Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme (that will help me remember what to buy for my library) that's hosted by Wishful Endings ...

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme (that will help me remember what to buy for my library) that's hosted by Wishful Endings. It's based off the weekly meme Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Boy I can't wait to read 


You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

So fun fact, I really like Fantasy, but mostly Urban Fantasy because I already know half the rules. These high Fantasy novels have a habit of confusing me. THE CRUEL PRINCE DIDN'T.  If you're someone who's easily confused by the strange names of things in high fantasy, read The Cruel Prince then hit me up. Then we'll read this sequel together and LOVE IT. 

P.S. I know it's not diverse but... I don't care. I really want to read it!!
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Sunday, November 4, 2018

I think I've mentioned this from time to time, but for the last year I've been on a book award committee. Honestly I didn't count up how many books we read but it was somewhere in the realm of 80. I was so glad to be chosen but OMG it took up so much of my time. Every three months or so we got another list of books to read. Every list was a little longer than the last and while there were diverse books on the list, it's not like it was 50/50 so I tried to squeeze in some diverse reads for this blog but it wasn't easy.

That being said today was MY LAST MEETING!!!! I'm free!! I can read whatever I want and BOY do I have a list. I'm so overwhelmed with my freedom that I've only been able to watch Investigation Discovery all day. It's like I'm afraid of my books. But I promise I'll get over that like... tonight. So here are the books on my coffee table right now that I can't wait to start.

Tight: Lately, Bryan's been feeling it in all kinds of ways . . .

Bryan knows what's tight for him--reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he's from, and that gets him tight, wound up.

And now Bryan's friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it's a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn't him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it's better to be hard and feared than liked?

But if there's one thing Bryan's gotten from his comic heroes, it's that he has power--to stand up for what he feels . . .

Torrey Maldonado delivers a fast-paced, insightful, dynamic story capturing urban community life. Readers will connect with Bryan's journey as he navigates a tough world with a heartfelt desire for a different life.

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful--you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written--whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

These are at the top of my list. But I also just found like three books about pirates and mermaids sooooo... I'm going to be all over the place. I also just started watching Anime again. I have so much freedom!!! Anyway, reviews will return, Readers Advisory will return, and we'll get back to business as usual.
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Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

 Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

Props to this book because from the description I really didn't think I was going to like it. Full disclosure, I listened to the audiobook version of this book and I know that audio can sway a persons opinion.

Caro is a child of the river, she and her dad live on their wherrie sailing up and down the river on various missions and voyages. But when Carro's father is jailed for smuggling, the only way Carro can free him is to deliver a mysterious box to another land. When Carro opens to the box, the one thing she was told not to do, she discovers a boy with a mission all his own. As Carro and Markos rush to save what is left of Markos' family, they battle pirates, traitors, suspicious family members, and their growing feelings to each other (awwwwwww).

I really liked this book, and I realized I was going to like it when (small spoiler) Markos, tried to kiss Caro like two days after she sprung him from his box. I like it because she called him on his bull. He claimed he thought she wanted him to kiss her, and she promptly fired back (I'm paraphrasing) "why be cause I'm a breathing girl, I don't want you" (yeah heavily paraphrasing but it was something to that effect). Any seasoned reader will know that these two are going to get together at some point, and when they do, Markos makes darn good and sure that he has her consent before doing anything. He repeatedly asks her "yes?" and wont make a move until she verbally responds with a "yes". Thank you Sarah Tolcser.

The wold building in this fantasy was pretty good. Tolcser was able to provide the details of her world by showing us and not always stopping the story for an explanation. It wasn't perfect but I was pleased.

I also liked seeing Caro interact in both of her worlds. The life Caro has when she's with her father (which is most of the time, as a daddy's girl I also liked that), is very different than the life she has with her mother. I don't want to say anything else because it's kind of funny to watch, but I was a fan.

The surprise ending was nicely done. Readers had an inkling that something weird was going on, but when "all was revealed" I actually said out loud "oh, okay." Over all this debut was well executed and well received. I actually can't wait to buy it for my library. The ending also feels like we might be able to expect a sequel. I'm all about it. What can I say, I was a pirate in another life!

3.5 stars... or maybe like 3.75 stars.
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Review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?
Wildcard, the sequel to Warcoss, was everything a fan could hope for. Wildcard picks up days after the ening of Warcross with Emika Chen trying to decide how she feels about Hideo's warped sense of control and justice and whether or not Zero and his group can be trusted.

The first reason I love this book. In Warcross Emika was an island, a one woman show, but in this book, she truly utilizes her friendships and teammates (and squad that I hope to one day acquire btw).

There's the potential to give away a lot of spoilers in this book, and it's not published yet, so I'm going to keep this review short. Read this book. There are twists, turns, betrayals, redemption, and near misses.

If/ when you begin this book make sure you do it on a day when you don't have anything else to do. You will binge even if you don't mean to. I can't in good conscious say anything else but expect the unexpected.

5 Stars
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My thoughts, They May Change: Which books to review

Monday, September 3, 2018

I have this list of books I've been reading, some of them have been on my TBR list for a while, and others are new to me. I started this blog because I thought I needed some direction with regards to my book reviews and which books I was reviewing. I wanted to choose a platform that was important to me, that had meaning to me. I chose diverse YA and MG books because we are now beginning to see the books I wished were available to me as a child and teen.

That being said, as I've immersed myself into book culture, and as the conversation of diverse books and own voices books have become prevalent, my brain has been doing some work. There was a time, when I didn't care who wrote a book, I could only name like three authors and one of them was Shakespeare. If I saw a book with a brown girl on the cover, I went for it. I didn't care if the book addressed her culture, I didn't care if the book was written by a POC, I didn't care if the book even mentioned that she was brown, the cover of the book gave me all the fulfillment that I could ever hope for.


That was 12 year old Kym. 23 year old Kym, who had just decided to become a librarian was basically the same. I struggled so hard with my physical identity that I was starving for books with girls who looked like me. To anyone who knows me, it's not a surprise that most of my friends are white, I love them, and I don't care what color their skin is. However, no matter how diverse my friends are in other ways, if those difference aren't on the outside of your body, moving through the world is a little bit different. And, if those differences are on the outside of the body, unless they are genetically permanent (skin color, or other physical difference like scars, birthmarks, or burn scars [I say burn scars because when I was younger I was burned by boiling water all down my back, I'm lucky that you can hardly tell but not every one is so luck. End of random life story]), it's still different. (I hope I didn't lose any of my friends just now, this is just my truth). In a world that "didn't see color" I NEEDED to see color.

Now, Kym is 2 months from being 31 years old, and things have changed. It's not enough for me to give a character brown skin. Does she have natural curly hair, or does she perm it? What do her parents cook for Sunday dinner? Does she put lotion on her dry skin in the winter? What kind of community does she live in? Is she one of the only black kids at school? Is that a problem? Has a boy every told her that he doesn't date black girls? Newsflash, if she grew up in a mostly white community, you bet he did. Or he told his friends. I promise you. Look, funny enough, I kind of hate books that focus primarily on the fact that a character is black, and all of their problem stem because they are black, and people constantly want to remind them that they're black. There is a time and place for books like that. That being said, you can't decide to make a main character a person of color, and just leave it at that. Even doing something as small as having the character tie a scarf around their head when they're going to sleep. Or reminding their white boyfriend, no you can't touch my hair, or pulling it back because the humidity is real, and so if frizz and shrinkage.

Barry Lyga is darn good at these things. Barry is a white man, and he has a book series called I Hunt Killers. The book is about a white kid, but that white kid has a black girlfriend and she wont let him forget it. He can't touch her braids without permission. She wears a bonnet to bed, and her white boyfriend doesn't freaking care. Her father doesn't like her white boyfriend, not because he's white, but because as a father, he's afraid for her. These are subtle details that don't even BEGIN to make up who this girl is as a person, but those details were slid into the book, and make her a real black character.

So, here's why I'm writing this post. I've recently read some books, one of which I've written the review for and is scheduled to drop next Wednesday September 12. The Book is called Song of the Current and the main character is brown. I think biracial. The only reason we know this is because it's mentioned once, another person mentions how "different" she looks, and she constantly ties up her curly hair in pubic, and pulls on it's strands when she's distracted (totally against the rules of natural hair btw, it's dries the hair out, but anyway). It wasn't enough for me. Look there are no rules for being black. We don't all think the same way and do the same things. But if you're going to make a decision to make your MAIN character a minority, please do something with it. Please have a reason, otherwise just make them white and move on. We won't mad. I still would have read the book and enjoyed it.

I reviewed the book anyway. I didn't even put in my review that our main character was a POC because although she was... there wasn't a whole lot to remind us of it. There are some POC who don't want non POC writing about POC (I just used those letter a lot). I'm not one of them, because I remember 12 year old Kym and 23 year old Kym, and how important just knowing a character was brown was to me. I just want people to make deliberate choices and if you make a choice that involves a characters race, don't forget about that race, once you establish it in the book.

Now look, this book was fantasy. It didn't take place in a wold with the KKK and Roots, so maybe that's why the author didn't address the characters race more than a literal handful of times. And if that's her reason, then that's fine. It's your world, and you can write it however you want. As a woman of color, I just wish there had been more. And I wonder if I do my POC readers (if I even have any) a disservice. Do I do my white readers a disservice by harping on something that was kind of addressed with the hair hiding and curl pulling, and "you don't look like your from here's" that the book did provide. I don't know. I'm still figuring this all out. This has just been pulling on my brain and I can't seem to let it go.

Thanks for hanging in there readers who may or may not exist. My blog helps me center my brain.
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Readers Advisory: Historical Fiction

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Guy. I'm not even going to lie to you. I'm probably the worst reader of Historical Fiction that I know. I have then mentality that I don't like historical fiction, but then I like just about every historical fiction book that I read. I don't know what my problem is. I will say that I do struggle to read historical fiction with black characters because... well... odds are it wont end well for many involved. That being said, here's what I've got.

She wanted to stay awake, wanted to see what freedom looked like, felt like at midnight, then at the cusp of dawn.

Freedom. Mariah has barely dared to dream of it her entire life. When General Sherman’s march through Georgia during the Civil War passes the plantation where she is enslaved, her life changes instantly. Joining the march for protection, Mariah heads into the unknown, wondering if she can ever feel safe, if she will ever be able to put the brutalities of slavery behind her.

On the march Mariah meets a young man named Caleb, and a new dream takes root—one of a future with a home of her own and a true love by her side. But hope often comes at a cost. As the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah sees that the harsh realities of her and her peoples’ lives will always haunt them.

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Scene: Oregon, 1923.

Dramatis personae:

Hanalee Denney, daughter of a white woman and an African American man

Hank Denney, her father—a ghost

Greta Koning, Hanalee’s mother

Clyde Koning, doctor who treated Hank Denney the night he died, now Hanalee’s stepfather

Joe Adder, teenage boy convicted of accidentally killing Hank Denney

Members of the Ku Klux Klan

Townspeople of Elston, Oregon

Question: Was Hank Denney’s death an accident…or was it murder most foul?

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.

After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe.

Here they are! Hattie Big Sky is way better than the description makes it sound FYI. Hopefully one day, I'll talk my brain into realizing that I probably do really like Historical Fiction and to read more of it. We'll see. 

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Review: So Done by Paula Chase

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

So Done

When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program.

Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up.

Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai.

Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost. 

This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

If you go back and look at some of my past reviews, I allude to the fact that there was a time when you could find books with black characters, and the black culture was basically ignored. The character might run his hands through his "curly" hair, or you might find a mention of mocha or camel skin, but there was nothing of the culture that came with that hair and skin. Then you might have the polar opposite. There were books that were full of brown skin, guns, drugs, gangs, sex, and there was one character fighting to get away from the horrors of his community.

Those books tells the stories of some black experiences, but not all of them. 

Mila and Tai live in the Pirates Cove. In Pirates Cove there are rules to be followed. Tai loves her community and she loves the rules. If you step to her she'll step to you. Always have your girls at your back, and walk with your head held high. There's an intricate dance to managing Pirates Cove and Tai is the 8th grade queen of it all. 

Mila, although Tai's best friend, is quite the opposite. She's just come back from a Summer with her Aunt and all she wants is to go back. She's hates the song and dance that's required with living in the cove. She hates the rules of her friend circle, and more importantly, she no longer feels safe in her neighborhood, but no for the reasons you may think.

This book alternates between Mila's point of view and Tai's point of view., and I'm glad it does. We, the readers, are able to see two very different perspectives on the same urban community. Tai's glad to have her best friend back, the peanut butter to her jelly, her second banana, her silent backup. Mila is ready for a change, she's shedding her nickname, moving up a level in her ballet class, and contemplating her friendship with Tai, her best friend who's house she can't bare to look at. Her best friend who talks over her and puts her down around other kids in the neighborhood, her best friend who pushes, prods, and nags, until she gets her way. The one person who Mila is just beginning to stand up against. 

As Mila begins to figure out who she is, as opposed to who the hood wants her to be, Tai is hurt and confused. Tai and Mila have been best friends forever, the summer has been torture without Mila. When Mila comes back and doesn't want to be called by her nick name, pulls away and makes new friends, doesn't back Tai up in conversation, and starts arguments when they're around other people Tai is flabbergasted. It's like Bean (Mila's nick name) left for the summer and a complete stranger came back in her place.

Unlike Mila's loving, close knit family (shout out to JJ and Jeremy, Mila's brothers. I loved them!) Tai's is a bit of a mess. Tai lives with her grandmother, she's never met her mother, and her father is constantly high and only shows up when he needs, food, money, or a place to stay, and months earlier, he did something so unthinkable, the only response Tai could manage was to pretend like it hadn't happened. But unfortunately Mila can't forget, and it's driving a wedge between them.

I loved seeing Pirates Cove through the eyes of Tai and Mila. If we're being honest with ourselves, we can all be made to feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar communities, particularly underprivileged ones. If Pirates Cover were real, I wouldn't know about the phenomenal dance school and all of the girls, like Mila, who were benefiting from it. I wouldn't know about the TAG program, that (while we never actually see it) may change the lives of these young people. We wouldn't know about people like  Mila's dad who bend over backwards to keep drugs off the streets. The media has taught us that nothing good can come from a neighborhood like Tai and Mila's, they taught us that kids like Tai and Mila are doomed from the start, they taught us that fathers leave their children, and they've taught us that no one cares. SO Done has shown us, that the media has it wrong.

5 Stars.

Read it if you're in middle school, read it if you're in high school, read it if you've never lived anywhere but Greenwich, Connecticut. This is a book for all ages, all races, and all economic backgrounds. 
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