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From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Cla From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles). In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world. AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner


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From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Cla From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles). In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world. AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner

30 review for A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Schwab

    I wrote a story called "A Royal Affair" for this anthology. It's Alucard's story, from his courtship with Rhy, to the events that led to him becoming captain of the Night Spire. I wrote a story called "A Royal Affair" for this anthology. It's Alucard's story, from his courtship with Rhy, to the events that led to him becoming captain of the Night Spire.

  2. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    A Universe of Wishes is a YA Fantasy Anthology from We Need Diverse Books, edited by the wonderfully talented, Dhonielle Clayton. Featuring 15-diverse stories from some of the best OwnVoices authors currently writing in the YA genre, this collection has a little something for everyone. As I read this collection, I kept track of my rating for each story, as well as a short description. The following are my initial notes: 1. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim, ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I really enjoyed this one, surprisingl A Universe of Wishes is a YA Fantasy Anthology from We Need Diverse Books, edited by the wonderfully talented, Dhonielle Clayton. Featuring 15-diverse stories from some of the best OwnVoices authors currently writing in the YA genre, this collection has a little something for everyone. As I read this collection, I kept track of my rating for each story, as well as a short description. The following are my initial notes: 1. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim, ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I really enjoyed this one, surprisingly moving for such a short story. Buzzwords include m/m romance, dark magic, family tragedy, hope, justice and fulfillment of wishes. 2. The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker, ⭐⭐⭐.5 The Bloom of Everhart is ready to choose his consort. A competition ensues. One contestant feels more drawn to another than she does to her stated prize. 3. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray, ⭐⭐⭐ New York City, 1897. I feel like I am missing something? Am I supposed to know Gemma Doyle? 4. Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie Mclemore, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A Cinderella retelling where a peasant girl sneaks into the kingdom during a ball, hoping for an audience with the King and Queen, to plead for the rights of her two mothers, their relationship and others like them. She meets the trans-Prince and he changes everything. 5. Liberia by Kwame Mbalia, ⭐⭐⭐.5 Following a crew on a futuristic mission. One of the characters is attached to the plants they are cultivating from their long distant homeland. I don't think I got as much out of this as I should have, but Mbalia's writing is so strong. 6. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Now I definitely need to read the Shades of Magic trilogy!! I loved this. Following Alucard Emery, his relationship with Ray Marshall, and how he came to Captain the Night Spire. 7. The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roadhouse, ⭐⭐⭐.5 A solo space Captain who has lost everything sets out to steal back artifacts stolen from her people and housed in a museum. She discovers an unlikely and charming ally along the way. 8. Dream and Dare by Nic Stone, ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 The story of two misunderstood girls being crushed by traditional gender roles and societal expectations. Remember girls, to always Dare to Dream! 9. Wish by Jenni Balch, ⭐⭐⭐.5 A wish granter from a lamp is surprised when he is summoned to find he is no longer on Earth, but a colony on Venus. The wisher has very special circumstances and he is determined to help her, no matter the cost. 10. The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Every heart tells a story. Futuristic and odd, this story of a young couple secretly questioning love gave me chills! 11. Unmoor by Mark Oshiro, ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 In a world where magic exists, young Felix uses a very different method for ridding himself of heartache. This was powerful. 12. The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed, ⭐⭐⭐⭐ An uninhabitable Earth left behind. An abandoned wasteland. A futuristic archeologist finds record of a girl who once lived. Sadly too realistic. 13. The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton, ⭐⭐.5 An architect who redesigns human form begins a relationship with the heir of a King whose body she is redesigning. Enjoyed the commentary on gender and gender fluidity, but other than that, I found this one quite slow. 14. Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Cordova, ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Boy meets girl. Danae and Fabian. A girl from the DR, locked in a tower for decades. A brujo with the power to save her. A delightfully dark Rapunzel retelling. 15. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A powerful closing story for this collection. Two young men, a world apart, are each held in solitary confinement. One, from Long Beach, California, the other from the Gaza Strip in Palestine. They develop a channel for corresponding and build a deep and binding connection. This is a really well-rounded collection. Obviously, there were stories that I connected with more than others, but that is always the way with anthologies. Every person who reads this will have a different experience with these stories, and that's okay. That's what it's all about. I think all of the contributors to this collection should be proud of their work. I am so happy that this book, and others like it, exist. I highly recommend this anthology and hope that We Need Diverse Books continues to produce materials like this for a long time to come. For more information on WNDB, click this link: We Need Diverse Books Thank you so much to the publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated anthologies of the year and it definitely did not disappoint!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I am a simple guy. I see Victoria Schwab and I click “want to read”. And the rest of this author lineup looks great as well!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    A stunning collection of 15 short stories from a wide range of acclaimed Fantasy & Young Adult authors, A Universe of Wishes will leave you totally hooked and amazed! As soon as I finished one story I would think well I’m sure this next one will be good, but there’s no way they could top that, only to be immediately proven wrong. As stated in the above synopsis, this is the fourth collection from We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit initiative with the goal of expanding diversity in children’s lite A stunning collection of 15 short stories from a wide range of acclaimed Fantasy & Young Adult authors, A Universe of Wishes will leave you totally hooked and amazed! As soon as I finished one story I would think well I’m sure this next one will be good, but there’s no way they could top that, only to be immediately proven wrong. As stated in the above synopsis, this is the fourth collection from We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit initiative with the goal of expanding diversity in children’s literature. A Universe of Wishes is the organization’s first fantasy anthology, and when I saw the list of contributing authors I was sooo excited! me looking at the list of authors in this book The editor of the collection, Dhonielle Clayton, is an author in her own right, and is the writer behind the popular The Belles series. Other contributors you might recognize include Nic Stone (Dear Martin), Rebecca Roanhorse (Black Sun), Zoraida Córdova (Incendiary) and more! The one I was most excited about was V.E. Schwab’s story A Royal Affair, which is set in the A Darker Shade of Magic universe. It depicts the initial love story between two main characters in that trilogy, Rhy and Alucard, following until their relationship’s heartbreaking end. (this is not a spoiler for the books, as the series begins several years after the events of this story) I’m not going to get into more specifics than that, because I don’t want to spoil any of them for potential readers. But the only drawback I can see is that some of these stories are so short (duh). But a number of them were a little *too* short and incomplete for me. Ones like The Scarlet Woman built up all of this tension and plot and then.....it ended. Pretty abruptly. I really loved so much of the writing here and the stories were for the most part utterly imaginative and brilliant, but I almost wish a few of these ideas were saved for a novel-length work instead of a few dozen pages worth. In all, I’m so glad I got to read this collection! Some of the stories I may have enjoyed more than others, but that came down to personal preference, not competency. There weren’t any weak links present, and with such a large number of contributors and a broad genre like Fantasy, that’s not an easy thing to pull off. Props to We Need Diverse Books, the publisher, Dhonielle Clayton and all the authors who participated for creating something really special. And after reading some of their stories, I may have even more books to add to my To-Read list. Oh my poor TBR!! 😩😩 *Thanks to Crown for Young Readers & Netgalley for an advance copy!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    Witches, retellings, space thieves, the weighing of hearts, Schwab returns to the world of A Darker Shade of Magic, and Libba Bray returns to the world of Gemma Doyle... What. A. Showstopper. Writing: ★★★★★ Concepts: ★★★★★ Originality: ★★★★★ As this is an anthology, I've reviewed each story individually and given a one sentence sales pitch of sorts below. Quick take, my favorites were: The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton, A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab, Unmoor by Mark Oshiro, Liberia by Kwame Mbalia, an Witches, retellings, space thieves, the weighing of hearts, Schwab returns to the world of A Darker Shade of Magic, and Libba Bray returns to the world of Gemma Doyle... What. A. Showstopper. Writing: ★★★★★ Concepts: ★★★★★ Originality: ★★★★★ As this is an anthology, I've reviewed each story individually and given a one sentence sales pitch of sorts below. Quick take, my favorites were: The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton, A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab, Unmoor by Mark Oshiro, Liberia by Kwame Mbalia, and The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray. Tara Sim - A Universe of Wishes (3.5 stars) Thorn harvests wishes from the dead and gets caught red-handed by the morgue boy—what now? Natalie C. Parker - The Silk Blade (4 stars) Lushly described, beautifully colored—a bisexual female warrior competes to win the heart of the Bloom prince and may or may not fall for her beautiful rival instead. Libba Bray - The Scarlet Woman(5 stars) Gemma Doyle has been in New York for a while now, but the world's magical community isn't done with her yet and someone's determined to reel her back in with grisly gifts. Anna-Marie Mclemore - Cristal y Cerisa (3.5 stars) A transgender prince, a Mexican girl attends a ball with a pair of fated glass slippers and a desperate plea for her people. Kwame Mbalia - Liberia (4.5 stars) Kweke is the primary research officer on the spacecraft Liberia growing plants with ancestral ties to the crew's abandoned homeland, deep roots. V.E. Schwab - A Royal Affair (5 stars) Sure to be a fan-favorite for series readers, this behind-the-scenes take on Alucard's origin romance with Prince Rhy was such a treat. Rebecca Roanhorse - The Takeback Tango (4 stars) An intergalactic thief is on a mission to steal back her people's treasures from the republic... and she might not be the only one with a conquered people to avenge. Nic Stone - Dream and Dare (2.5 stars) Dream escapes her family's expectations to help a monster in the woods. (This story did not resonate with me, so apologies for the bland description.) Jenni Balch - Wish (3 stars) A "granter" in a LAMP device is summoned to a set of very bizarre circumstances: a spaceship, a girl, and a dream for space travel. Dhonielle Clayton - The Weight (5 stars) A deep cut, damn. Marcus and Grace know they love each other, and they're going to get their hearts weighed to prove it... that's good, right? Mark Oshiro - Unmoor (5 stars) Urban fantasy, Felix wants to "unmoor" his painful memories of his lost love, Arturo—no matter the cost. Samira Ahmed - The Coldest Spot in the Universe (unrated) No sentence pitch for this one... I'll be honest, I could NOT get into this one and therefore did not complete it. Told in diary entries, some sort of apocalyptic natural disaster mixed with the dead? Confused. Tessa Gratton - The Beginning of Monsters (3 stars) High fantasy in miniature—Crystal-taloned Elir designs a new body for King Insarra, who is tired of their female one. Add in one snarky heir and some political intrigue and you get... Zoraida Cordova - Longer Than the Threads of Time (4 stars) A truly sensational Rapunzel retelling. There's a Tower in Central Park and every magic user knows those inside are deserving of their prison sentence—too bad one young brujo is curious enough to get close enough to find out the truth. Onyebuchi - Habibi (3.5 stars) Told in diary entries, an American Black prisoner and a Middle Eastern protestor behind bars strike up a magical and unworldly pen pal situation with heart-wrenching and emotional results. Thank you to Random House Children's for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    If anyone else needed that final little nudge to pre-order this... it features a Rhy/Alucard origin story 🥺😭 MY HEART IS SO FULL ALREADY Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zoraida

    My story in this anthology is set in the world of the Brooklyn Brujas series!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sana

    The only gay historical royal affair that matters: Rhycard, eeeeeee (the modern one is obvs, Alex and Henry from RWRB) Also, the author lineup for the entire anthology is 👌👌

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yas

    A Universe of Wishes was the first anthology I have read, and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it. We Need Diverse Books is so important, and I love how they decided to make anthologies with diverse authors to create powerful stories. Not to mention the beautiful cover. I will rate each story and give a very short “review”. A Universe of Wishes- 4/5 ✨ A story about two boys and magic whispered into the bones of humans. Enjoyable and a cute romance. ✰ M/M Romance. The Silk Blade- 3.5/5 ✨ A stro A Universe of Wishes was the first anthology I have read, and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it. We Need Diverse Books is so important, and I love how they decided to make anthologies with diverse authors to create powerful stories. Not to mention the beautiful cover. I will rate each story and give a very short “review”. A Universe of Wishes- 4/5 ✨ A story about two boys and magic whispered into the bones of humans. Enjoyable and a cute romance. ✰ M/M Romance. The Silk Blade- 3.5/5 ✨ A strong girl competes to be the consort of the Bloom, yet unexpectedly falls in love with her competition. Pretty writing and a developed storyline, however the romance was incredibly rushed. ✰ F/F Romance The Scarlet Woman- 1.5/5 ✨ Feminist tale about a girl and some adventure. I didn’t really catch on. It was boring, I retained none of the information I was being told, and there’s no diversity. I thought this was a book with the intention of spreading awareness for representation. Was the hieroglyphics supposed to be it? Or the girl that goes by the name Sameera that enters for like 5 pages? Also literally nobody knows who the main character is. Keep up Libba Bray. Cristal y Ceniza- 5/5 ✨ A Cinderella inspired tale about a girl that tries to save herself and her people by going to a ball and introducing herself to the King and Queen. Love how they included Spanish and the writing was nice. Up to this point it has been a favorite. It felt genuine and gave me something to think about. ✰ Latina MC, F/F parents, and a trans prince. Liberia- 3/5 ✨ A story group of teens on a spacecraft, though the MC has kind of an obsession with some plant. Not sure what that’s all about. It was an okay story, confusing at times however I got into it toward the end. ✰ M/M Side and the entire crew is Black. A Royal Affair- 10000/5 ✨ A story set in the Shades of Magic world, though it takes place before the events of the book. Guess what? You don’t have to read Shades of Magic to enjoy this story! Take some notes Libba. 😒 I’ve only read one other V. E. Schwab book, and I didn’t really enjoy that. But this was gold. ✰ M/M Romance The Takeback Tango- 5/5 ✨ This is about a girl had everything taken away from her, so finds wealthy people to rob, except she suddenly meets someone just like her amid a party. This story felt all too real. It was so important because she had everything ripped away from her by forces that she couldn’t control. In the end this story made me smile. Imperium....Imperialism? Did anyone make that connection? ✰ Black MC Dream and Dare- 3/5 ✨ A girl named Dream strives to annoy her mother by not conforming to gender norms. As well as some girl named Dare that may or may not be a man eating monster. This was as if I were reading “not like other girls” wattpad fiction. She’s a girl that wears dresses and doesn’t mind when she falls into mud, not a different species you bozo. ✰ F/F Romance, couldn’t tell where the characters were from. Wish- 3.5/5 ✨ A story about a girl that finds finds a magic LAMP which inhabits a boy named Lane, meant to grant her wish. I love the themes of hope in this, and that this wish could bring Ariadne so much joy. A really good read set in a more futuristic era. ✰ MC has immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) The Weight- 2.5/5 ✨ Prepare yourself for your hearts true story. These two (psychopathic) lovers decide to get their heart ripped from their body, weighed, in order to see who they love. What is this, Ancient Egypt? ✰ Black MC’s Unmoor- 5/5 ✨ In an attempt to forget his past lover, he decides to unmoor the memories with the help of Mirella. This was an amazing tale of hurt and loss and trying to get over those you love most. It was immaculate. ✰ Latino MC, Filipino Side, M/M Breakup, Bi/Pan Side The Coldest Spot in the Universe 129482894299349292/5 ✨ A dystopian story of what happens when climate change gets too bad, and when the glimmers of hope dwindle away. This story, this 25 page story, made me feel so many things. I loved it with my entire being. It’s hauntingly true, and made me more aware of the changes going on in the world. Samira Ahmed always knows how to get me, and I would love a book about this. ✰ Muslim & Desi MC 🙌🏽 The Beginning of Monsters- 0.5/5 ✨ I have absolutely no clue what was going on. This was such a confusing story. Let me find where the plot is.... Oh wait, there is none. And that’s why her other books look like bootleg Twilight. ✰ LGBTQ+ Relationship and Character Longer Than the Threads of Time- 4/5 ✨ A Rapunzel (is that how you spell it?) retelling. This was so cute 🥺 I’m gonna try not to think about the fact that the boy is a minor and the girl is technically in her 70’s but she looks 16. Is this another Aang and Katara thing? ✰ Latino MC, Immigrant MC from the Dominican Republic Habibi- By far my favorite. Stars won’t count that ✨ A series of letters exchanged between a prisoner and a protester. The title? ‘Nuff said. I cried a river of tears reading this. It was so powerful and I loved this story so much. Definitely going to have to read this author’s books. I mean, a Black prisoner experiencing the loneliness of solitary, and a protestor that somehow gets his message across the world to this boy in America? Again, enough said. This story is about strength and perseverance, and I can think of no better example. ✰ Black MC and Palestinian Muslim MC (First book with a Palestinian main.) These stories are not only diverse with their characters, but their experiences as well. Theres abuse rep, assault, heartbreak, etc. I loved this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    nora 🪐

    4.4/5 ☆ = 5+ TW//(view spoiler)[ talk of harassment, sexual assault, cyber bullying, mentions of death (past), some violence (hide spoiler)] DISCLAIMER: I received a DRC from Netgalley and Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I didn't actually expect to love this anthology as much as I did. To be honest, I haven't really read an anthology in years, so I was really excited to read this. And woah it did not disappoint. Some of the factors that kept me from r 4.4/5 ☆ = 5+ TW//(view spoiler)[ talk of harassment, sexual assault, cyber bullying, mentions of death (past), some violence (hide spoiler)] DISCLAIMER: I received a DRC from Netgalley and Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I didn't actually expect to love this anthology as much as I did. To be honest, I haven't really read an anthology in years, so I was really excited to read this. And woah it did not disappoint. Some of the factors that kept me from rating this anthology five stars: I didn't really feel like all of the short stories fit the description of diverse or within the theme of wishes. Also, some of them were a bit hard to understand, but maybe it's just my lacking English skills in analysing lol. 1. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim --> 5/5 ☆ Two boys, three wishes. This one was super cute, even with the whole harvesting-hearts-in-morgues thing lol. Also, the development of the (m/m) relationship was wholesome. I loved the ending! 2. The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker --> 4.5/5 ☆ A competition to be the Blooms consort. But one contestant suddenly develops feelings for her competition. Had a little problem getting into this story, but once I got used to the flow, I really enjoyed it. The development and pace were great, and the story wound up pretty well. Also f/f romance hehe. 3. The Scarlet Woman by Libba Gray --> 1.5/5 ☆ There's some magic world? Friends who kinda not hate each other but kinda do? Witches? It felt like I was missing something while reading. Was I supposed to know who Gemma Doyle was? The author had no introduction or anything to this, and since I had never read any of her books, I was left clueless. Also, was there any representation in this? Was the feminist stance the diverse rep? Hmmm... 4. Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore --> 4.5/5 ☆ A Cinderella-esque story where a Mexican girl arrives at the ball of the transgender prince with a desperate plea for her people. Magic slippers! I really liked this one, and the sincere message behind it. Also, I'm a sucker for fairytale re-tellings, so there's no surprise I liked this one. The plot and characters developed well enough for me. 5. Liberia by Kwame Mbalia --> 3.5/5 ☆ A sci-fi story following a crewmember on a spacecraft with a deep connection to his plants, which have ancestral roots to their homeland. The sci-fi aspects of this story were amazing! Unfortunately, I was left really confused by the whole plant stuff and that. My brain just didn't manage to comprehend what was really happening lol. Um, but I think this story is really deep and has a lot of symbolism. 6. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab --> 4/5 ☆ The forbidden romance between Alucard and Rhy, and how Alucard became the captain of the Night Spire. No prior knowledge of the Shades of Magic series is needed. Reading this short story was just another sign for me to start reading the Shades of Magic! I promise I'm going to read it soon! At least now I'm really hyped. M/m romance. 7. A Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse --> 4.5/5 ☆ The captain of her own solo spacecraft lost everything, now she's out taking back the artifacts that belonged to her people. Meets a surprising ally on the way. I really liked this one. And I could definitely see the parallels between this story and the real world. Maybe too short? I wish the author will write something similar to this in the future, cause I'm definitely in! 8. Dream and Dare by Nic Stone --> 3.5/5 ☆ Following two girls who have been affected by the gender and societal norms, as they struggle to be understood. This was definitely empowering! Unfortunately, I had trouble keeping up with the story. Either way, it was really good. I just wasn't really in the right mood when I read this. 9. Wish by Jenny Balch --> 3.5/5 ☆ A wish-granter from a magic lamp meets a girl with an unusual condition. Does everything to grant her wish and help her. I had a few problems while reading this, and wasn't really in the mood for this story, unfortunately. However, I did admire the sci-fi aspects and themes of loneliness. 10. The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton --> 3.5/5 ☆ Every heart tells a story. Weigh your heart to see how much you have loved. This was...interesting. I did like it, but I was also confused for a long time. But the ending was quite good, and I got the message. 11. Unmoor by Mark Oshiro --> 5/5 ☆ A boy tries to remove/unmoor his heart-aching memories of his former love. This was deep and powerful. Woah. It was painful but also so good. I was speechless when I finished it. 12. The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed --> 4/5 ☆ In the future where Earth has become an uninhabitable planet, where an archeologist discovers the records of a bright girl who once lived. Woah, this was powerful yet alarming too. Speaking of the climate crisis we're up against at the moment and the dystopian ending of the Earth and humans. 13. The Beginnings of Monsters by Tessa Gratton --> 3/5 ☆ I honestly don't know what was going on. Uhm, political intrigue, and designing new bodies? New technology and cults? Idk it was cool tho. I was confused. But the story was alright, I guess. My English comprehension skills were really not with me when I read this one. Oh well. The ending was good. 14. Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Córdova --> 4/5 ☆ A Rapunzel reimagining with a twist. In a world filled with magic and fantasy creatures. Oh, I liked this one. It was intriguing, and as I mentioned earlier, I'm a sucker for fairytale re-tellings. The ending was a little abrupt, and I wish this short story was an entire book because it left off with a lot of loose ends. I'm definitely down for this story becoming a novel. 15. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi --> 4/5 ☆ The exchanging letters between a black prisoner in America and a Palestinian protestor, where they discuss both lighthearted and intense but important themes. I had a few problems with getting used to the letter-writing style. Either way, I really enjoyed how this was so rooted in our reality. As we're stepping out of an anthology filled with loads of fantasy, this ending short story ground us back to reality. Very relevant too. A great way to end this anthology. CONCLUSION Some of them were a little bit hard to understand, as they're short stories. They're supposed to leave readers either shocked or yearning for more. Most of the short stories were quite relevant and powerful, which I really enjoyed. I'll definitely be looking at the authors and hopefully reading their works in the near future! Over and out. -Nora<3

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Actual Rating: 4.5 stars A Universe of Wishes is a YA fantasy short story collection featuring some top notch stories and a well-curated array of diverse voices. It's among the better such anthologies I've read even if there were a few weaker tales. Here are some standouts: The eponymous story from Tara Sim (A Universe of Wishes) is a darkly charming tale following two boys in a world where magic lives inside people even if most of them don't know how to use it. One boy works for a funeral parlor, Actual Rating: 4.5 stars A Universe of Wishes is a YA fantasy short story collection featuring some top notch stories and a well-curated array of diverse voices. It's among the better such anthologies I've read even if there were a few weaker tales. Here are some standouts: The eponymous story from Tara Sim (A Universe of Wishes) is a darkly charming tale following two boys in a world where magic lives inside people even if most of them don't know how to use it. One boy works for a funeral parlor, the other steals magic from the dead. In The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker we get a vividly described world with a very different approach to understanding gender as our main character competes for the hand of royalty. It's engaging, whimsical, and ends perfectly. In The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray, we get a return to the world of Gemma Doyle! As a longtime fan of her earlier series I loved getting to revisit those characters, although it's a very unsatisfying ending that leaves many questions unanswered. Perhaps we might get a new book in the series?... Liberia by Kwame Mbalia is an absolutely fantastic sci-fi story that centers African heritage, and I would LOVE to see him write a full-length novel set in the world he has created! It's intriguing with interesting characters and a story I want to know more about. If you're a fan of ADSOM by V.E. Schwab, then get ready because we get the origin story of Rhy and Alucards relationship! It's heartbreaking but so very good. The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse is another great sci-fi story that tackles colonization and cultural appropriation. The main character is on a mission to steal back religious artifacts stolen from her people. Dhonielle Clayton brings us an unsettling story in The Weight where a teen couple are going to have their hearts weighed to determine how much they really love each other. But do you really want to know the truth? In Unmoor, Mark Oshiro explores the intersection of memory, heartbreak, and place through magic that can remove memories. It's emotionally compelling and really captures the ways that memories of small moments can hurt, and can be triggered by specific locations. In The Beginning of Monsters Tessa Gratton weaves a fascinating, futuristic world that takes body augmentation and genetic manipulation to whole different level with warring factions and a forbidden romance. Zoraida Cordova reimagines the story of Rapunzel in modern day New York City. It's set in the world of the Brooklyn Brujas series and doesn't end the way you might expect.... Clearly, I was a fan of most of the series and found it to be a very strong collection. Definitely worth a read if you like anthologies! I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Not sure why I waited so long to dive into this beauty.. but I'm disappointed in myself. It is filled with about 15 short stories that you will either like or love. For me, I think I was confused about one story because I never read the series before and then there's two other books that were okay but I wasn't completely invested. So out of all the books, a lot were easy to devour and gave me some interesting characters to f I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Not sure why I waited so long to dive into this beauty.. but I'm disappointed in myself. It is filled with about 15 short stories that you will either like or love. For me, I think I was confused about one story because I never read the series before and then there's two other books that were okay but I wasn't completely invested. So out of all the books, a lot were easy to devour and gave me some interesting characters to fall in love with. I think some of my favorites were the retellings. Or maybe the ones that I got retelling vibes (i.e., Cinderella, Rapunzel, Mulan, etc.). I think it's because of my love for all things Disney, which includes all the movies that I grew up with. Other than all of that, I loved the LGBTQIA+ representation throughout these stories. I feel like I don't dive into enough books like that and I think all the characters were written really well. Another interesting thing was some of the novellas are making me want to dive into certain series next year - like Shades of Magic, and I'm beyond excited! In the end, definitely loved this book and I will try to get more Anthologies in the new year!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    I have written a mini review for each of the 15 stories in this anthology. (By mini review I mean 1-2 sentences). A Universe of Wishes - Tara Sim An M/M romance filled with magic and wishes. There is family tragedy but also the restoration of justice and hope. I really loved this one. The Silk Blade - Natalie Parker Female warriors competing for the bloom prince and instead may fall in love with each other. The potential was there but something with the writing didn’t sit with me so this was okay. T I have written a mini review for each of the 15 stories in this anthology. (By mini review I mean 1-2 sentences). A Universe of Wishes - Tara Sim An M/M romance filled with magic and wishes. There is family tragedy but also the restoration of justice and hope. I really loved this one. The Silk Blade - Natalie Parker Female warriors competing for the bloom prince and instead may fall in love with each other. The potential was there but something with the writing didn’t sit with me so this was okay. The Scarlet Woman - Libba Bray I read the Gemma Doyle series back in the day and it’s not really a series I would have cared to return to. I also didn’t remember anything because it had been so long so I didn’t care for this one either. Cristal y Ceniza- Anna Marie Macklemore A fairy tale retelling with a transgender prince at the ball - I loved this one! Liberia by Kwame Mbalis Plants are being grown on the spaceship Liberia to save a colony.. this one left me slightly confused with what was going on so I wasn’t really sure what I read. A Royal Affair - VE Schwab I’m sure fans of this series would love this but for me I felt meh about it. That is all I have to say on this one. A Takeback Tango - Rebecca Roanhorse A thief meets another thief in the middle of a mission. I thought this was cute and I really liked the writing. I was excited to read this one in particular and it didn’t disappoint. Dream and Dare Nic Stone Dream and Dare are princesses who have to deal with gender norms. There is also something about a monster in the forest but that part kind of lost me a little bit. I love Nic Stone but this one left me feeling nothing so I was let disappointed. Wish Jenny Balch A genie is summoned and realizes he is in Venus instead of Earth. I liked this one and thought it was sweet. The Weight Dhonielle Clayton A new process where doctors can read your heart, telling couples if they are in love and may even hold other secrets. I wish this one was longer, I really enjoyed it. Unmoor Mark Oshiro Magic is used to get through heart break; memories of a loved one are erased. I loved this one. Must read Oshiro’s full novels! The Coldest Spot In the Universe Samira Ahmed The future earth has become an uninhabitable wasteland. There was no dialogue at all which I didn’t enjoy but again, there aren’t exactly people around in the novella either since it was basically an apocalypse story. Probably going to be reality one day.. The Beginnings of Monsters - Tessa Gratton An architect artist who can completely redesign human bodies. This one was alright but I thought the commentary on gender was interesting. Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Córdova A girl from the Dominican Republic is locked in a tower in New York. A brujo boy may be able to save her. This was a retelling of Rapunzel I enjoyed and wished it was longer. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi Two prisoners in solitary confinement - one in Gaza and one in California find a way to communicate and develop a close relationship for each other. I loved this one. A Universe of Wishes is a well rounded collection of different stories. The authors were a great lineup - I actually know who most of them are and have read their books or plan to read their books in the future. Great diversity in characters as well which was the point of this book so I thought that was well done. I don't really connect with short stories but there were quite a few I will have been thinking of. Some of them I really didn't like and skimmed over but you can't win them all. There was a lot more science fiction than I expected but there is also a good mix of fantasy and fairy tale retelling. Thank you to Netgalley and to Random House Children’s for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    A Universe of Wishes is my first ever anthology, and I am so excited to say it was amazing. I definitely want to read more anthologies after reading this spectacular book full of so many amazing stories. I really was interested in reading this because I knew almost all of the authors and have absolutely loved their books. While some of the short stories may not have hit the mark with me, most of them were really spectacular and was making me wish they were full length books. I don’t really know A Universe of Wishes is my first ever anthology, and I am so excited to say it was amazing. I definitely want to read more anthologies after reading this spectacular book full of so many amazing stories. I really was interested in reading this because I knew almost all of the authors and have absolutely loved their books. While some of the short stories may not have hit the mark with me, most of them were really spectacular and was making me wish they were full length books. I don’t really know how to really go into detail because they’re so many short stories. I will say this book had a little bit of everything. Every emotion was felt and everything magical was included. My favorites from A Universe of Wishes were: A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim, Liberia by Kwame Mbalia, A Royal Affair by VE Schwab, and The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed. I wanted to give a rating to each short story as well and to showcase how many amazing authors are included in this wonderful anthology. Going in order from the first story to the last. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim 5/5 The Silk Blade by Natalie Parker 3/5 The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray 2/5 Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McIemore 5/5 Liberia by Kwame Mbalia 5/5 A Royal Affair by VE Schwab 5/5 The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roadhouse 4/5 Dream and Dare by Nic Stone 2/5 Wish by Jenni Balch 4/5 The Weight Dhonielle Clayton 3.5/5 Unmoor by Mark Oshiro 4/5 The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed 5/5 The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton 2/5 Longer Than The Threads of Time by Zoraida Cordova 4/5 Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi 3.5/5 I really connected with a lot of these stories, and even the ones that I didn’t necessarily enjoy I know a lot of other people will. I am so glad I decided to read this because it was a beautiful collection. I truly wouldn’t mind at all if these all became full books. Thank you NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kenzie The Dragon Queen

    This is going to have the Rhy Maresh and Alucard Emery story in it, from the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela Reads

    I only read "A Royal Affair", so I’m not going to rate this book. Give me more of Rhy and Luc, please. I only read "A Royal Affair", so I’m not going to rate this book. Give me more of Rhy and Luc, please.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Althea | themoonwholistens ☾

    this gets released on my birthday which just adds to the hype that i've made for myself because Libba Bray, V.E. Schwab, Tochi Onyebuchi, Anna-Marie McLemore ++ so many more great authors makes my heart so full instagram | blog | ko-fi | booksirens this gets released on my birthday which just adds to the hype that i've made for myself because Libba Bray, V.E. Schwab, Tochi Onyebuchi, Anna-Marie McLemore ++ so many more great authors makes my heart so full instagram | blog | ko-fi | booksirens

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Wow, this was definitely worth the read! I requested this book by mistake on Netgalley because I didn't think I would like a short story anthology but I was wrong!! This was so good. So if you're like me and used to ignore anthologies, take a chance on this one. It had really good representation and I was really excited about that. I liked a lot of the stories but my favorites were #2 The silk blade by Natalie C Parker and #6 A royal affair by V.E. Schwab ... I'm shocked at how much I loved them Wow, this was definitely worth the read! I requested this book by mistake on Netgalley because I didn't think I would like a short story anthology but I was wrong!! This was so good. So if you're like me and used to ignore anthologies, take a chance on this one. It had really good representation and I was really excited about that. I liked a lot of the stories but my favorites were #2 The silk blade by Natalie C Parker and #6 A royal affair by V.E. Schwab ... I'm shocked at how much I loved them ahah. Some of the others I didn't love but discovering the ones I enjoyed was really worth it. Many times, I found myself wishing for a longer story because I didn't want to leave the characters already. Overall, this was really interesting and I'll have to pay more attention to anthologies from now on! To finish this review, I'll just make a quick list of the stories starting from the one I loved most to the ones I liked less. - A royal affair by V.E. Schwab - The silk blade by Natalie C Parker - The weight by Dhonielle Clayton - A universe of wishes by Tara Sim - Dream and Dare by Nic Stone - Cristal y Ceniza by Ana Marie McLemore - Unmoor by Mark Oshiro - Longer than the threads of time by Zoraida Cordova - The takeback tango by Rebecca Roanhorse - The coldest spot in the universe by Samira Ahmed - Wish by Jenni Balch -------------------------- - Habibi by Tochi Onyedbuchi - The beginning of monsters by Tessa Gratton - Liberia by Kwame Mbalia - The scarlet woman by Libba Bray (didn't read this one since this is a Gemma Doyle story and I only read the first book which I didn't like) (Thank you for letting me read and review an ARC via Netgalley)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton is an exceptional YA fantasy anthology. There are a lot of great authors that have contributed to this We Need Diverse Books collection of short stories. My favorite story hands down was easily "A Royal Affair" by V.E. Schab. I didn't know exactly how much I needed to the world of the Shades of Magic series. It was brilliant to see Rhy, Alucard, Kell, and Lila again. Kell reminds me I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton is an exceptional YA fantasy anthology. There are a lot of great authors that have contributed to this We Need Diverse Books collection of short stories. My favorite story hands down was easily "A Royal Affair" by V.E. Schab. I didn't know exactly how much I needed to the world of the Shades of Magic series. It was brilliant to see Rhy, Alucard, Kell, and Lila again. Kell reminds me of myself when it comes to how protective he is over his family and friends. Otherwise my favorite stories were "The Takeback Tango" by Rebecca Roadhouse, "Cristal y Ceniza" by Anna-Marie Mclemore, "Dream and Dare" by Nic Stone, and "Unmoor" by Mark Oshiro. The only story I wasn't invested in was "The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story" by Libba Bray. I usually love Bray's style, but the Gemma Doyle Trilogy just wasn't for me. Overall, this imaginative collection is well worth reading through even if you're mostly only interested in V.E. Schwab's new short story. Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to the upcoming Threads of Power trilogy?

  21. 4 out of 5

    ☆ sana ☆

    did i get this to read a royal affair only? why yes i did. RHY ALUCARD KELL AND LILA I’VE MISSED YOUUU!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    chloe ♡

    i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own. short story #1 – a universe of wishes by tara sim – 4 stars this one was a sweet and beautiful little story – i loved the world-building and the idea of harvesting wishes! seeing the two boys go from “business partners” who are untrusting of each other to more-than-friends who go on midnight picnics melted my heart. this is my first time checking out tara sim’s work, and i definitely will be read i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own. short story #1 – a universe of wishes by tara sim – 4 stars this one was a sweet and beautiful little story – i loved the world-building and the idea of harvesting wishes! seeing the two boys go from “business partners” who are untrusting of each other to more-than-friends who go on midnight picnics melted my heart. this is my first time checking out tara sim’s work, and i definitely will be reading more of it in the future. representation: queer main characters short story #2 – the silk blade by natalie c. parker – 3 stars for such a short story, the world-building was incredibly rich. i loved the author’s use of detailed descriptive language and the tournament scenes had me on the edge of the seat. however, i wish the story had been a little bit longer so we could feel the sexual tension grow between the two main characters – it would have made the romance more fleshed out. representation: queer main characters short story #3 – the scarlet woman by libba bray – 2.5 stars i have never read any of the gemma doyle books, so i was a little confused and found it difficult to fully immerse myself into the story. however, i really liked the new york setting and the jo march vibes in this ; if i had read the series beforehand, i definitely would have enjoyed the short story a lot better! reminder to self: read the gemma doyle series. representation: queer side character short story #4 – cristal y ceniza by anna-marie mclemore – 5 stars this cinderella retelling was absolutely perfect. i haven’t read any of anna-marie mclemore’s books yet, but their writing is famous for being beautiful, which was also the case in cristal y ceniza. the main character shares a moment of genuine connection with the prince, and he truly sees her instead of having to rely on a pair of glass slippers to track her down, and i loved this little spin on the original fairytale! representation: latinx main character, latinx side characters, queer side characters, transgender side character short story #5 – liberia by kwame mbalia – 3.5 stars i am not a big reader of space fiction, but this short story made me realize that i should probably read more of it. the author’s writing is so hauntingly captivating: kweku’s dedication to honoring his family on earth, the love that he shows towards his plants, and the determination he has in bringing them safely to a new world brings me so many tender feelings. representation: black main character, black side characters, queer side characters short story #6 – a royal affair by v.e. schwab – 5 stars it has been a while since i read v.e. schwab’s shades of magic, and to be honest, i have mostly forgotten what the series is about, but it did not make a royal affair any less enjoyable for me. the story is about alucard’s illicit romance with the prince, and what ultimately comes between the two of them and ends their relationship, and i was hooked from start to finish. also, it just feels so good to be able to see some of my favorite characters again. ❤ representation: queer main character, queer side character short story #7 – the takeback tango by rebecca roanhorse – 4 stars this short story is so fun – i’d describe it as heist society meets illuminae. vi, the main character, who, along with evie, her artificial intelligence companion, commits a “personal” crime – stealing back artefacts from her home planet which are held in a museum – and meets a charming boy along the way. i really liked the intergalactic setting, and the way the story made me reflect upon where the so-called “discovered” exhibits in some of the most famous museums in the real world truly belong. representation: dark-skinned main characters short story #8 – dream and dare by nic stone – 5 stars first and foremost, can we talk about the title of this story? just look at the clever play on words – how it can mean to dream and dare to do something, and also contains the names of two main characters! this story does an amazing job challenging the damsel in distress stereotype, conventional gender expectations, and toxic masculinity, and i really loved the use of symbolism in it. representation: queer main characters short story #9 – wish by jenni balch – 4 stars this was such an adorable little story, and i loved how it drew inspiration from the genie and the lamp tale. despite only having just met each other, the two main characters, ariadne and lane, develop a quick friendship, and i was so moved by lane’s determination in helping ariadne fulfill her wish. the story also has chronic illness representation, which i rarely ever see in the young adult genre! representation: main character with blood disorder (immune thrombocytopenic purpura) short story #10 – the weight by dhonielle clayton – 4.5 stars this story encapsulates the true beauty of science fiction – absurd and impossible, yet highly entertaining. the concept of having imprints of your loved ones on your heart, and being able to quantify love judging from how deep the imprints are etched, is so interesting to me. at the end of the story it is clear that love can as simple as being in the company of someone who matters to you. short story #11 – unmoor by mark oshiro – 5 stars imagine a world where garbage is sorted, mail is delivered, and memories are erased using runes and magic spells. this is the world where unmoor takes place, where felix, the main character, tries an unmooring service to erase memories of his ex-boyfriend. having only read mark oshiro’s realistic fiction work before, i was pleasantly surprised how effortlessly they weaved magical elements into the story. also, the ending’s really unexpected and delivers a powerful message. representation: queer latinx main character, queer filippino side character short story #12 – the coldest spot in the universe by samira ahmed – 4.5 stars if you have read internment by samira ahmed, you should know how she good she is at writing dystopia. the coldest spot in the universe was no different. the story is set in the future ten years from now: the earth is no longer fit for human habitation, and a student archaeologist is determined to look for traces of an unknown girl, whom she sees in a photograph and is already long dead. from the dual perspectives of the unknown girl, who writes diary entries, and the student archaeologist, who records voice logs, the truth of what exactly happened is slowly uncovered. with the climate crisis, this story is unfortunately all too relevant. representation: south asian muslim main character, queer side characters short story #13 – the beginning of monsters by tessa gratton – 2.5 stars i wanted to like this – i really did! – but maybe high fantasy simply is not for me. i struggled to process all the information – a sophisticated political system with small kings, human body redesigns, cults, and assassination – it was just so convoluted for such a short story. i also found the romance a bit rushed. this story definitely would have been executed better in the form of a full novel. representation: genderfluid main character, queer main character short story #14 – longer than the threads of time by zoraida córdova – 3.5 stars i enjoyed this! longer than the threads of time is a modern retelling of the rapunzel fairytale, set in new york city. our rapunzel, a girl named danaë, has been imprisoned and ignored for decades, and one day, a teen brujo, fabe, decides to pay her a visit. what makes magical realism interesting to me is how it can make fantasy blend in with mundane reality, and this story is a perfect example of that: in particular, the scene where the two teenagers drink coca cola together in the magical tower really stood out to me. representation: latinx main characters short story #15 – habibi by tochi onyebuchi – 5 stars this is the perfect story to end the anthology with, and deserves all the stars – i never would have thought that a short story could make me cry, but here we are! told in letters exchanged between an imprisoned black boy and a palestinian prisoner dreaming of life and happiness beyond bars, this story touches on important themes such as political persecution, humanitarian crises in jails, and last but not least, hope and love. representation: black main character, palestinian muslim main character overall, i really enjoyed this diverse anthology, which includes stories from a wide range of genres centring around magic, dreams and love. reading this in cold weather was quite the experience – it brought me so much warmth, like a hot cup of ginger milk, if that makes sense – and it would definitely make the perfect gift for yourself or your loved ones this holiday season!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Byrd

    ARC was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review. This review is being published before the release date (December 8th, 2020) Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief desecration of the dead (A Universe of Wishes), death and talk of death (A Universe of Wishes, The Coldest Spot in the Universe & Habibi), loss of a loved one (A Universe of Wishes, The Takeback Tango, The Weight, The Coldest Spot in the Universe, & Longer Than the Threads of Time), grief (A Universe ARC was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children's in exchange for an honest review. This review is being published before the release date (December 8th, 2020) Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief desecration of the dead (A Universe of Wishes), death and talk of death (A Universe of Wishes, The Coldest Spot in the Universe & Habibi), loss of a loved one (A Universe of Wishes, The Takeback Tango, The Weight, The Coldest Spot in the Universe, & Longer Than the Threads of Time), grief (A Universe of Wishes, Liberia, The Takeback Tango, & Wish, The Weight) trauma/PTSD (A Universe of Wishes, Unmoor, & Longer Then the Threads of Time), physical violence (The Silk Blade & A Royal Affair), murder (The Scarlet Woman & The Takeback Tango), mentions of human sacrifice (The Scarlet Woman), homophobia (Cristal y Ceniza, A Royal Affair, & Dream and Dare), kidnapping/abduction (A Royal Affair), talk of colonization (The Takeback Tango & The Coldest Spot in the Universe), mentions of slavery (The Takeback Tango), mentions of genocide (The Takeback Tango), sexism (Dream and Dare), bullying (Dream and Dare), minor themes of misandry (Dream and Dare), chronic illness (Wish), brief mentions of infidelity (The Weight), mentions of cheating (The Weight & Unmoor), manipulation (Unmoor), depictions and talk of acrophobia (Longer Than the Threads of Time), talk of suicide (Habibi), mentions of physical abuse (Habibi) I feel so blessed that I received an arc of this book. Truly, I fell in love with so many stories within these pages and I can't wait to see other readers to fall in love with them as well. And can we take a moment to pause and praise the diverse cast of authors this anthology brought together to make this book happen? This line up is absolutely beautiful and there's so much representation in that fact alone! There's also a wide diversity within the stories from characters of color to characters not fitting the mold of society, all the way to the diverse relationships. Truly, a plethora of wonderful blessings within this book. This book itself is a blessing that so many readers have waited for. I really loved this book and I'm excited to share my thoughts with you a little more. As usual, with any anthologies, bind-ups, etc… that find their way into my personal library, I like to do a break down with a mini review for each story that shares my thoughts and feelings! I hope you enjoy! ➵ A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I loved this story so much! If I could give this 4.5 stars then I would have. There were so many beautiful themes that were laced throughout this book and I think many reader are going to resonate with it. For myself, I was crying for the remainder on the story once I hit one-third of the way through. I also loved the way Thorn and Sage were falling for each other. It felt very slow burn, but with underlying themes of intensity. The only reason I didn’t give this a five star is due to wanting more. It felt short and I feel that if the author wanted to, they could turn this into a true novella or even a full book because there was so much that could be explored, the world sounds incredible and I want to know more about it, and I think readers are really going to want more backstory from both of the characters (though we do get brief backstories within this book). “It’s sacred, what we do. The dead are to be respected.” ➵ The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker ⭐⭐⭐ I enjoyed this story. It’s very slow burn with themes of discovering ones sexuality/sexual interests underneath. And I love reading stories that have those two elements within it. Also, I loved how the romance between the two female competitors felt very unexpected especially due to the tournament that happens within this short story. However, though I loved these elements, I really wanted more details and the fact that this is a short story, some things felt rushed. The pacing felt quick and for my personal taste, I would have liked a little more world building. If this had been a bit longer, I think I would have enjoyed it more because it truly feels like there’s so much more that needed to be explored or details that needed to be given. However, I really hope this gets turned into it’s own novella because the way it ends makes you wonder what will happen next. “Something has changed for both of us since crossing the Silk Bridge this morning.” ➵ The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray ⭐⭐ I know there are some of you who are pulling your pitchforks out right now, but hear me out first. I have never read anything by Libba Bray before. I know, I know! Truly, I loved the writing and I loved what pieces of the world building we received in this book. However, this short story feels like it’s part of a bigger series, a bigger world, or a continuation of a story that has already been created. And that doesn’t sit well with me especially when I read an anthology. Personally, I’m not a fan of novellas or short stories from series that get added into an anthology because it feels like it doesn’t belong, depending on the details more details may need to be added because of a lack of context, characters are harder to connect with if there’s backstories already established, but not included in the story, etc… There were a lot of things that influenced my choice on rating this so low and I will honestly say, that in my opinion, many readers will rate this story low if they’ve never read anything by this author before. I think those who have read works by this author will love this short story, but unfortunately for me, this wasn’t my cup of tea. I think this would have done better if it had it’s own physical novella. “Like a cat, I am insatiably curious. And, probably, like a cat, my curiosity will be the death of me one day. I do not intend for that day to be today.” ➵ Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I love retelling and when I say this feels like a Cinderella retelling, you will know what I mean once you read it. I loved this a lot. If I’m being honest, I would rate this 4.5 stars because I really loved so much about this short story. I loved how the story is about a daughter who’s trying to save her mothers and her family, as a whole, from being torn apart. I love that the love interest is transgender and the way they connect with our main character. I just loved it so much. I wish this would have been longer and I wish we would have received the name of our main character for this story. Aside from those two things, I loved this short story so much! ➵ Liberia by Kwame Mbalia ⭐⭐⭐ I loved a lot about this short story. I love the way the main character is so connected to their family and the way grief is represented in this short story. And I love that I was surprised to find our story follows a research officer for agriculture. I really loved that about this whole story. However, what I didn’t love was how often the main character was treated poorly or seen a lesser, because of their job title, not only by some crew members, but also by their leader. It’s never challenged except for one scene where the main character is pushed to a break point and risks their own life to same something that should of had a higher priority to the crew as a whole. I really wanted our main character to challenge others more on how they were treated, but we never really see that. Aside from that, I would have liked to have seen more of this story because this ends on such a heavy note. I didn’t feel good after this story ended and I think for many readers, it’s going to be a heavy for them as well especially since grief is a theme that’s heavily tied in with the story and main character. ➵ A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab ⭐⭐ Once again, I loved the writing in this short story and this is my first time reading anything written by this author. However, this feels like another short story or novella that should’ve had it’s own physical book and shouldn’t have been included in this anthology. As I mentioned with a previous short story, I feel like many readers who haven’t read anything by this author are going to give this a low rating because it’s obvious this is a short story/backstory from a series and if they’re not familiar with the characters, the backstories, the world, etc… then this can lead to a poor reading experience. For me personally, I had so many questions that I wasn’t getting answers to that it felt almost impossible to focus on the story and it wasn’t the best reading experience for me. I think those who are familiar with the characters, world, series etc… this author created, they will fall in love with it or enjoy this a lot more than someone who hasn’t read the series this comes from. ➵ The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This short story had me in my feelings the whole dang time I was reading it. There are a lot of themes of grief woven through this short story, but what I love most is the theme of reclaiming oneself in the mist of that grief and finding a place for oneself again. This short story reminds me of a mission from Mass Effect 2 with Kasumi Gato and I love everything about this. I think the author did a beautiful job with this short story, the world building, the bits of backstory, and I’m really hoping this gets turned into it’s own novella because I’d love to see more. I would really love to know what happens with Vi and Valerian. It was an all around great short story to read. Definitely wanted it to be longer. ➵ Dream and Dare by Nic Stone ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think this will be a story that resonates with a lot of readers. I know it made me feel a certain kind of way. The writing was so beautiful and the story line is very captivating, but what I loved most was the love that blooms between the main character and the love interest. I really wish this had been a bit longer because I loved these characters so much and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye when this ended. There’s also a lot of themes of how some women get looked down upon or treated poorly by their friends, family, other women, just for enjoying or wearing more masculine couture. And I think many readers are going to appreciate how this story addresses it and I love how the main character addresses it as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this, but I wish it was a tad longer. “Dream knows Dare doesn’t need to be rescued. Not in the least. The monster does.” ➵ Wish by Jenni Balch ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Every person with a chronic illness is going to be hit in the feels when they read this short story and I say that confidently, with my whole damn chest. If I could, this story would have gotten 4.5 or even 5 stars because any story that can pull emotions out of me, right from the gate, deserves all my love and appreciation. I loved this, I loved it so much. Oh, I wish I could go into details with this one, but I truly think going in with very little detail is the best way to read this short story. However, I will say that I can’t speak on the chronic illness (immune thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP) representation in this short story. But, if you’re reading my review and you have an ownvoice review or you know someone with an ownvoice review for ITP, then please link it so I can direct others to that review. “I can do things; I can’t change people. Because Wishing another person different is never the right answer. Even if you figured out some way to make it happen, it doesn’t end well.” ➵ The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐⭐ This is an interesting short story. I had a bit of a mixed bag about how I originally felt about this short story, but decided that genuinely I enjoyed the majority of this story. I have to admit, the opening of this short story made me think of something similar to Bioshock or something that felt very steampunk and I loved that. I loved that from the first impression, I was able to feel an atmosphere that was different compared to a lot of the other short stories in this anthology. Also, I thought the concept of how hearts were read was very unique. This is the first time I’ve ever read a book that takes the heart and uses it with a unique concept like the way it tells if you relationship is meant to last or not. It’s incredibly unique. However, my biggest issue with this short story was being unable to connect with either of the characters. Nothing drew my attention to their personalities, Grace’s character felt like it was too much while Marcus faded to the background , and despite the details of both characters’ pasts, I simply didn’t care what would happen to them. As a whole, this short story was enjoyable. I would love to see this world explored further and I would love to know what’s going to happen next because the ending left me curious. ➵ Unmoor by Mark Oshiro ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This short story is truly a gem and the only short story that resonated with me so much, had me crying the entire time, that there was no way I couldn’t give this story five stars. Mark Oshiro has been an author that has snuck up on me and has recently become a new favorite author of mine. So I might be a little bias with giving this short story five stars, but Oshiro has such a powerful way of drawing the emotions out of a reader with their writing. I remember a lot of details from a lot of the short stories in this anthology, but I remember everything that happened this is particular story the most. Truly, this short story is a treasure and this has me eager to read more books by this author. See the rest of my review HERE ! Blog|Instagram|YouTube|Ko-fi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    Average Rating: 3.41 stars Stories I was Most Excited For: The Silk Blake by Natalie C.Parker; Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore; A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab; Dream and Dare by Nic Stone Favorite Stories: Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore; A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab; The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton; Unmoor by Mark Oshiro Least Favorite Stories: The Silk Blake by Natalie C.Parker; Liberia by Kwame Mbalia; The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton This was an pretty good anthology, n Average Rating: 3.41 stars Stories I was Most Excited For: The Silk Blake by Natalie C.Parker; Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore; A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab; Dream and Dare by Nic Stone Favorite Stories: Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore; A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab; The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton; Unmoor by Mark Oshiro Least Favorite Stories: The Silk Blake by Natalie C.Parker; Liberia by Kwame Mbalia; The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton This was an pretty good anthology, not my favorite I've ever read - I think it had a bit too much sci-fi for my taste, but there was a lot of great stories with some excellent commentary. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Smith | ★★★★☆ I was immediately here for the cool mythology surrounding wishes and the connection between potential and desire. I loved how magic is passed in the world as people's magic potential is returned to the earth. Overall this was a hope-filled story with a hint of romance. The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker | ★★☆☆☆ Three potential suitors are competing to be the consort to the Bloom of Everdale. And two of them have an immediate connection and choose each other instead. I thought this was an okay story - there was a lot of worldbuilding potential given, but this was just way to short to have any sort of impact on me. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray | ★★★☆☆ Having not read the Gemma Doyle series, I wasn't sure what kind of impact this story would have on me. But in the beginning, the historical setting tied with the secret societies and magical worlds made me want to read the series so that was fun. But after about the halfway mark, the story did seem to drag a bit and started to seem a bit long. Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore | ★★★★☆ This was the first fairytale retelling short story in this anthology, and I have to say, they were some of my favorites. This one was a Cinderella-inspired story about a girl trying to secure a place in a more tolerant kingdom to help protect her mothers relationship from being split up. This one had a lot of nice family moments - which is always a favorite thing of mine. Liberia by Kwame Mbalia | ★☆☆☆☆ This has such a low rating not because there was anything wrong with it, but just because I didn't like anything about it. It's a sci-fi story about a ship on a mission to the colonies (which are somewhere). But Kweku, our main character who works with plants and research doesn't want to leave the damaged ship without a master plant. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab | ★★★★☆ I thought it was a little weird that a short story for Schwab's adult fantasy story was included in this YA anthology, but I love Rhy and Luc, so I wasn't too made. Here we get to see some of the background and origins of their relationship that was glossed over in The Shades of Magic series. I really liked seeing their beginnings and being back in this world. The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) This was another sci-fi story, but I instantly connected with these characters and world more. This was a very interesting commentary about colonization and museum culture. I do think it was a little too short to have feelings on the light flirting between the two thieves who want to rehome artifacts back to their actual cultures. Dream and Dare by Nic Stone | ★★★☆☆ (3.75 Stars) Another fairytale inspired story, but this one didn't work for me quite as well. I liked Princess Dare taking some freedom and agency for herself, but parts of this short story were incredibly repetitive right before the story abruptly ends- which made it feel awkwardly long. But it like the idea of the story about defying expectations. Wish by Jenni Balon | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) This was another story about wishing - About Ariadne, who wishes to go to Earth from their Venus colony. But her auto-immune disease would make re-entry fatal to her, and wishes don't work on people because their too complex. But there is a hopeful feeling despite Ariadne's wishe not being able to be granted. The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton | ★★★★★ The concept for this story was really weird - you can have your heart removed from your body and weighed to discover your truth - who you love, in what way, how intensely - and it's almost used like a couple's therapy band-aid. Super interesting concept and an ambiguous ending that really worked for me. Unmoor by Mark Oshiro | ★★★★★ This was an urban fantasy story, which was a nice change of pace from a lot of the sci-fi that had been happening in the story so far. We follow Felix in the aftermath of a recent breakup with his boyfriend who wants help moving on. He wants his memories unmoored- or disassociated from physical locations so they aren't triggered anymore. I think this story had the best emotional impact for me. The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed | ★★★★☆ This was a post-apocalyptic story that follows 2 timelines - one during the apocalypse and one thousands of years in the future where an alien race is exploring and chronicling life on earth. There was a lot of archeological vibes and I was totally here for it. The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton | ★☆☆☆☆ Again, this wasn't necessarily bad, it just confused the hell out of me and I was lost for a large part of the story. There is a lot of commentary about gender constructs and I liked that, but I just didn't connect with the limited and somewhat rushed worldbuilding of this particular story. Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Córdova | ★★★★☆ A Rapunzel-inspired story set in modern day New York . This was a fun take on the story and I liked the darker nature surrounding Danaë (our Rapunzel character) and Fabían and their instant connection. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) This was a nice closer to the anthology. It was written like pen pal letters between Quincy and Omar, who quickly (but realistically) develop a deeper connection through these shared letters about their respective difficult times. It's a cathartic story about longing and hope and was a positive way to wrap up this anthology. A good anthology with some authors who I now definitely want to read more from in the future - which is my favorite thing about reading anthologies in the first place, so I'd say this was a success. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sammy

