Tuesday, June 1, 2021

ARC Review: The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith


The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

Expected publication date: August 31st 2021
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers


Review:

Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing me with an advanced copy of this book to read and review.
I love witches. Harry Potter is my all time favorite series and the only one I would read over and over again without ever regretting it. A chance to read a book about witches had me itching to jump right in and turn the pages to see what happens.
First, I love the time period this is set in. Whenever I read books set in the early 1900s, I"m always reminded of learning about this time period in school and all the possibilities that existed. But I'm also reminded of the terrible living conditions some had and how living was often minute to minute in the hopes you'd survive.
If you're thinking historical fantasy, though, I"m not quite sure it will meet those expectations. The book starts out immersing you in that time period, but over the course of the story I feel as if it lost that historical feeling and became more of just a story of who done it, I was hoping for that Sherlock Holmes type feel, but it just did not deliver.
The main character starts out as truly likeable. This continued throughout the story, though the build up of her becoming more in tune with her magic wasn't what I would have wanted it to be. Things were too quick to happen and there were more inconsistencies in plot than I would have liked. A perfect example is the strict rules that are set at Haxhaven that the girls can so easily run around. 
The magic infused in this story is interesting. I would have liked a more complete explanation of it, but it served its purpose
I'm not sure if the author intends to write more to this story, but I can see where the ending would lead you to that.
Overall my expectations for this particular book were not met. It was fun, and enough of a page turner that I wanted to keep going to see what happened at the end, but I was really expecting to be more enthralled given the content and summary. As a debut novel, I do see much potential from this author for future books and would definitely add them to my TBR!
Would definitely recommend as a middle/upper middle grade read for those who like a magical element in their books.


Sasha Peyton Smith grew up in the mountains of Utah surrounded by siblings, books, and one very old cat. She attended the University of Utah and the George Washington University where she studied biology and public health. She is not a witch, though she does own a lot of crystals and always knows what phase the moon is in. She currently lives in Washington D.C. with her partner and collection of porcelain hands. Her debut novel is THE WITCH HAVEN, coming fall 2021 with Simon and Schuster


 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

ARC Review: Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1) by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Double double, twins spell trouble…

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.

Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.

Author: P.C. & Kristin Cast
Publisher: St Marin's Press (Wednesday Books)
Expected Publication Date: May 25, 2021

My review:

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's press for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
This was my first book by these authors. I have heard good things about the writing and wanted to give it a try.
While I loved what the story line represented, I honestly was not thrilled with the writing. I think my biggest gripe was that one of the characters, who is not British, used many British colloquialisms. Couple that with her being a twin, living with her sister in the USA and it just annoyed me.
Overall I liked the theme. Witches are fun to read about. Though their powers in this book really do rely on spells overall, so it was a bit different for me.. I do feel like there could have been more explanation of each tree, more background about what they truly represent. Perhaps in the following books there will be more background.
The third person was a bit hard to follow at first. I had a hard time figuring out which twin was talking sometimes. I did like that their personalities were very distinct.
The writing seemed a bit off to me and definitely did not feel like YA but more like middle grade. There were times I thought it would pick up. The bones of a story were buried there, I thought I would start to love it, but I did not. I felt like there was a disconnect in many areas, perhaps because it's two authors writing together. I'm not sure if this is how their writing normally is.
The whole time I was reading I felt like I had fell into the middle of a series. Like there was some background I was missing. I kept going back to Goodreads to see if there was something I missed about a tie in series.
Overall it wasn't really for me. I"m sure fans of these authors will adore it. But I don't see myself moving on for another shot at liking the next book in the series.


PC was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school, she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses. House of Night Other World, book 4, FOUND, releases July 7th, 2020. More info to come soon about the HoN TV series!

Kristin is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who was born on an Air Force base in Japan and grew up in Oklahoma where she explored everything from tattoo modeling to broadcast journalism. After battling addiction, Kristin made her way to the Pacific Northwest and landed in Portland. She rediscovered her passion for storytelling in the stacks at dusty bookstores and in rickety chairs in old coffeehouses. For as long as she can remember, Kristin’s been telling stories. Thankfully, she’s been writing them down since 2005.





 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

ARC Review: Sunkissed by Kasie West

 

A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

Published: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press

My Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the advanced copy of this book to read and review.

I'm always excited to read a Kasie West romance. I'm never disappointed with her themes and I always get easily pulled into the story and become invested in the characters.

Are you a Dirty Dancing fan? Love the campy atmosphere it brought with the "forbidden" love? Then you're gonna really like this one.

Avery, recently single, is carted away with her family for a summer of fun, lake, and activities at family camp. Determined to pull herself out of her funk, she decides to try and break out of her shell. But doing so could cost Brooks, a camp employee, his job! No fraternizing between employees and guests, or even between employees, is the rule. But Brooks and Avery find their chemistry on stage singing as a band can't be ignored.

Avery is a cute character. A little quirky, a little shy, a little down on herself. She is your quintessential 17 year old who needs is trying to fit in and find her way. She's realistic with her reactions to events and happenings. Just what you think a 17 year old at family camp might be. 

Brooks has his own baggage. But he's not wanting to let that get in the way of his want to become a musician. He's a bit broody, which seems to draw Avery to him.

I think my favorite thing about this book is it's setting: who doesn't love that Dirty Dancing vibe? Guests cabins separated from the employees. Avery sneaking off to meet up with Brooks and other employees she befriends. Her family none the wiser until it's "too late". It definitely brought me back to watching Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dance around and have fun while falling in love.

If you're looking for a cute, easy read while you lounge at the beach or pool this summer, pick this one up.

I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, BY YOUR SIDE, LUCKY IN LOVE, LOVE LIFE and the LIST, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, FAME FATE and the FIRST KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and MOMENT OF TRUTH. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.




Tuesday, May 4, 2021

ARC Review: Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent


 This high stakes, pacey reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Megan Spooner.


For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.

But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.

But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.

Expected Publication: June 20, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen

Review:
I want to thank Net Galley and HarperTeen for providing me with a early review copy of this book. 

I've not read any Rachel Vincent before. But I have heard good things about her writing and I was looking forward to seeing how she spun this Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale.

I will say, I was not expecting the main character to be the hunter in this book, When I first started it, I thought for sure it would be her beau. But the twist made the book more interesting for sure!

I love that Vincent still kept major parts of the story intact: red cloak, grandma, the wolf theme.  But she adds many more elements, particularly the monsters that surround Adele's village of Oakdale and the threat they pose to the villagers.

What a fantastic twist to make a wolf a guardian of peace and safety.

Definitely a fast read with some twists you would not expect and a bit of a cliff hanger ending leaving you wanting the next intstallment yesterday. I'm definitely interested to see where the story turns in the future.

A resident of Oklahoma, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.


Friday, April 2, 2021

ARC Review: Malice by Heather Walter

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again.

Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.
 
Author: Heather Walter
Expected Publication Date: 4/13/21
Publisher: Del Rey


My Review:

I want to thank Del Rey and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book to read and give an honest review. There may be a few spoilers ahead, so reader beware!

I was very excited to have a chance to read this book. I love all kinds of fairytale retellings. And in all honesty, I am not as familiar with Sleeping Beauty as I am with other tales. So this was a nice little jump into that story line for me.

I truly enjoyed Alyce. She was definitely a dark character who carried a lot of baggage and had very low self esteem. I can totally understand how turning dark would be where she might go. Needless to say, the devolvement of her character was anticipated and not unexpected. I was hoping she might hit a low point and then turn it around. Sadly, that was not the case. This was a bit of a disappointment for me. But I can see how this book might have a sequel so I'm hopeful for something there if it comes. And I'm not sure she's truly the villain of this story if you think about the society in which she lives where jewels and baubles and looks are all that truly matters.

As for the storyline, It was totally intriguing. The writer truly developed all her characters and you saw how each one played a roll in Alyce's overall personality: the monster, the outcast, the thing. And her writing drew me in from the first few pages. Though there were some slower dips in the story and places where the author seemed to spend more time than necessary, overall it flowed well. There was some repetitiveness I would have liked not to see, though.

I did enjoy the romance but I needed more development there. Aurora was too quick to fall in love with Alyce. I would have liked to see more of a connection between the two. 

The author toes the line in this book between what is good and evil. And what is good and evil will play out much differently than anyone would usually guess.

If you're looking for a fairytale retelling with a twisted ending that leaves you wondering just what happened and what could possibly happen in the future, this is the one to read.


Heather Walter has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with both English and Information Science degrees, books are--and always will be--a definitive part of her life.

As an author, Heather loves writing about what-ifs, flawed protagonists, and re-imagined history. Her favorite characters are usually villains.

When not writing, you can find her reading (duh), knitting, binging TV, and planning her next travel adventure.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

ARC Review: My Contrary Mary (Mary #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brody Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

 

Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?⠀

Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she's a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an EĆ°ian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It's a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀

Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper's nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary's secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.

Expected Publication Date: June 22, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen

My Review:

Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
I picked up this book because of the authors. I have read books by all three and was excited to jump into something they wrote together. I also love the story of Mary Queen of Scots (I mean, REIGN), so I figured this would be something I would enjoy.
First off I'd like to point out that I have not read any of the Lady Jane books. In my opinion while  most of the story in this book does stand alone, I saw many spots where having read the Lady Jane books would have given me more background and made it easier to understand some things that were happening in the book.
I loved the idea of many points of view. It was fun to the read the story from the three different characters (Mary, Francis, and Ari). Each character was unique in how they viewed the world around them. 
I will say this book comes off to me as much more upper middle grade than YA. The characters, while teenagers, are very simple in their views of the world around them. They do not appear mature as 17 year old teens might. Maybe I've read too much YA where the teens are more mature than they really should be. But having a 17 year old myself, I think I can with confidence say these characters acted more like my 14 year old.
I did find the pace a bit slow at times. The last 25% was fun and certainly picked up but that is kind of long to wait for things to really happen.
The romance in the book was cute. I liked that we got more than just Mary and Francis with the addition of Ari's perspective. And that the book addressed a relationship what wasn't just male/female in nature. 
Overall it was a fun read, though I didn't find myself running to pick it up and read it and it took a bit longer for me to finish than I anticipated. 
I definitely recommend this for middle school to young HS students as a fun read that will take you back to Renaissance France.

Authors:


I write books. I snuggle cats. I drink coffee.
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (HarperTeen). She lives in rural Virginia. Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

I write Young Adult novels. I eat cinnamon bears. I love me some Diet Coke.

My debut book EVERNEATH (the first in a trilogy) comes out Winter 2012 with Balzer and Bray (Harper Collins).
I'm represented by Michael Bourret at Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.
Because of two parents who were Greek myth geeks, I grew up thinking the latest fashion trends were inspired by Aphrodite, and a good conversational opener was, “So, which mythological character do you most resemble?” Despite these social shortcomings, I found a great husband who’s always my first reader. We live in Utah with our two young boys, who still have no idea why I'm at the computer all the time.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.



Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and MY CALAMITY JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, THE HOW AND THE WHY and the upcoming novels WITH YOU ALL THE WAY and MY CONTRARY MARY (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Review: The Bright & The Pale (The Bright & The Pale Duology #1) by Jessica Rubinkowski


Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.

That is, until he is brutally murdered.

A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.

And it has waited years for release.

My Review:

I want to thank Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
I was excited to read this book, I don't know much Russian folklore and wanted to really learn some of it. Unfortunately, this one missed the mark. There may be spoilers ahead.
Let me start with the characters; I had no connection at all. I didn't feel that even the main character was fleshed out enough to help me be invested in her. I wanted to like the main character, Val, but I just could not picture her in my mind. I also found her to be quite winey. And every other chapter she had huge self-doubt but suddenly at the end she was full of power and self-assured. I would have liked to see more of a progression with this. As for the other characters: flat. The author tried to give back story on them. The relationship between Valeria and Luisa. I wanted to understand it more. But we see Luisa at the beginning than never again. So even though Val is trying to tell us how they were like mother and daughter, I just didn't feel it. Same with Alik. I just don't see their connection; like where is the budding romance and the googley eyes you always wish for when there is romance involved? It wasn't in this book. The only connection I see is they grew up together, but there are no back scenes to truly show us how they bonded and how her feelings changed for him over time. 
As for the Russian folklore, I don't feel it was well researched. I know it's something about Gods, but I don't have much of an idea of the backstory. Val spent maybe a page or so giving us some background, but it never really showed me what it means to all those that live in her small town. And the build up to the introduction of the Pale God is wishy washy at best. The author barely skimmed at the mythology associated with this book, I still don't know anymore about the Russian folklore behind this book than I did when I started it, unfortunately. Adding more layers would have helped me understand the underlying concept of the book and why it progressed as it did.
The pace was slow, though it did pick up at the 75% mark. But for me that's too long to wait for something interesting to happen in a book.
The writing is absolutely that of a debut author. It needs more fine tuning. 
On the plus side, the cover is gorgeous, which is what drew me initially to look at the book. And the blurb is what drew me to want to read it. I'm a sucker for a good fantasy.
Overall, I was disappointed in this book and I don't see myself reading the follow up.




