www wednesday // 9-16-20

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

what are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading one of my BOTM add ons, ONE TO WATCH. This book is about Bea, a plus size fashion blogger, who goes viral in a vitriolic take down of beauty standards on a popular dating show, Main Squeeze. She is then invited to be the titular Main Squeeze of the latest season, after dealing with her own heartbreak.

what are you reading next?

BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my Book of the Month pick for September since I opted to go with one of the selected member favorites. I’m really interested in reading this one because I’ve never given historical romance a try, and this one, which is about a woman in 1879 who is accepted to Oxford on the condition that she attract men to the suffragist cause. This is also a series, so I am happy to know if I like it there will be more books by this author.

what did you just finish reading?

I won’t lie: I pretty much ended up skimming this book. I liked it at first and was drawn in by Jamal’s friendship with Q and Autumn’s character, but I ended up not being hugely invested in it. I felt like the story read more like a movie, which for me meant that it felt a bit too overdramatic without a lot of development of each issue. I thought Jamal’s relationship with Autumn was tied up too easily, and didn’t believe that she’d stick around after some of the things he did and how much he lied to her. The friendship especially felt too easily resolved which was likely a result of the short timeline in which the story took place, but that aspect of the book had me feeling a bit let down by the execution of the concept.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

July rewind \\ is 2020 still here??

Hi, hello. Hi. Um. Quite a lot has happened in the world since I last did a monthly rewind on this blog, which was April apparently? And somehow IT IS STILL 2020 AKA THE YEAR THAT DRAGS ON FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES (but, you know, hopefully…not). Anyway, onto the wrap up:

How’s life?

Wow I do not like quarantined life. Considering how much of an introvert I am this is kind of shocking still even to me, but I do not like having large amounts of time being stuck in my apartment on my hands. Fortunately, in July the library where I work switched to sidewalk service, so I go into work every other week. Things have been very quiet so far, but honestly I’m stupidly thrilled to be back at work and have something else to do with my time other than stare at the ceiling and bemoan my lack of hobbies and contemplate the horrible state of the world.

I also went home a few times (once the stay at home order was lifted in my state), was gifted a glorious iPad, and got to spend some quality socially distanced time with a friend. The iPad has definitely improved the quality of my quarantined weeks and is getting a LOT of use. I did also manage to fix the virus problem on my actual laptop, which makes it a lot easier to use.

Really the only other thing of note to happen was that I made a lot of bad quarantine hair dye decisions that resulted in green hair and had to dye it dark brown again to fix it. I should have gone with my gut and just done pink again and would have thus avoided the whole green hair debacle that resulted from dyeing it blue, which I had never previously attempted.

Overall, life is okay I guess, and I, like the rest of the world, am just trying to survive and hang in there.

What i read

I actually managed to read this month! Quarantine really put a damper on my reading, which was unfortunate considering how much more time I had to read had I been able to focus for more than 20 seconds. However, in July, I participated in the Pop Culture Readathon: 90s Edition and managed to read 9 whole books.

1. Be Dazzled – Ryan La Sala
2. The Fell of Dark – Caleb Roehrig
3. Stella Diaz Has Something to Say – Angela Dominguez
4. Check, Please – Ngozi Ukazu
5. Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron
6. Heartstopper 1 – Alice Oseman
7. Heartstopper 2 – Alice Oseman
8. Heartstopper 3 – Alice Oseman
9. Check, Please 2 – Ngozi Ukazu

Hello, new favorite book^^^

My favorite book was probably CINDERELLA IS DEAD, which is a diverse, queer retelling/continuation of Cinderella. I loved the writing style and the unique twist the author gave to the story, and I can genuinely say it was a version of it I haven’t seen. To be honest though, I had a really great reading month and the only disappointment was CHECK PLEASE 2, but even with that book there were things I liked about it.

Blogging highlights

My posts:

Around the blogosphere:

  • Cielo shared 10 upcoming Latinx books for the rest of 2020
  • Tanya wrote about the recent controversy involving the performative diversity displayed by the Reading Rush organizers
  • Sofia added a lot of books to my TBR with her list of favorite romances of 2020
  • Kayli shared her mid-year update, and you know I love a good update
  • Sabrina wrote a fun post about bookish coincidences
  • Leelyn discussed Storygraph and what it had to say about her reading habits
  • Malka talked about her journey with the romance genre, which was very relatable
  • Charvi gushed about one of my fave reads of the year, FELIX EVER AFTER

How was July for you? Tell me all about it!

pop culture readathon update!

