My Review of Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

In this stand-alone fantasy, Durst introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster-racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth – in Becar, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope – you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok…and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she needs a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win – if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races – and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53246421-race-the-sands

AudiobookPublished April 21st 2020 by HarperAudio

My Rating: 5 Stars

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My Review of Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

5/5 stars

I really really enjoyed this story. I’m not an expert on genres or categories but I wonder if this might fit as new adult…? At first I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t young adult what with the ages of several main characters but ultimately I see why they didnt call it so (kind of). I dont know but whatever it is I think it will satisfy a number of audiences.

There are a number of things I appreciated. For one Sarah Beth Durst has an awesome imagination. She loves to play with strange monsters and I think that’s great. She also wasnt afraid to cast a wide array of characters at the heart of this story. She surprised me with some of them (one in particular) and that was really refreshing. It reminded me of real life, people aren’t cut-outs, rarely do they fit in one category. All her characters are full of drive and ambition and I root for them with pleasure.

This isn’t the type of story that is ruined by figuring out the plot moves before they happen. Nope. It’s more so the case that you look forward to seeing what’s ultimately going to happen. There were some turns that ended kind of bluntly but honestly, I like that. Things aren’t long and drawn out like they could be, and many stories are. Durst keeps the story interesting, moving and satisfying.

I dare say that many times while listening to this story I was moved to emotion. I smiled A LOT. And I keep wanting to come back to calling this a kind of feel good story, and therefore satisfying. I highly recommend this story to teens, young, new and not so new adults.

I would recommend listening to this as an audio book. My only gripe is that I didn’t care for how the narrator performed the trainer’s daughter. She reads her almost baby like though I do believe her daughter is 11 years old. Other than that I thought she did a great job performing this book.

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Have you read or heard of this book? New release as of this April so it’s possible you have yet to even hear of it, but now you have! Check it out! While you’re at it you might want to check out Sarah Beth Durst’s other books, of which she has A LOT. I’ve not read them all but I am a fan of the Queens of Renthia series.

Let me know what you think!

If you’re interested in what else I’ve reviewed (shared my opinion on) CLICK HERE!

If you want to know what I’m currently reading or recently finished CLICK HERE!

Thank you for your time and interest!

Black Lives Matter.


P.S. This summer I shared a comment on another blog that was in disagreement with that blogger’s thoughts. Maybe I was wrong to go on bashing a book they professed to love, maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself (if you don’t have anything nice to say…). Maybe I exhibited poor etiquette and it was simply wrong time, wrong place. But I want you to know that I respect your opinion on books I’ve read even if it’s different than mine. (If I don’t respect it, I’ll be sure to let you know. 😉 ) I encourage you to share when you love a book I don’t or can’t stand a book I love. Let’s just be respectful of each other okay? No nastiness towards each other, meaning go ahead and vent about the book but not the author or me. (I don’t think I have to amend this more do I?) That’s all I ask. It’s not personal. And please do give me your list of reasons, perhaps we can engage in some discussion. After all, if all you say is that book was crap, I’m going to want a reason or two.


My Review of Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare – 3 stars

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Information from Goodreads:

In a secret world where half-angel warriors called Shadowhunters are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word. A parabatai is your best friend and battle partner. Parabatai can be everything to each other–but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs ia a Shadowhunter, the best in her generation. Together with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Loa Angeles, where faeries–the most powerful of supranatural creatures–teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When bodies–both faerie and human-turn up, bearing marks that match those found on Emma’s own murdered parents, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge–and Julian’s chance to get back to his brother, a prisoner of the faerie Courts. All they have to do is solve the murders within two weeks… and before the murderer target them.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27788505-lady-midnight

Paperback, 669 pages — Published March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McEldeberry Books

My Rating: 3 Stars

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My Review of Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

3/5 stars

This book frustrated the heck out of me. Overall I’d say Cassandra Clare certainly can write and come up with some cool story ideas but but but BUT this book just wasn’t for me. I’ve not read any of her other books. I found this and started reading before I knew of the others. And at this point I will not continue with any others. (There were some sample chapters at the end of this story that I will admit piqued my interest a bit although not enough to chase them down now.)

The overall concept. angel-human hybrid race, is great, I was all in for this. And from the start it seemed like an interesting batch of characters. The forbidden love aspect is pretty clear from the beginning. Not everything has to be a surprise to be interesting. However it dragged and dragged. And that’s what I really didn’t like about this. So much attention was paid to relationships, especially that of Julian and Emma and Julian and the kids, that I felt like the plot suffered as a result. Of course it’s not uncommon for a story to be character driven but I can’t say I felt it was even that driven. It frustrated me and felt repetitive to keep reading how people felt for each other when we already got the point. For me these feelings equated to a whole lot of tell and not enough show.

My biggest complaint, and IMHO the biggest disservice to the story, was the length. At 669 pages this was not small book. I think the whole story would have been MUCH better were it half that. This is another reason I’m not particularly interested in continuing with the series, too much time spent on day to day life and relationships. But if that’s your thing, and you’re okay with action popping up like garnish, then by all means I’d recommend this. Otherwise, I regret to say that I don’t.

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Have you read this book, this series, or any of the other many many books by Cassandra Clare? (Gotta hand it to her, she’s putting in work!) What did you think?


P.S. This summer I shared a comment on another blog that was in disagreement with that blogger’s thoughts. Maybe I was wrong to go on bashing a book they professed to love, maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself (if you don’t have anything nice to say…). Maybe I exhibited poor etiquette and it was simply wrong time, wrong place. But I want you to know that I respect your opinion on books I’ve read even if it’s different than mine. (If I don’t respect it, I’ll be sure to let you know. 😉 ) I encourage you to share when you love a book I don’t or can’t stand a book I love. Let’s just be respectful of each other okay? No nastiness towards each other, meaning go ahead and vent about the book but not the author or me. (I don’t think I have to amend this more do I?) That’s all I ask. It’s not personal. And please do give me your list of reasons, perhaps we can engage in some discussion. After all, if all you say is that book was crap, I’m going to want a reason or two.


If you’re interested in what else I’ve reviewed (shared my opinion on) CLICK HERE!

If you want to know what I’m currently reading or recently finished CLICK HERE!

Thank you for your time and interest!

Black Lives Matter.

My Review of The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – 4.5 stars

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Information from Goodreads:

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“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature – the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22571137-the-name-of-the-wind

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 28 pages — Published May 15th 2009 by Brilliance Audio (first published March 27th 2007)

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My Rating: 4.5 stars

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My Review of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars but not enough to roll to 5 stars since partials aren’t allow.

More complete review coming soon… well okay more like eventually.

While I really enjoyed this book, it really is a great epic tale, really well written I actually can’t decide if this is a four or a five for me. When it was great it was great but being as long as it is means there’s a lot of time that’s meh, again, well-written, but less interesting. That’s all I’m saying for now.

In the meantime, here are some notes I archived from while I was listening to the story:

  • I won’t get into how this was an accidental purchase, because I do somewhere else. But here we have another epic fantasy. It reminds me a lot of Lord of the Rings. My patience for long long long stories is just not there. This is a good and interesting story, for sure, well-written and all that. But it’s really super long and probably, again I say this, wouldn’t be hurt if a lot of scenes were cut out or cut down.
  • All in all it’s no where near DNF, but when I think about how everyone complains that the third book in this series (this first book published in 2007!) has not yet even been ANNOUNCED, I get nervous. What if I love these first two and have to just sit empty handed? Okay maybe not empty-handed because I have so many books to read. Stay tuned…
  • Update: This story certainly is epic. It’s long and it’s very well-written. I give it four and half stars only because it’s SO DARN LONG. It’s great sure, think Lord of the Rings like I said before. The characters are dynamic and distinct. I could see and feel the events as they happened. But it really takes us through IT ALL. Lol. I do recommend it. I’m really glad I went with the audible version. The narrator puts on a great performance, different voices and all.
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Have you read this series? What did you think? Please don’t spoil the second book for me though, I have the second also as an audible just not sure when I’ll get around to it. I guess it should be sooner than later. In that case I’ll add it to the 20 Books of Summer 20 list (if it isn’t there already).

How do you feel that Patrick Rothfuss has yet to announce the third book? Does it bother you when writers take a really really long time to finish a long-anticipated book?

Thanks for your time and interest!

If you’d like to see what else I’ve reviewed (shared my opinion of) CLICK HERE.

And don’t forget to see what I’m currently reading and recently finished.


P.S. This summer I shared a comment on another blog that was in disagreement with that blogger’s thoughts. Maybe I was wrong to go on bashing a book they professed to love, maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself (if you don’t have anything nice to say…). Maybe I exhibited poor etiquette and it was simply wrong time, wrong place. But I want you to know that I respect your opinion on books I’ve read even if it’s different than mine. (If I don’t respect it, I’ll be sure to let you know. 😉 ) I encourage you to share when you love a book I don’t or can’t stand a book I love. Let’s just be respectful of each other okay? No nastiness towards each other, meaning go ahead and vent about the book but not the author or me. (I don’t think I have to amend this more do I?) That’s all I ask. It’s not personal. And please do give me your list of reasons, perhaps we can engage in some discussion. After all, if all you say is that book was crap, I’m going to want a reason or two.


Black Lives Matter.

My Review of What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page.

On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

An Imprint Book 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36686071-what-the-woods-keep

Hardcover, 384 pages — Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint

My Rating: 5 Stars

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My Review of What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

5/5 stars

For me this was a quick read and for that I’m grateful. This was an easy yet very interesting read. It was simple enough to follow along easily but strange enough to keep you wondering. Katya de Becerra has a new fan! This story is full of mystery and intrigue. She gives you just enough to hold on, like a snack, but not keep you starving. The story moves at a good pace overall given all the little clues and nuggets she leaves along the way. She uses letters, notes, diary entries and the like throughout the story, inserted like photocopies. They’re the source of a lot of important information and a brilliant way to provide that info (like background) without doing an info dump or exposition. More than halfway through the book I did want the story to hurry up and get to the heart of the matter but I think that was more my anxiousness than anything else.

On top of how well the story is written, the concept is pretty darn cool. I don’t know (yet, I’ll go searching after I write this) but I hope this is a series because I will certainly be following this story, as well as the author.

Big Heck Yeah 5 stars to What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra! 😀

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P.S. You’re going to find that some of my reviews are short, simple, sweet even while others are long and detailed or even overly “ranty”. The length or brevity of my review is not necessarily a reflection of the book but rather a reflection of the time. Sometimes I prefer to say my piece lest I procrastinate and it never happen.

Any thoughts??

Here’s What’s Up Since Forever Ago!

Hey there folks! Sorry it’s been a whole two plus months since I’ve written anything, it’s not for lack of trying. Here’s What’s Up! This is going to be another long post so I thank you in advance for taking time out of your day to follow along. It’s long but mostly a brief update and list of what you can expect to see/hear from me.

So much has happened and so much has not. Obviously we’re still dealing with and living in the times of a pandemic. I’ve been encouraged by much of the leadership we HAVE received but I’ve also been discouraged by how selfish many people are. Wearing a mask sucks, we all can agree on that, but it’s not the end of the world. If we were as intelligent as we like to believe we are, then wearing a face covering would be second nature. Oh there’s a new contagious respiratory virus spreading around the world? Better cover up my breathing holes to protect from what’s coming in and going out.

I digress.

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We’re trotting our way to the end of this season (wait what!) and in to the next. I’m not a parent but I sympathize with you/them and what they’re facing. These are not easy times, and whether or not it is safe for your child to go back to in-person schooling is no simple decision. This matter is conflated by the fact that the circumstances are different everywhere. My heart goes out to all the parents, step-parents, grandparents, and kids out there. May the decision you make be the best for your family.

