Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Love in English, 2/2/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! And although I haven’t posted a Fast Forward Friday actually on a Friday in a few weeks, I’m still excited enough to post these books because I cannot let them go unnoticed! Today’s is especially one I’ve been looking forward to for months, and it’s finally almost here: Love in English by Maria E Andreu!
Expected Release: February 2, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I’m always in for stories of immigration and moving and characters who have to learn a new culture and/or figure out how to preserve their own. Ana moving from Argentina to New Jersey sounds like it will be ripe for those exact kinds of struggles. The kind where you learn a lot about yourself and the world (in a way that’s way less cheesy than I just made it sound).
  • Add in a focus on language and I’m even more in. Ana is a poet, and what poet isn’t a lover of language, with the attention to every facet that a poem requires? I’m really hoping we’ll see some beautiful portions of her poems in her native language, Spanish. And maybe that will blend with English, and maybe it won’t — either way, I’m happy to explore the world of words.
  • Ah, and of course, young love! I love love, y’all. Last night I had a dream about falling in love at first with my boyfriend all over again. I’m really into it. So when Ana gets to feel some feelings for a cute Greek boy, and a cute stereotypical-all-American boy, I’ll be riding right along with some popcorn. 🥰

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Ana has just moved to New Jersey from Argentina for her Junior year of high school. She’s a poet and a lover of language—except that now, she can barely understand what’s going on around her, let alone find the words to express how she feels in the language she’s expected to speak.

All Ana wants to do is go home—until she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class. And then there’s her new friend Neo, the Greek boy she’s partnered up with in ESL class, who she bonds with over the 80s teen movies they are assigned to watch for class (but later keep watching together for fun), and Altagracia, her artistic and Instagram-fabulous friend, who thankfully is fluent in Spanish and able to help her settle into American high school.

But is it possible that she’s becoming too American—as her father accuses—and what does it mean when her feelings for Harrison and Neo start to change? Ana will spend her year learning that the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: We Are All Birds of Uganda, 1/28/21

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! and even when it’s actually not Friday, I still want to shout about it. this one in particular, because We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hofsa Zayyan is one I’ve already been recommending to people. 😅

Expected release: January 28, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I am forever interested in reading about places I’m not familiar with, and Uganda in the 1960s is certainly one of them. For me, the setting alone was enough to interest me from the start. Historical Uganda in the midst of a regime change is enough of a plot to hold me on its own.
  • Adding a present day timeline for Sameer learning about his own family past for the first time as he travels home from London only sweetens the deal. Learning about your roots as well as the blending of two cultures are two storylines I usually love.
  • So of course I’m in it for the drama! The drama of a regime change. The drama of discovering who you are and what life you want to live. The drama of current versus past.
  • Plus a little bonus point: if the writing is as gorgeous as the title, I expect this will be like a refreshing stream of poetic prose with lush imagery abounding.

Summary

1960s UGANDA. Hasan is struggling to run his family business following the sudden death of his wife. Just as he begins to see a way forward, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.

Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a past he never knew.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: If I Tell You the Truth, 1/19/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is If I Tell You The Truth by Jasmin Kaur, which has both a gorgeous premise and a gorgeous cover.

Why wait on this one?

  • Ahhhh, a good multi-generational women’s story. With the added element of immigration, this is basically everything I love in a story. We’ll hear from Kiran and her daughter Sahaara as they tackle together longstanding secrets and painful pasts.
  • ….those secrets being not so secret to the reader, as we know that Sahaara was conceived when Kiran was raped. So that’s a pretty intense conversation for a mother and daughter to have, and the way they’ll each try to cope as well as finding their way together with this shared truth between them promises to be painful and (I hope) really really powerful with tentative hope in the face of despair.
  • Multigenre stories feel so rare. I absolutely adore books told in varying formats, or in nontraditional medium. This one is a blend of poetry, prose, and illustrations, and I can only imagine how well that will complement the story. Powerful and complex feelings sometimes need creative and non-linear forms of expression.

