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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
  • 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
  • Booked by Kwame Alexander 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).

Me, going into this story knowing it’s dual POV and double this energy with how lush the world is

Indir and Saya are like two sides to the same coin. Both have special abilities but one has the support system of the strong women around her while the other is pretty much isolated from the world around her. I found myself drawn to them both through their pull to “The Dream” but also their longing for something more that they couldn’t always express that wasn’t “The Dream”. You know that feeling of wanting more but not exactly what “more” is? It was very that. It was also clear that they had a connection but it wasn’t clear as to what it was (don’t worry, you’ll find out when you read the book because you know there are no spoilers here).

They might not have expressed their want with this intensity but it I felt it intensely!

Another thing I loved about this book is the cast of characters. They offer another layer to the world of TLD. I felt myself excited when a potential love interest enters the scene, I leaned in more when the siblings & aunts of one of the MCs came in and I sneered when the “bad guy” showed their face (I literally sneered so you know I didn’t like that Eff-er). I loved that the characters had different lineages that explained some of their traits/gifts and you learn a lot more about the world outside of what is seen from Indir and Saya’s perspectives through knowledge shared. Naru comes from another group of people that we get to see a little of in this book and their energy is everything (it gives very bad bish/Dora Milaje energy)…I’m not trying to say too much because I want you to get this book, lol! My hint though would be that they may or may not do some shape shifting…that’s it, that’s all I will say (lol)!

This is Naru & her people’s energy

Something else that I loved about this book is the fact that it was inspired by Ancient Mesoamerica. We know that ancient civilizations have such rich cultures and there is always something special about when they are brought to the forefront again. Its a way of remembering and honoring their legacy that [redacted] history has attempted to erase. This book was a beautiful tribute to Lizz & so many other’s ancestors! I’m lowkey disappointed that this is only a duology because I felt there was so much in the world to be seen (but maybe this means the second book will be a long one…we shall see)!

If this book were a movie, this would be how I imagine it beginning…or close to it

I know that I didn’t give you a whole lot that could give you a fuller picture to the story & characters but I really want you and anyone else you can think of that would appreciate a fantasy book with dual perspectives, twists & turns, lush worlds and magical gifts to read it. There are gags & goops that I didn’t see coming (that’s saying a lot too) and I don’t want to ruin those experiences for anyone (that’s sacred to me and I respect you way too much). Just know that this book is worth picking up & reading so you can join me in my gooped state of being!

How I felt when I finished The Lost Dreamer!

Is The Lost Dreamer in your TBR? Have you requested it from your library or picked up a copy? Let me know in the comments or on social media! As always, You can find & follow me out on the innernets 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 finished a book that caught me off guard in the best way! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Peace peeps!

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Luck Of The Bookish: March Releases

Hey Y’all! I can’t even believe that another month is almost here but even more so than that…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTHHHHHHHHH (dang, time really flies)! Okay, I just had to get that out! On top of it being the best month (I said what I said), it is a REALLY good month for new book releases! I think a lot of us will be praying for a windfall (or a good tax return) to cover the books we may want to purchase this month! Also, don’t forget that the library is an option should purchasing not be on the table, requesting books still supports the authors!

Lettuce pray I get to the point where I could throw money like this…preferably in some bookstores & at my bank account

There are so many books coming out in March that I’m beyond excited for so let’s get into this list!

It’s the body language/gestures for me! I love being a Black woman!
  • The Leaping Laddoo by Harshita Jerath & Kamala M. Nair *PB* 3/1
  • Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall *MG* 3/1
  • Turning by Joy L. Smith 3/1
  • The Rumor Game by Sona Chairapotra & Dhonielle Clayton 3/1
  • Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi 3/1
  • Every Variable Of Us By Charles A. Bush 3/1
  • The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah 3/1
  • The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta 3/1
  • Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu *MG* 3/1
  • A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee 3/1
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tabir 3/1
  • Debating Darcy by Sayanthani DasGupta 3/1
  • Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers by Uma Mishra-Newbery, Lina Al-Hathloul, Rebecca Green *PB* 3/1
  • Why Not You? By Jessica Gibson *PB* 3/1
  • Let’s Do Everything And Nothing by Julia Kuo *PB* 3/1
  • Crimson Reign by Amelie Wen Zhao *sequel* 3/1
  • Grow: A Family Guide to Plants—And How to Grow Them by Rizaniño Reyes, illus. by Sara Boccaccini Meadows *PB* 3/1
  • Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys 3/1
  • New from Here By Kelly Yang *MG* 3/1
  • Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge *adult* 3/1
  • We Belong by Laura Purdie Salas *PB* 3/1
  • The Balloon Thief by Aneesa Marufu 3/3
  • Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore 3/8
  • Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye 3/8
  • Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett *adult* 3/8
  • Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly *MG* 3/8
  • Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao 3/8
  • Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen 3/8
  • Diamond Park by Phillippe Diederich 3/8
  • The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette *PB* 3/8
  • Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron *adult* 3/8
  • How To Hear The Universe by Patricia Valdez & Sara Palacios *PB* 3/8
  • Cinder & Glass by Melissa De La Cruz 3/8
  • Pablo Neruda: A Poet Of The People (Bilingual Edition) by Monica Brown & Julie Paschkis *PB* 3/8
  • Sunflower by Ingrid Laguna *MG* 3/8
  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas 3/8
  • Jameela Green Ruins Everything by Zarqa Nawaz *adult* 3/8
  • Hot Girl Summer by Sonia Palermo *adult* 3/14
  • Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters 3/15
  • Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros *MG* 3/15
  • When We Were Birds A Novel by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo *adult* 3/15
  • Wrong Side of the Court By H.N. Khan 3/15
  • Emile And The Field by Kevin Young & Chioma Ebinama *PB* 3/15
  • Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos 3/15
  • Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner 3/15
  • Dating Dr. Dil A Novel By Nisha Sharma *adult* 3/15
  • Okoye To The People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi 3/22
  • Sir Fig Newton And The Science Of Persistence by Sonja Thomas *MG* 3/22
  • Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram 3/22
  • A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin 3/22
  • Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery by Gigi Pandian *adult* 3/22
  • Disorientation A Novel by Elaine Hsieh Chou *adult* 3/22
  • Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell A Novel by Taj McCoy *adult* 3/22
  • The City of Dusk by Tara Sim 3/22
  • Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow *PB* 3/29
  • Her Rebel Highness (Daughters of the Dynasty) by Diana Ma *series* 3/29
  • Survive The Dome by Kosoko Jackson 3/29
  • Sweep Of Stars by Maurice Broaddus *adult* 3/29
  • A Duke, The Spy, An Artist and A Lie by Vanessa Riley *adult* 3/29
  • The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan by Kristen Mai Giang Illustrated by Alina Chau *PB* 3/29
  • Stella Díaz To The Rescue by Angela Dominguez *ER* 3/29
  • Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown & AG Ford *PB* 3/29
  • Four Aunties And A Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto * adult sequel* 3/29
  • Going Public by Hudson Lin *adult series* 3/29
  • Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes by Mahak Jain *PB* 3/29
  • Survive The Dome by Kosoko Jackson 3/29
Sooooo many books y’all!

Whoooooooooooooo, so many books coming out in March and I’m so excited about them! I’ve received quite a few ARCs, which always makes my bookish Spirit happy!

This is the way I react when I get an ARC I want…this and squeal/yell!

Here are the ones I have:

  • Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall *MG*
  • Turning by Joy L. Smith
  • The Rumor Game by Sona Chairapotra & Dhonielle Clayton
  • Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi
  • The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tabir
  • Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys
  • Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
  • Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao
  • Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen
  • Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron *adult*
  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas
  • Hot Girl Summer by Sonia Palermo *adult*
  • Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros *MG*
  • When We Were Birds A Novel by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo *adult*
  • Dating Dr. Dil A Novel By Nisha Sharma *adult*
  • A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
  • Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell A Novel by Taj McCoy *adult*
  • Her Rebel Highness (Daughters of the Dynasty) by Diana Ma *series*
Switch “schmoney” to ARCs…but if any publishers wanna pay me to read books, then I’m all for that too!

As per usual, I’m working on reading through the ARCs that I have and so far, I have read:

  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas
  • Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall *MG* (I’m apart of this blog tour so look out for the post on this soon!)
  • Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi
  • The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta (I’m apart of this blog tour as well, so this book will get a post too)
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tabir
  • Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys
  • Currently Reading: The Rumor Game by Sona Chairapotra & Dhonielle Clayton
On finishing these ARCs, I know, I will!

I’m excited to continue to keep reading through my ARC cue (it’s quite the cue) cause so far, the books have been amazing…and I will say it here that I think Traveler’s Along The Way is under hyped and deserves better (I emailed the publisher to let them know too, lol)…everyone needs to get that book when it comes out!

Seriously, Get it! And maybe even do this dance or something that looks like it while you do!

Are there any books that You are looking forward to? Did I miss any books by POC authors coming out this month? Let me know in the comments or out in these e-streets! As always, You can find & follow me out on the innernets 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 it’s mah burfday and I got mad bookstore gift cards! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Peace & Stay Bookish peeples!

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Books That Talked HistorNerdy To Me

Hey y’all! So I don’t know about y’all but I love books that talk about history or is historical because, no surprise here, I’m quite the nerd! I’m not picky about what type of history it is as long as I learn something or have a knowledge refresh along the way! There are also bonus points if the history lessons are woven into the story line.

And so proud of it!

So I was thinking of some middle grade and young adult books that spoke to the history nerd that lives within me for different reasons. Of course, wanted to share those books with you as well as what spoke to me! All of these would be great books to add to Social Studies curriculums… just putting that out there!

In this case, I just want to share these books with y’all!

Let’s get into this list!

Middle Grade

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown-This book was my introduction into middle grade horror and I will say it got me pretty good at times. I’m a person who loves to read at night and I was very unsure of whether or not I could read it and not feel nervous about how my dreams would be once I laid my head down (I was totally fine, btw). I learned quite a bit about abandoned Black cemeteries reading this book & it was really interesting that there was a news story here in New York around the time that I was reading it about a Black cemetery that ended up being built over (the disrespect). I also loved the bits of Black superstitions that were mentioned as well.

I was nervous but this book was worth being nervous for!

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee-One of the biggest things that spoke to me about this book is the relationship between Maizy and her grandpa. As you all know from my post dedicated to my own, My grandpa was very much a storyteller and so was Maizy’s. Maizy’s grandpa baits her by teasing at their ancestor’s history by telling her in pieces. It illustrates Chinese immigration in the 1800s going into the early 1900s and the experiences of this fictional ancestor. While I knew a bit of the history of Chinese immigration & that of Chinese restaurants in the US (I know a little bit about a lot y’all), it was nice to see it through a different lens…it’s definitely not taught enough in schools (hello erasure of POC history in education).

Maisy & her Grandpa’s connection has this sort of energy!

The Only Black Girls In Town by Brandy Colbert-Disclaimer here, I’m a Brandy Colbert Stan. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I love how the history in this story is wrapped in a mystery of sorts (I love turning into detective while reading a book). Alberta learns about the history of her house and the town she’s lived in her whole life through some journals she & her friend discover. This book is a great way to introduce the concept of “passing” to students learning about American history and how it was a means of survival to those passing living in openly racist and segregated parts of America (we not gon’ sit here and pretend like that’s not still a thing here…not today or any other day on this here blog).

Lauren is a little older than Alberta but the energy is the same!

Young Adult

Black Was The Ink by Michelle Coles-What I loved about this book is that it was that it was a contemporary book with the fantastical element of time travel. Malcolm not only got to learn about his ancestor but also how he came to acquire their family land and about the Reconstruction Era. I had learned a bit about the Reconstruction era way back when but this book served as a refresher with a much more interesting presentation than any textbook would ever provide AND in a way that shows just how prosperous Black people were (and could be) by working together. This book is one that I think any teen who is reluctant to learn about history could lean into.

This is both Malcolm in the book and me while reading

So Many Beginnings by Bethany C. Morrow-I’m going to acknowledge that this book is a remix of Little Women but I’m also going to say that I never read Little Women *shrug*. While I am familiar with the history of Freed People’s colonies, I did not know much about the Roanoke colony. There was something distinctly different to read a book that took place in one and spoke of the histories that felt like a first person account (this is book is multiple perspective, just an FYI). It was also amazing to read a book filled with Black Joy rather than Black Trauma at the end of the era of chattel slavery (had to be specific there). I honestly want Bethany to do a story based in Seneca Village (where Central Park now is…my mind is still blown over that history).

We need more of this in Historical Black stories!

Angel Of Greenwood by Randi Pink-Another history that I knew about and still feel sick over is the Tulsa Massacre. What is different about this book is that it began a few days before the massacre takes place. You get to see this thriving Black community known as the “Black Wall Street” from two perspectives that also have different ideologies. Angel believed in the teachings of Booker T. Washington (though she was pretty open-minded) while Isaiah heavily believed in those of W.E.B Du Bois (he wasn’t so open-minded). There is a lot of joy and hope in this story even though we know that there will be tragedy. We all know that no place is perfect but reading a thriving Black community gave me hope and a longing for us to get back to that.

It really does y’all!

There are other books that have spoken to the History nerd in me, like in this post about important middle grades. There are quite few that are coming out or recently came out that I plan on talking about in the future in other posts, these are great books to roll with doe. I also have but so much energy to sit in front of my laptop as well (Just keeping it real with y’all)!

This really does become me after a while of sitting at my laptop…I love writing this blog but I don’t love sitting for long periods of time, lol

Are there any books that spoke to your inner nerd? Do you love books that speak nerdy to you too? Let me know in the comments or on the social medias! As per usual, You can find & follow me out on 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 read a bunch of books that spoke nerdy to me! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Byeeeeee!

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Three Debuts That Had Me Cracking Up

Hey Y’all! So I don’t know about y’all but I’ve been super busy marathon reading for the last few weeks. I had quite a few ARCs for books that were releasing last week & this week that I wanted to make sure I read before their release! I managed to finish the last title yesterday and I feel so accomplished!

I seriously didn’t think I was going to make it for a moment!

However, that’s not the reason for this post (it was feeling a little “Dear Diary” for a second, lol)! Of those numerous ARCS (18 total, don’t worry, I started reading them last month…I’m not that much of a machine), three of the most recent ones really cracked me up. I found myself having a great time reading and not wanting to put them down! I have not been able to stop thinking about them or raving about them every chance I get so I wanted to share them with you (which falls in line with my bookish intents for this year…#Accountability)!

If I had less core control, I would’ve been like this baby while reading these books…A LOT!

Since these are debut authors, it is super important that they get the shine and love that they deserve. We (I) want them to keep writing and giving not just this generation but all of us the type of representation wanted AND needed in literature. I do hope that you all will support them because they wrote truly phenomenal books!

Just taking this moment to say…LISTEN To Black Women…PSA over

Let me get to this list before I find myself on another soap box, lol! Here we go (I really love saying that)!

It’s the enthusiasm for me!

Sunny G’s Series Of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon: This book just spoke to my Spirit! First, there was so much cussing and if you read this blog in its earlier days, you know I used to do a lot of that too (I still do but just not here in case a kid under like 13 reads). Second, there were so much funny banter between Sunny and the other characters and even the thoughts in his head…I laughed so much the entire time! It’s the type of banter & humor that I would regard my friends as well as the thoughts that go through my head…Sunny is so well versed in Sarcasm and snark, my second and third languages! We would make great friends! Third, this book deals with grief but in a way that didn’t feel overwhelming, daunting or heavy. Many of you know that I’ve been dealing with my own loss and because of how heavy it still feels to me, I usually shy away from books that have grief/loss. However, I didn’t feel like shying away and rather felt drawn to Sunny and his struggles because of how he approached his thoughts around death…they actually felt similar to some of my own. Fourth, Sunny had an amazing group of friends that I couldn’t get enough of! I honestly wish they were there for more of the shenanigans…I mean, rash decisions! Seriously, this book is f**king funny and it’s worth your time!

So many things in Sunny G’s was!

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie: This book had me from page one and when I finished, I did one of those sighs that only a book that spoke to your soul could produce. I was drawn to this book by the cover alone (and I’m a VERY good judge of a cover) and my intuition didn’t let me down at all. This book was super funny and the banter between Ophelia & her friends as well as her parents (that shocked the mess out of me in the best way) was so witty that the only way it would’ve been better is if I could’ve heard it in real time! I also got caught off guard because my eyes leaked a time or two and I DEFINITELY wasn’t ready for that. Like Ophelia, I was boy crazy as a teen and my friends knew me as the same so I felt a connection with her from that point on. I also felt connected with her in not wanting to be known for a few things that far from defined who I was (and really am now). This book was like a masterclass in exploring the spectrum of emotion, self-discovery and self-acceptance. It also did a beautiful job in the conversations around sexuality and labeling or even not labeling oneself along with the importance of finding community and understanding. I think you know what I’m going to say…(get this book, in case that isn’t clear! lol!)

I was really in my feels y’all!

Lulu And Milagro’s Search For Clarity by Angela Velez: I have to start this by saying that this book is Dual POV and y’all know how much I LOVE dual POV books so it hooked me from the beginning! I felt a kinship with Lulu and Milagro for different reasons (though I felt like I related more to Lulu). Lulu is the super nerdy, head typically stuck in a book and filled with different facts type sister that loves research which is pretty much my vibe (we could seriously be friends IRL)! I’m not a little sister but I felt where she wanted to set herself apart and make the things she wanted for herself happen. Milagro is the fun, fashionable and outgoing type sister. She fights between whether or not she should attempt to prove people wrong about her or continue to go against the rough grain that’s been set by her mom & school. I understood her not wanting to be bothered by others expectations and just living…really, I deeply admired her free spirit. They learned so much on their journey about themselves, each other and why they should define themselves by their own terms rather than allow other people & situations to do the defining for them. I seriously enjoyed this book that really honed in on the importance of family, friendships and figuring out what the future means to you (there was some alliteration there, lol)! Clearly, I would recommend this book!

Switch the sisters roles here and you got Lulu (who would be at the microscope) and Milagro (fashionably dressed & saying something snarky)!

If what I’ve said about these books aren’t enough to sway you then I’m not sure what else I could tell you! You couldn’t go wrong with any of these books. They gave me all the feels from laughter to tears to anger and so many in-between…but in the end, I felt joyful when I finished each one. In times such as these, books that bring joy and laughter are so very important to me and maybe to you as well.

Me too Tiffany, me too!

Look y’all, I completely understand if you don’t have the funds to purchase these books but you have the brilliant resource of the library (hopefully close to you) to request these titles from… Some libraries have digital copies so you can borrow them from afar so utilize them and support these authors & their amazing books (do this for all authors, of course). Another way to support is to follow them on the socials and I’ll provide their IGs (they are linked for your convenience, you welcome): Navdeep, Racquel, and Angela (I went and followed them as well because I practice what I preach)!

I’m sure they will be very happy and thankful for the support!

Have you all heard about these titles? Which one(s) called the most to you? Are there any other debut books that you have really enjoyed? Are there any by POC authors that you are anticipating?! Feel free to share them in the comments or on social media! As always, You can find & follow me out on 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 got to read some books that made me laugh till my eyes leaked! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Later peeps!

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Love Is In The Air: YA & Adult Romances To Add To Your TBR

Hey everyone! I know this title is cheesy but sometimes you just have to lean into things and we know that Valentine’s Day is coming up! I had initially planned this post for next week but since I low-key destabilized my wrist while shoveling & breaking ice (thanks Mother Nature for that Nor’easter), I had to go with a post that wouldn’t require as much typing which would mean lists! I know that I’m good with lists so I don’t believe I would be disappointing you all with one (please forgive me if you were hoping for more).

Still love me…please?

I wanted to offer you all a few Young Adult and Adult Romances/Rom-Coms that will have you seeing & feeling all the hearts and what not! I also believe that I haven’t listed most if not all of these books in other posts (outside of what I’ve read) so they shouldn’t be repeats from me (and also, some of these are recently released & one is not out yet). Some I will talk about and others, I will just list! So here we go!

I do love a romance that has me feeling this way!
  • Young Adult
    • One True Loves by Elise Bryant: I love this book because Lenore felt like me when it came to romance, both as a teen and an adult! This is a companion novel but definitely stood on it’s own! I would highly recommend it!
    • The Kindred by Alechia Dow: Y’all know I love a dual POV and this one didn’t disappoint at all! It served me romance, witty banter and adventure (it definitely falls under contemporary fantasy since it’s in space but the romance is so hard to ignore)! I just loved this book so very very much! You should definitely read it!
    • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
    • Made In Korea by Sarah Suk
    • The Stars And The Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
    • A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
    • You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
    • I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
How I felt after reading these!
  • Adult
    • The Unexpected Fall by Anna Salcedo: I absolutely f**king LOVE THIS BOOK! Not only is it spicy but it has so much humor and Anna gave me my new book boyfriend…I’m here for any and everything Will Kobayashi! If you love steam, witty banter and a work place romance, this is definitely the book for you!
    • Getting His Game Back by Gia De Cadenet: This was a book I definitely appreciated for the way it balanced the romance and mental health. It also gave a lot of steam and is dual POV! This is another romance worth giving a read!
    • Asking For A Friend by Andi Osho
    • Along For The Ride by Mimi Grace
    • Amor Actually by Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Mia Sosa, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras & Sabrina Sol (this is an anthology of interconnected stories!)
    • And The Lived Happily Ever After by Therese Beharrie
    • D’Vaughn And Kris Plan A Wedding by Chencia C Higgins
    • I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (out on 2/22/22)
The “whew” is the part I felt the most after reading some of the steamy parts!

There are so many more romances that I wish I could’ve talked about but time & my wrist truly aren’t on my side! I apologize for that, though I hope you all have added a book or two to your TBR if you haven’t come across some of these!

Say that you still do!

Are there any romances/rom-coms by POC authors that I’ve missed? What are some of your favorites?! Please share them in the comments or on social media cause I’m always looking for new ones to add to my TBR for my Romance binges! You can find & follow me out on 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 got to read a really good (and steamy) romance/rom-com! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love (even more so on Valentine’s day to fully lean into the cheese) and wishing you happy reading! Later Lovelies!

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Falling In Love With New Books: February Releases

Hey Everyone! February is almost upon us which means a new month of book releases and it doesn’t disappoint in the volume of books coming out! It’s hard not to be simultaneously excited and groan internally when thinking about how many books come out this month! The excitement, of course, because there are so many great books and groaning because the bookish amongst us think of the danger our bank accounts are in!

I know my bookish people do!

I’m going to give disclaimers here: 1) be sure to double check publishing dates for the ones you are most excited about because these dates can change for any number of reasons and sometimes I miss those changes. B) Don’t come to me blaming me for how many books you end up purchasing or pre-ordering…*insert eyebrow raised emoji here*. Please also be sure to request these books from your local library, that also counts towards the books numbers and supports the authors!

I’m sayin’ doe!

Aiight, let’s get to this list!

  • Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier *MG* 2/1
  • This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi 2/1
  • What The Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris *adult* 2/1
  • Required Reading For The Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee *NA* 2/1
  • Carolina Built by Kianna Alexander 2/1
  • Black Love Matters Anthology edited by Jessica P. Pryde *adult* 2/1
  • Never After: The Stolen Slippers by Melissa de la Cruz *MG sequel* 2/1
  • Black Girls Must Be Magic A Novel by Jayne Allen *adult series* 2/1
  • Black Panther: Spellbound by Ronald L. Smith *MG sequel* 2/1
  • She Persisted: Wangari Maathai by Eucabeth Odhiambo 2/1
  • Omar Rising by Aisha Saaed *MG Companion* 2/1
  • Solimar the Sword of the Monarchs by Pam Muñoz Ryan *MG* 2/1
  • Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu *adult* 2/1
  • Don’t Cry For Me by Daniel Black *adult* 2/1
  • Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee *MG* 2/1
  • Ramón and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson *adult* 2/1
  • When The World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura *MG* 2/1
  • Redwood And Wildfire by Andrea Hairston *adult* 2/1
  • Why? By Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans *PB* 2/1
  • And We Rise by Erica Martin 2/1
  • Kemosha of the Caribbean by Alex Wheatle 2/1
  • Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho *adult* 2/1
  • Murder Of Crows  by K. Ancrum 2/1
  • Cameron Battle And The Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry *MG* 2/1
  • Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson *MG* 2/1
  • The Black Agenda by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman *adult* 2/1
  • The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto 2/1
  • Black Joy Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts *adult* 2/1
  • Didn’t We Almost Have It All In Defense of Whitney Houston by Gerrick Kennedy *adult* 2/1
  • Hey You by Dapo Adeola *PB* 2/2
  • Sunny G’s Series Of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon 2/8
  • Cold by Mariko Tamaki 2/8
  • A Spark Within The Forge: An Ember In The Ashes Graphic Novel by Sabaa Tabir 2/8
  • You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen 2/8
  • Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie 2/8
  • A Comb Of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow *MG* 2/8
  • Lulu And Milagro’s Search For Clarity by Angela Velez 2/8
  • Mirror Girls by Kelly McWilliams 2/8
  • Cherish Farrah A Novel by Bethany C. Morrow *adult* 2/8
  • The Final Cut by Onjali Q. Raúf *MG* 2/8
  • Once Upon A Forest by Pam Fong *PB* 2/8
  • Colors Of Awesome: 24 Bold Women Who Inspired The World by Eva Chen & Derek Desierto *BB* 2/8
  • I’ll Hold Your Hand by Maggie C. Rudd & Elisa Chavarri *PB* 2/8
  • With Lots Of Love by Jenny Torres Sanchez & André Ceolin *PB* 2/8
  • Homicide And Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala *adult series* 2/8
  • Powwow Day by Traci Sorell, illus. by Madelyn Goodnight *PB* 2/8
  • The Great Mrs. Elias A Novel Based on a True Story By Barbara Chase-Riboud *adult* 2/8
  • The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas *adult* 2/8
  • No Filter And Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado 2/8
  • Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika *adult* 2/11
  • Bitter by akwaeke emezi *prequel* 2/15
  • The Chandler Legacies by Abdi Nazemian 2/15
  • Reclaim The Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space edited by Zoraida Cordova 2/15
  • When Your Voice Shakes by Ruby Yayra Goka 2/15
  • Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James *adult sequel* 2/15
  • Anansi and the Golden Pot by Taiye Selasi *PB* 2/15
  • Blue by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond & Daniel Minter *PB* 2/15
  • Every Leaf A Hallelujah by Ben Okri & Diana Ejaita *PB* 2/15
  • Nenek Tata and the Mangrove Menace by Judith Vun Price and Jacqui Vun *PB* 2/15
  • Young, Gifted, and Black A Journey of Lament and Celebration by Sheila Wise Rowe *adult* 2/15
  • I Am Thinking My Life by Allysun Atwater *PB* 2/15
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh 2/22
  • Dear Mama’s Loving Arms by Ceece Kelley *PB* 2/22
  • Only a Monster by Vanessa Len 2/22
  • Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi *MG* 2/22
  • I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson *adult* 2/22
  • Miss Pearly’s Girls by ReShonda Tate Billingsley *adult* 2/22
  • Climb On! by Baptiste Paul, Jacqueline Alcántara *PB* 2/22
  • The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka *adult* 2/22
  • The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres 2/22
  • Dancing Davi by Priya Parikh *PB* 2/22
  • Mommy, Look At Me! by Alexandra Santana *PB* 2/22
This is the excitement I feel too!

