Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Last Chance Library, 8/31/21!

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 Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson.
Expected Release: August 31, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A book about libraries or librarians is catnip for a certain kind of reader: the kind who is me. And many other female contemporary-lit readers. (And probably many others because libraries are dope!) So honestly, even from the name I was giving this one a smile.
  • Classic plot of saving the piece of the town that’s historical and locally loved and maybe a little shabby but in a cozy way.
  • Plus enter an old flame? All the chances for redemption and starting over (yet with a delicious shared history) are June’s to embrace!
  • AND IT’S SET IN ENGLAND. A “sleepy English village” is practically required to host this story.
  • Honestly everything about this sounds not particularly unique or original, but like a new reiteration of a classic tale that I can’t wait to read despite knowing what happens at the end. It’s the journey and the comfort of a happily ever after type ending (I assume!! not a spoiler!!).

Summary

Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.

Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer’s feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won’t believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.

To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she’s determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: A Midwinter Match, 8/19/21!

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 A Midwinter Match by Jane Lovering!
Expected Release: August 19, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • This first reason is pretty hyper-local for me, but nonetheless: my town is in the middle of a heatwave. It’s been over 100 for a few days in a row which is EXTRAORDINARILY RARE and it’s even a bit too hot for me. 😅 So thinking about anything “midwinter” is actually not sounding so bad right now! The cover looks like it was drafted straight from Boston Gardens so I love it already! (It’s York, though, so… not Boston. But still!) xD
  • I assume it will end up being a to-lovers story, but I’m intrigued about the “enemies” bit! Since Ruby and Zac have to compete against each other to keep the one position remaining that they each currently have, it’s more of a circumstantial problem than a personal dislike of each other. That sounds much harder to navigate, and like it has options for exploring a lot of real-life difficulty.
  • Zac is being painted as the happy-to-cover-a-tragic-past character, which I’m a little bleh on, but I’m often drawn to women who have their life go wildly off plan and then change things up to recreate their own true happiness. According to books, this is bound to happen to me within about 5 years so I better get some ideas on how to handle it now from Ruby. 😁

Summary

Ruby Oldbridge needs to learn to take her own advice. A brilliant counsellor at work in York, she is however floundering in her own life. Her romantic track record is woeful, her finances are in a pickle, and she’s back in a house-share after splitting up with her useless ex. But one thing Ruby is brilliant at, is helping other people find a way through their problems, and she excels at the job she loves, doing just that. 

Happy-go-lucky, Mr Positivity, Zac Drewe also loves his job – the trouble is, it’s the same as Ruby’s, and the management have decided to ‘rationalise’ their department. There’s only room for one of them.

As the snow and winter close in on York, Ruby and Zac have everything to lose, and Ruby starts to wonder if the happy face Zac shows the world, might be disguising a sadder secret.  Set against one another, they are unlikely friends. But perhaps, if they could take the time to understand each other, they might discover that rather than rivals, they could be the best thing that ever happened to one another… 

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch, 8/3!

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 Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch by Julie Abe!
Expected Release: August 3, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • s Well it’s a sequel, so it’s a clear connection that I’m just interested in returning to the characters, the story, and the overall world! Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch was an unexpected delight that I heard of by recommendation, and I’m so glad I did!
  • I actually remember the first book fairly well even though I read it a while ago at this point, and that means I’m excited to see where the story goes from here! If I remember a book a time after, that’s a strong sign that something was done right with it.
  • Eva’s constant clever fixes and ways to work the physical in with magic are so fun to discover. It’s like watching a detective or magician work. I get a little thrill each time she solves a problem by thinking decisively outside the box.

Summary

From this day forward, we will believe in the impossible.

Eva Evergreen has fulfilled her dream of earning the rank of Novice Witch, and discovered the chilling truth behind the mysterious Culling — the violent magical storm wreaking havoc across Rivelle Realm.

Revealing the truth, however, proves to be a difficult task and soon the culprit is at large. To make matters worse Eva learns what might be the horrible truth behind her pinch of magic and her mother’s own mysterious connection to the Culling and rogue magic.

With her spirits at an all-time low, Eva must muster up the courage to prove her mother’s innocence and learn to believe in her own magic, if she wishes to put a stop to the Culling once and for all.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver, 7/29

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 I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver
Expected Release: July 29, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • The simplest thing that drew my attention is that it’s nonfiction. There’s certain nonfiction that I really love when I find it, and I’m hoping this will be one to add to the list.
  • I think I’ll love it because it’s a story of immigration and learning new cultures. I always go for those as I love hearing perspective’s different than my own, and Margarita’s perspective of a young adult in the 1980s is already pretty different. Then add in that she’s attempting to leave Soviet Russia with her family and get to America, and that’s quite a different story than my own. It’s one I’m definitely interested in hearing, as I haven’t read much by Russian immigrants and am not super familiar with the time.
  • 3 I have to assume from the title and blurb that Margarita is telling her story with a bit of humour. There’s always some humour when you’re learning a whole new culture, and I appreciate when folks can slip some in around the colder difficulties that also come with immigration. I’m happy to learn and empathize, but I also do love a cheeky laugh at the harmless miscommunications and discoveries!

Summary

Fake an exit visa, fool the Soviet authorities, pack enough sausage to last through immigration, buy a one-way Aeroflot ticket, and the rest will sort itself out. That was the gist of every Soviet-Jewish immigrant’s plan in the 1980s, Margarita’s included. Despite her father’s protestations that they’d get caught and thrown into a gulag, she convinced her family to follow that plan.

When they arrived in the US, Margarita had a clearly defined objective – become fully American as soon as possible, and leave her Soviet past behind. But she soon learned that finding her new voice was harder than escaping the Soviet secret police.

She finds herself changing her name to fit in, disappointing her parents who expect her to become a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker and a classical pianist – all at the same time, learning to date without hang-ups (there is no sex in the Soviet Union), parenting her own daughter ‘while too Russian’, and not being able to let go of old habits (never, ever throw anything away because you might use it again). Most importantly, she finds that no matter how hard you try not to become your parents, you end up just like them anyway.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Today: She Who Became The Sun, 7/20

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 She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, and it’s actually publishing TODAY. I missed my post about it for Friday, but I’m really so excited about this one that I still wanted to include it! So here’s what to look forward to, and you don’t even have to wait! 😊
Expected Release: today! July 20, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Ancient Asian countries are always a great setting for me. The cultures have been around and developed for so long in China particularly that I feel like it’s just rife with fascinating content and moments in time to explore.
  • It’s like Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, except probably way more dramatic and definitely not a comedy. The “worthless girl child” ends up slipping into her brother’s place after he dies with the goal of attaining some freedom for herself and the power to actually do something in her life. She IS attempting to hide from fate though, and I’m not sure even a monastery can help with that. We shall see, I suppose?!
  • Ah, let’s just watch Zhu destroy everything that dares oppose her. I assume she’ll have some great cunning and shockingly rebellious ways (in the eyes of the authorities, I’m sure). To be honest, I’m getting vibes like from Marilia, the Warlord by Morgan Cole, and if that ends up being accurate, I won’t be mad.

Summary

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, 7/13

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 Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.
Expected Release: July 13, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Even though I’m not a fan of horror, even I am intrigued by the premise for this one! A group of women who have survived horrific scenes of murder meet regularly to help each other cope with what they’ve lived through. Unfortunately, now someone is targeting their group, seeming determined to bring an end to each of these women who survived the first time.
  • Although I haven’t read anything by Hendrix yet, I had an eye out of The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires when it came out. Whether that one or this one, I’m certainly going to be reading something by Hendrix this year!
  • Judging by some of the author’s personal blog posts and shared items, I think he’ll have a dark sense of humor that, if brought to the story, will be a wicked delight (and potentially make me cackle).

Summary

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

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.