Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

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The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: January 29th 2019 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 320 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

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Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His “wives” and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk — to get the thing they want the most. Continue reading “Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg”

Now We Rise Blog Tour Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Diversity, Magic
Publication: March 6th 2018 by Henry Holt / Macmillan USA
Series: Yes. Legacy of Orïsha #1.
Length: 600 pages
Format: ARC from Fierce Reads / Macmillan International
Rating: ★★★★★

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Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Continue reading “Now We Rise Blog Tour Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi”

Blog Tour Review: Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista

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Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters
edited by Ronald S. Lim & Brigitte Bautista
Genre: Anthology, Romance, YA / NA, #ownvoices, LGBTQIA+
Publication: January 27th 2018 by #romanceclass Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 271 pages
Format: e-ARC from the tour host
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Print copies in the PH

There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

(Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. Featuring short stories by Agay Llanera, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Danice Sison, Yeyet Soriano, Barbie Barbieto, Katt Briones, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, and Brigitte Bautista. This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.)

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista”

Review: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

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Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Genre
: YA Contemporary, Diverse, Coming-of-age
Publication: January 16th 2018 from Soho Teen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 288 pages
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★☆

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A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

Continue reading “Review: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed”

Book Review #95: Forest of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

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Forest of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling, Action, Adventure
Publication: October 10, 2017 from Philomel Books
Series: Rise of The Empress #1
Length: 363 pages
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★★

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An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Continue reading “Book Review #95: Forest of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao”