Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Seoulmates, 12/7/21

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 Seoulmates by Jen Frederick!
Expected Release: December 7, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Admittedly, this is kind of a weird pick for me: this is the second book in a series that I haven’t started yet. 😂 That’s just how confident I am that I’m going to enjoy the whole story. So that’s a big part of my reason for this one: once I read (and probably enjoy) the first book, I won’t have to wait long before diving back in with the second book!
  • Soul searching and identity tend to melt my heart because I’m a sucker for self-discovery. I like seeing people find their happiness!
  • And obviously, add in travel, and particularly Korea. Seoul is an incredible city, and it’s ALSO great for puns. It’s so fun for me to read books set in places I’ve traveled to because I can picture the people, the places, and just the overall experience so clearly.

Summary

When Hara Wilson lands in Seoul to find her birth mother, she doesn’t plan on falling in love with the first man she lays eyes on, but Choi Yujun is irresistible. If his broad shoulders and dimples weren’t
enough, Choi Yujun is the most genuine, decent, gorgeous guy to exist. Too bad he’s also her stepbrother.

Fate brought her to the Choi doorstep but the gift of family comes with burdens. A job in her mother’s company has perks of endless company dinners and super resentful coworkers. A new country means
learning a new language which twenty-five year old Hara is finding to be a Herculean task. A forbidden love means having to choose between her birth family or Choi Yujun.

All Hara wanted was to find a place to belong in this world—but in order to have it all, she’ll have to risk it all.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Ignited by Ella M. Lee

Ignited by Ella M. Lee
(See the first book here: Fire Within)

Recommended: yes, keep the series going!

Summary

Four weeks have passed since Fiona Ember was captured by Nicolas Demarais, the powerful and deadly Water Clan magician she foolishly attempted to assassinate. Relieved that she has impressed Nicolas and reclaimed her life, she’s stunned to find that Nicolas has ambitious plans to change the world of magic forever—and they involve Fiona’s newfound magical abilities.

But achieving those goals certainly won’t be easy. Fiona will need to navigate the slippery magic of Water Clan, survive her new group’s difficult operations, and face more than a few challenges with her new lieutenant. On top of that, she’ll need to confront her growing attraction to Nicolas, as she realizes she’s falling for the sweeter and softer side of him.

And little does she know, Nicolas’s grand plans for the future are drawing the attention of his enemies, and the new life that Fiona has found may not be so safe after all…

Thoughts

If book one is all about the setup and changed for Fiona, book two is all about her new relationships. That definitely means a lot of Fiona and Nicolas figuring out whatever they are and want to be, but also her relationships with the other members of the clan.

This one was good, but not my favorite. Simply put, this one doesn’t have a lot of action or momentum on its own. It’s an important piece of the larger story in the series, but this one is definitely a lot of talking! There are some pretty pivotal and intense moments of action as well, but the bulk is a calmer pace of interaction and discovery.

Continue reading “Review: Ignited by Ella M. Lee”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Lupina Book One: Wax by James Wright!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Lupina Book One: Wax by James Wright published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own from Book Depository!

Recommended: sure
For an intro into a series that promises to give more (next time), for an interesting art concept (that you might have to squint at), for characters well-portrayed even in their silence

Summary

In the coastal town of Kote, recently brought under the yoke of the Addalian Empire, four-year-old Lupa spends her days getting bullied by her older sister and hiding behind her mother’s skirts. But when tragedy strikes, Lupa finds herself alone in a new world… alone until she’s found by the she-wolf, Coras, and sets off on a journey of discovery… and revenge.

Posted in Book Talk

Where can I read We Are All Birds of Uganda?

Hey y’all!

I’ve run into a surprising issue recently. There’s a book I had wanted to read so much I even featured in in a Fast Forward Friday post a while back: We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan. Now that I’m finally getting around to it, I figured I’d track down a library copy to borrow or put on hold!

Oddly, neither library I’m a member of has a digital or physical copy. It’s not that they don’t have it available, they just straight up don’t have it! Both are ample state libraries, so I’m really surprised that there are no copies, since I thought this was a fairly popular and well-received title.

I even tried finding a way to request it via inter-library loan, but it weirdly looks like my main library doesn’t have it as an option! I had to email them and am waiting to hear back on if the librarians have any ideas. In the meantime, I checked Barnes & Noble to see what they had it listed for.

oh…. okay…

Apparently B&N doesn’t have it either, which is stunning because they even have Let’s Play volumes. I originally checked Bookshop.org but they ALSO DON’T HAVE IT! Why is this book so hard to find?? I did eventually find a copy on Book Depository but now I’m waiting to hear back from the librarians… I hope this book is fabulous by the time I get it. 🤣

Posted in Reviews

Review: Fire Within by Ella M Lee

Fire Within by Ella M. Lee
Verdict: OH MY GOD WHAT A FIND!!!! 😍

Recommended: yes!
For people with time because you won’t want to stop reading, for a fascinating and creative world of magic, for a blend of modern with magic, for a new-life kind of story, for action and emotional conflict

Summary

Fiona Ember’s life has been shattered to pieces. After an assassination attempt gone awry, her friends are dead, she’s lost her magic, and she’s now imprisoned by the magician she just tried to kill. To make matters worse, she learns he’s the infamous Auspex, who possesses the gifts of precognition and mind-reading, and who’s known for his deadly and unyielding reputation.

