Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Princess Rhiannon Ta’an is about to become the Empress, but the night before her coronation someone tries to assassinate her. The rest of the world thinks she is dead but knowing her life is in danger she goes into hiding letting the world continue to think this as she figures out who tried to kill her. Alyosha is framed for the murder and also has to go on the run.

I really liked the dual POVs, we all know that multiple POVs can sometimes not work out and you end up hating on of them but this wasn’t the case with this book. Both characters were good to read from and Belleza wrote the chapters really well that every time the POV switched it was on a cliffhanger so you couldn’t put it down. It made the reading experience really fun.

The book is short-ish. I’m used to books of this genre being long, sometimes unnecessarily. Even though it is short it doesn’t feel like it, like it doesn’t feel like it’s going super fast and skipping details and it felt like it told the story it needed to tell and didn’t draw anything out.

This book is diverse and so well built. The cultures are super well constructed, there’s religion, different planets, different politics.

For a debut novel I’m impressed and I’m excited to read the sequel and see how Belleza’s writing progresses.

I really did like this novel and it did live up to the hype. It wasn’t a favourite and I think that’s just because it didn’t have that wow factor that I need from a fantasy/sci-fi Book.

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Mini Reviews #4

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Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai

This is a polyamorous book with chubby Indian representation. I liked the idea of this book and the book itself is good for the most part, however I did occasionally find the twins awkward to read and I sometimes felt uncomfortable by it. This is possibly because the were twins but I don’t know.

 

 

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The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis

This is a short and sweet sapphic book that if you’re looking to read something f/f could warm you up. I have to say thought, I read this sometime ago and can’t much remember it, but I did enjoy it.

 

 

 

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Team Phison by Chace Verity

You know I love modern romances and this one springs from a video game multiplayer. It’s age gap m/m, and quite funny and sweet. I enjoyed this one and if you’re in a romance mood I recommend it.

 

 

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Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David

Ah this one was so adorable, hate to love of some kids who grew up together, starring a queen bee, as opposed to an unpopular person. Super sweet and has some Filipino representation.

 

 

 

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Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans

This is 2 trans people with chronic pain falling for each other, and it’s kind of heart breaking but kind of lovely at the same time. I wasn’t really sure about the characters to be honest but I think it’s an incredibly important book that can help people who are trans with chronic pain in finding someone they can relate to in a book.

 

 

 

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Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

This was really sweet and I’m excited to read the rest of the series as there is some pansexual representation in the third book. I really loved the relationship with a teaching assistant as it doesn’t have the power imbalance that dating a professor does but it’s similar in the trope context, and personally makes me more comfortable considering how old some professors are. And the MCs brothers were absolutely adorable.

 

 

 

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Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Content warning: abuse, implied rape, death, weird ghost stuff, animal abuse, ableism

Thank you to netgalley and Tor for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A boy can feel a presence in his house, and then he sees the spirit of his father. Weird things start to happen that shouldn’t be happening. This is a Native American horror story and it truly freaked me out so it’s best not to know too much about it.

I don’t really know how to go about writing this review. I am not one for horror, because often I think it’s just a silly plot or it’s just not scary, but this was. I had a feeling this would get me because if anyone can write scary spirit stories it’s Native Americans (besides Eastern Asians whew I don’t want to talk about some of that). I had to put this down a few times because I just felt stressed out generally a bit wigged out to be honest, and that’s exactly what I want in a horror novel.

The entirety of the novel is so ingrained in being a NA story and that’s wonderful. It talks about NA spirits, NA myths and legends and growing up Native in a country run by people that tried to completely eradicate your race. But I think, now I can’t speak for he rep being white, that this novel is what NA kids would love. Jones himself is Native American so I’m pretty sure the representation is going to speak to at least some people.

I know you’re probably looking at that list of content warnings and thinking “uh that’s a lot” and it is. There’s so much awful stuff in this book for SUCH a short novel, but it’s challenged on page and never shown in a good light. But if you have any triggers be wary because it’s really affecting.

I think if I’m in the mood for it I will happily read more from Jones because his writing is incredible, the way he wrote really fit with exactly the feeling he was trying to portray.

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I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk

Content warnings: outing ultimatums, gay closeting

I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as the first in the series, I felt like some of the characters were slightly off. Kelk’s writing was as humorous as ever, but something wasn’t quite right.

The title being I Heart Hollywood when Angela absolutely hated it was wildly confusing. I felt like because Angela just felt so awkward and uncomfortable and sad the entire time she was there diminished my enjoyment.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that a character is gay and in the closet, and Angela finds out and (I can’t quite remember it exactly as I read this a while ago) but there was some kind of ultimatum/forced outing kind of plot to it. I realise that this may be seen as a spoiler but stuff like this shouldn’t be as it’s something that can be harmful and we should be aware of this. I hope that Kelk is aware that this is something that isn’t ok, but this book was written some time ago so I’m not super angry about it. But I did not like it. And I feel a little less positively about the series. I do however still want to continue it.

I really felt for Alex in this novel as he was just in New York whilst his girlfriend was off on some work thing falling apart and being a general nuisance. I hope the next book has more Alex because I really like his character.

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2018 Most Anticipated

Ok so I have a lot of books I’m excited for this year, but as I still have so many books from last year to read who knows when the heck I’m going to get to them. The first 3 books are the most most anticipated but after that it’s all about the same.

One the Come Up by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give was one of the best books I’ve ever read and I desperately need t read more from Angie Thomas. THUG was so important and I know this book is going to be just as good.

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This book is a sequel to Simon Vs so of course I’m excited but it follows Leah, a chubby bisexual and I’m honestly just so excited to read about her and the rest of the gang again.

 

 

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

These two are like the dream team in YA contemporary and I am DESPERATE to read this book.

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Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

I am going to read Lord of Shadows before this comes out I promise, but I finished Lady Midnight recently and so far it’s definitely up there with her best works so I’m hopeful that I’m going to enjoy the rest of the series

 

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

I absolutely adore the Gentleman’s Guide and I really loved Felicity so I’m so excited to read a book about her and hopeful there will be some cameos from her brother.

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve gone off Sarah’s writing pretty much and I still haven’t read Tower of Dawn but I still want to know how she finishes this world off. At the time of read them I adored the previous TOG novels and I care greatly for some of the characters so whilst Maas’ writing read very samey to me and her diversity leaves much to be desired I do want to know how it ends

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To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To be honest (see what I did there eh) I don’t know much about this book but I’m so thrilled to see a fat girl on the cover that I don’t need to know what it’s about.

 

 

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A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

After how A Torch Against the Night was left off I need this book in my hands right now.

 

 

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From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon

I loved When Dimple Met Rishi and I know this is going to be more adorableness.

 

 

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Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist was so good so I need the sequel and LOOK AT THAT COVER

 

 

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The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

I’m getting repetitive here but I loved Jen’s previous work and I know this is going to be amazing.

 

 

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Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

In 2017 we had THUG and Dear Martin and I think this is going to be just as important as those books. With the way the world is we need books discussing the issues brought forward in these books.

 

 

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I’m really excited to see how this series is going to end and I’ve had to wait too long for this book.

 

 

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Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

This sounds right up my street: awkwardness, romance, texting. I’m so excited and the dude on the cover has tattoos.

 

 

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

I’ve seen so much hype about this book and I somehow managed to get a signed ARC so I’ll definitely be picking that up soon.

 

 

Are there any books I’ve missed that you think I should look into?

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Peter Darling by Austin Chant

This book is so important. Content warning for: character death, transphobia, and I think other stuff but I read this a while ago and can’t remember exactly.

Peter left Neverland to return to real life and grow up as Wendy Darling. However this has only made him realise how strongly he identifies as a man. Things have changed in Neverland without him, for the better, but Peter just wants things to be the same way they were before.

Now I enjoy a good fairytale retelling but man was I so happy to see this one. I was never a huge fan of Peter Pan, I always thought the original was just a spoilt baby but this was so much different. The idea of Neverland being a place where you could be who you are with no fear of judgement felt so much more magical to me.

