She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun

Shelley Parker Chan

This is definitely a book that snuck up on me. I went into it thinking it was going to be action packed, but it is actually more of a character study. The marketing on this one does it a huge disservice. Zhu Chongba and Ouyang are two characters I have not been able to shake. They are deeply complex and both have so much to lose, yet they persist with unwavering intensity because what else can they do. Their destiny calls, and they will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. Definitely two of the most interesting characters I have come across in an epic in a very long time. I’m glad I was able to unpack this with others (thanks to @cherreadssharereads and @nerdtasticnoms ), because once I adjusted my expectations I found it very enjoyable. This is not a fantasy novel, this is a historical fiction epic. It’s dense and slow paced. A lot of the action happens off page, but the political intrigue is definitely juicy. I find myself thinking about this one a lot and wondering how the heck it will all end. I will definitely be checking out book 2.

[ID: The novel She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker Chan resting against green plants and yellow flowers. The cover has a bright orange sun with a person riding a horse.]

#SheWhoBecameTheSun #ShelleyParkerChan #AltHistory #HistoricalFictionNovels #ReadMoreBooks #AlwaysReading #LosAngelesReads #Bookstagram #Bookstagrammer #Novels #Fiction #BookPictures #lovereading

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker Chan

The Light From Uncommon Stars

The Light From Uncommon Stars

Ryka Aoki

Synopsis from Goodreads: An adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

I liked this book. I read it over winter break and it was a fun, chill read. The conversations between Shizuka (a violin teacher who made a deal with the devil) and Katrina (a transgender woman with a gift for music) were my favorite parts and I felt as though those didn’t happen nearly enough. I honestly could have done without the space story. It was cute and quirky but I can’t remember the characters very well and I think it fell sort of flat to me when I compared it to the interactions between the other two main characters. That was the meat of the story and I felt like it could’ve been a stronger novel if it just stood on its own. I did love that it was set in LA, as it’s always fun when you recognize certain streets or neighborhoods in a book. But while this book wasn’t necessarily a slam dunk for me, there were many elements I found satisfying, for example Katrina’s journey to self love and discovery were so heartfelt and touching. And I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I actually wish there was less space and aliens stuff and just more about the music and Katrina and Shizukas path to self love and forgiveness. With that said I’m very interested to see what this author creates next.

#TheLightFromUncommonStars #ScienceFiction #SFF #FictionNovels #Bookstagram #ReadMoreBooks #AlwaysReading #books #BooksBooksBooks #queersff

The Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

January Wrap-up

January Wrap-up

#JanuaryWrapup, I had no business reading this much this month, but I was home A LOT because of COVID and my kid’s daycare shutting down due to COVID as soon as I was set to return to work. Books were definitely an escape, and I had an AMAZING reading month. I would recommend all of these books. ALL THAT SHE CARRIED and BAD BLOOD are top tier non-fiction books, but PARADISE is also unforgettable. I will write a long form reflection for ALL THAT SHE CARRIED, it is deserving of all the accolades. BAD BLOOD was just absolutely bananas. Like I knew it was a crazy story, but my god, with each passing chapter I was pretty stunned. I had no idea all the high level people she got involved with! Henry Kissinger? Like what?

The fiction novels I read were all very fulfilling too, with PIRANESI and HOW HIGH WE GO IN THE DARK being standouts. Judging by everyones’ wrap ups it seems like everyone had a pretty stellar month, even though January was an inconsistent hell hole so even if you managed to read a page and just binge watched reality TV, hey you’re reading this so you made it in some way and I am proud of you (this is not sarcasm at all, this month was rough) Onwards!

[ID: Pictures of the books All that She Carried, Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab, Bad Blood, Piranesi, Closer to Nowhere, Paradise, She Who Became The Sun, and How High We Go in the Dark layered on top of a picture filled with plants and succulents]

#HowHighWeGoInTheDark #Piranesi #CaliforniaWildfires #AllThatSheCarried #MGLit #MiddleGradeBooks #SheWhoBecameTheSun #LosAngelesReads #Reader #Bookstagram #AlwaysReading #BooksBooksBooks #MonthlyWrapUps #ReadMoreBooks #NonFictionBooks #FictionBooks

January Wrap-up

Stack of Unread Books

Stack of Unread Books

My stack of unread books next to my bed. I have never owned so many unread books in my life. My one intention this year is to whittle this stack down and only read what I own. Everything else will come from the library if I want to read it. I’m a big believer in giving books away when I read them too. I love passing on loved books to friends and family. My only request is that they keep passing the book along. See any here I should prioritize? I hope I can keep this promise to myself. I may have to take a year off #bookstagram to do it. Haha. #bookstagrammer #ilovebooks #alwaysreading #readwhatyouown #TBR #nonfictionbooks #fiction

amari and the night brothers by b.b. alston

Top Reads of 2021

Top Reads of 2021

My favorite books of the year are pictured on the next slide decks. These are books I think about often. Do we have any in common? Based on my tastes do you have any recommendations for the new year?

Fiction:
Black Sun
The Space Between Worlds
Mondays Not Coming
America is Not the Heart
Song of Solomon
The Death of Vivek Oji
Everything Sad is Untrue
Popisho

Non-fiction:
Empire of Pain
The Warmth of Other Suns
Say Nothing
A Little Devil in America
What We Carry
How the Word is Passed
Blood in the Water
Just Mercy

#BestOfTheYear #NonfictionBooks #FictionBooks #Bookstagram #BookRecommendations #BestOfTheYear #FavoriteBooks #favoritebooksof2021

amari and the night brothers by b.b. alston
amari and the night brothers by b.b. alston

Toni21Readathon

Toni21Readathon

I started the year hoping to participate in the #Toni21Readathon, they read her books in chronological order. I made it past Tar Baby. After that I needed a break. Toni Morrison commands attention in a different way compared to, well, everyone. I could tell I was rushing through her work instead of sitting with it, it felt like too much of a blur, and after Tar Baby I needed some time to let it rest in my brain. But if you did finish it this year, kudos to you because that is amazing. I do want to read more of her works, but I will make my way slowly and more suited to my pace. She is in a league of her own. Sula and Song of Solomon are some of my favorite novels now. I know I will reread them one day. The Bluest Eye and Tar Baby are also phenomenal (the dialogue in Tar Baby is truly next level and The Bluest Eye, haunting. I can’t believe it was her first novel). Her ability to write such interesting and complex characters that never leave your mind is truly unmatched, and the way she is able to create such a sense of place and time makes her books unforgettable. No sentence is wasted. There is meaning in everything. The smallest detail about a place or a character can reveal so much.

If you have read multiple books by Toni Morrison, which is your favorite? If you haven’t, which one would you like to start with?

Also special shoutout to @ibingebooks for being the organizer of the #Toni21Readathon, you are a rockstar in this community.

[ID: The books The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon resting on a black glass table, with plants in the foreground on top.]

#ToniMorrison #GOAT #TheBluestEye #SongofSolomon #Sula #TarBaby #ReadMoreBooks #Novels #Fiction #Bookstagram #losangelesreader

amari and the night brothers by b.b. alston

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