My March 2023 Hopefuls

My March 2023 Hopefuls

Happy March! I love this month and I feel it has a lot to do with spring. I feel it in the air and despite living in a humid climate and experiencing summer all year round, I want to celebrate the occasion with some fantastic fantasy!

This month, I’m exploring some rereads, some new books, and some books I’ve been meaning to read. All of these books sound fantastic and I can only imagine them to be incredible worlds to dive into and discuss!

Here’s what I’ll be reading:

The Unbroken by CL Clark

This is going to be a reread for me and I couldn’t be more excited about it. The themes of The Unbroken extend beyond the typical fantasy where one young person must decide where her loyalties lie; with the military family that adopted her when she was very young or the family and people she truly belongs to, but never knew. It was one of my favorite reads of 2022 and I know I’ll enjoy it again.

The Faithless by CL Clark

The other reason why I’m rereading The Unbroken is because I plan on reading its sequel! The Faithless comes out this month and one of my highly anticipated reads of the year! I will definitely keep you updated with what I loved.

The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

I feel like every month requires you to read one “maybe” book. You know, the book that you’re not 100% sure you’re going to like, but you’re standing in the checkout line with your microwaveable mac and cheese dinner and the inner Kevin McCallister just says “I’ll give it a whirl.” This is what this book is to me. I have no clue if I’ll like it, but hey, it’s a novella and I can always give it a whirl.

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

I received this book from Tordotcom Publishing and it was sold to me as a queer Sherlock Holmes with sci-fi themes. I’m a huge fan of the quirky Holmes, so it definitely sounds up my alley. And if it’s anything like Polk’s Even Though I Knew the End, then maybe it’ll be another favorite.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

I’m going to be honest, I bought this book because of the cover. I mean, take a good look at it when you have a chance! Something about it is so inviting with this guy trapped inside on a building. I know that it’s about a man who is on the search for his wife, so that also makes it very intriguing. And to top it off, it sounds like one of those under-appreciated fantasy novels and I’m always looking for stories like that.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Ever since I read Strange the Dreamer by Laini, I have always wanted to read the rest of her works. She’s one of those authors who creates these incredible character-driven stories and I absolutely fall for them every time. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been one of those books that’s been sitting on my shelf and in my TBR for years and this is the year I finally make time for it.

Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

Another “omg, this cover” love! I couldn’t resist when I saw this book, but it’s also a book that fits right up my alley. I always love to bring in a couple of YA books into my months, so having this and Daughter of Smoke and Bone will 100% fill that void!

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

I’m actually starting the month with this one since I haven’t read a spicy book for a minute. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of spicy books, but this is supposed to be my “TikTok made me do it” books, and I can’t wait to see what happens. The spicy level is off the charts so far, I will tell you that!

Any of these on your list? What do you plan on reading this month?

June 2022 TBR

June 2022 TBR

Last month, I felt like I did a huge disservice to myself by trying to read as much as possible, challenge myself to read in every single moment I had available in the day, read multiple books if I have to. And I ended the month early with the worst burnout I’ve ever had before. I was so tired of reading that I barely finished the rest of the books on my very ambitious TBR.

I took some time to think about things and I came to the conclusion that I can’t read like I did when I was unemployed. I have a full time job now that requires me to read emails and work on writing all day long. And as much as I love doing my job, I am exhausted by the end of the day. My husband reminds me daily that reading is supposed to be a hobby and I should be enjoying it. I shouldn’t feel like another job on top of everything else that I’m doing. And I don’t get paid to do this!

So I’m taking a step back. I’m taking a step back from trying to fit reading into every single moment of my day. I’m taking a step back from trying to read more than ten books a month! I need to be mindful of my mental health, my other hobbies, and try not to be jealous of the other readers out there who can hold down a full time job, take care of their kids, and also read 15 books a month. It’s a reality that I need to face and recognize for myself.

I think this will be good for me. I’d like to take the next few months to really organize myself for the rest of the year. I want to focus on the books I’m very excited to read rather than the ones I thought might be fun to check out. So without further delay, here’s what I’ll be reading in June:

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

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Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik

The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

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Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry – or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered…

With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.

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The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings

In a fantastical version of New Orleans where music is magic, a battle for the city’s soul brews between two young mages, a vengeful wraith, and one powerful song in this vibrant and imaginative debut.

Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women keep the order, and where songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Far Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician, Perilous Graves, it’s simply home. Then the rhythm stutters.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end

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On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi

A spectacular novel of family, friendship, and finding your way in life…and in love.

Angie Appiah is the epitome of the Perfect Immigrant Daughter. She’s got it all: medical school credentials, a handsome lawyer boyfriend, and ride or die friends. But what happens when everything falls apart? Her boyfriend dumps her, she bombs the most important exam of her medical career, and her closest confidante and roommate pulls away, telling Angie she’s more wrapped up in herself than in her friends.

Angie is crushed. She’s always faced her problems by working “twice as hard to get half as far and until now, that’s done well for her. When did life get so complicated? Suddenly, she begins to question everything: her career choice, her friendships, even why she’s attracted to men who don’t love her as much as she loves them. And just when things couldn’t get more confusing, enter Ricky, brilliant, thoughtful, sexy, but who has wasteman practically tattooed across his forehead. For someone who’s always been in control, Angie realizes that there’s one thing she can’t plan on: matters of her heart.

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Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

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This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Emily Thiede’s exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

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A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

A Mirror Mended is the next installment in USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s Fractured Fables series.

Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.

Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?

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September 2021 TBR

September 2021 TBR

I have a lot of hope for my September TBR! Not only have I painstakingly put in the time to pick these books, I made sure to follow my own advice and give myself space to breathe. I’m also organizing my reads and trying some new methods to maximize my reading time everyday. It’s a big experiment with lots of hope and I can’t wait to share it all with you throughout the month.

This month, I’m finally getting into The Wheel of Time ahead of the TV series premiering in November, I’m reading some very new releases, some excited sequels, a little bit of romance, and even a middle grade book! I can’t wait to dive into all of these. Here’s what I’ll be reading.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

This is the second book in the Wheel of Time series and I’m so excited to finally read it. I’ve actually carved out a good chunk of this month dedicating it to this story because I just want to get lost in a good fantasy story.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

This is the first adult fantasy novel from Zoraida Cordova. I loved her Incendiary series and her Brooklyn Brujas, so I know I’ll enjoy this immensely.

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M Lee

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Lori M. Lee’s middle grade debut about a lonely Hmong girl who discovers she’s a powerful shaman warrior in this fantasy inspired by Southeast Asian mythology.

“I love the adventures Pahua has in this book. I also love the sense of humor, the clever plotting, and the fantastic cast of characters. But most of all I love Pahua: her courage, her kindness, and her love for family.”–NYT best-selling author Rick Riordan

Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood–whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can’t be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt’s old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother’s return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother’s soul before it’s too late. Little does she know she’ll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .

With its unforgettable characters, unique nature-based magic system, breathtaking twists and reveals, and climactic boss battle, this story based on Hmong oral tradition offers everything a fantasy lover could want.

Jade War by Fonda Lee

In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.

Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world, in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

My August 2021 TBR

My August 2021 TBR

This post contains books gifted by Tor Teen, Orbit Books, Get Underlined, and Read Forever.

A couple of days late, but it’s finally here and ready for your perusal. I used to do TBR posts more frequently, but then I dropped off because I’m very lazy. But recently, I’ve been thinking about accountability, especially when it comes to the books I read and share. To give you some context, I can read about eight books a month. More books if the month is really good, but mostly I read less because doing this and working full time is a pretty big list of things to do. But I love to read, of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this.

I wanted to share this with you so that you know what I’m reading and what you can expect throughout the month. Reviews will be up a few days after I finish reading each book and unless I DNF or swap out books from the list, I’m pretty beholden to what is here. I hope that gives you some context into what I do every month and give you some ideas on what you should read next!

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I feel like every summer, I take on one big science fiction tome. I might have doubled up last summer, but this summer I wanted to read a space opera. When I heard about Adrian Tchaikovsky and his body of work, I decided why not. It sounds like a cool book and I do love a team of aliens coming together to fight for the greater good.

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

You had me at dark academia. I’ve always been such a fan of this sub-genre and when I heard about this book and how it’s set in some secluded mountains with the girls living in a boarding school and practicing witchcraft, well, it definitely got my attention. It also sounds like there will be intrigue and a bit of a mystery as two young students discover hidden beneath the dark halls.

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon

I’m a huge fan of Farrah Rochon’s The Boyfriend Project books. Of course, there’s only one out so far, but this is the second and said to be a super fun one as well because it’s got fake dating! I always know fake dating is such a bad idea, but it’s one of my favorite tropes if you do it right. It also features football, which is randomly one of my favorite sports to watch.

When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There’s just one catch — no one can know what they’re doing. But when they’re accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor’s game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

One of the first picks from my “Suggest My Reads” question I asked back in July. Last month, I opened up a suggestion box for people who follow me to recommend me a read. I chose two books from that list and credited those people for helping pick out a book for me to read. This is the first one and it’s kind of serendipitous that she picked it because the second book in this series comes out this month. Is it divine intervention? I’ve already heard so many good things about this book and been putting off reading it for a while. No time like the present especially for a book with young people choosing the path that’s right for themselves and defying the wishes of people above them.

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick

A little while back, a friend of mine suggested this book to me. She mentioned that not a lot of people gave this book enough love, but also that it was so good that it deserved to be read and reviewed and adored. I love stories about con artists and magical balls. I think I will definitely love this one.

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This was the second book I picked from my “Recommend a Read” survey. I think I actually like that name and maybe I’ll keep it for every month. I’ve already read a few books from the Wayward Children series, but I never read the first book. Funny enough, I liked the books I read from the series but I wasn’t completely enamored by it. Then I heard that the books I should be reading are the first few of them, and I suddenly realized the mistake that I had made. I cannot wait to dive into this novella and find out the secrets behind this magical door.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

A Blade So Black by LL McKinney

The Fantasy Book Club pick of August! I’m so excited to read this one, especially when I read that it’s supposed to be an Alice in Wonderland retelling. I love Alice in Wonderland in all its whimsy and madness, so I can only imagine this one being just the same. Perhaps with a more likeable protagonist and it doesn’t hurt that the premise also sounds like she’s already been to Wonderland and now journeying through the world to find a cure for her mentor.

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker

This book, well. I don’t have a reason for reading it. It sounded beautiful with magic and mystical woods. I love a YA fantasy like this, so I added it to my list in hopes of reading it before the end of the month.


Rora is a shifter, as magical as all those born in the wilderness–and as feared. She uses her abilities to spy for the king, traveling under different guises and listening for signs of trouble.

When a magical illness surfaces across the kingdom, Rora uncovers a devastating truth: Finley, the young prince and her best friend, has caught it, too. His only hope is stardust, the rarest of magical elements, found deep in the wilderness where Rora grew up–and to which she swore never to return.

But for her only friend, Rora will face her past and brave the dark, magical wood, journeying with her brother and the obstinate, older prince who insists on coming. Together, they must survive sentient forests and creatures unknown, battling an ever-changing landscape while escaping human pursuers who want them dead. With illness gripping the kingdom and war on the horizon, Finley’s is not the only life that hangs in the balance.

What are you reading this month?

Pub Day Picks // June 22, 2021

Pub Day Picks // June 22, 2021

MMmm I love the smell of new books in the morning. Happy Pub Day! Today’s another great day with some great reads. From the continuation of the Henna Artist story to someone who is looking to change her own destiny. I think the one I’m most excited about is the anthology of stories based on Black teen love and the warm summer nights.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi

In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi’s intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling.

It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema.

Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

Blackout by Various Authors

Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teen love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark.

A summer heatwave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks…

A first meeting. 

Long-time friends. 

Bitter exes. 

And maybe the beginning of something new.

When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.

Beloved authors—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—celebrate the beauty of six couples and the unforgettable magic that can be found on a sweltering starry night in the city.

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.

Pub Day Picks // June 8, 2021

Pub Day Picks // June 8, 2021

Happy Pub Day! It’s Tuesday and I’m very excited about today’s books. I’ve been eyeing both of these for quite some time and I can’t believe it’s finally the day they’re all out. While it’s a bit lean this week, the books are quality. Here’s what I’m excited about publishing today.

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson

Set in a world on the edge of an apocryphal flood, this heart-stoppingly romantic fantasy debut is perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Rae Carson.

In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court’s Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she’s ever known. Even if “anything” means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella’s mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

My June 2021 Possibilities

My June 2021 Possibilities

Happy June, everyone! I’m so glad that it’s finally summer and getting to read some great books. Before I begin, I wanted to mention that this summer will be different as I’m transitioning away from blogging full time to blogging for a hobby. I’ll still be here sharing book reviews, book lists, and fun bookish things, but not as often as I was doing.

