Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Summary from Goodreads:
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri's mom avoids these questions--the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she's ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.
I ended up enjoying this even more than I was anticipating. I read it in one sitting (maybe a couple of hours). I absolutely adored the art in here. It reminded me a bit of Raina Telgemeier mixed with Jennifer L Holm. The art is bold and colorful, but also a little cute –with nods to some graphic novels/manga that has come before. I loved seeing the Sailor Moon poster in Pri’s room.
I’m loving these middlge grade/YA graphic novels about girls with different backgrounds and stories. This was a different perspective than I’m used to reading from and I loved all the things that made this different. There’s this sort of magical pashmina that shows Pri a beautiful, enticing side to India. It was fun learning about Shakti and the elements to this part of the culture.
I also loved getting to see the real India (away from the magical pashmina), and all the good that Pri’s family was doing there. And while there are fun and different traits to this fantastical story that I haven’t seen before, there is also the familiar: a girl wanting to know where she came from. Why hasn’t Pri’s mother talked to her about her past at all?
This was a fun coming of age story. I loved learning about India. I also loved Pri, and getting to learn with her, the stories of her family. This was a great graphic novel. I hope to see more from this author/artist in the future. I give it a 9/10.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (245)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale  (3/6/2018):

Description on Goodreads:
Squirrel Girl is BACK in an all-new adventure and things are about to get . . . hairy. Thanks to Squirrel Girl, Ana Sofia, and the Squirrel Scouts, the crime rate in New Jersey is at an all time low. It makes for safer streets but also bored-er squirrels. That's why it's super exciting when Doreen's school announces a new mall is being built right next to their town. Mmmm . . . Doreen can smell the soft pretzels now. The corporation building mall has also announced that there will be a competition to choose the mall's mascot. Because malls need mascots? Anyway, Doreen's school will be voting for a cat and the neighboring school will be voting for a dog. As the relationship starts to unravel between the two towns, Squirrel Girl and her friends suspect something more sinister is at work. With the help of old friends like Ana Sofia, Tippy Toe, and The Mighty Thor as well as some surprising new ones, Squirrel Girl will squash a villainous plot and save everyone.The unbeatable Squirrel Girl is ready for more nuts AND more butts! Are you?
Why I’m Waiting:
I’m a huge Squirrel Girl fan. I love the comics. I love the comedic concept. And I loved the first book in this series. The world is so ready for more Squirrel Girl. I can’t wait to see where the authors take my favorite heroine next.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Summary from Goodreads:
A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn't succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt. Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on. But Call has no idea. It is only when he's broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine's plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power. In this spellbinding fourth book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take us beyond the realm of the living and into the dangers of the dead.
These books are like popcorn. I can’t stop until I’ve gone through it all. Seriously, I read this one in less than a day. I wish more people read these books. I feel like they had some weird, negative press for book 1. And then no one kept reading them. I seriously love these middle grade stories. They are dark, twisted, full of magic and excellent characters, and suspense. These are books I’d put into the hands of reluctant readers, bored readers, and fantasy readers.
In this fourth installment, stuff is as dark and suspenseful as they can possibly get. Call is still reeling from the death of a loved one in the previous book. He’s also imprisoned and kind of left to rot, without knowing the shape of the rest of his friends. That is until he’s broken out and taken to the land of the enemy. It’s there, that he’s actually kind of embraced, educated, and taught to understand his crazy powers. He may even be taught how to bring back the dead.
There is so much I’d love to get into, but it would involve insane spoilers. Just know that not everything is as it seems in this book. Call has a lot of growing up to do. There’s fighting, sacrificing, magic, betrayals, power, death, and even a little bit of love. It was kind of hard reading this one because of the lack of a certain loved character. The dynamics are all off balance, kind of.
This one ended with another twist that had me surprised again. These books keep surprising me. I can’t wait to see what happens next. This wasn’t my favorite volume of the series. There did appear to be a couple of plot holes, and some super cheesy stuff with the bad guys that just seemed too over the top to me. But, otherwise, this was pure, buttery delicious popcorn. And I can’t wait to keep reading. This gets an 8/10.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Summary from Goodreads:
New York City.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that nearly claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them face-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.
I love Libba Bray. I often refer to her as my favorite author. She’s an unbelievably talented writer. The trouble with these books is that they take her a very long time to write. They could take years. And this one ended depressingly badly in a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. How long must I wait to find out what happens next? 1 year? 2? 3? Maybe hold off on reading this one if you can, until the next installment. The ending is brutal.
The story was magnificent. The setting, the characters, the supernatural world this author weaves into historic context is just beyond anything I’ve come to expect in any author. I want to live in her words. I want to go to this NYC, where booze is illegal and ghosts are out for revenge. I want to dance with Evie, fight for my dreams like Theta, stand up for the working man with Mabel, get into trouble with Sam, write poetry with Memphis, play music with Henry, and learn science with Ling. I don’t just love these characters; I wish I could physically hang out with them. I feel like I know them.
Somehow, Bray is able to throw in everything to the mix. I was actually terrified in the scenes that took place in the asylum. There is nothing as creepy as evil ghosts who can control the unsuspecting bystander and make them do monstrous/murderous things.  I cried my eyes out for a character who was betrayed in the worst of ways. I was practically pacing to see what ramifications would occur for a possible explosion. I fell in love with Sam all over again. I shipped him and Evie so hard in this book, though I think like Evie, I used to be a little divided between him and Jericho.  And I felt so terrified for Jericho and everything he endured just to survive. The mystery with Sam’s mom was so good.
Stuff finally resolves with Memphis’ creepy neighbor. A lot is learned about Project Buffalo. There is a lot of sleuthing, plotting, betraying, escaping, and mayhem. Also, this book is political and relevant to today’s heightened arguments about immigration and racism.  This book is also loaded with all kinds of diverse romance. There’s a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and an interracial couple. And it’s so interesting and fun to read about this in the context of 1920’s NYC.
It took me a long time to read this book. It is a monster at 546 pages. I also had a killer sinus infection that limited my reading times. However, I’m so grateful that I took my sweet time reading this. It allowed me the ability to pick up on so many current day connections. And I got to savor my overall reading experience. At one point, stuff felt too good for the characters, and that’s when I knew a crazy ending would be approaching. And I postponed finishing it…That ending was just insane. Insane.
All in all, this was a wonderful installment in the series. The writing was beautiful. The characters were the best. I loved watching them work together! The setting was so interesting. The romance was sizzling. Pieces of the story were legit terrifying. The suspense was crazy. And the ending kind of ripped my heart out and I’m dying to read more. When will there be more???? I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (244)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales (5/1/2018):

