A Scroll of 2018 Reads I’m Looking Forward To (And You Should Too)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope you had a good start to 2018. If not, I hope my list of upcoming reads would cheer you up. This year promises a lot of good books, especially diverse/Own Voices ones.


This list will be updated as more book announcements come up throughout the year


January

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Before I Let Go (Marieke Nijkamp)

Release date: 2nd January

An Own Voices book that sounds chilling and promising. Corey is about to return to her hometown when her best friend Kyra dies and soon Corey feels something is not right, what with the town already moving on.

Batman: Nightwalker (Marie Lu)

Release date: 2nd January

Before his Batman days, Bruce Wayne is a rebel and gets caught up with the law, not in a good way. He is sentenced to do community service at the infamous Arkham Asylum and gets tangled up with one of its inmates…

The Cruel Prince (Holly Black)

Release date: 2nd January

Jude wishes to secure her place at the Faerie Court and ends up in the middle of faerie politics and all the viciousness belonging to court life. This leads her to take risks in saving herself, her family and the Faerie world.

Love, Hate and Other Filters (Samira Ahmed)

Release date: 16th January

Maya Aziz is expected to be a good, dutiful daughter, but she dreams of going to film school and live in New York. Her life changes when a crime happens and everyone around her becomes different people, full of hate and fear. The book deals with Islamophobia and is Own Voices.

Let’s Talk About Love (Claire Kann)

Release date: 23rd January

After breaking up with her girlfriend, Alice thought she was done with dating, but she meets Takumi and they become friends. Alice is torn between being open about her feelings and start up something with the guy or risk losing their friendship.

Alice is a biromantic/ace and poc, so make sure to check this one out!

Reign of the Fallen (Sarah Glenn Marsh)

Release date: 23rd January

Odessa is a necromancer whose job is to resurrect the noble dead…at the risk of turning them into zombie-like monsters called Shades. When it’s discovered that someone is creating Shades and turning them into weapons, Odessa questions her morals and her own power…

February

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The Belles (Dhonielle Clayton)

Release date: 6th February

Beauty is a commodity and the Belles have it and are therefore worshipped. Camellia is a Belle but wants to be the favourite, chosen to live in the royal palace and at court. But Camellia becomes disillusioned once she achieves her dream…

American Panda (Gloria Chao)

Release date: 6th February

Mei has her future all set. She’s at MIT, on the path to becoming a doctor, and has an Ivy Leaguer as a future husband. The last two things exist because of her parents.

But Mei hates germs and has a crush on someone else, but she doesn’t want to disappoint her parents. Maybe she could carry on her secrets, be herself somehow…

Shadowsong (S Jae-Jones)

Release date: 6th February

Liesl tries to get on with her life after resurfacing to her world, but she can’t move on from the guy she left behind. The line between their worlds start to crack. Liesl has to return to the underground to solve it and uncover the mystery of the Goblin King, her guy.

Immortal Reign (Morgan Rhodes)

Release date: 6th February

Enemies become allies to stop two dangerous gods from destroying the world. Jonas, Lucia, Magnus and Cleo face greater challenges as more conflicts and enemies close in.

Heart of Iron (Ashley Poston)

Release date: 27th February

Anastasia. In. Space! Ana is on a mission to steal the coordinates to a lost ship in order to save her android. But a boy gets in her way, leading them to become fugitives and on the run, Ana discovers some dark secrets and confronts something from her past.

March

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Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi)

Release date: 6th March

Magic is gone and wielders of it have been hunted down and killed under the king’s orders. Zélie is set to bring magic back and fight back against the king and the crown prince who’s on a mission to destroy magic for good. But Zélie struggles with her powers and…her feelings for the enemy.

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One (Amanda Lovelace)

Release date: 6th March

An empowering read on feminism and reclaiming femininity and selfhood with vivid imagery and sharp words.

Rainbirds (Clarissa Goenawan)

Release date: 6th March

After his sister was killed, Ren Ishida fills in her shoes, searching for solace, and witnesses the life she had. He tries to solve what happened to her during her last hours.

Tyler Johnson Was Here (Jay Coles)

Release date: 20th Match

After a shooting at a party and a police raid, Marvin’s twin Tyler goes missing and he sets out to find him. But Tyler is found dead. He’s killed by a police officer and Marvin discovers the true meaning of justice and freedom.

The Astonishing Colour of After (Emily X.R. Pan)

Release date: 20th March

Leigh is grieving after her mother dies by suicide. She finds solace in art and her mother’s wish, and she tries to find herself again.

The Heart Forger (Rin Chupeco)

Release date: 20th March

Tea, a witch with the power of resurrection and command death, leaves her self-imposed exile to begin her revenge on those who wronged her. But there are people who are prepared to fight her and those who want to use her.

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Roshani Chokshi)

Release date: 27th March

Trying to prove to her classmates that she isn’t lying about a cursed lamp, Aru ends up setting a demon free. The demon is tasked to free the God of Destruction and Aru must stop that from happening through five legendary characters from the Mahabharata and visit the Kingdom of Death.

Lost Crow Conspiracy (Rosalyn Eves)

Release date: 27th March

Anna Arden broke the binding, granting everyone, especially the lower classes, their magic that was stolen by those in power. But the latter aren’t celebrating and war threatens to overturn every peaceful thing Anna had thought she brought about.

April

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Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

Release date: 24th April

A promising treat for us Simon vs. fans. Leah has her drumming under her control, but the world outside of it…not so much. Her group of friends start to crack and she’s at a lost…

May

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A Court of Frost and Starlight (Sarah J Maas)

Release date: 1st May

Bridging the gap between A Court of Wings and Ruin and the future spinoffs, ACOFAS centres on Feyre and Rhys and their inner circle rebuilding their home and the rest of the world. Everyone’s recovering from the war and Winter Solstice is here to take their minds off their wounds, but it’s not going to be easy…

Smoke in the Sun (Renée Ahdieh)

Release date: 3rd May

After giving herself up to save Okami and their group, the Black Clan, Mariko investigates the court’s darkest secrets under her disguise as a royal bride-to-be.

Puddin’ (Julie Murphy)

Release date: 8th May

A companion book to Dumplin’, Puddin’ centres on Millie who plans to go after her crush and ends up crossing paths with Callie, a popular girl at school. Soon they learn that there’s something between them…

The Way You Make Me Feel (Maurene Goo)

Release date: 8th May

Clara loves pranks and making misery, so when she crosses the line, she’s sentenced to working at her dad’s business. A chance for her to change her ways and find things to really care about, including a boy.

The Poppy War (RF Kuang)

Release date: 15th May

A dark-skinned peasant girl named Rin surprises everyone when she passes an empire-wide test. Despite that, she’s targeted because of her race, gender and class. She eventually discovers that she has a dangerous power relating to shamanism and as a war becomes a possible nightmare to the empire, she might be the only one who could save everyone.

War Storm (Victoria Aveyard)

Release date: 15th May

Mare faces greater challenges as war is brewing. Meawhile, Maven isn’t ready to surrender or give her up.

The Brightsiders (Jen Wilde)

Release date: 22nd May

From the author of Queens of Geek comes a story about a teen drummer who deals with family, fame and coming out as bi.

From Twinkle, With Love (Sandhya Menon)

Release date: 22nd May

Twinkle jumps at the chance to direct a movie for a festival. The opportunity also gives her a chance to get closer to her crush Neil, the brother of Sahil who offered her the job. But as the filming progresses, Twinkle finds herself falling for Sahil…

Legendary (Stephanie Garber)

Release date: 28th May

The follow up to Caraval centres on Scarlett’s sister Tella who goes on a journey to complete a bargain.

June

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The Kiss Quotient (Helen Hoang)

Release date: 5th June

With her career all figured out, there’s one thing that Stella needs to figure out. Dating. She asks help from an escort named Michael and soon, she starts to have feelings for him…

Bruja Born (Zoraida Cordova)

Release date: 5th June

Lula brings her boyfriend back to life with help from her sisters, but there are consequences…she resurrects something or someone else too.

Ayesha at Last (Uzma Jalaluddin)

Release date: 12th June

With Pride and Prejudice vibes, Ayesha at Last centres on Ayesha, a secular Muslim, who dreams of becoming a poet but takes a more stable job. She crosses paths with Khalid, a conservative and handsome Muslim, who irritates her but she finds herself feeling attracted to him too…

Reaper at the Gates (Sabaa Tahir)

Release date: 12th June

Laia faces threats and an unexpected battle. Elias becomes a Soul Catcher, relinquishing his freedom to a dark power. Helene navigates around dangerous and powerful people and tries to find a way to save the Empire from the darkness.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings (edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman)

Release date: 26th June

A multigenre anthology of East, Southeast and South Asian mythology and folklore retellings by Asian authors including Roshani Chokshi, Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Cindy Pon, Alyssa Wong and Shveta Thakrar. I wonder if there’s going to be some Indonesian stories (bonus points if they’re by Indonesian authors). Can’t wait to find out!

Trial of Lightning (Rebecca Roanhorse)

Release date: 26th June

An “Indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road” by an Indigenous American author, Trial of Lightning is set in a post-apocalyptic world where gods and mythical heroes roam as well as monsters.

While on a mission to find a missing girl, Maggie Hoskie, a Dinétah monster hunter, discovers something terrifying relating to a monster. Together with Kai, a medicine man, Maggie travels to uncover clues from ancient legends and fight dark magic.

September

Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens (edited by Marieke Nijkamp)

Release date: 18th September

A YA anthology of Own Voices stories about diverse disabled teens by disabled authors including Kody Keplinger and Corinne Duyvis.

October

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Mackenzi Lee)

Release date: 2nd October

From The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue‘s Felicity’s pov, we will come across pirates, probably an awesome adventure and science girl gangs.

 

Shadow of the Fox (Julie Kagawa)

Release date: 30th October

Yumeko escapes from her home temple being burned by demons, carrying a part of an ancient but powerful scroll with her. The scroll is much sought after and is broken into pieces that are missing. Yumeko has to guard her piece especially when she crosses paths with Kage Tatsumi who’s on a mission to find the whole scroll and won’t let anyone stand in his way…

November

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Julie C Dao)

Release date: 6th November

No details on the plot of the second book of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, a Snow White retelling, but I’m excited!

December

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Queen of Air and Darkness (Cassandra Clare)

Release date: 4th December

Civil war threatens the Shadowhunters’ world. Emma and Julian have to put aside their forbidden romance to get the Black Volume of the Dead from the Faerie. But they find out something there that would destroy their world and create a dark future…

 

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Review: Esme’s Wish

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What’s It About?

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.


My Thoughts

I really enjoyed Esme’s Wish. It has a Percy Jackson vibe with Greek mythology inspired settings and figures – I’m intrigued with the stygians and the sirens.

There were moments that were predictable and the pacing was slow every now and then, while some important scenes were fast that I got a bit lost or struggle to connect to the characters. I wish the main villain had more scenes because he was convincing, more so than the secondary and surprise antagonist.

Despite its flaws, Esme’s Wish is a page turner, pulling you into its magical world.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

April Wrap Up: My Top Reads of the Month

I can’t believe April is over and we’re getting close to the end of the first half of 2018. Are you screaming? I am. Anyway, there were so many books that I read in April and two stood out (and definitely worth the hype and praise). They are…

Children of Blood and Bone

CWs:

There are moments that might come off as ableist.

Child abuse, parental death, racism, internalised racism, torture scenes, violent scenes that reflect police brutality

Oh. My. God. This book is amazing. It blew my mind. I love the writing, the well-written complex characters, the magic, the mythology and religion which is more than just religion. It’s great to see a character like Zelie who is dedicated to their faith and mission, but also waver and feeling down and hopeless when things get too tough.

The book explores racism and internalised racism (which Zelie and Inan experience and are torn by) which parallel to that of the real world. I found the enemies-to-lovers trope refreshing – that twist towards the end was unexpected and pleasant.

I’m so happy that this book is doing well and can’t wait for the sequel 🙂

Leah on the Offbeat

This one was everything I hoped for a F/F book and it was a great and bittersweet send off for the Simon vs universe. Leah being fat (a positive representation here) and closeted bi resonated with me. The book also has a main character who’s unsure about their sexual orientation (not enough books explore people changing their labels) and also not ready to come out – that resonated with me too.

Simon and Bram continue to be cinnamon rolls, and I fell in love with Abby and Leah more. Martin continues to be…Martin, and I’ve warmed up to Garrett a bit.

There are also Sailor Moon references especially Haruka and Michiru-related ones. Thank you, Becky 😂

By the way, a cute yellow floral dress is definitely on my shopping list.


What were your top reads of April?

 

Song of Blood & Stone Blog Tour

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Hello! Hope you’re having a good bookish April. I’m here on the blog tour for Song of Blood and Stone, a fantasy different and refreshing from what I’m used to reading.

What is it About?

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


My Thoughts

This book is a letdown to me. The story dragged and was at times aimless. Much of it focused on Jasminda and Jack’s romance which felt off since there wasn’t really a romantic buildup to their relationship. Their sex scenes lacked passion and weren’t necessary, considering how serious the situation they were facing was. Like you’re on the brink of war and all you’re thinking about is each other’s flesh?

At times, I felt lost when it came to the setting. It was sketchy. As for the characters, besides Jasminda, they were fleeting and just there to push Jasminda and Jack to react. I couldn’t connect to them. The True Father didn’t come off as threatening – the non-magical humans did though.

There were positives that kept me reading though. I thought Jasminda was great, had agency and a mission to save memories of her family. She’s also biracial and caught in a conflict, external and internal, which is well written. I found the magical side of Song of Blood and Stone‘s world interesting, especially with the history part. But I wish that it was explored more.

I’m hoping the sequel would be an improvement and hopefully, the one that would hook me in.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

My Top March Reads

March is over (?!) and it was a good bookish month with amazing releases. I managed to finish my TBR and there are 5 books on it that stood out to me:

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

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TWs: child abuse (emotional)

One of my favourite Snow White retellings. It subverts the tropes including the evil stepmother/queen and instead of a prince charming, we have a female surgeon charming. I also didn’t expect so much family love and loyalty. I cried.

March reads

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

This book made me laugh so much. It’s a modern and clever retelling of Journey to the West with plenty of twists.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

TWs: domestic violence, sexual harassment

This book…oh my god. Evelyn Hugo did all that for her loved ones…Read it and you will understand.

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Love, Hate and Other Filters

TWs: racism (Islamophobia)

I really like this one. It doesn’t only deal with Islamophobia which the MC Maya faces, but her living her life as an ordinary teen with a love for movies, much to her parents’ dismay, and building a romance with a boy.

To Kill a Kingdom

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TWs: child abuse (physical and emotional), self-harm, characters with Japanese-sounding surnames being othered and foils

Killer sirens and mermaids with a taste for men (not in a romantic sense) is one of my weaknesses. While there are things that made my eyes twitch in annoyance, this book is a page turner.

What are your top reads of March? What are your anticipated reads for April?

Book Bonus 2018

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Hello! A little something different from reviews, but still book related. I’d like to bring your attention to Book Bonus, a program by Dymocks Children’s Charities which is an organisation that helps to improve children’s literacy skills and love for books.

Connected to NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge, Book Bonus is an online read-a-thon for students, starting from 5 March until September 7 this year. It raises money to provide books to schools and students, especially those in need, through student fundraising and reading, of course. Students who raise a certain amount would be rewarded books of their choice.

This year, the goal is to distribute more books than previous years, and give teachers and students the opportunity to choose their own books that would find a home in their libraries.

For more information and to get involved or donate, visit Book Bonus. Let’s encourage kids to read and get inspired 🙂