My 2021 Pride Month Reading List

Happy Pride Month!

I wanted to make the decision to exclusively read queer books in June but after thinking about it, I don’t even remember the last book I read where at least one person in the main cast wasn’t queer. So I had subconsciously already started exclusively reading books with queer rep already. But nonetheless, here are a list of books with queer MCs that are in my priority to-read list (so hopefully books I will get to read and finish this month if I can stay off of the internet for an extended period of time).

“Crier’s War” (Crier’s War #1) by Nina Varela

Impossible love between two girls —one human, one Made.
A love that could birth a revolution.

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will.

Now, Ayla, a human servant rising the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging the death of her family… by killing the Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier, who was Made to be beautiful, to be flawless. And to take over the work of her father.

Crier had been preparing to do just that—to inherit her father’s rule over the land. But that was before she was betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who seems to have a thousand secrets. That was before she discovered her father isn’t as benevolent as she thought. That was before she met Ayla.

Set in a richly-imagined fantasy world, Nina Varela’s debut novel is a sweepingly romantic tale of love, loss and revenge, that challenges what it really means to be human.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


“The Jasmine Throne” (Burning Kingdoms #1) by Tasha Suri

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas

A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s New York Times-bestselling paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys, described by Entertainment Weekly as “groundbreaking.”

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. 

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“Wilder Girls” by Rory Power

From the author of Burn Our Bodies Down, a feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

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The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon

The New York Times bestselling “epic feminist fantasy perfect for fans of Game of Thrones” (Bustle).

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Books with Queer Desi (South Asian) Characters

The past couple of years have been monumental when it comes to queer rep in books. There’s still a long way to go but seeing more and more diverse queer stories come out brings me a lot of joy. Here’s a list of books with queer desi characters (some of these haven’t been published yet but will be later this year). Let me know if I missed any!

**Please note that I haven’t read a lot of these so I cannot speak for quality or how good the representation is.

YOUNG ADULT / NEW ADULT

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Recipient of a Stonewall Honor and longlisted for the National Book Award, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

(Note: Since it isn’t clear in the description, Sam is Pakistani and trans)

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The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Bruised by Tanya Boteju

To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart.

So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get.

The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.

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Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.

But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.

But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


When Tara Met Farah by Tara Pammi

Sunshine Girl needs math lessons…

Nineteen-year-old Tara Muvvala didn’t mean to lead a double life. But her bone-deep aversion to math + a soul-deep desire to please her mother = her failing math grade + exploding food vlog ‘this masala life’.

Enter her mother’s research intern and resident math genius Farah Ahmed. Tara makes a deal with Farah – help her pass the math course and she’ll welcome Farah into the local Bollywood Drama & Dance Society.

Grumpy girl gets life lessons…

After losing her mom to a heart attack, dumping her small-minded boyfriend (she’s
bisexual, not confused) and reluctantly moving to the US to be near her dad – all in the span of eighteen months, twenty-three-year-old Farah has hit the full quota on LIFE. Two things keep her going – her internship with a brilliant statistics professor and the possibility of meeting her dancing idol through the Bollywood Drama & Dance Society. That is, if her new hot-mess housemate will let her.

Soon Tara and Farah are bonding over chicken biryani, dancing to Bollywood Beats at midnight and kissing… against all the odds. And maybe beginning to realize that while life’s even more complicated than math, love is the one variable that changes everything!

Will they realize that together they have the recipe for a Happily Ever After?

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ADULT

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by S.J Sindu

Lucky and her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan–American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she
drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home and unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend and first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met.

As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? And after a decade’s worth of lying, can Lucky break free of her own circumstances and build a new life? Is she willing to walk away from all that she values about her parents and community to live in a new truth? As Lucky—an outsider no matter what choices she makes—is pushed to the breaking point, Marriage of a Thousand Lies offers a vivid exploration of a life lived at a complex intersection of race, sexuality, and nationality. The result is a profoundly American debut novel shot through with humor and loss, a story of love, family, and the truths that define us all.

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The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya

Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki’s song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But as Rukmini’s star rises and Neela’s stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the center of an internet firestorm.

Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a stirring examination of making art in the modern era, a love letter to brown women, an authentic glimpse into the music industry, and a nuanced exploration of the promise and peril of being seen.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms #1) by Tasha Suri

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar

Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity. Brother and sister Tanay and Anuja both fall in love with the same man, an artist lodging in their family home in Pune, in western India. He seems like the perfect tenant, ready with the rent and happy to listen to their mother’s musings on the imminent collapse of Indian culture. But he’s also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history, and no plans for the future. When he runs away with Anuja, he overturns the family’s lives.

Translated from Marathi by acclaimed novelist and critic Jerry Pinto, Sachin Kundalkar’s elegantly wrought and exquisitely spare novel explores the disruption of a traditional family by a free-spirited stranger to examine a generation in transition. Intimate, moving, sensual, and wry in its portrait of young love, Cobalt Blue is a frank and lyrical exploration of gay life in India that recalls the work of Edmund White and Alan Hollinghurst―of people living in emotional isolation, attempting to find long-term intimacy in relationships that until recently were barely conceivable to them.

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The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar

Lakshmi, a bright student who grew up in poverty, marries and immigrates to the United States from India to provide a better life for herself and her family. Clinging to her cultural realities, she forces her American daughter, Pooja, into an arranged marriage, creating a rift of resentment. Pooja’s daughter, Deepa, is an out lesbian to everyone but her family. The woman Deepa loves presents an ultimatum—come out to Pooja or break up—and Deepa is forced to confront her greatest fear.
 
Three generations of Indian and Indian-American women navigate the harsh slums of Chennai to the bustle of New York City, struggling through a cathartic generational collision to try to come together as a family.

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No Other World by Rahul Mehta

From the author of the prize-winning collection Quarantine, an insightful, compelling debut novel set in rural America and India in the 1980s and `90s, part coming-of-age story about a gay Indian American boy, part family saga about an immigrant family’s struggles each to find a sense of belonging, identity, and hope

In a rural community in Western New York, twelve-year-old Kiran Shah, the American-born son of Indian immigrants, longingly observes his prototypically American neighbors, the Bells. He attends school with Kelly Bell, but he’s powerfully drawn—in a way he does not yet understand—to her charismatic father, Chris.

Kiran’s yearnings echo his parents’ bewilderment as they try to adjust to a new world. His father, Nishit Shah, a successful doctor, is haunted by thoughts of the brother he left behind. His mother, Shanti, struggles to accept a life with a man she did not choose—her marriage to Nishit was arranged—and her growing attachment to an American man. Kiran is close to his older sister, Preeti—until an unexpected threat and an unfathomable betrayal drive a wedge between them that will reverberate through their lives.

As he leaves childhood behind, Kiran finds himself perpetually on the outside—as an Indian-American torn between two cultures, and as a gay man in a homophobic society. In the wake of an emotional breakdown, he travels to India, where he forms an intense bond with a teenage hijra, a member of India’s ancient transgender community. With her help, Kiran begins to pull together the pieces of his broken past.

Sweeping and emotionally complex, No Other World is a haunting meditation on love, belonging, and forgiveness that explores the line between our responsibilities to our families and to ourselves, the difficult choices we make, and the painful cost of claiming our true selves.

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A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

Heaven is a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new, high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore. In this tight-knit community, five girls on the cusp of womanhood-a politically driven graffiti artist; a transgender Christian convert; a blind girl who loves to dance; and the queer daughter of a hijabi union leader-forge an unbreakable bond.

When the local government threatens to demolish their tin shacks in order to build a shopping mall, the girls and their mothers refuse to be erased. Together they wage war on the bulldozers sent to bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that wishes that families like them would remain hidden forever.

Elegant, poetic, and vibrant, A People’s History of Heaven takes a clear-eyed look at adversity and geography and dazzles in its depiction of love and female friendship.

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Bright Lines by Nandini Tanwi Islam

A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, Bright Lines follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past.

For as long as she can remember, Ella has longed to feel at home. Orphaned as a child after her parents’ murder, and afflicted with hallucinations at dusk, she’s always felt more at ease in nature than with people. She traveled from Bangladesh to Brooklyn to live with the Saleems: her uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi, and their beautiful daughter, Charu, her complete opposite. One summer, when Ella returns home from college, she discovers Charu’s friend Maya—an Islamic cleric’s runaway daughter—asleep in her bedroom. 

