Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: This is My America (7/28)

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to upcoming releases I’m excited about! Today’s book is This is My America by Kim Johnson, which feels remarkably appropriate for the way society is here in the US right now.
Expected release: July 28, 2020

Why wait on this one?

I adore this clever cover
  • On the fiction side of this, we have the mystery at its heart. Why is Tracy’s brother being accused of murder? What role did he actually play in the event, if any? Will Tracy ever succeed in helping acquit her father as an innocent man?
  • On the more real side of this, we have the painful realism of how Black people in America are treated by law enforcement and the government in general. This book sounds like it will bluntly face the injustices and blatantly shitty things that are handed to Black people. I’m always trying to learn more about the reality of all people, and reading is one way I do so.
  • I fully expect this book to make me feel lots and lots of emotions. I know I will probably cry. And rage. And end feeling exhausted. But those are important things to feel, because for others (too many others) it’s their daily existence and not just a novel they can turn the last page on.

Summary:
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa, PLUS exclusive interview and bonus artwork!

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.

Continue reading “Just Published: K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa, PLUS exclusive interview and bonus artwork!”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Girl, Serpent, Thorn

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, Thorn by 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.
  • PS – this book was originally titled She Was and She Was Not

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.

Posted in Reviews

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – ⭐⭐
The fact that so many people rave about this book and list it as a favorite series is absolutely baffling to me. Maybe they’re taking the series as a whole and not just this first book? I’m not sure I see it.

I’m surprised… but also totally not at all surprised.

Recommended: not really
Stay away if you want drama and action and conflict and pressure. If you’re okay with just learning about the daily life of a person learning about a world of fairies then you might like it

Summary:
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price. Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Thoughts:
This book came out years ago and even then I thought to myself that it didn’t sound quite like something I would like. Despite the fact that I had loved the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Mass, I just had a bad feeling about her sophomore series and, well, I wasn’t wrong.

Continue reading “Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with City of Saints and Thieves

Progress: page 245/401 (61%)

I got this book months ago in March and was so excited about it! I’ve finally got the chance to pick it up. I am currently reading City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson. Here’s how it’s going so far!

Why did I start reading it?

I’ve been trying to purchase a load of books from my favorite nonprofit bookshop in the past few months since they are trying to stay afloat during COVID shutdowns. I don’t typically purchase physical books because I don’t have a lot of space, but this is a worthy cause! I browsed what they had online and found this one, which sounded fantastic and I had never heard of it before.

Where have I gone?

(Swahili!) Words I’ve Learned:

kanga

Lines that linger

The air is whipping past me and the shadows and the sun ripple over my arms and legs as we rocket through the jacaranda trees that tunnel the road. Their flowers lie on the ground like purple snow.

I can tell he doesn’t see the amazing view of the city, or that I’m safe here. All he sees through his rich-boy eyes is a poor refugee girl living in a filthy half-finished building.

Posted in Reviews

Review: K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa!

K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure!!
For a cute quick read, for anyone who’s all about the idol fandom, for a likable but realistic MC.

Summary:
Gigi 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?

Thoughts:
Oh man, this was so fun to read! Gigi is too edgy for her girl group, so gets shifted into a (previously) all-boy group where her rapping style will have a bigger impact. That’s definitely unusual, which is openly acknowledged in the book. Typically idol groups are gender exclusive: all female or all male. KARD is one of the few real-life mixed-gender groups I’m aware of, and even in their interviews they’ve shyly acknowledged that it can feel pretty awkward doing some of the dances and such together. Just a part of the culture.

Continue reading “Review: K-Pop Idol Diaries by Go Futa!”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yeeeeep, I knew I was excited about this for a good reason 😍

Recommended: yes!
For magic! always for magic! And for characters who all have their complexities examined and everything is in shades of gray. For a story that matches the absolutely brilliant cover and title.

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.

Thoughts:
What’s most impressive is how much story was told in this one book, and how quickly I read it. Yes, I’ve been looking forward to this book for months at this point, but it read so easily and I just couldn’t stop! In the rare moments where I did have to put it down, I found myself thinking about it and wondering what would happen next. Absolutely loved that!

“Daydreaming is all fun and games until you’re chosen as a human sacrifice, and having to sneak through a dilapidated town with a deserting prince and the risk of a treason charge.”

Continue reading “Review: The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen!

Just a reminder that The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen (🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟) published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy from Barnes & Noble!

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.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Expected Release: June 16, 2020

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.

Thoughts:
Honestly, I thought it was weird at first that the white girl’s name was on the cover of the black boy’s story. I worried about what message that gave before even beginning the book. I’m still not sure about that, but Juniper brought light and honesty and bravery to Ethan’s life — so maybe it makes sense that she was featured so prominently on his cover. I never quite understood why the other town kids made fun of her and said she was crazy, so either I missed something or it was simply because she wasn’t as racist as the rest of them.

Continue reading “Review: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen”
Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I did my first cover roulette post a while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular book that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is over a decade old now, which was a startling realization. This book was probably the first dystopia novel I read, and as far as I can tell set off a whole chain of young adult dystopia novels coming out around the same time. It blew me away. Judging by all the other cover versions I found for various years and countries, I wasn’t the only one. ^.^

*A note on this set: some of the images I could find were smaller than the others, but they were so interesting that I wanted to include them anyway. Please forgive the inconsistency in sizes and enjoy the range of styles!


The Cover I Know

Identifiable primarily by the mockingjay symbol with the arrow, the mostly-black cover, and the blocky text for the title.

2009 Serbian: not that different

This is pretty similar to what I know. The author’s name is even the same sound if you said it aloud, so I’m sure I’d know what this was if I saw it at a bookshop or at the airport.

Continue reading “Cover Roulette: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins”