn’t get it. I eventually basically forgot about it, it wasn’t on my radar anymore and I moved on to other books. Still, finding this in my presents was awesome and I’m so excited to read it! Also, I absolutely love the cover.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda Kail

Summary:
Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.


The Mermaid, The Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda Kail

I feel like I might have heard this book being mentioned or seen it on someone’s tbr but I really know nothing about it! It looks pretty interesting, I mean just with that title we have a lot of fantasy elements right there. Plus, there’s an f/f relationship!
And I love the cover on this one too. The picture’s not the most amazing to see all the colors but it’s absolutely stunning.

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Summary:
The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen countries, leaving Mara as one of the last free nations in the world. Refugees flee to its borders to escape a fate worse than death—transformation into mutant war beasts known as Ghosts, creatures the Federation then sends to attack Mara.

The legendary Strikers, Mara’s elite fighting force, are trained to stop them. But as the number of Ghosts grows and Karensa closes in, defeat seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin Kanami knows firsthand the brutality of the Federation. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that considers their people repugnant. She finds comfort only with a handful of fellow Strikers who have pledged their lives to one another and who are determined to push Karensa back at all costs.

When a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? Or could he be the weapon that will save them all?


I’ve read Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy and I really enjoyed it! However, I did NOT like ‘The Young Elites’…I’m not sure why. I read it a while ago, like two or three years ago, and since my brain cannot retain bookish info, I don’t really remember it. Anyways, I feel like I also, just…stopped liking sci fi a while ago so I’m not sure how this will go. I hope I enjoy it, though, because Marie Lu is a really good author!
UPDATE: OH HELLO I JUST SAW A NEW GR TAG–LGBTQ+!!! Given that it was only one tag, there probably isn’t much rep, but STILL. It’s good to see that there is at least a little!

Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

Summary:
Cunning and unapologetic, Emanuela Ragno is a socialite who plays by her own rules. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.

But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In her city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has obeyed this law for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.

When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Before everyone in Occhia dies of thirst, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the source of the watercrea’s power and save their people—no matter what it takes.


I actually had never heard of this book until I got it for Christmas! Maybe I saw it sometime a while ago on goodreads or somewhere else but if I did, I forgot about it. It sounds pretty interesting, maybe not exactly up my alley but who knows, books surprise me all the time! Plus, you know, there are queer characters so it’s all good!

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

Summary:
Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.


Okay, maybe I’m judging a book by its cover (yeah, I’m DEFINITELY doing that) but based on the cover, this book doesn’t look thaaaaat interesting? But, hello, it’s still a book so I will obviously still give it a try (I will eat my words when it’s actually an amazing book). Also, it’s annoying me because the words on the spine are upside down so to make the words on the spine readable, I have to flip the book upside down.

The next two books are not part of my rankings

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Summary:
The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.


This book sounds extremely interesting and really important for a lot of people, including me, to read! I hope I’ll be able to pick it up and read it soon!

Foreshadow by Emily XR Pan and Nova Ren Suma

Summary:
Thirteen Short Stories from Bold New YA Voices & Writing Advice from YA Icons

Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan.

This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults.


This is a book of short stories and it says it is, ‘stories to celebrate the magic of reading and writing YA.’ Given that I enjoy both reading and writing YA, I think that I will find this really interesting! I can’t wait to read some short stories!

One more thing: I got a three month subscription to Owlcrate!!! I’m so excited because it was one of the things I wanted most for Christmas! This month’s book was These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (see above) and it looks so awesome! The cover is slightly different than a regular edition of the book–the background of the cover is is a dark green instead of black and the letters are a gold instead of silver.
In addition to the book, I got a These Violent Delights pin, a small decorative rolling pin, hand cream based off a certain book (which I forget because I’m great like that), a puzzle from a scene in An Ember in the Ashes and leg warmers from Serpent and Dove! I can’t wait for next month’s box.

Have you read any of these books? Do you want to read any of these books? What do you think of this book haul? Be sure to tell me what you think of this post in the comments!
As always, thank you so much for reading this post; it means the world that you’d take the time out of your day to see this. Stay safe and keep reading!

The Future Was Now by JR Harber (Book Rant)

In which I lie to stress my point (please note that all lies are either unintentional or clearly marked).
Whew! Strap in, everyone, this is going to be a loooong ride. I certainly have a lot to say about this book!

