If You Liked This, Then Try That (Series Edition)

Hey, lovelies! One of my favorite types of bookish posts and/or videos is the ‘if you liked this book, then try that book.’ So, last year I tried some of my own and I really had fun picking books to compare to one another. Which is why I’m back today with another one. Let’s get right into it!

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, you should try The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.
The Cruel Prince follows Jude. Jude is a human living in the Fairie courts. She is determined to prove herself. So, naturally, she becomes involved in the courts politics and the games that the fey play. She must prove that she belongs there by defying the prince, Cardan. While this wasn’t my favorite series with fey in it, it’s definitely a fun enemies to lovers story. The Iron King follows Meghan Chase as she’s thrust into the world of the Fey. She learns that she is the daughter of Oberon and that the courts are in danger. War is coming and Meghan might just be the person to stop it. These books both follow humans (or half-human for Meghan) that are taken into the world of the Fey. They Fey are a cruel people and that’s shown in both series. But I think it’s done better in The Iron Fey series. Meghan is a little annoying, but she has great growth. Personally, I found The Cruel Prince lacking, especially the final book. But with The Iron King, each book just got better and better.

If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you might like Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss as she volunteers for the Hunger Games to save her sisters life. Each year 12 people are selected to compete in the Hunger Games, a vicious battle to the death. Two people from each district, and when Prim’s name is called, Katniss takes her place. It’s a story of survival in a brutal world. Red Rising follows Darrow. Darrow is a Red, the lowest caste. After the death of his wife, he joins the rebellion and infiltrates the Golds, the highest caste. He’s learned that everything he knew about the world has been a lie and he’s ready to burn it down. Both of these stories are ones of survival. But as the series continue, they both become stories about overthrowing a government that is mistreating its people, that’s keeping them separate, lower. They’re both filled with characters that just want things to change for their people. They see a chance to make that change happen, so they take it.

If you liked Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, you will probably like A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.
Truly Devious follows Stevie as she starts attending the well known Ellingham Academy. Shortly after the school was opened the founder’s wife and daughter were kidnapped and never seen again. Stevie has decided that at Ellingham, she is going to solve this unsolved crime, one of the greatest in history. While she’s researching this, mysterious things start happening in the present. Now Stevie may have more than one mystery to solve. A Study in Charlotte is a Sherlock Holmes retelling following Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes who are the descendents of the original Holmes and Watson. They meet at boarding school and quickly have their own mystery to solve. Both of these series follow characters at a boarding school. Both follow characters that are trying to solve a murder. Both also have really great mental health representations. They both have characters that don’t always make the best choice, but you can’t help but root for them anyway.

If you liked The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, you should try For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig.
The Bone Witch follows Tea who has resurrected her brother. She has the gift of necromancy, which means she is a bone witch, a title that isn’t looked upon very nicely. Tea goes to learn to hone her asha abilities, but there is a darkness coming and Tea if forced to make some hard decisions. For a Muse of Fire is the story of Jetta. She and her family are shadow players. They put on a show with puppets behind a scrim. Their show is said to be as if their puppets aren’t being controlled by strings. That is because they’re not. Jetta is a necromancer. This means that with her blood she can bind souls to things. So, she binds them to her puppets. But the rebellion is growing and Jetta doesn’t want to hide her abilities anymore. I compare these two for the obvious reason, their main characters are both necromancers. And necromancers are forbidden or looked down upon. Aside from this, both of these series are set in diverse worlds, with diverse characters, and they talk about heavy, but important, topics. I highly recommend both of these trilogies.

If you liked All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace, you might like Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen.
All the Stars and Teeth is the story of Amora Montara. She’s the princess of Visidia, but to claim the title of heir to the throne she must master soul magic and gain the title of High Animancer. When things don’t go how she’s practiced, she flees the capital. This is when we meet Bastian. This is Amora’s first time seeing the rest of her kingdom and she learns that her father has been hiding things from her. There is unrest and Amora must find a way to fix things before she can claim her place on the throne. Dark Shores tells Teriana’s story. Teriana is the heir to the Maarin Triumvirate, essentially a princess. The Maarin are the only people in the world that know the entirety of the world. The East doesn’t know about the Dark Shores and the Dark Shores doesn’t know about the East, only the Maarin know. But when Maarin ships are being captured and held by the East, Teriana agrees to share what she knows and show Legatus Marcus of the 37th legion how to get to the Dark Shores. These stories are both part pirate stories and part princess stories. Both female leads are trying to figure out what it means to lead when everything around them is falling apart. They also both spend a significant amount of time sailing on ships. They both have really interesting worlds and magic systems. I do have to say that while I did really enjoy All the Stars and Teeth, I am majorly obsessed with the Dark Shores series.

These are the recommendations that I have for you all today. As always, these recommendations go both ways. Let me know if you’re read any of these or what you think of my comparisons?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! It’s May and that means its the start of Asian/Pacific Amerircan Heritage month. I highly recommend these books and authors all year round, but I know many specifically seek out these recommendations during the month of May. So, some books and authors for you to read this month.

Middle Grade

Dragon Pearl

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

Young Adult

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, #1)

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Internment by Samira Ahmed

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Adult

Phoenix Extravagant

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

These are all books I’ve read and loved and highly recommend. Some on this list are all time favorites and some are books I read this year that will be making my 2021 favorites lists. What books would you recommend by AAPI authors?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Beginner Science Fiction Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I’ve recently had someone ask me what books would be good to introduce them into the science fiction genre. Sci-fi is my favorite genre, specifically dystopian stories, but I love science fiction in all the sub-genres. So, I thought that I would make a list of recommendations that I think would be good for anyone thinking of trying science fiction for the first time.

Dystopian

The Final Six (The Final Six, #1)

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
This book follows two teens as they’re both selected to train in an astronaut program. Their mission is to make it to one of Jupiter’s moons and terraform it. The Earth is being ravaged by natural disasters and time is of the essence. But not all is as it seems with this mission. With The Final Six, you get teenage astronauts, training to go into outer space, but it takes place on an Earth that’s still mostly recognizable, so you won’t have to learn a whole new world or political system.

Internment by Samira Ahmed
This is set in a near future reality. It’s an extremely heartbreaking and emotional story. Muslim Americans are being taken from their homes and forced into internment camps. We follow Layla as her and her family are put through this. I really recommend the audiobook. I also recommend having a box of tissues nearby.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
This one is perfect for beginners. It’s almost more of a romance than a sci-fi. But there is some stuff to do with astronauts and searching for radio signals. I adore the found family in this book. It will break your heart and the fill you back up with love.

The Last 8 (The Last 8, #1)

The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
I have another end of the world scenario for you, but this one is aliens. Eight teens think they are the last humans left on Earth. We get to see some of them traveling across a deserted country, not another person to see anywhere. This is set in a familiar Earth. The eight teens need to team up to save the world, but some of them seem more interested in hiding so they can survive rather than saving anything.

The Sound of Stars by Alisha Dow
Another alien take over story. This one is filled with a love for reading and music and other art. Humans are cooped up in ‘centers’ that are controlled by the aliens. But when MoRr1S finds Ellie’s illegal library, the two flee to a potential solution that may just save the Earth. At it’s heart, this story is a love letter to music and the arts. It was beautifully written and I highly recommend it.

Books Set in Space

The Martian by Andy Weir
If you haven’t seen the movie, or even if you have, you should read this book. The main character is trapped on Mars, alone, after his crew, thinking he’s dead, leaves him behind. We follow his journal entries as he devises a way to survive and tries to make it know that he is still alive. I liked the movie, but the book had a sense of humor that was lacking in the movie. Even though it’s a life or death survival story, Weir manages to make it funny.

The Disasters

The Disasters by M.K. England
You want a diverse space adventure filled with a found family that starts out hating you? This is what you’ve been looking for. These are not the Academy trained heroes that are wanted, but they’re the only ones left. I loved this book so much and I wish more people read it. I often compare it to Aurora Rising because what I wanted from that book is what I actually got from The Disasters.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
This is pitched as Hunger Games in space. It definitely is that, but way more brutal. Everyone is classes via color. Red’s being the lowest rung. Our main character is a Red. He manages to disguise himself as a Gold and infiltrate their academy. This whole series is absolutely incredible. It’s violent and gory, but it’s all about fighting for a cause you believe in.

Superheroes

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I think this series definitely could have been shorter, but I really enjoyed the audiobooks. I know many that really love this series. But I prefer my superheroes in movie format. I think there is a lot to love about this series and it’s not full of a super complicated world or abilities.

The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune
This is one of my favorite superhero stories. The main character, Nick, has ADHD and the story is told as if we’re in his head. So, it’s a great representation of ADHD. It’s also queer and is filled with the main characters fan fiction. Please, if you like superhero movies and want to try a superhero book, start here.

Time Travel / Alternate Realities

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Chen’s debut novel is full of time travel and creating a life when everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. I really loved this book. I was expecting to enjoy it, but not nearly as much as I did. I think all of the twists and turns were surprising and unexpected. I found myself easily invested in the characters. This is definitely an underrated book. I never see anyone talking about it.

The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
I found this one randomly at Target and I’m so glad that I let the cover convince me to buy it. This is a middle-grade story that follows three siblings whose mother has disappeared. They discover their mother is missing and further, they are actually from an alternate reality. But things in that reality are not very good. So, the kids ban together, along with a friend of theirs, and try to save their mom. I thought this was a really fun middle-grade story. It’s one that I don’t see talked about often, but I definitely recommend it.

The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
This was one of my favorite read of 2020. I love this world and the science in this book. I would call it more of an intermediate science fiction story because it’s not really on a recognizable Earth. But I think the world building and the science isn’t so complex that it’s hard to figure out. The characters are diverse and some are a bit morally gray and I loved it.

Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds
A story of love and being stuck in a time loop trying to change a future that’s already happened. I loved this book so much. It’s emotional with characters that you can’t help but root for. I love this story with my whole heart. It’s got tough topics, but it also highlights joy within tough times. The romance is absolutely beautiful and it still manages to be funny despite the heartbreak that the main character faces.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Sal and Gabi are some kids I’d really love to be friends with. They’re completely hilarious. Sal can make holes in the universe into other realities. This often comes in the form of accidentally pulling his Mami from other realities because in his reality, she’s dead. Sal also has diabetes. This story is so much fun. It’s full of adventure and kids just trying to save the world.

