TBR Thursday – September 16

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Maeve’s strangely astute tarot readings make her the talk of the school, until a classmate draws a chilling and unfamiliar card—and then disappears. 

After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.

Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find—even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Walking in Two Worlds

Title: Walking in Two Worlds
Author: Wab Kinew
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An Indigenous teen girl is caught between two worlds, both real and virtual, in the YA fantasy debut from bestselling Indigenous author Wab Kinew. Perfect for fans of Ready Player One and the Otherworld series.

Bugz is caught between two worlds. In the real world, she’s a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe. 
Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers. And as their connection is strengthened through their virtual adventures, they find that they have much in common in the real world, too: both must decide what to do in the face of temptations and pitfalls, and both must grapple with the impacts of family challenges and community trauma. 
But betrayal threatens everything Bugz has built in the virtual world, as well as her relationships in the real world, and it will take all her newfound strength to restore her friendship with Feng and reconcile the parallel aspects of her life: the traditional and the mainstream, the east and the west, the real and the virtual.

Review:

Bugz is an Indigenous teen who is caught between two worlds. She’s one of the top players in a virtual world, where she can be the confident girl who commands attention. In the real world, she has to deal with racism and sexism in her community. Feng is a Chinese teenage boy who was sent to live with his aunt in Bugz’s community. He is also part of the virtual world, but he is part of the group against Bugz’s character. Bugz and Feng get to know each other in both the real and virtual world, until a betrayal threatens their new friendship.

This story was set in the future, years after 2021. Bugz’s parents mentioned the pandemic and how it changed their lives as teenagers. A lot of the world became more digital after that, including the virtual world that Bugz played on.

There were some tough subjects in this novel. Bugz and Feng had to deal with racism, in person and online. Bugz faced sexism within her own family and community. There were also instances of self harm and cancer. These were intense scenes but were also integral to telling a realistic story.

Walking in Two Worlds is a great young adult Indigenous story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Have you read Walking in Two Worlds? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – September 15

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker. The expected publication date is October 12, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – September 14

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach

Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin

The Corpse Queen by Heather M. Herrman

The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

Oaths of Legacy by Emily Skrutskie

Witch Rising by Paige McKenzie and Nancy Ohlin

Before We Were Blue by E.J. Schwartz

It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

Kneel by Candace Buford

Alma Presses Play by Tina Cane

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Battle of the Bands by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith (editors)

A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books With Numbers in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Books With Numbers in the Title. Here’s my list:

1. Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett

2. Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

3. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

4. One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

5. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

6. Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

7. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

8. The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

9. Day Zero by Kelly deVos

10. Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Granger

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Review: Idol Gossip

Title: Idol Gossip
Author: Alexandra Leigh Young
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Walker Books US
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame.

Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave a dank, basement-level stairwell full of graffiti, and slip into a noreabang. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, she pours herself into karaoke, vamping it up in their booth to Lady Gaga while loyal Olivia applauds and howls with laughter. Alice lives for Fridays, but when an older woman stops her on their way out one day, handing Alice a business card with a bow, singing turns serious. Could the chance encounter really be her ticket to elite status at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy? With a little sisterly support, backed by one of the world’s top talent agencies, can Alice lead her group on stage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans — and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way.

Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in a debut about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true — for avid K-pop fans and those just discovering the worldwide cultural phenomenon.

Review:

Alice Choy and her younger sister Olivia moved to South Korea with their parents after their mom got a job there. Alice always dreamed of being a singer when they lived in San Francisco, but she had to put that dream on hold when they moved. While she’s at a karaoke bar with her sister, someone from Top10 Entertainment, the company that manages the biggest K-Pop singers, hears Alice and invites her to audition. Despite not being able to dance, Alice’s strong singing voice gets her into the Star Academy, where she will be groomed to be in an upcoming K-Pop girl group. However, this isn’t an easy path, especially when an influential blogger is ready to take down any and all K-Pop stars with damaging gossip.

Being a pop star looks like a fun job from the seat of the fans. However, as this story shows, it isn’t easy to be a success. Alice had every aspect of her life controlled when she started at the Star Academy, including what and how much she ate. Her body was scrutinized and judged. Though the K-Pop singers could have so many fans and so much fame, they suffered a lot and lost their own identities on the journey to become a star.

I really enjoyed this story, but I want to know what comes next. It ended at a high point in the story, so I would love to see what happened after that point. Up until the final pages, I really didn’t know how the story would end. I wasn’t sure if Alice’s group was going to be a success or if they wouldn’t make it to the stage. I won’t spoil it, but I really hope there will be a sequel so I can find out what happens next!

Idol Gossip is a great K-Pop story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Have you read Idol Gossip? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – September 13

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – September 12

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… Idol Gossip

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame.

Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave a dank, basement-level stairwell full of graffiti, and slip into a noreabang. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, she pours herself into karaoke, vamping it up in their booth to Lady Gaga while loyal Olivia applauds and howls with laughter. Alice lives for Fridays, but when an older woman stops her on their way out one day, handing Alice a business card with a bow, singing turns serious. Could the chance encounter really be her ticket to elite status at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy? With a little sisterly support, backed by one of the world’s top talent agencies, can Alice lead her group on stage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans — and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way.

Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in a debut about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true — for avid K-pop fans and those just discovering the worldwide cultural phenomenon. 

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Characters You’d Like to Swap Lives With

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Characters You’d Like to Swap Lives With. Here’s my list:

1. Cinder – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

2. Feyre – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

3. Cassidy – City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

4. Ellie – Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

5. Tessa – Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

6. Poppy – From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?