Posted in Monthly Reads, new releases, Orillium Readathon, Readathons

You Truly Assumed Review

And we’re back online faster, with more power, and better than ever. I’m now producing content off Lavender the Laptop. She has 90’s retro vibe, and I’ve got the feminist and witchy stickers coming in tomorrow. So I’ll probably get sticker happy but I’m happy to have a machine to work from again, and happy to be reviewing this wonderful book You Truly Assumed by Black author Laila Sabreen.

This is also helping me complete one of my Pondathon II challenges,. In addition it’s helping me complete one of my Trope-ical readathon prompts Finally this book is also helping with my Orillium Gear Challenge.

Summary

In this compelling and thought-provoking debut novel, after a terrorist attack rocks the country and anti-Islamic sentiment stirs, three Black Muslim girls create a space where they can shatter assumptions and share truths.

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

Review of You Truly Assumed

I really liked this book for several reason; one the three points of view, two the way this book was centered around blogging and the different ways the girls celebrated their faith through their communities and the blog. For me this book brought up what is great about the blogging community, the family aspect, as well as the negatives and how to deal with them.

I think it did a good job portraying what minority bloggers have to deal with, any minority bloggers can of course correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to match up with the discourse I’ve heard from different bloggers of color about their thoughts not being heard. I think this is a must read for all white bloggers. Oh and just a personal favorite I especially I the scene where the piece of cookware is thrown on the floor after seeing the website. Just a personal favorite of mine also I’m a huge fan of the ship that happens in the book. It’s so cute. Those are my two personal opinions. Also, I couldn’t pick a favorite out of the three since I love them all. So don’t ask me to!

Amazon: You Truly Assumed

Posted in Monthly Reads, new releases, Reviews

Cleo Porter Review

Reading a book about the effects of a plague during an actual plague is kind of surreal, and the author noted the dissidence when introducing the piece. Other than this Cleo Porter vs the the Body Electric was a wonderful piece about pandemics, the dangers of relying on technology and the force of the human spirit.

Summary

A woman is dying. Cleo Porter has her medicine. And no way to deliver it.

Like everyone else, twelve-year-old Cleo and her parents are sealed in an apartment without windows or doors. They never leave. They never get visitors. Their food is dropped off by drones. So they’re safe. Safe from the disease that nearly wiped humans from the earth. Safe from everything. The trade-off?

They’re alone. Thus, when they receive a package clearly meant for someone else–a package containing a substance critical for a stranger’s survival–Cleo is stuck. As a surgeon-in-training, she knows the clock is ticking. But people don’t leave their units.

Not ever. Until now. In a race to treat her patient she will go on the adventure of a lifetime and learn things she never imagined.

Review of Cleo Porter and the Body Electric

The solution to this book, is one you can easily see coming about, and that’s what makes the book hit a note of realism that is almost scary. I also love the two people living outside the cubes, Agnes teaches our protagonist a lot of things she would have never learned in the cube, and the outside world grow on her because of it. I think it’s also important to point out how hard it was to get out of the cube, and the failure of Paige’s cube, and how that could be important in the future. Like Agnes said they may be locking themselves in for trouble if something bad happens.

Amazon: Cleo Porter and the Body Electric

Posted in Chopped Readathon, Monthly Reads, new releases, Reviews

Bone Spindle Review

The Bone Spindle was a great adventure novel. Billed as Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones the personal relationship and bonds between the characters make it so much more. Yes, there is romance, but this is also an ode to female friendship, not giving up, and not running away from your past.

Summary

The Bone Spindle by [Leslie Vedder]

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi—until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way—not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

Review of the Bone Spindle

This book was an absolutely lovely read. I didn’t mind the three perspectives at all as they made sense shifting when the situation did. Everyone must have been a blast to write due to the level of snark they all possessed. Oh an Red, poor Red. I can’t wait to see her again in later books, and hope she comes around. I’m also worried about the link between Briar and the Spindle Witch. But let me not forget a to give a shoutout to the Paper Witch, who even before I knew his history was still awesome. What I’m trying to say is this is a great introduction to a series of book and I can’t wait to read more, sequels as fast as possible please!

Amazon: The Bone Spindle

Posted in Announcements, new releases

Friendships, Thrillers, and Body Positivity

This week has lots of great books coming out, from books about friendships to thrillers and books about about body positivity, we’ve got a little something for everyone.

All My Friends (Eagle Rock Series, 3

Middle-schooler Bina has everything she’s ever wanted. She has new friendships and a new band whose song is about to be featured on her favorite television show.

But being in the spotlight is hard. When Bina and her band are offered a record deal, her parents are not thrilled. Now, Bina is barely speaking to her mom and dad. To make matters worse, Bina and her best friend, Austin, are still awkward around each other after their failed first date.

Can Bina untangle the various melodies in her heart? Or will fame go to her head?

Amazon: All My Friends

The Ghoul of Windydown Vale

In this action-packed mystery from award-winning author Jake Burt, Copper Inskeep holds Windydown Vale’s deepest and darkest secret: he is the ghoul that haunts the Vale, donning a gruesome costume to scare travelers and townsfolk away from the dangers of the surrounding swamps. When a terrified girl claims she and her father were attacked by a creature – one that could not have been Copper – it threatens not just Copper’s secret, but the fate of all Windydown.

The Supervillain's Guide to Being a Fat Kid by [Matt Wallace]

Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.

In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.

And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. He’s finally starting to gain friendships. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?

Amazon: The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid

Posted in new releases, Recommendations, Reviews

Salaam with Love Review

Now I’m going to preface this with the fact that I’m not Muslim so any errors I make are my own. But I love halal romance just because as an ace person I know I’m less likely to encounter things that are triggering. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the plots as well and learning and apricating Muslim culture. I really liked Salaam, with Love especially do to the sweetness of the romance between the two leads.

Salaam, with Love by [Sara Sharaf Beg]

Summary

Being crammed into a house in Queens with her cousins is not how Dua envisions her trip to New York City. But here she is, spending the holy month of Ramadan with extended family she hasn’t seen in years.
 
Dua struggles to find her place in the conservative household and to connect with her aloof, engaged-to-be-married cousin, Mahnoor. And as if fasting the whole day wasn’t tiring enough, she must battle her hormones whenever she sees Hassan, the cute drummer in a Muslim band who has a habit of showing up at her most awkward moments.
 
After just a month, Dua is surprised to find that she’s learning a lot more than she bargained for about her faith, relationships, her place in the world—and cute drummers. . . 

Review of Salaam, with Love

I’m going to say I love halal fiction and here’s why, being ace I know it’s safe to read. I know it’s not meant for me, however I appreciate it none the less. Because I don’t dislike romance I just dislike how showy most YA is.

Now as for the story it is lovely, it deals with important issues but it like Islamophobia but it mostly focuses on a normal family during Ramadan and one girl trying to connect with Allah.

Dua’s faith is the thread that connects everything in this book. Which makes sense because the book is about Ramadan. She often questions her feeling for Hassan because she thinks she shouldn’t be focusing on romance during Ramadan.

I also like that Hassan and Dua’s romance comes about naturally. As someone who reads a lot of non-halal YA it was nice to see the characters who are not just in your face about romance especially the men.

I really loved the respect and care Dua and Hassan showed each other. And the last scene is pure cuteness another a plus from a new to me author who I will surely be watching for more.

Come back tomorrow for my Chopped Romance Dinner TBR!

Amazon: Salaam, with Love

Posted in Author Recommendations, new releases, Reviews

Girl in the Lake Review

The Girl in the Lake was a great piece of middle grade horror as I would expect from India Hill Brown. I loved the Forgotten Girl and was excited when I saw this book, I hadn’t known Brown was coming out with a new book, so this was a delightful suprise.

The Girl in the Lake by [India Hill Brown]

Summary

Celeste knows she should be excited to spend two weeks at her grandparents’ lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy, but she’s not.

Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake… no thanks. On top of that, she just failed her swim test and hates being in the water—it’s terrifying. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools.

And soon strange things start happening—the sound of footsteps overhead late at night. A flickering light in the attic window. And Celete’s cousins start accusing her of pranking them when she’s been no where near them!

Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different…

Who is the girl in the mirror? And what does she want?

Review of The Girl in the Lake

India Hill Brown hit it out of the ball park again. I was 3/4 through the book and couldn’t figure out how they were going to resolve the problem with the ghost. The pacing was excellent, a reader would be scared up until near the end. If you have a middle grader who likes creepy books this is definitely headed in the right direction. I especially love the elements of Black history Brown always brings into her books, so if you want a horror story by a BIPOC, this is the one for you.

Amazon: The Girl in the Lake

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

Prejudice and Power

Check out these new releases for this week. Since November is Native American Hertige Month and it is always a good time to look at the Black and Indigious people face, I’m focusing these books around prejudice and the eventually power from the people that can emerge.

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

I’m really looking forward to reading this it looks lovely, even though it is about a tough topic I don’t read enough books by BIPOC and I want to change that starting soon as possible and into the New Year.

The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson.

A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders.
But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived

Amazon: Born on the Water

Killers of the Flower Moon

I’ve been reading lots of Native fiction but not much non-fiction, this sounds like something I should pick up a take a look at especially due to the prejudice of the US government, I want to learn more about how the FBI is involved.

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by [David Grann]

The New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist Killers of the Flower Moon is now adapted for young readers.

This book is an essential resource for young readers to learn about the Reign of Terror against the Osage people–one of history’s most ruthless and shocking crimes.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end.

As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created Bureau of Investigation, which became the FBI, took up the case, one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. An undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau, infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Working with the Osage, they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In this adaptation of the adult bestseller, David Grann revisits his gripping investigation into the shocking crimes against the Osage people. The book is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to occur for so long.

Amazon: Killers of the Flower Moon

Posted in new releases

Manu Review

So I’ve actually gotten out of my reading slump, I may not hit 100 like I hoped for this year but I think I’m going to get past what I read last year which is promising one of the books that helped me out of the reading slump was this cute graphic novel Manu!

Manu Summary

A funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and She is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for her’s magic to disappear… and it does. She uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that she isn’t able to pay!

Review

You know I’m a fan of the magical all girls school trope, because I would have loved to go to one, however I feel like I would have probably been like Manu she’s great with jokes and pranks and very magically talented however people, not so much. She can’t seem to get on with the other girls because of her pranks and after one serious prank, her one friend Josefina, wishes she didn’t have powers and Manu finds herself cursed, and ends up having to wear a stinky solution so she can use magic. When she finds a way to bring back her magic it’s too tempting even though she knows she probably shouldn’t be messing with that level of magic, when it overtakes her will Josefina and be able to save her friend.

The relationship between Manu and Josefina is the heart of the story. I also really like the relationship between Manu and the nuns, who know about her true nature, and who help guide her with her powers. Overall this is just a great book with a lovely surprise at the end.

Amazon: Manu

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

Wizardry of New Releases

It’s the week before Halloween so expect a few magical books to come out this week. Watch the authors use their wizardry as we see some new great books.

The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams

It’s 1944 Sutton, NY, and Poppy’s family owns and runs, Rhyme and Reason, a magical bookshop that caters to people from all different places and time periods. Though her world is ravaged by World War II, customers hail from the past and the future, infusing the shop with a delightful mix of ideas and experiences.
 
Poppy dreams of someday becoming shopkeeper like her father, though her older brother, Al, is technically next in line for the job. She knows all of the rules handed down from one generation of Bookseller to the next, especially their most important one: shopkeepers must never use the magic for themselves.
 
But then Al’s best friend is killed in the war and her brother wants to use the magic of the shop to save him. With her father in the hospital suffering from a mysterious illness, the only one standing between Al and the bookstore is Poppy. Caught between her love for her brother and loyalty to her family, she knows her brother’s actions could have devastating consequences that reach far beyond the bookshop as an insidious, growing Darkness looms. This decision is bigger than Poppy ever dreamed, and the fate of the bookshops hangs in the balance.

Come check out the wizardry of this book:

Amazon: The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams

Frankie and Amelia

I’m interested in this book for several reasons. One I love the relationship between cats and people, two I want to read anything with autism in it and three this just sounds like a good book.

Frankie and Amelia by [Cammie McGovern]

After being separated from his family, Franklin becomes an independent cat, until he meets a goofy dog named Chester. Chester is a service dog to his person, a boy named Gus, and Chester knows just the girl to be Franklin’s person—Gus’s classmate, Amelia.

Amelia loves cats, but has a harder time with people. Franklin understands her, though, and sees how much they have in common. When Amelia gets into some trouble at school, Franklin wants to help the girl who’s done so much to help him. He’s not sure how, yet, but he’s determined to try.

This sweet and moving novel demonstrates how powerful the bond between pets and people can be, while thoughtfully depicting a neurodivergent tween’s experience.

Find your copy here at:

Amazon: Frankie and Amelia

What Will My Story Be? 

From the creator of Pashmina, its a lovely new picture book.

From the creator of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Pashmina, comes a new picture book that encourages kids to be their most creative selves and to imagine all the places that their stories can take them.

After spending an afternoon listening to her aunties tell her stories from their pasts, a young girl ruminates on all of the tales that she can create using her imagination and begins to feel as if the possibilities for her future are endless. Filled with Nidhi Chanani’s signature vibrant illustrations, What Will My Story Be? is for anyone who finds inspiration in the quiet moments and cherishes the wisdom of the generations that came before them. Perfect for fans of Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat, and You Matter by Christian Robinson. It has the wizardry of figuring out your own story.

You can find it here at

Amazon: What Will My Story Be

Keep your eye out this week for some spooky book reviews and a special surprise on Halloween!

Posted in new releases

Trying to Save What’s Important: New Releases

Check out these middle grade new releases coming out on September 21st, about characters trying to save things be it the world or their own worlds, whether they are facing monsters or prejudice these characters stand up and face their fears.

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds (Amira & Hamza, 1) by [Samira Ahmed]

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally.
 
Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn.
 
The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon—the stopper between realms—from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever.…

Amazon: Amira and Hazma: The War to Save the Worlds

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark)

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark) by [Rena Barron]

The threat from The Dark is far from over. Twelve-year-old Maya knows this. After crossing the veil between the two worlds, saving her father, and narrowly escaping the sinister clutches of the Lord of Shadows, tensions between the human world and The Dark are higher than ever. And even worse, Maya’s orisha powers as a godling are out of control.
 
Now a guardian in training, Maya spends her days patching up veils with her father and cleaning up near-disasters like baby wormholes that her erratic powers create. But when Maya and her friends discover that something went terribly wrong during their journey to bring her father back to the human world, they are forced to return to The Dark and restore what they left behind, the one thing keeping the veil from falling: her father’s soul.
 
The Lord of Shadows is mobilizing his forces for an all-out war against the human world. And this time, Maya and her friends will need all the help they can get. Even if that means teaming up with their greatest enemies, the darkbringers.

Amazon: Maya and the Return of the Godlings

Room to Dream

Room to Dream (Front Desk) by [Kelly Yang]

Mia Tang is going for her dreams!

After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family — to China! A total dream come true! Mia can’t wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China’s going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . .

1. Lupe’s taking classes at the high school! And Mia’s own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck.

2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it.

3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing.

Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

Amazon: Room to Dream