Description on Goodreads:
This provocative and relevant young adult novel is about Winter, a one-time National Spelling Bee Champ with a bright future ahead of her. That all changes after she haphazardly writes a racially offensive tweet that she thought was a harmless joke. What unfolds is a barrage of Internet shaming and rejection from her community and closest friends. Winter seeks to redeem herself, but first must come to terms with what she wrote and understand why there was so much backlash.
Why I’m Waiting:
First off, this topic for a YA book sounds like gold. There’s so much with the internet that has never come up in YA literature, and it’s about time we started seeing it. I can’t wait to see how this main character handles her mistake. I also love this author. I have high hopes for the one to be a rather powerful book.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Good Week in Books (174)

I have fallen a little behind in my reading. This is due to a few things: tv shows starting up again, being crazy/busy with work, and a terrible sinus infection that made reading kind of hard for a whole week.  But, I’m getting back on track. I finished my audio book and I’m starting a new one tomorrow. I’m half way through an amazing book by Libba Bray. And who knows what tomorrow will bring? I received some lovely new books from Macmillan this week.
The new books:

Wild Beauty
by Anna-Marie McLemore
Meant to Be by Julie Halpern
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Nemesis by Anna Banks
Ally by Anna Banks
Because I Was a Girl edited by Melissa Cruz
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (243)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:  Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (1/9/18) :

Description on Goodreads:
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds nuts! I loved the first book. I wasn’t positive there were going to more books to follow it. I’m so glad this sequel is really coming out, and so soon! I can’t wait to see where the story goes and how the world deals with these changes. I’m also super glad for a consistent cover. I can’t wait to read it.
What are you waiting on this week?