Recommended: yes For a generational story of understanding, for a look at recent historical Chinese eras, for a story that pierces your heart and makes you want only the best for the characters, for a blend of romance and survival and coming-of-age.
Summary Mini Pao lives with her sister and parents in a pre-war Shanghai divided among foreign occupiers and Chinese citizens, a city known as the “Paris of the East” with its contrast of vibrant night life and repressive social mores. Already considered an old maid at twenty-three, Mini boldly rejects the path set out for her as she struggles to provide for her family and reckons with her desire for romance and autonomy. Mini’s story of love, betrayal, and determination unfolds in the Western-style cafes, open-air markets, and jazz-soaked nightclubs of Shanghai—the same city where, decades later, her granddaughter Ting embarks on her own journey toward independence.
Ting Lee has grown up behind an iron curtain in a time of scarcity, humility, and forced-sameness in accordance with the strictures of Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution. As a result, Ting’s imagination burns with curiosity about fashion, America, and most of all, her long-lost grandmother Mini’s glamorous past and mysterious present. As her thirst for knowledge about the world beyond 1970s Shanghai grows, Ting is driven to uncover her family’s tragic past and face the difficult truth of what the future holds for her if she remains in China.
Happy publication day to K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa (⭐⭐⭐⭐)! To celebrate this delightful debut of the series, I did an interview with the twin-duo author, Go Futa. Their insights into their writing process and extra details on the story give a perfect taste of what you can expect from their book. Plus, they provided bonus art that’s not included in the story! Keep reading below for the full interview, then check out the full review or grab your own copy from Amazon!
Recommended: sure!! For a cute quick read, for anyone who’s all about the idol fandom, for a likable but realistic MC.
Summary: Gigi (or her rapper name, GG) is a 16-year-old from South Korea, who dreams of becoming an idol for the famed talent agency, One-Shot Entertainment. As fate would have it, Gigi is recruited as their newest trainee, but winds up in a situation far from what she ever dreamed of when she’s placed in an experimental unit group project code-named “SKS.” From there, Gigi’s new life as a K-Pop idol begins to unfold more like a K-Drama after she’s assigned to the newly defined co-ed unit SKS-7, and must adjust to working with 6 male bandmates who aren’t very thrilled by her placement in their group. Will Gigi be able to survive in SKS-7 and the world of Korean idol life, or will her dreams go up in flames as quickly as they were ignited?
Interview with Go Futa, author of K-Pop Idol Diaries
All about the book
Q: Where did it all start from? What first made you want to write this story?
Go Futa: It happened to come during K-Con NY 2017! During the concert, an idea just sparked after watching the many boy and girl groups performing – what if there were a mixture of boys and girls in one group? What would that group’s dynamics be like? During this time, we weren’t aware of the co-ed group KARD, as they hadn’t officially debuted yet, so although the idea seemed interesting while we were discussing it, we weren’t sure if it had already been done before, or if it was just farfetched. However, once KARD debuted a short time later, we resurfaced the idea seeing as it wasn’t too farfetched, and decided to develop it further. Now, we had never written a story together before, but we were both really intrigued at the idea, and we both wanted to work on it, so that’s how K-Pop Idol Diaries was born.
Recommended: yes! For those who like the supernatural-hunter kind of manga, for very clearly defined character personalities, for some intriguing lore and monsters, and of course for anyone who’s seen the Rooster Teeth production it’s based on
Summary: In the world of Remnant, monsters known as Grimm wreak havoc. They’re kept in check by Huntsmen and Huntresses, highly skilled warriors experienced in monster extermination who utilize their special abilities on the field of battle. Ruby is a ferociously talented young girl who comes to Beacon Academy to hone her skills and serve as a Huntress herself. Alongside her sister Yang Xiao Long, rival Weiss Schnee and newfound friend Blake Belladonna, Ruby leads Team RWBY, the coolest new group at Beacon! Ruby takes her first step on the road to becoming a Huntress by enrolling at Beacon Academy, eager to take on the battery of tests, challenges and difficulties that follow. Ruby knows her talents will take her to her goal, but is she ready to clash with Weiss Schnee, haughty scion of the Schnee Dust Company?
In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I use Fridays to look forward to upcoming releases that I’m excited about! Today’s is one that I actually grumbled about to myself a lot before deciding to give Girl, Serpent, Thornby Melissa Bashardoust a chance. Expected Release: July 7, 2020
Why wait on this one?
Honestly, I was against this book for a while because there has been so much hype about it — which I hate! I stubbornly didn’t even check out the blurb. I just maintained my saltiness about the title and the cover, neither of which I liked as they felt unorginal. But… then I read the blurb. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t end up sounding pretty good.
The element that intrigued me the most was the tease that this might be more of a villain sort of character storyline! I absolutely love antiheroes and villain stories. If this does indeed tilt into darkness, I will be positively gleeful! So I’m willing to give it a chance when I read a description like “she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon.”
I’m also curious about the fact that this seems to me like a twist on the sleeping beauty story with the poison spindle — except the princess is the poison. I have no idea if this is accurate or not, but with magic curses where everyone you touch dies, and demons being the only ones have answers…. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot.
Summary: There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, and I am so excited. Expected release: June 23, 2020
Why wait on this one?
After reading A Girl Like That I fell in love with Bhathena’s writing, and I’m anticipating seeing how she writes a fantasy since I’ve read her contemporary previously.
I have a tendency to love all medieval-based things, from RPGs to movies and certainly including books. I also love places that are not the one I live in. So to give me “a world inspired by medieval India” is nothing short of a delight! There will be so much to learn, even in simple things like food (with understanding that it won’t be quite 100% accurate given the type of story!).
MAGIC, Y’ALL. How many times can I shout this out? I love books with magic. ^.^ This has all the best elements: magic, mystery, vengeance, rebels… that list promises me a good time.
Recently I’ve realized just how many books I read with strong badass women in it. And, hey, I’m just going to add this one to the list! I am totally ready for the Sisters of the Golden Lotus to teach me about warrior magic.
Summary: Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.
Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.
Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
Summary: Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla is a budding female novelist who was born in the remote district of Dalir. After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces’s Ulysses and a Remington typewriter, she heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. There, she intends to become a writer. Sharing an apartment with her childhood and queer friend Jón John, Hekla comes to learn that she will have to stand alone in a small male dominated community that would rather see her win a pageant than be a professional artist. As the two friends find themselves increasingly on the outside, their bond shapes and strengthens them artistically in the most moving of ways.
Recommended: yes For a fantastic story, for a fictional story about real issues, for a way to reinforce lessons on or teach about racism and the Black experience that would work well for younger students in particular (but definitely adults, too)
Summary: It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there. Except for Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and full of acceptance. Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them. As Ethan is confronted for the first time by what it means to be Black in America, Juniper tries to help him see the beauty in even the ugliest reality, and that even the darkest days can give rise to an invincible summer.
In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae, and oh boyyyy I cannot wait! You might remember I had posted about this when I won it from Bookishfirst, but unfortunately Penguin Teen titles have been stopped for delivery since COVID19. 😦 And so I find myself eagerly awaiting the release date when I can finally read more of this amazing story! Expected Release: June 16, 2020
Why wait on this one?
One thing that will always get my attention is an interesting world of magic! In this one Zahru is a Whisperer who can talk to animals — which as cool as it is to me, is seen as a pretty useless power in a world where others can summon fire or grow plants.
A competition that is divisive even among it’s own citizens — which kind of reminds me of the hunger games, but like if it were the first hunger games in 500 years and everyone was like “I know this is an old tradition but isn’t this also kind of insane to do??” A fight to the death for the next position on the throne that culminates in a human sacrifice, while accompanied by an elite magical team? That sounds right up my alley!
The inevitable mix up… where Zahru kind of accidentally-on-purpose sneaks into the challenges posing as an impressive mage and gets selected to participate. Which could, and seems likely it will, lead to truly horrible consequences. But also I’m really rooting for her to totally swing things on their head!
The name intrigues me so much, as well as the cover. And by the way, isn’t that cover gorgeous?? I haven’t seen many covers with such a bold and striking amount of purple! So vibrant! Combined with the golden scorpion, I’m extremely curious about the meaning of the title. Cannot wait!!!
Summary: Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.
All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.
With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
Recommended: yes for people who have enjoyed her comics on social, for women who enjoy short comics that are #relatable, for anyone looking for a little smile
Summary: Cassandra Calin’s ability to document the hilarity of relatable everyday events in a series of webcomics has generated a huge following on social media. This beautifully illustrated compendium of first-person comics about the trials of the single life, school, stress, junk food, shaving, and maintaining a healthy self-image. Cassandra Calin’s comics frequently highlight the humorous gap between expectations and reality, especially when it comes to appearance and how much she can accomplish in one day. This book is funny, lighthearted, introspective, and artistically stunning—the perfect gift for young women, recent graduates, and anyone who might need a little comedic incentive to leave the house today.
In contrast to throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look ahead to books I’m excited for. Today’s book, The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso, is one I stumbled upon organically, and while I skipped it the first time I saw it, I came back later to check it out. AND I AM GLAD I DID. Expected Release: June 2, 2020
Why wait on this one?
It has magic, but dark magic, magic gone wrong. Instead of a life of prestige that Ryx should have had, her magic twists into a life-stealing shadow of what it should be. Death to everything she touches is enough of a character problem for her to deal with, but I’m sure things will only get worse for her from there. And I cannot wait.
The common plot of a kingdom in takeover, Ryx sounds like she’ll become the unlikely hero who can save her family and the kingdom entirely. This promises fights, and secrets uncovered, and probably plenty of schemes. I adore schemes.
Overall, the tone of this sounds darkly woven with intrigue and creative imagining of magic. I am really into the dark worlds of magic right now (always, really) and this sounds like it can perfectly satisfy a craving I didn’t even realize I had. 😍
Summary: The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.
Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.
Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.