Whew! So many new books and most of them on the first two pub days! Like the January, I’ve been lucky to have received a number of ARCS/E-ARCs! I have the ARCS of the following books:

  • This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi
  • Required Reading For The Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee *NA*
  • Black Love Matters Anthology edited by Jessica P. Pryde *adult*
  • Black Girls Must Be Magic A Novel by Jayne Allen *adult series*
  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas
  • Black Panther: Spellbound by Ronald L. Smith *MG sequel*
  • Omar Rising by Aisha Saaed *MG Companion*
  • Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee *MG*
  • Why? By Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans *PB*
  • Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho *adult*
  • Cameron Battle And The Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry *MG*
  • Sunny G’s Series Of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon
  • Cold by Mariko Tamaki
  • You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen
  • Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
  • A Comb Of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow *MG*
  • Lulu And Milagro’s Search For Clarity by Angela Velez
  • Cherish Farrah A Novel by Bethany C. Morrow *adult*
  • Reclaim The Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space edited by Zoraida Cordova
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh
  • Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi *MG*
  • The Great Mrs. Elias A Novel Based on a True Story By Barbara Chase-Riboud *adult*
This is how I feel when I get approved for an ARC or I receive one!

I’ve been kept busy with ARCS as so many of them were read over the last 2 1/2 weeks *insert wide eyed emoji here*! Of these ARCs, I have read the following:

  • This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi
  • Required Reading For The Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee *NA*
  • Cherish Farrah A Novel by Bethany C. Morrow *adult*
  • Black Girls Must Be Magic A Novel by Jayne Allen *adult series*
  • Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas
  • Black Panther: Spellbound by Ronald L. Smith *MG sequel*
  • Omar Rising by Aisha Saaed *MG Companion*
  • Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee *MG*
  • Why? By Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans *PB*
  • Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho *adult*
  • Cameron Battle And The Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry *MG*
  • Black Love Matters Anthology edited by Jessica P. Pryde *adult*
An understatement, really!

I’m currently reading The Great Mrs. Elias. I do have a game plan in place for reading the remaining ARCs/E-ARCs that come out this month before their release dates as well as going into March (which I also have a lot of ARCs for)!

Always!

Are there any books coming out this month that you are excited about? Did I miss any books by Authors Of Color coming out this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media! As always you can find & follow 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 got to read an anticipated read before it releases! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! I’m Out! Peace!

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I Want To Know What Other Characters Are Thinking-Dual POVs Are My Jam

Hey everyone! I’m not sure about you but I love books with dual points of view! There is something about reading varying perspectives that deeply excites me! I also feel like it gives additional insight into the book’s world and situations as they are happening or have happened.

In the best of ways though, Lizzo!

I’ve read quite a few dual POV books that I absolutely loved however, I’m not going to talk about all of them because we don’t have time for that…also, I gotta save some for other posts! So we are going to pace ourselves here! It’s actually kind of funny because my current read is also a dual perspective (which was not planned but made me a happy panda when the second perspective came in).

I promise, there will be more in the future!

I’m going to share five books (that’s a good number) with dual POVs that I really enjoyed and why I loved them! Heeeeeeere we go!

You know I’m ready Ru!

For All Time by Shanna Miles: This book not only has dual perspectives but there is also time jumps throughout the book from both the characters perspectives! It was quite brilliant in how it was done really. Imagine reading a love story that spans lifetimes!!! Is there anything greater than soulmates or even twin flames? Cause whatever that term is, that’s what these characters would be! I also loved that this was Black Love Story, one that we really don’t get to see but need to see more of!

I imagine the MCs like this!

Loveboat, Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen (companion; out 1/25/22): If you were a fan of Loveboat, Teipei like I was, then you may remember Xavier (I definitely did) but this adds along the voice of another Loveboat alum, Sophie (which I don’t recall being much of a fan of hers). There was such a stark difference between the two voices in this book because of background & outlook on life but they seamlessly come together. I enjoyed seeing the same situations through different eyes as well as how they matured & grew together!

They were kind of like this at one point!

A Psalm Of Storms And Silence by Roseanne Brown (Sequel): First, I just have to say this was a freaking PHENOMENAL sequel…this book is pretty much 550 pages and I ate it up in like 72 hours. From the gate, Karina and Malik grabbed my attention and because they are both going through so much in this story, it’s hard not to want to know what’s going to happen next for them in their situation(s). If you haven’t read A Song Of Wraiths And Ruin, you really should…this sequel alone was worth it! This was basically a masterclass in sequel writing…though I’m still mad about the epilogue (Roseanne knows what she did).

Me, during this entire read…I also feel like this is Malik too, lol!

Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson: One of the reasons that I loved this book is that it didn’t just have 2 POVs but rather 3! It added another dimension to the story, especially when one of those POVs is from the perspective of a relative of the focus of the novel. There were quite a few moving parts to this book but they clicked well together. If you are one who loves to take (mental or actual) notes while trying to figure out whatever the mystery/crime/etc is, then you will really enjoy this one! Also, so much of this story took place in the Brevoort Houses where I use to work with kids, so there were times where I could envision being in the story because I had been in there!

That’s a big sentiment while reading this book but all shall reveal itself, in due time!

Parachutes by Kelly Yang: This was a book where the two characters came from very different backgrounds and though it could’ve been like a shock to the system to switch these perspectives, it actually wasn’t. It was pretty easy for me to get lost in their stories but I was so rapt by it that I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in less than 72 hours despite it being around 480 pages. There are heavy moments and potential for triggers but moving with that in mind made it easy to prepare for them.

The revelations I had while reading this book…

There really is something about Dual perspective makes me eat these books up… Maybe its the being in multiple people’s heads, seeing situations from different angles or just craving the others perspective, any other way, I just LOVE these books! It’s like I get a rush from them! Sometimes, you just want to see things from another set of eyes or get another opinion in the actual story and these books offer that!

Me, when I find out a book is dual POV!

How do you all feel about multiple perspectives in a book? Are you into them or do you think they’re too much? Let me know in the comments or on social media! Y’all know you can find & follow 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’ve read an amazing book with dual POVs! As always, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading!

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Chillin’ With The Author: J.Elle

Hey everyone! So if you remember, I said in my bookish intents for this year that I wanted to do more author interviews (do you get the title reference? lol) and I definitely wanted to make good on that! This week was perfect because on 1/11/22, the sequel to Wings Of Ebony (mentioned in my Five Favs I Haven’t Featured post), Ashes Of Gold by J.Elle came out (mentioned in my Sequels Are Super Stressful post)! So I thought, what better way to celebrate this sequel’s launch than to feature a chat with J.Elle here! Thankfully she agreed!

J.Elle!

As a heads up, J.Elle and I chatted like old friends so there was some book talk but also talk about other stuff too…it was a hodgepodge and I enjoyed every moment of it! I didn’t include everything (sorry y’all) but I think you will enjoy what is shared (and I will include gifs as well, so don’t worry)! So heeeeeeere we go!

I really do love this gif!

L: Thank you for doing this & wanting to hang out with me! I’m going to ask a few warm up questions. I wrote down questions but to be honest with you, I’m a very fly by the seat of my pants type so we gon’ let this conversation go where it wants to go as long as it stays out of spoiler territory.

J: Okay.

L: Do you have a pre-writing routine?

J: Do you mean like before I start writing a book?

L: Before you start writing, do you light candles, put out some snacks, like what’s your thing?

J: My daily writing routine is… Well, first of all, I have kids so my day starts with getting other people ready for their day. Once I’m alone, I usually start with a walk outside and during that walk, I like to do an editorial call. I like to call it an editorial call but it’s more of a writing craft obsessive chat with one of my best girlfriends who’s also a writer. And so we talk for about an hour, we talk through things we noticed, things we’re excited about. A lot of times, the night before, we’ve read each other’s latest chapters so we’ll talk through the things we loved and that energy is so contagious because when I spit out something, I’m like ‘oh my God, this is the worst, this is trash’ then I send it her. She does the same thing and we read them and then when we get on the phone, she’s gushing about all the things she loved in mine and I’m gushing about all the things I loved in hers. It’s like this rev up kind of feeling.

J: So when I finish my walk, I always get water, usually something crunchy. I’m not a big fan of salt so like maybe almonds but not the salted ones-roasted or roasted pecans. I literally just got this from the store *holds up 3/4 full blueberry container* and I end up eating them by the hand full.

L: Nice.

J: They’re just blueberries. So something like that. I sit down with my water with lemon. I usually have lemon water unless it’s cold. If it’s cold, I like to do lemon and honey in water cause I can’t have caffeine. I can’t do tea so I fool my brain to think it’s tea by putting it in a coffee mug and pretend it’s tea.

J: Then I write and I don’t look up or break until I finish that chapter or scene because I kind of like to get it all out. And then I switch devices and I read it through immediately. I open it on my phone… There is something about reading words on my computer versus on my phone, I see them differently, it’s very strange. I usually take a short break but I read through on my phone and make little changes cause I’ll find little things that I missed. I’m dyslexic so I miss all kinds of things so when I’m reading on my phone, I catch them better.

*For resources on dyslexia, you can click here*

J: Once I feel that’s solid, I send that to my critique partner, like ‘ hey, fresh vomit, dumpster fire trash, enjoooooy’ and then we talk about it the next day. I also summarize my chapters but I don’t always do that right at the beginning of my writing session. Most of the time, I already summarized it a week ago or a few days ago if I’m really behind but when I sit down, I have a really clear picture of what I need to turn into a scene.

L: So do you color code too? Does that help with the dyslexia?

J: I don’t. Sometimes I do comic sans font or I will widen the space between lines or if its really muddled in my head, I will go in and color code sentences to help with the flow of information. I’ve gotten really good at not struggling with switching immediate words and letters. I’ve got really good strategies I’ve been working on since elementary school. Where I get tripped up is I twist the order of sentences. Like I would literally be reading a scene and [will put] at the end of a paragraph [what is meant to be] the first first paragraph with the description of a setting. In my head, I’ve set it at the beginning of the paragraph and I don’t notice until my CP is like ‘move this up, you meant to put this at the start.’ At the start of a scene, you want to know where you’re at. In my head, I did that but I see it differently. So reading it out loud, sometimes color coding, space between the lines, distance…sometimes leaving it alone cause I swear the longer you look at it, the more the words turn into gobbley goop.

L: Yeah!

J: So just space helps.

L: Yeah, that helps. I’m not diagnosed dyslexic but normally after a point in time, I do have to walk away. So when I write my blog post(s), I usually do them the night before and I have to step away from them at some point. I used to be able to do them in one shot but now its just like ‘okay, I gotta walk away’.

J: Same. Like my eyes have to look at and focus on something else, my brain too. I have to be able to focus on something else so I can come back so I can see it properly. It’s really crazy how our minds do that.

L: Yeah and like with emotional content, you need more time to step away which we might talk about a little bit later. So you mentioned on the snack thing, are you a snacker or drinker or a combo of both?

J: I always drink water…*personal story that will remain b/t J.Elle & Latesha* so 99.9% of the time, I’m just drinking lemon water or lemon honey “tea”, which is more water. So for me, it’s always snacks. I love fruits, I like crunchy things but again, I’m not big on salt. I feel a lot of snacks are salty so I’ll do roasted almonds, roasted pecans…I’ll just do cherry tomatoes! I’ll pop those like popcorn. I’ll do popcorn, I like that…freshly popped so I can make it the way I like. Ummm blueberries, blackberries, carrots. I usually graze over my breakfast. There’s something about chewing and thinking… I couldn’t just sit there and eat nothing, I have to eat something.

*Note: both of us were snacking or drinking during this chat*

L: Right.

J: If I’m towards the end of a books where I’m really dragging, since I go through phases where I’m motivated and into it then I go through points where in the book when I’m like ‘I want this over!’…in THAT phase, I’m eating reese’s pieces by the hand full.

L: Hahaha! I understand that. I mean, sweets tend to aide! *Shares a late night sweet eating story.* I’m a late night snacker too so it’ll be like 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m reading while eating popcorners.

J: I love it!

L: Kettle corn is my favorite.

J: Kettle corn is a drug, I think. The best…they’re not all created equal, the best kettle corn is double good! Have you had that?

L: No, I haven’t. I haven’t even heard of that.

J: Ma’am. Listen. Write this down. Take a picture, put it in a book so you do not forget. Highlight, post it note. Double good, they do school fundraisers. If you ever get an invitation to a double good fundraiser, make it your absolute priority to participate. *Goes on to talk about how her love for them started & that its only open for 6 days as well as this brand can’t be found anywhere else.*

*If any of you reading this ever host this fundraiser, holla at us!*

L: That’s like Girl Scout cookies for me!

J: Mm-hmm.

L: I always order like 6, 7, 8 boxes.

J: Oh yeah.

Thin mints are my jam & I told J.Elle this!

L: So next question. Do you like to write in silence or with background noise like music?

J: It depends. I can do both. I do have a spotify for my next project. Sometimes, when I’m struggling to feel motivated, I will put on music to get in the head space for it. It really just depends.

J: This book I’m finishing now, which is by far Latesha, the best thing I’ve ever written…it was a very intimidating undertaking. I was like ‘do I really want to try this or try try something I know?’ and it scares me but I’m gonna try it.

