ARC Review: Moonrise Over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for providing a digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Moonrise Over New Jessup
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pub Date: 10 January 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

📖 SYNOPSIS

Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a thought-provoking and enchanting debut about a Black woman doing whatever it takes to protect all she loves at the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alabama.

It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear. But as Raymond continues to push alternatives for enhancing New Jessup’s political power, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town.

Jamila Minnicks’s debut novel is both a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Readers of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Robert Jones, Jr.’s The Prophets will love Moonrise Over New Jessup.

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Sexual assault (minor mention), racism, racial slurs, hate crimes (brief mention), death of parent (off-page, mentioned), police brutality (minor mention), physical violence, slavery (brief mention)

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp [173]

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent your time curled up reading in bed with or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’ll be wrapping up my Sunday in bed starting my re-read of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I’m reading this (and hopefully the whole series) with Julie, Chris and Joanna and I’m excited but also nervous to dive back in because I know what’s coming! 😂 But I’m looking forward to crossing a series off of my ‘need-to-finish’ list so let’s do this.

📖 SYNOPSIS

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and that it may already be too late.

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New Year’s Book Tag!

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all doing okay and taking care of yourselves. 💜 I’m back with the first tag of 2023 and it’s fittingly the New Year’s Book Tag! It’s only mid-January so it’s definitely still okay to do this tag, right? 😜 I was tagged by the wonderful Kerri @Kerri McBookNerd and if you haven’t already, I would encourage visiting her blog for some great content, especially fantasy related.

In the interest of keeping this intro short and sweet, I’m simply going to dive in. This tag was originally created by booktuber Heather @Bookables.

How many books are you planning to read in 2023?

I’ve set my Goodreads/Storygraph goal to 150 books. Same as last year but I have a feeling it’s gonna be really different this year with work and all.

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#FirstLinesFriday: 13 January 2023

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!
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Book Review: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1)
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Pub Date (Original): 21 September 2021
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(3 pandas)

📖 SYNOPSIS

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Misogyny & femicide, rape (mentioned), sexual assault, physical & emotional abuse, suicidal ideation, alcoholism, blood & gore depiction, murder, torture

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ARC Review: A Long Time Coming by Meghan Quinn

Special thanks to Meghan Quinn and her team for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

A LONG TIME COMING, a brand new sexy, friends-to-lovers standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn, is Now Available in all formats, including the illustrated hardcover edition!

 Friends to Lovers
 Forbidden
 Billionaire Romance
 Quirky Heroine
 Steamy Scenes

Get ready to fall in love with this unassuming, smoking hot billionaire and his beautiful, quirky best friend he’s destined for! One-click your copy of this sexy, laugh-out-loud romance full of charm and heat today!

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Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman
Publisher: Granta Books
Pub Date (Original): 27 July 2016
Genre: Translated Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Panda Rating:

(3 pandas)

📖 SYNOPSIS

Meet Keiko.

Keiko is 36 years old. She’s never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years.

Keiko’s family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.

But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store…

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Ableism, misogyny

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp [172]

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent your time curled up reading in bed with or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’ve spent my Sunday reading Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. Yes, it happened, friends! I finally picked this book up and I’m buddy-reading it with Leslie and happy to say we’re loving it! Zetian is certainly something and there were moments when I was like “eh?” but I’m truly enjoying so much about this. Li Shimin deserves all the hugs 🥹

📖 SYNOPSIS

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Read More »