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: This is My America (7/28)

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to upcoming releases I’m excited about! Today’s book is This is My America by Kim Johnson, which feels remarkably appropriate for the way society is here in the US right now.
Expected release: July 28, 2020

Why wait on this one?

I adore this clever cover
  • On the fiction side of this, we have the mystery at its heart. Why is Tracy’s brother being accused of murder? What role did he actually play in the event, if any? Will Tracy ever succeed in helping acquit her father as an innocent man?
  • On the more real side of this, we have the painful realism of how Black people in America are treated by law enforcement and the government in general. This book sounds like it will bluntly face the injustices and blatantly shitty things that are handed to Black people. I’m always trying to learn more about the reality of all people, and reading is one way I do so.
  • I fully expect this book to make me feel lots and lots of emotions. I know I will probably cry. And rage. And end feeling exhausted. But those are important things to feel, because for others (too many others) it’s their daily existence and not just a novel they can turn the last page on.

Summary:
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Well Behaved Indian Women

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave. I have hope that the title will be quickly revealed as a sham, and these women will in fact be a little bit less well-behaved, to their own benefits. 😁
Expected Release: July 14, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I’ve come to love books that are multi-generational, as they give a fascinating look at how culture and people change over time. When done well, the weave of different moments in time blends beautifully to create a robust picture of life.
  • This sounds like it will be a combo of hard situations and family support. The kind of thing where they start off at odds with each other, and slowly come to realize they can depend on each other. I hope they’ll learn that each is more than just who she is to them: more than just a mother, a daughter, etc.
  • And, okay, yes, I am excited to hear the juicy details of each woman’s struggles and inner turmoil that she carries and tries to deal with on her own. But I’m also interested in seeing how those burdens come to shape their relationships with each other for the better. Drama and secrets!

PS – I think this book will remind me a bit of The Unlikely Adventure of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. If that’s the case, then it will certainly be a delight.


Summary:
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Hunted By The Sky

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, and I am so excited.
Expected release: June 23, 2020

Why wait on this one?

OH LORD, THAT COVER IS GORG!
  • After reading A Girl Like That I fell in love with Bhathena’s writing, and I’m anticipating seeing how she writes a fantasy since I’ve read her contemporary previously.
  • I have a tendency to love all medieval-based things, from RPGs to movies and certainly including books. I also love places that are not the one I live in. So to give me “a world inspired by medieval India” is nothing short of a delight! There will be so much to learn, even in simple things like food (with understanding that it won’t be quite 100% accurate given the type of story!).
  • MAGIC, Y’ALL. How many times can I shout this out? I love books with magic. ^.^ This has all the best elements: magic, mystery, vengeance, rebels… that list promises me a good time.
  • Recently I’ve realized just how many books I read with strong badass women in it. And, hey, I’m just going to add this one to the list! I am totally ready for the Sisters of the Golden Lotus to teach me about warrior magic.

Summary:
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Tiananmen 1989

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes, told from a man who was helping to organize the Tiananmen protests on June 4th, 1989.
Expected Release: June 16, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • This is about an event I know too little about: the Tiananmen square massacre, or June 4th Event. Considering how arguably recent this was, it’s pretty weird that I know so little about it, so I’m taking my education into my own hands.
  • This is told from the experiences of Lun Zhang, the Chinese sociology teacher who was helping to organize the protest. I hope to get an authentic insight that isn’t filtered through a Westernized lens; allow the culture to be shown genuinely the way it felt for the people living it and let those voices be heard.
  • I think I’ve made it clear by now that I love graphic novel memoirs. In general, I think the format is well-suited to difficult realities, particularly historical ones. I don’t know much about this incident, except that it was awful. I expect the image aspect of this to carry some of the storytelling burden.
  • It feels like a good time to learn about this event specifically, given the many protests happening now in my own country seeking political reform (particularly around police brutality). I’m not too familiar with the background of the event, but I believe that I’ll see connections between Tiananmen and modern-day America in the activist movements and what people are trying to change.

Follow the story of China’s infamous June Fourth Incident — otherwise known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre — from the first-hand account of a young sociology teacher who witnessed it all.

Over 30 years ago, on April 15th 1989, the occupation of Tiananmen Square began. As tens of thousands of students and concerned Chinese citizens took to the streets demanding political reforms, the fate of China’s communist system was unknown. When reports of soldiers marching into Beijing to suppress the protests reverberated across Western airwaves, the world didn’t know what to expect. Lun Zhang was just a young sociology teacher then, in charge of management and safety service for the protests. Now, in this powerful graphic novel, Zhang pairs with French journalist and Asia specialist Adrien Gombeaud, and artist Ameziane, to share his unvarnished memory of this crucial moment in world history for the first time. Providing comprehensive coverage of the 1989 protests that ended in bloodshed and drew global scrutiny, Zhang includes context for these explosive events, sympathetically depicting a world of discontented, idealistic, activist Chinese youth rarely portrayed in Western media. Many voices and viewpoints are on display, from Western journalists to Chinese administrators. Describing how the hope of a generation was shattered when authorities opened fire on protestors and bystanders, Tiananmen 1989 shows the way in which contemporary China shaped itself.

bonus! sample page from the book courtesy of Edelweiss
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Kinder Poison

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae, and oh boyyyy I cannot wait! You might remember I had posted about this when I won it from Bookishfirst, but unfortunately Penguin Teen titles have been stopped for delivery since COVID19. 😦 And so I find myself eagerly awaiting the release date when I can finally read more of this amazing story!
Expected Release: June 16, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • One thing that will always get my attention is an interesting world of magic! In this one Zahru is a Whisperer who can talk to animals — which as cool as it is to me, is seen as a pretty useless power in a world where others can summon fire or grow plants.
  • A competition that is divisive even among it’s own citizens — which kind of reminds me of the hunger games, but like if it were the first hunger games in 500 years and everyone was like “I know this is an old tradition but isn’t this also kind of insane to do??” A fight to the death for the next position on the throne that culminates in a human sacrifice, while accompanied by an elite magical team? That sounds right up my alley!
  • The inevitable mix up… where Zahru kind of accidentally-on-purpose sneaks into the challenges posing as an impressive mage and gets selected to participate. Which could, and seems likely it will, lead to truly horrible consequences. But also I’m really rooting for her to totally swing things on their head!

The name intrigues me so much, as well as the cover. And by the way, isn’t that cover gorgeous?? I haven’t seen many covers with such a bold and striking amount of purple! So vibrant! Combined with the golden scorpion, I’m extremely curious about the meaning of the title. Cannot wait!!!


Summary:
Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season

Unlike Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader. A generational story of women trying to connect and find themselves among each other, it takes place on a cherry farm in Northern Michigan where the main character and her daughter have fled to an estranged aunt for unknown — but seemingly dark — reasons.
Expected release: June 9, 2020

  • I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting things new to me that I”ll learn from this book. Most simply, what a cherry farm entails, and what life is like in Northern Michigan. Two things I know little about, that will at the very least be something new!
  • I’ve been trying to read more stories about women and generational stories. They aren’t my usual style, but I’ve really enjoyed some, so I’m pushing myself to keep trying them. With an estranged aunt, single mother, and young daughter, this pretty easily fits the bill.
  • My interest is undeniably piqued by the description of someone having a terrible secret, because we always get to try sniffing out what the secret is before the big reveal. Then after the big reveal, we usually get the pleasure of forgiveness and redemption. Basically, a whole lot of cathartic emotion that is a wonder to live through vicariously. Without the requirement of my own terrible secret. 😉

Summary:
Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from the stories of her late mother. So when she arrives at the northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met. Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Beach Read

Unlike Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look ahead to books publishing soon that I’m excited for! For once, the hype around Beach Read by Emily Henry hasn’t pushed me away, and in fact has continued to draw me in.
Expected Release: May 19, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • It’s a rarity for me, because I’m for once kind of drawn in by the hype! I’ve heard so much about this book, seen it all over bookstagram, and it’s even in the SRC2020 line up. Usually that drives me away from a book, but this one I’m still pushing for!
  • It’s entirely possible that I won’t be able to do much actual beach reading this summer depending on how COVID19 continues around here and what regulations are in place. This is my way of living vicariously in a slightly wry way.
  • Reading books about authors or librarians or booksellers always feels familiar in a way. I guess people who love to read especially love to read about people who love to read. That’s kind of a confusing sentence to read but I stand by it!
  • As I’ve said, I’ve seen this book all over, and honestly the reviews are encouraging. I’m hoping for the promised blend of romance and personal discovery, and that’s largely what people have reported. I like books and romances in particular where the character’s define themselves by more than how they feel about each other.

Summary:
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.