Blog Tour: Mirage – Somaiya Daud

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Mirage by Somaiya Daud

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, War, Romance, Feminism, Royalty, Culture


BLURB:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death. Continue reading

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Flying Lessons & Other Stories

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Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Crown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Anthology, Diversity, Culture, Life Lessons


BLURB:

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. Continue reading

The Astonishing Color of After – Emily X.R. Pan

35604686The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Family History, Romance, Culture


BLURB:

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Continue reading

Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi

36222611Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Quest, Adventure, Mythology


BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that? Continue reading

Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed

36086513Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Education, Family, Justice, Work, Culture


BLURB:

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams. Continue reading

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo

35704397The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary Romance, Summertime, Friendship


BLURB:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann

31625039Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
First Published: January 23rd, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, College, Asexuality, Romance, Friendship, Family


BLURB:

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. Continue reading