Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Two Nights in Lisbon 5/24/22

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 Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone!
Expected Release: May 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1The setting, of course. I love books set in places that aren’t where I am, and Lisbon, Portugal is one of those places. This seems like a book that will track all through the city so I’ll see it a bit.
  • The mystery! I love a good amnesiac episode of trying to find out who you are. Siri, Who Am I? was a surprisingly good title, and The End of Getting Lost feels like it will have similar vibes to this one as well. Both were fab!
  • Who is the one person she doesn’t want to ask for help!? The blurb ends with that juicy little tidbit, so on top of the “who am i where am I” mystery, there’s definitely going to be some tension elsewhere as well. It must be someone she meets during the process or else she wouldn’t remember them, right? So what new person is catching her attention?
  • OH AND ALSO ITS BY THE GUY WHO WROTE THE EXPATS!!! That book was one I picked up I don’t even know how, and it was SO GOOD. I still think about that book. I recommended it to my mom and she loved it too. I didn’t realize Chris Pavone wrote it as well until literally just now when I saw the byline on the cover and yoooo I’m even more excited and maybe actually preordering this one now. 😍

Summary

Ariel Price wakes up in Lisbon, alone. Her husband is gone—no warning, no note, not answering his phone. Something is wrong.

She starts with hotel security, then the police, then the American embassy, at each confronting questions she can’t fully answer: What exactly is John doing in Lisbon? Why would he drag her along on his business trip? Who would want to harm him? And why does Ariel know so little about her new—much younger—husband?

The clock is ticking. Ariel is increasingly frustrated and desperate, running out of time, and the one person in the world who can help is the one person she least wants to ask.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School 5/17

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 Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonoroa Reyes!
Expected Release: May 17, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I don’t know much about Catholicism or Catholic school, but I do have a feeling non-straight-ness is not usually smiled at. I hope I’m wrong about that, but at least in Yamilet’s experience in this book, it’s definitely the case. So it’s probably going to be pretty uncomfortable navigating her Catholic school as a lesbian.
  • And also as a Mexican. Jeez, not only does this girl have to deal with the judgment of her outward appearance as a Mexican in a very white rich school, but her inner self as well (though can we all just get each other’s noses out of sexual preferences unless you’re being invited into those sexual preferences??).
  • Clearly she’s dealing with a lot, and I can’t wait to read the moment when she sheds her fear and is able to embrace her whole self without fear of repercussions. Plus that can’t-resist love is always a pull (though hopefully it’s not just a “she’s the only option” kind of scenario).

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Ghosts of Rose Hill, 5/10/22

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 Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero!
Expected Release: May 10, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • What immediately grabbed me about this title (besides the cover) is that it’s written in verse & prose. I’m curious to see how the poetic elements will be included, and if it will blend seamlessly or have sharp divides or maybe somewhere between. I love books that have a bit of both, though, like If I Tell You The Truth and Other Words For Home.
  • I don’t read many books with Jewish protagonists, and I’d like to change that. This story happens to focus specifically on the character’s Jewish heritage, as Ilana travels to Prague and meets a young ghost boy in an old cemetery. So far, this is giving me major The Graveyard Book vibes.
  • Definitely some kind of mysticism in this one! Obviously there are ghosts, but the apparent villain of the story has some kind of magic, and I’m getting the feeling that it’s not the most benevolent kind.

Summary

Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.

When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth.

But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him—forever.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Remarkably Bright Creatures, 5/10/22

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 Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt!
Expected Release: May 10, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • IT’S TOLD FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN OCTOPUS. At least, partially. There are multiple characters, but Marcellus is probably the best one. I think that could be a really fun perspective to imagine hearing from, and that’s frankly what sold me on giving this book a try once I realized it wasn’t nonfiction like I’d hoped, but fiction instead.
  • After reading Soul of an Octopus I’ve learned even more ways to love octopuses (yes that’s correct. You can still hold on to octopi, and octopode, if you’d like. Just be careful of the tentacles. Harhar! Okay, I’m done with this parenthetical). They’re absolutely incredible, and probably also aliens. I have major respect for them.
  • There seems to be some light mystery in this book too, as the octopus investigates the disappearance of the son of the one human he finds… tolerable. It definitely sounds kind of cozy-mystery to me, like something that will have a bittersweet but touching ending and make me cry tears of “it’s just so BEAUTIFUL!” feelings. Also hella curious about how exactly an octopus in captivity investigates? We shall see.

