Posted in Reviews

Review: The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

Recommended: yes, for now…
for a quick pace with lots of travel and violence, for a deep dive into the folklore and beliefs of death around the world, for a morally grey characters (and a really boring sidekick)

Summary

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Thoughts

This book was EXCELLENT, until I read the epilogue. I might be the only one who thinks so, because I am bored by paladins and righteousness, but I was cheering the whole way though and fully committed to the characters and series —

Continue reading “Review: The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Lupina Book One: Wax by James Wright!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Lupina Book One: Wax by James Wright published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own from Book Depository!

Recommended: sure
For an intro into a series that promises to give more (next time), for an interesting art concept (that you might have to squint at), for characters well-portrayed even in their silence

Summary

In the coastal town of Kote, recently brought under the yoke of the Addalian Empire, four-year-old Lupa spends her days getting bullied by her older sister and hiding behind her mother’s skirts. But when tragedy strikes, Lupa finds herself alone in a new world… alone until she’s found by the she-wolf, Coras, and sets off on a journey of discovery… and revenge.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos & Collected Authors

Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos
Expected Release Date: December 7, 2021
Verdict: I never like short stories, and the love felt rushed, but a lot of folks will adore this collection

Recommended: for some people
If you like short stories, if you can buy into love stories quickly, if you’re a sucker for those “first confession / first kiss” kind of scenes

Summary

Join fifteen bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors as they re-imagine some of the most popular tropes in the romance genre.

Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet.

Thoughts

UGH. I’m so sad I’m starting this off with a groan, but… dang. I always struggle with short stories, but I had hoped this would be different. I live for those moments in books where the characters finally come together and admit how they feel, but this collection just didn’t do it for me. If any of my difficulties below resonate with you, then you might want to dodge this one, but I think a lot of folks will treasure this collection.

Issue #1: since they’re all short stories, they all read as insta-love to me because it happened in the course of 10-15 pages. Even in the tropes that necessitate a history (ex. friends to lovers, second chance) it all felt so rushed! I didn’t really know or care about the characters in most of these because I barely knew them. My pleasure at seeing two people find love was muted by the fact that they still felt like strangers.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos & Collected Authors”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: King of Battle & Blood (11/30)

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 King of Battle & Blood by Scarlett St. Clair!
Expected Release: November 30, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A loose retelling of Tristan and Isolde! Growing up I saw the movie and was astonished that it didn’t get nearly as much hype as the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. I’m delighted to see that someone is now appreciating it, and in a way I think I’m going to adore.
  • And then they go and throw in some good old fashioned necromancy. I’m a softie, but damn if I don’t love me some necromancy. Also he’s a vampire, and also there’s some court hierarchy going on. This basically every fantasy trope I like.
  • It also sounds like its hinting at a theme where the MC discovers their secret destiny, fate, role in a prophecy, etc. Basically, some kind of power that they can suddenly wield to fuck shit up.

Summary

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Graceling (Graphic Novel) by Kristin Cashore & Gareth Hinds (11/16)

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 a slightly odd one, because it’s a release of a fairly old book as a graphic novel, and I’m really interested to see how it feels. This one is Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds!
Expected Release: November 16, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I still remember this story vividly, despite having read it years ago, and having read many other books since then. Scenes from this still wander into my mind. Memories of the way I felt when surprised by a twist or a prediction came true leave me breathless. I love and admire this story and these characters so very much.
  • Of course this main draw of this is the new format of a graphic novel. There are scenes I immediately thought of gleefully, imagining the beauty and violence with which they could be rendered. This is not a terribly kind story at times, and I wonder how the artist will portray those moments. Will it be graphic, gory, as the moments truly were in the book? Will it be more subtle, with the emotions of the characters taking the brunt of the scene? And those adrenaline-pumping chases, the tender snatches of calm, the varied and raw beauty of the land itself… Can’t. Wait.
  • And finally, since I did read it in 2008 as a young teenager, I’m so so curious to see how my reading of it will compare now to myself thirteen years later and pretty genuinely an adult. I have no doubt I will still love the story. But I’m so excited to step back in time a bit to think excitedly with my young self about how much we love this book.

Summary

The beloved New York Times best-selling YA fantasy by Kristin Cashore is now available as a graphic novel, with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds.

Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.
 
But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all.

With “gorgeous storytelling” (School Library Journal, starred review) and characters “crafted with meticulous devotion” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Graceling is a beloved classic that has continued to resonate with readers for over a decade.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own at Book Depository!

Recommended: if you think you’re interested
For folks who read the premise and think they’ll like it, for a very singular dive into one person and issue

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach

Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach
An Amy Book

Recommended: yes!
For a YA look at important topics like gender equality and activism, for a tiny bit of delicious drama, for word ners

Summary

Eliza Quan is the perfect candidate for editor in chief of her school paper. That is, until ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her. Suddenly her vast qualifications mean squat because inexperienced Len—who is tall, handsome, and male—just seems more like a leader.

When Eliza’s frustration spills out in a viral essay, she finds herself inspiring a feminist movement she never meant to start, caught between those who believe she’s a gender equality champion and others who think she’s simply crying misogyny.

Amid this growing tension, the school asks Eliza and Len to work side by side to demonstrate civility. But as they get to know one another, Eliza feels increasingly trapped by a horrifying realization—she just might be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself.

Thoughts

A-A-Amy!

I was pretty pumped about this book because I’m a sucker for Korean characters, culture, location, etc. And while that was a factor in the character’s life, it certainly wasn’t the basis of the story. I loved the way things kind of got away from her in this book, and I think you’d like it too! Or at the very least, it’s probably a good one for your classroom.

Continue reading “Review: Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Noor, 11/9/21!

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
Expected Release: November 9, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • AO is mostly a robot after her weird AF birth and a further accident that basically meant she had to go robot or die. I am so pumped about a futuristic cybernetically-enhanced-human story. The fact that the blurb starts with her parents hoping they miscarried so she wouldn’t be born because “she was wrong” even as an embryo… what on earth is the deal with this girl? I’m absolutely riveted and can’t wait to find out.
  • I imagine with metal limbs you probably get pretty strong and basically impervious to most pain. Which could easily lend itself to criminal dealings because hey, it’s probably super simple compared to the perils of weakling fleshy bodies. I don’t know if AO is evil, or even tempted, but it sure seems like the rest of the world is convinced she is. And as for her being on the run with a societal labeled madman? Holy crap am I thrilled and burning with curiosity over what could have possibly happened to frame them these ways!
  • The setting sounds like it will have so much life it will become a character of its own. Deserts seem to draw me in as they’re simultaneously barren and bursting.
  • Nnedi Okorafor is also the author of Binti which I somehow have still not read, but am similarly interested in and curious about. Given that I’ve been attracted to multiple books by this author, I think it’s safe to assume I generally like their ideas and will probably be pretty into this.

Summary

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.

Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.

Tiny in-progress update

Hey y’all! A few weeks ago I posted a Fast Forward Friday about a book by Denise Williams, called The Fastest Way to Fall. It’s now out, but in the meantime I had decided to read another book by her that I have been wanting to read: How to Fail at Flirting. Y’all… I LOVED IT. It was sexy and sweet and scary all at once! Plus I got to barely meet some of the characters from the next book, which is a fun little extra.

I also started a book from Booksirens yesterday and have been absolutely devouring it!! It’s SO GOOD! I’m really glad I went for it! It’s to the point where I’m squeezing in a few pages at any moment — brushing my teeth, before bed, waiting for meals to cook. I’m going out for a fun event tonight, but I almost wish I didn’t have to so I could stay home and read more! 😅 Anyway, this one is called Fire Within and although that’s a pretty common title theme, the book itself is incredibly unique and captivating! I’ll have a full review soon I’m sure, because I’m reading it so quickly!

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Color of Dragons, 10/19

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
Expected Release: October 19, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Reason number one: did you look at the cover?
  • Reason number two: anything with dragons.
  • Reason number three: an unlikely duo, bound by fate.
  • Okay, seriously, I’m exhausted after a day of travel but really want to get this book some love today! The summary is honestly pretty vague, so I don’t even have much to go off of with my interest. And yet, I still have interest. Magic powers that need to learn to be controlled (and I’m sure they will end up being some kind of incredibly powerful or rare). Two people from opposite lifestyles being forced to work together — and they might actually be secretly working towards competing outcomes, I’m not really sure? And of course, dragons.

Summary

Magic needs a spark.

And Maggie’s powers are especially fickle. With no one to help her learn to control her magic, the life debt that she owes stretches eternally over her head, with no way to repay it.

Until she meets Griffin, the king’s champion infamous for hunting down the draignochs that plague their kingdom.

Neither has any idea of the destiny that they both carry, or that their meeting will set off a chain of events that will alter every aspect of the life they know—and all of history thereafter.