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Thursday, January 6, 2022

DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS

 Happy New Year!

This is my first review of 2022!



First this cover is beautiful!  I can only imagine what the cover will like in other countries.  I believe that the covers in other countries are prettier than the covers in the US.  That's just my opinion.  Let me give you a synopsis of the story.

Synopsis:

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, untrained, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Release Date: January 11, 2022

So much happens in this first book.  I'm glad that it is an duology...it could almost be a trilogy.  This is a stunning debut.  It's a roller coaster ride. Xingyin, is a likable character.  She goes through a lot in this book.  I will be interesting to see how she develops at the end of this series.  
The author, Sue Lynn Tan, has done an amazing job writing such a epic story.  There is action and adventure, Chinese mythology, romance and a trope that I have not experienced: friends to lovers to enemies 😮. 

Rating: 💖💖💖💖/5

This a great crossover book.  Great for fans of YA and adult fantasy. Great debut!  Pick up your copy today at your local independent bookstore or at Bookshop.org.

This blog post is a part of The Daughter of the Moon Goddess Tour, presented by Turn the Page tours.  I was chose to do a mood board for this tour. Without spoiling the book, I wanted to convey feelings and images that I experienced while reading this book.


Content warnings include: violence, blood, gore, alcohol consumption, death, separation, attempted assault (brief), kidnapping, bullying.

#turnthepagetours #daughterofthemoongodesstour #daughterofthemoongodess #daughterofthemoongodessbooktour #suelynntan


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Loving the Wild Ones



This story has many sensitive topics.  It contains many trigger warnings: child endangerment, abandonment, abduction, human trafficking, prostitution, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual), rape, misogyny, suicide, death, grief, victim’s guilt, blood, bullying, and violence.

TITLE: The Wild Ones

AUTHOR: Nafiza Azad
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
RELEASE DATE: August 3rd, 2021

GENRES: YOUNG ADULT FICTION---Fantasy
BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534484962

Released: August 3, 2021

The Wild Ones is one of the most interesting and beautiful books that I have read this year.  Author Nafiza Azad has written a book that looks at what it means to be female and deal with your demons and vulnerabilities.  This book is magical and the writing is superb! 

We meet the Wild Ones, a group of young women who are diverse and beautiful. They are named Paheli, Valentina, Sevda, Widad, Daraja, Kamboja, Areum, Talei, Etsuko, Ghufran, and Ligaya.   I like they come from all over the planet.  They move as one sisterhood, but they each have their own voice and personalities.  You learn more about them through the Book of Memories, whose pages are dispersed throughout the book.  What I love most about this book is the sisterhood between the Wild Ones.  Each comes from a difficult situation and they refuse to be victims again.  

The magic system and the magical creatures are unique to anything that I have previously read.  They help to keep the reader engaged in the story.  But the real star of this book is the writing.  As we are wrapping up the Olympics, I want to give a gold medal to Naiza Azad.  This book is simply beautiful.  She alternates between plot-based narrative and stream of consciousness writing, along with excerpts from this Book of Memory.  It has a poetic, flowery feel.  I know that is not everyone's cup of tea, but I dig it and it works so well for this story.

While parts of this book are heartbreaking and sad, it is not a sad story.  It is about this sisterhood of young women, who are brave and strong.  I enjoyed every bit of this book. As part of the Turn the Page Book Tour, I created a playlist inspired by this book.  This playlist has 12 songs: one for each Wild One and one for the author; it is music from around the world to represent the diversity of the Wild Ones and the cities they visit. Click this Spotify link to take a listen: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7wPnEF3FSXwHmkhVqRKsgu?si=43c2464138a443ce

Rating: 💖💖💖💖.5/5

SYNOPSIS:

Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned and betrayed all their lives. It all began with Paheli, who was once betrayed by her mother and sold to a man in exchange for a favor. When Paheli escapes, she runs headlong into a boy with stars in his eyes. This boy, as battered as she is, tosses Paheli a box of stars before disappearing. With the stars, Paheli gains access to the Between, a place of pure magic and mystery. Now, Paheli collects girls like herself and these Wild Ones use their magic to travel the world, helping the hopeless and saving others from the fates they suffered. Then Paheli and the Wild Ones learn that the boy who gave them the stars, Taraana, is in danger. He’s on the run from powerful forces within the world of magic. But if Taraana is no longer safe and free, neither are the Wild Ones. And that…is a fate the Wild Ones refuse to accept. Ever again.

