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I Owe Netgalley So Many Reviews They May Come After Me Like Sallie Mae

Hey Y’all! I know the title of this post is long but roll with it, lol! So I was thinking about the fact that I have a long list of titles that I owe netgalley reviews/feedback for. Sometimes, I look at the list and I feel super overwhelmed but I try to clear some from it every once in a while… I won’t lie and say that I don’t use these some of these posts to help me get them done…this post will be yet another, lol!

This feels pretty accurate, lol!

I know that netgalley *probably* won’t come after me like they’re Sallie Mae (am I dating myself? lol), but when I look at the list of books I need to give reviews/feedback for makes me think that they actually might. So, in an attempt to clear up some of this list, I’m going to write some of my reviews here. Of course, these are all books that I would recommend anyway but just not doing individual posts or themed (my brain is semi-fried after the week I had)!

Let’s get this party started!

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega; illustrated by Rose Bousamra (MG): I, admittedly, don’t read a lot of graphic novels but I’m really glad to have read this one. I grew up being made fun of for my hair because it was always frizzy and wild (though I’m so glad that I didn’t have to sit in a salon every weekend). It was as if the state of my hair impacted how others saw me (my uncle’s nickname of “Crazy Horse” for me still sticks to me), much as it did the main characters. I loved how relatable the MC was and how her relationship with her hair and family evolved throughout the story. It was a beautiful visual journey of self-acceptance and self-advocacy. I know so many are proud of their natural hair and some who are on the journey to begin to. I think so many would connect with this story.

It’s a celebration! of self

Seoulmates by Susan Lee: This book read like a K-Drama and whenever a book reads that way, I always read them quickly. I enjoyed how lighthearted it was and walked away from it feeling really good but also feeling a range of emotions throughout the experience. Annoyance with certain people [redacted] peopling, feeling the confusion & hurt of a best friend leaving and the joy & relief of reconnecting with said best friend. We were given levels without being drug through the mud in order to experience them! Fans of K-Dramas would enjoy this read.

This is some of the energy this book gives…super cute with a bit of side-eye, lol

Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon & Evelyn Skye: One thing I didn’t realize I was into is multiple authors co-authoring a book & it not being a anthology but I am! Sure the sections had names but this book is a novel with characters that are intertwined by their friendship and desire for romantic love. This book gave light, magical and a bit of a myth that is specific to the story. These authors did an amazing job at bringing their voices and writing styles together to create this story where three friends support each other as they live out their own love stories against the clock. This book was pretty light though there is a touch of grief that doesn’t deter the story and its sweetness at all!

Very this, especially since they were all hyper-aware of the time!

Eternally Yours Edited by Patrice Caldwell: As some of you all know, I’m a sucker for an anthology (this post tells you that) and Patrice’s last anthology, A Phoenix First Must Burn, was so good and this one didn’t disappoint either. We got vampires, undead, witches, and other monster love stories without a scary edge to them (I’m a scaredy cat, I’m not ashamed to say that). As usual, I did have a favorite story but I rather you all read and then tell me what YOUR favorite was (see what I did there? *wink*). Patrice has completely cemented why I would read any anthology she edits and books she writes!

Anthologies from Patrice please!

Somebody I Used To Know by Dana L. Davis: First, the cover of this book is stunning. When I first saw it, my bookish spidey senses tingled and I knew I wanted to read it. This was a great read that was a balance of light and heavy. Its a story of second chances in reconnection, friendship and romance. I had moments where I laughed, where my eyes got a little watery and where I cheered. I’m also a sucker for two Black kids falling in friendship and love because it’s truly a beautiful thing (I still don’t think we have nearly enough of those stories right now). I flew through this book and I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too when you read!

This is the energy!

Salt & Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho: I love when a book takes us to a country I’ve never been before (cause I’m afraid of flying & this is the easiest way to travel without leaving my home or spending thousands of dollars) and this book takes us to Brazil where two bakeries have a multi-generational rivalry going and the youngest of these generations have to decide if they want to keep it going or not. In a way, it gives Romeo & Juliet but without the unnecessary deaths (that is still very weird to me, btw). There are plenty of laughs and mishaps throughout this story that created balance to the grief that was laced throughout it. With there being the sudden loss of a beloved grandparent & parent, I was a bit in my feels but didn’t feel overwhelmed. This was a really nice read.

This is kind of on the nose for the MC

Drizzle, Dreams And Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad: I love a book where we get multiple points of view but also varying stories and this book gives us that. We get four seasons, four different types of expression, four sisters and a really cool dad. We get to see all their love stories play out in different ways and how they all influence each other. There are some points of shared grief but those moments weren’t super heavy for long (it was a really good reminder for me that everyone processed the same loss(es) differently). From prologue to epilogue, I enjoyed this book!

I love a good seasonal love story!

Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto: I loved Jesse’s MG Theo Tan And The Fox Spirit and was really excited to read this book. I will tell you that this book was a very far departure from that MG but the humor is still there but from hormonal teenagers perspectives. This book gives us dual perspectives and travel to Indonesia where one lives & the other’s parent immigrated from. The beginnings of both their stories had me in tears (of laughter) and how they came to meet was brilliant. This book was great from start to finish and I’ve recommended it quite a bit as I found it quite relatable (as a once horny teen myself).

I can neither confirm nor deny if this was me in certain situations, lol!

Briarcliff Prep by Brianna Peppins: I’m not going to lie…I thought this book was going to be a thriller of sorts based off the title & cover (for some reason, they give me that & I am a chronic non-reader of synopses), especially since it takes place at a boarding school but alas, it is not…I just knew I really wanted to read it! I loved this book about the MC, Avi, following the footsteps of her mother & older sister but with a plan to make a place for herself in this new place. I also loved that there was a little bit of a love story but the larger part was the friendships she establishes while navigating her relationship with her sister. There could be some triggers based upon experience but I ate this book up.

Avi, while writing at times

Strike The Zither by Joan He: So my first intro to Joan was Descendant Of The Crane (which I still really want a sequel to because reasons) and loved that book so much so I was so glad when she announced this book, which is a fantasy like DOTC. This book was so good! The cast of characters were so great, an MC who is too smart for her own good with a cause that she believes in and a twist that I definitely didn’t see coming. I was biting my nails most of the time I was reading but enjoyed the entire experience. It also doesn’t help that I’m complete trash for a period book of any kind (it’s the nerd in me, what can I say?!)! I’m super anxious for book two (which I believe we get in 2023…it feels so far but in reality isn’t).

I’m not saying this is a moment in the book but this gives the energy of one or two *smirks*, lol!

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (out 11/29/22): This is another book that had a cover that I was absolutely enamored with. Someone posted about pre-ordering on Twitter and I had to co-sign how great this book is. I tweeted “I read #WeDeserveMonuments and I promise you it’s worth your time. Connecting with a dying grandparent, learning your history, self-discovery, love in the form of friendship & romance and 2 Black girls finding it in both forms! Yea, go preorder!” I still stand by this statement and add that there maybe a twist or two that you don’t see coming in this book along with varying timelines, points of view outside of the MCs & family tea. And because this needs repeating, adolescent Black Love, which I love to see in all forms. So definitely pre-order!

There is also an abundance of this in this book!

Whew, that was a lot of typing but I think that should satiate netgalley for a second, lol! Also, these are all great books that I think you all might enjoy if you have the same taste in books as I do!

That really was a lot!

Are you like me and read the E-ARCs from netgalley (I barely mess with edelweiss so I won’t hold y’all on that) and then take forever to give feedback? What is your relationship like with netgalley? Do you keep your ratio up with them so you remain in their good graces or do you think they will come after you like Sallie Mae did for her money back (before she sold off our debts to let others chase us)? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve written a bunch of feedback on netgalley (which I just technically did, lol)! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading along with the start of the holiday season!

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Immigrant Parents Just Don’t Understand-Some Books With Immigrant Parents

Hey Y’all! Last week, I had to take a break because my brain felt a bit off but I’m back! Thank you for your patience! So I’ve mentioned in plenty of posts that I am the child of Immigrants. This is a big part of who I am and guides so much of how I move through this world. I’m honestly so honored and proud to hold such a title. There is also another layer of being first generation born in this country as well! There is so much to unpack about these experiences but I still love having this as part of my background.

Incrediblyyyyyy proud!

While the title of this is “Immigrant Parents Just Don’t Understand”, its the same of some of us not understanding them either. We won’t ever know their sacrifices in the same way, their thought processes and their experiences. We don’t understand all that they are just as they don’t understand all that we are. It’s truly a learning experience. There is so much to navigate in these sorts of relationships because, as you guessed it, I’m speaking from first hand experiences.

Me, trying to navigate my relationship with my own parents, lol

Whenever I read a book where they mention having Immigrant parents, I immediately connect with it. It’s truly a unique experience and it isn’t talked about a lot. It honestly should be talked about more often. With this in mind, I wanted to share a list of a few books where they mention being a child of immigrants or has the experiences of children of immigrants. I’m just sharing a short list because my brain is still gathering itself but there will be several books in different genres ranges.

  • Middle Grade
    • Karthik Delivers by Sheela Chari
    • The Curse On Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo
    • Adrift by Tanya Guerrero
    • Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega
  • Young Adult
    • Boys I Know by Anna Garcia
    • Twice As Perfect by Louise Onome
    • The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park
    • Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto
    • Sunny G’s Series Of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon
    • Drizzle, Dreams And Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
  • Adult
    • A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams
    • A Touch Of Moonlight by Yaffa S. Santos
    • Partners In Crime by Alisha Rai
It is true, sometimes they really don’t!

These are all books that I really enjoyed and thought maybe y’all would too! Are there any books that came out recently that have immigrant parents that you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel seen as a child of immigrants! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Gobble, Gobble, Gobbling November’s New Releases

If you haven’t watched her prime special “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls”, you really should, it’s amazing!

What’s up y’all?! Can you believe that we are about to be in another month and really 2 months before we find ourselves in a whole new year?! That realization just hit me! Time is wild and doesn’t feel real sometimes! I also realized that I probably need to be stopped with the corny new release blog post titles but I truly cannot help it, lol!

It really does feel that way sometimes!

Anyways, with a new month comes new releases and there are so many to look forward to! So let’s hop into this list!

Yes! Let’s!
  • Saha by Cho Nam-Joo *adult 11/1
  • The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson *adult* 11/1
  • Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer; adapted by Monique Gray Smith; illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt 11/1
  • Salt And Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho 11/1
  • Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer 11/1
  • Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli *adult* 11/1
  • Shuna’s Journey by Hayao Miyazaki 11/1
  • Chicano Bakes: Recipes for Mexican Pan Dulce, Tamales, and My Favorite Desserts By Esteban Castillo 11/1
  • Hold You Down by Tracy Brown *adult* 11/1
  • The Wicked Remain by Laura Pohl *Sequel* 11/1
  • My Fade Is Fresh by Shauntay Grant *PB* 11/1
  • She Persisted: Maya Lin by Grace Lin *MG* 11/1
  • Who Is The Man In The Air? Michael Jordan by Gabe Soria *MG* 11/1
  • Kiss Me, Catalina by Priscilla Oliveras *adult series* 11/1
  • I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee *adult* 11/1
  • Love In The Age Of Dragons by Fatima R. Henson 11/1                        
  • Not Done Yet Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change by Tameka Fryer Brown *PB* 11/1
  • Colton: Restoration Ranch Book 2 by LaQuette *adult* 11/1
  • Friends Like These by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez 11/1
  • Blue Box by Kouji Miura 11/1
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever The Courage To Dream by Frederick Douglas *PB* 11/1
  • The Aziza Chronicle: Awakening by Trevaugh Roach-Carter 11/4
  • Angels Before Man by Rafael Nicolas 11/7
  • Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn *sequel* 11/8
  • Black Internet Effect by Shavone Charles 11/8
  • Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk & Nicola Yoon 11/8
  • Futureland Battle For The Park by H.D. Hunter *MG* 11/8
  • Better than Fiction by Alexa Martin *adult* 11/8
  • Mihi Ever After by Tae Keller *MG* 11/8
  • A Song For The Unsung by Carole Weatherford & Rob Sanders *PB* 11/8
  • You Matter To Me by Doyin Richards *PB* 11/8
  • She Sang For India by Suma Subramaniam *PB* 11/8
  • Amor Is To Love You by Susie Jaramillo *PB* 11/8
  • I Love My Mommy by Susie Jaramillo *PB* 11/8
  • Nubia The Awakening by Omar Epps & Clarence A. Haynes 11/8
  • My Paati’s Saris by Jyoti Rajan Gopal & Art Twink *PB* 11/8
  • A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams *adult series* 11/8
  • Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry *adult* 11/8
  • Vegan Africa Plant-Based Recipes from Ethiopia to Senegal by Marie Kacouchia *adult* 11/8
  • True Beauty Volume One by Yaongyi 11/8
  • Ride or Die A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women by Shanita Hubbard *adult* 11/8
  • While You Sleep by Jennifer Maruno *PB* 11/8
  • Kaiu Shirai X Posuka Demizu: Beyond The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai 11/8
  • The Grimkes: The Legacy Of Slavery In An American Family by Kerri K. Greenidge *adult* 11/8
  • Where Monsters Lurk & Magic Hides edited by Lauren T. Davila 11/10
  • One Scott Deal by Lucy Eden *adult Audio* 11/14
  • Briarcliff Prep by Brianna Peppins 11/15
  • Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne *adult* 11/15
  • Kobe Eats Pizza by Ashley Wian, Joy Ang & Cate Berry *PB* 11/15
  • Put Your Shoes On & Get Ready by Raphael Warnock *PB* 11/15
  • Little Black Girl by Kirby Howell-Baptiste *PB* 11/15
  • Little Black Boy by Kirby Howell-Baptiste *PB* 11/15
  • The Tamarind Tree by Sundara Ramaswarmy *adult* 11/15
  • Convergence by Zoraida Cordova *adult* 11/15
  • Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan *adult* 11/15
  • Africa Risen A New Era of Speculative Fiction by Sheree Renée Thomas; Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki; Zelda Knight 11/15
  • Heart Of The Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan *adult sequel* 11/15
  • Ravaged A Burned Inc. Novel by Naima Simone *adult* 11/15
  • Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse 11/15
  • My GrandMom by Gee-eun Lee & Sophie Bowman *PB* 11/15
  • Other Side of the Tracks By Charity Alyse 11/22
  • Living While Black Portraits of Everyday Resistance by Ajuan Mance *adult* 11/22
  • Embrace Your Size by hara 11/22
  • Where There Is Smoke There Is Fire by Monique Fisher *adult* 11/23
  • The Things We Bring To The Table by Rod Palmer *adult* 11/28
  • We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds 11/29
  • House Of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur 11/29
  • The Second Chance At Rancho Lindo by Sabrina Sol *adult* 11/29
  • We’re in This Together A Young Readers Edition of We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders by Linda Sarsour 11/29
  • What We Found In Hallelujah by Vanessa Miller *adult* 11/29
  • The Universe In You: A Microscopic Journey by Jason Chen *PB* 11/29
That is a decent amount of books coming out!

There are a good amount of books coming out this month and I’m quite excited for so many! I’ve gotten lucky with ARCs thanks to bookish homies, netgalley and publishers. Here are the books I have ARCs for:

  • Salt And Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho
  • Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer
  • Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli *adult*
  • Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn *sequel*
  • Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk & Nicola Yoon
  • Better than Fiction by Alexa Martin *adult*
  • Mihi Ever After by Tae Keller *MG*
  • A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams *adult series*
  • Briarcliff Prep by Brianna Peppins
  • Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne *adult*
  • We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds
This is the energy!

I’m really excited for the books I have ARCs for (not as many as past months but I’m REALLY happy with the ones I have). I haven’t gotten to start any of them because I was playing catch up with October’s ARCs and trying to live life (and napping because work has required A LOT of energy) but I will be hopping to it soon because y’all see whats in that list, lol! My plan is also to go back to ARCs I hadn’t gotten to in the past since I don’t have a lot of ARCs for December!

I willlllll get to those books!

So are there any books you are looking forward to for November? Did I miss any books by Authors of Color that are coming out? Has the realization that the year is almost over hit you too? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like books I’ve been eagerly awaiting are dropping soon! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading as well as start of the holiday season!

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Give A Listen-YA Audiobooks I’ve Enjoyed

Hey There! So I’ve been continuing to listen to audiobooks while driving, cooking, fixing my dogs food (I know, that sounds pretty boujie) and whenever I feel like giving my eyes a bit of a break from whatever I am physically reading. The last post that I did about audiobooks mostly featured adult romances (which I still very much so love to listen to) but this one will have a bit of a mix of Young Adult books I’ve listened to.

We know I don’t look like this but just go with it, lol!

The Sunbearer Trials by Aidan Thomas: If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I love Fantasy and when you add in mythology-inspired then its like winning the lotto for me. This book definitely hit the mark for me. I talked about it a lot after I listened to the ALC because from start to finish, I was invested. I loved how the narrator both narrated Teo’s voice but also the other character’s voices (especially his best friend). I wasn’t bored for one moment and wanted to know what was going to happen next (no, I didn’t speed it up to try to get to it faster, in case you are wondering). If I wasn’t often times driving or walking while listening, I would’ve been at the edge of my seat during the trial scenes. The banter was also really great and I laughed quite often. I also really appreciated the growth that Teo experienced, even though he was really put through the ringer. I’m really excited for the next book because while the end wasn’t the most intense of cliff hangers, we still ended in a sort of limbo *sigh*!

Me, listening for what was to come next!

The Keeper Of Night & The Empress Of Time by Kylie Lee Baker: This is an incredible duology. I listened to The Keeper Of Night in order to get ready to read the E-ARC of The Empress Of Time and the narrator really does a phenomenal job. I could seriously listen to her talk/read all day long because her voice has this resonate quality to it. She read both audiobooks so I kind of knew what I would get in terms of vocal performance but I wasn’t ever bored of her voice or the story when I got to TEOT. I read the E-ARC first and while I was in the middle of reading it, I got approved for the ALC so I did an audio re-read. While I knew what happened in the story, it’s was almost like experiencing it for the first time and I appreciate that as someone who is really not much of a re-reader. As a heads up, TEOT picks up 10 years after the end of TKON but it isn’t disconnected from the first book at all. You also get to meet a bunch of new characters while seeing some old ones. It’s truly a journey and I loved every moment of it, even the points that made me flinch (TW: violence & xenophobia).

Me, quite often while listening! There are some intense moments but I lived for Ren’s anger & strength!

We Are The Scribes by Randi Pink: This was a book that sold me by its beautiful cover but the story definitely affirmed what I felt would be a great one. It combines the past with the present along with grief and joy beautifully; it also made political commentary digestible (it’s not a huge amount but it is apart of the narrative due to the MC’s parent’s professions & pasts). There is also a different take on paranormal influence in how the spirit reaches out to the main character, which I liked (you have to read in order to find out how that is). The narrator did a great job with this story and giving the characters varying voices. I did wish that they had another narrator for the secondary voice in the story so it really denotes that characters age and the levity of what they are saying as well as differentiates them. Other than that, this would be a great book to add to a social studies unit along side books like Black Was The Ink by Michelle Coles, whether the class listens to it together on audiobook or reads the physical/e-book.

This book made me want to write!

The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park: This was just a feel good listen/read. You’ve got rivaling families for reasons unknown to the teens but that still impacts them. Those same teens go from rivals to co-conspirators (in a way) when they work together for the good of more than just their families and possibly even become something more. There was funny moments along with heavy ones but the heavy didn’t last long. There were two narrators, which I always love with dual POV books! They really showed the differences between the two teens, personality wise, and they balanced well. The narrators also did a really great job voicing the family members and their respective best friends group. If you are a fan of holiday romances, this one would be a great one to add to your list this year! Oh, there is also a good amount of talk about food so make sure you have a snack nearby if you tend to get hungry while listening to talk about food!

Whenever the MCs were at an impasse

I have a two other audiobooks that I’m looking forward to listening to, which are Monarch Rising by Harper Glenn and Beasts Of Ruin (the sequel to Beasts Of Prey) by Ayana Gray (and they have multiple narrators, which greatly delights my Spirit)! Are there any audiobooks that you have listened to that you’ve enjoyed? Have you listened to any of these audiobooks? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve listened to some seriously engaging audiobooks! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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I’m All For Bookish Love: Adult Romances Centered Around Books

Hey Y’all! So you all know that I have really gotten into adult romances this year. They serve as really great escapes and I do tend to run through them very quickly when my schedule allows. Getting wrapped up in other’s love stories is almost like an addiction for me. I absolutely live for the banter and tension, especially if there are laugh out loud moments and some (okay, a lot of) spice too.

Romances really are! No one warned me of this!

With all the things that adult romances offer, the HEA (Happily Ever After) being the guarantee and all, they feel even better when they are centered around books/bookish people…it gives my secretly romantic and easily melty heart hope. There are a few that I read in recent months that I really enjoyed. All of these are out now so you don’t have to wait!

Meeeee when I read a bookish romance!

Booked On A Feeling by Jayci Lee: I’m a sucker for a series/companion novels and am so glad that I got to read the first two books, A Sweet Mess and The Dating Dare, especially when this one had cameos with characters from them. Who wouldn’t love reading a book where there is a lot of time spent in a bookstore? The entire time, it just felt right between the two main characters (which this was dual POV, so SCORE) who are 1) best friends, 2) seeking something new and 3) finding the beauty of what has always been there. This was such a great book with lots of lusty thoughts, especially when toolbelts are involved (you have to read to understand, lol), some spicy moments and nosy family & friends.

It wasn’t quite like this but the energy is kind of there, lol

The Very Secret Society Of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna: Another type of book I love is one that involves magic so if you add a potential love story to it, then I’m sold! While one main character is a, you guess it, a witch, the other is a (grumpy) librarian in terms of the romance in the story; we get multiple perspectives, not just the main characters and how various relationships blossom throughout the story. I do love a story where there are layers to it and love grows in different & beautiful ways! There were also some funny moments because whenever children are present in a story, you are bound to be entertained in some way, shape or form (I know this all too well)! There are also some secrets to uncover as well. What are they might you ask? Well, you just have to read to find out!

There are quite a few to feel in different ways, if I’m being honest!

The Boy With The Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith: There are 2 things that always go well together in my mind and that is books & baked goods, so when a book delivers BOTH of these things, it makes me extremely happy (and hungry). With one MC owning a bakery and the other a bookstore (and from what I read, that “boy” is definitely a man my friends), it’s truly like a match made in heaven. We also get cameos from beloved pets (shoutout to my fellow furparents out there). There’s mutual crushing, heated moments, funny banter, family interventions and plenty of book & food talk throughout the book! Definitely have some snacks nearby while reading!

Me, stuffing my face then reaching for my book

The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale: If you’re a fan of stories where there is mistaken identity, identity switching and even a bit of identity “borrowing”, this is a book that you will really enjoy! One main character is an author and the other is an actor & both seem to be in career and/or personal life slumps. When these two characters meet, the tension begins to build right away. This book had some really hilarious banter (with things that I totally could see myself saying), I laughed out loud quite a lot. There is also more spice in this book than Lillie’s first book, which shocked the ish out of me in the best of ways (I really love when books do that)! Anyways, two characters finding their way to each other (so to speak) while also finding themselves no matter the pretenses, I’m here for it!

There are a few moments of this sentiment/reaction

By The Book by Jasmine Guillory: If you are a fan of Beauty And The Beast as well as Black Love, this would definitely be the book for you. I remember seeing the cover and instantly knowing that I wanted to read it. We get an MC who is a publishing professional that is attempting to help a reclusive & surly author finish his book so you know there are moments of bookish banter, grumpy but potentially heated glares/glances and change of hearts. This is not a super steamy book (it is published under Disney after all) but it will leave your bookish heart filled (as it did mine).

With a capital L and a capital B (Black), I truly do!

So those are 5 books that left my heart wanting more bookish love stories (which I do hope for in the future) but still feeling full. Are there any adult romances that you have read that meet the bookish criteria in one way or another? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read a bunch of bookish romances! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

Byeeeee
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Let’s Celebrate: I Hit 100 Books Read For The Free Black Women’s Library Challenge

Hey Y’all! So for those who have been reading this blog for a while or had been following me for a while on social media (and if you haven’t now you will), know that I have been participating in the Free Black Women’s Library Challenge for several years. If you aren’t aware of it, every year, they set a number of books to aspire to read by Black Women & Non-Binary Authors and they provide a list of suggested genres, if you want to look at last years list, here is the link. TFBWL Reading Challenge is honestly the only one that I actually take part in and keep track of as I really aim to prioritize Black Authors, especially Women & Non-Binary, in my reading.

In case you were wondering!

Last year, I read 80 books that fit this criteria, which was at least 5-10 books more than the previous year (I can’t remember the previous year’s total). My goal is always to read the same amount of books but really to surpass the previous year. I’m super excited that I have hit 100 books varying from Middle grade to Adult and range from contemporary to fantasy (clearly because now this post exists)! I also like to go into the new year reading a book by a Black Woman so that I’m keeping in line with my intention to keep up with this challenge.

This is the energy I feel!

Since I was so very excited about hitting this major milestone, I figured that I would share the list of books read thus far (I have more in my TBR to read that WILL get read but I’m not setting an end goal as I like going with the flow). I’ll share if they are adult, new adult, young adult or middle grade; the format I read it in and if there is a Blog post about it, I will link it!

Janelle Monae is forever a mood!
  1. Along For The Ride by Mimi Grace E-Book *adult*
  2. Required Reading For The Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen Lee E-ARC *NA*
  3. Asking For A Friend by Andi Osho ARC *adult*
  4. Black Girls Must Be Magic by Jayne Allen E-ARC *adult*
  5. Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow E-ARC *adult*
  6. Black Love Matters edited by Jessica C. Pryde E-ARC *adult*
  7. The Great Mrs. Elias by Barbara Chase-Riboud ARC *adult*
  8. You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen E-ARC *YA*
  9. Shuri: Symbiosis by Nic Stone Print book *MG*
  10. A Comb Of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow ARC *MG*
  11. Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys E-ARC *YA*
  12. The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton & Sona Charaipotra E-ARC *YA*
  13. Turning by Joy L. Smith ARC *YA*
  14. Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye ARC *YA*
  15. When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo E-ARC *adult*
  16. Working Through It by Kasha Thompson E-ARC *adult*
  17. Saavy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell by Taj McCoy ARC *adult*
  18. Sir Fig Newton And The Science Of Persistence by Sonja Thomas E-ARC *MG*
  19. A Walk In The Park by Rebekah Weatherspoon Audio-Novella *adult*
  20. You Are More Than Magic by Minda Harts E-ARC *YA*
  21. The Perfect Play by G.S. Carr Audio-Novella *adult*
  22. Sun Of A Beach by Mia Sosa Audio-Novella *adult*
  23. Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk E-ARC *YA*
  24. The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport ARC *NA*
  25. Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper E-ARC *adult*
  26. The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa E-Book *adult*
  27. The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa E-ARC *adult*
  28. What A Match by Mimi Grace E-ARC *adult*
  29. Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson ARC *adult*
  30. Half Light by Tayari Jones Audio-Novella *adult*
  31. In The Key Of Us by Mariama J. Lockington E-ARC *MG*
  32. The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton E-ARC *MG*
  33. By The Book by Jasmine Guillory E-ARC *adult*
  34. Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney ARC *YA*
  35. Rise Up, Burn Down by Vincent Tiredo E-ARC *YA*
  36. The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole Audiobook *adult*
  37. If I Don’t Have You by Sareeta Domingo Audiobook *adult*
  38. Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas ARC *MG*
  39. Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney Audiobook *YA*
  40. Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee ARC *YA*
  41. Should’ve Been by Alexandria House Audio-Novella *adult*
  42. All I Want For Christmas by Michelle Stimpson Audio-Novella *adult*
  43. Temper Me by Alexandria House Audiobook *adult*
  44. Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle E-ARC *YA*
  45. Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe E-ARC *YA*
  46. All Signs Point To Yes Edited by G. haron Davis, Cam Montgomery & Adrienne White E-ARC *YA*
  47. Deep In Providence by Riss M. Neilson E-ARC *YA*
  48. The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna E-ARC *YA*
  49. Touch Me by Alexandria House Audiobook *adult*
  50. Hazel And Gray by Nic Stone Audio-Novella *YA*
  51. Before Her by Jacqueline Woodson Audio-Novella/Short *adult*
  52. Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest E-ARC *YA*
  53. Love Again by Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm Audiobook *adult*
  54. The Signs And Wonders Of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen E-ARC *YA*
  55. Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang E-ARC *MG*
  56. Off Script by Ashley Marie E-ARC *adult*
  57. Thank You, Next by Andie J. Christopher E-ARC *adult*
  58. Teach Me by Alexandria House Audiobook *adult*
  59. Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun by Tola Okogwa E-ARC *MG*
  60. This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron ARC *YA*
  61. Fake It Till You Back It by Jamie Wesley E-ARC *adult*
  62. On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi E-ARC *NA*
  63. The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi E-ARC *adult*
  64. Good Morning, Love by Ashley M. Coleman E-ARC *adult*
  65. American Royalty by Tracey Livesay E-ARC *adult*
  66. The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman E-ARC *YA*
  67. Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola ARC *NA*
  68. Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser & Robyn Smith E-ARC *adult*
  69. Be Real, Macy Weaver by Lakita Wilson E-ARC *MG*
  70. Symona’s Still Single by Lisa Bent Audiobook *adult*
  71. Graceful Burdens by Roxane Gay Audio-Novella/Short *adult*
  72. Sister Mother Warrior by Vanessa Riley ARC *adult*
  73. Lila by Naima Coster Audio-Novella/Short *adult*
  74. Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander E-ARC *adult*
  75. The Accidental Pin-Up by Danielle Jackson E-ARC *adult*
  76. Love In Color by Bolu Babalola Audiobook *NA*
  77. Have We Met by Camille Baker Audiobook *adult*
  78. The Moment We Met by Camille Baker Audiobook *adult*
  79. Twice As Perfect by Louise Onome E-ARC *YA*
  80. Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke ARC *YA*
  81. Nobody’s Princess by Erica Ridley E-ARC *adult*
  82. Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson E-book *adult*
  83. Knot Again by Kwana Jackson E-ARC *adult*
  84. The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon E-Book *Adult*
  85. The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon E-Book *adult*
  86. The Hook-Up Plan by Farrah Rochon E-ARC *adult*
  87. Office Hours by Katrina Jackson Audiobook *adult*
  88. Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak E-ARC *adult*
  89. Almost There by Farrah Rochon ALC *YA*
  90. Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas E-ARC *YA*
  91. A Taste Of Magic by J.Elle E-ARC *YA*
  92. Serwah Boeting’s Guide To Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown E-ARC *MG*
  93. The Weight Of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson ARC *YA*
  94. The Rules Of Engagement by Selena Montgomery E-ARC *adult*
  95. The Two Lives Of Sara by Catherine Adel West ARC *adult*
  96. To Win A Prince by Toni Shiloh E-ARC *adult*
  97. Vanessa Jared’s Got A Man by LaQuette ARC *adult*
  98. Drunk On Love by Jasmine Guillory E-ARC *adult*
  99. Rust In The Root by Justina Ireland ARC *YA*
  100. Eternally Yours Edited By Patrice Caldwell E-ARC *YA*
  101. We Are The Scribes by Randi Pink ALC *YA*
My spirit so do deeply excited by this!

Okay so I read a little over 100 books (including one reread in a different format). I got really into adult romance along with audiobooks, and if they are both, even better! I even read some adult fiction (that shocked me as well)! I’ve really branched out with my reading and I think it is, in part, due to this challenge! If you are wondering how to get into it, just start documenting your books and when you post, use their hashtags that are in the link I posted earlier in the post! If you aren’t following them on social media, I would highly recommend to: IG @thefreeblackwomenslibrary and facebook.

This is the energy y’all!

Are you apart of a challenge like this one? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments here or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read over 100 books by Black Women & Non-Binary Authors! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing happy reading!

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Don’t Be Spooked By All These Books Coming Out In October

What’s Up? So September has come and gone so quickly I feel like I’ve gotten whiplash (hopefully I’m not the only one) so now we’re entering into a new pub month along with Spooky Season! October is bringing us some great books so we are just going to get right into this list!

Yes!
  • The Pain We Carry Healing from Complex PTSD for People of Color by Natalie Gutierrez *adult* 10/1
  • Path Of Deceit by Justina Ireland & Tessa Gratton 10/4
  • A Scatter Of Light by Malinda Lo 10/4
  • Token Black Girl A Memoir by Danielle Prescod *adult* 10/4
  • The Lords of Night by J.C. Cervantes *MG* 10/4
  • The Empress Of Time by Kylie Lee Baker *sequel* 10/4
  • Tasting Light Edited by A.R. Capetta & Wade Roush 10/4
  • The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco 10/4
  • Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala *adult series* 10/4
  • Monarch Rising by Harper Glenn 10/4
  • The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park 10/4
  • Shad Hadid And The Alchemists Of Alexandria by George Jreije *MG* 10/14
  • Nothing Ever Happens To Ethan Fairmont by Nick Brooks *MG* 10/4
  • The Blue Scarf by Mohamed Danawi *PB* 10/4
  • Children Of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo *MG* 10/4
  • Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar *PB* 10/4
  • She Persisted: Wilma Mankiller by Traci Sorell*MG* 10/4
  • The Big Dreams Of Small Creatures by Gail Lerner *MG* 10/4
  • You Should Sit Down For This by Tamera Mowry-Housley *adult* 10/4
  • Anne Of Greenville by Mariko Tamaki 10/4
  • My Road From Damascus by Jamal Saeed *adult* 10/4
  • Bhai For Now By Maleeha Siddiqui 10/4
  • The Forerunner: A Story Of Pain And Perseverance in America by Cori Bush *adult* 10/4
  • Papyrus: The Invention Of Books In The Ancient World by Irene Vallejo *adult* 10/4
  • Maybe An Artist, A Graphic Memoir By Liz Montague *MG* 10/4
  • The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera *prequel* 10/4
  • Soul of a Killer by Abby Collette *adult* 10/4
  • The Tuskegee Student Uprising A History by Brian Jones *adult* 10/4
  • Jackal by Erin E. Adams 10/4
  • If You Could See The Sun by Ann Liang 10/11
  • Black Gold by Laura Obuobi & London Ladd *PB* 10/11
  • Somewhere Sisters by Erika Hayasaki *adult* 10/11
  • Don’t Look Back by Achut Deng & Keely Hutton 10/11
  • My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives By Charlayne Hunter-Gault *adult* 10/11
  • The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-Yi *adult* 10/11
  • Where The Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman *MG* 10/11
  • Nikhil Out Loud by Maulik Pancholy *MG* 10/11
  • Will Do Magic For Small Change by Andrea Hairston *adult* 10/11
  • The Essential Dick Gregory edited by Christian Gregory *adult* 10/11
  • Off The Wall by Theodore Taylor, III *PB* 10/11
  • On The Hustle by Adriana Herrera *adult* 10/11
  • Black Power Kitchen by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao & Lester Walker *adult* 10/11
  • The Miracle Of Salt by Naomi Duguis *adult* 10/11
  • Black Panther: Panther’s Rage by Sheree Renée Thomas 10/11
  • I Miss You, I Hate This by Sara Saedi 10/11
  • Blood Moon Prophecy The Legend of the Nyx by Dilani Kahawala 10/11
  • An American Martyr In Persia by Reza Aslan *adult* 10/11
  • Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking by Raquel V. Reyes *adult series* 10/11
  • The Name-Bearer by Natalia Hernandez 10/11
  • Daughters of the New Year A Novel by E.M. Tran *adult* 10/11
  • Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland 10/11
  • When Trees Fall by Dale Mahfood *adult* 10/15
  • Marya Khan And The Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi *MG Series* 10/18
  • Road Of The Lost by Nafiza Azad 10/18
  • Drizzle, Dreams and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad 10/18
  • The Spirit Queen by Arnée Flores 10/18
  • Frizzy by Claribel Ortega *MG* 10/18
  • Marikit And The Ocean Of Stars by Caris Avendano Cruz *MG* 10/18
  • Miles Morales: Stranger Tides by Justin A. Reynolds *MG Series* 10/18
  • Love from Mecca to Medina By S. K. Ali 10/18
  • We Are The Scribes by Randi Pink 10/18
  • Partners In Crime by Alisha Rai *adult* 10/18
  • Somebody That I Used To Know by Dana L. Davis 10/18
  • The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee (YA Adaptation) by David Treuer 10/18
  • Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown *PB* 10/18
  • The Talk by Alicia D. Williams *PB* 10/18
  • When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar *adult* 10/18
  • I Can’t Wait To Call You My Wife by Rita Roberts *adult* 10/18
  • Black Women Will Save The World by April Ryan *adult* 10/18
  • Zara’s Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure by Hena Khan *MG* 10/18
  • African Art Now 50 Pioneers Defining African Art for the Twenty-First Century by Osei Bonsu *adult* 10/18
  • My Nest of Silence by Matt Faulkner 10/18
  • Mama’s Home by Shay Youngblood *PB* 10/18
  • Picture Perfect by Jeevani Charika *adult* 10/21
  • Into The Riverlands by Nghi Vo *adult sequel* 10/25
  • The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau *adult* 10/25
  • A Touch of Moonlight by Yaffa S. Santos *adult* 10/25
  • The Sevenfold Hunters By Rose Egal 10/25
  • Strike The Zither by Joan He 10/25
  • Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris *adult* 10/25
  • Maybe This Christmas by Ieshia Wiedlin *adult* 10/25
  • A Seed In The Sun by Aida Salazar 10/25
  • Go, Sled! Go! By James Yang *PB* 10/25
  • Into The Riverlands by Nghi Vo *adult* 10/25
  • João by a Thread by Roger Mello *PB* 10/25
  • Never Catch Me by Darius Simpson *adult* 10/25
  • The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and The Making Of An Empire by Joseph Sassoon *adult* 10/25
  • We Are All We Have by Marina Budhos 10/25
  • Honest With You by Kaye Rockwell *adult* 10/30
The list isn’t that long this month…*looks away*

That is a good amount of books coming out! I have been blessed with some ARCS/ALCs for a few of these books courtesy of netgalley, MacMillan, HarperCollins (thanks to my friend Doris) and Meredith Ireland (for her book)! Shout Out to y’all! They are:

  • A Scatter Of Light by Malinda Lo
  • The Empress Of Time by Kylie Lee Baker *sequel*
  • The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park
  • Shad Hadid And The Alchemists Of Alexandria by George Jreije *MG*
  • If You Could See The Sun by Ann Liang
  • On The Hustle by Adriana Herrera *adult*
  • Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland
  • Marya Khan And The Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi *MG Series*
  • Road Of The Lost by Nafiza Azad
  • Drizzle, Dreams and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
  • Frizzy by Claribel Ortega *MG*
  • Marikit And The Ocean Of Stars by Caris Avendano Cruz *MG*
  • We Are The Scribes by Randi Pink
  • Partners In Crime by Alisha Rai *adult*
  • Somebody That I Used To Know by Dana L. Davis
  • Picture Perfect by Jeevani Charika *adult*
  • The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau *adult*
  • A Touch of Moonlight by Yaffa S. Santos *adult*
  • Strike The Zither by Joan He
  • Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris *adult*
I do! I really do!

Of these, I’ve listened to/read are:

  • The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park
  • Currently Reading: Shad Hadid And The Alchemists Of Alexandria by George Jreije *MG*
I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I will get through this TBR of mine! It’s what I have to tell myself to get through the day, lol!

I’m a tadbit behind on my TBR but I’ll catch up eventually, lol! Hopefully this list didn’t spook you! Are there any books by Authors Of Color that I’ve missed? Are there any that you are really excited for? Let me know in the comments here or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve produced a book release list that doesn’t leave you concerned for your bank accounts or library holds! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you a happy spooky season & reading!

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Middle Grade Is Giving Magical Black Girl Realness And I Live For It

Hey there! So I’ve been in & out of my middle grade bag for the last few months and noticed that authors have really been giving Magical Black Girl Realness and how much I have been living for it (same for Young Adult but this is the MG girlies moment). I’ve been so immersed in my reading, especially these books that I can think of little else.

In every way, shape and form!

I’ve written about other books in past posts like the one about The Marvellers and 4 MGs I Loved (Sir Fig Newton And The Science Of Persistence & Unfadeable was mentioned) but some time has past and more amazing MGs have graced us with their presence. I’ve been wanting to share these books with you so let’s get to it!

Imagine she jumped in for the sake of visuals, lol!

Amari from Amari And The Great Game (sequel to Amari And the Night Brothers) by B.B. Alston: I’m not going to lie, I loved the first book so much and was very nervous about how things were going to go in this book. Sequels are tough, especially when a character like Amari sets such a high bar in the first book and I can tell you that she didn’t disappoint in this book. Amari is just as determined and powerful, catching all the curveballs thrown her way and devising plans like a mastermind. I know that readers everywhere (while they maybe mad with some of the situations) will love this continuation of Amari’s journey and will be excited to see how it will end (whenever we get the third book, of course, lol).

I’m pretty sure this is a pitch but that point is what gives me Amari’s energy when she’s focused

Kyana from The Taste Of Magic by J.Elle: If you read Wings Of Ebony, you will feel right at home in The Taste Of Magic because the setting is close but distinctly it’s own anddd we get Kyana. Kyana is not only this funny, intelligent and community-minded kid who loves to bake (I craved baked goods a lot while reading) but she also learns that there is so much more to her than she could’ve ever imagined beginning with the fact that magic is actually real. She goes on this amazing journey of self-discovery, gaining new friends (outside of her BFF, Nae, and her Memaw) along the way and solving the problems that she finds in her path which would make anyone want to root for her. Kyana’s voice is one that is definitely worth listening to and I, personally, can’t wait to hear more of it!

There was a lot of oven usage & Kyana was like a junior master baker/chef!

Serwa from Serwa Boeting’s Guide To Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown: From the very beginning of this book, I knew that I would live for Serwa. Homegirl is ridiculously funny, knowledgeable and kicks serious tail (mostly vampire)! Who wouldn’t love a main character, especially one that is a Black Girl, who serves snark & humor with a side of superhero energy and mythology lessons?! I will sign up for that each and every time with bells on. I know so many kids will see themselves in Serwa; the ones who have moved & had to find their way in new surroundings, had their names mispronounced no matter how many times they correct the offender, is a child of immigrants and fights to show their worth when they are doubted. I can’t wait to see what Serwa gets into in the next book!

Serwa gives this energy to me

There are also a few others that I have loved in the past months and if you haven’t read these books, you really should:

  • Onyeka from Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun by Tola Okogwu
  • Hasani From Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas
  • Maya (and Frankie) From Maya And The Rising Dark, Maya And The Return Of The Godlings & Maya And The Lord Of Shadows (recently released)
  • Pilar from Pilar Ramirez And The Escape From Zafa by Julian Randall
  • Ella From The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton (Link to that blog post is above)
I wholeheartedly agree, especially the ones in all of these books!

Honestly, I can’t wait to see even more Magical Black Girls make their way to shelves everywhere and into readers hands (I have a few reads coming up with Black Girl Main Characters in both MG & YA that I can’t wait to get to). I always feel so empowered by their journeys and always feel like my younger self could’ve used these characters but feel so glad that kids get them now and in the future.

I couldn’t resist!

Okay y’all, I’m ending this here but have you read any of these books? Are any of these Magical Black Girls your favorite? Is there one that I don’t have on this list? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I read Magical Black Girls who spoke to my Spirit & gave what needed to be given! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading always!

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New Settings, Making New Friends And The Jitters They Bring-MGs That Deal With These Things

Hey everyone! With a new school year underway, we find that this is a high stress time, especially for kids who are entering into a new school/classroom, those who have moved and have to navigate new territory as well as attempt to establish friendships. As an adult and educator, EYE have trouble with this so I know that some of the younger generations, especially the introverted of the pack, may struggle with these daunting things.

Me…at the thought of peopling, especially in new environments

I was scrolling on twitter (not quite doom but cautiously doing so) when I came across the tweet of an author speaking of their child’s struggle with being in a new setting and attempting to make friends (I’m not linking because I haven’t gained permission from them to do so as their child is the focus of it). This author asked for middle grade book suggestions and y’all know how excited I get over book recommendations so I jumped at providing a list. It got me thinking about the fact what I really hadn’t thought about the older kids in this struggle as my work focuses around 3-5 year olds with special needs so I wanted to make amends by sharing the list here and adding a bunch of others I thought of later! Some of these have their own blog posts or were in others so I’ll link those as well.

It really got me thinking and I scoured my reading log and blog to extend this list!
There always is!

All of these books tackle themes from moving, new school/boarding school, making friends, new abilities and a combination of two or more of these things. I apologize that I didn’t give little reviews, this week has been a lot but I hope to get back to that next week! If you have questions about a specific book, do feel free to drop them in the comments and I will answer (spoiler-free, of course)!

I’m finding my footing with work but I haven’t forgotten about y’all!

As an educator, I do want to offer a word (or a few) of advice to the parents/guardians out there of children who are dealing with these struggles. Please openly communicate with your child’s teachers (all of them) about creating a more supportive environment for not just your child but all others who may be having these anxieties. Half the time, it’s not just one student having trouble finding their footing with their peers and their new environments. Ask the teachers about doing class meetings where a safe space is created for the children to speak on whatever is on their hearts. This may open the floor for the kids to connect. There is also the possibility of reaching out to school administrators to set up support groups within the grades. I would also recommend asking to be linked to other parents/guardians of children dealing with social anxiety or are new to the environment. Of course, we want these connections to be made organically but we, as adults, can be a positive catalyst. Oh and if you can find a great child therapist and have the means for one, it would be helpful for the kid(s) to have a neutral party to speak to about their struggles and be offered the tools to deal with them.

And I hope they inspire you!

Anyway, I hope that this list and little bit of advice is helpful. Do you know of any great middle grades by authors of color that should be added to this list? Have any advice for adults who have children having a tough time with new settings or making new friends? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I read some great middle grades that ease my anxious heart! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading always!

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Chillin’ With The Author: Judy I. Lin

Hi everyone! For this week! I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with the amazing Judy I. Lin about her Book Of Tea Duology, as the second book A Venom Dark & Sweet, came out on 8/23! So let’s get into this!

First, let me just say thank you for taking time to do this and answer my questions! As you know, I LOVED A Magic Steeped In Poison and was delighted that we didn’t have to wait long for A Venom Dark & Sweet. We are going to make this a spoiler free Q&A because we want people to go out and get your books!

What was it like writing the duology and then having them published within months of each other?

It was definitely stressful while I was writing the second book because of the tight timeline. However, I was happy with the way the story turned out because I was able to revise the first book and put in hints about the second book as well as tweak some of the details to ensure the flow of the story. 

Releasing the second book so close to the debut of the first one though is definitely overwhelming! But I’m very lucky in that I got to go on tour for A Venom Dark and Sweet and meet all the wonderful readers in person. It made me really happy to be able to celebrate the release of the book and see it on the shelves. 

*My face*

What was the catalyst or the inspiration to you writing this duology? Had this been an idea you had for a long time?

I started working on the idea of what would become the Book of Tea duology in Fall 2018 as I was playing around with the concept of “magical tea”. It took a year to research and worldbuild and work on the sample chapters before it sold a little over a year later. 

Very…that’s the answer!

Who was the first character that came to you in the series? Did you envision them or hear their voice?

Ning was always the character who spoke to me from the start. I envisioned someone whose life was already predetermined to assist her father, but then a scroll from the capital arrives and that changes everything. Those scenes didn’t make it into the book, but that was how Ning came to me. 

Whoaaaaa!

So AVDAS is a bit of a shift from AMSIP as this book was a Dual POV (which is my JAM by the way), what was that like for you going from a singular perspective to dual?

I had a ton of fun writing Kang’s POV! I thought it opened up more of the world so that we could go somewhere unexpected with him. But returning to Ning’s POV felt very comfortable and familiar. 

Did you always know that AVDAS would be a dual POV? If not, what inspired the change?

This was a suggestion from my brilliant editor! I had a very short first draft for the sequel initially and I knew something was missing but I wasn’t sure what. She suggested adding Kang’s POV and it all grew from there! 

I also noticed that one perspective was in first person why the other was in 3rd, was there a particular reason behind this?

During the events of the second book, Kang felt very distant from everyone around him. I chose the third person perspective to represent his state of mind and also to distinguish him from Ning’s POV, as ultimately the story still belonged to Ning. 

That makes sense!

I’m actually really glad this was a Dual POV because I found myself wondering the thoughts of the other quite frequently while reading AMSIP so I was pleased that we got their perspective. What was it like writing this character’s experiences?

I don’t want to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but I thought writing from his POV helped a lot in understanding his motivations and why he made the choices he did in the first book!

cause it did!

Between the two main characters, we got to see so much more of the world they lived in and met a lot of new characters. What was your favorite part about expanding the world and the cast?

I had so much fun coming up with the different places that Ning travels through in A Venom Dark and Sweet. I kept an inspiration board of places that inspired each of the locations, and referred to it frequently. Since I wrote the book while travel restrictions were still in place, it was my own way of “sightseeing” from my keyboard. 

Did you have a favorite character to write in AVDAS? What made them your favorite?

I enjoyed writing a particular side character that Ning meets in the story – Brother Huang. Even though Ning’s encounters with him are brief, he certainly made an impact, and I enjoyed thinking of his back story and why his paths crossed with Ning’s. 

I liked him too! He’s agratt character!

Which character or characters did you write yourself most into in AVDAS? What did you give them of yourself like personality, interests, etc?

I feel like I put a little bit of myself in each of the characters, whether it’s something I aspire to, something I hope for, something I am annoyed with, etc. 

Did you base any characters on people in your life or name any after anyone?

I’m always surprised to hear when writers name their characters after people they know! I actively avoid this while writing as I would definitely be influenced by the person who has that name! 

I can see that though

Is there anything you want readers to know about The Book Of Tea Duology, if they haven’t read it yet or gotten to AVDAS?

I hope that readers will enjoy the world in the Book of Tea and the mythology behind the world, whether they are being introduced to Chinese mythology or whether they have knowledge of it and can appreciate the twists that I put into the story to make it unique. I also hope that it sparks an interest in them where they might want to learn more about Taiwanese culture or food or tea! 

Do you think you will write anything in this world again or do you feel that the stories that needed to be told have been?

I think Ning’s story arc has concluded for me in my mind in the two books. I do have an idea for a chapter or perhaps a short novella that might give readers a deeper glimpse into certain relationships in the book…but no plans right now to write them. Maybe some day!

hmmm…well, I’m ready for anything else comes out of this world!

Okay, so my favorite question to ask any author is actually a two part question. If you had the ability to hang out with any of your characters in real life, who are you hanging out with? And what are y’all doing?

I think it would be fun to hang out with Zhen and Ruyi in Taipei! I feel like Zhen would like to be in a modern city. She’d probably like to explore all of the little shops in the shopping district during the day, and then we would go to the night market to try all sorts of food at night! 

Yes! That sounds like so much fun & they would be great to hang with!

Alrighty, I’m going to end this here so the readers can go out and pick up A Venom Dark And Sweet, if they haven’t already! Thank you so much Judy for taking time from your busy life to answer my questions! I’m truly honored that you did!

Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys A Venom Dark and Sweet!

Now if you haven’t added this book to your TBR, you need to change that! This duology is filled with court intrigue, mythology, found friends/family and MAGIC (which is truly the making of a great book/series)! Please be sure to follow Judy on all social media platforms Instagram @judyilinauthor; Twitter @judyilin; as well as visit her website https://judyilin.com/ because she is lovely!

Judy really is lovely!

Have you read A Magic Steeped In Poison yet? Have you added A Venom Dark And Sweet to your TBR? Let me know here or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just a really amazing cup of tea (with or without bubbles)! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading & tea drinking!

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Falling Into The Bookish Grind: September Releases

Hey there! So September is now upon us which means that lots of folx are headed back to school or back to work from vacation but it also means a whole lot of new Books are dropping! This month has a CRAZY amount coming out and I imagine that my fellow bookworms will be keeping our favorite bookstores and libraries super busy (Nobody come for me about your bank accounts, talk to the publishers, lol)!

I think I know several people that is going to look like this, lol!

Since this list is INSANELY long, I’m just going to get right to it. Though I quickly want to remind you that you should always double check pub dates because they are always subject to change (supply chains and publishers love to play in our faces at times)! Okay, now to this list!

  • The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali & Hatem Aly *PB* 9/1
  • Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias *adult* 9/1
  • Magic: Once Upon A Far Away Land by Mirelle Ortega *PB* 9/6
  • Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah 9/6
  • The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas 9/6
  • Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown *MG* 9/6
  • Daughters Of The Dawn by Sarena & Sasha Nanua *sequel* 9/6
  • The Fortunes of Jaded Women A Novel by Carolyn Huynh *adult* 9/6
  • The Curse on Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo *MG* 9/6
  • The Weight Of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson 9/6
  • Shot Clock by Caron Butler & Justin A. Reynolds *MG* 9/6
  • The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas *Adult Sequel* 9/6
  • Rules of Engagement by Selena Montgomery; Stacey Abrams *adult* 9/6
  • Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams *adult* 9/6
  • The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale *adult* 9/6
  • The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith *adult* 9/6
  • Eden’s Everdark By Karen Strong *MG* 9/6
  • Skeletina And The In-Between World by Susie Jaramillo *PB & Spanish Edition* 9/6
  • Key Player by Kelly Yang *MG Series* 9/6
  • Magnolia Flower by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi *PB* 9/6
  • Running To Fall by Kalisha Buckhanon *adult* 9/6
  • Almost There by Farrah Rochon 9/6
  • Days Come And Go by Hemley Boum *adult* 9/6
  • The Year Of The Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong *adult* 9/6
  • Adift by Tanya Guerrero *MG* 9/6
  • The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat & Joanna Cacao *MG* 9/6
  • Our Shadows Have Claws edited by Yamile Saied Mendez & Amparo Ortiz 9/6
  • Buddha And The Rose by Mallika Chopra *PB* 9/6
  • Lotus Bloom And The Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston *MG* 9/6
  • Me Gusta by Angele Dominguez *PB* 9/6
  • I Have A Superpower by Stephen Curry *PB* 9/6
  • She Persisted: Diana Taurasi by Monica Brown *MG* 9/6
  • The Call Her Fregonia by David Bowles 9/6
  • In The Black Fantastic by Ekow Eshun *adult* 9/6
  • What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri *adult* 9/6
  • Moonflower by Kacen Callender *MG* 9/6
  • Meet Me in Mumbai By Sabina Khan 9/6
  • The Two Lives Of Sara by Catherine Adel West *adult* 9/6
  • Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore 9/6
  • Looks Good on Paper by Kilby Blades *adult* 9/12
  • Black Panther: Uprising by Ronald L. Smith *MG Series* 9/13
  • Small Deaths by Rijula Das *adult* 9/13
  • Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud *PB* 9/13
  • Charlie Hernández & the Golden Dooms by Ryan Calejo *MG* 9/13
  • Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco *adult* 9/13
  • Astrology for Black Girls A Beginner’s Guide for Black Girls Who Look to the Stars by Jordannah Elizabeth, Illustrated by Chellie Carroll 9/13
  • Maya And The Lord Of Shadows by Rena Barron *MG Sequel* 9/13
  • Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa *adult* 9/13
  • Death By Society by Sierra Elmore 9/13
  • Until Someone Listens/Hasta Que Alguien Me Escuche by Estella Juarez with Lissette Norman *PB* 9/13
  • Shark Princess by Nidhi Chanani *MG* 9/13
  • Inaugural Ballers by Andrews Maraniss 9/13
  • Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango *MG* 9/13
  • To Win A Prince by Toni Shiloh *adult* 9/13
  • People Person by Candice Carty-Williams *adult* 9/13
  • Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions A Novel in Interlocking Stories by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi *adult* 9/13
  • As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh 9/13
  • The Line In Sand by Thao Lam *PB* 9/15
  • Lioness Of Punjab by Anita Jari Kharbanda 9/17
  • Seoulmates by Susan Lee 9/20
  • You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro *MG* 9/20
  • Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi *MG* 9/20
  • Airi Sano Prankmaster General by Zoe Tokushige & Jennifer Naalchigar *MG* 9/20
  • The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron *MG* 9/20
  • Rust In The Root by Justina Ireland 9/20
  • MapMaker by Lisa Moore Ramée *MG* 9/20
  • España A Brief History of Spain by Giles Tremlett *adult* 9/20
  • Amira & Hamza: The Quest for the Ring of Power by Samira Ahmed *MG Sequel* 9/20
  • Wanda The Brave by Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni *PB* 9/20
  • The Getaway by Lamar Giles 9/20
  • Drunk On Love by Jasmine Guillory *adult* 9/20
  • Vanessa Jared’s Got A Man by LaQuette *adult* 9/20
  • Eternally Yours edited by Patrice Caldwell 9/20
  • Call Him Jack by Yohuru Williams & Michael G. Long 9/20
  • Until We Break by Matthew Dawkins 9/20
  • Me And Muhammad Ali by Jabari Asim *PB* 9/20
  • Direwood by Catherine Yu 9/20
  • Something Bright And Burning by Whitney Amazeen *NA* 9/20
  • Tears of My Mother The Legacy of My Nigerian Upbringing by Wendy Osefo *adult* 9/20
  • Maya’s Song by Renee Watson *PB* 9/20
  • Stolen City by Elisa Bonnin *adult* 9/20
  • The House Of Transcendence by Amanda Ross 9/22
  • Abuela’s Fideo by Gabriela Tijerina *PB* 9/24
  • A Library by Nikki Giovanni, illus. by Erin Robinson *PB* 9/27
  • A Ghost In Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie *adult companion* 9/27
  • Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong *Prequel* 9/27
  • Ruby Finley VS. The Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford *MG* 9/27
  • Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie *MG* 9/27
  • Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender 9/27
  • Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto 9/27
  • Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo *adult* 9/27
  • How To Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy 9/27
  • Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin *adult* 9/27
  • The Adventures of Qai Qai by Serena Williams; illustrated by Yesenia Moises *PB* 9/27
  • Ways to Share Joy by Renée Watson *MG Sequel* 9/27
  • House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson *adult* 9/27
  • Creep A Love Story by Lygia Day Penaflor 9/27
  • Jasmine Toguchi, Brave Explorer by Debbi Michiko Florence *MG* 9/27
  • Last Of The Talons by Sophie Kim 9/27
  • Dream With The/Suena Con Las Latinitas Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by Juliet Menendez *PB* 9/27
  • Our Day of the Dead Celebration By Ana Aranda *PB* 9/27
  • Black Icons In Herstory by Darian Symone Harvin & Monica Ahanonu *adult* 9/27
  • You Gotta Be You by Brandon Kyle Goodman *adult* 9/27
  • Black Trailblazers by Bijan Bayne *PB* 9/27
  • Lucky Streak by Tif Marcelo *adult* 9/27
  • Viva’s Voice by Raquel Donoso *PB* 9/27
  • Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell *adult* 9/27
  • Holler Of The Fireflies by David Barclay Moore *MG* 9/27
  • Soul Of The Deep by Natasha Bowen *sequel* 9/27
  • Beautiful Country: A Memoir Of An Undocumented Childhood by Qian Julie Wang *adult* 9/27
  • Stay True by Hua Hsu *adult* 9/27
  • Cece Rios And The King Of Fears by Kaela Rivera *MG Sequel* 9/27
  • Opening My Eyes Underwater by Ashley Woodfolk 9/27
  • Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp *MG* 9/27
This is truly a fitting gif

Whew! That’s A LOT OF BOOKS but being in the second half of the year, I’m not super surprised! Thanks to the bookish powers that be (i.e. netgalley, HarperCollins, MacMillan & Amazon in this case for me), I’ve gotten quite a few ARCS/E-ARCs and they are:

  • Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias *adult*
  • The Sunbearer Trials by Aidan Thomas
  • Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown *MG*
  • The Curse on Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo *MG*
  • The Weight Of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Shot Clock by Caron Butler & Justin A. Reynolds *MG*
  • Rules of Engagement by Selena Montgomery; Stacey Abrams *adult*
  • The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale *adult*
  • The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith *adult*
  • Almost There by Farrah Rochon
  • Adift by Tanya Guerrero *MG*
  • The Two Lives Of Sara by Catherine Adel West *adult*
  • Silver Under Starfall by Rin Chupeco *adult*
  • Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa *adult*
  • To Win A Prince by Toni Shiloh *adult*
  • Seoulmates by Susan Lee
  • You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro *MG*
  • Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi *MG*
  • Rust In The Root by Justina Ireland
  • MapMaker by Lisa Moore Ramée *MG*
  • Drunk On Love by Jasmine Guillory *adult*
  • Vanessa Jared’s Got A Man by LaQuette *adult*
  • Eternally Yours edited by Patrice Caldwell
  • A Ghost In Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie *adult companion*
  • Ruby Finley VS. The Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford *MG*
  • Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie *MG*
  • Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender
  • Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  • Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo *adult*
  • How To Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy
  • Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin *adult*
  • Creep A Love Story by Lygia Day Penaflor
  • Cece Rios And The King Of Fears by Kaela Rivera *MG Sequel*
  • Opening My Eyes Underwater by Ashley Woodfolk
  • Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp *MG*
  • Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Stolen City by Elisa Bonnin *adult*
I’ve got my work cut out for me friends!

This month I HAVE gotten to read some of my ARCs/E-ARCs/ALCs (and I am PROOOOUD) and so far, I’ve read:

  • Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias *adult*
  • Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown *MG*
  • The Curse on Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo *MG* (ALC)
  • Shot Clock by Caron Butler & Justin A. Reynolds *MG*
  • Almost There by Farrah Rochon (ALC)
  • Creep A Love Story by Lygia Day Penaflor (ALC)
  • Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore (ALC)
  • Currently Reading: Adift by Tanya Guerrero *MG*
Truly, I am folx!

Alright Y’all! I’m going to end this post here so you can go look into the titles that caught your eye and don’t forget to support the authors who are being impacted by the Barnes & Noble situation! Are their any books you’re super excited for? Are there any by Authors of Color that I missed? Let me know in the comments here or on social media via Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel giddy knowing its a great pub month! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Books That Had Me In A Chokehold

Hey y’all! I don’t about you but sometimes, books just entrance me to the point of being held in a literary chokehold. It could be the story line/plot, the character’s voice, comedic moments, emotional content, pacing or a combination of all of those things. With the amount of books that I read (netgalley keeps me VERY busy), I go through books fairly quickly and some stick with me more than others.

This is what I think these books would say to me, if they could!

In keeping with the Spirit of sharing more of what I’m reading, there are 3 that I read/listened to recently that had me in a chokehold of sorts and you may want to add to your TBRs!

As a matter of fact, I do!

Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas (out 8/30/22): This book is actually the inspiration behind this post because I tweeted that it had me in a chokehold. I had started it at like 4:25 am (I know, I know, the hours I am up) and forced myself to stop at like 7:30 am because I hadn’t gone to sleep yet (in my defense, it was Saturday morning & I had no plans for the day). Each time I picked up my amazon fire, I had such a hard time putting it down because I was getting sucked into the story, trying to figure out the roles that the Seton Girls played in the story and how the characters would handle certain situations. There were multiple points of views which also helped push the story forward (and y’all know Dual POVs are my jam). The layers this story had just gave everything that needed to be given, especially since there was an added little twist that I did NOT guess, which is not something that happens all that often! This is definitely a book I’ll be thinking and talking about for a very long time.

My energy the entire time I was reading this!

Almost There by Farrah Rochon (out 9/6/22): So almost the moment that I got the widget for the ALC (Advanced Listener Copy) for this book, I started it… then found myself listening every chance I got. This one was with the professional narrator, who did a great job with the various voices, especially Tiana’s, and alternate story. I found myself captivated by the journey Tiana was on and the alternate points of view that we got. As a fan of The Princess And The Frog, I was so glad with how well the original characters were woven in with new ones that were added to the storyline and the history lessons that were embedded within them. I would like to say though that in Haiti, Vodou is practiced, not “Voodoo” which was what colonizers called it to give it a negative connotation. It is actually a beautiful practice, much like its counterparts throughout the diaspora. I would highly encourage learning about Vodou, Root Work and other similar practices. This was a great book and if you are also a fan of The Princess And The Frog, you’ll enjoy it too!

The only thing that could’ve been better is if this song was in the audio!

Creep: A Love Story by Lygia Day Peñaflor (out 9/27/22): This book was the first one I listened to that was a synthesized voice but I’ll tell you, I was just as captivated as if it was professionally narrated or I was physically reading because it was so engaging. I love a good love story but I would’ve never thought to read one from the perspective of a stalker! When I tell you I was yelling back in response, making faces and holding on to my sanity by a thread several times…… *cocks head to the side* Chileeeeeeee, if I wore pearls, I would’ve clutched them because this chick was unhinged and I just couldn’t stop listening! I was wishing that I could hear the professional narration because if they do it right, anyone would be looking over their shoulder throughout the day. There was so much that went on in the story but it was just the right amount of tew murch. If you’re a fan of shows or books with stalkers, you’ll definitely enjoy this story.

This was pretty much me with this expression, lol!

So seeing how these books had me enraptured the way they did, don’t be surprised if you hear me talk about these books often if you are on the interwebs with me (what?! I have an obsessive nature when it comes to books). Am I the only person that finds themselves in a chokehold while reading at times? I know it can’t just be meeeeee! Are you planning to read any of these books? Let me know in the comments or social media, on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like finishing a book that had me completely enraptured! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Show Up And Show Out For Authors Impacted By Barnes & Nobles’ Decision

Hello there! So if you have been on the interwebs recently (especially twitter), you may have heard about Barnes & Nobles’ nationwide decision to reduce the number of hardcover children’s books (including Middle Grade & Young Adult) titles they carry. If you haven’t heard about this, here is an article about this situation and Author Kelly Yang speaks out in this video. While Kelly speaks specifically about her books, she also mentions how this impacts other marginalized authors and from the looks of the books shown to be impacted, it’s predominantly POC/marginalized authors.

My face when I read the news

I was made aware of this policy change due to a tweet from Debut Author, Britney S. Lewis(who’s book JUST came out), in response to a tweet by @storysorcery on this topic. Can you imagine being a debut and finding this out AFTER your book comes out? It’s no less devastating finding it out in advance, really, Debut or not (which Kelly Yang is not a debut). I don’t think I have to tell you how incredibly disturbing this is; for the authors, their sales and for the future of books, especially for those of color.

This is very me

I figured that in this post, I would share some titles that are impacted by this decision and their release dates. This list is not exhaustive as there are authors that are still finding out that their books would be impacted by this decision as it seems like the information is being released in a rollout-type fashion. I will definitely work to keep this list current as I find out others (or do follow up posts, if anything).

  • The Undead Truth Of Us by Britney S. Lewis (YA) Out now
  • Key Player by Kelly Yang (MG 4th in series) out 9/6
  • Amira & Hamza: The Quest For The Ring Of Power by Samira Ahmed (MG, 2nd book) out 9/20 (Paperback of Book 1 out 8/30)
  • The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron (MG) out 9/20
  • The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton (MG) out now (I wrote a post about this amazing book, which you can read here)
  • Sam’s Super Seats by Keah Brown (PB) out 8/23
  • Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango (MG) out 9/13
  • Omega Morales And The Legend of La Lucheza by Laekan Zea Kemp (MG) out 9/27
  • Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke (YA) Out now (this is a phenomenal book, btw)
  • Merci Suárez Plays It Cool by Meg Medina (MG Final in Series) Out now
  • Crown Of Flames by Sayantani DasGupta (MG 2nd in Series) Out 10/4
  • Shad Hadid And The Alchemists Of Alexandria by George Jreije (MG) out 10/4
My sentiment looking at this list

Here is a twitter thread from @BiruktiWrites with pre-order & ordering links. If you follow these authors on social media, they also share the local indies that will be carrying their books (thank Goodness for Indie Bookstores) and if you don’t follow them, I hope you will start. If you have it in your budget, please do support these authors at your local indie bookstores and even if you don’t have the funds, request their books at your local library. Nothing about this is easy for them and this will impact so many going forward, especially Authors Of Color, if this policy doesn’t change.

No, seriously we have to support these authors

Are there any books by Authors Of Color that you’ve heard has been impacted by this that you didn’t see on this list? Do you feel a way about this like I do? Let me know in the comments or on social media. You can find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like Authors of Color are able to thrive in these crazy times! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Tuning Out The World & Tuning Into Audiobooks

Hey there! So lately, I’ve really gotten into listening to audiobooks while driving, showering or going through my hair washing routine (it’s a very long process). I used to not be one for audiobooks because I’m not always the best with sitting and listening but while I’m in motion/completing a task seems to be a very different story.

The sweet spot has been found for me when it comes to audiobooks!

I also find that I’m more drawn to listening to adult romances on audio than YA (maybe its an unconscious attempt at manifestation, I dunno). It’s just something about listening to them on audiobook (especially when done well) that just does it for me! For instance, I was listening to Have We Met by Camille Baker (available on kindle unlimited, btw) and the narrator was talking about a scalp massage and I could feel it so much that I just yelled out “THAT IS SO HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT” (I’m sure it would’ve been funny to anyone listening). I submit my tweet about this as proof that I had done so, lol!

I really wasn’t kidding cause it takes trust for me to allow anyone to touch my hair, let alone massage my scalp!

When an audiobook is read well, it can evoke so much emotion, which I think is almost as important as the story itself, for me! So, I’m going to list 5 audiobooks that I really enjoyed, 1 YA and 4 adult, and what I liked about them (I have some YA books to listen to hopefully this is like a part 1)! So let’s get into it!

Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney: So if you read my blog, you know this is a book that I have featured (it’s also linked) and while I writing that review, I was in the process of listening to the audiobook. I wanted to see how it held up to narrative and I’m pleased to say that it did! I cackled just as much listening to it as I did while reading the ARC. The Narrator was really great at giving the different characters their own voices and keeping to the humor throughout the story! She gave voice to what I had only previously seen in my mind.

The Narrator carried!

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma: It’s not a secret that I absolutely loved this book. It gave me everything that I needed when I read it as an ARC and then again when I listened to the audiobook. The story is so so SO good, so funny, had great balance in its themes and has great steamy scenes! Both the narrators did an amazing job with this book and I would honestly listen to anything else that they narrate. Even though they didn’t read together, there was still a chemistry there so they did the characters & story justice (which is all I ask for in a re-read/listen). I’m so ready for the next book in the series!

Me, listening to those steamy scenes again!

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole: This is one that I found on audible and I really enjoyed it. It had a good plot twist, multiple points of view and multiple narrators & when it ended, I was searching for the next book in the series (which I haven’t seen posted since I last searched, which was before I wrote this post). There was some steam in this story which was good too. I’m hoping that the next book will be soon and they have multiple narrators like this one since it added so much depth to the story!

Of this world, PLEASE!

The Stand-In by Lily Chu: This was another book I found via audible and I really enjoyed it. The story was great, it gave a great twist, a nice balance to humor & grief and the narrator was HYSTERICAL! I laughed out loud several times while listening. She did an amazing job giving voice to the different characters. I do wish that there was more steam but that’s really just me. It played out like a C-Drama and if you’ve ever watched one, you know those give what needs to be gave! Lily recently came out with another story on audible with the same narrator but I haven’t listened to it yet (but I will soon)!

This was the type of laughing I did during this book

West Side Love Story by Priscilla Oliveras: I really enjoyed this remix/retelling, the story and the cast of characters that we got to meet. It was such a feel good listen and I found myself not wanting it to end. The narrator did a great job with the voices of the various characters though I honestly felt that since this was a dual perspective, there should’ve been a second narrator but that’s a personal preference of mine to keep with the fantasy I tend to place myself in when I read. I also would’ve loved more steam but again, another personal preference. I’m very excited for the next book in this series (which I had been hoping for & which character I hoped)!

It really did!

For me, an audiobook (both the narrator & story) should evoke emotion from me and make me not want to turn it off. The five that I mentioned did just that for me. While every audiobook doesn’t do it for me, whether its the narration or the story itself, I appreciate the experience that they provide (I honestly don’t know if I could ever narrate a full novel) and the breaks they give my eyes! Also, remember that listening to audiobooks is STILL reading (don’t be an ableist about it if you think its not) and good be a good way to get back into reading should you find yourself in a slump or find yourself at a crossroad as to what to read next!

They should make me feel like this or whatever the emotional response should be!

Do you listen to audiobooks? Have you listened to any of the ones on this list? Are there any that you highly recommend? I’ve been searching for more by authors of color so if you have any recs (especially if they have multiple narrators), please send them my way! Do holler at me either here in the comments or on social media. You can find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like someone listened to my processing when a hug isn’t possible (or I don’t feel like being touched cause that’s a thing for me too)! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Grief Is Truly A Beeotch: Some Books That Deal With It

Hey everyone! So it seems like grief has come up several times this week in conversations with others so I took it as a sign to do this post this week. As those of you who read & follow this blog or my social media know, I’ve been grieving the passing of my grandpa over a year & a half (it will be 2 years in December), which I’ve been pretty open about. It’s really not easy to think about but if you’re brain works like mine, it doesn’t stop the thoughts so its best to work toward finding a place of peace with it all and move with the knowledge that grief doesn’t have an end date so there is nothing to rush. Honestly, it’s made things easier for me when I remind myself or others of this fact.

It is Auntie Michelle but we move forward anyway

One of the things I’ve learned is that grief is extremely messy. It morphs in shape, especially when you feel you have a good grasp on it, it changes and brings up something new (I got hit with this okie doke just recently)…and you know what, that’s okay because I found it triggers evolution, even if it is tiny. Here’s the thing though, it’s those thoughts of that person/those people, that insure that they continue to live on. We may not see them in person but we’ll always have those moments, even if they don’t feel like enough at the time, most days. If its not a living being grieved but a situation/opportunity/etc, we can eventually achieve a sense of acceptance with that.

Grief really is!

For the longest time, I avoided books that had any sort of grief in them because I was so deep in mine that I couldn’t deal with anyone else’s, even a book characters. I couldn’t hold space for someone else because I was barely holding it for myself & no one was really able to comfort me because I’m not one for platitudes (I really, really am not). I was only able to hold myself together long enough to complete sessions with my students then would get wrapped tightly in that space of anger, hurt, and anything else that would fit with what I was feeling because like I had said, grief morphs and it’s one hell of a shape shifter… and everyone grieves differently so it has to be.

This was me, quite often after my Grandpa passed

Now that I’m in a different place with my grief, I wouldn’t say better but processing it in a healthier way (shoutout to my Black Lady therapist), I’m able to read books that have a theme of grief in them without breaking or shutting down and can receive them better. So I wanted to share five Middle Grade & Young Adult books that had a theme of grief but I sincerely valued for the journeys their characters went on.

