Posted in Uncategorized

Ritu Weds Chandni

Ritu Weds Chandni

I got early access to this book through NetGalley yay them!

Summary

This book is not only sweet but educational about the situation for queer couples in India. Told from the perspective of one of the bride’s younger relatives. Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding, her cousin is going to lead a ceremony which is traditionally lead by men and not everyone is happy about that.

The ceremony involves the family going through the town riding on a horse to see Ritu’s bride Chandni but when bigots get in the way and seem to ruin the wedding Ayesha starts dancing and reminds them that no matter what happens there is still something to celebrate.

I appreciated the glossary at the end though most could be gleaned from context, as well as the authors note about why he chose to write this story.

Review

This is picture book so it’s pretty short, not much to say other than what I said above other than that the illustration is lovely, the book just feels lively because of the rich colors present in the illustrations. I’d read it again just to look at it, I also loved the stylized illustrations of the horses they rode throughout the book.

Anyway it was a very cute book, totally 5 stars.

Amazon: Ritu Weds Chandni

The book will be released December 1st!

Image by rajesh koiri from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations, Reviews

Unwanteds Isle of Legends Review

Island of Legends 

Summary

After all Artimé has been through they deserve a party. So Alex insitutes the tradition of the first annual masquerade ball! But the party is over before it even begin when Queen Egalea’s ship appear across the sea. Wanting to get back what supposedly is hers.

The fight is on Artimé’s shores and Alex must prove he can handle his newfound leadership. Sky and Crow are terrified and Alex is recieving no help from Aaron his scheming twin brother. Instead of rallying Quill to help against the treat that faces the whole island.

Aaron disappears and happens on a dangerous secret in the jungles of Artimé one that may give him the power he’s been desperately looking for but at what price?

Even with this battle on horizon Alex hasn’t forgotton his promise to rescue Sky’s mother from the volatile Pirate Island, a rocky volcano that randomly spits fire and sinks beneath the surface with little warning.

Once the intial battle is over and a rescue team is on its way, friendships are tested as the stake are higher than ever on this new mission. The group is in for an adventure learning about their island chain. Discovering more people and creatures than they ever imagined unfortunatly for the Artiméans, not all of them are friendly.

Some of the most unusual islands so far appear in this book!

Review

Honestly this is one of my favorites of the series for a number of reasons, lots of threads from earlier in the series are resolved in this book. We also meet some of my favorite characters in this book. Plus there is just a lot of sea-fairing adventure going on which is always fun, dangerous but fun. We also discover larger things about the Unwanteds world in general that will play into the next series.

By itself: 5+

For the series 5

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Reviews

From the Desk of Zoe Washington Review

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Summary

Zoe Washington was having a fun birthday, with cake and presents. She expected surprises for her twelfth birthday but not a letter from a father she’s never heard from one she’s been told has committed a terrible crime.

She isn’t sure what to write back but she knows she’s intrested, she feels a draw to her biological father. As the Zoe and her father Marcus get to know each other they find out they have a lot in common and Zoe finds the courage to ask him about his crime.

A crime he says he never committed.

But only guilty people go to prison right? Ask Zoe continues to write to Marcus she is determined to uncover the truth and along to way she learns about the injustices in America’s criminal justice system. But if Marcus could really be innocent Zoe is determined to find his alibi witness and prove his innocence

While her family thinks she’s worried about doing a good job on her good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge she’s really busy sleuthing along with the help of her friend and her grandmother.

Along the way she learns about The Innocence Project, but even if she can find Marcus’ alibi witness will that be enough to truly change anything? Can one girl make a difference against a rigged system and what will she do when she has to come clean to her family?

Review

This book is very important because it explores the criminal justice system and its flaws in a way that is approachable to the target audience. It may read a little young because of Zoe’s naïve and because she’s been sheltered by her family so much. But I think it’s still an important pick for classrooms or families. It was on the Publishers Weekly, “An Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List” and I can see why.

Personally my favorite part of the book were the letters between Zoe and Marcus and the playlist the Zoe makes from the songs that Marcus suggests.

Definitely another 5 star book.

Image by Jess Bailey from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations, Reviews, YARC, 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 backlog reviews, Blogtober, Reviews, Uncategorized

Backlog Reviews: Legacy

 The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy

Legacy

So I’ve been meaning to put this review up but with Unlocked coming out in less than a month (don’t ask me how many copies I’m buying) I figured I’d better put this up so I’d have room to review Unlocked which I’m going to stay up and finish in like a day. 

This is the eighth book in The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. It clocks in at 789 pages so I’m not sure it’s the longest in the series but it’s one of the longest. 

The series focuses on Sophie Foster and her friends. This book specifically has Sophie and her friends reeling after one of their group is taken by the enemy, The Neverseen. In the book Sophie and her friends are finally seen as equals by the Elvin council after years of strife but what does all that responsibility mean, and will Sophie and her friends be able to stop the enemy’s plans and save their friend in the process.

Sophie wants to know who her biological parents are, but the Black Swan, who created her won’t tell her and it’s essential to the match, where elves are given lists of who they can marry, so its essential information if she wants to be with Fitz. But Mr. Forkle doesn’t seem to think so. He sees staying single for centuries as a solution which is why Sophie starts to investigate the issue on her own, with Keefe’s help.

Just when she’s about to start working on it, the Council offers her a unique position in the nobility, she will be a Regent and a leader of a team of her friends, and Stina Heks, her frienemy. They will be responsible for helping the council with some of the same concerns that The Black Swan has about the dwarves and their missing friend Tam’s ability as a Shade being used against them.

But Sophie isn’t the only one with blank spots in her past, Keefe’s mother, Lady Gisela the leader of the Neverseen, erased some of his memories and wants him to face up to something called his ‘legacy’. When their friend Tam warns he’s been ordered to kill Keefe, Sophie must do everything she can to keep Keefe out of the line of fire. But Keefe may be a part of something much bigger than Sophie can even imagine so keeping him out of the line of fire may be impossible.

Sophie is also trying to put together a plan to face the dwarves and figure out how to be the leader of her new team called Team Valiant. All while Keefe is throwing mind-bending ideas about who her biological parents might be and she is trying to be Fitz’s girlfriend.

Keeping everything in balance seems impossible especially when Mr. Forkle throws her new information about the fact that one of her abilities may be malfunctioning and she may have to risk her life to get it to reset, again.

But none of them can stop the showdown that is coming with the enemy, and Keefe’s legacy is coming for him whether he likes it or not, will Sophie be able to keep Keefe, herself, and her friends safe, or will everything fall apart?

This book may be long but it’s also one of my favorites and I can’t wait till book 8.5 Unlocked comes out in November! Less than a month from now but still way too long! 

Image by Jalyn Bryce from Pixabay

Amazon: Legacy

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews

The Unwanteds: Island of Fire

This is perhaps the book I’ve read the most times it finds The Unwanteds at their most desperate and Aaron being particularly detestable. But it also introduces some of my favorite characters in the series and allows two characters to get closer that wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s also the first time we get to see what life is like on another island.

Island of Fire (The Unwanteds Book 3) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

With the magical world of Artimé gone The Unwanteds are stuck. They have no food, no water and no hope. Everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for help.

And honestly he’s not sure he can provide any, feeling totally overwhelmed and helpless by how Artimé was taken away in the first place he also has the responsibility on his shoulders of rescuing his captive friend Samheed and Lani, from the strange island they disappeared to. He need to help free Meghan from her voice stealing necklace of thorns. If those two things were enough, he need to find a way to restore Artimé. No pressure right?

He doesn’t realize that help may lie with the silent orange eyed newcomers who washed up on shore during the last book and were forgotten in the crisis. The older girl, who through a series of basic signs tells Alex that her name is Sky, and her little brother Crow, find ways to help around the desolate land that used to be Artimé.

Alex is able to relax with Sky and doesn’t seem to feel the need to act like a leader, which is essential since Alex relaxing and Sky helping may be to key to solving a puzzle that helps bring Artimé back.

Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron continues to build his army wanting to strike The Unwanteds while they are weak, but a twist reveals that Alex and Aaron may have bigger enemies to worry about than each other.

Review

As I said at the onset one of my favorites of the series, mostly because of Sky. I also love the puzzle to bring back Artimé. I’ve always wondered what the Warbler sign language was based on though, ASL or just basic signs?

Alex kind of gets his foot in his mouth when he doesn’t seem to think Sky will be very helpful since she can’t talk and she ends up being the one pretty much helping solve a good portion of the riddle. I think it’s a mistake Alex doesn’t make again, assuming just because someone can’t speak or speak different they don’t have anything to offer but I thought it was an interesting moment of growth.

As a book itself: 5 out 5

In the series 5 out 5.

Amazon: Island of Fire

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews, Uncategorized

The Haunting of Bly Manor

So this is a book blog you say, why are they reviewing Netflix series. Because the Netflix series is haunting and perfect for this time of year. Based on Henry James’ work particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.

Part of the ‘Haunting’ Series by Mike Flannagan the first season of which is an adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.

The series starts out with a woman with some friends the night before a wedding, they land on the topic of ghosts and she shares that she has a ghost story if they are interested, though she promises it isn’t short.

The story starts out with a governess sent by a rich man to care for two odd children, the children have lost their parents. At first it seems like a simple assignment, till the woman, Dani, played by Victoria Pedretti. Starts to notice things aren’t as they seem the children are strange, with strange rules about when Dani shouldn’t be in and out of bed. They start playing tricks and won’t explain why.

And Dani is sure there are ghosts about, but the question is who living and who’s not? Dani knows the ghosts have power but when things start going on beyond what she ever imagined she isn’t sure who she can trust. Except for the gardener Jamie.

But when things come down to protecting the children, Dani has to make a tragic choice, one that perhaps is the most haunting of all.

I loved this series, it was queer, it was creepy, and it makes me want to watch it again I can’t wait to go back and look for details.

Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay

Posted in Blogtober, Reviews

Unwanteds: Island of Silence

Wow, I don’t know what I did to receive 20 views yesterday but thanks all the same. Didn’t mean to miss a day in Blogtober but I didn’t get ahead on my posts like I like then I wasn’t feeling well. Overall I think I’m doing pretty good though so I’m not going to stress over it. Today I’m bringing you a review of the next book in the Unwanteds Series.

Unwanteds: Island of Silence

Island of Silence (The Unwanteds Book 2) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

Following the life changing events during the battle at the conclusion of The Unwanteds, the barrier between the non-magical world of Quill and the magical haven of Artimé is now broken down. Head Mage Marcus Today has welcomed anyone from Quill to Artimé whether they Wanteds, Unwanteds, or Necessaries.

In Artimé, Alex and his friends help the newcomers, but they wonder how long the peace will last. Alex is also stunned when Mr. Today comes to him with a special request, one he isn’t sure he’s ready for but the responsiblity may land at his feet whether he likes it or not due to dramatic circumstances.

Back in Quill Aaron Stowe, faces a very different path, after his loss of status due to Justine’s defeat, he’s full of rage towards his brother, but in a society where you can’t feel emotions, rage can come out in the strangest of ways. Not really acknowledging his feelings, Aaron starts a plan to claw his way back to power.

But when the world of Quill and Artimé meet it will change the path of both world forever and bring Alex and Aaron’s sibling rivalry to epic proportions.

Review

This is one of my favorite books in the series because it’s where the action starts to really pick up. Of course it’s where everyone’s hearts start getting torn out, but that’s the mark of a good series. You start feeling for everyone. Also Aaron gets more page time, and there is another adventure going on, one on another island that is really pivotal to the rest of the series that gets started here.

Book itself: 5 out 5

In the series 5 out 5.

Amazon: The Unwated: Island of Silence

Image by Kevinsphotos from Pixabay

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, Reviews

Stritch Scratch

Stritch Scratch

So I really haven’t been scared by a book since Katherine Arden’s work last year, Scritch Scratch was scary, and then extra scary and sad once you found out the twist. Lindsay Currie did a great job with her historical research mixing that with middle school drama, and all the while making a believable yet tough to solve ghost story so props to her.

Summary

Claire’s father does ghost tours of Chicago, and she wants absolutly nothing to do with them. She’s a scientist and the stuff her dad talks about is just paranormal foolishness, right?

But one night she gets stuck helping her dad with a tour and some of the stuff he’s talking about starts to seem a little too real, she’s ready for the tour to be over and she thinks she’s made it through especially when she see a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the busy, there is something off about him, especially since at the end of the tour, he’s just gone.

Claire tries to think nothing of it at first, she must be imagining things, letting ghost stories she heard on the tour get the best of her, but then the scratching starts, then the whispers in the dark, the number 396 appearing everywhere she turns, and the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire realizes she’s being haunted and she’s got to find out what the boy from the bus wants before it’s too late.

Review

This novel was scary for several reasons, one because Currie didn’t fall into the trap that horror authors often fall into of revealing the ghost/monster/scary thing too soon. She did a great job at hinting at it, and the main characters could feel the effects of its presence which made it all the more creepy. It had the lead character doubting herself, which is great in horror because then you’re not sure whether to believe in the ghost or not either.

Even when the characters as a group are pretty sure the ghost is real, it stays mysterious enough that its mystery isn’t easy to solve, keeping the readers guessing till the very end. I also have to shout out all the historical research Currie did for the book to make it history meld with fiction. A+ on that front.

Amazon: Stritch Scratch