The Star-Touched Queen: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiBorn with a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction, Maya is an outcast in the kingdom Bharata even though her father is the Raja. When his political machinations go horribly wrong, Maya finds herself married to Amar and queen of Akaran–a mysterious place filled with secrets and magic.

Amar offers Maya the chance to rule at his side and become more than Bharata ever would have allowed. All he asks in return is her patience and trust which soon prove more than she can give.

Maya’s search for answers will lead her across worlds and through her own fragmented memories to discover surprising truths about her husband’s kingdom and herself in The Star-Touched Queen (2016) by Roshani Chokshi.

Chokshi’s debut fantasy is filled with vivid and unexpected imagery as Maya discovers the wonders and dangers found in her new home in the Otherworld. Well-researched figures from Indian folklore and mythology, astonishing creatures, and expressive characters further complement this story.

A setting drawn from ancient India, romance with feminist sensibilities, and a unique magic system make this a novel sure to appeal to fans fantasy both high and urban as well as retellings of myths from other cultures.

Maya’s narration is refreshingly unapologetic about her ambitions and her desire for independence. Although her distrust and doubts lead to the main conflict of the story, Maya is quick to own those mistakes and works to correct them even when it might be to her detriment.

The Star-Touched Queen is a stunning debut filled with lush writing, smart characters, and a mysterious plot that provides as many twists as it does swoons. Sure to be the next big thing.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn, A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

You can also check out my interview with the author!

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in the March 2016 of School Library Journal as a starred review from which it can be seen on various sites online*

This Is Who I am Now: The Square Root of Summer Blog Tour

Square Root Summer Blog Tour BannerThis Is Who I Am Now

Today I’m sharing my part of the blog tour for The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood. I loved this book and I’ll be posting my review of it next week. Until then, I am answering some questions. I posted answers from February 25 when I first received them and from now to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.

You can also head to FierceReads.com today to see the other portion of this super fun blog tour.

  • What Brings You The Most Joy In Life?
    • Feb 25, 2016: So many things! I try to generally frame myself as an optimist and something I have been trying to do in 2016 is focus on things I want to do (reading books I want to read whenever I want to read them) and things that make me happy (going to museums). Really, I think what brings me the most joy above all else is getting to spend time or talk with my mom and my friends. I’ve been working really hard on keeping in touch with people and sending postcards to my far-flung friends.
    • May 1, 2016: I realized last week that I often equate a “productive” day with a “good” day. I really like the feeling of getting things done even if that means getting non-work things done. I have been trying to be more present instead of considering (worrying about) what comes next. But I also still really like hanging out with my mom and my friends!
  • What Are You Reading?
    • Feb 25, 2016: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (I’d been putting off finishing this trilogy but after reading Froi of the Exiles in December this felt like the right time to pick up the final book.)
    • May 1, 2016: I’m finishing up Summer Days, Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins. It’s more melancholy than I expected but I’m enjoying reading short stories from so many new to me authors.
  • What Is Something You’re Really Looking Forward To?
    • Feb 25, 2016: I’m starting to get excited about the NYC Teen Author Fest in March. I go to their signing at Books of Wonder almost every year with Nicole. I’m also planning for BEA in Chicago (where I’ve never been) but it’s still early days for that.
    • May 1, 2016: BEA is less than two weeks away! I’m excited for that and also for the chance to go to the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • What Is One Thing That’s Worrying You?
    • Feb 25, 2016: Last month I would have said I was worried about my taxes (I ended up owing a ton last year) but now that they are done I am feeling in a much better position and more prepared to plan my next moves financially. All is well!
    • May 1, 2016: I haven’t traveled anywhere for about ten years so I’m a bit worried I’m going to forget something important or end up packing all of the wrong things for Chicago.
  • What Is Something That You Always Have With You?
    • Feb 25, 2016: For always always I guess the obvious answer is my glasses since I can’t see anything without them. At work I always have my ID badge because it has my keys to the office and my desk.
    • May 1, 2016: I just started wearing contacts again so I still always have my glasses with me (just in case). I’ve also started using a notebook to track to dos and happenings and a daily progress calendar which I keep in my bag at all times.
  • What Is Something That You Wish You Could Change?
    • Feb 25, 2016: I’m letting my hair grow out from a pixie cut for the first time since grad school in 2010. I wish it was a bit longer because I feel like it’s at peak awkward length right now.
    • May 1, 2016: My hair is still driving me nuts so I would like to change that. I wish I was able to turn off my stress about things–it’s so ineffectual to waste time worrying about things obviously out of my control.

  • Add THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER to your to-read list on Goodreads.
  • Join in on social media with #SquareRootofSummer and #thisiswhoIamnow
  • Visit Harriet’s website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

The Decent Proposal: A Rapid Fire Review

The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan (2016)

The Decent Proposal by Kemper DonovanTwo strangers are approached and told that a mysterious benefactor will give them each five hundred thousand dollars at the end of the year. All they have to do is talk to each other weekly for a minimum of two hours one-on-one.

Although Elizabeth is suspicious of the offer and has little need for the money as an eight year associate at her law firm, she agrees with Richard that they have nothing to lose. Richard, for his part, certainly has everything to gain with his career floundering and his savings depleted.

What starts as an agreement to get easy money quickly becomes something more as Richard and Elizabeth get to know each other. Richard and Elizabeth had different reasons for agreeing to meet but can friendship (and maybe even something more) really be forced with the promise of a monetary incentive?

Donovan’s debut novel starts with a unique premise sure to draw readers in. The title and plot are immediately intriguing. Unfortunately, the novel’s execution is underwhelming by comparison.

The Decent Proposal is set in Los Angeles–the novel works especially hard to stress the latter with copious asides and details about life in LA and its neighborhoods that add little to the plot. The characters, though diverse, are often one-dimensional with good looks that alternate between effortless and understated depending on the character.

The choice to frame Elizabeth as an uptight and somewhat repressed woman who needs a man as an impetus to show her how to loosen up and embrace spontaneity was also deeply frustrating. There is a bit of mystery surrounding how and why Elizabeth and Richard are chosen for the proposal but that isn’t enough to make up for the slight characterization throughout.

The Decent Proposal is a self-aware story with a diverse cast of characters and a fun premise. A fun story about connection ideal for readers who are more concerned with a good plot than with fully developed characters.

Week in Review: May 1, 2016

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

You still have a few days to enter my giveaway for a finished paperback of Wild Swans so be sure to get in on that!

We made it! April is over and my annual adventure of blogging every day for National Poetry month has also finished! I cannot stress how awesome all of my guest contributors were this year. Every post blew me away and I have been so lucky to be able to share them all with you.

BEA is a little over a week away and I am freaking the hell out. Not really but it’s occurred to me that I have to actually start planning and it’s close enough that I can consider what clothes to pack without the weather totally shifting (ha). This weekend I started by buying the essentials I need for the trip, like Dramamine, and am starting to put things into my luggage. Fun times!

I am planning books to read in May which seems laughable with BEA also happening. But whatever. I can do it.

Thursday wasn’t my best day–lots of stress coming from no real source and general unease. I worked through it sharing some pretty pictures and walking a bit. I am trying to walk more on my lunch and take advantage of being down the block from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden but the cold snap this week has been challenging that. We’ll see how it goes!

I’ll leave you with some beautiful photos:

I also achieved some of the lowest stakes Internet fame ever this week.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my May Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

May 2016 Reading Tracker

You can also see what I read in April.

Books Read:

  1. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
  2. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Books On Deck:

  1. Breaker by Kat Ellis
  2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  3. And I Darken by Kiersten White
  4. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
  5. The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
  6. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Books Bought: 0

Gifted Books: 0

ARCs Received:

  1. The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen (requested, Amazon Vine)

May 2: Halfway through Every Exquisite Thing and I am so worried about everyone.

May 3: Some of my worries in Every Exquisite Thing worries were valid. Some weren’t. I’m still not sure how to feel but I think I might have missed something here. We’ll see.

