Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Rising Like A Storm, 6/22/21

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 Rising Like A Storm by Tanaz Bhathena!
Expected Release: June 22, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Sequel to the first one! Now admittedly, the first one didn’t really blow me away. It was a decent read, but not on my favorites shelf or anything. But I think the second one has been set up to be really action packed and exciting, with some intense drama coming up. We have so many big players in place and about to collide, so I think it’s going to be easy to see sparks fly!
  • Ahhh, the magic. The magic of this world was really creative and exciting to read about. I just want to see more of that creativity and imagine what life would be like, if…. 🙂

Summary

With King Lohar dead and a usurper queen in power, Gul and Cavas face a new tyrannical government that is bent on killing them both. Their roles in King Lohar’s death have not gone unnoticed, and the new queen is out for blood. What she doesn’t know is that Gul and Cavas have a connection that runs deeper than romance, and together, they just might have the strength and magic to end her for good.

Then a grave mistake ends with Cavas taken prisoner by the government. Gul must train an army of warriors alone. With alliances shifting and the thirst for vengeance growing, the fate of Ambar seems ever more uncertain. It will take every ounce of strength, love, and sacrifice for Gul and Cavas to reach their final goal―and build a more just world than they’ve ever known.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Cruelest Mercy, 6/15

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 Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae! The sequel to The Kinder Poison, I’ve been waiting to continue this story since I turned the last page of the first book a year ago!
Expected Release: June 15, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Well, it’s a sequel, so of course I’m excited to see what happens next and dive back into the world! If you haven’t read the first already, you should, or at least you should stop reading this post and check out the review for that instead, so you don’t spoil anything for yourself! 😀
  • Alright, now we’re looking at Zahru potentially being the chosen one for the throne due to the absolute chaos that ended the first book? Jesus this poor girl, could her life get any more complicated? (Since there’s a whole book to read, I imagine the answer is a delightful and savage Oh, yes.)
  • Kasta’s secret is purely mind-bending. I absolutely LOVED his whole backstory in the first book, and he’s a wonderful villain / hero / who knows kind of combo at times. I’m so intrigued to see how he manipulates and schemes in this book. Even if I’m rooting for “the good guys” you’ve GOT to have a great villain for it to really matter. And he absolutely delivers!

Summary

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: For the Wolf, 6/1/21

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 For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten!
Expected Release: June 1, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A dark twist on an already dark tale, this is definitely inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. Since that story is so weird and messed up as it is, there is so much potential to play with it and bring even more depth and interest to it!
  • Whitten has done just that by adding magic and prophecy to it. Red is the determined sacrifice for the wolf, and she’s grateful her death will mean not having to deal with her growing powers. But when the wolf shows her that her powers may be a path to salvation instead of a curse, she starts to change her tune.
  • And when the villain is none other than GOD THEMSELVES? Oh singing praises, this is going to be good!

Summary

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Fire with Fire, 6/8/21

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 Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria! (Oi, it’s also not Friday, because apparently I’m back to my spotty schedule. 😅)
Expected Release: June 8, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Dragons and magic will always be an easy sell for me. Here we’ve got the added tension of dragon hunting v. saving them. I want to hear this author’s interpretation and invented lore for them and the world.
  • Dani goes from a dragon-hunter-in-training plus regular high school student, weird mix) to being bonded with a dragon and totally changing sides to being desperate to help stop the fighting. (Is this How To Train Your Dragon? Because I LOVE that movie.)
  • Dani’s sister Eden is WAY more into the dragon hunting thing, and once Dani goes to the other side, Eden seeks out sorcerer’s to try to save her sister from what she sees as certain doom (and probably some shades of madness too). I love that even though they’re now on opposite sides, their connection and love remains. Isn’t that what’s always needed? People with opposing views who are still trying to understand the other.

