Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (7/25/20)–#OwnVoices Books 💞

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is #OwnVoices books!

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR JULY: 

7/4/20 — Coming of Age

7/11/20 — Hyped Books

7/18/20 — Books You Own

7/25/20 —  #OwnVoices Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (7/25/20)–#OWNVOICES BOOKS

Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger

Amazon.com: Elatsoe eBook: Little Badger, Darcie, Cai, Rovina ...

I’m so grateful that I got an eARC of this amazing book! It comes out a month from today (what are the odds?), and I’m so excited for you all to read it!

Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1) by ...

Despite the disappointment of the sequel, this was such a powerful fantasy!

The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars eBook: Dow, Alechia: Kindle Store

Aliens, music, secret libraries…what’s not to love?

Pet, Akwaeke Emezi

Pet: Emezi, Akwaeke: 9780525647072: Amazon.com: Books

Though I didn’t like this novel as much as some of the others listed (three stars for me), this was still an incredibly inventive novel.

Surviving the City (Surviving the City, #1), Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan

Surviving the City (Surviving the City (1)) (Volume 1 ... - Amazon.com

Despite how short it is (just under 60 pages), this is a deeply impactful graphic novel. I can’t wait to read volume 2!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: FORESHADOW: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading & Writing YA (Anthology)

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week so far.

I changed my icon up a bit–I’m switching from glasses to contacts very soon, and I just had my eye exam yesterday. Even though I’ve only tried them on once so far, I like them a lot! (Even though the experience of getting them on was…[ahem] interesting…)

Smiletotheshadow GIF | Gfycat

Anyway, I recently received this eARC, and for the most part, I enjoyed it immensely! Not only is it a wonderful collection of YA short stories from all sorts of new, #OwnVoices authors, it also serves as a helpful writing guide.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing ...

FORESHADOW: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA–Edited by Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

Stories by: Tanya Aydelott, Tanvi Berwah, Gina Chen, Linda Cheng, Mayra Cuevas, Nora Elghazzawi, Desiree S. Evans, Rachel Hylton, Adriana Malachian, Sophie Meridien, Maya Prasad, Flor Salcedo, and Joanna Truman

Introduced by: Melissa Albert, Becky Albertalli, Laurie Halse Anderson, Roshani Chokshi, Gayle Forman, Heidi Heilig, Jandy Nelson, Jason Reynolds, Adam Silvera, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Sabaa Tahir, and Nicola Yoon

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Thirteen Short Stories from Bold New YA Voices & Writing Advice from YA Icons

Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan.

This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults.

⭐︎

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Workman for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Overall, FORESHADOW is a lovely collection of short stories! It’s an incredible vessel to spread the word about several up-and-coming YA voices, and I look forward to see what else these authors put out. Not only that, but each story comes with an example of a technique in the writing craft that the short story exemplifies, be it imagery, mood, or plot twists. For those who seek to write YA, this is a must-read.

Since this is a short story collection, I’ll break down each of the stories and give a mini-review for each.

FLIGHT–Tanya Aydelott (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A poignant and heartbreaking tale of growing up, and the truly special bond that exists between mothers and daughters. This story brimmed with emotion, and though the 3rd-person/present tense POV took me out of it slightly, it was still a beautiful short story.

RISK–Rachel Hylton (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Wonderfully absurd. A tale of both the powerful friendship bonds between a group of girls, and of transformation, be it emotionally, or, y’know, mysteriously turning into a lobster. As one does.

happy lobster day - Furvilla

SWEETMEATS–Linda Cheng (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Without a doubt, one of my favorites of the short stories in this collection. A truly chilling twist on the tale of Hansel and Gretel, with a heady dose of the paranormal. The comparison to Guillermo del Toro was well earned, I must say!

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GLOW–Joanna Truman (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Though the writing and the POV left something to be desired, this was a solid, genre bending tale–both a sapphic romance in a small town and a trek in the middle of nowhere to end the world as we knew it.

ESCAPE–Tanvi Berwah (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Another chilling addition to this anthology! Simultaneously a story of family ties (and how easily they might be broken) and a spooky venture into the paranormal. Nothing like a family heirloom that scratches and bites anyone who tries to pry it open to snag your attention.

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PAN DULCE–Flor Salcedo (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Though it was difficult for me to connect with most of the characters, this was a powerful piece of #OwnVoices historical fiction, tying in themes of growing older and the veneer of childhood slipping away.

SOLACE–Nora Elghazzawi (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A beautiful, poignant, and at times poetic coming-of-age tale about finding new love and finding your place in the world. Just as lush as the plants that grow in Laila’s garden, without a doubt.

