Thursday, August 10, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
Read: July 17 - 19, 2017
Published: May 30, 2017 by Simon Pulse
Source: Galley from BigHoncho - TY!
Category: YA, Contemporary, 
Series: Mighty Jack 2/(?)

Book Description: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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After hearing so much about When Dimple Met Rishi, I finally picked the book up, and I'm so happy that I did! What a great read this was!

It seems like the 'forbidden love' trope is everywhere, but what if two people who are supposed to fall in love, actually do? This is such a fun example of that. Dimple is not interested in an arranged marriage. She's excited for college and getting away from her meddling mother. She can't believe her parents have agreed to send her to a summer program where she'll get to develop her own app. However, as soon as Dimple arrives at SFSU ready to begin her future, she meets Rishi, who basically introduces himself to her as her future husband. It all becomes clear, then, why her parents were so happy to send her to the program. Of course, she's furious at her parents scheming, and the fact that she can't help like Rishi despite it all. 

While it took me more time to warm up to Dimple than Rishi, who was totally my type of guy from the start, I could also understand her dedication to her studies and her complete freak out when she met Rishi. I can't even fathom my parents having tried to set me up for marriage when I was 18 and going to college. Speaking of that, I love the way this book weaves in Dimple and Rishi's Indian heritage and culture through this book and within their lives in California. I really liked that both of their parents are part of their lives, but we also watch Dimple and Rishi begin to forge their own paths forward too. That struggle is such a relatable and true part of that transition from life in high school and at home to college and out in the world. 

I had so much fun watching Dimple and Rishi fall for each other through the course of their 6 weeks at Insomnia Con. Despite how different they seem at first, these two really get each other. And so much of this book was the sweet and swoony building of first love. Rishi is the best date planner, btw. However, where the story fell a for me was in the Big Break section. I never like that part of a book, but I found what happened here to be extra frustrating [spoiler: Although I cannot relate to the pressure she was perceiving from her parents to pick marriage or a career, she was so incredibly mean in how she handled the whole situation. I had trouble getting back the warm fuzzies at the conclusion after all of that.] But still, this is a fantastic book, I couldn't help but root for Dimple and Rishi, and I totally get why everyone is praising it so much! 

Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone. A companion book from Rishi's brother's POV is to come in the future.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Blog Tour organized by First Second Books
See the full schedule HERE

Last year I was part of the blog tour for Mighty Jackand today I'm excited to be featuring the second book in this series, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King.


Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
by Ben Hatke
Read: August 4, 2017
Published: September 5, 2017 by First Second
Source: Galley from publisher (TY Macmillan!)
Category: MG, Jack and the Beanstalk Retelling  
Series: Mighty Jack 2/(?)

Book Description: The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It'll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack's family, and bring them all safely home again.

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My now 6 year old son and I read Mighty Jack together last year and he could not wait for the sequel to come out. Once again he claimed this book as soon as we received it. 

Where Mighty Jack begins this series' retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk by incorporating magic and adventure - and a wildly growing garden - into the modern world, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King takes the story into the world of giants, goblins and other surprising creatures. At the end of the last installment, Jack's sister Maddie was stolen by a terrible giant. Determined to rescue her at all cost, Jack and his neighbor Lilly, too, trek into another world to find her. 

While the first book in this series focused more on the discovery of the beans and what grew from them, this one starts right away with action. Overall, it had a more intense tone of danger to it that felt a little darker than the last one. This is a Middle Grade series and the characters are in upper middle school (or even entering high school). For that, the book was a little above my 6 year old, and he definitely noticed the greater intensity to the story. But I highly recommend this series for kids that are a few years older than him (maybe 8+), and older Middle Grade readers will get some of the more subtle deeper themes. 

The artwork in this story continues to be bright, imaginative and descriptive. It is easy to read without most of the words. And though the book is titled after Jack, I love how much this story features Lilly and Maddie as well. I definitely felt the girl power in this retelling. Jack and Lilly have their own paths in this story, and I enjoyed how their stories diverged and then converged, as well as how protective they both are of Maddie. 

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King wraps up its story well, while also ending on a bit of a reveal that leaves things open for more books in this series. Thankfully it's not another cliffhanger in the "oh no!" sense, but more of the "I can't wait for what's next!" sense. 

