Five Reasons to Read: A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow – A Cautionary Tale of Wishes Made from Loss, with Carribean Folklore and Vengeful Mermaids

A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow. Reviewed by CW, The QUiet Pond.
Blurb:

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the beaches of St. Rita. But when she discovers a different kind of treasure, she accidentally summons an actual mermaid—the wrathful Ophidia.

Ophidia makes Kela a bargain: her ancient comb, in exchange for a wish. And though Kela knows that what she wants most is her mother back, a wish that big will exact a dangerous price…

Young readers looking for a book with storytelling that pulls them right in and a unique voice will love A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow. Set in the Carribean, the story follows a young girl Kela, still reeling from the loss of her mother. When she discovers a magical comb and is granted a wish by a mermaid to bring her mother back, little does she know that her wish will set off a chain of unfortunate events.

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Pondathon II: A New Companion Quest! Let’s Grow Roses with Racquel Marie

New Companion Quest! Let's Grow Roses with Racquel Marie, author of Ophelia After All. An drawing of Racquel as a golden retriever, wearing earrings and a rose on her head, with a big exclamation mark atop her head indicating that she has a quest.

Pondathon II is a year-long gardening-themed readathon hosted by The Quiet Pond! Help us restore the forest by reading to earn plants and decorate your own garden. For more information about Pondathon, read our Readathon Information Post or check out our Pondathon II Portal.

The story:

“Friend!” Xiaolong hurtles towards you like a comet, her face aglow with glee. You get the feeling that all the visitors and friends around the Pond has given Xiaolong a lot of energy; she seems hopeful, excited.

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Book Review: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie – Questioning, Identity, and Friendship Coalesce in this Tender Queer Coming-of-Age Contemporary

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie. Reviewed by CW, The QUiet Pond.
Blurb:

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If young adult contemporary isn’t your stomping ground, I am begging for you to make an exception and make Ophelia After All one of your to-read books of 2022. A joy from start to finish, this exceptional coming-of-age story follows biracial Cuban-Irish teen Ophelia who must navigate identity, change and friendship at the sunset of high school.

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Five Reasons to Read: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – A Sweeping Xianxia Fantasy Inspired by the Chang’e Legend

Blurb:

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Inspired by the Chang’e legend, or the goddess of the Moon, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a romantic fantasy adventure that will transport readers to a world where immortals reign, dragons and monsters dwell, and high-stake battles between realms take place. At the center of it all is a girl’s years-long quest to free her mother, Chang’e, from exile and her sentence on the moon, and the many tribulations and challenges that she endures and overcome as she fights for her mother’s freedom.

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Pondathon II: New Side Quest! Encourage Xiaolong’s Flowers to Grow!

Pondathon II is a year-long gardening-themed readathon hosted by The Quiet Pond! Help us restore the forest by reading to earn plants and decorate your own garden. For more information about Pondathon, read our Readathon Information Post or check out our Pondathon II Portal.

The story:

As you pass through the magical boundary of the Pond, you see all the Pond friends hard at work. Cuddle and Sprout look like they are working together to shape the soil, preparing the earth for Cuddle’s new vegetables. Varian is over there, sprinkling water to Gen’s new saplings. 

Meanwhile, Xiaolong sits by a row of saplings – and it looks like she’s reading a book. You approach her – maybe she’s taking a break from working? – you notice that she’s reading aloud. 

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