Hey everyone! So I know that saying the last pretty much two years has been tough is the understatement of the year. So much has changed and some changes have been great while others have not been. With my anxiety, I’ve been throwing myself into my reading because it’s the only escape I seem to have that I really want to make and well, with the passing of my grandpa, it’s been even worse so any moment I have to check out, I take it.
I know a lot people have their reading preferences when they are having a hard time, for some its rereading whats familiar or their favorite and for others its reading a particular genre without a break from it in sight. I’m pretty much the reading a particular genre which tend to be rom-coms, romances or plenty of comedy. The lighter the content, the better I feel and can really lean into it for however long it takes me to read it. I figured that for this weeks post, I would give a short list of books that I have loved that got me through rough periods. Also, in the interest of transparency, I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to write full on reviews & didn’t want to short change the books or their authors but still wanted to give you all a post because I am committed to this blog. Of course, you all are welcome to ask questions in the comments or find me on social media and I’d be happy to talk about specific books.
Alrighty, let’s get to this list and there are hyperlinks to ones that I have written about in the past. So if you find yourself intrigued by them, do go check out those posts!
The Tiger At Midnight Series by Swati Teerdhala (The Tiger At Midnight, The Archer At Dawn and The Chariot At Dusk)
Sister Of The Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai
Once Upon A Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Radha & Jai’s Recipe For Romance by Nisha Sharma
Books, like the ones on this list, with gratuitous laughter and/or romance are the ones that really helped me get through the tough times like now because they give me a mental break from what I’m dealing with. I’m sure that so many of you could relate in some way. I also find that the characters are experiencing some of the same emotional turmoil or situations I’m dealing with (though they are often younger) and it helps me work through my own stuff, its one of the best things about books.
Are any of you the same when it comes to your reading and your mental/emotional space? Let me know in the comments or find me on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (which I’m not on super often, just to put that out there but for sure on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it always gives me a mood bump when I see there is a new subscriber!
Have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! Be sure to take care of yourself out there! Peace Out Y’all!
Hey everyone! So I wanted to write a post about a book this week but my mind and heart has been so focused on putting together a benefit for earthquake relief in Haiti that I really felt the need to post about it here. I had spoken in the past about my need to do more to honor my Grandfather and the country he loved so much in my post about the Romance For Haiti Auction (which raised over $55,000!) and have been feeling a pull to put together a fundraising effort. I’ve been working with/consulting other Haitian bookstagrammers about this fundraising effort that we are calling the Readers Supporting Ayiti Raffle. All raised funds would be going to the organization Sow A Seed which provides necessary materials in Haiti.
I’m going to post the letter that I have sent to various publishers, bookstores and bookish companies seeking out support but first, why am I posting this? I’m posting this to ask you help me spread the word about this effort and if you have connects, to please share them. I really wish for this to be as successful as it possibly be. I would sincerely appreciate any and all help that I could receive in this. It’s so few of us and another set of hands or brain to share knowledge is always helpful. I sincerely feel that this initiative could be successful with more assistance.
Here is the letter:
On August 14th, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti, more specifically the Southern region near its capital of Port-Au-Prince. Much like the earthquake in 2010, there were numerous structural damages, hundreds of people missing and a high death toll. Despite the devastation caused by these natural disasters, Haiti and its citizens have been fighting to get back up again but they, like any other nation, require assistance in order to find their footing.
As a person of Haitian descent, I have been contemplating what could be done to support and honor the country of my father’s, grandfather’s & grandmother’s birth. Growing up, my grandfather would tell of his time in Haiti before immigrating to the United States, from watching Mariam Anderson perform to dealing with the regime of Duvalier as well as sharing pictures of the country that has always had his heart. My grandfather was a man of many stories, whether he was telling, listening, or reading them and it is from him that I grew my love of books and stories.
In the wake of the natural disasters that have plagued my paternal families’ homeland, I sought out fellow Haitian Bookstagrammers to join efforts in combining our love for books and Haiti to brainstorm a way to support. I felt particularly inspired by the recent Romance For Haiti auction which raised over $55,000 over the course of a weekend. I want to keep that momentum going that those authors & publishing professionals created by hosting an event catering to the interests of Young Adult, Middle Grade and Children’s Book readers, especially educators and librarians.
This event would be called Readers Supporting Ayiti and it would be a raffle supporting a local organization in Haiti dedicated to relief efforts there. The organization we’ve selected is Sow A Seed which purchases and distributes medical supplies, temporary housing supplies, food, water and baby supplies to the communities in need in Haiti. For more information about their organization, their website is sowaseedonline.org. Our goal is to raise at least $5,000 but hope to surpass that number.
On behalf of the collective of Haitian bookstagrammers, I am asking for your support in order to make this initiative successful. What we are seeking are books, book bundles and/or swag that appeal to the YA, MG and Children’s book audience. The items selected would be at your discretion though our preference would be books by authors of color. The logistics around winners and shipping requirements would also be at your discretion. The raffle would be taking place from October 1st to the 10th and winners would be drawn over the subsequent week.
It is with immense hope that your company/organization would consider participating in this fundraising effort and I thank you, on behalf of the collective of Haitian bookstagrammers and myself for your time. If your team is interested in participating, please email email@example.com with your contribution(s) to the raffle as well as the logistics. With your involvement, we believe that this event could be a great success.
In the week that publishers, bookstores and book boxes have been contacted, MacMillan Publishers and Book Of The Month has committed to this effort. As excited as I am to have these two amazing organizations supporting, we know that it takes far more than that to make a successful event and that is where you, dear reader (OMG, I went full on author in author notes or acknowledgements there), come into play. If you know of anyone who would be willing to assist or know people in high places, we would sincerely appreciate the help (I know I basically said the same in an earlier post but bear with me here).
In terms of the logistics, monetary donations would be made directly to the Sow A Seed website and proof would be sent to the email in the letter to be entered into the raffle itself. Once I have more on what would be available for raffle, then that information would be posted, especially on social media but I will be sure to post it here too. So Please spread the word and share this post…I would sincerely appreciate it!
Well y’all, I’m going to wrap this up here but please know that I appreciate you all coming back to this blog week after week. If you have questions or just want to come find & follow me out on the interwebs, look me up on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog please please please). As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wishing you happy reading! Later!
Hello everyone! With the beginning of the school year here, I was thinking of some of the books that I have read recently and even not so recently. The books that came to mind are ones I felt are so important for kids to read, process and discuss. I’m going to list them but give some reasons why I felt they are so important for kids to read/how they made me feel/brought up for me.
Yusuf Azeem Is Not A Hero by Saadia Faruqi: I loved this book because it covers a part of American History that isn’t spoken much about from the perspective of a kid. As a New Yorker, 9/11 is a part of the fabric of the state. I had become immune to seeing murals and memorials but hadn’t heard much of how it impacted others in other states though I knew of the hatred it intensified in people towards the Muslim Community. This book takes place around the time of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 (which is this year) and as I read this book, I had flashbacks of how I felt around and at the time of 9/11. It was also so important to read how people within the Muslim community were impacted. I had the pleasure of doing an IG live with Saadia and if you would like to watch it, here is the link.
Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year by Nina Hamza: This was another book that I really enjoyed and laughed A LOT during! It’s such a great book for learning how to deal with life changing occurrences such as a big move and a sickly family member. Ahmed is a character that I just came to adore throughout the time that I was reading. I can see so many kids really relating to him because he also deals with a bully and anyone who has dealt with one knows how anxiety inducing it can be. This is a book filled with gems & lessons that anyone could appreciate!
Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis: This book is one that I appreciated as someone who can have difficulty with expressing themselves and had difficulty making friends (peopling is hard at any age). There are a lot of weather metaphors used (as implied by the title) which I thought was a brilliant way of giving kids a way to express their thoughts/emotions. The main character also deals with a big change and the pressures of trying to make new friends as well as the fear inducing circumstance of a wildfire.
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams: This is a book layered with gems. Genesis deals with a plethora of things that range from homelessness/socio-economic disparities to colorism to alcoholism… I just wanted to hug Genesis throughout the time I was reading because she went through the ringer. I feel that there are so many kids that will be able to see themselves in Genesis, whether its her struggles or her triumphs. She learns so much about herself as well as the kids she comes to call her friends.
Cuba In My Pocket by Adrianna Cuervas (out on 9/21): So you all know that I love a good historical fiction and this one was no exception. CIMP gives insight as to what it could be like for those who have immigrated, not just to the US but anywhere really, and what could’ve led them to their new home. Growing up, I heard quite a few stories from my own family members about their experiences but there is always something special about reading other experiences and learning those histories. There was also a lovely balance of the emotional, funny and life lessons in this book. I also believe it would help kids to develop a sense of empathy for those learning their way around a new environment.
The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran (out on 9/21): When I was reading this book, I thought a lot about the book Internment by Samira Ahmed (which is a book I love & still think of frequently) but it was lighter where it needed to be and gave us a group of kids on a mission. It took place in a fictional country that felt like it could really be anywhere in the world due to the real world circumstances & situations that occurred. A book like this is really timely in how race, religion, social and immigration status is currently seen and makes it digestible for kids who maybe struggling with these topics while providing eye opening anecdotes for adults that need them.
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro (out on 9/21): I literally finished this book the day before posting this and I absolutely adored it. While this book was from a singular perspective, it offered so many different insights from the experiences of coming out to bullying to finding your place after a big move. I appreciated the comedic moments as much as I did the highly sentimental ones as well as the lessons of the importance of advocacy of self and others. There was also something really special about seeing this diverse group of kids experiencing magic in the way so many of us wished we could while reading books that definitely didn’t center children of color.
Thinking about it, I would highly recommend all of these books especially for middle school classrooms/libraries. I can’t recall any books like these in my middle school libraries but I know that I could’ve certainly used them. There is so much going on at this age range especially being at the crossroads of elementary school and high school that more texts like these could be truly life changing. These books could provide emotional support where kids may need it and help them find a way when they can’t express themselves.
In case anyone is interested, Brave + Kind bookshop (located in Atlanta, Georgia & they are wonderful) is having an event with the authors of Yusuf Azeem Is Not A Hero, The Samosa Rebellion and Partly Cloudy. It is taking place on Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 from 7-8 pm. If you would like to virtually attend this event, here is the link to register and if you are able, please support the authors & store by purchasing at least one of the books featured.
Alright y’all, I’ve occupied enough of your time now but I hope that you all will consider adding these books to your libraries, whether its your personal or school or even request your local library to (this also supports the authors). These books have great potential to effect change in this world as long as we place them into the hands of kids/teens as well as adults who interact with kids on a daily basis. If there are any books that you feel strongly about, feel free to write about them in the comments! If you want to come find & follow me out on the interwebs, look me up on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog please please please). As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wishing you happy reading! BYEEE!
Hey everyone! Since there is so many books coming out for the rest of this year, I figured that I would bring back up the list at the beginning of each month and update them with titles I’ve found out about or saw the dates may have changed for (some I found through my bookish friends @raethereviewer & @onyxeditions). Forewarning, this list is long… so don’t be mad at me for it’s length, I’m just tryna help y’all stay in the know, lol! Here we go:
Black Joy Anthology edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff & Timi Sotire (UK) 9/2
Makeda: The Queen Of Sheba by Marlon McKenney *MG* 9/6
We Are Not Broken: A Memoir by George M. Johnson 9/7
The Bones Of Ruin by Sarah Raughley 9/7
The Shaadi Set Up by Lillie Vale *adult* 9/7
Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis *MG* 9/7
So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Marrow 9/7
A Clash Of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee 9/7
Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon *picture book* 9/7
Yusuf Azeem Is Not A Hero by Saadia Faruqi *MG* 9/7
In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström *adult* 9/7
Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti *MG* 9/7
Pahua And The Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee *MG* 9/7
Better Together, Cinderella: A Big Sister Fairy Tale by Ashley Franklin & Ebony Glenn *PB* 9/7
Zero O:Clock by C.J. Farley 9/7
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova *adult* 9/7
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez 9/7
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson 9/14
Battle Of The Bands Anthology Edited by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith 9/14
A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria *adult series* 9/14
It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi 9/14
Barefoot Dreams Of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs 9/14
Kneel by Candace Buford 9/14
Black Nerd Problems Essays by William Evans & Omar Holman 9/14
Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up And Trying Again Essay Collection edited by Shakirah Bourne 9/14
Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach 9/14
A Soft Place To Land by Janae Marks *MG* 9/14
Maya And The Return Of The Godlings by Rena Barron *MG Sequel* 9/21
Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles 9/21
Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman *children’s book* 9/21
Room To Dream by Kelly Yang *MG sequel* 9/21
Amira & Hamza: The War To Save The Worlds by Samira Ahmed *MG* 9/21
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi *series* 9/21
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee 9/21
Looking For A Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste *picture book* 9/21
Last Gamer Standing by Katie Zhao *MG* 9/21
Cuba In My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas *MG* 9/21
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao 9/21
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro *MG* 9/21
The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran *MG* 9/21
Beasts Of Prey by Ayana Gray 9/28
For All Time by Shanna Miles 9/28
Steelstriker by Marie Lu *sequel* 9/28
The Cursed Carnival And Other Calamities Anthology from Rick Riordan Presents *MG* 9/28
Playing At The Border by Joanna Ho *PB* 9/28
Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen *adult* 9/28
The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi *PB* 9/28
The Sweetest Remedy by Jane Igharo *adult* 9/28
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic by Lilly Workneh *children’s* 9/28
I’ve actually read quite a few of these books and have some in my TBR to read because I recently got my hands on the ARCs! My guess is that you want to know which books I have read so, here is the list of those:
Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis *MG*
So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Marrow
A Clash Of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee
Yusuf Azeem Is Not A Hero by Saadia Faruqi *MG*
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed Essays edited by Saraciea J. Fennel
Maya And The Return Of The Godlings by Rena Barron *MG Sequel*
Cuba In My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas *MG*
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (It Inspired this blog post)
The Samosa Rebellion by Shanthi Sekaran *MG*
Beasts Of Prey by Ayana Gray
And I have to read these ARCs:
Pahua And The Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee *MG* (currently reading)
The Bones Of Ruin by Sarah Raughley
Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro *MG*
So y’all, there are so many amazing books coming out this month and I’m going to run before y’all come after me! Are there any books that you are looking forward to? Share them in the comments! If y’all wanna come find & follow me out in these E-Streets, look me up 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! PEACE!
Hey Everyone, I know that it’s not quite like me to do two posts in one week but I felt that it was really important to post about this particular fundraising effort. As someone who is Half-Haitian and a reader, I had been trying to figure out how to utilize my love for reading to benefit the land of my father’s birth. I’m so very grateful that there are authors and publishing professionals that have taken the initiative to fund-raise for Haiti by donating books and various services. The Auction starts on Saturday, August 28th and goes until Monday, September 1st (so quickly gather your coins).
For more information, here are the links about the event:
Please go follow them on instagram and browse the items that are up for auction…I’ve already put several items on my wishlist to bid on! If you aren’t interested in the auction, please do consider donating, they also provide names and links to other organizations in Haiti that will actually give the funds to those who need it (All Tea and Shade to the Red Cross). If you aren’t able to financially support, please still follow their IG page and spread the word about this event.
For me, it’s so important to amplify this incentive. This means so much to me and I sincerely appreciate any & all support you all are able to provide. When I think of ways to continue to honor my Grandpa and Ayiti, the country that he loved so much, this is definitely one of the ways that I know he would be behind as a fellow book lover & retired librarian (he is where I get it from).
One more picture with my grandpa because he’s my favorite human and he always made sure that we all knew how much he loved Haiti.
Alright y’all, before I get anymore choked up, please go forth and spread the word about this incredible fundraising effort! If y’all have any questions, you all know you can find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. As usual, I’m sending you all so much bookish love. From the bottom of my bookish heart, Mèsi anpil anpil!
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).
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$$ (to put it incredibly light) boyfriend. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and being like “noooo, I didn’t want to kick their behinds into the ground until there was nothing left…they were fiiiiiiiineeeeee” (insert *eye roll* here). If I were to ever meet someone who has that sentiment, I will ask them when they will be applying for sainthood cause it couldn’t be me! I won’t be talking much about this though because I covered some of what triggered me in that previously mentioned blog post (and maybe because I don’t want to get triggered again either, lol).
On top of the twists and turns, there are so many lessons folded into this book. One of the biggest ones being that no one should have to shoulder other people’s burdens, especially a child/teen. Katrell carried not just her own weight & that of her dog but her mother AND her mooching a$$ 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$$ partner (still being light on this)…I quite literally have notes saying “WHY ARE YOU LEANING SO HARD ON A TEEN?!” *shakes head & pinches the bridge of my nose*. Let me move on before I start to go off the deep end about this particular part of the book.
Wait… I found another gif that I felt was needed when it comes to Katrell’s mama that I really want to include….
Wait, one more but this is how I felt toward both Katrell’s mama and her scrub a$$ boyfriend (again, very very light when it comes to him)
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.
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.
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.
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*)!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 Onesby 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!
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.
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 immediateanger 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).
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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*)!
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.
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’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*)!
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”!
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!
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!
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/).
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.
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!
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!
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)!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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)!
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!
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!
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
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!
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!
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)!
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*!
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!
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!
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!
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*!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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)!
So, I have to acknowledge that I’m late posting about this book and I’m so sorry about it but I wanted to give it the energy that it deserves (better late than never, right?). I posted about it on instagram so, if you follow me, you will see lives where I showed the book (the ARC and final copy unboxing) and a pub day post which was a reel inspired by the story & one of the playlist points “Switch Up Style”, you can watch it here (shout out to my #GlassesTribe)! Debbie sent me a copy of an ARC and once I got to it, I ATE this book up! I laughed so much that my eyes leaked, I shouted and had flashbacks of times with my strict immigrant parents…I basically read my teenage life because my parents (mostly dad) was hella strict and those of us with West Indian parents KNOW you don’t want to cross your parents for any reason.
As a Half-Haitian, I felt like I was reading some of my family at points… from the food (diri djon djon-Black Rice is my favorite) to the mindset of the parents (*deep sigh*) to the family interventions into Simone’s life (*ugh*). I was low-key high-key flashing back to my teen years…from around 15 to 18, lol! While I didn’t write lists, I definitely plotted with my friends on how to get out of the house and what to say to get our parents to agree to things (you have to be THAT calculating with immigrant Parents…which, I hope mine aren’t reading this right now or else I may be in trouble…lol) just as Simone had to. Those of you who didn’t have super strict parents, you just don’t know how good you had it friends.
Speaking of friends, I LOVED Simone’s friends Amita & Kira and I’m throwing in Gabby too who doubles as her cousin/Best Friend. They reminded me so much of my best friends who also had immigrant and/or strict parents. Though I will say that my very best friend wasn’t really as pressed to free herself of the bonds of strict parentals, she had her own little things here and there…I feel like so many of us with strict parents, like Simone, Amita & Kira all have or had their ways of trying to get from under their parents thumbs. I loved how they worked together to make their senior year their own rather than what their parents tried to tailor for them. I felt like I was right there with them lamenting about their parents, responding “ughhhhhh, I hated it that” and “dang, y’all too?!” pretty much out loud. Honestly, I think my friends and I had similar conversations & meet ups throughout high school, especially in Senior Year! I adored how Amita & Kira took so quickly to Simone and were down for pretty much anything…we all should be blessed with friends like them!
I have to talk a little about my favorite, my cousin’s literary doppelgänger and Simone’s wingwoman, Gabby. When she first stepped on the page, I was like “OMG, SHE’S LIKE MY COUSIN” and I even DM’ed Debbie about that. Gabby is so hysterical and also like a ride-or-die for Simone. Even though she is younger than Simone (which, my cousin is a little younger than me too), she had some gems to drop and edges to snatch (literally because she also did hair). I think so many of us have that one cousin that’s like Gabby, who you can go for advice, to hang out with and even give you a bit of a makeover…these are the cousins that makes the boring family gatherings so much better and would be able to get you out of bed when you really didn’t feel like leaving it in the first place. Cousins like Gabby (and my fav) are a blessing to our sanity and I salute them!
Another character that I loved was Ben (not to be confused with Ben Philippe, lol) whenever he made appearances. He’s like this super down to Earth and realistic kid that I could totally see in my friends circle. Ben is honest but not pushy with it (like so many Haitians I know), observant, calm & cool but not the too-cool-for-school type. There were a few times when I was like “Simone, he’s aiight, just give dude a chance” but because Simone is so much like me, I understood why she behaved the way she did (not too many people like being set up) and he handled it well! With how well he rolled with the punches, he really deserved some bannann or a big plate of diri djon djon (better than any award, if you ask me or any other Haitians)! He was one of those characters that I really liked from the beginning, despite not being the instant fav of other characters (i.e. Simone). Ben was swoon-worthy in his own way, IMO.
When I read Simone’s character, I was like…wait…did I know Debbie as a teen? How did she know these things about me?! While some things weren’t the same (i.e, my mom’s cooking was Trini but I got my Haitian food fill from my Grandpa), Simone was me sneaking food, writing down my thoughts, daydreaming about how to obtain freedom and get around rules. Though even as she skirted some of the rules, she was pretty mindful of her parents and I thiiiiiink I was kind of mindful too (think being the operative word here, lol). I will say though that Simone was much more into history than I was at her age…I loved it but she was really about that life from speaking about Haitian history to her senior thesis paper on revolutionary figures. I really admired that about her and that aspect of her reflects so many teens we are seeing now who speak on the past & present to fight for all of our futures. I think so many teens will see that part of themselves in her or something else will speak to them. Simone is such a relatable character that I couldn’t help but think that we would’ve been friends if she was someone I met in real life. She’s a character for the people!
As you could tell by now, I really enjoyed this book, the characters and the story line. As I’ve said, it’s incredibly funny as it has so much banter in there to keep you entertained but not overwhelmed. It’s like reading A Haitian-Americans’ Clarissa Knows It All (did I just show my age there? O_O) but even more relatable. Once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down. So make sure you either request it from your favorite local library or bookstore, I promise you will love it (you trust me, don’t you? *flutters eyelashes*)!
Well y’all, I’m going to end it here so I’m wishing you all happy reading and sending y’all tons of bookish love! For even more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. Until the next post, Bon jou or Bon nwit (depending on where you are in the world and what time it is)!
Favorite Character-Issa tie between Ahkai & Josephine! They are one of the best best friend duos I’ve had the pleasure of reading and are equally hilarious for different reasons!
Favorite Quote(s)–“I don’t have a job. How can I pay for a whole window?”-Josephine. When she said that, I howled because of the way I heard it said in my mind! I also feel like I’ve asked something like this as a kid (Like Josephine, I had a smart mout’ & still do, lol).
From the moment I saw Josephine Against The Sea, I knew…I just KNEW that it was going to be a book that I would love and you know what… I was right (Clearly, because this post exists)! When I got an E-ARC, I was so excited but then I had a hard time getting it to download (I even tried asking for help in my IG stories like it was ask Jeeves, lol)…I lamented over this for a little while then ran into Shakirah’s DMs about this. Thankfully, she hooked a sista up! So real quick, Shout outs to Shakirah’s publicist who sent me an early finished copy (Shakirah told me she was on it but I didn’t think it was going to be as fast as it was, her publicist is a Real One)!
When I tell y’all I ate this book up, I was done with it the day after I started it. It was so engaging and funny that I really didn’t want to put it down (adulting made me put it down, ugh)! I laughed so hard that my eyes just wouldn’t stop leaking with all the shenanigans that Josephine was up to. When she included her best friend Ahkai, it was even better because of how they played off of one another. I imagined that Josephine was me when her dad would bring a potential love interest in and all the nonsense I pulled when my mom would bring someone new around. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that in a second doe. First, I just need to speak a little bit about the mythology………
*Groans in utter happiness* The way that Shakirah wrote in the mythologies was just brilliant! I LOVEDDDDDDDD how rooted in Caribbean mythology this book is! Despite being a child of Caribbean Parents (West Indian Massiveeeeee), they really didn’t indulge me in the legends of their Islands for some reason. So when I come across books like JATS and The Jumbies Series (by Tracey Baptiste), I just eat them up. There was mention of different types of mythologies/folklore throughout the book that I knew a little about but still have to learn about. There wasn’t direct interaction with some of these mythologies but it cracked the doors a bit to possible adventures with those stories later down the line (Dear Gawd, I really hope there will be). I’m not going to be specific as to which mythology is heavily explored because it is a big component of the plot of the book but Shakirah was brilliant in how she layered & built to the discovery! Josephine was like a West Indian Inspector Gadget Nancy Drew at times & I adored that about her! I love any and every opportunity to read different types of mythologies (my love for books like The Last Fallen Star & CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls make that glaringly apparent and they both have sequels coming out, just so you know) but when the stories are directly connected to my own heritage, it makes it extra special. And truly, JATS is a special book; I felt it when I saw the cover and then when I finally got to read it. I couldn’t help but rave about it to a family I work with and quite a few other people because I felt it was just that good! Seriously y’all, come for the mythology and stay for the shenanigans!
I know said I would speak about Josephine’s shenanigans and I have to uphold my promise. From her opening statement, “It’s 4:58 pm and Daddy still isn’t back from his date. I should have never allowed him to leave home.” I was like “oh this is going to be goooood” and I wasn’t let down in the least bit. Josephine is one for pranks and she tends to include her best friend, Ahkai, who is *often* a willing participant. When he isn’t convinced, he will question Josephine & it’s hilarious. If I was one for pranks as a kid, I feel like I would’ve been right in line with what Josephine was throwing down (I would’ve her helped for sure)… I was more of the ice-them-out-until-they-can’t-handle-the-cold-anymore type when my parents (they’re divorced) brought new potential partners around me *shrugs*. So I understood Josephine’s need to pull the shenanigans she did that included things like her cricket ball, fish guts and quite a few other things…sis was very creative! I also understood her overprotective nature over her father as I feel that over my mom. Josephine’s situation is different with the fact that her mother is deceased and it makes things vastly different. Josephine was not only fighting to preserve her mother’s memory but also the relationship she has with her dad & his heart, which is sacred. Did she go overboard at times? Well, that’s for you to decide when you read this book *wink* *wink*!
Speaking of father-daughter relationships, I really loved Josephine’s relationship with her dad. While yes, she was trying to sabotage his dating life at every turn, it was, in her own way, super endearing. She was trying so hard to remind him of their kinship and of the things that connected them, especially when it came to cricket. Whenever Josephine spoke about her father, I could feel the love she felt for him…not just because he was her father but because of how much she admired him. You could tell that she truly saw and knew her dad in ways that a lot of kids don’t look at their parents. I get the warm & fuzzies just thinking about it. They lived in their own world and we were given the privilege of peeking into it. Also, their banter was super funny as it was like they switched roles in who was the parent and the kid; which was hysterical to me!
Another relationship that I loved was Josephine’s best friendship with Ahkai. I adored the bond between them as it is super clear how well they understand each other when she introduces him into the story. They both know that they can lean on each other, which is really special. Something that I deeply appreciated is the fact that Josephine lets us know that Ahkai is a character with Autism. We don’t see nearly enough kids in literature with diagnoses that get to have these beautiful interpersonal relationships. As both a Special Educator and a Godmother to a child with Autism, it made me so happy to read this sort of representation. I also appreciated that while Josephine acknowledged that part of Ahkai, she didn’t make his personhood solely about Autism. I loved how proud she was of their closeness & how she would stand in solidarity with him when she knew he needed it and Ahkai would reciprocate that in his own ways, especially when it came to researching. This was a really special aspect to the book and one of my biggest takeaways.
When I was done with this book, I ran back to Shakirah’s DMs to tell her how much her book meant to me. As someone of Caribbean descent, a Godmother and educator, this book really stuck in my mind & heart. I wholeheartedly think you need to go pick it up ASAPually! You’ll laugh a ton and you’ll also feel a lot of feels. On the real, I believe you will enjoy it & would want to see more of Josephine because I know I did! I am seriously hoping and praying for a sequel…I really really am!
Welp y’all, I’m going to end it here so you can go out and get this book. Whether its from your local library or your favorite bookstore, it doesn’t matter as long as you get it! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms.
Favorite Character-I LOVEEEEEEEEE Briseis’ moms SOOOOOOO much but I loved Mo (Angie) a lot! She’s the overprotective but funny & cool mom that I think I will be should I have kids! Also, the way she loves Bri & Mom (Thandie) just made my heart feel all sorts of warm & fuzzies!
Favorite Quote(s)–“Oh, they also like to make dance videos on TikTok,” said Mo. “What’s that one called? The Renegade?” “I can do it, but the way my ligaments are set up-“-Mo…damn if this won’t be me some day! And the way I cackled at this entire page…this whole book really! “You’re some kind of actual Black girl magic.”-Mom. I could just feel the reverence & love in this quote…more Black girls need to hear this from the people in their lives.
The moment I saw This Poison Heart’s cover, I just KNEW I had to read this book… Scroll up and Just LOOK at the cover!!!! Don’t tell me that it doesn’t scream to you that you MUST read it?! If you look at this cover and feel no pull toward it, you may just want to go get checked out! It is FIYAH and BEAUTIFUL and All that I could’ve possibly dreamed of, especially as a Black Girl who is a member of #GlassesTribe! I need this cover on a poster for my Magical Black Kids Wall & I needed to be directed to whoever could make that possible like yesterday!
I had resigned myself to waiting until after pub day to read this book because yet again, Edelweiss was a hater and denied me the E-ARC butTHE BOOK GAWDS! They smiled down on me and shook a finger at Edelweiss trying to staunch me living my best bookish life. My favorite Indie Bookstore, Kew & Willow (shouts out to them…and go order something from them or stop by, #NotAShamelessPlug), thought of me *wipes a tear* & offered me their extra copy. Of Course, I happily accepted (#NoMrMcDowellFakeAcceptance) like I was being proposed to (which, this is like the bookish equivalent so now we really go together, lol). It was being offered fluffy blanket on a cold night, water during a drought, RuPaul’sDrag Race on an emotionally taxing day and bubble tea after a long day…it just made me THAT happy! I haven’t gotten to go obsess to them about this book yet but I think they know it’s coming, lol! Seriously, they let me be great & obsess about books all the time (they are the literal best, #PunIntended)!
How can I really pop this post off? Hmmmmmm… wellllllllllll, THIS BOOK IS FUCKING PHENOMENAL! I don’t even know a more eloquent way to put it! TPH had me gripped from start to finish…it had me wishing I had magical powers like Bri, especially because I seem to have a hard time keeping plants alive that don’t belong to my grandparents (I don’t need my Grandpa scolding me in my dreams over them). I think part of WHY I loved Bri’s power is because she has such a deep love for Botany and her excitement is so palpable, just like my Grandpa’s love of it. When she described her bedroom, I thought of my Grandparent’s foyer filled with different types of plants. When she got excited about a plant, I thought of my Grandpa talking about different flowers & showing pictures of the ones he was particularly proud of. With those sentiments/memories, it made TPH that much more special to me. Sidenote: I’ve been watering my Grandparents plants at my Grandma’s insistence (you DON’T say No to a Haitian Grandma) and while I’m not on Bri’s level with plants, they have been growing!
Outside of wanting to read this book, I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did! When I tell you that the banter in this book along with the thoughts/commentary is everything, it truly is! Not only is the story line bomb but like every other page had me in tears. This book felt quite opposite from Kalynn’s debut Cinderella Is Dead in terms of level of humor (that book is also really good) as I don’t remember laughing so much while reading. The relationship between Bri & her moms and how they interact is just the best… like who wouldn’t want to listen in to a conversation between a Black teen girl and her 2 Black mamas?! It’s just *chef’s kiss*…this is a family we ALL deserve to read!
Speaking of Moms, Bri’s parents are two of the best parental figures I’ve read over the years! They are funny, they are supportive and they are down to earth. I think part of why Bri is so amazing is because their belief in her & her abilities. Yes, they are fearful like any other sane parent/adult would be and yes, they can be overprotective close to the point of being helicopter moms but its mostly because they love Bri so fiercely. They give Bri the freedom to explore who she is & what she wants but also advise her where they feel it appropriate…. they are basically the dream team of YA parents and I lived for them! Where do I sign up for them to adopt me? I’m sure there is plenty I can learn from them and I can be helpful, lol! Bri seriously hit the parental jackpot y’all! You have to read in order to truly understand why they are The GOAT of YA Parents*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*.
I don’t know what it is about the name/nickname Bri but there has been some Amazing Bri’s in YA (On The Come Up, Legendborn [Bree], Wings Of Ebony) but I’m so glad another has been added. I seriously lived for Bri; her level of sarcasm & sense of humor was simply A-1…like I couldn’t have asked for more when it came to that. Also, her cynicism connected me further to her because literally everything she questioned, I was asking the same or similar questions in my head. Only difference is her timing would’ve been different from mine in terms of when she was investigating things. There were instances where I would’ve wanted to look into it right away and others where I would’ve held off. If you want examples, unfortunately, I cannot provide them for you as I’m not about that spoiler lyfe but if you read the book and decide you want to talk to me about it, I will happily oblige, lol! Though, I will say that she is a downstate teen who is upstate without a license, which would’ve been me too at 17! Bri is such a clever character and her level of knowledge of plants is simply amazing… I wanted to look up all of the plants she talked about as I read but she did such an incredible job describing them that I felt like their pictures were painted in my mind while reading. Seriously, if you don’t add this book to your TBR, you my friend are losing, periodt.
So much goes on in this book but it didn’t feel as overwhelming as it could’ve been…okay, fine, I will admit that I was a bit stressed at parts, lol. From the mystery of Bri’s gift to the home she inherited to the what her birth family did in the past… it’s just all set up so perfectly. Bri basically became a magical Black Nancy Drew and honestly, Who wouldn’t love to see a Black Girl sleuthing it up?! As she was piecing together these different mysteries, I found myself taking mental notes trying to piece them together too. That’s always a good sign when it comes to me & books with any sort of mystery/mysteries to solve! I loved almost every moment of this book (when you read this book, you should be able to guess the reason for the “almost”) and I really didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t put it down and even sat & read when my ceiling for peopling at a family gathering had been hit (judge me if you want but I doubt any introverted person would’ve questioned my choice). This book was honestly worth any & every side eye I got from my family especially since that’s where I finished it *’Ye Shrugs*.
On the real doe, get this book, read it and then come talk to me because I need someone to talk to at length about it…especially because the last few chapters leading to the cliffhanger ending were wild disrespectful! Deadass, I had to make my discontentment known to Kalynn on Twitter. I legit looked to see if there was more but the acknowledgements weren’t even in the ARC! I internally screamed like I spilled my bubble tea (yep, that level of mad/hurt/upset) then I tweeted Kalynn…. Seriously, y’all I’m mad about this. I didn’t know this was a series until I had about 100 pages left and was like “this doesn’t end here…this can’t end here” and I’m ticked I was right (a very rare thing). I felt like a bomb got dropped & I had no idea I needed to duck for cover! Again, wild disrespectful but will I be anxiously awaiting book 2? Ya damn skippy I will be because I need to know how this ends! I got maddddd questions and I know Bri will ask them all!
Well y’all, I think I have said just about everything I could say without spoiling anything. You know I wouldn’t do that to you because I loveeeeee youuuuuu, lol. On the real doe, You need to get this book and tell all your friends to get it too because it is simply amazing! You KNOWWWWW I wouldn’t steer you wrong *insert Angel emoji here*! Just…just trust me on this… I got your bookish back!
As always, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms.
Hey Y’all! It’s been a long month and I have been ready to crash! Like the 20-21 school year felt wild disrespectful y’all! I didn’t have the energy I felt the next book I want to write about deserved so I decided to do a short post about 5 books I loved but haven’t featured…they are not ranked in a particular order but just know I loved them all! So let’s get into it, shall we?!
A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen
First of all, this is a book with two people drinking bubble tea on the cover…that alone told me that this book was meant for me! The main character also drinks multiple bubble teas in a day & educates folks about the different types of boba…again, meant for me! I also really love rom-coms so it check off that box for me! It was really funny and the cast of characters are great! It was a nice lighthearted read that I really enjoyed while sipping on a bubble tea! I think you might enjoy it too!
2. Wings Of Ebony by J. Elle
I loved the world building and the cast. It was as rooted in reality as it was in fantasy and I could truly appreciated that. I also loved how grief played its part in this book. I was still very fresh in my grief process when I read it (I mean, let’s keep it real, I still am) and I could really connect to Rue on that tip… I also loved her best friend Bri! Another thing I liked is that romance or rather romantic interests played their part but didn’t overwhelm Rue or the storyline. We got to see a Black Girl desired by more than one Black Boy and Black Kids everywhere needed to see that (this Black Adult did too). If you are a fan of different systems of magic, you will enjoy this book.
3. The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
I’ve been a fan of Anna-Marie’s work since I read Wild Beauty & have since read all of their books except one (only because I haven’t found it yet but trust that I will). Their work is so lyrical and soothing in its wording & settings that it almost feels like a comfort (at least to me). This book was no different in that sense but it was VERY different from their other books. It approaches trauma in a magical way that gives it *just* enough levity but doesn’t take away from the effects the trauma has on the main character and the person who shares in her trauma. It’s truly a beautiful book.
4. Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
I’m also a big Justina Ireland fan and was so excited to hear she was writing a Middle Grade…and had been itching to get my hands on it when it was announced. This book did not disappointment. Picture it, Pittsburgh 1920s and a Black Girl who can communicate with ghosts! A Historical Paranormal Middle Grade?! This book was definitely MEANT for me! If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will enjoy the history lessons along with the social commentary that takes place within it. There was also some great banter that took place that made you feel like you were apart of the conversations, whether its something you would say or are overhearing. I would recommend this book to everyone!
5. Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year by Nina Hamza
This book is actually one I didn’t know about, for some strange reason, and I’m so glad I received an ARC of it. I didn’t know what to expect but what I got was the best, most pleasant surprise. This book was so re-donk-cu-lously funny! It gave all the comedy my Spirit wanted & needed, which is why I finished it in like 24 hours. Y’all know how sarcasm is my second language, well, Ahmed (the obvious main character), spoke it so fluently that I thought I was reading my own words… If he were a real person, I would want him to be apart of my friend group, without question! This book is up there in middle grade books that I’ve read so far. If you are in need of a good laugh, this is a book meant for you too!
I hope you all decide to go out and pick up one or all of these books. I enjoyed them all for different reasons and they helped me escape in some way, shape or form; which has been what I’ve been seeking from books especially with where I’ve been mentally & emotionally. If you have any favs by Authors of Color that you wish to share, please feel free to do so in the comments! I do love a good book rec!
Well y’all, I’mma end this here. As usual, come find me on these e-streets up on the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms! I’m sending you all tons of bookish love and wishing you the happiest of reading days! Until the next post, Deuces!
Favorite Character-Shima! She’s so flipping funny and she always told it like it was…and sometimes spared feelings but not always.
Favorite Quote(s)– “You think they have mangoes in Kaama? Wait–stupid question. Of course they do. What about pomegranates? I’ve dreamed about those, lemme tell you.”-Amir. First of all, #Mood because Mangoes are life and I do love pomegranates too. Second of all, Amir spoke to my spirit with this! Another fav was “Yeah, and I wasn’t expecting to meet a look-alike with weird snake powers, but here we are.”-Ria This just feels like something I would say! The way I cackled…I really love Ria, I’m letting my bias show early here!
First, I’m going to say that when I saw the cover reveal for Sisters Of The Snake, I was like “yea, I have to read that” then I got accepted to the street team (shout out to the #SnakeSquad) and got my hands on an E-ARC. I was stoked about this but then the Book Gods smiled down on my eyes and a printed copy was sent to me which made me even more happy! If you want to check out the reels I did for street team tingz, first was a book look of if I was at a SOTS function and the second was making the Ria & Rani Mango Shake but vegan which came out delicious & I highly recommend you all try!
I have to say that My Bookish Spidey senses definitely tingled at the announcement of this book and didn’t let me down (Spidey Senses for the win y’all)! It seriously worked out that I got a printed copy because I COULD.NOT.PUT.IT.DOWN (turning off and on a tablet to read really isn’t the life for me)! SOTS is almost 500 pages and I finished it in 3 days (it’s in the hall of fame of reads like Legendborn now)! From the opening sentence to the epilogue, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it & clearly I’m still thinking about it as there are so many moments that now live rent free in my mind. I hated having to adult and sleep because it got in the way of my reading.
When I started reading this book, I was getting some serious Prince And The Pauper vibes but gender bent & with magic… but it is so distinctly its own story that that thought fell away from my mind as I was reading. This story is so engrossing that I was like “okay, a few more pages…” “okay, one more chapter cause it’s not that long then I’ll go to bed or do whatever adulting needs to be done” and next thing I knew, it was like 30 pages & an hour or so later and it was past the time I wanted to go to sleep or adult. And honestly, I regret NOTHING! I’d do it all over again because it was so good (and I’m ready for book 2 to bring it on)! Sarena & Sasha really know how to capture your attention & I’m willing to fight anyone else who says otherwise!
The world and character building was simply superb…like quadruple *chef’s kiss* because each twin (writer & literary) deserves one. Both Ria and Rani have very different voices & personalities but there is really no way to know who wrote who which, is the way things ought to be! I loved their differing perspectives and how they told their stories… throughout, I was like “okayyyyy, tell me more?” “anddddd thennnnn?” “what this *bleep* say?!” I was fully engaged in the dialogue and I felt like I was IN the story since it played out like a movie in my mind! If this book does NOT get a movie or a tv series, I’mma be hella mad! I’ll also be peeved if it isn’t done justice as this is too good of a story to jack up. So whoever buys the film rights BET have their minds right when they adapt it… *throws hands up* I’m jussayin’.
In talking about character, I’m going to start with my favorite twin, Ria (I made my bias clear from jump)! Yes, I’m on #TeamRia for the street team but I fell in love with her from her opening sentence which was “I despise the heat.“… Is she me because I feel the exact same way! I felt every thing she felt about the heat to the point of having physiological responses (It didn’t help that it was hellish hot in NY too). Her straight to the point, cut between the eyes, no nonsense and heavily sarcastic nature was all I could’ve dreamed of in a beloved character and more! She just spoke to my Spirit y’all! Of course, she needed to have such traits being on the streets, fending for herself, which I’m sure is no joke when your very survival is on the line. There is no time to be a victim and Ria just isn’t the type to passively sit & panhandle… she’s *clap* about *clap* that *clap* action. Ria is also hysterical and I couldn’t help cracking up most times she was on the page… I honestly don’t see how ANYONE wouldn’t be a fan of hers! She is the princess of my heart and she could be the princess of yours too when you get to reading this book *wink* *wink*.
If I talk about Ria then I have to talk about Rani…right? *rolls eyes* Just kidding, Rani takes a hot second to warm up to but once you get to know her and see her evolution, she really isn’t so bad! I know so very little about being a princess who has everything handed to them and really couldn’t say whether or not I would want out of that life… I mean, I would not say no to someone cooking food for me every day, to be honest (what can I say, I’m lazy at times). I do understand feeling trapped to the point of feeling like my back is against the wall and wanting to see what more the world has to offer (so many of us do after such a long time in quarantine, amirite?). This was my connecting point to Rani until she found a little more humility and courage. I could tell that there was a bit of growth that needed to take place in Rani before I could feel closer to her but who doesn’t like to see a character glow up in the personality arena? Rani also could be sarcastic, funny and profound at times which drew me in & made my head nod in agreement. I think you should read though so you could figure out your feels around Rani *smirk*.
There were a few side characters that I loved like Saeed (I don’t care how Rani felt about him), Amir and the G.O.A.T Shima! I honestly feel like the side characters are also another reason to pick up this book because they felt just as fleshed out as Ria & Rani…. Did I want to see more of them in the story? Of course I did! Was it enough for my taste? It never is when it comes to characters I have grown attached to… So this just means that I have to hold on to hope that we’ll see even more of them in book 2 (I wouldn’t be mad at added perspectives from any of them or even their own books in the future *hint* *hint* Sarena & Sasha)! I would love to talk more about them but I also don’t want to ruin your introductions to them… so let’s just leave it as they are they are the All-Stars of side characters who always come through in the clutch… you don’t have tooooo much to worry about when they are on the page…..well, maybe a little but you have to read to see about that!
Well y’all, I’mma end it here because ya girl has a book she is dying to finish and I want you to be able to get out there & pick up a copy of Sisters Of The Snake from your local library or favorite bookstore… I assure you that you will NOT regret your decision to do so! As usual, you are always welcome to come find me on these e-streets on the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms! I’m sending you all tons of bookish love and wishing you the happiest of reading days!
Favorite Character: Jaya! She served as the voice of reason and kept it real while preserving others feelings (a balance that can be quite tough to strike)! She was the main character in the first book in the series so it was so good to see her again! My fav from the first book only made cameos because of stuff that went down in the first!
Favorite Quote(s):“So you can go Falk yourself. And I’ll bring my own prince.”-Caterina. I felt the mic drop in my SPIRIT with this line!
I’m going to start this by saying that no one is surprised that this post exists…for those who have been rolling with me for a while, know how much I love Sandhya Menon…her books bring light when my spirit feels dark! She’s just so awesome! I’m also really excited to be a part of the Blog tour for Of Princes Of Promises, which is the second book in the Rosetta Academy series, with some of my fellow Sandhya’s Sweethearts Street teammers (see the schedule here)! I posted a reel in celebration of OPAP‘s release on IG, you can watch here (It’s super cute, if I do say so myself). Anddd In case you wanted to read my blog post about the first book, Of Curses And Kisses, you can read it here!
If you’re like me, you love a good retelling and OPAP is a great retelling…This one being the Frog Prince! Even more so than that, I was getting Steve Urkel to Stefan Urquelle in Family Matters vibes at times, which I adored! Rahul was the Steve/Stefan that I never knew I needed and Caterina was the Laura Winslow I never saw coming! For my younger readers, who may not know, Family Matters was that show and you should watch some episodes of it. And Nope, I don’t care if I’m dating myself because that was quality TV but I digress, lol. It also gave Nick Cannon & Christina Milan in Love Don’t Cost A Thing but with the guy doing the favor for the girl (if you are familiar with the movie). If you are into transformations/Make overs, OPAP is definitely the book for you as it was for me!
Before I get to talking about the 2 characters I really want to talk about, I’m going to say that even though this is a part of a series, this book stands all on its own. You could read OPAP before reading Of Curses And Kisses or after, or just read it alone and it will aye-okay. However, I will say that things will click in terms of character relationships, narratives and some background stories if you do read OCAK then OPAP. There are Easter eggs for this book in OCAK and a bit for the 3rd book in the series, which of course OPAP has some for as well (And to answer your question, yes, I’m very excited for that book too). If you are like me, you like re-entering worlds so you may enjoy reading OCAK first. Either way, you’d be golden!
I have to start by talking about my loveable and socially awkward know it all Rahul! We didn’t see so much of him in OCAK but enough to know that he would be an interesting character to watch. He’s a no nonsense, tell it like it is type…something we all know I value in a character! Rahul has such a hard time reading the room that he really doesn’t even bother to until it’s slightly too late! He deadpans so much during the book that I really couldn’t help giggling whenever he spoke. Rahul is the friend that says what everyone is thinking but doesn’t want to be the first one to say it and thinks nothing of it until someone points it out that mayyyybe, it wasn’t the time. Think of Steve Urkel going “Did IIIIIIIII dooooo thaaaaaattttttt?” but without the humor, and you basically got some of Rahul’s moments! He has a mind only a motherly type, like Jaya, could love and wants others to love too. Rahul was gifted with a friend circle that is really dope & caring that does love his quirky self (you actually get an intro to them in OCAK).
When Rahul undergoes his “transformation”, he’s super swoon-worthy like Stefan. Suddenly, Rahul goes from that deadpanner to smooth talker and its enough to give you whiplash! Since books tend to play out like movies in my mind, the “transformation” gave me that moment when Stefan walked out of Steve’s transformation machine (see gif below)! I don’t want to get into the “change” though cause I don’t want to give away the book! Anywayz, you gotta read the book to see what kind of transformation he goes through (I personally love Rahul as is but you can form your own opinion when you meet him)!
So when it comes to Caterina, she was NOT my favorite in OCAK…she was very far from a favorite actually…….. but she changed my mind (which is really hard to do). We see such a different side of her, one I think Jaya knew was there but everyone else had to see to believe. Caterina has basically everything and yet, faces quite a few dilemmas, one of the biggest being could she be vulnerable & how deep could that vulnerability go! We see from her interactions with people, including the ones she considered “friends”, that she has this very clear but thick wall up that was hard to knock down. I went into reading this book thinking that I wouldn’t be able to relate at all to Caterina but related so much to this aspect of her the most…yep, my mind was blown too and if you have read OCAK, you may feel the same! She also was like a wealthy Italian Glow Up Laura Winslow at points, which I both loved and hated. She had the brains and the beauty, the things one would admire about Laura Winslow but also the attitude and air of superiority that would make you despise her. But like I said, she changed my mind and I’m actually excited to see her in book 3 (who have I become?! O_O)!
Y’all, it’s really hard to talk about second books in a series because you really worry about giving away too much! I also didn’t anticipate drawing such a big parallel between OPAP and Family Matters (it just bees that way sometimes). I really enjoyed this book and like All of Sandhya’s books, I ate this one up pretty quickly. It made me feel a bit nostalgic with the Laura/Steve Urkel vibes and it made me incredibly happy (which is why I used so many Family Matters gifs in this post)! I’m willing to bet that if you read OPAP and have watched Family Matters, you will agree too! If the Rosetta Academy series wasn’t on your radar, I hope it will be now and you decide to pick it up, either from your local library or your favorite bookstore!
I’ll end it here but of course, you are always welcome to come find me on these e-streets on the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms! I’m sending you all tons of bookish love and wishing you the happiest of reading days! Ciao!
Favorite Character-I’m going with the QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN CHIAMAKA! If you ever watched 90 Day Fiance, there was a cast member who said “WHO IS AGAINST THE QUEEN WILL DIE!” That quote is what I think of when I think of Chiamaka & potential enemies…she’s just FYRE, A Mood, A Lifestyle…the best to ever do it!
Favorite Quote(s)–These are some of Chiamaka’s thoughts: “In this kingdom, the queen doesn’t inherit the crown. To get to the top, she destroys whoever she needs to.” SAAAAAAAAVAGE! “Even though I know I shouldn’t care, it annoys me that when girls know what they want and how they’re going to get it, they’re seen as cocky.” WHHHHHHEEWWWWWWWW PREACH CHI, PREEEEEACCCCHHHHH! Also, let it be a Black girl who knows what they want and it’s like folx are TRIPLE mad about it! “Bitches can smell fear.” GAWD, Chiamaka is so iconic! There is SO MUCH MORE but I want you to read the book so you can take in all of Chiamaka’s glory because sis CAAAARRRRRRIESSSS!
*Warning: There WILL be cussing in this post, Don’t be shocked and don’t come for me! Just letting you know ahead of time so you have your pearls ready to clutch in case you are sensitive to cursing. Sorry, not sorry that I’m not as wholesome as I look, lol.*
*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! I don’t think I’ve wanted to fight so many people in one book, which was basically the entire population, which must’ve been a record! It also poked at my lack of trust in humanity issue because I was lookin’ at EVERYONE sideways… I was like Bruno Mars on some “Is it you?” but it damn sure wasn’t me! These bitches were on some other shit and definitely, their privilege was one of those things they were high off of! The need to bitch slap people was SO STRONG this entire book!
So this book is comped as Gossip Girl meets Get Out…and it’s accurate. Though, I have a confession to make…I never watched Gossip Girl (take your judgments somewhere else). SO, I’m going to add I Know What You Did Last Summer and Seven (minus all the gore). When you read this book, you will see JUST how accurate adding those two movies in are if you have ever watched them. I hardly ever pay attention to the comps on books but due to the accuracy, when I speak to people about this book (which has been A LOT, I’m tryna get Faridah these coins), I actually use the comp with my additions. I was recently at a family function talking about this book and several others with others who are librarians & book lovers and THIS BOOK is what perked one of my cousin’s ears up (good call cuzzo, good call). Just like while watching Get Out, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Seven, I felt so many things, all of the things really! I wanted to look away but just couldn’t, which is the same when it came to reading Ace Of Spades…I just COULD NOT put it down and could NOT stop thinking about it! This book NEEDS to be a movie!
Speaking of not being able to stop thinking about it, my mind was FULL of conspiracy theories…I was constantly DMing Faridah and another bookstagrammer, @recitrachel, with my theories, thoughts, blow ups… I was on one hell of a roller coaster and I wasn’t sitting on it alone, that is for DAMN SURE! If my stomach was dropping, someone else’s stomach would be dropping WITH me! I hate roller coasters, btw, but THIS ONE, I would stay on all day! I was pissed that I had to adult AT ALL because I just wanted to read (maybe I am in the wrong line of work). It was like how dare I need to work to pay bills when I could be reading Ace Of Spades at that moment (capitalism at it’s finest, am I right?)…or why is sleep even necessary when all I want is to read this book, knowing good and damn well I’m going to dream about what was going to happen next (which, this did happen). In fact, in my copy of Ace Of Spades there is a Suspect List on the last page of part 1…this wasn’t a game and I certainly wasn’t here for play play people!
Speaking of suspect lists, I seriously was looking at ALL THESE BITCHES SIDEWAYS, I’m pretty sure I Side-Eyed the actual book complete with pursed auntie lips at points! Everyone was sus to me, absolutely no one was off the chopping block in my opinion! I was keeping up with shit people said, how I thought they said it and why it was sus… I was a like bookish detective the entire time without any sort of badge. When I say that my ears (despite not listening to it), eyes and mind stayed perked up & on the look out, I mean that shit. This is one book I could NOT let my defenses down on! This book seriously just reaffirmed why I don’t trust people…*coughes* [redacted] *coughes* because SOOOOO MANY REASONS!!!!!! #TrustNoBitch remains a thing, thanks to Ace Of Spades! I can’t stop shouting about this book because it just evokes that energy and I’m not finna apologize for that either! I bet if you read AOS, you will do the exact same, WATCH!
Lemme get to talking about the two characters that are pretty much safe to talk about, as this is a duel POV book (which, y’all know I live for multiple POVs) without spoilers, lol! First, I’m going to start with Devon…our dear sweet and slightly shady while being a bit of a wimp Devon! I love Devon, I really really do but sometimes, I just really wanted him to say shit with his chest…like, MY DUDE, don’t keep your thoughts to yourself, say that shit LOUD and don’t back down! If I could’ve stood in front of him and shaken him, I would’ve been like “you just being at that school is an act of resistance, FUCK SHIT UP MY GUY”. If you big mad, BE big mad and put folks in their place rather than turning the other cheek. I understood though, the need to keep quiet because of the stakes at risks but if folks are going to come for you, you might as well put on your big kid drawers, heavy armor and let out that battle cry…nahmean?! I will say that I was super happy when his balls finally dropped and he started to push back in his own way! I had a few proud auntie moments where I may or may not have wiped away a tear in relief that he used his voice! I loved being in his mind but he was no Queen Chiamaka………..speaking of….*Smirks*
MY QUEEEEEEEEEEEN CHIAMAKA is THE GOAT, That Bitch, the one worthy of wearing the muthafuckin’ crown, a GAWDDAMN SAVAGE! All should bow to her and I will not walk that sentiment back! Yes, she clawed her way to the top, the way that so many Black Women & Girls before her have had to and like a BAWSE, but she also EARNED it! One of the things that I loved about Chiamaka is the fact that she wasn’t afraid to let you know she wasn’t for play play (tricks are for kids silly rabbit, not Chiamaka), to show her fangs and let folks know that she was no one to fuck with, but she also could list her accomplishments without batting an eyelash cause she knew she did that shit. I loved how unapologetic she was, even when her back was against the wall. The way her mind worked was simply superb. I would gladly follow her into battle cause she stays with a plan & has the most savage of natures. Sis was out for blood and I would help her draw it, no questions asked! Chiamaka’s character was simply *chef’s kiss* and I hope she opens the door for more Black Girls to be unapologetically themselves, to not bend when others are trying to break them, to be fierce as they break down the barriers built up in front of them. UGH, I just loved her SO MUCH! I also kept saying to myself (and to Faridah & Rachel) that Chiamaka BETTER get her her Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale moment or else… You will just have to read to find out if she got that moment, now won’t you?! *Mischievous smirk on 1000*
Now, I could talk about those other characters & be specific…I could talk about Aces…. but those bitches aren’t worth much of my time! There really wasn’t a side character that I really liked (Terrell and Andre were okay, I guessssssss, but neither went to Niveus). What I will say is that I often referred to the majority as hoes (as I often do with the bad guys, it has nada nada to do with sexuality). Their privilege had them on some next level shit… The way I wanted to fight them, was a type of aggression that no one should see in me but alas, the world is filled with fools like them that think they’re invincible. I was ready to suit up like I was in the book myself. I lived for the moments where they got cut down and please believe that Chiamaka did a lot of cutting down in such brilliantly savage ways that they were most deserving of, which gave me everlasting life!
There is SOOOOOOOO MUCH that I could say, SOOOOOOOOOOOO much more that I WANT to say but can’t because I’m not about that spoiler lyfe *cries*. Just know that this book is FUCKING PHENOMENAL and worth EVERY.SINGLE.MOMENT of your time that you give to it. It will leave your mind reeling and give you trust issues…and you won’t regret it, I PROMISE YOU! I haven’t let you down before and I definitely won’t start now! I’m absolutely OBSESSED with this book and I believe you will feel the same by time you finish it! I have to give Faridah ALL-AH-HER-FLOWERS because she did that shit, on EVERYTHING I Love, she did! If you haven’t gone out and picked up this book, stop playin and go get it! Whether you request it from your local library or buy the book in your favorite medium, just do it RET NOAW because you are losin’ by waiting (it just had to be said, sorry, not sorry *’Ye shrug*)!
*Claps* I know I’ve occupied enough of your time so I’mma end this here. You now know how I feel about Ace Of Spades and that I’m absolutely putting my stamp of approval on it! If you wanna talk about this book with me, come holla at me on all of the social medias (be sure to follow me as well): Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. As y’all know by now if you have been rockin’ with me for a while, I’m sending you bookish love and wishing you the happiest of reading! PEACE!
Favorite Character-I’m going to go with Fish! He was equal parts hysterical and annoying…he struck just the right balance and brought such levity to the story. My second favorite was Reyna’s best friend Olivia, she was really funny too…I imagine our methods of best-friending are similar, lol!
Favorite Quote(s)–“Look at me.” He pointed to his face. “Tell me this shouldn’t be immortalized on canvas.”-Fish. When I tell you I hollered loudly, I think I could be heard from the floors above me! Normally, that level of narcissism would turn me off but Fish is a Spechul case…and I truly mean that Spechul.
I’m going to start this off by saying that this post will be pretty chill (for me). Why will it be chill, you ask? Because that’s just the type of energy I felt as I read Where The Rhythm Takes You and if you know any Trinis, its pretty much the energy you get until you involve either food, music, Carnaval (Carnival) or insults (at least in my experience as the daughter of one); the Trini accent alone incites a sense of comfort and calm! Go on and listen to a Trini speak for a few minutes and tell me where my lie is. Don’t worry though, you will get your gifs because gifs just come with the territory *wink* *wink*. Oh and since this is a book that takes place in Tobago, feel free to cue up Trini 2 De Bone too because it’s a forever bop, just ask Reyna & Aiden.
While I was searching for a favorite quote, I found myself pulled right back into the story which is so incredibly rare for me because I’m NOT a re-reader (there is a reason I use highlighter tabs). WTRTY is just one of those stories where you want to relive certain moments because they are so vivid and you can practically feel yourself there. Whether you are listening to banter between Olivia & Reyna or watching a scene unfold with a double (you gotta read to find out and google what they are if you don’t know, It’s T&T’s gift to the world), you just feel apart of the story… After spending almost an hour trying to pin down what my favorite quote was and getting lost in the story, I have come to the conclusion that this book should become a movie. Hollywood needs to make that happen and all the actors need to be Natives to T&T. While I would love to see Idris Elba play Reyna’s dad for eye-candy purposes, he’s not Native to T&T last time I checked (okay, maybe I would bend a little for him, lol). Tobago native Winston Duke would be perfect though so get him on the phone!
I have to acknowledge that I was lucky enough to receive an ARC in a huge box from HarperCollins and I’m so incredibly glad I did… Did I know about this book? You betcha I did especially as someone who is of Trinidadian Descent. Was I planning to read this book? AB-SA-FREAKING-LUTE-LY I was because that was not NOT going to happen! I would’ve read this book the moment I could get my hands on it after pub day but I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO glad that I didn’t have to wait the additional weeks for release. So Thanks be to the divine publishing beings for not making me wait. I can’t recall if I squealed on the IG live when I opened that box & saw it but it wouldn’t be far fetched since it’s kind of my brand…you can watch that live here and see for yourself.
I Loved this book so much that I pretty much flew through it. Not only was it the characters but it was the fact that it was set in the place of my Ancestors (well, one set of them). I could hear the accents, smell the food, see the sky, feel the breeze…something, outside of the accents & food, that I haven’t experienced since 1996 (Do NOT ask my age, just know that I’m grown, lol) and it was truly beautiful. It felt like a homecoming without physically being there. We don’t get too many books like that in this lifetime and I’m so glad to have WTRTY as one…I really couldn’t ask more of Sarah in that department (she was like a painter with word doc or a writing app instead of a paintbrush).
I have a confession to make…I didn’t know that this was a retelling…at least, I don’t recall reading that this was a retelling. All I knew is that it was set in Tobago and that was ALL I needed to know, periodt. Regardless, I was going to read it because of the obvious. The fact that it is set in current day Tobago honestly would’ve been the main thing I would’ve acknowledged anyway because how many YA books are set in Tobago? Don’t worry, I’ll wait………..*cues Jeopardy Song*……….. Exactly, not that many; certainly not in recent titles in US publishing. For those who are into the retelling aspect, it’s a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. If you haven’t read Persuasion, don’t worry (I haven’t either *shrug*), you don’t need to have to in order to appreciate this book, the story, the characters or the setting. It stands all on it’s own, which is the most important thing in my opinion.
When I met Olivia, I was like “yup…she is me and I am her” based upon how she interacts with Reyna. A friend who texts to hang out because they haven’t seen your face in such a long time they feel borderline abandoned, can either be really useful or useless when it comes to advice (and there is no in-between to be seen anywhere) and will gladly eat your snacks at the first chance they get (see my IG Reel where I snack several times as proof) feels pretty spot on to me! I also just realized that characters name Olivia seem to be my Spirit Characters (see my post about Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry for proof) and I’m honestly okay with this. Give me all the sarcastic, snarky & snacky Black Girl Best Friends and if their name so happens to be Olivia, then so be it! Olivia is a character you don’t ever mind being on the page, no matter the type of moment she is having with Reyna. She keeps it one-hunnit at all times and well, we all know how I feel about that (to say I loveeeeeeeee that characteristic is a severe understatement, if you are new to this blog, lol). Olivia is a character you would be a fool not to love (I may or may not judge you if you don’t love her after reading this book *shrug* *light chuckle*).
I need to talk at least a littleeeeeee about my fav, Fish! He’s a character you can’t help but love despite being deeply annoyed by. He’s the type of person that the moment you see them open their mouth, you can’t help but hold up a finger and say “please don’t say what you’re thinking” and they still do anyway & whether you roll your eyes, laugh or walk away is completely up to what they let rip from their lips. Usually, I would be turned off by someone like that but I couldn’t help but be enamored by Fish, much to the chagrin of his fellow travelers and Reyna (I’m sure). Sarah managed to make him annoyingly charming AND persistent (which is something I’m not a stranger to being), which if I wasn’t worried that he would set his sights on me, it would make me want to pinch his cheeks and feed him the appropriately spiced doubles for his novice level (if you know, you know). Fish just is that character that grabs your attention, by force really, but find that you actually want to be around no matter how much he makes your eyes roll because he’s tooth-achingly sweet. When did I become this person that falls for such a character?! What has HAPPENED TO ME?! (O_O)
One thing that I loved about the flashbacks is seeing Aiden through the lens of Reyna’s past and the present… It was like the glow up you thought could be possible but was really happy to know happened. It also was kind of like witnessing the birth of a heartthrob, indirectly, and who doesn’t want to see that?! I won’t lie, I likely would’ve fallen all over myself (internally, of course because I’m a G) the moment I saw him if I were Reyna or anyone really. Another thing that felt glaringly clear is that we were seeing a star starting to shine even brighter no matter what tried to dim it and the love felt by its witness. Aiden is hard not to take notice of, no matter how frustratingly aloof he could be. Not only is he painted as handsome to look at, but he also doesn’t disappoint in his commentary & banter along with hints of a hopeless romantic nature. He’s like that person that could get almost anyone to like him with very little effort and make onlookers swoon the moment he touches an instrument. Really, Who doesn’t love a musician?! *smirks* Honestly, I feel like you should read WTRTY in order to get what I’m saying about Aiden because you just have to experience his greatness for yourself *shrugs* *winks*.
Last but not least, I have to acknowledge Reyna because there were so many ways that I felt on her wavelength. One of the biggest things I felt her on is her grief, the way it would hit her strongly and how others didn’t seem to understand her at times. As someone who has been grieving for the past few months, both out loud and internally; this was the biggest point that I connected with her on. Grief is tough, it’s messy, it’s blinding and can be incredibly consuming… There is truly not one way to grieve & how Reyna grieved is not unlike how I do at times, which is by taking strolls down memory lane with the loved one she is mourning. While there are a lot of flashbacks & memories visited, the ones with her departed loved one had a very distinct tone & reverence and thus felt different from her memories with Aiden, which I don’t know about anyone else but it made me appreciate them more. Something else that I appreciated about Reyna is her inability to people despite growing up in/working at a hotel… When I tell y’all that she was me in the moments she didn’t feel like dealing with anyone…. I felt incredibly seen because, believe it or not, this is me….often. The beauty of Reyna is that she is such a relatable character and I’m so glad that Sarah decided to share her with us.
OK, so I went into almost full on rant mode but I just have to say one more thing before I close this up… How GORGEOUS is the cover?! The colors are stunning and capture the Spirit of T&T beautifully. Also, Reyna’s skin color is the beautiful shade that so many Trini’s I know have…it’s a shade that I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from her mother (who is now departed) and so many that have proceeded us. Reyna’s skin and hair was what truly drew my eyes because I could SEE myself in Reyna, in the way her hair waves and the kiss the T&T sun has left on her for all to know where she descends from. It made me appreciate the book even more and served as yet another reminder as to why representation matters. It doesn’t matter how old the reader is, the fact that someone could truly see themselves on a book cover and in its pages means more than can be expressed and is another level of healing, in and of itself. This should be the standard. I will forever be grateful to Sarah and the cover design team for making that remotely possible, seriously.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system (more than what I thought I would type but not as much as I really could say), I really want some doubles but at the hour I am typing this, it is not possible but hopefully will be by time I edit this (LOL; update: nope, I haven’t gotten any but it will happen). If you haven’t guessed by now, I highly recommend Where The Rhythm Takes You AND doubles (with some tamarind & pumpkin but no peppa for me)! Pro tip: All Doubles are not created equal, ask your favorite Trini if I’m lying and consult them before buying from just anywhere (thank me later).
Well, my peoples, I will end things here but iffffffff you wanna keep this bookish banter going, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. As always, I’m sending you bookish love and wishing you happy reading!
AYEEEEEEEEE Everyone! So If you didn’t know, May 18th is Haitian Flag Day (see graphic above, lol)! To celebrate the day, A day late (Always tardy to the party, I seem to be), I wanted to provide a list of some Haitian Authors I know and love (& some that I have found out about)! The title of this post is me making a little use of the Haitian Kreyòl lessons I’ve done (shout out to my teacher Wynnie). Being that I’m half Haitian, I wanted to honor the day here on the blog in my bookish way! For the books I’ve written about here, those posts will be linked to the book title!
Black Enough: Stories Of Being Young & Black In America
The Adventure Of Yaya Soup Joumou Lakay Grann Pola *Picture Book*
FYI, these aren’t ALL the works of these authors, especially Edwidge Danticat and Roxane Gay. Also, these aren’t ALL the Haitian Authors out there but just ones that I know of! I hope that you would decide to look up more Haitian authors & literature and that this serves as a jumping off point in your research!
This wasn’t meant to be a long post but if you know of any other Haitian Authors, please feel free to drop their names & books in the comments! As always, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. Until the next post… Bonswaaaaaaaaaaa!
Favorite Character-Emmett! He’s the best friend that will always keep it real with you but bring you your favorite treat to munch on as he low-key reads you. Emmett is also hella funny & has the best lines. His banter with anyone is awesome and I simply adored him. Taeyo was my next favorite but because he is later in the book, I don’t want to say too much about him other than you will really like him!
Favorite Quote(s)– 2 come from none other than my fav, Emmett. 1st: “Ew, stop it. I’ve told you a million times, emotions are bad for your health. They give you wrinkles. Also, I’m getting you a bib for your birthday. No joke.” I cackled so hard because I don’t see the lie…also, being that he’s a baking genius that constantly brings Riley some sort of treat, that would be a useful gift, lol! 2nd: “Holy shirtballs, get a room, lovebirds.” Another quote that had me laughing because it sounds like something that I would absolutely say…and “shirtballs” & other derivatives of it are apart of my vocabulary!
So you know how I love middle grade and mythology, right? Well, from the moment I saw the cover of The Last Fallen Star and found out that it incorporated Korean Mythology, I was SOLD! I knew that I would just adore this book and well, we know how on point my bookish spidey senses are! I was lucky enough to win an ARC of it in a giveaway on IG that Graci Kim & another debut author, Sarah Suk (her book is Made In Korea, another great one coming out soon) hosted and this has to be one of my favoritest wins EVER! I was SO IN LOVE with this story and couldn’t stop raving about it! I will tell ya, Rick Riordan sure knows how to pick em and I’m here for it!
I simply adored Riley and her voice. How she narrated the world she lived in and the stories behind the clans…as well as spilling little bits of tea here and there about them along the way (like the Gumiho, just read to find out what she said). You could tell how much she loved not just her family but her culture, best friend and the stories/mythologies behind the clans. Real talk, if Riley did a story time, I would sit front and center to listen to any and everything she says. Just go ahead and imagine me sitting criss-cross applesauce with my head on the backs of my hands, listening…I know you can, especially if you know me in real life! I’m a sucker for a really good story which my grandpa ensured! There is something else that I loved about Riley and it is that she isn’t afraid to be in touch with her feelings, nor is she ashamed of her, what Emmett likes to refer to as, “leaky-bladder eyeball problem”. Y’all know I’m a crier…a thuggish crier but a crier none the less (we don’t have time to argue the thuggish part so just go with it). We need more literary characters who are in-touch with their emotions and expresses them openly. It allows kids who are the same see the merit in it. I would’ve loved more of that growing up as a kid because I remember myself & others who were emotional like me being told to “suck it up” and “get over it”…imagine being told “it’s okay” and “take your time to cry” when in an emotional moment, how much less therapy sessions we would need now (O_O)!
As you all know by now, I adore Emmett and I can’t not talk about him! He’s witty, sarcastic, a baker, loyal, a mixed-kid and a shorty like me…basically me but gender-swapped and 12! From what Riley was conveying, you would think Emmett belongs on the next season of Junior Master Chef-Sweets Edition (is that a thing?), and you know what, I would root for this kid…could you imagine the anecdotes?! It would be like Kids Say The Darndest Things mets Kid’s Baking Championship and I would be more than happy to watch for Emmett! From the moment that Emmett was mentioned, I just knew this kid was the best friend that we all look for & deserve in middle grade (and YA too)! I loved him even more when he made his appearance and started dropping zingers like bombs…he just holds a very special place in my heart because of that! Another thing that I love is that he is not afraid to tell things as it is/how he sees it and on top of that he’s a brain stormer & master problem-solver. If you got an issue, count on Emmett to hand you a cookie instead of a tissue & to start thinking of solutions! While your waistband expands (which, I doubt Riley has an issue with), you also get a plan and laughs…who could ask for more?!
As badly as I want to talk about more characters, I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything but there is a whole lot more that I can say about this book! First off, I couldn’t put it down and I really didn’t want to, nor did I want it to end! From the first line, Riley/Graci had me hook, line and sinker. I wanted to live amongst the gifted clans despite how petty they can be at times (you have to read to know how deep the petty goes friends)! I think the gifted clans took sibling(esque) rivalry to a whole different level! They definitely had a hard time letting go of things and I found myself wanting to shake some of the characters when they got in their feelings about the past or acted uppity… *looking at quite a few clan members* they know who they are!
Another thing that I thought was super dope is the fact that Riley & her family, like all of the clan members I’m sure, lives in a gifted house! A… Gifted… House… Y’all! Could you imagine living in a GIFTED HOUSE?! How incredibly dope would it be to have a home that essentially thinks for itself?! Well, it would be dope when you don’t tick it off so make sure you stay on your Ps & Qs with your compliments (read the book to find out about that). I think I would love it, especially if the stove would help me to cook without much work, lol! I would be more than happy to be like Mrs. Weasley, minus all the kids, in this case (I like to cook…I’m just lazy most days…*shrugs* it is what it is)!
Something else that I absolutely loved was the magic! The magic systems based upon the clan a person is a part of is so super dope! Since their magics are clan specific, it makes it so that they have to really work together to not just meet their own needs but also support their community as a whole as well as maintain their secrecy. While you’ve got your usual out-for-self types in the clans, the Gifted Clans had a real rhythm that I wish there was more of in real life! You can read the book to learn more about each clan & their magic and after you read, you can take the quiz to see which clan you would be a part of here. In case you were wondering, I did indeed take the quiz and below you will find my results! If you take the quiz, feel free to Rep Yo’ Clan in the comments #MiruClanInTheHouse!
There is so much more I could say but I really want you all to go out and get this book & read it! It’s seriously so amazing and it will keep you on the edge of your seats. I’m so excited for book 2, titled The Last Fallen Moon, which comes out in Summer 2022 (that’s not too far away…right?!)! As always, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. Until the next post… *throws up peace sign* LATERSSSSS!
Favorite Character-Olivia! Hands Down! She’s a part of the little and feisty tribe…she’s a bad chick and she knows it… Olivia’s like my literary alter-ego and I need a book from her perspective like yesterday! If Olivia were a song, I feel like she is Bo$$ by Fifth Harmony, it’s very her energy (go listen then tell me where my lie is). Carter’s my second favorite…he’s cool but he’s not Olivia level cool *shrug*!
Favorite Quote(s)-First one: “Yoooo, I didn’t know you lived like this. Over here living like Hilary Banks and shit.”-Carter. When I tell you I hollered as loudly as I could, I did…I was NOT ready for not only a Fresh Prince reference in a YA book but the mention of Hilary & I lived for it! I love how she mentioned Ashley RIGHT after, who was my favorite character but I digress! Second is courtesy of Queen Olivia: “I’ve been waiting to beat his ass,” Olivia says. “He hasn’t been dumb enough to say racist shit around me, but I’ve heard so much about him.” Olivia shakes her head, rubbing her right hand over her left fist. “I’m ready for his ass.” It’s THAT.ENERGY.RIGHT.THERE that is what makes her my fav! Take no shit, ready to throw down at any moment, small stature but big bite is what I live for (literary me, I’m tellin’ y’all…ask anyone who knows me). I bet if you opened her book bag, you’ll find vaseline and a straight-razor hidden in there (If you know, you know *shrug*).
You know when you see a book, you just have a sixth sense about it? Like you just KNOW this book is going to be a bop, a vibe, a word? Well, that was what I felt when I read the title Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry and then saw the cover…all my bookish spidey senses started tingling and I KNEW this book would be everything! Yet again, my bookish intuition DID NOT fail me! This book was everything I could’ve possibly wanted and MORE! I laughed, I teared up, I wanted to fight, my jaw dropped…I was on this amazing roller coaster ride of emotions that I didn’t want to get off of. When I tell you I didn’t want this book to end, I really didn’t and was SO SAD when I finished it…I just wanted more and an extra 100 pages wouldn’t have bothered me AT.ALL! It’s for this reason that I truly feel that I need a book from Carter’s perspective and one from Olivia’s (her book can be a prequel because I bet her life before meeting Quinn was hella interesting).
When I got this ARC, I really wasn’t expecting it. I knew about this book and I WANTED it…I also knew that I was going to read it regardless of if it was early or not. The bookish Gods smiled upon me though and this golden nugget in the form of an ARC was in this massive box of Advanced Reader Copies I received from HarperCollins (thanks y’all). I’m pretty sure I squealed when I saw it…there is a unboxing vidjeo (that’s on purpose) on IG that you can watch here to serve as evidence. I will quickly say that I was not asked to do any sort of review, I just felt it in my Spirit to write about this book and I’ve been verbally obsessing over it every chance I’ve gotten. It took SO MUCH restraint not to just crack this book open right then and there on live…but this book was SOOOOO worth waiting for. I finished it in less than 2 days, I didn’t want to put it down and I finished in the evening time (which isn’t a usual finishing time for me) because I would only stop reading when I had to. EMWIUC was seriously that good!
I also have another selling point for you, In case what I’ve said thus far wasn’t enough (of course, I’m going to say more but just sayin). So pretty much every book I’m reading during the times I visit my Grandma, I will show her the cover. It’s just something I’ve started to do as she loved reading and really is not able to anymore because of her eyes. Well, she read the cover and she goes “Ugly cry? What’s ugly cry?” so I proceed to explain to my 80+ year old Haitian Grandma what ugly crying is and then she laughs…she LAUGHS y’all! Do you know how difficult it is to make a Haitian person, let alone a GRANMOUN laugh?! Haitians, especially older Haitians, are a TOUGH CROWD so if the title of this book could get a Haitian Grandma to laugh, then you KNOW it’s worth it’s page length in gold!
Not only is the writing phenomenal and incredibly hilarious, but the character development is just A1…give Joya all of the awards, kudos and her favorite treats because it’s just really that good! She had this way of endearing you to a character at the same time as making you want to fight another. I can’t tell you how many times I was like “YESSSSSSSSSS” to one character then like “OH NO THIS BISH DIDN’T” the very next moment! 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!
Since I’m talking about characters, I have to start off with my favsie Olivia…the mighty mouse-esque character of my heart! Olivia is the scrappy and sassy secondary (that was not on purpose with the alliteration but it fits) character that we all deserve! From the moment she sashayed onto the page (that’s how it felt to me), I just knew she was the one… I knew she would be my favorite and I could not be budged from feeling that way. It was like she knew just what to say in every moment…her hype ups were the best like when she said “Look at that ass! Girl, you have to model for me someday.”…what is a better gas up than THAT from a photographer?! I also adored how she stayed ready to fight, let someone say something slightly out of pocket and you might as well cue up Trick Daddy’s Let’s Go because she’s already motioning to take off her earrings (google the song and again, tell me where my lie is, once you read the book). Seeing as this is the second song I’ve said described her, I may have to come up with a playlist just for Olivia, lol (next song choice would be Pretty Savage by BlackPink because it’s also accuracte)! Also, I have to say that since she makes a movie reference in this book that I don’t want to give way, she soared to the top of my favorite characters of all time list! I seriously love her and I am deadass about her needing her own book (Joya, hear my prayer)!
You know how I said Carter is my second favorite…I have thought about it and I say scrap that because his little sister, Imani, is my second favorite! She isn’t a big time character but when she is on the page, she steals the scene! This little one is a tea spiller in the making (you have to read to understand that reference) and is very much so a mini-comedian! As Quinn conveyed what Imani would say, I simultaneously turned into the heart eyes and crying laughing emojis..I would be a puddle of goo in her little hands (much like Carter). Her cuteness factor was so off the charts that I couldn’t help but want to hug her, give her all the toys she wants and then hand her off to Carter. I need her book too…like a middle grade book about her as a preteen and her relationship with Carter cause if she is this Spirited so little, imagine her has a pre-teen!!!! I bet it would be the sweetest, most hilarious MG book, seriously. Look at me giving all these book ideas Joya, it could be a whole EMWIUC universe in this bit *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*!
Since I talked about his sister, I’ve GOT to talk about Carter! When I think of him I think of that kid in school that you think is too cool to ever approach and just love to admire from down the hall…especially because you are afraid that the moment the barrier is broken they will either destroy the illusion/expectation you’ve built up in your mind or exceed it. I think Quinn would agree with me when I say that he exceeds the expectations. Not only is he good-looking but he’s intelligent, kind and an absolute teddy bear with Imani. I don’t know about you but seeing boys/men, especially Black boys/men, be soft & kind to younger children turns me into mush! The way that the scenes with him and Imani are written just had me all in my feels! Not only was he gentle with his little sister but he was gentle with Quinn & Olivia when the time called for it. This trait of his really made me love him (but not enough to dethrone Olivia, #NotSorryAboutIt). I also really loved his comedic timing because he really had me cracking up at times. Carter is the type of person you should always keep around since he’s a problem-solver, a mood-picker upper and eye-candy. He also comes with an adorable little sister so anyone he hangs out with (in this case, Quinn & Olivia) is getting a really good deal!
Last, but certainly not least, I gotta talk about our MC Quinn. This chick is re-donk-u-lously funny and I was 1000% here for her anecdotes & all shenanigans that ensued throughout this book. Homegirl had me cracking up with her lists and one-liners. While reading this book, I realized that I think a lot in lists but Quinn is actually brave (albeit reckless) enough to actually write them down. It’s one thing to have a thought but is a whole different thing to put them down where they could potentially be seen & open up a can of worms no one would be ready to experience…which is exactly what happened. For what it’s worth, Quinn handles all her situations with as much grace and sanity as anyone in her position could possibly muster. She truly had me thinking she is better than me cause I would’ve been wrecking some ish, reputation be damned y’all! Quinn’s got a serious set of ovaries, IMO, even if she wouldn’t believe it about herself. Sis went through so much that made me want to hug her and shake her at the same time…It’s highly likely that I shouted at her in my mind a few times but all out of love. I absolutely love characters that I experience a push-pull with throughout a book and Quinn definitely fell in that category!
I know that I’ve written a lot here but I hope that I have convinced you enough that you need to pick up this book! I don’t know in how many more ways that I could say that I loved this book but I REALLY FLIPPING LOVED THIS BOOK! It is BEYYYYYYYYOND worth your time and I would go full auntie “look at your life” mode if I were to find out you passed up picking up this book (proceed with caution if this is you)! Clearly you have great taste in blogs because you are reading this one so please don’t make me doubt you now & side-eye you like my TBR does me until you get this book! Whether you get it via your local library or your favorite bookstore by way of e-book, audiobook or printed, it doesn’t matter as long as you get this book! It brought me so much joy and I know that it would do the same for you! I wouldn’t ever lead you astray *insert angel emoji here*!
OK y’all, I’mma end it here before I decide to rant more about this book! Of course, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. Until the next post…BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
I don’t know about you all but my TBR (To Be Read) is crazy… I thought we were so happy together but I was blissfully ignorant to the fact that it felt differently. One day, I was walking past it and I just felt this wave of judgment and scorn…but there was no one else around… That’s when I looked at my TBR and realized……..it was SIDE-EYEING ME! How can a stack of Books possibly side-eye someone? I have no idea but this is the energy I felt from it! And the thing is…I can’t even Side-eye it back! This hurts the most because I love every opportunity to serve up a hot plate of side-eye, complete with eye-rolling and snide comments to go with it (nom, nom, nom)!
We look good together…right?! I thought we did when I took this picture…I was madly in love with it then…but now I feel intimidated by it and I’m not sure if I should…could love & intimidation go hand-in-hand in this case? I thought we were in such a good place buuuuuuttttt…I don’t think we are if I’m getting side-eyed every time I walk past…it’s like that wife looking at her partner as if they are cheating on them! I swear, I have not cheated on my TBR…I haven’t jumped a book to the top of the pile since A Queen Of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy, a sequel I waited 2 years for (see blog post about AQOGHHere)! Wait, that’s a lie, I jumped Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philippe to the top because it came out yesterday (4/27) and I believe heavily in reading books before they come out if I receive them early! I know, I know, I KNOW it’s no excuse but I can try not to do it again…I really really can *puppy dog eyes and pleading hands*!
Don’t we look happy together? I thought we were happy, I truly did! I really do try to show my TBR love by moving as quickly as possible through reads…but I guess I’m not a fast enough reader *deep sigh*. Not only do I have this physical TBR but I also have an E-TBR that I feel screams for attention like a Side-Chick on Valentine’s Day! I PROMISE that my E-TBR is not a side-chick to my physical TBR (at least, I don’t consider it to be 0_0). But see, what had happened was…It’s just that the ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that I have physically come out before some of my E-ARCs! I have a list of ARCs written down where they are listed in order of release (I’m THAT type of ARC reader) in an attempt to be fair. You have got to believe me *drops to my knees and begs*! I’m trying to give them equal attention… and failing miserably it seems. Now we can see why I’m not a poly reader…I can only dedicate myself to one book/world at a time, to which I see no shame in…but I think my TBR feels very differently about this matter.
I thought my TBR was making kissy faces with me but it seems that I was wrong…and I don’t know how to make this right. How do I even begin to make it up to my TBRs?! They have to know how much I love them, right? Right?!*shakes slightly* I give them as much attention as I possibly can…I stare at them in admiration…I pick up a book or click one when it’s its time to be read…. what more could I possibly dooooooooo?! Someone help me…*Marlon Wayans’ voice* help me, help me PUHLEASEEEEEEEE! And the problem is that I can’t NOT acquire new books! How would I write this blog or support Authors Of Color?! I just might be in borderline addiction territory……………..before you say anything, HUSH, let me have my moment of delusion! This is clearly a bookish person’s struggle and the cross we have to bare *wall slides*.
I thought we were having a prom type moment here in my comfy house slippers and in the house pants…the level of comfort here could’ve been #RelationshipGoals if it was reciprocated! I thought we were better than this…that I was giving it all I’ve got…but I guess it just isn’t enough because It keeps side-eyeing me! Even though I’ve read some of the ARCs at the top of the pile since I took these pictures…new books have been added to the pile thanks to Independent Bookstore Day & pre-orders and I feel us both wailing together! This should be a bonding point for both of us but I think we must be wailing for two different reasons…my TBRs because books may get pushed back and me because I worry when I will get to it! I really am trying to do better and show my TBRs that I love them so so so very much! I also have to say that my E-TBR may be unhappy that they weren’t in these pictures (*says a silent prayer that it won’t be*) and I swear that wasn’t on purpose, you’ve GOT to believe me *pleads for forgiveness*!
Am I the only one that experiences this? Anyone else feels holes burned into their backs whenever they are walking away from their TBRs? Feels the crushing guilt that comes with having so many books that have gone unread and allowing their TBR to get so out of control that it may riot one day? As a mood reader, it’s really easy to see how this has happened, despite being excited about so many of the books that are in my TBRs (I do have some that I’ve been itching to get to and that’s not just my eczema)! I really hope I’m not alone in this bookish struggle, though I suspect that I’m not, knowing some of the people I follow on the ‘Gram! Anyone got some tips or tricks that would help me put my TBRs & fraying nerves at ease? I’m willing to try almost anythingggggggg *cries*!
Aiight y’all, I just felt like I needed a palate cleanse of a blog post and writing about my woes with my TBRs felt like the move. I am reading and taking each & every day one step at a time. I hope you are doing the same! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms. As usual, I’m sending you all bookish love and wishing you all Happy Reading! Until the next post, BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Heyyyyyyyy everyone! So I don’t know if you know but this upcoming Saturday is like a big holiday for us in the Bookish Community, Independent Bookstore Day *blows air-horns*! It has been a tough year for all of us and Indie bookstores are no exception to the rule. So to offer my support, I’m going to list some of my favorite Indie bookstores, where they are located, where you can find them on these e-streets and why I love them! This won’t be a super long list (just five places). I’m not trying to break any of your bank accounts, but if you can support these stores, I’m so sure that they would appreciate that (following and sharing their pages does count as support too, btw)!
I love Kew & Willow because every time I’ve gone there or contacted them, they have always been super nice! For me, it’s like the Cheers of bookstores because they know my name now! This could be concerning but I see them like the bubble tea shop of bookstores now & consider this an honor, lol! They also always let me go on bookish rants, which can be overwhelming at times, so I so appreciate them allowing me the space to geek out!
I love Brave + Kind because they just as the name implies. Whenever I interact with them, they are super kind and helpful. They have become my Nic Stone book pusher/supplier (she goes there to sign & personalize books) during this time and I couldn’t be happier to support such a wonderful store! Bunnie, the Founder & Owner, is also really cool!
I love Mil Mundos because at the beginning of the pandemic when I was trying to get my book fixes, I ordered from them A LOT! I was excited to find an Indie bookstore that was somewhat local to me. They were always patient and responsive in acquiring the lists of books I was seeking to purchase! I am hoping to get to experience their store front in the future!
I love Harriett’s bookshop because 1) they named their shop after Harriett Tubman, who is my FAVORITE historical figure and 2) they have the dopest shirts! Every time I’ve ordered from them, they have gotten my orders to me so quickly! They are also really cool to follow online as they truly walk their talk when it comes to supporting the community they are in and the Black community as a whole.
I love Birchbark because they were super kind and timely when I ordered from them. I was really excited to find this bookstore and can’t wait to order more from there! They also hosted the FireKeeper’s Daughter launch and did such a beautiful job! I really would love to see more support for this lovely store.
These five bookstores are all wonderful and you cannot go wrong with supporting any or all of them! I hope that you have found a new place in this list that you come to love too!
Well y’all, this wasn’t intended to be a short post so you can go and look up these stores & maybe some others! I hope that you choose to support a local Indie on Saturday…I know I will! So my peeps, as usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered club rooms for more bookish banter! Until next time, laterrrrrrrrr!
Favorite Character-So I’ve kind of went back and forth about this because I love CeCe so much but I loved Coyote just a weeeeee bit more! So I’m going with Coyote and CeCe comes in an extremely close second!
Favorite Quote(s)–Both are from the homie, Coyote! 1st: “You’re crying again. I don’t know what to do–stop.” So I imagine someone saying this to me because, like CeCe, I’m a crier and it can be a lot…but just imagining him saying this was hysterical to me! 2nd: “What in Desert’s Voices was that for?” I love non-cursing cursing, especially if it is something very specific to the book’s world! I have other favorites but I don’t want to give away anything from the book!
It’s been a little while since I’ve written about a Middle Grade book and I think it’s about time that I did…and I couldn’t think of a better book to write about this week than CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls! I’m going to start by saying that this book wasn’t on my radar prior to receiving it in a box of ARCs that I received from an amazing person from HarperCollins and I’m mad about it…because this book was simply INCREDIBLE and deserved SO MUCH MORE publicity than it seemed to have received. Since I started reading this book, I have not shut up about it…from the very first sentence, I was HOOKED! Kaela got my attention in the most spectacular way and I completely ate up that first chapter in like 10 minutes, which HAD to be a record for me! I fail to understand why such an awe-inspiring, heart-filling, eye-leak inducing book didn’t get more bells & whistles than it did but I’m going to do my best to hype CRATDOS up and do it some justice. So, let’s get into it!
First of all, this is book is packed with Latinx mythology and anyone who knows me, knows that I loveeeeeeeeee mythology! I learned some new stories and I appreciated every single one…it made me want to hop on google and just get lost in a rabbit hole of it! The way that Kaela wove in these stories was simply genius! These weren’t just stories being told around a fire (nothing wrong with this either) but the main characters who were at the center of these stories are actually sharing their side…who WOULDN’T want a book where the character driving the myths is telling their story?! My geeky heart was so full with the way that these stories were written. It made me want to keep reading just to see what the characters would say or do next! I didn’t want to put this book down…AT ALL! So needless to say, this book was a page turner like a mug!
Despite CRATDOS taking place in a desert, it felt so rich and no where near dry. It was so layered in not just its landscaping but also it’s history, culture (of course) and the characters. If a price could be placed on her world building, Kaela clearly spared no expense! From capturing the architecture to the climate, the vibe of the village & it’s people, the stories that built the belief systems and the criaturas themselves, it all felt so natural and had this beautiful flow to it…nothing felt out of place (that wasn’t on purpose) and the pacing was just *chef’s kiss*. I felt like I was in the story the entire time when I was reading and when I wasn’t, I was thinking about the story; which is the mark of an incredible book! You couldn’t catch me in a desert but I would go to this place just to be able to see the criaturas & hear their stories myself! CRATDOS seriously needs to become a TV series and I’mma need whoever decides to option it NOT to jack it up…this book deserves an adaptation worthy of it, for sure!
Lemme talk a little about the characters because the character development is stellar in this book! I’m going to start with my fav, Coyote because his character really surprised me! The way we first met him was not in a way that one would think and the next time we see him, he was completely different! He was basically if “everything is not as it appears to be” were a person! While he is actually quite sweet-natured, he grappled a lot with his legends and how others perceived him, which weighed him down. This was actually something he had in common with CeCe (sans legends/myths). Another thing I love about Coyote is how fiercely protective and loyal he is. He looked out for CeCe (and anothers), speaking up when he had reservations, stepping in when CeCE needed his assistance and helped figure out solutions when needed…he basically created a partnership with CeCe, which was against the norm in their world! Coyote was able to not just give CeCe balance but also gain it from her as well…it’s what a great friendship is truly made of!
From the moment that CeCe’s sister Juana stepped onto the page, she was a force! Super fiery and sassy, I instantly fell in love with her character. It was so apparent in how she loved CeCe because she would try her best to give encouraging words. However, she still had so much to learn about CeCe and acceptance. She saw what CeCe was dealing with from both their parents and the townspeople but didn’t always consider the words that came from her mouth…lack of filter is a bit of a problem in this case. Juana was definitely a truth teller, which y’all know I love a person who keeps it 100, but she certainly had lessons she needed to learn herself! As a fellow big sister, I had some of the same moments that Juana had and deeply related to her. Anyone could have the best of intent but ya know what they say about good intentions *shrug*. Even though Juana wasn’t around a lot of the book, you could feel how CeCe carried her in her thoughts and how she drove her to push forward when she wasn’t always so sure of herself (there were some WWJD, What Would Juana Do, type moments for sure). Juana was the fire when CeCe’s Spirit was dampened and needed to dry up quickly (pun, kind of intended)!
Last, but certainly not least, I have to talk about CeCe… I would call her CeCe the courageous even if she wouldn’t believe it! She went through so much but kept her resolve the entire time. CeCe had a mission and an outcome she wanted to see and didn’t stop until she made it happen or got close. Despite the fact that she carried the perceptions of others of her, she persisted which endeared me to her even more. She fought so hard to be seen for more than the tears she shed and the box that the people around her packed her away in. CeCe is so big-hearted, compassionate, emotional and intelligent…things that the townspeople and even her parents saw as weakness! This drove me insaneeee and I wanted to shout at & fight those people on her behalf! There were so many moments where I wished I could hug her and I also cheered her on because she really deserved that. I hope that kids who also wear their hearts on their sleeves and express themselves with tears see themselves in CeCe and grow along with her. Another thing I loved about CeCe is how knowledgeable she was and how she embraced the legends…she, too, is a nerd and I connected heavily with her reverence for the stories, her culture & community! CeCe is a main character we definitely need more of in literature!
Something else I loved about this story is how Kaela folded in lessons throughout without being obvious about it. Rather than there just being one big moral to the story, there were so many small to medium ones wrapped up like gems… and not just for kids but adults too. One of my biggest takeaways from this book is the importance of seeing the heart of people and not taking what is different as a weakness. There are so many like CeCe and the criaturas in the story that are highly misunderstood and undervalued. A character like CeCe that chose to go against the norm, to see someone/something for who/what they are inside rather than the external appearance is part of what makes this book so incredible!
CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls was seriously one of the best reads for me this year! It’s so decadent in all that it offers and Kaela did an incredible job! It is absolutely worth your time and really anyone who comes across it! I’m praying for a sequel because I loved CeCe & her crew so much and because I believe that there is so much more mythology that could be explored and adventures that could be had! I have, in fact, inquired about if there would be a sequel and Kaela gave a bit of a veiled response…so let’s hope that that indicates that there will be another book because I…I mean WEEEEEEE need more of this story…really, more stories like this one period!
Welp everyone, I’m going to end it here…really, only because I don’t want to end up in spoiler territory but know I could talk even more about CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls because it is simply an amazing book that deserves ALL OF THE HYPE! So my peeps, as usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered club rooms for more bookish banter! Until next time, laterrrrrrrrr!
Favorite Character: Aketo still remains me favorite…don’t be surprised, I’m pretty loyal! I will say though…I started to like Isa a bit more in this book…*shock face*
Favorite Quote: I love a good innuendo so here is one compliments a la my boo Aketo. “Perhaps I have not been expressing my…gratitude toward your fearless nature adequately if you have need to remind me.” When I say my eyebrow raised, it definitely raised and let out a “ooooooooooooo” when I read that!
So, if you have been following my blog since the beginning, you will know that I was OBSESSED with A River Of Royal Blood, Amanda Joy’s Debut…and my favorite blog post written to date because I had SO MUCH FUN! If you haven’t read that post, here is the link jusssst so you can understand how HYPE I am about this sequel! There is DEFINITELY cursing in that post so proceed with caution but I did have the best time writing it! I will work VERY hard to keep this one family friendly but keep that same energy!
I was REALLY salty that I couldn’t get my hands on an ARC of A Queen Of Gilded Horns but the way I made myself feel better was by telling myself I was going to buy it anyway (the lies we tell ourselves, am I right?). I also pre-ordered the prologues app special edition book box for AQOGH! I did a live unboxing on instagram and here is the link to that so you can see how excited I was about it! I finished the book I was reading at the time at like a record speed so I could get to AQOGH cause I was super anxious to get back to this story & I’m #TeamOneBookAtATime (I’ve got attention span issues *shrugs*).
It feels like I was waiting for this book FORRRRRRRRRRREVERRRRRRRRRRR but BAY-BAY…it was WORFFFFFFFFF it! It was around two years of waiting and I wouldn’t want to do it again (because #Impatient) but I would because this was the sequel that ARORB deserved! We not only got to go back into Eva’s world but got to see even more of it, learn more about the different types of magick and meet so many new and dope characters! I would love if some of them could get their own books and if Amanda Joy could make that happen, I would be eternally grateful! Not only did we get new characters but we got MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEW! Y’all know how I loveeeeeeeee books with Multiple POVs! It gave my bookish heart all of the warm and fuzzies…I adore Amanda Joy even more for this!
Since this is a sequel and we know I don’t do spoilers, I’m going to talk about characters mostly but here are a few things that did not change from ARORB to AQOGH: 1) I still love Aketo as I did from ARORB, he is forever bae! 2) I still think Eva & Isa’s mom was on some hoe ish as they revisited things that she did in the past and I would gladly fight her if she didn’t have magick…it would be like bringing a knife to a gun fight…but gimme some magick and its ONNNN. 3) I love me some Baccha, even though he can be flaky AF (tell me where my lie is). 4) Isa is still a beeotch (once a beeotch, always a beeotch but the size of said beeotchiness can change). 5) The magicks are so dopeeeeee and I wanna wield some of them! 6) Falun & Aketo remain the holy grail of homies/road dawgs/besties with some new additions in AQOGH! Needless to say, I loved AQOGH as much as I did ARORB!
Since I started with Isa the last time, I will start with her again here. When Amanda said during one of the book events that we may like Isa a little more in this book, I actually doubted her…I was all like “NAHHHHHHHHHHH, the hate will remain real”……….and Amanda was right, I hated her a lot less. So I just want to say to Amanda, I apologize for ever doubting you and that won’t ever happen again. Was she still a hoe x10, yup cause I said what I said, but was she the same in how she was in ARORB, no, she actually wasn’t! There was a lot about Isa that we didn’t get to learn in the first book and a range of emotion that we didn’t get to see as well. Being an older sibling is a complicated business that can be super messy and confusing… something I have seemed to forget seeing as my younger sister is now a grown a$$ woman. We got to learn how much more of a pawn Isa was and just how dirty their mama was. I also appreciated how REAL Isa was in this book…she was not there for the Rose colored glasses outlook, which I was 1000% here for! She told it like it was, how she knew things to be and y’all know I’m here for the real ones of the literary world! I still wasn’t in love with her but I was a lot less in hate with her this time around! *shocked face*
As for Eva & Isa’s mom doe…I’m keep this one short and sweet…I still don’t like her, actually I hate her…and this gif totally sums up that up…
Moving on to my favvvvvv, Aketo! *cue all the heart emojis and confetti guns* He remains my boooooooo and deserves a championship belt for that! I still got all the warm and tinglys that I felt when he first stepped onto the page in ARORB when he was mentioned in AQOGH. He remained the love interest that I…I mean Eva deserves! We learned so much more about him and his family history that felt a bit like a shock to the system at times! Aketo went through so much and the fact that he was able to be so level headed and not more morally grey than he was is incredible! I think it just made me love and appreciate him so much more! I can’t say much more because I don’t want to give anything away but I love him soooooo much especially since he kept the innuendos up and I’m a sucker for that sh…I mean, stuff *smirks*!
My favorite homies, Falun & Baccha, remained favorites through out this book since we got to see more of & learn more about them. Falun remained the homie that would give the two finger tap when Eva needed it. He didn’t hesitate to keep it real with Eva and continued to support her when he thought she was doing the most. I also really LOVED his level of shade and pettiness in this book… good shade and above healthy level of petty will always and forever be my jam! Falun is the forever ride or die, the type that we all could use on our teams.
Now, as for Baccha…I love him, I really and truly do but my dude was hella flaky in this book and I just wanted to slap him upside his head in the most loving of ways at times. He was that friend that you know if you reach out to them, you may or may not get a response and if you get a response, it’s one that would make you side eye your phone…yup, that friend. I mean, he did let us all know who he was in the first book but my dude, you could also break the cycle SOMETIMES! I’m pretty sure I face palmed a few times as well when Baccha appeared but like with any of our friends like this, we still love their flaky selves!
What can I say about Eva that I didn’t say in the previous post? Honestly, so much because she really BAWSED UP in this book! She was really on some “Don’t start no sh*t, won’t be no sh*t” type vibes in this book and I was completely here for every single moment of it. Eva held strong to her convictions and didn’t let anyone change what didn’t need to be changed. She learned so much about herself and how much more she was capable of that all you could really do was lean back and be in awe of her…at least, I was! Eva was every bit the leader and student that she needed to be…and she also let her inner nerd out, which I basically live for! I say let that inner nerd shine at all times, come with the historical receipts when folks try it and no one can doubt you! My love for Eva was great….just not greater than that of my love for Aketo, lol (sorry, I just had to)!
There was SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH TEA SPILLED in this book! It basically blew all of the doors open, how much tea was spilled and I LIVEDDDDD! I need for all of you to read it so I can have people to talk about all of this piping hot tea…so please…I’m begging you…go read this book! If you haven’t read ARORB, I’mma need you to read that first then read AQOGH immejiately after! My face was like… “OOOOOOOOO” quite a bit during this read and I got my entire life at the same time!
Seriously Y’all, this sequel was everything I could’ve ever wanted and more! So much so that I’m salty that this is a duology and wish it was a trilogy! I want more of the characters because there is so much more to explore with them and hereby petition to Amanda Joy that they get their own books or at the very least, novellas! I lay myself at Amanda’s feet and mercy, in hopes that she will answer this petition! In all seriousness, I LOVED this duology so much and think everyone needs to read it because it is an effin’ masterpiece!
I also believe that this duology needs to be on a small or big screen so I could be all up in the opening nights with my popcorn, ready to watch everything go down like my dude in this gif! ARORB and AQOGH would be brilliant as a series…for real for real! Just imagine Eva and Isa throwing down or Aketo giving all the smolder on the screen *deep sigh*…ughhhhhhhh, it would be amazing! Netflix, hulu, HBO, Showtime…SOMEONE make this happen but do it RIGHT PLEASE! The fandom demands this!
Welp everyone, I hope I have put up a convincing enough testimony as to why you need to go out and get AQOGH (and ARORB) if you haven’t already! This duology was everything and I *believe* you will think so too once you read it! So my peeples, as usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in the Diverse Shelves club rooms for more bookish banter! Until the next post, PEACE, LOVE AND HAIR GREASE!
Favorite character: Isaiah cause he is hysterical and keeps it so real! He’s the best, seriously!
Favorite quote: There are two I highlighted and they are parts of longer quotes but will only put the part(s) that stuck out. “Why don’t we go to the gas station down the street and eat some sushi or something?”-Alex. I cackled so hard but also felt my stomach gargle in protest…whoever eats sushi from a gas station is either really brave or really wants the bubble guts/food poisoning! The other quote is “Joy in the midst of oppression is its own kind of bravery.”– Aunt Mackie…when I tell you I let out a low whistle when I read that…I think my Spirit is still letting it out at that line…I was so blown, especially because it is so true!
I have to start this by saying that I am a Brittney Morris Stan! I have been since her debut book SLAY, which is the second book I wrote about for this blog…if you don’t remember this post, go read it here! I am pretty sure there are some (or a lot of) cuss words so just a heads up! Recently, I had the honor of doing an IG Live with Brittney for one of my Saturday Night Geek Outs, which you could watch here! We had a great time and she unboxed finished copies of TCOK! I tried to play it cool but I was internally fangirling!
If you read my post about SLAY then you know that I think Brittney is a freaking genius! And she was nothing short of that title when it came to The Cost Of Knowing! Brittney dropped so many gems in SLAY that I was wondering how she would do it in this book and the way she did in TCOK was simply brilliant! TCOK deserves all of the awards, accolades, billboards and finger snaps, it is so phenomenal! When I say Brittney DID THAT, She DID *clap* THAT *clap* ISH! She put her foot in it and dense-some! Is there something more than a chef’s kiss that I could give? Because this book deserves that!
I had been chopping at the bit to read this book from the moment that she announced it and entered every giveaway I could possibly find (since I don’t have the hook up with Simon & Schuster)! For those of us in the book community, we know how tough it is to win them and that so many prayers & offerings have to be given to the Book Gods in order to win one, it feels like! I finally got lucky and won one…and when I tell you that I squealed so loud when I got the email notification then the ARC in the mail… I SQUEEEEEEEEEEALEDDDDDDDDDD and I’m not ashamed to say it!
I think I started reading it as soon as I possibly could and ate it up! I read it back in November and finished it in a little under 4 days (adulting loves to kick me in the behind when there is a book I just want to sit and read)… I was so immersed in the book that I didn’t even really use the highlighter tab sticker thingys I have (though I wish I had so I can revisit certain parts more easily but it is what it is)! It is certainly one of those books you want to live in the moment with despite the Main Character’s focus on the future. There was so much said and happened that had me like “WHOAAAAAA” *Insert mind exploding emoji here* *synapses firing*! This whole book is just a flipping masterpiece and I can’t gush enough about it!
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I'll stop obsessing but this book is TRULY THAT GOOD and the aforementioned is a very on brand response to it! The character development is also incredible and we all know that I love a book that shows range in it's characters. I felt like I was living in Alex's (the MCs) mind the entire time and it felt like the whole book played out like a movie. His ability of seeing the future (not a spoiler) felt like curse whenever it was activated and his annoyance/despair was palpable the entire the time. You could see how it distanced him from some while attempting to bring him closer to another as he was in a race against time. Could you imagine what it would be like to see glimpses of the future EVERY TIME you touch something? At first, it would be cute but after a while, I feel like I would want to fight everybody and wouldn't want to people at all. For having such a constant distraction, I thought Alex handled it as well as anyone could've. He learned some massively important lessons about the value of time and holding those you love close. The balance he found between grief and pro-activeness was simply astounding. As an adult, I'm still trying to learn that and I wish I had a character like Alex to learn from as a teen. Alex juggled so much but bless his heart, he tried in the best way he knew how to handle all his responsibilities (which brings up the topic of how Black Kids, especially Black Boys, have to grow up so quickly but I'm going to table discussion that right now).I’ll stop obsessing but this book is TRULY THAT GOOD and the aforementioned is a very on brand response to it! The character development is also incredible and we all know that I love a book that shows range in it’s characters. I felt like I was living in Alex’s (the MCs) mind the entire time and it felt like the whole book played out like a movie. His ability of seeing the future (not a spoiler) felt like curse whenever it was activated and his annoyance/despair was palpable the entire the time. You could see how it distanced him from some while attempting to bring him closer to another as he was in a race against time. Could you imagine what it would be like to see glimpses of the future EVERY TIME you touch something? At first, it would be cute but after a while, I feel like I would want to fight everybody and wouldn’t want to people at all. For having such a constant distraction, I thought Alex handled it as well as anyone could’ve. He learned some massively important lessons about the value of time and holding those you love close. The balance he found between grief and pro-activeness was simply astounding. As an adult, I’m still trying to learn that and I wish I had a character like Alex to learn from as a teen. Alex juggled so much but bless his heart, he tried in the best way he knew how to handle all his responsibilities (which brings up the topic of how Black Kids, especially Black Boys, have to grow up so quickly but I’m going to table discussion that right now).
Speaking of characters, I loved Alex’s younger brother Isaiah SO SO MUCH! Every time he stepped onto the page, I was in awe of his humor and insight. Isaiah had to be one of the wisest preteens ever written into a book…he is also a mood in so many ways too. He spoke to my reclusive nature and his snark was A1! Here is something he said that made me cackle loudly “I wanna finish what I was watching, then go to bed, wake up this afternoon, eat some pizza pockets, and then rewatch what I was watching.”…hey, the kid knows what he wants and I can respect it! I loved reading how his and Alex’s relationship blossomed, even though the clock you knew was there & Alex sensed was ticking the entire time. Isaiah is a mood, a mindset, a lifestyle in so many ways… he was definitely a scene stealer!
Before I end this post, I have to talk briefly about the social commentary that is in this book. From Black Lives Matter to the necessity of “the grind”, I loved how Brittney wove it in in a way that wasn’t overwhelming but didn’t downplay the significance of these matters. I loved how Brittney incorporated news accounts and conversations amongst characters, where she touches on these topics but doesn’t make it all that is focused on. Sure, there are books that talk about Black pain and trauma but this book is more about Black Boys finding their joy, navigating life and just existing…really the way that things should be. We don’t get NEARLY enough books like this and I want MORE of this. Black kids should have their vast range of experiences reflected in books, it is long past time for that as so many live the realities of this book. I’m so glad that The Cost Of Knowing exists so they can feel seen. It’s an unfortunately reality that so many Black Kids, like Alex, have to grow up so early, working part-time and going to school along with the probability of having to raise siblings or at minimum assist in their upbringing (I was one). In so many ways, this book felt like an ode to all those kids…the ones that could see themselves in Alex or Isaiah.
The Cost Of Knowing does such a brilliant job of toeing the line between heaviness and happiness…it’s really just All Of The Things! There is so much more that I could say about this book but I’m just going to say GO GET THIS BOOK, it is RE-DONK-ULOUSLY AMAZING! I’m sure I haven’t let you down yet and I don’t plan to everrrrrr! So continue to trust me…*puts hands together & bats eyelashes* pretty pleaseeeee?! *Kool-Aid Smiles* Alright my peeps, as usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter! Until the next post, BYEEEEEEE!
As a Black Woman in America I wanted to take this time to use my platform to support another community, the AAPI community. I’ve looked at the news of all the violence against AAPI and it feels way too familiar…it’s a trauma that no one deserves to have inflicted upon their community over and over again. It would be idealistic to say that this is recent but those of us who have truly studied the history of this country (the world, really) know that it is far from recent. I won’t get into all of that but what I will say is that it is WAY past time for POC communities to use our collective voices and stand behind those who are suffering and provide support to each other. It is also time for those who call themselves our “allies” to really put themselves to work and speak up for those who are being seen as targets…to use the privilege(s) they have to check the people around them when they are wrong and not flinch if there is push back.
For this post, I’m going to do what I do best and provide a list of AAPI authors and their books, most will be YA & MG but there are some children’s & adult books as well. Of course, I would recommend purchasing their books if you are able but requesting from your local library also helps boost the visibility/demand of their work. Also, following these authors on Social media and sharing their posts are also helpful to them as well. I did a post that is similar on the Spill The DiversaTea Blog (this also has some AAPI owned Bookstores and Tea companies, if you are looking to support some) but I’m posting all the AAPI authors that are currently on my shelves (or TBR) and their books that I know of (that I haven’t read) so this list will be much longer. The books that are in series are on one line & if a book as not come out yet, the tentative release date is next to the title.
Also, throughout this post, you will see graphics that were created by @travelling.the.pages, an Asian American bookstagrammer who has been working on the #StandUpForAAPI campaign in conjunction with other AAPI bookstagrammers. I hope you will support their mission. I have asked her permission to use her graphics and I am grateful that she has granted my request!
The Rose & The Dagger and The Wrath & The Dawn
Smoke In The Sun and Flame In The Mist
The Beautiful and The Damned
Love, Hate & Other Filters
Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know
Amira & Hamza: The War To Save The Worlds (MG 9/21/2021)
The Candle And The Flame
The Wild Ones (8/3/2021)
A Match Made In Mehendi
Sister Of The Bollywood Bride (5/25/2021)
Hunted By The Sky & Rising Like A Storm (6/22/2021)
Waka T. Brown
While I Was Away
Our Wayward Fate
Tiny Pretty Things & Shiny Broken Pieces (co-authored)
Symptoms Of A Heartbreak
Wicked Fox & Vicious Spirits
Mary HK Choi
Aru Shah And TheEnd Of Time, Aru Shah And TheSong Of Death, Aru Shah And TheTree Of Wishes & Aru Shah And The City Of Gold *MG Series* (4/6/2021)
The Gilded Wolves, The Silvered Serpents & The Bronzed Beasts (9/21/2021)
Once More Upon A Time (10/6/2021)
The Girl From The Well & The Suffering
The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger & The Shadowglass
The Never Tilting World & The Ever Cruel Kingdom
Wicked As You Wish
Brown Girl Ghosted
We Hunt the Flame & We Free The Stars
Since You Asked
I Believe In A Thing Called Love
The Way You Make Me Feel
Somewhere Only We Know
Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year *MG* (6/22/2021)
The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You & We’ll Always Have Summer
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You & Always And Forever, Lara Jean
Descendant Of The Crane
The One’s We’re Meant To Find (5/4/2021)
Eyes That Kiss At The Corners *Children’s book*
Playing At The Border *Children’s book* (9/28/2021)
The Silence Of Bones
The Forest Of Stolen Girls (4/20/2021)
Shine & Bright (9/28/2021)
The Last Fallen Star *MG* (5/4/2021)
Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend & Rich People Problems (adult)
Pawcasso *MG* (5/11/2021)
Red, White And Whole
Bracelets For Bina’s Brothers *picture Book* (4/20/2021)
When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something About Sweetie & 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
From Twinkle With Love
Of Curses And Kisses & Of Princes And Promises (6/8/2021)
Sarena & Sasha Nanua
Sisters of The Snake (6/15/2021)
Girls Of Paper And Fire & Girls Of Storm And Shadow
Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman
A Thousands Beginnings And Endings Anthology
Emily X.R. Pan
The Astonishing Color Of After
The Perfect Escape
Anuradha D. Rajurkar
Rachel Ray & Ava Dash
96 Words For Love
The Comeback *MG*
Made In Korea (5/18/2021)
Rebelwing & Renegade Flight
The Tiger At Midnight, The Archer At Dawn & The Chariot At Dusk (6/29/2021)
My Summer Of Love & Misfortune
Front Desk, Three Keys & Room To Dream (9/21/2021) (MG)
The Epic Crush Of Genie Lo & The Iron Will Of Genie Lo
A Taste For Love
Frankly In Love
Super Fake Love Song
Version Zero (5/25/2021)
TheGirl King & Empress Of Flames
Amelie Wen Zhao
Blood Heir & Red Tigress
I know that there are so many more AAPI authors out there that I have yet to see or have not yet debuted. These are just the ones that I’ve read or have in my TBR and pay attention to when they have new books out! I hope that you will choose to support these authors, whether it’s by following them on social media, ordering a book or a few or requesting their work from your libraries.
I also hope that you will take some of the action steps provided in the graphics. As my home girl & fellow bookstagrammer @iamcaseyrkelley likes to say “Support Is A Verb”. I hope that you find this post informative and that the action steps are doable for you. Remember that this is more than just a moment, it’s a movement! Let’s all support the AAPI Community during this trying time.
As usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter! Until the next post, please be safe out there.
Favorite Character-Granny June! She is SO FREAKING FUNNY and so real! I think she is just the best…I actually wished she was my granny (not replacing the one I have, of course, but she could be like my adopted granny)! Her granddaughter and Daunis’ best friend, Lily, comes in a close second because she’s like a younger version of Granny June!
Favorite Quote(s)– “Now when I die, yous gotta promise to get Tribal Council to be pallbearers at my funeral.”-she pauses for dramatic effect-“so they can let me down one last time.”-Granny June…I was CRYING when I read that line! She’s too funny and I could read a book of just her quotes all day…I wouldn’t mind a prequel from her perspective cause some of the things she says makes you want to read that story! There is another thought that Daunis had that really resonated with me and it was: “When someone dies, everything about them becomes past tense. Except for the grief. Grief stays in the present.” WHEWWWWWWWWW…there it is, what isn’t said that should be more often and respected.
Y’all…Y’all…Y’ALL! I’m SOOOOOOOOO OBSESSED WITH FIREKEEPER’S DAUGHTER! If you were like “was it the cover?”…ummmmm, you right…but also, FireKeeper’s Daughter is PHENOOOOOOOOMENAL! From the story telling to the characters, it just grabs your attention and doesn’t let you go! Angeline put her FOOT in this book y’all! 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)! If you follow me on instagram or on clubhouse, I STAY shouting about it! I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS BOOK! Now, while I’m apart of the blog tour for this book with MacMillan, I was going to write this post anyway…I’m seriously obsessed! The day I received a book box for this book, I opened it on IG Live & completely geeked out…if you would like to watch my moment, here you go!
I’mma take a moment to talk about the cover because it deserves it time in the spotlight! Pause here to scroll up to admire the cover because it should be stared at often! Welcome back! Now, this cover is STUNNNNNNING!!! The cover artist seriously DID THAT! From the illustration to the color scheme and fonts…it is simply beautiful! There is even metallic foil on it that really makes it POP! I could stare at it all day and not get bored (It’s right next to me as I write this)! It represents the book perfectly and if I could hug the cover artist, I totally would but #SocialDistancing so I’ll give them a pound or high five! *UGH* I just love it so much!
Being the book cover judge that I am, I didn’t even need to know the premise of this book to know I wanted to read it (call me shallow but this instinct hasn’t steered me [or you] wrong so I will keep rolling with it). Though when I heard the premise of the book, I was like “oh yea, I’m definitely reading that”… I basically did the virtual version of tackling one of my favs at MacMillan by emailing them right away about FireKeeper’s Daughter (Shout Outs to Morgan) and OF COURSE, jumped at the chance at being on this blog tour…which, just a reminder, that this post would exist with or without it because #ImObsessed!
The story that Angeline told through Daunis, the main character is nothing short of amazing! I would read till I was ready to go to sleep then wake up to go back to reading….I never wanted to put my tablet down and I don’t think I’ve ever been so attached to it before! There was so much going on in this story and yet, I didn’t feel the least bit overwhelmed by it…stressed, yes…anxious, absolutely…but overwhelmed, not in the least! The way that Angeline wrote this book was so poetic and it felt good just to lean into the story. I felt like I was there beside Daunis the entire time (and I may or may not have yelled at her like she could hear me *shifty eyes*). I’m honestly not much of a thriller reader (though others may beg to differ, lol) but this makes me want to pick up more if I think I can get through it all without having pulled my hair out or bit my nails down to the quick! What I DO KNOW and think is that I will read anything that Angeline writes from now on. That’s it, the gavel has been pounded and it’s final!
I must, I must, I must talk about my favs in this book! Granny June is the grandma I wish I had as a teen but am likely to be when I grow up! She is so funny and so real…you just couldn’t get a better (or bad in the best of ways) influence & person in Granny June! On top of that, when you add her peoples from the community center/senior center, you’ve got yourself one hell of a party! They are so funny together and the banter is simply BRILLIANT! I wanted to go hang out with them and listen to all of their stories…I wouldn’t need to say a word, just sit back and listen to the wisdom and witness the shenanigans… I would be content with that for the rest of my days! Here is an example: Granny June- “Miigwetch, my girl. Mmmm … dark and bitter, just like my first husband.” Her homegirl Minnie- “Gets you riled up, too. Hot stuff.” I just about DIED when I read that…and if you want to know about the context…well, you just gotta read the book so you can see when this was said and about what, lol! These are the type of elders I could rock with! Where they at?! I’m ready to kick it with them!
Another character I loved, which would be a surprise to no one because of who my fav is, is Lily! Lily is the best friend that we all need! The way she bantered with Daunis is just the greatest and the balance that she brought to her is the pinnacle of what a good friendship is! I also loved how she would let Daunis know if she was being unrealistic and wayyyyy too into her head…sometimes we just need that friend that will tell us to have a seat when we are doing too much and that friend here is Lily! Even in when Daunis was thinking in the vein of WWLD (What Would Lily Do), it was clear that she was a guiding light or devil on her shoulder (depends on the situation, lol). Another thing I loved is her sense of humor and wit…something she clearly inherited from Granny June! She balanced humor and seriousness so brilliantly like when she said: “Holy Wah. Yous look like you fought a pack of rez dogs and lost.” LOL! Way to tell people they look like crap Lily…and I’m here for it! If I could hug Lily and hang out with her, I would jump at the chance because she knew how to have a good time!
