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January's First Class Post & Monthly Recap

First Class Post - because this post is first class!

Books Purchased:

Physical copies:

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (1st October 2013)
This is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but with a difference. It's set several generations after a mermaid, Syrenka, fell in love with a human, when she chose a chance at happiness on land - a choice that came with consequences. In present day, Hester knows that love and death are linked in her family - is it a genetic defect, or a curse? When she meets a mysterious boy she's inexplicably drawn to, who knows something about her family's past, she investigates her family's history with his help. But there are forces who don't want Hester to discover the link between her family and Syrenka,a nd the tragedy of the past. It's been described as horror, murder mystery, and historical fiction, and it sounds so exciting! This post was inspired by me looking for more The Little Mermaid retellings, and I bought several of the ones I discovered, and this one has already arrived! I'm so excited to read it!

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (1st Jue 2015)
This is another The Little Mermaid retelling, but it's more of a contemporary story inspired by the story. When the youngest of six talented singing, Tobagonian sisters, Elyse, is in a boating accident, she loses her voice. She accepts a friend's invitation to Atargis Cove, named for the mythical first mermaid, seeking solitude. But there she meets Christian, a bad boy who is the only person who doesn't treat Elyse as if she's fragile. He challenges her to express herself, and likes the way she treats his little brother, who believes her to be the legendary mermaid come back to life. Seduced by Christian's charms and those of the Cove, Elyse starts to wonder if solitude is what she really needs. But doing so means facing her past, and opening her heart to a boy known to break them. Really looking forward to reading it!

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (4th July 2013)
And yet another The Little Mermaid retelling. Celia is the youngest of triplets with power, but she has the most useless power - the power to see into the past. Or so she thinks until she meets Lo. Lo doesn't know who she is or who she was; she was once human, but is now slowly becoming a soulless creature of the sea. Lo is fighting to to cling to who she once was, while being tempted to embrace the darkness of her immortality. When a boy named Jude falls off the pier into the ocean, Celia and Lo both help save him. Their meeting leads to friendship, but they are soon rivals for Jude's affections. But that's not all Lo is after; she's heard from the ocean girls that the only way to get her humanity back is to persuade a human to love her, and steal his soul. A completely different take! I'm so excited for this!

Books Received for Review:

Books with an * are reading copies I received as a book seller.


The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen* (28th December 2017)
A book about a girl, Malin, who has undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, her family - where her dad shouts, her mum drinks, and her brother gets into trouble all the time - and the secrets being kept. Written by an author from, and I set in, Norway. I've read and reviewed this already - see below - and have slightly mixed feelings.

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock* (7th June 2018 - 2018 UKYA debut)
There isn't much info about this, but it's about "a teen math prodigy with an extreme anxiety disorder who finds himself caught in a web of lies and conspiracies after an assassination attempt on his mother", as says Goodreads. Tom Pollock has bulimia, and discusses it and mental illness in his novel in the press release that comes with the book. I don't know whether the MC of this book has bulimia, but I think maybe? Either way, the main character has a mental illness. But what I love about this book is that it isn't about mental illness, it's a psychological thriller (as says press release). And that's just awesome. Will be reading for Mental Illness in YA Month.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi* (8th March 2018 - 2018 YA Debut)
This book sounds incredible! It's a high fantasy novel inspired by African history and mythology! On the night magic disappeared, Zélie's mother died when the ruthless king orders all maji killed. Zélie now has one chance to return magic to the land and strike against the monarchy, with the help of a rogue princess, all the while outrunning the crown prince who is set on eradicating magic completely. But as Zélie struggles to control her powers, and the feelings she is developing for the enemy, she may be a danger herself. It sounds so exciting! I am so, so looking forward to it!