*J.Elle speaks briefly on word/page count but I’m going to let you all find out about it when it’s announced.*

J: The amount of stamina it takes to stay invested in the story… I like my stories to be pacey, I like pages turning ‘let’s go!’ So the mental fortitude it takes to go through all those pages is a lot. I usually start really energetic but at a certain point, I’m running out of fumes. So between the reese’s pieces and whatever else I’m munching on, I need [them because] there are some scenes I do not think I could execute without my spotify playlist because I had nothing else to pull from. You know how music can get you in a zone, in a mood. I needed that to get into that mood and music will do it when I couldn’t.

L: That’s how I normally write my blog posts, listening to some sort of music. The music has to match the energy of the book, if I’m writing about a specific book. *Gives examples of books and music pairings for past posts.* So the spotify playlist, is that the type of vibes you want people to get into when they read Wings Of Ebony, Ashes Of Gold and this new project you can’t talk too much about yet?

J: I can send you the spotify link if your you’re curious. It’s like this wild mix of things, you’re gonna be like ‘what is this mash up?’ It’s the Downtown Abby soundtrack, Drake…Etta James is in there, the Beyonce version from Cadillac Records. Um, there’s some Ed Sheeran! But yeah, I think the vibe helps. I think what the reader takes away from the book, the eyes they read it with and the mood/energy they get from it really are subjective. I think that really belongs to the reader.

L: True.

J: I always hope they get the vibe that I’m going for.

L: And is the vibe very connected to the neighborhood you based Ashes in?

J: Yes and no because there are parts in Ashes that are completely make believe. I mean, yes cause it’s fantasy but what I mean is there are parts to that story that are made up not from my own inspiration, not from real life but from things I would like to happen or to experience. So sometimes, I’m infusing those playlists with vibes I wish were a part of the story.

L: When you were writing Wings and even like with Ashes, did you go back to your neighborhood frequently to draw that inspiration?

J: So when I was writing Wings, my partner was in the military and I had left home at 17. I hadn’t been home so writing Wings was like a balm to my soul cause it was like me visiting my home in my words. I couldn’t go cause we were like living in the desert at the time on the border of California and Arizona. Then when I wrote Ashes, it was Summer 2020 and we just parted ways with the military. We literally were driving with all our stuff in tow to move back from the West Coast to where my family is. I was writing in the car, the hotel so I didn’t have the ability to go back during that writing process.

J: But my family still lives there and I’m in Houston now. We live a little bit further than where I grew up but home is home. My sisters are still there, my mommy, my grandma, my friends who I went to middle school and high school with are still there. It is very much a place I still visit. I took some editorial photos in preparation for the launch of Wings Of Ebony and I took all of those except one, which was on a roof top so you could see the skyline of the city. All the others, I took in my neighborhood to capture the beauty and stuff there.

L: When it came to writing this fantasy world, how did you come across this form of Ghizon in your head?

J: You know, it’s very interesting. Ghizon was always very dystopian to me but it felt like publishing didn’t have an appetite for dystopian because 10 years ago, we were all dystopian’ed out. It was too concentrated so I leaned into it as much as I could. I didn’t want to get too immersed. Originally, the book is about Rue and East Row so I didn’t want to glorify the version of Ghizon that was in existence because the version of Ghizon that was in existence was one that basically buried it’s history and rewrote it.

J: I felt like this odd sense of imbalance when I tried to focus too hard on the existing Ghizon because all of that thought was underguarded with ‘but okay, I hate all these people’ and then you find out that [redacted] because they [redacted]. Gosh, if I could go back and write a book about that world [the before]… Which is why the prologue [in Ashes] to me was so important because the Ghizon that Rue met when she got to the island is not the true Ghizon. It was important for me to keep it dystopic and not ideal or something people coveted. I didn’t want the world to think [this] world can be the allure. I didn’t want [this] world to be the allure. I wanted this to be Rue’s story and the people’s story. So I tried to give those characters sort of pedestals and let the world take a back burner.

J: In this series, I tried to make sure it felt a little dystopian since people have a working understanding of that a dystopian society is since we’ve read so many over the last decade. So I was really inspired by that aesthetic but I knew I couldn’t lean into it too hard because publishing was not a fan of dystopian at the time.

*J.Elle speaks more on WOE but I’mma not share in case you haven’t read it for some reason.*

J: It felt right starting it and focusing it in East Row first because so much of East Row is who Rue is and so much of her opening up to embrace her full identity. She could not be who she needed to be in Ghizon until she embraced who she was which is part Ghizoni.

L: And I think striking a balance with Wings taking part a little bit more in East Row whereas in Ashes, it feels like it’s a lot more in Ghizon. It felt like it kinda needed to happen because there’s so much growth and learning to do in both places. It felt like there was a big lean on history. Was that intentional too?

J: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I try to sneak it in because I feel like some readers are like ‘this is historically inspired? oh no thanks.’ so I just try to jump into the story like ‘here’s a character to love’ and once you get to a certain point, you’re like ‘okay, I’m gonna follow her wherever she goes’. Then I’m like ‘here’s a little teaching moment *points*, here’s a teaching moment *points* and here’s a parallel to history *weaving hand motion*.’ So I try to make it a little more educational and insightful in that way. That definitely was intentional. Do you want to talk about specific scenes or just in general?

L: Just in general *goes into talking about how I write the blog & reference the book matchmaking post as well as the importance of these books and my Godchildren as well as the Magical Black Kids Book Club.*

J + L: *Ends up talking about her new MG series.*

J: *about her MG book* this is a fun book. It has important things but this a book you laugh out loud reading.

L: Since it’s “Park Row Magic“, is it connected at all to Ashes at all?

J: It’s not but the community is a lot like East Row. I didn’t zoom into the grittier parts. I kept it very light. *Speaks about some other aspects about the book.*

J + L: *Goes on to talk about other books by different authors.*

J: *Shares that Park Row Magic is out in August 2022.*

How I felt when we got done!

We didn’t have a recorded salutation because I stopped recording so we could talk about things that cannot be mentioned yet but I had the best time with J.Elle! It felt like talking to a homegirl the entire time! I’m beyond grateful to J.Elle for taking time out of her extremely busy schedule (this woman stay hustling & I respect that about her) to talk to me and kick off this “Chillin’ With The Author” endeavor!

Seriously, thank you J.Elle!

While we didn’t get into specifics about WOE or AOG, know that both are out now! This is a duology so you don’t have to worry about a third installment and I promise it’s worth your time (you may need tissues doe). It’s a fantasy that could easily be connected to and that so many kids, especially Black kids, can see themselves in.

It’s like this!

Have you read Wings Of Ebony yet? Did you get your copy of Ashes Of Gold?! If not to either, what are you waiting for? If you have, what were some things you enjoyed about this series? Let me know in the comments or on Social media! As usual, you can find & follow 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). You can also follow J.Elle on IG @authorjelle, Twitter @AuthorJElle and tiktok @authorjelle. Also subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like you’ve read books I’ve recommended and told me! Sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Peace Fam!

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What All I Read In 2021

Hey Y’all! Happy New Year! Can you believe that a whole year has passed?! It’s truly amazing how 365 days have gone by in this weird sort of time continuum/vortex/whatever the heck it could be considered! I sure am glad to have made it to the other side & that you did as well!

Can’t say it was unscathed doe

What certainly got me through this past year was reading…it was my refuge when nothing else was there or I was unable to reach for something else and I leaned into it HARD… though I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better confidant (I also had my therapist but books are a lot more available).

Me, leaning on my books

I had my ups and downs in terms of my reading but here’s my stats:

  • Books Read For The Year: 167
  • Least books read in a month: 6
  • Most books read in a month: 25
  • Average amount read a month: around 12
  • No slumps but times where books took me longer than usual to read for various reasons (emotional state, adulting, etc.)
  • I listened to my first ever audiobook!
  • I read E-Books & E-Novellas outside of E-ARCs (this one surprised me too)!
  • I also read a lot of adult romance/rom-coms, which also shocked me but in the most pleasant way!
I know, right? lol

Here are all the books that I read for the year (this does not include picture books because they aren’t personal reading for me) and If they have their own posts, I will link them to that post! I will also bold the ones that I read as part of the The Free Black Women’s Library 2021 Reading Challenge.

I’m excited too Latrice!
  1. One Of The Good Ones by Maika & Maritza Moulite ARC
  2. The Awakening Of Malcolm X by Tiffany D. Jackson & Ilysasah Shabazz E-ARC
  3. Angel Of Greenwood by Randi Pink
  4. The Comeback by E.L. Shen E-ARC
  5. Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson ARC
  6. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna E-ARC
  7. American Betiya by Anuradha A. Rajurkar E-ARC
  8. Not So Pure And Simple by Lamar Giles
  9. FireKeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley E-ARC
  10. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
  11. A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen
  12. Shuri: The Vanished by Nic Stone *MG Sequel*
  13. Wings Of Ebony by J.Elle
  14. Baseball’s Leading Lady: Effa Manley And The Rise And Fall Of The Negro Leagues by Andrea Williams *MG Non-Fiction*
  15. Facing The Sun by Janice Lynn Mathers
  16. Home Is Not A Country by Safia Elhillo
  17. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore E-ARC
  18. The Forest Of Stolen Girls by June Hur E-ARC
  19. A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
  20. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
  21. The One’s We’re Meant To Find by Joan He E-ARC
  22. A Queen Of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy *Sequel*
  23. CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls by Kaela Rivera *MG* ARC
  24. The Sea In Winter by Christine Day *MG*
  25. The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim *MG* ARC
  26. Hurricane Summer by Aisha Bromfield E-ARC
  27. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly *ER* ARC
  28. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney ARC
  29. Pawcasso by Remy Lai *MG* E-ARC
  30. Where The Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass ARC
  31. JoJo Makoons The Used-To-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley *ER* ARC
  32. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk ARC
  33. Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Best Friend by Ben Philippe *adult* ARC
  34. Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland *MG* ARC
  35. A Sitting In St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia ARC
  36. Ace Of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé ARC
  37. A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow *Companion* E-ARC
  38. Simone Breaks All The Rules by Debbie Rigaud ARC
  39. Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon E-ARC
  40. Of Princes And Promises by Sandhya Menon *Series* ARC
  41. Amari And The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston *MG*
  42. The Marvelous by Claire Kann E-ARC
  43. Sisters Of The Snake by Sarena & Sasha Nanua ARC
  44. Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk & Nicola Yoon ARC
  45. Rising Like A Storm by Tanaz Bhathena *Sequel* E-ARC
  46. Darling by K. Ancrum E-ARC
  47. Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year by Nina Hamza *MG* ARC
  48. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta E-ARC
  49. Josephine Against The Sea by Shakirah Bourne ARC
  50. The Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron ARC
  51. The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis *Sequel* E-ARC
  52. Me(Moth) by Amber McBride E-ARC
  53. Miles Morales: Shock Waves by Justin A. Reynolds
  54. Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko *Sequel* ARC
  55. Illusionary by Zoraida Cordova *Sequel*
  56. Oculta by Maya Motayne *Sequel*
  57. Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho *Companion*
  58. Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi *Sequel*
  59. Ways To Grow Love by Renee Watson *MG Sequel*
  60. Red Tigress by Amelie Wen Zhao *Sequel*
  61. The Tiger At Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
  62. The Archer At Dawn by Swati Teerdhala *Sequel*
  63. The Chariot At Dusk by Swati Teerdhala *Finale*
  64. Black Boy Joy Edited by Kwame Alexander *MG Anthology* E-ARC
  65. Ancestor Approved Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith *MG Anthology*
  66. Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis E-ARC
  67. Root Magic by Eden Royce *MG*
  68. Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis *MG* ARC
  69. Yusef Azeem Is Not A Hero by Saadia Faruqi *MG* ARC
  70. Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney & Robyn Smith
  71. When The Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen *adult* ARC
  72. My Summer Of Love And Misfortune by Lindsay Wong
  73. So Many Beginnings By Bethany C. Morrow E-ARC
  74. A Clash Of Steel by C.B. Lee E-ARC
  75. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson ARC
  76. Sister Of The Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai
  77. Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed Edited by Saraceia Fennell E-ARC
  78. The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran *MG* ARC
  79. Maya And The Return Of The Godlings by Rena Barron *MG Sequel* E-ARC
  80. Cuba In My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas *MG* E-ARC
  81. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao E-ARC
  82. Beasts Of Prey by Ayana Gray ARC
  83. The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee *adult*
  84. Blind Date With A Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden *Adult* E-Novella
  85. Once Upon A Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira ARC
  86. Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma
  87. Bruised by Tanya Boteju
  88. 35 Years by Lucy Eden *Adult* E-Novella
  89. The Meet Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson
  90. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
  91. Master Of Poison by Andrea Hairston *adult* ARC
  92. Pahua And The Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee *MG* E-ARC
  93. Vegas Baby short by Lucy Eden *adult* E-Novella
  94. The Bones Of Ruin by Sarah Raughley ARC
  95. Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach ARC
  96. The Insiders by Mark Oshiro *MG* ARC
  97. The Mirror: Broken Wish by Julie C. Dao
  98. The Mirror: Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton *Series* E-ARC
  99. Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal E-ARC
  100. Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia *MG Finale* E-ARC
  101. Black Was The Ink by Michelle Coles ARC
  102. Cherishing The Goddess by Lucy Eden *Adult*
  103. Bear With Me by Lucy Eden *Adult E-Novella Series*
  104. The Wolf Of Wall Street by Lucy Eden *Adult E-Novella Series*
  105. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova *Adult*
  106. You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria *Adult Series*
  107. A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria *Adult Series*
  108. Take The Lead by Alexis Daria *Adult E-Book*
  109. Dance All Night by Alexis Daria *Adult E-Novella*
  110. Radha & Jai’s Recipe For Romance by Nisha Sharma
  111. Fast Pitch by Nic Stone *MG Companion*
  112. Paola Santiago & The River Of Tears by Tehlor Kay Meija *MG*
  113. Paola Santiago & The Forest Of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Meija *MG Sequel*
  114. Bounce Back! by Misako Rocks! *MG Manga* E-ARC
  115. XOXO by Axie Oh
  116. Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young
  117. Carefree Black Girls by Zeba Blay *Adult* E-ARC
  118. The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu *Adult* E-ARC
  119. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen *Adult*
  120. For All Time by Shanna Miles
  121. Like A Love Song by Gabriela Martins
  122. Counting Down With You by Tashie Bhuiyan
  123. What The Hex by Alexis Daria *Adult* Audible Novella
  124. The Taking Of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
  125. The Silence Of Bones by June Hur
  126. The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown *MG*
  127. The Swag Is In The Socks by Kelly J. Baptiste *MG* E-ARC
  128. Girl Giant And The Monkey King by Van Hoang *MG*
  129. Girl Giant And The Jade War by Van Hoang *MG Sequel* E-ARC
  130. I Am The Rage by Dr. Martina McGowan *Adult*
  131. Pre-Teen Wolf by Lucy Eden *Adult E-Novella Series*
  132. Make A Scene by Mimi Grace *Adult* E-Book
  133. Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor *Sequel* E-ARC
  134. Ashes Of Gold by J.Elle *Sequel* ARC
  135. Descendants Of The First by Reni K. Amayo *sequel*
  136. A Psalm Of Storms And Silence by Roseanne Brown *sequel*
  137. Piece By Piece: The Story Of Nisrin’s Hijab by Priya Huq *MG* E-ARC
  138. Surviving Home by Katrina Canyon E-ARC
  139. Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
  140. One True Loves by Elise Bryant *Companion* ARC
  141. Gingerbread Kisses by Lucy Eden *Adult* E-Novella
  142. Sweethand by N.G. Peltier *adult*
  143. First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel *Adult Companion* E-Book
  144. The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel *Adult* E-Book
  145. A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli *adult* E-Book
  146. Puneet’s Getting Mail by Sookh Kaur *adult* E-Novella
  147. Jasmin The Unexpected by Sookh Kaur *adult Series* E-Book
  148. Priya And The Rebellion by Sookh Kaur *adult Series* E-Book
  149. Gurpreet And The Wrong Twin by Sookh Kaur *adult series* E-Book
  150. Tina The Wallflower by Sookh Kaur *adult series* E-Book
  151. Raman’s Love List by Sookh Kaur *adult series* E-Book
  152. The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale *adult*
  153. An Angel For Daddy by Lucy Eden *Adult* E-Novella
  154. Everything’s Better With Abby *Adult* E-Novella
  155. Everything’s Better With Kimberly by Lucy Eden *adult* E-Book
  156. Everything’s Better With Lisa by Lucy Eden *adult* E-Book
  157. Taste Of Her Own Medicine by Tasha L. Harrison *Adult* E-Book
  158. Amor Actually by Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Mia Sosa, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras & Sabrina Sol *Adult* E-Book
  159. African Town by Charles Waters & Irene Latham E-ARC
  160. And They Lived Happily Ever After by Therese Beharrie *adult*
  161. The Kindred by Alecia Dow E-ARC
  162. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee *MG*
  163. Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee *MG Sequel*
  164. The Chosen One by Echo Brown E-ARC
  165. Getting His Game Back by Gia De Cadenet *adult* E-ARC
  166. Star Child: An Autobiographical Constellation Of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi E-ARC
  167. The Unexpected Fall by Anna Salcedo *adult* E-ARC
Issa lot but I loved every moment of my time reading these books!

