Posted in Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

Year of the Asian Readathon Progress

So I hit my goal for Year of the Asian Readathon. I’d signed up for lowest tier which was the cute little Philippine tarsier which represented reading 1-10 books by Asian authors. I didn’t think I’d get there since I was so far from hitting the goal last year but I did a really good job of focusing on Asian author among other diverse authors this year.

Green and blue award badge with a brown Phillipines Tarsier in the center, and with one gold star above the award.

I’m already on the next level which is the awesome Indian cobra it represents 11-20 books, not sure I’ll get past this level considering how much of the year we have left but I’ll try.

Green and blue award badge with a Indian Cobra in the center, and with two gold stars above the award.

The Books

Here are some of the books I read to get to my goal.

Skyhunter

Skyhunter by [Marie Lu]

So I’ve never been able to get interested in any of Marie Lu’s other books. Nothing against her the plots just never spoke to me. Skyhunter made up for it.

Summary

The central character is Talin, who is a refugee from another nation, she’s also a Striker. A member of an elite force of fighters. They are the last defense for the only nation that has managed to stay free from the the Federation: Mara.

Talin might not be exactly welcome in Mara but she knows first hand to horrors of the Federation, they are a war machine with technology way beyond anything the other nations have, they leave nation after nation at their feet and are the architects of a terrifying army of mutant beast known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there is more to him than he’s letting on. He may be a spy, but she thinks he’s something else and is willing to go toe to toe with her fellow Strikers about it.

But only one thing is clear the Federation is coming for a fight, and Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers. But will this new prisoner be the key in saving them all? Or destroying them?

Amazon: Skyhunter

Measuring Up

Summary

Twelve year old Cici loved her life back in Taiwan, especially the time she spent with her grandmother, or A-má. But when her family moves to Seattle so she can have better opportunities she has to leave her grandmother and friends behind.

It’s difficult and she has the usual problems fitting in at school, she quickly makes friends. Though she’s not sure how much of her Taiwanese life to show them.

Now she only needs one thing to make her happy being with her A-má on her seventieth birthday. It doesn’t seem possible. It’s too much money for them all to visit her, but Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There is just one problem Cici only knows how to cook the Taiwanese food she learned with her grandmother.

But after her pickled cucumber is mocked at lunch she is determined to learn to cook the American way by channeling her inner Julia Child? Through cooking can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite A-má, while also showing both sides of her new self.

This is Lily LaMotte’s debut graphic novel.

Illustrator An Xu an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist and illustrator working in Baltimore. 

Amazon: Measuring Up

Three Keys

So it would be fair to say that I loved Front Desk by Kelly Yang. This book would get 6 stars if I could give them out, it has the heart, importance, and love of Front Desk like times a million and its issues are timely with the world today. It’s going to be one of my favorite books of the year I can already tell, another feat of brilliance by Kelly Yang.

Summary

Mia thinks she’s going to have the best year ever. She and her parents are finally out from under the thumb of the controlling Mr. Yao and get to run the Calivista Motel the way they see fit, which includes helping out immigrants.

She also gets to run the front desk with her best friend Lupe, and she’s finally getting somewhere with her writing. But sixth grade it turns out isn’t exactly what she expected. It’s an election year and her teacher openly supports the anti-immigrant candidate who is running to the point she asks them to write about things like why immigration is bad.

Plus the teacher doesn’t think her writing is all that great, and unlike her teacher last year she finds herself receiving Cs instead of the As she thinks she rightly deserves.

But school isn’t Mia’s only problem, she’s a businesswoman too and the motel is struggling, in part because they are helping immigrants. The investors are threatening to pull back and sell their shares if Mia doesn’t do something, but Mia doesn’t want to give up on her values.

Especially with a new immigration law that is looming that if it passes will threaten the everything and everyone in Mia’s life.

Amazon: The Three Keys

Other books include:

Newsprints by Ru Xu

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Midsummer Mayhem by Rajani Laroca

Lalani and the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

Endgames by Ru Xu

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun

Stargazing by Jen Wang

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Image by Dung Tran from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

Skyhunter Review

Skyhunter

Skyhunter by [Marie Lu]

So I’ve never been able to get interested in any of Marie Lu’s other books. Nothing against her the plots just never spoke to me. Skyhunter made up for it.

Summary

The central character is Talin, who is a refugee from another nation, she’s also a Striker. A member of an elite force of fighters. They are the last defense for the only nation that has managed to stay free from the the Federation: Mara.

Talin might not be exactly welcome in Mara but she knows first hand to horrors of the Federation, they are a war machine with technology way beyond anything the other nations have, they leave nation after nation at their feet and are the architects of a terrifying army of mutant beast known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there is more to him than he’s letting on. He may be a spy, but she thinks he’s something else and is willing to go toe to toe with her fellow Strikers about it.

But only one thing is clear the Federation is coming for a fight, and Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers. But will this new prisoner be the key in saving them all? Or destroying them?

Review

So I’ve found that a lot of authors in general have a hard time writing male leads I actually give a damn about. I give a damn about what happens to the male lead here. She also does a great job with the men in Talin’s Striker group. Really Lu makes sure I care about everyone. And when it’s time to hate people, and believe me there is plenty to go around she make it so I hate who I’m supposed to, but I have complex emotions about everyone and that’s just really good writing.

I really like a lot of the characters in the book especially Talin’s mother. How the issue of PTSD is dealt with is masterful as well.

To give the book anything less than 5 stars would be a crime, sequel now please.

Posted in Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

Measuring Up Review

Measuring Up

Summary

Twelve year old Cici loved her life back in Taiwan, especially the time she spent with her grandmother, or A-má. But when her family moves to Seattle so she can have better opportunities she has to leave her grandmother and friend behind.

It’s difficult and she has the usual problems fitting in at school, she quickly makes friends. Though she’s not sure how much of her Taiwanese life to show them.

Now she only needs one thing to make her happy being with her A-má on her seventieth birthday. It doesn’t seem possible. It’s too much money for them all to visit her, but Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There is just one problem Cici only knows how to cook the Taiwanese food she learned with her grandmother.

But after her pickled cucumber is mocked at lunch she is determinted to learn to cook the American way by channeling her inner Juila Child? Through cooking can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite A-má, while also showing both sides of her new self.

This is Lily LaMotte’s debut graphic novel.

Illustrator An Xu an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist and illustrator working in Baltimore. 

Review

Because I’m a very amature baker I love books about food and this one brought the recipes to life. I also loved the friendship Cici has with someone in the competition and how food was used as bridge between her old life in Taiwan and her new life in American.

I also loved the result when the judges mocked Cici’s final meal then tasted it. Another favorite scene of mine is when she finally brought her friends to her house.

Overall this is just a sweet book with an important message about culture. Whether it’s the fact that American often lump cultures together or the struggle of immigrants to find to right mix of being their home culture and “American” this book covers it with a deft hand while still making a sweet story.

Posted in Blogtober, Challenges, Chapter/Picture Book Feature, Reviews, YARC, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

The Name Jar

I still working diligently towards my goal for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. My original goal was 10 books I’m at 6 at the moment and working on two at the current moment so I think I should at least hit my goal and hopefully surpass it. For this I went with classic picture book The Name Jar. Although publish in 2001 it still remains relevant plus it a cute story about identity and choosing to be yourself under pressure.

The Name Jar

Summary

Though the book is older it deals with the timeless challenge that immigrant children coming to America face. After all being the new kid is hard enough, what about when no one can pronouce your name.

Just having moved from Korea Unhei is just anxious that the American kids will like her so when it comes time to introduce herself on the first day she tells the class she will choose a name by the following week. The class is fasinated by the girl with no name and decide to help her with suggestions by filling a glass jar with names to pick from.

But while Unhei tries on all these names, none of them quite feel right. Meanwhile she runs into one of her classmates in her neighborhood and he discovers her name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing the jar has mysteriously disappeared.

Encouraged by her new friend Unhei chooses her own Korean and helps everyone pronouce it Yoon-Hey.

Review

This held up very well for being an older book. I also love the connection that Unhei has with her grandmother and the use of name stamps. I’d have to compare it with other children’s books from the time but her friends encourage Unhei’s agency in a way that you see now but I’m not sure if so much so back then. Worth looking into.

I’m going to give it a four out five just because it’s aged a little.

Amazon: The Name Jar

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

October Picture Book/Middle Grade New Releases

We have some lovely books coming out this month! For this post I’m focusing on picture books and middle grade. But there is a lot to look forward to in YA as well. What new releases are you looking forward to?

The Most Beautiful Thing

The Most Beautiful Thing by [Kao Kalia Yang, Khoa Le]

This moving picture book draws from Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee. The book focuses on her grandmother as they travel from the jungles of Laos to the early years in the United States. Her family is close and loving but they often have to do without.

When Kalia wants braces to improve her smiles her grandmother who only has one helps show her true beauty is found is found in those we love most.

The story is brought to life with stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le.

Amazon:The Most Beautiful Thing

The Most Beautiful Thing Comes out October 6th.

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric is especially timely considering the COVID-19 pandemic. In the book, humanity was almost wiped out by a pandemic. The solution, everyone lives in sealed units with no windows or doors, their food is dropped off by drones. They never get visitors. But they are safe. Safe from everything.

The trade off? They’re alone. So when they get a package clearly meant for someone else, a package that contains a substance critical for the strangers survival.

Cleo has a dilemma on her hands. As a surgeon in training she knows the clock is ticking on this woman’s survival. But people don’t leave their unit. Not ever

Until now.

Amazon: Cleo Porter and the Body Electric

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric is out on October 6th.

The Fallen Hero

We can’t forget about the wonderful Katie Zhao even though I still need to read the first book I have to put this on my recommendations.

Faryn Liu thought she was the mystical Heaven Breaker, a warrior able to command dragons, defeat demons and wield the all powerful spear Fenghuang. But it turns out she was tricked by a conniving goddess, and now her beloved brother Alex has betrayed her and stolen the title of Heaven Breaker.

Alex never truly forgave the people who treated him and Faryn like outcasts and now he wants to wipe out demons, and most of humanity along with them.

But Faryn is determined to prevent a war so she and her half-dragon friend Ren join the New Order, a group of warriors based out of Manhattan’s Chinatown. She learn from them that there is one weapon that can beat the Fenghuang-the Ruyi Jingu Bang.

The only problem? It’s in the hands of the infamous trickster the Monkey King. Faryn sets off on a daring quest hoping to gain an alliance with the Monkey King. This quest will also take her to new places like Diyu also known as the underworld. Where she’ll run into new dangers.

Can she complete her mission and save the brother she love no matter the cost?

Amazon: The Fallen Hero

The Fallen Hero will come out October 13th.

A Thousand Questions

The wonderful Saadia Faruqi of the Meet Yasmin beginning reader books writing a middle grade novel? Of course I’m there for that.

Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, deals with two girl Mimi, who wishes she wasn’t in Karachi at all with grandparents she’s never met. Instead she wants to find to her long absent father and plans to write to him in her new journal.

Meanwhile, the cook’s daughter Sakina still hasn’t told her parents she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score. But how could her family afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen.

Though the girls seem totally incompatable at first they realize as the summer goes on that they have lots in common, and that they can help each other get what they want most.

Amazon: A Thousand Questions

A Thousand Questions comes out October 6th.

Come back and check out my YA pick for October next week!

Photo by Greg Shield on Unsplash

Posted in Monthly Reads, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

Weekly Review

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to sit down and do a weekly review. The blog has fallen to maybe about third in line in importance. Basically my sister is having a rough pregnancy and so I’m have to step up and fill some roles in the family which haven’t left enough time for blogging.

Or honestly if they have left enough time for blogging I’ve been tired staying at my sister’s place, not sleeping as well not have as much time for reading. Anyway my blogging number have fallen but I’m going to try to get back to it.

So I can’t have been worried 24/7 only like 22/5 so what have I been upto other wise. I have been reading.

Books in Progress.

YA

Cinderella Is Dead by [Kalynn Bayron]

Middle Grade

The Henna Wars by [Adiba Jaigirdar]

In addition to reading I’ve been playing lots of Dragon Age Inquisition. I’m not super far into the game, only ten percent but I’m really enjoying it and I’ve leveled up a few times so I can’t wait to see where the game will go. I’m glad to get back to these weekly updates a look forward to posting more and taking part in some challenges as fall comes around.

Are you looking forward to the spooky season?

Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

August New Releases

Sorry this a little late, life had been interesting which I should hopefully get back to telling you about in my Saturday reports. So I’m mostly back to my roots of adorable middle grade with these new releases. So looking forward to some of these.

A Place at the Table 

There is a cute sub-genre of middle grade fiction that I like to call cute food fiction. Think of Summer of 1000 Pies, Midsummer Mayhem, books where food is the focus and the plot happens around it. I always find them to be especially cute, and I think this one will fall onto the list.

Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth couldn’t be more different. Sara is Pakistani American and used to her small Islamic school, only this year she’s attending a newer bigger school. Elizabeth has her own problems, who is white and Jewish, has her own problems, like her mom struggling with depression.

The girls meet in an after school South Asian cooking class Elizabeth picked up the class because her mother stopped cooking. Sara is only there because she has to be, after all her mom is the teacher, but Sara hates to cook.

The two girls slowly become friends and come up with a plan to make an amazing cross cultural dish together, that will win them a spot on a local food show. The question is, they make good cooking partners, but can they be true friends?

This will be out August 11th.

Amazon: A Place at the Table

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

I’ve been waiting for this book to come out since the beginning of the year. For one thing it looks cute as heck, and for two the young witch reminds me of myself.

Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of novice witch before her thirteenth birthday. If she doesn’t she’ll loose her magic forever. For most witches and wizards it’s a simple enough test. It has three steps.

One: Help your town, do good all around.
Two: Live there for one moon, don’t leave too soon.
Three: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.

Eva has a problem though, she’s not exactly as magical as she would like and when her magic does work, it’s not always in the way she plans. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers, and gets sunburn instead of calling down rain. The worst of it, when she uses too much magic she falls asleep.

When she lands in the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, she’s not what the residents are expecting. But she’s determined to prove herself. So she sets up a magical repair shop to aid the citizens of the town, she may only be semi-magical but her fixes help the townspeople in ways they could have never imagined

The only problem is Eva’s bit of magic might not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she’s grown to love. She must use all her magic, bravery and cleverness, if she wants to have any chance at saving Auteri or becoming a witch.

This will be out August 4th.

Amazon: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

Kind of a Big Deal

I really like Shannon Hale as an author so I thought I’d give this a try plus the concept seemed interesting.

There is nothing peaking in high school, and Josie Pie learned that lesson the hard way.

She dropped out of high school to be a star only have her Broadway dreams dashed. The bigger you are the harder you fall after all.

The rest of her life isn’t much better her best friend is distant. Boyfriend-busy, and her mom, she clearly has other things on her mind.

Josie escapes into books to get away from her slowly imploding life

Only thing is she really escapes, she reads a book and suddenly she’s inside it. She a different character: a post-apocalyptic heroine, the lead in a YA rom-com, and so on for every book she reads

At first she’s worried but then she’s amazed. It’s the perfect way to for the failed Broadway star to finally find new ways to shine. The thing is the longer she stays in a story the harder it is to escape.

Will Josie find a story so good that she just stays forever.

This will be out August 25th.

Amazon: Kind of a Big Deal

What new releases are you looking forward to this month?

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

Posted in TBR, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

July TBR

Okay I’m sorry I missed you guys on Monday and Wednesday. Last week was an emotional roller coaster for my family and this week I had a medical procedure to help my migraines. So I’ve been taking a lot of naps. Also it made me realize I’ve hardly missed a post since January so maybe I should give myself a break.

I’m not pushing myself too hard this month because let me tell you I’m tired. Plus I’ve got some volunteer commitments. Considering I only finished one book last month we’re keeping this at four books, and hoping that I can do that. Also I’m not sure if I should count all the non-fiction books about bread I’m reading. I’m probably going to go with yes, but I may not review them here, because I’m not sure you guys are interested in baking book reviews.

This Book Is Anti-Racist

This Book Is Anti-Racist by [Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand]

This lovely book by Tiffany Jewell helps the middle grade and young adult audience and beyond understand the roots of racism. Jewell also talks about social identities, the histories of racism and resistance against it and how to become anti-racist and use your voice to help move society towards equity and liberation.

Jewell guides you through a deeper understanding of your anti racist self as you progress through 20 chapters. These chapters will help you spark deeper thinking about racism, reveal the origins of racism we are still experincing, and help give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn about yourself and racial oppression. All you need is a pen and paper. The activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge.

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honour everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

Amazon: This Book is Anti-Racist

No Fixed Address

No Fixed Address by [Susin Nielsen]

I found this book because I really loved the The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, which I still need to finish by way, whoops.

Tween Felix Knutsson knows his trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he likes the show so much he’s even named his gerbil after the host. His mother Astrid is loving but can’t manage to hold a job. So the two of them end up living in their van, a fact Astrid swears Felix to secrecy about. He can’t even tell his best friends at his new school Dylan and Winnie.

Astrid is worried Dylan will be taken away and put into foster care. And as things go from bad to worse Felix gets a chance to audition for the junior edition of his favorite game show. He knows if he gets his spot and wins the cash prize will make everything okay.

But thing don’t turn out exactly the way he plans

Susin Nielsen is a Canadian author for children, adolescent and young adults. She received a Governor General’s Award and the 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for her young adult novel The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.

Amazon: No Fixed Address

The Astonishing Color of After

I’ve fallen off the tracks when it comes to my YARC challenge books, however I intend to do better about that this coming month.

Leigh Chen Sanders is having to deal with a lot lately, after losing her mother via suicide. She is visiting her maternal grandparents for the first time. Leigh, who is half white and half Asian is only certain of one thing lately. When her mother died, she turned into a bird.

During this trip to Taiwan to meet her grandparents she also intends to find her mother, the bird. But some question lead to answers you didn’t know you were looking for, and Leigh finds herself chasing ghost, dealing with family secrets, and finding a bond with her grandparents.

She must also deal with her own grief and guilt tied up in her mother sucide.

Dealing with real and magic, The Astonishing Color of After is a wonderful tale about finding oneself though family history, grief, art, and love.

Emily X.R Pan is Taiwanese and Chinese American. She has received numerous awards for this book including the APALA Honor Award and the Walter Honor Award, the honor of being an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, and being long-listed for the Carnegie Medal, among other accolades.

Amazon: The Astonishing Color of After

Before I Let Go

Okay so I’m not going to give too much away about the plot but there is ace rep!!!! So happy. Also mental health rep, this is why I’m like a third into this book already.

Corey and Kyra were inseparable best friends in their tiny Alaskan town of Lost Creek. But as Kyra starts to seriously struggle with her bipolar disorder Corey’s family move away. Corey is worried about what might happen in her absense so she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long dark winter.

Just as Corey is about to visit Kyra dies. Corey is devestated and confused because Kyra promised she wouldn’t hurt herself. But any time she tries to find out more information the Lost community speaks in hushed tones saying Kyra’s death was meant to be.

They push Corey away, but as Corey dives deeper into the mystery of her best friend’s death, she finds more questions than answers and her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets, like maybe Kyra’s death wasn’t a suicide after all, but can she piece together the cold hard truth and survive her visit?

Amazon: Before I Let Go

Anyway I’ll try to be better about posting, or if I take a break I’ll try and let you guys know in advance. I’ve just got to keep reading and hopefully those numbers will jump back up in July.

Posted in Recommendations, Uncategorized, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

June New Releases

So we’re at the halfway point of the year, with quarantine it feels weird, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some great books like these listed below, including ones I’ve been waiting a while for like this first one.

A Song Below Water: A Novel

A Song Below Water: A Novel by [Bethany C. Morrow]

We’ve got diverse mermaids and sirens here people! Here is a short plot summary.

In Tavia’s society siren’s are kept under lock and key, so she must hide her powers. Meanwhile her best friend Effie deals with family struggles and literal demons from her past. Together they both must work to get through junior year, keep their heads down, and try to stay out of any trouble.

But when a siren murder trial rocks the nation, and Tavia lets out her magical voice at the exact wrong moment. Tavia and Effie must rely on each other and the power of their friendship to save themselves from drowning in their home, the no longer safe Portland Oregon.

Dealing with today challenges of racism and sexism Morrow weaves a lovely modern fantasty, that has black mermaids, friendship and self discovery.

This will be released on June 2nd.

Amazon: A Song Below Water

The Girl and the Witch’s Garden

The Girl and the Witch's Garden by [Erin Bowman]

In this imagining of the Secret Garden with a dash of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Bowman uses her immense talents as an author, to spin this old story in an interesting new way.

Piper Peavey doesn’t want to be at the Mallory Estate for summer vacation. After all, the grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, and a group of mysterious children also call the property home.

Also there is a rumor about the property, that Melena M. Mallory, the owner of the estate is a witch. Piper just happens to be her granddaughter, and when her father falls ill, she find the estate as her new home.

Piper find out it was foolish to write off the property, the grand house and and garden hold many secrets, some of which can maybe save her father, if she can just figure them out. Thankfully, she has some new friends, a new belief in herself. Maybe that with a little bit of magic will help her unlock the estate’s secrets before it’s too late.

Due to release June 23rd

Amazon: The Girl and the Witch’s Garden

American as Paneer Pie by [Supriya Kelkar]

In the same vein as Front Desk and Amina’s Voice, since I loved both of those I can’t wait for American as Paneer Pie.

As the only Indian American in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like her life is divided. She has two versions of her self, Home Lekha who loves all things Indian, such as Bollywood movies and Indian food. Then there is School Lekha who tries to hide her culture by pinning her hair over her bindi birthmark, and making sure to avoid confrontation when someone teases her for being Indian.

But Lekha’s life change’s when a new girl moves in across the street. The girl is Lekha’s age, her name is Avantika and she’s Desi too. Lekha will finally have someone around who gets it.

Only things don’t work like that at all. Avantika, new to the country, and has an accent, she’s also not interested in hiding who she is, she plans to fully display her culture at school or at home. She also isn’t interested in taking bullying quietly.

But when a racist incident rocks their community Lekha realizes she must find her voice and speak up for her culture before it’s too late.

This book releases June 9th.

Amazon: As American as Paneer Pie

What new releases will you be picking up in June?

Posted in Recommendations, Uncategorized, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

Review: Midsummer’s Mayhem

Midsummer’s Mayhem

A contemporary retelling of a Midsummer Night’s Dream with a diverse cast.

Summary

Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson feels lost in her big Indian American family, everyone else has something they are good at. Her Dad’s a renowned food writer and her mom’s a successful businesswoman. Her three older siblings are all great at things like acting, sports, and music.

It’s easy to feel invisible. Sure she has baking but she’s not sure she’s the greatest at it, she loves it though, and wants to prove she’s not the least talented member of her family. So when a new bakery called the While Away comes to town and offers a contest for young bakers she knows exactly how to do it. Plus she’ll get to meet her idol, Puffy Fay.

But strange things start happening in the Mackson household when her father returns from his business trip he’s suddenly lost his refined sense of taste. Without him to help her there is no way she’ll win the contest

Missing her friend Emma who moved out of the country earlier in the year and mourning the fact she won’t win the contest, Mimi retreats to the woods behind her house and finds herself drawn deeper in by a strangely familiar song. She meets a strange boy named Vik, he shows her parts of the forest she’s never seen before.

What’s more, he likes baking and together they find a book that tells all about the different ingredients Mimi could use for the contest. With this and Vik’s help, Mimi can’t help but win!

But things are getting stranger with her dad, and her sibling’s romantic issues cause trouble as well. It all seems to lead back to her baking, but baking can’t be magical, can it? As the contest approaches Mimi learns everything isn’t what it seems and must choose once and for all what is most important to her.

Review

Mimi is a great heroine, and the way baking is integrated into this book is amazing. Every treat that Mimi bakes is one I want to try, except perhaps for the one that has a spoilery consequence. But they all sound tasty none the less and the cast of supporting characters from her big family to the staff at the While Away Bakery is easy to fall in love with.

Five Favorite Things

  1. Mimi’s Friendship with Vik
  2. Mrs. T
  3. Mimi’s family
  4. The book was easy to follow even without having read Shakespeare.
  5. The desserts.

This was easily a 4.5 book. Cute, funny, and engaging, I’ll probably read it again this year.

Amazon: Midsummer’s Mayhem