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill* (3rd May 2018 - YAIE)
It's another The Little Mermaid retelling! By Louise O'Neill! And it's a feminist retelling! It follows Gaia, a mermaid who lives off the Irish coast, dreaming to escape life under her controlling father. On her first trip to the surface, she is drawn to a human boy she sees and his world, but what will she sacrifice, and will she learn to find her voice? We're not told much more than that, but I don't need much more. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for this book, and I'm so, so happy to have a proof in my grubby little hands!

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (8th March 2018 - 2018 Debut Novel)
This sounds absolutely brilliant! I am so, so excited to read it! It's actually unsolicited, but only because I didn't know who to talk to request a copy! So I'm so happy it's here! It's historical/high fantasy set in the Middle East, written by a Muslim author! So eager to read this book!

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews (7th June 2018 - 2018 YA Debut)
Oooh, I am so excited to have this book! It was actually really a little bit emotional opening the parcel and getting to hold this book. C. G. Drews is our Cait aka Paper Fury. I've been a fan of Cait's blog for a number of years now, and I've seen how much work she puts into her writing, how becoming a published author is her dream, and so I know how much this means to her. And now it's come true! And I have a proof of her debut novel! It's so wonderful! I'm really looking forward to reading it!

Finished Copies:

I am Thunder by Muhammed Khan (25th January 2018 - 2018 UKYA Debut)
This is a story about radicalisation, and I think it's going to such an important, powerful, thought-provoking read. I also think it's going to be a difficult one. I'm really looking forward to reading it!

How to Avoid Certain Death by Tom Clempson (4th January 2018 - UKMG)
I don't normally read MG, but I am a huge fan of Tom Clempson's YA novels, so I'm excited to see how funny this MG novel, is!


The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X. R. Pan (22nd March 2018 - 2018 YA Debut)
After the death of her mother by suicide, who left a note saying "I want you to remember", and a message received by a bird, Leigh flies to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents. There, she deals with her grief over her mother's death, the guilt of not being at home when her mother died because she was kissing her best friend, Axel, and the feeling that she might have screwed things up there, by throwing herself into her art and her memories. It alternates between the past and the present, and I believe I read somewhere that it's magical realism. So excited for this, and that cover is gorgeous!

Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel (4th January 2018)
This sounds great, but I'm preparing to have my heart broken. Rosie is beautiful, everyone knows it, but she wants to be more than her looks. So when a new guy moves to town who sees more than her looks. But then, at a party, something terrible happens. This book looks at sexual assault, sex-shaming, homophobia, and ideas of beauty and self-worth.

In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira (6th March 2018)
This book sounds so good! It's story of two people, a mother and daughter, Marilyn and Angie, when each was 17. A former child actor, Marilyn and her mother are struggling financially as Marilyn hasn't booked a job in years. They have to move in with her uncle, where Marilyn is counting down the days til her escape to college, where she can carve out her own future. But then she meets James, who shows her to live life in the present. Angie is a the biracial daughter of her white, single-parent mother, and she has questions. Marilyn has told Angie that her father died before she was born, but when she discovers there's an uncle she didn't know about, she decides to go and find him, to see if her dad is really dead, in the hopes to find out where she came from, and who she is. Does that not just sound amazing? And the cover! With a real woman of colour! She could have had more space on the cover, though.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven (8th March 2018 - 2018 UKYA debut)
This is a feminist story that deals with sex-shaming, and it sounds brilliant! I already have a proof, but I do want to read more on my Kindle this year, so I may do a giveaway for the proof at some point.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill (8th March 2018 - UKYA)
This sounds so awesome and so very body positive! About Bluebell, who is told to tackle her weight and keep a food diary (this book, I believe), even though she is perfectly happy with her body. But then something happens in her family, which causes her to think differently about her body. I'm really looking forward to it!

Home by Amanda Berriman (8th February 2018)
This is an adult novel, but it's narrated by a Jesika, who is four and a half, and I was immediately drawn to her voice. She lives in a very high flat, with peeling wall paper and a broken window, with her mum and her baby brother, who has a very bad cough. But she doesn't know the landlord is threatening to evict them, that her brother's cough will get worse, or that her new friend, Paige, has a secre that will ruin everything. I think this is going to be terribly heartbreaking, but also very clever. I'm really looking forward to it.

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell (6th February 2018)
This book sounds so good! A carnival circus that is bound by a charm, and held together by a curse that prevents it's members from aging or getting hurt. Emmaline is drawn to the carnival, but is recruited into it when she kisses a boy who's kiss is as cold as ice. She's forced to travel along with the carnival, and the only way out she can see is to break the curse - but doing so will end the charm, and will doom all the other members - including the boy she's falling for. It sounds so exciting! And I think has a The Night Circus vibe to it!

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (5th April 2018)
Oh, I have wanted to read this book for so long! Ever since Cait of Paper Fury reviewed it! So excited I now have this beautiful, moving sounding book set in a book shop! (Goodreads link goes to a book with the same ISBN, but different cover and different release date - no idea why, though.)

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (6th March 2018)
It's not described as such, but this sounds like yet another take on The Little Mermaid! Princess Lira is the most lethal of siren royalty - with the hearts of 17 princes in her collection - and revered throughout the sea. But a twist of fate leaves her with the blood of one of her own on her hands. As punishment, her mother, the Sea Queen, transforms her into a human - the one thing they loath the most. She has until the Winter Soltice to deliver Prince Elian's heart to the Queen, or she'll remain human forever. Heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world, Prince Elian calls the ocean his home. He sees hunting sirens, mankind's greatest enemy, not as just a hobby, but as his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman, she promises to help him destroy all of sirenkind for good, but can he trust her? Aaah, it sounds so, so good! And so much like a The Little Mermaid retelling with a twist! The description also mentions that she is robbed of her song by the transformation, which is another link, but I think she gets to keep her voice? At least I'm assuming so if she's making promises. I am excited!

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books, Scholastic, Usborne, Walker, Harper Voyager, Hodder Children's Books, and Orion Children's Books, Hodder Children's Books, HMH Books for Young Readers, Hot Key Books, Electric Monkey, Double Day, Entangled Teen via NetGalley for the review copies.

Check out mail memes: The Sunday Post on Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves on Tynga's Reviews.


On the blog:


  • The Humans by Matt Haig - I really enjoyed this! It was a nice surprise; very funny but also very moving. A thought-provoking read I highly recommend.
  • A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry - I was a little disappointed with this one as I felt the description is misleading. I was expecting far more. But it was a captivating read.
  • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - I was enjoying this book so much, until it started romanticising stalking, and the idea that someone who wants to rape someone but doesn't is somehow a good guy we're meant to root for. 
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed - This was a really great story, a very sweet romance, and then disaster. Shines a great light on Islamophobia. I just wish it was longer.
  • The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen - This was a captivating read, but very disappointed that Malin's ASD is never mentioned.
  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - This is such an incredible book! It was cute and funny, but it also affected me on a personal level in regards to treatment of people because of how they look.
  • Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp - I absolutely loved this book, but I didn't enjoy it at all. It's disturbing and sinister. It broke my heart and made me so, so angry. This review is part of the UK Blog Tour for Before I Let Go, and includes a giveaway and Marieke's final blog tour question.

Other Posts on the Blog:
  • 19 Eagerly Anticipated 2018 Releases - Self-explanatory
  • Discussion: My Thoughts on Sensitivity Readers and the Censorship Argument - Again, self-explanatory
  • The Little Mermaid and Its Retellings - In which I talk about my love for my favourite fairy tale, and the various retellings I've read or am looking forward to.