To my Black Lady Therapist and these books

Theo Tan And The Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto (MG): Part of what I loved about this book was the humor that was strung throughout and another part being that it’s dual perspective. Even in the moments where it could’ve felt heavy, the humor wasn’t far behind from either Theo, Kai or both. I really appreciated that about this book. I seriously laughed more than anything and I learned a few things too!

I imagine that Kai would be like this every time she messed with someone, namely Theo!

Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow (MG): This is another book that had some great humor but what I connected to most about this book was the anger that Reggie experienced. For a long time (really, to this day), I was so angry about my grandpa’s passing and other things surrounding it. I wholeheartedly understood how he could be so angry & why. I think any kid, grieving or not, would enjoy this book.

This feels so accurate for Reggie & I can relate, heavily

Private Label by Kelly Yang (YA): This book showed that grief isn’t just about death and that it could have layers. I appreciated that it showed one character grappling the effect chronic illness could have on family/caregivers while the other deals with familial expectations & their own desires. For me, these dual perspectives gave this book great balance so it didn’t sit too heavy on my Spirit.

This is how I imagine the characters felt at times; caregivers as well

Deep In Providence by Riss M. Neilson (YA): I won’t lie, this book drop kicked me in my feels several times. This is especially since it is multiple perspective & they all have one one thing in common while having a slew of other things to pile on to that. Add grief with a bit of magic and it takes a whole different shape. This was a great read but I would definitely advise anyone who wants to read have tissues ready!

Or maybe you would prefer using your sleeves, either way, you’re eyes are likely to leak

The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman (YA): This was another book that drop kicked me in my feels but I was distracted by the mission the main character was on and the trips down memory lane. Her grief was palpable throughout but she used it as a motivator rather than a hindrance, which I really appreciated. This book showed how grief can move us in different ways and didn’t feel as heavy as it could’ve been because it felt like being in a movie (to me).

This book & the MC gave this energy and I lived!

There are so many ways to move with grief. Sometimes you stay still and other times you go full throttle, finding the in-between is the space to work towards. Reading characters that process grief in various ways was honestly a breath of fresh air. It felt healing in a way, because I didn’t feel as alone in my grief as I had previously. For me, reading has been really helpful in getting through tough times (fun fact, I read at my Grandpa’s viewing/funeral to keep from exploding), even if it means that the act is serving as an escape (as long a return to the real world happens).

I really did and a bit while writing this post, If I’m being honest (which I am)

So, if you are currently grieving, whether it’s fresh or years old, know that you are not alone, that there is someone holding space for you and that how you process it is valid. If you want to chat, then lets do so, either here in the comments or on social media. If you aren’t able to do so in an open forum, my DMs are open. You can find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like someone listened to my processing when a hug isn’t possible (or I don’t feel like being touched cause that’s a thing for me too)! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

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Hot Book Summer Is LITerally Sweltering: August Releases

Hey everyone! I’m not sure where you are in the world but where I’m at, it’s hotter than a metal chair left out in the sun all day! Not only is the temperature at a redonkulous high but so is the amount of books coming out this upcoming month (July went by hella fast!)!

It’s disrespectfully so!

Just a quick reminder that sometimes the release dates change so please double check the titles you are anticipating just in case! Some times I find out the week of original pub date that the dates got pushed back. Unfortunately, I can’t control publishing or supply chain issues (but could you imagine if I cooooooould?!). Anyways, I’m quite excited for so many of the books coming out so let’s get into this list:

Because there are quite a few books coming out
  • A Girl’s Guide To Love & Magic by Debbie Rigaud 8/2
  • Dauntless by Elisa Bonnin 8/2
  • Alliana, The Girl Of Dragons by Julie Abe *MG* 8/2
  • I Rise by Marie Arnold 8/2
  • What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla 8/2
  • Isaiah Dunn Saves The Day by Kelly J. Baptist *MG Sequel* 8/2
  • How To Date A Superhero (And Not To Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez 8/2
  • Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak *adult* 8/2
  • Stand Up by Brittany Cooper & Cathy Ann Johnson *PB* 8/2
  • The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon *adult series* 8/2
  • Ben and Beatriz A Novel by Katalina Gamarra *adult* 8/2
  • Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows by Tehlor Mejia *MG Sequel* 8/2
  • Long Past Summer A Novel By Noué Kirwan *NA* 8/2
  • It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano 8/2
  • Booked by Kwame Alexander *MG Graphic Novel* 8/2
  • Fault Tolerance by Valerie Valdes *Adult* 8/2
  • Mika In Real Life by Emiko Jean *adult* 8/2
  • The Mirror Series: Fractured Path by: J. C. Cervantes 8/2
  • How You Grow Wings by Rimma Onoseta 8/9
  • Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury *sequel* 8/9
  • Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky Graphic Novel by Kwame Mbalia *MG* 8/9
  • The Lies We Tell by Katie Zhao 8/9
  • The Undead Truth of Us by Britney Lewis 8/9
  • The Art of Prophecy A Novel By Wesley Chu *adult* 8/9
  • Surely Surely Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly *ER series* 8/9
  • Abuelita And I Make Flan by Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom *PB* 8/9
  • The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza *adult* 8/9
  • Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked The Civil Rights Movement by Angela Jay & Janelle Washington *PB* 8/9
  • Furysong by Rosaria Munda 8/9
  • Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda; Jorge Redmond *PB* 8/9
  • Surviving The Wild: Sunny The Shark by Remy Lai *MG* 8/9
  • Resistance: My Story of Activism by Frantzy Luzincourt *MG series* 8/9
  • The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings *adult* 8/9
  • The Memory Index by Julian R. Vaca *adult* 8/9
  • Fruit Punch A Memoir by Kendra Allen *adult* 8/9
  • The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope *adult* 8/9
  • The Neapolitan Sisters by Margo Candela *adult* 8/9
  • Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim *adult* 8/16
  • The Antiracist Kid: A Book About Identity, Justice, and Activism by Tiffany Jewell *MG* 8/16
  • If You Read This by Kereen Getten *MG* 8/16
  • The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri *sequel* 8/16
  • Eating While Black Food Shaming and Race in America by Psyche A. Williams-Forson *adult* 8/16
  • Tumble by Celia C. Pérez *MG* 8/16
  • The First Binding by R.R. Virdi *adult* 8/16
  • My Town/My Pueblo by Nicholas Solis *PB* 8/16
  • A Venom Dark And Sweet by Judy Lin *sequel* 8/23
  • My Government Meant To Kill Me by Rasheed Newson *adult* 8/23
  • Warrior Princess: The Story of Khutulun by Sally Deng *PB* 8/23
  • The Coquies Still Sing/Los Coquies Aun Cantan by Karina Nicole Gonzalez & Krystal Quiles *PB* 8/23
  • Azar On Fire by Olivia Abtahi 8/23
  • Aphrodite and the Duke A Novel by J.J. McAvoy *adult* 8/23
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna *adult* 8/23
  • To Catch A Raven by Beverly Jenkins *adult* 8/23
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang *adult* 8/23
  • This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves 8/23
  • If Your Babysitter Is A Bruja by Ana Siqueira & Irena Freitas *PB* 8/23
  • The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez *adult* 8/30
  • Park Row Magic Academy: A Taste Of Magic *MG* by J.Elle 8/30
  • Honest June: The Show Must Go On by Tina Wells *MG* 8/30
  • Amari And The Great Game by BB Alston *MG Sequel* 8/30
  • The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim *Sequel* 8/30
  • Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas 8/30
  • Patchwork by Matt de la Pena *PB* 8/30
  • ChupaCarter by George Lopez w/ Ryan Calejo *MG* 8/30
  • The Thread Collectors by By Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman *adult* 8/30
  • Bad at Love by Gabriela Martins 8/30
  • Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder by Valeria Burns *adult* 8/30
  • Walking in My Joy In These Streets By Jenifer Lewis *adult* 8/30
  • Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon & Evelyn Skye 8/30
Cause this list isn’t short

I got quite a few ARCs for this months releases, though not as many for past months, which actually allows me a bit of a reprieve (a sista is tired) but here are the ones I received in thanks to the Bookish Divine, Netgalley and publishers.

  • Alliana, The Girl Of Dragons by Julie Abe *MG*
  • What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla
  • How To Date A Superhero (And Not To Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez
  • Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak *adult*
  • The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon *adult series*
  • Ben and Beatriz A Novel by Katalina Gamarra *adult*
  • Long Past Summer A Novel By Noué Kirwan *NA*
  • It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano
  • Fault Tolerance by Valerie Valdes *Adult*
  • Mika In Real Life by Emiko Jean *adult*
  • The Undead Truth of Us by Britney Lewis
  • The Art of Prophecy A Novel By Wesley Chu *adult*
  • The Neapolitan Sisters by Margo Candela *adult*
  • Surely Surely Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly *ER series*
  • Surviving The Wild: Sunny The Shark by Remy Lai *MG*
  • The Antiracist Kid: A Book About Identity, Justice, and Activism by Tiffany Jewell *MG*
  • Tumble by Celia C. Pérez *MG*
  • A Venom Dark And Sweet by Judy Lin *sequel*
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna *adult*
  • Park Row Magic Academy: A Taste Of Magic *MG* by J.Elle
  • Amari And The Great Game by BB Alston *MG Sequel*
  • Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas
  • The Thread Collectors by By Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman *adult*
  • Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon & Evelyn Skye
I’m excited for this list!

Despite the fact that I’ve been reading like a madwoman, I am behind in my ARC TBR & am currently finishing up my July ARCs so I won’t get to start reading my August ARCS until after the 2nd. Though, I just found out that Dauntless by Elisa Bonnin got pushed back & I read it when I thought it came out in July! I do hope to catch up this month!

I really really am!

What are y’all excited for this month? Did I miss any coming out by POC authors (quick shout out to my bookstagram homie @raethereviewer for reminding me of a few titles)?! Please let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic (I finally got my account access back AYEEEEEEEEE), Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve been reading while enjoying a cool treat on a hot day! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wish you happy reading!

Byeeeeee
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If Books Were A Bubble Tea

Hey Y’all! So I don’t l know about y’all but if there are a few things that are constantly on my mind and it would be books and bubble tea…literally, I’m always thinking of them so it was only a matter of time before I had a post like this.

Literally me when a bubble tea is in front of me or I’m thinking about it.

Some time ago, I did a post on IG for a book (I think it was Loveboat Taipei but I couldn’t find the post) where I showed every bubble tea I drank while reading that book and I think it was like 4 or 5 in the 3 day span… and before you ask, YES, I can drink that many bubble teas in a few days (I’ve done more than that when I first discovered it). I’ve also shared bubble teas & books I was reading at the time as well (I did this for A Magic Steeped In Poison by Judy I Lin, Girl Giant & The Monkey King by Van Hoang and Bruised by Tanya Boteju), especially if they matched! But this post is different where I’m picking 4 of my favorite bubble teas (all with Boba though other toppings could work too) and a book that I felt paired well with it. So let’s get into it!

I am not going to lie…I drooled a bit looking at this gif!

Thai TeaZyla & Kai by Kristina Forest. I picked this book because even in the moments where it was tough for the characters, it was still incredibly sweet to experience. It’s a book that I would happily recommend because it just felt right and was gratifying in the end, I feel the same about Thai Tea too!

They both definitely are!

Peach Matcha LatteHow Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra. I paired these two together because when you read HMGF, you may think Maya may do or say one thing but ends up doing another and I feel that this tea/fruit combo is the same. And like the drink, you finish this book feeling full and happy you got it.

I think so about both!

Rose Green TeaThis Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron. So everyone knows how I loved This Poison Heart and I loved the sequel as much as I love Rose Green Tea. Both give intense moments but also are incredibly hard to put down. They are both incredibly satisfying to complete though you maybe a little sad its over when you do.

Both book and the tea!

Lavender Black TeaFlip The Script by Lyla Lee. I picked this combination because like when I have a lavender black tea, I found myself very relaxed and in a happy place as I read this book. This a pair that is good for when you need uplifting and that you can finish with a happy sigh.

Exactly this sentiment

In my opinion, there is not a bad time to have a bubble tea (or tea period) with a book ever. Since I drink bubble tea fairly often, I’m sure I will do another post like this because I really enjoyed pairing books to teas…it’s almost like book matchmaking! Are there any teas you would like to see me pair with a book? Do you agree or disagree with these pairings? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @crystalyogi22 (I’m STILL emailing Instagram every free moment I think to (and they must be really sick of me) in order to regain access to it. You can safely follow @bookishgirlmagic, that’s me but am still having trouble getting these people to understand why I can’t log into it. *UGH*), Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve been keeping to my bookish intents this year! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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Kinda Sorta Mid-Year Accountability Check

Hey Y’all! So it’s been an odd week for me (two really) and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Have you had times like these? If you have, we understand each other and are in the struggle together. If you haven’t, well, you are very lucky and I would love to know your secret!

Me, really trying to figure out this weird energy

Since it’s been a weird week for me, filled with work, deep napping, reading, emailing instagram (yea, I’m still dealing with that), a very off sleep schedule and more reading; I hadn’t felt inspired for a post for a list or singular book (and I try not to write about books with low energy). Being that I’m feeling this way, I figured I would do an accountability check of sorts since I did a post prior to the new year of bookish intents for 2022 and we are a little more than half way through the year (which is WILD to me). So, let’s see where I’m at with these intents, shall we?

Or you read or whatever, lol

1) Remain Transparent & Authentic.-I think I’ve been doing a good job keeping up with this…I believe it’s really part of my brand/who I am as a person to be transparent when the time calls for it and authentic at all times. Am I outchea tellin’ all my bidness? Heck No. Am I telling my truth & keeping it real? Yup! I don’t plan on changing this about me.

I’m glad to check this one off

2) Remain Consistent In Posting.-Last week almost ruined this but I’ve been doing my due diligence in posting here once a week even before this year started. I’ll be honest & say that it’s not always easy for me but I made a commitment to this blog and I intend to keep it. I do want to get back to my regular Wednesday posting but I’m giving myself grace at this point in time if I don’t.

Technically, I’m still doing this but I could be better

3) To Share More Of What I Read.-I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job in doing this by posting lists but I could certainly do even better! Hopefully, you all have been enjoying the lists I’ve been posting though! If there is more that you want to know about what I’m reading, let me know in the comments!

Burgundy suit is me…I’m so so (IMO) here but want to do better!

4) To Engage More On Social Media.-I’m not gon’ lie, I’ve not been doing so great with this outside of commenting on other people’s posts & liking them…I’ve done lives and what not but I could do much better with this… It feels sometimes like social media is another job that I didn’t realize it would be.

I know, I know!

5) To Do More Author Interviews.-This is one I wish I was doing more of and did with J.Elle earlier in the year and Sonja Thomas on IG Live but that has been it at this point. I do hope to change this but I will also give myself grace on that as well. I want to try to work on this once I get my bookishgirlmagic account access back!

There’s nothing like a 90’s R&B gif to express this sentiment, lol!

I do hope to continue to hold fast to these intents and work on making them happen in order to keep to & honor the mission of this blog! I appreciate you all being apart of this journey, cause that’s truly what this is because even when my energy is weird, I still look forward to working on this blog in some way (not me getting a little sappy)!

I may get a little weepy tho

Anyways, let me know how I’m doing with these intents from your perspective in the comments or on social media! Is there more you would like to see from me? Weigh in with me on Instagram @crystalyogi22 (since my bookstagram got hacked, I’m STILL emailing Instagram every free moment I think to (and they must be sick of me) in order to regain access to it. You can safely follow @bookishgirlmagic, that’s me but am still having trouble getting these people to understand why I can’t log into it. *UGH* Please follow my OG account and if anyone has some helpful tips or knows someone who works for IG, please hit me up), Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve been keeping to my bookish intents this year! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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Why Wasn’t This Hyped More? Books That Deserved More

Hey there! So I don’t know about you, but have you ever read a book that you’re like “why didn’t I see more of this book before it released?”, “where was all the hype?” and “now, I have to tell the world about this book!” I’ve read quite a few books that I have loved so much that I was like “this deserved so much more notoriety than it got” & could’ve argued the publisher down as to why they dropped the ball on the publicity despite being smart enough to acquire it!

This is how I be looking at these publishers & what I want to ask them when I finish these phenomenal & phenomenally under-hyped (IMO) books.

I’ve written several posts about other books that I’ve loved and mentioned that they weren’t hyped enough in the past. Since new books are constantly coming out, I’ve got a few more that I would like to add to that list! I think each of these books have something(s) in common when it comes to their humor and romance, now that I think about it. For me, books with great humor & some romance has been a saving grace for me (if I’m being honest, which I always am, with y’all). Anyways, here are four books that I loved and think deserved more PR & to be added to your TBR, if they aren’t already.

No, but for real for real, these books gave what I needed to be given & you likely will feel the same once you read them

A Summer Between Bitter And Sweet by Jen Ferguson: When I began reading this book, I was instantly entranced. I couldn’t tell you what I expected when I started it but I just knew that I had a great feeling about it…and my bookish spidey sense was on point. I laughed A LOT, I got a little weepy at times but no matter what, I felt balanced emotionally the entire time. The sign of a great book, for ME, is that I experience the vast range of human emotions and that’s exactly what I got. The cast of characters were brilliant in their banter and the parts that they shared of themselves. I also appreciated seeing my people where I least expected them (one of the characters was Trinidadian and while we are everywhere, the specificity wasn’t lost on me & it meant a lot). This is a book that, while it takes place in the summer, can be read in any season and enjoyed all the same. Oh, and if you love ice cream, be prepared to crave it A LOT while reading!

You could be feeling emotional at one moment but then laughing hysterically in the next.

Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey: On one of my many netgalley raids, I saw this gorgeous cover & just knew that I had to read it. I absolutely judge books by their covers and this one definitely passed with flying colors. You all know that Dual POV’s are my jam and the moment I saw that that was part of what this book would give, I was elated! The characters were hysterical and incredibly badass. Though this book took place in the past, the humor felt current and not out of place. I also enjoyed the air of mystery (I do like playing detective while I read too) on top of their budding love story. This book is inspired by actual figures in history, which was like a cherry & whip cream on top of your favorite dessert (that’s the HistorNerd in me)!

They gave this energy when they weren’t cutting up or thinking of each other.

The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes: This book was one that I received in a surprise box of ARCs from HarperCollins and it was my first time learning of this book. When I tell you I’ve recommended this book NUMEROUS times since I finished reading it, I kid you not, I really have! I’ve tweeted about it as well. I laughed so much while reading and just loved the way the MC’s mind worked along with the banter and dynamics with her brother and eventual love interest. There were a few moments where I felt a little weepy but overall, I felt so good reading that I didn’t want to put it down. I think anyone who reads this book, would really enjoy it, hence why I keep telling people to read it (that includes you too, clearly).

Me, each time I bring up this book…because seriously, it needs to be added to your TBR and read ASAP!

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth: This is a book I found on one of my netgalley comb throughs (to be honest, I still haven’t seen anything for this book and its been out a hot second) and this was a worth while approval. As someone who is a nerd, this book spoke to me as it was a dual POV between 2 nerds (I do so love when a book speaks nerdy to me). While their nerd-outs were different from mine (as implied by the title, it involves mechanics), I still appreciated how invested the characters were in their futures & interests. I laughed a lot during this read, the banter was great and it didn’t feel heavy, even when there was potential for it to be.

Nerd love should seriously be celebrated more!

As I think about these books, I’m still trying to figure out why they didn’t get more hype without spoiling them & honoring them in the way they deserve. As I stated earlier, I clearly have a criteria in what I love in books (great banter, humor, [potential] romance & balance of heavy and light) and all of these more than met that. If you haven’t read any of these books, I implore you to change that.

To add these books to your TBR because they are great and deserve more recognition.

Are there any books that you feel strongly weren’t hyped enough? Have you read any of the ones I’ve listed here? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @crystalyogi22 (since my bookstagram got hacked, I’m STILL emailing Instagram every free moment I think to (and they must be sick of me) in order to regain access to it. I have gotten it reactivated but am still having trouble getting these people to understand why I can’t log into it. *UGH* Please follow my OG account and if anyone has some helpful tips or knows someone who works for IG, please hit me up), Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve discovered more great reads that I want to talk incessantly about! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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Hot Book Summer Is Heating Up: July Releases

Hey everyone! Well, this week has been one heck of one but we are in a new month! It feels like time is flying by but also not in some cases…it’s really weird! It also got really hot and that feels sudden…or is that just my heat intolerant self?!

Seriously, is it just me here?!

Annnnnnyway, with a new month comes new books and its coming for all our bank accounts & library holds (though it feels a little lighter than the last few months…or that could just be me)! I compiled a list about it. Like to hear it? Here it go (if you know the reference, you know the reference & we can be friends, lol)!

This man lives rent-free in my head
  • The Charmed List by Julie Abe 7/5
  • What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri 7/5
  • The Darkening by Sunya Mara 7/5
  • Nura And The Immortal Palace by M.T Khan *MG* 7/5
  • Honey And Spice by Bolu Babalola *new adult* 7/5
  • Remixed: A Blended Family by Arree Chung *PB* 7/5
  • Chester Keene Cracks The Code by Kekla Magoon *MG* 7/5
  • Wash Day Diaries By Jamila Rowser & Robyn Smith 7/5
  • Keya Das’s Second Act by Sopan Deb *adult* 7/5
  • Dear Miss Metropolitan by Carolyn Ferrell *adult* 7/5
  • The Moment We Met by Camille Baker *adult* 7/5
  • Be Real, Macy Weaver by Lakita Wilson *MG* 7/12
  • Circling Back to You A Novel by Julie Tieu *adult* 7/12
  • How Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra 7/12
  • Bet on It A Novel by Jodie Slaughter *adult* 7/12
  • The Last Beekeeper by Pablo Cartaya *MG* 7/12
  • Other Names For Love by Taymour Soomro *adult* 7/12
  • Granny’s Kitchen by Sade Smith & Ken Daley *PB* 7/12
  • Spider-Man’s Social Dilemma by Preeti Chhibber *MG* 7/12
  • Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann *MG* 7/12
  • All Four Quarters of the Moon by Shirley Marr *MG* 7/12
  • Figure Of Speech by Kasha Thompson *adult* 7/12
  • Big Girl By Mecca Jamilah Sullivan *adult* 7/12
  • Sister Mother Warrior By Vanessa Riley *adult* 7/12
  • Harry Sylvester Bird by Chinelo Okparanta *adult* 7/12
  • The Daughter of Doctor Moreau By Silvia Moreno-Garcia *adult* 7/19
  • Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander *adult* 7/19
  • Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin 7/19
  • Thirst by Varsha Bajaj *MG* 7/19
  • The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson *adult* 7/19
  • The Kingdoms Of Savannah by George Dawes Green *adult* 7/19
  • Skeletina And The In-Between World by Susie Jaramillo *PB & Spanish Edition* 7/19
  • The Last Feather by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou 7/19
  • Twisted Hate by Ana Huang *adult* 7/19
  • Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Dawn of Yangchen by F.C. Yee *sequel* 7/19
  • Because You Are by Jael Richardson *PB* 7/19
  • Send Her Back And Other Stories by Munashe Kaseke *adult* 7/25
  • After Hours On Milagro Street by Angelina M. Lopez *adult* 7/26
  • A Girl’s Guide To Love And Magic by Debbie Rigaud 7/26
  • Team Chu And the Battle Of Blackwood Arena by Julie C. Dao *MG* 7/26
  • Twice As Perfect by Louisa Onome 7/26
  • Beasts Of Ruin by Ayana Gray *sequel* 7/26
  • Blue Bloods: After Life by Melissa De La Cruz 7/26
  • Violet Made Of Thorns by Gina Chen 7/26
  • Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke 7/26
  • More Than Peach by Bellen Woodard *PB* 7/26
  • Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min 7/26
  • Stirring Up Trouble by Chandra Blumbery *adult* 7/26   
  • Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow *MG* 7/26
  • Twice A Quinceanera by Yamile Saied Mendez *adult* 7/26
  • Knot Again by Kwana Jackson *adult sequel* 7/26
  • Booked On A Feeling by Jayci Lee *adult* 7/26
  • Boys I Know by Anna Garcia 7/26
  • Nobody’s Princess Erica Ridley *adult* 7/26
  • Calling for a Blanket Dance A Novel by Oscar Hokeah *adult* 7/26
  • POŪKAHANGATUS by Tayi Tibble *adult* 7/26
  • Man Or The Monster by Aamna Qureshi *Sequel* 7/26
  • A Hundred Other Girls by Iman Hariri-Kia *adult* 7/26
  • The Witchery by S. Isabelle 7/26
  • It Started With A Dance by Tinia Montford *adult* 7/28
Publishers are still tryna keep us busy this summer!

I’ve been blessed by the Bookish Gawds yet again. Here are the ARCS that I have thanks to Netgalley and these books respective publishers!