Summary

Told in prose, poetry, and illustration, this heartrending story weaves Kiran’s and Sahaara’s timelines together, showing a teenage Kiran and, later, her high school–aged daughter, Sahaara.

Kiran is a young Punjabi Sikh woman who becomes pregnant after being sexually assaulted by her fiancé’s brother. When her fiancé and family don’t believe her, she flees her home in India to Canada, where she plans to raise the child as a single mother. For Kiran, living undocumented means constant anxiety over finances, work, safety, and whether she’ll be deported back to the dangers that await her in Punjab.

Eighteen years later, Kiran’s daughter, Sahaara, is desperate to help her mother, who has been arrested and is facing deportation. In the aftermath, Kiran reveals the truth about Sahaara’s conception. Horrified, Sahaara encourages Kiran to speak out against the man who raped her—who’s now a popular political figure in Punjab. Sahaara must find the best way to support her mother while also dealing with the revelation about her parents.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Concrete Rose, 1/12/21

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 Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (who I feel probably doesn’t need an introduction as an author at this point).
Expected Release: January 12, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Well, of course, Angie Thomas. The fact that this is a companion novel to The Hate U Give is enough reason alone for me to want to pick it up. The first book was raw and painful and necessary. Give me more any day.
  • I trust Angie to take an honest and balanced look at life in — and after — a gang. Hearing Mav’s story has so much potential, to see how he managed to get out of the game. It was referenced so much and such a key factor in some elements of the other book, that it will be exciting to dive into his story a little more.
  • On top of that, there’s the whole unexpected-parenthood thing, which is a difficult situation to be thrown into for anyone I imagine. There are so many colliding “difficult situations” in here for Mav to deal with. I hope it doesn’t get jumbled, but I expect good things!

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: A Vow So Bold and Deadly, 1/12/21

Hey y’all! It’s the first Friday of the year, and the first day of the year! Whoo, I guess! But hey, I’m not breaking tradition just because of a page flip on a calendar: today’s Friday, and I’m looking forward to a book coming out (blessedly) soon. Saying I’m looking forward to A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer almost feels like cheating since it’s such a hugely popular release. BUT: I also never thought I would actually be interested in it! So here’s what changed my mind…

Why wait on this one?

  • Since this is the third (and final) book in the series, I’ve of course already read the other two (A Curse So Dark and Lonely and A Heart so Fierce and Broken). So obviously my first reason for being excited for this book is TO KNOW THE ENDING! We’ve come a long way in this story, and met a lot of different characters, and jumped ship probably a million times. So. Now what, Brigid?
  • I’m particularly intrigued in this book as a tiebreaker book between the first two. The styles changed dramatically from book one to book two, and we even changed character perspectives entirely (which was not a wildly popular choice for some people). So, I want to know who we’re going to hear from now! Will it be all four main-ish characters? Just two of them? Written in third person omniscient?! WHO KNOWS! I’m terribly curious to see how she’ll wrap this up
  • Remember how I said I never thought I’d actually be into this series? Well that’s because it was so obnoxiously overly hyped and popular for so long that I hated it just for that. I figured it would be a pretty generic girl-ends-up-in-faerie-land story, and boy was I wrong. I love the way Harper’s disability is just a part of who she is, instead of defining her entirely. I love the complex relationship dynamics between Grey and Rhen. Admittedly Lia Mara is not really that compelling for me, but she is now a pretty important player in the game so she better step it up. I love the world and characters now, so I’m seeing it through to the end.