Also, since I’m transitioning to a new full time job, my reading life is definitely going to slow down. It took me a second to be okay with the transition, but I think I’m finally at a good spot and happy to still have reading in my life. This time, I’m moving away from all the new releases and keeping up to speed with what’s coming out. It’s been fun, but there’s never been an obligation for me to read and review these books. Instead, I want to read what I want. It’s about quality over quantity for me now and I feel like I’ll much prefer my reading life this way. Of course there will always be books I’m reading to read and review, but since I’m not going to have the luxury of reading all day, I want to be selective and read the books I want to read.

Granted, it’ll always be tough to do because there’s so many books that pop up that I’m excited to read and check out. But the one thing I’ve learned in my life about my reading is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Reading books is about getting into a story and finding yourself lost in a new world or exploring the real world through a different lens. Why rush the process of full immersion?

So new month, new me. Let’s hopefully get some reading done:

My May 2021 Possibilities

My May 2021 Possibilities

Hello and hi and welcome to another month on the glorious Earth! May is going to be a doozy with all the great books being released this year. I think there’s huge titles publishing for almost every genre, so this summer is going to be filled with so many great books to read. I’m salivating with anticipation!

Aside from the great books that are publishing this month, it’s also Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This May, I’m celebrating Asian and Asian American authors the best way I know how: reading them and showcasing them. I’ll be sharing some great books that I’ve loved, some new-to-me authors you should check out, and the books I’ll be reading. It’ll be a great month of reads and I can’t wait to get started.

I’ll also be sharing what I’m reading ahead of the Hugo Awards. Yep! I’m doing it again this year. This time, I’m giving myself a bit more leeway since the award ceremony’s been postponed until December. I’ll share more details of that in the future.

For now, let’s see what I’m getting into this month:

April 2021 TBR

April 2021 TBR

April is always that month that makes me excited for spring. Of course, it’s the rainy month before the real spring begins, but I love the rain. It’s also my anniversary month, so I’m in a little bit of a lovey dovey mood.

Aside from Easter and our anniversary, this month will be another one of sitting at home and reading books. Here’s a few of my plans:

  • Now that more donation-based store are allowing for people to bring in their donations, I can finally get rid of mine. You may know this infamous wall of books I have in my reading nook. Well, that’s actually all the books I’m trying to get rid of. Yep, those are the books I don’t want in my collection. I’ve just been keeping them in that space and using them as a prop for photos, but I’ll be getting rid of them soon. I’m going to a few neighborhood Little Free Libraries and stocking those up. The rest will be donated to the Goodwill and to the local used bookstores. It’s finally time to liberate those books.
  • Since it’s also my anniversary month and more fruits come into season, I’ll probably doing some baking. It’s crumble time! I love making crisps and crumbles from the fresh berries and fruit at the local supermarket. I love making these because they’re easy, my husband loves them, and you can make them with pretty much any fruit you can find. Oh, I absolutely love some delicious fruit pies.
  • I also have a variety of book promotions, launches, and Indie Bookstore Day at the end of April. It’ll be a great month of books and I’m excited to start a new month with a fresh perspective.

Here’s what I plan to read:

I also have a bunch of books I’m calling my “second string” for when I finish this first group of books. I’ll share more once I’m ready to share those. Hope to have a great spring! I’ll chat with you more soon.

The Great Book Unhaul

The Great Book Unhaul

The end of a year always comes with some tension. There’s books I want to read, but haven’t had a chance to. There’s books I’ve said I’ll read, but probably won’t. Books from publishers that I considered to cover on the blog and on Instagram. Books I bought on a whim, but aren’t interested in reading anymore. Plus the backlist. OMG my backlist.

Every year, my TBR gets bigger and bigger. And despite the number of books I read each year, it doesn’t seem to lessen. It’s like this snow beast that continues to grow with every dip down a snowy decline. So last month, I did a ruthless unhaul of most of my TBR. I went through my physical books, my ebooks, and even some of the audiobooks I’ve collected and made some very difficult decisions on what I want to keep and read and what I’ll just be leaving for whenever I get to them in the future.

Most of the books I own are sent to me by various publishers and promotional places to possibly promote on my Instagram account and blog. Sadly, I get more books per month than I can actually read. I get A LOT and I’m not complaining about this. I’m so thankful and grateful for all the books I receive, but there’s no possible way for me to read through them all and stay on top of it unless I become super discerning with what I have sent to me.