  • The Charmed List by Julie Abe
  • What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri
  • Nura And The Immortal Palace by M.T Khan *MG*
  • Honey And Spice by Bolu Babalola *new adult*
  • Wash Day Diaries By Jamila Rowser & Robyn Smith
  • Be Real, Macy Weaver by Lakita Wilson *MG*
  • Circling Back to You A Novel by Julie Tieu *adult*
  • How Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra
  • Sister Mother Warrior By Vanessa Riley *adult*
  • Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander *adult*
  • Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin
  • Thirst by Varsha Bajaj *MG*
  • The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson *adult*
  • After Hours On Milagro Street by Angelina M. Lopez *adult*
  • Team Chu And the Battle Of Blackwood Arena by Julie C. Dao *MG*
  • Twice As Perfect by Louisa Onome
  • Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke
  • Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow *MG*
  • Twice A Quinceanera by Yamile Saied Mendez *adult*
  • Knot Again by Kwana Jackson *adult sequel*
  • Booked On A Feeling by Jayci Lee *adult*
  • Boys I Know by Anna Garcia
  • Nobody’s Princess Erica Ridley *adult*
Truly (but like, this is pretty much every month so I do know better)

Thanks to whatever energy has decided to descend my life into chaos (yes…I’m, in part, alluding to my bookstagram IG getting hacked and the other parts are just part of being human and ish going left), I am behind on my ARC TBR so I haven’t gotten to start my July ARCs yet but I’m literally planning to start this weekend!

Like the level of sad I am over this…

Did I miss any books coming out by POC authors this month (I’m not perfect folx, my homegirl @raethereviewer had a few I didn’t have so go check out her page & follow her!)? Are there any books that you are excited for this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @crystalyogi22 (since my bookstagram got hacked & I’m emailing Instagram every free moment I think of it to regain access to it, I’m seriously fighting for my life here y’all. Please follow my OG account and if anyone has some helpful tips or knows someone who works for IG, please hit me up), Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve gotten to sit on the beach to relax and read! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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My Spirit Demands More POC Romances

Hi y’all! I hope you are holding up as well as you possibly can! So, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that I went on a bit of a rant about wanting more POC romances…and you know what, I’ve been dying to say that out loud for a hot minute! Like, I literally think this at least 5 times a day so it’s been sitting heavy on my Spirit and couldn’t contain it any more! See Exhibit A below.

The link is attached…but I couldn’t hold it in any longer!

Not too much on Biracial romances because they exist and are more than valid (I’m not here for erasure) but EYEEEEEEEE really want to see more romances where POCs seek and desire other POCs. Is that asking too much? Is that an irrational request? To see myself & my friends desired by someone who could have similar backgrounds and experiences? I really don’t think that this an an unrealistic ask. I understand when an author is biracial themselves or is in a biracial relationship (namely, Black & White) but there are so many narratives pushed about white desirability and it’s a fantasy I can’t ever get with…I really really can’t folx, nor do I want to to keep it 100%.

I truly don’t think so!

On the real, there is nothing like reading a romance where the MCs sit and talk about their experiences in their Black/AAPI/Latinx/Indigenous/Immigrant households. When I read scenes like that, I feel like I’m there because I’m Black & grew up in an Immigrant household with most of my friends who are Black & Latinx and either are immigrants or are children of immigrants. Like, I just really want more of that with lots of loving & adoring gazes, kissing and steam (in adult because I’m not a creeper asking for that in YA) woven in.

The joy that those thoughts brought to my spirit…I need more of that

So, with all of that being said, I’m going to give y’all a list of recent YA and adult books that give us just that because it’s what we all deserve! I did a post earlier in the year with a few romance suggestions, but I wanted to give you a list with more recent reads.

This list is my offering to you all, really
  • Young Adult
    • The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo
    • Loveboat, Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen
    • An Arrow To The Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
    • My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by Sajni Patel
    • Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney
    • Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee
    • A Summer Between Bitter And Sweet by Jen Ferguson
    • Nate Plus One by Kevin Van Whyte
    • The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
    • Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho
    • Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
    • Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe
    • Flip The Script by Lyla Lee
    • My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth
    • Private Label by Kelly Yang
    • Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest

A Note: I just want to apologize in advance of you reading the adult list because it is a heteronormative list. I’ve been working on broadening my reading horizons and do have some LGBTQIA+ reads in my ARC TBR but have not gotten to them yet and in this case, I want to be sure that the romances both POC MCs & Love interests.

  • Adult (The spice levels vary, for those who care about that but I’m not commenting on that because that’s not what this post is about…ask me in the comments if you really wanna know)
    • Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
    • Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma (this book is perfection)
    • Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell by Taj McCoy
    • Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper
    • What A Match by Mimi Grace
    • Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh
    • By The Book by Jasmine Guillory
    • The Emma Project by Sonali Dev
    • Off Script by Ashley Marie
    • Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
    • On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi
    • Good Morning, Love by Ashley M. Coleman
How I feel about these books

On the real y’all, I really wish these lists were longer & I hope that they will be in the future (I know a few authors who are working on this, thankfully). I don’t just want this for myself but for others who want to see themselves adored & desired by someone who looks like them or as a similar background to them, teens and adults alike.

Even more so than Kel does seeing this Orange sooooooda!

Am I alone in this sentiment? Let me know if I’m alone in this or if you have any recommendations in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read a bunch of romances with POC MCs & Love Interests! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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I Can’t Help Marveling At The Marvellers

  • Dhonielle Clayton
  • MG Debut; 7th Book
  • Genre: MG Fantasy
  • Background: Black
  • Instagram: @brownbookworm; Twitter: @brownbookworm; www.dhonielleclayton.com
  • Release: 1/25/2022 (this NEEDS to be in your TBR!)
  • Publisher: Henry Holt
  • Favorite Character: Jason! I loved how he interacted with both humans and adults; he also had some really great moments that made his character so easy to love!
  • Favorite Quote(s): “I’m putting the hoodoo-hot sauce in the top drawer. You know the food here isn’t going to have the taste from home.”-Ella’s Mom. I don’t know about anyone else but I read this as “they only use salt and pepper and call it seasoning”, or maybe that’s just me! Either way, I cackled loudly because it would be a Black mama to carry around something, be it spices, snacks or mini-emergency kits because she is likely to find something lacking where ever she goes.
This is what Ella’s mama was giving and I’m here for that sort of energy!

Before I start this post, I have to say that I’m a big Dhonielle Clayton fan and am forever in love with The Belles, especially the cover (I have a huge poster of it hung up in my apartment, if there is any doubt). I don’t recall when Dhonielle announced that she was doing a middle grade but I know I’ve been anticipating this book for a LONGGGGGGG time and The Marvellers was worth every moment of anticipation! I did speak a little bit about it when I did a live on IG, which you can see here and mentioned it in my most recent MG books post but I really wanted to give The Marvellers it’s own dedicated post (especially after a certain publication tried to play in Dhonielle’s face).

I have been from the moment I picked up The Belles and that won’t ever change!

As I was reading this book, it felt like a love letter to everyone (young and old) that wanted to see themselves in a magic school but weren’t written in (no shadè to a particular book…well, maybe a little). It felt like a space where no one had to imagine themselves there because we (I include myself in this) were already there. From the first page, to the last, it felt like a “welcome home” which is so important when it comes to MG & YA books (mirrors, windows & sliding doors my friend). The Marvellers was definitely a book that I know I would’ve wanted to be as a pre-teen/teen and it’s world a place that I would want to be as an adult. I can only imagine what a young Latesha would’ve felt if she had this book in her hands but I won’t have to imagine it putting this book into the hands of my Godson and any other kid I come across…this a beyond beautiful feeling.

It felt like a wonderful welcome too

I have to say that there is something incredibly special when on any given page, you can see something from your culture, your name (mine wasn’t but maybe book 2? I’ll hold out hope, lol), your identity. For example, when I tell you I got super hyped at the mention of Trinidadian curry…like y’all…Y’ALL, not everyone knows the nuances of different curries, let alone the countries that make them, it made me incredible happy that Trinidadian curry was included in the list. Honestly, Trini curry should NOT be slept on (it’s the best curry in MYYYYYY opinion) and it was taking it’s rightful place in the pantheon of curries in The Marvellerse! I’m in my *cough* late 30s *cough* and the level of excitement I felt shouldn’t have made sense but it did because I hadn’t read that in any other book and I’ve read a lot of books. It had me so hyped that I decided to tweet at Dhonielle a bunch of ideas of Haitian foods to include because EYEEEEE felt that you can’t have a worldly cafeteria without Haitian Food!

The tweet is linked to this picture but I included other ideas, I was so hyped. Also, I misspelled Griyo so it should’ve been “Griot’s Griyo”

Another aspect that I loved about The Marvellers that went with that welcome home feeling, was that Dhonielle wrote in quite a few familiar author names, whether they were adults or students. With that, it felt like being amongst people who care and who would want to be there since they were all YA authors who have really worked to bring forth visibility of children of color & queer rep within literature (of course, it helped that some of the names are people who I’ve met IRL so that added another layer). When you’ve attended as many book events as I have (pre-panorama but even post), you are able to get a feel for those in this world and who not only talks but actually shows how about this work they are. Seeing those names in The Marvellerse, along with having this amazing author who has always be vocal on representation, that made this book a truly safe space.

In every sense of the term!

Speaking of safe spaces, one of the things I loved most about this book was the friendships that Ella developed. Did some of the kids at the school play like she wasn’t finna be the dopest Marveller/Conjuror there? Yea they did but I firmly believe that your people will find you and find Ella they did. When Jason, the homie, stepped onto the page, I was like “you are it” and that he would become the second in what I knew would be the eventual magical trifecta of this book. Then when Brigit begrudgingly came around (you have to read to understand this statement), I felt she would complete the triumvirate and I lived. Sure, they are on the US cover but it still hits different when they step onto the scene. I’m truly a sucker for a great friend group (which MGs are really good at serving) and this one was no exception. They complimented each other in all the right ways, were funny & silly together and supported when it really counted. I couldn’t help rooting for them the entire time like you would any MVP & their team!

They certainly were in their individual shining moments & as a team!

Part of what I loved about Ella, Jason & Brigit is that they each brought something unique to the story and I honestly wouldn’t have minded their perspectives (maybe in future books) but it was really important to be rooted in Ella’s first. Ella is coming from distinctly different magical world into another and finding her footing. She’s deemed an outsider and a threat (but unfortunately not in the fact that her intelligence & abilities would leave her peers in the dust) which she handled with a lot more grace than she was given. What makes Jason & Brigit special is the fact that, they too, are outsiders in a sense when it comes to their backgrounds and abilities (I’ll let you read to find out what those are). So when they bond with Ella, it felt like a home (I’m using that word a lot huh? It’s fitting though) was created and they were capable of anything. There is a level of trust that they develop that could be felt and that was super important to the dynamic out the gate as well as to what they would go through together.

Well, the real three! They are just so special together!

After I finished reading The Marvellers, I was like “there was NO WAYYYY that this could be a duology and it needs to be at least three books but really five” (I may or may not have said something to the folx I know at MacMillan) and I was BEYOND thrilled when it was announced that The Marvellerse would be at least four books (I’m holding out hopes for more with potential for YA cross-over because I believe in Ella that much & want to manifest this). Dhonielle sprinkled in so many bread crumbs throughout that made it feel like there are quite a few threads to unravel in this world that extends past the Villain, who actually makes herself known in a pretty unique way (I know I’m not saying much about her but that’s on purpose since she is apart of the experience/mystery of this magical world). It’s clear there is so much for Ella to learn about herself, being a Conjuror and the Marveller world…and I want to be present for every single moment.

I’m not afraid to ask in this case!

There is so much that I could say about this book… How it felt like a homage to the vastness of Black culture but still honors other traditions. How it’s a breath of fresh air despite how many times I held my breath reading the twists & turns Ella experiences. How refreshing it was to read magic that is unique to the characters, their cultures and experiences. How it felt like Dhonielle was holding readers with just as much care as she did her characters. It felt like such an honor and a privilege to read this book knowing the cannon of work it opens up for generations to come. To say that I loved this book, is an understatement, and I felt like it deserved more than just a paragraph in a list when it meant so much more to me than that.

The Marvellers truly is

So, if you haven’t added this book to your TBR, you really should change that. If you are an educator, you really should add this book to your curriculum and/or class library because there is so much that could be taught from it. Librarians, you already know what needs to be done! Parents, caregivers, put this book in your kids hands because they deserve to see themselves on the page, having adventures and learning about themselves just as much as they will others. This book is a gift and an offering, in my humble opinion.

On the real people, just make it happen!

Okay y’all, I’ve written enough and now it’s time for you to holler at your favorite bookstore or branch of the library to get your hands on The Marvellers, if you haven’t already. If you wanna chat about this book or ask me more questions, you know you can find me out in these e-streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve seen myself in a magical world & found a home there! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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If You’re Looking For Laughs And Adventure, Look At These Middle Grades!

Hello, Hello, Hello! Before I start up this post, I recently saw that this blog has reached 500 subscribers and the gasp that emerged from my Soul was such a loud one that you likely heard it from where ever you are in the world (never underestimate my ability to project, lol)! I’m so incredibly thankful to each and every person that has chosen to subscribe and I hope that I can continue to Give what you are looking for. I am at a loss for further words but this milestone means SOOOOOOOOOOO very much to me and I wanted to let you know! So thank you, thank you, thaaaaaaank you for being here!

No, but like, seriously THANK YOU!

Just a heads up that this post is week is going to be short. It is has been a little tough but I didn’t want to leave you all hanging nor abandon the intent that I set for this year (Posting once a week & sharing more of what I read, if you wanted the sparknotes, lol). I do want you all to go out and read all of the books your heart desires so a short post will help you all to do so (This makes sense to me, lol)!

What can I say, really? lol! It’s just been one of those weeks *sigh*

So I have been thinking about some of the middle grades that I’ve read in the last few months and have been loving the adventures they’ve taken me on along with the laughs that I had along the way. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about middle grades that I enjoyed and I’m continuously reading them so I wanted to share some more, especially with summer upon us and I’m sure books with some excitement would be appreciated for those who actually do the reading challenges (does Pizza Hut still do those? Did I just show my age if they don’t? Somebodies library somewhere has to be doing them, right?!)!

This was me whenever I finished the challenges, lol!

Anyway, here is a short list and most of them are the start of a new series (which may either deeply excite you or frustrate you, depending on how you choose to look at it, lol):

  • Winnie Zeng Unleashes A Legend by Katie Zhao: I laughed a ton and really enjoyed the approach to Chinese mythology!
  • The Marvellers By Dhonielle Clayton: This was the magical school of my dreams and I lived for the world that was built!
  • Freddie Vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua: Freddie was ridiculously funny and super relatable in all he went through!
  • Zachery Ying And The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao: I loved Zach so much & the Chinese history lessons this book gave!
  • Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas: I related so much to Hassani, both in Spirit & Life and I think so many would as well!
  • Theo Tan And The Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto: Theo & Kai are the comedic duo I never knew I needed & I cackled A LOT!
  • The Last Fallen Moon, Sequel to The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim: I just started reading but so far, it is giving me what I was hoping for! It comes out on 6/14/22 so you don’t have long to wait!
Issa short list but a good one and I think you’ll love all of these!

I know that wasn’t a wholeeeeeeee lot to go on but trust me…as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of Middle Grade Books, I promise that all these books will deliver on the laughs & adventures along with hijinxs with friends (I really do love a good group of friends). They’re all such great representations of the caliber of MGs that are coming out now and would love to see them in the hands of more people (kids & adults alike, really). I have some more middle grades that I’ll be reading soon so I will eventually report on them because I can’t NOT talk about MG as it holds a big part of my heart just as YA does!

In a good way, of course! You know I’m a reliable source for books and I wouldn’t ever lead you astray…*flutters eyelashes rapidly* lol

Are there any MGs that you have read that you really enjoyed? Have you read any that are on the list and would you co-sign? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read a middle grade that had me laughing while on an adventure! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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Hot Book Summer Is Upon Us: June Releases

Hey there! I can’t believe a new month is upon us, that we are already in June and the fact that it’s coming for all our bank accounts & library holds! There is so many books coming out and many of them are some that I have been highly anticipating! I don’t know about y’all but my mind is on books, the beach and reading on the beach (yea, yea, I know, I gotta adult before I do those things…*deep sigh*)!

I’m ready for this to be me y’all..I’m so so ready!

Now, take this list at face value because the way that supply chain issues and publishing has been playing in our faces with some of these release dates…so just be sure to double check the dates and my recommendation is to check is the publisher websites (and y’all know that you can trust my recommendations *wink* *wink*). Also, if you reference this list, please do share this post too! Thank you!

You can never be too careful folx!

Anyway, let’s get to this list:

  • Zo And The Forest Of Secrets by Alake Pilgrim *MG* 6/2
  • A Proposal They Can’t Refuse A Novel by Natalie Caña *adult* 6/7
  • Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest 6/7
  • TJ Powar Has Something To Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo 6/7
  • This Place Is Still Beautiful by XiXi Tian 6/7
  • Meet Me In Mumbai by Sabrina Khan 6/7
  • Sunflower Sisters by Monika Singh Gangotra *PB* 6/7
  • The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen 6/7
  • Tomorrow y Mañana by Monica Gomez-Hira 6/7
  • Fireworks by Alice Lin 6/7
  • Off Script by Ashley Marie *adult* 6/7
  • Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen *adult* 6/7
  • Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang *MG* 6/7
  • You Are A Champion by Marcus Rashford *MG* 6/7
  • Out There Into The Queer New Yonder Edited by Saundra Mitchell 6/7
  • Somewhere We Are Human Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings By Reyna Grande, Sonia Guiñansaca, Foreword by Viet Thanh Nguyen *adult* 6/7
  • I Want to Be a Vase By Julio Torres *PB* 6/7
  • Empress Crowned In Red by Ciannon Smart *Sequel* 6/7
  • The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin & Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich *YA Edition* 6/14
  • The Last Fallen Moon by Graci Kim *MG Sequel* 6/14
  • Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith 6/14
  • Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey 6/14
  • In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo *MG* 6/14
  • Thank You, Next by Andie J. Christopher *adult* 6/14
  • Under The Skin by Linda Villarosa *adult* 6/14
  • The Catch Me If You Can by Jessica Nabongo *adult* 6/14
  • Asian Ghost Short Stories Foreword by K. Hari Kumar, Intro by Luo Hui *adult* 6/14
  • Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tolá Okogwu  *MG* 6/14
  • The Silence that Binds Us By Joanna Ho 6/14
  • The Loophole by Naz Kutib 6/21
  • This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron *sequel* 6/21
  • Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley *adult* 6/21
  • The Sleepless by Victor Manibo 6/21
  • Don’t Go Baking My Heart by N.G. Peltier *Adult series* 6/21
  • American Desi by Jyoti Rajan Gopal & Supriya Kelkar *PB 6/21
  • We Weren’t Looking to Be Found by Stephanie Kuehn 6/21
  • On Rotation A Novel by Shirlene Obuobi *adult* 6/21
  • The Final Strife A Novel By Saara El-Arifi *adult* 6/21
  • Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho *adult* 6/21
  • Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation by Sylvia Liu *MG* 6/21
  • We Are The Origin by C.M. Lockhart 6/21
  • Tomatoes In My Lunchbox by Costantia Manoli & Magdalena Mora *PB* 6/21
  • Good Morning, Love A Novel by Ashley M. Coleman *adult* 6/21
  • Rakontay Vedi by Wynnie Lamour-Quansah & Darnelle Champagne *PB* 6/24
  • From Fake to Forever by Laila Rafi *NA* 6/27
  • American Royalty by Tracey Livesay *adult* 6/28
  • The Sizzle Paradox A Novel by Lily Menon *adult* 6/28
  • GodSlayers by Zoe Hana Mikuta *Sequel* 6/28
  • The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar 6/28
  • Valentina Salazar Is NOT A Monster Hunter by Zoraida Cordova *MG* 6/28
  • Lia Park And The Missing Jewel by Jenna Yoon *MG* 6/28
  • A Secret Princess by Melissa De La Cruz & Margaret Stohl 6/28
  • Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow 6/28
  • Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro *adult* 6/28
  • The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman 6/28
  • My Name is Jason. Mine Too. by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin 6/28
  • The Most Precious Substance on Earth by Shashi Bhat *NA* 6/28
  • The Scent Of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule *adult* 6/28
  • The Kaya Girl by Mamle Wolo 6/28
Yo, so many!

This list may not be as long as some of the previous months but it’s still a heavy hitting list! I don’t know about y’all but there are some on this list that I have been INSANELY hyped about being released into the world! Also like previous months, I’ve been incredibly blessed by the ARC Gawds and have gotten some of them (*cue the harps*). Here are the ones that I received:

  • A Proposal They Can’t Refuse A Novel by Natalie Caña *adult*
  • Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest
  • The Loophole by Naz Kutib
  • The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen
  • Tomorrow y Mañana by Monica Gomez-Hira
  • Fireworks by Alice Lin
  • Off Script by Ashley Marie *adult*
  • Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen *adult*
  • Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang *MG*
  • The Last Fallen Moon by Graci Kim *MG Sequel*
  • Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith
  • Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey
  • Thank You, Next by Andie J. Christopher *adult*
  • Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tolá Okogwu  *MG*
  • This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron *sequel*
  • Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley *adult*
  • On Rotation A Novel by Shirlene Obuobi *adult*
  • The Final Strife A Novel By Saara El-Arifi *adult*
  • Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho *adult*
  • Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation by Sylvia Liu *MG*
  • American Royalty by Tracey Livesay *adult*
  • The Sizzle Paradox A Novel by Lily Menon *adult*
  • GodSlayers by Zoe Hana Mikuta *Sequel*
  • The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar
  • The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman
I’m going to remain hella busy this month…well, for the next few months, really!

My TBR has been insane so I am not as far into my June ARCs as I would like to be so what I’ve read so far is:

  • A Proposal They Can’t Refuse A Novel by Natalie Caña *adult*
  • Fireworks by Alice Lin
  • Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest
  • Currently Reading: The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad by Natasha Deen
Okay, okay, okay! I will get back ro reading!

Are there any books that you are looking forward to? Did I miss any books by Authors Of Color coming out this month? Let me know in the comments here or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve gotten to sit on the beach and read, especially reading ARCs! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love, wishing you happy reading ANDDDDD A Hot Book Summer!

Get Your Hot Book Summer On Folx! Shout Out to Megan Thee Stallion, a Dope A$$ Black Woman who gave us the Bop “Hot Girl Summer”…Also, give Black Women Credit Peeple!

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Books That Gave Me Serious Heart Eyes And Butterflies

Hey there! I don’t know about you but lately, it feels like quite a few of my reads have been romances and have been delivering a level of fluffy that has me looking like a heart eye emoji and gives a belly full of butterflies…and you know what, I’m not mad about this. The fact that many of these have been ARCS also makes me happy because it means that the masses will be getting lighter reading material. As someone who deals with a moderate level of anxiety, it’s been helpful to read books that aren’t super heavy…..and, okay, I will also admit that I also tend to avoid books that could be heavier than I can handle in the moment whenever it is possible (that’s why there are some books in my TBR that I haven’t been able to crack open).

Who doesn’t want to feel like Pikachu while reading?!

So since everyone could use reads that would give them the warm and fuzzies, I figured I would share five Young Adult books that gave me that feeling. I did a short list of these in my post about POC kids deserving healthy relationships at the end of it but I’m going to speak about some of them here with a little more detail!

Seriously, reading these books made me feel like I was in a warm & comfy bed, snuggling up with my weighted blanket

Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee: When I read this book, all I could do was fall in love with the two MCs (y’all know that Dual POVs are my jam) along side the gorgeous cover that beckoned me to it. The way that these seemingly opposite kids went from “enemies” to barely tolerated acquaintances then friends was just wonderful. I loved reading their evolutions and getting to laugh the entire way through… my eyes may have gotten glassy a time or two but not in a bad way!

This was me a lot the time I was reading

Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle (out 5/31/22): This is a book that I was really excited about and it gave what I hoped it would. First the cover gave me Love & Basketball vibes (its one of my favorite movies) but with music and the book itself was that & Love Jones, but with a male MC I could stand behind. It was the Black Love Story that I wish that I had as a teen! While there were some heart wrenching moments (what romance doesn’t have them), there were more uplifting ones. I appreciated the balance of the MCs and their personal struggles along side their love story.

What Prince gave but without the problematic moments after this scene.

Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe (Out 5/31/22): This was another book that served classic Black Love Story from the 90s (which is my favorite era of movies). I ate this book up within a matter of hours because I was so drawn to Jupiter and Orion’s story. I loved that it was Dual POV and I felt that I was beside them the entire time as well as the fact that there was a bit of a mystery to unravel. I was just wrapped up in the story from beginning to end and did not put down my amazon fire the entire time.

This book was like watching Monica make her shots in this scene for me cause I was rooting for her in the same way I rooted for Jupiter & Orion

Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho: This book gave me the right level of K-Drama and K-Pop that just made my heart so happy. It made me happy in the way other books inspired by K-Pop/Drama did and made me want to listen to nothing but K-Pop while reading. I loved that there was some alternate perspectives but I was really happy to read Elena’s perspective because she was so funny and was super relatable. Honestly, I just smiled the entire time I was reading it!

I just felt all the happy feels throughout!

