World Book Day Celebration | Diverse Books for Kids & Teens


If I were a meme, I'd be this little guy.
Always.

I have quickly forgotten what it means to be organized and get things written up in preparation for the cool happenings of bookish events. When I got the notification reminder, I may have panicked a little.

If you've made it this far, welcome, thank you for following whatever hyperlink you clicked on. It means you're here and about to get three more stellar diverse reading recommendations to check out the next time you're adding books to your shopping cart.


A Blade so Black (The Nightmare-Verse #1) 

L.L. McKinney

Goodreads

Synopsis

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she's ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head... literally.


Why You Should Read It?

I have been on a quest for an Alice in Wonderland retelling that spoke to me and incorporated all the storytelling elements that I have found I love at this point in my life. A Blade so Black is multifaceted with great depth that I haven't come across before; well-developed characters, high stakes, and a world that, and take this in the best way possible, I would never like to live in. Both the author and main character are black, and this book does lightly touches upon some elements of racism and police brutality.


   Other Words for Smoke 

   Sarah Maria Griffin

   Goodreads

   Synopsis

   The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and her       teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townpeople never           learned what happened. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives... Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape. And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she'd give the other girl anything. A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh...


Why You Should Read It?

I read this in one sitting, two years ago, and it still remains embedded in my heart. I debated what book I wanted to put down for LGBTQ+ representation, and funnily enough, the struggle was between two phenomenal Irish voices, and as much as I adored All the Bad Apples, it's the way Sarah Maria Griffin writes that first all-consuming crush, all in enriched lyrical writing that has never left me. 

If you're interested in hearing more, I wrote a review.


An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Sabaa Tahir
Synopsis
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.
When Laia's grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.
But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they deman that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire's greatest military academy. Should she fail it's more than her brother's freedom at risk... Laia's very life is at stake.
There, she meets Elias, the academy's finest soldier. But Elias want only to be free of the tyranny he's been trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are interwined - and that their choices will change the date of the Empire itself.

Why You Should Read It?

If you're looking for an action-packed YA high fantasy, then look no further. When this first came out it was quite hyped up as a standalone, that I feel like as it became a quartet, people don't hype up the series as much as they should. A fusion of Roman and Middle-Eastern inspired mythology, this world is one of the YA fantasies I would greatly like to re-enter and read more from, with well-developed characters that quickly stoke their way into my heart.


Looking for more recommendations on this fine World Book Day? Why not check out the previous post from Books With Ben, or onwards to Sifa Elizabeth Reads.

You can see today's schedule below, and special thanks to Charlotte, over at Wonderfully Bookish, for organizing us today!



Where Have I Been?



Hello! 


*looks at date of my last post* 


Well... This is awkward. 


If it was not entirely noticeable, by my complete lack of posts last year, I took a little break from the book community last year. It wasn't intentional until about October when I tried to write comprehensible reviews for two books I had adored and just couldn't do it. I had somehow lost my love for sharing my thoughts about the stories I was reading; Book Twitter (where I predominately lurk) has felt less and less about reading and more about the drama, the 'tea'. And while sometimes things need calling out it's the same three topics that keep coming back up. I just couldn't take it anymore. So I put my Twitter into semi-hiatus mode, ignored as much as I could, and just let myself read when I felt like it or play video games.`


It did me a world of good! In 2020, I picked up a crochet hook for the first time since I was 15. I didn't think I could still do it, but within moments of getting the hook and wool home, I had the starts of a granny square blanket. I've since made a cardigan, a few octopuses, completed a commission for Dragon Egg Dice Bags and I would love to maybe do some ivy and forget-me-not garlands for my shelves. 



Just at the end of the second lockdown, I began to cross stitch for the first time ever! Currently, I am working on some silhouette pieces of Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer, and Ciri (pictured below). I've always wanted to learn to embroider and I'm slowly making my way there. I think I'm going to try blackwork next and then start practicing harder stitches. 




I am loving it as something to do while I watch something on the TV or chat with friends over discord. Oh, Discord, my salvation when I needed to socialize outside close circles and talk books, music, and crafting. To all the new servers I joined in 2020: thank you for adopting me into the pride with great warmth and love.


So what next?


Well, I don't know. I've missed this. Writing about stories... writing stories. I want to take it easy in 2021, even though I may have signed up for Susan Dennard's Story a Month challenge on top of everything else. I might share what I write ... probably not though. We will see.


My two biggest goal for 2021 is posting once a week. Sometimes it'll be a review, sometimes a blog tour, sometimes a few thoughts, sometimes something else completely. The second is something I've always aimed for, but am yet to achieve: reaching that "owned TBR zero". I woke up one morning in November, and just took one look at my shelves, and began piling books into an unhaul bag. ARCs that I felt if I really wanted to read them, I could rebuy them, or I'd owned for years and lost all interest. Tastes change and my shelves weren't reflecting the types of books I love anymore. I'm now under 90 books and considering I read 100 last year, it's entirely possible to at least half that. If I reach that then I've succeeded. 


When I started blogging, you feel like you have to have these grand shelves and unbroken spines. Or at least when I first started. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that I've bought the books, or have been gifted to read and do what I want with (ARCs excluded - stop overpricing books to sell ARCs Ms. Alsberg) so in short: fuck it. 


For now, though, I'm off to reread The Bone Season series for the fourth time in preparation for The Mask Falling to come out at the end of January. 


Come find me on my socials, Twitter, and Instagram.


Until the next time, stay safe.



TBR | Series Scaredown and Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

Lauren attempts another readathon? More likely than you think.

I don't know how or why, but I always forget about Dewey's Readathon until it's about an hour before starting. I literally have it penned on my phone's calendar. Thankfully, my cider-addled brain preemptively thought of buying snacks before the 10pm curfew a fantastic idea.

I haven't been reading as much as I was at the start of the year, and already know there is no way I'm going to be able to read all of these in the next 24 hours, so what I don't finish will be continued through the week for TheBookMoo's Series Crackdown - Scaredown edition

  • Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare; Sarah Rees Brennan; Maureen Johnson; Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman (I need to finish the last two short stories in this collection)
  • The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner
  • The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Harman
  • Wychwood by George Mann
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 




Series Scaredown 2020 is running from October 23rd - November 1st. Run by TheBookMoo, the goal is to get to those series that we always say we're going to read and never do. However, as it's Hallowe'en, this round has a spoopy twist. You can still sign-up, here.

Depending on how much I get run during Dewey's, in the best-case scenario, I will be adding these to my TBR:
  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • Time of Contempt by Andrezj Sapkowski
What have you been reading whilst I've been away from my blog? Will you participating in Series Scardown or Dewey's? Let me know! 

This post was fun - why don't I blog more often? 


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