Armchair Book Expo: ISO Books

Armchair Book Expo is an online book conference that takes place this year May 31st through June 4th. Every day bloggers take part in different discussion posts, twitter chats, and even an Instagram challenge. Today I’ll be sharing some book recommendations.

ISO Books: As readers, we are always looking for our next book to read or a stack to fill our TBR shelves. This is your opportunity to ask using our Armchair Book Expo Book Suggestion Generator (aka YOU!). Are you wanting to expand your horizons with minority characters? Are you in search of your next book club read? Do you want to explore your graphic novel or comic book options? Or, are you looking for a book that broaches a mental health or childhood issue to help you grow in understanding and knowledge in your personal life? YOU ask and YOU answer. 

I think one of the greatest pleasures of book blogging is getting to share your favorite books with others. Sure, it can be cathartic to share a negative review about a book that disappointed you (am I the only one that finds it fun to write negative reviews every once in a while?). But there’s something to be said about sharing with other readers your love for a book. And there’s no greater feeling than knowing a fellow reader picked up a book on your recommendation and ended up loving it just the same. Since we talked about diversity yesterday, I wanted to share the top ten diverse books I’ve read this year. This was a really hard list to make as I’ve read a lot of awesome books by diverse authors this year, but hopefully you’ll be able to find something below that piques your interest. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

 alt=  

1. ISO: diverse urban fantasy, set in Mexico, unique take on vampires —> Try Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

2. ISO: superhero story that defies clichés, Pakistani-American protagonist, positive Muslim representation —> Try Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson.

3. ISO: magical realism, Mexican folklore, Latinx MC, trans boy MC —> Try When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

4. ISO: deals with microagressions & systemic racism, police brutality, one of the most loving literary families —>Try The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

5. ISO: Indian mythology, sweeping fantasy, slow burn romance —>Try A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

 alt=  

6. ISO: f/f romance, emotionally-charged, quiet contemporary —> Try We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

7. ISO: Latinx protagonist, swoon-worthy LI, gentrification, messy family dynamics –>Try The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

8. ISO: m/m romance, Mexican-American identity, maybe the most universally loved book —> Try Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

9. ISO: powerful contemporary, teen pregnancy, minor in the justice system, stay up late finishing —> Try Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson.

10. ISO: PoC leads, science-fiction that deals with real world issues, makes you desperate for a sequel —> Try Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhonda Belleza

Have you read any of these? What was the last diverse book you picked up? Be sure to leave a link to your own Armchair Book Expo post in the comment.

Armchair Book Expo: What Do Readers Want?

Armchair Book Expo is an online book conference that takes place this year from May 31st-June 4th. Every day bloggers take part in different discussion posts, twitter chats, and even an Instagram challenge. Today we have a choice of topics between What Do Readers Want? & Let’s Collaborate & Listen. I’ve elected to take part in the former.

What Do Readers Want?: What makes or breaks a book? How do we rate the books, or determine if it is good literature or a good story? What do we want from an author event? How does diversity representation fit into all of this?

My own wants when it comes to books have been very fluid since joining the book blogging community. What I may have liked a couple of years ago, may not satisfy me today. I think it’s safe to say that my standards have risen. I expect more from books in terms of characterization, world-building, and diversity. I personally like character-driven novels and feel that I’m more likely to forgive a lack of good world-building if I find the characters truly engaging.

How a book makes me feel is also a factor in how I consume books and rate them. Do I read with my head or my heart? I think it’s a little of both. When I read a book, I think about characterization, storylines, the writing, and world-building. But any book that doesn’t make me feel something, won’t end up as a five-star for me. I want authors to move me with their stories, I want to agonize over what happens next, I want to feel emotionally invested in the characters.

There’s a huge arbitrary component to answering a question like this and for every reader, their expectations for a book are different. What may ruin a book for me could be dismissed by another reader and vice versa. What makes or breaks a book really depends on the reader: what they expect to get from a book, how they interpret what’s on the page, their tolerance for certain shortcomings, as well as other factors.

What the most important factor for you when you pick up a book? Do you read with your head or your heart? Is one more important than the other? Let’s discuss in the comments and leave a link to your own Armchair Book Expo post in the comments!