All Signs Point To Yes Anthology edited by g haron davis, Cam Montgomery and Adrianne White (Out 5/31/22): Ok, so if you know me, you know that I love anthologies and this one was no different. It gave me various love stories, from different backgrounds and varying genres based upon the astrological signs! It was a nice mix of fantasy and contemporary that was well balanced out. None of the stories felt heavy or overwhelming nor overpowered the others! If you are into different types of love stories and varying genres, you would likely enjoy it as well!

I’m blowing kisses to all the contributors and the editors!

There are some other books that I’ve read but these five, I definitely felt good while reading. With how things have been in the world and even in my own personal life, it’s been helpful to just be able to read and feel light at the same time…it’s a relief to be completely honest!

Trust that I don’t deny it and I definitely feel relief when I do!

Are you into books that give you the warm & fuzzies while reading? Are there any books that gave you that feeling recently? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read a bunch of books that gave me the warm & fuzzies! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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Wow, I Said That?: An Ode To 100 Posts

Hey there! I can’t believe it but this is my 100th post! I never gave thought to getting to this point (outside of just staying on top of posting) or what I would do once I do but I’m so glad to have made it here and you are have joined me! I set the intent for this year that I would post every week and I have actually been sticking to that (even when I post later than my usual day like this week), so I shouldn’t be surprised we are here now!

I’m still blown that we got to this point!

So in order to garner some inspiration for this post, I asked some of my bookish clubhouse peeps what they think I should do and my very wise & amazing soror @chptrshakedown made the recommendation to do a post revisiting old posts and saying if they still apply. Knowing me, they all still would because I only write about what I’m passionate about buttttttttt she was very much so on to something with this idea and I trust Black Women to lead me in the right direction!

She had me thankin’ y’all but I knew she was correct!

When I write my posts, sometimes it’s almost like I’m in a fever dream once I crank my iTunes so I know I’ve said some outrageous or at least a bit funny things while writing in order to express my love for a book or get a point across. So keeping my soror Nelly’s idea in mind, I’m revisiting past posts that I remember having the best time writing but I’m going to share quotes that made me go “I really said that?”, lol! I’ll link those posts, of course! So let’s get into it!

Yea…yea…I did, lol!

“Arrah’s mother & eventual sister are the antithesis of her…they are both hoes and a halves for their shenanigans!”-From the OG Post Kingdom Of Souls Snatched My Edges. Reading back this post, there is so much more I wish I could add to it…being that I was new to wordpress and it didn’t have some of the capabilities it does now, it doesn’t have gifs and I hadn’t even thought of using memes…mmm, now I’m thinking this post may get an update, regardless of it’s original state, I loved writing that post! Anyways, I still love KOS as much as I did then (the 3rd book, Masters Of Souls, comes out this summer) and I still believe that Arrah’s mom and sister are hoes & a half…*Ye shrug*.

*sings* that Arrah’s mom & sister are hoes & a halffffff

“You know I’m not about taking lives (I’m vegan for fucks sake)…though I will snatch a scalp or two when fucked with and thus was happy when Eva dug deep within her ovaries and started to fight back. Thinking about it, this book was like an episode of Snapped: Literary Sibling Edition because shit was BANANAS…*cues Gwen Stefani* B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”A River Of Royal Blood Gave Me Life. I remember having such a good fucking time writing this post and I stand TEN FUCKING TOES on how I felt then (and if you haven’t read that book, what are you even DOING?!)! This post was written when I still hadn’t discovered the magic of having gifs BUT I believe anyone who read that post got the gist, lol!

I seriously lived for when Eva got to this point!

“The Lady is one of those characters that you just want to fight…like put vaseline on your face & take off your earrings then invite her outside when she’s mentioned or pops up.”Behold, Raybearer Is Fire, AF. I just had an epiphany that I may have some anger issues because in the posts I’ve quoted so far, I’ve wanted to fight at least one character and they’ve been the moms, lol! This post was also written at the beginning of the pandemic, so you know the caginess I was feeling! If you’ve read Raybearer, then I think you would understand this sentiment though (I still feel the same).

It’s how I felt at the time and still do….*shrug*

“Just look at the cover and tell me that it’s not worth staring at for prolonged periods of time…Go on and take a moment to look at it and then come back… *waits* Thank you for joining me in my obsession!”Aye Yo #LegendbornKeptMeUp Is A Real Thing. I am still very much so obsessed with Legendborn’s cover (& overall story, I’m so ready for Bloodmarked to drop) and stare at the framed poster of it on my Magical Black Kids Wall several times a week…No one told the cover illustrator to go off the way they did but they sure did the world a service in doing so!

Understatement of the muhfuckin century!

“Since I finished this book in February, I have not been able to stop talking about it…like, it stays in my mouth (I’m not ashamed to say that either)!”I’m Completely Obsessed With FireKeeper’s Daughter. I wrote this blog post back in March 2021 and this book is still in my mouth…I literally talk about it ALL THE TIME and I react to it the same each time I see it in a bookstore…I’m not embarrassed AT ALL about my physical and verbal response to this book! *shrug*

I really, truly am not…in the least bit

“With a premise like having your personal property filled with your deepest thoughts in it stolen then being blackmailed with it (that’s not a spoiler, btw), how could you not go from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other with characters?! ER-BODY getting the side-eye and 3rd degree the moment the opportunity presents itself in my opinion!”So Many Reasons Why I Love Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. I said so much in this post and it was hard to pick something…but yea, I was legit side-eyeing the book like it was being shady… Trust was something I did NOT have in some of these characters but I absolutely did have in Joya (there is a post about her second book, Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl, which recently came out and you need to read it if you haven’t yet)!

This was definitely me

*Cracks knuckles and cues up BlackPink* Sooooooo, I’m not a violent person (okay, yes, I can be despite being a Hufflepuff) but OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH *Fist to mouth*, I wanted to take my earrings off so bad, grab some vaseline and lace up my timbs (if I still had a pair, I’m failing as a New Yorker right now) while reading this book!”Ace Of Spades Made Me Want To Take Off My Earrings And Lace Up My Timbs. Man…I really went off in this post and it was hard to pick a quote here too so I went with the very beginning of the post…I still feel the same way that I did when I wrote this post. I still wanna fight bitches and light that school on fire then walk away like Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale (that’s still one of my all time favorite movie moments). Yes, I know it wasn’t a real place but it felt too real and thus, my mind and body responded accordingly.

Both iconic and accurate to how I felt & still feel!

I know there are so many other moments in my other blog posts but there is but so much time in the day and I rather you read those posts to really get the energy of them…but know that I loved writing each of these posts above and have loved writing this blog for the better part of the last 3 years! I’m so grateful for this space and for you taking the time to read these posts!

But seriously, thank you for being here and reading!

Are there any posts you’ve loved of the last 99 I’ve written? Has there been a quote from them that stuck with you, outlandish or profound? Have you read any books that I wrote about because of the post(s)? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve written 100 more posts! Yet again, thank you so much for being here and hope you continue to be! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wish you happy reading!

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Kids Of Color Deserve Safe Spaces And Healthy Relationships

Hey Everyone! So for a while, I had been thinking about this, especially with how much reading I had been doing this year. I’d been thinking about how Kids of Color, especially Black and Brown ones (being that I am Black), truly deserve safe spaces and healthy relationships, in both the real world and in literature. It’s actually something that I’ve talked about along with the topic of representation (something I can really figuratively & literally hop onto a soapbox for prolonged periods of time about) but just not on it’s own here. I’ve actually been working off and on on this for a while but now feels like the right time post.

A crazy amount, actually!

When the topic of relationships comes up, often times thoughts land first on romantic relationships. While I certainly plan to address that, there are even more important relationships, IMO, such as parental/familial and friendships that should be in the forefront of thought when it comes to this topic. There are times when I think about how much familial relationships & friendships shape us throughout our lives. You all may notice a trend in my posts where I talk about about how the friendships in books mean so much to me and I believe thats because of how my teen friendships played such a large part in what I learned about the world. I’ll get to more about this too in a bit.

A lot could be an understatement

A while back, I wrote a post about two books that triggered me because of the parental relationships that the MCs had. I spoke about Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield because of the relationship she had with her father and Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis because of hers with her mother. I’m not going to talk much about it in this post because you can read that one for yourself here. Kids, ideally, should be able to feel safe in their relationships with their parents, however, so many of us know that that ideal is not reality. Books like HS and BWB show how adults fail teens & make it tough to navigate other sorts of relationships in not being able to establish & maintain a healthy relationship with them. Knowledge of generational trauma (especially in the Black & Brown community), which families pass on but could also work to end, is not uncommon. The need to bring an end to it has to start somewhere, which really should be a charge that my generation & the one before us should be taking up. Thankfully, with therapy becoming readily accessible and the stigma slowly (though that needs to be be sped up double time) being removed, we are able to start breaking down these traumas. In the post I mentioned early, I talk about my therapist (my BLACK Lady therapist, FYI) and a big reason I do it is to break the chains of this trauma. Through the work we do on ourselves, we can create more safe spaces and healthier bonds with kids inside and outside of our families (blood and chosen).

I’m ready to break them, I’ve been ready…I hope you’ll join me!

Another really important type of relationship is friendships, as I mentioned earlier, they mean a lot to me. I remember growing up, leaning fairly heavily on my best friend because of our similar backgrounds and traumas (we were not trauma bonded, which is another subject for another day). It helped to be seen by someone my age, to be able to vent about the things that hurt, the insecurities but also the wins and dreams I had. When one isn’t able to run to the adults in their lives, friends are who tends to be next in line. When we’re lucky (like I blessedly was), we are able to find safe space within those friendships, whether or not we air out grievances/hurts.

My favorite type of hug and I’m lucky that my friends gave/give the best hugs!

However, we don’t often think of when friendships turn from safe spaces to co-dependent and/or toxic (which, I’ve also been both). As I was reading the E-ARC of Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk, it approached the varying levels to female friendships that we often don’t look at; the Beauty of being present for someone else, the messiness of love & intimate feelings, the toxicity that happens when it becomes one-sided & co-dependency takes hold. With the main characters being two Black Girls, we also see how the relationship is further complicated by the real world intricacies of racism & sexism and how it can serve as a connector. We are also able to see how difficult it can be to untangle ourselves from friendships that no longer serve us and that there was nothing wrong with having difficulty with that, especially when said friendship(s) has been a long standing one.

It really is about knowing when to walk away

Thinking about and being in romantic relationships are difficult as adults so navigating them as a teen isn’t any easier. No matter how “mature” a teen is/some teens are (as people *insert pregnant pause here* tend to see Black & Brown kids to the detriment of their adolescence, but I digress), there is so much nuisance to being in them, especially when it comes to noticing the signs of a problematic partner. I thought so much about this reading books like American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar, Turning by Joy L. Smith, The Summer Between Bitter And Sweet by Jen Ferguson and Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney where I think problematic was an understatement. Unfortunately, advice of what to do about problematic/abusive/domineering partners still doesn’t seem to be offered to teens, which is another failing of this world. Teens may or may not experience this now but it would still be helpful knowledge for the future and/or to help others who find themselves in those cycles. Not only should we be building up teens to know their worth but also how deserving they are to be treated well. Thankfully, we do have books that show opposite sides of the spectrum of healthy and unhealthy relationships, such as the ones I mentioned (and there is also some comic relief within their pages so you don’t have to worry about feeling heavy while reading).

Seriously, we should be giving kids the insight to know red flags when they see them

When we think of safe spaces, this could be an actual place but even more importantly, this could be the people that surround us. Growing up, I don’t recall learning what a safe space was, how important it is to find them or how to create them. Sure, a lot of us are taught to seek out people who are “like us”, whether it has to do with skin color, religion or identity in terms of gender expression and/or sexuality but that’s all the guidance I can really recall. The tools in order to acknowledge how a person or a place is a safe space aren’t always given. Once upon a time, I used to believe that school was a safe space when home wasn’t but as I got older (and as I read as well as set foot in various educational settings), I saw how all schools were not created equal in that respect. Reading books like The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (out 5/17/22), Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie, You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen and Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed reminded me of the importance of having a safe space/refuge… Whether or not that refuge is school, a center, home, a group of people, it is important that they are accessible when needed (these books demonstrate that well, even when those safe spaces are compromised in some way).

May all kids know where to find theirs!

I know I said a lot and that this is all pretty heavy so I also want to give you a short list of books that recently gave me the warm & fuzzies when I read them (because who doesn’t want books that give them all the feels?!):

  • Cafe Con Lychee by Emery Lee
  • Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho (out 5/17/22)
  • Nate Plus One by Kevin van Whyte
  • My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by Sajni Patel
  • Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cuerves
  • Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen
This is how I looked finishing these books

I know I gave y’all a lot to sit with so I’m going to end this post here! What say you all about this topic? Is this something you feel strongly about too? Let me know here or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve read a great book that authentically how to navigate relationships and create/be a part of safe spaces!

Black women are brilliant in creating them, just sayin

And before you go for real for real, I just wanted to point out that this is my 99th post, which deeply excites me! I’m still debating on what to do for the 100th but I just want to say thank you for sticking with me on this epic literary journey I have found myself on. Words can not express how much I appreciate each and every one of you. Okay, before I get all weepy, I’mma let you go! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!

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Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl Had Me Walking Down Memory Lane

  • Author: Joya Goffney
  • 2nd Book
  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Background-Black
  • IG-@joya.goffney; Twitter-@joya_goffney; www.joyagoffney.com
  • Release Date: 5/3/2022 (out NAOW!)
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (Imprint of HarperCollins)/EpicReads
  • Favorite Character-Reggie w/ Sasha & Monique (Mo) as a close second & third! Reggie is HYSTERICAL! He had me cracking up so much throughout the book. When you add in Sasha and Mo the scene, then you’ve got the trifecta of Black Teen Comedy.
  • Favorite Quote(s)-There are so many but here is a little banter I loved between Reggie & Monique: “I was young and dumb.” (Reggie) “That was ten minutes ago.” (Monique) “Yeah, but my growth is exponential. You know, most people’s growth is linear, but I grow more and more each day, each second.” (Reggie) When I tell you all that I fell out reading that had me ROLLING… There are so many other quotes I wanted to share but I really want y’all to read this book! Even hearing it again on audiobook cracked me up!
Reggie’s moment is equivalent to this moment with Kelli but about himself, lol!

*Before I get into this post, I will say that this will be a very sex positive post, if that makes you uncomfortable, you may not be ready for this book, let alone this post…I do invite you to examine why that would possibly make you uncomfortable though. If I edit myself then I won’t be doing Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl any justice & I’m not okay with that AT.ALL. I hope that if you do find discomfort that you would decide to pick up this book to work through that as the main character Mo does. With that said-CW Mentions: Sex, masturbation, porn, erotica, adult toy store*

You should still proceed cause it’s a bomb ass book!

*Cracks knuckles* Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way! If you haven’t read my post about Joya’s first book, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry, then you should read that post if you want to understand just how much of a stan I became of hers, how I am coming at this post and how it will be from here on out… I knew she was working on a second book, I knew I was excited about it and I knew that I didn’t need to know the premise to know that I would love this book. Joya let me know that I could trust her with EMWIUC! With this book, Joya cemented her autobuy author status with me… If that doesn’t tell you enough, I pre-ordered the audiobook all because I wanted to relive this book in a different medium and I started listening to it. As I started writing this, I was 8 chapters in but as I edit, I’m 18 chapters in…I had to pause though cause I can’t write and listen to others talking *shrugs* but I am enjoying it thus far…y’all, I DON’T REREAD BOOKS! This is the 2nd time (the first was a series that was rebound into a single book) and I’m just as into it this time as I was reading the ARC, this is also my first YA audiobook I’m listening to! *Shocked Face*!

At.All…I’ll yell it out in public if you want me too, lol!

When I saw the title, I thought “WHOA, this feels like something I would’ve related to as a teen” and then the cover really turned me into a human heart emoji. As it turns out, my teen self & even my adult self, heavily related to Mo and the struggles she went through. As I read, I really sat with what my beliefs around sex was growing up and how that’s changed as I’ve grown older. I also took quite the stroll down memory lane while reading, so many good memories and even not so good ones but most of the memories had me cracking up! I’m going to be telling a lot about myself here and you know what, I’m okay with this (especially since my parents can’t do anything to me now, it’s a win, lol). If I read this book as a teen, I think I would’ve seen myself, sex and sexuality so differently.

shoal does, lol

*Quick reminder, I’m a very grown woman.*

I sure the fuck am!

As a teen, I was wrapped so heavily in what it is to be a “good girl”, how to maintain that status in a way and how to remain curious about sex without others finding out about that side of me…though I definitely partied, drank, bartended unsupervised parties and did so much of dirty dancing that the movie had nathan on me folx (especially since that was the closest to sex EYE was getting to it without having it), which could’ve imploded on my reputation” had I not had the friend group I did that kept our “hangouts” safe spaces. I was lucky to have what Mo didn’t have before she found Sasha & Reggie, to be honest. So much of Mo’s identity was wrapped up in the “Church Girl”/”Good Girl” that impacted her mentally and physically but if I’m being real, emotionally too. The thoughts and opinions of others manifested such a fear in her that just being an ordinary teen didn’t feel accessible to her, which is likely not foreign to teens now.

Looking at me now, you wouldn’t ever guess but really, looking at me then, you wouldn’t have guessed either, lol!

What I realized (one of the gifts of this book is that it makes you think) is that it IS healthy to be curious about sex and one’s body, which one of the characters points out eventually. What ISN’T healthy is the pressure that is placed on people to engage in sex before they are ready. Let me be clear, this is NOT exclusive to any gender or sexuality. Even when the person believes themselves ready, that it is important that they are doing it FOR THEM and are comfortable with the decision & the partner of their choice. Another thing is that there is no shame in getting to know one’s body and what actually feels right to them, so exploring via masturbation isn’t wrong; they’d be ahead of the curve. Yet another thing is the fact that NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, is entitled to their body (another very important message in this book). If adults stop shaming teens about masturbation and PROPER sex education, things would be WAYYYYYY different. I’mma pause this thought here but We will come back to this.

I’ll amend this to say that “if you don’t know, respect and value your body along with your emotions and decisions, then other PEOPLE won’t either.”

I remember as a teen doing A LOT of research about sex (like I said, I was curious and was very much so a nerd, still am a nerd) and was more than happy to get my hands on anything about the subject matter. So when Zane’s Nervous was mentioned in this book, I quite literally HOLLERED then tweeted about this because Zane was one of my favorite authors because there was gratuitous sex in her books (and centered BLACK PEOPLE)…I read like ALL of her books because it was another introduction to sex without actually doing it myself. I loved how Sasha (who Mo quickly changes her tune about) introduces this book to Mo and even gives a little synopsis about Nervous, that gave me my entire life! That was a scene that I never knew I needed but have always wanted in a book! The fact that Reggie (another character who Mo sees differently after some time) calls Zane’s books “porn” is the most incorrect correct statement I’ve ever read in my life (she writes Black Erotica, FYI)! In case you were wondering, Addicted was my other favorite outside of Nervous and Addicted was adapted into a movie (which upset me because it wasn’t accurate to the book but ya know, Hollywood). A fun fact about me, I met Zane before she ever showed her face (after I was of age) and I think we both had questions about the other, lol!

I wasn’t joking about tweeting about this…and I included the link to this tweet!

There was another blast to my teenage past in this book involving a adult toy store…even as I type this, I’m cracking up (I tweeted about this too). I’m not going to give away this part of this book but I will share a bit of my story which is that when the youngest of my friend group finally turned 18, our group took a field trip to one (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still there) that was behind a smoke shop to celebrate. It was equal parts fascinating and nerve-wrecking (there were guys there too) especially because I was still very much so a virgin who was going from just reading Zane books on the low & reading things on the internets on occasion (on DIAL UP at that) to being in a actual sex shop, it was wild! Several of us purchased things (yes, including me) but did not talk about it. I hid my purchase(s) from those I knew would have something to say cause people talk as Mo often worried about throughout the book. Needless to say, I had a blast that day, just as Mo had in the book!

The place didn’t have this sign but we all know what this means or at least know it’s not for certain people, sure didn’t keep my curiosities at bay though, lol!

Unlike Mo, I didn’t grow up a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and thus didn’t have the same exposure to church as she did but religion DEFINITELY played a part in how I viewed (past tense) sex. With regards to how my family did or didn’t speak about it, the message was sex was definitely deemed as shameful outside of marriage. Mo received the same messages of sex being wrong and sinful outside of marriage rather than given a healthier outlook on it. There is this almost universal belief that if kids aren’t taught about it, aren’t given the correct tools and have abstinence pushed on them then they wouldn’t do it (I heard a mom admit not to teaching her daughter about this on Unexpected) but what ends up happening is ignorance around their bodies, sex still happens with various outcomes in some cases and/or a medical condition (as Mo discovers she has, that’s not a spoiler). I honestly don’t recall receiving sex education in school (as stated earlier, I did my own research) and my parents just DID NOT talk about sex because instead of being a PK, I’m a child of 2 immigrants from Caribbean countries (that says a lot for those who know)!

This energy is what sex talks give when they happen

On the real, there needs to be a shift in adults approach to speaking about body awareness, sex and masturbation with teens as it would change so very much. Seriously, adults reading this, think about if the adults you trusted as a teen came up to you and said “It’s okay to be curious about your body. Its okay to learn your body. It’s okay to masturbate. It’s okay to be curious about sex but you need to learn about it and be safe & take ALL the necessary precautions.” like HOW different you & so many of us would’ve approached sex. They didn’t have to give you a gaggle of sex toys & porn or even have embarrassingly detailed conversations that would make a biology teacher blush but that would open the door to a healthier view & knowledge of our bodies and sex. If adults don’t have the ability to talk about it, then we can at least put books like COAAGG in their hands to say all the things we’re unable to.

Like, for real for real! Think about it!

Mo went through so much because she didn’t have the right type of education or support system… Her not feeling safe or confident in speaking to the adults around her is a real problem & it made me hurt for her. It also made me appreciate the role that Sasha and Reggie come to play in this book in supporting & nurturing her relationship to herself, mind, body and Spirit. I’m a huge fan of a small friend group because those seem to be the most magical, in my opinion. Also, the three of them are like comedy gold! I truly, truly, TRULY enjoyed them and their chemistry on the page. Mo, Sasha and Reggie are one of my favorite trio’s ever now!

This would be Sasha and Reggie to Mo!

Whoa, I wrote SO MUCH and its not even everything I want to because this post as gotten so long! I didn’t expect to do so but this book brought so much out of me from both my teenage-hood to even now and I believe that this book is important to the YA cannon. It’s important for teens to be given this information in a way that they can relate to and see themselves in…to know that they aren’t the only ones who has ever had XYZ thoughts despite adults playing in their faces as if they didn’t have them too as teens (you learn this about an adult in Mo’s life). This was one of my absolute favorite reads of this year and definitely top 5 of all the books I’ve read so to say that I would highly recommend this book is a severe understatement!

For real, stop playin’ in these kids faces!

Anyways, go run to your local library or favorite bookstore to get this book because it is 1000% worth your time! I hope I’ve convinced you of that along with the importance of healthy conversation about sex with teens (and really with other adults too, if I’m being honest, which I am)! If you’ve read the book & want to chat or if you have non-spoiler questions to ask, come find me out in these e-streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve had a pleasant stroll down memory lane with a book! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!

I just had to! lol
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May Comes Bearing Not Just New Flowers But New Books Too

Hey Y’all! April is pretty much over and May is right.there! I can’t believe that we are already in a new month! Time certainly flies (I feel like I say some variation of this every month *shrugs*)!

This is me when I realize that a new month is upon us!

There are so many books coming out this month and I’m so excited for quite a few of them! Before we get into the list, just a request (like in last month’s list) that if you use this list, please be sure to reference this post, thank you and I appreciate chu mucho! I’ve checked some of the titles when I saw some discrepancies but I couldn’t do it for the whole list (a sista gotta adult & ish) so just double check the publisher websites because those will always have the correct dates (as pub dates can be changed at the last minute…*deep sigh*)!

I’m REALLY excited for this month’s releases!

Alright, let’s get to this list!

