[Blog Tour] Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

Jane Igharo’s debut novel about Azere, a Nigerian Canadian woman, contending with a promise she made as a child to her father on his deathbed, one wreathed in her Nigerian culture, and what it means for her in her mid-twenties in Canada.

Preserving cultural identity, considering personal growth and desires, many things are touched on in Ties That Tether in a way that highlights the complex nature that is the aforementioned situation.


about the book - Copy

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Published: 29 September 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Age Group: Adult

Genre(s): Romance

When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.



Death of a parent (cancer), death of a spouse and child (flashback), car collision, blood, traumatic childbirth



Representation includes Nigerian Canadian woman whose family immigrated from Nigeria; a Nigerian Italian side character (best friend) whose experience as a biracial character is touched on.


likes

Azere’s relationship with her sister, Efe. They understood each other probably about as well as sisters can and it was interesting to see how they navigated themselves as not only siblings, but as daughters.

Christina, Azere’s best friend and coworker, was a fun presence who did not shy away from calling Azere on her b.s. when she lashed out. I thought she was a a sympathetic support for Azere.

The discussions, whether between the people in the book or within Azere’s mind and the reader looking in, about the pressures that she was facing from not only her mother, but from her society whether it was Nigerian or Canadian. The different expectations intermingled throughout the story and Azere’s observations made her actions all the more anticipated by the reader.


dislikes

There felt like an issue with pacing at stages of the book, wherein certain revelations came too quickly, their build up being glossed over, events gotten to and over with little fan fare, then others were I was a bit frustrated with the “please get to the point” of it.

I really did not care for Azere’s mother or the secondary “love interest”, if he can be called that. There were scenes that were uncomfortable for me because of personal experience (so these did not affect the rating), but despite that, the attitudes of both characters did chafe. Redeemable? Perhaps (that would be part of the story).


favorite quotes[6698]

Sweet and forbidden – that’s how I remember it tasting. It was everything I wanted and couldn’t have. There was a rule I had to obey, and it was simple: never get romantically involved with a man who isn’t Edo.

I remember how we all shared a lifestyle and an identity that was crafted by those who came before us.


conclusion

Azere’s story, and largely it is with the romance also being there, is an enjoyable read looking at a young woman discovering the parts of herself that have room to stretch and grow and who to share this with, whether that means honoring a promise or otherwise.


about the author - Copy

Jane Igharo, credit Borada Photography

Jane Abieyuwa Igharo was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada at the age of twelve. She has a journalism degree from the University of Toronto and works as a communications specialist in Ontario, Canada. When she isn’t writing, she’s watching “Homecoming” for the hundredth time and trying to match Beyoncé’s vocals to no avail.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Review] Unfettered Journey by Gary F. Bengier

A look at the intersection of artificial intelligence and philosophical questions about greater meaning, Gary F. Bengier’s novel follows Joe, a leading mind on A.I. as he takes a sabbatical to delve into the depths of these subjects.

Thank you to the author for an advance copy of this book for review.

about the book - Copy

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B & N | Goodreads | The Storygraph

Published: 7 September 2020

Publisher: Chiliagon Press

Age Group: Adult

Genre(s): Scifi

Set in a richly envisioned future world, Unfettered Journey is the story of an AI scientist who seeks to create robot consciousness and discovers the resilience of the human spirit. He travels to a small college to progress his quest, but instead finds love, a secret plot by unjust forces, and the answers to his fundamental questions—the nature of the conscious mind and free will.

This book is a profound, many-layered journey. It is a love story and an adventure. It traces struggle and resilience in an imperfect world. It is a deep philosophical exploration, resetting the conversation at the intersection of science and religion, challenging you to begin your own journey to a purposeful life.

likes

Joe seemed to falter between his reliance on certain aspects of technology & A.I. and his fear/disdain for advanced parts. This duality as it was laid out throughout the novel was an interesting examination because it reflected human nuance.

I wondered whether the crux of Joe’s issue was that he couldn’t conceive of existing without a purpose, why he dislikes bots so much at their early stages: because he was failing at his purpose to create completely independent A.I. that can feel and act as if human. Was it that he was failing so profoundly that the mere act of a bot being able to do its job competently a hostile act to him? What then would a human being happy in a seemingly parallel state be like?

dislikes

For all that Joe had “decided” in regards to humanity and emotions vs. A.I. and emotions, his understanding of the former was an issue that nagged at me at some points and was a problem, I think, that held him back.

