Me: Hmm I’m on the fence about reading Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao… maybe I’ll wait
Me after reading the back: I cannot wait
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books i love and why you should read them
1. instructions for dancing by nicola yoon
absolutely perfect meet-cute
made me question my existence multiple times in the best way possible
comfort book tbh
basically changed the entire way that i look like love and life
such realistic, raw emotion??? how?
the main character has a really dry sense of humour and i love it
really fast read!! i finished in two days
2. orlando by virginia woolf
it makes me feel really cool while reading because it has dark academia feminist vibes
also victoria woolf is a queen
it's based on a real life queer love story
some of the lines just made me sit back and go. oh damn,
it's surprisingly easy to read
(also full disclosure i have Not finished this yet but i love it so far)
3. six of crows duology by leigh bardugo
be gay, do crime
six teenagers who don't know what the fuck they're doing and manage to break into one of the most secure prisons on the planet and also basically take down a government
lots of rep!!
you get the awesome magic from shadow and bone without suffering through alina starkov's internal monologue
"my ghost won't associate with your ghost"
there's a massive fandom of chaotic gays so u will find a home among us <3
the character development is literally flawless
4. scythe trilogy by neal shusterman
i'm a simp for citra okay i admit it
but also the worldbuilding of this book is just. perfection
and it has limited characters but each one is so three-dimensional and you really go into depth about how each one of them thinks and feels and aaaa so good
the power dynamics that are created between characters are amazing
5. an ember in the ashes quartet by sabaa tahir
helene aquila. that's it.
ok no that's not it
but helene aquila and elias veturius are literally perfection; this book was written for the bisexuals /j
all three main characters are absolutely incredible
the number of plot twists??? im? how *sobs*
oh yeah this book will make you sob a lot
but it is worth it
the worldbuilding is so solid and i love the way that she uses magic in both the worldbuilding and the character development
also omg the character relationships? laia and elias and elias and helene and helene and laia and the way that they all develop i can't
brown rep <3
6. red white and royal blue by casey mcquinston
it's set in an alternate 2020 which was way better than ours so it's great if you're into escapism and like to avoid your problems by dissociating into fictional lands
alex claremont-diaz owns my entire heart
childhood rivals to enemies to reluctant allies in a time of crisis to growing trust to friends with mutual pining to friends with benefits with mutual pining to lovers
it's a hell of a rollercoaster
also lots of politics! if you're into that kind of thing
7. a court of thorns and roses by sarah j mass
don't read it <3
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new books always cheer me up.
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You light my fire ❤️🔥
Order your copy of Flash Fire by TJ Klune today!
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every book release ever
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Arranged books in my rooms..
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just because a book can be 600+ pages does not mean it should be
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New Young Adult Releases Coming Out Today! (September 28th, 2021)
Have I missed any new Young Adult releases? Have you added any of these books to your TBR? Let me know!
New Standalones/First in a Series:
For All Time by Shanna Miles
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone
Time Will Tell by Barry Lyga
Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson
You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Drawn That Way by Elissa Sussman
Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat
Bend in the Road by Sara Biren
As Good As Dead (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson
Steelstriker (Skyhunter #2) by Marie Lu
Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven (Teen Titans #3) by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo
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Today! And I finally got my copy of Aristotle and Dante - the sequel - ! Very excited to dive (😜) into it!
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ONCE STOLEN: out now!
When an autistic naga botches the robbery of a notorious cartel, a self-proclaimed hero is poisoned in his place. He strikes a deal with the dying hero: he’ll bring her to her cure in exchange for her hoard of coveted power-producing stones—stones which stop the pain caused by his sensory perception disorder. But to reach them, he’ll have to guide her through the desolate swampy homeland that banished him, with the cartel leader hot on his tail.
Once Stolen is a queer, fast-paced fantasy adventure taking place in the same universe as Our Bloody Pearl. It can be read as a standalone or as the start of a new series that explores the steampunk-inspired world and the fungal parasites that make their mysteriously renewable energy possible.
You may like this book if you enjoy...
Insults turning affectionate
Fan boat chases
Queer found family
Autistic and deaf rep
Purchase in ebook, paperback, or hardcover through Amazon or a variety of other distributors!
You can also add Once Stolen on Goodreads, Storygraph, or Bookbub!
Keep reading for a preview of the first chapter...
CHAPTER ONE: ALL THE SHADES OF GREED
Banishment isn’t a curse if it means escaping all of you.
THE THRUMMING POWER OF the ignits calls to me. Five small variants of the round stones lie in the gambler’s pot, their slight glow barely visible beneath the cartel boat’s canopy. From the shade of the nearby mangroves, I grip the blue ignit on my wire necklace of precious stones. Blue for thunder, like two of those in the pot. But the gamblers have a yellow and a pair of small reds as well.
The ignit beneath my fingers pulses into my scales, primed to soothe whatever skull-shattering nonsense my body decides to throw at me today. But one lonely stone can be easily lost, easily taken. With one stone, the pain still stalks just behind me, waiting to strike. Besides, I want the gamblers’ ignits.
Tightening my serpentine tail around the roots of the half-submerged tree, I lift my head a little farther out of the water. I flick out my tongue. The boat humans smell of oil and gunpowder, of arrogance and cowardice and anger, and a touch of fear.
Three of them sit on the boat’s main deck, huddled around a table. The vibrations of their voices tingle across the patterned ridges along my scaly scalp. I feel the tug the nearest gives to their beard as they anxiously put down their cards, the slight splash of the lizard dipping into the river down-stream, and the landing of the parrot in the tree branches far above.
But the fishers don’t know I crouch so still that the murky water blends with the brown and black patterns along my half-snake body. The boat humans won’t notice me like this—won’t try to kill me. But if I stay here, those ignits will never thrum in my hands or hang from my wire mesh necklace.
My banishers said this desire would latch inside me like claws through flesh, like my spiny retractable teeth digging into a freshly caught capybara, like a viper’s toxin eating me from the inside out. And it has. Oh, it fucking has.
It’s just so hard to care now that it’s caught me.
The tallest human slams their cards down and strolls to the boat’s railing. Their dark skin gleams with a layer of sweat as they wave to a little vessel across the river. The fan at the back of this smaller boat thrums to life, powered by an ignit buried somewhere in its engine. It pulls alongside the larger boat.
“You already out?” the driver asks with a series of hand motions stolen from the swamp natives. I assume the boat humans use them to talk over the vicious whirr of the fans and roar of their motors, though most also sign whenever they use spoken language, which I have no ability to hear.
“Lay off,” the disgruntled human signs. They climb onto the smaller boat and speed down the river.
My gaze jumps to the remaining gamblers. Even with one human gone, these two still look like a challenge. The bearded player sports muscles as thick as my own, and their slighter opponent crouches in the shadows like a jaguar, hidden beneath a wispy cowl and shawl.
I guess we’re all gambling today.
Unfurling my tail from the roots, I take a deep breath and slip into the water. I undulate as I swim, though my humanlike torso moves with far less precision than my flexible tail, its bulk twice as powerful and three times as long as two legs combined. The fish withdraw around me, the flex of their muscles tingling along my head ridges. I keep to the dimly lit river bottom.
As I pass over a scattering of stones in the clay-heavy soil, I skim the silt with my fingers. A round grey rock that could almost be a clingstone or maybe a perfectly worn hematite tempts me, but the blotch of red on its back proves it to be just a normal river pebble. I leave it be, the vision of those glorious ignits still burning in my mind.
The image of a fang embellishes the front of the boat’s flat hull, and a large cabin sits at its back, a stairway leading up to its cargo-filled rooftop deck. Two fans swoop out from either side, their blades currently dormant. I surface beneath one. With the cabin shielding me from the human’s view, I climb the fan blades like a ladder, twisting my tail into their ridges to brace myself. Unlike the massive central fan at the back of the boat, these will only bruise me if turned on. Bruises fade. The scars I received learning that lesson won’t.
