9

Kindred by Octavia Butler – A powerful historical/sci-fi; absolutely exceptional in every way

kindred

Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

Kindred is a truly outstanding book. Not only is it the first science-fiction written by a black author Рmaking it an incredible piece of black American literature Рbut it is an amazing book by its own merits. And there are many.

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9

Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh – A treasure for the youth of now and for generations to come

flying-lessons

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology‚ÄĒwritten by the best children‚Äôs authors‚ÄĒcelebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Pe√Īa, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children‚Äôs publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.

From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

I loved¬†Flying Lessons and Other Stories.¬†This book was the perfect book to start off 2017 – it filled me with so much joy, reminded me of the ups and downs of youth, and filled me with so much¬†hope — hope, because kids¬†with marginalized identities may read this book and find themselves in the stories’ characters. And I cannot emphasize how important this is – and consequently how this makes¬†Flying Lessons and Other Stories¬†so important and successful.

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42

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – The addictive and fast-paced read that you need

vicious

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates‚ÄĒbrilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find‚ÄĒaside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge‚ÄĒbut who will be left alive at the end?

Vicious is a few things:

  • A¬†story about college roommates who discover that near-death experiences are the key to obtaining superpowers.
  • Bloody amazing.
  • Probably¬†that¬†book that will get you out of your¬†reading slump.

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3

Introducing Festive Book Recs: I need your help!

I really love doing book recommendation posts. I love sharing books with all of you, and I also love¬†it when some of you recommend some books to¬†me — and let’s be honest,¬†some of you make the best recommendations.

I recently did a book recommendation post and its theme was about¬†dongzhi¬†which is a festival that I celebrate with my family. My intention was to do this for all cultural festivals I celebrate or observe, but then a thought occurred to me: wouldn’t it be really cool if fellow bloggers and readers recommended books to commemorate holidays or festivals that are important to them?

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19

Frostblood by Elly Blake

frostblood

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

My sincerest thanks to Hachette New Zealand, for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Reading this book confirmed something for me: I have a big, big weakness for young-adult fantasy romances. There is something about them that I love – powerful heroines armed with magic, the sweeping and predictable (thus comforting) romances, and imaginative lands and kingdoms. My weakness is so weak that, even if the story is terribly unoriginal, more often than not I will love them.

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21

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

heartnote

I had the privilege of winning this book through the author’s giveaway! Many thanks to the publisher for providing an advanced readers copy.¬†

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking‚ÄĒall while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn‚Äôt want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman‚Äôs son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn‚Äôt always a choice you can make.

Have you ever felt that pure sense of contentment after finishing a book? That’s how I felt after reading¬†The Secret of a Heart Note¬†by Stacey Lee. What a lovely, lovely book.

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20

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

irl

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer–a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

Video gaming and MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role-playing games) have a special place in my heart. I was the kid who stayed at home playing video games with my friends in the summer instead of being outside — and I don’t regret those days at all; in fact, I would say they were integral to my growth as a person. In a way,¬†In Real Life¬†touched on themes and ideas that you¬†knew¬†about when you played MMORPGs, but you didn’t give its real life social and economic implications any thought.

So, here is why you should read In Real Life.

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