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 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 Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: King of Battle & Blood (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 King of Battle & Blood by Scarlett St. Clair!
Expected Release: November 30, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A loose retelling of Tristan and Isolde! Growing up I saw the movie and was astonished that it didn’t get nearly as much hype as the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. I’m delighted to see that someone is now appreciating it, and in a way I think I’m going to adore.
  • And then they go and throw in some good old fashioned necromancy. I’m a softie, but damn if I don’t love me some necromancy. Also he’s a vampire, and also there’s some court hierarchy going on. This basically every fantasy trope I like.
  • It also sounds like its hinting at a theme where the MC discovers their secret destiny, fate, role in a prophecy, etc. Basically, some kind of power that they can suddenly wield to fuck shit up.

Summary

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Graceling (Graphic Novel) by Kristin Cashore & Gareth Hinds (11/16)

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 a slightly odd one, because it’s a release of a fairly old book as a graphic novel, and I’m really interested to see how it feels. This one is Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds!
Expected Release: November 16, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I still remember this story vividly, despite having read it years ago, and having read many other books since then. Scenes from this still wander into my mind. Memories of the way I felt when surprised by a twist or a prediction came true leave me breathless. I love and admire this story and these characters so very much.
  • Of course this main draw of this is the new format of a graphic novel. There are scenes I immediately thought of gleefully, imagining the beauty and violence with which they could be rendered. This is not a terribly kind story at times, and I wonder how the artist will portray those moments. Will it be graphic, gory, as the moments truly were in the book? Will it be more subtle, with the emotions of the characters taking the brunt of the scene? And those adrenaline-pumping chases, the tender snatches of calm, the varied and raw beauty of the land itself… Can’t. Wait.
  • And finally, since I did read it in 2008 as a young teenager, I’m so so curious to see how my reading of it will compare now to myself thirteen years later and pretty genuinely an adult. I have no doubt I will still love the story. But I’m so excited to step back in time a bit to think excitedly with my young self about how much we love this book.

Summary

The beloved New York Times best-selling YA fantasy by Kristin Cashore is now available as a graphic novel, with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds.

Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.
 
But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all.

With “gorgeous storytelling” (School Library Journal, starred review) and characters “crafted with meticulous devotion” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Graceling is a beloved classic that has continued to resonate with readers for over a decade.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Noor, 11/9/21!

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
Expected Release: November 9, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • AO is mostly a robot after her weird AF birth and a further accident that basically meant she had to go robot or die. I am so pumped about a futuristic cybernetically-enhanced-human story. The fact that the blurb starts with her parents hoping they miscarried so she wouldn’t be born because “she was wrong” even as an embryo… what on earth is the deal with this girl? I’m absolutely riveted and can’t wait to find out.
  • I imagine with metal limbs you probably get pretty strong and basically impervious to most pain. Which could easily lend itself to criminal dealings because hey, it’s probably super simple compared to the perils of weakling fleshy bodies. I don’t know if AO is evil, or even tempted, but it sure seems like the rest of the world is convinced she is. And as for her being on the run with a societal labeled madman? Holy crap am I thrilled and burning with curiosity over what could have possibly happened to frame them these ways!
  • The setting sounds like it will have so much life it will become a character of its own. Deserts seem to draw me in as they’re simultaneously barren and bursting.
  • Nnedi Okorafor is also the author of Binti which I somehow have still not read, but am similarly interested in and curious about. Given that I’ve been attracted to multiple books by this author, I think it’s safe to assume I generally like their ideas and will probably be pretty into this.

Summary

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.

Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Blue-Skinned Gods, 11/2/21!