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In other news about the seasons, I was successful in planting, growing and even partially successful in harvesting a garden this year! This is my first garden in…15 years maybe? Wow, that makes me feel old! The pandemic pushed me to stop procrastinating and get it done. My biggest hang-up (pretty sure I’ve already shared this) was my soil. I have what’s called slag in my backyard. It is an industrial by-product, from what I don’t know, but it’s left over from metal smelting and often used as filler. I don’t know who filled this yard or when or with what or why but these big funky meteor-like chunks are abundant. After reaching out to a geologist I decided (thank you) it best I not take my chances with my soil. So I built raised beds using untreated 2x6s (go me!) and filled them with a soil mixture from a local landscaping company. I had also purchased some bags of organic container mix, raised bed mix, potting soil, and top soil. That was back in March when things were iffy and getting soil and seeds was difficult. Eventually the lockdown eased and I was able to get a bulk mixture delivered to my house. Which I proceeded to move in dozens of wheelbarrow loads.

I built three raised-beds, though not all three were planned, especially the third one. In fact it was a great exercise for me in just doing and not being so afraid to. Are they ideal in their placement? Absolutely not. But they’re there, for now, and I’m DOING not thinking about doing anymore. They are 4×8′, 4×6′, and 4×4′, all 12″ high though the dirt is more like 10-11″ deep since it has settled.

This post isn’t going to go into a whole lot more detail about my garden because I’ve decided that I am going to start a new series/section all about my garden called In the Life of My Garden. If you want to know more about my garden please follow that link or search garden in the search box. You can also scroll down my feed and find posts about it. What I will tell you here is I’m growing Bumble Bee Cherry tomatoes (6 plants), roma tomatoes (4 plants), orange bell peppers (6 plants), beets, broccoli (big fail with that one), Kuri squash (2 plants, awesome then disaster), Hearts of Gold cantaloupe (2 plants, one in container), Sugar Baby watermelon (2 plants, one in container), snow peas (yes they grew in the heat!), bush beans (that turned out to like growing vertically), true mini carrots (did you know most baby carrots in the store are actually full-size just cut down?), mustard greens, and now I’m in the midst of a fall garden plan and plantings.

Like I said, please follow the link In the Life of My Garden to learn and discover more. I find it really hard to believe I’ll ever go back to not gardening again.

Not only did gardening get me back in touch with my nature loving side, it also got me more in touch with YouTube! (Some of you are nodding and smiling YES while others are shaking your heads NO NO NO, oh the distraction! All of you are right. ;)) First of all thank you Crafty Gemini for my first video on building my own raised beds. I really need to check out some more of her videos, I’ve gotten all caught up in those of many others, namely Gardener Scott operating out of Colorado. Gardener Scott is one of many interesting people I’ve recently discovered on YouTube (not including those I found before related to Book Tube). His channel is a well of information let me tell you. He’s like that teacher/professor you had that seemed to know everything and was more than happy to share. Then there’s Self-Sufficient Me over in Australia, highly recommend him as well. People call Self-Sufficient Me the Steve Irwin of gardening. Lol. He is, though there is no one like Steve Irwin for real. Did you know Bindi is expecting her first child? Move along Elpy… I also found Jess and Jeremiah over at their Roots and Refuge farm in Arkansas. She too is a natural born teacher. Their farm is beautiful and their commitment to it admirable. Then there’s MIGardener in Michigan. He makes me smile, he’s so enthusiastic about his garden and teaching the rest of us how to Grow Big or Go Home! There are others but these are my top four for gardening and Crafty Gemini is well crafty as heck!

You can click on the links above to check out all those beautiful people. Also follow my In the Life of My Garden page to know more.

Aside from telling you to check out those channels I have to tell you a wonderful thing Gardener Scott introduced me to: VERMICOMPOSTING! That’s right folks, worms and worm composting. Gardener Scott has some videos in which in starts, maintains and harvests a worm bin. MIGardener has some as well. What ever do you want a worm bin for some of you ask? Why composting of course!

Gardener Scott also runs a compost pile outside in his garden, which I was considering but ultimately in my current situation a worm composting bin in my basement (okay two) is best for me.

I have long wanted to stop just throwing out my organic food scraps (think strawberry tops, cucumber and zucchini ends, greens that go bad before you get to them or finish them, yucky apple chunks, etc). So many times I’d make some food for my birds and look at all that was left over and sigh. Or I’d buy veggies with the best of intentions (I’m going to eat healthier AND lose weight) only to see much of it go to waste (having a crap refrigerator doesn’t help). If only I could do something with that waste…

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Welcome the Worms!!! I now have red wigglers, blue worms (mostly them), and some European nightcrawlers taking care of food waste (not all, not meat or dairy or other stuff) for me. Stay tuned and visit In the Life of My Garden for more on my newest hobby of composting with worms and the cool YouTube channels I found pertaining to this.

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Alright if you’re still with me, thank you so so much, I promise there’s not too much more in this post. I’m going to tell you about what update posts you can expect.

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On the book blogging front I have not been reading physical books because… I just haven’t. I still have to finish Akata Warrior and several others. I won a Goodreads giveaway for The Bone Jar (Detective Lew Kirby, #1) by S.W. Kane and received an e-copy that I just discovered and decided to start last night (as if I’m not currently reading too many books). It’ll all be okay though… lol… as long as I don’t start anymore books… … …

While I haven’t been physically reading I have been listening to audio books and have finished many. In fact I just started Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. I’m halfway through and totally intrigued. I can’t believe I’m only halfway through as this first half feels like a story in and of itself. It’s a memoir by the way.

So I’ll be updating you on what I’ve read/listened to and maybe I’ll have some reviews in there too. The last three books at least have been five stars, really really enjoyed them. I’ll also update my currently reading list as well as my 20 Books for Summer 2020. That list is going to have to change, which kind of feels like a cheat. I guess I’m just going to need to go for 20 books period.

My novel has been patiently waiting for me to pull my muddy boots out of this creative slump. I do not believe in writer’s block, just so you know this is not that. But I’m getting back to it and I’ll have some writing related posts for you about what I’ve learned (check out my post about things I’ve learned so far).