Jessica Rubinkowski grew up in the fields of Illinois beside a haunted house. A fan of never sitting still, she picked up Scottish dancing, horseback riding, and general herb lore. Now, when not creating fantastical words to throw her characters into, she can be found baking or gardening. She lives in Central Illinois with her family and far too many pets to keep track of.


 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Review: With You All The Way by Cynthia Hand


Ada’s life is a mess. She just caught her boyfriend cheating on her after a humiliating attempt at losing her virginity, and she’s had it up to here with her gorgeous older sister’s unsolicited advice.

But things really hit the fan during a family vacation in Hawaii, where Ada discovers her own mother is having an affair. Apparently, everyone is falling into bed with people they shouldn’t. Everyone except Ada. But when Ada decides she’s going to stop trying and start doing—sex, that is—her best laid plan overlooks an inconvenient truth:

Feelings, romantic or not, always get in the way.

Expected Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Publisher: Harper Teen



Review:

I want to thank Harper Teen for supplying me with a copy of this book to read and review.
I won't lie, I had high hopes. I have always loved Cynthia Hand and her writing. Angels, contemporary, collaborations, she seems to be able to take it all on.
That being said, this is not her greatest work for me. If you are looking for a drama filled book with a self-centered teen (I know, I know, that's typical in real life, too!) who makes serious errors in much of what she does and chooses, this one is for you. Is it a lesson? Probably. Did she learn it? In my opinion, no.
The main character is 16 year old Ada who seems to be fixated on fixing her life with sex. Do 16 year olds think about it? Sure. Do they obsess on it? Maybe. But for me, it was way too large of a part of this book. I found her constant return to and reiterations of it tiresome and ridiculous. I also had issue with her sister letting her flounder and wallow in her own self-pity.
Overall it was a fast read but considering my affinity for picking books up by this author, not one I can see myself recommending. Too much drama without real situations for my taste.



Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and MY CALAMITY JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, THE HOW AND THE WHY and the upcoming novels WITH YOU ALL THE WAY and MY CONTRARY MARY (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.


 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Review: An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi


 From bestselling and National Book Award–nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy—even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.


It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.

She's too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.

Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart—

It’s broken.

Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.

She explodes.

An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope—in the midst of a modern war.

Expected Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Harper Collins
Author: Tahereh Mafi

Review:

I want to thank HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC of this book.
Honestly, I didn't even read the synopsis. When I saw it was Mafi, I just requested it because I really do love her writing and thought for sure I would enjoy this one as well.
The book gives a dive into the life of a Muslim teen status post 9/11.
I will say I didn't like the main character. That may have been some of the intention with the book, though. After all, 17 year olds are usually quite self-centered and Shadi came off as exactly that. She made some poor life choices throughout the book. And it's not until the end that she owns up to that, at least somewhat.
I liked how Mafi gave us a look into what Muslims were experiencing status post 9/11. It was also an interesting look into a different culture for me. I will confess to not knowing much about the Muslim religion or about Iranian/Persian family life or culture. I do wish she had expanded on it just a bit. I found the relationship Shadi had with her family more superficial than I would have liked, given her strong emotions about them. A deeper dive would have been welcome.
Overall it was a quick read but not my favorite YA contemporary. It did feel a bit rushed with how short it was.


Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me series. She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. Shatter Me is her first series, with television rights optioned by ABC Signature Studios; Furthermore, her first middle grade novel, is on shelves now, and Whichwood, its darker companion, will be on shelves November 14, 2017.

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