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Book Review| Uprooted by Naomi Novi

uprooted-covuprooted2

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

I received this book from my OTSP Secret Sister, though I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. It’s always caught my eye when I walked into a bookstore, but I can be choosy when it comes to my fantasy books. I always heard great things about it, though, and now I know why. It took me a few days to really get into, but once school ended, I was really able to give myself to the book completely.


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The Woods: Novik uses The Woods in the common archetypal way: they’re the source of evil, a place where people go in but don’t come back out. Within literature, forests are places of the unknown. Nobody knows the origins of Novik’s Woods, or why the woods are magical. Woods are usually a place of transformation, which is a recurring theme between many different characters.
The “unknown” part of this can also be attributed to The Dragon, since the townsfolk know little to nothing about it.

Agnieszka: Taken by The Dragon, we soon find out she’s actually a witch, but she finds the spells The Dragon tries to teach her just don’t fit well with her. She’s your typical “main character” of our time; she isn’t beautiful or pretty, she’s constantly dirty; she doesn’t find herself “special”; she defies The Dragon often and can be pretty temperamental. However, being our main character, she easily fits into The Hero archetype, specifically that of The Initiate.

The Dragon: A powerful magician whose job is to protect many towns and provinces, his dislike for Agnieszka is immediate. He is constantly demeaning her; he scowls at her dirty clothes, yells at her when she can’t figure out a spell (and yells when she does), and he finds comfort in the orderly way magic is – until Agnieszka shows him otherwise. The best archetype I could find for him was the Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart. We are introduced to The Dragon as a thief of young women, but the more we read, the more we learn about him.

Kasia: The ignored “chosen” girl, Kasia is constantly spoken about in high regards. Agnieszka finds her to be almost perfect; Kasia is braver, prettier, more talented, smarter – the list goes on. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER However, she’s captured by The Wood and is possessed by the evil within it. Before being taken by The Wood, she would fit more into the Platonic Ideal archetype. In fact, for most of the story she would. The only time she would fit into another archetype, The Creature of Nightmare, is when she’s possessed. The character who embodies the Creature of Nightmare throughout the book would be Queen Hannah/ The Wood-Queen.


final-thoughts

Uprooted was an enchanting novel filled with fascinating, complex characters, each one completely different from the next. The writing alone was spellbinding; each sentence pulled me deeper and deeper into the world Novik created. While there were a few city names I found difficult to pronounce, Novik kept the general world knowledge as a need-to-know basis. No map was needed, nor was a glossary. I did end up reading over the words used for spells rather than trying to sound them out; I know I would just butcher them, so I didn’t even bother.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, books that aren’t parts of trilogies, books with a hint of romance, complex characters and storylines that keep you questioning until the very end, I would highly recommend Uprooted.

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Book Review| Me Before You – JoJo Moyes


Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122.jpg
Published: Dec. 31, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit
369 pages
Goodreads Rating:  4.30
My Rating: 5.0

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I really only picked this up because the movie was coming out and I’d enjoyed other JoJo Moyes books in the past. Once I saw the trailer for the movie, I was a little put off. I still have yet to see the movie, but Emilia Clarke’s acting in the minute-long trailer just seemed very over the top.

I needed a good romantic book to help get me through the beginning of my husband being away due to his military career. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this book.

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD

what i liked

Louisa’s Family Dynamic

Louisa’s family is very typical of a lot of families. There is a lot of love, and some repressed anger. There are secrets and intense moments of truth. Louisa’s parents, as much as they want to support her, need her to support them. It says a lot that somebody living in the United States can relate to the Clark family’s financial problems; we all know how one bad economy can affect the world.

This family was very authentic in everything they did. From the parents choosing a favorite child (even if they won’t admit it), to Louisa and Treena’s constant back-and-forth, this was one of the few literary families that didn’t feel too happy, too sad, or too melodramatic.