I really had to ask myself the hardest question any reader should ask; will I actually read this book? And you really need to know yourself if you decide to do this and actually ask this question. Of course books that I didn’t finish or didn’t like are removed right away, but the hardest part was discerning if a book I’ve never read will be worth the read. Obviously, you can’t answer that question until you actually read it. But I trust myself and know what I’m capable of and I took a lot of advice from Marie Kondo. Will this book bring me joy to read? Will it be something I will want to keep for years to come?

My main objective in this is to have a TBR that I can actually get through. Having an objective while you’re doing this will keep you on track. If you don’t have an objective, you might find yourself going through this list and adding things that will again dwell on your shelf. I don’t know if this will in any way help with that, but so far, it’s been in a holding pattern especially now that less books are coming in from publishers. I only plan on doing one big challenge next year, but after that it’s all what I want to read. After this year with the pandemic and always being stressed out and filled with anxiety, I want a year of reading that’s so laid back you’ll hardly recognize my TBR at the end of it.

So I went through all the books. I wrote down every title I decided to keep and created an entire spreadsheet with them. As I read them, I’ll mark them off this spreadsheet. I don’t think the spreadsheet is completely necessary, but at the same time I love spreadsheets.

Any of the books that didn’t make the cut are going to be donated to the local library and used bookshops in the area (eventually when things reopen). If I put it in the unhaul pile, it’s mostly because I could easily get the book from the library. If I fall in love with a book from the library, then I’ll just buy a copy for myself.

As I let go of the books I knew I would either read later or never read, I realized I’ve collected books for series that I won’t read. I’ve got books that sounded intriguing at the time, but truthfully I don’t think I’ll read. Books in genres I don’t read that I somehow kept because I was optimistic that my feelings about the genre will change (they haven’t), and books I just don’t want in my collection.

Here’s some highlights

I decided to let go of series I said I’ll finish, but I never will. That includes Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare. I’ve been saying for years that I’ll eventually read all of Throne of Glass and all of The Mortal Instruments. Years have gone by to the point where I don’t care anymore. I’ve read much better fantasy books since I’ve collected these and I wasn’t a fan of the books in the Throne of Glass series that I actually read. So, they’re going in the unhaul pile.

I always emphasize understanding the genres you really love reading. What are the components of a book that make you read them? Knowing this is a magic ticket to assessing the rest of your TBR. While I worked on this unhaul, I considered the books from genres outside of science fiction and fantasy. Some of the books had magical realism, others had components of science fiction or fantasy in them, but what I realized is that I‘m not that excited about books that feature components of the genres I love. I love me a good old fantasy book and I love a great science fiction adventure. But I don’t think I’ll be spending my time reading about dystopian universes where big box companies like Amazon run the entire world. I’m just not into it!

I didn’t want to delete the books on my e-reader mostly because the e-reader books don’t bother me as much as the physical books I have to look at everyday. So what I did was remove the downloads and kept the book. On my particular e-reader, I have the option to view only the downloaded books. I’ve been using filters and creating collections so I can hide the books I won’t read and put the books I want to read front and center. So far, I like it. I will deal with the books I have on here that I won’t read in the future. Who knows, maybe after I get through the books I want to read, I’ll prioritize the books that I’ve hidden.

Speaking specifically to genre, I also considered the age of the book. I mean, who the book is written for. I love reading YA fiction, but not every YA fantasy story connects with me. Some are spectacular, but there’s a lot of okay books out there too. For those, I took a bit more time discerning whether I’ll read these or not. I took out a ton of the contemporary stories that looked cute, but aren’t really calling me anymore. I kept the books written by authors of color or speak to a group of people since those interest me more than just a love story. Many of the books on my TBR are still YA fantasy, but I’ve eliminated ones I know I won’t like or ones I’ll just read at the library.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that removing these books from my physical collection doesn’t mean that I’ll never read them. It’s just a hassle to keep them. At some point in the future if I decide to read these books, I’ll borrow them from the library. If I like them enough to want a copy, then I can go ahead and buy the book again. I would much rather keep the books that I have read and loved than keep the books that all have big question marks on them.

I know there are probably books in that unhaul pile that I wish I kept or will regret putting there. I’m taking a big risk especially since I haven’t read the books, but I’m okay with it. I’d much rather borrow the books from the library in the future, read it when I’m fully ready to embrace it, and then make my decisions that way. I don’t want the book to languish in a pile for years without ever being read. But I also feel like if I loved the book and want to keep a copy, I’ll buy it.