Hello friends! At the beginning of the month, I announced my intent and potential plans for participating in the Pop Culture Readathon, happening from July 1-July 30. So far, I’ve had a lot of fun participating, but have realized that most of the books I’ve completed fit prompts on the Teen Dream board, even though I originally planned to try to get bingo on both the Family Affair and Thrill Ride boards.

For today’s post, I just wanted to give a little update for which prompts I’ve completed for the Teen Dream board thus far:

  • Laney Boggs – A book involving an artistic element – BE DAZZLED, which I read at the beginning of the month, definitely fits the bill for this prompt. Ryan La Sala’s upcoming 2021 release (will we even make it to 2021??) is super artsy fartsy and is about Raffy, a gay cosplayer, who wants to compete in a major cosplaying competition and prove to his mom and himself that his crafty dreams are worthwhile, and finds love with an unexpected boy along the way.
  • You didn’t tell me you were taking me to a gay bar!! – queer centered book – I’m using THE FELL OF DARK by Caleb Roehrig for this prompt. Nearly EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER was queer, and there was even a PANSEXUAL VAMPIRE!!!!! This book was basically Buffy the Vampire Slayerbutmakeitgay and I was so here for it.
  • Clueless – read a retelling or a classic – I’m using CINDERELLA IS DEAD for this one, which is a continuation of the Cinderella story set 200 years after her death, where the fairytale is used to oppress women and girls. The heroine, Sophia, is forced with the other girls of the land to present herself at a ball where the girls must be chosen by a husband, even though she’d rather marry her best friend, Erin. This book crushed me in the absolute best way and I have still not recovered.
  • Drive me Crazy – fake dating trope – I’m currently reading 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY, the third book in the wonderful Dimpleverse, about Pinky and Samir pretending to date over a summer. I just started this one and am already enjoying it.
  • Kid ‘n’ play – a book with a bromance – I’m counting CHECK, PLEASE! which is a graphic novel about a gay boy who bakes and plays hockey with his college team, on which there are many bromances.
  • Dianne Davenport – have your best friend choose your read – One of my work friends wanted me to read HEARTSTOPPER and I discovered we had a copy of book 1 at my library and I was ECSTATIC!! I read this book in about 45 minutes and was so there for the mutual queer but slightly clueless yearning. I felt this book so much and related to Nick’s struggles a lot and desperately need the rest of the series to magically appear next to me.

So basically, the readathon is going pretty well! I almost have a couple bingos, so hopefully I’ll get at least one over the next 9 days!

are you participating in any readathons this month?

mid-year book freakout tag

I know it’s July and not *technically* mid-year anymore, but I decided I wanted to do this tag after all this year because it’s a classic. I probably haven’t actually read enough books to do this tag (I’m at 24 books for the entire year and my GR goal is 25), so we’ll see how this goes, but I definitely still have books I want to gush about.

1. best book you’ve read so far in 2020

This is probably a toss up between THREE DARK CROWNS, which I finally read, and FELIX EVER AFTER. I loved both of them for very different reasons; TDC was a surprise for me because I’d been putting it off for so long, and FELIX I loved because I felt seen by the trans/nonbinary rep.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far

I’ve only read one sequel this year, which was ONE DARK THRONE, and it was really killer…no pun intended. The cliffhanger at the end of THREE DARK CROWNS had me absolutely needing to read book 2 almost immediately because of the ending with Katharine (who I still love even though she’s evil), so I had to get all the rest of the series immediately.

3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Eeeeee I need to read YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN!!!!! I ordered this one from Bookshop for one of my Blackout books because it was also one of my most anticipated releases of the whole year, and it’s taking forever and a half to get here. But I NEED this rivals to lovers queer book in my life PLEASE I AM BEGGING!!

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4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

The book that popped into my head for this is NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU by Kristina Forest, who wrote one of my favorite books from last year, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE. I just loved her writing style and she made me remember what I love so much about YA contemporary, so I’m super psyched for her second book.

I’m also REALLY pumped for Tiffany Jackson’s new book, GROWN. I have loved two of her previous books, ALLEGEDLY and MONDAY’S NOT COMING, and can’t wait to read more from her.

