Posted in new releases

January 2021 Middle Grade New Releases

1) The Sea in Winter

Another great outing by Indigenous author Christine Day!

Maisie Cannon has had a rough year ever since she hurt her leg. It’s taken away the thing she loves most, her ballet training and auditions.

While her blended family is loving and supportive Maisie knows they just don’t get how hopeless she feels. Her family’s midwinter roadtrip along the coast near the Makah community where her mother grew up doesn’t hold the same excitement as previous years.

How can she explain to her family when her anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as her knee. How can she continue to be strong when inside she feels like a cold and roiling sea.

Amazon: The Sea In Winter

2) Root Magic

A wonderful book about the Gullah people who I’ve never seen in a middle grade book before (please correct me if I’m wrong!)

Set during 1963 when things are changing for Jezbel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. Her family is the target of harassment from the local police deputy. And with school integration beginning in South Carolina Jez and her twin brother are going to start school with a bunch of new kids.

But the biggest change comes from their Uncle Doc who tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork. Jez and her brother Jay have alway been intrested in the African American folk magic, that has been in their family for generations.

They are especially curious about the potions and powers Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out her family’s power is much bigger than she ever could have imagined, and not a moment too soon. Because her family will have to deal with both natural and supernatural evil as it comes to town and it’s going to take every bit of Jez’s magic to see this problem through.

Amazon: Root Magic

3)The Forest of Moon and Sword

The Forest of Moon and Sword (Paperback)

Set in seventeenth-century Scotland at the height of the witch trials, when Art’s mother is accused of witchcraft she becomes determined to get her back.

Twelve-year old Art lives with her mother in a small village in Scotland, her mother has always helped the village by making potions to cure the sick, but now the townspeople claim she’s a with. One night she’s arrested and taken to England.

Art trust nature to get her mother back, she takes her horse, a sword, a tightrope, a herbal recipe book and begins a journey through the wild forests.\

But does she know enough about nature’s signs and symbols to not be led astray, will she reach her mother in time before it’s too late. In this lyrical adventure with folklore at its heart Art will have to trust herself and her connection with nature to find her mother.

Amazon: The Forest of the Moon and Sword.

4)The Nightmare Thief

Life was perfect for Maren Partridge before her sister’s accident. Now her sister is in a coma and her parent are talking about the hospital bills, and putting her sister Hallie in a long term care facility. Maren knows what this is code for, Hallie never getting better.

While Maren isn’t worried about Hallie she works in her family’s dream shop, with her Gran Gran Lishta where she can hand craft any dream imaginable. The shop only has one rule. Dreams cannot be given without the person consent.

Maren has never had a problem with this until Hallie got sick, if dream can help people with other problems then maybe they can help heal her sister. Maren’s certain she can cure Hallie with a few well-chosen dreams. And when no one is watching, she slips her a flying dream.

But someone is watching, a strange new customer, Ms. Malo to the shop has been watching Maren, and she knows what she’s been up to with trying to heal Hallie. Now she’s planning to blackmail Maren into creating custom nightmares’ for a dark and terrible purpose. Now she must make a choice protect her family or the town she loves?

Amazon: The Nightmare Thief

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Posted in new releases

December New Releases YA

A Curse of Roses

A Curse of Roses by [Diana Pinguicha]

Princess Yzabel is cursed with just one touch she turns bread into roses, with a bite cheese to lilies. She’s close to starving and wasting food in her famine plauged country of Porugal while simply trying to eat.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic then she could turn flower…..into food and help feed herself and her starving country.

But Fatyan, an Enchanted Moura is the is the only one who can help. But she’s trapped by her own magical binds, she can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—but Yzabel has to set her free with a kiss

Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse–if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the betrothed to the King of Portugal Yzabel would be commiting treason, but would good is a king for is country if his country has starved to death.

So Yzabel sets Fatyan free, only the two become closer, and it becomes less about duty and more about love. She sought Fatyan out to help save her people now loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction

Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy, this is an epic tale of mystery and magic and the impossible choices we have to make between love and duty.