Author Nafiza Azad


AUTHOR INFORMATION


Nafiza Azad is a self-identified island girl. She has hurricanes in her blood and dreams of a time she can exist solely on mangoes and pineapple. Born in Lautoka, Fiji, she currently resides in British Columbia, Canada where she reads too many books, watches too many K-dramas, and writes stories about girls taking over the world. Her debut YA fantasy was the Morris Award–nominated The Candle and the Flame. The Wild Ones is her second novel.




Friday, August 6, 2021

Oooh, That Black Boy Joy!

Release Date: August 3, 2021


There have been several books touting the magical magnificence of Black Girl Magic.  From a Phoenix First Must Burn to one of my personal favorites, Legendborn.  Now Kwame Mbalia, author of the Tristan Strong series, has edited an amazing collection of stories celebrating Black Boyhood.  This book is entitled, Black Boy Joy. As an Aunt of 7 boys, this book makes me want to squeal with glee. 

Great, fantastic, beautifully melanated authors like P. Djeli Clark, B.B. Alston, Tochi Onyebuchi, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, and Jason Reynolds, have written stories, poems, and comics that celebrate the joy and power of Black Boyhood.  

Too often, Black boys are asked to grow up way too soon.  And we know that society paints them with stereotypes as soon as they can speak and walk.  But this book strips all of that away. These writings are about the happy, the exciting, the new, the unexpected, and most importantly, the love.
If you have Black Boy in your life, I highly recommend this book to you to give to them. 
Also, you know I had to create a playlist! This playlist embodies the essence to of Black Boy Joy.  It's a mood and a vibe...let it wash over you.
Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖/5
Author Kwame Mbaila



Friday, April 9, 2021

Ain't Love Grand?!

Release Date: April 13, 2021


Hi, my name is Kim and I am a hopeful romantic.  Even at the age of 44, single, and being told by all the data in the world that my chances of finding love are slimmer and slimmer, I still 100% believe in love.
I love rom-com movies and romance books.  The stories in Love in Color are rich, poignant, and downright beautiful.  

In her debut collection, internationally acclaimed writer Bolu Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from long-erased places.


Each story is the essence of a re-telling from various cultures around the world, with love being the central theme. Bolu does an amazing job with expressing what love is...she paints pictures with it, you hear songs with it, you want to wrap up in it. It is simply beautiful.


Rating: 💖💖💖💖/5


Author Bolu Babalola




Are You Willing to Pay the Cost of Knowing?

Release Date: April 6, 2021


Would you want to know the future? Would you try to change things? Would you tell anyone?  Brittney Morris' sophomore novel, "The Cost of Knowing" asks these very questions and dives into biases and prejudices in America.

Synopsis:

16-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his 12-year-old brother, Isaiah.  But it is very hard for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. 

When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life. And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present. 

I loved this book.  Brittney Morris is also the author of Slay (which I loved!), it too tackled issues of family dynamics and race.  Ms. Morris again looks at family relationships and racial issues in America.  Without any spoilers, I loved how the relationship between Alex and Isaiah developed. Each is coping with grief the best way they know how and it's beautiful to see them work through it and discover just how much they have in common.  I love their love of music.  It's an excellent tool to bond over and to make a connection.

Music and books are a great pairing.  For my playlist inspired by the book, I created it as if I were scoring the book; like a movie.  I also choose to use only Black male artists because I wanted to celebrate the Black Boy Joy that is Alex and Isaiah. I left one song off the playlist because it is only available to stream but it is very important to this story.  Janelle Monae and Wondaland Records' "Hell You Talmbout" is powerful.  Use this link and listen to it after track 10: https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout


Rating: 💖💖💖💖.5/5

Author Brittney Morris


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Talia Hibbert is Romance Royalty!

Release Date: March 9th, 2021


Honestly, does Talia Hibbert write a bad book?  I've read all the Brown Sisters books and I LOVE THEM ALL!  For me, they have everything: funny, smart, and very steamy.  I loved all the characters.  They were real and I wanted everyone to succeed.  My favorite female character is Chloe.  As a person living with Fibromyalgia, I could totally relate to her life.  My favorite male character is Zaf.  Oh, Zaf!  I would risk it all for that man.  But enough gushing about the series, on to the latest book.  Get ready for the youngest Brown sister, Eve!

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is fantastic! It features Autistic adults finding love. It shows them being perplexed by dating and being sexually active adults just like the majority of adult society.  It also addressed some of the challenges they face. The banter between Eve and Jacob is great. I found myself snort-laughing at a couple of scenes. Reading this book was just so much fun! 

If you are a fan of Romance books and Rom-Coms definitely add these to your list. Pre-order your copy today at your local independent bookstore. #TeamSmudge

Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖/5

Author Talia Hibbert
Synopsis:

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It's time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she's not entirely sure how…


Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.


Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. 


About the Author:

Talia Hibbert is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.

She writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include makeup, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia and her many books reside in the English Midlands.


Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads



Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Golden Child

Lately, I have not read much for pleasure because I am on the judging panel for 2 different book panels.  However, I recently finished The Gilded Ones and it was FANTASTIC! (Thank you Hear Our Voices Blog Tour and Delacorte Press for gifting me a copy of the book.

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Author Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones is West African-inspired, feminist YA fantasy.  The author, Namina Forna, was inspired by the deeply patriarchal societies in her native country of Sierra Leone and here in the US, where she attended college.  Basically the same pig, just a different dress (my words, not the author).  The book looks at the patriarchy and it is used to determine the narrative for women including our place and our worth.  It also examines how it thrives and survives, including how women and non-binary people survive under the patriarchy. 

I loved all the powerful, uplifting, supportive women in this book.  The young women in this book are in a precarious situation, yet they support each other to the end.  Each character is powerful in their own way.  In a world where the men basically determine your worth, these young women uplift each other and find a way to determine their own worth.
The action was fast-paced, the characters were well developed and I like how Ms. Forna did not play to traditional gender roles.  The diversity in the book was well represented.  

Rating: 💖💖💖💖.5/5

Today is my Tour Stop for Hear Our Voices Blog Tours.  I was tasked with Dream Cast and a Playlist.

For the Dream Cast, I chose Ajiona Alexus because she looks like my image of Deka and I believe she could pull off the spirit of Deka.  I was torn between Ashton Sanders and John Boyega for Keita.  Both could pull off that nobleman next door attitude.  White Hands is Regina King all day, especially after seeing her as Sister Night.  Britta was the hardest to cast but after seeing Derry Girls and Bridgerton, I settled on Nicola Coughlan.  She plays Penelope on the Bridgertons.

For the Playlist, usually, I approach like I'm setting a musical score for the book but for this playlist I wanted to create a mood.  So much of this story is about the non-male characters finding their voices and determining their worth.  So I went with empowering songs that uplift and put you in a kick-ass type of mood.  You can listen to this when you've had a crappy day, when you're getting ready to hang out with your girls (as soon as it's safe again), or when you and your crew have to topple the patriarchy before drinks.




Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity--and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki--near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great-walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one is quite what they seem to be--not even Deka herself

DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS

 Happy New Year! This is my first review of 2022! First this cover is beautiful!  I can only imagine what the cover will like in other count...