PRINCESS–Maya Prasad (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Though it was entertaining and posed some interesting questions about the role of AI in our lives, I think this may have been my least favorite story in the collection. The pacing jumped around far too much for my liking, but the world-building made for a pretty setting.

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FOOLS–Gina Chen (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

A lush fairytale of a short story. There were touches of everything from ancient mythology, modern fantasy, and even an X-Men sort of vibe that made it a truly unique tale, filled with themes of family and beautiful imagery.

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MONSTERS–Adriana Marachlian (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

With this short story, Marachlian weaves a beautiful metaphor for the feeling of being an outsider. All at once an #OwnVoices story of the struggles of immigration and the desire to fit in and a poignant, paranormal tale.

BREAK–Sophie Meridien (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Absolutely adorable! A mix of a diverse, classic rom-com and a bit of magical realism–and a dash of baking on the side.

RESILIENT–Mayra Cuevas (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Bleak and desolate, but, as the title implies, a heartbreaking tale of resilience and sisterhood. Cuevas’ writing did a wonderful job of making the situation seem exactly as gloomy and hopeless as it was meant to be. A downer, to be sure, but well-written all the same.

BELLY–Desiree S. Evans (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

A striking, #OwnVoices tale that tackles a myriad of tough subject, from sexual harassment to the loss of family, and the resulting traumas that come along with it. I loved the slight magical realism aspect, especially with Jaima’s connection to the river.

All in all, there wasn’t a bad story in this collection! With that and the writing/editing advice added in, I’d give it a solid 4 stars.

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Release date: October 20, 2020

Today’s song:

I listened to At the Party with my Brown Friends the other day, and for the most part, it was a great album!

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Elatsoe

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

General Edelweiss+ update…so apparently, Macmillan is only accepting eARCs from Netgalley now, so that eliminated most of my requests, so…whee…

Most of my eARCs have been from more indie publishers anyway; personally, it’s probably a good thing–if it’s a good eARC, I feel great about being able to spread the word about them. Especially when they’re as good as Elatsoe.

Again, I CAN’T WAIT for this one to be released! Though there was a brief lull in the middle, Elatsoe not only boasts stellar representation, but a thrilling paranormal tale!

Enjoy this eARC review!

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe–Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe–Ellie for short–lives in an alternate America, where the beasts of myth and legend roam the world, and ghosts are not so far away. Like Kirby, the ghost of her old dog, who she has now trained to follow her wherever she goes. Ellie herself can also raise the dead, and communicate with spirits.

But her skills, as she soon finds out, will be put to the test sooner than she ever thought. When her cousin is murdered, she and her family arrive at the scene, only to find that his killer hides in a picturesque Texas town, and that he may be hiding secrets that may spell disaster for the town’s residents. Will Ellie be able to uncover the truth before town falls into supernatural ruin?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Levine Querido/Chronicle Books for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

The premise already excited me, but in all respects, Elatsoe is a fantastic, paranormal murder mystery!

First off, REPRESENTATION! Elatsoe is an incredible #OwnVoices story–both the author and the protagonist are Lipan Apache, and the protagonist is also confirmed to be asexual. I hardly ever see asexual representation in literature, and so I’m so excited to see that such stories are coming into the spotlight.

This novel strikes the perfect balance between the spooky paranormal and a murder mystery. The worldbuilding of this alternate America is absolutely stellar as well; most aspects of it are deftly explained without an excess of info-dumping. Darcie Little Badger introduces all sorts of fascinating creatures, and weaves them seamlessly into alternate America.

Going off of this, my favorite aspects–and my favorite scene–was that of the ghosts. Not only is Kirby adorable, but there’s a beautiful scene in which Ellie stumbles into a ghost sea, filled with trilobites, whales, and all manner of prehistoric creatures. The writing is lush and gorgeous, beautiful and immersive. And I’m a sucker for prehistoric critters and marine life, so of course you have my attention with the scene, even if it was fairly brief.

At times, some of the dialogue felt flat, causing a bit of a lull at the halfway mark, but I’m glad to say that it quickly picked up from there. I found myself completely immersed in the supernatural murder mystery, and after said dull spot, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Darcie Little Badger made so many creative choices that made Elatsoe all the more original, making for a supernatural story unlike any other.

All in all, a brilliant and creative #OwnVoices paranormal murder mystery. 4 stars!

guillermodltoro: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) dir… – Glamrock

Release date: August 25, 2020

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!