Love Triangle Factor: None (only a tiny hint of any romance)
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. This story completes itself, but epilogue sets up another story to come. 

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About the Author

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia's House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. 

Find Ben Hatke: Website | Twitter 

Watch a video of Ben Hatke talking about living creatively. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blog Tour: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

No Good Deed
by Kara Connolly
Read: July 12 - 14, 2017
Published: July 18, 2017 by Delacorte Press
Source: Egalley from Publisher (TY RH!)
Category: YA, time-travel, Robin Hood retelling, archery 

Book Description: Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.
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My Thoughts: 

No Good Deed was a lot of fun! This book has a classic world-time travel feel - like a Narnia or Alice in Wonderland, where the main character travels in time (or to a fantasy place) by going through a secret passage, with no explanation of why or how it happens. Without all the science-y explanations that accompany most time travel books I've read recently, this story felt very nostalgic. It also allowed me to focus right onto the plot without a lot of info dumping to explain everything. 

In No Good Deed, Eleanor (Ellie), a modern day competitive archer, goes through underground caves at Nottingham Castle and travels back in time to, you guessed it, Sherwood Forest when good King Richard was on crusades and crooked Prince John ruled the land. Ellie has no idea how any of that happened but she's determined to get back to her time. In the mean time, she's going to shake things up, including bringing the legend of Robin Hood to life. 

Weaving the well-loved legend of Robin Hood into a fresh tale, one of my favorite parts of this book was the way Robin's supporting cast of characters was introduced, from Will Scarlet to Friar Tuck, all in unexpected ways. Several of them really surprised me, as I got to know them better. And to carry it all, is our Robin Hood, Ellie whom constantly amused me and wowed me with her fearlessness (except about things like the plague) and her ability to adapt to the strangest of circumstances.  No real romance, the focused is very much elsewhere, but there are some nice underlying hints that made me smile.

I had no idea what to expect from the ending, but it wraps everything up very well, and the story reads as a standalone (which I assume it is). My only question is [ how Rob was in the present when Ellie returned. That wasn't explained at all. (highlight for spoiler)]

This was a quick read that surprised me with how much fun it was. 

Love Triangle Factor: Very little romance
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

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About the Author: 


KARA CONNOLLY loves history, though she's never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. To learn more about Kara and her books go to karaconnolly.wordpress.com or follow @karaconnolly4 on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.

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Follow the Tour:



17-JulJoyousreadshttp://www.joyousreads.net
17-JulCafinated Readshttp://cafinatedreads.com 
18-JulIstyria book bloghttp://istyriabookblog.com
18-JulMy Guilty Obsessionhttp://myguiltyobsession.blogspot.com/
19-JulStories & Sweetieshttp://storiesandsweeties.com
19-JulThe Book Monsters http://thebookmonsters.com/
19-JulUrban Fantasy Investigationshttp://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blogspot.com/
20-JulSeeing Double In NeverlandSeeingDoubleinNeverland
20-JulLove is not a triangle http://www.loveisnotatriangle.com
20-JulA Backwards Storyhttp://abackwardsstory.blogspot.com
21-JulTake Me Away...http://takemeaway02.blogspot.com/
21-JulFeed Your Fiction Addictionhttp://feedyourfictionaddiction.com
24-JulBeauty and the Bookshelfhttp://beautyandthebookshelf.com
24-JulMom With a Reading Problemhttp://www.momwithareadingproblem.com
25-JulTeen Lit Rocks www.teenlitrocks.com
25-JulPeace Love Bookshttp://readingwithstyle.blogspot.com
26-JulBumbles and Fairy-Taleshttp://bumblesandfairytales.blogspot.com
26-JulThe Hollow Cupboardsthehollowcupboards.blogspot.com
27-JulAdventures of a Book Junkiehttp://toofondofbooks.com
27-JulA Midsummer Night's Readhttp://www.amidsummernightsread.com 
28-JulGone Pecanhttps://gonepecanla.wordpress.com
28-JulMommy Ramblingshttp://www.mommyramblings.org
31-JulBy Valia Lindhttp://valialind.wordpress.com
31-JulPandora's Bookswww.pandorasbooks.org
1-AugCracking the Coverhttp://www.crackingthecover.com 
1-AugJessabella Readswww.jessabellareads.org
2-AugA DREAM WITHIN A DREAMHTTP://ADREAMWITHINDREAM.BLOGSPOT.COM
2-AugBookish Lifestylewww.evie-bookish.blogspot.com
3-AugTwinning for Bookshttps://twinningfortwins.wordpress.com
3-AugMs. Yingling Readshttp://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com
4-AugLisa Loves Literaturehttp://misclisa.blogspot.com/
4-AugShe Dreams in Fictionhttp://www.shedreamsinfiction.com/
4-AugZach's YA Reviewswww.zachsyareviews.com

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Comics Extravaganza Blog Tour
Interview with Nick Abadzis

 Organized by First Second Books @01FirstSecond
GO HERE to see all the stops on the tour

Today I'm excited to be hosting a stop on the Comics Extravaganza Blog Tour!  
Below you'll find an interview between First Second Books and Nick Abadzis

Pigs Might Fly
by Nick Abadzis and Jerel Dye
Published: July 13th 2017 by First Second

Book Description: On the grand sweep of the Pigdom Plains lives a small pig called Lily, the daughter of renowned inventor, Hercules Fatchops.  Hercules’ personal holy grail is to invent powered aircraft, a feat already achieved in secret by Lily. Hercules prizes only science, but Lily's innovations employ science and magic. She will need both, because now the Pigdom faces invasion from terrifying adversaries with more advanced aircraft—from over the mountains come the warthogs, intent on destroying the Pigdom.

Following the success of his smash hit graphic novel Laika, Nick Abadzis returns to First Second with his latest epic: Pigs Might Fly!


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Interview: 

FIRST SECOND BOOKS: Tell us your first memory of reading a comic or graphic novel.

NICK ABADZIS: It was either a copy of The Dandy, a kids’ weekly published by DC Thomson in the UK or a Tintin book. Both had a profound effect on me before I could even read properly – I can remember doing drawings with speech balloons, but I hadn’t yet learned to write so I filled them in with scribble to indicate speech. Later, I had a character called Marsho, who was a sort of stickman a little like Charlie Brown. Peanuts and the Moomins were other big early loves. 

FIRST SECOND BOOKS: What's your favorite comic or graphic novel, and what do you love about it?

NICK ABADZIS: Honestly, this changes all the time, although there are certain perennials. Tintin in Tibet is one, Moebius and Jodorowsky’s The Incal another. Jack Kirby’s crazy 2001 adaptation from the 70s. In recent years, I loved Jaime Hernandez’ The Love Bunglers, Frederik Peeter’s AAMA series, Sacha Mardou’s The Sky in Stereo, Rachael Ball’s The Inflatable Woman, Manu Larcenet’s Ordinary Victories, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer. 

What they all have in common is an utter clarity of vision, of the story they want to tell. None of them could be mistaken for other storytellers or artists, their work is utterly, uniquely their own.

FIRST SECOND BOOKS: Tell us a little about your upcoming graphic novel. 

NICK ABADZIS: It’s called Pigs Might Fly, but there’s no “might” about it, really. They do indeed take flight, with the help of both science and magic, which exist comfortably alongside each other in this world. It’s the pigs themselves who are uncomfortable about it, about letting go of old ways to embrace the new, about allowing new ways of thinking and new discoveries to take their places alongside older traditions. Our hero is Lily Leanchops, who invents the first flying machine, so we follow her adventures and see the rapid progress of these Hogfolk. There is a lot of spectacular airplane action and magical battles. It is written by me and drawn by the incredible Jerel Dye.

FIRST SECOND BOOKS: What comic or graphic novel are you reading now? 

NICK ABADZIS: Right now I am reading Jon Allen’s Ohio Is For Sale, which is extremely funny indeed. Probably not for kids, though. Likewise, a copy of Rules For Dating My Daughter by Mike Dawson, which is next up on the reading pile. I think he’s great. I steal my daughter’s issues of Archie sometimes. She likes “the old ones.”

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About the Author 

Nick Abadzis has been creating stories for both adults and children for nearly thirty years. In 2008 he was honored with an Eisner award for his graphic novel Laika. He currently writes the ongoing monthly series Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor. He is British but lives in the New York City area with his wife and daughter. abadzone.tumblr.com


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

BEA 2017 Recap in 5 Parts + A Look at BookCon

Outside the Javits Center where Book Expo America is held every year (but last year).


1) My Journey to BEA



See my past recaps: 201320142015

This year marks my fourth time attending Book Expo America. I've attended since 2013 except for last year, because it was held in Chicago and earlier in May, neither of which worked out for me. This year the event was back in NYC with a less colorful logo. Even so, I didn't expect to go back again, because I kept hearing about changing rules that discouraged bloggers, and I was sure I wouldn't be approved. I've gotten a press pass since the first year, and I dutifully applied again when the email came. However, I had no expectation that it would be a positive outcome. And I was right! I was denied a press pass and put the whole event out of my mind....until a few months later, when I got a follow-up email saying they were changing my status to approved. I'm still not sure why it was changed, but when it happened, I began to reconsider going to BEA. 

2) The Exhibit Hall 



Of course the main event of BEA is the exhibit hall floor at the Javits Center. As opposed to previous years, the floor was only open for two days (It's been whittled down from three to 2.5 to now 2), though some of the room events, such as the Adult Fiction Books Buzz Panel were held the day before. I'm guessing the event was shortened to make way for BookCon, which has only gotten bigger each year. There was no Blogger Con this year, though @Blogbound ran a separate event this year that sort of mirrored that, though I'm sad to say I didn't attend it.  


The two days of BEA pretty much ran as usual, though lines and waiting times were visibly shorter than previous years. And even when I arrived late to a line, there were usually tickets left. The longest line I stood in was for Leigh Bardugo's Wonder Woman. In past years, I've arrived at the Javits by 7:30 am to get a spot in line to get on the floor by 9. But this year when I got there that early, the bag check wasn't even open and no one was yet in line. I've continued my trend of avoiding the Autographing Area as much as possible though it did appear they finally started making space over there for the early lines that form. Personally, I think the Autographing Area takes up a lot of time, and if I can snag a book a different way, I'll try to do that. The only author I broke that rule for this year was Megan Whalen Turner, whom I finally got a chance to meet this year!! I probably embarrassed myself completely, but it was all I could do not to fall at her feet. 

3) The Events

One of my favorite parts of the BEA experience is attending publisher events, and I was lucky enough to attend several this year. 



a) The Little Brown BYR Brunch - Held at the LB offices, this event included yummy food, mimosas, a 'speed dating' activity where staff talked about upcoming books they were excited about. Then Ryan Graudin talked about her next book Invictus, signed copies of the ARC and each table did a puzzle to reveal the main characters. BONUS - I rode in the elevator to the Little Brown offices with Al Franken, who was visiting the publisher as well (though not to attend the brunch). 



b) Harlequin Teen Cocktail Party - This event was held a private room of a restaurant that included yummy Mexican food hors d'oeuvres, book themed cocktails and a cool balloon wall. A few authors also attended this event. I nearly lost my phone in the bathroom while I was here and freaked out for a while - but thankfully found it!  


c) A book party launch for Kwame Alexander's latest book called SoloHeld at the Gibson guitar studios, this was one of the coolest book events I've attended. Kwame Alexander performed parts of his book (which is written in verse) alongside a musician who played guitar and sang. I just finished the book and the location and format of this event couldn't have matched the story better. 

d) Big Honcho Media's Stay Gold Party - This was also an evening party at a private event room and boasted a photo booth and soft Stay Gold t-shirts. I had trouble seeing anyone at this party, because it was pretty much pitch black in there. But I enjoyed chatting with different bookish people and taking photos with various props. 

e) Macmillan's Fierce Reads Party - (I didn't take a photo here, sadly) I really enjoyed the opportunity I had at this event to mingle with authors, bloggers and Fierce Reads staff. Both beloved authors those whose books are new to me. That is one of my favorite parts of BEA and this event epitomized it perfectly. 

4) The Friends



I have zero clue how to gif. I'm pretty sure I posted this wrong. 