Poetically Speaking with Miss Print 2016: Closing Post

poeticallyspeaking1Thank you for joining my in this crazy month-long celebration of National Poetry Month.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read these posts. Thank you especially to everyone who took the time to write them. This series would not have been possible without my amazing, enthusiastic guest contributors.

Here is the full schedule of who contributed to this wonderful month of posts:

  1. Intro Post
  2. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about “let it go” by ee cummings
  3. Week in Review
  4. Corey Ann Haydu on “Elm” by Sylvia Plath
  5. Author Interview: Aimee Friedman on Two Summers (with bonus giveaway post!)
  6. Two Summers: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  7. Where’s the Party?: A Picture Book Review
  8. Poetry Friday (repost) from Blythe Woolston
  9. Poetically Speaking with Estelle Hallick
  10. Week in Review
  11. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about “Dead Love” by Algernon Charles Swinburne
  12. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about “I Died for Beauty” by Emily Dickinson
  13. The Anatomy of Curiosity: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  14. Author Interview: Tessa Gratton on “Desert Canticle”
  15. Author Interview: Brenna Yovanoff on “Drowning Variations”
  16. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about a love song poem I wrote about space
  17. Week in Review
  18. Lesléa Newman on imitation in writing poetry
  19. Author Interview: Estelle Laure on This Raging Light
  20. This Raging Light: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  21. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about a poem I wrote about unrequited love
  22. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about a poem I wrote about traveling
  23. Poetically Speaking with Karuna Riazi about her path to poetry
  24. Week in Review
  25. Lindsey Krabbenhoft on what she does to share poetry with the world
  26. Poetically Speaking with Jessica Spotswood about her new novel Wild Swans and Edna St. Vincent Millay
  27. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  28. Poetically Speaking with Alexandra Hernandez about how poetry became part of her writing life
  29. Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about a poem I wrote inspired by dystopian books
  30. Closing Post

 

Thank you again for joining me for Poetically Speaking. Regular blog programming will resume next week!

Poetically Speaking with Me (Miss Print) about a poem I wrote inspired by dystopian books

poeticallyspeaking2For today’s Poetically Speaking post I’m taking over to talk about a poem I wrote inspired by dystopian novels.

Dystopian Love Song

 

One day after the world is ended
call me
when you’re ready to start again.

 

Maybe we can navigate this
broken shadow life
together.

 

You can even be my rising sun
if I’m not the knife at your throat first.

This is the first poem I wrote once I consciously decided to do a series of love song poems. Unsurprisingly, I got the idea for it while I was pondering Mockingjay.

This poem came to me almost in its entirety. I only had to spend time tweaking the line breaks and stanzas. I knew I wanted choppy, abrupt language which is my some of the lines are so short.

I could have changed the first line to be grammatically correct but I decided against it because 1. it’s a poem and poems can do what they want and 2. I like how it sounds with the “is ended” instead of “has ended.” I think it’s much more visceral immediate that way.

I wasn’t as concerned with mood here because I knew the mood would come across with what the poem was saying. So instead I focused on the imagery I could create. I don’t ever talk about what the world is like or say anything to imply a dystopia beyond the title in this poem. I hope I still conveyed all of that, though, with the lines I do present talking about a “broken shadow life” and the ended world.

I chose to use some punctuation here so that each stanza feels like a sentence and also to add to the choppiness of the poem and the starkness of the mood. This poem has “love song” in the title and the speaker in the poem is asking someone to call her and navigate this strange new world with them. It’s unconventional, but it could still be romantic. Except I knew I wanted an ending that was not entirely expected from the rest of the poem.

I wanted this poem to be about a mercenary, a survivor, someone who did what had to be done and didn’t worry too much about the collateral along the way. That’s where the final stanza came from and it’s still one of my favorite poem endings that I’ve written.

Note: This poem is an original work by me. If you are so inclined you can share it but please do so by crediting me (Emma Carbone not Miss Print) and linking back to this post.

Talk to me about your favorite poems or who you would want beside you at the end of the world in the comments and be sure to check back every day this April for more poetry-related posts and guest posts.