As the girls have a summer of clandestine adventure and sexual awakenings, Anwar—owner of a popular botanical apothecary—has his own secrets, threatening his thirty-year marriage. But when tragedy strikes, the Saleems find themselves blamed. To keep his family from unraveling, Anwar takes them on a fated trip to Bangladesh, to reckon with the past, their extended family, and each other.

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The Devourers by Indra Das

On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

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GRAPHIC NOVELS

Kari by Amruta Patil

They were inseparable – until the day they jumped. Ruth, saved by safety nets, leaves the city. Kari, saved by a sewer, crawls back into the fray of the living. She writes ad copy for hair products and ill-fitting lingerie, falls for cats and roadside urchins, and the occasional adventuress in a restaurant. As Danger Chhori, her PVC-suit-clad alter ego, she unclogs sewers and observes the secret lives of people and fruit. And with Angel, Lazarus, and the girls of Crystal Palace forming the chorus to her song, she explores the dark heart of Smog City – loneliness, sewers, sleeper success, death – and the memory of her absentee Other.

Sensuously illustrated and livened by wry commentaries on life and love, Kari gives a new voice to graphic fiction in India.

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Apsara Engine by Bishakh Som

By turns fantastical and familiar, this graphic short story collection is immersed in questions of gender, the body, and existential conformity.

The eight delightfully eerie stories in Apsara Engine are a subtle intervention into everyday reality. A woman drowns herself in a past affair, a tourist chases another guest into an unforeseen past, and a nonbinary academic researches postcolonial cartography. Imagining diverse futures and rewriting old mythologies, these comics delve into strange architectures, fetishism, and heartbreak.

Painted in rich, sepia-toned watercolors, Apsara Engine is Bishakh Som’s highly anticipated debut work of fiction. Showcasing a series of fraught, darkly humorous, and seemingly alien worlds—which ring all too familiar—Som captures the weight of twenty-first-century life as we hurl ourselves forward into the unknown.

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Honorary Mentions

Afterworlds (Afterworld #1) by Scott Westerfield

BELIEVING IS DANGEROUS…

Darcy Patel is afraid to believe all the hype. But it’s really happening – her teen novel is getting published. Instead of heading to college, she’s living in New York City, where she’s welcomed into the dazzling world of YA publishing. That means book tours, parties with her favorite authors, and finding a place to live that won’t leave her penniless. It means sleepless nights rewriting her first draft and struggling to find the perfect ending… all while dealing with the intoxicating, terrifying experience of falling in love – with another writer.

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, the thrilling story of Lizzie, who wills her way into the afterworld to survive a deadly terrorist attack. With survival comes the responsibility to guide the restless spirits that walk our world, including one ghost with whom she shares a surprising personal connection. But Lizzie’s not alone in her new calling – she has counsel from a fellow spirit guide, a very desirable one, who is torn between wanting Lizzie and warning her that…

BELIEVING IS DANGEROUS.

In a brilliant high-wire act of weaving two epic narratives – and two unforgettable heroines – into one novel, Scott Westerfeld’s latest work is a triumph of storytelling.

**Note: Darcy is Sapphic and has a girlfriend but she’s 18 while her gf is 23 and I had a slight problem with that whole set up.

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

**Note: adding this because one of the major side characters is queer and desi and an absolute badass

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Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar

Little Ayesha is all excited for her favorite cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance in the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?

This vibrant book sets the story of a same-sex couple struggling to gain acceptance against the colorful backdrop of an Indian wedding.

**Note: this is a children’s book and looks adorable! Putting it here since it didn’t fit the other categories

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All of these books can also be found in (on?) my Goodreads shelf here.

Did I miss any? Let me know!

I’m Still Here? And 2020 Reading Favorites

Hello! It has been an eternity. Well two years so essentially an eternity.

As I came to understand on my two year hiatus, to run a book blog, you have to read books. That’s something I haven’t done a lot of the past couple of years and therefore didn’t really see a point in continuing this. Despite only reading six books in 2020, they were all pretty great books. I might do more in depth reviews on these later but here they are.

King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

“Everyone mourns the first blossom.

Who will grieve the rest who fall?”

Though one of my most anticipated books, King of Scars was just okay. Nicolai grew on me in this book, I skimmed the Shadow and Bone trilogy because I wasn’t a huge fan so I never got attached to Nicolai in that series. Same with Zoya, loved her in KoS.

