A Scroll of 2017 Releases That I’m Excited About

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I’ll update this post when more books are announced and release dates are changed as the year goes on


2017 promises so many new books especially diverse/Own Voices ones (yay!). Here’s a list of releases that I’m excited about:

January

Wayfarer (Alexandra Bracken): The sequel to the time travel/adventure book Passenger. Nicholas and Sophia team up to locate the missing Etta and the much sought after astrolabe that has been taken away in the first book. Release date: 3 January

Windwitch (Susan Dennard): The sequel to the epic fantasy Truthwitch. New alliances are formed, enemies and our heroes are working together. Release date: 10 January

History is All You Left Me (Adam Silvera): Griffin’s life is shaken when his first love and ex dies in an accident. He is tormented by the past, stopping himself from moving forward. Release date: January 17

Caraval (Stephanie Garber):  Two sisters enter a dangerous, magical game. Release date: January 31

Freeks (Amanda Hocking): I’m a sucker for carnival stories. The book centres on Mara whose home is a dark magical carnival. She meets a boy…and things start to go downhill with the carnival employees disappearing. Release date: January 31

February

King’s Cage (Victoria Aveyard): The sequel to the Red Queen series. Mare is under Maven’s wrath meanwhile the Reds continue to prepare for war and Cal tries to find a way to free Mare. Release date: February 7

Empress of A Thousand Skies (Rhoda Belleza): Empress Rhee is on a path of revenge. She wants to reclaim her throne and avenge her family. Release date: February 7

A Conjuring of Light (VE Schwab): Battles between the four Londons ensues in this third and final installment in the Shades of Magic series. Release date: February 21

The Ship Beyond Time (Heidi Heilig): The sequel to The Girl From Everywhere. Nix is now in charge of her future but when she discovers that she will lose a loved one, Nix and the crew travel to meet another Navigator who might help her. Release date: February 28

 

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas): This book was inspired by Black Lives Matter and I’ve heard so many great reviews! It centres on Starr who witnesses the murder of her friend by a police officer. Release date: February 28

March

Traitor to the Throne (Alwyn Hamilton): The sequel to Rebel of the Sands. Gunslinger Amani gets close to the Sultan’s court in order to bring him down. Release date: March 7

The Bone Witch (Rin Chupeco): Tea resurrects her brother and discovers that she’s a bone witch, a witch with the power of necromancy – which doesn’t do her any favours in her community. She finds comfort in another bone witch who becomes her mentor. Release date: March 7

The Song Rising (Samantha Shannon): The third entry in the Bone Season series. Paige has become Underqueen and struggles to maintain the underworld, not to mention enemies and a new dangerous technology that would put the clairovoyant community at peril. Release date: March 7

A Crown of Wishes (Roshani Chokshi): The sequel to The Star-Touched Queen. Gauri teams up with her enemy king Vikram to reclaim her kingdom in exchange for her fighting skills. They enter the Tournament of Wishes and soon discover that there are more dangerous obstacles than they expected. Release date: March 28 

Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor): Obsessed with a mythical lost city, Lazlo Strange sets out to find answers. Release date: March 28

April

 

The Upside of Unrequited (Becky Albertalli): Molly is no stranger to unrequited love (same here, Molly). When her twin Cassie has a new girlfriend, Molly tries to find her courage to win over Cassie’s girlfriend’s sidekick. I hope this book has Oreos. Release date: April 11

May

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (Jenny Han): The third entry in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series which I fell in love with last year. Lara Jean is in her senior year and continues to nagivate through her familial and romantic relationships. I’m looking forward to all the baking and sweet romance. Release date: May 2

Noteworthy (Riley Redgate): Jordan Sun is determined to get fame and auditions for her school’s  all-male a cappella Sharpshooters. Release date: May 2

How to Make a Wish (Ashley Herring Blake): Escaping from a crappy life, Grace goes on midnight adventures and finds solace and unexpected feelings when she meets Eva. Release date: May 2

A Court of Wings and Ruin (Sarah J Maas): The third entry to the ACOTAR series. Feyre is in enemy territory to spy on Tamlin and his ally the King of Hybern as war is brewing. Release date: May 2

The Seafarer’s Kiss (Julia Ember): A F/F retelling of Little Mermaid with a bisexual mermaid as main character. Ersel rescues and befriends shieldmaiden Ragna, but is caught by her friend and suitor. Facing the consequences, Ersel seeks help and makes a deal with Loki, leading her to exile and learn to outsmart the god so she can be reunited with the human she has fallen for. Release date: May 4

Ramona Blue (Julie Murphy): With so many responsibilities, Ramona Blue aches for a bigger life outside of her home. When her childhood friend re-enters her life, she finds herself questioning her sexuality. Release date: May 9

Flame in the Mist (Renee Ahdieh): Set in feudal Japan, Mariko is ambushed and escapes from the Black Clan. She later sets out to infiltrate them to discover who’s responsible for the attack, but soon discovers more secrets which changes everything. Release date: May 16

The Crown’s Fate (Evelyn Skye): The sequel to The Crown’s Game. Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter but it’s not easy. A challenger steps forward, threatening her position and the Tsar Pasha’s kingdom. Release date: May 16

Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare): The sequel to Lady Midnight. Emma starts dating Mark to protect Julian from the consequences of falling in love with your parabatai. But the Unseelie King has enough of Shadowhunters’ laws which effects the Blackthorns. Release date: May 23

I Believe In a Thing Called Love (Maurene Goo): Straight A student Desi has never had a boyfriend. She’s terrible at romance but she tries to tackle her problems when she pursues the object of her affection Luca like he’s a school project. She learns romance through K-dramas but maybe love is more than that. Release date: May 30

 

When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon): Dimple tries to break away from family/cultural traditions including finding the ideal husband and focus on her ambitions. Rishi is the opposite. He embraces tradition and wants his marriage to be arranged. Dimple and Rishi eventually clash… Release date: May 30

June

Tash Hearts Tolstoy (Kathryn Ormsbee): Tash is the creator of a web series, a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina which becomes nominated for an award. Her crush Thom is also a nominee – a window of opportunity to develop this crush into something more. That’s if she can tell him she’s asexual. Release date: June 6

Want (Cindy Pon): A refreshing dystopian novel where the rich are protected from disease via special suits and those who don’t have these suits suffer. Fed up with the injustice of it, Zhou infiltrates the wealthy in order to destroy the corporation behind the suits. Release date: June 13

Our Dark Duet (VE Schwab): The sequel to Our Savage Song. A new monster emerges, bringing monster hunter Kate back home. Release date: June 13

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Mackenzi Lee): Two friends are on their grand tour of Europe and discover a magical artifact that leads to a manhunt across the continent. Release date: June 27

September

Throne of Glass #6 (untitled at the moment) (Sarah J Maas): My darling Chaol deserves his own books. He is sent to the healers in Antica. There he discovers something that will change everything and becomes more vital to saving Erilea (something that should’ve been in Empire of Storms in my opinion). Release date: September 5

One Dark Throne (Kendare Blake): The sequel to Three Dark Crowns where the three sister queens continue to battle each other. Release date: September 13

 

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Leigh Bardugo): This is a collection of fairytales in the Grishverse and there will be illustrations by Sara Kipin! Release date: September 26

 

October

Warcross (Marie Lu): Two bounty hunters are hired to hunt down a hacker in a popular VR video game. Release date: October 3

27 Hours (Tristina Wright):  A group of teens fight for their homes and cultures against monsters, time and extiniction. Release date:

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Julie C. Dao): A Snow White retelling based on Asian mythology/folklore through the Evil Queen’s POV. Xifeng unleashes a sinister god on the world and her own vicious soul so she could become empress. Release date: October 10

 

 

 

 

November

Renegades (Marissa Meyer): This one comes out on my birthday! Renegades are a group of humans with special abilities and Nova hates them and wants revenge. Things take a drastic turn when she catches one of them Adrian’s attention. Release date: November 7

DecemBER

 

Immortal Reign (Morgan Rhodes): The sixth book in the Falling Kingdom series. Enemies become allies in order to save the world as two dangerous gods set out to destroy it. Release date: December 12

Dear Author, Thank You: A Review on The Upside Of Unrequited

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Penguin/Balzer + Bray (HarperTeen)

Published: April 2017

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“Chubby girls don’t get boyfriends, and they definitely don’t have sex. Not in movies – not really – unless it’s supposed to be a joke. And I don’t want to be a joke.”

This cuts me to the core because I’m fat and have experienced these thoughts since my teens. It has made me self-conscious and really irritable with people especially relatives telling me to lose weight (so I won’t be lacking…things – eyeroll emoji). Plus not a lot of fat characters, fat girls, not even Asian ones, are seen as heroes or the centre of the story. I can only name a few body positive ones: Dumplin’, Hairspray and Holding Up the Universe.

So seeing myself in Molly Peskin-Suso of The Upside of Unrequited brought me joy and tears – and is the one that really gets me. So thank you, Becky for writing this book.

**SOME SPOILERS AHEAD**

Sharing the same universe as Albertalli’s Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda, Upside centres on Molly who has twenty-six crushes that have led to nowhere and when her twin sister Cassie meets and starts dating Mina, she becomes drawn to the latter’s best friend Will. Her insecurities flare up. And another boy, Reid, enters her life…

Starting from the very first line (yes I always wondered how mermaids pee), I was swept away with the 300+ page drama filled with warmth and laughs that unfolds. I didn’t realise how much I was invested until it ended – Albertalli has a gift with words and characters. It isn’t another story where a fat character needs a boyfriend or girlfriend or partner to feel validated. As much as I like to read stories about fat characters kicking butt and not in love, I want the romance because I’ve rarely seen them being centred and taken seriously in a love story.

Molly doesn’t alter her appearance and her weight at all. It’s part of her. And Molly Peskin-Suso is more than romance. She spends most of the time caring and worrying about her family (yes more healthy family relationships please) and is passionate in crafts. Was I annoyed that she got the nerd boy Reid? No, because there’s nothing wrong with nerds and fat people. Was I annoyed she liked a hot boy? Nope, making heart eyes at hot boys is ordinary and hot guys are cool unless they’re asses. Was I annoyed that Molly tended to overthink, be afraid of rejection, be awkward in social situations and tear herself down? No, because I understand her and all those things are parts of me. Also I cried over those moments.

The book has Molly worrying over her and Cassie being separated as things change and there’s that need to catch up with your big sister in stages of life. It reminded me of teen me and five years ago me. I struggled to find my place as my high school friends and post-high school ones started to change directions (and I wasn’t an easy person to let things go), not to mention my anxiety tended (still is) to get in the way of maintaining an “easy” relationship.

“I’m bringing a boy to my house. For cookie dough purposes.”

Reid is like my ideal boyfriend. He’s into Lord of the Rings and has a Middle-earth shirt! He’s into you no matter what you look like. Bonus: he’s such a smooth talker. “You’ve been to this supermarket but not with me” (paraphrased). “I am down for this wedding and anything else you want to bring me to, ever, especially if cake is involved.” Marry him, Molly.

I loved the other characters. The whole Peskin-Suso family made me teary. I didn’t connect with Xavier (haha), but the parents are just cool and there for their kids – able to balance “I’m totally down with the young people” and typical parent modes. Cassie “I’m going to destroy that prick/Omg Mina is so hot, I want to make out with her and introduce her to my parents” Peskin-Suso is a badass. She reminded me way too much of my older sister and our relationship (teary, laughing face emoji).

I found Cassie and Mina sweet, and I was all heart eyes. Even though the book is in first-person (in Molly’s PoV), I felt their relationship was solid. Despite most of her scenes having Cassie in them, Mina is a character all on her own. I hope there’s a spinoff about her. *Whispers* I did ship her with Molly…I think they would’ve been awesome together. Olivia is a cinnamon roll and I saw myself in her too. I didn’t see the appeal in hot boy Will. I felt that Molly had more of a chemistry with Reid (and Mina), but I did like Will even if he was a little less fleshed out compared to the others. I felt a little uncomfortable with the racist grandma and homophobic aunt (they don’t explicitly show their horribleness), but I can relate to Molly tolerating them and feeling conflicted as they can be nice people.

Did I enjoy cameos made by Abby, Simon and Nick from Simon vs? HELL YEAH! (Can’t wait for the movie by the way)

I didn’t feel like every facet of diversity was thrown in or thought it was unrealistic that most of the characters represented several marginalised groups. We live in a diverse world.

The book resonated with me so much, but I understand that experiences vary and you might not find that this book has good fat rep or diverse rep. But I recommend reading it 🙂

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Aim. Ignite. That’s What Geekerella Did

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Title: Geekerella

Author: Ashley Poston

Publisher: Quirk Books

Release date: 4 April 2017

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I really enjoyed this modern and nerdy retelling of Cinderella. It had everything from cosplays to cons to fangirling/fanboying moments to sparks flying between nerds – all mixed with a food truck (the pumpkin carriage), a punk girl and lesbian named Sage (the fairy godmother) and glass slippers which are part of a cosplay. Is your fangirl heart beating fast? Mine is.

The tale goes: Elle escapes from her miserable life with her stepmother and stepsisters through a scifi show Starfield. It’s the way of life and it’s something that she treasures with her late father. She’s determined to honour his and her mother’s memories by participating in a cosplay contest at ExcelsiCon which her dad founded. In between creating her costume and saving up for the con, she develops a text-based bond with a mysterious guy under the name Carmindor (the name of the main character from Starfield) and she also blasts out her opinion on the Starfield movie and lead actor Darien, a heartthrob.

Playing Carmindor is Darien’s dream and he meets backlash especially from Elle (anonymously). He’s determined to prove that he’s serious and worthy for the role. Meanwhile he falls for a mysterious fangirl he’s been texting…all things come to a chaotic showdown at the con and cosplay ball…

Elle carries an emotional depth, much deeper than previous Cinderellas (besides Danielle from Ever After of course) in my opinion, and shows the effects of child abuse. While I wanted her to stand up for herself, I understood that she was just a teen and had been emotionally beaten down for years. Finding the strength to face your abusers is hard – something that resonates with me as someone with anxiety and finding solace in fiction.

I love Darien, the co-protagonist and a PoC (yay!). Not only is he a heartthrob actor, he’s a fanboy himself. Like Elle, he has family/relationship issues and struggles through the hurdles thrown at him by his father.

As for the stepmother and stepsister (there are two but one turns out to be good), they don’t get much of a backstory or character development, but that’s fine because sometimes villains don’t deserve to be sympathised.

A must-read retelling, this book is a love letter to us fangirls and fanboys. It doesn’t matter that an introvert or geek developing a relationship with a celeb is far fetched. I didn’t doubt Elle and Darien for a second.

Aim. Ignite. Let your nerd shine.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Wrapping Up March

A month closes and a new one opens. Here’s a rundown on my March.

Monthly TBR

I finished all the books on my March TBR. YAY!

My Top 4 reads:

The One Who Ascended the Throne: The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas). This is a must read. I think it’s also my first 5 starred book this year.

The Runner Up, the Heir: A Conjuring of Light (VE Schwab): I’m still recovering from reading this one. It was also the last one left on the TBR.

The Third is a Charming Mediator: Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor): Fall in love with Taylor’s writing and Lazlo Strange.

The Noble Fourth Who Deserves the Praise and Loyalty from the People: Labyrinth Lost (Zoraida Cordova): OH. MY. GOD. This book is amazing!


Tracing my roots

Beauty is a Wound (Eka Kurniawan) is the first book with Indonesian and Indo (half-Indonesian and half-Dutch or partial) characters and by an Indonesian author I’ve read. In a similar vein as The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende), Beauty centres on a family of importance but share terrible fates during the Dutch colonial rule, Japanese occupation and early years of independent Indonesia (including the power struggle and anti-communist massacre in 1965).

It’s a beautiful but confronting story that gives voice to the unspoken experiences faced by Indonesian women during those times. I learnt a lot from this book because I was clueless about  the history of my family’s country of origin – I’m Indonesian Australian. I saw a bit of myself but mostly my relatives in the characters and there were phrases that I grew up hearing so I was like “OMG!”. However, I also felt distant. There were things that I didn’t understand. Reading Beauty made me want to reconnect with my heritage and wishing I could ask my grandmother about Indonesia’s history and her own experiences since she lived through all three time periods the book is set in.

The book has intense and triggering scenes, so if you want to read it, read with caution. I did enjoy it as it blended history and the supernatural that reflects the turbulent effects of the country’s past on its people.


Mini Reviews

Because I finished A Conjuring of Light last night and I was waiting for Strange the Dreamer in physical form (I read the eARC), I thought I would do mini reviews here.

A Conjuring of Light 

Things I loved:

  • Kell, Lila, Rhy and Alucard
  • Holland and Rhy’s parents are fleshed out
  • More on Osaron
  • Magic, magic, magic

Things I didn’t love:

  • There aren’t enough pages, but I thought some scenes weren’t necessary and slowed down the plot
  • Someone dies *sad, tear-stained face*
  • Not enough Rhy and Alucard scenes

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

TW: self-harm

Strange the Dreamer

Things I loved:

  • A librarian protagonist
  • You don’t need to be a warrior to be a hero
  • Moths are your best friends and weapons
  • Steampunk-ish elements
  • Lost/cursed city narrative
  • Creepy evil kids
  • THE ENDING

Things I didn’t love:

  • THE ENDING

Rating:🌟🌟🌟🌟


Film/TV

I watch Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed it but it could’ve been better.  I made a thread of my thoughts on Twitter.

Ghost in the Shell and the trailer of Netflix’s Death Note are out now. I’m going to keep this short because I’m drained by the major problem they have: 

The Justice League trailer also came out. Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash are looking pretty badass.


Writing

I haven’t been writing a lot this month because I was feeling down by recent events in the book community and a certain racist book (for more details, read this analysis). On the plus side, an agent requested a partial! 😀


Other Bookish Things

This March saw the 10th anniversary of City of Bones. While the prequel series The Infernal Devices changed my life, City of Bones still has a special place in my heart. It introduced me to Simon Lewis/Lovelace and Isabelle Lightwood.


new month anticipated reads

 

 

 

 

I’m excited about The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (I’ve heard that the rep is good) and Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han.

Both are coming out in April and are diverse books 🙂


My new month resolutions

  • Read faster

Til next time,

Natalia xoxo

A Review on The Song Rising

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Title: The Song Rising

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publication date: 3 March 2017

Publisher: Bloomsbury

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Waiting for this book was worth it. The third book in The Bone Season series, The Song Rising follows up with Paige settling into her role as Underqueen and leader of the Mime Order. When she discovers that the enemy’s weapon Senshield is close to full development and has endangered several voyants, Paige and every voyant under her rule retreat to underground. But she’s not going to back down. Along with a crew of her closest friends and commanders, Paige sets out to find the source that powers the Senshield.

There isn’t a page that slows the plot or quest down and with each cliffhanger and twist, I found myself literally on the edge of my seat, back hunched, eyes a little too close to the book…and not taking enough breaks in between reading. As expected, Shannon’s writing is beautiful and concise – and has strengthened over three books.

I love Paige’s character. She struggles with wanting to prove to everyone that she’s worthy and doubts herself while showing moments of naivety and overconfidence. There was a scene that made me roll eyes because it was a cliche, but Paige had to do it. We get to see more of Warden and some of his character growth in this book, but he still remains distant. Even though the tension between Paige and Warden irritated me since I ship them, I liked that they were focused on their mission and they had a choice in their relationship.

The side characters Maria, Eliza, Nick and Tom made me fall in love with them. Each play their part and are solid. As for the villains, I wish the Emim had more of a role and Nashira wasn’t confined to the last 100 pages. I did get goosebumps from Vance and Jaxon as they were so calculating and unpredictable – their ulterior motives are in the dark too.

With amazing complex characters and a plot that makes your heart race, The Song Rising completely hooks you in from beginning to end and wanting more rebellious spirits.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

TW: violence, scenes with torture, numbers on body parts

The Book that Matters: THUG Review

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Title: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Publication date: 28 February 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Walker Books

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“You matter and your voice matters”

 

Where to start? THUG, one of this year’s most anticipated releases, surpasses my expectations and is worth all the hype and discussion. Inspired by Black Lives Matter, THUG centres on Starr Carter who witnesses the unjust shooting of her best friend by a white cop, setting up a chain of events that confronts racism and Starr’s inner turmoil and determination to seek justice.

I don’t want to say too much without spoiling. The first pages hooked me in. The writing had a rhythm that was refreshing and there were moments where I found myself rapping them. Starr’s voice is quite strong that from the moment she spoke, she had me listening/reading and took me on a journey through her doubts, fear, pain, tears, and growth.

Starr shines and the other characters do too. I love her family and how supportive they are despite all the bickering. They reminded me of the Weasleys and speaking of that, I enjoyed the Harry Potter references. There are moments of happiness, of normal which, to be honest, I didn’t expect to flow throughout the book. But they didn’t make me forget the dark parts. These moments along with her trauma strengthen Starr and make her solid.

There’s no sugarcoating with the resolution and the racism which is present even in Starr’s relationships. Starr’s white boyfriend Chris struggles with his privilege and assumptions on black people, and her friend Maya lets racist remarks slide while their friendship revolves around Hailey who’s white. Despite differences in heritage, I found Starr and Maya’s experiences resonating with mine as a PoC with a majority of white friends. It is hard to be yourself and be proud of your culture while protecting yourself from hurt (even danger) and yes, you don’t want to be seen as not white or “sensitive”, but Starr grows to be unapologetic and that’s inspiring. None of the characters are perfect but they struggle and eventually try to learn and unlearn to be better. Not all of them do of course.

Ending with powerful and hopeful words, THUG is truly a must-read and an inspiration for PoC writers especially black writers writing diverse/Own Voices stories 🙂

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

TW: police brutality, racism