New Release: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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OMG I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of The Bone Season series. If you’re just as big a fan as I am, then you probably feel the same way I do: why does it take a million years for this author to put out a new book?

Seriously, The Bone Season was released back in 2013 and then The Mime Order came out two years ago. We’re finally on the third book and from what I heard before the first novel came out, she’s got a whole seven-book series or something like that. I’ll be dead before that even happens!

But despite the time, I’m super excited about this book. Here’s a synopsis from the first novel to give you an idea of the series:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

So far, the novels have been extremely interesting. I even re-read The Bone Season when The Mime Order came out so that I wasn’t completely lost with all the people and the magical orders. Every book has been so riveting and it pulls you in and I can’t wait to start The Song Rising.

If you’ve been reading this series and not sure if you should read it, then check this out:

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it . . .

The Song Rising and The Bone Season series is published by Bloomsbury and The Song Rising was published on March 7th, 2017.

New Reads from Scribner’s

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I recently got a package from Scribner’s Books with a couple of great reads publishing right now. Both of these books have already published this March and I’m super excited to get into them. Sadly, I suffer with “too many books in my TBR” syndrome.

However, if you have a chance, definitely pick them up or at least check them out.

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Title: One of the Boys
Author: Daniel Magariel
Publishing Date: March 14th, 2017
Synopsis: A riveting and emotionally harrowing debut about two young brothers and their physically and psychologically abusive father—One of the Boys is 176 perfect, stunning pages by a major new talent.

The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.

Set in the sublimely stark landscape of suburban New Mexico and a cramped apartment shut tight to the world, One of the Boys conveys with stunning prose and chilling clarity a young boy’s struggle to hold onto the dangerous pieces of his shattered family. Harrowing and beautiful, Daniel Magariel’s masterful debut is a story of survival: two foxhole-weary brothers banding together to protect each other from the father they once trusted, but no longer recognize. With the emotional core of A Little Life and the compact power of We the Animals, One of the Boys is among the most moving and remarkable debut novels you’ll ever read.

30201150Title: Next Year, For Sure
Author: Zoey Leigh Peterson
Publishing Date: March 7th, 2017
Synopsis: In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, longtime romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love.

After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Offering a luminous portrait of a relationship from two perspectives, Zoey L. Paterson has written an empathic, beautiful, and tremendously honest novel about a great love pushed to the edge. Deeply poignant and hugely entertaining, Next Year, For Sure shows us what lies at the mysterious heart of relationships, and what true openness and transformation require.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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This is probably the first story I’ve read where I don’t understand the Asians in the story. It’s because they’re super rich and I’m not super rich. It’s because it takes place in Singapore and honestly, I don’t know much about Singapore outside of their food.

However, what I did understand is that this story is about a couple who is ready to take their relationship to the next level and really being met with some pretty huge hurdles to jump. I think that’s something everyone can agree on.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

18373213When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Rating: 4.5/5 mother-in-laws

My thoughts

I thought a lot about this book after I put it down. I thought a lot about the lives they lived and the sacrifices they’ve had to make. And while I don’t fully understand the whole importance of money with these families, I do understand the pressures of marrying the right person. I understand the pressures of having a life set out by you by your family, by your parents, by the constant peer pressure. And I bet you that you’ve felt the same way too.

Writing wise, it’s beautiful and eloquent. Kevin Kwan tries to immerse you in the culture speaking both in English and using some popular phrases in all the different dialects. Even the little footnotes to give a little background on some of the meanings and food that’s mentioned is just a little opportunity for you to understand a little bit more.

I want to give this book its full marks, but I don’t think it’s 100% perfect. It’s really well done and a great read, but I honestly wish it was a bit more from the perspective of Rachel. This book is almost like reading Game of Thrones. There should have been a family tree at the beginning so I can refer back to it. There are so many family members interconnected with each other in some way, I’m surprised that Kevin Kwan was able to keep track of all of it in the way that he did.

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I think that’s the one thing you can definitely get out of this; understanding. If you go into this book with an open mind and a learning mind, I think you’ll find yourself learning a little bit more about Asian culture. While I didn’t fully resonate with the story going on, I did understand some of the biases and thought processes because they are the same as the ones my family has.

That’s the thing with diverse reads. You end up learning way more about yourself and how you’re not so different from the person sitting next to you. We’re all the same people with the same kinds of lives. And if it’s not the same or if there’s nothing in common, then you’ve just learned something unique and different about it.

Anyway, I really did enjoy this book despite my chagrin on social media (if you follow me on Insta, you might know what I mean). When you finally get a chance to sit down with it, you find yourself engrossed in the story. It’s like watching a little Korean drama. Every vignette feeds into a bigger story and everyone is so involved with each other it’s a little scary.

I’m super excited about the movie! It’ll be the first all-Asian cast coming out of a major Hollywood production company. And also starring my favorite actress, Constance Wu! I can’t wait!

What were your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians?

 

 

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

I’ve never seen Swing Time in full. I’ve only seen the parts where Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance. Their moves are so hypnotic and envious.

However, a frequent theme throughout Old Hollywood that no one really knows about is the awful hours, the struggles to support yourself, and the drug abuse to stay up through the days of filming. It must be even more difficult when you’re a dancer doing the same routine over and over again in order to get it just precise with your partner. On top of the dancing, you need to be acting. It’s all so much!

You don’t see those hours spent rehearsing and singing and dancing. All you see is the final product, which is the story of these two girls in Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. What do I need to do to be a part of this couple? How do I get to dance like that? Life’s a show until the final curtain falls. What happens next?

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

28390369Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Continue reading “Swing Time by Zadie Smith”

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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I’ll admit, I picked up this book believing that Nicola Yoon was a young Korean woman. The name seemed like a dead giveaway, but I took another look. What I found was a story with more power than a simple love story.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

28763485Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Continue reading “The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon”