Book of the Month YA: June Books

FYI: This post contains affiliate links for the Book of the Month YA subscription box. If you sign up for a subcription using any of the links in this post I will make a small commission, at absolutely no cost to you. This commission helps support this blog. All thoughts expressed in this post are not influenced by my affiliate position. I was a fan of the BOTM service before I became an affiliate.


I’m here today to talk to you about the June book picks for the new Book of the Month (BOTM) YA subscription box. First, I wanted to give you some background. I was a BOTM member last year and LOVED the service. The shipping was fast and the prices were amazing considering you got one new release hardback for $14.99/mo and $9.99 for any add on books. The only reason I ended my subscription was because there weren’t any YA options.

Enter the BOTM YA! They are set up in the exact same way as the original BOTM, but it’s all YA book options! Y’all, this is everything I’ve ever wanted! The prices are the same, $14.99/mo for one book and $9.99 for each additional book, and did I mention the free shipping? BECAUSE FREE SHIPPING! And from my previous experience, I can tell you that the shipping is fast! You can also skip a month if the book picks aren’t working for you. Each book is not only hardback, but under the jacket of each book is the BOTM logo and the month and year for the pick. I loved collecting my previous BOTMs and its just a cool little feature for each book.

BOTM YA was kind enough to send me this book, along with some extra goodies, for my Affiliate box!

So, let’s check out the June book picks!

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I am 99% sure this will be my pick for the month. According to the info on the BOTM YA page, this book is supernatural, has forbidden love, and there are some sexy times. So, basically my perfect book. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Armentrout and this feels like a good time to try her stuff out. You can read the full synopsis on the book’s Goodreads page.





These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling – This would have been my pick if I hadn’t just booked a book tour through the publisher. Not only is this a debut novel, but it is a feminist LGBTQ+ friendly. I have a soft spot in my heart for witchy high school drama and this sounds like it will satisfy that love. You can read the full synopsis on the Goodreads page.






Patron Saints of Nothing by Randay Ribay – This book sounds intense in all the ways that we need books to be right now. An Own Voices novel that explores guilt, grief, and the drug war currently happening in the Phillipenes, Patron Saints of Nothing sounds like a novel that’ll stick with you long after you have finished it. I have seen a lot of good reviews on this one and that synopsis definitely has me intrigued. You can read the full synopsis on the Goodreads page.





This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura – Contemporary novels are not normally my thing, but after reading the synopsis on this one I may need to reconsider that. This book sounds incredibly intriguing: full of social issues and family drama. It’s also set in Northern Calfornia, which is where I am from, and I am always drawn to books in that setting. You can read the full synopsis on the Goodreads page.





The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen – This is from an author that I hear much about from all my contemporary loving book friends. The Rest of the Story sounds like it has the right mix of family drama and young love to keep an angst loving reader like myself very happy. You can read the full synopsis on the Goodreads page.






So, what book or books will you be picking for your June BOTM YA box?

Aurora Rising: ARC Review

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher at my request. The following review reflects my unbiased opinion of the story and is no way influenced. Thank you to the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers.

FYI: This review is spoiler free.


Aurora Rising
Authors:
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunk mates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from inter-dimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


Rating: Kaufman and Kristoff have once again struck me deep in my Sci-Fi loving soul with their new high stakes space adventure featuring found families and healthy doses of snark.
Stars: 4.5

Aurora Rising is the newest YA Sci-Fi offering from my favorite killers of feelings, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They have once again created an in depth SF world, given us a group of misfits to love, and then put them through many ghastly situations. It’s the kinda of emotional trauma we’ve come to know and love from these two.

While each character is unique, all were well fleshed out with the exception of Zila, which is a damn crime. The few, very brief POV chapters she had were perfection, but I wanted more of her straight-forward observations of the wild situations Squad 312 found themselves in. I almost feel like the authors didn’t know how to flesh her out and just left her characterization to be built through the other character’s POVs. I am certainly hoping for more Zila in the next book. That being said, all the other characters had their own voices and each were extremely lovable in their own right. Squad 312 will easily shoot their way into your heart.

The plot was well paced, and the slower bits were filled with intriguing back story or world building, so they never felt boring. I got some Firefly vibes, which I loved, but this story is entirely it’s own. If Kaufman and Kristoff know one thing, it’s how to write a gripping, hilarious, mysterious, and emotional space adventure.

Did I mention it has super hot space elves?

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book already, I highly urge you to do so. Don’t let your squad down. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Want Now Wednesday: Beyond the Black Door

I don’t even know what to put in this preamble. I just want this book so darn bad.


Beyond the Black Door
Author:
A. M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Synopsis: Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …


Me, reading the synopsis.

This is one of those times when I am thankful for twitter because I stumbled upon this book randomly in my feed. And I damn near lost my mind. I loved Strickland’s book Shadow Call (which she wrote with Michael Miller. GO READ IT! It is criminally underrated!) and I was beyond stoked to see that she had a new book coming out.

The whole concept of this book sounds so intriguing. Soulwalkers, ominous black doors, COURT INTRIGUE, and a seductive mystery? All under the banner of dark fantasy? SIGN ME THE HECK UP!

October 29th can’t get here soon enough! Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Once & Future: ARC Review

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher at my request. The following review reflects my unbiased opinion of the story and is no way influenced. Thank you to the publisher, Little Brown/JIMMY PATTERSON Books.

Once & Future
Author: Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Publisher: Little Brown/JIMMY PATTERSON Books
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Synopsis: I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur. Now I’m done hiding. My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.


Rating: Built on solid bones, filled with inclusivity, but suffers from poor marketing of the humorous nature of the story.
Stars: 2.5

I have to start by saying that this book is directly responsible for my decision to completely revamp my review style (a process I’ll be rolling out once I work out the specifics). Never have I been more conflicted over a book. Because I desperately wanted to love Once & Future, but I was so turned off by the never ending attempts at humor. Not to say that I didn’t find some of the bits funny, but in what I thought would be a mostly dramatic book, the constant lighthearted silliness grated on my nerves.

Let’s start with the good: diversity and inclusivity. This book has it in spades. There is representation of pansexuality, bisexuality, disabilities, gender fluidity, asexuality, characters of African descent, homosexuality, and characters of Arab descent. The sexuality of each character isn’t always explicitly stated and if I over or under represented something from the book I apologize. This is the kind of representation that books need. And O&F doesn’t shy away from calling out the sexism and homophobia in our current time.

Once & Future tackles a lot of serious issues: capitalism, genocide, classism, immigration, oppression, and more. The problem is the execution. The book is riddled with fluffy romance and glib humor that kept me from ever getting emotionally involved in anything that was happening. When something serious happened, there was always someone there with a ridiculous remark or a couple making out in the background. Or both. And that didn’t sit well with me because I wasn’t expecting a romcom story. Yes, from the synopsis I thought there’d be funny moments interspersed in a mostly dramatic story. It was the exact opposite and that really effected my reading.

The other issue is one that is hard to address: plotting/execution of the story as a whole. When I was halfway through the book and I started reading some reviews to see if other people were having similar issues as I was getting through the story. I noticed a few people stating that they had seen the authors mention that A LOT of changes were happening before the final book was released. I’m hoping the changes addressed the flow of the book, because that was another big issue for me. The pace was either break neck action or dragging me down with boredom. I could never find a good rhythm in the story and this also kept me from forming any kind of emotions for the story. I just hate to judge this book by something that was most likely fixed in the final version.

But here’s the deal, I’ll read the next book in a heartbeat. The story is set up to go to a whole different level, and since I’ll KNOW that there is going to be a lot of humor, I’ll be able to read it when I’m in the mood for that style. I won’t say where the next book is going, but I am definitely intrigued.

At the end of the day, Once & Future has some solid bones that I think were mostly likely better used in the final version of this book. If you are looking for an inclusive, humorous space adventure, Once & Future is for you.

Oh, and Morgana deserved better.

Want Now Wednesday: Darkness on the Edge of Town

If I had to choose one thing I love about Stranger Things, besides the bitchin’ soundtrack, it’d be Chief Hopper. Nothing can shake my love of that character, so you can only imagine how much I want to have the following book in my eager little hands.


Darkness on the Edge of Town
Author:
Adam Christopher
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Synopsis: Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about his old life as a police detective in New York City, confronting his past before the events of the hit show Stranger Things.

Christmas, Hawkins, 1984. All Chief Jim Hopper wants is to enjoy a quiet first Christmas with Eleven, but his adopted daughter has other plans. Over Hopper’s protests, she pulls a cardboard box marked “New York” out of the basement—and the tough questions begin. Why did Hopper leave Hawkins all those years ago? What does “Vietnam” mean? And why has he never talked about New York?

Although he’d rather face a horde of demogorgons than talk about his own past, Hopper knows that he can’t deny the truth any longer. And so begins the story of the incident in New York—the last big case before everything changed. . . .

Summer, New York City, 1977. Hopper is starting over after returning home from Vietnam. A young daughter, a caring wife, and a new beat as an NYPD detective make it easy to slip back into life as a civilian. But after shadowy federal agents suddenly show up and seize the files about a series of brutal, unsolved murders, Hopper takes matters into his own hands, risking everything to discover the truth.

Soon Hopper is undercover among New York’s notorious street gangs. But just as he’s about to crack the case, a blackout rolls across the boroughs, plunging Hopper into a darkness deeper than any he’s faced before.


Accurate reenactment of me finding out there was going to be a Hopper-centric book.

I’m not sure I can properly express my excitement over this book. Not only is the story about Hopper, it’s about the MYSTERIES OF HOPPER’S PAST! I love character mysteries but I’m also impatient about finding answers and I NEED THIS BOOK!

From the moment I first watched Season 1 of Stranger Things back in December of 2016, I have been obsessed. I love damn near everything about the show (*side eyes Nancy*) and when I found out there would be books expanding on the world I was ecstatic. I cannot wait to dive into this book in May!

Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.