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 Reviews

Mini Reviews from August

I drafted this post ready to go on September 3rd, and then didn’t finish it until September 17th. That feels about right for the flow of time these days. πŸ˜‚ Two weeks feels like a few days at most! Anyway, here are the books from August that I didn’t get around to fully reviewing and some others that I posted for last month. πŸ™‚

Fully reviewed books

Mini reviewed books below

All book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book with the blurb & additional info!

  1. Memoirs of a Teenage Insomniac by Gabrielle Zevin
  2. Heartsongs by Matti TJ Stepanek
  3. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer
  4. Nothing Special by Katie Cook
  5. Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala
  6. Let’s Play, Season 2 by Mongie
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesia by Gabrielle Zevin

2 Sentence Summary:
Naomi hits her head hard enough to forget the last 6-ish years of her life. Now she has to re-learn her boyfriend, her best friend, her family, her studies… and herself.

This book was decent, but I feel like it tried to be too many things at one time. The plot took a wild left turn halfway through, and then softly ended where I expected it to head all along. The overall experience was a bit jarring because of that. I didn’t much like Elsewhere either, so maybe this author’s style just isn’t my fav.

Heartsongs by Mattie JT Stepanek

2 Sentence Summary:
Poetry by a child, mostly about things children know about. Also God.

As I mentioned in my monthly wrap up, I 100% did not realize this was by an actual 5 year old child. My mistake; and my disappointment. Good for elementary school or KCC, less good for an adult seeking quality, moving poetry.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

2 Sentence Summary:
Twilight, but from Edward’s point of view. Bella is more interesting, but Edward is still pretty creepy.

Frankly the reason I didn’t review this is because Angelica from The Book Cover Girls already wrote everything I would have said, and more eloquently than I could have said it. Just go read her review.

If I had to recommend between reading Twilight or this one for the story, I’d say read this one.

Nothing Special by Katie Cook

2 Sentence Summary:
A half-demon girl goes on a search in a dangerous magical land for her abruptly missing father. Her boy-who’s-a-friend from the human world comes with her, and they discover he’s also half-something-not-human as well.

I don’t know how I found this but I’m thankful as heck that I did. It’s a perfect read for feeling hopeful and sweet while still getting that excitement f adventure and a rich new world. Also there are ghost plants, and it’s the cutest damn thing ever.

Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala

2 Sentence Summary:
A woman puts her standard career on hold to listen to people’s stories full time. It’s amazing how people just need to have someone really hear them.

I thought it would be too much for me, but I did finish this Fast Forward Friday book! It was every bit as emotional and affecting as I anticipated. If you’ll notice, the two reads before and after this one were lighthearted webcomics for a reason.

Let's Play, Season 2 by Mongi

2 Sentence Summary:
A game developer and avid player works her way through attempted romances and finding her confidence. Her friends and coworkers (and trusty loyal pup) are all by her side.

This story is great because you care about all the characters in it. When there are some episodes about Marshall, or about Link, you are just as excited to read them as the ones about Sam. It’s all excellent! Funny, sweet, honest, steamy… it’s got it all! (Plus, GAMING!)

Alright y’all, I’m off to continue reading!

Sometimes it’s hard to decide which to do: read, or write about reading! Today I feel like the decision is easy though, as I have a few great books I’m in the middle of. Have a lovely day!

PS – thanks to Yu Siang Teo on Unsplash for the photo featured in the cover!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott

Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: October 1, 2020

Recommended: sure
for a lighthearted YA novel, for an MC who works on being ok with her body image, for an MC with a fairly unusual goal of being a standup comedian

Summary:
Haylah Swinton is an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an incredibly patient sister to a four-year-old nutcase of a brother. Best of all, she’s pretty confident she’s mastered making light of every situation–from her mom’s new boyfriend to unsolicited remarks on her plus-sized figure. Haylah’s learning to embrace all of her curvy parts and, besides, she has a secret: one day, she’ll be a stand-up comedian star.

So when impossibly cool and thirstalicious Leo reveals he’s also into comedy, Haylah jumps at the chance to ghost-write his sets. But is Leo as interested in returning the favor? Even though her friends warn her of Leo’s intentions, Haylah’s not ready to listen–and she might just be digging herself deeper toward heartbreak. If Haylah’s ever going to step into the spotlight, first she’ll need to find the confidence to put herself out there and strut like the boss she really is.

Thoughts:
Okay, I feel like the #1 question about this book should be “the main character wants to be a stand up comedian, so is the book funny?” and I can report that it’s more or less a yes. The plot itself is a standard YA coming of age sort of read, but the moments of specific comedic routines are funny enough. They’re delivered by high school students, so that’s the experience the material focuses on, but if you can pass yourself back to that age you can probably get a chuckle or two.

Continue reading “Review: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟) released today! Grab your own copy at Book Depository or check out the full review here!

Recommended: yessss
for big book aficionados, for a story that takes its time in unfolding, for a plot that weaves in and out and around until you’re entirely surrounded in it, for adult Paolini goodness that shows how much he’s grown as an author

Summary:
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

LiYuan Library is like reading inside a cozy tree hollow

Approaching, you wouldn’t even know it was a library or reading room. The gorgeous LiYuan library is designed with the same sticks the locals collect for fuel in the winter. It makes it blend in to the mountainside where it’s built just a five minute walk out of town.

The stick covering also creates a lush and calm atmosphere inside, with plenty of daylight softly tempered by the scattered pattern from the sticks. The rest of the interior is made of wood as well, and clever split level changes. It looks positively magical and warm; you can’t convince me this isn’t a place I’d want to stay forever. πŸ₯°

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with WHITE IVY

Progress: page 118/368 (32%)

Why did I start reading it?

I saw this on NetGalley and fell in love with the premise immediately. I mean, yes, I also loved it for the cover — that dark balance with the splashes of color was promptly intiruging — but the synopsis meant I just couldn’t resist it. And happily, I was approved for an advanced copy! So here’s your little sneak peek as well! πŸ™‚

Where have I gone?

In a word: anticipation

An ominous undertone: nothing particularly sinister has happened, but I feel like there’s a very big yet tacked on to the end of that statement. Ivy has a delightful dark side to her, tempered by a strange innocence as she is driven to be accepted by those around her

Anticipation is my word for this one so far, because the slow build of Ivy and the way life has pushed her along feels like the perfect setup for her to be teetering on a brink, hopefully soon. I can’t wait to see where she heads!!

Lines that linger

…it occurred to Ivy that paying for something in the open with money that wasn’t hers was even better than taking something for free in secret — a lesson not even Meifeng would have had the audacity to teach her.

Men always think they take the initiative but it’s women who make the first, often imperceptible move.

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 Reviews

Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Expected Release: September 15, 2020
And I don’t usually read space stories.

And this one was everything I’d hoped and more!!!

Recommended: yessss
for big book aficionados, for a story that takes its time in unfolding, for a plot that weaves in and out and around until you’re entirely surrounded in it, for adult Paolini goodness that shows how much he’s grown as an author

Summary:
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

Thoughts:
The elephant in the room is actually the book itself, because it’s about as big as an elephant. It’s about 820 pages of story, with another 50 or so pages of addenda at the end. Yes, if you decide to commit to this book, you need to really be ready to commit to this book.

And the obvious followup question is if it’s worth it. To that, I would say definitely yes, but there will probably be times when reading where it doesn’t feel it. This was a strange experience where every time I read the book, I loved it and couldn’t wait for more. But in between sessions, I almost grimaced at the thought of picking it back up again because I had been reading it for so long already! I think this is ultimately a personal issue, which I navigated by reading a few shorter books of other genres during the month-ish time that I tackled TSIASOS. If you’re the same, have a plan going in.

Continue reading “Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

September TBR: whatever comes my way!

Hey y’all!

My September tbr is kind of all over the place, and largely structured by chance. I’ve just been taking whatever shows up at my door and planning on reading that this month. It’s sort of a pleasant month with only gentle obligations that I’m more than happy to fulfill.

So if I had to give a theme for this month, it would be “it dropped into my lap.” 😁

The plan

My friend & book buddy Elise sent me a generous package of books, that I’ve already been digging into! Of these we have: BRILLIANT x5 because I’m not writing that out five times every time by Joel Golby; and THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware that I’ve been wanting to read since way before it came out and then it finally came out and I had moved on to pining for other books and so never actually read it — until now. Thank Elise!! More from her are in next month’s batch. πŸ₯°


DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OK is from the Kellogg’s feeding reading program, which I adore (both the book and the program!). This book showed up on my doorstep right when I needed it on a sad day, and I promptly devoured it. Then a day later I got an email that the book had shipped. πŸ˜…

I snagged a copy of I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT from the library, so of course I have to read it while I can. Some books just show up and you’re like, “Oh, right, I forgot I requested that” because it took for-ev-er to be available and get checked out. But now I’m excited all over again.

And, as always, my trusty journey through the stars, courtesy of Bookishfirst πŸ’™ I don’t want it to be over, because TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS is so good! (Pub on sep 15!!)

And these ones are a little more scheduled, but still just loose and floated into my TBR this month. Like GIRL, SERPENT, THORN that I featured in a Fast Forward Friday and then — again — did not immediately read. But now one of my book clubs is reading it this month, and so I shall too!

Plus I always need to sneek some nonfiction into my palate, and lately that’s been turning a lot towards travel reading. Probably no surprise considering I usually go to a few new countries a year and this year I got one in (Mexico) before the world shut down. So I’m heading to Australia with trusty Bill Bryson as my guide in DOWN UNDER, which I snagged at my favorite ever used book shop, More Than Words.

I’m almost complete on my goal to read the alphabet, and this month I’m tackling V with VERITY by Colleen Hoover. This is a weird book, where every time I read what it’s about or hear someone mention it, I’m interested, but then I immediately forget what it was about. So this time I’m just going to stop reading the caption and trust that I’ll like it; and it’s on my list for the month.

And then, finally, a possibly little gem of a request from an author: MARILIA, THE WARLORD by Morgan Cole. I can always use some more epic fantasy / badass females in my reading!


Also, I did not plan it this way, but I just realized that the amount of pictures in this post is structured to be 2, then 3, then 4. And that quite pleases me. 😁