Summary

Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

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 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 Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Where the Rhythm Takes You, 5/11/21

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 Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass!
Expected Release: May 11, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • TOBAGO! That is a place I have never been in real life or in a book, and that is guaranteed to attract me to a story. While this story will primarily take place at a resort, I’m hoping I can learn some about the country and people.
  • A resort, a crazy successful DJ, and first-lost love. Also inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion apparently? I haven’t read Persuasion, but Where The Rhythm Takes You sounds like it will blend grief and love and growing up and taking risks and moving on and all kinds of strong and difficult themes of LIFE together. The plot basically sounds really strong and like if it’s done well, it will be utterly captivating.
  • And, oooooooh I feel like this might also have some really delicious tropes to enjoy in the romance-y part of it! It’s a fancy resort? On a tropical island? And they have HISTORY TOGETHER? Yup, if there’s not some kind of accidental-falling-on-each-other moment, or getting caught in the rain, or the double take when they realize how close they’re standing, I’ll be surprised. The rest can be deliciously original. I just want a few! ^.^

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

PS: here’s a map for anyone who has no idea where Tobago is. Learn something new every day! 😀

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Lycanthropy and Other Illnesses, 4/27/21

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 Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnessesby Kristen O’Neal!
Expected Release: April 27, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Magical realism. There’s the realistic side of her chronic illness, and the mystical side that maybe her friend is actually a werewolf? I love when things blend like that and make it as though both things could possibly be completely normal and happening two towns over.
  • The learning about a chronic disease is so important for those who don’t have that experience (myself). Plus I love that it sounds like she has an adventure too, and isn’t solely defined by her difficulties.
  • Yo if a friendship can survive (maybe literally…) one of the members becoming a werewolf? That’s probably a pretty good stand to model from. I want to see how much they love each other! ^.^

Summary

Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family in New Jersey—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were. Thankfully she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest of the members of “oof ouch my bones,” a virtual support group that meets on Discord to crack jokes and vent about their own chronic illnesses.

When Brigid suddenly goes offline, Priya does something out of character: she steals the family car and drives to Pennsylvania to check on Brigid. Priya isn’t sure what to expect, but it isn’t the horrifying creature that’s shut in the basement. With Brigid nowhere to be found, Priya begins to puzzle together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature might be a werewolf—and the werewolf might be Brigid. As Brigid’s unique condition worsens, their friendship will be deepened and challenged in unexpected ways, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Anna K Away, 4/27/21

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 Anna K Away by Jenny Lee!
Expected Release: April 27, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Although it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I really enjoyed the first book, Anna K! I’ll say it again, making Tolstoy a contemporary YA novel is impressive, and Jenny Lee did well. I’m interested to see where she takes it in this sequel that is, as far as I know, not based on anything besides her own imaginings.
  • Travel is always a winning point for me, and even more so that it’s to South Korea! 🥰It’s a gorgeous place with gorgeous people and its own set of social issues. And I can picture it all so well after living there. I’m thrilled to see Anna’s portion of the story, where she’ll travel to partially-known family in an unknown place and perhaps find her roots.
  • The crew back home honestly sounds like they have a lot going on. And, okay, maybe the majority of that stuff is relationship stuff tied with their own self-identity, but introspective learning feels like what I’m looking for at the moment. Bring it on. ^.^

Summary

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy—except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?

Set over the course of one unforgettable summer, Jenny Lee’s Anna K Away is full of the risk, joy, heartbreak, and adventure that mark the three months between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Prison Healer, 4/13/21

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 Prison Healer by Lynette Noni.
Expected Release: April 13, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A woman taking on some kind of to-the-death competition is pretty much the easiest way to get me to read a book. Add in the facts that they’re elemental based trials, there’s a prison involved, PLUS some kind of foreign-royal-rebellion-rescue mystery involved? Well, there’s pretty much no way I’m not reading this.
  • This sounds like it’s going to have strong Throne of Glass vibes, and that series was a game changer for me. I think this book has the potential to be really unoriginal and disappointing, BUT I also think that if it’s done well, it will be really really good. I hold out hope for the latter. ^.^
  • Creative challenges are fun to read about. I can’t wait to see what madness she has to face for a fire trial, or how her healing skills will inevitably come in handy somehow. There’s also just so much mystery packed into the blurb that I ALREADY am dying to know: who is this queen? Who is KIVA, really??

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.