I picked this book up though for Nina. And that’s where I was disappointed because her story just did not feel relevant enough to Nicolai’s. It almost seemed like reading two different stories where the characters just knew each other. I’m sure the story will be more interwoven in the second book but that was the biggest problem I had with this one. Despite that though, I was thoroughly invested in both stories.

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

“You decide the truth about yourself. No one else. And the choice about what kind of person you will be is yours alone.”

I loved it, this was a fun book. The plot was entertaining enough but I dont read these books for the plot but for the characters and theres a pretty large and diverse cast (and about half of them are queer which is always great). I could not for the life of me keep track of the family trees though, so many Herondales and Lightwoods and Blackthorns running around, I kept forgetting who is whose child.

Chain of Gold did a good job setting up the next books and the characters. We know enough about them to start rooting for them but there’s a lot of room for growth.

Okay but do all these characters HAVE to be beautiful??? Where are the average looking Shadowhunters?? Goodness!! I’m also always here for more Will, Tessa and Jem content! Love the OG trio.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“Straight people, he thinks, probably don’t spend this much time convincing themselves they’re straight.”

This was an adorable book! Featuring Alex, a bisexual half-Mexican son of the first female president of the United States, and Henry, the very closeted gay prince of Wales and an heir to the British throne. The romcom of my dreams honestly.

The book was much more than a mere romcom though. The story is set during Alex’s mother’s presidential reelection campaign and incorporates politics pretty well. All the side characters are also amazing and hilarious.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls #2) by Hank Green

“People will just share the things that confirm their ideology, and those things will always exist. Our reality isn’t about what’s real, it’s about what we pay attention to.”

There’s so much in this book that I loved. Hank puts a lot of heavy topics into the story and he incorporates them so well with the characters. He talks about humanity, inequality, distribution of wealth, the pros and cons of the internet, corporations and their unchecked power, etc.

I also adore all the characters and appreciated getting everyone’s perspective in the second one and not just April’s.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

“What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.”

Featuring Nishat, a lesbian Muslim Bengali girl, and Flavia, an Irish-Brazilian girl in a private high school in Ireland. Overall I thought this book was cute. It deals lightly with topics like cultural appropriation vs appreciation and qpoc struggles (especially in a majority white environment). However, I thought the author could have gone more in depth with how she portrayed something like cultural appropriation and she didn’t.

I liked the portrayal of Bengali characters and I though Nishat’s parents were very spot on when it comes to Muslim Bengali parents dealing with their kids coming out (basically just the silent treatment and pretending that nothing happened). There were small things though that Nishat says about Bengali culture that made me cringe a little. At one point, Nishat mentions that Flavia having her own henna stand was “lifting from Bengali culture” when henna is very much not just Bengali culture, having originated in Africa and the middle east.

Other than small grievances, it was an adorable book!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab

“Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder what is real, if you are real. After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?”

I absolutely loved it. This book is not action packed or plot heavy, it’s driven by Addie going through this world without being able to be remembered by anyone. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue reflects on what it means to be human, and what it means to live and love and be remembered. The prose was beautifully written.

Aaaaaand those are all the books I read in 2020. No promises that I will blog frequently, though I will try to remind myself how much I love looking back at old reviews to cringe at them (looking back at old reviews is probably the best way to torture myself. They suck. I don’t know why I did this, please don’t read them).

Books I’ve Been Wanting To Read

books tbr

We all know that I haven’t been reading much lately, I’ve read three books so far this year and it’s almost the end of March. I used to read 3 books in a week back in my glory days (sighhh).

Before I start with the post, I wanted to write about where I think my blog is going from here on out. Nowadays, usually if I have free time (which is rarely), I watch TV or I go out with friends or I sleep. I find myself picking up books less and less. And I was never one for audio books though I should listen to more of them. But I don’t want to not blog here so I might start writing more non-book related content (about my personal life, movies and shows I like, songs I love, etc).

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Okay, so on to the actual post! I have a MASSIVE TBR list so here are some books, new and old, that are on my list.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history—but only if they can stay alive.

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Homegoing by Yaa GyasiHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.

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36086513Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when—as the eldest daughter—she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

two lines36307634King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

two lines39988431The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabadand quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid the unpredictable water spirits have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

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Any of these on your list? What book have you been dying to read?

 

My Year in Review: 2018

2018 Review

Life Updates: 

Am I really posting my 2018 review in the middle of January? Yes, yes I am.

I obviously have not been around at all lately. I think I probably posted a total of 12 posts in 2018. A part of the reason was definitely the much dreaded blogger burn-out that many bloggers have faced but most of it was due to school. I recently transferred universities and a new school + a demanding workload = the worst semester I’ve ever had. I was emotionally exhausted every day and had very little time to read and no time to blog.

School just started again so I’m afraid the same thing will happen again where I am only posting once a month or maybe not at all for two or three months. Hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two from last semester and will manage my time better.

Reading Updates: 

Like I said before, I have not had much time to read last year. I’ve been trying to make up for that by reading more Manga since they take less time and are still enjoyable.

**Note These are just the books that I have read in 2018 and not necessarily books that were published last year.

Favorite Fantasy

Favorite Sci-Fi

Favorite Contemporary

Favorite Manga

Have you read any of these? What was one of your absolute favorites of 2018? How’s 2019 going?

 

Books My Soul Needs

Soul Needs

So my life right now is basically me waiting endlessly for sequels to come out. WHY DO THEY TAKE SOOO LONG (Rational part of my brain: because books have to be drafted, edited, revised, edited, revised and edited again and revised again). YEAH BUT WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LOOOONG

My friend over at Empire of Starlight did a “Books My Soul Needs” post which inspired me to do my own. So here is a list of my most anticipating books that will come out later this year.

Darkest Legacy

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Release Date: July 31st, 2018

I am SO SO EXCITED for another book in The Darkest Minds world. TDM is one of my absolute favorite trilogies so when I heard Bracken was publishing a stand alone in Zu’s POV, I was overjoyed. I’ve been wanting her to revisit this world for so long and it’s finally coming true! And I’m sure we’ll get to see Ruby and the rest of the gang show up and it’ll be nice to see how they’re doing five years after In the Afterlight.

(Also, the TDM movie is releasing later this year and I haven’t been this excited for a book to movie adaptation since Harry Potter. If this movie isn’t good, I’m going to cry for days in despair).

QoAaD

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Release Date: December 4th, 2018

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL FREAKING DECEMBER!! HOOOOOWWWW!! This series is killing me! It’s so good! Cassandra Clare outdid herself with the The Dark Artifices, it’s definitely her best series to date. The characters are amazing, the plot gets better and better, and she keeps developing the Shadowhunter world in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

 

Bright We Burn (1)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Release Date: July 10, 2018

The third book to the Conqueror’s Saga trilogy. And I Darken is my favorite YA historical fiction: these books are adventurous, action packed and full of complicated characters. And after the ending of Now I Rise, the stakes are higher than ever and I NEED to know what will happen.

Reaper

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Release Date: June 12, 2018

The third book to the Ember in the Ashes quartet. I’m so excited for this book! I love the Ember world and there is still so much left to explore. The characters are all complex and well developed, there are some surprising plot twists, and the action scenes are awesome.

Honorary Mentions

Do you guys agree with any of mine? What are some books you’ve been dying to read?

Favorites of 2017 – Wrap-Up

Oh wow, how is 2017 already over? I feel like I say this after every year. It’ll be nice to go back to a nice, even year though.

2017 reading challenge

I read more books than I expected myself to last year because of how difficult this last semester was for me. Most of the ones I’ve read were really good, I’ve liked or loved almost all of them. So my favorites list basically consists of most of the books I’ve read in 2017.

**Note that some of these books haven’t necessarily been published in 2017, I’ve just read them in 2017.

Favorite Contemporaries

 

 

Favorite Science Fiction

 

Favorite Fantasies

 

Favorite Historical Fiction

 

Superheroes

 

Surprisingly, I’ve read more contemporaries this year than any other genre, this has never happened before. It has a lot to do with so many diverse contemporaries coming out now and I hope that continues.

I also haven’t been blogging much lately, especially the last couple of months so thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has stuck around. I love you guys! I hope this new year brings you lots of joy, love and books.

What are some books that became your favorites in 2017?

Favorite Female Characters

Wow, it’s been fifteen days! And I was doing so well on posting regularly too! I’ve been super busy the past two weeks. I haven’t visited any blogs either. Sorry guys!

In honor of (the end of) Women’s History Month, I’ve decided to honor my favorite fictional females.

Hermione Granger

Hermione Jean Granger from Harry Potter, the brain of the Golden Trio. Any list I make of female characters would be incomplete without her. She’s smart and headstrong and she’s never afraid to call people out.

Arrow

Luna Lovegood

Luna Lovegood, also from Harry Potter, so different but also just as admirable as Hermione. Luna is fearless. She has unrelenting beliefs and never compromises herself for what other people think of her.

Arrow

Inej Ghafa

Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Inej stole my heart in the first two chapters of the book. She is brave, compassionate and strong willed. And she is always hopeful no matter what the circumstance.

Photo credit: ace-artemis-fanartist

Arrow

Helene Aquilla

Helene Aquilla from Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Helene is pretty much as fierce as they get. She stays strong, solves her own problems and always looks ahead. She’s ruthless but has a soft side for those she loves.

Photo credit: Bostonglobe

Arrow

Anne Shirley

Anne with and “e” Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. If I had to pick a favorite classical female character, it would be my favorite red haired heroine. I love Anne’s optimism and positivity. And though her temper may get the best of her sometimes, she has a huge heart and the intelligence to go along with it.

Arrow

Which of these characters are on your favorites list? Who would you add?

2016 Wrap Up And GIVEAWAY!

THAT TIME OF THE YEAR GUYS! 2016 wrap up in which, I contest to my utter failure as a reader.

reading-challenge-failure

Wow, I’ve only read 38 books this year. Not even in the forties! This is a long way down from the 55 books I read last year. Though on the bright side, almost all of the ones I did read were good.

Favorites Published in 2016 that Everyone Should Read No Matter Your Age and/or Hogwarts House

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The two books that stole my life and killed my soul and broke my little heart that gets way too attached to book characters: 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Ember in the Ashes #2)

~O~o~O~o~O~

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Awesome introduction to a new series that I’ve already started to fall in love with:

And I Darken by Kiersten White (The Conqueror’s Saga #1)
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (Dark Artifices #1)

Great conclusion to a series I am in love with:

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #4)

~O~o~O~o~O~

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Diverse romance with genuine and witty main characters:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Transgender POC main character + magical realism + beautiful writing:

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

~O~o~O~o~O~

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Introduction to series with a lot of potential:

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (Trials of Apollo #1)
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger #1)

~O~o~O~o~O~

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A cute, touching holiday read: 

What Light by Jay Asher

Heartfelt story about friendship and loyalty and what it means to be different:

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

 ~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~~O~o~O~o~O~

Favorites I Read This Year Not Published in 2016 But Go Read Them Anyway Because THEY’RE AWESOME

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Coming out stories that made me want to hug the characters and never let go (also known as two of the longest titles in YA):

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjami Alire Saenz
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

~O~o~O~o~O~

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Heartbreaking LGBT stories:

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

~O~o~O~o~O~

15-16

Based on A Thousand and One Arabian Nights that have similar premises but distinct characters and writing styles:

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A Thousand Night by E.K Johnson

~O~o~O~o~O~

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Magical realism that is strange and beautiful: 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Love, loss and the importance of mental health: 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Dragons at its finest: 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

 ~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~~O~o~O~o~O~

My first Giveaway!!

giveaway

What better time to give away books than the end of the year?

Rules:

1. United States ONLY! (Sorry to everyone living in the foreign lands!)

2. Choose ONE of the following books. I repeat ONE of the following:

What Light by Jay Asher
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

**Keep in mind the copies I’m giving away are ARC copies. There may be slight evidence of wear since I’ve read them first.

3. I will contact the winner with the e-mail address provided. If the winner does not reply within two days, someone else will be chosen.

Link to Giveaway

 ~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~~O~o~O~o~O~

What was your favorite book you read this year? What book are you most excited to read next year?

Anticipating Releases for the rest of 2016

I am eagerly anticipating SO MANY books this year I don’t even know how I’ve been waiting so patiently for this long.

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So. Very. Patient.

~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~

Most Anticipated Sequels:

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, #2)

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (Young Elites, #3)

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Ember in the Ashes, #2)

~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~

Most Anticipated Series Starters:

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer #1)

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash of Kingdoms #1)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)

Replica by Lauren Oliver (Replica #1)

~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~

Most Anticipated Stand-Alones:

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~

Don’t Really Know If They’re a Part of a Series or Not So I’ll Make a Separate Category:

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Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Signs of You by Emily France

~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~O~o~

Are any of these in your TBR list? Why is time going by so slow?