I near the cabin’s roof, but the rumbling vibration of a shout halts me. I peek around the corner. At the gambling table, the bearded human’s face shifts, their mouth and brows moving. These expressions mean little to me, but eagerness wafts from the human as potent as the sweet burst of an overripe mango on the jungle floor.
I pull myself onto the cabin’s rooftop deck and slide between the crates, just out of sight. A burst of new scents hits me—leather and wine and the sun. I spot the owner through the cracks between two crates: Rubem, the newly established head of the Fang Ignit Cartel, who slipped in like a rat in the wake of the last leader’s sudden death. When the crew talk about him, they keep their signs small and their mistrust big.
He crouches near the back of the boat, his mass of dark braids tied in a high bun. Three claw-like rings sprout from his right earlobe. A pistol glimmers at his belt, the sheen of the dark copper hilt matching his skin. Its embedded emeralds contrast the shock of scarlet hemming his loose brown clothing.
I try not to look at his hands, at the fishnet gloves I know I’ll find there, but when he flicks a vial of glowing green liquid between them, my gaze goes to his fingers anyway. My scales itch, a creeping pain that only diminishes when I focus on my ignit’s gentle pulsing.
Despite the vial’s impeding presence, Rubem signs with a contained sharpness, the motions fluid but precise. “You know where they are, you were her daughter. But you clearly aren’t using the damn things. Let them not go to waste.”
The person he speaks with looks delicate, the soft curves of her tan face placing her somewhere well beyond childhood but not quite worthy of anyone’s respect yet. About my age, then. Her brown curls spill down her back, and grey and green fabrics hang off her in layers, a scarf wrapped like an ana-conda around her neck. A chain on her ankle rattles when she hugs her legs closer. “I don’t care.” Her hands tremble as she makes the motions, her lips remaining closed. “The cartel can’t have them.”
“You realize that whatever you choose, I will find them.” He makes his claw-handed grabbing motion for the word will far stronger than the rest. “There are stakes here more important than you realize.”
But the prisoner only stares toward the front of the boat, tapping a steady rhythm against her leg. She jerks at the vibration of a laugh from downstairs.
Rubem flinches as well, glancing over his shoulder. When he looks back at the prisoner, his expression makes her curl tighter into herself. “If—when—she finds out you’re here, she’ll flay you alive and string your guts from the canopy to get ahold of your mother’s hoard. So, I would be quiet for a while if I were you.” He pockets his glowing flask with a sharp snap, bursting to his feet. “And we’ll have a longer conversation about this later. Giving up that hoard is for the best, you’ll see.”
Threats, kidnappings, torture—all usual cartel methods. But this sounds different. Bigger.
I duck as Rubem marches by my hiding place and de-scends the stairs, his footsteps remarkably silent for such fury. His shouting vibrates off my head ridges a moment later. It fades as he and the shadowy gambler walk into the cabin beneath me. The bearded human continues to watch their cards—and the ignits. I rub the ignit on my necklace and clench my jaw, unhinging and rehinging it.
Motion behind me flickers along my head ridges. I turn to find the prisoner poking her head around the crates. Her eyes widen, long black lashes drawing back to reveal hauntingly blue irises. A shiver runs through me. I coil the extensive loops of my tail, preparing to lunge at her.
She lifts her hands. “Stop, please—I don’t know if you understand this, but please—help me.”
I can’t smell her emotions, can’t tell whether she’s truly panicking or only trying to lure me in, but her words still make me pause. I have absolutely, positively no desire to talk to this scentless boat human. But being banished to a place where most people want to kill and eat you does weird things to a person. Things like making them hesitate.
Liked the preview? Buy now for $3.99!
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Support black-owned bookstores!
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Anthropology: Newer Books on Human Evolution
Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes
Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins.
