The Julie and the Phantoms Book Tag! | ft. lots of throwbacks and some diverse anticipated reads

Helloooo!

I was supposed to post this three days ago so I’d have made four posts in January but that didn’t happen 👀 Anyway, I’m really grateful for the support everyone has given me for my previous post, and I’m ready to finally post another book tag after a very long time.

This tag is special, because it’s an original tag from my friend Lais, who’s an amazing blogger whose work you need to check out ASAP! If you want to do this tag, please credit her and link back to her post!!

1

[PDF] [EPUB] You Should See Me in a Crown Download

Julie is the main character in JATP and her style and singing voice are both unbelievably amazing. On a similar note, another recent character that I’ve loved reading about is Liz from You Should See Me in a Crown, a short and sweet contemporary that I read a couple weeks ago.

They actually remind me of each other a lot, with their spunk, caring for their families a lot, and musical talent.

I love both of these characters! I also related to both of them a lot, and it was so fun to follow their stories. Speaking of which, I NEED a season 2 of JATP!

2

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)

I’m going to have to steal Lais’s answer for this one because it’s honestly perfect for the prompt. Lais, are you sure you didn’t write this question with Magnus in mind?

Anyway, it’s not much of a spoiler, but Magnus dies in the first book, within the first five pages. That’s basically the set up for the rest of the book, so it’s not a big deal to mention it here (I think).

This series, like all other Rick Riordan series, owns my heart and I thoroughly love it.

a book that introduced you to reading_a book that introduced you to your current favorite genre

This isn’t fair! PJO basically introduced me to reading too 😭 but what actually introduced me to contemporary YA novels was:

Everything, Everything

Everything Everything was one of the first contemporaries I read before I started blogging, and to be honest, I really liked it.

I have a feeling that if I reread it I won’t like it as much. Just a feeling, but it’s because I’ve outgrown this sort of novel. It just doesn’t appeal to me anymore, I guess.

I remember getting the DVD from our library and making everyone go upstairs while I watched it on our TV because I didn’t want my parents there 😂

4

The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels, #1)

Gosh, I love this book so much! I hope that when you think of me you think of the Kyoshi duology and I also hope you go and read it ASAP 👀

These books are SO good and I could talk about it forever but instead I’m going to link you to my September wrap-up, where I ranted about this series a little bit more in depth. Enjoy!

I hope that people know me as that girl who loves Avatar: The Last Airbender and in extension that girl who loves Avatar Kyoshi!

5

I swear to God, Percy fits in EVERY category!! Lais, you’re making this too hard for me to choose something other than Percy Jackson!

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a very feel-good, heartwarming book and this book is pretty much my emotional support BOOK.

All the characters are so sweet and the found family trope is the best I’ve read recently. I love the way the book made me smile AND cry, and tbh Linus and Arthur are my emotional support couple.

Also, Lucy is my emotional support child and Zoe is my emotional support big sister.

6

This question is way too fun, but I’m going to have trouble finding a book to match it lol.

Exclusive Cover Reveal + Author Interview: These Violent ...

I haven’t read this book but just based on the cover of These Violent Delights, THIS would be my villain aesthetic.

I want to be a very cool, romantic and tragic villain who gave up everything for love and followed the path to murder (?) all because of a love lost to unjust “heroes”. I’ll be sophisticated and scary, and basically Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Azula may not be a morally “good” character (although I would argue that she was just mislead), but she sure is written amazingly.

P.S. I really want to read TVD! Remind me to read it!

7

Red, White & Royal Blue eBook by Casey McQuiston ...

THIS BOOK!!! Remember when everyone was crazy about it? I read it a couple months after the hype but it definitely measured up. It was laugh out loud hilarious and I loved Alex and Henry’s banter.

Despite it involving politics, it surprisingly wasn’t bad on that aspect either! In fact, it had a lot of really great commentary especially because it’s in an alternate timeline where instead of Trump being our president in 2020, it was President Claremont, Alex’s mother.

In the words of beloved Reggie from JATP: tell your friends!!

8

Okay, that was the perfect segway to the next prompt!!

To be honest, I have no idea if people have been talking about Rise To The Sun a lot or very little- but I do know that I haven’t seen much talk about it despite the fact that You Should See Me in a Crown was wildly popular and this is by the same author!

Also, look at the cover!! It’s gorgeous!

I’m really excited that it’s about two Black LGBT+ girls and, like YSSMIAC, it involves music as a subtheme, which I am really excited for!! It’s supposed to come out in the summer.