Armchair BEA 2016: Wrap-Up Post

armchairbeaArmchair BEA is over! This was my first time participating and it was such a great experience. As someone who would have loved to attend BEA in Chicago this year, but was unable to do, this was the next best thing. This definitely will not be the last time I join this fun online event. Let’s take a look at the posts I put together this week.

Day 1: Introduction & Diversity

On our first day, we had a chance to introduce ourselves and answer a few questions including favorite book (Pride and Prejudice) and favorite genre (fantasy). This was also a chance for bloggers to talk about diversity and what we’d like to see more of in the book world. You can read my thoughts here.

Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns

On day two we discussed aesthetic concerns for both books and blogs. Reading through everyone’s posts, it seems most of us are not immune to beautiful covers. I am a sucker for a good cover. Even before you read a synopsis of a book, the cover is the first thing you see and so I think it’s important that a book’s cover be able to grab your attention. Read all my thoughts here.

Day 3: Beyond the Books & Blog

We seem to focus a lot on traditional forms of fiction and our blogs, but on day three we look beyond the books and blog. I talked about my desire to try new forms of fiction, including graphic novels. I’m still looking for suggestions, so share your recs in the comments. Read my full post here.

Day 4: Surviving Fictional Worlds

Day four was probably my favorite day as we discussed what it would be like trying to survive the fictional worlds we read about. I had tons of fun putting this post together. I didn’t have a ton of time to visit other people’s posts for this day, so if you’d still like to leave a link, I’d love to read what you had to say. My post can be found here.

Did you participate in Armchair BEA this year? Is it something you’d like to participate in again? Leave a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit!

Armchair BEA: Surviving Fictional Worlds

armchairbeaWhat, Armchair BEA is almost over? I can’t believe it! This is our final post before we wrap up everything tomorrow and I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’m really excited about today’s topic, thinking about how we would fit into the fictional worlds we read about is always such an interesting thing to discuss. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Surviving Fictional Worlds

Today we’ll talk about surviving fictional worlds. We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?

I’m going to tackle the obvious and say that I’d love to live in the Wizarding World. The Harry Potter series is such an important part of who I am as a reader. I’ve never loved a series as much as HP and I don’t know if anything will ever compare. I have taken various online quizzes to discover which house I belong to and they all say I’m a Ravenclaw. I love books and discovering new things and truth be told, I’m not as brave as a Gryffindor, as driven as a Slytherin, or as kind as a Hufflepuff.

Beside HP, I also wouldn’t mind being a part of the Raven Cycle world created by Maggie Stiefvater. I have a bit of a love affair with her characters. Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah are too precious for words and I’d be more than happy to help them search for Glendower. And I know it would be super dangerous, but I would love to be a part of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series about a magician who can travel to different worlds. Just need to get my hands on a magical coat…

 alt=  alt=  alt=

If you really consider it, most book universes are pretty dangerous. Whether it’s evil rulers, blood-thirsty monsters, or a truly twisted world philosophy, most of our books take place in universes that are very unpleasant and if we’re honest, most of us probably wouldn’t survive. I recently did a Top Ten Tuesday entitled Futuristic Societies I Want No Part Of. Included is Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. I love zombies. I love zombie books, movies, and tv shows, but I would not want to live in a world where the dead rise and chase after me. No thank you.

How I’d survive: Grab a weapon and start swinging. Kidding. Kind of.

Another fictional world that I’d never want to live in is the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. The whole concept of this world revolves around the fact that men’s thought are broadcast aloud for the whole world to hear. I do not need this in my life. I get tired of hearing what men think when they can control their own mouths, who knows what I’d hear if it was completely unfiltered.

How I’d survive: Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Another story I would not like to fall into is Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers about a boy trying to outrun his father’s legacy as world’s most infamous serial killer. I spent so much time while reading this whole series yelling at the characters because I could not believe some of the decisions they made. It was like watching a horror film and seeing the characters investigate a noise in the basement.

How I’d survive: Get out of town quick.

Which fictional worlds would you like to be part of? Which would you run away from very quickly? How would you survive in a dangerous fictional universe? If you’re participating in Armchair BEA, leave a link to your post and I’ll visit!