Resigned to torture and execution, Fiona is surprised when the Auspex offers her a chance to live—but first, she will need to demonstrate the value he’s seen in her future. Fiona must discover what he wants from her quickly, before his patience runs out.

Thousands of miles from home and alone in enemy territory, what are Fiona’s hopes of impressing the Auspex and reclaiming her life and magic? And what happens when she starts being drawn unwittingly into his dangerous and mysterious plans?

Thoughts

This book STARTS after an assassination attempt, which is what most stories would dramatically culminate with. So be assured that what follows is indeed even more epic than that, and continues through the series.

I was so hopeful that I would enjoy this, and I did even more than I expected. It was the kind of book where I squeezed in a few more pages as I was brushing my teeth, or falling asleep in bed, or right before I had to start work for the day. Any free moment, I was reading it, and any non-free moment, I was thinking about it. Read this in a day or two (would’ve been one session if it were the weekend!).

Continue reading “Review: Fire Within by Ella M Lee”
Posted in Book Talk

8 Books I’m Grateful For

Hey y’all! It was recently Thanksgiving here in the United States, and though I’m generally grateful anyway, I wanted to reflect a bit on some books over the years that I’m still grateful for. It comes in a lot of different ways. Some books were the first of a kind for me, or taught me something new, or maybe were just really good or had a lasting impression on me.

As I was thinking about these, I realized there are a TON that I could list! A whole list alone could be dedicated to nonfiction titles only, or books I read in college, etc. Maybe I’ll do one of those another time…

Gets me through the literal and metaphorical dark days

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I read this one once or twice a year, typically in November or March when it’s dark and the days are cold and I’m inside and sad about it. But more than that, this book helped me at a time when I hoped I’d get hit by a car or break a leg on ice on my way to work so I didn’t have to be there. Shit was bad, and this helped me laugh a little again, and acknowledge that I needed to change some things, and gave me a little insight into how the world might be for some of my friends who have constant anxiety and depression.

Taught me the grace of giving second chances

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Normally a rule-following student, there is one assignment in high school that I ever flat out refused to do: an analytical essay on A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. A rambling, chaotic, unfocused stream of conscious piece with a loose thread to follow regarding women’s societal status and rights. Or, to my high school self, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ATROCIOUS. I refused to spend another second thinking about this book.

Continue reading “8 Books I’m Grateful For”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Dava Shastri’s Last Day (11/30)

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 Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti.
Expected Release: November 30, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Secrets and drama are like tiny mysteries to me. So of course I want to know what exactly Dava Shastri has done in her life to have come back to haunt her, especially as she was quite a generous and encouraging person by (most) accounts!
  • I expect this to be at least a little bit funny. How could it not be, when the whole premise is that this super rich, super philanthropic woman is faking her death ahead of her prognosis in order to bask in what the world has to say about her? Now add the twist that what they have to say is…. not exactly what she had hoped… and I think that will lead to point #3
  • In a situation like this, it’s inevitable that there will be a ton of character growth. Sure, Dava might be seventy, and sure, she might be dying of brain cancer. But she can still learn and grow, dammit!

Summary

Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, as she decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.

Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.

As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever.

And now the whole world knows, including her children.

In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it’s too late.
 
Compassionately written and chock-full of humor and heart, this powerful novel examines public versus private legacy, the complexities of love, and the never-ending joys—and frustrations—of family.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos & Collected Authors

Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos
Expected Release Date: December 7, 2021
Verdict: I never like short stories, and the love felt rushed, but a lot of folks will adore this collection

Recommended: for some people
If you like short stories, if you can buy into love stories quickly, if you’re a sucker for those “first confession / first kiss” kind of scenes

Summary

Join fifteen bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors as they re-imagine some of the most popular tropes in the romance genre.

Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet.

Thoughts

UGH. I’m so sad I’m starting this off with a groan, but… dang. I always struggle with short stories, but I had hoped this would be different. I live for those moments in books where the characters finally come together and admit how they feel, but this collection just didn’t do it for me. If any of my difficulties below resonate with you, then you might want to dodge this one, but I think a lot of folks will treasure this collection.

Issue #1: since they’re all short stories, they all read as insta-love to me because it happened in the course of 10-15 pages. Even in the tropes that necessitate a history (ex. friends to lovers, second chance) it all felt so rushed! I didn’t really know or care about the characters in most of these because I barely knew them. My pleasure at seeing two people find love was muted by the fact that they still felt like strangers.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos & Collected Authors”