Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim (12/7/21)

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Expected Release Date: December 7, 2021

Recommended: yesssss
For a literary story that’s still easy to read, for characters who draw you in whether you like them or not, for a dramatic and complex history of a tiny country that has seen unbelievable change very quickly

Summary

In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.

In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim’s unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation’s. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

Thoughts

The triumph in this book is the characters, and it’s a masterful example of the joy one can have in seeing people grow and change in a story. There are several characters introduced, and yet it’s never hard to remember who did what or where they left off. They fall widely within the gray areas of good and evil, and yet every one is a fascinating read with whom you can typically empathize if even in the most unexpected ways.

They bring the history of Korea to life. If you’re not familiar with it already, this will provide coherent insights into the whole saga; if you’re already familiar, you will see the visions of lives inside while it all unfolded. For many many years, Korea was ruled by others, and the victory and independence they found was conversely combined with a division that persists to this day between North and South.

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Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Replenishing the Sea of Galilee by Wagih Abu-Rish

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee: A Family Saga across Ethnicity, Place, and Religion: A Novel by Wagih Abu-Rish
Release Date: August 17, 2021

Recommended: yup!!
For folks interested in historical Palestine, for a novel about embracing female sexuality and equality, for sparse language that says a lot

Summary

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee: A Family Saga across Ethnicity, Place, and Religion: A Novel

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee is a sweeping story of love, loss and the power of loyalty in the face of conflicting ideologies and religious beliefs. The story begins in 1940s Palestine where twins Rasheed and Rasheeda Dinar work in their family inns. Educated by a Jesuit priest about the essence of his own Muslim religion, relative to love and sex, Rasheed follows closely the teachings of his mentor and includes Rasheeda, so that she learns those teachings as well.

When Rasheed falls in love with Natalia, a Jewish woman, he is able to apply what he learned from the priest to his budding relationship. However, it is the 1940s, and relations between Arabs and Jews are tense. Before long, those tensions come to a breaking point. Natalia mysteriously disappears, and Rasheed and Rasheeda are chased out of Palestine to Beirut, Lebanon.

Years pass, and though Rasheed continues to miss his beloved Natalia, he gets word of a surprising visitor—someone he didn’t even know existed. Rasheed’s life is upended, but in the most wonderful way.

As the Dinar family expands and enters the 1970s, their convictions are tested. In a dramatic final scene, the family reunites and proves once again that the thin line separating people because of their differences is powerless against the strength of family, love, and loyalty.

Thoughts:

Attracted by the historical aspect that I don’t know much about, and made all the more relevant by the forever present conflict between Palestine and Israel, I grabbed this book right up. I worried that it might be a little too literary and highbrow for me, but that was not the case. It’s a thoughtful story that spans a long period of time. I got to know the characters so so well, and I cared so much about all of them.

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

BOOK ALERT: Series finale ARCs on NetGalley from Wednesday Books!

Hey y’all! I got a very exciting email this morning, and wanted to spread the news for anyone else who would be pumped to hear it! Until 10/17/20 (EST) three series finale books are available to read immediately on NetGalley — no request needed! Wednesday Books is spreading the love for all us readers. 🥰

If you’re not familiar with NetGalley, it’s a site used by publishers to give advanced digital copies of books to readers of all kinds for early reviews and promotion. You can sign up for free at netgalley.com, and click on the links below to read the books once you’re all set up! The site is only available in some countries, and not all books are available in all places, so if any below are not available for you I’m terribly sorry for getting your hopes up, but you can still find other great reads on NetGalley! 😓😭

If you loved FABLE

I know I personally saw this book cover ALL OVER for a few months before release, because dang is it stunning! This female-led pirate adventure that began with Fable is concluding in Spring of 2021 with Namesake by Adrienne Young, but you can read a digital copy early below!

Continue reading “BOOK ALERT: Series finale ARCs on NetGalley from Wednesday Books!”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

The fated encounter of Marie Lu’s SKYHUNTER

the book

Hey y’all! I imagine by now if you’re a reader of young adult fiction or fantasy, you’ve probably seen this striking cover in a promo somewhere by now:

fascinating font. props to the designer!

Well, I’ve seen this cover for Skyhunter by Marie Lu often in the last several months and been quite torn over it. While it seemed like a no brainer book I would love — it’s by Marie Lu! It’s got a badass female MC! There are SECRETS, and maybe even a sinister plot to uncover! — for some reason I just… couldn’t commit to it. I felt so wary, like there’s something in the blurb making me think that this one, this one time, is just not for me.

fate intervenes

So since I was torn on this book — would I love it or hate it? — I didn’t request an ARC from any sites. However, then I did see a giveaway on Goodreads, and figured I would enter and leave my decision to chance. If I happened to win the giveaway, I would give it a shot. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t bother unless reviews and more info post-publication changed my mind.

And, well, I lost. Which really wasn’t surprising for such a popular book that had 8471 people enter. Which made my chances of winning 0.006 percent. 😂

So I entered again. And, I think, a third time. And I went to enter a fourth time —

the error

I got an error! Filled with mild indignant outrage, I scoured the page for the reason. Why am I being blocked from entering? Are they telling me to just give up on this book already??

“Sorry, you can’t enter this giveaway —

Continue reading “The fated encounter of Marie Lu’s SKYHUNTER”
Posted in Chatty

Bookishfirst luck…maybe?

I recently signed up for (yet another) book community / ARC site called Bookishfirst. It’s run by NetGalley but works a little differently. On NetGalley, anyone can request books that are available, and then the publisher reviews each requestor and decides if they want to give them a digital advance copy to review. On Bookishfirst, there are only a few books available each week, but anyone can enter by reading a section of the book and leaving a short blurb about what they thought. Up to 100 people are then selected to receive a full copy of the book to review (often in print).

And seriously, who can resist that vibrant cover?

I recently did my first blurb review for a book called “The Kinder Posion.” A girl who can talk to animals? Swoon. And that’s just a tiny aspect of it so far in a delicious new world of magic. I absolutely loved it, to the point where I forgot I didn’t actually have the entire book to read. When I got to the last page of the selection, I frowned and kept trying to turn to the next page, thinking something was wrong with my reading app because it wouldn’t let me. …Eventually I did realize that it was just the end of the selection they gave. 😂

With a little luck of the Irish, I checked my profile this morning to see what books were coming up next week and happened to see this little unexpected gem:

UHHHH WHAT?! 😁😎😍😄

And yes, it’s that book I was so excited to read. What amazing luck! I think? I’m not actually sure what the ratios usually are for these. I have no idea how many people use the platform, or how many on average usually enter the raffle (as you can leave a blurb but choose not to enter if you didn’t like the story), or how many people usually win each raffle.

So really, I have no idea if this WAS lucky, or if this is actually pretty common. Either way I’m thrilled to get a copy of this amazing magical story come early-May.

PS – if you want to sign up for Bookishfirst as well and see if you get lucky, feel free to use my referral code to get 100 bonus points when you sign up. You use points to claim for-sure copies of books you’re interested in and skip the chances of a raffle, so the more points the better! 🙂

Bookishfirst Referral Code: b0fba8d82506fa393