The Levels system in the book was certainly something. It’s basically the way that things are allocated (the Levels Acts dicate, within the book, who can get specific jobs, get married, leave the country, etc.) and the way that some side characters talked about it, even the way that Joe did at times (he was comfortable with his level, he had earned his Level…) was teeth gritting.

favorite quotes[6698]

“Joe, my degrees are not compelling reasons. Let the truth of the argument win rather than blindly accept any authority.”

conclusion

An academic fiction novel that brings together A.I. science and philosophy, Unfettered Journey is a thoughtful book that brings to mind the university setting of the story itself and piques the questions within the mind of the reader themselves about the roles A.I. has in our lives now and may have in the future.

about the author - Copy

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After a career in Silicon Valley, Gary pursued passion projects, studying astrophysics and philosophy. He’s spent the last two decades thinking about how to live a balanced, meaningful life in a rapidly evolving technological world. This self-reflective journey infuses his novel with insights about our future and the challenges we will face in finding purpose.

Before turning to writing speculative fiction, Gary worked in a variety of Silicon Valley tech companies. He was eBay’s Chief Financial Officer, and led the company’s initial and secondary public offerings. Gary has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MA in philosophy from San Francisco State University. He has two children with Cynthia, his wife of forty-three years. When not traveling the world, he raises bees and makes a nice Cabernet at the family’s Napa vineyard. He and his family live in San Francisco.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

DC Blog Tour – Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia (author) & Gabriel Picolo (artist) – PREVIEW

Welcome to DC’s blog tour for Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo. 👏

Among my favorite superheroes, seeing this cast of characters portrayed by one of my favorite artists has been a blessing since I picked up Teen Titans: Raven back in June (see my review here).

Now we’re in for a treat with Garfield Logan aka Beast Boy’s entry in the series. Utilizing Gabriel’s art style and Kami’s storytelling, I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll build upon the foundation of volume one.

about the book - Copy

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B & N | Bookshop | Goodreads | Indiebound | The Storygraph

Published: 1 September 2020

Publisher: DC Ink

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre(s): Graphic Novels/Fantasy/Superheros

Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.

about the author - Copy

Kami-Garcia-Bio-HiRes

Kami Garcia a #1 New York TimesUSA Today and international bestselling author and comic book writer. As an award-winning, Bram Stoker Award-nominated young adult author of 12 novels and graphic novels, she has been published in 51 countries and 38 languages and her books have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Kami’s best known works include the Beautiful Creatures series, Teen Titans: Raven, The X-Files: Agent of Chaos, The Lovely Reckless, Broken Beautiful Hearts, and the DC Black Label comic Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity. She is also a cofounder of the Kid Lit book festival YALLFest and co-organizer of #Creators4Comics. Learn more about Kami at kamigarcia.com and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kamigarcia.

Photo Credit: Vania Stoyanva

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Gabriel Picolo is a Brazilian comic artist and illustrator based in Sao Paulo. His work has become known for its strong storytelling and atmospheric colors. Picolo has developed projects for clients such as Blizzard, BOOM! Studios, Harper Collins, and DeviantART.

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All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

I received a copy of this book from DC Comics for review.

[Review] Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Every year I look forward to a new Wayward Children book. This year, a blessing was that I was able to read 2021’s Across the Green Grass Fields early and when I tell you I was excited, that is underselling my reaction to the news that I could do so by a lot.

The hope, the magic, the adventure, the underlying darkness that each volume reveals is an experience that makes January a thing to look forward to because we don’t know what the volume will contain exactly, but these volumes act as a sort of portal themselves out of our own world in a time when that kind of magic is in short supply.

Whether is it a return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children or to one of the portal worlds themselves, it is like we the readers are returning home to McGuire’s world and what a blessing that is.

about the book - Copy

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Published: 12 January 2021

Publisher: Tor.com

Age Group: Crossover (Adult/YA)

Genre(s): Fantasty/LGBTQIA+

A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

5 star

Rep: Intersex MC

content warnings - Copy

Bullying, manipulation, gender based cruelty/abuse

likes

The Hooflands felt like Seanan embracing her love of all things Pony. From the centaurs that Regan encounters and becomes familiar with to the unicorns she cares for and more, there are various equines that the reader encounters and learns so much about. It was interesting to see interpretations of them that, for me, were different than previous encounters, such as the unicorns being herd animals and not particularly intelligent.

Across the Green Grass Fields looks at the inner workings of childhood, of friendships and what happens when those fall apart, when the power of a child is wielded ill. How these parents seem to forget the terrifying existence of seven to ten year olds and how their own society is built on a precarious set of rules that can tumble at a moments notice, sending the offender into oblivion. What would a child do to prevent that from happening?

There’s a quote that frightened me because it hit so close to home as a person AFAB, it rang particularly true:

They thought children, especially girl children, were all sugar and lace, and that when those children fought, they would do so cleanly and in the open, where adult observers could intervene. It was like they’d drawn a veil of fellow-feeling and good intentions over their own childhoods as soon as they crossed the magic line into adulthood, and left all the strange feuds, unexpected betrayals, and arbitrary shunnings behind them.

Regan’s experience as young person learning she is intersex felt important. Her parents’ decisions regarding the situation, her learning of this information and dealing with it in both our world and the world of the Hooflands. It’s a cross-world situation that effects Regan and doesn’t evaporate because she goes through the doorway and I appreciated that.

There’s also an important focus on the prism of perspective. Whether it was the centaurs or the kelpies or one of the other parties that becomes involved in the narrative, there are so many ways that the events of the story or the history of the Hooflands that prove that there is no one right way for things to be or told.

dislikes

By and large there wasn’t much that I disliked about this book except for the fact that I couldn’t place this book in relation to the rest of the novellas. I don’t know if this was deliberate or not. It felt relatively modern, so I’m assuming time wise it’s about the same “time” as the Nancy/Cora books (1 & 3) but it wasn’t clear.

I was also sad that this book broke the pattern that had been established up until now of odd books being school books and even books being quest books. It wasn’t a flaw of the book, so it didn’t effect the rating, it just made me a bit sad that we didn’t end up seeing Regan end up at meeting Eleanor or any of the previous Wayward Children. I do hope she’ll return in future books; who knows?

favorite quotes[6698]

Loving horses didn’t make her strange, and strange was something to be feared and avoided above all else in the vicious political landscape of the playground, where the slightest sign of aberration or strangeness was enough to bring about instant ostracization.

Maybe she would have realized staying quiet wasn’t the same thing as lying, and that while her body wasn’t any sort of shameful secret, she was under no obligation to share it with anyone, especially not with a girl who had proven, over and over again, that she couldn’t be trusted with anything that didn’t fit her narrow view of the world.

The twigs above it almost seemed to form words; she realized, with a start, that she could read them. “Be Sure,” they said, in spindly, organic lettering.
This was all strange and impossible and maybe not even happening, but horses were horses, and as long as there were horses, things would turn out all right in the end.
Manure was manure, even when it came out of a unicorn.
Let them learn that destiny’s a lie, and let them find the way to govern themselves, as they should have done from the beginning. Let them learn humans are people, the way you never learned that they were,”
Maybe this was how things had been since the beginning, with people falling through doors and believing they knew better than the people who were already there, all because they thought humans were the best possible thing to be.

conclusion

Regan and the Hooflands are a welcome addition to pantheon of Wayward Children stories. Her story as it becomes a part of that world, as they circle back and come to our world, is a journey the reader will find both beautiful and heartrending.

about the author - Copy

bio1

Seanan is the author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. In case that wasn’t enough, she also writes under the pseudonym “Mira Grant.” For details on her work as Mira, check out MiraGrant.com.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Publisher Blog Tour] Review – He Started It by Samantha Downing

The premise of Samantha Downing’s first novel, My Lovely Wife, about a husband and wife who kill together, was such an amazing concept that I knew I wanted to put it on my tbr right away. It had all the pings for a book I wanted: morally bwuh characters, will they or won’t they get caught, and against the grain “who are we rooting for” plot.

