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 Reviews

Review: Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: yes!
For a tale of morality and control in the face of darkness and hatred, for a superhero/antihero combo that’s exciting and thought provoking

Summary:
Nnamdi’s father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers? Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.

Thoughts:
A perfect example of having greatness thrust upon him, Nnamdi fights between what is vengeance and what is justice with his newfound powers. I love having a main character who is flawed and conflicted, but whom you like nonetheless because you can see him doing his best to make sense of the world he lives in. Coming-of-age is a lot more complicated when you’re granted otherworldly powers and a conscience for justice.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Vol. 1 by Mi Tagawa

The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Vol. 1 by Mi Tagawa – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: March 17, 2020

Recommended: yes ♥
For a sweet light story, for drama mixed with humour, for characters you’ll love

You already know you’ll love it

Summary:
Long ago, the gods granted a few special animals great powers… but not all those animals used their magical abilities for good! Senzou the Fox Spirit in particular grew too brash and arrogant, abusing his strength until the gods imprisoned him for his bad behavior. Three hundred years later, he’s finally been released, but only on one condition– he can’t have his any of his abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become an assistant to the gods. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!

Thoughts:
The light and watery art style is a perfect match to this story, because it’s overall pretty lighthearted with some moments of pain and depth for the characters to grow from. It’s pretty irresistible to have the tough bad guy’s heart slowly thawed by the adorable little fluff chub. Yet despite some character changes throughout, they also do stay true to themselves in many ways too; there’s no miraculous conversions or sudden 180s here.

I really need to emphasize how much this made me laugh, too. Not just in terms of how often I laughed, but the force of my laughter. The frog part had me laughing so hard I cried, partly because it was just so unexpected, and I re-read it several times, laughing that hard every time. In fact, I’ll probably go read it again when I’m done writing this, because it was such a pure joy.

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Posted in Reviews

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This whole illustrated series has been amazing. Can’t wait to re-live it for the trials. 😍

Recommended: of course!!!
For anyone reading for the first for fiftieth time, for everyone because the power of the art is incredible in this, adding drama without taking away from imagination

The whole thing is gorgeous, I promise

Summary:
Harry Potter wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in this case, different can be deadly.

Thoughts:
It feels weird to review a Harry Potter book, because what could I possibly say that isn’t already widely known already? So instead of a focus on the plot so much, I’ll focus on the fact that this is the illustrated version. I knew this one would be a beast, since book four is significantly longer than the ones up to this point, and sure enough it took Jim Kay, the illustrator, two years to complete rather than the one year schedule I’d grown accustomed to. I know better than to rush him or grow impatient though, because what was delivered is incredible!

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Posted in Reviews

Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Saints by Gene Luen Yang – ⭐⭐⭐
Definitely more of a foil to Bao in Boxers, full review to come.

Recommended: only if you particularly liked Boxers
This one is less impactful, I think, and serves as more of a foil to Little Bao’s story. It was also far less exciting (for me) and more focused on building the cultural feeling at the time

Would YOU guess that both characters are female?

Summary:
China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family when she’s born. She finds friendship–and a name, Vibiana–in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie…and whether she is willing to die for her faith. 

Thoughts:
My expectations for this one were wrong. I didn’t realize the narrator, our MC, was a girl, from the cover. I also didn’t realize the golden knight on the cover was ALSO a girl. Furthermore, I didn’t see the connection between Four Girl and Joan as much as I did with Little Bao and his god counterpart. Joan’s whole line sort of baffled me, and I must admit, I’m not super sure what I was intended to take away from that. Perhaps the peace and salvation faith brings, and that being what Vibiana ended up not understanding and missing in the end? Like she totally misinterpreted what Joan was supposed to be teaching her.

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Posted in Reviews

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sometimes it feels like when I boarded that plane
to fly to America
I left my heart behind,
beating and lonely on the other side of the ocean.

Recommended: Absolutely
For teachers, for students/kids probably age 10-14ish, for those who need to understand the heart of a refugee, for fans of beautiful novels in verse

Gorgeous cover to match the writing inside ♥

Summary, from Goodreads:
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

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Posted in Reviews

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Thanks to Booksirens for giving me a free copy to review!

Recommended: yes!
For advanced readers 8th grade and up, for fans of YA fantasy and creative touches in a world, and those who want happy moments in their reading

Love it! The pastel, blurry colors represent this world so well, plus are so pretty!

Summary:
Esme doesn’t believe what everyone tells her: her mother died in a shipwreck. Even years later, after her father’s wedding to a wretched new woman, Esme can’t let the mystery go. When her path leads her to a secret parallel world with enchanted waters and magic at it’s very heart, she realizes the stories her mother told her were true. Following clues through her mother’s remaining paintings, Esme’s search for her mother uncovers a darker secret about the city than anyone knew. With her friends, she has to stop the calamities affecting this world, even if it means possibly realizing her mother wasn’t who Esme always thought.

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