LIST: most anticipated 2022 releases (pt. 2)

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For once, I am actually not shocked and astonished when it reaches the second half of the year…for now lol. When I was putting together this list of releases, I was surprised that a lot of my most anticipated releases of this year are out in the fall because that hasn’t been the case for the past couple of years. However, I suppose that could’ve been because of COVID and shipping delays, etc etc, and now we’ve caught up. Anyways, here are my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2022!

I’ve been lucky enough to have read some of these already, with some instant favorites of 2022 even early on in the year. These include Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen, Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong, and If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang. My reviews for the first two are linked below and my review for the last one will be up soon! I can’t wait to read the rest of the books on this list to find more favorites too!

You can check out my anticipated releases for the first half of 2022 here.

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REVIEW: What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley (thank you, Fierce Reads!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: biracial (Indian, white) protagonists and side character, sapphic side characters, Black side character, Indian side characters; (British-Indian author)

CW: physical abuse, racism (historical context)

Summary: What Souls Are Made Of, British Fantasy Award-winning author Tasha Suri’s masterful new take on Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, will leave readers breathless.

As the abandoned son of a Lascar—a sailor from India—Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Now he’s been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father’s language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.

Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that’s all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.

As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.

But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other—and indeed, loving themselves—is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?

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MINI-REVIEW: The Charmed List by Julie Abe

**I received an ARC from the #bookishwish tag on Twitter (thank you, Mary!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: The Charmed List by Julie Abe

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: Japanese-American protagonist and side characters, biracial (Japanese, Italian) love interest and side character, sapphic side character; (Japanese-American author)

CW: mentions of death of a parent (mother) from cancer, mentions of death of parents from a car accident

Summary: After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

In The Charmed List, Julie Abe sweeps readers away to a secret magical world, complete with cupcakes and tea with added sparks of joy, and an enchanted cottage where you can dance under the stars.

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REVIEW: Boys I Know by Anna Gracia

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Boys I Know by Anna Gracia

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: Taiwanese-American protagonist and side characters; (biracial Asian-American author)

CW: racism, microaggressions, emotional abuse, toxic relationship

Summary: A high school senior navigates messy boys and messier relationships in this bitingly funny and much-needed look into the overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.

June Chu is the “just good enough” girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother’s unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.

While June’s mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister’s footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn’t see the point in trying too hard if she’s destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys “official.” But after her methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who’s not allergic to the word “girlfriend.”

But as the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she’s going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.

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REVIEW: Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

Release Date: June 21, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: Jewish-coded love interest, sapphic side character; (Jewish author)

CW: bulimia, vomiting, gore, body horror, cannibalism, parental abuse (emotional, physical), self-harm, suicide ideation, antisemitism, child sexual abuse, full list here

Summary: From highly acclaimed bestselling author Ava Reid comes a gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, set in another time and place within the world of The Wolf and the Woodsman, where a young witch seeks to discover her identity and escape the domination of her wizard father, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson and Catherynne M. Valente.

A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.

Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

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#waitingonwednesday: everyone hates kelsie miller

I enjoyed Meredith Ireland’s debut, The Jasmine Project, and I’m excited to see what comes next from her! This book is a rom-com with rivals-to-lovers and overall just sounds both chaotic and heartwarming. Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller is out October 11; find out more about it below.

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DISCUSSION: bts lyric parallels (pt. 2: dreams)

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Happy Festa, ARMYs! Have you been watching the “Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” music video? And streaming Proof? To celebrate BTS’s ninth anniversary (wow), I finally sat down and wrote the second post in the BTS lyric parallels series! You can read the first part (focusing on the “extended hands” motif) here. For this post, I decided to focus on “dreams,” both meaning ambition and fantasy, within BTS’s discography.

As in the last post, I also made some graphics to go with some of the parallels, and I’m really proud of them! Be sure to check them all out throughout this post. I was on a bit of a time-crunch writing this post, so it’s not as long as I initially intended but I’m still really happy with how it all came out. Hope you enjoy it!

Earlier this year, I finally wrote the part two to the “BTS songs + books” book rec list if you’re more interested in my book-ish stuff. You can also view my “bangtan” tag to see all my other BTS-related posts.

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DISCUSSION: I reread favorite books from 2017 (pt. 1)

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A few months ago, I was looking through the books I brought with me to college because I felt like reading a physical book. For whatever reason, I had chosen to bring The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and was like, why not? In the middle of rereading it, I suddenly had the idea to write this post: rereading some of my favorite books from 2017. (Also, if you didn’t know, the banner is a throwback to the theme I used in my old blog! I don’t think this is the theme I was specifically using 5 years ago, but that’s lost to time at this point rip.)

I also wrote another “these books are 5 years old” post, and like I mentioned there, I had a lot more memories of the releases this year since I had started blogging then. If you haven’t seen, this year marks my fifth year of blogging. I wasn’t able to do as much as I really wanted back in March because I was busy for school, so this felt like a nice way to celebrate it, if a little late. So, rereading some my favorites from this year felt like a special way to honor this blogiversary.

Of course, if you’ve been reading my posts for the past year or so, my motivation to read is at an all-time low now. I initially resisted going along with this post idea because, as the tweet below says, I just could not commit to a TBR list (and honestly never have been able to, other than keeping up with my ARC release dates).

I chose 7 books in total for this post, and no surprise, I was unable to read all of them in a comfortable amount of time before this post went up. (I don’t like writing posts all the way up till it’s posted; it stresses me out. I’m writing this about two weeks before it’s up btw.) Between my busy schedule, catching up on other blog posts, and putting together the 2022 ya lgbtq+ releases list, I just didn’t think I could finish all 7 books before the post was supposed to go up, so look out for part 2 sometime in the near future!

Part of this post was rereading my old reviews from 2017 and comparing them to my thoughts today. I’ll be the first to admit that it was so cringey…but they definitely had more personality than what I’m doing now lol. Whether that’s original personality or I was just trying to be ~quirky (hey, I was young okay) remains to be seen though. The 2017 reviews were a lot more stream of consciousness anyways, which makes sense because I was just getting started in reviewing and in my blog. Hope you enjoy this post (and please don’t judge my 2017 reviews 😭)!

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MINI-REVIEW: How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Release Date: June 14

My Rating: 3 stars

Rep: wlw Black side character, biracial (Thai, white) side character

CW: alcoholism, mentions of death of a loved one

Summary: A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme . . . faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

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REVIEW: Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley (thank you, Penguin Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest

Release Date: June 7, 2022

My Rating: 3.75 stars

Rep: Black protagonists, Black side characters, bisexual Black side characters; (Black author)

CW: mention of death of parents (from a car accident), depression

Summary: A fresh new YA romance novel by Kristina Forest, Zyla & Kai is an epic star-crossed love story about first love and not just the will they, won’t they— but why can’t they?

While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn’t surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn’t have been more different.

Zyla was a cynic about love. She’d witnessed the dissolution of her parents’ marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.

Kai was a serial monogamist and a hopeless romantic. He’d put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.

Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla and Kai’s perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up… Or did they?

Romantic, heart-stirring and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter.

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