Wow. Okay so if you saw my goodreads review (found here but it doesn’t actually say much about the book, just the rating) you know that I really did not like this book very much. When I say, “not very much” I mean not at all. It wasn’t the actual plot, though there were definitely many plot holes, but the little things. I’ve been observing more in my readings these days and this book….no thank you. Let’s get to it.
Please note: this will be a spoiler-filled review because there’s too much to talk about for it not to be. Do not read this review if you do not want this book spoiled (though I suggest if you’re looking to read this book at least give the review a try so you can know what you’re getting into).

Oh yeah also I’ll write a short synopsis I guess because why not:
The State is the only remnant of a world destroyed by human greed, a safe place with every need met. Asa has spent his life in one of the State’s farming communities. When he turns 21, officially becoming an adult, Asa decides to leave his small town and go to Horizon, a large city. When he arrives, he meets the ‘girl of his dreams’ [I got that from the goodreads description, not my own], Eve. However, an unexpected tragedy forces Asa and Eve to embark on a journey farther from the watchful eye of the state than they’ve ever gone before. Meanwhile Gabriel, one of the State’s Contract Enforcers is determined to track them down and deliver the State’s justice.

On the plot:

Nothing happens.
Wow I’ve already reached my first lie of the review. Okay so yes this is a lie because this book has what one might call ‘adventure’. But literally every single scene in the middle could be taken out. In fact, I could turn this book into a short story, right here: “Asa turned 21 and wanted to go to the big city since he was bored of his little town. Six days later, Asa returned to his little town with a pretty lady (more on this later), realizing that the big city was not where he wanted to live. The end.” You know how in books even if it starts and ends in the same place, the characters usually learn something, take something away from their adventure? Yeah, nothing like that happens even though there was a whole lot to be taken away from it. Hey Asa, guess what? The society you’ve lived in your whole life was actually created by some not great people. Also didn’t you see, there’s the excellent community outside of that society that will give you a good life! But nope, we gotta go back into the society.

Was there a climax?
This book was extremely anticlimactic. For a good part of the book the entire goal was to find this person who could clear their records since there was an incident where it looked like Asa pushed someone out the window (but the person actually committed suicide). They find the dude and talk to him for about thirty minutes before leaving again (he does clear their records though). Then Gabriel tries to shoot them. And he gets shot and fell in the river so okay he’s dead whatever let’s all go back to our peaceful lives.

The backstories did not add anything to the plot.
Okay guys when he was ten years old Asa fell in a river. All the bodies of water in this society are contaminated with an amoeba that will most likely get to your brain and kill you. Somehow, Asa survived. Wow, does he have some sort of immunity? Is he going to save his entire society from this amoeba, called the Bug, because he has this immunity thing? Nope. In fact, this was not even a part of the story aside from the fact that it was repeated at least three times in the first 40% of the book. Oh yeah, also? Gabriel’s girlfriend got stabbed by her former boyfriend and died. So he has PTSD and sometimes thinks about Naomi. Doesn’t stop him from doing anything he does and tries to do in the plot.

Asa needs to do some more travel planning.
“I’ve turned 21! I’m leaving my little town! Off to the city I go!” This is coming from someone who has never visited the city. Who has never left his tiny town. From someone who did nothing but pack his bags and get on a train. Look, I’m only a teenager and don’t know much about traveling/moving and maaaybe things are different in this society but don’t you need to do a little planning? Figure out a place to stay and/or live? And we can clearly see Asa’s flaws when he arrives. He literally walks out of the train station and starts wandering around. It’s getting dark and he walks into an alleyway? Nope, not concerned about where I’m gonna, you know, sleep or live, let me get a drink at this nightbar because I’ve heard rumors of the nightbars in Horizon. Apparently they’re dangerous. And things happen in them that people don’t want to talk about. So let’s go in here on my first day to the city at night!

On the characters:

I don’t even know what to call this part but there’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part one)
I seriously don’t even know where to start with this. Guys. He falls in love with someone he hasn’t even met because she’s ‘so very pretty’. Before he meets her he literally thinks, “there’s something different about her.” Because she’s so very pretty. Through the entire book I’m hearing how beautiful Eve is, and her amazing smile. Not once does Asa talk about the fact that Eve is actually smart. That she’s the reason she’s still alive because he never would have gotten out of the city without her. Nope, it’s just that she’s amazingly beautiful. I no joke just jumped to a random page and I see Asa talking about how, “I’m with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.” Really? Is beauty the new way to determine what a person’s like? Are you going to judge a person as a whole of their beauty?