I’m also going to update my recommended Podcasts page. I’ve got some more to add to it as well I’m thinking I should make it an overall resources kind of page where you can find all the links to various people/channels/blogs I follow regularly or at least from time to time. This would include book bloggers, book tubers, gardening and vermiculture channels, podcasts and more. Oh and I definitely have some cool photos from the garden for you; ever seen what a beneficial predator can do for your garden, namely a tomato hornworm? Oh yeah, I got that baby! 😉

This leads me to share that I plan to go back (but in a forward kind of way 😉 ) to sharing my own photography with you, like I used to but not exactly like I used to. 😀

I appreciate the time and energy you spent with me today, really I do. 😀 I hope you’ll like and follow my blog should you be interested in these updates and what’s to come. As I like to remind you, I LOVE COMMENTS. 😀 Just saying… Feel free to share what content you’re most interested in or what updates and even how your summer has been. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great rest of your week!

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My Review of Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

Hardcover, 349 pagesPublished April 14th 2011 by Viking Children’s

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My Rating: 5 Stars

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My Review of Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

5/5 stars

Once again Nnedi Okorafor did not fail to impress. I’m pretty sure I read on her page that a movie or show is in the works for this book and I’m excited to see it manifested.

“It’s just an insect specter,” Orlu said as he touched the sting with his knife. He made a popping sound with his lips. “They’re the result of insects people smash. Most angry spirits come from deaths by acts of cruelty. If the insect is angry or a vengeful type, it’ll return as one of these.” Slowly the feeling in her legs returned. The bruise on her hip from falling remained, though.

This is a really interesting book with engaging, dynamic characters that easily stand out from each other. This series might well be described as a more diverse, unique, and perhaps grounded Harry Potter in that we’ve got a group of kids, some of whom are already aware of “magic”, one who is not. They are sent to attend “magic school” all while still leading their “regular” lives. No offense to the Harry Potter series but this story isn’t about your typical idea of magic. A person’s ability is often unique to them or something they’ve inherited from a relative. I love the idea that what might be a disadvantage or flaw in the “lamb” world translates into an ability among Leopard People. It’s beautiful.

This story is easy to read, well-paced, and original. It’s fantastic and feels true to life even as it’s set in a country, continent and culture I do not know. I’m grateful for this opportunity to read a story set in Nigeria flavored with fantasy. We all know one of the beauties of reading is being able to travel outside of our own lives, this book delivers on that in SO MANY ways.

“Lesson one, ” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard. Sunny, we don’t teach as the Lambs do. Books will be part of your learning but experience is important, too. You’ll all be sent out to see for yourselves. So you have to know how to learn…”

There is violence, but it’s not overwhelming . I think it’s comparable to a PG-13 movie, mind you I don’t read a lot of books of this age-range so I might not be the best judge. That said my 12-year old niece isn’t big on scary or violent stories/movies but I think I will recommend this to her nonetheless. The main characters are 13-14 years old. Nnedi gives these characters energy and attitude true to children. Sunny, the main protagonist and a new student of the Leopard world, is a spunky, sassy girl who is understandably nervous but brave. She’s bullied for being albino but she remains strong and stands up for herself even though at times it hurts to feel like an outsider.

Okorafor is good at tapping into the characters’ emotions and not forgetting those seemingly small moments of emotional pain, young and old. You’ll also find some great lessons woven into these pages.

“Sunny, there are Leopard People all over the world from every tribe, race, whatever. None is better than the other.”

I will continue to make my way through her work moving right along to Akata Warrior, #2 in this duology. I strongly recommend reading this book and more of Nnedi Okorafor. If you haven’t yet branched out to more diverse authors, Nnedi Okorafor’s books are a great place to start for the fantasy/sci-fi genres.

“Let me tell you something Chichi and Sasha have a hard time respecting,” Orlu said, putting his fork down. “Leopard People – all our kind all over the world – are not like Lambs. Lambs think money and material things are the most important thing in the world. You can cheat, lie, steal, kill, be dumb as a rock, but if you can brag about money and having lots of things and your bragging is true, that bypasses everything. Money and material things make you king or queen of the Lamb world. You can do no wrong, you can do anything.

Leopard People are different. The only way you can earn chittim is by learning. The more you learn, the more chittim you earn. Knowledge is the center of all things…”

From Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

The following are more quotes from the book that are listed and liked on Goodreads:

“People are too focused on money. It’s supposed to be a tool, not the prize to be won.”

“They’re capable of great things, but potential doesn’t equal success.”

“We embrace those things that make us unique or odd. For only in these things can we locate and then develop our most individual abilities.”

We’re going through some truly incredible times in the world right now. Sometimes I feel like we should have expected 2020 to be different. I mean, 2020 right? Gosh… The change we are experiencing is profound and much of it overdo. I am proud of those standing up against injustice. I am proud of those standing up for science and the good of the community. I am proud of all the brave people exercising their courage in the face of fear. I am so proud of all the people embracing each other, coming together, and demanding a better world for everyone. People are showing each other that hate has no place among us.

In the midst of all of this, many of us are wondering what can I do? How can I help? Maybe you’re marching, maybe you’re not, but you want to know how you can be a part of the change and help to usher it forward. One way we can do this is to continue to support each other and to support communities of color. We can help by investing in communities of color; this in part means supporting the work done by people of color, and the businesses, the arts, and the efforts among so many other things. In the bookish world, the art world, we do this by buying books by and about people of color. We do this by talking about their books and stories, telling our friends and family, our neighborhoods, our social media-hoods. We can help by promoting more diversity in the arts. Don’t have many or any authors of color on your TBR? Well now is as good a time as ever to branch out. And when you find those authors you enjoyed, spread their name far and wide. Encourage others to read their work. Then find more and share more. Read non-fiction and fiction by and about people and communities of color. Read books that take place in a community, neighborhood or region unlike yours.

We in the bookish community already love to read, so let’s be super intentional in what we pick (if you’re not already doing this) and make sure you pick up books, more books by and about people of color. In fact, I have an idea, get this book and others by this author! 😉

From Goodread’s author bio:

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based projects in development for film and TV – including HBO’s adaptation of her novel Who Fears Death, with George R. R. Martin signed on as executive producer. Okorafor is also co-writing the screenplay of an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed with filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu for Amazon Prime Video, with Viola Davis producing. Her novel Akata Warrior (of the Akata Series) is the winner of the Lodestar and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/588356.Nnedi_Okorafor

The above link will take you to her Goodreads’ bio page but THIS LINK will take you to her website.