summary

Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: 11 Paper Hearts

Hey y’all! I usually do these on Fridays (hence the title) but some holidays are falling on Fridays this month so… they’re a bit delayed. 😅 But nonetheless, I am still excited about this upcoming 2021 release!!! OOoooh, so shiny! 11 Paper Hearts is (hopefully) a lovely way to start off the new year.
Expected Release: January 5, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Alright, I’ll be honest, the plot relying on the whole “accident causes teenage amnesia and she has to relearn her own life” is pretty done out and, yes, cheesy AF. But. I still kinda love it. And I still want to read it. 😂
  • Falling in love, again, is also a trope I swoon for. I think falling in love with your partner daily is partly a choice, and a way to focus on the good and things you’re grateful for. Taking someone for granted seems like a fast track to the end of a relationship. So even though this is, you know, teenagers… I’m still on board.
  • Cute rom-com mystery! Who are the secret hearts from? Is it her boyfriend she doesn’t remember? Some newcomer who is emboldened at a chance with her, free of judgment? Love it up, y’all.

Summary

Ella’s life was picture perfect. She had a circle of close friends, a jam-packed social life, and an amazing boyfriend. But then something completely unexpected happened: a car accident after a Valentine’s Day dance. When Ella woke up in the hospital, she couldn’t remember the accident . . . or anything about the weeks before it, including the reason she broke up with her boyfriend.

Now, a year later, she begins receiving paper hearts from a mysterious admirer who seems to have the answers she craves. Ella is intrigued. The hearts contain clues to help Ella remember her life before . . . and take her on a journey she never imagined. Following the paper hearts is the most spontaneous thing Ella has ever done . . . but will she find love?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, 12/15

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 (well… yesterday’s, if I hadn’t forgotten what day it was) is The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson. If you like parodies and epic adventures, this may be for you too!
Expected Release: December 15, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Right off the bat, this story style draws me in. The blurb gives a sense of camaraderie, like I’m being spoken to directly by Heloise the Bard (of renowned storytelling fame). If the writing style in the rest of the book is anything like that, I’m all about it.
  • An epic adventure! Tolkien set the bar, and I love seeing new takes on familiar stories and plots by new authors. Any book with dragons is going to catch my attention, but include some wayward motley crew of travelers, joined only by one common purpose to save the land despite their humble origins? SOLD.
  • The only way to improve upon the aforementioned theme, personally, is to throw a whole lot of tongue-in-cheek twists of the usual formula into the story. I absolutely adored the whole Champions of the Dragon series which was like a spoof on The Lord of the Rings. I get the sense that The Part About the Dragon was Mostly True will have a very similar flavor of humour and drama to it. Bucking expectations while also sticking to a familiar formula to create something (somewhat paradoxically) pretty original. And at the very least, entirely delightful.

Summary

Sure, you think you know the story of the fearsome red dragon, Dragonia. How it terrorized the village of Skendrick until a brave band of heroes answered the noble villagers’ call for aid. How nothing could stop those courageous souls from facing down the dragon. How they emerged victorious and laden with treasure.

But, even in a world filled with epic adventures and tales of derring-do, where dragons, goblins, and unlicensed prestidigitators run amok, legendary heroes don’t always know what they’re doing. Sometimes they’re clueless. Sometimes beleaguered townsfolk are more hapless than helpless. And orcs? They’re not always assholes, and sometimes they don’t actually want to eat your children.

Heloise the Bard, Erithea’s most renowned storyteller (at least, to hear her tell it), is here to set the record straight. See, it turns out adventuring isn’t easy, and true heroism is as rare as an articulate villager.

Having spent decades propagating this particular myth (which, incidentally, she wrote), she’s finally able to tell the real story—for which she just so happened to have a front-row seat.