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa part two
Let’s read these few sentence and I’m willing to hear your argument that there’s not something wrong with Asa afterwards. “Everyone knew there were men and women whose sexual appetites ran against nature; it was a defect they were born with….but to allow two men to live like a married couple or–worse–to raise a child together that way?” At first I was willing to forgive Asa for this. He has lived in a society that believed this his whole life. But now he’s outside this society so he’s going to learn new things, right? There’s about half the book left at this point. I kept waiting for him to come back, to realize he was wrong, to at least address this again, but nope. That’s the only page that says anything about this encounter. I don’t know if the author is homophobic or was trying to be ‘inclusive’ and just did really badly about it but this just made me so very angry.

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part three)
Whoop, more about Eve because she’s so very beautiful and Asa wants to be with her forever more. He’s so controlling, in my opinion. Near the end, when Eve is trying to decide whether to go back to the State or staying out in the Waste with her brother, Asa gets almost angry at her because she’s considering it. He’s basically like, “Eve, how could you leave me?” Well, here’s the thing, Asa. You’ve known her for about four days. You don’t really get to choose what she wants. And also? She just found out her brother was alive out here in the Waste. Who she thought was dead and also her only living family member. And you get angry at her for considering staying? Then, a little later on, he suddenly has this realization, like, “Wow, I’m actually only going to be happy if she’s happy. There’s no use going back if she’s not going to be happy.” And so he gets all ready to say, “Eve, we can stay if you want to,” yada yada. But, you know, he’s apparently already convinced her and she’s coming back. But I hated that scene because even though he had this ‘great realization’ or whatever, he still had been extremely toxic and trying to get his way.

The relationship is badly developed.
This book takes place over a span of six days. In this time, Asa sees Eve (day 2), falls in love with her (day 2, based on looks) actually has a conversation with her (day 3) and basically proposes with her (in a roundabout way. He doesn’t even ask her. He just tells someone that they’re getting married)(day 6). Now, I’m no expert on relationships but…doesn’t this seem a little soon? And from my point of view the relationship was barely even developed. It even felt a little one sided to me for most of the book. Asa is obviously obsessed with Eve–because of her looks. Eve seems a little hesitant for most of the book. Which I don’t blame her for. Her boyfriend just committed suicide??? And Asa is all snuggling up close to her, trying to get her to like him. It’s like the instant Daniel died, Eve was his. Hello???? Give her a little space, dude.
Yeah, you might argue that they ‘went through a lot together’ and that bonded them sooner. But there was still almost no hint of the relationship until the end of the book when suddenly…well you’ll see later on. Asa acts possessive and really jealous whenever he sees Eve with anyone else even though they’re not technically in a relationship. And also, she’s her own person. Let her make her own choices and she can defend herself and just…you don’t need to treat her like she’s a glass doll.

Let’s go back to the fact that Eve’s boyfriend just committed suicide.
This book seems to both revolve around Daniel (the boyfriend) and completely forget him. I seriously think that Daniel’s suicide was only there for the inciting incident. Maybe I’m taking this too far but they did nothing? I mean Eve cried for like five seconds after it happened. But then they just went on their way to find his grandfather so that he can clear their records since it looked like Asa pushed Daniel instead of Daniel committing suicide. Like it’s all great and stuff that they need their records cleared but they cannot just forget about Daniel! He was a strange person but it was obvious that Eve loved him–if not in the ‘I want to marry you’ way that Daniel obviously thought of her as, in the ‘you’re like an older brother’ way. She’s known him for so many years. You don’t just leave someone behind like that! Plus, this teaches a terrible lesson about suicide. Again, they barely mourn him. Guys. Just…just no.

On other stuff:

Umm….the graphic sex scene?
I did not need to read this. I did not ask to read this. I did not want to read this when I picked up the book and I do not want to read this when I pick up any book. Guys, I got this book from a goodreads giveaway in which it was listed as YA. I don’t know if it was goodreads or the author or the publisher or what who listed this book as YA but maybe they should check again. A scene like this should not be found in a YA book.
And the thing is, the rest of this book? It’s totally YA. There’s nothing in the rest of the book that could be classified as adult, just this scene. Here’s another thing: this scene was not needed. At all. It was as if the author just wanted to include a sex scene in there. It was sudden, didn’t fit into the story and just didn’t make sense in any way, shape or form. There was no incentive for it or anything. And let me repeat, you guys. Asa and Eve have known each other for about four days at this time. Plus, while it was obvious that Asa liked the pretty lady, there wasn’t even much romance between them. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, that’s it. Then Eve just walks into the room, wakes Asa up and begins making out with him like her life depends on it. And some.
Despite all the things I’ve listed about this book, this might be one of the worst. I know I keep repeating this but this thought keeps coming back in my head. There was no point in this scene!!! And the author just stuck it in there. It was so sudden it was like he wrote the scene outside of the book and just wanted to include it so he put it in the most ‘convenient’ place. As if someone was sewing a yellow quilt and wanted to include a red patch so they just stuck it in the middle of the quilt, not even bothering to conceal the thread.

The good parts
Well I suppose I ought to point out the good parts of this book as well. This book was pretty easy to read, it wasn’t boring enough to put down, but that’s not saying much given that despite how easy it was to read, the plot was still barely existent.

Please note: I may be a little bit biased on this book. I’m really nitpicking through it and finding all the tiny things–maybe they aren’t very important at all. Still, this is not an exemplar book for so many reasons and I think it is my job to call this out and let other people know so that they don’t have to read this book which could be, possibly, mildly offending for people of certain communities. Maybe only in small ways that you can only see if you know to look for them but…it’s not something we ever need.

Final Ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟
Plot: 🌟
Romance: .01🌟
Diversity: Nonexistent
Final rating: .105 star

Book info:
Title: The Future Was Now
Author: JR Harber
Published by: Greenleaf Book Group on March 6, 2020
Genres: Science fiction, dystopian
Pages: 320 pages

That’s the wrap on my very first book rant! Was it an interesting one? Do you think I dug too deep? Did I get repetitive? (this happens often when I’m trying to stress my point). Have you heard of the book “The Future Was Now”? Read it, even? What did you think? Please let me know any opinions in the comments below and consider following my blog for future reviews, book giveaways, author interviews and more! Thank you so so much for taking the time to read this post–the fact that you have happened upon this blog or even decided to follow it means the world to me. I appreciate anything.
Thanks again, everyone, and stay safe!

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Alright everyone, it’s week one of the “Beyond the Story” challenge! For the first challenge, “Judge a book by its cover,” I chose to read “The Sound of Stars” by Alechia Dow. This cover is one of the most amazing that I’ve ever seen. I mean, look at it!

Want a closer look? Here:

I hope that was close enough for you! Anyways, you can probably see why I chose this book for the challenge I did! But what did I think of what lies beneath this beautiful cover?

First impression: When I read this synopsis, not even having started this book, I thought it sounded rather…odd. On the cover it literally says, “Can their love of books and pop music save the world?” To me, that didn’t sound like a young adult novel. Another reason I was hesitant with this book is because it’s sci-fi. Not saying that I don’t read sci-fi, I just don’t read it very often and I just enjoy fantasy so much more. Science fiction and dystopian novels, I feel like, can get really down into all the ‘government-y’ stuff which I don’t like reading that much.

The beginning: This book started out a bit slowly. We meet Ellie and learn about her secret library. We then get to know MoRr1S and understand his love for music. All in all, the actual adventure doesn’t start till about 100 pages in and I’m not sure some of the things before that were needed.

The middle: The middle is where the actual adventure happened! I probably enjoyed this part most of all. Our main characters traveled across the country together, sometimes encountering Ilori, or humans, all of whom really wanted to capture Ellie and Morris.

The ending: The ending was…weird. I’m not going to pretend that I understood all of it? But it was interesting. There were definitely several plot twists especially THAT ONE PLOT TWIST that if that happened to me EEEEE and AAAAAH

On the characters:
Ellie: I enjoyed reading about Ellie a lot. She’s a fun protagonist and extremely relatable. She loves reading books so much that she is willing to risk her life just to run an illegal library! She was a strong female character and it seemed like everyone liked her–I mean, an alien of a species trying to take over earth fell in love with her! She also cared about her family so much which I really liked. When she was traveling across the country, she was constantly thinking about them, wondering if they were safe, feeling bad because she felt like she left them behind. 

Morris: I have to admit, I liked Morris less than I liked Ellie. Maybe it was because we got Ellie POV and while it did follow Morris as well, it wasn’t from first person which might have made me feel less connected to him. I do admire his willingness to work against his entire species, work against a lot of what he grew up around. However, I almost feel like he cared about Ellie…too much? Well let me first say that this is not a thing, caring about someone too much. But, sorry Morris, there are only so many times that I can hear the words ‘I love you’. This may be a part that I admit I’m sort of glad the book wasn’t from Morris’s point of view because I have a feeling throughout most of the book I’d just be reading, “IloveyouIloveyouIloveyouEllieIloveyouIlovethisgirlsomuch.”

Avrola: I know that Avrola wasn’t a very major character but I liked them. They also didn’t have that much emotion, just like most Ilori, but I still sensed a deep admiration and willingness to do whatever for Morris in them. I’ll say it again, they weren’t a very major character but without them, none of Ellie’s family would be living. So in that sense, yes, they were very major.

Ooh wait. Did you guys want a synopsis before I just dug right into the book? Oops, sorry about that. Well, you can read my sort of horrible one right here:
The world has been taken over by aliens of the name Ilori. Humans have been tracked down all over the planet, either being killed or collected and kept together in centers where Ilori can control their every aspect of life. Janelle, better known as Ellie, lives in a center in New York City and every day has to watch her parents crumble under the Ilori rule. The only thing that keeps her going is the illegal library that she runs. Meanwhile, MoRr1S, or Morris, is an Ilori. Ilori are not supposed to feel emotions or enjoy any form of art but MoRr1S does. One day he finds Ellie’s secret stash. As an Ilori, he is duty bound to turn her in, but he finds himself drawn to art the same way that Ellie is. Desperate for more music to listen to, he strikes up a deal with Ellie–her and her parents’ safety as long as she finds more music for him. But humans are in big trouble as Ilori draw closer to the vaccine they need to control mankind once in for all. Morris has a solution–but it is thousands of miles away. Now every single person’s lives rest in the hands of him and Ellie as they try to make a near impossible adventure to overthrow the Ilori and save the future of humans.

The plot: This was a very interesting plot! I felt like there was almost always something happening, we didn’t get periods where the book went, “we drove. We passed a field. We drove some more. I wonder how those cows survived the aliens. Oh look another field. Watch out for that chicken crossing the road.” etc. There was enough action to get a 426 page book and it never felt drawn out or repeated or boring. One thing I do have to say about the plot, actually, was that it was fast. Well, not the plot, perhaps, but the traveling. Perhaps I missed something, but do Ilori cars move extra fast? Or do I just have a bad sense of distance (or maybe both)? Because they reached Illinois awfully fast. And Texas from Illinois. This also brings up the question of why on earth they were even in Texas. If you’re going from New York to California, I don’t think that Texas is exactly on the way. Especially if you’ve reached Illinois, why go down instead of across? 

The romance: Sorry. I didn’t like the romance. Perhaps this is just me with all (straight) romance but I just–didn’t like it. That’s all I have to say. I feel like Morris was just way too ‘IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou.” I don’t need to hear that he loves Ellie all the time, no matter how much it is true.

The ending (we’re covering it again): *Note: This is a spoiler-y part of the review. Do not read if you haven’t read the book*
Okay okay okay let’s see what I have to say about this ending.
First of all: I feel like the fact that Brixton was with the rebels would be more of a plot twist if we knew him better. Like he sort of just pops onto the scene after following Morris and Ellie across the continent, pretends to be on Orsa’s side for a bit and then suddenly, “Oh yeah I’m actually working with the rebels, bye Orsa.” Did even Morris know that Brixton was on his side? Because he seemed a little panicked that his brother was following him across the country. And then like…I dunno. It just seemed
Second: Imagine finding out that your favorite band wrote all their songs just for you. Like honestly I read that and just….wow, that wold be amazing. I wish.
Third: Did anyone ship Cecil and Alastor or was that me? I know, I know, it sounds weird. Cecil and Alastor only interacted about two times? And they were arguing one of those times. Also I’m pretty sure that Cecil and Rupert are dating. But still. Sorry, Rupert, but I think that Cecil and Alastor would be great together.
Fourth! I actually do not like books in which the book ends with the main characters leave earth. Yes, I have read a book in whihc this happens before. No, I will not tell you what it is, but it’s a pretty popular series. Anyways. I’m not entirely sure why I dislike it. It’s like…like the main characters are running away from their home? But not exactly that. I mean I think it’s just that they go through all this effort to save earth and then at the end of the book they just…leave. It’s extremely unsatisfying to me and it actually makes me like the book less.

Final ratings: (Out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Plot: 🌟 🌟 🌟🌟
Romance: 🌟 🌟
Diversity: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Final rating: 3.75 stars

Book Info:
Title: The Sound of Stars
Author: Alechia Dow
Published by: Inkyard Press on February 25, 2020
Genre: YA, science fiction, romance, LGBTQIAP+
Pages: 426 pages (depends on edition)

Have you read “The Sound of Stars”? Do you want to read it? What did you think of my review? I’d love to hear your opinion on the book, on my opinion and on the book’s opinion (wait. That doesn’t make sense…). Please put anything you want to say in the comments and I’m always happy to conduct a bookish discussion! Plus, make sure to check out some other blog posts that I offer!