The Traynor Family (or,more specifically, Mrs. Traynor)
If there is anybody misunderstood in this book, I think it’s Mrs. Traynor. She loves her son the way most mothers love their sons; completely, if not a little too much. There is a constant feel of tension between the two, as if she has babied him all his life and he resents her for it. I picture the two of them at his college graduation, and she’s licking her thumb to wipe a smudge of dirt off of him or to tame a cowlick.

She is used to being the matriach, the person in charge of the family.With Will taking that power from her, I think she felt very lost. For the first time in a long time, she has no control over what is going on with her family. I think that’s why she was harsh and cold towards Louisa.

Will & Louisa

I mean, obviously. Their relationship was absolutely amazing. Starting off with an awkward meeting and continuing on until Louisa decides she is done dealing with Will’s nonsense. I think I really connected with this relationship because it wasn’t an immediate attraction. It took most of the book for the two of them to realize their feelings for each other. The wole wedding scene was so frustrating for me because all I wanted was for them to kiss and reveal their feelings. Unfortunately they were both too afraid and unsure of the other that nothing happened.

did like

The Ending

This isn’t entirely true. I liked the way the book ends. I think it’s great because it isn’t a typical happy ending. The thing I didn’t like was how quick it ended. I wish that there had been more time between the island scene and the Switzerland scene. It felt like so much was left unsaid between them and, as somebody who loves to talk and talk and talk about their feelings, it killed me.

Louisa’s Reaction on the Island

My god, girl. First, how the hell are you going to leave a man who can’t walk ON A BEACH with a lot of SAND?! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. I get being hurt and upset and whatever, but poor, poor Will. Or, as my Spanish I class taught me, p-p-p-pobre Cenicienta. I have never felt such sadness for a character before. He depends on Louisa for so much, and he knows how much this will hurt her, but he can’t lie to her or lead her on. He knows his mind and he knows his heart. All I can picture is this poor man confined to a wheelchair, watching the woman he loves walk away from him as he tries to talk to her about this. He’s calling out for her and she’s just ignoring him. It’s not as if he can run to her, scoop her into his arms and tell her how wrong he was.

I completely understand the hurt and pain Louisa is feeling here, but my empathy lies more with Will at this point.

The Beginning

It’s not that I didn’t like the beginning so much as it just didn’t suck me in. Until Will became a larger part of the story, I felt like I was slowly trudging along. I’m not exactly sure why I could not get into it at first. Maybe it was just the whole angry, despondent feel of the book after Louisa lost her job and can’t find a new one. I am very glad I pushed through the beginning because this book literally brought tears to my eyes. final thoughts

Concerning the Controversy

I am not in any way shape or form trying to say how people should feel. When the movie first came out, a lot of people were angry and called it something along the lines of, “suicide porn.” People were angry because they felt the book and the movie showed that handicapped people were better off just killing themselves. I don’t think that was what JoJo Moyes was trying to convey at all.

As somebody who has dealt with depression and anxiety for years, I have come to realize that you can’t save everyone. Sometimes people are beyond help, some people don’t want help, and sometimes people don’t realize help is out there. To me, Will did not want the kind of help Louisa and his family wanted to give him. I am a huge proponent of assisted suicide. If a person is in their right state of mind, is in pain or is terminally ill, who are we to deny them the dignity of death before they lose themselves?

All in all, I loved this book. I might give it a 4.5 rather than the full 5, but it’s still a book I would recommend.

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Graphic Novel Review| The Wicked + The Divine

 

• Published: Nov. 1, 2014
• Genres: Graphic Novel, Comics, Fantasy
• 144 Pages per Volume
• Goodreads Rating: 3.92
• My Rating: 5.00

Volume One:
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

Volume Two:
The second volume of the award-winning urban fantasy series where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. Following the tragic and unjust death of Lucifer, it takes a revelation from Inanna to draw Laura back into the worlds of Gods and Superstardom to try and discover the truth behind a conspiracy to subvert divinity

Working at a bookstore is the worst form of torture. My To-Be-Read list never shrinks; for every one book I finish, three take its spot. It’s especially difficult trying not to buy everything I see. Thankfully, the On The Same Page Secret Sister project helps. Now, whenever I see a book that looks interesting, I put it on my wishlist and keep my hands away from it in hopes that my Secret Sister will send it to me.

