Our Friend is Here! Latinx Heritage Month – An Interview with Natalia Sylvester, Author of Running; On Writing Vulnerability and Growth and Latinx Familial Dynamics

Our Friend is Here! Latinx Heritage Month - An Interview with Natalia Sylvester, Author of Running; On Writing Vulnerability and Growth and Latinx Familial Dynamics. Illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, gesturing widely to Natalia as an alpaca wearing a wavy hoodie.

Our Friend is Hereis 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.

Our Friend is Here: Latinx Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where between September 15th and October 15th, Latinx authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Latinx and Latinx books. Find the introduction post for Latinx Heritage Month at The Quiet Pond here.

Have you ever read a book where, within the first few chapters, you knew that it’d be your new favourite book? That was how I felt when I read Running by Natalia Sylvester. I was blown away and amazed by how tightly all the different themes and ideas of the book were interwoven – and that’s why I knew that I absolutely had to invite Natalia Sylvester to the Pond so I could discuss with her how awesome and thoughtful her book was and her thought processes behind writing Running!

Read More »

Book Review: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert – A Warm Yet Sharp ‘All in One Day’ Love Story that Takes Place on Election Day

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert. Tagline: Make it count.

Blurb:

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.

And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

CW’s Review:

I don’t know how Brandy Colbert does it. I don’t know she deftly balances a story that is both incredibly warm and soft but also incisive in its discourse in activism and privilege. After reading The Voting Booth, I came away with these warm and fuzzies because the love story is such a treasure and a delight but I also loved how it made me think, reflect, and feel deeply about the Black experiences portrayed in the story.

Read More »

Book Review: Go Deep by Rilzy Adams – I Need to Lay Down

Go Deep. Rilzy Adams.

Summary:

It was all supposed to be so simple.

Navaya Howard is an erotic writer in a rut. Her readers are fed up of her stale plots and Navaya can’t blame them. She’s been celibate for over a year and a half since finding her now ex-boyfriend’s side chick’s positive pregnancy test on her bathroom counter. How can she write steamy romances if she can barely remember which body parts go into the other?

Navaya enlists the help of her best friend, Xander, to revive the inspiration that used to have her sitting comfortably at the top of her game. What happens when the sex hits deeper than either of them expected and the tender emotions can no longer be denied?

Navaya and Xander’s arrangement has gone far deeper than intended.
Will their friendship and their hearts survive the fall?

Joce’s review:

Thank you so much to Sil @ thebookvoyagers for the recommendation!

Go Deep is a novella that zooms in on my favorite meta trope: a writer or author who needs inspiration and their journey to do so. Bonus points here, I like my romances EXTREMELY sexy and this completely delivered. It may only be around 150 pages, but Rilzy Adams had me thinking about her characters, and her characters TOGETHER, for a good while longer. When I saw Sil talking about how amazing this book is, I truly had no idea quite how long I’d be thinking about it for (Read: I finished two weeks ago and still think about it daily).

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Lauren Ho, Author of Last Tang Standing; On Her Experiences of Being a Chinese-Malaysian Woman and Humorous Asian Reads

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month. Author Interview with Lauren Ho, author of Last Tang Standing, on her experiences of being a chinese-malaysian woman, and humorous asian reads.

Our Friend is Hereis 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.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

If you know me, you know I am always on the hunt for Crazy Rich Asians readalikes. While I can give some criticisms to CRA, including some issues with the representation of South Asians and mental health in the third novel (not Colin Khoo’s depression because WE STAN A STRONG FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN MEN!), it was one of the first book series I ever saw myself in. Now, moving into my late 20s, I also look for plucky heroines navigating the same life stage as myself. Enough about me though, let me tell you about the amazing book I just read…

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Naomi Hirahara, Author of Iced in Paradise; On Being a WOC Mystery Author, Lovable Curmudgeons, and Mystery Recs by PoC!

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Naomi Hirahara, author of iced in paradise, on being a woman of colour mystery author, lovable curmudgeons, and mystery recs by people of colour! Illustration of Cuddle the otter, her arms stretched out wide, showing off Naomi as a beaver wearing grey running shoes.

Our Friend is Hereis 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.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

I have always been a reader of mysteries and thrillers. It was the first genre I fell in love with for its page-turning, edge of your seat, nail-biting qualities and rhythms. I was a regular ol’ Nancy Drew. However, over time I realized that the genre as a whole didn’t showcase people of color, let alone Asian-American women. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I have been searching my whole life for mysteries that reflect my experience.

Read More »