WWW Wednesday: July 8th, 2020

WWW Wednesday

Hello, all! Sorry I’ve been pretty scarce this last week–I’ve fully dived into Camp NaNoWriMo and my WIP. My goal is to complete 50K word draft this July, so writing as taken up a lot of my headspace. 😅

But once again, it’s been a bit since I’ve participated in a WWW Wednesday, so I wanted to quickly update you on my reading (or err, non-reading). Now instead of webcomics, TV dramas are the main loves of my distractions and lack of motivation (when I’m not writing or napping, that is 😉 ).

For those of you who don’t know: WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer 3 ‘what’ questions about your reading.

(Also, wow, apparently this reading update marks my 200th post?! It simultaneously seems like I’ve written too much and too little content to reach this number!)


What did you recently finish reading?

48510870. sy475

My reading has slowed down a bit, but the last book I finished was Girl, Serpent, Thorn back in June! I’ve already screeched about it in my last couple posts, but I’ll say it again: IT WAS SO GOOD! It’s a YA fantasy that’s simultaneously a fairytale retelling/mashup and also uniquely its own tale! It draws inspiration from Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism, contains & monsters, and features a cute sapphic rommance! I wish there had been more, and I want there to be more books like this one! You can read my full review here.

What are you currently reading?

A lot still, whoops. I’m currently buddy reading Sorcery of Thorns with Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den and adoring it! I’m also buddy reading Stamped from the Beginning with my writing buddy (the audiobook is free on Spotify FYI). I, Coriander is a book that I actually picked up yesterday. I read it like 11 years ago as a child, and was actually given a copy as a gift. I was thinking about it the other day when compiling Part 2 of my favorite fantasy standalones and decided to go back and reread it! AND finally, I still keep meaning to go back and finish The Silmarillion and The Unspoken Name (which I haven’t touched in, erm, months).

What do you think you’ll read next?

Great question. Hopefully some ARCs?? I’m participating in the blog tour for Lobizona in early August, so I need to make sure I pick it up soon. Ballistic is an unrequested ARC I was sent by 47North. It technically released in May, but I didn’t finish the first book until last month, so I want to make sure I continue on with the series soon.


What books are you currently reading? Find any new books you’d recommend? Anyone else here participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Any tips on how to balance reading, writing, and blogging on a regular basis?

Also, if you participated in WWW Wednesday this week, feel free to drop the link in the comments; I would love to check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the Second Half of 2020

TTT pretty design(31)

This week’s TTT topic is “Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020.” Looking ahead to anticipated releases is both thrilling and torture, because I’m excited they’re coming but at the same time I’m like “why are they not already here?!”

I know I probably ended up forgetting a ton of great books, but I pulled these directly from my TBR shelf on Goodreads. Lol, I definitely ended up with some themes on this list (just like on my list for the first half of 2020).

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


1. More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn

51178403. sx318 sy475

Release Date: July 21th

Artisty people, bloggers, media celebrities, unknown identities (I believe), and it sounds like it takes place in Michigan?!? I’m really liking these buzz words I’m hearing…

2. I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

43300915. sy475

Release Date: July 28th

I mean it’s literally pitched as Simon vs. meets Fangirl AND it’s a hate-to-love sapphic romance between two girls unknowingly working on a graphic novel together? AND there are illustrations? TAKE MY MONEY NOW

3. Lobizona by Romina Garber

51179882. sx318 sy475

Release Date: August 4th

A contemporary fantasy that explores undocumented immigration alongside Argentine folklore (with brujas and werewolves!). I’m actually participating in a blog tour for this book (which I lowkey almost keep forgetting about), so I’m excited to pick this up soon!

4. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

52411049. sx318 sy475

Release Date: August 4th

A witch queen falls in love with the girl who steps in to take her brother’s place as the yearly sacrifice!?! Gimme now please and thank you *grabby hands*

5. The Roommate by Rosie Danan

45023611

Release Date: September 15th

A New Adult (?) romance that involves the protagonist and love interest accidentally living together? Bahaha, I love that trope, so like, I’ll take it now please.

6. The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

45044785

Release Date: September 22nd

The sequel to The Gilded Wolves! I’ve had an eARC of this book for a long time now, but because the release date got pushed back, I haven’t actually picked it up yet, but I’m pumped to get around to it soon! (just gotta remember what happened in the previous book first…)

7. Storm the Earth by Rebecca Kim Wells

43234778. sy475

Release Date: October 13th

I enjoyed an eARC of the first book, Shatter the Sky, last year, so I’m curious to see how this duology wraps up. I wanna know how Maren will save the dragons! (and lowkey who she’ll end up with)

8. Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

42248889. sy475

Release Date: October 13th

A dark, queer YA fantasy that involves a mysterious creature that turns blood into water and demands sacrifices? And our protagonist kills said creature to avoiding being sacrificed? I’m SO intrigued.

9. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

52335188. sy475

Release Date: November 10th

A contemporary f/f romance with fake dating AND Pride & Prejudice vibes?!?! (not excited about the Bridget Jones vibes but I’ll forgive it for the sapphic children).

10. Ruinsong by Julia Ember

52751122. sx318 sy475

Release Date: November 24th

I had very mixed feelings on Julia Ember’s The Seafarer’s Kiss duology, but I’m excited to give her another try. A monstrous protagonist, a rebellion, and a sapphic romance? Let’s go!

Bahaha, did ya notice a trend in my list? Bless 2020 at the very least for the being the year of all the f/f romances.


What are some of your anticipated releases for the second half of 2020? Do we have any that overlap? Am I missing any that you think deserve to be on my list?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments below–I would love to check them out!

ARC Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Are you my book_ updated review banner

***I received a free e-ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

48510870. sy475

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

by Melissa Bashardoust

Release Date: July 7th, 2020

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Age Category: Young Adult

Publisher: Flatiron Books

 

 

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a tale that takes influences from Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism and turns around and provides a fairy talelike journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, monsters that seem all too human, and even sneaks in an adorable sapphic romance. Bashardoust enthralled me right from the first page, and I didn’t want her to release me upon the end.

Soraya is a princess with poison that runs through her veins (and even turns them green). Locked and kept away from her family, friends, and court, Soraya despises her curse and yearns to be a true member among her family. When Soraya learns of a div (demon) captured and imprisoned in the dungeons, she believes she has finally found a path that will help her lift her curse. But those around her aren’t as they seem, and when Soraya accidentally unleashes destruction upon her kingdom, she must decide what she truly values and seek power in her flaws.

The strength of Girl, Serpent, Thorn comes from its deceit. As the book first unfurls, the tale appears to pass quickly, Soraya finally able to grasp hope in a different future for herself with a handsome guard now by her side. But as the halfway point approaches, twists and monsters are unleashed, completely changing the direction of the plot. The novel doesn’t shy away from the threads of darkness that run through its pages.

Bashardoust’s tale is simultaneously refreshing in its originality and nostalgic in its whimsical and mystical atmosphere. Soraya is also a relatable and realistic protagonist; she desires to be accepted in her community, she lets herself be selfish, and she hates herself for her flaws. Despite the fantastical adorning, the novel’s dilemmas are relatable to all types of readers.

My only complaint is that Girl, Serpent, Thorn gifted us with a world that could have been further explored and a tale that easily could have been expanded upon. But then again, a captivating story always leaves you wanting more, does it not?

I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys YA, fairy tale retellings, and monsters. This book is a shining reminder why fairy tales (and their retellings) never tire, and that there are always new ones to be told.

Trigger Warnings: imprisonment, murder, scarring from torture (torture scenes not actually in the book), battling, strained familial relationships

Rating: 4.5 stars

“…so, are you my book?”

“I have without a doubt slithered into a spot among your new favorites.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Standalones I Adored & Recommend [Part 2!]