Other

The City We Became (Great Cities, #1)

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
What would happen if New York City came alive? Read this book and you will find out. It’s bizarre and I really loved it. The idea of a city becoming sentient is a fascinating one.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
This is a contemporary science fiction story, so it’s a bit of both. We get the modern day world as we know it, but also mysterious statues that may or may not be aliens. At least, they’re made from something that’s definitely not of the Earth.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Middlegame is a bit more intermediate, but it’s such an incredible story. It’s a story of magic (sort of) and twins that were separated at birth and given to two different adoptive families. Roger and Dodger manage to find their way to each other over and over again. I loved the complex sibling relationship that we focus on, but I also loved the fascinating alchemy that is also a big focus of the story.

Early Departures

Early Departures by Justin Reynolds
What would you do to have the chance to see a loved one again? If they died suddenly and you had the chance to bring them back for a month or more? Would you take it? Q’s mom does, and that’s what this story is. Q is brought back to life, but he doesn’t know that he ever died. There is a bit of a mystery as to why Q what chosen to be a part of the reanimation experiments. There’s also a mystery as to why Q and Jamal are no longer friends. Ultimately, this story is about two friends coming back together before it’s too late.

These are my recommendations for someone trying to get into science fiction for the first time. Every genre has sub-genres, so I did my best to give recommendations for each that I’ve read and enjoy. Some are a bit more sci-fi than others, but I definitely think there will be something for everyone on this list. Let me know if you’ve read or plan to read any of these!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda Recommends Completed Series

Hi, lovelies! I was talking with a new friend, sharing series that I love with them. But so many of the series that I love aren’t fully published yet. So, I thought it would be a fun idea to share some series that are completed that I love. I don’t know about you, but I love to be able to binge read a series, reading all the books in a row. That’s not really possible with a series that isn’t finished. Today, I have for you a list of series that you can binge because it’s completed.

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand
Furyborn, Kingsbane, & Lightbringer
“When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.”

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, & The Stone Sky
“This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.”

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)

The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, & The Crimson Crown (series review here)
“Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off. One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her… The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.”

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass, The Kingdom of Copper, & The Empire of Gold
“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…”

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)

The Never Tilting World Duology by Rin Chupeco
The Never Tilting World & The Ever Cruel Kingdom
“Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn. Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun. While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal. But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.”

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

Shadow of the Fox Trilogy by Julie Kagawa
Shadow of the Fox, Soul of the Sword, & Night of the Dragon
“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil, #1)

This Mortal Coil Trilogy by Emily Suvada
This Mortal Coil, This Cruel Design, & This Vicious Cure
“When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine. Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back. There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.”

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Scythe, Thunderhead, & The Toll
“A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, & A Conjuring of Light
“Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.”

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)

Themis Files Trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, & Only Human
“A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown. But some can never stop searching for answers. Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?”

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)

The Shadow Game Trilogy by Amanda Foody
Ace of Shades, King of Fools, & Queen of Volts
“Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam,1 so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…And she’ll need to play.”

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)

The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch, The Heart Forger, & The Shadowglass
“Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.”

Fable (Fable, #1)

Fable Duology by Adrienne Young
Fable & Namesake
“For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.”

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth, #1)

All the Stars and Teeth Duology by Adalyn Grace
All the Stars and Teeth & All the Tides of Fate
“Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice. She will reign. As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.”

There you have it. These are all series that I’ve read and absolutely loved (with my reviews linked!) They are all completed series, with all the installments published. The summaries I’ve shared are all for the first book in each of the series. I will recommend these series over and over again until the whole world had read and loved them. Have you read any of these? What completed series would you recommend to binge read?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Mythology/Folklore Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I have another recommendations post for you all today. I was planning to just recommend my favorite mythological retellings, but it sort of just turned into a list of books published by Rick Riordan Presents, so I expanded a bit to include books that involve folklore and mythology. Doing that allowed me to include some of the really excellent diverse stories that I’ve read recently. So, I have fourteen books that are mythological or involve folklore that I think you should add to your TBR.

Middle Grade

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
“Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?”

The Girl and the Ghost

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
“Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.”

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
“Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Hating her mother’s humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . . Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.”

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
“THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD MIN comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.”

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
“Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it — is that a doll? — and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?”

Young Adult

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
“Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tail and penchant for peaches. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance. “

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
“While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine. Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology. As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive. Welcome to the Sixth World. “

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
“Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire… But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.”

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
“There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl. Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free. Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?”

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
“There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story. As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison. Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.”

Adult

Circe by Madeline Miller
“In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.”

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
“Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break. Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”

There are quite a few books that will fit this list once I manage to read them and get them off my TBR. I didn’t realize how many mythology/folklore books I still had on my TBR, but after writing this post I’m excited to get to them. What books would you add to this list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Springtime Book Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! Now that we’ve made it to March, it means that it’s almost springtime! I’m already feeling that where I live. The temperature is rising and the days are getting longer. The time has come for me to be able to sit in my back yard, enjoy the sunshine, and fresh air. I can’t wait to read outside again. Today, I have eight books that I think are great books to read during the spring season.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This one is a gimmie because most of the book takes place in the Spring Court (hah,). I still thing this is a great book to read in the spring time, but the second is even better. A story about growth and learning how to adjust after massive life changes. I think the series overall is a great story of learned how to work through trauma and growing as a person.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land tells the story of two sisters that didn’t know the other existed. So, this story is full of change, turmoil, and grief, but there’s family growth and development that was so heartbreaking and heartwarming. Families can change too and that’s what this story is about.

Fable by Adrienne Young
There’s something about sailing stories that I think are perfect for the springtime. Fable is a wonderful found family story that’s filled with diverse characters and adventures on the sea.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Kagawa, to me, is the original (and better) Fey series. So many people can’t stop talking about Jude and Cardan when they should be talking about Meghan and Ash. And then, the companion series starting with The Lost Prince, with Ethan and Kenzie. Even further, The Iron Raven follows Puck, while he is a summer Fey, I think there’s just something that says springtime about all of these books.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Honey Girl is another book about growth. Springtime is all about growth and new things blooming. That is exactly the theme of this book. Grace Porter grows exponentially in this book. She tries new things and finds new love. I loved this book with my whole heart.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This one is perfect for this list because Poppy really blooms (hah, see what I did there?) in this book. She sheds the self that’s been pushed on her for her whole life and takes time to discover who she really is. She’s still discovering that in the second book, but I’m beyond excited to read the second (coming April 20th!).

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
There is a big theme of flowers in this book. I think that combined with the theme of change within the Nomeolvides family. Things are changing for these women, but honestly with all the flowers I had to add this one to the list. With so many different kinds of flowers, it screams spring.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud
What’s better for springtime than a story about dismantling an oppressive government? Nothing, that’s what. Plus there are some great relationships in this duology, romantic and otherwise. I think the growth on a particular character is also very fitting for the springtime. Plus the audiobook is incredible. So, listen to this and go for a walk outside to enjoy the springtime air.

There you have it. These are the books that I think are perfect reads for the springtime. So, if you have any of these books on your TBR list, spring 2021 is the perfect time to finally pick them up. What books would you recommend to be read in the springtime?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Underrated Black Authors Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! It’s the first day of February, which also means that it’s the first day of Black History Month. So, I thought I would stop by with some book recommendations of books written by black authors. Now, I’m going to preface by saying that I would recommend these books any time of year, so they are not specifically for Black History Month, but many people specifically read books by black authors in February. With that in mind, I wanted to share books and authors that I think are underrated so that they might get some of the attention that they rightly deserve. These are all books I don’t see recommended very often or at all.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Reynolds is an author that I don’t see talked about or recommended very often, which is such a shame. His books are contemporary with a science fiction twist. I gave both of these books five stars and I hope you will too when you read them.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Philippe is another author that I very rarely see recommended, but his books are so good. They talk about important things in a way that goes straight to the heart. I also had the pleasure of meeting him and talking to him at the NoVaTeen Book Festival a few years ago.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

So, I do see some people talking about Ancrum’s books, especially since her 2021 release is a Peter Pan thriller/retelling. But there are still so many people that haven’t read The Wicker King, which is just a damn shame. Ancrum writes characters that you can’t help but root for, even if you disagree with the choices they make.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
I listened to the audiobook for this book toward the end of 2020 and the only reason I found this recommendation was because of #SciFiMonth. I have only ever seen one person talk about it and I think that should change. This is an incredible science fiction story filled with diversity of all kinds. I highly recommend this one.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Johnson’s 2020 debut is a book that I have seen people say they want to read it, but they haven’t yet. I’m here to say that you should add this book to the top of your TBR list. This was one of my favorite books of 2020. I really hope that the people that have bought this one actually read it soon.

That’s all I have for you today. Eight books that I think more people should be talking about. I know that Blackathon is going on this month, but I’m not super familiar with all of the prompts, so hopefully these might fit for some (or any) of them because all of these books deserve more love. I do have quite a few books by black authors on my TBR shelf that I plan to read and will hopefully be able to add to this list after I read them. What are some underrated books by black authors would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

#SciFiMonth: If You Liked This, Then Read That

#SciFiMonth: 1-30 November 2020
ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com.

Hey, lovelies! I did this sort of post for Blogtober and I thought it was so much fun to make, so I thought I would try it out for SciFi Month! Today I’m going to be giving book recommendations based on other books. These are all science fiction books that I enjoyed, but they vary in subgenre and age ranges. So, let’s get into my second edition of ‘if you liked this book, then try that one!

If you liked The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer then you should try Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor. The first book in The Lunar Chronicles follows Cinder, a cyborg, in a cinderella retelling of sorts. She finds herself involved with Prince Kai and suddenly she’s involved in intergalactic politics. Tarnished Are the Stars follows Anna who is known as ‘the Technician.’ She has an illegal clockwork heart and she supplies other people with illegal technology. She meets the Commissioner’s son, Nathaniel, who is determined to turn Anna in to his father. But when Nathaniel’s betrothed, Eliza, comes to Earth Adjacent, the three of them might just bring down the local government. These books were both so great. They both follow unlikely heroes that are excellent mechanics and somehow end up in a plot to overthrow the government.

