Review: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

Working as a wench ― i.e. waitress ― at a cheesy medieval-themed restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Kit Sweetly dreams of being a knight like her brother. She has the moves, is capable on a horse, and desperately needs the raise that comes with knighthood, so she can help her mom pay the mortgage and hold a spot at her dream college.

Company policy allows only guys to be knights. So when Kit takes her brother’s place and reveals her identity at the end of the show, she rockets into internet fame and a whole lot of trouble with the management. But the Girl Knight won’t go down without a fight. As other wenches join her quest, a protest forms. In a joust before Castle executives, they’ll prove that gender restrictions should stay medieval―if they don’t get fired first.

Moxie meets A Knight’s Tale as Kit Sweetly slays sexism, bad bosses, and bad luck to become a knight at a medieval-themed restaurant.*

*Summary from Goodreads

Title: The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly
Author: Jamie Pacto
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Targeted Age Range: Young Adult
Representation: Half Indian love interest, Black bisexual side character, transgender minor character, non-binary minor character
Trigger Warnings: Sexism, racism, underage drinking, underage smoking, mentions of sex, transphobia
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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ARC Review: One Last Stop

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Summary from Goodeads
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Discussion: My favourite reads of 2020 (So far)

I don’t think I will ever stop commenting on how far into the year we are – how are we nearly at the end of November already? It has whizzed past, and I hope everyone is continuing to be safe, wearing their masks and socially distancing! I thought it might be nice to reflect on the year thus far and talk about a few of my favourite reads this year. Without further ado, let’s get into it! 

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Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.*

*Summary from Goodreads

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Review: In Tune by Yeyet Soriano

FIRST SET

Between fulfilling family obligations and navigating the tricky social climate at her private school, Sydney Mendoza tries hard to keep a balance.

Himig Raymundo, on the other hand, knows the feeling of living in the shadow of his successful parents and the agony of being with schoolmates who won’t let him forget it. 

When Sydney and Himig get “volunteered” to be the stars of High School Night by their batchmates who want to see them fail miserably, they band together to prove everyone wrong, and, in the process, find the one silver lining in the prank – each other.

SECOND SET

In the midst of college applications and entrance exams, Sydney finds herself at a crossroads: work abroad to earn money for her family or continue on to college on al all-expense-paid scholarship. Ironically, Himig, the school campus’s reluctant star, becomes the rock that anchors her so she won’t get lost in the fray.

No longer bound in anonymity, Himig gets a chance to finally step out of his famous parents’ shadow and show everyone who he really is, as Sydney reveals to him her most hidden secret*

*Summary from Yeyet Soriano’s website

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Book Recommendation: In a Holidaze

Hi, hello! It’s Cossette here, with our first round of holiday showcases — this time, I’m recommending In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. For as long as she can remember, twenty-six year old Maelyn “Mae” Jones and her family, along with some family friends, have spent the holidays at a cabin in Utah. While Christmas, and the cabin, have always been a special place for Maelyn, this year is a little different. Between being stuck working at a job where she’s under-appreciated and undervalued, finding out that the cabin is being sold, and accidentally making out with the wrong brother, this Christmas isn’t off to a great start so far. Tired and lost, Maelyn sends a wish to the universe to show her what will make her happy, not expecting to be thrown into a Groundhog Day-esque time-loop until she figures it out for herself. Will Maelyn figure out what will make her happy in time for Christmas? 

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Review: Ming’s Christmas Wishes

Major thank you to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to review Ming’s Christmas Wishes

Ming has three wishes: To sing in the school Christmas choir, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window, and to feel like she belongs somewhere. We first meet Ming, a daughter of immigrants who just really wants to sing in the Christmas choir with the rest of her classmates. After being told time and time again that she’s not allowed to be in the choir — because she’s Chinese — Ming is obviously frustrated. Still, she has to hurry home in time to prepare dinner for her mom “Mama”, father “Pop” and younger brother “Didi”. On her way home, her eye catches a Christmas tree — her second wish. When she brings it up to her parents, however, her mom scolds her for wanting to be American. After all, Chinese people don’t have Christmas trees. Pop decides to take Ming into the mountains to visit some family friends. There, he shows Ming something to remind her of their heritage, and to help her draw strength. 

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Let’s Talk: Reading Slumps

I am notorious for being in a reading slump. I’m not sure why, but every few months my brain decides it has had enough imagination for the time being, and puts me off reading for a long period of time. It’s the most annoying thing in the world, if I’m being honest, because I love books. Not only do I love reading books, but I love talking about books. Nothing makes me happier than finding a new book to be obsessed with, and then sharing it with my close group of friends, it just brings me joy – which is why reading slumps are the absolute worst. 

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Blog Tour & Review: Lies Like Poison by Chelsea Pitcher

Thank you so much to The Book Terminal for organizing this blog tour and providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever.*

*Summary copied from Goodreads

Title: Lies Like Poison
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing)
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller, LGBTQ+
Targeted Age Range: Young Adult
Representation: Transgender main character, black main character, bi/lesbian main characters, black side character, gay side characters
Trigger Warnings: Parental death (on-page), forced starvation, mentions of drug use, homophobia, mentions of abuse (verbal and physical), implications of rape, mentions of suicide, kidnapping
Rating:  ★★★★☆

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Spotlight: Cossette’s 2021 Most Anticipated Releases

As 2020 comes to an end (which — don’t even remind me. It feels like yesterday was March, and now we’re almost at the end of November), I decided to go through my Goodreads, and finally reorganize all my shelves, including my upcoming releases shelves, and my most anticipated ones. Without further ado, here are some of my most anticipated 2021 releases! 

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