TTT pretty design(30)

This week TTT turns 10, so the theme is to either re-do/update a TTT list you did before, or do a topic you missed in the past. To celebrate TTT’s birthday (or would it be anniversary?!?), I’ve decided to do a part 2 to the list of my Favorite Fantasy Standalones that I completed two years ago, because honestly, who isn’t forever looking for fantasy standalones? As much as I love the immense page time a series provides with their characters, sometimes (ok, most times) I’m lazy and don’t wanna commit to a full series. I know I’m not alone in struggling with series, which is why I wanted to recommend these great fantasy standalones!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


1. Ash by Malinda Lo

6472451

A lesbian retelling of Cinderella–do you really need to know more? After 8-9 years, I finally reread this book in May, and I adored it SO MUCH MORE than I remembered. Yes, it’s a bit simplistic (and aimed at younger YA readers), but I think it fits the fairytale vibe/voice. This was truly a beautiful tale.
(It also has a companion book, but I haven’t read it and I think they only relate in the sense that they’re in the same world.)

2. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

48510870. sy475

I binged-read this entire eARC in a little over 24 hours and literally finished it only 2 days ago, but it most definitely deserves a place on this list! This book is incredible in that it starts out making you think it’s one type of story, then completely does a 180. It’s inspired by Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism, contains lots of fun demons & monsters, and even has a sapphic rommance! Plus, if you love your YA girls with a touch that can kill, this book is for you. [Releases July 7th!]

3. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

19351043. sx318 sy475

Technically a graphic novel, but regardless, it’s an incredible read! It’s plays with the concept of heroes, villains, and monsters and turns them on their heads. Plus, it’s by Noelle Stevenson aka the amazing creator that brought us She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (of which I still need to see the 5th season, shhh)!

4. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

36332136. sy475

This book was twisty, bizarre, and a bit creepy, but oh so intriguing. To be honest, I’m not sure I fully understand half of what went on, but it was such a unique take on Beowulf. Definitely gives ya food for thought.

5. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

31522415

Cheating a bit here since this is technically a collection of short stories, but I consumed this entire collection like candy and I can’t help but keep pushing it at people! Arimah’s tales are a mix of contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi, all inspired by Nigerian culture and mythology. Unforgettable stories that will take up permanent residence in your mind.

6. Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds

32793053

It’s by Jason Reynolds, need I say more? Just kidding 😉 This book is not a Spider-Man origin story, but more so a Miles Morales origin story. Villains aren’t limited to crazy monsters, but appear in the forms of systemic racism, oppression, and discrimination. There are still superheroics, but this book doesn’t let you forget that Miles is also an Afro-Latinx teenage boy facing everyday problems.

7. A Million Junes by Emily Henry

30763950

Also cheating a bit with this one since it’s technically magical realism, but at the same time there is a lot of magic that occurs, so perhaps it really is contemporary fantasy?! This book is simultaneously quirky, hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic. I was definitely teary-eyed by the end. Who doesn’t love feuding families, a forbidden romance, and a fatal curse? (But I would also like to state that it’s so much more than those things.)

8. Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster

18716722

Technically a prequel/companion to City of a Thousand Dolls, but it also functions as a standalone. Featuring a tiger shifter, loyal friends who would die to protect each other, and a romance, I adored this book as a teen!

9. I, Coriander by Sally Gardner

455933

Okay, it’s been a super long time since I technically read this, but I remember it having great fairytale vibes. An unwanted girl who gets locked in a chest, gets transported to a fairy world for a day, only to still be alive when her horrible family unlocks the chest years later. And something about a stuffed alligator coming to life? Idk, but I think I just convinced myself to reread this after I finish this post…

10. The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

44646004. sy475

An NA romantic fantasy featuring demons and kisses that chip away at your soul! It was a super fun and quick read and you can read my full review here.


What fantasy standalones have you loved and would recommend? Did I convince ya to read any of the ones I mentioned? Do you prefer standalones or series?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments below–I would love to check them out!