Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Love and Olives, 11/10

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 Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch, which is another choice that should be no surprise to anyone who knows my reading habits. 😁
Expected release: November 10, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Alright, my first reason for wanting to read this is a simple one: I’ve read one of her past books in this “series” and loved it! Like Love & Gelato. I love both of those things, so how could I resist a book about it?? To be fair I don’t love olives, but I’m willing to overlook that fact for the sake of the book. ^.^
  • Now more than ever I’m aggressively pursuing sweet lighthearted stories that I just really need right now OKAY? And this story of Liv meeting her father basically for the first time in her life and trying to fit in her own image of herself and family and all the confusion that comes with identity struggles PLUS she’s in another country AND there’s this guy…
  • Remember that part above where she’s in another country? Liv goes to GREECE! This feels fitting, because the first trip abroad I took was to Italy & Greece, so this will complete the duo of my experiences with Welch’s books. And again, y’all, I usually travel so much. This year, I got one trip in before everything closed. I’m so grateful for that one trip, but now I”m trying to make up for the rest with books. So please, Mx. Welch, take me away to sunny, sandy, Santorini!!! 🤩

Summary:
Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity.

But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle.

And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Instant Karma, 11/3

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 Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer, which should probably be a surprise to zero people who are familiar with my reading habits and this book.
Expected release: November 3, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • A judgy girl has to challenge her own prejudices. Plus, come on, who doesn’t sometimes just want life to be more fair? Good deeds rewarded? Or at least, bad deeds aren’t punished?
  • Enemies to lovers? Yes please! Sometimes I end up choking on it when the people are both actually terrible people. But I always go in hoping that I’ll enjoy it.
  • It’s Marissa Meyer. It’s really hard for me to resist Marissa Meyer. Plus I think it will be interesting to read her first go at a contemporary book, albeit with still a bit of magic involved.

Summary:
Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday, on Sunday! Phoenix Extravagant, 10/20

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! However… today is Sunday. Because this week got a little bit hectic. 😂 On the bright side, now there’s even fewer days to wait until this week’s feature, Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee, comes out!
Expected Release: October 20, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • A dramatic story of the art of war. But… literally. Gyen is just a painter, until they’re conscripted to use their artistic skills to paint the war sigils needed for the army. The reluctant savior who uncovers deeply covered secrets.
  • Oh, and did I mention that the soldiers are automatons, and the sigils animate them? It’s a robot army! Sort of! But magic regardless of what category you want to throw it into, so you know I’m all about it. Always with the magic, please. 😍
  • A renegade in pursuit of justice at all costs — and particularly when in defiance of their own government or ruling system — will probably forever appeal to me. Although lately it’s a little but uncomfortable and depressing because of how real it feels. Like, we could probably do with a dragon-stealing magic-wielding avenger right about now in the US. Or probably like four years ago.
  • I’m also trying to get better at using they as a singular pronoun and while I’m just about to the point where I don’t think twice about it, reading a book with a nonbinary character probably can’t hurt. 😄

Summary:

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.

One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.

But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight…

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Phantom of the Opera graphic novel, 10/20!

In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is a familiar story for many, I’m sure, but told in a new way: The Phantom of the Opera by Varga Tomi!
Expected Release: October 20, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • It’s a story I know and love, and I am happy to hear it again. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that. I’m not worried about there being changes I dislike because I’m happy to see a new interpretation, if that’s the way they go.
  • The Phantom story lends itself well to stunning visuals. Have you seen the musical?! So having the story in a graphic novel format seems pretty much perfectly fitting for it. A focus on the visual part should do this story justice.
  • As a tagalong point to above, I’m really excited for moody, dark tones right now, and this is nothing if not exactly that. If I have time, I might even grab a copy on pub day to try to add it to this month’s spooky tbr list!

Summary:
Everyone has heard the whispered tales of the phantom who lives beneath the opera house, the mysterious trickster behind all the little mishaps and lost things. But no one has ever seen the monster . . . until now. When the promise of blossoming love lures him out from his intricately constructed hideaways in the labyrinthine building’s walls and cellars, a hideously disfigured artist trains the lovely Christine to be the opera’s next star for a steep price. Does she choose her newfound success or her beloved Count Raoul? This doomed love triangle threatens to combust when a tragic death, a series of betrayals, and increasingly dangerous accidents cast the players of The Palais Garnier into a heart-wrenching horror story that will echo through the ages.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Hush, 10/6!

In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is one I stumbled upon quite randomly and feels very mysterious to me: Hush by Dylan Farrow.

Why wait on this one?