Whew, I did a lot of reading/Escaping! Of the 167 books read for this year, 80 were for the The Free Black Women’s Library Challenge (here is the link to the books that I read for the challenge last year)! I don’t set reading goals but my objective is to match or surpass what I read in the previous year, which I did (to see what I read last year, see this post)! It is also my intent to keep consistent in my support of Black authors, specifically Black Women Authors as a Black Woman, which is why I continue to participate in the TFBWL Challenges (past year was year 3). I’m happy to support POC authors periodt but I’m a Black Woman first & foremost.

Me, this entire past year

Last year, I had quite a few ARCs/E-ARCs and this year is also the same! It’s my hope to strike a good balance between finished copies I currently have in my TBR (see my post about my TBR side eyeing me here) and the ARCs that I have in it as well as sharing more of what I read with you as I talked about in my Bookish Intent for this year. I’m happy when authors, publishers & netgalley keep me busy doe!

In the only way I wish to be, most days!

How was your reading this past year? Have you read any of these books? Did you have a particular genre or genres that you had kicks in? Let me know here in the comments or on social media! As usual, you can find & follow 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 subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve exceeded the number of books I’ve read in the previous year! Sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Again, Happy New Year Y’all! Byeeee!

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New Year, New Books: January 2022 Releases

Hey Y’all! Can you believe that when we say “See you next year”, we will mean in a few days?! It’s crazy how time has both flown but also moved quickly! As exciting as it is to see a new year, it’s also hella surreal…I’m still processing this!

Me, thinking about how fast & slow the year went.

With this new year, there are a CRAZY amount of new books dropping and instead of doing a long list of books coming out this year like I did last year, I’m going to continue to do month to month posts…also, the document that I have of books coming out this upcoming year is a, currently, 16 page word document so I think it will be best for everyone’s sanity (and wallets) to do it this way.

Seriously, it really is!

January is going to be bananas in terms of releases (especially since some 2021 books got pushed back to this month) so get ready to worry about your bank accounts with this list! So here we go…

  • The Year We Learned To Fly by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael Lopez *PB* 1/4
  • Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich *MG* 1/4
  • One True Loves by Elise Bryant *companion* 1/4
  • Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round by Kathlyn J. Kirkwood 1/4
  • Daddy Speaks Love by Leah Henderson *PB* 1/4
  • Shuri: Symbiosis by Nic Stone *MG Sequel* 1/4
  • Brothers & Sisters by Eloise Greenfield *PB* 1/4
  • The Chosen One by Echo Brown 1/4
  • Hands On! By Anne Wynter *Board Book* 1/4
  • One Big Day By Anne Wynter *Board Book* 1/4
  • Marley And The Family Band by Cedella Marley with Tracey Baptiste *PB* 1/4
  • Overground Railroad (The Young Adult Adaptation) The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor 1/4
  • 30 Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani *adult* 1/4
  • The Kindred by Alechia Dow 1/4
  • The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman 1/4
  • The Girl In The Lake by India Hill Brown *MG* 1/4
  • Salaam, With Love by Sara Sharaf Beg 1/4
  • She Persisted: Coretta Scott King by Kelly Starling Lyons 1/4
  • The Legend Of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale by Charly Palmer 1/4
  • African Town by Irene Latham & Charles Waters 1/4
  • Eyes That Speak To The Stars by Joanna Ho *PB* 1/4
  • Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee *MG Sequel* 1/4
  • No Land To Light On by Yara Zgheib *adult* 1/4
  • Ida B. Wells, Voice Of Truth by Michelle Duster & Laura Freeman *PB* 1/4
  • Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes 1/4
  • You Don’t Know Us Negroes And Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston *adult* 1/4
  • Ashes Of Gold by J.Elle 1/11
  • I Am Golden by Eva Chen *PB* 1/11
  • Daughter Of The Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan 1/11 (US) & 1/20 (UK)
  • Wahala A Novel by Nikki May *adult* 1/11
  • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez *adult* 1/11
  • Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason Griffin 1/11
  • When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods *MG* 1/11
  • Courage: My Story Of Persecution by Freshta Tori Jan *MG* 1/11
  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara *adult* 1/11
  • Evicted! By Alice Faye Duncan, Charly Palmer *PB* 1/11
  • Opal Lee And What It Means To Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan & Keturah A. Bobo *PB* 1/11
  • Who Are Your People? By Bakari Sellers & Reggie Brown *PB* 1/11
  • The Faith Of Elijah Cummings by Carole Boston Weatherford & Laura Freeman *PB* 1/11
  • Sweet Justice by Mara Rockliff & R. Gregory Christie *PB* 1/11
  • I’m Hungry/¡Tengo Hambre! By Angela Dominguez *PB* 1/11
  • How Do You Say?/¿Cómo Se Dice? By Angela Dominguez *PB* 1/11
  • How Are You?/¿Cómo Estás? By Angela Dominguez *PB* 1/11
  • I Wish I Knew This Earlier Lessons on Love by Toni Tone *adult* 1/11
  • Fly! By Brittany J. Thurman *PB* 1/11
  • Vinyl Moon by Mo Browne 1/11
  • Thank You, Mr. Nixon Stories by Gish Jen *adult* 1/15
  • Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor *sequel* 1/18
  • Mermaid Kenzie Protector Of The Deeps by Charlotte Watson Sherman *PB* 1/18
  • Glam Prix Racers: Back on Track! by Deanna Kent *MG sequel* 1/18
  • Bound by Firelight by Dana Swift *sequel* 1/18
  • The Mirror: Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton *series* 1/18
  • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn *adult* 1/18
  • The Witch’s Apprentice by Zetta Elliott *MG Sequel* 1/18
  • I’m Growing Great by Mechal Renee Roe *PB* 1/18
  • Just Pursuit by Laura Coates *adult* 1/18
  • Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste & Tonya Engel *PB* 1/18
  • How We Can Win by Kimberly Jones *adult* 1/18
  • Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson *adult* 1/18
  • Bold Words from Black Women by Tamara Pizolli 1/18
  • Dream, Annie, Dream by Waka. T. Brown *MG* 1/25
  • Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen *companion* 1/25
  • The Red Palace By June Hur 1/25
  • Star Child: A Biographical Constellation Of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi 1/25
  • Kick Push Be Your Epic Self by Frank Morrison *PB* 1/25
  • Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi *adult* 1/25
  • The Keeper by Guadalupe García McCall *MG* 1/25
  • Seoulmates by Jen Frederick *adult sequel* 1/25
  • Tía Fortuna’s New Home by Ruth Behar & Devon Holzwarth *PB* 1/25
  • Justice Is…: A Guide For Young Truth Seekers by Preet Bharara & Sue Cornelison *PB* 1/25
  • Sofia Acosta Makes A Scene by Emma Otheguy *MG* 1/25
  • Just Help! By Sonia Sotomayor & Angela Dominguez *PB* 1/25
  • Dear Reader A Love Letter to Libraries By Tiffany Rose *PB* 1/25
  • D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins *adult* 1/25
  • Getting His Game Back A Novel by Gia De Cadenet *adult* 1/25
  • Mister Miracle: The Great Escape by Varian Johnson & Daniel Isles 1/25
This was my face (minus the mustache) when I realized how long this list was…

Whew…I know that’s a lot but it does warm my heart that so many books by AOCs are coming out this month/year and I’m more than happy to have as many as I can possibly find on this list (as you can see that I have been including adult books for the last few months)!

This is me looking at this list!

I have been really lucky in terms of ARCs for 2022, and here are the books I have the ARCs for that come out in January:

  • One True Loves by Elise Bryant
  • The Chosen One by Echo Brown
  • The Kindred by Alechia Dow
  • African Town by Irene Latham & Charles Waters
  • Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee *MG Sequel*
  • You Don’t Know Us Negroes And Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston *adult*
  • Ashes Of Gold by J.Elle
  • I Wish I Knew This Earlier Lessons on Love by Toni Tone *adult*
  • Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor *sequel*
  • The Mirror: Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton *series*
  • Dream, Annie, Dream by Waka. T. Brown *MG*
  • The Red Palace By June Hur
  • Star Child: A Biographical Constellation Of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi
  • The Keeper by Guadalupe García McCall *MG*
  • Getting His Game Back A Novel by Gia De Cadenet *adult*
  • Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen *companion*
The level of happiness I feel when I receive ARCs or get approved for an E-ARC is this level of happy

I’ve read/finished the following ARCs/E-ARCS:

  • One True Loves by Elise Bryant
  • The Kindred by Alechia Dow
  • African Town by Irene Latham & Charles Waters
  • Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee *MG Sequel*
  • Ashes Of Gold by J.Elle
  • Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor *sequel*
  • The Mirror: Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton *series*
  • The Chosen One by Echo Brown
  • Getting His Game Back A Novel by Gia De Cadenet *adult*
  • Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen *companion*
This is a whole mood and how I feel when I finish ARCs on my timeline

And I’m working through:

  • You Don’t Know Us Negroes And Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston *adult*- I’ve learned that I’m not the best with non-fiction so I take breaks with the essays to read other books so I won’t finish this one before release but I will finish it!
  • I Wish I Knew This Earlier Lessons on Love by Toni Tone *adult*-This is a small book of relationship/dating advice so it is best to pick it up when you want little bits of wisdom.
I really am!

I don’t believe that me having ARCs I’m working on at the same time (passively) makes me a poly-reader but I am ever evolving in my reading habits & journey! #Growth

It really is Kelli!

Are there any books that you are super excited about in this massive list of January releases? Did I miss any AOC’s books? If I did, please let me know so that I can fix that! Let me know in the comments here or on social media! You can find & follow 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 subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve won a bookish giveaway! Sending y’all bookish love in the new year and wishing you happy reading! Happy New Year Y’all!

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My Bookish Intent For 2022

Hey Y’all! It feels like only yesterday that 2021 started and here we are on the precipice of a brand new year… Holy moly, where did the time go?! This year was both too long and too short (that makes sense to me). I’m also both excited and nervous about this new year but we gon’ keep it positive and believe that it will bring us all amazing things!

Me, looking around wondering where the time went!

Since Resolutions are made to be broken, I’m going to set bookish intents and post them here for both transparency and accountability sake! So here we go!

1) Remain Transparent & Authentic. This one is first because this is super important to me. I want to be as open as I possibly can be with you all…it won’t be therapy level transparency but I’ll be honest with you all about where I am mentally/emotionally and how it could impact the type of post you would be getting for the week. I’ll still keep the vibes positive but I won’t even attempt to fake it because that wouldn’t be giving you my authentic self.

It sure is Ms.Cox!

2) Remain Consistent In Posting. This past year, I’ve been really proud of myself for maintaining this intent from last year to post once a week no matter what is going on. This is an intent I fully intend to keep up into the new year! Sometimes I was a day late (I don’t think a dollar short doe) and I just had to be gentle with myself when I was because I still hit the one post for the week goal. I fully appreciate all of you for joining me on this bookish ride! It’ll continue to be a mix of lists, reviews/reactions and narratives because variety is the spice of life my friends! And don’t worry, they will have gifs because what is a BookishGirlMagic post without the gifs?!

Pretend the glitter is the gifs, lol!

3) To Share More Of What I Read. I’m not quite sure how this one will take form…if it would be a monthly wrap up or more reviews/reactions but I would love to bring you all further onto the ride that is my reading journey. At the time of this post, I’ve read 170 books and am working on my 171st (I also have one that I’m slowly working through but likely won’t finish before December 31st). Reading has truly been my escape and it’s nice to connect with others through mutual reads!

I hope y’all are down for the ride!

4) To Engage More On Social Media. This one will be really tough for me but I’m going to work as much as my brain will allow me to on this. This would be an exercise in getting out of my comfort zone and overcoming my anxiety when it hits me! I will also be patient with myself when I don’t post on IG or get on live (balance must be found).

I know it but I will do my best to do the work!

5) To Do More Author Interviews. This is something I’ve done only once before with Rin Chupeco for the blog so I would like to do more of those in the new year, especially when a book is a sequel so I can gush but not spoil (we all know there is a difference and we also know that spoiling is not my ministry). I’ll definitely be hitting up the authors that I don’t feel too afraid to approach about this!

I’m not trying to go Oprah level with it but at least a few interviews would be nice!

Are there any other bookish intents you believe I should set for 2022? Are there any intents you have set for yourself for the new year? Feel free to share them in the comments or on social media! You can find & follow 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, no fridays this week & next week though). Also subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished all my goals! Sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Peaceeeeeee!

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Bad Witch Burning Turned Me Into A Pile Of Ashes

  • Jessica Lewis
  • YA Debut; 2nd Published book
  • Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
  • Background: Black
  • Twitter: @jlew100; www.authorjessicalewis.com
  • Release: 08/24/2021 (Go ahead and pick it up but be prepared not to put it down!)
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Favorite Character: Will! She is the epitome of a best friend. She struck an amazing balance between supportive and real with Katrell…I adored that about her. I also really loved Conrad, her dog!
  • Favorite Quote(s): “Thought you were a witch? What, you get rained on or something?”-Justin, I thought this was funny as hell. “It’s almost over, Katrell. You can stay strong or break. There is no in between anymore. But for me, I am weary.”-Two. I felt this in my Spirit! Its so rare for people to point out the options so plainly however, knowing that “strong” could have many different forms is important information to have.

Hey everyone! Two weeks ago, I posted about two books that triggered some serious therapy sessions complete with tons of crying, which you can read here. Bad Witch Burning was one of the two books and as I was writing, I knew that I needed to write an entire post about this book. This book is one that I had been anticipating since I saw the announcement for it and was too happy that I had been approved for it on Netgalley. When I began reading it, I didn’t want to put my amazon fire down and ended up finishing it the same day! It’s a book that takes you in its hands and doesn’t let you go until the very end…and even when you finish it, you can’t help but think about it for days (I kid you not on this…just read it and tell me where the lie is).

No, but seriously, I have been pretty much every day since I finished it!

BWB is filled with so many twists and turns…ones that may or may not have produced very violent responses from me. When I tell you the notes in my E-ARC were a lot…they were A LOT because the things that were both said and done had evoked such intense feelings from me. I wasn’t kidding my in post about Literary Angry Girls when I said I’ve been angry so much of my life and this book brought out so many of these feelings! Quite a few (okay, more than a few) of these angry feelings were actually aimed at Katrell’s mama and her sorry a$$ (to put it incredibly light) boyfriend. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and being like “noooo, I didn’t want to kick their behinds into the ground until there was nothing left…they were fiiiiiiiineeeeee” (insert *eye roll* here). If I were to ever meet someone who has that sentiment, I will ask them when they will be applying for sainthood cause it couldn’t be me! I won’t be talking much about this though because I covered some of what triggered me in that previously mentioned blog post (and maybe because I don’t want to get triggered again either, lol).

That’s pretty much all that could be done since I couldn’t fight the characters themselves!

On top of the twists and turns, there are so many lessons folded into this book. One of the biggest ones being that no one should have to shoulder other people’s burdens, especially a child/teen. Katrell carried not just her own weight & that of her dog but her mother AND her mooching a$$ boyfriend (again, that’s light). Instead of being able to be a teen and enjoy as much of her youth as she could, she worked like a single parent of three while putting themselves through school. Thinking about it, it makes me angry all over again because no teen should be supporting a parent & their tired a$$ partner (still being light on this)…I quite literally have notes saying “WHY ARE YOU LEANING SO HARD ON A TEEN?!” *shakes head & pinches the bridge of my nose*. Let me move on before I start to go off the deep end about this particular part of the book.

To say her mama did is a severe understatement

Wait… I found another gif that I felt was needed when it comes to Katrell’s mama that I really want to include….

I wanted Katrell to get away from her mama hella bad!

Wait, one more but this is how I felt toward both Katrell’s mama and her scrub a$$ boyfriend (again, very very light when it comes to him)

I really really REALLY wanted to fight them both!

Back to the post! Another lesson that so many of us need reminder of is knowing how to ask for help and who to ask for that help. One of things that I loved about her best friend, Will, is that she constantly voiced to Katrell how she was there for her and she could lean on her when she needs to. Katrell is like so many of us that doesn’t like to even be in the vicinity of another person when help is really needed, let alone be willing to lean on another *cue the song Lean On Me here*. She constantly saw herself as alone, like many of us, but often had hands extended to her that she refused to see. It hurt my heart when someone would offer help and she ignored it because its such a bad habit many of us have… Really, Katrell is a lot of us in this respect and I would love to see teens doing better than us & develop healthier habits *sigh*. Real talk, they deserve so much more than what they’ve been handed.

*Sings* Leeeeeean on meeeee…when you’reeeee not strrrrrronggggg… but only when you aren’t using me for financial gain

This book is such an important book and as jarring as it could be at times, it is completely necessary. As much as we would love to think that there are no teens that are dealing with the situations that Katrell deals with (outside of low-key starting an undead apocalypse, which you need to read to understand this side thought more), the reality is that there are likely more dealing with these sort of circumstances than we know because we are either not paying attention or they are hiding it really well. Kids are forced to grow up so much faster than they should ever have to and this has been happening longer than it ever should’ve been. Author J.Elle talks a little about this in her IG live reading of the first chapter, which you can watch here. I barely touched how it covers difficulties created by the wealth gap in this country, domestic violence, emotional abuse, PTSD and so many other things that plague this country, especially in communities of color. Just go and read this book then help put it in the hands of kids you know and into classrooms & libraries.

We all need to pay attention

There is so much more that I want to say about Bad Witch Burning but there isn’t enough time in the day for me to write about it and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone! Just know that this book left me in an ocean of my own tears and then scorched me to the point of being a pile of ashes on my couch…matter of fact, I’m writing this from the great beyond and Katrell wrote a letter to bring me back to write this post, lol! No, but on a serious tip (OMG, did my age just show with that), make sure you have a box of tissues near by and possibly a punching bag or pillow to hit or scream into because you will feel so many damn things, it won’t even be funny…and you won’t have much time to recover because it all hits you before you even know what to do with yourself! Think I’m joking? Just read the book.

The level of ugly crying I did during this book is pretty astronomical

Anyway y’all, I’m going to leave you all here so you can either pick up this book from your favorite bookstore or request it from your local library (that also supports the author, don’t ever forget that). If you all want to continue this bookish banter, you can find & follow me out in these e-skreets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog pretty pretty pleaseeeeeee). As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wishing you happy reading! And I’m Out (for now *wink*)!

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To All The Literary Angry Girls

When people meet me, they likely wouldn’t think I’m an angry person, more specifically an Angry Black Woman (this is an important distinction), because I can be your stereotypical Hufflepuff upon (most) first meetings. However, the reality that I’ve been angry most of my lifetime and like most people, I’ve been shamed about it. As my reading & healing journey has progressed, I’ve come to realize this with startling clarity that I’ve been not only shamed but also restrained. When I read the most gut-wrenching but freeing book dedication from The Everlasting Rose, sequel to The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton “For all the angry girls. There’s nothing wrong with you.” I broke down in tears…because we all need that confirmation that its okay to feel & process our anger and that it is absolutely valid.

And there are so many reasons to be!

Another thing I realized about anger/being angry is that part of processing is questioning, which we are also taught either not to do at all or question minimally (there are some exceptions, of course). I’m a person who always has a question in the back of my mind and the tip of my tongue. “Why” stays stuck to my tongue like it was pierced there. Receiving the questions to your answers can either 1) make you feel better or 2) piss you off more (is there really an in-between there?)… It can also be frustrating when answers aren’t given, which then can make you want to tear some ish down. This is what I love so much about these books, that these characters tend to ask a lot of questions, whether it is in their mind or out loud. They stay puzzling things out like they are in an epic escape room (which is what their worlds often feel like while reading).

Which is BS…we should be able to fix our faces how we want, ask all the questions we want…express ourselves however the EFF we want!

Another thing I thought of that is a common thread with being angry (in characters or in real life) is grief. The levels can be varied but its there in some way, shape or form. I feel that grief gets looked at in the most simplistic way as something that just causes a person to be sad but there are so many things that grief can do. For me personally, I felt a literal snap in my Spirit when my grandpa passed and the intensity level of my anger increased significantly. Whether these characters lost a person, an opportunity or lacked something, that plays a part in their anger and how it propels them forward or sends them back.

Stress can definitely be apart of grief and anger…don’t be fooled y’all!

Where is this post coming from? Well, as usual, I was reading and this time it was the E-ARC of Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (out September 21st, be sure to pre-order it) and when I tell you her main character Zetian was angry…I thought she would burn everything down (she light-weight did) and I LIVED! I even wrote a tweet about her letting her hate flow through her (which has gotten a lot of likes and some retweets). After finishing the book, I started thinking about my other favorite angry girls in books I’ve read…so here’s a short list of those books and the angry girls that spoke to my Spirit.

Tiffany is Zetian making a threat and Jada is everyone else listening & wincing a little, lol
  • Zetian from Iron Widow. I love that she was 1) always ready for revenge & wouldn’t ever let anyone get in her way and 2) that she questioned everything.
  • Bree from Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. There isn’t much more that I can say that I didn’t say in my blog post about this book…I love how her anger fueled her, periodt.
  • Belcalis from The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. I’ll admit that at first, I wasn’t feelin’ her but she grew on me. Her anger was justified in so many ways though misdirected at times. Though, thinking about it, why does her anger need to be justified in the first place? No one should have to have permission or need to justify why they feel what they feel, IMO.
  • Evalene from Daughters Of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron. Eva had so many reasons to angry. She’s learning all these new things about herself but not what triggered her abilities and limitations. I can tell you that I was beyond happy when she let it rip when she did!
  • Pinky from 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon. Of the 3 books in the Dimpleverse, Pinky’s character is the one I related most to because of how angry and misunderstood she is. She’s a firecracker and a fighter which propelled her to really get ish done. Pinky knew how valuable her voice was and used it any chance she got.
  • Bri from On The Come Up by Angie Thomas. Bri, for me, is the type of Black Girl that is automatically pegged as angry but she mostly has a no nonsense sort of attitude (that could give way to anger). When she was angry, I understood why but she wasn’t allowed to fully express what she felt when she needed to. Bri is my favorite of all of Angie’s characters and I don’t think she will be dethroned.
  • Happi from One Of The Good Ones by Maritza & Maika Moulite. Happi was going through so much that people took her grief & kind of warped it into something that it wasn’t. Was she angry? Yes, she was but she was dealing with being in the public eye and contending on with what people may have felt if it was her life unjustly taken rather than her social influencer sisters’…it’s a whole lot and I completely understood where she was coming from!
This was the face I often saw while reading these books because it was low-key what was on my face too!

I know that there are so many other angry girls that I did not mention but I still saw and connected with. I honestly appreciate the heck out of a character that is angry and I am so glad that kids today (no matter their outward/inward expressions) get to see characters who express it. Whether the character is messy or not, doesn’t matter to me because emotions, especially anger, are complicated. I do feel that these books can help kids today figure themselves out a little bit more and exam if they would or wouldn’t handle their situations in the same way. These books carry so many gems and lessons that I wish I had as a teen but am happy to have now as an adult.

I sure do!

When I read or hear some reviews of books, it’s often times the angry girl who is getting bashed. I often wonder why 1) they are being held to an impossible standard as if they are a. not a teenager & b. a fictional character and 2) if they don’t ever feel anger at all. I wanna know what type of world these people live in & the type of privilege they have because… reasons. I remember one such critique (if it could even be called that) of Bri from OTCU in relation to Starr from The Hate U Give and immediate anger I felt (oh, please believe that I went all the way off) upon reading their comment. The way that angry girls are expected to be like their more passive counterparts and their feelings invalidated in the process is, for lack of better words, bullsh*t. Why should anyone have to dampen their emotions/thoughts to make someone else more comfortable?! Any and everyone could miss me with that noise! So next time you come across an angry girl, in a book or IRL, I hope you take a moment to really LOOK at her and attempt to understand where she is coming from because there is so much more underneath the surface (I would certainly know).

Seriously doe, don’t do the whole comparisons thing, it’s high-key disrespectful

Well y’all, I’m going to end this here before I hop back onto my soapbox again! Do you have any favorite angry girl characters? Do they have any Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale walking away from a burning car moments (that was my favorite part of the movie, TBH)? Please do share them (sans spoilers, of course). If you tryin’ to find me out in these e-streets, you can find and follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog pleaseeeeeee). As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wishing you happy reading! Laters!

But seriously, this is my favorite part of the entire movie! Look at her face as she walks away…she’s a woman who has HAD it & won’t deal with no one’s mess anymore!
The tweet that essentially started this, lol!
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Two Books That Triggered Some Serious Therapy Sessions

Before you start to think “oh nooooo, these books must’ve been bad”, I’mma stop you right there because on the contrary my friends, they were Really good books (there would be no post if they weren’t)! This post will be a bit more transparent than usual because these topics are fairly personal & I tend to keep things close to my chest…I’m not finna tell you all my bidness but I’ll be giving a glimpse!

Exactly Mariah, Exactlyyyy

I’ve been in therapy over two years now, a fact I am very unashamed of and am happy to talk about. I’ve been blessed to find not only a Black therapist but a Black Lady therapist which is more important than gets talked about because #RepresentationMatters in Mental Health practices too. I usually mention the books that I am reading at the time to her at the beginning of sessions because I’m bookish at any time of the day but usually, they don’t trigger me into a crying mess…until these two books came into the picture! What are these two books that I speak of, well, let’s get to that shall we?

My therapist’s name is NOT Rhonda but I’ve had a few of these moments like Molly and I appreciate them.

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield: This book was so very beautifully written. Besides having one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever laid my eyes on, the narrative was poetic & soothing even when I was balling my eyes out. It is so vivid and I felt like I was there in Jamaica with Tilla though I have never set foot on Jamaican soil before. I don’t share in Asha’s Jamaican heritage but as a fellow descendant of the Caribbean, I could relate to so much of this story.

It really is y’all!

Now, you must be wondering what about this book triggered me since I wrote nice things? Well, it was the Father/Daughter & family dynamic throughout the story. During the launch for this book, I spoke and said that this book triggered me into an absolute mess during my therapy session that I thankfully had pretty close to when I finished the book. My relationship with my Black Caribbean father is a very complicated one…one that in so many ways is like Tilla’s with her father in how she used to view her dad and my sister was much the same as her younger sister. The way that Tilla tried to protect her sister from the knowledge she had of her dad, I did the same with my own father’s anger. My father was not a very nice man (to put that delicately) at times in my own childhood/teenagehood but like Tilla, I felt (still feel) that pull to try to have a better relationship with him. Tilla’s father said some really hurtful things to her and so many of those things cracked me open because Fathers really should be showing their daughters the type of love they should be receiving from their chosen partners. When he would say the things he did, it hurt like they were being said to me because I’ve experienced similar… Needless to say, I’ve been working on healing that part of myself before I could really try with my father especially since he is so different from the man I grew up with.

Welp…=0/

As for the family dynamic…well, I wasn’t a fan of her father’s family and wanted to throw most of them away. She had some family members that were great (well, like 2 to 4 max) but as for the others… If I was capable of reaching through my Kindle Fire to yolk them up, I would’ve without hesitation. The way that they treated Tilla was beyond mind blowing! I can’t say much of my family members are angels either but I’ve never wanted to sit them on hot coals the way I wanted to to Tilla’s family. Families like Tilla’s are a reminder of why chosen families are so important and as well as knowing who is a true support system & who to steer so clear of that you are on the other side of town.

This sums up how I feel about Tilla’s paternal family….

Speaking of other side of town, You are probably wondering what the second book is and I will tell you but not as much mainly because it isn’t out yet…

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis: This book has been one that I have been anticipating since I saw the cover. I knew from the moment that I saw it (#BookishSpideySense), that I had to read it and I was beyond ecstatic that I was approved for it on Netgalley! I completely ate up this book in a day, which is a running record for me when it comes to books I’m completely into. I didn’t want to put my Amazon Fire Down for a moment and I even had a series of tweets about this book. I will say, don’t be surprised if you find a blog post dedicated to BWB the week it releases (8/24/2021 so go ahead and pre-order it.)

That’s exactly how I felt about this book!

So what about a book that I finished in a day triggered yet another tear-filled therapy session? Welp, it was the mother/daughter relationship (are y’all really surprised? Parent relationships are tough). There were so many moments where my jaw just dropped and left me wondering how Katrell’s mom ever thought it was a good idea to procreate (yea, that’s the thought that went through my mind at times y’all). I will say that my mother is not like Katrell’s mother in how she manipulated/used her and for that, I am lucky. I will say that my mom can be as tone-deaf as Katrell’s mother (she will hate that I said this, nor would my father for that matter, but I won’t lie here). When it came to her boyfriends and Katrell’s very obvious cries for help, she didn’t want to hear it. It made me angry because I have dealt with & still deal with some of that mindset. The difference is Katrell is a teen and I’m now an adult but I dealt with the hierarchy that my mom established between her significant others & I as a teen. I really wanted to hug Katrell at so many points during the book, for both my teenage self & my adult self because Sis needed it.

Katrell could seriously use this type of hug…hell, I could too!

Of course, I would love to say more about this book but as I talk/write about it, I feel like I REALLY want to do a dedicated blog post about BWB because of how much it spoke to my Spirit. I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money or anything but this would be a worthwhile pre-order my friends!

And you could always trust me…especially when it comes to books & bubble tea!

Really, both of these books are worthwhile buys. Yes, I cried my eyes out while reading these books (I’m an emotional being)…and yes, I felt myself fall to pieces but I also started to put the pieces back together, especially with my therapist. They spoke to the parts of myself that wondered if I was overthinking my past experiences, if there was something somehow wrong with me because my mind & body still carried these feelings. These books showed me that that was not the case and they also helped facilitate healing those parts of me that still held on to so tightly to those feelings/thoughts/experiences.

Or maybe you do…

When people ask me why I read so much YA and MG, it’s in part because of books like these…the books that crack me open & help me exam my own experiences so that I can put myself back together stronger than I was before I opened up that book. It’s really a gift to be able to See myself and so many others that I know represented in this way. It’s truly why I fight as hard for these books as I do. So that kids of color can see themselves reflected on the page, whether its of their best moments or their lowest because there is nothing like being Seen. It’s quite literally my prayer for my Godchildren, my students, my (hopefully) future children, All Children/Teens Of Color really to have a plethora of books that they could fully See themselves in.

For real! And Thank Goodness for the Authors Of Color who do and are doing the work to make it possible for this prayer/dream/hope to come true

So y’all, I’m going to end this post here before I end up in a heap by my laptop (take that as literally as you like). Are there any books you’ve felt crack you open? Any books that led to some heart-wrenching therapy sessions (I love a good cry, it’s healthy)? Let’s talk about them (the books, not the therapy sessions, those are personal)! You can find and follow me out in the interwebs Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog pretty please). As usual, I’m wishing you happy reading and sending you bunches of bookish love! Please take care of yourselves out in this crazy crazy world! Peace!

RuPaul said it so it’s true…Listen to Mama Ru
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The Good Luck Girls Is Like A Wild Western Set It Off

Such a dope cover, right?!
  • Charlotte Nicole Davis
  • Debut; Book 1 of a Duology
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Background: Black
  • IG: @cndwrites, Twitter: @cndwrites; www.charlottenicoledavis.com
  • Release: 10/1/2019 (Go get it now because the sequel is out next week!)
  • Publisher: Tor Teen
  • Favorite Character: I’m shocked by this but Violet! I know she is the only fairblood in the group & what not but she kept really really real in this book and y’all know I’m about that keeping it 100% life!
  • Favorite Quote: “I worked hard for this room. And this bed. Look, even the pillows have pillows.”-Clementine. I felt Clem on her excitement & the small sense of entitlement she felt, Black girls don’t get that so I seriously appreciated her having that moment.
How I imagine Clem would be with those pillows

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give a disclaimer that this post is actually not new. I wrote it a while back but just never posted it (not cause it was bad or anything) *face slaps*. Since the sequel is coming out next week, I wanted to make sure to post this so you all will go out and get The Good Luck Girls & Sisters Of The Reckoning.

Without the shadiness that Gia Gunn offers, lol

When I was at bookcon in 2019 (it feels like a lifetime ago *wails*), I saw the cover to The Good Luck Girls on the wall & took a picture so I wouldn’t forget to be on the look for it. Someone called out “thank you” (It may have been Charlotte’s mom & if so “HEY MRS. DAVIS! THANK YOU!” If not, still “HEY MRS. DAVIS! Thank you for giving birth to an author!”) when they saw me and honestly, I should’ve been the one to say thank you to them at the time! A few weeks later, I ran into author Dhonielle Clayton who mentioned The Good Luck Girls while engaging in bookish talk and if she recommends a book, I know it is going to be a bop (I forever trust her judgment). It was the sign from the Universe that told me that I was meant to read this book! On top of that, there is a beautiful Black Girl on the cover! So it was a wrap, Saran AND Reynolds (wow, my age just showed there a bit, lol)! The cover has since been redesigned to match the sequel’s but I still love the original cover SOOOOOO much! This book was such a roller coaster, I wasn’t ready for so many of the things that happened and Sisters Of The Reckoning didn’t let me down either, it barely let my thoughts be quiet at that if I’m keeping it 100 here (I had the pleasure of reading the E-ARC but fear not, there won’t be any spoilers *smiles*)!

Oh, it definitely was Selma, it definitely was!

Y’all…I’m so here for this badass band of outlaws! Aster, Clem, Tansy, Mallow and Violet were such an unlikely combination of characters that they worked beautifully. They are so supportive and mindful of one another throughout this book. Though they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, they were diplomatic in how they handled their differences of opinion. I love how they all step up and have their shining moments as well as acknowledge their strengths…they’re like a well coconut-oiled & Shea buttered machine and it’s truly glorious to behold. The closeness of this group, even when they didn’t feel so close, was also endearing. They were free to be individuals which allowed us to get to know each one along with how they functioned as a group.

This is kind of how I think of them in my mind, lol

Something else I dug about this book is the approach to girls/women having ownership of their (our) bodies & lives… Lawd knows that we deserve to feel all the entitlement to ourselves & the memo needs to be posted EVVVVVVV-ER-Y-WHERE! Being that they were in a good luck house, they could’ve resigned to that life but the fact that they didn’t speaks so much to their spirit & character…it’s like the ancestors propelled them forward as they do with us. They were handed a life that no girl/woman should have to live on behalf of their families if it wasn’t what they were choosing for themselves. Despite the reasons being somewhat selfish on the part of their families, they still thought often of their families… Which truly, they were better than me because there is nooooooo way I would invest thought in my family if they sold me (literally) out like that…like there is no effin’ way (I can hold a grudge like nobody’s bidness)! I think it is a testament to their hearts because I’m petty AF. They did what they had to do to hold on to their humanity and “steal their happiness” where they could as Aster says. This group of girls didn’t let the perceptions of others deeply impact how they saw themselves and each other. I really admired their perseverance and fighting spirits.

It sure is, no matter who tries to say differently!

It’s their fighting spirit & quick thinking that made them such badass outlaws that they would give Jesse James a run for his (stolen) money. They were hella clever & fast…it was like a literary Set It Off but wild west style! Aster & Violet combined were like Cleo, Clem is like T.T., Tansy is like Frankie and Mallow is like Stoney (this is my personal opinion and I am sticking to it). Really at any point in time, they could switch out roles in who masterminded what or took care of whatever needed to happen. If you haven’t seen that movie & are old enough to watch it, I would highly recommend it because a group of four badass Black women tearing ish up is just so epic…I still watch that movie like I’ve never seen it before! Anyways, I imagine that if there were to be a movie for TGLG, it would look something like Set It Off (but a different ending because obviously, there has to be a sequel) & I wouldn’t be mad at it at alllll (lettuce pray that there would actually be a movie or TV series in the not so distant future *looks at production studios*)!

I bet Aster & the crew had moments like this…at least they did in my mind!

Also like in Set It Off, sisterhood was a big part of TGLG, which I appreciated. While they had their arguments (what sisters, literary or real life, doesn’t fight?!), they didn’t turn their backs on one another. It was a bit like sorority life or living in a girl’s dorm and if you have been a part of either, you know a lot of ish can go down (oh so many memories comes to mind, right now) but there are ways to bounce back from those moments, which I feel these characters do. They embodied the phrase “I am my sister’s keeper”!

I feel like they had moments like this too, when they weren’t running for their lives!

TGLG covers so many different themes from trauma & PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), racism, classism and so many others were written between the lines for us to pick up. I really enjoyed this book & felt so empowered by this group of girls and their resilience. I would highly recommend that you go pick up this book, sit down & get ready to get lost in the world of Aster, Clem, Tansy, Mallow and Violet…it’s a wild ride but so worth experiencing the bumps! And I promise you all that Sisters Of The Reckoning does not disappoint either. I damn near had a heart attack several times from the sideways things that happened! I didn’t want to put it down for even a moment and found myself thinking about what would happen next! I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to risk spoiling anything, especially because of the way that TGLG ended! So if you love Girl Gangs, a hint of romance and the Wild West, you will really enjoy this Duology!