9

Clap When You Land

I’m having a tough time thinking of a book that fits this prompt- I’m going to settle on Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, which is about two sisters separated by distance and a lot of secrets who find each other after a long time.

I don’t want to give away the plot, but I’m also not sure if this counts as a twist on the long-lost family trope, but the author didn’t write it the same way as I’m used to. Probably because it’s in prose and it’s about two Black Latina girls, which obviously makes the experience different.

 

10

The Song of Achilles

Firstly, The Song of Achilles is a BEAUTIFUL book and it made me sob- a lot. Don’t read it without an expectation that you will cry. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to fall in love with beautiful writing and a tragically unfair love story.

Secondly, Achilles and Patroclus sure took their sweet time getting together 😂 they met as young teens and became best friends. It took years and years until they accepted their feelings for each other.

11

Does it count if I say Liz from YSSMIAC and Julie from JATP? I already mentioned them and JATP isn’t even a book…

We Set the Dark on Fire (We Set the Dark on Fire, #1)    Star Daughter

Carmen from We Set the Dark on Fire and Minal from Star Daughter would probably get along wonderfully- they’re both spunky queer women of color with a great sense of humor and wonderful sarcasm.

12

Finale (Caraval, #3)

It’s kind of funny because the prompt is “a book you didn’t think you’d be able to finish” and my answer is a book that I actually didn’t finish. Finale is the, well, finale of Caraval, and while I really enjoyed the first two books (I don’t know if I would like them now, though) I didn’t really care for this book. Maybe I was busy and forgot to finish it, but it didn’t capture my interest like the first two books did.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like the series very much if I reread it- thinking back, the love interest of the MC, Julian, was very much a “bad boy” and would annoy me to no end now.

Thank you so much Lais for tagging me!! I’m not tagging anybody but feel free to do it if you’ve watched the show or if you just like the prompts.

Have a wonderful day, y’all!

Thoughts on “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and its relevance today | MLK Day

Hi everyone!

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of arguably the most prominent civil rights’ activist in the USA.

23 Incredible Full-Color Pictures Of Martin Luther King Jr

If you’re not familiar with his story, he was a pastor in the Ebenezer Baptist Church- from where the current senior pastor, Reverend Raphael Warnock, was recently elected the Democratic Georgian Senator- and later became the head of the civil rights’ movement. He believed in nonviolent direct action, and most people have probably heard his incredibly famous speech, I Have A Dream.

I remember that the first time I heard I Have A Dream, I was around five or six in a majority-white school in the Midwest. To be honest, I don’t completely remember what I felt when I listened to it; I was quite young, after all, and I’m not known for having the best memory. But I do know that year after year when I listened to the speech, it made more and more sense to me. The line about dreaming of a time when black and white children could hold each other’s hands sticks out to me now- it was the line that was played every year without fail.

I’m sure it would have been this year as well, but things are different this year. Our school didn’t play anything for us, and it was up to me to do my own research.

I Have A Dream is a great place to start, and is certainly powerful, but its been sanitized so much to fit white America’s portrayal of MLK Jr. that it doesn’t authentically portray his beliefs.

So today I sat down and read an essay by Dr. King that has been recommended to me countless timesLetter From the Birmingham Jail.

If you want to know why I’ve put it off, I could say that I’ve been waiting for this day to read it, but that would be a lie. It’s actually because I’ve been stuck in my comfort zone- YA fiction- for too long, and I needed a gentle push to get out of it and try nonfiction. That push came from myself, and I’m glad I did it.

My immediate takeaway was about how beautiful the writing was. I’m a lover of words foremost and always a reader at heart, so it makes sense that the elegant language and captivating metaphors would stand out to me. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor who gave sermons regularly, so I wasn’t surprised that the letter would be so eloquent.

However, this post isn’t supposed to be a book review where I analyze the setting and characters and writing style. It’s about the content of the letter and the truths that were stated there in clear terms.

Letter From the Birmingham Jail is one of the only times, if not the only time, that MLK Jr. addressed his haters and opponents, explaining clearly why they were wrong and what perspective he came from. He brings up so many points and refutes so many others yet the essay itself doesn’t seem as long as it is.

A Collection of Rare Color Photographs Depicts MLK Leading ...

One of the main arguments against the Civil Rights’ Movement at the time was that the time wasn’t right to take action. Dr. King writes that someone asked him “why didn’t you give the new administration time to act?” following the Birmingham peaceful protest that happened soon after a new administration in the city was elected.

This line specifically reminds me eerily of our present situation. We’ve recently elected the Biden-Harris administration and they will be taking office in two days.

Yet, there’s no way that it will immediately solve all of our country’s problems. Systemic racism won’t be eradicated just because we have a new administration in office. If that were the case, we should be lightyears ahead of where we are now.

During the election, lots of white moderates said that “now isn’t the time” to push Biden-Harris to embrace more progressive policies. They said to wait for inauguration, and now they say to wait for the first hundred days in office to be over, and for the Trump supporters to be quelled, and for COVID to be over, before demanding that anything gets done.

Dr. King writes in response to the questions about why now, that “the new administration must be prodded about as much as the old one before it acts… I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined nonviolent pressure.”

Direct action is a form of negotiation, he writes. It creates a constructive type of nonviolent tension that is necessary for any form of justice to be taken seriously by the majority.

While I read, I felt like I had the answers to the questions that are constantly being asked about why I believe in direct action.

I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging facts of segregation to say, “Wait.”

– MLK Jr.

One of the most touching parts of this letter, to me, wasn’t one of the incredibly profound or intelligent passages, or the parts about the danger about the white moderate (although those ones was truly music to my ears).

Actually, my favorite quote was about something quite ordinary- a six year old girl wanting to go to an amusement park.

Image

“When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky…”

Wow. This quote was devastating to me.

One of the worst parts of segregation is the internalized inferiority that exists in communities of color even now. My family never faced segregation due to moving the USA in the 1990s, but the knowledge that if I existed 70 years ago, or my grandmother traveled to America as a child, we would be treated like filth and second-class citizens hurts. And, speaking of internalized inferiority, what I just mentioned is known as generational trauma, and I can attest to the fact that many people of color live with it.

It’s even more painful to read about all the black children who actually grew up like that- grew up denied the entertainment and fun that was offered to white children, and is now available to all of us.

When I was six, I never had to worry about being denied entry to our local Six Flags (amusement park) because of my skin color. I never had to worry about schools turning me away, or not being allowed to use certain bathrooms because I was brown.

But countless others have had to, and that alone should be enough to shock everyone out of their complacency.

Another reason why this is my favorite quote is because it shows a glimpse into MLK’s personal life. Many of us, myself included, see him as the figurehead to an entire movement and inspiration for us all, almost as a mythical character.

But, as I remember reading in one of his second daughter, Bernice King’s, recent tweets, he was also just a man. A man with a wife and kids, a man who went on vacations to Jamaica wearing funny slippers on his feet and lived in a time of color photos, despite what textbooks might make you think.

He was just a man with a daughter who desperately wanted to go to Funtown.

I mean, Funtown– it’s pretty much the worst name you could give an amusement park, right? Still, it makes sense why young Yolanda wanted to go to Funtown. I’m not six years old, and even I want to go there.

But the stark difference is that I can, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t, and the reason was something completely beyond her control.

That’s what makes this my favorite quote, and perhaps the most profound one as well.

PARROT EYE..: Memorable Family Pictures of Martin Luther ...

The last note I want to make before I finish this post is of the whitewashing and watering down of MLK’s legacy. As his son, MLK III said in 2018, “We have been programmed as a society to focus on elements of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech because it reduces him to just a dreamer… as opposed to a radical and a revolutionary.

Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the redistribution of wealth, a living wage and healthcare for all, and he spoke out against militarism and capitalism just as he spoke out against racism. He was known as the most dangerous man in America by the FBI and at the time of his death, 75% of Americans disagreed with his vision for a desegregated world.

Dr. King wasn’t the watered down poster boy calling for complacency to the law and obedience to the police that schools and politicians would like you to believe. He knew the power of nonviolent direct action, he was willing to disobey unjust laws to achieve equal rights, he was a staunch critic of the US government, and he was against economic inequality of all kinds.

I want to leave you all on this powerful message, and urge everyone to read his letter for themselves. Here’s a great tweet that also describes the glaring hypocrisy of many people’s treatment of Dr. King.

This MLK day, I hope you all educate yourself on the horrific injustice and police brutality that still exists today, and honor Dr. King’s legacy by reading his works and supporting a Black Lives Matter organization that’s supporting the community.

Love you all! Remember- radical love is always the right thing to do.

5 South-Asian Books on my TBR | including beautiful upcoming 2021 releases!

Hello everyone!

I wanted my second post of 2020 to be something that I’m excited for and proud of- so I thought what better than sharing some of the amazing South-Asian books that I want to read?

