Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Meredith Ireland, Author of The Jasmine Project; On Writing an Adoptee-Centered Story and the Journey of Becoming Who You Want to Be

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.

If you love the sound of a The Bachelorette-inspired YA romantic comedy about a Korean American adoptee whose family set her up with three boys to show her that she’s worth more than her cheating boyfriend, then friends – you really have to read The Jasmine Project. I’ve been in the mood for a funny and heartwarming book about love, and The Jasmine Project hit all the right spots (and if you’re curious, I had the privilege of sharing the first two chapters of The Jasmine Project last week)!

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Sarah Suk, Author of Made in Korea – On Ambitions as Identity, Loving Grandparents, and Writing Asian Parents

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.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

I have probably said this before, but am not ashamed to say it again (and again): diverse young adult contemporary romances are such spectacular shining lights in young adult literature right now. And if you are looking for such a book that shines brilliantly and brightly, that delights and warms your soul, then look no further than Made in Korea by Sarah Suk, a spectacular rivals-to-romance story between two Korean-American teens who go head-to-head in their Korean product businesses.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Graci Kim, Author of The Last Fallen Star – On Korean Folklore, Building Elemental Magic Systems, and Self-Acceptance

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.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

Way back in January, on a mostly-sleepy New Year’s Day, I picked up an early copy of The Last Fallen Star on a whim, having been eagerly anticipating it since its very first book announcement. And friends, I was enraptured. I basically inhaled the book in one sitting. Delving into this magical world of divine goddesses, haetae, and uniquely Korean-inspired magic reminded me of the best parts of my early childhood experience with Percy Jackson: the way magic thrums right underneath our noses in the modern world, how story winds and bends in exciting (and at times, unpredictable!) ways, and how all the characters were so lovable and easy to root for. Today, I am absolutely delighted to bring you an interview I had with the gracious Graci Kim herself, where we chat about the book and her journey as an author so far!

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Book Review: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk – K-Beauty and K-Pop Come Head-to-Head in this Delightful Rivals-to-Lovers YA Rom-Com

Synopsis:

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.

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

Reading Made in Korea felt like a balm to the soul. There is something so satisfying about reading a romantic contemporary that just hits all the good spots: great storytelling, a rivals-to-lovers romance that I absolutely adored and rooted for, a cast of characters that were all flawed yet earnestly human, and nestled in between a tender story about ambition, identity, and acceptance from family.

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Book Review: Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta – As Vicious as a Serrated Blade; a Queer Mecha-Dystopia about Identity, Love, and Teens in a Futile War

Gearbreakers
Synopsis

We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead...

The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

I was provided an eARC from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. Give me a story about mecha god-like machines that shake the earth, angry queer girls, and enemies-to-lovers, and I will probably be first in line to read it. Though Gearbreakers was not quite what I expected, I ultimately enjoyed this action-packed story, primarily for its unexpectedly compelling and evocative themes.

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