In Kindred, Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside clichés of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them to be curious, clever connoisseurs of their world, technologically inventive and ecologically adaptable. Above all, they were successful survivors for more than 300,000 years, during times of massive climatic upheaval.
At a time when our species has never faced greater threats, we’re obsessed with what makes us special. But, much of what defines us was also in Neanderthals, and their DNA is still inside us. Planning, co-operation, altruism, craftsmanship, aesthetic sense, imagination... perhaps even a desire for transcendence beyond mortality.
It is only by understanding them, that we can truly understand ourselves.
Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind by Kermit Pattison
Fossil Men is the first full-length exploration of Ardi, the fossil men who found her, and her impact on what we know about the origins of the human species. It is a scientific detective story played out in anatomy and the natural history of the human body. Kermit Pattison brings into focus a cast of eccentric, obsessive scientists, including one of the world's greatest fossil hunters, Tim White--an exacting and unforgiving fossil hunter whose virtuoso skills in the field were matched only by his propensity for making enemies; Gen Suwa, a Japanese savant who sometimes didn't bother going home at night to devote more hours to science; Owen Lovejoy, a onetime creationist-turned-paleoanthropologist; Berhane Asfaw, who survived imprisonment and torture to become Ethiopia's most senior paleoanthropologist and who fought for African scientists to gain equal footing in the study of human origins; and the Leakeys, for decades the most famous family in paloanthropology.
An intriguing tale of scientific discovery, obsession and rivalry that moves from the sun-baked desert of Africa and a nation caught in a brutal civil war, to modern high-tech labs and academic lecture halls, Fossil Men is popular science at its best, and a must read for fans of Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, and Edward O. Wilson.
Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time by Gaia Vince
In the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Sapiens, a winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books shows how four tools have enabled humans to control the destiny of our species.
What enabled us to go from simple stone tools to smartphones? How did bands of hunter-gatherers evolve into multinational empires? Readers of Sapiens will say a cognitive revolution – a dramatic evolutionary change that altered our brains, turning primitive humans into modern ones – caused a cultural explosion. In Transcendence, Gaia Vince argues instead that modern humans are the product of a nuanced coevolution of our genes, environment, and culture that goes back into deep time. She explains how, through four key elements – fire, language, beauty, and time – our species diverged from the evolutionary path of all other animals, unleashing a compounding process that launched us into the Space Age and beyond. Provocative and poetic, Transcendence shows how a primate took dominion over nature and turned itself into something marvellous.
First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human by Jeremy DeSilva
In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walking was a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human—from our technological abilities, our thirst for exploration, our use of language–and may have laid the foundation for our species’ traits of compassion, empathy, and altruism. Moving from developmental psychology labs to ancient fossil sites throughout Africa and Eurasia, DeSilva brings to life our adventure walking on two legs. First Steps examines how walking upright helped us rise above all over species on this planet.
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Return to Nova City as new superheroes arrive in town!
Can Nick separate himself from the lips of his superhero boyfriend in order to figure out who is virtuous and who is villainous?
Order your copy of Flash Fire by TJ Klune today!
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How one black homeless man became his city’s wingman—A superhero story.
Sam Farsight has a plan to end gang violence forever. Or at least, he did before it all backfired and the biggest gang lord threw him off a building! No one could've known that the wings would appear, saving him from smacking face-first into the pavement. And now? No one CAN know.
Sam Farsight is dead, and the man who’s here now has a long way to go before anyone will call him a hero. Quickly labeled as his city's biggest nuisance, he'll have to work hard if he wants to compete with the other vigilantes in town.
Can The Wingman catch his city before it falls?
Find out for yourself, February 2022
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Don’t sit with half-lovers.
Don’t endorse half-friends.
Don’t read for the half-talented.
Don’t live a half life.
Don’t die a half death.
Don’t choose a half solution.
Don’t stand in the middle of the truth.
Don’t dream a half dream.
