[ARC Review] Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut Starfish is a colourfully painted, masterfully crafted YA contemporary about growing up biracial, fitting in, and what it means to have a place in this world.

I absolutely loved this novel. But before we dive into the review, take a look at the cover and blurb (from Goodreads):  Continue reading

#IndigoYAPreview Fall 2017 Recap

Hey everyone! Yesterday we were lucky enough to attend a YA preview event hosted by Indigo Books at their head office in Toronto. We’ve attended their previews twice before, and as always, we had lots of fun! Thank you to Indigo for inviting us and to the publishers for donating awesome books for us bloggers/readers to take home.

This post will mostly be photos, and of course, we’ll share the awesome books we took home!

We started by mingling and eating (photo below); we got there around 4:50, and it was due to start at 5pm. The preview covered YA books, but we also talked about everything from graphic novels/manga to romance reads and crossover adult titles! Continue reading

[ARC Review] Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Have you ever read a book so immersive, you can feel the smoke, smell the kettle corn, taste the licorice cherries? Well, that’s exactly what Amanda Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City did for me–paint a vivid landscape in a unique circus setting, with a haunting mystery at its core. Take a look at the vibrant cover and synopsis, and then we’ll dive into my gush-filled review of this book! Continue reading

Super Late June Wrap Up [2017]

Summer is in full swing (kind of, because #summerschool), and it’s the perfect time for reading. Let’s take a look at all the (amazing) books we read last month, because there were quite a few, and they were all so fabulous!

We didn’t post much at all last month (once in total … woops) but we were super busy with school and our cousin’s wedding,  not to mention working on revision outline-y things–which is all to say, we were swamped with work. Nevertheless, we enjoyed all the books we read, and we want to share our love and excitement for them with all of you!

Sasha read 8 books:

  1. A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas (4.5*)
  2. THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi (5*, review here)
  3. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon (5*, read all of this in one evening/night, highly recommend!)
  4. WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon (5*, another amazing diverse title!)
  5. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis (5*)
  6. AS I DESCENDED by Robin Talley (4*, loved how this one incorporates references to Macbeth, my fave Shakespeare play!)
  7. GOOSEBUMPS MOST WANTED: THE HAUNTER (3*)
  8. GOOSEBUMPS MOST WANTED: A NIGHTMARE ON CLOWN STREET (4*)

She also started Caraval, Labyrinth Lost, and The Child. 

Sarena read 3 books this month:

  1. THAT THING WE CALL A HEART by Sheba Karim (4*)
  2. WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo (4*)
  3. SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali (5*)

She also started When Dimple Met Rishi!

And, of course, we got a bunch of books this month (despite being on a book-buying ban). We only actually bought two of them, though, because how can you not buy the super pretty editions of Harry Potter? Right? Right. Here are pics of all the super-awesome books we got:



We also attended the Saints & Misfits book launch, which was super fun!!


We hope you’re all enjoying your summer/summer reading!

-S&S

 

On Patience in Publishing

It’s been a while since we last spoke about our writing journey and the publishing industry in general (besides, well, book releases!), but recently we began a new, shiny WIP and it is magical and fantastical and so different from anything we’ve ever written.

Image result for writing gif

Which means, we’re really enjoying the writing process at this point. (The book hasn’t made us break down and cry … yet.) But, besides being a really fun book to write, it has become a bit of distraction. Not in a bad way–rather, it’s helping us move on and write another shiny manuscript that we finally have a passion for and don’t quit 10k in. We didn’t participate in NaNo last year because we were a part of #PitchWars (which we’ll hopefully have a blog post on in the near future!) and that month was crazy busy for … reasons. And then December rolled around, and we started this new project, and we wrote, and we stopped writing (holiday season, late exam) and then suddenly became refueled all over again toward the end of 2016. For days, we’ve been writing. Some days, we’ve written more than 5k. Others, 3k. Others, 1k. Either way, it’s been a really strong writing month so far (*coughs* only January 3rd *coughs*) and we’re definitely hitting our stride, despite the beginning of school.

Which is all cool and awesome. But.

If there’s something we don’t want … it’s to write this entire thing, edit too quickly, get beta readers and then edit too quickly again, and then …

Not take time. Not appreciate the work we have in front of us.

Of course, we’ve made our own deadlines. We’re excited about the project, so why wouldn’t we? And it’s really helping us to hit our quarterly goal (in terms of finishing this draft, editing, etc.). However, today I (Sasha) was surfing online and came across a few great blog posts on Patience in Writing and Publishing written by the wonderful author Lindsay Cummings, and decided to read them. Boy, were they helpful. I mean, I’ve read lots of things about how the publishing industry is slow, it’s painful, it’s tough. (Trust us, as self-pubbed authors as teens, even we know the value of taking time, perfecting craft, and … waiting.)

But that’s the thing. It’s a whole lot of waiting.

 

Image result for that's shocking elf gif

It’s not really shocking, but we needed an excuse to use this gif.