  • The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton *MG* 5/3
  • The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim 5/3
  • Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney 5/3
  • Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older 5/3
  • The Wonders We Seek: Thirty Incredible Muslims Who Helped Shape The World by Saadia Faruqi & Aneesa Mumtaz 5/3
  • Free at Last by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle *PB* 5/3
  • Inheritance A Visual Poem by Elizabeth Acevedo, illus. by Andrea Pippins 5/3
  • Bad Girls by Camila Sosa Villada *adult* 5/3
  • Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado 5/3
  • An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco *sequel* 5/3
  • How to Be the Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa 5/3
  • Shine On, Luz Véliz! by Rebecca Balcárcel *MG* 5/3
  • The Blind King’s Wrath by Ashok K. Banker *adult sequel* 5/3
  • Patience Is a Subtle Thief A Novel by Abi Ishola-Ayodeji *New Adult* 5/3
  • Freddie vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua *MG* 5/3
  • The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan *MG* 5/3
  • Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country by Kelly Yang *PB* 5/3
  • The Stand-In by Lily Chu *adult* 5/3
  • Lia Park and the Missing Jewel by Jenna Yoon *MG* 5/3
  • Rima’s Rebellion by Margarita Engle *MG* 5/3
  • By The Book by Jasmine Guillory *adult* 5/3
  • Zachary Ying And The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao *MG* 5/10
  • The World Belongs To Us by Jacqueline Woodson & Leo Espinosa *PB* 5/10
  • Bright By Jessica Jung *sequel* 5/10
  • JoJo Makoons: Fancy Pants by Dawn Quigley *series* 5/10
  • Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee 5/10
  • Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed 5/10
  • Set On You by Amy Lea *adult* 5/10
  • The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas *adult* 5/10
  • Beauty And The Besharam by Lillie Vale 5/10
  • The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson 5/10
  • Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas *MG* 5/10
  • Layla The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish, Jerdine Nolen & Jessica Gibson *PB* 5/10
  • Siren Queen by Nghi Vo *adult* 5/10
  • A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan 5/10
  • Josey Johnson’s Hair and the Holy Spirit by Esau McCaulley *PB* 5/10
  • Nate Plus One by Kevin van Whye 5/10
  • Daddies and Daughters Stick Together by Aissatou Balde; Diariatou Sow *PB* 5/10
  • Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Compestine *MG* 5/10
  • Help! I’m Alive by Gurjinder Basran *adult* 5/10
  • No Secrets Allowed by Kana Wu *adult series #2* 5/12
  • Rising Trouble Maker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones 5/17
  • Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho 5/17
  • How to Live Without You by Sarah Everett 5/17
  • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes 5/17
  • The Emma Project by Sonali Dev *adult series* 5/17
  • Swim Team By Johnnie Christmas *MG* 5/17
  • Caprice by Coe Booth *MG* 5/17
  • Neruda on the Park A Novel by Cleyvis Natera *adult* 5/17
  • Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos *MG* 5/17
  • Something Happened to My Dad A Story About Immigration and Family Separation by Ann Hazzard & Vivianne Aponte Rivera *PB* 5/17
  • Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse by Sangu Mandanna *MG Sequel* 5/17
  • In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo *MG* 5/17
  • The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah 5/17
  • Ma And Me: A Memoir by Putsata Reang *adult* 5/17
  • I Love You More Than… by Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans *PB* 5/17
  • You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty by akwaeke emezi *adult* 5/24
  • A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Cana *adult* 5/24
  • She Sang For India: How M.S.Subbulakshmi Used Her Voice For Change by Suma Subramaniam & Supriya Kelkar *PB* 5/24
  • Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda 5/24
  • Meet Me Halfway by Anika Fajardo *MG* 5/24
  • The Queen Of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes & Vanessa Brantley-Newton *PB* 5/24
  • I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn 5/24
  • Break This House by Candice Iloh 5/24
  • Only On The Weekends by Dean Atta 5/24
  • City Of Orange by David Yoon *adult* 5/24
  • A Game Between Friends by Yahrah St. John *adult romance series* 5/24
  • Boyfriend Lessons by Sophia Singh Sasson *adult series* 5/24
  • Boys Come First by Aaron Foley *adult* 5/31
  • Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle 5/31
  • Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez 5/31
  • Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto 5/31
  • Kings Of B’More by R. Eric Thomas 5/31
  • Flip The Script by Lyla Lee 5/31
  • All Signs Point To Yes Anthology edited by G. Haron Davis, Cam Montgomery & Adrianne White 5/31
  • Deep In Providence by Riss Neilson 5/31
  • Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean *sequel* 5/31
  • The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna *sequel* 5/31
  • Must Love Pets: Friends Fur-ever by Saadia Faruqi *MG* 5/31
  • Finding Jupiter By Kelis Rowe 5/31
  • Singing With Elephants by Margarita Engle *MG* 5/31
  • Private Label by Kelly Yang 5/31
  • My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth 5/31
  • A Caribbean Heiress in Paris A Novel by Adriana Herrera *adult* 5/31
  • Rise of the School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 5/31
  • Black Oak by Harold Green III *adult* 5/31
This is a substantial list y’all!

There are so many books coming out this month and I fear for my bank account…you might be as well for yours or your library holds! Be sure to pace yourself my friend!

There is something about Shah Rukh Khan winking at you that you can’t help but believe that we do!

Like past months, the ARC Gods smiled down on me! I have quite an extensive list of titles and they are!

  • The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton *MG*
  • The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim
  • Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney
  • Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older
  • Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
  • An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco *sequel*
  • Freddie vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua *MG*
  • By The Book by Jasmine Guillory *adult*
  • Zachary Ying And The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao *MG*
  • Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
  • Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
  • The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson
  • Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas *MG*
  • Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho
  • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
  • The Emma Project by Sonali Dev *adult*
  • Swim Team By Johnnie Christmas *MG*
  • A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Cana *adult*
  • I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn
  • Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
  • Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  • Flip The Script by Lyla Lee
  • All Signs Point To Yes Anthology edited by G. Haron Davis, Cam Montgomery & Adrianne White
  • Deep In Providence by Riss Neilson
  • The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna *sequel*
  • Finding Jupiter By Kelis Rowe
  • Private Label by Kelly Yang
  • My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth
This is definitely me when I look at the list of ARCs I have to read!

Whew! I’m being kept busy and I’m still more than okay with that! I’ve already started reading this list, so here is what I’ve read so far:

  • The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton *MG*
  • Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney
  • Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older
  • An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco *sequel*
  • By The Book by Jasmine Guillory *adult*
  • Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
  • Currently Reading: The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim

I’ve been enjoying all of these books so far and I know I will continue to…I just have a 6th sense about books, it’s quite uncanny & I intend to keep that sense sharp!

If you are reading this blog, then you know that I know you know I do, lol!

What are some titles that you are excited for (because I know there has to be at least 1 on this list you are itching to read, lol)? Did I miss any titles by Authors Of Color?! Come chat with me cause y’all know I love me some book chats! You can comment here or you can find me out in these e-streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I keep nailing pub month list! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!

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The Blood Trials Gave Me The Angry Black Girl I’ve Always Wanted

  • N.E Davenport
  • Debut
  • Genre: Adult w/ Upper YA Cross-Over Science Fiction
  • Background: Black-American
  • Instagram: @nia.davenport; Twitter: @nia_davenport; www.nedavenport.com
  • Release: 4/5/2022 (I’m low-key judging you if this isn’t in your TBR)
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (HarperCollins Imprint)
  • Favorite Character: Ikenna! This is one of the moments where I can say the main character is my favorite because she gave everything she needed to! I also loved Dannica (whom you meet later in the book), who also is ’bout that lyfe!
  • Favorite Quote(s): “Besides, if you’re as good as Praetorians claim to be, little ole me using a weapon against you won’t matter.”-Ikenna. This is the type of energy that I love from her. She’s not with the bs & she will call folx out when it the Spirit moves her to! She also had some other epic things to say but I want you to read them yourself so you can understand my obsession, lol!
Me, to Ikenna!

Hey Y’all! Before I begin this, I have to point out that this is the first time I’m writing a full post about an adult book but I loved THIS book so much that I’m happy for it to be the first. For those younger than 18, this book contains a lot of cussing, which you likely deal with in school (I’m under no delusions how kids talk these days) and a good amount of violence, so maybe…juuuusssssttttt maybe speak to your guardian about whether or not you are ready to read this book (maybe get it and hold on to it for when you are, I see no issue with that).

You know, for journalistic integrity or whatever, lol

Okay, So I can’t really tell you for sure where I first came across news of The Blood Trials but what I CAN tell you is that I became pretty obsessed (this may be an understatement, actually) with the cover & getting my hands on an ARC. I definitely lamented under a few of Nia’s posts about leaving ARCs places and doing giveaways at conferences…my heart still hurts on missing out on those opportunities. Sometimes the Bookish Powers That Be are merciful so when I finally received one, I know I internally screamed…here is the IG live where I unboxed it and other books I received!

This is my truth and I stand in it!

So from the moment I started reading, I didn’t want to put TBT down…AT ALL. When Ikenna’s story began and she started to talk, I knew I was 1000% percent invested. It was as if there was something kindred about her and once her grief was mentioned, it clicked, especially because it felt like we processed grief similarly. While I didn’t drink or sabotage everything I worked for (it hits us all in different ways y’all), I DID feel immense anger, lashed out when I could and didn’t function in the way I had before grief took it’s hold over me. People always talk about the ways in which grief looks like sadness & depression but hardly ever when it turns to anger…that that sense of anger doesn’t diminish what was lost/being grieved and how it could propel us forward (though the ‘what’ and ‘how’ isn’t necessarily clear).

Me to Ikenna…because It’s true!

In all honesty, I have been avoiding books where there is any bit of grief (in the “sad” sense) I could because it’s still a lot for me but I felt like Ikenna and I were very much the same. Losing my grandpa, in full transparency, felt like the most world shattering thing to happen in my life (not just adult life, just life in general) so Ikenna’s response to losing hers felt correct to me. I couldn’t imagine losing mine a little over a year ago at 30+, let alone at 19 (Ikenna’s age) so I could just feel the anger coursing through her and… it felt good… I felt validated. For that alone, I will always appreciate this book.

From one Grandpa’s girl to another, I truly do!

You know when your Spirit calls for a certain type of character and you go off in search for them? My bookish people know this feeling when you just NEED a character with a specific energy and/or a certain type of story/genre…for me, its typically the angry girl/woman characters because I can see myself in them (I wrote a whole post dedicated to them), other times it’s the other end of the spectrum with romance (but that’s a different post, like this one). Needless to say, Ikenna was EXACTLY what I was seeking. She’s the angry Black Girl of my DREAMSSSSSSSSS! Not only is she angry but she is a Badass MAGICAL angry Black Girl! I felt like I hit the literary jackpot with her! She felt what I felt, responded how I would’ve responded to others if I had the opportunity to (and lived in her world), she loved her grandpa the way I loved mine and she also knew her greatness (that part, I’m still working on about myself)… We deserve to have more Black Girls that are sure of themselves in literature, we truly do!

Me, searching for character’s like Ikenna!

Not to continue on but to continue on… You know that character that becomes so filled with purpose and vengeance that you can’t help but cheer them on? Especially when they choose violence (I was always okay with it in this book, btw)? That is also Ikenna. You can’t help but see the world she lives in, the circumstances she’s been placed in and the odds against her so you want her to win. I know I basically turn into a posterboard with encouraging words to motivate her, since I was on the sidelines as the reader…mainly I was saying “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS” a lot but it holds the same effectiveness, lol! Ikenna is the type of character that jumps into the fire and walks out like it was water or fog no matter what she was put through. The questions come later because she’s got business to handle and a$$es to kick at that moment. Honestly, I would’ve looked at her in wonder, like a few of the other characters did throughout the book, as if she was a Gawdess (cause she is). Respeck NEEDED to be put on her name! Can you tell I’m a fan?!

And this is really an understatement but it still applies!

There is so much more that I could say because Ikenna is truly THAT.GIRL. TBT has LAYERZZZZZZ, sucks you into the world and won’t release you until you make it to the acknowledgements (I read those too cause I didn’t want the book to end). I loved this book, Ikenna & quite a few of it’s side characters so much and I think you will too! If you don’t have this book in your TBR, I am asking you to change that IMMEJIATELY! We have another year before the second book comes out (That feels so FARRR) but try not to wait till then to read THIS book!

Put this book in your TBR like NOAW…and read it ASAP!

I’m going to end this here because I don’t want to get into anything remotely spoilery but I promise you this book will be worth your time! So request it from your local library or run to your favorite bookstore, either way it’s one of the best bookish investments you’ll make this year! If you’ve read the book & want to chat or if you have non-spoiler questions to ask, come find me out in these e-streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just meet and connected with a fellow Angry Black Girl! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!

Photo Credit for Main Picture: https://fanfiaddict.com/author-chat-nia-n-e-davenport/

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And They Persisted…With Snark And Humor-4 Middle Grades I Loved

Hey There! So I’ve been in a middle grade space with my [ARC] TBR off and on over the last two weeks & I will be in it for a hot minute (I’ve got 4 in the cue so I’m not lyin’)…then I realized that it’s been a little while since I’ve written about any MG books *insert shocked face here*! The last was a few weeks ago with my Pilar Ramirez post (that book is PHENOMENAL and you should read it, btw) and I’ve read so many MGs since then (shame on me for not sharing)!

I know, I know…between the fact that I haven’t written about MGs and have read a bunch is a bit of a problem

I think part of what I love about Middle Grade is that it makes me feel seen as this age range was a time in my own life where I felt very misunderstood and overlooked in a way. I was going through A LOOOOOOT at that time and didn’t have the outlet to understand those things. I know there FOR SURE weren’t books out that would’ve helped me to process my experiences. If there were & I was told about them, I know I would’ve eaten them up because I didn’t know other kids like me dealing with the emotions & situations I was, especially kids who looked like me…

This was younger me…and high key, adult me

With my preteenhood in mind, there are four middle grades that I read fairly recently that I really enjoyed and figured that I would share with you all (I also had to hold myself accountable in sharing more of what I’ve read as I said in my bookish intents for this year). So let’s get into this short list!

It’s the tin can phone for me

Sir Fig Newton And The Science Of Persistence by Sonja Thomas: One of the things that is guaranteed to draw me to a book is when there is an intelligent Black Girl at it’s center (Mira is Biracial but she’s still capital B Black). This book not only gave me that but Mira let everyone know why she’s magic throughout the story. She also dealt with things I did as a kid with the loss & gain of friends and what I deal with now having a pet with a condition & making a way out of no way. I talk a little about this book in this Bookmail live I did. I feel like there aren’t enough books out that show kids being impacted by parental financial insecurity & unemployment, mental health concerns and seeking larger support systems; Sonja tackled all these things brilliantly. I did a live with Sonja about her book, here is the link to it!

This is the energy that Mira gave…and I was here for it!

Shinji Takahashi And The Mark Of The Coatl by Julie Kagawa: From the moment Shinji’s voice emerged, I was like “I like this kid”. He’s super funny, snarky, sarcastic, cynical and resourceful…traits that I love in a main character, especially in the MG & YA genre (it just hits different from adult characters that are like that). Shinji felt special to me and as the story continued to unfold, I just kept being proven right! Who doesn’t love a kid who righteously and rightfully calls out adults?! I know I do! He asks the questions that needs to be asked, the ones that folx will avoid at all costs and isn’t one for being gaslit. Shinji found himself in so many situations but somehow, found his way out by either his wit, unexpected backup and/or the grace of whatever divine being that you believe in…he had me very anxious at times. I seriously cannot wait to see what is next for him because he was a character that I was hesitant to read the final chapter for. Uncle Rick got it right with this book (and really all the ones I’ve read from his series).

Don’t even try to gaslight Shinji…just don’t

The Second Chance Of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird (out 4/19/22): Like so many of my other favorite reads, I found this one on netgalley and then it started popping up in other places…it was the moment that one of my Fav authors, Nic Stone, raved about it that I KNEW that I would really love Benjamin Waterfalls (Nic doesn’t ever lie and I will fight anyone who ever says she does). Like Shinji, Benjamin is hilarious, snarky, sarcastic, cynical and resourceful (maybe a little tooooooo resourceful, y’all gotta watch his hands) but on top of that, what really connected me to him, was his anger. I understood his anger on so many levels because I remember being that angry as a kid (and as an adult). I thought so many times “let the anger flow through you” because sometimes you just have to let it out before it implodes. I really didn’t want to put this book down because there was so much to learn from it (there were LAYERZ to this book y’all). Honestly, I wished we got to hangout with Benny longer but here’s to hoping that we get more time with him through Niimi, whom I also loved. I can’t wait for everyone to meet them both while reading!

I know people would likely say the opposite, but it is an emotion that can be channeled in good way, when shown how.

Unfadeable by Maurice Broaddus (out 4/19/22): I actually held off writing this post so I could finish this book because I knew I couldn’t have this sort of list without a magical Black Girl like Bella Fades AAKA (Artist Also Known As) Unfadeable (She’s also Biracial but see what I said above)! For One, she possesses all the qualities of the characters mentioned above but she’s also bout it bout it in a way that I haven’t seen a MG character be in a minute. She told it like it was, how it would be and wouldn’t let anyone alter the reality she knew (homegirl was dealing with a lot but she handled it like a G). When she said she wanted her things, she was going to get them, showing and proving why her tag name is Unfadeable. Bella wasn’t one to mince words and would stare down anyone who attempted to get in her way, adult and kid alike…she was an equal opportunity reader and I lived for it. Like Benny’s book, it felt like it was over too soon but I appreciated every moment that I had with her. I feel like readers everywhere will too!

Bella, when it came to things in her community and anything that felt remotely shady & I lived

If you are looking for a MG to read, I would absolutely stand 10 toes on my rec of these books. Each one had their respective struggles but what they all had in common were really strong characters who always found a way to accomplish what they needed to and spoke their mind. I fully believe in our youth being shown how powerful their voices are and the various ways in which they can use them in order to effect change. It’s also really important to note that change doesn’t have to be big, it can be within one’s self and that will eventually spread to those around them & their communities at large.

When it comes to these recs (any that I make really), I definitely mean it!

There is so much to learn from Middle Grade Books, no matter what age you are so if you aren’t into this genre, change that! Like I said earlier in the post, I have quite a few that I’ll be reading so I know I will have more to talk about soon and I can’t wait, honestly!

I really really am!

Do you have any fav MGs? What do you look for in a MG character? What draws you to their voice? Share them and let’s talk about it here in the comments or on social media! Holla at me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just read an MG that my Preteen self would connect to! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!

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To Some Of The Secondary Characters That Live Rent Free In My Mind

Hey Y’all! So, I don’t know about you but when I read a book, usually my favorite characters are not the main characters but rather one of the secondary characters (and number of appearances doesn’t effect how much I love them). If you go back to posts I’ve done about specific books, I think you will find a trend (unashamed, I am)!

I’m really not, lol!

There is usually something about these secondary characters that draws me into them and makes me wish that they would have their own book(s) at some point (and possibly that they are real people somewhere so that we can become friends, lol). It could be their banter with the main character & others, their attitudes, personalities or something that just makes me think “you…me…same” each time they appear on the page! This clearly happens enough that I am writing a post about them!

They are like my literary Kindred!

Since secondary characters tend to live rent free in my head, I’m going to share a few that I love. If there is a post about the book they are in (spotlighted or featured), I’ll share that link as well! Here we go!

How all these characters are

Corinne from Charming As A Verb: She is an OG fav and I will forever badger Ben about her getting at least her own novella (some deleted chapters, a New Adult crossover, SOMETHING)! She deserves the spotlight because lets be real, she stole ALL of Halti’s shine when she was on the page. I will also forever maintain that her perspective was needed in that book because she’s hysterical and I would’ve given ANYTHING to know her thoughts at times! I read this book like 2 years ago and I still mention her when I get the chance! She’s MY QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN (also, much love to Palm Tree)!

No seriously, I call her Queen Queen Corinne all the time!

Alice from Legendborn: Another fav that I wouldn’t mind reading at least a novella from her perspective. Honestly, I felt like we needed more of her in the first book and I’m hoping for more Alice appearances in Bloodmarked (I’m so anxious to get my hands on this book y’all!)! One of my favorite scenes in a book will always be when Bree goes to wash her hair and Alice empathizes with her. If one doesn’t have a best friend who understands the importance of their deep conditioning routine then what is the point of “best” friendships?!

You truly are Alice!

Mindii from Sunny G’s Series Of Rash Decisions: I didn’t write a full post about Sunny G’s but I wrote a little bit about this book. I didn’t mention Mindii specifically then because I knew that this post was going to eventually happen and wanted her to have her moment here. She’s actually the inspiration behind this post because I was thinking of how amazing a book would be from her perspective. The way she bantered with Sunny as well as schooled him just turned my eyes into interchanging hearts and stars. She’s gives very “Too Cool For School” Vibes but actually attended because it matters to her. Mindii rides a motorcycle for crying out loud AND educates Sunny on Hmong Culture! She was just the right character to both empathize with and get Sunny out of his shell! I’d definitely want to hang out with her & grab a bubble tea along with pastries!

How I imagined Mindii in my mind!

Zeena from Traveler’s Along The Way: This is yet another book I didn’t write in full about but talked some about! Zeena was seriously one of the best parts of this book to me and could definitely use her own book IMO! She had me cracking up all the time because she had Rahma on ALL of her toes throughout the story! As an older sibling, I felt Zeena so incredibly hard because you just always gotta keep your sibling right…if not you then who, amirite?! I loved how feisty and real she could be throughout and how she riffed with not just Rahma but the other characters in the story. She’s a character that I would just always want around, honestly! I get why she wasn’t the main in this Robin Hood remix but there HAS to be another she could be the center of…quick, someone give Aminah suggestions!

In another universe, I think this could’ve been a moment between Zeena and Rahma!

Kyle From Turning: I loved Kyle from the moment that Genie first spoke to him. For me, he was like a voice of reason even when he wasn’t around her as the book progressed on. He had this balance of wisdom and humor that I truly appreciate in a secondary character & he had such great chemistry with Genie. He was open and vulnerable with Genie in a way that she really needed as well as kind and considerate of her that so many of aren’t used to. Kyle also had a strength about him which drew me in even more to his character. He was able to make fun of himself when the moments called for it but also give the doses of reality too. Kyle’s the cinnamon roll that Genie (and all of us) truly deserved.

How I would look at Kyle is I were Genie…or myself, really, lol!

Izara from Blood Scion: OK, so have you ever read a character and you were like “They are THAT person”? I’ve done this several times and Izara has joined the list. From the jump, she let EVERYONE know she is THAT CHICK and in the most unapologetic way…basically, she told folx to get the eff out of her way or get wrecked and I couldn’t do anything but respect her. She gives Angela Bassett walking away from the burning car (My favorite all time movie scenes) mixed in with Set It Off vibes…basically any and every Bada$$ Black Girl & Woman you can think of rolled into her character and I LIVEDDDDDDDD FOR HER!

Izara gives this energy and I am here for it!

There are so many other secondary characters that I have loved across all the books I’ve read but I can only hold you for but so long. I can’t be the only one who loves secondary characters more than the main characters (most of the time), can I? Am I alone in my love for them *looks around*?

Is it?!

Do you have a favorite secondary character or multiple favs? Let me know in the comments or on Social media! Hit me up on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just met a new secondary character to add to my pantheon of favs! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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A Magic Steeped In Poison Made Me Want To Drink Tea But Also Throw It

  • Judy I. Lin
  • Debut! First in a Duology
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Background: Taiwanese-Canadian
  • Instagram: @judyilinauthor; Twitter: @judyilin; https://judyilin.com/
  • Release: 3/29/2022 (It’s out now so no excuses!)
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (MacMillan Imprint)
  • Favorite Character: Lian! From the moment she stepped on the scene saying “What did you say?”, I just knew that she was the character for me. She came in with the right energy and I felt we would understand each other very well!
  • Favorite Quote(s): This is a thought Ning had but it really struck me: “Grief has a taste, bitter and lingering, but so soft it sometimes disguises itself as sweetness.” As someone who has been moving through this world feeling like they’re drowning in grief, I completely understood this. I feel it all the time but I’ve not ever given it a taste (I more so feel it like a texture); immediately I got it though and it felt right. A quote I love is “Where I come from, it’s customary not to grab girls in back alleys.”-Ning. I’m 1000% for Ning letting a person know what things will and won’t be accepted as well as what it is. I imagined that she delivered this line with her entire chest & I loved it!
Absolutely Ning!

Like so many great reads, I came across A Magic Steeped In Poison on netgalley (and well, you know what I did, lol) and fell in love with the cover. Then I participated in a conversation MacMillan had with Judy about AMSIP, which completely sold it for me. And If the love I was willing to show this book couldn’t be solidified anymore (outside of this post & having the honor of being on this blog tour), I participated in a competition loosely inspired by this book hosted by Tubby & Coo’s Books with Judy and 2 other bookish influencers (and I was a whole mess y’all but I had a great time). I’ve been ready to go to bat for this story! I also received a finished copy of AMSIP, so if you want to watch the live of me seeing a finished copy & adoring it, you can watch here (seriously, the cover is so flippin’ breathtaking)!

When it comes to this book, sure am!

I’m going to kick this off by saying “How dare you Judy? How VERY DARE you?!” Especially that ending…that was rudeeeeeeee but we get book 2 soon (August to be specific) so I’mma chill, lol! There were so many moments where I truly felt that if I was in that world that I could’ve ended up in prison because I threw boiling hot tea on folks. I don’t know if anyone can walk away from this book feeling like there wasn’t at least ONE person that they may have chosen violence for *shrug*. Judy wrote a cast of Characters that you either loved or hated…there wasn’t much room for in-betweens folks. Despite there no being no middle ground on the people we either love or hate, it felt incredibly balanced. I’ll talk about a character or two a little later.

I’m sayin’ doe…how?!

Not only was there an interesting cast of characters, the world that was created is super vivid, which is the earmark of an amazing fantasy. If you are like me, when a book is well written, you can see the entire story play out as you read (or listen) and this was definitely a book I saw play out like a movie… If this book doesn’t get adapted then it will be a travesty and we should riot (or write a sternly worded letter to tv & film production agencies). From the surroundings to the fragrances (I like I was in somebody’s 4D theater), I was entranced and wanted to be part of that world (All Ariel). Now, I know that there is plenty of dangerous ish at play but people go into haunted houses for fun, so I’m fine in making this choice, lol. There feels like there is so much more to experience in the world, so I can’t wait to get into book 2 (A Venom Dark And Sweet, is the title, in case you wanted to know) for that reason & to get caught up with my favs in AMSIP!

This is how I felt!

Ning and Lian are two characters that I could fully fangirl over. They have this sort of chemistry that two people have when they meet and it’s like the real in one recognizes the real in the other. Of course, part of this has to do with the fact that gender plays a role in this with where they are but it is definitely more than that because it feels kindred, like soulmates but non-romantic. I loved their banter and how they support each other from the moment they looked at each other. If you have a best friend (or plural) that you have a strong fondness, think of them and how y’all move through the world together and you very well may get Ning & Lian’s friendship/kinship in a nutshell.

Truly…and that’s why we have the duo that is Ning & Lian!

Like I had said earlier, from the moment that Lian said “What did you say?”, I KNEW she was going to be my favorite. You can’t come on the scene with that as your first line and not be an instant fav, FOR MEEE! She has this sass and fierceness in her that would cause anyone to gravitate towards her (especially if they are built the same)…and how she loves to move to the music that she creates HERSELF (and I live!). Lian is the type of character that’s like “what you think is gunna happen is not what’s going to actually happen” (For my fellow Drag Race fans, she gives Big Gia Gunn Energy and I lived for it). Lian is now in the pantheon of favorite secondary characters for me (and she is in very good company).

This is Lian when folks wanted to try her or underestimate her

When I think about Ning, she’s the type that makes me think about how far am I truly willing to go for family…like would I really put my life at risk to enter into a competition where the odds are stacked against me? Would I REALLYYYYYYYY leave everything I know for just the possibility of things working in our favor? Since I am of the firm belief that I am willing to wear prison orange should anyone come at my family the wrong way, the answer is absolutely yes. Ning is quick and resourceful in all the ways that I love in any Fantasy MC. Being that Ning doesn’t come from means, she puts her mind to work constantly, keeps her ears to the ground and her head on the swivel while making moves. I can’t help but respect her for the lengths she was willing to go to and all I could do was cheer for her because she deserved every win. To say I will be rooting for her in AVDAS like I did in AMSIP would be a gross understatement folks. Ning truly earns/deserves the support she receives both inside & outside of the book (I know y’all don’t think I wasn’t yelling out or wishing I was there to hype her up cause I did boff and maybe a little more, lol).

And you will do the same for Ning!

I have certainly said a lot of things and I could say even more but then that would keep you from getting this book yourself and reading! Honestly, you would be losing if you don’t (iss just a fact, I don’t make the rules folks)…So holler at your local library or your favorite bookstore and make sure to pick up this book…also, another upside is that you only have a few months till the second book drops (#Respect to Judy for that). I’ll post the two covers next to each other at the end of this post just so you can admire them side by side (they are redonkulously stunning).

Seriously, I tip my bonnet and slap cap to Judy for pulling off such a feat!

I’mma end this here but feel free to chat with me in the comments or on social media cause I just always want to talk books and this one is no exception! Let’s chat on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just a really amazing cup of tea (with or without bubbles)! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading & tea drinking!

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Hunting For New Books: April Releases

Hey Y’all! I can’t believe that it is almost April! There are SOOOOOOOO many books coming out this month so be prepared to be a little overwhelmed but hopefully you find books you would want to read! Also, please do double check pub dates because publishing and the parallelogram love to play in our faces and change dates at times after I post these lists!

Like this auntie, be sure to keep a look out for these books & their correct pub dates!

Before you all get to the list, I have a favor to ask. If you utilize my blog posts to post your own pubday list in anyway, shape or form, PLEASE credit me & send people to these posts because I compile these lists over months, stalking author’s & publisher’s/publishing professional’s posts, attend numerous publishing events and search online to get these dates. I would sincerely appreciate that! To practice what I’m asking, One of my favorite sources is an incredible bookstagrammer/publishing professional who posts books by Black Authors is @onyxeditions & she’s a great resource in case you specifically interested in Black Books! Please and Thank Youuu!

Seriously y’all, I would appreciate that!

Now, to get to this massive list!

  • Blood To Poison by Mary M Watson 4/2
  • Surviving the Wild: Star the Elephant by Remy Lai *MG*4/4
  • Behind The Mountains by Edwidge Danticat 4/5
  • Surviving the Wild: Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai *MG*4/5
  • Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk 4/5
  • The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly Mei by Christina Matula *MG*4/5
  • K-Pop Revolution by Stephan Lee *sequel* 4/5
  • The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport *NE*4/5
  • Simon B. Rhymin’ Takes A Stand by Dwayne Reed *MG sequel* 4/5
  • Karthik Delivers by Sheela Chari *MG* 4/5
  • Wednesday and Woof #1: Catastrophe by Sherri Winston *MG* 4/5
  • Four Treasures Of The Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang *adult* 4/5
  • Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa *MG* 4/5
  • Because Of You, John Lewis by Andrea Davis Pinkney *PB* 4/5
  • Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper *adult* 4/5
  • Memphis A Novel by Tara M. Stringfellow *adult* 4/5
  • The Return of Faraz Ali A Novel by Aamina Ahmad *adult* 4/5
  • Probably Ruby A Novel by Lisa Bird-Wilson *adult* 4/5
  • Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang *PB* 4/5
  • It’s The End Of The World And I’m In My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds *MG* 4/5
  • Does My Body Offend You? By Mayra Cuervas & Marie Marquardt 4/5
  • Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh *adult* 4/5
  • The Wedding Crasher A Novel by Mia Sosa *adult* 4/5
  • Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee 4/5
  • Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi *MG Finale* 4/5
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time: The Graphic Novel by Roshani Chokshi, illus. by Anu Chouhan *MG* 4/5
  • Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lại, illus. by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien *PB* 4/5
  • I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick *PB* 4/5
  • One Shot Harry by Gary Phillips *adult* 4/5
  • Boulevard of Dreams: Fearless by Mandy Gonzalez *MG* 4/5
  • The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories by Kate Ashwin, Kel McDonald, Alina Pete 4/5
  • Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega *MG* 4/5
  • Punky Aloha by Shar Tuiasoa *PB* 4/5
  • A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser *MG* 4/5
  • You Are More Than Magic by Minda Harts 4/5
  • Heartbreak Symphony by Laekan Zea Kemp 4/5
  • Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez 4/12
  • A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn *adult* 4/12
  • The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat *MG* 4/12
  • Kicks by Van G. Garrett & Reggie Brown *PB* 4/12
  • An Arrow To The Moon by Emily X.R. Pan 4/12
  • Year On Fire by Julie Buxbaum *adult* 4/12
  • MoonWalking by Zetta Elliot & Lyn Miller-Lachmann *MG* 4/12
  • We Have a Dream: 30 Young Campaigners of Color by Maya-Rose Craig, illus. by Sabrena Khadija *PB* 4/12
  • The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann *adult* 4/12
  • A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar 4/12
  • Abuelita and Me by Leonarda Carranza *PB* 4/12
  • The Bachelor’s Ride by Kolapo Akinola *adult* 4/12
  • What A Match by Mimi Grace *adult* 4/13
  • Unfadeable by Maurice Broaddus *MG* 4/19
  • Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes 4/19
  • My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by Sajni Patel 4/19
  • The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird *MG* 4/19
  • The Memory Librarian And Other Stories Of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae *adult* 4/19
  • Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf 4/19
  • Super Side Kicks: Trial Of Heroes by Gavin Aung Than *MG* 4/19
  • Fevered Star By Rebecca Roanhorse *adult sequel* 4/19
  • Zara’s Rules For Record-Breaking Fun by Hena Khan *MG* 4/19
  • Forbidden City A Novel by Vanessa Hua *adult* 4/19
  • Black Ghost Of Empire by Kris Manjapra *adult* 4/19
  • Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson *adult* 4/19
  • Debating Darcy by Sayantani Dasgupta 4/19
  • In The Key Of Us by Mariama J. Lockington *MG* 4/26
  • Piccolo Is Black: A Memoir Of Race, Religion, And Pop Culture by Jordan Calhoun *adult* 4/26
  • Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel *adult* 4/26
  • Jump In! by Shadra Strickland 4/26
  • This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves 4/26
  • Always With You, Always With Me by Kelly Rowland & Jessica McKay *PB* 4/26
  • Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller *MG* 4/26
  • Winnie Zeng Unleashes a Legend by Katie Zhao *MG* 4/26
  • Together We Ride by Valerie Bolling & Kaylani Juanita *PB* 4/26
  • Maria, Maria & Other Stories by Marytza K. Rubio *adult* 4/26
I know, that’s a lot of books!

There are SOOOOOOOOOOOO many books coming out this month and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others that I didn’t know about (this is a pretty bang up list, I will give myself that, lol)!

Low Key-High Key, I do because I be putting in work on these lists, lol!

The Book Gods continue to smile upon me (most days) and I have quite a list of ARCs/E-ARCs that I have received that come out this month and They are:

  • Surviving the Wild: Star the Elephant by Remy Lai
  • Surviving the Wild: Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai
  • Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk
  • The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport
  • Karthik Delivers by Sheela Chari *MG*
  • Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper *adult*
  • Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh *adult*
  • The Wedding Crasher A Novel by Mia Sosa *adult*
  • You Are More Than Magic by Minda Harts
  • An Arrow To The Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
  • What A Match by Mimi Grace *adult*
  • Unfadeable by Maurice Broaddus *MG*
  • Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes
  • My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by Sajni Patel
  • The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird *MG*
  • Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
  • Hope And Glory by Jendella Benson *adult*
  • In The Key Of Us by Mariama J. Lockington *MG*
  • Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller *MG*
  • Winnie Zeng Unleashes a Legend by Katie Zhao *MG*
Whoa…I got my work cut out for me but I’m up for the task y’all!

Of these ARCs, so far I’ve Read:

  • Surviving the Wild: Star the Elephant by Remy Lai
  • Surviving the Wild: Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai
  • Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk
  • The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport
  • Karthik Delivers by Sheela Chari *MG*
  • Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper *adult*
  • Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh *adult*
  • The Wedding Crasher A Novel by Mia Sosa *adult*
  • You Are More Than Magic by Minda Harts
  • Next On The ARC Docket: What A Match by Mimi Grace *adult*
I promise that I have been putting in that work and that I won’t give up, I got this DJ Khalid, lol!

I’ve been having a great time reading these ARCs and so far, these books have all been amazing! If your budget is tight this month, be sure to hit up your local library and request the titles that you are really interested in, that still supports the authors and you still get to read their work!

Sub out “boy” with “library”…they will be happy to hear from you!

Are there any titles that you are excited about? Are there any by Authors Of Color that I missed for the month? Let me know in the comments or on social media! Come see me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I nailed my pub month list! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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Retellings, Remixes and ReImaginings That Are Relatable, Oh My!

Hey everyone! So I was thinking about the classics remix series written by Authors of Color that Fierce Reads is publishing and how much I have been enjoying them. I also was thinking about the fact that I tend to really love retellings, remixes & reimaginings…but after I find out that that’s what they are since I tend not to read the synopsis most of the time (I just let my bookish senses guide me in what I decide to read, it’s really strong & hasn’t led me astray). I’m honestly not ashamed to admit this to you all, in case you were wondering, lol!

I know…I knowwwwwwwwwww!

Honestly, I have shied away from books that are considered “classics” for forever. I got burned out on White/Eurocentric literature long before high school ever ended (I’m familiar with & have read Black classics, these are often not taught in schools so burnout doesn’t apply there). Who really has time to read books where they don’t see themselves at all, their people are depicted as “the help” or some sort of criminal (y’all know how these authors got down)? I sure the Eff didn’t and still don’t! It’s not what I want for my time and psyche.

Shoal don’t!

A while back, I was asked when I was talking to a high school English class what I thought about using literature written by “Old Dead White Men” (ODWM) in schools now. I answered honestly that I felt it was time to stop shoving those narratives down students throats, put those cannons away and bring the literature more current. What could those books give kids now when they don’t reflect the times and their lives? If educators want kids to actually read and gain from the material then they should be putting stories in their hands that would actually interest them. There are NUMEROUS books that would offer the same lessons to students now that the ODWM used to offer (if we can really say they offered anything *shrug*). Lemme stop before I end up on a soapbox that I don’t have the energy to be on with this post at the moment.

Students deserve better…we all do, honestly!

With that in mind, I wanted to compile a list of retellings/remixes/reimagings that I had read & some that I have in my TBR (I’ll include links to blog posts if I’ve written about them). I’ll also add ones that will be coming out in the future so you can look out for them because it would only be right to do so!

imagine the coffees are a stack of books
  • Traveler’s Along The Way by Aminah Mae Safi: This is a Robin Hood Remix set in Jerusalem during the Crusades and It is my FAVORITE of the remixes that have come out so far from Fierce Reads (I’ll say this loud and proud, no offense to the others that have come out, lol). The main character is a fierce and cunning Muslim Girl who doesn’t seek to save the day but does what she can for her people. I laughed, I bit my nails, I was completely engaged the entire time I was reading. Honestly, I felt this book deserved more hype because it was so good! I would HIGHLY recommend it!
  • A Clash Of Steel by C.B. Lee: A Treasure Island Remix set in the South China Sea that involved the legacy of Zheng Yi Sao, the most successful pirate in history who is also a woman with an embedded love story between two girls searching for her treasure. Yes, thank you!
  • So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow: A Little Women Remix that takes place on the Roanoke Freed People Colony. I wrote a little about it in this post.
  • Where The Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass: A Persuasion Retelling set in present day Tobago! I wrote about it in this post!
  • This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron: The Secret Garden inspired story that takes place in Upstate NY. I absolutely love this book and wrote about it here. The Sequel, This Wicked Fate, comes out on 6/21/22!
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn: A King Arthur Re-imagining set in North Carolina. I wrote about this book here and the sequel, Bloodmarked, comes out 11/8/22!
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A Pride & Prejudice Remix set in a quickly gentrifying Brooklyn. One of the things I loved about this book is that Zuri’s parents are Dominican & Haitian (which is rather revolutionary considering the history between Haiti & The Dominican Republic). This book is paced so brilliantly that I finished it in one day and would be a great book to teach since it is so engaging.
  • Dark And Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore: The Red Shoes Retelling. This story takes place in different places over varying time lines and with multiple perspectives. It has that quintessential magical element that I love about Anna-Marie’s work.
  • Darling by K. Ancrum: A Peter Pan Re-imaging that is dark at points. This story takes place in Chicago and centers Wendy Darling, a Black Girl, who goes out for a night with the mysterious Peter and things don’t go any bit of the way anyone thinks they should.
  • Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood: A Jane Eyre Retelling that is Ethiopian Inspired. This book is in my TBR and I’m itching to get to it (and have been for so long).
  • Roman And Jewel by Dana L. Davis: A Romeo And Juliet inspired Hip-Hopera. I’ve been dying to read this book and hope to get to it soon! I know I would’ve wanted to read this instead of the original.
  • Lost In The Never Woods by Aiden Thomas: A Peter Pan Re-imagining set in Oregon. This is another that is on my radar that I hope to get to!
  • These Violent Delights & Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong: Romeo and Juliet Inspired duology set in 1920s Shanghai. This is also on my radar!
  • What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri: A Wuthering Heights Remix. This book is out on 7/5/22 and it takes place in England with a main character who is from India. This is in my TBR & I can’t wait to read it!
  • Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore: The Great Gatsby Remix. This is slated to come out 9/6/22. I hope there will be more information out about it soon but I did receive confirmation that it’s happening! I’m a fan of Anna-Marie’s work & can’t wait for it!
  • My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix. This was recently announced and it comes out on 2/28/23 (I’m crying about this long wait)! Here is the cover reveal tweet! Please believe that I’m getting it on NetGalley the moment it becomes available!
Replace “food” for “books” and this would be exactly my sentiment! We deserve all the retellings with POC centered in them!

This is only a short list of some books that I know of but I also have the utmost faith that more retellings, remixes & re-imaginings will be written in the future by Authors Of Color. I think it is way past time for us to see ourselves reflected in “classic” literature and that kids should have these stories in their course work rather than those by ODWM. It’s also about rewriting the narratives that we didn’t exist in certain time periods (if written in the past) as well as making these stories more current & relevant to today’s readers.

WE SURE DO! WE SURE ARE!!!

Have you read any of the ones that I’ve listed? Are there any that I’ve missed? I do know there are some adult retellings but I’ve chosen to keep this post YA focused! Let me know in the comments or on social media! Holler at me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just read a really good retelling/remix/reimagining! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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Pilar Ramirez And The Escape From Zafa Is The MG Fantasy I Would’ve Wanted As A Kid

  • Julian Randall
  • Debut
  • Genre: MG Fantasy
  • Background: Dominican American
  • Instagram: @julianthepoet; Twitter: @JulianThePoet; https://juliandavidrandall.com/
  • Release: 3/1/2022 (There is zero excuse not to have it now)
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (MacMillan Imprint)
  • Favorite Character: Carmen! She would be someone that I would be equally intrigued but annoyed by because she’s capable of so much & is super passionate but she’s also a bit of a know it all & pushy…for all I know, we could be related, lol!
  • Favorite Quote(s): “Bad smell, razor sharp claws and y’all got hops? Are you sure y’all aren’t eighth graders?”-Pilar. I hollered out loud when I read this! She was in a pretty tight spot (as she often is in the book, you’ll see when you read) and her response to what she was seeing was hysterical! She has many brilliant liners, especially when her statements include “entiendes?“!
Pilar, to who or whatever she was speaking to, lol

*So before I start, I’m going to say that this post is a part of a Blog Tour for Pilar Ramirez. Even if it wasn’t, there would still be a post about this book because I loved Pilar and her journey so much! Pretty much, this disclaimer just means that this post is happening in the publisher’s time frame rather than mine and I’m fine with that, lol*

You know, for the sake of transparency or whatever, lol

When I discovered Pilar Ramirez And The Escape From Zafa, I was on one of my random searches through netgalley and the cover caught my attention. I, of course, hit that “read now” button (cause I will not ever get over the flex that is an auto-approval on netgalley, lol) with the quickness! To give you all more of a timeline on my love for Pilar, some months later, MacMillan hosted a happy hour with Julian that gave me even more insight to Pilar and her story that only deepened my appreciation of this book. As someone who is Half-Haitian, it was so affirming to hear a Dominican author speak on things I grew up hearing about (though from another side from the same Island). So, when an email was sent out about the blog tour, you obviously know what my answer was cause we are here now, a day earlier than my usual posting day *kool-aid smile*, lol! There is an Instagram live of me doing an unboxing of Pilar Ramirez, that you can watch here so you can see my love for this book for yourself!

I love Pilar like I love my queen Symone, lol!

From the first sentence, I was absolutely HOOKED and knew that Pilar was the type of kid that I could see myself and so many other kids I know in. She’s very self-aware and when she spoke about being observant and I was like “ooo girl, we are the same” because as a kid, I was constantly watching other people, their actions and listening to their words, only I didn’t have a camera to record like Pilar did. Pilar made it known that she aspired to be a director and was making moves towards making that happen. She’s the type that KNOWS she has a lens and that very little gets past her as well as how to form her opinions & voice so she could be heard. I love how she knew the people so well around her that she could formulate what her responses/requests/arguments (choose one, lol) should sound like in order to get what she wants/needs. Pilar is so clever and has such a swag about her that you wouldn’t want to ignore her even if you tried! She’s just that girl! Honestly, Pilar gave off teen from NY but she made it very clear that she is from the Chi!

This is very Pilar’s swag

Another thing that I loved about Pilar is that she is a storyteller. She knew how to set up the story and keep those listening rapt. This is the part that made the book special to me because my grandpa was a natural storyteller, so she made me feel closer to her. Along with the mythology that brings this story to life, there was also historical gems throughout that could’ve been overwhelming but wasn’t in how it was woven into the fabric of the story. Thinking about it, I wish I wouldn’t mind listening to the audiobook because of how Pilar speaks and how animated I imagine her to be! Growing up, I used to hear about Duvalier and his exploits in Haiti so I understood Pilar and her feelings toward Trujillo & his tyranny in the Dominican Republic. Trujillo wasn’t mentioned by my Grandpa so I learned about a history that drew such a parallel to my paternal family’s homeland that subconsciously, I knew it. How Pilar and the others in the story felt about Trujillo, I felt too, especially the anger that felt skin and soul deep over the injustices that their people faced. However, if I’m being honest (which I am), I would’ve felt the same had I not grown up hearing similar stories because of the way that Pilar and other characters spoke about the experiences of their people. Truly, if my Grandpa were still here, I would’ve gotten him a copy so he could read it and we could talk about this book (and I know he would’ve read it and been delighted in the mixture of Spanish throughout since he was fluent.)

Me, the entire time I was reading…I finished in less than 48 hours

Julian did a bang up job in building the fantastical world of Zafa. I loved Zafa and the adventure that Pilar was dropped into (literally and there is more to that aspect) and that it brought us an interesting cast of characters. Through this shift in worlds, we were able to meet my homie Carmen and La Negra (there are so many more to meet, don’t worry). I’ll leave you find out about La Negra when you read the book but I’ll tell you a bit of what I loved about Carmen.

This is a fairly accurate gif to Pilar’s drop into Zafa! lol!

Carmen is a fierce character that acts first then talks about it later. She’s the person you would want on your side in a fight because if you weren’t fighting with her, you’re against her and it would be your funeral. She gives off Big Okoye Energy, if you are a Black Panther fan, cause she’s basically a warrior Gawdess. She is just as passionate as Pilar about the people she loves and her world, which makes them a match made in heaven but also funny to watch when they clash… especially when lots of motion is involved (you gotta read to find out what I mean by that, lol)! Carmen is a character that has a backstory that I believe I would love reading as well (some secondary characters deserve their own books…a companion novel/series isn’t too much to ask for, I don’t think)! Honestly, I’d just want to be in Zafa for as long as Julian would allow me to me, lol!

This is the energy Carmen gives off and I live for her like I do Okoye!

Seriously, if you haven’t added Pilar Ramirez And The Escape From Zafa to your TBR, some bookstores shopping cart and/or library requests then what exactly are you doing with your life? This is the type of fantasy that my pre-teen/teen self would’ve loved but I’m grateful that I got to read it as an adult! If you want an excuse to read it and talk about it, The Magical Black Kids Book Club will be reading Pilar Ramirez for April and I promise you will want to talk about this book after you read it! The linked post talks about the book club and has a sign up link to receive emails, there’s no fee to join and all ages are welcome (Kids have the first word though)!

And pick up this book!

Aiight, I’m going to end this post here before I think of more to talk about and keep you here for another 30 minutes rambling about what I loved about this book! If you want to holler at me, you know you can find me out in the interwebs on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I just read a book my pre-teen self would’ve loved and obsessed over! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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The Lost Dreamer Left Me Gooped

  • Lizz Huerta
  • Debut; Book 1 of a Duology
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Background: First Gen. Mexican and Puerto Rican
  • Instagram: @lizzhuertawrites; Twitter: @lizzhuerta; www.lizzhuerta.com
  • Release: 3/1/2022 (this NEEDS to be in your TBR!)
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux BFYR (MacMillan Imprint)
  • Favorite Character: Naru! She had all the fire and sass that I look for in secondary characters! I only wish I saw more of her…but that’s just how I am about characters I like right off the bat…you’ll see why from my favorite quote below!
  • Favorite Quote(s): “I don’t need guarding, you fangless, soft-bodied children of men!”-Naru. I mean…Naru knows her strength and can’t be faulted for that! The subsequent responses after prove it too! I laughed pretty hard at this!
When Naru was going off, this was my response…WITH this energy!

When I saw the cover for The Lost Dreamer, I just knew that I had to read this book. I found myself awestruck and speechless for a moment. Of course, I cranked that “Read It” button on Netgalley right away (Shout Out to MacMillan for liking me enough to grant me auto-approval) and later they did a happy hour event for it that solidified my need to read this book! I received two book boxes for TLD, here is the first video and here is the second (which I did while working on this post because I received the box the day before & I mention this post in that live too, lol)! I want to note that this post is apart of MacMillan’s Blog tour for TLD and this post will be a little veiled in how I write it because I don’t want to give anything away!

Me, when I saw this cover on netgalley!

I’m going to start this by saying that this book is a Dual Perspective book and y’all know how much I LOVEEEEEEEE Dual POVs! I find that when a book has more than one perspective, it’s easier for me to get sucked into the world because the world is being shown in different ways! We get to see the world that the MCs Indir & Saya live through their lenses, which are quite stark in their views and personalities. On top of this, we don’t just get the actual world that Indir and Saya live in but we also get to go into “The Dream”, which is another experience itself! Lizz did an amazing job building up this multi-dimensional, and to borrow words from Dhonielle Clayton, texturally-rich world. There were points where I felt like I was right in the story, which is ALWAYS a good sign when I’m reading (unless it’s scary, then not so much, lol).