When I was offered a spot on the He Started It blog tour by the publisher, I was very interested because Samantha Downing’s second thriller sounds, if anything, even more curious and engaging that the first. There’s a large inheritance that can only be secured under odd circumstances, estranged siblings, mysterious events of the past that only become more mysterious as we get crumbs revealed along the way.

I gobbled this book up within 36 hours. I can’t wait to see what y’all will think because I could not stop shouting about it at the close. 😂

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 21 July 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Age Group: Adult

Genre(s): Thriller/Mystery

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

 

 

content warnings - Copy

 

Physical violence/threat thereof, spousal abuse, gaslighting, blood, drugging

 

 

likes

 

 

The setup of the novel is that the siblings (Eddie, Beth, and Portia) have to complete a road trip they once took with their grandfather in order to receive a significant inheritance (starts out at about $3m, turns out about $8m if I remember correctly). The stakes: HIGH. That alone, combined with the tension, lays out a gorgeous map of excitement. How will they ever get to the end, given that they, for all that we can tell, do not like each other? Trapped in a SUV for a cross country trip, even with millions up for grabs, is a lot.

 

The reality of the road trip was really neat. While, with the exception of national chains, the motels & restaurants were fictional, all of the attractions, tourist sites, and museums were real. That added another layer of interest to the plot, knowing that a) these characters were treading in places that, should the mood take you, you too could visit, and b) that these wild places were REAL. Given the reactions we are given by the characters, it seems almost impossible, but whoa!

 

Narrated by Beth, early on we are told certain things, primarily among them that she is not the heroine for very specific reasons. However, because she is the voice that the reader is receiving the story and their information from, it becomes almost a game to discover what can be trusted, either from her own perspective or our own. Going back and forth from the current, inheritance gathering road trip to the previous one that the siblings and their grandfather took, the reader can tell that there are hidden things. What are they? Are they true? Who is telling and who is keeping them?

 

Those secrets were one of my favorite thing because I didn’t see them coming, even knowing that they existed. Reveals along the way just kept coming, right up until the END. Pages from the end and still they kept coming, right when you thought things were wrapped up!

 

 

dislikes

 

 

There is one character that I thought could have used a little more development. When thinking about them compared to the other characters, they came across a little lacking for me. [I’m not revealing their name just in case it could be a spoiler.]

 

 

conclusion

 

 

He Started It is a fantastic way to spend a day trying to answer the best question of a thriller: what happens next?

 

 

favorite quotes[6698]

 

 

Every time Felix mentions mayo, I think of that stripper. This is why I can’t be the heroine. A cheating wife is one of the deal breakers.

 

I also can’t afford to have another memory blackout . Once in my life was enough. Bad things always happen during blackouts.

 

“Best sleep I’ve had on this trip.” He says this like I asked him about it. “I love sleeping outdoors.” I don’t answer that. Even I have limits about lying.

 

Here we are, at the end, and we still don’t know who the heroine is. You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself.

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

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Samantha Downing currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away at her next thrilling novel.

 

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Black Lives Matter

What voice I have here on The Hermit Librarian reaches out to stand with the Black community.

Black Lives Matter!

Not saying anything only perpetuates the ongoing wrongness and that can’t continue. In the future, we’ve got to endeavor to do better uplifting Black voices in the community. I will be doing so, as well as educating myself and those around me on how to be anti-racist, contributing to related causes & bail funds, and sharing news to make sure people are held accountable.

So far I have donated to the following causes and intend to do more:

In Memory of Tony Mcdade (a Black trans man who was shot and killed by a Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) officer) – funds to be donated to Tony’s family.

The Liberty Fund (NYC’s first city wide charitable bail fund)

Below is a graphic showing a number of ways that you can help, whether monetarily or otherwise. Petitions, texting, callings: so many ways to say Black Lives Matter.

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Click on the picture above for ways you can help.

If you’re looking for books to read, Bookshop has a list that may be of interest: This List is Anti-Racist.

Afoma Umesi has a list of 45 Best Black Young Adult (YA) Novels to Add to Your TBR in 2020.

Below is a graphic of Black owned bookstores that you can order any of the above books from to support Black owned businesses now and in the future. Thank you to Duende District and Lupita Reads for their work/collaboration to create it.

This is nowhere the end of things or the limit of resources out there. Continue to look for yourself, educate yourself, and stand up.

[Top Tuesday] Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is being scaled back a bit to a Top FIVE Tuesday due to things, so thank you for bearing with me and still stopping by. 🙂

The topic of the week is Books I Wish I’d Read As a Child. As long ago as that was 😂 (not really, but it feels like it), I can’t quite remember everything I read, but there are some recent favorites that I know would have made a world of difference to young Me.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Upcoming & past topics can be found here.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan came out when I was twenty. I would have been so excited to have a series like this when I was a kid because I was hugely into Greek mythology at Percy’s age when the only book I really knew about was Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. A perfectly adequate book, but it was more educational, textbook-y, nothing like the adventures that Percy & co. encounter.

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

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This would have been later childhood, but I really wish I’d had a book like this when I was a teen. There’s a lot of rough times for Ben in this book, but they end up experiencing some things that I would have found both familiar and, perhaps, hopeful. Growing up I didn’t know a lot of things because my environment was very anti-questioning and forced me to remain closeted and even deny thinking about who I was. Finding pieces of myself in I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver is something I wish I’d had the chance to do back then.

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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I was very lost for a long time and had dark periods, especially in middle school. Portal fantasies, or books like Every Heart a Doorway where we find out what happens to children that return from other worlds to this one, were the sort of story that I would have inhaled.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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In the vein of my reasoning for I Wish You All the Best, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann would have enabled me to see representation that was sorely missing in books when I was growing up (so far as I knew from the books that I had access to at the time).

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshni Chokshi

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Growing up with beautiful characters and settings and a story like this? 😭 Roshni Chokshi has many books under her belt at this point and I’ve sampled many of them, but I think that The Gilded Wolves would have interested a younger Me the most because it had interesting concepts: the searching for lost artifacts, the found family, and so forth. Those elements would have comforted me through a lot of times and as much as they mean now, even more so then.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

What are some novels that you would have loved to have read as a kid? Are there some that you can remember loving when you were younger? Let me know in the comments below!

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[Tag] The Animal Crossing Book Tag

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After a morning playing the Stalk Market, what better way to take a break than an Animal Crossing book tag? 😅 I played a lot of Animal Crossing on the DS, not so much the GameCube. The bug has bitten me with New Horizons, though, and I am loving it. 😁

I wasn’t tagged, but I saw Pauliina @ Bookaholic Dreamer do this tag today and thought I’d do it as well.

 

The Rules

 

  • Please link back to the original creator of the tag, Bookish Things and Tea.
  • Answer the following Animal Crossing themed book questions.
  • Feel free to use graphics, but be sure to credit Bookish Things and Tea.
  • Tag some friends to spread the love!

 
I’m using the graphics created by McKenzie @ The Bookish Things and Tea. Full credit to her for these terrific images.

 

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I haven’t read as many classics as I’d like, so among those on my list I chose The Color Purple by Alice Walker for this answer. A multiple award winner, adapted to the silver screen, it’s a modern classic I’m looking forward to engaging with in multiple formats.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

 

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143761When picking this answer, I didn’t realize how few second books I’d read. I could have sworn there would be a lot more to pick, but I apparently need to actually get to those second books. 😂 Anyway, my answer is A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber. It still has one of the main characters from the first novel and we see other recurring characters, but the new main characters are more refreshing and allow the story to move at a better pace.

You might have heard about a wonderful little yarn shop in downtown Seattle. Debbie Macomber can take you there!

In the year since it opened, ‘A Good Yarn’ has thrived and so has Lydia Hoffman, the owner. A lot of that is due to Brad Goetz. But when Brad’s ex-wife reappears, Lydia is suddenly afraid to trust her newfound happiness.

Elise Beaumont joins one of Lydia’s popular knitting classes. Living with her daughter, Aurora, Elise learns that her onetime husband plans to visit and that Aurora wants a relationship with her father, regardless of how Elise feels about him.

Bethanne Hamlin is facing the fallout from a divorce and joins the knitting class as the first step in her effort to recover a sense of dignity and hope.

Courtney Pulanski is a depressed and overweight teenager. She’s staying with her grandmother, who’s trying to help by taking her to the knitting class at ‘A Good Yarn.’

