Hellllloooo! I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves. It has been too long and certainly so much has happened since I last popped on here. I’ve been at my job for almost a year now (oh how time flies), and it has been wonderful. Perhaps I’ll do a separate post on all that jazz.
ANYWAY! I’m thrilled to be chatting about Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean, which is also a New York Times Bestseller! TD was released on May 31, and it’s the follow up to the well-loved and one of my favorite books from recent years, Tokyo Ever After. Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. As always, my review will be spoiler-free.
About the book
Title:Tokyo Dreaming Author: Emiko Jean Publisher: Flatiron Books Release date: May 31, 2022 My rating: 4/5 stars
Return to Tokyo for a royal wedding in Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Dreaming, the sequel to the Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller Tokyo Ever After
When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Now, she’s overcome conniving cousins, salacious press, and an imperial scandal to finally find a place she belongs. She has a perfect bodyguard turned boyfriend. Her stinky dog, Tamagotchi, is living with her in Tokyo. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. A royal wedding is on the horizon! Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true.
Hi everyone!! I hope you’re trucking along and taking care of yourself well, whatever that means for you.
Today I’m here to chat about The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta, which came out this past Tuesday! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an eARC and asking me to participate in this blog tour.
About the book
Title: The Lost Dreamer Author: Lizz Huerta Publisher: FSG BFYR Release date: March 1, 2022
Synopsis: A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir.
Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.
Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.
With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.
Hi everyone! I’m excited to be writing again. Work has been crazy busy with all the different books coming out. I’m pleased to report I really enjoy what I’m doing so far and we have an awesome list. BUT !!! I’m here actually to chat with you about The Red Palace by June Hur, a book I was absolutely in love with! While the focus of my post today isn’t a review, I’ll include a bit of what I wrote on review sites.
Hello, beautiful people! I can’t believe it’s already June. It feels like this year is flying by much faster than last year. I’m here today to chat (read: scream) about one of my most anticipated (and favorite!) books of the year. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon is the fourth YA novel from the author, and it’s her fifth published book. If you remember I have been a fan of Rachel’s since before her debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone. From Our Year of Maybe to Today Tonight Tomorrow, Rachel has delivered on every single novel. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an early copy for review. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Title:We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release date: June 8, 2021
Rating: 5/5 stars
A wedding harpist disillusioned with love and a hopeless romantic cater-waiter flirt and fight their way through a summer of weddings in this effervescent romantic comedy from the acclaimed author of Today Tonight Tomorrow.
Quinn Berkowitz and Tarek Mansour’s families have been in business together for years: Quinn’s parents are wedding planners, and Tarek’s own a catering company. At the end of last summer, Quinn confessed her crush on him in the form of a rambling email—and then he left for college without a response.
Quinn has been dreading seeing him again almost as much as she dreads another summer playing the harp for her parents’ weddings. When he shows up at the first wedding of the summer, looking cuter than ever after a year apart, they clash immediately. Tarek’s always loved the grand gestures in weddings—the flashier, the better—while Quinn can’t see them as anything but fake. Even as they can’t seem to have one civil conversation, Quinn’s thrown together with Tarek wedding after wedding, from performing a daring cake rescue to filling in for a missing bridesmaid and groomsman.
Quinn can’t deny her feelings for him are still there, especially after she learns the truth about his silence, opens up about her own fears, and begins learning the art of harp-making from an enigmatic teacher.
Maybe love isn’t the enemy after all—and maybe allowing herself to fall is the most honest thing Quinn’s ever done.
Oh man, where to begin? First, if you couldn’t already tell, I love Rachel’s writing. She is one of my auto-buy authors, and I am so happy that her books are out in the world. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This is one of Rachel’s most personal books to date. Quinn especially is a character she wrote with a lot of the author’s personal journey with OCD. I will note some content warnings for this book are descriptions of depression and OCD.
WCKMLT is a laugh-out-loud book that made me love Quinn and Tarek even more than I thought I would. Quinn is quiet and trying to find herself. She is trying to do her best navigating her family business and searching for her passion. I loved to see how much Quinn grew throughout the book. She begins as someone who is self-conscious and timid, but by the end of the book she is proud and uncovers the bravery that was there all along. Also, I loved that Quinn was a musician. As someone who loves music and considers myself a musician (at least in some capacity lol), I loved seeing Quinn rediscover her love for the harp.
All the other characters, from Tarek (I love him, must protecc) to Quinn’s best friend to Quinn’s sister, bring life and depth to this book. Quinn’s relationships are affected deeply by her past experiences with love (umm, hello parents), and I loved seeing her take charge of her mental health. It’s refreshing to read a book with mental health rep without it being The Thing.
One thing I love most about Rachel’s writing is how she creates a world I want to live in. You can tell how much she loves the places she writes about. The people in her books are individuals I want to be friends with. It’s rich in inclusion of various identities without those being the focal point of the novel. It’s a book about joy. It’s a book about people living their lives, and that’s truly what is at the core of Rachel’s books. If they fall in love along the way, well who’s to say no to that!
