Recommended Reads | 6/14

Today I again wanted to do something a little different and offer up some recommendations of diverse books which I have read and loved. These are in no way all of the diverse reads I would recommend, but a great selection of some books that I really enjoyed.

First off let’s talk about two books that both came out this year and are currently only $1.99 for the ebook version (disclaimer: please double check the price as it can vary by location or be a limited time sale)! I read both of these for blog tours and one of them is still sitting at my favorite book of the year so far!

Don’t Read the CommentsFor Divya and Aaron, it’s the world of online gaming. While Divya trades her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay rent, Aaron plays as a way to fuel his own dreams of becoming a game developer – and as a way to disappear when his mom starts talking about medical school. After a chance online meeting, the pair decides to team up – but soon find themselves the targets of a group of internet trolls who begin launching a real-world doxxing campaign, threatening Aaron’s dream and Divya’s actual life. They think can drive her out of the game, but Divya’s whole world is on the line…

A Love Hate Thing – Despite having been shot, Tyson Trice has survived the mean streets of Lindenwood, so nothing can faze him—not even being tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills.

Nandy Smith, the golden girl of Pacific Hills, is not pleased when she hears her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy. Nandy suddenly fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames.

The wall between Trice and Nandy’s bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken over Trice’s heart. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

The rest of these I have read and absolutely loved as well, two of them are in verse and the last one is an anthology that I really enjoyed and is full of diversity. Both of the books in verse are also great audiobooks!

The Poet XXiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Long Way DownAn ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

I’m not going to include the whole synopsis for Long Way Down because in my opinion it gives too much away. It’s a story about a boy whose about to make a decision that could change his life, and the people who get on the elevator with him as he rides it down to the street.

Fresh InkCareful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you. 

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print. This collection addresses topics like gentrification, acceptance, untimely death, coming out, and poverty and ranges in genre from contemporary realistic fiction to adventure and romance. It will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

If you’re interested in picked up any of these I’ve linked both the covers and the titles! The links for Don’t Read the Comments and A Love Hate Thing go directly to the kindle version that’s currently on sale.

Happy reading!

Review: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

tea dragon festivalI cannot fully express how excited I was to get approved on NetGalley for this title, there may have been some squealing, just saying. The Tea Dragon Festival was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and has fully cemented the fact that I will probably buy anything Katie O’Neill writes in the future.

This story is a prequel to The Tea Dragon Society and you do meet some characters in this story that are in that one as well, which was a great surprise. It really feels like O’Neill is building a world for these stories and I desperately hope there will be many more installments featuring tea dragons and these characters.

I love how seamlessly she works diversity and inclusiveness into her stories, it isn’t there as any kind of novelty or anything, it’s there because these things are part of everday life and part of people’s worlds. This book specifically features a non-binary character and also highlights the use of sign language. Along with that it featured information at the beginning and end for resources regarding sign language, which I thought was a great way to provide information for anyone who is curious after reading.

I will also forever love O’Neill’s art style, she has the perfect balance of simplicity and detail and the color are so vivid that the scenes easily come to life. These stories are whimsical and full of fantasy, but still grounded and full of important messages.

The Tea Dragon Festival is coming out on September 17th from Oni Press, make sure that you check it out and also check out The Tea Dragon Society while you’re at it!

Happy reading!

Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

the gilded wolvesThis book is probably going to be in my top 5 books of the year, no joke. This book did take me a while to read, but I think a big part of that was the fact that I kept stopping simply so I could absorb what was happening.

The writing in this book is so rich and has so much depth. Chokshi’s description of the places and items were so well built that everything was vivid and could be seen in your mind’s eye. The Paris of 1889 that she built perfectly captured the glitz and opulence of the time, while also weaving in the fantastical elements she created.

I found myself falling in love with each character and their individual quirks. Every character was unique in their back story and motivation, so it was wonderful to see how their paths wove together and allowed them to work towards a common purpose. I won’t lie, there were quite a few tear filled moments as you see the consequences of actions unfolding, but I couldn’t stop reading and had to keep coming back to find out what happened.

I can’t wait for the sequel to this book to come out and waiting is probably going to drive me a little mad. While the story doesn’t necessarily end on a cliff hanger, there are definitely questions that still have to be answered and conflicts that have to be resolved. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would, but alas, that’s the cutoff.

The Gilded Wolves is already out and is available, be sure to check it out!

Happy reading!

Review: Open Earth by Sarah Mirk

Open Earth CoverI was very excited to get approved for this title on NetGalley as I had heard a ton of positive hype about it.  Thanks to Oni Press for approving me.  This graphic novel, written by Sarah Mirk and illustrated by Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aquirre, explores relationships and emotions aboard a space station.  It centers around a young woman who is learning how to navigate her love life and what love and physical relationships really are in her life.

Be warned, there are plenty of references to sex and visuals of sex, so if that isn’t your thing then this graphic novel will not be for you.  There are many discussions about different types of relationships.  The teenagers on this space station are very open and accepting with their sexuality, which was refreshing to see.  At the same time, this book has some deeper commentary in it that were welcome and great discussion points.

The art style was rich and vibrant.  It draws you in with the detail and saturated colors while still being fun and easy on the eyes. Settings and characters were instantly recognizable and unique.

I would definitely read more from this team, whether in the same series or with different stories.  This graphic novel comes out on September 25th and would be a great addition to anyone’s library or collection. You can check it out on Goodreads or order your own copy on Amazon.

Happy reading!