If you liked The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff then you might like The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel. The first book in the series, Illuminae, follows Katy and Ezra after their world has been invaded and they’re forced to flee. Katy is an excellent hacker and manages to figure out what’s going on despite being told nothing. But the only person that she thinks can help her happens to be her ex-boyfriend, Ezra. Sleeping Giants is the first book in the series. It follows Rose, first when she’s a child and finds a giant robot hand, and almost twenty years later she’s a physicist leading a top-secret team that is researching the hand she discovered as a child. I’ve connected these two books for one big reason, they’re both told in a mixed media format. The first book is told in a series of emails, video transcripts, IMs, interviews, and other sorts of documents. The second book is told in mostly interview format with an anonymous interviewer. There are also radio broadcast transcripts and audio journal entries. Both series are told in mixed media. I think they’re similar in another aspect with the way the series progress. All three books The Illuminae Files are following three different couples. All three books in The Themis Files have a significant time jump between each book. Both series are also highly recommended for their audiobook format.

If you liked American Royals by Katharine McGee then you should try The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. American Royals is a reality tv sort of story that is set in modern day, but the twist is that George Washington was made the King of America after the revolution. The story follows his modern day descendants. The Calculating Stars is a bit different. It’s also an alternate reality story. In the 1950s a meteorite falls to the Earth and destroyed a significant amount of the east coast, including Washington, DC. This causes all sorts of environmental issues leading the people to look to the moon as an alternative to live on. We follow Elma York as she realizes that she wants to be on the space mission and not just a calculator for NASA. The common link between these two recommendations are that they are alternate reality stories. But they are also both very much stories that focus on women. Elma wants to be a female astronaut which is unheard of and Beatrice is going to be the first Queen of America.

If you liked Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman then you will probably like Internment by Samira Ahmed. Dry is a story about when California runs out of water. The drought has been an issue for a while, but the taps run dry and the world gets dystopian like very quickly. Internment is set in a near future potential reality where Layla and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim Americans. Both stories are very dark. Dry is dark in a way where peoples survival instincts come out and how it would be to live in a world where it’s every person for themselves. The things people could do for the sake of survival is scary. Internment is a story about hate and how that hate can change the world as we know it. Both stories are filled with characters that aren’t ready to give up. Both stories had tears in my eyes and hope for a better world in my heart.

If you liked The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum you should try The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. The Weight of the Stars tells the story of Ryann who dreams of being an astronaut. She’s accepted her reality and that this dream isn’t likely to happen. Enter Alexandria, a loner that does everything she can to avoid Ryann’s offer of friendship. Despite this, Alexandra joins Ryann’s chaotic friendship. This is a slow burn romance that focuses on the characters, their dreams, and their growth. The Gravity of Us is about Cal, a successful seventeen-years-old journalist who is forced to move from Brooklyn to Houston because his father was selected for an important NASA mission. Life in Houston is completely different, but when he befriends a fellow astronaut’s son, things start to look up. Just a disclaimer, these are both a bit more contemporary than science fiction, but they both have characters who’s life surrounds people that are currently in space or are about to be in space. Plus I thought it would be okay to have one for those that like the idea of science fiction without most of the sci-fi stuff. These are both that. They both have queer romances and talk about heavy topics in thoughtful and meaningful ways. I loved them both very much.

If you liked Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff you will probably like The Disasters by M.K. England. The tagline for Aurora Rising is “They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.” It follows six misfits as they discover secrets that the government is hiding and do their best to save the universe. The Disasters doesn’t have the same tagline, but it could. “They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.” This book has a cast of five diverse disaster children that are the only ones that know the Academy has been attacked by a terrorist group. They need to stop this group and spread the truth before they can do worse than just take over the Academy. Both stories are a found family group that need to stop a big bad from taking over the universe. Through social media I’ve heard that many people are disappointed in Aurora Rising and it’s sequel, which is why I made this comparison because everything I wanted from Aurora Rising is what I got from The Disasters.

If you liked The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow you might like I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi. The Sound of Stars follows Ellie while she lives in New York City, which is a city controlled by aliens. When one of those aliens, MoRr1S (Morris), finds her hidden (and illegal) library he’s supposed to report her except he doesn’t. The two end up on a road trip, sharing music and books, on their way to try to save humanity. I Hope You Get This Message follows three characters, who are all doing what they need to in what they think may be their final week of life. Earth has received a message from another planet saying that they have one week before they end civilization. Jesse, Cate, and Adeem have only a week to right wrongs and face truths before the world ends. These books are different in the sense that the first had already been invaded by aliens and the second isn’t being invaded but seems to be an expirement of these aliens, one that has been decided a failure and needs to be terminated. The common factors of these books are roadtrips between people that don’t know one another very well, but end up with very strong relationships. Both stories are also filled with diverse and fascinating characters.