And Set It Off is exactly what they did!

Well y’all, I’mma end it here so you can go out and pick up The Good Luck Girls and pre-order Sisters Of The Reckoning! Until the next post, Find and Follow me out in these E-Streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog puhleeeeaseeeee). As usual, I’m wishing you happy reading and sending you bunches of bookish love! Until the next post, later!

Stoney is actually my favorite… and we out! Go get The Good Luck Girls!
They look like they are going to drop the hottest album after robbing a brag somewhere!
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Give Me All The Stories Please-An Ode To Anthologies

Heyyyyyy there! So after finishing the Black Boy Joy anthology Edited by Kwame Mbalia, it got me thinking about how much I love anthologies and how they tend to bring me such happiness. I don’t know if it is the different voices, the expressions of experiences or just masterful storytelling but I just LOVEEEEEEE a good anthology. It also made me think of how my Grandpa loved to tell stories and how the ones closest to his heart not only made him light up but how those listening around him lit up as well, much like when I read an anthology. A great story could always make my day, especially from him, so that could be why I love them as much as I do. So I’m going to share some of my favorite anthologies and why I loved them…I would share my favorite stories but I want you all to go out and get them then tell me what your favorites are after reading *wink* *wink*. This list isn’t extensive so you don’t have to worry too much about your bank account (at least, I don’t think :0/).

Me, when I finish a good anthology

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell. What I loved so much about this anthology is how it represented the vastness of what it is to be a Black Girl and what it could mean to be/have Black Girl Magic. The stories are just so dope and quite a few, I’m really hoping that the authors turn into full novels because I have so many questions or just want more of the stories/characters! They played out like movies in my mind and that is always a great sign when I’m reading a book or a short story.

For Reals!

Black Boy Joy Edited by Kwame Mbalia. I absolutely adored this anthology because it left my heart so full. The different expressions/dimensions of Black Boyhood/Non-Binaryhood (is that a term?) just kept a smile on my face, even when my eyes threatened to leak…I ate this book up (I read the E-ARC, it’s out on 8/3/2021). I’m too hype to get a copy for my Godson though he’s only 6…it’ll be his first middle grade from me! I firmly believe that we need more books that center Black Boys & their stories and I’m so happy this book will be out in the world for them soon enough!

One of my favorite expressions of Black Boy Joy To Date!

A Thousand Beginnings And Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman. You all know how I feel about mythology and this book is all retellings of AAPI mythology written by AAPI authors. I loved reading the different mythologies, especially when they were new to me. I also loved reading why the authors chose the myths they did because it makes it that much more special after you finish their story. I find that knowing why a story is so important to someone makes it much more important/meaningful! If you are a fan of mythology, you will enjoy this one too!

A Cute Kid with a very important message on the shirt…I just couldn’t resist!

Ancestor Approved Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith. I absolutely loved this anthology and was a little upset with myself for not getting to it sooner. This middle grade anthology is one written by Indigenous authors and it was brilliant how they interwove the stories. They highlighted so beautifully how they come from different tribes but how they are connected through ceremonies and celebrations such as Pow Wows. I felt like I was at the Pow Wow with them because the imagery was so vivid! It also made me a bit hungry with the mention of fry bread in every story (just a heads up, lol)!

They weren’t joking when they said that the Little kids dancing makes you go “awwwwww” whenever it was mentioned!

Black Enough Edited by Ibi Zoboi. This is an anthology that is close to my heart. I felt so seen while reading it with the varying experiences and types of stories in its pages. I laughed, my eyes leaked a little, I just had such a great time while reading. I was so lucky to receive an ARC of it before it came out and attended the launch for it so hearing how Ibi chose the authors & the prompts made it so much more special. I’m really hoping that there would be a second installment of this anthology because it felt like there are so many more stories out there to be told, especially with some of the amazing debut authors that have been published since this book came out!

Shoal is!

Well y’all, I gotta get to adulting but likely will decide to read instead (Bookish People Problems For The Win), lol! I have at least 2 more anthologies in my TBR that I hope to get to soon (well, one is coming out soon so I will get to it because of the way I’m set up)! If you know any anthologies written by POC authors, please do drop them in the comments, I love a good book rec just as much as I like giving them!

Seriously, tell me all the good anthologies!

Until the next post, Find and Follow me out in these E-Streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog). As usual, I’m wishing you happy reading and sending you tonnnnnnnnns of bookish love! Until the next post, later!

Dancing my way out of here!
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Middle Grades That Made My Heart Soar!

Hey there! So this week, I felt like doing a list since it’s been a little while! After finishing the middle grade book, Ways To Grow Love by Renee Watson, I felt like my heart was just lifted and so joyous! If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that middle grade books hold such a special place in my bookish heart and I wanted to list some and even a reason or more why they had me any bit in my feelings/tugged at my heart strings (typically in a good way). You will also get your gifs too, so no worries there! These will be books that don’t have their own blog posts since those got their shine already.

My heart exploding after finishing a really good middle grade

Amari And The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. What can I say about this book?! It’s filled with Black Girl Magic and mystery with Amari being on one heck of a mission to not just find her brother but also learn about herself and the intricacies of the supernatural world! I’m tooooo hyped for Book 2, Amari And The Great Game (out next year). The Magical Black Kids Book Club loved this book soooooooo much and we even had a paint party inspired by it (thanks an amazing rep from HarperCollins, Thank you, you know who you are)!

Amari is definitely that!

The Jumbie Series by Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies, Rise Of The Jumbies & The Jumbie God’s Revenge). This series was my first real taste of Caribbean mythology in recent literature and it also seemed to set off my love of mythology in books! While I’ve always had a love for stories, this series seemed to ignite it in a different way, to where I am seeking out stories like the The Jumbies out more and more! It showed me that there is so much more for me to learn about my cultures and I’m so happy that Tracey (A Trini *blows airhorn*) gave us all the gift of this series! I wouldn’t be mad if there was a 4th book!

Which is opening up the world to Caribbean mythology

The Only Black Girls In Town by Brandy Colbert. Okay, so I have a little bit of a bias here because I adore Brandy Colbert…I know you feel the but coming and here it is…but this would’ve been a book I loved regardless because it’s 2 Black Girls searching for clues into the past of their town/home… who wouldn’t love Black Girls turning into sleuths?! I also loved the history lessons that were embedded into the story and y’all know history is my jam!

This is the type of joy I felt reading The Only Black Girls In Town!

The Way To Rio Luna by Zoraida Cordova. I absolutely adored the voice of the main character, Danny, as well as his drive. This book is filled with adventures and stories/characters that I feel I would’ve been captivated by as a kid who had a very active imagination! I have been on the look out for a book two since I finished it because I’m holding on to the belief that Zoraida just wouldn’t leave us the way she did with the ending…would she?! I really hope not because I need to know what goes on with Danny! O_O

This is the spirit I felt that Danny showed

Overwatch: The Hero Of Numbani by Nicky Drayden. I am going to say that I have zero knowledge of Overwatch but I did absolutely love this book. Give me a geeky Black Girl about her business & her people any day, PUHLEASE! Efi seriously didn’t disappoint in how knowledgeable and creative she was. She also is such a problem solver, I loved the way her mind worked to figure out where the kinks, so to speak, were! I would love to see her in more books because of how driven she is! We need more characters like her in middle grade!

Whenever any one doubted Efi

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland. Okay, it’s also not secret that I love Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation duology and she didn’t disappoint with this book. While there are no zombies (or Shamblers like in DN), we do get ghosts, historical gems, mystery and a persistent Black Girl who looks to get to the bottom of it all! I loved Ophie’s voice and her interactions with the ghosts… It was like the Sixth Sense but much better and I think they need to make this into a series, an animated series would actually be cool!

Me, to Ophie & Justina

The Tristan Strong Series by Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky & Tristan Strong Destroys The World). I really adored this series and chose both of these books (and when it’s 3rd book comes out) for the Magical Black Kids Book Club picks. Not only is it filled with mythology but it also has historical gems, adventures, cool grandparents (in my opinion) and a dope Black Boy at the helm of it all. This is such a great series and I’m too hyped for Tristan Strong Keeps Punching (out in October of this year)!

This was basically what Tristan was trying to answer, in my mind

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega. This book was hysterical and I loved Lucely & her best friend, Syd! There’s funny ghosts that just so happen to be family, hijinxs & shenanigans embedded into their adventures. While I’m allergic, Cats that grab your attention & make you chuckle are also in this book. I enjoyed how the supernatural & magical were woven into this book! I really want to see a sequel *Looks at Claribel*!

Lucely and Syd about to get into some shenanigans

The Track Series by Jason Reynolds (Ghost, Patina, Sunny & Lu). This is a series that I ate up in a few days, not because they are relatively short books but because of each of the characters voices. They capture you from being to end and they each have their traits that connects you to them. The books are interconnected and with the way that Jason ended each book, I was quite glad I was able to binge them because I ran to grab the next when I finished the one before it. Patina was my favorite with her motherly instinct & tough exterior with Sunny in a close second with his sound filled world!

Me, running to grab the next book so I can see what happens next, lol

Race To The Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book was the catalyst to me realizing that I really needed to read more books by Indigenous authors. It is filled with Native mythology, adventures and head strong characters. I was entranced by this book from beginning to end and I really want a second book like yesterday! If it wasn’t on your radar before you, you should really change that!

I will listen to them all…as long as they aren’t scary

The Comeback by E.L. Shen. I loved the spirit of the main character, Maxine. While I’m not a figure skater, I understood her drive to become one and prove herself. The foundation of her story, I could deeply connect to as the daughter of immigrants and someone who stuck out at times that didn’t necessary want to then. This is a great story for any kid (anyone really) who needs motivation or pick me up in spirit!

How I imagined Maxine when she was on the ice

Black Panther Novel: Shuri Series by Nic Stone (Shuri & Shuri: The Vanished). I loved Shuri so much that it was the inaugural book for the MBKBC and it was truly the perfect kick off! Much like Efi from Overwatch, Shuri is super smart and creative and where Efi is about her robots specifically, Shuri is about building various types of tech to help her country as well as proving her capabilities to take on the mantle of Black Panther! I am so anxious for the 3rd book to come out in November and to discuss it with the book club members! If you haven’t read this series, you should definitely change that! If we get a TV series based upon these books, I wouldn’t be mad at all *Looks at Marvel Studios*!

Shuri when anyone threatened her country, she always came with the heat

The Ryan Hart Series by Renee Watson (Ways To Make Sunshine & Ways To Grow Love). The book(s) that essentially inspired this post! I loved Ryan’s voice and her outlook on life & her surroundings. She is fiercely loving of her family as well as finding ways to express herself. Ryan deals with so many different changes (some that I know well myself) but she handles them as well as any kid could, finding bright spots where others may not. She also has a bit of a mystery that she is trying to unravel too which adds a little bit of intrigue! I’m so excited for the 3rd book, which comes out next year. This series would be great for kids who are dealing with changes around them but really in general! Also, the illustrations in the book are super cute!

How I saw Ryan approached things at times

The Front Desk Series by Kelly Yang (Front Desk & Three Keys). Front Desk is actually a book that dropped in my lap after a friend went to Comic Con and received an ARC. She thought I would be into it and she was absolutely right! These books were hysterical and I was so happy to find out that there was a sequel and that there would be a third book! So many immigrants come to this country searching for the hypothetical “American Dream” and it was so good to read a story where this family managed to find/create their own version of it & helping others achieve it as well. It has such a great cast of characters that you really can’t help become attached to, filled with witty banter and heart bursting moments!

Mia’s outlook, but with less intense gestures

Hopefully in this list of books, you find one or a few that capture your interests! Honestly, I would love to see middle grades get a lot more love because they contain so many gems that anyone could gleam from regardless of age! I’ve got a few in my TBR that I can’t wait to get to! If you have some middle grade books that you absolutely love, do share them…on the real doe, let’s just make this a middle grade appreciate post!

This is just how I feel about middle grade books!

Well y’all, I’m going to end it here so I can get back to my current read (no one is surprised by this) but you all know that y’all can find me out in these e-streets being bookish and what not! Find and Follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog). As usual, I’m wishing you happy reading and sending you tonnnnnnnnns of bookish love! Until the next post, later!

There’s a little less attitude in my salutation though
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Simone Breaks All The Rules Was Like Reading My Teenage Self

  • Author: Debbie Rigaud
  • 2nd Published
  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Background: Haitian-American
  • IG-@froandabow; Twitter-@debbierigaud
  • Release Date: 6/1/2021 (Out now y’all)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Favorite Character-Gabbie…she reminded me so much of one of my favorite cousins! Her mannerisms and attitude had me thinking of my cousin whenever she was on the page… Debbie basically wrote my cousin in her book without personally knowing her (or does she? hmmmm). I also really loved Amita, sis is funny as all get out!
  • Favorite Quote(s)“Ohmygod, I’m done! Bye!” she screams, stomping away, and then jogging right back.-Gabby. When I read this, I thought immediately of my cousin and how this was something that my cousin would say and do, pretty much to a T! And another one #DJKhalidVoice: “Ah, so you’re about that immigrant parent life, too?”-Amita. As the daughter of TWO immigrants from two different countries, I felt this SO HARD! Having immigrant parents is tough…I know there are plenty others who relate, who are fellow first gens born in America! They really don’t play…same with Immigrant grandparents (Mine played zero games when it came to education)!