As most of you know, I’m Indian-American and I’m passionate about uplifting Asian authors. In 2020 I realized that I barely read *any* books by South Asian authors, and one of my 2021 goals is to change that.

So here are some amazing books by South Asian authors that you should definitely read!

A Time To Dance by Padma Venkataraman

A Time to Dance

My friend Vaishnavi recommended this book to me- it’s about a South Indian girl named Veda who is a classical dancer losing the ability to dance because of an injury. It’s told in verse and sounds beautiful and poignant. I do Indian Classical music and love it so much (I used to do dance as well but I stopped this year actually) so I feel like I’ll resonate a lot with this book.

Continue reading “5 South-Asian Books on my TBR | including beautiful upcoming 2021 releases!”

From 2020 to 2021- resolutions, goals, and what this year means for all of us and our futures

Hello loves!

I can’t believe it’s 2021 already- happy new year to everyone! I hope you all had an amazing end of 2020 and a great beginning to the new year.

I have to admit, 2021 really snuck up on me. It still feels weird that we’re no longer in 2020, and even weirder to realize that I spent 75% of 2020 stuck at home. While I’m not harboring any unreasonable expectations for 2021, I still hope that I’ll spend more of my year doing normal things instead of at home.

To be honest though, I’m kind of feeling… neutral about everything. I’m not really a “eff 2020” sort of person because 2020 did actually do a lot to build my character and mold me to the person I am now (dramatic, I know), but it’s not like I loved 2020 or anything.

season 8 goodbye GIF

Anyway, I just wanted to say that one constant throughout 2019, 2020, and now hopefully 2021, has been blogging. Blogging brings me a lot of joy, and writing about what I love has been really important to keep me grounded. I’m forever grateful to everyone for building this community and inspiring me and so many others to keep writing and publishing it to the world.

Continue reading “From 2020 to 2021- resolutions, goals, and what this year means for all of us and our futures”

Matching Books To Each Song in the ‘Evermore’ Album by Taylor Swift | the evermore book tag

Hi loves!

I’m back so soon, yes! And today I’ll be doing a book tag created by the very lovely Ahaana @ Windows to Worlds. Please go check out her blog because her posts are so nice and her personality is even more lovely!

Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator’s post: Ahaana’s at Windows to Worlds
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post!!
  • Feel free to use the graphics in this post , but please credit back because they took a lot of time and effort to make (:

Let’s get into it!


Continue reading “Matching Books To Each Song in the ‘Evermore’ Album by Taylor Swift | the evermore book tag”

4 Underrated BIPOC Fantasy Novels For You to Add To Your TBR | ft. a return to blogging & great YA novels

Hi everyone!

As I’ve sat down to write this post, I’ve been interrupted over five times.

Maybe it’s a sign for me to not write this post?

Anyways, I finally pushed my parents and brother away and I’m ready to finally, finally write a blog post. First of all, I missed you all so much! I miss being a part of the blogging community, waking up to so many notifications, and reading all of my friends’ posts. I missed that a lot and I can’t wait to jump back in the flow of it.

Now, why have I been so MIA lately? Well, firstly, a lot has been going on in my life. I’ve had to start prioritizing what I want to do and what I don’t have time for. Obviously, blogging took a bit of a backseat on this. I don’t really regret it- it allowed me to do so much more- but I want to come back and learn how to manage my time, but with blogging this time.

That’s the gist of it, basically. I’m planning to do a longer post about myself at the end of year (speaking of which- can you believe it’s December? because I absolutely cannot) but for now, I want to give you all the sort of content that you’ve been missing!!

I know a lot of people who don’t know a lot of fantasies written by BIPOC authors.

If you’re not sure what BIPOC stands for, it means Black, Indigenous, People of Color. It’s a similar acronym to POC (people of color), but it specifically highlights the separate experiences that Black and Indigenous folks experience. I say it like bye-pock and if you don’t know me, I’m BIPOC as well!

That’s a pity, because there are so many amazing fantasies written by authors of color that people really are sleeping on. Originally when I started this post, I had it as 7 books- then I realized that it might be even more valuable to narrow it down to the most underrated of the books, in my opinion at least. Most of the books on my list I had screamed about on my blog already (Children of Blood and Bone? We Set The Dark on Fire? Girls of Paper and Fire? Ring any bells?) so I wanted to try out screaming about books that I don’t talk about as much.

So let’s get into it!

Continue reading “4 Underrated BIPOC Fantasy Novels For You to Add To Your TBR | ft. a return to blogging & great YA novels”