If you liked Dune by Frank Herbert you should try Mirage by Somaiya Daud. Dune follows Paul after his father takes him to an ‘inhospitable’ world where the only thing of value is the spice that is produced on this planet. When his family is betrayed, Paul and his mother set out into the desert with one goal, survive, and eventually return and retake the planet that should be under Paul’s rule. Mirage follows Amani after she’s kidnapped so that she can be the body double of the half-Vathek princess, Maram. The Vath have conquered Amani’s planet and with her new place within the palace she wants to see if she can find a way to free her people. I chose these two books because Dune is a really well known book that deals with overtaking planets, learning about the culture of said planet and then Paul trying to do better than those before him. But Mirage is all of those things with a strong female lead written by an author of color who drew from her own heritage. Mirage is an incredible story that more people should read. If you liked the concept of Dune but don’t want to read that huge book, Mirage is only 320 pages and every page is incredibly written, diverse, and filled with an incredible world.

If you liked Renegades by Marissa Meyer you might like The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune. Renegades follows Nova (a villain) while she infiltrates Renegade Headquarters and tries to find weaknesses to bring them down. She lives in a world of prodigies, one much different from our own. Vengeance is her motivation, but things become less and less clear as the series progresses. The Extraordinaries follows Nick, a queer teen with ADHD who is one of the most popular fan fiction writers in the Extraordinary fandom. Nick idolizes one Extraordinary in particular and after he meets this hero, Nick decides he wants to make himself an Extraordinary. These stories are both in the superhero realm of science fiction. They different in the sense of the worlds they take place in. Renegades is in a world where it’s completely changed from our world while The Extraordinaries is mostly our world, but with a few rare individuals that have superpowers. But both stories follow characters that might not be on the best path. I really enjoyed both stories that were filled with interesting abilities and characters I couldn’t help but love.

If you liked Year One by Nora Roberts you will probably like The Fever King by Victoria Lee. Year One follows a cast of characters as the world ends via a sickness that spreads unbelievably fast and those that recover are left with gifts. There are some that are immune, but the world descends into chaos as the world as we know it ends. This cast of characters must figure out a new beginning now that the world has come to an end. In The Fever King, Noam lives in what used to be the U.S. He’s caught the sickness and is the sole survivor of his family. He’s also left with the gift of technopathy. Noam gets recruited into what’s basically a military of people that have survived the sickness and now have abilities. Noam joins with hopes to change the way the world has become. He wants to fight for what is right. Both of these stories deal with how the world can change once it ends. They both have the world ending with some sort of sickness and that sickness results with some people having special abilities. I really enjoyed them both.

I ended up finding way more books than I intended, but I was having too much fun and just sort of went with it. So, here you have it. Ten comparisons and twenty books total. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and agree or disagree with my pairings.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

#SciFiMonth – Diverse Science Fiction

ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com.

Hi, lovelies! I was inspired by a friends post from last year’s #SciFiMonth and wanted to do my own version. Kal from Reader Voracious did a post about diverse YA science fiction last year and I thought of so many books I could do for my own version. So, thanks to Kal for the inspiration and let’s get right into it. I’m going to list them by age range, starting with middle grade.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee: This story was a mix of Korean folklore, science fiction, and a bit of magic. We follow Min, who has fox-magic (which is thought to no longer be around). She sets out to find her brother and ends up way over her head. I really enjoyed this book. I’ve loved all of the stories that have been published through Rick Riordan Presents. I loved the combination of things that made this story what it was. It’s definitely one I’ll be adding to my daughters library. Also, the audiobook was great.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez: This is my second favorite of the books that have come from Rick Riordan Presents. Sal is a boy who lives in Miami. He has diabetes, but he also has the ability to create holes in the universe. Sal is a little firecracker, but Gabi is even more so. They both come from fascinating families that I couldn’t help but adore. Sal and his father are Cuban and that is a big part of the story too. Sal and Gabi team up to try to fix the holes he’s created in the universe. Sal is also grieving his Mami. I think this is such a great middle grade story.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee: In what used to be the U.S. a magical virus has infected some, leaving them with magical abilities, and most others dead. Noam gets sick and wakes up in the hospital as a technopath. This attracts interest from government officials in ways that Noam isn’t sure he likes. This story gets pretty wild even though the fries 15% or so is pretty slow. Noam is bisexual, Colombian, and Jewish. This story is full of grey morals and I really enjoyed it.

The Disasters by M.K. England: This disastrous found family is one of my all time favorites. Nax is bisexual and comes from a Muslim family. He’s made mistakes and has a lot of self-doubts, but it was really great to see him overcome it. Then there’s Rion who is black, queer, and British. He’s the son of a diplomat, so he always knows exactly what to say. I loved the flirtations and hints of a potential romance between Rion and Nax. It was just enough that it didn’t take center stage over the rest of the story. Case is the third point of the sort of, but not really, love triangle. She’s super smart and struggles with anxiety. Next up is Zee, who is trans, and a kick-ass doctor who will literally kick your ass. Finally, there’s Asra, who is Muslim and we see her wearing a hijab and taking time to pray. She’s also the stepkid of a crime boss that she wants to take down. They essentially have to take down the government and it’s wonderful.