Of course, I gotta talk about Daunis because she is just so dope! First of all, she is super intelligent and she OWNSSSS it! Nothing warms my heart more than a fellow nerd who isn’t afraid to let others know just how smart they are! Her quips about facts are just THE BEST like this one: “That’s not what Occam’s razor means. It’s a problem-solving principle about competing hypotheses and starting at the one with the fewest assumptions.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*Insert Head Exploding Emoji with accompanying sound effects here* Did you just fall in love? Cause I did all over again! #AllTheHeartEyes! Seriously, she spoke to my nerdy Spirit! Not only is she intelligent but she is resilient and such a bada$$. Baby girl went through so much but she was such a G… I adored her “F**k It, I’ll Do It” attitude and how she knew when to call out people when appropriate! I just wanted to give her fist pumps when she bodied something or rock her in the moments when she was experiencing something jarring to her being… I would’ve been happy to play big sister or auntie to her in those moments. Daunis deserves all of the love & hype up!
Another thing I loved about this book is the way that Angeline shared Indigenous culture and teachings. It felt melodic and comforting in how she described their Tribal events or gatherings with her peers from story telling by the fire, reverence of elders, the dances, songs and the regalia. It was like Angeline was painting a picture that I wouldn’t want to stop looking at. I’ve been blessed to have gone to pow wows before the world descended into the chaos that is the panorama and I felt like I was right back on those grounds…smelling the scent of fresh fry bread, feeling the vibrations of the drums, listening to the jingles on their regalia and watching the blur of colors as they dance… It was such beautiful memory/image to pull from that invoked so much emotion for me. There was something that Daunis thought which I also thought was so important and that we all need to be reminded of which was: “I am overcome with a mixture of emotions. Sad that their innocent eyes are open to the trauma that still impacts our community today. Angry they must learn these truths in order to be strong Anishinaabeg in a world where Indians are thought of only in the past tense.” That is an entire SERMON! It is amazing that we live in a world where an entire Nation of people were taken advantage of, had their land stolen & lives taken and then have the nerve to speak of them as if they are past tense when they very much still present and experiencing so much injustice. There are so many lessons & gems throughout this book and I hope people pick them up & really digest them.
Another aspect that I really appreciated about this book is how grief is talked about and processed. I had actually read this book 2 months after my Grandpa passed away and when I tell you that I ugly cried while reading this book…I mean, I REALLY ugly cried (believe it or not, that is not me but it sure was when I was reading). The way Daunis viewed death is very much in line with my own views and how she processed her grief is how I imagined I would have too. She was angry, she wanted answers and she wouldn’t let anyone pacify her. The way Daunis used her grief to propel her forward was nothing short of awe-inspiring, especially when others would have found it to be debilitating (I may have at her age, to keep it real). I actually DMed Angeline about how she spoke about grief in this book and how hard it struck me. It led to a beautiful conversation about our loved ones who have passed on and how we have processed/are processing our grief. It is likely to make you evaluate how you process or have processed your own. Whenever you read this book, just make sure you keep a box of tissues or a handkerchief or a long sleeve near by because you WILL need it!
On a less serious note, FireKeeper’s Daughter has so many freaking funny moments! Whether its with Granny June & her senior center crew, Daunis with Lily or Daunis stunting in all her brainiac glory; there is so much humor woven throughout the story. There is a striking balance of seriousness to humor in FireKeeper’s Daughter that just leaves you floored…it was lowkey a masterclass in how to write & invoke emotions in a book. I was on a roller coaster the whole time that I didn’t want to get off of… and I don’t even LIKE roller coasters Y’all (actual roller coasts…emotional ones can be tolerated)! I really didn’t want this book to end, even though I knew it had to *quietly sobs*. I love a book that makes me cry, think and laugh throughout my time of reading and FireKeeper’s Daughter made me do all that and more! This book is seriously everything and you need to get it, if you haven’t already & read it so you can understand why I’m so obsessed with it!
I hope I have effectively convinced you as to why you need to get this book…If I need to say more to convince you, let me know cause I’m surely up to the task, LOL! Hopefully we’ve established some level of trust since you’ve read this post through! Alrighty y’all, I will end it here…for now. *smirks* As usual, I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter! Until the next post, BYEEEEEEE!
Hey everyone! You all may not know this but it’s my birthday week (and I do love birthdays) so I wanted to do something different for this week’s post! I wanted to use this blog post to give some of my favorite authors their flowers while they are still here. Nothing hurts more than to give people their flowers when it’s too late for them to receive them. We have especially experienced this in the last year. I also believe that Authors Of Color are not receiving the flowers they deserve and I want to change that with this post. Here are some of my favorite authors, their books and why I adore them so much! I’ll also share pictures I’ve taken with them, if I have one!
Books:American Street, Pride, Black Enough: Anthology, My Life As An Ice Cream Sandwich, and Punching The Air.
I completely ADORE Ibi Zoboi! It is because of her first book, American Street, that I was able to see a Haitian girl as the main character. This extremely important to me as someone who was returning back to reading after many years of inconsistent reading or rather reading books that didn’t reflect/represent me. American Street made me more curious about Haitian culture and I sincerely appreciate all of her work & who she is as a person. Without knowing it, Ibi helped jump start a healing journey for me with a part of my heritage that I felt disconnected to. I also love talking to her when I’ve gotten to see her in person and virtually (her husband is also super cool, what’s up Mr. Z!)!
Maika & Maritza Moulite
Books:Dear Haiti, Love Alaine & One Of The Good Ones
I absolutely love Maika & Maritza! Their first book, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine; changed my life. It gave me the motivation to start learning Haitian Kreyòl and desire to visit Haiti that I didn’t have before (COVID is being a whole a$$ beeotch in keeping me from doing that right now). I blubbered like I had just finished watching the best but saddest movie after reading DHLA and they also had me crying while reading OOTGO as well! Aside from that, they were so cool when I met them and I love their energy together & apart! It’s going to be like a family community whenever we can do in-person events again! *cues up the Konpa music*
Tiffany J. Jackson
Books:Allegedly, Monday’s Not Coming, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, Grown, The Awakening Of Malcolm X, Blackout (Co-authored with Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Ashley Woodfolk & Dhonielle Clayton 6/22/2021), White Smoke (9/14/2021) & Santa In The City (10/12/2021).
Without Tiffany, this blog would actually not exist. It was because of a candid conversation I had with her after a book event that eventually led to the creation of this blog & I’m so appreciative of that night. Aside from this, her books always makes me want to throw things (but then pick it back up and apologize to it). I love books that make me feel intense emotions in the span of the few hours that it takes for me to finish (because I can never put them down & cannot sleep until I see what happens in the end) and that is always her books for me. I also miss her asking me “But did you die?” when I fuss after finishing at events, lol.
Books:Tiny Pretty Things & Shiny Broken Things (co-authored with Sona Charaipotra), The Belles & The Everlasting Rose and Blackout (Co-authored with Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Ashley Woodfolk & Tiffany D. Jackson 6/22/2021)
I sincerely appreciate Dhonielle in all her work for the publishing community to uplift Authors of Color, We Need Diverse Books and Cake Literary! Dhonielle wears so many hats and she keeps it all the way one hunnit with her observations & experiences. She’s been such a huge inspiration to the mission of this blog & my reading journey (The Belles Series covers remain two of my favorites of ALL TIME). She’s about this bookish life and she deserves to have A LOT of respect placed on her name! Seriously, Dhonielle should have a boatload of flowers & props given to her (I know I’m not the only one who thinks so either, ask any author, blogger or bookstagrammer).
Books:SLAY, The Cost Of Knowing (4/6/2021), Spider-Man: Miles Morales-Wings Of Fury & The Jump (2023)
From the moment I read SLAY, I knew that Brittney would be a favorite. I was literally ready to fight for that ARC when I saw it at a bookish gathering and I’m so glad that I got it without any altercations! That book blew my mind and had to be the second book I wrote about for this blog. I simply adored SLAY & Brittney…just so you know, I also feel the same way about The Cost Of Knowing (don’t you worry, a blog post will happen for TCOK too)! Another thing that I appreciate about Brittney is that she is so down to earth and kind. Everyone needs to go get her books (well, pre-order The Cost Of Knowing) ASAP, I’m not even kidding!
Books:The Girl From The Well & The Suffering; The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger & The Shadowglass; The Never Tilting World & The Ever Cruel Kingdom; & Wicked As You Wish
I love, love, LOVE Rin Chupeco! They are an author who I really wanted to meet after reading most of their books at the time and actually lamented about the impossibility since Rin lives abroad. I love their books soooooo sooooooo SOOOOOOOO much! I love their level of humor and snark weaved into their story telling & the cast of characters they put together, I just adore Rin so much! I’ve read all of their books and feel like everyone else should too! I was SO EXCITED when I got the opportunity to meet Rin when they came to New York! I may or may not have been like an excited puppy while waiting on line to have all my books signed (I had them all but WAYW because it wasn’t out yet & didn’t have the ARC at the time). Shout Out to Tochi Onyebuchi for taking our photo who also made us laugh after this one was taken!
Books:Kingdom Of Souls & Reaper Of Souls; Maya And The Rising Dark & Maya And The Return Of The Godlings (9/21/2021)
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I’m a stan of Renas’! I think she is the bee knees and I stay in her DMs on instagram (to which she is so gracious about, thank you Rena). Her book Kingdom Of Souls is essentially what launched this blog. I appreciated how Rena fully embraced my blog post about Kingdom Of Souls and even quoted it (this is the biggest compliment I ever could’ve received then and even now *insert crying emoji here*)…and that she’s read my subsequent posts about her other books. I just love her writing style, her world building & character development, I just think she is everything! Periodt! Rena also gave literary birth to my first book boyfriend, Rudjek, and we know how I stan for him too (I wish he were real…*sigh*)!
On This Blog, We Stan For Rena Barron!
Books:When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something About Sweetie & 10 Things I Hate About Pinky; From Twinkle With Love, Of Curses And Kisses & Of Princes And Promises (6/8/2021); and under Lily Menon-Make Up Break Up.
Like with Rin Chupeco, I had lamented about the possibility of not ever meeting Sandhya Menon because I instantly fell in love with her writing and she lived on the other side of this country (this was before I knew authors travel sometimes). I adore her characters and their stories…the way that her books evoke emotions like sadness and joy at the right moments and that overall, when you finish, you feel such a warm & fuzzy feeling all over…like you’ve just wrapped yourself up in your favorite fluffy blanket and sipped on your favorite tea from your lucky mug. Aside from her writing, she’s like the SWEETEST human being! Sandhya is so super kind and gracious to her readers & street team. I also really appreciate her trust in me when it comes to her street team. Sandhya is actually the reason I first got on an instagram live! I just adore her so much and was so excited to meet her at Bookcon in 2019 (this feels soooooo far away *sobs*)!
Books:Dear Martin & Dear Justyce, Odd One Out, Jackpot, Clean Getaway, Shuri, Shuri: The Vanished & Shuri 3 (Title unannounced 11/2/2021), Blackout (Co-authored with Dhonielle Clayton, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Ashley Woodfolk & Tiffany D. Jackson 6/22/2021) & Fast Pitch (8/31/2021)
This couldn’t be a fav author post without talking about The queen Nic Stone…this here blogger STANS Nic Stone and everything she does! Nic’s book Shuri jumpstarted the Magical Black Kids Book Club and the MBKBC also stans for Nic! I remember being at Angie Thomas’ launch for On The Come Up in NY and seeing her…freaking out then writing in my stories that I saw her (but was too scared to approach her) & she responded that I should’ve said something! From then on, I always approached her at book events & we’ve taken selfies at almost all of them! She’s so kind and gracious to those she speaks to as well as is so supportive. I also love all of her books so very much and her ability to show the world through kid/teen eyes. Nic deserves every accolade she receives, seriously, and to say I adore her is a severe understatement!
Well, I’m going to cap it here but there are other authors that I love that I didn’t highlight here but think highly of like Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer & Redemptor 8/17/2021), Amanda Joy (A River Of Royal Blood & A Queen Of Gilded Horns 3/16/2021), Angeline Boulley (FireKeeper’s Daughter 3/16/2021), Maurene Goo (Since You Asked, I Believe In Something Called Love, The Way You Make Me Feel & Somewhere Only We Know) and LL McKinney (A Blade So Black, A Dream So Dark & A Crown So Cursed 11/9/2021; and Nubia: Real One)! I didn’t mention favorite books because my hope is that you all will pick up their books and pick a favorite of your own *Kool-Aid smile*! All these authors deserve their flowers while they can still smell them (if they are allergic then they can be given their favorite snack) and I’m giving it to them now! I hope you decide to give some of your favorite authors their flowers (or snacks) as well because they deserve them!
I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and as usual I’m sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter! BYEEEEEEE!
Favorite character: I quite loved Kezi! She’s smart and a bit sarcastic/snarky. I love the energy that she brought to the book when she was mentioned or when things were from her perspective. Sis is just dope!
Favorite Quote: This is something Happi thought that hit me like a ton of bricks “Speaking about her in the past tense still feels weird on my tongue.” Man, this is an entire mood/mindset/outlook & it’s very me too! Another quote: “Oh! And who are ‘girls like me’ exactly?“-Happi! YES HAPPI YES! Like what does that even MEAN?!
So I’m starting this off saying that I am a HUGE FAN of Maritza & Maika! Their first book, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, literally changed my life and I wrote a post about it. If you haven’t read that post, click here to read it! It holds such a special place in my heart and I’m always happy to talk about it. I also did a live for the Haitian Read-A-Thon with some other Haitian Bookstagrammers & Maika about DHLA, you can see it here (I had such a good time)! I adore their work and I adore them, seriously! I’d read anything that they write, even their grocery list, lol.
Now that I’ve gotten the warm and fuzzies out, I’mma move on to talking about their second book, One Of The Good Ones (OOTGO)… It is SO SO SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! It is literary GOLD! The gems that they dropped, the scenarios that the characters were in, the twists & turns….*Chef’s Kiss*! Also the levels of emotions that I felt…*low whistles* but I also felt that it validated where I was at that point in time while I was reading.
To be transparent, when I read this book, it was less than a month after my Grandfather passed away and I was extremely emotional (the top contending emotions being anger and hurt). So that thought that I quoted, I felt it so very hard and even almost 3 months later, I’m still in a similar place (baby steps y’all, baby steps). So this book had me in my feelings and tears very early on. Since I was in such an emotionally turbulent place, it took me longer than I would’ve usually read but I loved this book SOOOOOOOO MUCH! It touched on so many necessary things that tend to get overlooked or just outright ignored/dismissed. I love books that get me thinking, that reminds me of our current realities without bombarding me with it, balances joy & humor with grief & heaviness in such a brilliant way! Seriously… y’all need to get this book!
So, y’all know how I’m a history buff right? Okay, maybe you don’t but now you know! I was in full on history geek mode from the moment that the Negro Motorist Green Book was mentioned! I, for real for real, was all in my nerdy feelings! When Kezi says while holding the Green Book“It’s like holding a snapshot in time between my fingers. Holding one of these never gets old.”, I imagined feeling like the sky opened up and angels began singing or the instrumental to when Mufasa held Simba up played…It would’ve been ALL UH THOSE FEELINGS! I love how Kezi revered the past but was solidly in the present…which can be tough. She also came with ALLLLLLLLLLL THE RECEIPTS when stepped to…and well, that’s me too! She will hit you with the historical facts then current data…I just LIVED when she spoke! The way that Maika & Maritza intertwined the past with the present was just brilliant! My Spirit was fully spoken to!
Another thing that I love is the multiple perspectives in the book. Nothing delights me more than a book with multiple points of view! I feel it adds to the brilliance of the book when done really well and Maritza & Maika did *clap* that *clap* and they did it REALLY FREAKING WELL! And not only did they do multiple POVs but also multiple TIMELINES! Y’all, I was in full on GEEK! For a cherry on top, each POV brought on MIND BLOWING revelations that when it hits you, you’re just like “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”!
Yea, that’s all I can really say without spoiling the sheer brilliance that is this book! That second gif was also me when Kezi came with the receipts!
Another thing I wanted to touch on right quick that is a really important question that this book posed… What exactly makes someone “one of the good ones?” and WTF does that even mean?! Who exactly is a “good one”? What do they look and sound like? Are they someone who is like a “step & fetch it” (look it up)? Do they do “all the right things”? What exactly are all the right things anyway? This is what I basically think when I hear that term (dezòd for real). Does being “a good one” mean that that person’s life deserves more recognition than one who isn’t considered as such? That they are more worthy than others? As the book shows, that answer depends on who is being talked to. What we know is that being “a good one” doesn’t save a person…no number of good deeds or degrees or even graveling will save a person, especially a person of color, as history (past and present) has dictated to us. I love how this book poses the question and asks you to really question your outlook on what constitutes a “good one” and why victims are either villainized or canonized in the court of public option………………*Hops off her soap box* (to a smaller one cause y’all know I’m short and need the extra height *shrug*)
I love a book that makes me think, gives me history, multiple points of views, witty banter and even makes my eyes leak! One Of The Good Ones was all that and SO MUCH MORE! It is Sooooooo worth reading! I bet you will thank me after you do!
Before you say it, I know I didn’t talk really about the characters and I didn’t on purpose because I didn’t want to give spoilers on accident. I want you to meet all of them on your own and get to know them! The character development in OOTGO is SUPERB! I really can’t say enough good things about this book! I hope you decide to pick it up and join me in geeking out about it! It is in the Haitian Read-A-Thon’s plans to come back and this will be one of the books that will be featured! There is an IG page for The Haitian Read-A-Thon that you can go follow, here is the link! We’ll be back at it for Haitian Heritage Month in May!
Well My peoples, I’m going to end it here and offer you òne ak respè! I’m wishing you all Happy Reading and as usual I’m sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter! BYEEEEEEE!
Favorite Character-Alice! William comes in close second. Alice is the best friend that we all should have…the yin to Bree’s yang, the alarm clock when she is still asleep, the one that gives it to her straight when she don’t want to hear it but need to…the one who can read Bree for filth and she can’t say ish back because she know Alice is right. I just loved her! I also loved William and his Legendborn tea-spilling self…he keeps it pretty cute when he spills it too.
Favorite Quote(s)-This is one of the many things I loved that was thought or said “Because broken hearts strip vocabularies down to their raw bones, and because I don’t want After-Bree to show up and turn this conversation into a tear-streaked explosion, I’ve scripted an admission using as few words as possible: “My mother died three months ago.“‘-Bree. I paused after I read that because of not just the heaviness but also the realness of it. I haven’t seen someone write down what that feeling was before and I felt it, 1000%. Also here is a brief convo between Alice and Bree that spoke to me: Alice-“Okay in there?”; Bree-“Yeah. Just realized I need to wash my hair.”; Alice-“Damn.”; Bree-“Yeah.” This was another moment I felt so hard because I hate washing my hair since it’s a process…and when friends understand that pain, I feel seen! (I will say that I have started embracing hair washing time as a self-care time but its’ still work doe!)
First of all, I’m obsessed with the cover of Legendborn…like I can’t stop staring at it! I had my finalized copy Face out (and I don’t usually do that on my bookshelves) for a while and I purchased a frame for the pre-order poster long before I ever pre-ordered because I knew Bree had to go up on my Magical Black Kids wall (I’m pretty sure I asked Tracy a million times how I could get the cover on a poster before I saw the Legendborn promo boxes and subsequent pre-order incentives that y’all KNOW I was sure to redeem)! 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! To further witness my obsession, here is a video on Instagram where I’m opening my copy of Legendborn & the poster.
So, when I saw the cover (because, clearly I’m obsessed with it and I’m not apologizing either), I KNEW I had to read this book…I entered every giveaway I possibly could so I could read an ARC of it and finally, the Book Gods smiled upon me….I won an ARC through San Diego Comic Con (thank you RivetedLit.com and San Diego Comic Con)! When I tell you I squealed so hard when I saw that email (I was with a student, I couldn’t scream in a 5 year olds ear), it was likely #TheSquealHeardAcrossTheWorld! When I got my copy, I SCREAMED! It was one of the best days of my life! I literally had just tweeted about wanting a copy too so you can’t tell me that whatever divine being you celebrate isn’t good! To prove my hypeness, see the screenshot below!
Let me get to talking about Legendborn…I quite literally can talk about this book ALLLLLLLL WEEK, but I know we all don’t have time like that! When I finally sat down and started this book, I DID NOT want to put it down! When I say #LegendbornKeptMeUp, I really mean that ish! The first day I had started at night and the next time I looked up, it was light out and my fitbit said it was 7 am…since I had to be up at 8 am, I thought “f*ck it” and read until it was time for to have actually gotten up…I think actually read for a little longer after that too… I regret NOTHING people, not one single second! It was a good thing I was off from work! I stayed up the subsequent nights until 5 am til I finished… and I finished Legendborn in less than 72 hours…this book is almost 500 pages y’all…again, I regret NOT-A-DAMN-THING! This book was SO EFFIN’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!
Legendborn takes place on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill and while I didn’t go to that school (I went to THE University of Alabama, Roll Tide Roll), I felt at home in the story because it sounded & felt so much like my alma mater’s campus! When Bree’s dad asked “Met any Black kids yet?”, I cackled SO HARD because that’s what it was like on my campus until I met a Black football player (they aren’t uncommon) and found my way to NCNW (National Council of Negro Women) & Black Greek Life! Bree also talked about growing up/living in the South and getting used to being in places not meant for US (i.e. Black People) and in her saying “a Rebel flag flying high out front.” I remember Rebel flags being in dorm windows and on cars despite it being supposedly “outlawed” on campus…hell, my college department’s main building was named for a KKK member… ahhhhh, the South, where they live in the past but tell us to get over it… but I digress. Anyway, I felt like I was part of the story because of the details Tracy shared and what I remember of my Alma Mater. The fact that I felt so at home in the story also speaks to Tracy’s ability to paint a picture in the reader’s mind (I’m seriously obsessed) and she gave me my entire life while taking away my ability to go to sleep! I also was dreaming of what could possibility happen next in the story when I did sleep!
As you already know, I’m enamored with Bree’s depiction on the cover but I’m even more so with her character. She’s the angry Black girl that we all deserve…that so many of us has been and may still be…I know my anger has grown since I was a teen because of the state of this country and the trauma experienced due to it… Bree speaks about the “After Bree“, the person she became after her trauma and I think so many of us have an “After [insert your name here]” because of events that change who we were at the time of its occurrence. I love that she didn’t apologize for her anger…so often Black girls are shamed for their anger rather than being validated in what they are experiencing/feeling. I also thought it was amazing that she had her BFF Alice there to support her (but also check her) when she needed it as well as a father who tried to be as understanding as possible. Another thing I loved is that Bree has the most magnificent way of reading folks for filth and I was SO *clap* HERE *clap* FOR *clap* IT *clap*! Sis went in at times and I can neither confirm nor deny that I yelled every time she did (and tweeted Tracy, lol).
Speaking of her BFF Alice, I think she is just the Bee’s knees! She has some of the best lines and she makes her presence known when she’s on the page. Alice felt more than a secondary or supporting character to me. She is a character that you would think of pages later and be like “hmmmmm…WWAD?…What Would Alice Do?” because shes the type of character you’d always want insight from! I lived for the moments where she gave Bree the two finger tap on the shoulder, told her to have a seat and read her when she needed the reality check. I also felt that she served as Bree’s anchor when she started to get a bit lost in what she was dealing with. We all need that friend, seriously. I Loved Alice so much and I can’t wait to see her in Book 2 and I really hope she gets more page time because sis is just that AWESOME!
I have to also take a moment to acknowledge my very close in second fav, William…the tea spiller and shade provider…a character after my own heart! He was absolutely hysterical and I lived for him! I loved how he was up for shaking ish up in the background and giving ZERO EFFS about what people thought. He was like “oh, y’all are adhering to this code of silence…well, I’m not so sit here and get this tea”…I just ADORED HIM! There was also a moment between him and Bree that I will NOT spoil that whenever I think of it, I just burst out laughing because he’s so hilarious in that scene! His and Bree’s banter…His and ANYONE really’s banter is just great! I wouldn’t be surprised if you, too, also fall in love with his character when you read the book *hint* *hint* *nudge* *nudge*. I really can’t wait to see what witty life giving banter and tea spills he will bring to us to in Book 2!
Like every good YA book, there is a love interest…there’s actually two! My brain basically exploded once it fully hit me that there was a love triangle…and yes, I knew about it before I read the book because Tracy shares that outright but it hits different when you read the book and you realize that it is happening/has happened! Am I going to say what team I’m on…hmmmmmmmm *taps chin*…I don’t think I will because I want you all to read the book and figure out who’s team you are on, LOL! So I will say, I am #TeamWhoEverBreeWants and be Switzerland in this bish because I’m also #TeamFormYourOwnOpinions, lol! You maybe disappointed that I didn’t talk more about this but I REALLY REALLY REALLLLLLLLLLY want you to go out and get then read this book!
For real, for real y’all…I freaking LOVEDDDDDDDDD this book and I hope that I have convinced you enough to pick up this book if you don’t already have it and read it if you haven’t! This book is simply PHENOMENAL and deserving of every bit of hype it received! If you need any further convincing…take yet another look at this gorgeous cover centering a POWERFUL MAGICAL BLACK GIRL!
I think I have occupied enough of your time today but if you feel differently, there are other blog posts of mine that you can read and you can also find me on Instagram doing lives & ish! I also recently launched the blog for DiversaTeas Reads, which is a Black Woman Founded & Owned book box that features OwnVoices books/authors! It’s called “Spill The DiversaTea“! Click here for the first blog post which is a list of Books by Black Authors coming out this year since they are highlighting Black Books this month (it’s a shorter list than this post with All POC author books coming out this year)! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to keep up with when new posts are up!
Anyway my peoples, Happy Reading and as usual I’m sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic, especially on Tuesdays for the Pub Day: YA Edition room under the Diverse Shelves club for more bookish banter!
My Favorite Character: Britta! I love how loyal and attentive she is…also, homegirl got jokes! My second favorite is Ixa…he is just so adorable!
Favorite Quotes: “Ye ever kissed a boy, Deka?” “I did once, during one of the village festivals. It was bad, very bad. His mouth tasted like sour milk.”-Britta I laughed SO LOUD when I read that!
I’m a little late with putting up this post for the Hear Our Voices Blog Tour but I think it’s better late than never! I have to say that The Gilded Ones had been one of my most anticipated reads since I saw the cover revealed in 2019 or early 2020…then my world was destroyed when the date got pushed back to this year (so I can’t even imagine how Namina may have felt)! I will say though, this book was WORTH the wait! It was so beautifully written and it so vivid in its imagery! It’s going to be amazing on film (this was announced recently)! *UGH*! I just loved this book so much! The characters were so amazing…just *gahhhhhhhhhhh*…okay, that was my moment!
The characters in this book are simply amazing! Deka has the most amazing crew and after what she deals with in the beginning of the book, she definitely deserves a dope a$$ crew! They all bond in such a way that was superficial at first but became so much deeper and meaningful as the book goes on, it truly becomes a sisterhood (I love a good sisterhood). There were quite a few members of the crew but I’ll only talk about a few of them especially since I don’t want to give away anything (y’all know I’m about that spoiler free lyfe).
First, I freaking LOVE Britta! She’s so sweet as well as hilarious and she just says what is on her mind or it shows on her face. Even though her name is Britta, she really doesn’t have a filter and I’m here for it! She’s not ashamed to speak on things that are a bit taboo in their world and she is also honest about what she has or hasn’t experienced (take from that “experienced” what you will, lol). I seriously enjoyed her character and definitely wouldn’t mind a book from just her perspective or at least chapters from her perspective in the next book (*wink* *wink* Namina).
When Belcalis first stepped into the book, I was like “I don’t like this chick” because she was so brash in her initial interactions but over time, she really won me over. She is such a strong and proud but also angry character, which is how so many Black girls are viewed. As angry as I have been in recent months, one would think I would’ve connected with her right away but it took reading more situations with her (#NeverForget) to connect to her and really see myself in her. Belcalis is such an amazing reflection of Black Girls who are viewed one way because of how strong they come off as but not acknowledged for why they must be that way. She was definitely the character who broke my heart but mended it throughout the story. She’s also always down for a good fight and as a sometimes aggressive short person, I connected to that as well (hey, it is what it is)!
Of course, I have to speak about our main heroine Deka… and y’all, DEKA IS AWESOME! Her progression and development throughout the story is nothing short of incredible! When the book first started, I was a little concerned for her but she completely BAWSED UP and pleasantly surprised me. Deka had these “Eff It, I’ll Do It” moments that many of us, especially Black Girls & Women, know about and it was GLORIOUS! I felt those moments so hard and definitely screamed “YESSSSSSSSSSSS” at my tablet a few times! I could also envision her shrugging her shoulders in a few moments like “okay, and? Were YOU going to take care of this?!” I also feel like there were a lot of times where she was side eyeing people without it actually being stated. Those are my favorite of moments with characters since I have that sort of tendency *shrugs*. I just loved how layered her character is and how she endured through all the shenanigans!
I really loved how empowering this book was overall. It felt real because it very much so is like how our society currently is but was such a beautiful reminder how we can take hold of our circumstances…that either we can fold to them & deal or choose to say “eff this” and take the reigns of our destinies. The Fierce Warrior Energy was so real! The world is so rich and quite the adventure once you step into it! So, if you haven’t pick up this book, you need to get your life together because you DEFINITELY SHOULD! If you have it, you are on the right track my friend! If you need any further convincing to pick it up or get started reading, the book info and Namina’s Bio is below!
Happy Reading and as usual sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find and follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic for more bookish banter! *kool-aid smile*
Book Info: Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
Author Info: Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. She works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads.
My Favorite Character: CORINNE!!!!! She’s my queen FOREVER and ALWAYS! If you haven’t read the book yet, you have to read to understand why I stan so hard but she’s a character who is unapologetically herself and is not ashamed to talk about any taboo subjects! She’s just THEEEEEEEE BEST! Seriously, she needs her own book or at least a novella (I will never not push for this)!
Favorite Quotes:“Oblique pop culture references do seem to be a cornerstone of social language, actually.”-Corinne….I mean, she isn’t wrong about that! “Not to mention the amount of porn I stream is almost fraternity house level.”-Corinne…I laughed so loud that I think my entire neighborhood heard me! She’s so freaking great!
First off, this post is LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG overdue! I have been meaning to sit down and write about how much I loved this book since I finished the ARC last year and then life began kicking my a$$ in the most exquisite of ways…but I’m finally writing this!
Before I get into talking about this book, I wanted to talk a little about how I came to bothering Ben, I mean became friends with Ben. While I was reading his first book, The Field Guide To The North American Teenager (which is also hysterical and I would highly recommend), I came to a point in the book where he threw Hufflepuffs under the bus and instantly, I was like “HOW DARE HE?!” (I’m a proud Huffle) and I DMed him a picture of the page with the line underlined and a “REALLY BEN?!?!” written in… He not only responded but he then took it to his stories… This incited a slight war that somehow led to a insta-friendship… Ben has become the brother I always wanted but maybe not fully realized what I was asking for…just kidding (kinda, lol) but seriously Ben’s one of the people I love to bother on IG and he humors me every time, lol! He also has the cutest dog, Blue, and I’m never mad when she pops up on my feed (see the feature picture and tell me where I’m wrong on this)!
When I saw his post about his second book, Charming As A Verb also known as CAAV, I got to bothering him right away about getting an ARC. I guess I Haitian guilted him enough that he eventually sent me one and I’m so glad because it was everything I could’ve asked for in a contemporary book! I started it on a Friday and finished it the next day! Reading this book was one of the best ways I could’ve ever possibly spent a Saturday night and I would do it all over again too (he thought he ruined my Saturday night but it was better than any comedic movie I could’ve possibly watched)! It is so flipping brilliant in its humor and social commentary! I can’t say enough how much I love this book and that I think EVERYONE should have a copy in their homes!
Recently, I did a geek out with another bookstagrammer @raethereviewer, about this book and we both geeked SO HARD about Corinne, also known as Queen Corinne! Who wouldn’t love a Black girl who is confident in who she is and is unapologetic about her abilities?! She calls people out with very little filter and I LIVEEEEED for it! It is truly a lost art, calling people out, to their faces rather than over social media in a passive aggressive nature. She gave so little Effs that it was near sub-zero levels! Corinne lets people have it, especially when they don’t want it but when they need it. She was the perfect balance to Halti and all his shenanigans throughout the story. We don’t get to see too many characters like her, and we really need to see MORE Corinne’s in books! A Black Girl existing and THRIVING in the world…intelligent, talented, beautiful and HILARIOUS! Corinne was the love interest Gawdess the world deserved! She was most certainly a scene stealer and Halti may not like that I’m saying it but I’m just stating facts here. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them *Ye Shrug*!
Speaking of Halti and shenanigans…he is one messy dude! There were so many times while I read where all I could do was shake my head because he was doing so much! If he were a real person, I would’ve snatched him by his collar and dragged him out the building but such as not possible…thank Gawd for Corinne to do that for all of us! As much as Halti is messy, he is also very intelligent and slick tongued, which proved useful for him in so many situations. Think of the smoothest talker you know, multiply their ability times 10 and you would get Halti! There were points where I was just like “HOWWWW” but I guess when you are blessed with the gift of Gab, it just is the way it is! Ben did warn me that Halti was messy, if not more so than his first main character Norris in TFGTTNAT, and he wasn’t wrong to issue such a warning. I still loved Halti’s character….just not more than Queen Corinne, LOL!
One of the things that I loved about this book was his parents! They were your standard immigrant and very Haitian parents who supported and pushed (almost literally) Halti in all he did. There were no uncertain terms in what they expected from him in school and what they foresaw in his future. I loved that they cared so deeply for him and it showed in how they interacted with him, this includes the shade that only immigrant parents can impart upon their offspring…. it’s truly its own brand that leaves you shivering, it’s so shady! There is a part in the book with the classic Haitian Father Blow up that made me think my father was somewhere in the room when I read it…I wouldn’t recommend the experience. His mom is also super dope in the example she was setting for Halti and what she wanted for her own future! I really loved his parents, shade and all!
Another thing I really loved about this book that Rachelle & I talked about was how Halti got to just be a teenager! He could just be joyful or miserable without thinking about being a Black boy in our world. Halti could just exist and it not be a thing where he lamented about being Black in America. Any pain he felt, it was because of situations in the book dealing with school, family or friends and not because of very real world circumstances that we could see on the news. We don’t get to read too many books where Black kids could just be kids, where there is more happiness than there is pain of some sort. Books that cover real world commentary are extremely valuable but so are books like TFGTTNAT and CAAV that showcase Black Kid Joy! Truly, we need more books like Ben’s out in the world and I hope we see more of them in the future.
There is so much that could be said about this book but I want you all to read it too! I do have a recording of Rachelle & I’s geek out on IG that you can click here to watch! If you don’t have this book already, you NEED to get this book (or borrow it from your local library at least). If you have it in your TBR and haven’t gotten to it, change that ASAPually my friend! I promise you won’t be disappointed…I haven’t led you astray yet…right?! *lights up halo over my head*
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find & follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic or Twitter @bookishgrlmagic for more bookish banter! Until the next post, see ya later!
My Favorite Character: Rudjek will ALWAYS AND FOREVER remain my favorite…I will fight for him, period…I will not bend on this! EVER!
Favorite Quotes: I’ve got a few from the beginning of the book (to avoid any possible spoilers) so here we go! “For Heka’s Sake, if you’ve given me ugly tattoos, I swear…”-Sukkar…this is a WHOLE A$$ mood for those of us with tattoos. “Another step and I’ll shatter every bone in your arm.”-Essnai…THAT WARRIOR ENERGY DOE!!! I Loved Essnai in this book and she has forever cemented the reason I would want her on my crew! And finally: “I would love tea if it’s not too much trouble.”-Rudjek…it’s an innocent statement but you have to read the book to understand why it could be totally blush & swoon worthy…I just love him so much.
So anyone who has been following me on social media and this blog KNOWS how much I ADOREDDDDDDDDD (and that’s an understatement) Kingdom Of Souls…if you forgot for some strange reason, click here for my very first post which is about KOS…and fair warning, there is cussing so enter at your own risk!
With that reminder said, you may have been able to guess that I was BEYOND READY for the sequel, Reaper Of Souls! If you didn’t know, Rena sure did from the way I blew up her DMs about it, lol (sorry, not sorry Rena). The Way I screamed when I got the email notification that I was granted a pass for this book…. my ENTIRE LIFE WAS MADE! I was not an e-book reader but I had to put that aside to read ROS because I had been waiting the better part of TWO YEARS for this sequel!
Let me tell y’all…IT.DID.NOT.DISAPPOINT! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FREAKING GOOD and I think that is an understatement as well! I ended up with at least one visible gray hair at the end of this read and I do not regret it…I did fuss at Rena a little bit about that but it was a well meaning fuss…she also told me that I would live (*Cues Tayce from Drag Race UK* “The cheek, the nerve, the gall, the audacity and the gumption”)…
Anyway, since this is a sequel and I’m not about that spoiler life, I’m just going to affirm some thangs in this post. Whatever edges I have left, they are gray from this book…if you don’t recognize me whenever you see me next…it’s not the weight I gained from being in quarantine, it’s the way this book added a few years to my face from stress…and I REGRET NOTHING…NOT.A.THING! It was so good and everything I could’ve possibly expected from the sequel to one of my favorite reads of ALL FREAKING TIME and more! Sequels are not easy because there are so many expectations but I promise you all that Rena did not let any of us down…y’all may even decide to find ways to yell at her because she did so much during this book but know that 1) she expects it, 2) she did it on purpose and 3) I suspect that she feels no remorse for going as HAM as she did during this book! Sis went ALL THE WAY OFF and I LIVED though my eczema begs me to sit down somewhere before it sits me down (anyone with eczema knows the weight of this statement). Now lemme talk a bit about my favorite characters because I need to!
My love for Rudjek remains eternal…he is my first bookish boo and he will always remain that… The way he defended Arrah and looked out for her throughout this book makes me all flustered & swoony just thinking about it. I need to find a real life Rudjek STAT…but can any human man reallyyyyy live up to Rudjek… *taps chin* I kind of doubt it *shrugs*. I am willing to share Rudjek with Arrah but I don’t have very much of a choice, do I? *sigh* The way he matured but maintained his boyish charm… #RudjekIsBae
On to one the realest to ever grace the pages of a book… Essnai remains THAT CHICK! If anything, she ascended to a whole other level of That-Chick-ness… I just seriously appreciate how fierce and loyal she is…like we all need an Essnai to ride for us. She’s not just about words but backing them up with actions and I’m here for ALL of her antics! Get chu an Essnai in yo’ lyfe STAT cause she is bout it bout it (All Juvenile)! I’m looking for the Essnai to my Arrah because no crew would ever be complete without that Big Essnai Energy…I said What I said!
I can’t talk about Arrah’s crew without talking about Sukkar…our dear, sweet…oh who am I kidding! He’s not sweet, he’s actually quite spicy throughout this book! There were so many points where I was like “Sukkar…is dat you? When did you get like dis?” *shifty eyes* Sukkar basically responded “New book…who dis?” and to that, all I could say was “aiight, I see you sir” *shrug* and kept it moving! He was quite the character and always showed up with that “I wanna fight” energy…I had to put some respek on that!
All of Arrah’s crew came with that ready-to-rumble type energy and I was here for every moment of it! I would be lying if I said they didn’t have reason to! Thanks to all the shenanigans that went down in KOS, they had to stay on guard at ALL times! When your best friend somehow gets in to trouble each time she breathes, wouldn’t you be on high alert too?! *pauses* That’s what I thought… it just is what it is!
Speaking of Best Friends…let’s touch on Arrah for a hot second. Sis was a whole mess in this book but what teenager isn’t?! Arrah lost so many things and people in KOS so who wouldn’t feel like the world would crumble around them as she did? I completely understood her and what she was dealing with, especially her fears and guilt. She made so many things happen, both good and bad throughout this book. I love how she doesn’t forget who has been lost, how she attempts to watch everyone’s back but also loses herself a little because her concern for others overrode her own well-being… Welllllll, I didn’t exactly love that part of her but I related heavy to it… After this book, Arrah (and Rena for that matter) deserves HELLA self-care days! Since this is a trilogy, we know she & her crew will be going through even more so all I can say is…BUCKLE THE EFF UP and keep your arms inside at all times throughout this ride!
Reaper Of Souls comes out SO SOON so if you haven’t pre-ordered this book yet, GO DO IT NOW! IF you haven’t read Kingdom Of Souls for only whatever Divine being you follow knows why, GO GET IT so you won’t be out of the loop for this one! Rena Barron remains QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN and I will continue to love her work, no matter how much it stresses me out! I also am the self-proclaimed head of her street team that does not exist but definitely should!
Anywayzzzzzz! Happy Reading and sending Bookish love your way! Feel free to find me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic or Twitter @bookishgrlmagic for more bookish banter! Until next post, byeeeeeeeee!