5. Biggest disappointment

Honestly I’m not sure what to pick for this one because only one book I’ve read this year was genuinely terrible (VERY NICE). I guess if I had to pick one I’d say I’LL BE THE ONE just because even though I liked the story and romance, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, but I would still definitely recommend that book to people.

6. Biggest surprise

I know I’m repeating books already but for sure THREE DARK CROWNS. I expected I would like it because the premise of three royals fighting to the death for the crown is exciting and one I like, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as amazing as it was.

7. Favorite new author

I’m going to pick Riley Sager for this one because I really liked both thrillers I read by him. I read both LOCK EVERY DOOR and HOME BEFORE DARK, but probably HOME BEFORE DARK was my favorite because it was more on the horror-y end of things. Both were about creepy houses, which is totally my jam, and both completely surprised me because they did not end at all how I guessed or expected.

9. Newest favorite character

I’m skipping 8, newest fictional crush, because I mostly read YA still and that would be weird because I’m 26.

Anyway.

I’d say Auggie from THE FELL OF DARK by Caleb Roehrig, aka gay Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for this one. He really made the story special with his sarcasm, horniness, and general awkwardness. He was so charming and I just wanted to hug him and protect him.

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10. A book that made you cry

I don’t usually cry during books so I don’t have an answer for this one.

11. A book that made you happy

Even though it’s a dark book, it still made me so happy to see so many bi characters in Christine Lynn Herman’s 2019 debut, THE DEVOURING GRAY. I had a lot of bi friends in high school so I felt very seen by that book even though it was paranormal.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation

I haven’t actually seen any this year I don’t think?

13. Favorite post you’ve done so far this year

Probably this post. I was inspired to write a letter to a book because I saw one of my favorite bloggers, Nut Free Nerd, do that, so I experimented with that style for my THREE DARK CROWNS review and loved writing a review that way.

14. The most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

I LOVE my physical copy of CINDERELLA IS DEAD, and I’m so glad I preordered it even though I had an eARC. It is just so gorgeous.

15. What book you need to read by the end of the year

YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN. I know I already said I need to read this book, but I have a very bad habit of putting off my most anticipated reads, and I refuse to do it with this one. I also need to read 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY by Sandhya Menon before the end of the year because I keep forgetting about it even though I am very excited for it, which doesn’t usually happen. I’ve just totally lost track of books and when they’re coming out this year.

If you want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged 🙂

Pop Culture Readathon: 90s Edition Possibilities

Hello! I am here! I still exist! Which is a shock even to me sometimes, lol. During quarantine, I haven’t felt much like blogging or reading (or doing much of anything except ordering out food and watching reality shows about food and houses), but I’m going back to work on July 7th and I’m hoping that will give me a sense of normalcy, and also encourage me to read more indirectly.

I also saw the Pop Culture Readathon based on 90s movies and it looked so fun that I can’t resist signing up even though I’ve been the worst at readathons for the past couple years, but maybe seeing blogging friends do it will help motivate me.

I was really torn between three different boards, Teen Dream, Thrill Ride, and Family Affair, but ultimately decided that I think I could achieve a bingo most easily with Family Affair and Thrill Ride (plus, a lot of my favorite movies like Scream and Jurassic Park were on Thrill Ride so I may have to do some reading from that board just because I love those movies. Maybe I don’t hate the 90s as much as I thought).

Here are some of the titles I am thinking about reading for the Family Affair prompts:

Read a standalone – There are a bunch of middle grade books I want to read for my upcoming September virtual book talk program on Hispanic Heritage Month books, and I could fit many of them into this prompt. I’m probably going to read Stella Diaz has Something to Say, Merci Suarez Changes Gears, The First Rule of Punk, or Strange Birds for this prompt. I also think it’s fitting to do MG for at least one of the prompts because the theme is “Family”

Read a book set in a “wild” landscape – OMG, I am totally gonna read Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass for this; it is one of my absolutely most anticipated books of the year. A group of queer teens trying to escape a conversion therapy island? Sign me up.

Read a book with a dark cover – I have a lot of options for this prompt as well, but I think I might go with Gloomtown or Star Daughter for this one. Gloomtown is another MG book that’s supposed to be very spooky, and Star Daughter is a book inspired by Hindu mythology that I’ve been dying to read.

Read a book involving sports – I’m going to read Head over Heels for this prompt, since it’s about gymnastics. I actually usually end up really liking books about sports despite not being at all athletic. I find them fascinating because it’s a subject I don’t know anything about.

I’m also debating doing the Thrill Ride board if I can read enough this month (i .e. More than my no books a month during quarantine). Here are some of the books I’m thinking of reading for Thrill Ride:

Read a book set on the island/coast/body of water – I realized I could read Wilder Girls for this prompt and was so psyched because I keep meaning to read this book, although maybe reading a book where the characters are all in quarantine on an island might be a little too real right now.

Read a mystery or thriller – I know I have more mysteries/thrillers on my TBR but the only one that came to mind was one I just downloaded, She’s Too Pretty to Burn, which is a lesbian thriller.

Book w/ a haunted or creepy feel – I would like to read Burn our Bodies Down for this book, which is the second book by the author of Wilder Girls. I may also read Mexican Gothic because I have an eARC of it and I REALLY want to read it.

Book w/the undead – This is another one where I know I have books on my TBR for this but can’t think of many. Maybe I’ll read the gay vampire book Fell of Dark for this one. Or I’ll finally read Ninth House.

I am hoping to read at least 4 books for Pop Culture Readathon, aka 1 bingo on 1 board. I still have one book I started in June to finish before I get started, so hopefully writing this post will motivate me to read that book so next week at the library when we have no patrons I can read in between shelf reading.

Are you participating in Pop Culture Readathon? What board are you using? Tell me in the comments!

my book expo to do list

So in case you missed it…I’M GOING TO BOOK EXPO THIS YEAR!!!!! I am so super excited because I’ve never been to real Book Expo, only Power Readers (I am oooooooold) and the first year of BookCon, which was a STRAIGHT DISASTER, and I’ve never gone in a professional position for work-related reasons either, so I am PSYCHED. I had to go through this whole process of getting my funds approved so I can have all my hotel and travel and food and train paid for by my library job, but THEY SAID YES and now I can go to Book Expo practically for free and DID I MENTION I AM EXCITED?!?!?!! (if you can’t tell by all the caps and screaming…idk what to say).

BUT let me tell you…I have a lot to do before Book Expo actually gets here, so today’s post is mostly me being excited and also me trying to get myself organized and figuring out what I have to do before Book Expo.

Here are some of the things I am doing to prep:

  • Plan my outfits. This may not seem important to some people, but I gotta look cute for meeting cool bookish folk and meeting authors like LEIGH BARDUGO and honestly I mostly have to look on Wednesday for the NINTH HOUSE signing and getting a selfie with Leigh Bardugo and the rest will be fine.
  • Get cool makeup. Not going to lie, I did buy two makeup items specifically to look adorable at Book Expo, namely some glitter hair/body spray so I am sparkly and fairy-like, and also blue eyeliner that hopefully I can figure out how to use in time?? I’m really bad at eyeliner, folks.
  • Favorite all the exhibitors I want to see. Publisher’s Weekly came out with a roundup of all the cool ARCs to get at Book Expo, so I used that to help me make a list of all the vendors I want to see when I go there. I have secret hopes that some of the publishing contacts I’ve been emailing over the past year will be there so I can hug them and thank them profusely for making my bookish life bliss.
  • Make a schedule of the panels & signings I want to go to. The main reasons I cited in my work paperwork for Book Expo was a bunch of the panels and how I thought they’d help me professionally, so I will actually be going to panels at Book Expo this year. I’m glad I have three full conference days because otherwise I’d be worried I wouldn’t get enough time with the exhibitors. But there are a lot of panels I want to go to about diversity issues, particularly some LGBT panels, and I am very interested in them. I’m also going to Book List’s Shout and Share because I am leading a Shout and Share panel at an event at work for a big con-type thing next month.
  • Make a packing list. And also pack. Usually I’m not a packing-list type person, but I am for some reason so stressed that I’m going to forget something I need or want or will help make me feel more comfortable so I’m making one.
  • Make a playlist. A couple people suggested to me that I make a playlist of happy music for when I’m inevitably stressed out and panicking in NYC, so I am definitely making a playlist of happy and/or badass songs that make me feel like a queen/boss. Most notable artists on the list thus far include Sigrid, Lizzo, and K. Flay.
  • Finish the books I’m currently in the middle of. I want to be reading as few books as possible when I go to Book Expo so I can start my Book Expo books immediately. I want to be free of any reading commitments so I can fully immerse myself in my Book Expo loot.

 

So, yeah, basically…I’m gonna be super busy this week. My week is already going to be super hectic with various work things (ugh, save me) and then I have to do…all this. So, if you are a kind soul, please send me some good vibes to get through the week and then doing all this stuff so I can have a successful Book Expo with as little stress as possible.

Oh, and by the way, I’m going to be on hiatus until I get back June 1. I may even be emotionally dead after that, so I’m not sure when you’ll be hearing from me next after this post. So, wish me luck, light, and books, and I’ll see you all on the other side!

blog hiatus

this is just a very wee post to say I have in fact decided to take a blog hiatus. I will definitely be returning from it, and probably won’t last more than a week. My goal is to hiatus and recharge for at least two weeks because my brain is dead and can’t think of any blog posts, and at this point I’m just forcing myself to write them. But DO NOT FEAR I will be coming back shortly…

smol announcement: comments

Hi, friends. It has come to my attention that some people’s comments have not been going through since I went self-hosted approx. 2 weeks ago, so if you have commented and I have not responded yet, it’s because my site appears to be having problems, not because I’m ignoring you! I am so sorry I didn’t notice this until now, but I thought that perhaps people were suddenly busy and/or didn’t like my site anymore since the name change, but now I know that is not the case and I am working on trying to find a solution so you can all comment again! I think it may have been an issue with the theme I was using, since all of my settings with Jetpack were correct, so I’m hoping that changing the theme back to the old one will solve the issue. Again, I’m so sorry about this and I am working to find a solution ASAP!

update: I think I fixed it!

Beat the Backlist Sign-Up Post

Friends, I have made an important decision: I am participating in the 2019 Beat the Backlist challenge, hosted by Novel Knight! The goal of this challenge is to knock some backlist titles off of your TBR list, with backlist this year being defined as any book published in 2018 or earlier. I have A LOT of backlist books, including finished copies, ARCs, and eARCs, that I have been meaning to read FOREVER, so this seems like the perfect challenge to participate in this year. My goal is to read 1-2 backlist titles per month.

I have way more than 12 backlist titles to read, but since I definitely want to read at least 1 backlist book per month, here are 12 backlist books I hope to read this year:

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For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

why I want to read this book: Queer! And fandom! And music!! And hype!

 

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Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.

But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.

Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…

The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.

why I want to read this book: I love magical realism plus it’s JEWISH.

 

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Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

why I want to read this book: Um, duh, because I LOVE AN EMBER IN THE ASHES!! I can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet. I got nervous and then also can’t decide if I should reread A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT before I read it because I’ve forgotten everything.

 

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Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

why I want to read this book: I’ve wanted to read this one since I got the eARC but somehow never got around to it? It’s queer and writerly and all the bloggers I love seem to love it so hopefully it lives up to the hype!

 

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Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

why I want to read this book: This book is on my TBR list solely because of blogger recommendations.

 

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Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet-star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever.

When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

why I want to read this book: Did you SEE THE COMP TITLES????

 

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A dark enchantment blights the land.

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind. 

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes.

why I want to read this book: I’ve seen Naomi Novick around a lot on the blogosphere and want to branch out into adult books a bit more, and since I love fantasy, this seems like a good place to start, though I’ve heard her writing style can be polarizing.

 

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A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

why I want to read this book: I loved Emma Mills’ sophomore release, THIS ADVENTURE ENDS, and have been meaning to read more by her since then!

 

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Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

why I want to read it: Musical MC! Diverse!! Artsy school! Bisexual!! It is basically me in a book. Oh, and I loved Riley Redgate’s debut, SEVEN WAYS WE LIE. I have no idea why I’ve been putting this one off for so long.

 

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For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton. 

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

why I want to read this book: I LOVED A. G. Howard’s SPLINTERED trilogy, and have been hoping to love another book by her since that series ended. I was disappointed in ROSEBLOOD and never finished it, but I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while and might read it after I read her newest book, STAIN.

 

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After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart.

But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.

Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.

why I want to read this book: Book blogger MC?!?!?!?!?!?!

 

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In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods… 

why I want to read it: I love magical realism, and this series seems to be getting some good reviews around the blogosphere with the third book coming out.