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune: “A queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.” Nick lives in a world where ‘extraordinaries’ exist, people with special abilities. After he meets his idol, he’s decided he needs to do whatever he can to become an extraordinary. This book was so wonderful. It highlights the ADHD experience, friendship, fan fiction writing, and many other important things.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud: Amani is kidnapped to play body double to the cruel half Vathek princess, Maram. Too much happens in this series for me to summarize. Amani is amazing. Her romance is great. Maram is horrible at first but has great development. I ended the series really loving her. They both get romances, one of which is female/female. I believe it’s also inspired from Moroccan culture. This one is going to make my 2020 favorites list (and the audiobooks are great!)

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor: This book is compared to The Lunar Chronicles often, but it’s honestly better (and I really liked that series). Set in a world called Earth Adjacent (because technology destroyed Earth) we follow The Technician who illegally helps people with mechanic work. Then the Commissioner’s son, Nathaniel, finds a lead to the Technician’s identity. Things get a little wild here with overthrowing the government and an arranged marriage. Eliza, the Queen’s spy, comes to Earth Adjacent and things get even more exciting. There’s a romance between two female characters that I completely adored.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: Get ready to be confused. I was confused for the entire series and despite that I enjoyed the shit out of this book. I’m going to talk about all three books. The writing was incredible. There are several perspectives we follow and they are all written so well. There’s one that’s written in second person and it was such an interesting way to tell the story. The characters draw you in and the world is incredible. I just cannot say enough good things about this series. I’m hoping to read the rest of Jemisin’s backlist titles in 2021.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: This series is such a fun one. Each book follows a different set of characters. This universe is so interesting. There are so many different species. It was such a treat to learn about them all. Some are very specific about gender roles and how they change as the species age. I think this book did a wonderful job of showing a unique, interesting, and diverse universe.

These are some of my favorite diverse science fiction books for all different age ranges. They’re all diverse for different reasons and they’re all wonderful books that I highly recommend. What diverse books would you recommend?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

#SciFiMonth – Audiobook Recommendations

ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com.

Hi, lovelies! As a huge fan of audiobooks, I always try to share my favorite audiobooks so that others will love them as much as I do. Science fiction has some books with really great narrations.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: The audiobooks for this trilogy are nothing short of perfection. It’s a full cast narration and the story is just so good. There’s an anonymous interviewer asking the characters questions, but there’s also radio broadcasts, and audio journal entries. This is an all-time favorite forever.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir: This is a dual narrator audiobook. I loved this story. Six teenagers are chosen and trained to go into space to terraform a new world. The narrators did a great job of brining these characters to life.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: The narrator of this series is my all time favorite narrator. I will listen to everything she narrates. She really gives the characters emotions. I am awed by Rebecca Soler’s narrating skills. She really blew me away with this series.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud: I also have to mention the sequel, Court of Lions, because it’s narrated by the same person as the first book. This series is incredible and the narrator kept me drawn into the story the whole way through. I’m really glad I listened to the audio, otherwise I would have butchered literally all of the names of everything.

Internment by Samira Ahmed: This book was devastating. The narrator did a really great job making me feel all of the things while listening. There were also some interesting effects that added to the story.

These are my favorite science fiction audiobooks. What audiobooks are on your list?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Three: Backlist Book Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! This list is all books that I’ve been wanting to recommend but couldn’t manage to find a way to include them in any of the other recommendations posts so far this month. There are quite a few books on this list, so I’m not going into overly long descriptions or reasons why you should read them. I just want to do a quick list post with maybe a sentence for two for each book.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – Confusing and magical and a love story to literature.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Dark and gritty. Yale but with magic.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw – A girl that lives near a creepy, maybe magical, forrest.

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver – Did they murder their best friend? Or is there something else going on?

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, but make it sort of horror.

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black – Interesting twist on vampires. Also sort of dystopian.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter – Summer camp for supernaturals.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Jane Eyre but with ghosts.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl – A girl meets with old friends and they all die.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – Four family’s with supernatural powers basically fail at protecting their town.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Unreliable narrator with memory loss and something about a fire.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – An evil rock, queer girls, and creepy legends.

When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry – Maybe aliens have arrived on Earth? Let’s YouTube it.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes – A girl in denial about her mother’s death and a boy who may or may not fail out of school adventure to find out truths about the past.

So, these are some books that I think would be perfect to read this October but couldn’t figure out how to put them in any other list. These are all books that I really enjoyed and have read during past spooky seasons. Just making this list makes me want to reread them all. What backlist books are on your list for spooky season recommendations?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty (Part Two): Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recommended to Me

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is a list of books I read because someone recommended them to me (and who recommended them!)

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakroborty

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Rules for Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Rinn Solomon

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

These are all the books Amanda recommended for me. What recent recommendations have you gotten?

Blogtober Day Twenty (Part One): Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Books Recommended to Me

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me (tell us who recommended them, if you want!)

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
My good friend Adrianna recommended this over and over and I’m so glad that she did. You can find her on twitter here!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
I loved this book so so much. I’m so glad that I watched one of Riley Marie’s vlogs (watch here!) where she read this book and loved it.