Don’t hang on a half hope.
If you shut up, shut up till the end.
And if you talked, talk till the end.
Don’t be silent, so that you can speak.
And don’t speak, so that you can be silent.
If you were satisfied, express your gratitude.
Don’t fake a half gratitude.
And if you are unsatisfied, express your disapproval.
Because a half disapproval, is actually an approval.
The half is a life you didn’t live.
It is a word you didn’t say.
A smile you postponed.
A love you couldn’t attain.
A friendship you didn’t know.
This half is what makes you strange even to the closet people around you.
And It is what makes the closest people, strangers for you.
The half is to reach and not to reach.
To work and not to work.
To leave and to arrive.
The half is you, when you are not yourself….Because you didn’t know who you are.
The half is that you don’t know who you are.
And whom you love is not your other half.
It is you in another place at the same time.
Half a drink won’t quench your thirst.
Half a meal won’t satisfy your hunger.
Walking half of the road won’t get you anywhere.
Half of an idea won’t give you a result.
The half is your moment of weakness, but you are not weak!
Because you are not a half human.
You are a human.
You were here to live a life, not to live a half life!
-Gibran Khalil Gibran-
لا تجالس أنصاف العشاق، ولا تصادق أنصاف الأصدقاء، لا تقرأ لأنصاف الموهوبين، لا تعش نصف حياة، ولا تمت نصف موت، لا تختر نصف حل، ولا تقف في منتصف الحقيقة، لا تحلم نصف حلم، ولا تتعلق بنصف أمل، إذا صمتّ.. فاصمت حتى النهاية، وإذا تكلمت.. فتكلّم حتى النهاية، لا تصمت كي تتكلم، ولا تتكلم كي تصمت.
إذا رضيت فعبّر عن رضاك، لا تصطنع نصف رضا، وإذا رفضت.. فعبّر عن رفضك، لأن نصف الرفض قبول.. النصف هو حياة لم تعشها، وهو كلمة لم تقلها، وهو ابتسامة أجّلتها، وهو حب لم تصل إليه، وهو صداقة لم تعرفها.. النصف هو ما يجعلك غريباً عن أقرب الناس إليك، وهو ما يجعل أقرب الناس إليك غرباء عنك، النصف هو أن تصل وأن لاتصل، أن تعمل وأن لا تعمل، أن تغيب وأن تحضر.. النصف هو أنت، عندما لا تكون أنت.. لأنك لم تعرف من أنت. النصف هو أن لا تعرف من أنت .. ومن تحب ليس نصفك الآخر.. هو أنت في مكان آخر في الوقت نفسه
نصف شربة لن تروي ظمأك، ونصف وجبة لن تشبع جوعك، نصف طريق لن يوصلك إلى أي مكان، ونصف فكرة لن تعطي لك نتيجة.. النصف هو لحظة عجزك وأنت لست بعاجز.. لأنك لست نصف إنسان. أنت إنسان.. وجدت كي تعيش الحياة، وليس كي تعيش نصف حياة.
- جبران خليل جبران
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New Young Adult Releases Coming Out Today! (May 25th, 2021)
Have I missed any new Young Adult releases? Have you added any of these books to your TBR? Let me know!
New Standalones/First in a Series:
Words Composed of Sea & Sky by Erica George
The Hollow Inside by Brooke Lauren Davis
The Ivies by Alexa Donne
Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai
Kiss & Repeat by Heather Truett
Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
Aetherbound by E.K. Johnston
Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
Burn it All Down by Nicolas DiDomizio
Tremendous Things by Susin Nielsen
Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan
Spells Trouble by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
The Immortal Game by Talia Rothschild & A.C. Harvey
Pumpkin (Dumplin’ #3) by Julie Murphy
Misfits in Love (Saints and Misfits #2) by S.K. Ali
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Why did no one tell me my author soulmate, Maggie Stiefvater, is writing a novel based on Brave???? Also that cover is ASTOUNDING
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