Four women, brought together by the craft of knitting, find companionship and comfort in each other. Who would’ve thought that knitting socks could change your life?

 

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38739562With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo takes place in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth largest in the U.S. (something I didn’t realize until this post). It was one of my favorite books last year; I read it twice in different formats and recommend it every chance I get. Acevedo’s writing is exquisite and experiencing her books is even better in audio when she reads them herself.

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

 

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Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin came out in February. A retelling of Macbeth, it is one of the best, one of the most intense books I’ve read in recent memory. Jade, the main character, experiences a trauma and goes about getting revenge on those that have wronged her. Witnessing the path of destruction that she carves through the book is a sight to behold & experience.

Elle and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

 

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When I first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I didn’t actually like it all that much because it was a summer reading assignment and I had to read it. There were other books I wanted to read at the time, so of course I had some bad feelings about it. When I came back to it, though, years later I found a favorite. I’ve seen read it several times, occasionally multiple times a year. Whether text or listening to the audiobook (Kate Burton is an amazing narrator), it’s an easy book to sink into no matter the outside circumstances.

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

 

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The cast of Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is very rich. Whether we’re connecting with Tory, whose sister was on the original Atargatis mission that mysteriously vanished near the Mariana Trench; Olivia, a reporter on the new ship out to find what happened to it; or one of the rest of the myriad crew, learning about the why they’re on the ship is about as interesting as worrying about their journey and their fate as they travel further out to sea. 👀

This book also has autism rep (Olivia, a main character, is autistic, so if you’re looking for a read for Autism Acceptance Month this is a great choice).

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

 

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There are a lot more books that would fall under this than I thought. One stars, DNFs, that sort of thing. 😅 The first answer that came to mind, though, is any book by M*ck*ie L**. She is so problematic and I am very, very done.

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a character driven historical fantasy that revolves around a challenge between two young magicians. Their skills pitted against one another within the Cirque des Reves, many lives are touched by the contest: some for the better, some for the worse. 😥

I’m reading it again this year so I can annotate a copy for a friend and I’m looking forward to returning to all the places the circus travels in the early 19th & 20th century.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

 

 

I’m not really sure who of my followers play Animal Crossing, but if you do please play along with the tag and let me know! TAG!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[Waiting on Wednesday] Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Waiting on Wednesday

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event created by Breaking the Spine in which an anticipated title is highlighted. You can find their website here.

 

How could I not be excited by the announcement of Seanan McGuire’s next Wayward Children series? It is something I look forward to every year, the reveal of the next book: title, synopsis, cover. While we only have two of the three at the moment, I’m still quite giddy. 🤗

The link to Tor’s article is here.

As it is the sixth book, it’s time for another prequel/origin story if the previous books’ pattern holds. Regan is unfamiliar to me, so that makes me very interested in how this book will go. All previous entries have had someone we’ve at least met or heard of, so a completely unknown entity is intriguing.

It’s going to be a long wait, but we can go this together, my fellow Wayward fans! 😭🥰

 

 

about the book - Copy

 

 

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Goodreads | Tor.com

Published: January 2021

Publisher: Tor

Age Group: Adult

Genre(s): Fantasy

In book six of McGuire’s multi-award-winning portal fantasy series we meet Regan. She loves horses. And when she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines—a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

[Top Ten Tuesday] Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence

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Social media can be a fun and mildly terrifying way to interact with the world at large. Through it, we as readers can connect with our favorite authors. The authors on my list today are authors that I find both fun, informative, and just overall enjoyable to come across when I’ve engaged with their prescences on Twitter (my primary social media).

 

TTT

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Upcoming & past topics can be found here.

 

1. Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire)

2. Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab)

3. Danika Stone (@danika_stone)

4. Elle Maruska (@ellle_em)

5. Paul Kreuger (@NotLikeFreddy)

6. Tara Sim (@EachStarAWorld)

7. Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas)

8. N.K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin)

9. Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK)

10. Claribel Ortega (@Claribel_Ortega)

Are any of these authors on your Top Ten list? What are your favorite books of theirs that you think I should have read (if I haven’t already)? Let me know in the comments below. 🤗

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.