    This is the first anthology I've ever read and if all anthologies are like this one, I need to start picking them up more! I loved all of the stories, some more than others, but there wasn't a single story I finished that I didn't like. One of the things I loved was the fact that there was such a great mix of sub-genres and representation, it made me so happy. Obviously this anthology is highlighting diverse stories, but the range of representation was wonderful. Every story brought something ne This is the first anthology I've ever read and if all anthologies are like this one, I need to start picking them up more! I loved all of the stories, some more than others, but there wasn't a single story I finished that I didn't like. One of the things I loved was the fact that there was such a great mix of sub-genres and representation, it made me so happy. Obviously this anthology is highlighting diverse stories, but the range of representation was wonderful. Every story brought something new to the table and were so different that it was like opening a new book every time. One thing I thought was interesting was the fact that some of the stories were set in books that the author had previously written, like V.E. Schwab writing a short story about Alucard from her A Darker Shade of Magic series. While the stories can stand on their own, I loved getting to relive the original story through these familiar characters. I honestly squealed reading them! And the original stories were amazing too. There were specific stories that got me to so intensely, I had to put the book down. There wasn't a single story that I didn't like, but I noticed that the beginning had stories that I liked more than the middle to the end. I'm not sure if it was story fatigue, or if I genuinely liked the stories in the first half better, but it was something that I noticed and wasn't sure why. Overall, I loved this anthology and I will be re-reading these stories! I can't wait for more anthologies like this one!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    I don't usually read anthologies because either I think the stories don't have enough plot to them or they're really good and I wish they were a full book, but I'm glad I picked this one up. The stories all center around wishes, some for good and some for bad. Most of them also have POC and LGBTQ main characters which made me really happy! I've read a lot of these authors and it was fun seeing what they came up with. Some of the stories, like Cristal y Ceniza and Longer Than the Threads of Time I I don't usually read anthologies because either I think the stories don't have enough plot to them or they're really good and I wish they were a full book, but I'm glad I picked this one up. The stories all center around wishes, some for good and some for bad. Most of them also have POC and LGBTQ main characters which made me really happy! I've read a lot of these authors and it was fun seeing what they came up with. Some of the stories, like Cristal y Ceniza and Longer Than the Threads of Time I would love a full book of. They have such strong beginnings and I need more! Others are kind of sad and The Coldest Spot really shook me. Climate change is real and seeing a future of what could happen is scary. This is definitely worth reading, each author brings a unique view to the wish theme. The diversity is also amazing and I thank the authors for their characters. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  27. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Review for the book tour to come next week!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    "You gotta go where the magic is" Youtube ☆ Twitter "You gotta go where the magic is" Youtube ☆ Twitter

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zutto

    2021 books are going to hit my wallet EXTRA HARD

  30. 5 out of 5

    cossette

    find the full review & others on my blog 🤍 I’ve often struggled with reading fantasy — not for a lack of imagination, but more so because it’s discouraging and disheartening to constantly read about books set in made up worlds with so little diversity. You can’t possibly tell me that authors can create an entire world, but can’t dedicate time to researching and developing characters of color, disabled characters, and/or queer characters? I’ve been trying to dip my toes back into fantasy this yea find the full review & others on my blog 🤍 I’ve often struggled with reading fantasy — not for a lack of imagination, but more so because it’s discouraging and disheartening to constantly read about books set in made up worlds with so little diversity. You can’t possibly tell me that authors can create an entire world, but can’t dedicate time to researching and developing characters of color, disabled characters, and/or queer characters? I’ve been trying to dip my toes back into fantasy this year, and so I couldn’t have been more excited to hear that We Need Diverse Books had an anthology coming out called A Universe of Wishes. On the whole, I found A Universe of Wishes to be exactly what I was looking for, and something that I wish I’d gotten to read when I was younger. The foreword was so affirming, and I couldn’t put A Universe of Wishes down after that. I’m a sucker for retellings with a twist, and so I was instantly captivated by Anna-Marie Mclemore’s Cristal y Cerisa and Zoraida Cordova’s Longer Than the Threads of Time – the former being a Cinderella retelling, and the latter being a Rapunzel retelling. Both stories managed to surprise me with a twist to the fairytales that I know so well. I know I’ll be thinking about Cristal y Cerisa – which more so reminded me of Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella than any other version of the tale, and Longer Than the Threads of Time for quite some time. Some other standouts for me were Dhonielle Clayton’s The Weight, Natalie C. Parker’s The Silk Blade, and A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim. Without giving too much away, The Weight left me with many questions to reflect upon when it comes to love. The Silk Blade was a wonderfully written sapphic romance which included a competition, and A Universe of Wishes was surprisingly moving. On the other hand, there were a few shorts that were hard for me to get into. I think if they had been longer, with more chances for world-building and development, I would’ve enjoyed them more. Or maybe they just simply weren’t for me! There were also a few shorts that didn’t seem to fit under the theme of “wishes” as well, which left me a little confused. While there were some stories that were continuations of other universes that I know very little of — namely Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy and V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, I didn’t mind too much. The Gemma Doyle story was a little confusing for me, because I didn’t know anything about Gemma Doyle. Since the Shades of Magic story (which features Rhy/Alucard’s origin story) was set prior to the series, I didn’t have that same problem, and instead, found myself somewhat interested in picking up Shades of Magic. Most of the short stories in this anthology left me shocked or wanting more, and I found a lot of them incredibly powerful as well. I’m excited to look into the authors I’m not as familiar with as well!

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