Publisher: HarperCollins


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Posted by 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Anthology We Have Been Waiting For: A Thousand Beginnings and EndingsA Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
Published by Greenwillow Books on June 26th, 2018
Genres: Anthology, Mythology, YA
Source: Greenwillow Books
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. 

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.

There have been so MANY amazing anthologies on my radar this year but A Thousand Beginnings and Endings might have been my most anticipated for the year. 

I’ve talked this about a lot so I sometimes feel like a broken record, but it is an important point and a huge part of my love and excitement for this anthology so it is worth repeating. I grew up without much rep which was weird and confusing. Obviously, this review is not meant to be an analysis of my trauma but even as a teen, this was so evident when I’d open all those angel/vampire books that were soaked in Christian and western myth. Myths I grew up on, or other people grew up where never part of mainstream media even though they were all cool and all fascinating with potential to make for amazing stories! 

My first taste of seeing Hindu mythology on paper was when I read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. It was very validating and freeing to see a part of my culture in a book! ANYWAY, SO. THIS ANTHOLOGY. It is a collection of Asian myths and folklore, written by Asian authors. We aren’t just talking East-Asian (as such is often the case when people say ‘Asian’) WE’RE TALKING South-East Asian, South-Asian, ALL OF THE THINGS. 

I’ve now written three paragraphs without saying a single thing about the actual stories but you know, anthologies aren’t really easy to review and a long-ago gave up on trying to review every short story in an anthology.

Here is what I can say. This stories in this anthology are written by a group of talented authors. I didn’t love every single one of them but I did like all of them very very much and loved a good deal of them.

Top 3 Stories

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi

Chokshi is known for her re-creations of Indian folklore but this time she is re-creating a Filipino folklore about a mountain spirit, a diwata and a villager who fall in love. There is vengeance, forbidden love, heartbreak, betrayal and death. Basically, all the good things. 

The Smile by Aisha Saeed

I am not really sure what to say about about The Smile other than it was just really well-written? It is about Naseem who Prince Kareem’s courtesan. After a series of incidents, she slowly becomes aware of how her relationship with Prince Kareem has basically left her with no control over her life and choices. She then begins the fight to regain control over her life and her freedom. Basically, The Smile is very empowering and just one of the best in this anthology.

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon

THIS ONE IS ALSO A FORBIDDEN STORY between a cow herder and an immortal goddess. Our main character has never had a flirtation with a mortal like her sisters but when a slight flirtation turns into full-fledged love, she must deal with the consequences. The Crimson Cloak has no vengeance like Forbidden Fruit but it is much more heartbreaking and melancholic. 

 

four-stars

4 Hot Espressos

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 06/25/2018 • 0 Comments

That Thing We Call a Heart was one of my favorite books of 2017 so obviously, when I heard about Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, I was ecstatic and ready to dive in. This review is particularly hard because even though, overall, I definitely enjoyed Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, there were times when I felt let down by some of the things the characters said.

I am grappling for words as I attempt to describe my feelings because I want to be respectful and clear that these experiences aren’t invalid but one of the biggest dichotomy in the book is how Mariam is raised vs how her friends are raised. Mariam grew up in a household that wasn’t religious or super connected to their cultural roots and her mom was super…

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Posted by on 03/16/2018 • 0 Comments

When one of my mutuals pointed out How the Cowboy Was Won was an Emma retelling, I was all aboard. I adore Jane Austen novels and I especially adore retellings of them. I don’t think I’ve seen many literary Emma retellings so it’s amusing that this year, there are two on my TBR!

So. Anyway. I have a complicated relationship with this book. There are parts of it I really liked but there were a bunch of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I haven’t seen many reviews talking about some of the things that bothered me which makes me more inclined to be critical. I want issues to be talked about. SO. ANYWAY. I am going to start with the good stuff first and break this review down…

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted by on 03/08/2018 • 4 Comments

I am a finnick-y asshole when it comes to rating books 5 stars which isn’t necessarily because I don’t love books but I want to reserve that 5 stars for a book that is something that I am going to remember for a long time after I close the last page shut. The Poet X is just one of those books you are gonna come out of feeling something. I don’t share the same identities as the main character and yet the way Xiomara navigates her diaspora completely moved me. The way her story was told made me feel seen and validated.

The Poet X is told in verse and yet it tells an overarching story that I am not sure prose could have done justice to. Acevedo is incredibly talented to…

Not Linden’s Best: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Not Linden’s Best: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Posted by on 02/16/2018 • 0 Comments

I might have waited too long to write this review because I am really scrambling to gather those thoughts. I’ve read several books by Caroline Linden and have really enjoyed her HRs. When I heard about her upcoming release and heard there was gambling involved, I was 110% in.

Here was my main problem though, I enjoyed the romance, I loved the story, I just didn’t love the Duke of Ware. He is completely insufferable and too pig-headed for my liking. He is intense and not in a good way. I warmed up a little bit to him, but for the most part, his pushiness and self-centeredness was not endearing in the list.

But if I hated the love interest, why did I enjoy the romance? Well, Caroline…

The Royal Romance I Didn’t Know I Needed: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

The Royal Romance I Didn’t Know I Needed: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Posted by on 02/15/2018 • 2 Comments

If you have ever read or enjoyed a romance novel, this book needed to be on your TBR yesterday. I was over the moon when I was approved to read an advanced copy and the book held up to every single one of my expectations + more.

REASONS TO READ Naledi Smith is in grad school studying to be an epidemiologist Spam emails that aren’t really spam from the assistant of the Prince of Thesolo Cocky Prince who doesn’t really know how to function outside of a castle but learns to impress a girl Some cooking experiments when said cocky prince is trying to impress Ledi Angst but like good angst Swoony romance with hate-to-love vibes. Discussion of socio-economic privilege Discussion of what it’s like to live in a non-western…

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 05/19/2017 • 23 Comments

Hi everyone! Today we are partnering with Paula Stokes to giveaway a copy GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE to one lucky winner! GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE was one of my favorite books of 2016 and honestly such an important book. It does such a great job talking about mental health issues and also has an incredibly swoony romance.

 

About the Book

Paula: Hi everyone! Girl Against the Universe releases in paperback on June 6, 2017 and I’m so excited about that I decided to do an entire blog tour of giveaways to celebrate! In the story, main character Maguire creates her own list of seven challenges to help her overcome her fears. This week I have seven challenges for you, and seven chances to win a shiny GATU paperback 😀 These…

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 05/12/2017 • 1 Comment

Sometimes there are books you read and you love and then sometimes there are books you read and FUCKING LOVE. As you might be able to gather given my subtle opening line, That Thing We Call a Heart falls into the latter category for me.

I honestly don’t even know how to express all the love I feel for the book into this review because I doubt that is even possible. Perhaps I might use this gif:

Or I could use words but as I told my prof the other day when he suggested I do a creative writing project, I am not a writer so if this review is completely incoherent, know that I honestly tried.

That Thing We Call a Heart is a book that needs to be in…