 

Which is to be expected. Books don’t come out for years at a time. In fact, we read another blog post today written by another fab author (Marissa Meyer) all about how often she wrote, worked, and even thought about Heartless while on tour. And she decided to record it all down. Her total? Over 700 hours. Yeah. Crazy. But … that book you’re currently reading? That author’s debut? It took them years too. Years to hone their craft. Maybe they went to school to get an MFA before writing. Maybe they jumped right in (like us!), and worked really, really hard to get their book on shelves or on your e-reader.

In terms of stats, the numbers surrounding queries in an agent’s inbox versus books they actually request versus clients they sign might seem … shocking for some. That is to say, agents get 1000s of queries in their inbox and sign around 3+ (it varies, I’ve seen some say up to 12!) clients a year. Not all agents have the same stats (hence: subjectivity!), but it’s true when agents say they only take on the best of the best. They simply don’t have time to work with everyone and anyone. It’s all about what they feel is best, who they think they might be able to sell the book too … and of course, whether or not they can champion the book–and the author–to the fullest potential.

The point is, authors write books and books and books until they hit the one. Some write the one … and suddenly to some it seems like: boom, agent! boom, book deal! That’s not always the case. Sometimes the process can be fast, but those cases are anomalies. One thing has stuck with me, truly: something that YA author Roshani Chokshi once said on Twitter (and I’m paraphrasing here, but it might be bang on!)–Twitter is a highlight reel. Social media seems to shout at readers these days and say, Look at all these published and soon-to-be-pubbed authors! There are so many! Never-ending TBR, here we come!

But there are writers out there who are working. Writing. And soon, they’ll be the ones on the shelves, the ones who were patient and hard-working and diligent and were lucky enough to find the right agent, the right publisher–ultimately, the right home for them and their book.

Unfortunately, this dream isn’t always realized immediately. Books don’t pop out from printers overnight. They’re carefully crafted, beautiful things. (I think we can all agree on that.) Which is to say, it takes a lot–and we mean a lot–of patience.

We’re working hard on that new WIP. We’re working hard on our #PitchWars manuscript too, trying to find the best agent for it. We’re coming up with ideas, spinning them around in our heads … we are writing. And writers, that’s the most important thing you can do. Before thinking “I want this now and this now and this“–the truth is it isn’t that simple, or fast. Your time will come, we promise. And when it does, it all will have been worth it.

-S&S

2016 End-of-Year Book Survey!

2016-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984-768x738

Looks like we went on *another* accidental hiatus, but … hey, it’s almost the end of 2016! Which means it’s time for the 2016 End-of-Year Book Survey! We did this survey last year, which you can see here. This survey was created by the wonderful Jamie at Perpetual Pages. Let’s just jump in, shall we? (Quick disclaimer: we might read another 1 or 2 books each this year, so the stats are not 100% accurate in terms of the amount of books we read this year — I’ll try to write those books in as if they have been read, however!)

Number Of Books You Read: Sasha – 48; Sarena – 46
Number of Re-Reads: Sasha – 2; Sarena – 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Sasha – Fantasy; Sarena – Fantasy

Continue reading

Most Anticipated Diverse Reads of 2017

Well, it’s been a while. Is this thing on? *taps mic* Ah, yes. First off, HI! It’s been… over a month. Almost two. Yeah, sorry about that. Dunno how that happened (actually we do — school is basically to blame). We fell into a major blogging slump over the past little while, with no desire to write posts at all, as we were swamped with school work (and will be for the next two weeks! huzzah!) and #PitchWars, which is now over. (More on our #PitchWars experience in a later post, but for now just know that it was amazing and Brenda Drake is the best. Go buy her books.) And can we just say it feels great to finally be writing up posts again? Our fingers are flying across the keypad!

Now, onto the topic of this post. Anticipated Diverse Reads of 2017. I (Sasha) recently held a poll on Twitter asking what your most anticipated diverse read of 2017 is, and the winner was (drum roll please!) … THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas!

most anticipated diverse 2017.PNGYay! (And thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.) Close behind was another one of our most anticipated diverse DEBUTS of 2017, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. Seriously–it’s a Snow White Villain retelling. We need this one when it releases in fall!

Now, it’s time to talk about OUR most anticipated diverse reads of 2017. So here’s a list of ones you should be looking out for in the new year. 😀

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han

NOW I RISE by Kiersten White

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by Adam Silvera

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli

A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi

TRAITOR TO THE THRONE by Alwyn Hamilton

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco

POISON’S KISS by Breeana Shields

EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES by Rhoda Belleza

THE SHIP BEYOND TIME by Heidi Heilig

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzie Lee

27 HOURS by Tristina Wright

MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma

THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

THE AMATERASU PROJECT by Axie Oh

DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

GIRL OUT OF WATER by Laura Silverman

THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ by Lilliam Rivera

IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Mia Sugiura

And probably a gazillion others we are forgetting… but this list is getting long enough, so for now, be sure to add all these to your TBR!

Until next time,

S&S