She liked that book about French parenting, but Gust was horrified at the idea of sleep training Harriet at three months, the idea of prioritizing their adult needs. The ethos of that book was selfish.

“I’m ready to be unselfish,” Gust said. “Aren’t you?”

The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Continue reading “The selfish patent”

The selfish patent

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver, 7/29

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver
Expected Release: July 29, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • The simplest thing that drew my attention is that it’s nonfiction. There’s certain nonfiction that I really love when I find it, and I’m hoping this will be one to add to the list.
  • I think I’ll love it because it’s a story of immigration and learning new cultures. I always go for those as I love hearing perspective’s different than my own, and Margarita’s perspective of a young adult in the 1980s is already pretty different. Then add in that she’s attempting to leave Soviet Russia with her family and get to America, and that’s quite a different story than my own. It’s one I’m definitely interested in hearing, as I haven’t read much by Russian immigrants and am not super familiar with the time.
  • 3 I have to assume from the title and blurb that Margarita is telling her story with a bit of humour. There’s always some humour when you’re learning a whole new culture, and I appreciate when folks can slip some in around the colder difficulties that also come with immigration. I’m happy to learn and empathize, but I also do love a cheeky laugh at the harmless miscommunications and discoveries!

Summary

Fake an exit visa, fool the Soviet authorities, pack enough sausage to last through immigration, buy a one-way Aeroflot ticket, and the rest will sort itself out. That was the gist of every Soviet-Jewish immigrant’s plan in the 1980s, Margarita’s included. Despite her father’s protestations that they’d get caught and thrown into a gulag, she convinced her family to follow that plan.

When they arrived in the US, Margarita had a clearly defined objective – become fully American as soon as possible, and leave her Soviet past behind. But she soon learned that finding her new voice was harder than escaping the Soviet secret police.

She finds herself changing her name to fit in, disappointing her parents who expect her to become a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker and a classical pianist – all at the same time, learning to date without hang-ups (there is no sex in the Soviet Union), parenting her own daughter ‘while too Russian’, and not being able to let go of old habits (never, ever throw anything away because you might use it again). Most importantly, she finds that no matter how hard you try not to become your parents, you end up just like them anyway.

Posted in Chatty

The visual review gallery is live!

Hey y’all!

I’ve been working on a new blog feature that I’m pretty excited about, and I think it will add a lot of value to the site. There is now a way to view all book reviews sorted by the author’s last name, in a lovely visual format featuring the book covers!

Benefits of the new reviews page:

🔆it shows ALL the reviews (the other review page shows most recent 100)

🔆you can quickly navigate to a specific author or title

🔆you can navigate to different sections easily — no eternal scrolling!

🔆you can use the search function on the page to locate a title or author once in the right area

🔆the book covers are so pretty!!!

🔆plus the covers link to the review on the site

🔆miscellaneous fascinating data about how SO MANY AUTHORS apparently have last names that begin with M? Yet N is basically empty??

So how do you get to this gorgeous new page? Just check out the top of the page in the navigation bar and click “Review Gallery (by Author)” (or click here, or the photo below. 😊)

It was really fun to go through the list of reviews I’ve posted here and think back on the good and bad ones. I might have to do some re-reading soon now that they’re on my mind again! 😊 One last thing: if you do happen to go check it out, and find a book that isn’t linked… please let me know!! There were so many and I started to go cross eyed, so it’s totally possible even though I’ve checked and rechecked more than Santa Claus.

Another topic I kept going back and forth on was HOW I should organize the new page! Author’s last name is pretty standard and safe, so that’s what I went with. But personally I am pretty mediocre at remembering the author’s name, but I will probably definitely remember the book’s name. It’s not terribly hard to look that up, but I debated if I should sort by author, title, COLOR?? So I’m wondering…

What method of sorting books / reviews do you prefer? 😊

Posted in Reviews

Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Verdict: UGH, glad it’s over 😫

Recommended: no
If you speak and think like the character then you’ll get past that barrier, but you’ll still have to deal with how subpar the story overall is

Summary

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izumi travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izumi soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairy tale, happily ever after?

Thoughts:
My two main issues with this book were the character herself and the fact that nothing new was brought to the table with this story. The second issue is self explanatory, but the first is more specific to me.

Izumi speaks like people 15-25 sound on social media. The kind of writing I usually cringe at despite being around that age myself. It’s full of the overly dramatic writing style of Instagram and Twitter and tumblr. I hated it, which made me dislike her, which made me not enjoy the book. I also called the “twist” right from the introduction of a character. Meh.

Continue reading “Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Today: She Who Became The Sun, 7/20

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, and it’s actually publishing TODAY. I missed my post about it for Friday, but I’m really so excited about this one that I still wanted to include it! So here’s what to look forward to, and you don’t even have to wait! 😊
Expected Release: today! July 20, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Ancient Asian countries are always a great setting for me. The cultures have been around and developed for so long in China particularly that I feel like it’s just rife with fascinating content and moments in time to explore.
  • It’s like Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, except probably way more dramatic and definitely not a comedy. The “worthless girl child” ends up slipping into her brother’s place after he dies with the goal of attaining some freedom for herself and the power to actually do something in her life. She IS attempting to hide from fate though, and I’m not sure even a monastery can help with that. We shall see, I suppose?!
  • Ah, let’s just watch Zhu destroy everything that dares oppose her. I assume she’ll have some great cunning and shockingly rebellious ways (in the eyes of the authorities, I’m sure). To be honest, I’m getting vibes like from Marilia, the Warlord by Morgan Cole, and if that ends up being accurate, I won’t be mad.

Summary

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Posted in Reviews

6 Books I reviewed in 2018 that are still accurate

Hey y’all,

Here are some really short and sweet reviews I wrote back in 2018. I wanted to share these because they’re books I enjoyed and want to have featured somewhere on this blog. Here’s their chance for some shining glory and recognition. 😊

Omg so cute! The wiring was so cute and realistic (albeit about ghosts) and I love the cute humor in addressing questions about ghosts. Unexpectedly love the illustrations, too. Very nicely done all around.

Not what I expected. My kind of humor, too, just simple and sweet and a bit tongue in cheek. Amusing to see how they wove in the “behind the scenes” stories from history, and the characters, even the ones who are only alive for a few pages, are all hilarious and wonderful and surprisingly memorable.

Continue reading “6 Books I reviewed in 2018 that are still accurate”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian published today! Check out the review here, or grab a copy of your own! 😊

Recommended: yep
For a delve into Arthurian legend from the side of Elaine the seer, for a form-shifting read that excels at mirroring the readers’ experience with the characters’, for a dark yet hopeful spin

Summary

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Posted in Book Talk

July TBR: anticipated reads!!

Hey y’all! I’m planning out my reads for July, and most of them are already started or at least in hand and ready to be started shortly. I’m so excited for these ones!

Fast Forward Friday reads

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

I’m always up for traveling somewhere in a book. Plus royalty and court life is my weakness that I just can’t resist 🥰 My library hold just came in, so I’ll be starting this one shortly for sure!

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

I love a good retelling with a twist, and this one had all the elements that promised to be just that! It didn’t hurt that my friend Abby recently finished this and highly recommended it!

Early Copies

Continue reading “July TBR: anticipated reads!!”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
Expected Release Date: July 6, 2021

Recommended: yep
For a delve into Arthurian legend from the side of Elaine the seer, for a form-shifting read that excels at mirroring the readers’ experience with the characters’, for a dark yet hopeful spin

Summary

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Thoughts

The first thing I’ll say is that I have NO IDEA who Elaine is outside of this story. I have no other context to compare her to, so I really can’t speak to that aspect of the experience. If you’re familiar with the lore already from other media, I have no idea how this might align with the way it’s been told elsewhere. That said, I think the way it was told here was quite compelling.

My absolute favorite aspect of this book (besides the plot itself) is the way my experience reading it mirrored Elaine’s experience as a seer so well. Past, present, and future all blend together with timeline and perspective shifting often, and not always with clear delineations. If this might drive you crazy, then be forewarned, but I promise it enhanced the book, not detracted. Elaine’s glimpses of the future bleed in to every action of the present and affect her memories of the past. How can you act on love when you literally KNOW it will lead to heartbreak of the most dire kind?

Continue reading “ARC Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian”