[Storytime!] Stella Visits the Poppy Flowers and The Whispering River

stella 1It’s a sunny day and there are no clouds in the sky. You breathe in the fresh air, the strong fragrance of fresh flowers hits you. You look ahead of you and see a small dot growing larger as it gets closer. It’s not quite clear as the heat rippling in the distance causes you to squint your eyes.

The small dot, now a blob is closer to you now. It’s no blob, it’s Stella!

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BLOG TOUR: Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee – Expectedly Light-Hearted and Unexpectedly Critical; Featuring The Queer Latinx Heroine We’ve All Been Waiting For

Text: C.B. Lee, Not Your Backup; Sidekick Squad Blog Tour! 27th May - 7th May. Image: A brown teen with short dark brown hair in mid-jump.

“Friend! Today is finally the day!”

Xiaolong looks particularly excited today, and you don’t blame her. Today is the first day of the Sidekick Squad blog tour (you know this, because Xiaolong has been reminding you for days now!) and it is her first time organising such a big and important event!

Xiaolong the axolotl, holding up a copy of NOT YOUR BACKUP by C.B. Lee and smiling“There will be friends visiting the Pond today and I want to look my best.” She stands a little straighter, magicks a copy of Not Your Backup, and gives you her best pose. “Friend, I’m feeling a little nervous. Do you think I can practice my pitch of this book with you?”

You happily agree. She does look a little nervous, but you know that she just needs a little encouragement.

She clears her throat with an ‘ahem!’ and raises the book up to show you. “Friend, you know how much I love the Sidekick Squad series! And oh my, this third book was everything that I wanted! I mean, it has action, there’s friendship, there’s even some exploration about love and attraction and romance and identity! I just loved it.”

You give her an encouraging nod and tell her that she’s doing good so far! Xiaolong seems to relax at your assurances, and gives you a big smile.

“Well, friend, since you have me started, I want to tell you more about this book! So, Not Your Backup is so awesome because…”

Foreword and gratitude

Three years ago, I read a book that changed my life.

That book was Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee. Not Your Sidekick was one of the first books where I saw myself represented; it was the first time I had felt seen. Reading Jess’s struggle with her diaspora identity struck such a deep chord within me, and I’ve been in love with the Sidekick Squad series and its wonderful characters ever since.

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The Pond News! Issue #2 – Wholesome Books Releasing This Week and Exciting & Diverse Book Announcements!

Text: The Pond Book News. Issue 02: So many books, too little time! Releases, sequels, and featured bloggers.

Welcome to Issue #2!

Hello, Lovelies! After a wonderful adventure I went on to find this week’s book news I found at the Whispering River, I came to tell you of all the amazing book news of the week! Some amazing MG, YA, contemporary and fantasy books were released this week and they sound absolutely amazing. I’m really excited to read them all when I get the chance to and I hope you do too!stella 6

Also, some really great bloggers are featured that you should definitely check out because they’re just as amazing as the content they create!

I hope you enjoy this weeks post as much as I enjoyed working on it with Xiaolong! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Love, Stella ❤

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Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – The 2020 Presidency We All Need

Text: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Image: on the left, a man with light-brown skin with brown hair, wearing a white shirt and blue slacks crossing his arms and leaning to his right; on the right, a white man with light brown hair, wearing a red and royal military uniform, and black slacks, crossing his arms and leaning to the left.
Blurb:

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Joce’s Review:

RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE takes place in a United States, where, following Obama’s presidency, Ellen Claremont, a Democrat and a woman, has been elected to be president and is running for a second term in 2020. The First Son of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz, is forced to spend time with Prince Henry of England for reparations’ sake after a very public disaster of epic proportions worth $75,000 in cake and frosting, and a romance blossoms.

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Want to Read More Diverse Books? Here are Six Tips to Diversify Your Reading! 🌈

Text: Six Tips to Diversify Your Reading. Image: Amina the Hedgehog, playing her lute, with rainbow-coloured magic swirling around her with music notes.

You are sitting by the pond, discussing the intersections of written-magic and sewing-magic with Varian the Toadshifter, when you hear, what seems to be, Xiaolong’s approaching footfalls and her yelps of delight.

“Friend! Everybody!” says Xiaolong, emerging from the brush with a massive smile on her face. “Amina’s coming! She’s almost here!”

Oh that’s right, Amina the Hedgehog Bard! Xiaolong had mentioned her when you first met all your pond friends, but you haven’t had the chance to meet her yet. Seeing how excited all your pond friends are at seeing Amina again warms your soul a little bit, you can’t help but feel a little excited too.

Amina the hedgehog, wearing a red and green hat, pushing grass aside, smiling.You feel a ripple in the air, a light wobble at your core, and – look! Over there, Amina, carrying a beautiful lute and a knapsack, is wading through the thicket of bushes. When she looks over and sees all her friends, she smiles.

“Oh, how I missed you all so much,” are her first words, her voice gentle and soothing.

“Amina!” they all yell, running over to her. Xiaolong tackles her in a big hug, and Varian looks absolutely delighted. Even shy Gen is grinning from eye to eye and is nuzzling Amina’s cheek. Cuddle approaches shyly – it’s the first time Cuddle has met Amina too! They all seem so happy to be together.

Over Varian’s shoulder, Amina spots you and smiles knowingly. “Who’s this, my darlings? Is this our newest friend?”

“Oh yes!” exclaims Xiaolong, pulling Amina over to you. After Xiaolong introduces the both of you, she turns to Amina, her gills bouncing. “Amina, what stories do you have to tell today? Did you learn new kinds of magic? Did you meet new magical beings from other places of magic?”

“Yes, Xiaolong! I had the most wonderful adventure and I’ll tell you all about them, but first!” She sits down on the floor, opens her knapsack, and pulls out what appears to be a well-loved and worn journal. “I have to share this piece of wisdom for you. Sit down friends, let me tell you about…”

Hello friends, and welcome back to The Quiet Pond! I hope you all are reading some lovely books and are enjoying your current reads. ✨

Today’s post will be on how to read more diversely. This is, interestingly, quite a common question that I receive on Twitter, and the question always excites me! Reading diverse books is something I am incredibly passionate about and I’m always happy to help people diversify their reading. So for those of you who are thinking of reading more diverse books but aren’t quite sure how to, or even for those of you are reading diverse books at the moment but want tips on how to find more books — this post is for you. 💛

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