And a Little News:

I was really surprised and honoured to have been longlisted in the UKYA Blogger Awards for Champion of Diversity! I was listed alongside such wonderful bloggers who do a lot to highlight diverse books, and it was just awesome to be listed with people I admire. Nominations for this particular award are made by publishers and authors, so it really means so much that those in the publishing industry see what I do, and thought me deserving of a nomination. That's just really incredible. Considering I was in such great company, it's no surprise that I didn't make it to the shortlist, but congratulations to Virginie of Chouett, Luna of Luna's Little Library, and Nadia of Headscarves and Hardbacks who did! And congratulations to everyone nominated and shortlisted. I do think it's really awesome that that we book bloggers are acknowledged for the work we do, and get some recognition for it with these awards. It's just fantastic!


What I've Been Reading Online:

Cover Reveals:

  • Learning to Breath by Janice Lynn Mather on YA Interrobang
  • The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez on Pop! Goes the Reader.
  • Bright We Burn by Kiersten White on Hypable.
  • 500 Words or Less by Juleah Dos Rosario on The Book Voyagers.
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman on Paste.
  • All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor on Epic Reads.
  • Blanca & Rosa by Anna-Marie McLemore on Bustle.
  • You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino on Nerdy Book Club.

  • Kick Off 2018 With January Releases by Asian Authors on Lit CelebrAsian.
  • Every Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel You Need to Read From Now Till June on Shonda Land.
  • 25 YA Books to Add to Your TBR List Right Now on Book Riot.
  • 29 of Our Most Anticipated Contemporaries of 2018 on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • Out Most Highly Anticipated LGBTQA YA of 2018 on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • YA Authors Share 10 Diverse 2018 Must-Reads on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • Nine Young Adult Novels by British POC to Look Forward to in 2018 on Dazed.
  • 10 YA Books to Look Out For in 2018 on #BooksMadeBetter.
  • What to Read After... Diary of a Wimpy Kid on Book Trust.
  • 18 of the Most Exciting YA Books to Read in 2018 on Read Brightly.
  • Brown and Proud: 11 Books from the South Asian Diaspora to Read Right Now on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • 17 #OwnVoices YA Books Coming Out This Year We Can't Wait to Read on Epic Reads.
  • 8 Diverse Fantasy Reads for Harry Potter Fans on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • Go Back to School With These 6 YAs Set in College on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • 17 of Our Most Highly Anticipated Sequels of 2018 on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • Trans Girl Classic Gets New Edition - Being Emily by Rachel Gold on Gay YA.
  • Simon & Schuster Children's Books UK announce signing two books from Nic Stone, including Dear Martin on Twitter.
  • 9 Books With South Asian Characters to Read in 2018 on Teen Vogue.
  • 7 Books Bringing Diversity to Your 2018 Bookshelves on Student Printz.
  • 9 Novels that Show Fat People Themselves on Bitch Media.
  • Why We Need Diverse YA Books that Represent Marginalized Characters in All of Their Complex, Guirky Glory on Bustle.

  • Marieke Nijkamp and Rachel Lynn Solomon Talk Complex Relationships and Inclusive Narratives on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • Interview with Dhonielle Clayton  - What the Job of a Sensitivity Reader is Really Like on Vulture.
  • Debut Author Rebecca Roanhorse Answers 5 Questions About Her Apocalyptic Native American Fantasy, Trail of Lightning on Barnes and Noble Teen Blog.
  • How Star Wars Inspired 'Love, Hate & Other Filters' Author Samira Ahmed's Story About Growing Up Muslim in America on Bustle.
  • There Are No Originals: Fairy Tale Retellings on Jeanette Ng's Medium.
  • Let's Talke About Sensitivity Readers by Dhonielle Clayton on Publishers Weekly.
  • Samira Ahmed announces the sale of her book The Internment on Twitter.

Book-to-Screen Adaptations:
  • The Love, Simon Trailer is Here! on Forever Young Adult.

  • The Black Woman's Tale: Why Margaret Atwood's Espousal of White Feminist Beliefs Shouldn't Surprise You on The Root.

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This post first appeared on Once Upon A Bookcase, please read the originial post: here

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January's First Class Post & Monthly Recap


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