➽Her Soul to Take (Souls Trilogy #1) by Harley Laroux Listen, I am still on the hunt to find a five star romance this read, and all my friends are screaming at me to read and fall in love with this paranormal romance with a demon they all ensure me will steal my heart! (not sure if in a romantic way or a demon way but excited to find out either way!)
➽What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher This is probably the most recommended author for me currently! And I have so many friends with very similar reading tastes just five starring everything they write! Plus, all their books sound like they would be perfect for the fall season, so I promise to pick up something by them… but we will see if it is this book!
➽Into the Riverlands (The Singing Hills Cycle #3) by Nghi Vo This third novella comes out on October 25th, and I know I won’t be able to resist picking it up immediately! The first book in this series was the first book I read in 2022 and I just keep falling more and more in love with Vo and all their stories. And… my realizing that I just love stories about clerics and monks traveling and telling stories!
➽Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco You all know Rin is one of my favorite authors in all the galaxies. They mean so very much to me and I know it will mean so very much to me to read a new story by them! But also… polyamory + vampires + Castlevania vibes? Okay okay let’s go extra.
okay, friends! ahhh, this felt nice to create. falling back in love with reading has just felt really nice. and this feeling just really roots me and reminds me how lucky I am to still be able to talk about my love for stories with so many friends. I hope you all have a happy october and I am sending so much love and good health to you and your families! and I am always sending so much happy reading to you, too!
Hello, friends! Okay, I know this is more like a… 75% year freak out tag, but this is kind of a tradition I always do, and you all know how much I love a good tradition! Also, this summer I was just so busy and I was not reading! I am not sure what happened this september, but I think I could possibly be back in my reading era (it all started on namjoon’s birthday, too, his power always will be unmatched, hehe)! But maybe a post soon about my summer and all the things I am reading, let’s get into some book statistics and some faves so far! 💗
I’ve generated these statistics by using Brock at Let’s Read‘s spreadsheet!
(i normally do track more data, and i hope to add a lot more before the end of the year, but i still hope these graphs + charts still make your heart happy to visibly be able to see my reading so far this year!)
➽ 12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received): The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
(maybe i will take an actual picture of it soon because this stock cover photo is not doing this book justice. every part, from the spine to the end-pages, are perfection!)
Whew, okay friends, I hope you enjoyed! I feel like I could add so many to that last question! especially because right now I really am finding so much magical joy in just looking up books that look good to me. I am so used to knowing most upcoming releases and all my friends fave books, but this year it feels different but in a really good and indiscernible way. I really am having a lot of fun with reading right now and just falling in love with it again… I don’t know who needs to hear this right now (or maybe a reminder for me again in the future), but: you will always be a reader and that magic will come back. even if that means you’re doing a mid year freak out tag in september, hehe!
thank you to everyone who read all of this, and who just stayed around and is always kind to me, even when i wasn’t producing book content, I love you a lot. and it really means more to me than you’ll ever know, truly! 💗
“If I could read humans’ minds, I wouldn’t have ended up trapped inside a little girl’s finger bone.”
I have enjoyed everything that Margaret Rogerson has written thus far, but I do think Vespertine may possibly be my favorite of them all.
Artemisia is a Grey Sister, working alongside nuns at the convent, preparing dead bodies for their final rest. Before the convent, and when she was only a child, she was forced to use the most extreme measures to purge a revenant who was possessing her, and now has disabled hands. But because of her past, she likes to keep to herself and live a quiet life with very few friends. But when an army of possessed soldiers come to destroy the only place that has ever made her feel like home, she is forced to use a saint’s relic that allows a very powerful revenant to share a body with her once again, while also protecting the monastery. But Artemisia quickly realizes these soldiers are not the only ones being possessed by so many different spirits of different powers, and the only hope for this world could be her and the spirit that is currently inhabiting her own body.
Word quickly sweeps across all the lands of a Vespertine who has the power to cleanse and save them all, but there are many who will stop at nothing to ensure she does not come into her full power with her revenant who remembers the past these people are trying to hide very well. But Artemisia must learn if she can even trust this spirit, especially because she has his relic which she must protect because if it is destroyed, the revenant will be destroyed with it.
“On this day, we honor her by denouncing the Raven King, bringer of the Sorrow, ruin of the Age of Kings. May his face remain forgotten. May history scorn his name.”
I know the premise of possession can be a little questionable, but Artemisia and her revenant (and their banter) was truly my favorite part of their book. And their friendship, and their trust in one another, while also learning boundaries, was really enjoyable to read. Also, her having that relic and power over the revenant was very important for me, as a reader! And I think the author does a really beautiful job also always remembering and discussing Artemisia’s trauma from her past, while allowing her room to grow but to also decided for herself how she wants to heal and grow, regardless of how linearly the healing is throughout the story and throughout Artemisia’s life.
Artemisia is also very inspired from Joan of Arc, who was also believed to be a saint under divine guidance from a higher power to save her people, even though she was “just” a young and poor girl. Since this is the first book of this duology, I do hope Artemisia does not meet the same end, but the parallels were very subtle and loud at the same time, but always very beautiful.
“I wondered if I should pray. But the stars were gone, the Lady’s gaze obscured. I had no sign save the hundreds of voices chanting my name outside.”
I also really loved this whole entire world and magic system. The different castes and hierarchy of spirits and discovering all their different levels and powers was so absolutely fascinating. Even how the cause of death would impact what kind of spirit manifested! I also loved every stop Artemisia and her revenant would make on this journey, and all the new things about these spirits we, as the reader, would learn alongside Artemisia. If you’ve read the author’s previous works, you know that they just really excel at world building and crafting the most beautiful settings, and Vespertine was no different. And I was happily exploring cities and inns, and cathedrals and crypts, with Artemisia.
Overall, I just really loved this and it was a true joy to pick up each time. The side characters were also very amazing, and each friendship that Artemisia chose to start really was beautiful. And I loved seeing Artemisia realize that she is deserving of safety and happiness, regardless of what happened to her in the past. And also seeing her realize that the family you choose will always be more important than the family you were born into. I really recommend this one for so many reasons, but I also think most of you know I just have a really big soft spot for magical fighting nuns always, too. Happy reading!
Content and Trigger Warnings: abandonment, child neglect + abuse in past, possession (the mc uses self-harm in the past + threats of suicide to get spirits to leave her body – both very brief mentions), brief mention of animal abuse, mention of animal deaths, blood depictions, vomiting, drugging, anxiety depictions, talk of plagues, loss of a loved one in the past, mention of spiders, talk of suicide, death, and please note this is a book about sharing a body with an ancient spirit, so i can see that making some people uncomfortable, please use caution!
When not writing I can be found drawing, reading, gaming, making pudding, or creeping through the woods in search of toads and mushrooms. I enjoy coMargaret Rogerson is the author of theNew York TimesbestsellersAn Enchantment of RavensandSorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.
Hello friends! I hope you enjoyed My 2020 Reading Year in Review, but I just wanted to give a little bit more love and celebration to a few books that mean the whole world to me! Growing up, I couldn’t even dream that I would be able to pick from so many books from Asian authors, featuring Asian main characters, with Asian families, and just celebrating Asian lives. I truly feel more and more blessed every year, because I feel like every year this list gets harder and harder to make because we are getting more and more ownvoices stories that are going to make it easier and easier for kids to see themselves completely whole, not just bits and pieces. (Obviously publishing has SO MUCH work to do, but I can’t help but smile when looking at this list and how much overflowing love I have for these stories!) But here are my five favorite books written by Asian authors in 2020. 💕
Japanese influences + Kiki’s Delivery Service inspirations + the power of friendship and having people who will unconditionally love and support you = perfection. This was truly the perfect middle-grade for me, and one that will be in my heart forever.
“A made thing could grow and change beyond its original purposes. I would show the Emperor: I’d grown beyond mine.”
Every pov, every storyline, every plot twist, every companion, perfection. I am still so blown away by the debut novel, the magic system, and how the last page left me feeling. I am absolutely begging for book two and more of this Asian inspired kingdom! (and more of my favorite crustaceans love story sapphics!)
“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”
This so beautifully (and sometimes heartbreakingly) incorporated Filipino culture, I was completely immersed and utterly captivated on every page. I truly inhale read this in 48 hours and I could not be bothered to tear myself away for anything besides work. This book truly reminded me of that magical feeling that reading can give you, especially when you feel safe and seen and so in love.
“What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.”
This book was everything and had so many perfect layers, from seeing this main character unapologetically talking about their diaspora experiences, from the real truth about fetishization, from cultural appropriation and how it is never okay, and how westerners treat Asians, but south Asians in particular. But also, this book had the perfect sapphic romance interlaced throughout, where real learning (and unlearning) happened so beautifully.
“Rin had spent so long hating how she felt when she burned, hating her fire and her god. Not anymore.”
The Poppy War trilogy is truly once in a lifetime and this conclusion was honestly a work of art all itself. This series is a military epic fantasy that is ownvoices and inspired from the authors family history and the stories she learned from them. Heavy themes of war, colonization, racism, colorism, genocide, cycles of abuse, and so many different types of trauma are never shied away from. I’ve read and reviewed many books these last six years of my life, and I’m not sure a series has impacted me more than this one. Every sentence has meaning, every chapter is so well planned, every event conveys layers and layers of thoughts and feelings. History is truly created by the victors mostly with the most blood on their hands, and the stories that get told are mostly through a white and colonized lens. R.F. Kuang has done so much with these three books and they mean so much to so many Asian readers.
2020 is finally over, and somehow the year felt like it lasted a decade and a month at the very same time. I just want to wish you all (and all your families) the best in 2021, and I hope it is filled with love and happiness and good health and opportunities. I know 2020 was not only a hard year, but maybe the hardest year for a lot of us, and I will keep telling you that I love you, and that I see you, and that I’m proud of you. I promise, better days will come. But in the meantime, we can escape into some books, and blog posts, and reading statistics!
Thanks to the amazing Brock at Let’s Read, here are some 2020 reading statistics that I was able to gather from his amazing spreadsheet that I use every single year:
God, 2020 was such a weird year for my reading (and for falling in love with the publications from that year), but I am very thankful for this list, and these ten books, and the love and healing they made me feel for very different reasons at very different times throughout this year. I hope in 2021 I can be more confident and more unapologetic (with the book community and with other aspectS of my life) and I hope that I have an overflowing list of new favorite stories to pick from while I’m compiling that Year in Review blog post. What was your favorite read of the year? I feel like I switched between #1 and #2 many times before finally going with what felt more right. Okay friends, I’m sending each and everyone of you my whole heart and I hope 2021 feels lighter and brighter for you. I love you.
“Hate that was so bright and hot that it was the first thing that truly warmed him.”
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is an illustrated novella following Cardan Greenbriar, during many different stages in his life, while we slowly see all the different things that shaped him cruelly. The sound that left me when I opened this book and realized we were going to get present day with Jude from Cardan’s POV… be still, my hopes and dreams and heart.
Rovina Cai’s art is truly so beautiful that it renders me speechless. I was already in love with her and her art because of her work with The Wayward Children series, but this entire book feels like am immersive work of art. From the perfect color palette, to the most perfect details, she executes the vibe of Cardan and his story in a way that I don’t think another artist could.
In this story, Cardan’s life is very much impacted by a troll named Aslong who was wronged by Cardan’s father. She tells a story about a boy with a heart of stone, who finds himself in a predicament with a monster girl who won’t scare him away, until his heart starts beating again. And then all throughout his life, she tells his alternate versions of this same story, each version with a new meaning for a new version of Cardan himself.
“She was the only real thing in a land of ghosts.”
We also get to see so much of Cardan’s perspective during The Cruel Prince, much like we did with Tarryn in The Lost Sisters, and it was everything. Nicasia and Locke have much wanted character development in this book, too, and I am literally on my knees begging for Holly to just give us the trilogy in Cardan’s complete point of view. But we see Nicasia being fostered on the land because her mother, Orlagh, Queen of the Undersea, wants to start putting pieces in motion. We get to see Locke, and his empty house and even emptier heart, teach Cardan the word “cruel” on every page. And these two, in addition to a prophecy looming over this young prince, are truly the first catalysts to this story and I was so in love seeing behind the scenes. And when Holly gives us Locke’s perspective one of these years…
“Playing the villain was the only thing he’d ever really excelled at.”
Each part, each mini story, we get to see Cardan questioning who he is and who he wants to be. Not to make this too deep, but Cardan very slowly realizes that he is not responsible for the terrible acts his family committed; both to him and to the people they ruled over. He struggles with his identity of a prince who should feel like he has everything, and a boy who feels like he has nothing. But seeing him finally understand that he deserves not only love but unconditional love? Him slowly appreciating that his heart can be warm and beat unapologetically? Truly some powerful stuff.
On a personal note, I think most of you know that Holly Black is an author who means a lot to me. Her fae stories are what first got me into YA when I was young, and it really changed me as a reader and probably a human as well. I know most of you know that 2020 has been a hard year for everyone and everything, very much including my reading, so being able to curl up and read about my emotional support fae, from my emotional support author, just meant a lot to me. I truly think reading this book a day before release (bless you Waterstones and my mail person) was the best reading experience I’ve had all year, and for that alone this book was probably the easiest five star I’ve given in a year of not a lot of five star reads.
“Feels as though she has to earn the crown on her head over and over again.”
Overall, this felt like the fairytale of my dreams. Cardan is my favorite character in The Cruel Prince series (or any of Holly’s books, I think) and this truly was such a magical, wonderous, unforgettable addition to this world. I am incredibly biased over this series because so much of my heart and nostalgia are wrapped up within this world, but I honestly think there is just so much to love on every page of this book. I feel blessed to read about each time Holly gives us a new book, and this will for sure be a favorite of mine for all of 2020. Lastly, I cannot believe we really got to read about Cardan going out for boba.
Content & Trigger Warnings: abandonment, bullying, abuse, mention of drug use, humiliation, talk of cheating, and a lot of drinking.
This summer, BTS and BigHit released five graphic lyric books that tie-in with the Bangtan Universe and it was pretty much the best combining of worlds for me! All five of these books are by different artists, all who took very different approach to enhance the power of these stories, and I think I fell in love with each one for a brand new reason! But I knew that before the end of the year, I wanted to do little mini reviews of them all, and what more perfect date than the birthday of our main character, Kim Seokjin! I hope you guys enjoy!
This first installment in the BTS Graphic Lyric series is the start of it all, where we get to see Jin and his current life where he is very much feeling the weight of his father’s expectations. But that weight starts to feel a little lighter when he meets six boys at school, and the seven of them have to work together to clean up a space. Soon he realizes that maybe he really doesn’t have to walk this path in life alone, while the reader gets little glimpses and hints of the different paths that are yet to come for all seven of them. And all good things must come to and end, especially the the Bangtan universe.
The art of this book is so very beautiful, and I think the color palette is perfection. The images and colors truly go together magically and fully set the stage of this heart-wrenching story. Yet, the last pages still instill so much hope in the reader.
This is my personal favorite installment of all the BTS Graphic Lyric series! Instantly, from the very first page, you can tell that this story is going to take a much darker turn. While the lines of what is real and what is fake are blurring for all the members throughout, with the help of beautiful opaque papers on certain pages to really heighten the storytelling.
This installment very much focuses on Hobi and Jimin and the abandonment both of them have felt. Both are trying to be brave, make the best of the situation they are in, but they desperately want to be saved and not alone. Yet together, in the hospital, they are able to carve out their own little corner of happiness because of dance and because of each other.
TL;DR: The BigHit carousel(s) will forever haunt me.
The way this installment was made for those who love to suffer from that yoonkook angst. We see Jungkook, losing his childhood quickly before his eyes, while his father leaves him and his mother. Then we get to see Yoongi, finding love and happiness in his piano because of his mother, but that all changes when he loses everyone and everything he has loved, except for a few piano keys, because of a fire.
Both of these boys are definitely descending into darkness and despair, but maybe together they will be able to find some light and hope. And this beautiful uniquely bound book, telling this tale, make the visuals feels so real and so haunting.
Namjoon and that train container haunt my dreams, I swear to you. This is the Graphic Lyric book that I really recommend watching the music video with, because no other BTS MV gives you as much Bangtan Universe storyline as Run. And the art in this book just adds to everything and makes the story play before you like the visual masterpiece that it is.
But we get to see Joon working impossibly long hours, while trying to take care of his family and still find happiness while achieving dreams for himself. And we also get to see Taehyung and how his father is an alcoholic who is being violent towards him and his family. Both of these young men are just looking for safety and solace, and they are willing to do anything to achieve it, but in the meantime they can find a little bit of both of those things with each other.
This last (as of now) Graphic Lyric book is a beautiful glimpse into the boys being together, being safe, and being carefree enjoying time together while Jin views it all. Yet, how the pages are also able to be turned, we can see Jin struggling with waking up and having to start all over again while Jungkook and Yoongi, Jimin and Hobi, and Tae and Namjoon are in their other alternate realities where they are struggling together.
Truly this whole story is so wild, so beautiful, and so heart-wrenching. Not only is Butterfly one of my favorite BTS songs, it just so beautifully encapsulates change, and opportunity, and how things can always get better, even if we are forced to endure not so great situations a little while longer.
I truly do not know where this story is going to end, but BTS (in this alternative reality and in our own) are soulmates and I hope they all get the happy endings that they deserve.
I truly cannot wait to see where this story goes next! I will say, that these books are kind of hard to get now, especially the box set and anything close to the original price! But Cokodive does have them singularly as of the writing of this blog post! I hope you all enjoyed, and truly there is no better combination than BTS and books for me! But I hope you’re all have the happiest of reading, the happiest of listening, and just the happiest of days and nights. I love you!