Flame in the Mist by Reneé Ahdieh


3/5 Stars
Published by Speak
Published May 16th, 2017

Synopsis: The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place--she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort--a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she's within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she's appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love--a love that will force her to question everything she's ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Being that this is the first book by Renée Ahdieh, a beloved author by the book community, that I have read, I definitely held it to high standards. After hearing for months that it was a dubbed a Mulan retelling, I held it to even higher standards. Unfortunately, I felt like I got the shorter end of both sticks and ended up jinxing it for myself. Flame in the Mist was far from the Mulan retelling I was expecting and in a way that let me down. It is a good story on its own, so long as you overlook the comparison to Mulan. I think this story definitely has room to grow in the sequel and I look forward to picking it up, especially because I craved so much more out of this one. I am highly impressed by Renée's sense of world building and attention to detail, as well as her incorporation of the Japanese culture (though I am unsure of whether it was represented 100% accurately or appropriately). This was an interesting book from start to finish, with quite a bit of loose ends left out in the open to be answered in the sequel, which is definitely what pushed me to finish this one in time for its release. 


Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco


4/5 Stars
Published by Little, Brown & Company
Published September 19th, 2017

Synopsis: Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


After what seems like years without reading, I decided to pick this one up for a quick and enthralling read, and boy was it the right choice. Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and I just knew Hunting Prince Dracula would be right up my alley. In middle school I recall reading about Vlad the Impaler for fun in history class, thinking his story was certainly disturbing, yet incredibly fascinating. What I never expected was for his gruesome legacy to be taken to the pages of a YA novel in such an engaging and fun way. Maniscalco takes Prince Dracula's entire being and plays with his characterization like putty, crafting him into this figure that instills fear into the audience with even the slightest mention of his name. Obviously you should be scared of him from just the implication of his name, but Maniscalco was able to rewrite this story in such a way that made it so much more than the historical facts we know about Vlad the Impaler already.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee


5/5 Stars
Published by Amulet Books
Published August 8th, 2017

Synopsis: The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…


This is one of my favorite books of all time. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is exactly what you would expect it to be - EPIC. Everything about the storytelling is exquisite, creative, and genius. You find yourself immediately attracted to the easy flowing syntax, the meaning behind the mayhem, and the uniqueness of the story. This is one of the first books I have ever seen myself so distinctly represented in. The Chinese legend Journey to the West and the Monkey King is what serves as inspiration to this wonderfully made story. This is a legend I have known since I was a child and one that I have grown up reading, watching, and listening to. It is a legend I could never have imagined would become a YA novel, but F.C. Yee made it happen, and I am incredibly thankful to have it. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is the spunky, modern twist of the Chinese classic, and brings forward a courageous, rebellious plot that leaves you wanting more. It is refreshing to see Chinese folklore hit the bookshelves in such an impactful way.

Want by Cindy Pon


4/5 Stars
Published by Simon Pulse
Published June 13th, 2017

Synopsis: Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?


Want is an absolutely stunning novel. Cindy Pon has crafted a world that is completely unique and unlike anything I have ever read before. This future-esque reimagining of Taiwan, in which the air pollution takes a terrible toll on the people of its city, is creative and hard-hitting, and does not stray far from environmental issues that affect us everyday. This is the first novel I have read by Cindy Pon and I have absolutely no idea why I didn't pick up her books sooner. I have followed Cindy Pon on social media for the longest time and I have watched her be an advocate of and influencer for Asian representation in YA novels. She has changed the game in so many ways and I am forever grateful for her contribution to this community. She has impeccable craftsmanship, rolling out a plot that will keep you not only connected to the story, but subliminally relating the context back to relevant issues in real lifeWant is everything I needed in a novel at the time, becoming a book that I will push onto my friends and family for years to come. It is culturally immersive, includes a myriad of diverse characters, and applicable to situations that are happening around the world, which is what makes it such a universal read.

#ReadADessen: Lock & Key + GIVEAWAY!


Synopsis: Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

*Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of Lock & Key!*


I really enjoyed this one! I definitely have a feel for Sarah Dessen books now and what they're all about, and cannot wait to indulge the rest of her stories. She has a strong preference for stories that deal with friendship and romance, while also handling serious issues. Her books are meant to show what it's like to grow up and adapt to certain situations, to discover yourself and dare to take risks. I think Sarah Dessen books are perfect summertime reads! With that, I want to share with all of you some of my favorite summertime jams that include some new songs plus some oldies, but goodies, paired with my favorite quotes from the book.

  1. “It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered--so many locks not enough keys.”
  2. “I always tried to imagine what it would be like to open your door to find something you had given up on. Maybe it had seen places you never had, been rerouted and passed through so many strange hands, but still somehow found its way back to you, all before the day even began. ”
  3. “We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone's eyes. Our definitions are as different as we are ourselves.” 


There are only a couple of weeks left until the release of ONCE AND FOR ALL! Until then, you can all enter to win a set of ALL of Sarah Dessen's books! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Waiting on Wednesday: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


Here is where I share with you my anticipation for upcoming books! Breaking the Spine has introduced me to this and I am super excited to get to participate. Please feel free to comment what books you are looking forward to as well!!


Synopsis:  Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There's only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


Wowza, I am so intrigued with this book and by the premise of the story. It sounds so interesting to have a set of individuals who cannot perform basic human crafts, such as writing on paper or baking a cake, and for them to actually have a craving for this sort of thing. For starters, I love anything that deals with the fair folk, so I already dig it. Second, I love that our main character is an artist. Third, I freaking love the idea of her being able to control the fair folk's emotions. This sounds like an enemies to lovers sort of book (which is my favorite trope), so I'm ready to see how the dynamics between these two characters pan out. Also, the cover for this book is absolutely stunning and is what immediately drew me in. 

An Enchantment of Ravens will be released September 26th, 2017! You can preorder it here: 


Hunted by Meagan Spooner


4/5 Stars
Published by HarperTeen
Published March 14th, 2017

Synopsis: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


This Beauty and the Beast retelling knocked my socks off. The only other book I have read that is co-written by Meagan Spooner is These Broken Stars, which I had a very difficult time getting into. Hunted was the exact opposite for me - I could not put it down. Meagan Spooner's writing is pure eloquence and sophistication. The detailing is so vivid and life-like, the scenes unfurling around you like a boat's sail. It is haunting and mysterious, yet full of innocence, power, and elegance amongst the slightest touch of the darkest themes. I thought Spooner's twist on this classic tale was executed excellently and is by far one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings on the market. Not only is this one of the best books I've read this year, but it has me even more excited for Unearthed which comes out in 2018!