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 Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu!
Expected Release: November 2, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A boy is born with blue skin, and subsequently thought to be the newest reincarnation of the god Vishnu. Talk about pressure, amirite? That premise alone is basically enough to pull my attention to this because of how rife with possibility it is even at it’s bare-bones overview.
  • I know a bit about Indian culture, Vishnu, and reincarnation — but of course I’m always delighted to learn more. I usually shy away from any book that has a religion angle because it tends not to interest me. The framing of this one, however, has me ready to dive into deep questions and discuss heavy topics with people before I’ve even read a single page.
  • Robust would be the word I’d use to define my expectations of this. From the blurb alone, I expect: religion, belief, identity crises, immigration, temptation, sinning, culture clash, family conflict, philosophy, doubt… Frankly, I can’t imagine how so much could be in one book. And yet, I get the sense that it will be done so well. I am very excited.
  • Plus… okay… the cover is gorgeous. That is absolutely what got my attention the first time as I was scrolling through ARCs months and months ago. Big kudos to the cover artist. (The alt cover isn’t bad either.)

Summary

In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child’s blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. In Kalki’s tenth year, he is confronted with three trials that will test his power and prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. While he seems to pass them, Kalki begins to question his divinity.

Over the next decade, his family unravels, and every relationship he relied on—father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin—starts falling apart. Traveling from India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and spans continents and faiths, in an expansive and heartfelt look at the need for belief in our globally interconnected world.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Fastest Way to Fall, 11/2/21!

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 The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams.
Expected Release: November 2, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Oh man, maybe it’s just because I’m deep into my first read of Lore Olympus, but the idea of the forbidden love is making me swoon! Mostly because it’s only lightly forbidden, since Britta is technically Wes’s client and he probably shouldn’t bang her (bad PR). Plus, Britta is technically doing a review of this guy and his company… so she probably shouldn’t seemed biased toward him (aka by banging him).
  • Weirdly, I’m pretty into the fitness angle here too. Since Wes is Britta’s personal coach and she’s into body positivity, I’m feeling some connection to my recent attempted foray into healthier living. (Note the word attempted…) So maybe reading about two people who really love being healthy (plus each other) can reinvigorate me to move a little more myself!
  • Although I never actually ended up reading it, How to Fail at Flirting was a book I wanted to read (and still do!). So if Denise Williams also wrote that one, then it’s no surprise I’m interested in this other title by her! Plus I just saw How to Fail at Flirting is available at the library, so maybe I’ll grab a copy and use that to whet my appetite for now. 😊

Summary

Britta Colby works for a lifestyle website, and when tasked to write about her experience with a hot new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching, she knows it’s a major opportunity to prove she should write for the site full-time.

As CEO of the FitMe app, Wes Lawson finally has the financial security he grew up without, but despite his success, his floundering love life and complicated family situation leaves him feeling isolated and unfulfilled. He decides to get back to what he loves—coaching. Britta’s his first new client and they click immediately.

As weeks pass, she’s surprised at how much she enjoys experimenting with her exercise routine. He’s surprised at how much he looks forward to talking to her every day. They convince themselves their attraction is harmless, but when they start working out in person, Wes and Britta find it increasingly challenging to deny their chemistry and maintain a professional distance.

Wes isn’t supposed to be training clients, much less meeting with them, and Britta’s credibility will be sunk if the lifestyle site finds out she’s practically dating the fitness coach she’s reviewing. Walking away from each other is the smartest thing to do, but running side by side feels like the start of something big.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Color of Dragons, 10/19

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
Expected Release: October 19, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Reason number one: did you look at the cover?
  • Reason number two: anything with dragons.
  • Reason number three: an unlikely duo, bound by fate.
  • Okay, seriously, I’m exhausted after a day of travel but really want to get this book some love today! The summary is honestly pretty vague, so I don’t even have much to go off of with my interest. And yet, I still have interest. Magic powers that need to learn to be controlled (and I’m sure they will end up being some kind of incredibly powerful or rare). Two people from opposite lifestyles being forced to work together — and they might actually be secretly working towards competing outcomes, I’m not really sure? And of course, dragons.

Summary

Magic needs a spark.

And Maggie’s powers are especially fickle. With no one to help her learn to control her magic, the life debt that she owes stretches eternally over her head, with no way to repay it.

Until she meets Griffin, the king’s champion infamous for hunting down the draignochs that plague their kingdom.

Neither has any idea of the destiny that they both carry, or that their meeting will set off a chain of events that will alter every aspect of the life they know—and all of history thereafter.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Why We Fly, 10/5!

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 Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones!
Expected Release: October 5, 2021

💡Heads up!
There’s a Goodreads Giveaway active for this book until 10/4/21 for US and Canada!

Why wait on this one?

  • I’m not usually into sports stories, but this one has more than just the sports, so I think I can get behind it. It sounds like Eleanor dealing with her injury is going to play into the sports angle a lot, and I’m super curious to see what Chanel’s “risky choices” are all about. The fact that it sounds like their show of solidarity seems to be what ends up causing a rift between them is intriguing because it’s not a story I can plot from A to B.
  • This pair also did I’m Not Dying With You Tonight which I really enjoyed and was really impressed by. There can be such magic when two authors write a book together, and they have worked out their balance on how to do it well. Kudos and can’t wait for more!
  • Any young adult or middle grade books that address racism, systemic or otherwise, are always going to be a read for me. The fact that these conversations are more common and accessible in lit for all ages is such an encouraging sign. I always want to read books like this to see where we’re at, and what ones I can recommend to fellow teacher friends (or buy for people’s kids, donate to libraries, etc!)

Summary

Two high school cheerleaders face the ultimate test when an act of solidarity spurs chaos. With a rocky start to senior year, lifelong friends Eleanor and Chanel have a lot on their mind. Eleanor is still in physical therapy months after a serious concussion from a failed cheer attempt. Chanel’s putting tremendous pressure on herself to get into the best colleges and starts making questionable decisions. But they have each other’s backs just as always.

Eleanor’s new relationship with star quarterback Three may be causing a rift between the best friends. When the cheer squad decides to take a knee at the season’s first football game, what seemed like a positive show of solidarity suddenly becomes the reason for a larger fallout between the girls.

Grappling with the weight of the school’s actions as well as their own problems, can the girls rely on the friendship they’ve always shared?

A bittersweet, sometime humorous, but always compelling look at issues of friendship, privilege, sports, and race.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: No Words (9/28)

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 No Words by Meg Cabot.
Expected Release: September 28, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Alright, a lot of what drew me in (besides the cover) is MEG CABOT!! That is a name from my childhood and teen years and twenties and still. It’s just such a comfortable thought, to read a Meg Cabot book. It’ll be something familiar, that I can trust to entertain me, without much possibility of breaking my heart.
  • It also doesn’t hurt that this sounds very much like Beach Read by Emily Henry, which was fab. Authors, and a book about books, and a warm sunny beachy destination, and two people with a past. Wait, which book am I describing again?
  • But seriously, lovers with a history. I adore that! I love getting to know their tidbits of how they knew each other, and watching it get fit into who they see now, and the decision of whether or not they want to learn more in the future. I don’t even know if they’ll end up being lovers! But it’s Meg Cabot. So I keep the faith. ^.^

Summary

Jo Wright always swore she’d never step foot on Little Bridge Island—not as long as her nemesis, bestselling author Will Price, is living there.

Then Jo’s given an offer she can’t refuse: an all-expense-paid trip to speak and sign at the island’s first-ever book festival.

Even though arrogant Will is the last person Jo wants to see, she could really use the festival’s more-than-generous speaking fee. She’s suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block on the next installment of her bestselling children’s series, and her father needs financial help as well.

Then Jo hears that Will is off-island on the set of the film of his next book. Hallelujah!

But when she arrives on Little Bridge, Jo is in for a shock: Will is not only at the book festival, but seems genuinely sorry for his past actions—and more than willing not only to make amends but prove to Jo that he’s a changed man.

Things seem to be looking up—until disaster strikes, causing Jo to wonder: Do any of us ever really know anyone?