You can CLICK HERE to read my review of Lagoon, a sci-fi/fantasy, first contact book by this author. Another five star read in my humble opinion.

You can also CLICK HERE for my review of Binti, an awesome sci-fi novella, the first of 3 books I shamefully have yet to finish! (But I will. 😉 )

And I will be re-reading (one of these days) The Book Of Phoenix (Who Fears Death, #0.5). I want to refresh my experience with this book as I read it at least a couple years ago but have since become a big fan of this author.

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Rest assured I will continue to work my way through her books. Today I start Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2).

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Have you read any of her work? Have you heard of these books or her? What did you think? Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. Have you read any I have yet to read? What other authors of color would you recommend we read? I encourage you to share. In the coming week I hope to put together a post about authors of color in an effort to help promote and support their work. Some will be authors I’ve read, some I plan to read but have heard great things about. I would also like to include suggestions from others such as yourself. I plan to link to some great posts with similar lists by other book bloggers.

So let’s as a bookish community come together and show our support for authors and communities of color by promoting their work far and wide.

Black Lives Matter.

20 Books of Summer 20 Reading Challenge

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Image thanks to 746 Books

Today marks the 1st day not only of June but of the 20 Books of Summer 20 Reading Challenge! I learned of this challenge over at Fictionophile’s blog. Thank you so much! I understand this is not the first of this summer challenge but it’s certainly the first time it’s sounded so cool! 😉

I’ve never done this challenge, nor do I expect to complete it. However with my new (as of last year) habit of listening to audio books I think I will get closer to finishing than not. Regardless, I will give it a shot, and my best shot! My list – which follows the rules and link to the creator – will include audio books, physical books, e-books, non-fiction and fiction. This feels like a great challenge and I’m excited to try. I am going to include the books I’m currently reading…cheat or not I’m gonna do it!

This challenge 20 Books of Summer 20 Reading Challenge – is brought to us thanks to Cathy at 746books.com.

The Rules:

Visit Cathy’s blog at 746books.com and grab the 20 Books of Summer image (seen above). Next pick your own 20 books you would like to read. Then link back to her Master post from 1 June to let her know that you are taking part.  When you visit her site you’ll see that she offers images for 15 & 10 Books of Summer as well. I like the sound of 20 of 20 so I’m going for that (even if 15 or 10 would be guaranteed success(HA!)). She would love to hear about your participation so be sure to skip on over!

(By the way, I’m super excited about being able to pick my own 20 books!)

She also urges us to follow along with the #20booksofsummer20 hashtag, and tweet along on Twitter there if you do that.

The challenge starts off on Monday 1 June and finishes on Tuesday 1 September.

Let’s go!

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20 Books of Summer 20 Reading Challenge: My Books

Here is my list of 20 books I hope to finish by September 1, 2020. They will include fiction, non-fiction, a lot of different genres, audio and physical books, AND the books I’m currently read. (Well they are still books that I’ll finish in the time frame. 😉 ). They are in no particular order other than the ones at the top (as noted) are currently being read.

If you decide to do this challenge – yeah let’s do it! – I would so love it if in addition to linking to the creator you link back here as I would love to read along with you and hear how you’re doing. 🙂 Don’t forget 10, 15 or however many books is also an option!

Currently Reading

The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenn Lyons – audio book, epic fantasy

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Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – hardcover, fantasy

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Kind of Coping: An Illustrated Look at Life with Anxiety by Maureen Marzi Wilson – hardcover, non-fiction, sequential art (graphic novel but non-ficiton?)

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Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom – hardcover, non-fiction

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The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman – paperback, non-fiction

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Voyage of the Basilisk (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #3) by Marie Brennan – paperback, fantasy

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Non-Fiction Books I Hope to Read for this Challenge

The Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark – hardcover, non-fiction

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Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling by Larry Brooks – paperback, non-fiction

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Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear – hardcover, non-fiction

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Courage is Contagious: And Other Reasons to Be Grateful for Michelle Obama by Nicholas Haramis (editor) – hardcover, non-fiction – **In case you’re wondering why this and not Becoming (her memoir, which I want to read), because I bought this before Becoming was written

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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – paperback, non-fiction, memoir

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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – audio book, non-fiction, memoir

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Fiction Books I Hope to Read for this Challenge

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor – hardcover, fantasy, YA

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A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab – paperback, fantasy

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A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V.E. Schwab – paperback, fantasy ***I will read #3 as I have the box set, just not priority for summer

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Interference (Semiosis Duology, #2) by Sue Burke – hardcover, sci-fi/fantasy, first encounter

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Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst – audio book, fantasy

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Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, #1) by Attica Locke – audio book, mystery, thriller

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – audio book, fantasy

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The Ice House (The Honours, #2) by Tim Clare – kindle e-book, fantasy

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Bonus Book

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephsonversion undecided audio or physical?

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This list is subject to change. 🙂 Especially the audio book side of things. Creating this list makes me think I could really complete this challenge! (Lol, smh…)

It never ceases to excite and disappoint me when I make book lists. Why disappointment you ask? Because this list feels so incomplete! There’s a bookshelf in front of me as I type and to think I will barely touch the TBR books on that shelf…wow.

Alas, my own book is most important. However as I write reading provides a good break from writing when I need it, and a place from which I can learn because books are my craft.

Now, your turn…

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My Review of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

It’s up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle humanity’s first contact with an alien ambassador—and prevent mass extinction—in this novel that blends magical realism with high-stakes action.

After word gets out on the Internet that aliens have landed in the waters outside of the world’s fifth most populous city, chaos ensues. Soon the military, religious leaders, thieves, and crackpots are trying to control the message on YouTube and on the streets. Meanwhile, the earth’s political superpowers are considering a preemptive nuclear launch to eradicate the intruders. All that stands between 17 million anarchic residents and death is an alien ambassador, a biologist, a rapper, a soldier, and a myth that may be the size of a giant spider, or a god revealed.

Hardcover, 304 pagesPublished July 14th 2015 by Gallery / Saga Press (first published April 10th 2014)

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My Rating: 5 Stars

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My Review of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

5/5 stars

I know I say a lot of stories are unique, maybe it’s just because I’ve been fortunate enough to come across such jewels but this book deserves such a description more than most.

