In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!
I love books that explore the relationships that we have in our lives. Friendship and family relationships can be so enriching and wonderful, but can also be deeply complicated too, particularly when others – or we – go through change. And then I also love the stories about community, where we discover that we can connect and find belonging, home, and understanding with others.
To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.
Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
I could not be more delighted to kick off the Pond’s Black History Month 2022 series with an exciting visit from Laila Sabreen, author of You Truly Assumed! I had the pleasure and honour to read You Truly Assumed last year and loved its take on activism and community through online spaces from the perspective of three Black Muslim teens. (You can read my review for You Truly Assumed here!)
In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.
I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
For years I’ve been searching for a book that captures the spirit and feel of my favourite film of all time, Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. Friends also looking for such a book, you would be delighted to know that I have finally found such a book: A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee, a young adult Japanese-inspired dark feminist fantasy that follows a young girl named Miuko who is cursed by a demon and is forced on a journey to reverse the curse – before the curse takes over – and become human once more.
This companion novel to Abigail Hing Wen’s New York Times bestselling debut, Loveboat, Taipei, follows two fan favorite characters—Sophie and Xavier—as they reconnect and write their own futures on a wild, unexpected Loveboat reunion.
Sophie Ha and Xavier Yeh have what some would call a tumultuous past.
It’s a classic tale of girl-meets-boy, boy-meets-other-girl, heart-gets-broken, revenge-is-plotted, everything-blows-up. Spectacularly.
At least they’re friends now. They’ve left the drama behind them back in Taipei—at their summer program, Loveboat—forever.
Now fall is here, and it’s time to focus on what really matters. Sophie is determined to be the best student Dartmouth’s ever had. Forget finding the right guy to make her dreams come true—Sophie is going to make her future happen for herself. Xavier, on the other hand, just wants to stay under his overbearing father’s radar, collect his trust fund when he turns eighteen, and concentrate on what makes him happy, for the first time ever.
But the world doesn’t seem to want Sophie and Xavier to succeed. Sophie’s college professor thinks her first major project is “too feminine.” Xavier’s father gives him an ultimatum: finish high school or be cut off from his inheritance.
Then Sophie and Xavier find themselves on a wild, nonstop Loveboat reunion, each trying to resist the chemistry that originally led to them to combust. As they grow closer, they hatch a plan to take control of their own futures. Step one? Break all the rules.
Loveboat, Taipei was an absolute force that was published at the beginning of 2020, and I distinctly remember reading it right as we heard about COVID. One of the reasons I remember it so distinctly is because Ever’s story was so intense, and I never wanted to put the book down. If you don’t remember, Loveboat, Taipei chronicles the summer when Ever Wong was 18, and was sent to Taiwan to attend a program for teens to learn Mandarin, but little did they know that it would lead to one of the most tumultuous seasons of her life. Abigail Hing Wen included portrayal of topics such as the incredible pressure that some Asian and Asian-American parents put on their children by comparing their achievements to other childrens’, and the feelings of inadequacy that can result. But most of all, it was an incredible roller coaster of a book that I wouldn’t soon forget.