TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2021”! I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting about, but in a glance at my to-read list and things I can remember off the top of my head, here are ten books I’m looking forward to that are coming out in the latter half of 2021. I can’t believe the year’s halfway gone already!! It’s been such a busy year, but I have a good feeling that the rest of this year is going to be amazing.

  • Well, This is Exhausting: Essays by Sophia Benoit– I’ve followed Sophia on Twitter for so long and have loved her presence on social media, so I’m excited to read her essays!
  • The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling – I love the vibes of this cover?? It’s a witchy romance out just in time for the spooky season.
  • Little Thieves by Margaret Owen – I have not read her duology yet even though I own them, but this has all of the fairy tale vibes I’m here for.
  • A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow – I really enjoyed her debut novel, and this retelling and reworking of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is calling my name.
  • The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling – I thoroughly enjoyed Starling’s debut, and this looks like the gothic horror I’ve been wanting (especially after reading Mexican Gothic).
  • Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood – This is a Jane Eyre retelling, and I love seeing what writers do with that story.
  • Gilded by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t read the superhero trilogy of hers yet, but I’ve enjoyed everything else Meyer writes. The cover of this looks so good too.
  • Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – After reading Mexican Gothic (and I’m in the middle of The Beautiful Ones now), I’ll read anything Silvia writes!!
  • The Penguin Book of Dragons by edited by Scott G. Bruce – Penguin puts out such great collections, and after their mermaid book a while back, I’m excited to see one come out about dragons!
  • Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter – Having just read The Helm of Midnight by the same author, I’m looking forward to reading more of their work! This is recommended for those who like Martha Wells’ Murderbot series, and anything to do with robots/A.I./first contact is everything I enjoy.

What new releases are you looking forward to reading in 2021??

BOOK REVIEW: I’m Waiting For You and Other Stories, by Kim Bo-Young

BOOK REVIEW: I’m Waiting For You and Other Stories, by Kim Bo-YoungTitle: I'm Waiting for You and Other Stories by Kim Bo-young, Sophie Bowman, Sung Ryu
Published by Harper Voyager
Published: April 6th 2021
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Work
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
Goodreads

“Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.”—Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite

Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities 
In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity—love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence—in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.
In “I’m Waiting for You” and “On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure—through relativity—they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.

In “The Prophet of Corruption” and “That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth—from the richest woman to a speck of dirt—is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion—a disease—that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose “child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order—and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I?

This collection of intertwined short stories is so meticulously well done that I need to read everything else by Bo-Young. It’s not apparent from the get-go that these stories are connected because it starts out small, goes to the outer limits of the universe, and comes back around, but the way in which these are connected are so human at times in a way that only science fiction seems to be able to do.

Kim Bo-Young’s collection is something I’d recommend to you if you read and enjoyed Ted Chiang’s or Ken Liu’s writing as it has the very human, philosophical quality found in their works because no matter how far we as humans remove ourselves from the planet Earth – physically, emotionally, or spatially – there is always something calling us back.

From the letters and communication between two lovers trying to coordinate their paths through space and time to the overwatch of celestial beings on humanity, each of these stories makes you believe in something considered both small and big in the grand scheme of the universe – love, life, and hope. And those three things are often what truly matter in the grand scheme of things. The day-to-day choices that bring us closer together, no matter what the universe has in store for us all.

This comes highly recommended from me, and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.

Many thanks to Harper Voyager for a review copy! All opinions are my own.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books on my Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Books on My Wishlist”! There’s an Amazon link below to my wishlist, but absolutely do not feel obligated to purchase anything for me! These also in no particular order, just in the order I found them through my Goodreads to-read list.

  • The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid– So many fairy tale and myth retellings are coming out, and I’ve seen such good things about this!
  • Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian – Give me all of the Arthurian revisits, especially about the female characters.
  • Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen – I keep looking at this at the bookstore, and the cover is so pretty that I want to own a physical copy!
  • Son of the Storm by Suyi Davis Okungbowa – Everything in Orbit’s pipeline lately has been and looks incredible, and this is no exception.
  • The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu – I love books about books/libraries, and this looks delightfully spooky.
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint – This keeps catching my attention every time I go to the bookstore and see it on Instagram, and I’m totally digging these Greek mythology retellings.
  • Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell – This keeps being touted as Finn/Poe-esque, and tbh I want it for that reason alone.
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo – A The Great Gatsby retelling from the perspective of Jordan??? I’ve been wanting to read this ever since it was announced.
  • She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – This is another one I’ve been hearing so much about and it just looks amazing.
  • Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim – Aside from this cover being one of the most beautiful, striking covers I’ve seen in a while, the story sounds incredible too.

> > > Amazon Wishlist < < <

Do not feel obligated to purchase anything off the wishlist!

BOOK REVIEW: Cool for the Summer, by Dahlia Adler

BOOK REVIEW: Cool for the Summer, by Dahlia AdlerTitle: Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Published by Wednesday Books
Published: May 11th 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
Goodreads

Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

 I don’t read many contemporary YA romances, but the fact that this is a BI YA romance is what caught my attention. Cool for the Summer is utterly adorable, deftly handling what it means to be a teenage girl navigating the confusion surrounding her bisexuality. This is the kind of book I probably needed as a teenager, and I’m glad to have read it now.

The title comes from Demi Lovato’s song which makes an appearance in the book, and I think it suits the theme of the book so well. I am also just a sucker for song title books. Cool for the Summer also felt a little like a classic summer teen movie, with a lot of nods to Grease. The connections Lara had with both Chase and Jasmine were real and believable, and as a reader, I didn’t know which one she’d end up choosing in the end. Lara’s forever crush Chase finally notices here the summer after Jasmine, and I loved the reflection Lara has when making her decision in the end. It felt so true, heartbreaking, and exhilarating all at once. I think the only thing that stuck out to me was the one who wasn’t chosen’s reaction once Lara made her decision. It felt like an easy acceptance, but in reality, I don’t know if Lara would be let off the hook that easily or without more indepth explanation. Not that the person needed the explanation because it’s ultimately Lara’s choice, but for the reader it might have brought more closure and understanding.

Overall, this is a super cute book and one I wished I had when I was younger. If you’re looking for a cute summery YA romance to read, definitely look into this one.

Thank you, Wednesday Books for the ARC! All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: Siri, Who Am I?, by Sam Tschida

BOOK REVIEW: Siri, Who Am I?, by Sam TschidaTitle: Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida
Published by Quirk Books
Published: January 12th 2021
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 343
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Goodreads

Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can't remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she's wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they're in love, Mia is living the good life, and he'll be back that weekend.

But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover a surprising truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Who was Mia before she woke up in that hospital? And is it too late for her to rewrite her story?

The description of this book sounded really interesting to me, so I requested it and got approved for it via Netgalley, and then it took forever for me to start reading and continue reading. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. The writing is bright and quippy, and I’ll be interested to see what Tschida does next, but the execution of the concept seemed to fall apart in the second half of the book because the concept is #ambitious to say the least.

What I liked most about it is that it is a commentary and satire of modern millennial culture and the social media use within famous/rich circles. It pokes fun at food bloggers, influencers, and high society in Los Angeles, and that glimpse into the glossy pages of a gossip magazine is what kept me reading through til the end. However, the characterizations started off strong but by the middle of the book seemed too contrived and so much felt contrived and convoluted to fill the space created by the concept. Ultimately though, I think this story would work better in a visual medium and would make a super cute movie! I just don’t think it worked for me in written form because it took almost a month for me to finish this, mostly because I was dragging my feet every time I thought about reading it. The best part about it for me was Mia’s self-discovery once she figured out that her behavior before the accident was nothing like she was once she woke back up and the reconciliations she had to do with herself and the people around her once she decided to take her life in a different direction.

This might be for you if you really enjoy Instagram culture and celebrity gossip magazines! Thank you to Quirk Books for a review copy! All opinions are my own.