Ayodele smiled and nodded, gazing into the camera. Adaora shivered. If there was any strong hint of the alien in Ayodele’s appearance, it was in her eyes. When Adaora looked into them, she felt unsure… of everything. A college friend of hers used to say that everything human beings perceived as real was only a matter of the information their bodies recorded.

From Lagoon

Nnedi Okorafor is a very talented and imaginative writer. I will continue to look forward to and gravitate towards her work. Much like one of the main characters in this book, a female marine biologist resident of Lagos Nigeria, Okorafor is an explorer and scientist of “what if”.

But the air really did shiver. And as I stood there, it came right at me. There was no physical breeze; it came like a ghost. Then it washed over me like a great wave of water. When it passed, I felt drenched, heavy.

From Lagoon

This story takes place in Lagos, Nigeria with an almost completely Nigerian cast. I loved this opportunity to visit far outside the world I know. I’m so happy that she went ahead with including large amounts of Pidgin English and other slang as I really enjoyed being fully transported to another time and place. Aliens have landed in the ocean off Lagos with the goal of making contact with the locals, among other things. What will they do? What do they do, the Lagosians and the aliens? Such stories as this really make you wonder, what would we do? Do you think people would panic? Who do you know who might at least try to welcome them? Who might outright reject their existence even as they stand before you?

His aunts were excited to have so many to cook for, and they happily went to the kitchen to get to it. Nevertheless, his mother’s face looked pained. She must have had a feeling that this situation went beyond the family. Beyond their beliefs. Beyond their religion.

From Lagoon

Her story is not one I’ve ever read before, not the aliens or their mission, or their skills. If I have heard such a story it would only be similar, but not anywhere the same. I really enjoyed her focus on the ocean as well as the sea creatures interaction with the aliens. That detail alone is unlike other first contact stories.

This story is an accessible easy read and it feels real even as I’ve never seen or met aliens nor have I been to Nigeria. The author is herself Nigerian-American so we have the privilege of reading an own-voices story. I read with a new perspective since I read this during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is violence, mention of sex acts, and strong language.

The story’s structure and voice are also different. I liked the bits from the perspective of animals or various people out and about on the street in addition to switching between main characters. I also enjoyed all of the characters even if we didn’t dive all that deep into them. This story didn’t seem to need that. Even if you find fault in some parts of the story I think you will enjoy it and its originality. Also it’s fast-paced, something is always happening. This book has interesting curves and angles. I recommend this to all fans of sci-fi/fantasy especially first contact, African culture, and ocean stuff. 🙂

Aman iman, Adaora weakly thought. The phrase meant “water is life” in the Tuareg language of Tamashek. She’d once worked with a Tuareg man on a diving expedition. “Aman Iman,” had been his answer when Adaora asked how a man of the Sahara Desert had become an expert scuba diver.

From Lagoon

You might recall my review of Binti, another of Nnedi Okorafor’s books that I loved. I shamefully admit I kind of forgot about it just after I was in the midst of planning to order it. (That felt complicated to say. That’s probably how I forgot. 😉 ) Don’t worry, I will, oh yes I WILL make my way back to it. I’m still planning to re-read The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death, #0.5) Mainly because it deserves it, I read it a while ago and I forgot I’d already read it when I came across Binti. Yes that’s all weird of me, don’t be surprised.

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But never mind that, check this information out in the author’s bio on Goodreads:

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based projects in development for film and TV – including HBO’s adaptation of her novel Who Fears Death, with George R. R. Martin signed on as executive producer. Okorafor is also co-writing the screenplay of an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed with filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu for Amazon Prime Video, with Viola Davis producing. Her novel Akata Warrior (of the Akata Series) is the winner of the Lodestar and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/588356.Nnedi_Okorafor

Wow and heck yeah! This woman is making some waves and I am enjoying having the privilege of experiencing them. I encourage you all to check out some or all of her work. Upon finishing this book I’ve started Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1), her YA/children’s fantasy series. I already have both books in the series and am looking forward to reading them. Stay tuned for my reaction to Akata Witch later this month.

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And don’t forget to visit Nnedi Okorafor’s website and add her books to your TBR, Goodreads and otherwise.

Also if you do add her and her books to your list as a result of recommendation, I would so appreciate it if you could give me a shout-out, link back here. I’m all about giving credit where credit’s do, so if you refer me to a book I do not hesitate to give you credit. I do my best to keep notes when I visit other bloggers, listen to podcasts, read articles, talk to people, friends, family and they interest me in books and/or authors. Then I link to and/or mention said person/group/publication when I post about adding the book/author. As I said above I read the Book of Phoenix a while ago and later heard of Binti through at least one podcast, including Writing Excuses.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours, whether you liked the book or not, or are just now adding this to your TBR. Or maybe you’ve read other books by Nnedi Okorafor, let’s chat! 😀

If you want to know what I think about other books I’ve read please VISIT THIS PAGE. Or if you want to know what my upcoming reading plans are CLICK HERE. I try to keep everything up to date as best I can, so stay tuned, follow me, for updates. 😀

Bye for now. I hope you and yours are safe and well.

My Review of Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (A Novel)

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info from goodreads:

Two Chinese-American sisters—Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia impetuously plows ahead, but the bitter constant is that she is, in fact, mentally ill. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until, inevitably, she crashes to earth.

Miranda leaves her own self-contained life in Switzerland to rescue her sister again—but only Lucia can decide whether she wants to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans—but what does it take to break them?

Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, an immigrant story, and a young woman’s quest to find fulfillment and a life unconstrained by her illness. But it’s also an unforgettable, gut-wrenching story of the sacrifices we make to truly love someone—and when loyalty to one’s self must prevail over all.

