The title of this blog post says it all, but … we have a literary agent! *cue confetti* You may have seen us reveal the announcement on Twitter this week, but in case you haven’t, we are now repped by Peter Knapp at Park Literary. (!!!) We’ve talked briefly about how we’ve been querying over the past few years, but never really went in-depth. We enjoy reading “How-I-Got-My-Agent” posts and reading stats, so we’re going to discuss how we got an agent for our newest manuscript through a pitch contest! Continue reading
Hey everyone! Today we’re back with a book review for an upcoming YA contemporary that releases this Tuesday: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo.
Disclaimer: We were provided with an ARC from Raincoast Books to review–this has not biased our thoughts in any way. Thank you, Raincoast!
Let’s look at the super cute cover + synopsis!
Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
Hey all!! We are very excited to be reviewing an awesome new MG adventure/fantasy, THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi.
**Disclaimer: We received a finished copy from the publisher, S&S Canada, for review. This has not biased our opinions. Thank you!**
Before I dive into the review, you can take a look at the cover & synopsis:
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.
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.
Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?
First off, I have to say how excited I’ve been for this book, especially with the announcement of it being published under Salaam Reads. As soon as I got it in the mail (the day it came out), I knew I had to dive into it. Luckily that was the last week of classes before exams and I had basically 3 weeks off until our first exam. I spent that coming Thursday and Friday reading it. The only thing that got in my way was watching Beauty & the Beast on Friday, but even then I finished the book that night!
I fell in love with the concept as soon as I heard it. Anything Jumangi-esque captures my attention right away, and of course, I knew that a Middle Grade like this would do the concept justice. This was such a quick, fun read. I love how the diverse elements feel so natural. I’m not Bangladeshi, though I did know some of the foods that were mentioned, and I could easily visualize the places that were depicted. One metaphor that stuck with me was a palace with tips spun like cotton candy. The writing was definitely intended for a Middle Grade audience, and yet it was still super evocative and well-imagined in a way that I could definitely see in Karuna’s future YA works. I also really enjoyed the settings, especially the set-up of the levels in the Gauntlet and Paheli, and especially the souk!
What’s more, I really felt the connection between Farah, the main character, and her brother–the fear for him going missing, the obligation to be the Big Sister and somehow defeat villains in a strange new landscape. I also love how the book ties in the idea of different games/puzzles–and they’re no ordinary games/puzzles. Many of them are quite complex and I had to take some time to really visualize them, since I’m pretty used to straight-up card games, etc. Still, I think the pacing of the book was strong and I loved the way the author introduced a great, diverse cast of characters and, for some, left the ambiguity of their morality to question. My favourite character outside the main three was probably Vijay! He has such an interesting past.
This book can definitely be read by 10 year olds, but it could be easily enjoyed by an older audience, too. (Hey, I’m 20!)
Rating: 5/5 stars!
Until next time,
Hey all! Today we are super delighted to share our excitement for a new and improved version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them by JK Rowling. This book recently released alongside two other Harry Potter-world novels, Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard.
**Note: We received Fantastic Beasts from Raincoast Books for the purpose of this post. Thank you, Raincoast and Bloomsbury!**
Here are the fantastic (get it?) new covers from Bloomsbury (UK/Canada):
Aren’t they awesome? Let’s dive into some pictures we took of the interior for Fantastic Beasts!
The new foreword is by Newt Scamander, including some information divulged in the new movie!
We also love the A-Z alphabetized collection of beasts!
We particularly love the niffler 😛
We love the back and of course that blurb from Dumbledore himself!
We had to get a picture of the book with Ron, too!
We really enjoyed the additions to the original version of Fantastic Beasts. If you loved the movie, this is a great accompaniment and goes into great detail about MACUSA and the beasts themselves. There are some spoilers for those who have NOT seen the movie, so be wary!
We love Newt and the movie, so picking this one up was a no-brainer. Thanks again to Raincoast/Bloomsbury for the book!
Have you picked up the new Fantastic Beasts edition? Until next time,
Hey all! So we’ve gone on an accidental hiatus, mostly because in April we were super busy with school and exams, and after that we were busy revising our book. Still, we did get some reading done!
-Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (5*)
-Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (4.5*)
-The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (5*)
-Saints and Misfits by SK Ali (5*)
-Second Born by Arnold Robinson
-Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (5*)
-Imagination Bigger Together by Casey Rislov (5*)
-Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (5*)
-The Water and Murder Flow South by Ken Stichter
-Hosanna by Katelyne Parker (5*) must read!
-The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5*) another must read!
–Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson (4.5*)
-Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (4*)
In April we finished exams and also participated in an awesome pitch contest called DVPit, which you should totally check out! Thanks so much to Beth Phelan for organizing it!
We also attended the Indigo YA Preview on April 5 at Indigo headquarters. It was so much fun! Here are some pics from the event & the ARCs we got:
There, we met SK Ali and got signed ARCs of SAINTS AND MISFITS! It was so great meeting her, especially since we’ve known each other via Twitter for a while!
Some more Instagram photos:
Still haven’t read a Sarah Dessen book … woops!
We hope you all had a great April!
-Sarena & Sasha
Hey all! Even though it’s already April (how?!) we decided to share our March wrap-up. Here it is!
What We Read
- Die Laughing (3*)
- The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #3 – 4.5*)
- Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson (5*)
- Valpartha by Dale Shillito (3*)
- Empress of a Thousand Skies (4*)
- The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (5* review to come!)
We also posted a guest post from author Karuna Riazi on social media.
What We Did
This was a really busy month for us since it was the last month of school. Basically, we did a bunch of homework. But we also hosted a launch for our club’s magazine, Scribes Slate, attended a launch for a journal Sasha published a short story in, and our club won an award at our university formal. So, some exciting stuff!
On March 3, we also presented our creative writing journey to 6th graders at our old middle school:
We got these awesome books in the mail:
And got these for review:
We hope you all had a great March as well! Until next time,
Sarena & Sasha
Sometimes, weekends were made for staying in, curling up with a good book, and pretending nothing else exists.
Okay, as much as we wish this were more like every day, these blissful retreats seem to only happen every once in a while. So, what’s our perfect formula for staying in?
We were inspired by Leesa, an online mattress company, to share our staying-in essentials! Let’s get started.
First, and this basically goes without saying, but you’re going to need a good book. It’s best to find something you know you can easily get lost in. How about a thriller? Or some good ol’ Harry Potter (and maybe a movie marathon or two while you’re at it).
Next, you’re going to need a) a warm blanket, b) a warm fireplace, or c) (and the best option of the three) ALL OF THE ABOVE. This is one multiple choice answer that’s not hard to figure out!
Of course, one of our essentials is hot chocolate, or whatever warm cup of tea/coffee you prefer. It’s part of the perfect recipe to staying in!
On a wintry day, we would definitely recommend reading The Prisoner of Azkaban (HP3) and having a cup of Butterbeer instead!
Snacks are also a huge must. Popcorn is a good one-hand snack, or better yet, cubes of cheese. Mmm.
Lastly, a day in requires a fort. It could be made of blankets, or maybe you could build a fort of books all around you. It would take a while, but it’s *so* worth it.
Think you’re ready for a day in? Plop yourself on the couch, turn off the TV, and grab a great read!
Until next time,
Sarena & Sasha