Hey-o! I is back with a new post. I am so happy that I’m posting twice in a row. A couple of days ago I was so frustrated that I had decided that I was going to quit this blog but my amazing friend John told me not to do so and to not let my depression win and here we are. I love writing and I shouldn’t stop just because my brain is telling me. Thanks to him I’m motivated. ANYWAY so I’ve been watching lots of BookTube—I basically use the videos as background noise while eating, cleaning, cooking, and so on—and I saw Hannah from Clockwork Reader make this video called 7 books you NEED to Read and I loved the idea of it so much that I decided to do one but adapted for this blog. Basically here I will be talking about some recent reads that I loved and that I think you need to read. I have read lots of good books this year but I’m going to focus on the books I read from summer break all the way until today. I was never able to do a summer break wrap up which was something I was very excited about and since them I have read some really amazing books. I honestly can say I have found some of my favorite books of the year. So here we got 13 books you need to read.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.
When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself
Let’s start by saying this is a middle-grade book. I’ve seen reviews talking about how the plot isn’t that complicated for it to be a Victoria Schwab’s book and how everything happened so fast and the book was so short. But they either don’t know or are forgetting that this is a middle-grade book and middle-grade books are targeted for kids age 8 to 12. I can’t see my 8 or 12 years old self completely getting This Savage Song or A Darker Shade of Magic. I know some 12 years old read YA books but I feel like 1) some are a little mature for them and 2) they probably won’t fully grasp the story the way they would if it was a book targeted for them. Still, this book is fantastic. I’ve read a couple of middle-grades this year and I believe that even though they’re fantastic, they’re not really for me. I mean I am 22 years old so I can’t expect them to be for me, but with City of Ghosts, I just fell in love with it. Even though the story is simple enough for 8 years old to read it, it felt more like a YA book. I honestly loved this story it was simple, fast-paced, fun, and the friendship aspect of it was beautiful. I truly recommend it if you’re looking for a spooky fun read. The simplicity of it also makes it perfect to follow on audiobook and the narration was great. I actually gave this 5 stars.
WARNING: I must say I think this might be scary for some kids since it deals with ghosts being real.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.
Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
I discovered this book thanks to Emmmabooks on YouTube aka one of my favorite BookTubers ever. She couldn’t stop raving about it. I love the idea of reading from a villain perspective but I hadn’t done that because I don’t read a lot of retelling. That’s why when I learned this was a superhero story being told from one of the heroes and one of the villains I was excited. Honestly, how can you read that synopsis and not want to read it? I listened to the audiobook—I’m on an audiobook roll, most of the books on this list I listened on audiobooks—and it was AMAZING. I could not stop listening to it and I loved it so much that I got a physical copy of the book. I loved Nova, she is smart, she is a badass, and she is a villain but not just a villain just because she wants to do bad but because she has a set of beliefs. She’s not going all “today I want to be evil because I’m in the mood for it,” she is more like “this makes me a villain now but in the end, this is for the greater good with a touch of seeking revenge.” As you can probably predict from the synopsis there is a little bit of romance in it and let me tell you as a hater of romance in non-romantic books I actually loved it. It wasn’t instalove, it was slow to develop and it isn’t the whole focus of the story. I love Adrian. He’s smart, he has a set of beliefs, and he just wants to do good. In here we don’t just have a set of superheroes but a whole company with hundreds of it. They’re not just a random set of prodigies—even though they started that way—they’re a whole government. I won’t continue talking about it because if I do I’m going to spoil the whole book. Just read it because you’re just in time for the sequel. Archenemies comes out on November 6 so you can read it without having to wait months for it. Again, I recommend the audiobooks but I’m sure reading the book is just as good. My recommendation is to read it when you have time to because it has 496 pages long and you will not be able to put it down. It’s definitely one of my favorite read of the year.
A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.
In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.
As you can see this is a memoir and a damn fantastic one. It is eye-opening and it’s the type of book you cannot put down. Life in North Korea is a topic I’ve been very curious about. It’s a place we know next to nothing about it and what we know is sad and terrible enough to make us want to help them. Even though this book is not set in the current time, it’s still close enough for us to get a peak on how it’s living in this country. My personal belief is that from what I heard of it hasn’t changed much. Honestly, this is a heart hitting book. We are reading about one misfortune after the other which will probably frustrate you by reminding you that there isn’t much we can do but honestly it’s just such a good book. It isn’t a novel so there isn’t much I can say about it other than read it. I used whispersync for this book, meaning that I listened to it on audiobook and also read it depending on what I felt like doing during that moment. So I can say I recommend both. I am definitely going to check more memoirs of people that lived there. Another of my favorite books of the year. Fun fact this book is on Kindle store for $1.99.
