Review: The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

36952571SYNOPSIS:

Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I finished this book and wandered downstairs in a dream, my head spinning, but acutely, achingly conscious that I was alive and young. A wild desire to go outside and lay under the cold of the stars gripped me, and that moment, seemingly ordinary, felt utterly surreal. The obscure unreality of it all expanded until it blotted out all else: nothing mattered, problems were futile, the planets spun, life went on, and I was my own celestial being.

Look, I’m just a simple girl with a highly detailed and romanticized infatuation with SPACE and FICTIONAL CHARACTERS that haunts her dreams at night…and this book just knew EXACTLY where to push! Continue reading “Review: The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum”

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Book review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-illusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel.

 

 


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book stung so hard I almost looked for the cut of it on my skin.

It’s the kind of novel that sinks its teeth into you. One that enkindles in you such a brief and yet so excruciating pain. One that is so vivid the first glimpse of reality would shock you, and you would emerge from its thrall dazed, half dreaming, dizzy, and for a moment, aching, blinking, parched, unreal, everything else…fades away. One that changes you, leaves you a little different by the time you are done. But above all, one that reminds you that humans really are so often this way—inexplicable, restless, unyielding, and unfathomable. Continue reading “Book review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones”

Book review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

28289663SYNOPSIS:

First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

 


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

There is scarcely any comfort to be found in this book, only an ancient, arcane horror. The story is a vast underwater cavern, where nothing flows and nothing ebbs and all is as dark and still as the grave. Even my most harrowing nightmares would have never conjured such a soul-fearing tale. And Then There Were None was uncomfortable as it lodged itself in the darkest corner of my mind. The questions it asks and the implications it conceals are still twining up my legs like a barbed vine.

I liked this book—but it honestly isn’t an experience I’m keen on revisiting. Continue reading “Book review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie”

Book review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

 

40148146SYNOPSIS:

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book resonated in chambers of my heart I’d never known existed. It stirred memories too deep to claim, and it all poured out of me and onto every surface, taking something vital with it. There is still an expansiveness in my chest that reminds me of how important voices like these are, for readers like us. This feeling is a language all its own: to reach and find, to be reached for and found, to belong to a mutual certainty.

Love from A to Z is one of the most unapologetically Muslim books that I’ve ever read, and I’m so glad it exists. Continue reading “Book review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali”

Book review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

36430989SYNOPSIS:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Me, while sipping apple juice out of a champagne glass and gazing dramatically into the distance: I’ve had enough of cliffhangers…

What an ending! Such a succession of shattering revelations that sent a wave through my room so strong that I felt its ripple and was rocked on its mooring. Such was the churn and whirl of my thoughts and feelings that I was genuinely incapable of putting two ideas in a row, let alone come into any kind of conclusion—other than that I desperately need a sequel. Continue reading “Book review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He”

Book review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

41150487SYNOPSIS:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Is it possible for your whole body to grin? The answer is hell yes.

Red, White & Royal Blue is a story lit up like a beacon to the weary and the lost. My heart still swells with so much delight. The notion of memory simply fails to adequately capture the sensation. I know the words but none of them really encompass the feeling of deep contentment, mixed with the kind of frustration one feels at waking from a sweet dream. I promise you that what memories you will keep of this book will warm you in the cold, and taste sweet when the world runs sour. Do not miss it. Continue reading “Book review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston”

Book review: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

35965482SYNOPSIS:

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.


RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s 3 am.

You hear a noise downstairs.

You go to investigate.

It’s me sitting at your kitchen table.

I ask you to sit down.

Slowly, reluctantly, you do. Continue reading “Book review: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire”