Friday, July 28, 2017

So Much Good Juju: Macky Reads Akata Witch

Akata Witch book cover
If I were allowed to, I would write pages and pages about how much I love Nnedi Okorofor’s Akata Witch. It has set my imagination ablaze and rocketing at light speed like nothing else I can currently remember. Even now, I am thinking back to my favorite series that involved magic of any kind (Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, JK Rowling, Christopher Paolini, to name a few) and I am honestly drawing a blank as to whether or not I had this kind of crazy adrenaline rush. 

Maybe I’m just new to Nigerian culture and lore. Maybe I'm just psyched that we have a very real, very strong female lead that is also a person of color. Maybe, regardless of culture, race and representation, Nnedi Okorafor is just an amazing, world class storyteller who, by the way, also happens to rock the culture, race and representation game so hard. 

This has instantly become one of my favorite “me and my friends save the world” stories of all time! If I were younger, I would actually create a wiki-page or a blog or a fan-site for it. That is the level of obsession I have with Akata Witch. Well-paced, well-plotted, exquisitely rich lore and world building plus very relatable characters? There is no way this book misses out in any of those aspects. Really, the absolute best thing about Akata Witch is how fresh and unique the story is, while at the same time having a timeless feel. This will be a brilliant story - any time, any day, any decade. 

The very beating heart of this story is a young girl who finds herself caught up in a world of such wonder and danger that not even her own latent and unique abilities are enough to win the day. What will it take to win? Well, you'll have to find out for yourself! Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book right now. 

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | Series: Akata Witch #1
Publisher: Speak | Publication Date (this ed): July 11, 2017 (or. April 14, 2011)
Source: Paperback received from the publisher (Thanks!)

Since this is an official stop on the blog tour celebrating the paperback release of Akata Witch, you're in luck - there's a giveaway! Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) sets that include the paperback of AKATA WITCH and a galley of AKATA WARRIOR (ARV: $10.99 each). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 17th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 7, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!
July 17 – An AfroBoricua Reads – Review
July 18 – YA and Wine – Review & Wine Pairing
July 19 – A Page With A View – Top 10 Books for HP Fans
July 20 – NovelKnight – The Sorting Hat
July 21 – YA Wednesdays – Fashion Inspired by Akata Witch
July 24 – Wandering Bark Books – Spotlight
July 25 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review
July 26 – Dazzled by Books – Review
July 27 – What Sarah Read – Review & Mood Board
July 28 – Alexa Loves Books – Review
July 31 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
August 1 – The YA Book Traveler
August 2 – Once Upon a Twilight – Spotlight
August 3 – Books 4 Your Kids
August 4 – Hollywood News Source – Akata Witch Excerpt

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Of Monkey Kings, Giant All-Powerful Boom-Sticks and High School: Macky Reads The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo book cover
WHAT. A. RIDE. Seriously. Fast-paced, funny, well-written action fantasy with a very distinct cultural twist! I mean, my knowledge of Chinese legends is sparse, to say the least, but The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is to said legends the way Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series is to Greek mythology. However, it's less middle-grade and more YA.

Let’s start with the writing style. It’s so well-paced and the voice is so clear and real that you may as well be IM-ing with Genie throughout the whole book. She just comes alive, large and in charge. (See what I did there, people who have read this book?)

I was expecting your typical badass teenage girl kickassery, so when I read the author’s preface about the Monkey King goes west, I’m like, hold up, I don’t see no Monkey King on this cover? But he’s in there, and boy, oh boy, is this tale amazing. It doesn’t make it about Chinese myth and legend, nor is it about Chinese-American culture (which I know very little about, what with not being Chinese American), but I can recognize some, if not all the odes to these cultural nuances.

Again, I want to ask someone who’s actually Chinese-American and more than familiar with the themes, tropes and stories in this book to see if it adds to the experience or takes away from it. Because I’ll tell you right now, this book is pure awesomeness. I rarely add people to my favorite characters list. I don’t like letting people in though I’m not above admiring new characters.

But Genie Lo? Criminey, but she is nine kinds of awesome. And this writer F. C. Yee! Promised some brilliant face wrecking action and boy, did this book deliver. I need book two now please. The world needs it! (In fact, I would sit through a 13 to 22 episode Netflix or TV series adaptation of this book, just because it’s that good and there’s just that much to work with.)

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo comes out August 8, 2017 and I highly recommend you go out and get it when it's released. Funny, action packed, brilliant storytelling at its finest!

Publisher: Amulet Books | Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Source: ARC received at BEA 2017 (Thanks!)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luck & Love • Windfall

Windfall book cover
Everything changes for Alice when she gives her best friend – and the boy she’s in love with – Teddy a lottery ticket for his eighteenth birthday… and he wins $140 million dollars the very next day. As two kids who have been through terrible things – Alice losing her parents within a year of each other and Teddy’s father abandoning their family – winning the jackpot seems like a dream come true. But as the days unfold, both teens soon discover more… about life, about themselves and about each other. 

I was confident going into Windfall that I was going to enjoy it, as I’ve enjoyed all the other novels that Jennifer E. Smith has written, and I was right – it’s a good read. Like many of her stories, the plot sounds deceptively straightforward: a girl buys her best friend a lottery ticket as a joke for his eighteenth birthday, only for them both to discover that it’s a jackpot-winning ticket the next day. But there’s much more to it than winning the lottery, though readers do get to see Teddy’s all-out reaction to suddenly having millions of dollars at his fingertips. But there’s much more to this novel than meets the eye. It is also about family. About friendship. About self-identity. About grief. About growth. I was impressed by how Smith wove the themes together, and though a few things were over exaggerated or underdeveloped, I still found it solid overall.

Windfall is another great story from author Jennifer E. Smith. She writes realistic characters who are dealing with a variety of things, and adds just a little bit of ‘magic’ to their lives– in this case, in the form of a jackpot-winning lottery ticket. I found this novel quite compelling from beginning to end, and would recommend checking it out.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press | Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound


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