Paperback, 368 pages – Published January 16th 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books

Goodreads Choice Nominee for fiction and for Debut Author (2018)

Contemporary fiction, mental illness, mention of sexual acts

My rating: 5 stars

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My Review

I know there are a number of other books I’ve read and said I’d review but never have. But I’ve decided I’m not going to put this off only to add it to the queue of reviews I owe you. 😉

Contemporary fiction is not my usual choice of reading. It’s still not, but I easily make exceptions for certain topics. In this case, it’s the matter of mental illness, as one of the main characters, the younger sister has a serious mental illness. I don’t recall how I first discovered this book but I got a paperback copy from Book Outlet over a year ago. In 2019 I said I’d read it, in 2020 I finally did and I’m so glad. I’m not sure what I expected but I got more than what I could have. Let’s just say I almost cried, almost because I resisted the urge to but it was there.

On the cover author Celeste Ng (author of Little Sparks Everywhere) calls this story, “A tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters.” This story is that and so much more. My take home message was there’s always more than one side to a story and you don’t know just what another person is going through internally.

I was curious during and after reading this about Mira T. Lee’s experience with mental illness. She writes intense scenes of the younger sister experiencing psychosis. The younger sister in this story does not receive a pinpointed diagnosis rather they say it might be schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, maybe both. As I do not have experience with either, I had to wonder. So when I finished it last night I did a tiny bit of research about her.

On her website she provides links to interviews she’s done. On the site Bloom, Terry Hong interviewed Mira T. Lee in January 2018. Please follow THIS LINK to read the whole Q&A interview. When asked why she chose a taboo subject and how she researched Mira said this:

Mental illness is a subject matter that’s extremely close to my heart, since I’ve seen members of my own family struggle with it. Schizophrenia, in particular, is still one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized illnesses out there, and I’d rarely seen a well-rounded portrayal of it in literature – particularly one that addresses how it affects family members, in addition to the individual with the illness. I wanted to explore the conflicts that this illness can cause, and the ways it can wreak havoc on families… I pulled a lot from my own family experiences with mental illness, but I also read a lot of memoirs, as well as online blogs, particularly firsthand accounts of psychosis. And I spoke with medical professionals about the more technical aspects. I’d also attended a lot of family support groups, so I had a strong sense of the issues and frustrations experienced by loved ones.”

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This story is told from multiple perspectives, the older sister, the younger sister, boyfriend, husband. It’s really interesting to read about this subject and the characters’ experiences from their various points of view. It’s such an intense story particularly because the author succeeded in showing how the different people are affected. It’s true that your heart will break for them all even as they might frustrate you at times.

Mira T. Lee’s cast of characters include two Chinese-American sisters, a one-armed Russian Jew, a Swiss man, and an Ecuadorian man, among others. But she said in the above interview that:

At some point early on, I did wonder if I should make my characters non-Asian (i.e. white), but that didn’t feel true to me. These multicultural worlds are what I’ve known in my own life, so it made sense that it should be reflected in my writing.

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It’s fair to say, IMHO, that she also succeeded in writing a well-rounded portrayal. Parts of this story take place in NewYork, Switzerland, and Ecuador (among a few others). Here are some excerpts from pages I dog-eared.

In Crote Six, they said I “suffer” from schizoaffective disorder. That’s like the sampler plate of diagnoses, Best of Everything.

But I don’t want to suffer. I want to live.

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – from the perspective of Lucia

When we reach the playground, Nipa confides to me that her doctor thinks she’s suffering from postpartum depression.

I’m floored. First, she is telling me. Second, she’s wearing makeup and her hair is clean, and her Natey is perfectly cherubic with his rolls of chin fat and cream bun cheeks.

“It’s weird,” she says. “In all these years, no one’s ever told me I suffered from cancer. I’m a fighter. A survivor, you know.”

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – from the perspective of Lucia, listening to her friend Nipa

I’m flustered, confused. For a second my brain feels like it’s full of holes. She waits expectantly. But what would it be, I wonder, to conduct one’s life as a Chinese life instead of just a life? I speak Chinese, I cook Chinese food, practice tai-chi on occasion and drink oolong tea, but to flaunt one’s authenticity seems terribly gauche. I’m human first, aren’t I? Aren’t we all?

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – from the perspective of Lucia, in a job interview

There are many more pages that I dog-eared because of what the scenes mean to me, how she wrote them and turned the story so the reader could see from a different angle, of course, among other things. But I think this is long enough, hopefully I’ve made my case as to why you might want to check this out and learn more about the human experience. Also, those excerpts could spoil the story for you and I don’t want to do that.

If you’ve already read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Or if you’re going to read this, let me know, then come back and let’s talk about it. In my humble opinion, it’s a great book, full of intense emotions and scenes, some sexual bits and talk here and there, talk of pregnancy matters (not a spoiler), moments of psychosis, and matters of immigration.

Imbolo Mbue, author of the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning Behold the Dreamers is quoted on the back fo the book saying, “A compassionate debut…an aching yet hopeful story.” Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation, is also quoted calling it “A heart-wrenching novel. Powerful and unforgettable.”

Yes, it is all those things.

To read more reviews of mine CLICK HERE. If you like the style of this review over the others, you can let me know that too. I don’t usually include excerpts. Maybe this was a product of reading contemporary and being so emotionally impacted. Maybe I’ll do this more often when I really like a book.

Okay I’m off. Stay safe and well. WAIT, one more thing, this book comes at just the right time for me. Being under a stay-at-home order and reading about all that is happening has taught me a lot. I’ve learned that it’s really easy to be selfish (that’s not a new lesson, but one that needs re-learning from time to time) and that we have to be more compassionate. This isn’t about any one of us, this is about ALL OF US. We have to be careful and safe for each other, not just ourselves. You might think you or your town isn’t affected, really, but the truth is, your community is. Can your small town handle an outbreak if it happened? What about immune-suppressed folks who can’t leave the house? Don’t you think they want to go back to life too? But they really can’t until they’re more sure than not the coast is clear. If you’re upset about how your life has been impacted, remember this isn’t all about you or any one person or family.

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If you or someone you know is mentally ill or might be struggling with their mental health please visit NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness. This is one of the great resources Mira T. Lee uses.