Overall, the structure and plot of the story was engaging and fast-paced. I waited to read it a bit when I received it because I knew that I would speed through it. Of all the RLS books I’ve read so far, this one is my favorite to date, which is hard because T3 was amazing. I highly recommend this book to those looking for a witty summer read.
Hi everyone! I’m here again with yet another blog tour, and I’m very excited to share this with you. I have had the pleasure of reading Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan early thanks to Caffeine Book Tours and the publisher providing me a copy.
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
Diversity tags: author of color (bangladeshi american); poc representation (bangladeshi-american mc; black, indian, and chinese side characters); religion representation (muslim mc); lgbtq+ representation; mental health representation (mc with anxiety)
Publication date: 04 May 2021
Cover: Samya Arif (artist), Gigi Lau (art direction)
Synopsis: A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
Content/trigger warning: In-depth discussions of mental health (specifically anxiety) and mentions of parental abuse (emotional and psychological)
Hello and welcome to another new release Tuesday! I’m so excited to be here with another wonderful book, this time it’s Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton. Similar to Joan He’s book, Lucky Girl also focuses on climate change and ocean conservation/environmental activism. Let’s get into it!
Title: Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Publishing Date: May 11, 2021
Synopsis: Content Warning: deals with parental mental health (hoarding, depression caused by grief) and loss of a parent. A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix
58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.
Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse…
Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then…
Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when…
Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.
As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?
Hello, there! Thanks for joining me again today. I’m really excited to be here as a member of Joan He’s street team. I was with Joan and Hesina’s Court for her debut, and I’m glad to be here once more for her sophomore novel. I marvel at Joan’s ability to craft words so well, and I’m so happy to be sharing my review for the street team tour today. A huge thanks goes out to Paola for organizing this wonderful tour!
Title:The Ones We’re Meant to Find Author: Joan He Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Release Date: May 4th, 2021 Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Dystopian Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.
Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Hi, everyone! Ever wonder when I’m not going to be posting something because of a blog tour I’m part of? Same, but for now, this is what is working best for me. I’m VERY EXCITED to bring The Forest of Stolen Girls to you today! I read this incredible novel last week, and I couldn’t put it down. All I ever wanted to do is sit down and read this book. It’s definitely going to be one of the best books I’ve read in 2021. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Title: The Forest of Stolen Girls
Author: June Hur
Publisher: Macmillan’s Publishing Group
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Genre: Historical Mystery
After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.
Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.
To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.
Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.
June Hur was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. When she’s not writing, she can be found journaling at a coffee shop. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.
Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020 (Indies Introduce). Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads
I don’t think I can adequately describe how much I loved this book, but I’m going to try. This post will be both a review and a reflection on the book. Just to break it down, I’m going to do my best to weave them both together in this whole section, so bear with me here!
The voice alone is haunting, and it sets you up perfectly for the entirety of the book. The whole mood is like walking through a foggy forest and trying to find your way back home. I felt like I could see and feel and smell the forest on Jeju right alone with Hwani. Everything was so real. Hwani really discovers herself and becomes someone I truly admire. She works really hard, and at times I didn’t like her. Her flaws were what made me love her even more, though. It was amazing to be able to see her grow and change throughout the book.
Maewol was such an interesting character. She reminded me of myself in some ways. I’m the youngest of five kids, so it’s easy to get lost in the mix sometimes. I loved her fighting spirit and her determination to take care of herself and Hwani despite their estrangement. Her boldness and intuition is something I wish I had and something I appreciated in her character.
The setting of this book!!! Chills!!! It gave me chills because it was so eerie. Like I mentioned above, the combination of the setting, details, and voice really created a wonderful reading experience. It felt like I was wading through the clues and dead ends with Hwani and Maewol. There were several times where I didn’t know who to trust. I was kept guessing until the very end.
Hur’s writing style lends itself beautifully to this story. I love how she got to the heart of the novel and found Hwani and Maewol at the center. It caught my attention from the very first line and never let go. I’m wondering what I’d have to do to be able to read this book for the first time again…
What I loved most about this book was how it made me think and reflect on the kind of history we learn in U.S. schools. As an adoptee, I often feel disconnected from my heritage because there wasn’t a built in system to necessarily teach me cultural or historical things about China. I love how this novel thrusts you deep into the Joseon era in Korea with nuance and care. It’s a story that is more than just the setting, but it truly makes you think more about the lens of history you’ve learned.
Overall, I highly recommend you read this book and check it out when it releases tomorrow! It’s perfect for fans of true crime and those who are looking for a little more of a darker read, sans romance.
Thanks for joining me today, and HUGE thanks to Hear Our Voices Tours and FSG for selecting me as a tour host! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour this week (schedule below).