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
From actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka ||Superwoman||) comes the definitive guide to being a bawse—a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side.
Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over nine million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success.
WARNING: This book does not include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms, and cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness, and everything else you want in life needs to be fought for—not wished for. In Lilly’s world, there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb.
This book is one of Goodreads Choice 2017 Winner and I can see why. This book is just fantastic. This is truly a guide to success. Her bits of advice are mostly different from what I’ve heard before and very valid. It motivated me to work harder to reach my goals and with excellent pieces of advice on how to do it. This book is highly entertaining not one second did I find it boring but the contrary all I wanted was to continue listening to it—yes another audiobook—and I just want to get a physical copy of the book and reread it so I can annotate the living out of it. Can you say living if its an inanimate object? She used modern-day references which made it easier to understand but I must say if you haven’t watched Game of Thrones you might be set for some spoilers. Honestly, I just recommend this book. The audiobook is fantastic because it is narrated by her, who is really good at it, and it’s the perfect book to keep you entertained while doing your everyday things. BUT the whole not being able to annotate sucks because you really will want to annotate it. I know some people might think that because she’s “just a YouTuber” she won’t have good advice or it’s not good but this is a woman who has made an empire out of youtube so she knows a thing or two. Just go check it out! If you’re not sure about it check it out from your local library.
The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith
How do you let go of something you’ve never had?
Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind.
But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own.
In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.
This book man. This book. This book, like A River in Darkness, just killed me. Seeing how this girl deals with this trauma of having her mother being accused of murdering her abusive father was just wow. This is a hard topic to talk and read about. Having to go through it while trying to work for her goals, keep her family united. and discover herself is hard. This book does a fantastic job of showing this. Just a young girl trying to keep it together when everything seems to be falling apart. I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book apart from saying that it is amazing. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic and I just loved the story and I need an actual physical copy of the book in my life. I really need to reread it.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.
As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?
This book is just fantastic and important. YOU NEED TO READ IT. Yes, it is Adam’s first book so it isn’t the best thing ever but the message is such an important one. This book is the first book in over 6 years that has made me cry. But it didn’t just make me cry, it destroyed me. I have a whole post about it so I’ll just leave the link here.
Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe
Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.
Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.
Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.
Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?
This book is fantastic and it makes me so sad to know that it’s a book most people don’t know about. THIS BOOK DESERVES SO MUCH HYPE!! It’s such a fantastic book. Wait, did I said that already? If you liked the Hunger Games you’re probably going to like this book. It’s like a hunger game with magic! We got a diverse cast, we got badass female characters and a story that will just grip you and not let you go. I have a review where I talk about it in more dept so go check it out.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.
Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?
HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK! It is so important and it’s one of my favorite book of the year and of all time. It is such an important story that needs to be told. Here we got a transgender main character just trying to live the life she deserves, a normal life, but in a place where being different means not just being ostracized but being afraid. This is a very eye-opening story that gives us a glimpse of what is like being transgender. If I Was Your Girl will make you understand what it’s like to be transgender and hopefully help you see what you can do to help them and the right way to approach someone like Amanda. Yes, this is just one story and there are a million others that are completely different but glimpse by glimpse you’ll get a better picture. These are regular people that just want to be accepted and let live a normal life yet we treat them as if they’re less. We forget that being a little different isn’t a bad thing but on the contrary, it makes this world a colorful place to live in. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t written a review for this book because I just need to talk about it. Maybe, hopefully, soon.
George by Alex gino
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part…because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte–but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Because one transgender story isn’t enough, here we got George by Alex Gino. Here got a middle grade that will help younger audience grasp the concept of being transgender, how they’re not different from them, and how they can help them. This the kind of book I want my nieces and nephew to read. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to understand so I can present them this novel. It’s not extremely long, 213 pages, and it’s pretty simple, entertaining, and to the point. The audiobook is also less than 4 hours so there’s that. Honestly, this is such an adorable and important read and I don’t care that the main character is like 9 years old I would read and reread this book a hundred time because it’s just so adorable. Here we have a glimpse of what is like to be transgender and wanting to tell a world that doesn’t understand that you can be 9 years old and be a hundred percent sure that you’re born on the wrong body. Honestly, just read it or listen to the audiobook. It’s just so good and important. The audiobook is on Scribd and the Kindle is only $3.99. DO IT!!!