Rules for Being a Girl by Candice Bushnell & Katie Cotugno
Forever thankfully to my Twinny for coming at me with the best recommendations. Check out her blog, The Bookish Chick, for some great reviews.

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Paige (find her on Twitter here!) raved about this book. I’d previously read and enjoyed one of Heilig’s books and I bought this one to get signed at an event I saw her at. But Paige is the reason I actually picked it up.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I was at the point of almost unhauling this before even reading it (while trying to cull my physical TBR to a less overwhelming number) but the way that Heathur from Aphrodite Reads absolutely raved about it had me rethinking that. I’m so glad I kept and read it because it was incredible.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
My best bean got this book for me and I am eternally grateful. Check out Avhlee @ Tea Cups and Torn Pages, you won’t regret it. This, so far, hold the space for my favorite book of 2020.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
This one was fabulous and I liked Thorne’s second book even better. Big thanks to Chelseadollingreads.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
This is a wonderful book that is horrifyingly underrated. I wish more people knew about this series. It’s basically Percy Jackson but with Chinese Folklore and every second was nothing but enjoyable. Also, I listened to the audiobooks which I highly recommend. The only other person who I’ve seen talk about this series (and she’s why I discovered the second book was out) is Books in the Skye.

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller
Another amazing book that I only read because of my dear friend, Avhlee.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
My wonderful friend Rae (find her at Novels & Notions) bought this book for me and I am so so glad because this trilogy earned a place in my all-time favorites list.

What books have you read because of someone else and ended up loving them? I’d love to see your post this week!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Seventeen: Audiobook Recommendations

Hey, lovelies! I was running out of ideas for Blogtober posts and then an idea hit me: audiobooks that are perfect for the spooky season. I am a huge fan of audiobooks and I’ve listened to some really great ones recently. So, let’s get right into it and talk about some books that are creepy and I would absolutely recommend they be listened to this October.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power: This is a book about a girl who runs away from her mother to find her grandmother. She arrived at her grandmothers and the longer she’s there the more she realizes there are secrets that she needs to uncover. Here family has been hiding things from her and she’s determined to learn the truth. I was gifted this audiobook for my birthday and it was wonderfully creepy. I seriously couldn’t listen to it too late at night or I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. The story itself is pretty creepy and weird, but the narrator does an incredible job of adding to the suspense and emotion of the story.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust: An incredible fantasy story that’s based on Persian mythology and various fairytales. The story follows a princess that is poisonous to the touch. She is determined to find a cure which leads her to working with a Div that’s been captured. There’s romance and mystery and horrifyingly wonderful monsters. The narrator for this book did a wonderful job. I really enjoyed the narration. Between the accents and the emotion the narrator gave the characters, this book is a great one for October. It’s a story full of monsters, but also one of love and self discovery.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin: If you like retellings that are set in modern times, you’ll probably like this one. We follow Cleveland as she moves to a new town, the town where her best friend lives. Her best friend, Henry, has dated a lot of girls. The weird part? Two of them are dead now. This story was great. The mystery of what really happened to these girls was excellent. The characters are very lovable even while you’re suspecting them of murder. I really enjoyed the audiobook of this story.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: I have to say the narrator for this series (Kate Rudd) is one of my all time favorites. So, please go read this series on audio. This is a boarding school mystery. It’s not your typical boarding school. Years ago the founders wife and daughter were kidnapped and are now presumed dead. Our main character, Stevie, now attends the school and is obsessed with solving the murders and to find out what really happened. This is the perfect series for the spooky season.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: I don’t even want to explain what this book is about because it’s been so hyped up on the bookish internet places. This audiobook is incredible. We follow Sadie as she goes out to investigate what happened after her younger sister is found dead. We also follow Sadie in a podcast. We get alternating perspectives from Sadie and also from the Podcast. The audioboook is incredible because it’s actually narrated like a podcast. I cannot recommend this enough.

These are five audiobooks I think would be perfect choices to listen to in October. They’re all creepy and mysterious. They’re all filled characters that are fascinating. Secrets and mysteries are what these stories are about and their narrators really bring life to them. What audiobooks are you planning to listen to for the spooky season?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Sixteen: Graphic Novel Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! Today I want to recommend some graphic novels. Some of these recommendations are repeats from last year, but I’ve been slacking on my graphic novel reading, so I don’t have many new ones to recommend. I’m just going to go for it becasue I still stand by the fact that I want others to read them.

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth: Witchy, diverse, and mysterious. Screams spooky season to me.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson: Gods being reincarnated, but only for two years. Diverse cast of characters and stunning (but gory) artwork.

Moonstruck Vol 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis: Diverse as hell. Werewolves, centaurs, seers, witches, vampires? Yes, please!

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo: Raven’s powers are more on the magical spectrum and this is a pretty spooky mystery.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu: I adored this one. Witches and werewolves, mystery, and a female/female romance? I’m here for it.

These are the graphic novels that I’ve read and would recommend for spooky season graphic novel reading. What books would you put on you list? Leave me some of your own recommendations in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.