Anticipated Reading & Recent Book Haul & Thyroid Update Apparently…

Hello there, how are you? Alright here. Little bit of stress and anxiety, little extra I mean because I had to have a blood test to check up on my thyroid levels. This is a new thing for me. Admittedly I feel strange, like I’m airing dirty laundry talking about it here. I’m thinking about family reading it, like wow that’s personal. But guess you can’t be too surprised seeing as I talk about my anxiety right? And yet… What makes me want to share for sure is thinking about Ritu at But I Smile Anyway and the piece she wrote for the site Cysters. Her piece is titled PCOS-er And Proud! She shares her experience living with polycystic ovaries, how she didn’t know as a teen and then struggled as an adult trying to start a family. It’s a really interesting and eye-opening piece, I encourage you to read it. I knew nothing about PCOS, though I’d heard the words I didn’t know what it can be like for women living with this condition. Her story reminds us, it’s good to share. It’s good to be heard.

So I’m saying it here, I have recently been told I have an under-active thyroid. I don’t really have a story to tell just that this was almost relieving. It helped to explain why I felt a little extra depressed, extra tired all day, and have been having more trouble losing weight than what is my usual experience (my weight fluctuates a lot…my diet fluctuates a lot 😉 Lol.) Of course no one wants to hear your body isn’t doing something right on its own, that it’s kind of malfunctioning but answers are nice. I’m in the beginning of dealing with this situation so we’ll see.

Doctor said start Levothyroxine and get your blood checked again in six weeks. Now that was before Covid-19 took over and the call to stay at home was put in place. It didn’t take me long to say, well I’ll just wait this out and get my blood drawn once it’s safe. But, well you know, this big ole virus situation ain’t such a small ordeal and ain’t going away soon. So I’ve been wondering what I should do. The reason they need to draw my blood again, and probably often if this is a thing, is so they can see if my current dosage is working or if I need more. Today I finally called the doctor’s office and asked if I needed to get this test. Triage nurse said yes. We need to know if it’s working. Okay, thanks. (Anxiety said: SHIT!)

Luckily there are walk-in labs for diagnostic matters, I don’t have to go to the actual hospital, but still. With my mask on I went. Got it done. Nervous the whole time wondering if my mask would keep me safe, if the hand sanitizer would keep me safe, if I should do extra things like take my fleece off before I go home (I did but I think that was overkill). But I thought too about all the women in there (didn’t see any guys, sorry). Soldiers for real. Here I am shaking in my boots for the quick in and out visit I’m conducting. Were there sick people here today? They’re in there every day. They’re in there all day. They see us all. They have to watch us nervous, and probably think how do you think I feel? I stood at check in after questioning my relaxed position in the chair in the waiting room, which was like 10 feet from the check in point. I feel really stupid, standing there like the chair would kill me if I sat in it. I apologized. She thanked me for staying standing. That simple, I felt better.

Now I wait. I wait for my thyroid function cascade panel (something to that effect, the whole shebang) and for time to pass and tell me I’m not going to develop Covid-19. I think about my symptoms (thyroid, not Covid cause I don’t have that). I am still having what feels like trouble losing weight but I’m not quite as tired throughout the day as I was. Nor am I as depressed but my irritability, hm, that’s something that’ll fight you (or me and everything in my circle) like an angry badger. The science me is looking forward to the results, see where this thing takes me. Why? Because what if I do need a stronger dose, if my thyroid is still being lazy (that’s probably not the best way to describe it)? Then they might up my dose. Okay you’re waving your hand, come on what’s the point Elpy? What if feeling better is that close to me? Get it now? Cool.

😀 Okay so that’s the important part of my day. (A small, no his voice is loud. Okay a loud voice in my head, that of one of my characters who recently visited the Saloon at The Carrot Ranch, is reminding me I’m still making excuses for not focusing on my book. He thinks I should mention that to you guys.)

The rest of this post is the light, fluffy stuff I want to share: anticipated reading for the rest of April and May and my recent book haul from Book Outlet! I did not open that box for three days by the way, so I feel good about that, and I sanitized my hands after touching it. 😉 The books are on my shelf now and happy to breathe again. The books I plan to read next are from a Book Outlet haul last year (I recently found them after wondering what happened to all those books…) Oh wait, one book is from Book Depository because it’s an Australian publication and at the time that was the only place I could get it. Let’s get started. I’ll post the pictures then list them with links to Goodreads.

What I plan to read after I finish Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (really interesting contemporary fiction novel about a character with mental illness) and in the order I show them:

  • Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina – 2019 – YA Fantasy, mystery – It was thanks to Books and Tea with Brittany (her blog has since been deleted) that I discovered this book written by an Australian Aborigine and has won awards. Yeah! I am now learning that this book was given a different title (?) in the U.S.: The Things She’s Seen. Apparently because they didn’t understand it? That frustrates me…ugh. But this is up next, it’s short and I’m excited.
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – 2015 – Sci-fi, fantasy – This is the author of Binti (OMG why haven’t I finished that series!) and The Book of Phoenix, both of which I’ve read and enjoyed, especially Binti. Naturally, you find an author you like you follow them and go back for their other stuff. 😉
  • Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – 2011 – YA Fantasy, children’s middle grade – As I said above, I’m a fan of this author. I saw she wrote this interesting sounding book (nominated for Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel 2012) and I was curious. Curious in part too to see if might be a cool rec for my niece.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab – 2016 – YA Fantasy – I learnt of this author from her interview on the Writing Excuses Podcast (awesome podcast btw). I’ve also heard her mentioned it seems everywhere else. She is a prolific writer. V.E. Schwab is her pseudonym for her adult work, while Veronica Schwab is for her young adult and middle grade work. This will be the first of her work I’ve finally read. I picked up the box set from Book Outlet last year, so I hope I like it as much as other people because I have the trilogy!
  • Stay tuned as I read them in this order!
And these are the books I picked up recently (for cheap!).

So there you have it, some personal updates (I promise to keep you updated) and some bookish updates. Now let’s see if I can get some of MY BOOK work done and hear from my characters. Wouldn’t that be nice, if I could talk about my own freaking book? Yes, yes, be patient little one. 😉

Let me know if you’ve read any of these, plan to or are interested (please don’t leave any spoilers). If you add something to your TBR thanks to me I’d really appreciate it if you give me a shout out for it. 😀 Oh and if you want to partake in some kind of buddy read, let me know in the comments. I hope to start Catching Teller Crow this weekend or next week. Alright, onward!