  • Honestly, reading the blurb for this book doesn’t give me much substance of what to expect from it plot-wise. The one thing that’s very clear to me, though, is that there will be magic. When benign words suddenly get a capital letter, you know they carry some weight. So personally I’m excited to know why Bards and Telling get that honor.
  • The blurb also hints at the MC, Shae, having some newly discovered powers of her own. I have no idea what that might look like, but I am rarely disappointed by someone becoming a badass and learning what they’re capable of!
  • And with great power comes great responsibility, right? So secrets and conspiracies are just part of the package. I”m really hoping that this blurb is so vague because there’s SO MUCH packed into the story that they really don’t want to give anything away. And oh, I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: A Thousand Questions, 10/6

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi, and if you want something light and wholesome, here it is!!
Expected Release: October 6, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I love going anywhere, and since I can only travel in books right now, I’m delighted to join Mimi on her trip to Pakistan to meet her long-distant grandparents. Having a main character who doesn’t know much about the country despite her ties there helps provide a bridge for me, since there’s a lot I wouldn’t know about living there either.
  • I’m a sucker for a nice happy story about friendship and learning to understand each other. Mimi x Sakina (love that name!) sounds like a friendship I can get behind. I already want to know them and see them succeed and work together and bond… and they’re just characters in a book. 😂
  • It might only be a small part, but there’s a language aspect to this book as Sakina is torn between learning English to go to school or staying at her job to help her family. I’m sure it will be a difficult situation, but I still can’t wait to see her work through it. Plus, language! Love it! I hope there are some delightful little mixups as they each learn. ^.^

Summary:
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Ties That Tether, 9/29

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 one that is hard to miss with it’s striking cover, Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo, featuring a Nigerian Canadian woman who’s done with her series of parental setups and stumbles upon a chance man of her own.
Expected Release: September 29, 2020

  • What’s better than an unexpected romance? I dare say most people don’t expect much to come from a one-night stand after that one night, but Azere finds a whole lot more of a connection with Rafael. I think this will be a delightful fall into love and I can’t wait to be there for it. ^.^
  • As if new love wasn’t fraught enough, Azere also has to worry about her cultural navigation in this new relationship. Dating a guy who doesn’t share her ethnicity can have it’s own difficulties, but she also has to deal with a family that’s big on preserving heritage. AKA – you’re Nigerian, so you’d better be dating a Nigerian, even if you move to Canada! This is two cultures I’ll get to learn about!
  • Basically, this whole thing sounds like a plot basis I know and love. A sweetly developing romance; a culture I’ll get to learn about; an immigrant’s work to navigate her past and her future; Canada; it’s got it all!

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Smash It!, 9/22

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 one that I think people will probably have heard of before now because it’s getting a good amount of attention. if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, let me introduce you to Smash it! by Francina Simone.
Expected Release: September 22, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • This is pitched as a story concept that is pretty familiar, but one I never get tired of hearing. When someone — particularly a young woman — stops being quiet and meek and starts standing up for herself and doing what she wants without unwarranted fear or societal shame? That is like my favorite read ever.
  • I think this will be one of those books that makes you cheer for the main character and get a burst of pure community and support for another person. It also makes you want to take life by the horns and just do all the things you’ve ever been nervous to do. Quit your job! Move to Korea! Ask out your cute coworker! These may or may not be personal examples. Let’s move on.
  • Honestly, the cover and description and tagline and title — they did a great job marketing this!!! Zoom in on that cover. The detail is incredible and you can really see it on her fingers and hair and face. The tagline is “mistakes were made” and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make me grin and smile indulgently and want to know for all the life of me what mistakes were made. And come on, a title with an exclamation point? I am all about it. We do not have enough of those. Marketing team: seriously, well done, because this is a perfect example of how to do it right.

Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts–why, God, why?–she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list–a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold–do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys–and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: How It All Blew Up, 9/22

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 one that I read a sample of and was immediately taken in by the clear character voice and the format: How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi.
Expected Release: September 22, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • At this point so much has been written that sometimes it’s hard to do something new, but How It All Blew Up is based on the premise of Amir having to tell his story to a Customs Officer to avoid… something that he’s being accused of, probably terrorist stuff considering he’s Muslim. A mix of flashbacks to his story and entries of him talking to the customs officer, I certainly don’t think I’ve read a story with this combo before!
  • Just from the small bit I read, I already love Amir. He’s absolutely hilarious, and his one-sided dialogues with the customs officer are so, so funny in their awkward sincerity. I don’t know how any of them could accuse him of something violent. The character voice is so strong, and it’s so hard not to lean in to hear more.
  • The complexities of coming out to your family are almost never easy, but to do so when your family believes that being gay is a sin against humanity and crime against God… I imagine it makes things just a smidge more difficult. Which is why Amir ran away to Rome instead of coming clean. Obvious fix, right?

Summary:
Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?

Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Grown, 9/15/20

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 one that I’ve seen around a lot — and it’s hard to miss the bright yellow cover for Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson.
Expected Release: September 15, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I find myself more interested in murder mysteries lately, and this one promises to deliver! The best part is that since Enchanted doesn’t remember anything about the night before, she becomes an unreliable narrator. What if she did kill her mentor, the super popular Korey Fields?
  • Since Korey is a celebrity and Enchanted is striving to be one, this murder takes on a national spotlight. As if being accused of murder wasn’t difficult enough, Enchanted is going to face hordes of fans who will be out for blood. Probably literally, given the things actual people do. That alone is truly horrifying.
  • And sure, Korey was popular, but did he hide a darker side from his fans (much like Ellen DeGeneres may have?)? Described by Enchanted as controlling and filled with rage, I can’t wait to see what the real face of the devil looks like in this YA thriller. Maybe Enchanted did kill Korey — and maybe he deserved it.

Summary:
Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.