What I really liked about this novel was that Chant characterised Peter in a similar way to the original, aka a whiney baby, but gave him such a backstory and made him much more likeable because of that back story. You can understand why he does the silly stuff he does. He’s still stuck in the past because he just wants to go back to when he felt happy in himself and because the world has changed without him he thinks it needs to go back to how it was for him to be happy.

The characterisation of Hook was really interesting. I feel like we don’t get to know much about him in the original (which I haven’t read in a very long time) but with this one he’s just really different after the passing of time.

The parts of the novel that was flashbacks to Peter’s life in the real world were absolutely heart breaking. Knowing that he had been in a world where he could be himself and then choosing to go back to real life and finding how awful it was in comparison absolutely killed me. So bear in mind if that’s something you are sensitive to tread carefully with this book.

I can’t talk about the representation as I am cis, but it was own voices so I feel confident that it is good rep.

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Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Thank you to netgalley and Orion for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year as I really enjoyed the Wolf by Wolf series from Graudin. And it didn’t disappoint.

Invictus follows a boy who was born out of time whilst his mother was travelling between centuries so he has no birth date which causes him a whole load of problems. When he doesn’t qualify to become a time traveller he takes matters into his own hands and finds a crew and a benefactor and goes time travelling himself. But then he comes upon a strange girl and his world starts unravelling… literally.

So if you are into paradoxes, time travelling and alternate universes then this is for you. At times this book was super confusing but not in a bad way, but in a way you felt a kinship with the characters. They didn’t know what was happening and I didn’t know what was happening.

I don’t really have any feelings for Far, the main character, I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t really particularly like him. What stood out for me were the side characters. They were so wonderful and well balanced. Priya was this wonderful, intelligent young woman who really was a huge driving force in my read of this novel. One thing that really stood out to me was that Priya was still very much involved in her cultural roots, this can be put to the side in futuristic novels as a lot of authors like to imagine a world where we all live irrespective of backgrounds which I personally think is a ridiculous notion. Also Graudin wrote “chai” instead of “chai tea” which just made me happy because chai tea is incorrect and just means tea tea.

Along with Priya my other favourite character was Gram, a geeky black boy who was pretty anxious and liked to keep to his technology but was an absolute sweetheart. There was an awareness I felt was obvious in this novel that Graudin knew she was writing POC time travelling and could get into some awkward and possibly racist situations, similar to Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. It can be easy for white authors to just ignore that kind of thing when writing POC characters because it isn’t something they’ve had to deal with.

My main issue with this book was the pacing. The first half was pretty slow and a bit heavy going whereas the second half was really fast paced. I don’t mind slow or fast but I’d rather have a consistent pace throughout.

I think this is a standalone novel and whilst I do love standalone novels for the lack of commitment involved compared to series, I would love to delve into this world more.

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DNFs of 2017

I think we all would rather not DNF books but sometimes it’s just necessary. I DNF’d 7 books this year and a couple of them I wish hadn’t had to be this way as I had been really excited for them but it happens doesn’t it? Thankfully I did not pay for any of these books, I either was sent them by publishers or took them out from the library.

How many books did you DNF in 2017?

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Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi

Thank you to netgalley and Ebury Publishing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. Sadly this just wasn’t for me. I was hoping it would be enjoyable as it was from Shappi Khorsandi who is a pretty well known British Iranian comedian, but that wasn’t the case. I found the main character just sad and the language she used was just really hard to digest. There’s a lot of alcohol abuse in this so if you’re interested please be away of that.

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The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Thank you to netgalley and Bloomsbury for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. God I was so excited for this one, it was so hyped up on booktube and in general but it was such a let down. It started off with some pretty ableist language around ADHD, which left a bad taste in my mouth but I tried to continue reading but then there was animal violence that was pretty graphic. It wasn’t anything that was shown positively, but as a huge animal lover I just couldn’t continue with it.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Thank you to netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Ugh. That’s all I can say about this. The hype for this is unreal. It was all over bestseller lists and everyone was talking about it. As the story progressed I did find myself getting intrigued but then things started becoming apparent to me that the story line heavily involved incest and abuse from an elderly patriarchal member of the family and I couldn’t even stomach reading anymore. It made me sick to my stomach.

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Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James

Ok so I read Fifty Shades. Backstory: I never planned to but then I watched the first film on my flight to Japan because I was bored and I found it absolutely hilarious. But I was also kind of hooked and wanted to know what happened in the second one. So I read the first book and to be honest it was not as bad as I expected. The writing isn’t terrible and the contract part was just not great but from what I remember the consent was actually not as huge an issue as it was made out to be. So then I started reading the second one and got halfway through before I just couldn’t be bothered anymore because it was just straight up boring and repetitive. If I ever have to read the words “my inner goddess” and “don’t bite your lip” again it will be too soon. And Ana is just really annoying.

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Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown 

Sigh. I was so excited to read this, as soon as I got the ebook from the library I put everything else down but it was just not good. There was a character who was on the autism spectrum and the way the author and by extension the other characters treated him just made me so uncomfortable I couldn’t keep going. We are so starved for f/f representation and I desperately wanted to like it but I didn’t.

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Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Thank you to netgalley and Bloomsbury for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I’ve really enjoyed Sarah Crossan’s previous work but this just wasn’t for me. It was an interesting concept, the main character’s brother is facing the death penalty. There wasn’t really anything wrong with this book I just did not gel with it. I didn’t like the characters and it just did not interest me as I thought it would.

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We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Thank you to netgalley and Harmony Ink Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review. So I’d been excited about this as it has representation of asexuality but it was just weird an boring. I found it a hard slog to read whenever I picked it up and I don’t like feeling like that when I read so I was just not for reading it anymore.

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December Wrap Up

I don’t have much to update since my November wrap up was only 2 weeks ago but I had a nice Christmas. Obviously with the death of my gran recently it wasn’t the best Christmas ever, my poor mum got sad every now and then. My other gran also isn’t feeling very well at the moment so it’s all a bit rubbish. I also had a migraine on Christmas day so that was fun. I hope you all had a good festive period if you celebrate and I hope the next year is good for you!

This month I read:

Legal Affairs by Sawyer Bennett
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

This month I bought:

Everless by Sara Holland (Fairyloot)
Wanting by Piper Vaughn
The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (10th Anniversary Edition)

This month I reviewed:

I Heart New York by Lindsey KelkThis Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
Meet Cute Anthology

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Favourite Books of 2017

I bring to you my post of my 5 star books that I read in 2017. If I have a review up for them I will link to it. I feel like it’s been a good year for me, I’ve read a lot of books that I thought were super important and diverse and wonderful and I recommend all these books! This list isn’t numbered or anything it’s just the way they were put in when I put the pics in.

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Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Trans Peter Pan from a Trans author!

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It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

A girl doesn’t want to fall in love after her parents divorce but her new coworker makes that difficult.

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Love Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

This books starts off all cute and romantic but then a terrorist attack happens and our MCs life is thrown into chaos.

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

A very sweet romance featuring a trans woman MC written by a trans woman.

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Lady Midnight Cassandra Clare

Cassie Clare’s latest series starts off pretty heartbreaking and it can only get worse.

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Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

A very important story tackling sexuality and sexual assault that made me cry.

The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

These 2 books raised the bar for this series and I was so glad to finally read them.

Six of Crows Duology #1 and #2 by Leigh Bardugo

The most perfect duology ever. The best characters, the best plot, the best.

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Very sweet story between a Jamaican girl and a Korean American boy involving illegal immigration.

Illuminae Files #1 and #2 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Incredible space opera.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This book has the firs pansexual character is ever came across in a Book. Don’t sleep on Becky!

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This is heartbreaking. About lost love and grief.

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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Sabaa took it up a notch with this instalment and I am dying for the next book.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What is there to say about this boo that hasn’t already been said. If you haven’t read it where have you been?

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Adorable book with so much representation about teens at a convention.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Bi boy goes on a wild adventure through Europe in hopes of healing his best friend’s epilepsy.

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

Chinese mythology pops up in modern day California with hilarious and fun results.

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