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
In this one, I agree with Hannah. This story is beautiful and important. I feel like I’m saying this about every story on this list but I really think they are. Here we got a half Taiwanese main character that is struggling with grief, trying to understand her mom’s reasoning behind taking her life, feeling like she isn’t Taiwanese enough, and all these while trying to understand her feelings for her best friend and how it affects their friendship. The thing I like the most is the mental health representation. Here we see the various stage of her mom’s depression and how it affected her life and others around her. The story is sad but beautiful and the narrative and use of colors to describe feelings are just gorgeous. I really liked it. Again, do yourself the favor of checking it out.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
“Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.”
THIS BOOK THOUGH! Honestly, all the books on this list are amazing but since this one is one of my most recent read so it’s the one I’m most hyped about right now. I totally get why every single BookTuber I’ve seen mentioned reading this book has said it’s amazing. This book will keep you at the edge of your seat. The story been divided between her perspective, the actual podcast, and West when he’s doing the research just made it a whole lot more interesteting. I honestly just wanted to know what happened. I did not want to put it down. Okay, so maybe this post should be called audiobooks you should listen to but honestly, I can’t help myself. THE AUDIOBOOK FOR THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! It’s definitely my favorite audiobook ever followed by Waking Gods and Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. We got a full cast, we got sound effects, we got real acting and it was just like watching a movie but better. Honestly, I don’t know what’s better the book or the audiobook. I am definitely ready to dive into more Courtney Summers’ books. Huge trigger alert for so many things but they’re kind of spoilers so go to Goodreads and check it out. I honestly got so much to say about this book but I still need time to gather my thoughts. I think a review is needed so stay tuned for that. If by the time you read this the review is up then I’ll link it here.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
“A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?”
This book is amazing! I’m going to start by saying that sci-fi is probably one of the genres I read the least from but this book got me wanting to get more into it. I also haven’t read Illuminae but I know the format is similar and I have heard fantastic things about it but I’m sure it still wouldn’t top this one. This book is highly entertaining. You won’t be able to put it down. The story will captivate the scientist in you who’s curious about how things work and who wonders if there’s life outside of our galaxy. The characters are fantastic every single one is completely different which made it easier to follow. I hate when characters are so similar that you can’t tell them apart. They’re easy to love and gave some spark to the story. I finished this whole book in a day and I was listening to the audiobook so that wasn’t an easy task. I stayed up until 3 in the morning decluttering my room and then redoing my TBR jar just because I wanted an excuse to listen to the audiobook. The story is just gripping but it never gets confusing. Every single science aspect of it is explained in a way that you could understand it which is why I could follow along without a problem. Books like Artemis (which I also loved) are full of scientific content that I never understand in writing much less in audiobook format but like I said before everything here is told in a way that everyone from the scientist to the regular reader like me can understand—even when listening to it on audiobook. I honestly don’t know what to else say because I loved this book so much. It’s definitely one of my favorite book of the year and right now it’s fighting with Vicious by V.E. Schwab for the number one spot. The audiobook is fantastic because like with Sadie we got a full cast, sound effects and the kind of acting that’s like watching a movie. Waking Gods, the sequel, is even better when it comes to the audiobook and the story. Honestly, I don’t want to say too much because the least you know the better, but I’m just telling you that you need to read it.
and the last book I’m going to talk about is…
Odd Spirits by S.T. Gibson
“It takes a lot of commitment to make a marriage between a modern ceremonial magician and a chaos witch work, but when a malevolent entity takes up residence in Rhys and Moira’s home, their love will be pushed to the limits.
Brewing up a solution is easier said than done when your magical styles are polar opposites; throw a psychic ex and a secret society in the mix, and things are bound to get messy”
This book was so much fun to read. I sat down to read a couple of pages before going to bed and it ended up with me reading the whole thing. It’s only 71 pages and it’s a fast read. It’s witchy, it’s queer, it’s refreshing and such a great book. If you’re looking for a short book for a Halloween read-a-thon or just a Halloweeny spooky read then this is the perfect one for you. I loved following this marriage of complete opposites. We get to see them when they first met and now as they try to figure out a way to get rid of this entity. We got bisexual representation as one of the main characters is bisexual. Honestly just read it. The Kindle book is currently $0.99 so if you don’t like it, which I doubt, you really only lost $0.99. You spend more than that on a bag of chips. The author is also a self-published so you would be supporting someone who’s working to reach her dreams. Go satisfy the spooky person in you by reading this books.
Well, these are SOME books that I think you need to read. These are fantastic most of them some of my favorite reads of the year, really entertaining, and a big part of these very important reads that will give you a different perspective of things you thought you already knew and had formed an opinion about. I truly recommend every single one of them. If you’re not sure about it check them out of your local library, believe me, they’re worth the read. My goal is that I convinced you to check at least one of these books. Well, that is all for today. Thanks for reading and