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 Release Day!

Just published: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy for yourself!

Recommended: YUP
For a high school drama that turns into a mystery that turns into an actual oh-sh*t situation, for a story of friendship and identity and isolation and trust and race, for a story where you get halfway through and wonder how it could get any more intense

Summary

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

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 Reviews

Review: Anna K Away by Jenny Lee

Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee

Recommended: sure
For a followup to the first one, for an easier read than the first one, for a short story following each character

Summary

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy–except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?

Thoughts:

I was excited to see the characters again, and particularly interested in seeing what Jenny Lee invented as a followup story since this one is not based on other material, as the first one was. The plot moves much more steadily in this than the first book, and generally each character we follow is interesting. I think people who were a bit bored in the first book but liked the characters may enjoy this one more.

Continue reading “Review: Anna K Away by Jenny Lee”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Manga Classics Othello by Crystal S Chan & Stacy King!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Othello by Stacy King & Crystal S Chan (adapted into manga format from Shakespeare with full original text) published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy for yourself!
Verdict: AMAZING as always from Manga Classics!

Recommended: YES!!
For fans of the original, for classes looking for an accessible yet faithful adaptation, for a really dope story and art that enhances it so much

Summary

A brilliant general in the service of Venice, Othello is also the new husband of the adoring – and young – Desdemona, whose innocent hero worship has blossomed into love. But can a beautiful girl, so much younger than her husband, truly be faithful? Othello’s trusted ensign Iago seems to think not. Can Othello trust him? Can Othello trust anyone? Manga Classics presents Shakespeare’s classic story of love, hate, vengeance, and betrayal, in its full, original glory! (This volume features the complete, unabridged text from the Shakespeare Play.)

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.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-ÍyímídéExpected Release: June 1, 2021
Verdict: lots of heavy topics combined with an intense drama/mystery that draws you deeper with every page

Recommended: YUP
For a high school drama that turns into a mystery that turns into an actual oh-sh*t situation, for a story of friendship and identity and isolation and trust and race, for a story where you get halfway through and wonder how it could get any more intense

Summary

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Thoughts

YEAH y’all, my overall advice is that if you read the blurb and think you might be interested? Just read it — it will probably go well. I don’t see how this could disappoint. The twists are many, and the level of mystery and secrets and intrigue is like Agatha Christia / Hercule Poirot level. I felt like a detective, trying to isolate all the clues and variables and figure out the who-dunnit mystery of it all. The story evolves into way more than that, though.

Devon and Chiamaka are both pretty comfortable with their sexuality, even as they learn more about themselves and what they like, want, need. It’s obviously a large part of the impact on Devon, as he’s forcibly outed in the first chapter and fears the repercussions from his homophobic neighborhood if the news spreads. Taking a turn into darker waters, though, both Chiamaka and Devon have much heavier events hidden in their past.

Race, trust, sexual identity…. this book is full of topics, but it’s also couched in this drama and mystery that realy sucked me in. I loved both aspects of it, and devoured this book in two days. It was that whole thing where you stay up super late because you’re so close and you just have to finish it! Any time my S.O. interrupted to ask a question, or we needed to do some chores, I was heaving a big sigh and very reluctantly putting it down.

Read the book.

Thanks to Bookishfirst and MacMillan for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Tokyo Ever After, May 18

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 Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean!
Expected Release: May 18, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Izzy is actually a Japanese princess thanks to her unknown father, and when she learns this, I imagine there will be a WHOLE LOT TO RECKON WITH. I get total Princess Diaries vibes from this, except with Japan instead of vaguely-European-Genovia.
  • When you’re a princess of Japan, you should probably visit Japan, right? So Izzy is heading on over there to meet her new-old-father as well as a country she’s inextricably tied to and yet feels so foreign. I’m always up for a trip to Japan! Throw in standard royalty/court tropes and it only gets better! 😍
  • Obviously the frenzy of learning you’re royalty AND learning about your estranged father, AND learning about a new country and culture is going to lead to a lot of soul-searching. I’m big on books with characters learning their own identity and looking at who they are and who they hope to become.

Summary

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?