Summary

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors–until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Noh Family, 5/3/22

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: May 3, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I have a type, and that type is Korean-Americans learning about their roots /Korean family and going to Korea. I’m an absolute sucker for them and could probably make a whole list by now of the books I’ve read with that exact plot. And I will keep reading them. Enter: The Noh Family (Noh is an unusual name, I’m curious if that will come up!)
  • AHHHH SECRET FAMILY WITH FAMILY SECRETS!!!! I’m not much for gossip in my real life, but when it comes to books, I am all about learning everyone’s hidden pieces of their lives! Especially if it’s heartwarming at the end. I hope this will be heartwarming at the end. ^.^
  • Something about the unfathomably rich families of Korea also fascinates me. The pervasive way they exist in and shape the culture itself is more so even than here in America, with words like chaebol just to express the luck / goal of being in one of these families. And frankly, just the setting is enough for me! I love connecting experiences of the characters with my own from when I lived there. Even just seeing the Namsan Tower on the cover was enough to prompt a big smile!
  • Side note that the prompting event of her friends giving an orphan who never knew her father a DNA test kit seems like kind of a shitty thing to do? Especially when labeled a “gag gift?” I’m curious to see how that scene goes down.

Summary

When her friends gift her a 23-and-Me test as a gag, high school senior Chloe Kang doesn’t think much of trying it out. She doesn’t believe anything will come of it–she’s an only child, her mother is an orphan, and her father died in Seoul before she was even born, and before her mother moved to Oklahoma. It’s been just Chloe and her mom her whole life. But the DNA test reveals something Chloe never expected–she’s got a whole extended family from her father’s side half a world away in Korea. Her father’s family are owners of a famous high-end department store, and are among the richest families in Seoul. When they learn she exists, they are excited to meet her. Her mother has huge reservations, she hasn’t had a great relationship with her husband’s family, which is why she’s kept them secret, but she can’t stop Chloe from travelling to Seoul to spend two weeks getting to know the Noh family.

Chloe is whisked into the lap of luxury, but something feels wrong. Chloe wants to shake it off–she’s busy enjoying the delights of Seoul with new friend Miso Dan, the daughter of one of her mother’s grade school friends. And as an aspiring fashion designer, she’s loving the couture clothes her department store owning family gives her access to. But soon Chloe will discover the reason why her mother never told her about her dad’s family, and why the Nohs wanted her in Seoul in the first place. Could joining the Noh family be worse than having no family at all?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf (4/19/22)

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 Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf!
Expected Release: April 19, 2022

Why wait on this one?

Love for a hijabi on the cover, please. And all the rest of how badass and pretty this cover is!!!
  • COMPETITIVE. SCRABBLE. If anyone is going to bingo a bitch, it is NAJWA freakin’ BAKRI. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because everything becomes a competition in America, but I can’t wait to learn lots of interesting new words and have a style of drama and intensity I’ve never experienced before.
  • Murder mystery too?! Because Najwa’s best friend Trina somehow died at this competition, and when secrets start coming out, it looks like maybe Trina is secretly alive too? Or someone just wants it to look that way? WHAT HAPPENED TO TRINA?!
  • And through the lens of social media, where her dead best friends is suddenly active on Instagram again. Uhmmmm no thanks. It’s not like social media is totally new concept at this point, but the myriad possibilities for it in a story always draw me in.
  • Also, Hanna Alkaf. I really just need to have a Hanna Alkaf TBR time because I have several of her books on my radar and haven’t gotten around to them. Come onnnn, Alkaf!!
  • Side not #2: is the title an tiny homage to queen of the Nile? I really hope so.

Summary

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: An Arrow to the Moon, 4/12/22

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 An Arrow to the Moon by Emily XR Pan!
Expected Release: April 12, 2022

Why wait on this one?

Cover: 10/10
  • This sounds like a mix of a story of regular life with magical tones. There are normal things like dealing with parental expectations, graduation, and family. But then there are things like a giant frickin crack through the town. I desperately want to know more!
  • Oooooh secrets collide when the two destined for each other finally find each other. 😍 I don’t actually know if that’s the storyline, but that’s the vibe I get. Any boy am I up for a dose of destiny and fated lovers.
  • I think the writing of this story will be absolutely gorgeous. Ethereal, vivid, with a sort of moonlit-mist quality that takes me into a dream state. If the blurb is anything to go by with it’s word choices of “bewitching,” “unearthly,” and “ominous,” then I’ll be happy for sure.

Summary

Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.

Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.

As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei, 4/5/22

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 Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei by Christina Matula!
Expected Release: April 5, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Hong Kong is a thrilling place for so many reasons. It has such a wide variety of landscape and lifestyle, and SO MANY PEOPLE in such a small area. I love stories set there because it seems almost impossible for the setting to not matter. Hong Kong is vibrant even in books. ^.^
  • Holly-Mei sounds extremely likable, and I don’t always read books with likeable characters. Just this once, it would be really nice to have a character I can easily cheer for who values and shares kindness. ^.^
  • Ahh, middle school drama! Even in my fairly easy time of it, I saw first- or second-hand some of the truly serious problems kids can have in those years. Friendship, sex, drugs, abuse, self-harm, identity… it is RIFE with things that can go wrong. I don’t think Holly-Mei is going quite down such a dark path, but I do think navigating friendships (or enemy…ships) can be very tricky on its own.

Summary

Holly-Mei Jones couldn’t be more excited about moving to Hong Kong for her mother’s job. Her new school is right on the beach and her family’s apartment is beyond beautiful. Everything is going to be perfect . . . right?

Maybe not. It feels like everywhere she turns, there are new rules to follow and expectations to meet. On top of that, the most popular girl in her grade is quickly becoming a frenemy. And without the guidance of her loving Ah-ma, who stayed behind in Toronto, Holly-Mei just can’t seem to get it right.

It will take all of Holly-Mei’s determination and sparkle (and maybe even a tiny bit of stubbornness) to get through seventh grade and turn her life in Hong Kong into the ultimate adventure!

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: So This is Ever After, 3/29/22

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 So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens!
Expected Release: March 29, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I love that this focuses on the part of the story we don’t usually get to see. The focus is typically on the battle to overthrow, and ends once the rightful person is on the throne. The rebuilding after is skipped, but I think it poses it’s own struggles that are a different kind of story, but still one I want to read.
  • And oh, of course, the love story within it is one I am smiling about already. I mean, look at the cover. It’s very clear what the end of the story is going to be, but I am thrilled for the whole journey of getting there. 😍
  • Part of that journey is going to be a series of what I imagine to essentially be awkward bad dates. Since Arek has to find his spouse in short order, I”m picturing it a bit like Princess Diaries 2 where she’s going through the photos of princes trying to decide who might work. I’m so in for some laughs! ^.^

Summary

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bone Orchard, 3/22/22

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 Bone Orchard by Sara A Mueller!
Expected Release: March 22, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Witches. And what witch doesn’t want revenge for something? I feel like it just comes with the territory. Maybe it’s the fact that where there are witches, there are usually witch-hunters and witch-haters. Although I guess it’s more like “witch” since Charm (WHAT A NAME FOR A WITCH) is the last witch. Quite a burden to carry, eh?
  • Magic. And not just any magic, but necromancy. Ooooooh boy am I fan of that dark magic that can lead to moral grays and broken people. I have no idea what a bone orchard is — maybe it will take necromancy to an unexpected life theme instead of it’s usualy heavy focus on death. But wowwww am I excited to find out. 😁
  • Court. I’m a sucker for royalty-themed stories. I guess it’s like the grown-up version of when kids really love princess stories and such. The fancy gowns, the politeness rules, the lavish events… it’s a really lush world to imagine and there’s so much to work with when royal court life is part of the story. Plus, magic + court stories are pretty dang common, but magic + court + WITCHES is not a combo I can think of another title for!

Summary

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. Now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder. If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart. Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.