In my first box for this round, my Secret Sister sent me the first volume in this series, as well as Sex Criminals. I enjoyed both graphic novels, but The Wicked + the Divine has so many of the things I love: mythology, sassy characters, fighting, foul language and a mystery.

what i liked

The Pantheon
The 12 gods of the Pantheon don’t stick to one mythos. Of the twelve, no one religion reigns. There are gods from Norse, Irish, and Greeks myths, and gods from Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Japanese myths. From what I gathered in the story, any of the gods can be part of the Pantheon – it just depends on whose turn it is. In the beginning of Volume One, we see the previous Pantheon 90 years ago, but aren’t given many clues on who is who.

Their interactions with each other are interesting as well. I would love to see how “Jehovah” interacts with Lucifer. Are the Gods who are enemies in myth also enemies in this life, or do they realize how short their two-year existence is and simply move on from their past? It’s interesting that certain gods can be a three-person god (like the Morrigan and  Urðr), but they manifest differently per god.

The Artwork
I am picky, and I am stubborn. If I don’t like the artwork in a G.N., I usually don’t pick it up. On the other hand, if I’m invested in the story and they switch artists, I’ll keep reading. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the artwork at first. The more the story progressed, the more I began to love the artwork. Each character is distinctly different, with their own facial expressions and quirks. This may sound like a small expectation, but I’ve found with many graphic novels that artists have a hard time giving characters their own looks. (See: The Walking Dead).

did like

The Backgrounds
If there’s anything I love, it’s a story with a good amount of backstory. With the first two volumes of tW+tD, we don’t get a lot of backstory for the gods before they were turned, or even for the last time the pantheon was on earth. I’m sure most of that will be revealed in the next few volumes.

 

final thoughts

I am completely obsessed with this series. I can’t wait to read the next volumes in this series. Have you read The Wicked + the Divine? Did you love it or hate it? What are your opinions on the gods? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

61aUlQj4PSL• Published: January 21, 1999
• Genres: Horror, SciFi
• 160 pages
• Goodreads Rating: 
4.06
My Rating: 4.00

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

I first picked up I Am Legend when I was about 14 years old. I wanted to read a vampire book where the vampire were actually monsters instead of love interests, and had heard good things about Legend. Unfortunately, it was a bit too “old” for me at that age, so I put it on the back burner. I’ve owned the book for a good bit now, and just recently decided I really needed to just read it. It isn’t very long, and I needed a good Halloween book.

what i liked

The Book is 1000x Better Than the Movie

This is not an exaggeration. I wasn’t a big fan of the movie to begin with since I knew the antagonists were originally vampires. I had read the first few pages before the movie came out, so I was expecting vampires the whole time. When I saw that it was badly-done CGI zombies, I became completely uninterested. I honestly can’t see how they could say the movie was based on the book at all because 90% of it is different. In the book, Neville is an alcoholic who doesn’t take care of his body. He is completely alone. He is a war veteran, not a doctor. His family dies after being infected by the disease. The vampires can talk to him and try to coax him out of the house. The book is so much more intense than the movie and I loved it.

Alternative Future (SPOILERS BELOW)
The book was published in ’99 but takes place in the mid-70’s. The emergence of a new society – this one ruled by vampires – gives us a completely new idea of the future. We know they view their rising as a revolution, so it makes me wonder whether or not they’ll find peace soon or later in their evolution. We’re never introduced to their leader, so we have to rely on our own thinking to imagine what happens after Neville’s death.

words learned

• Prostration (noun)
1. extreme mental or emotional depression or dejection
2. extreme physical weakness or exhaustion: heat prostration.

• Desultory (adjective)
1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.

• Maudlin (adjective)
1. tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental: a maudlin story of a little orphan and her lost dog.
2. foolishly or mawkishly sentimental because of drunkenness.

Reveries (noun)
1. a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.
2. a daydream

final thoughts

If you’re looking for a short, creepy book, I am Legend is for you. Definitely try to pick up a copy that has some of Matheson’s short stories too – they’re worth it. He Who Kills and Dance of the Dead were my two favorites. I’m so spoiled by epilogues that I wish Legend had one, but that’s really just nit-picking.

Have you read I am Legend or any other books by Richard Matheson? Do you have any favorite Halloween books, or books to read around Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review| Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas

79329_originalQueen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Pages: 648
Goodreads Rating: 4.69
My Rating: 4.5

The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past.
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

What can I even say? I sped through this series in about four days. I finished this book in a day. I stayed up until three in the morning finishing this because I simply could not put it down. This post will be filled with spoilers. Continue reading at your own risk.

I don’t like to review books immediately after finishing them. I like letting them sit so I have time to let the hype wear down. It lets me review honestly. Let’s start with what I liked.

Note: I will refer to Celaena as Aelin through the post.

what i liked
New/Revised Characters
We see a lot of familiar faces in this book. Two in particular stood out to me: Lysandra and Kaltain. Both were rivals of Aelin when she was younger, and they become heroes in their own right. Lysandra, who was so close to paying off her debts to the brothel that took her in, saved a young girl from experiencing that same fate. She does so much more by the end of the book, but that is the one thing that came across as completely selfless. When we learn about her past, her future actions are a sort of vengeance against those that took away magic. Helping a child escape the fate of courtesan is the bravest thing she ever did.

Kaltain, on the other hand, is barely more than a human shell throughout the book. It isn’t until the end that she is finally able to inflict her own vengeance. I can’t remember who exactly she burns alive, but I wish she had been able to tear that whole place down. I can’t even imagine the horrible things she’s had to endure. It feels as if she deserved to inflict more pain than she did.

New Ships
I was fully on the Chaolena ship. I have since jumped ship and fully support Aelin/Rowan. I don’t even know what their celebrity name would be, I’m so new to the ship. I know a lot of people who read GoT who were completely against Aelin/Rowan and now they ship it. QoS completely erases any idea that Chaolena will be a thing again. I’m okay with this. They both grew as people, and were no longer compatible. It happens all the time with people.

I liked the ships introduced to us. Caol and Nesryn, Dorian and Manon, Lysandra and an endless amount of possibilities. Right now, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lysandra with Aedion, but who knows. I am most excited for this Dorian/Manon ship because MANON. IMMORTAL WITCH + LOVE + MORTAL = FEELS. SO MANY FEELS.

Though this doesn’t go with “ships,” I did love the character development of so many people. Manon, as well as her 13, grow so much in this book. They go from mindlessly listening to orders to questioning these orders. So many character growths. So good.

did like
The Ending
Before you throw anything at me, let me clarify: There were only a few things I didn’t like. Mostly, it just felt too clean to me. Everything worked out for once. I fully expected somebody to die, and was a little disappointed that they didn’t. Of all the times for somebody to die, this would have been the best time for it. Do I want characters to die? Of course not. Do I expect them to when the book centers on a war? Yes. The whole ending just felt like all the loose ends were tied up nicely, save for the one or two needed to continue the series. Now that the king has been taken care of, I don’t even know who Aelin will fight against now. Is it her kingdom against this Wyrd-kingdom? Maybe.

Have you read Queen of Shadows yet? Do you plan on it? What did you think about it if you did? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review| The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen


81JQ-u+67GLThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Published July 8th 2014 by Harper
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 434
Goodreads Rating: 3.94
My Rating: 4.5

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

I’d seen this book floating around tumblr for a long time. I would see it in the grocery store and think, “Damn, that does look really good,” but I wouldn’t pick it up. (I have a hard time buying hardcovers because they can just be ridiculously expensive). I was at an indie bookstore in New Hope, PA when I saw Queen in paperback. I snatched it up and walked right over to the register because I was not buying anything else. Of course, it found its way off my radar while I was reading graphic novels and some books from my TBR shelf (I’ll post a picture in a new post). A few days ago, I found it in one of my old beach bags and decided to start reading it. I was absolutely hooked from the first page.

