Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Phantom of the Opera graphic novel, 10/20!

In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is a familiar story for many, I’m sure, but told in a new way: The Phantom of the Opera by Varga Tomi!
Expected Release: October 20, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • It’s a story I know and love, and I am happy to hear it again. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that. I’m not worried about there being changes I dislike because I’m happy to see a new interpretation, if that’s the way they go.
  • The Phantom story lends itself well to stunning visuals. Have you seen the musical?! So having the story in a graphic novel format seems pretty much perfectly fitting for it. A focus on the visual part should do this story justice.
  • As a tagalong point to above, I’m really excited for moody, dark tones right now, and this is nothing if not exactly that. If I have time, I might even grab a copy on pub day to try to add it to this month’s spooky tbr list!

Summary:
Everyone has heard the whispered tales of the phantom who lives beneath the opera house, the mysterious trickster behind all the little mishaps and lost things. But no one has ever seen the monster . . . until now. When the promise of blossoming love lures him out from his intricately constructed hideaways in the labyrinthine building’s walls and cellars, a hideously disfigured artist trains the lovely Christine to be the opera’s next star for a steep price. Does she choose her newfound success or her beloved Count Raoul? This doomed love triangle threatens to combust when a tragic death, a series of betrayals, and increasingly dangerous accidents cast the players of The Palais Garnier into a heart-wrenching horror story that will echo through the ages.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Hush, 10/6!

In contrast to Throwback Thursdays, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is one I stumbled upon quite randomly and feels very mysterious to me: Hush by Dylan Farrow.

Why wait on this one?

  • Honestly, reading the blurb for this book doesn’t give me much substance of what to expect from it plot-wise. The one thing that’s very clear to me, though, is that there will be magic. When benign words suddenly get a capital letter, you know they carry some weight. So personally I’m excited to know why Bards and Telling get that honor.
  • The blurb also hints at the MC, Shae, having some newly discovered powers of her own. I have no idea what that might look like, but I am rarely disappointed by someone becoming a badass and learning what they’re capable of!
  • And with great power comes great responsibility, right? So secrets and conspiracies are just part of the package. I”m really hoping that this blurb is so vague because there’s SO MUCH packed into the story that they really don’t want to give anything away. And oh, I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott (⭐⭐⭐) published today! Grab a copy from Book Depository or check out the full review here.

Recommended: sure
for a lighthearted YA novel, for an MC who works on being okay 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.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

The book cover made me do it

Hey y’all!

About two years ago, I stumbled on a book on Hoopla called A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan. It was billed as a sort of King Midas story, but where his daughter is the one still suffering from his past curse. I was pretty intrigued, and the book had no wait, so I gave it shot!

It was solidly ok. I finished it, but it’s not one I recall very fondly. Even right after finishing it, I remember feeling pretty underwhelmed. I wish I remembered the exact reasons better now, but alas, I wasn’t so good about recording my book thoughts back then. 🙂 It was probably because it was a seafaring adventure, and that just doesn’t usually do it for me.

Cue a few days ago when something shiny caught my eye: the pretty new cover for the unexpected sequel, A Curse of Gold. And I found myself checking it out, considering it, even though I distinctly remember being not that into the first one. 😂 Why does this happen? Why am I returning to considering a sequel (that isn’t really exciting me, by the way) of a book that I was lukewarm on at best?

In a rare ocurrence for me… I blame the cover.

Look at the shine and sparkle! I can just picture a lovely embossed cover… When I finished the first book, I thought I certainly wouldn’t be reading a sequel. And yet, here comes the sequel, and here comes me checking out the sequel. 😂 TBD on if I actually decide to go for it…

Continue reading “The book cover made me do it”
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 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 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: How It All Blew Up, 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 read a sample of and was immediately taken in by the clear character voice and the format: How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi.
Expected Release: September 22, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • At this point so much has been written that sometimes it’s hard to do something new, but How It All Blew Up is based on the premise of Amir having to tell his story to a Customs Officer to avoid… something that he’s being accused of, probably terrorist stuff considering he’s Muslim. A mix of flashbacks to his story and entries of him talking to the customs officer, I certainly don’t think I’ve read a story with this combo before!
  • Just from the small bit I read, I already love Amir. He’s absolutely hilarious, and his one-sided dialogues with the customs officer are so, so funny in their awkward sincerity. I don’t know how any of them could accuse him of something violent. The character voice is so strong, and it’s so hard not to lean in to hear more.
  • The complexities of coming out to your family are almost never easy, but to do so when your family believes that being gay is a sin against humanity and crime against God… I imagine it makes things just a smidge more difficult. Which is why Amir ran away to Rome instead of coming clean. Obvious fix, right?

Summary:
Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?

Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Last Story of Mina Lee, 9/1/20

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! This one, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, is pretty in keeping with my love of learning about other’s experiences and particuarly about Korean experiences.
Expected release date: September 1, 2020

  • Unsurprisingly, I’m excited about this because it’s an Asian female familial generational story. While that feels really specific, I realized I love these as I’ve been reading more in the past few months! (Ex. Unbound, The Joy Luck Club)
  • This also seems like its going to be two books in one, in a good way. I get the mystery with Margot around her mother’s death, and I get the love story probably gone wrong with Mina back in her youth. Watching the two intertwine and fitting the clues to the facts is so satisfying.
  • As I get older, I grow to appreciate how parents are still just people. Learning about your parents, the history you never knew, the secrets hidden behind the titles of mom or dad, I find it fascinating now. Learning Mina’s story through the context of Margot’s revelations will require Margot to retrofit her understanding of her mother with the new background. And also, like, who killed her???
  • The historical context of immigrating to the US and the difficulties that can come with it will reflect easily onto current day, I believe. Empathy when reading is a draw for me, as is learning about history and lives that I have never undergone (and likely never would).

Summary:
Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.