Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Tokyo Ever After, May 18

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 Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean!
Expected Release: May 18, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Izzy is actually a Japanese princess thanks to her unknown father, and when she learns this, I imagine there will be a WHOLE LOT TO RECKON WITH. I get total Princess Diaries vibes from this, except with Japan instead of vaguely-European-Genovia.
  • When you’re a princess of Japan, you should probably visit Japan, right? So Izzy is heading on over there to meet her new-old-father as well as a country she’s inextricably tied to and yet feels so foreign. I’m always up for a trip to Japan! Throw in standard royalty/court tropes and it only gets better! 😍
  • Obviously the frenzy of learning you’re royalty AND learning about your estranged father, AND learning about a new country and culture is going to lead to a lot of soul-searching. I’m big on books with characters learning their own identity and looking at who they are and who they hope to become.

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 Izzy 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, Izzy 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.

Izzy 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 fairytale, happily ever after?

Posted in Book Talk

May TBR: I bought it, so I should read it

Hey y’all! I have a very clear theme for my reading this month. If last month was recommendations, then this month is books I’ve bought recently. I haven’t been buying books for a while in part to save money and in part because my bookshelf is full and I don’t have the library set up yet. Last week though, I went on a bit of a splurge for independent bookstore day and got 8 new books from my favorite local store(s). And then yesterday I also happened to order 3 books from Book of the Month. AND, I have one or two from last month that I’m in the middle of. You see where I’m going with this? 😅

I have a lot of books on my shelves that I should read!!! Especially all the newly purchased ones; especially all of the ones I purchased a while ago and haven’t got around to reading yet. So, here I go for the month!

Whoops, they’re done already by the time I’m posting this

BOTM

Continue reading “May TBR: I bought it, so I should read it”
Posted in Reviews

Review: How Lucky by Will Leitch

How Lucky by Will Leitch – Expected Publication: May 11, 2021
Verdict: eh, not for me but I’m confident others will really love this

Recommended: sure, for other people
For folks curious about life with SMA as a wheelchair-user, for a light mystery heavy on character introspection, for small laughs about dark things

Summary

Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia.  He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair. 

Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped. 

Thoughts:

I can’t really believe I’m rating this as “just ok” but that is indeed what’s happening. I can’t really pinpoint what missed for me with this book. Objectively I can look at it’s components and think it would probably be good, but ultimately I just wasn’t that into it. Reading it wasn’t a chore, but I guess I just never really connected with the characters nor the plot.

Continue reading “Review: How Lucky by Will Leitch”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: From Little Tokyo With Love, 5/11

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 From Little Tokyo, With Love by Sarah Kuhn.
Expected Release: May 11, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I get I Love You So Mochi vibes from this, and that book was terribly adorable so I can only hope for the same here! It seems like it will be a little bit sweeter than reality, and maybe I’ll need to suspend cynicism to enjoy it, but I look forward to that. (Edit: I’m such a dope. Just realized this is THE SAME AUTHOR that wrote ILYSM so it’s not a surprise I get similar vibes! 😅)
  • There are bound to be plenty of identity and family woes as Grace is an orphan and biracial. The blurb highlights those facts, so I can only assume that they will become fairly central to the story in some way as she explores with Local Cutie Celeb. ^.^
  • The setting seems quite whimsically light, what with the meet-cute at a festival with a high-profile cutie. (K-Pop Confidential, anyone?). I guess I’m into the “secretly/accidentally dating someone famous” trope, who knew?

Summary

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues about her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with a cute actor, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

Posted in Quotes

Strong arm

“You have no body shield,” Idaho said. “Do you wish mine?” He glanced at the distant cliff. “Not likely there’ll be any more lasgun activity about.”

“Keep your shield, Duncan. Your right arm is shield enough for me.”

Jessica saw the way the praise took effect, how Idaho moved closer to Paul, and she thought: Such a sure hand my son has with his people.

Dune by Frank Herbert
Posted in Reviews

Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
Verdict: wow.

Recommended: yes indeed

For an exploration of Alaskan wilderness, for a story that feels real and immediate, for a journey with so many others that ties you into a larger part of history, for a fabulous example of how multimedia can create a powerful effect

Summary

The cover is as entrancing as the contents

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.

For Forrester, the decision to accept this mission is even more difficult, as he is only recently married to Sophie, the wife he had perhaps never expected to find. Sophie is pregnant with their first child, and does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband embarks upon the journey of a lifetime. She has genuine cause to worry about her pregnancy, and it is with deep uncertainty about what their future holds that she and her husband part.

Thoughts

I bought a used copy of this book, because I like stories that have the stories of people on them as well as in them. The well-creased spine of my new-old copy made me think I had chosen well in this particular story, and I was not disappointed.

I was first surprised at how heavy the book is, physically. Despite it’s average length and being a paperback copy, it was significantly heavier than other books of similar style and size that I had. Now that I’ve finished the book, that feels strangely appropriate. I’m still in that world enough to feel that maybe the man who flies on black wings has something to do with it.

Continue reading “Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey”
Posted in Book Talk

When is the best time to write a book review?

Hey y’all! I’m always torn on when I should write a book review, and essentially the only firm answer I’ve come up with is “at least within 2 weeks of finishing the book or else I’ve totally forgotten the main points I wanted to mention.” Besides that admittedly not very rigorous refinement though, when would it really work best?

Before reading

I know, I know: this sounds completely absurd. How can you write a review of book if you haven’t read the book? But take a look at any Goodreads page for a popular upcoming release and you’re sure to see many reviews from people who are just so hyped that they’ll rate it 5 stars and say something like “Sees X author. Immediately buys book. I’m literally dying until this comes out!!!” I think my final judgment here is that this timing, er, has some obvious issues. 😅

The second book does not even have a cover yet, but the 3rd book has 46 ratings and 17 reviews with a 4.67 star average. ._.
that shelf name xD

While reading

I recently read a comment from someone about how they’ll write their review of a book while reading it, by composing emails to themselves with notes along the way as they read, and at the end they simply compile all the notes and polish it up a little. I think that’s absolutely brilliant for someone who can manage to do it!

Continue reading “When is the best time to write a book review?”
Posted in Book Talk

Word Origins: it ain’t proper!

Hey y’all! I got to clicking around in the many pages of etymological history of all the words in English, and it of course led me to a delightful little discovery. ^.^

Origins of “ain’t”

When did it first get used?
1706

What does it mean?
a contraction meaning “is not,” “have not,” “are not,” basically a pretty flexible little word

What did it come from?
This one is kind of simple, as it more or less logically followed the rules of other contractions. I am becomes I’m, can not becomes can’t, and is not became ain’t, probably because “int” is an awkward sound to make and link to other sounds in the sentence.

My favorite part of this work is that it was perfectly acceptable in proper English for quite a while. The thing that tipped the word into disfavor is when ain’t was used largely in Cockney dialect in writing, such as from Dickens around the 1850s. Once people hear the way those caricatured characters sounded saying it, they ditched it ASAP. Ain’t fell into the pits of the uncouth and uncultured.

And was dramatically resurrected by humorists and hooligans galore!

Or at least that’s my preferred depiction, since ain’t is still pretty popular where I’m from. It’s not something I would normally say, but I might use it to make a point or for dramatic effect. Here are a few notable uses of ain’t even after it’s been -ahem- disbarred from proper English.