Review
Being Johansen’s debut novel, I was astounded by her writing skills. Looking back at the story, not a lot of action happens, but I was never bored reading this. A lot of the story focuses on one main event, but enough was added where I never thought, “Okay, I’m on page 156 and nothing is happening what the hell.” Even with moments like meeting the people at court, I found myself chuckling out loud or making faces at some of these fictional people. Which leads me to my next point: her characters.

Johansen is magnificent in creating a world of diverse, complex characters. Kelsea is an overweight teenager with a bad temper, but she excelled at being a queen. Her adoptive parents had a large hand at that, and they too are such different characters. Barty, her adoptive father, and Carlin, her adoptive mother, were the epitome of “opposites attract.” Barty is the nurturing, warm hearted figure while Carlin never hugged or coddled Kelsea. There is also no sugar-coating anyone in the book. Kelsea’s biological mother, the late Queen Elyssa, was vain and, at times, a little dim. At the end of the first novel, we are left wondering who Kelsea’s father is, so I can’t speak about him. Everyone in this story, from Mace to the Fetch, are all written like real people, not some romantic savior who can do no wrong.

Then there is the history of this land, the Tear. I’m still not 100 percent certain I completely understand, but it touches on their founder, William Tear, crossing the sea and leaving behind a dying land. I’m pretty sure that land is the United States. This story takes place in the future, when something has taken away so much of what we are today and gives these people what we were back in the medieval period. There are references to Rowling and Tolkien as great authors of the past, and the drug heroin even makes it in here as a lost recipe, but one that is trying to make a come back. I have seen this take on the world in at least one other book, but it left out too much, where I was confused at what the hell was going on. Queen, on the other hand, gives you just enough to realize, “OH DAMN,” and that’s it.

My last point is the lack of romanctic interest. I loved it. It’s not like there is no romance at all, because we do see that SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOULER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
Kelsea has feelings for the Fetch. There is also a moment when Pen is trying to wake her and he has no shirt on, and Kelsea wants to reach out to touch him. I ship Kelsea/Pen so damn much. Do I like the Fetch? Of course, he’s a wonderful character. I do not trust him. I don’t think he’s a realistic choice for her. If she wants to have a little fling with him, I am all for that. If she wants him to become her husband later on, I have a hard time believing that will happen.

I have already downloaded Invasion on to my Nook, and am trying so hard to finish Cary Elwe’s As You Wish before starting it. I give this book four and a half wormies, but I refuse to cut this little guy in half, so be satisfied with looking at only four of them.

four star

PS. Yes, I know Emma Watson is supposed to be cast as Kelsea in the movie adaptation, but I don’t know how I feel about that. Kelsea is supposed to have a darker coloring than her super fair mom and she’s fat. Emma is none of these things, and I think they are very important to Kelsea’s character. I guess we’ll see.

Have you read Johansen’s book yet? What did you think? If not, do you plan on reading it after my review? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday| Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about books that celebrate diversity. This list is going to be a combination of books I have read and books I want to read. I’ve included the descriptions from Goodreads as well. Enjoy!

10. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanah

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle-and-dante-cover

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

8. Beloved – Toni Morrison

toni-morrison-beloved

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

7. Rat QueensKurtis J. Wiebe

rat-queens-vol-01-releases

Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.
It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

6. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
persepolis
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming—both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.

5. Ms. MarvelG. Willow Wilson
ms marvel

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

4. Saga – Brian K. Vaughn, Fiona Staples
saga

Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40) Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.

3. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
ember in ashees

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

2. The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
wrath and dawn

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

1. Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

kindred
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

What are some of your favorite books that celebrate diversity? Did any of them make my list? Let me know in the comments!