Posted in Reviews

Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Recommended: sure
For an incredibly sensory experience of the world, for a common plot executed in a unique way

Summary

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

Thoughts

A few decisions didn’t make sense to me and seemed like plot holes, but overall I enjoyed this unique implementation of a common plot of exploitation and world changing secrets about everything you know. I was more than willing to suspend disbelief to enjoy the adventure and revelation.

The ending pivoted in fairly quickly in the last twenty percent or so and I wish there had been a little bit more hinted earlier to lead to it. As it was, it felt a little abrupt and strange to get key details only in the last act, but I guess that’s the experience the character has too so I certainly do empathize!

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim

The Noh Family by Grace K. Shim
A fast forward Friday pick!

Recommended: eh
For a identity & family story set in Korea, for little tidbits of fashion, travel, and K-drama fandom. but it also has a character who seems much younger than her age, and makes thoughtless decisions

Summary

When her friends gift her a 23-and-Me test as a gag, high school senior Chloe Kang doesn’t think much of trying it out. She doesn’t believe anything will come of it–she’s an only child, her mother is an orphan, and her father died in Seoul before she was even born, and before her mother moved to Oklahoma. It’s been just Chloe and her mom her whole life. But the DNA test reveals something Chloe never expected–she’s got a whole extended family from her father’s side half a world away in Korea. Her father’s family are owners of a famous high-end department store, and are among the richest families in Seoul. When they learn she exists, they are excited to meet her. Her mother has huge reservations, she hasn’t had a great relationship with her husband’s family, which is why she’s kept them secret, but she can’t stop Chloe from traveling to Seoul to spend two weeks getting to know the Noh family.

Chloe is whisked into the lap of luxury, but something feels wrong. Chloe wants to shake it off–she’s busy enjoying the delights of Seoul with new friend Miso Dan, the daughter of one of her mother’s grade school friends. And as an aspiring fashion designer, she’s loving the couture clothes her department store owning family gives her access to. But soon Chloe will discover the reason why her mother never told her about her dad’s family, and why the Nohs wanted her in Seoul in the first place. Could joining the Noh family be worse than having no family at all?

Thoughts

This was solidly ok. It read quickly, partly because the plot was very straightforward and unsurprising. It was pretty predictable, even from startling early on. That’s not necessarily bad, but I don’t expect to be thinking about this book in a month from now. It’s one that will probably remain in the moments where I was reading it and not be carried forward much past that.

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Posted in Chatty

Penryn and the end of days saved me this week

Hey y’all! I started a re-read of a favorite young adult dystopian novel of mine called Angelfall by Susan Ee. I started that on June 3rd (5 days ago) and have now finished the other 2 books in the series as well without really planning to do so. I posted my June TBR on June 1 all proud to have it set, and by June 3 I was already doing something else. 🤣

It’s pretty hard to resist those stunning covers, right? Anyway, I was just having a crappy day and my reading had felt quite stunted (in large part due to the slogs of Pachinko and Dune which I had recently ended). I was going through my Kindle thinking, what can I read that will be comfortable and familiar and exciting?

Angellfall was my clear answer. 🥰

I’ve had a stressy few weeks and these really helped give me something to enjoy and escape into. So now that I’ve finished them, what’s up next? Hmmm…

Posted in Chatty

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a unit of time in the title

Hey y’all! Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.

This week’s prompt is books with a unit of time in the title. I’m going to try to get a bunch of different ranges of time (seconds, minutes, years, etc) to see how large a range I can get! Organized from smallest to biggest and each one is defined by the previous (with one or two exceptions that were a little weird to do that way xD).

The Books

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Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo!


Hey y’all! Just a reminder that We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended:
For folks who like character identity exploration, for almost-meetings and vague magic saturating the real world. Not for a strong, clear plot or robust exploration of magic

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In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city’s crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city.

Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life―work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists―not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other’s orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy.

Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differential

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Zyla & Kai (6/7/22)

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 Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This story of an unlikely couple — cynic and hopeless romantic — is one on my radar. I tend to enjoy that “grump & sunshine” trope in couples, no matter how much it annoys me sometimes, too. 😅I want to see them fall in love in flashbacks, and see the understanding between them grow into something more.
  • And yes, I expect flashbacks, because the crux of this novel is the mystery of their disappearance when they were broken up (or so everyone thought). I’m desperately hoping for a romantic elopment of some kind and not an ultimately sad story. I’m a little nervous about that though…
  • Considering this all happens on a mountain during a massive storm, I’m a bit worried that there might not be a happily-for-the-moment kind of ending. It might be trending that way and end with a tragic romeo-and-juliet mountainside rescue and/or double death. I don’t know. I’m in a rough place mentally so maybe that’s me projecting, because the cover CERTAINLY doesn’t look like it would go that direction. Just don’t break my heart here, Kristina Forest.

Summary

While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn’t surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn’t have been more different.

Zyla was a cynic about love. She’d witnessed the dissolution of her parents’ marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.

Kai was a serial monogamist and a hopeless romantic. He’d put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.

Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla and Kai’s perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up… Or did they?

Romantic, heart-stirring and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo

We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo
Expected Release Date: June 7, 2022

Recommended: not really
For folks who like character identity exploration, for almost-meetings and vague magic saturating the real world. Not for a strong, clear plot or robust exploration of magic

Summary

In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city’s crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city.

Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life―work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists―not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other’s orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy.

Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differentials, even between people who love each other―and how it is possible to be queer and turn out just fine.

Thoughts

I really struggled to get sucked into this. It was a strange bunch of flip flopping. The first 50 pages had me hooked. By 150, it felt like nothing was happening and when I put the book down, picking it back up felt like a chore. By halfway, I was relatively invested and curious to see where it was heading. But by the end again, I wasn’t sure why any of what I read was important to the next part of the story.

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Posted in Chatty

June 2022 TBR: somehow I have a pile

Hey y’all! It’s DAY ONE of June, and for the first time in a really long time (maybe ever?) I have my TBR already planned out AND posted! 🎉 The reason — and theme — for this is “oh wow, I actually have all these books to read, when did that happen?” It certainly wasn’t on purpose, but somehow I have a bunch of books lined up ready to be read. So here they are!

Thanks, local library!

Two out of these three are also Fast Forward Friday featured books, but the main tie for these is that they’re all new releases and they’re all ones I have a library hold coming up for in the next week or two! I got really lucky with some of these to have copies so soon! But that also means I ended up with three books with a time limit to read. xD

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Recommended: sure
For a read about grief through the plot points of a murder mystery, for colorful characters who are lots of shades of morally gray, for a lot of words you never knew (but will after reading this!)

Summary

CATALYST
13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Thoughts

If you’re a person who hears that this is a YA murder mystery based at a Scrabble tournament and thinks “OOOOOH I might like that!!” then yes, you probably will. So if you’re already interested, you can probably stop here and just go read the book itself. 🙂

There’s kind of a twist to this at the end, if I can call it that? I think those that are in it for the murder mystery element should be aware that while it is the main moving plot point of the novel as they investigate each suspect, it’s kind of a light touch. The grittiness and darkness comes from the grief the characters deal with, rather than some kind of creepy malicious danger (though there is some of that, too). Also be aware that this is a young adult novel with young adult characters. So they do make stupid decisions. There’s a conversation early on that’s essentially “Should we tell the police?” “No way, they wouldn’t take us seriously / wouldn’t do anything! WE have to solve this one!” which, as always, made me roll my eyes. Not that it’s necessarily inaccurate of how the characters would think, but sigh. Can we just trust adults sometimes maybe?

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Posted in Reviews

Fast Forward Friday: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove, 6/7/22

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 TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Specific body positivity topics are more common in the past couple of years, and I love it! This one focuses on body hair, and a classically pretty, popular girl who puts her foot — and shaving razor — down.
  • This sounds like a story where people will be put in their damn place for being shitty people. And yo: I’m here for it. TJ is a debater, and a good one, so she is in perfect position to clap back at these assholes.
  • OOoooh and of course there’s romance. Sounds like it’s the kind where she tries to deny it, too, but just can’t quite pretend otherwise even to herself. Ahhh, young love. ^.^

Summary

When TJ Powar—a pretty, popular debater—and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”—TJ decides to take a stand.

She ditches her razors, cancels her waxing appointments, and sets a debate resolution for herself: “This House Believes That TJ Powar can be her hairy self, and still be beautiful.” Only, as she sets about proving her point, she starts to seriously doubt anyone could care about her just the way she is—even when the infuriating boy from a rival debate team seems determined to prove otherwise.

As her carefully crafted sense of self begins to crumble, TJ realizes that winning this debate may cost her far more than the space between her eyebrows. And that the hardest judge to convince of her arguments might just be herself.