A Curse of Roses includes themes, imagery, and content that might be triggering for some readers. Discussions of religious-based self harm, religious-based eating disorders, and religious-based internalized homophobia appear throughout the novel.

About the Author

Born and raised in the sunny lands of Portugal, Diana is a computer engineer graduate who currently lives in Lisbon. She can usually be found writing, painting, devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games, or walking around with her bearded dragon, Norberta. She also has two cats, Sushi and Jubas, who would never forgive her if she didn’t mention them. She can be found online at pinguicha.wordpress.com

This book is due to be released December 1st 2020.

Amazon

Brilliant Books

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

Melody McIntyre is a stage manager extraodinere, she always has a plan for everything.

Well everything except for one thing. Luck in love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance during both the romance and the show end in catastrophe, talk about bad luck. That’s why she’s sworn off romance for her school’s production of Les Mis

Of course Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for their spring performance. Or for her to be sweet, and funny and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

That leave Melody McIntyre with only one plan now, try desperately not to fall in love

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

ROBIN TALLEY is a queer author who grew up in southwest Virginia and now lives in Washington, DC, with her wife and their kids. She is the New York Times bestselling author of six other novels for teen readers: Music From Another World, Pulp, Our Own Private Universe, As I Descended, What We Left Behind, and Lies We Tell Ourselves. You can find her on the web at http://www.robintalley.com.

This book is due to be released December 1st 2020.

Amazon

Brilliant Books

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

“We don’t see color.” “I didn’t know Black people liked Star Wars!” “What hood are you from?”

Fredrick Joseph was a trasfer student to a largerly white high school and often had to suffer micro-aggressions. At the time he simply let these wince worthy moments go, as he grew older however he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself but to spread awareness to those white people around him who didn’t see the negative impact they were having.

Joseph speak directly to the reader The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Each chapter features the voice of one artist or activist such as Angie Thomas author of The Hate U Give, April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite and many more.

The book touches on everything from cultural appropriation, white privilege, and the tragic results of overt racism and much more. The book also serves as a conversation starter and tool kit with an encyclopedia of racism providing detail on relevant history and terminology.

Frederick Joseph is an award-winning marketing professional, media representation advocate, and writer who was recently selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He’s also the winner of the 2018 Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, given by Comic-Con International: San Diego, and was selected for the 2018 Root 100 List of Most Influential African Americans. He lives in New York City.

Amazon

Brilliant Books

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Posted in Blogmas, TBR

December TBR

I’ve been in some mysterious pain which has slowed me down a bit reading wise. But I’m still doing the best I can to make it to 75 before the end of the year. Here are some of my picks for end of November into December.

1)

Soulswift by [Megan Bannen]

Summary

Gelya is a Vessel, a girl who channels the word of the One True God through song. Cloistered with the other Vessels of her faith, she believes—as all Ovinists do—that a saint imprisoned Elath the Great Demon centuries ago, saving humanity from earthly temptation.

When Gelya stumbles into a deadly cover-up by the Ovinists’ military, she reluctantly teams up with Tavik, an enemy soldier, to survive. Tavik believes that Elath is actually a mother goddess who must be set free, but while he succeeds in opening Her prison, he inadvertently turns Gelya into Elath’s unwilling human vessel.

Now the church that raised Gelya considers her a threat. In a race against the clock, she and Tavik must find a way to exorcise Elath’s presence from her body. But will this release stop the countdown to the end of the world, or will it be the cause of the earth’s destruction?

And as Tavik and Gelya grow closer, another question lingers between them: What will become of Gelya?

Notes

So I’m about half way through this book and it’s super interesting I love the way the different interpretation of faiths is desplayed and how they are fighting. I also really like Gelya as a character, she’s a perfect introduction to the world having spent her whole life in a convent. Tavik is too but in a different way beacause I feel like he’s spent his whole life doing something that hasn’t really given him time to see the world.

I’d like to learn more about Gelya’s background hopefully this book covers it, if not I hope there is more than one book. I’d also like to say I like the interaction between Tavik and Gelya. I’m not a fan of romance and while they hit at the edges of being romancey mostly they just show a good friendship.

2)Ghost Squad

Summary

Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.

Notes

I’ve actually seen Claribel A. Ortega speak twice about the book it’s just been idling on my TBR. Now is the time to get to it.

3)The Dragon Warrior

Summary

As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret.

Then, during an errand into San Francisco, Faryn stumbles into a battle with a demon–and helps defeat it. She just might be the fabled Heaven Breaker, a powerful warrior meant to work for the all-mighty deity, the Jade Emperor, by commanding an army of dragons to defeat the demons. That is, if she can prove her worth and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year.

With Alex and other unlikely allies at her side, Faryn sets off on a daring quest across Chinatowns. But becoming the Heaven Breaker will require more sacrifices than she first realized. . . What will Faryn be willing to give up to claim her destiny?

Notes

I really like Faryn as a hero so far, there have also been some scenes that made me tear up already. I’m maybe a third of the way through, I can’t wait to see where this goes or where the sequel is going. I also love the way the gods just show up randomly as they like it, I know it’s Chinese New Year so they have extra power, but the scene where the one god just showed up at the table during the big dinner to announce the Heaven Breaker was one of my favorites.

4) This is Not a Ghost Story

Summary

I am not welcome. Somehow I know that. Something doesn’t want me here.

Daffodil Franklin has plans for a quiet summer before her freshman year at college, and luckily, she’s found the job that can give her just that: housesitting a mansionfor a wealthy couple.

But as the summer progresses and shadows lengthen, Daffodil comes to realize the house is more than it appears. The spacious home seems to close in on her, and as she takes the long road into town, she feels eyes on her the entire way, and something tugging her back.

What Daffodil doesn’t yet realize is that her job comes with a steep price. The house has a long-ago grudge it needs to settle . . . and Daffodil is the key to settling it.

Notes

This creepy book has a unique voice that draws me in especially after watching the Haunting of Bly Manor earlier in the year. Also don’t read this book if you want a reliable narrator, to be exactly sure what happened or like linear narratives. The book is perfect for me as I like fiction with none of those things, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Is Daffodil crazy is the house messing with her, do we know? Whose real? What’s real? All questions the book is still examining about halfway in.

5) Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

Summary

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh.

Notes 

Oh my goodness this book! You would think with stories so diverse I couldn’t like them all, but somehow I’ve liked every single one I’ve read. It’s the sweetest book I’ve read recently, this book tells the story of all kinds of Muslims from newly converted to refugees, to some with different family situations. Each story is a little gem of happiness, even if their is sadness they are right to sum it up with the word joy. A beautiful work so far, I’m about halfway through and I can wait to keep reading.

Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

Posted in Chapter/Picture Book Feature, Reviews

Review: The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family


Summary

Told from the perspective of the little sister, Faizah knows the first day back to school is going to be wonderful, she has her brand new backpack and light up shoes. But what’s most exciting and important is the fact that it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab. Her sister has picked out a beautiful blue fabric for her new hijab, Faizah thinks of it like the ocean waving to the sky.

But when people around Asiya and Faizah start to see hijab as something that isn’t beautiful. Faziah will have to find new ways to face down those who would take from the beauty of her sister’s special day.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.

Written, illustrated and inspired by a trifecta of Muslim talent Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, while Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad is best know for being one of the first athletes to wear hijab at the Olympics, last but certainly not least Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali has multiple books and award nominations to their name, including

Review

I’d been wanting to read this for awhile. I wanted a short uplifting picture book with Muslim characters. This group who put out the book does not disappoint, they get things right about the way Faizah acts age wise, yet she still manages to handle the situation with a maturity and grace that some grown-ups I know don’t possess.

It could be a five star read for the content or the illustration alone but together especially with the fact that Ibtihaj Muhammad was involved, I wish I could give it more than five stars. I will be gifting it to my new family addition when they are older.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Five Favorite Things

  1. Asiya Picking Out the Color of her Hijab
  2. What Faizah thinks of the color
  3. What Faizah thinks of the bullies
  4. How Faizah maintains her integrity
  5. The happy sibling-ness

Amazon: The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

Posted in Recommendations, Uncategorized, YARC, 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 Reviews

Review: On the Edge of Gone

On the Edge of Gone

On the Edge of Gone by [Corinne Duyvis]

Written by an autistic author Corinne Duyvis this is an OwnVoices review.

Summary

On the Edge of Gone explores whose life is worth saving when the world is coming to an end. On January 29, 2035, a comet is scheduled to hit the earth, a big one. Denise, her mother, and sister Iris have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside of their hometown of Amsterdam.

But with Iris missing and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going they’ll never reach the shelter in time, however, a last-minute meeting leads them to something even better. A generational ship scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits.

But with usefulness as the indicator of who is allowed to stay autistic Denise worries about whether or not she’ll make the cut. What about her mother and sister? Do their lives matter enough, with the future of the human race at stake?

Review

Denise is one of the best written autistic characters I’ve encountered in a while, which probably comes from the author being autistic. While the autism portrayal is wonderful, there are some elements I have questions about.

Denise is half white half Surinamese, which is cool I just have a question about a seemingly white author writing a half POC character. She did seem to hit several cultural points, but I’m not from the culture to know if they are correct.

There was also a trans character but I won’t ruin who they are, I think the author did a good job with their portrayal.

Overall it was a great piece especially when it came to autism, I just have a few questions about the other aspects of diversity included.

Five Favorite Things

  1. The autism
  2. Denise’s love for cats
  3. Iris
  4. Denise’s picky eating
  5. Els

I’d give this a solid 4.5.

Amazon: On the Edge of Gone

Posted in Pokemon Reads, Recommendations

Pokemon Reads Tag-Fighting Type

With it being Year of the Asian Readathon I had to do a series of books focus on Asian authors. With Asia’s rich history of martial arts, I thought the most appropriate would be fighting type, and I decided to focus on #OwnVoices authors, as I think everyone should.  Below are some more of Pokemon Reads Fighting Type!

Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword

Peasprout Chen and her little brother Cricket are the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, and Peasprout Chen wants nothing more than to be a champion.

They are there to learn the art of wu liu, a beautiful combo of martial arts and figure skating.

But soon they will find themselves not only battling for top ranking at the academy but facing prejudice when the lovely Pearl buildings of the academy are vandalized.

Now Peasprout must solve a mystery to ensure peace between her home country and Pearl, all while still becoming a champion.

Author Henry Lien was born in Taiwan and currently lives in Hollywood.

The Pokemon that reminds me of this book is: Mienshao

Mienshao

It’s the martial arts Pokemon and seems elegant like the art Peasprout is learning and the city Pearl.

Amazon: Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword

The Twelve

Usagi was born in the year of the wood rabbit, and she has extraordinary powers. For example, she can soar over treetops in a giant leap, and hear a squirrels heartbeat a mile away. But she can never use her powers, and neither can her little sister Uma, and while she understands that keeping her powers a secret from the vicious Dragonlord is important, rambunctious Uma is a little tougher to convince.

But when the Dragonlord captures Uma in his quest to find everyone in her land with zodiac powers, Usagi must, for the first time use her power to try to get her sister back and fight against the Dragonlord.

To get in touch with her powers she must make a journey to Mount Jade along with other people who have similar powers, they are the fabled Heirs of the Twelve, a mystical group of warriors who once protected the land.

But things aren’t always what they seem and Usagi must decide who to trust as she takes on deadly foes and eventually on her path to facing the Dragonlord himself.

Cindy Lin is a former multimedia news producer who has done work and lived in Japan. She now spends her time in Southern California.

The Pokemon that reminds me of this book is: Lopunny

Lopunny

Due to the Usagi’s Zodiac powers this was an obvious choice, this is usually a Normal type Pokemon, however when it Mega Evolves it gains the Fighting type

Amazon: The Twelve

The Dragon Egg Princess

This is a short middle grade by #WeNeedDiverseBooks co-founder Ellen Oh, the book draws inspiration from Korean lore and culture.  Jiho Park is just trying to get by, in a kingdom filled with magic, he and his family are immune to its effects but that doesn’t make his life easy.

Since his father disappeared into the Kidahara, a powerful ancient forest, five years ago Jiho wants nothing to do with his family legacy of being a forest ranger and protecting the Kidahara. Jiho has lost too much and knows all too well about the dangers the forest holds and how those who go in don’t come back, like his father and the only daughter of the royal family Princess Koko.

But when Jiho agrees to help foreign forces access the Kidhara to get money, he needs for his family to survive, he finds out that a long-forgotten evil that’s been lurking deep in the Kidahara is starting to wake up again.

But how can a magic-less boy, a bandit leader, and lost princess join forces and save the world before it’s too late?

The Pokemon that reminds me of this book is: Meloetta in Pirouette Form

File:648Meloetta-Pirouette.png

This Pokemon is the melody Pokemon and the forest in the book has a magical call, plus she reminds me of some of the magical creatures in the book.

Amazon: The Dragon Egg Princess

Come back next week for the last few Pokemon Reads!

Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

 

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

Review: The Science of Breakable Things

My latest read and it’s my first book on the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge for the year, it also fits one of my own challenges of reading books that deal with mental health.

The Science of Breakable Things

Science of Breakable Things Wednesday

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.

Natalie’s mother is suffering from depression, and Natalie is suffering too because she doesn’t know how to fix her mom. She has ideas as to why all of this has happened. Her mom is (was) a botanist and got fired, sending her into her depressive state.

Natalie is angry at her dad for trying to pretend everything is okay, and even though she doesn’t want to admit it, she’s angry at her mom, because she feels like she wasn’t good enough, and that if her mom loved her she wouldn’t be depressed.

All this is set against the backdrop of Natalie’s seventh-grade science class. Natalie’s science teacher wants them to find a research question. When Natalie struggles he suggests that she enter an egg drop competition. Natalie is reluctant at first but realizes there is prize money attached and that this might be the solution to fix her mom.

Her mom’s botany work focused on miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The one they had at their house has died and Natalie is sure seeing the flowers will inspire her mom to want to be an active part of life again.

Natalie’s friend Twig is the first to sign onto the team, soon called Operation Egg, along with a new boy from India named Dari. With their help Natalie might just have a chance of winning the contest and helping her mom, but what happens when things fall apart like broken eggs?

Having friends around to pick up the piece help Natalie learns that talking about things can start her on a journey of healing and that with help. Her family might never put the pieces back the same way, but that they might slowly but surely begin to heal with or without the Cobalt Blue Orchid.

Review

I loved the view of mental health from another perspective. I also loved how they brought in how Natalie feels about her being Korean and her dad’s disinterest/discomfort with his Korean identity. There wasn’t as much focus on it since depression was the main plot but I still liked the fact that it was mentioned.

Five Favorite Things

  1. Natalie’s Two Best Friends
  2. Natalie’s Grandma
  3. Natalie’s response to her mom’s depression
  4. Natalie making Korean food
  5. Natalie and her Mom interacting at the end of the book.

Overall this was a good five stars, very sweet, and portrayed mental health very well.

Amazon: The Science of Breakable Things

 

Posted in Monthly Reads, TBR

April TBR

So I finished 5 books in March despite all the issues with the Coronavirus. That puts me right on track with my goal for the year which is 50. It also makes up for February, where I only finished three books.

I have six books on my TBR this month. I’m being a bit ambitious since I’m under a shelter in place order from my state’s governor and will have way more time to read.  Here are a few of my picks for the month.

I Can Make This Promise

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, one because I don’t read enough Native American fiction and two because it just sounds like a cool story. Inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secret and finds her own Native American identity.

Edie has known her whole life that her mom was adopted by a white couple, even though she’s Native American. Edie is curious about her own history but is sure her family doesn’t have any answers so she tries to put it out of her mind.

Everything is perfect until one day she and her friends find a box in the attic with letters signed “Love Edith” and a photo of a woman who looks just like her.

Edie now has a bunch of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Does that mean she also belongs to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have lied to her this long, why would they tell the truth now?

Amazon: I Can Make This Promise

Between the Water and the Woods

I really am liking this so far, it is pitched as being like a fairy tale and that really is how it comes across. Very mystical and the illustrations are lovely.

Emeline doesn’t know she has ancient magic, all she knows is when her little brother breaks the rules of the village and goes into mystical, dangerous woods, she fights back and somehow fights the monster off. But her brother has awakened a dark thing called the Ithin. Any sighting of dark creatures must be reported, so by law, Emeline and her family must travel to the royal court to warn the king.

But Emeline has never been out of her village, how is she going to take the journey which requires the protection of sour magister and a handsome, whip-wielding Lash Knight. Will Emeline find the answers to the questions about her magic in a city where there are conspiracies everywhere and her magic shouldn’t even exist?

Amazon: Between the Water and the Woods

Sisters of Shadow and Light

This one is really interesting to me because of the way one of the sisters is portrayed, I’m going to read it and see how it goes but it may end up on my mental health list.

Sisters Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, The Paladins were legendary magical warriors, they have since disappeared from the world. Leaving the two girls to grow up an abandoned fortress surrounded by a massive magical hedge.

All the Paladins may have gone from the world but Inara inherited their father’s power, her eyes glow blue and she’s able to make plants grow at magical rates. But at a cost, she’s trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out, leaving Zuhra by herself with their emotionally broken human mother.

It seems like nothing will change, they have lived there for fifteen years trapped in the citadel until one day a stranger passes through the hedge and turns their whole world upside down.

Amazon: Sisters of Shadow and Light

What is on your TBR this month or what are your goals?

 

 

 

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Backlog Review: Amina’s Voice

One of my favorite Hena Khan books, Amina’s Voice is one of those books I re-read at least every couple of months, it’s so positive and sweet.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Pakistani-American Muslim girl Amina isn’t sure about all the changes middle school is bringing. Amina doesn’t like the spotlight, she’s got stage fright from a past experience on stage and despite wanting to sign up for a school concert she can’t get past it.

It doesn’t matter what her best friend Soojin says about her voice is better than most everyone in the school. Soojin is one of the only ones who know she can sing and Amina wants to keep it that way.

Amina and Soojin have a bond over shared experiences they are used to be the only ones with names no one can pronounce and who have different cultural backgrounds from the students around them.

But with Soojin’s family’s citizenship ceremony coming up. Soojin is talking about changing her name to something more ‘American’ and Amina isn’t sure how to feel about that, she likes Soojin as Soojin. Plus if Soojin is changing, does that mean she should be too?

Plus Soojin starts to let a ‘cool girl’ Emily hang out with them at lunch. Emily and her friend Julie had been mean to Amina and Soojin in the past so Amina isn’t sure why Soojin is now willing to look past those old wrongs.

If all that isn’t enough her uncle is coming to visit from Pakistan, the visit is very important to her father so he wants Amina and her brother to be on their best behavior, and he’s staying for three months! But when her uncle arrives it is clear he doesn’t share some of her parents’ beliefs, especially about music. This makes Amina wonder if her love for music is wrong.

When Amina accidentally reveals one of Emily’s secrets it drives a rift between her and Soojin and Emily that Amina doesn’t know how to fix.

When her local mosque is vandalized it puts everything in perspective, but will Amina be able to solve the rifts in her personal life and use her voice to bring together her community?

This OwnVoices novel is by multiple award-winning author Hena Khan author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns and More to the Story.