Review & Giveaway: Juniper Leaves by Jaz Joyner

juniper leaves

How magical is this cover!? *swoons*

 

Fifteen year old Juniper Bray is a shy kinky-haired blerd off to spend the summer on a farm in North Carolina on her father’s research trip. Still reeling from the loss of her grandmother, her best friend, and immediately getting off on the wrong foot with her cool cousin Bree, Juniper is not looking forward to her stay. But magic returns to her in ways she never expected and Juniper ends up surprising herself the most.

GR  Juniper Leaves is a fantastic coming-of-age story starring a Black girl who is literally magic. Juniper is both utterly relatable and someone to look up to. When she and Bree fall through a vortex into the realm of Cantatis, home to fairies and unicorns, the girls are set on a journey that will require them to work together and believe in themselves. For Cantatis is under threat and it is up to Juniper, like her grandmother before her, to save them with her newly revealed powers.

Apart from the girls’ reluctant friendship I also really enjoyed the family members, from her smart, nerdy father and aunt studying plants for curing illness, to the food her uncle dished up and the McKinney’s bookshelf. And the annoying younger brother, oh I can relate! It was cute to see Juniper come out of her shell and crush on Bree’s friend Sen, and while not at the center of the story, falling for a girl and coming into her own is an integral part of Juniper’s journey. I also appreciate that the love interest Sen is Japanese-American.

My only complaint is that the book is too short, and I never say that. It’s fantastic to read of queer Black girls thriving, we need more books like this one. Juniper Leaves is out in print and e-book now! Get yourself a copy of this wonderful book and I think it would make a great holiday gift for the teens in your family. In fact, I’m giving away one print copy of Juniper Leaves! To enter the giveaway:

  • follow my blog
  • leave a comment telling me why you’d like to win the book
  • don’t forget to leave your email/twitter/way to contact you
  • giveaway ends Dec 14th
  • I’ll send anywhere!

 

Disclaimer: I received a free e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

*****

About the author:

Jaz Joyner is a black trans essayist, humorist and author residing in Brooklyn, NY. Their work has been featured in Teen Vogue, HuffPo, and others, and one of their essays is featured in the LGBT anthology Outside the XY: Queer, Black and Brown Masculinity​. Most recently Jaz has become a regular on the YouTube discussion show TheGrapevine. In 2016, Jaz started their passion project, a humor site called QUNTFRONT with the goal of uplifting QTPoC voices and calling out white supremacy in media.

Advertisements

R.EADERS I.MBIBING P.ERIL – #RIPXII

rip7

I am so so late, but still, I had to sign up for R.I.P. VII which is one of my favorite challenges! ‘Tis the season, the creepy season! 🙂 I love fall and I love creepy reads! I got a ton of candles, thick quilts and hot tea! Also, the weather is perfect, rainy and windy and gloomy, so bring it! And even if I’m not up to a lot of things these days, I still wanna at least participate in R.I.P. and mayyybe finally get over my blogging slump. Fingers crossed!

R.I.P. runs from September 1 through October 31 and is the brainchild of Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings, who has now passed the torch to awesome Heather and Andi. The goal is to read books from these genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Supernatural.

As usual, I will do Peril the First, that is read four books from the R.I.P. genres. Of course I will also pick diverse books, mostly by women writers of color. Here’s what’s on my tbr so far:

 

1. Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology
by Colors in Darkness, Kenya Moss-Dyme, Eden Royce, Mya Lairis.

forvervacancy

“Colors in Darkness, the premiere online site for dark fiction authors of color presents its first anthology! Amid the upheaval of the 1960s, the Kretcher Motel opened in a poor, desolate part of Atlanta. It still serves its original purpose: to lure those souls who are lost, who are troubled, who are evil…to itself. Check in to view these thirteen dark tales of horror, betrayal, fear, and wickedness, all featuring characters of color. You may never want to leave.” (GR)

I’ve read a bit from this one, there are some amazing stories here, but I thought I might as well reread the, and try to put up a review for R.I.P. since I feel like it should be better known.

 

2.Gulab by Annie Zaidi.

gulab

“Gulab tests the limits that our mind sets upon a ghost’s powers. If you see her as a woman clinging to life, there is not much to fear. Yet: what if she wants to return to your life? And what makes you think you can make her leave?” (GR)

Okay the R.I.P. appropriate cover got me, but excited to try this author’s works.

3.Black Orchid Blues by Persia Walker

persia walker

“Lanie Price, a 1920s Harlem society columnist, witnesses the brutal nightclub kidnapping of the “Black Orchid,” a sultry, seductive singer with a mysterious past. When hours pass without a word from the kidnapper, puzzlement grows as to his motive. After a gruesome package arrives at Price’s doorstep, the questions change. Just what does the kidnapper want–and how many people is he willing to kill to get it?” (GR)

More #DiverseDetectives! Hope I’ll enjoy this one, cause it’s a series. This title is also available on Scribd btw.

 

4.The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

the bloodprint

“A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.” (GR)

Ausma Zehanat Khan is writing epic fantasy now, I am so fucking excited! It’s waiting on my kindle, for my week of vacation soon!

 

Are you participating in the R.I.P. challenge? What’s on your list?

#24in48 – Readathon TBR

_24in48_

 

It’s readathon time once more! What’s #24in48? It’s a laidback readathon in which you’ve got 48 hours in which to read for 24 hours if you can. Here’s the details from #24in48:

If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between, whatever you’d like.

I decided only yesterday to join my first #24in48 this weekend, but I’ve got my tbr ready! I’m dependent on e-books, so no pretty stack sadly, but have some pretty cover pics instead. This is mostly so I’ve got lots of reading material ready, not how many books I’m likely to read 😀 I’m trying for 2-3.

 

devils wake

The Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due is one of my favorite writers, so I thought I’d give this zombie apocalypse she co-wrote with her writer husband a try. Also, I’m trying for more escapist lit this readathon.

like a mule

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Got some Cassava Republic titles I’ve been wanting to get to for quite a while. This one is about a retired Nigerian professor, Morayo, living in San Francisco and having to deal with aging after a bad fall.

lazarus

The Lazarus Effect by H.J. Golakai

Also, a Cassava title and an awesome-sounding mystery involving a missing girl set in South Africa. The sleuth is Liberian Vee Johnson, a journalist and apparently this might be the first book in a series!

dimple

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Thanks to a kindle deal, I might finally get around to reading this one. Romance is not my genre at all, but I’ll give it a try to see what the fuss is about.

conjoined

The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee

I started this one a couple months back but forgot all about it, so I might try again for the readathon. The combination of family drama and thriller sounds exciting.

 

And some books that are not WOCreads: Stakesauce by RoAnna Sylver, Feed by Mira Grant, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

*****

Are you doing #24in48? What are you planning to read?

10 More 2017 Releases To Look Forward To Pt. 2

2017 books 2 fertig

We’re halfway through 2017, how did that happen!? But at least on the bookish side of things, the next six months are going to be amazing. My budget is pretty small, but one can dream right? So here’s my wish list of 10 releases for fall/winter 2017, mostly not including YA lit cause you all covered this extremely well already!

 

1. When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola gr-pic

popoola

Cassava Republic: July 3rd

Best mates Karl and Abu are both 17 and live near Kings Cross. Its 2011 and racial tensions are set to explode across London. Abu is infatuated with gorgeous classmate Nalini but dares not speak to her. Meanwhile, Karl is the target of the local “wannabe” thugs just for being different. When Karl finds out his father lives in Nigeria, he decides that Port Harcourt is the best place to escape the sound and fury of London, and connect with a Dad he’s never known. Rejected on arrival, Karl befriends Nakale, an activist who wants to expose the ecocide in the Niger Delta to the world, and falls headlong for his feisty cousin Janoma. Meanwhile, the murder of Mark Duggan triggers a full-scale riot in London. Abu finds himself in its midst, leading to a near-tragedy that forces Karl to race back home. (GR)

 

2.Walking On Knives by Maya Chhabra gr-pic

maya

Less Than Three Press: July 26th

The little mermaid has no idea that as she makes her way on land, she’s being watched over by the sister of the very witch with whom she made her bargain. She has no idea that the witch’s sister is falling in love with her. When the prince decides to marry another woman, the little mermaid’s secret helper offers her a chance to live. But the price may be too high… (GR)

 

3.We That Are Young by Preti Taneja gr-pic

taneja

Galley Beggar Press: August 3rd

Jivan Singh, the bastard scion of the Devraj family, returns to his childhood home after a long absence – only to witness the unexpected resignation of the ageing patriarch from the vast corporation he founded, the Devraj Company. On the same day, Sita, Devraj’s youngest daughter, absconds – refusing to submit to the marriage her father wants for her. Meanwhile, Radha and Gargi, Sita’s older sisters, must deal with the fallout… And so begins a brutal, deathly struggle for power, ranging over the luxury hotels and spas of New Delhi and Amritsar, the Palaces and slums of Napurthala, to Srinagar, Kashmir. (Galley Beggar Press)

 

4.Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie gr-pic

home fire

Riverhead Books: August 15th

Practical-minded Isma has spent the years since her mother’s death watching out for her twin brother and sister in their North London home. When an invitation to grad school in America comes through unexpectedly, it brings the irresistible promise of freedom too long deferred. But even an ocean away, Isma can’t stop worrying about her beautiful, headstrong, politically inclined sister, Aneeka, and Parvaiz, their brother, who seems to be adrift—until suddenly he is half a globe away in Raqqa, trying to prove himself to the dark legacy of the father he never knew, with no road back. (GR)

 

5.Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke gr-pic

bluebird

Serpent’s Tale: September

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home. When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. (GR)

 

6.Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing gr-pic

ewing arches

Haymarket Books: September 12th

Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the fantastical, Ewing takes us from the streets of Chicago to an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility. (GR)

 

7.The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan gr-pic

ausma

Harper Voyager: October 3rd

A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing. (GR)

 

8.Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado gr-pic

her body and other

Graywolf Press: October 3rd

A wife refuses her husband s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store s prom dresses. One woman s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes. (GR)

 

9.Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki, Brooke Allen gr-pic

lumberjanes

Amulet Books: October 10th

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. Today is no exception. When challenge-loving April leads the girls on a hike up the TALLEST mountain they’ve ever seen, things don’t go quite as planned. For one, they didn’t expect to trespass into the lands of the ancient Cloud People, and did anyone happen to read those ominous signs some unknown person posted at the bottom of the mountain? Also, unicorns. (GR)

 

10.Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times by Aimee Bahng gr-pic

migrant futures

Duke UP: December 15th

In Migrant Futures Aimee Bahng traces the cultural production of futurity by juxtaposing the practices of speculative finance against those of speculative fiction. While financial speculation creates a future based on predicting and mitigating risk for wealthy elites, the wide range of speculative novels, comics, films, and narratives Bahng examines imagine alternative futures that envision the multiple possibilities that exist beyond capital’s reach. (GR)

*****

Need more for your TBR? Check out my list for the first half of 2017 here. And be sure to take a look at Wendy’s list of diverse releases for June, July and August!

What book release are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments!

5 On My TBR: The #PrideMonth Edition

tbr pic

Happy Pride Month, folx! Are you celebrating and/or supporting by reading LGBTQIA+ lit? I made a small tbr to read this month, trying to include many sexual/romantic identities and mostly POC representation, but there are gaps as usual. I’m working on it, recs are very welcome! If you have trouble with access/budget like me, the first four books are all available on Scribd.

 

treasure-lesbian

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon gr-pic

Black lesbian romance, New Adult

Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party. (GR)

 

sorcerer of the wildeeps

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson gr-pic

Black gay romance, SFF novella

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight. The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive. (GR)

 

six metres

Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor gr-pic

bisexual, South Asian

Ismail Boxwala made the worst mistake of his life one summer morning twenty years ago: he forgot his baby daughter in the back seat of his car. After his daughter’s tragic death, he struggles to continue living. A divorce, years of heavy drinking, and sex with strangers only leave him more alone and isolated. But Ismail’s story begins to change after he reluctantly befriends two women: Fatima, a young queer activist kicked out of her parents’ home; and Celia, his grieving Portuguese-Canadian neighbour who lives just six metres away. A slow-simmering romance develops between Ismail and Celia. Meanwhile, dangers lead Fatima to his doorstep. Each makes complicated demands of him, ones he is uncertain he can meet. (GR)

 

even this page- trans

Even This Page is White by Vivek Shraya gr-pic

QTWOC, trans-fem, South Asian, poetry

Vivek’s debut collection of poetry is a bold and timely interrogation of skin: its origins, functions, and limitations. Poems that range in style from starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding of what it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable. (GR)

 

chameleon moon

Chameleon Moon by Roana Sylver gr-pic

Asexual, Trans-fem, NB, Aromantic, YA SFF

The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire. The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die – directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that’s keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation… and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities. (GR)

 

What’s on your #PrideMonth tbr? Let me know in the comments!

 

#RamadanReadathon TBR

ramadan-readathon

It’s June already somehow and as well as it being Pride Month, Nad and Zoya are hosting a readathon celebrating Muslim authors to coincide with Ramadan: #RamadanReadathon!

There are so many amazing works by Muslim writers, but sadly I’m not the fastest reader and I’m also trying to read some LGBTQIA+ books for Pride Month, but hopefully I’ll manage at least these 4 books. And yes, one of them also fits my Pride reading, although I have some more of those on my secret tbr (the book stack I really want to read, but will probably fail at spectacularly, so keeping seeecret 😀 ). Also, I will do a Pride Month tbr post soon as well.

loving you wasnt enough

Loving You Wasn’t Enough by Fatima Warsame gr-pic

Ebyan Jama has always led a life of clarity. She stayed away from boys, prayed everyday and never let even her most passionate dream to become a musician stand in the way of her faith. Her devotion to Islam and pride in her African roots provided her an unshakeable foundation. Unshakeable, until her world was turned upside down and her heart was ignited the moment she locked eyes with Noreen Iqbal. (goodreads)

size of a mustard seed

The Size of a Mustard Seed by Umm Juwayriyah gr-pic

Sullivan ushers in a new era of fiction–urban Islamic fiction–with this tale about Jameelah, a 27-year-old Muslim woman born to what appears to be one of the inner-city’s stronger blended American-Muslim families. (goodreads)

gauntlet

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi gr-pic

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. (goodreads)

fire boy

Fire Boy by Sami Shah gr-pic

From Sami Shah comes Fire Boy, the first of a two-part urban fantasy set in modern-day Pakistan, where djinns roam the street alongside corrupt cops, hustling beggars, and creatures from the darkest corners of Islamic mythology. (goodreads)

A peaceful Ramadan, Muslim friends!

Are you participating in the readathon? Let me know what you’ll be reading!

Review: No More Heroes by Michelle Kan #AsianLitBingo

51eLzTxBFLL._AC_US218_

 

The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy – one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they’re going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain? (via amazon)

Michelle Kan’s debut novel, No More Heroes, is a fast-paced and exciting superhero tale with a diverse cast of characters. As readers, we follow a young trio of new vigilantes – Clare, Mallory and Linus – who patrol the streets at night on the lookout for criminals and trouble-makers. Interestingly, we learn that what drives them out at night is not simply wanting to do good but that their Abilities come with an extra shot of energy that wants to be used. I’d love to get some of that energy, as well as their gifts such as using reflective surfaces as portals. I mean the possibilities …!

Anyway, one of their earliest outings puts them right into the middle of a mystery (you know I love mysteries) about who is killing off Vigilantes. This also means they run into more experienced Vigilantes and it was great to see how differently the characters were as Vigilantes and also as teams and as loners. Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects, Kan really focuses on friendships and teamwork and I’m always on the look-out for stories that are not all about romance. Fellow aro-spec folx, you’ll enjoy this one.

I also enjoyed the diversity of the characters with Samoan representation and a genderfluid Vigilante. My favorite character was probably Fang, who we learn a bit more about than many others but I do wish that the characters had been more fleshed out and had more backstory on the whole. But other than that, No More Heroes is wonderfully fast-paced and the dialogue is excellent as well. Reading this book really feels like watching a superhero show and I think it would translate well to a visual format.

Going by the way the book ends, it sounds like a sequel might be in the works or at least possible. I really hope so! The vigilante verse has a lot more stories to offer and I’d love to learn more about the characters in a future adventure.

Sinead got me onto this wonderful book, so make sure to check out her review at Huntress of Diverse Books and also her character interview with Faye.