Another favorite part of attending BEA is hanging out with all the bookish people I interact with online throughout the year. I've mentioned that the exhibit floors were a lot less crowded this year, well that's because a lot fewer bloggers attended. The event felt a lot less festive because of this, and I was a little sad about it all, as well as the lack of blogger hangouts that usually surround all the events. One night I even went to a movie by myself, which I've never done before, and I don't know that I would have had time to do in years past. I saw Everything, Everything and it was the most adorable thing ever! That isn't to say I had tons of free time. I spent less time walking around the city this year, and was busy for most of the 3.5 days I was there. 

That said, not everyone was missing, and I had a great time with Sandie @Teenlitrocks and Emily @PolishedBookwrm. The place we stayed had the best views, which you can see above. I did meet a few new faces, and I also ran into a bunch of people the morning I was at BookCon. 



Unfortunately, I was terrible of taking selfies or other pictures of me with people at BEA this year. I did get a good one of Kaz and friends, though. 

5) The Loot (aka the Books) 



Bookish buttons and some of the titles I picked up.

Although I love the people at these big events, the books are definitely an important aspect too. I always make quite a detailed list of wants before attending BEA, and I pretty much got everything I wanted this year. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did not have a booth at all, which was sad. But all other larger publishers were represented and tended to operate like years past. Some bring a lot of titles, some just a small selection, some do tickets, some just drop things randomly. I actually love the puzzle that is a BEA convention, from making a spreadsheet ahead of time to figuring out where to be when and how to maximize my time. It means I spend a lot of the day running from one place to another, but I love the rush of it all. And of course, I love the flair - collecting all the different bookish buttons is always a highlight. 

A look at BookCon





Crowds at BookCon

I attended a few hours of BookCon before I had to return home on Saturday. And it was interesting to see the differences between that and BEA.  The last BookCon I'd attended was the first year, which was a madhouse, so it was good to see that the event was a lot more organized this year, with a lot more room to walk. I didn't do anything with the autographing area, for which you needed to get tickets ahead of time (hopefully that cut down a lot on crowds and confusion), but I did do a couple of different activities, which I'll highlight below. 

BookCon definitely had a much stronger "fan" feel than BEA. And I do think the event works well in conjunction with BEA. The question remains, though, where do the bloggers fit in the mix? I personally, like the professional feel of BEA, and would like to continue attending that event, but I did enjoy the few things I did at BookCon (though I was pretty exhausted by that point). Except for the one book drop I attended at BookCon, I'd already gotten all the titles I wanted, so it was nice to be able to go and enjoy some of the programming. I don't know how it would have felt if I had attended without going to BEA, and I don't think I'd pay to go down just to do BookCon. But I did enjoy it as part of my event experience. 

Here are four things I did at BookCon:

1) I get the First in Line enewsletter, and they sent me an email the night before BookCon saying that if I showed them their email at the Random House booth, I could get a box of bookish items. All without standing in line! Well, there was quite a line of people who had these emails, so that wasn't exactly accurate. However, it was apparently shorter than the other line? In any case, it was worth it, because I loved the tote and beach towel I got. This perhaps illustrates that publishers still don't anticipate how many people attend BookCon. 

2) I attended a book drop for a title I'd heard would only be dropped at BookCon. Only people who happened to be in the area, or had found out about the drop while at BEA, would have been quick enough to get a copy. Not every publisher did book drops, but it was possible to get some coveted arcs there. However, the overall event seemed more focused on meeting authors, panels and other fandom excitement. 

3) BookCon had a lot more author focused events. I attended a "speed dating" program for 5 Epic Reads authors. They switched between tables of 10 people and pitched their books, then we could ask them whatever questions we wanted. Only 50 people got a seat, so it was limited. But I got to sit down and hear Megan Whalen Turner talk, which was amazing! Victoria Schwab was also at the table, and a few other authors whose books I'm now excited to read. Although BookCon was crowded and chaotic, I loved the more intimate feel of this event (though I had to get there over an hour early to get a spot). 

4) I got to meet Benita who makes @BookBeaus, book sleeves that I'm completely obsessed with. And I bought a few. I like that BookCon had an area set up for bookish sellers. 


Until next time (hopefully!)

Follow my bookish Instagram @loveisnotatriangle

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