Welcome to Erithea. I hope you brought a change of undergarments—things are going to get messy.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’me xcited about! Today’s (or, well, yesterday’s since I’m a day late this time) is When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo — and the author might be familiar if you follow this blog! So, why am I excited about this one?
Expected Release: December 8, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • First and foremost, Nghi Vo’s other novella in this style was fascinating and lyrical and beautiful. It told so much story in such a short amount of time. It was a fantastic representation of all that a novella can deliver. I even had that book as a Fast Forward Friday feature as well, and I was right to anticipate it.
  • Now to be honest, I’ve only just read the blurb for the first time, because when I saw Nghi Vo I knew I would be reading it. But the blurb sounds like it will be a perfect delivery of another entrancing world. Chih has to placate yet understand a ferocious band of tigers, and I think the character’s interaction with an animal as the basis for their talents will work perfectly with the mystical writing style.
  • These are delightful bite-size stories that feel like so much more. I’m working on other reading goals right now, but for any of y’all who are hoping to hit a quota before the end of the year: this is a perfect addition. 128 pages makes it short and sweet, and Nghi Vo packs it with emotion of a 600+ page tome.

Summary

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and The Singing Hills Cycle in this mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Arctic Fury

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is one somewhat outside my usual, but that I’m curious about: The Arctic Fury by Greer Macalister.
Expected Release: December 1, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Partially set in Boston, and partially set in the wild arctic. I am forever favoring stories set in Boston, and the arctic is this symbol of untameable natural wild that can so easily destroy people. With two settings like that, I’m expecting some really incredible atmosphere. Plus, in a place like that, people are bound to go a little crazy and relationships are destined to be frayed. And since this may have ended in murder…
  • A female-focused expedition to the arctic, especially in 1853, is a big deal. I’m sure there will be some flak towards the women from the public due to how unusual it would have been at the time. Besides the social aspects of this, I’m also very curious to see what the plan was for the women in preparing for such a harsh environment in a time before so much of the technology that makes it a bit easier today.
  • This is an adventure exploration of the unknown and a murder mystery tied up into one story. What an amazing combination! I feel like with those two main stories, this is going to have something for everyone. I also already have an opinion: there’s no way anyone was murdered. It’s the freakin’ arctic. I’m sure they just froze, or got eaten by a bear, or drowned.

Summary

In early 1853, experienced California Trail guide Virginia Reeve is summoned to Boston by a mysterious benefactor who offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: lead a party of 12 women into the wild, hazardous Arctic to search for the lost Franklin Expedition. It’s an extraordinary request, but the party is made up of extraordinary women. Each brings her own strengths and skills to the expedition- and her own unsettling secrets. A year and a half later, back in Boston, Virginia is on trial when not all of the women return. Told in alternating timelines that follow both the sensational murder trial in Boston and the dangerous, deadly progress of the women’s expedition into the frozen North, this heart-pounding story will hold readers rapt as a chorus of voices answer the trial’s all-consuming question: what happened out there on the ice?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Dune – The Graphic Novel, 11/24

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to write about an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is a new adaptation of an old classic… that I have still never read. Maybe this graphic novel will be my entry point to Frank Herbert’s Dune!
Expected Release: November 24, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I’m excited to have an approachable path to this intimidating book. Though it seems to have all the elements I would enjoy — a fantastic new world, a dramatic environment, a zero-to-hero character, betrayal — I’m not 100% sure I actually WILL. A graphic novel might help bridge any barriers to writing style or dryness that could pop up in the original 600+ page prose.
  • By all expectations, this story seems like an EXCELLENT candidate for a graphic novel adaptation. The desert world alone is ripe with possibilities for stunning landscapes and stark contrasts to really breathe life into the story. Just look at the cover above! I have very high hopes for the art with this.
  • If I like this “part 1” graphic novel, I will probably read the original someday as well. It’s a good sampler, and I desperately want to read this ultimate-classic kind of book for the world of science fiction. This is like my chance to read a little taste of the overall story, but not have to commit to the entire Beast.

Summary:
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for. When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. Dune is a powerful, fanstastical tale that takes an unprecedented look into our universe, and is transformed by the graphic novel format. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s adaptation retains the integrity of the original novel, and Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín’s magnificent illustrations, along with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz, bring the book to life for a new generation of readers.