“Pandora” by Victoria Turnbull

Here’s the first illustrated children’s book I read this year.

Genre:

Children’s Fantasy

Pubbed:

2017

Goodreads summary:

Pandora lives alone, in a world of broken things. She makes herself a handsome home, but no one ever comes to visit. Then one day something falls from the sky

. . . a bird with a broken wing.

     Little by little, Pandora helps the bird grow stronger. Little by little, the bird helps Pandora feel less lonely. The bird begins to fly again, and always comes back—bringing seeds and flowers and other small gifts. But then one day, it flies away and doesn’t return. Pandora is heartbroken.

     Until things begin to grow . . .

Here is a stunningly illustrated celebration of connection and renewal. (Goodreads)

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“The Red Threads of Fortune” by J.Y. Yang

The Red Threads of Fortune is the second novella in J.Y. Yang’s Tensorate silkpunk fantasy series about a set of twins, Akeha and Mokoya, who are born to the Protector of a kingdom (their mother), who gives them away to a monastery to settle a bargain. Later, their mother takes back on of the twins, Mokoya, who had developed prophetic powers. The series celebrates gender diversity and in its world characters choose the gender they associate with at a certain age, so children are often referred to using the gender-neutral pronoun “they.”

This is all introduced in the first novella, The Black Tides of Heaven, which focuses on Akeha. The events in The Red Threads of Fortune picks up some months (I think) after the end of The Black Tides of Heaven and focuses on Mokoya.

Genre:

Fantasy

Pubbed:

2017

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“The Shape of Water” by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, illus. James Jean

This is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I was ecstatic when I learned that this would be published. I watched the movie in December last year and loved it and didn’t expect to encounter the story in novel form. When I heard of the book, I wondered if it would be as great as the movie and immediately reserved it at my library. However, procuring a copy of the book proved difficult due to silly mishaps on my part.

I was granted access to my library’s e-copy, which I accidentally returned. ☹ I was so pissed at myself. Luckily, the physical copy was available at my library, so I borrowed that. But as soon as I started reading, I knew that this would be a book I’d love because I immediately fell for the prose, which is 50% of the reason why I love this book as much as I do. Because of that, I decided to get my own copy. I needed to be able to highlight all the words and phrases and passages that jumped out at me and I could only do so in my own book.

Genre:

Historical fiction; Fantasy, magical realism; Romance

Pubbed:

March 2018

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“The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert

Love the cover!!

I didn’t intend to read this book when I heard it was coming out because I’d given up on YA. But then I read a short blog post by a book seller who had read and loved the book and her enthusiasm infected me. So, as soon as I saw an e-copy available at my library, I placed it on hold.

Genre:

YA Fantasy

Pubbed:

January 2018

Series:

The Hazel Wood

Goodreads summary:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

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“City of Saints and Thieves” by Natalie C. Anderson

I read this in a buddy-read with Rachel from Life of a Female Bibliophile. We initially planned to read The Devourers by Indra Das together but after a few pages in, we realized it wouldn’t work well for a buddy-read. The pace was ploddingly slow, it’s character-focused, which I usually love, but neither one of us were interested in the characters. The story is interesting and my curiosity about what will happen next makes me tempted to complete it, but — ugh! — I really am not feeling it.

So we switched books. Rachel suggested City of Saints and Thieves and I decided to try it since I’d never heard of it or its author before. Unfortunately, the library branches close to my house didn’t have it in stock but eventually I was able to procure a copy from a different area.

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“Fool’s Fate” by Robin Hobb

It’s all done — the Tawney Man trilogy; and what a ride it was! I enjoyed every minute of it and am glad that I was able to share the journey with Emily from Embuhlee liest, who helped to make it even more enjoyable. It’s always fun to read a great book with someone who enjoys it as much as you do and such was the case with this trilogy. We raved about it the entire time and, when done, struggled to find words to express how much we enjoyed it all.

Fool’s Fate wraps up the Tawney Man trilogy, but the story does not end here. Despite how the end made me feel, it does continue in another series — the Rain Wild Chronicles, which Emily and I plan to start soonish. But first, my thoughts on Fool’s Fate.

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“How to Love a Jamaican” by Alexia Arthurs

When I posted to my personal Facebook account that I was reading this book and it was making me feel nostalgic and a bit sad, I was met with pity, concern, and ridicule.

I didn’t state what the book is about, so my friends and family thought I was talking about my love life. I felt the need to post a clarifying statement to explain that this is a book short stories about growing up in Jamaica and leaving the country to live in the U.S.; about being a Jamaican in a foreign country – the U.S.; about romance, yes, but also families and other relationships; about being a Black woman in the U.S. and about being a Black lesbian. It’s about these and much more, but these themes are at the forefront of the stories and most resonated strongly with me.

Genre:

Contemporary; literary

Pubbed:

July 24, 2018 (I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.)

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