Dim Sum Book Tag

(I saw this tag on Aila’s blog One Way or An Author and thought it looked like a lot of fun so I decided to try it myself. All images below originally appeared in Aila’s post and were created by her but I had to include them because they’re so fun.)

Official tag explanation/origins: The Dim Sum Book Tag is the brainchild of Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Jenna @ Reading With Jenna. (Button at the top of this post made by them.) Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine whereby food is served in small (tapas-like) portions and is common during yum cha (which literally means: drinking tea). This tag is inspired by good company and good eats.


Here are some rules to devour this tag:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  2. Devour dim sum and answer the tag questions
  3. Tag five others to join your round table for some dim sum fun
  4. Food coma

Uprooted by Naomi NovikI was super excited for Uprooted but then it would up being one of my biggest duds for 2015 reads.


Passenger by Alexandra BrackenThere could be so many for this–especially this year–but in my heart of hearts the only right answer is Passenger.


Vicious by V. E. SchwabAnyone from a Victoria Schwab novel but especially Victor Vale from Vicious.


How about any second book in a series?


The Truth Commission by Susan JubyI thought The Truth Commission was going to be a light, satirical read but then it wound up being a sucker punch about perception, truth, and family. (In the best possible way.)


The Devil You Know by Trish DollerI loved The Devil You Know and the way it subverted traditional tropes found in the thriller genre as well as feminism (Doller actually described it as “Come for the thriller, stay for the feminism!”) but I think some people didn’t connect with it enough to appreciate all the layers.


Any book from Nicole! She is a wrapping queen!


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here manages to subvert a lot of cliches from supernatural movies and books while still being delightfully fun and original.


The Moon and More by Sarah DessenI desperately wanted Rolos while reading The Moon and More.


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehAt first I was just going to pick Passenger again but then I saw my copy of The Wrath and the Dawn and knew that was the right answer here.


I have started using tote/shoulder style bags because They are easier on my shoulders. I’ve also started making it a point to carry a bag that can actually hold everything I need instead of five smaller bags. Right now I’m using Fossil’s Sydney Shopper which has the added bonus of being PVC which makes it water-resistant and maintenance free.

I tag:

  1. Nicole @ Nicole’s Novel Reads
  2. Cyra @ Rattle the Pages
  3. Britt @ Please Feed the Bookworm
  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
  5. Erin @ The Hardcover Lover
  6. You!

Week in Review: February 28

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

At work I’ve been updating my crochet club and planning supplies and procedures for a new teen Maker program. Not much else to report.

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

How was your week?

The Word For Yes: A Review

*I don’t think this review is spoilery given what readers know from the publisher copy and the title. But you might disagree so read with caution.*

The Word for Yes by Claire NeedellJan, Erika, and Melanie Russell have never been especially close as sisters.

Eldest Jan is less present as she begins her first year at Brown where she struggles with lingering doubts that her life as an overachieving high school student will leave her stranded as a mediocre college freshman.

Effortlessly beautiful Erika with her science know-how and low social cognition has always been the beloved oddity in the family. Everyone worries about Erika being able to take care of herself in a world that is far less kind than she would imagine.

Youngest Melanie, at fifteen, is still figuring out where she fits with her high-achieving parents and sisters. Perpetually angry and frustrated by everything Erika does, Melanie is eager to leverage her own social savvy against the constraints of her youth to have some actual fun at the coolest concerts and parties she can find.

When Melanie is sexually assaulted at a party, the entire family is thrown into turmoil. In the wake of the date rape, Erika is sure the crime should be reported while Melanie is desperate to get back to normal. In the weeks after the rape, questions of consent and intention swirl about both Melanie and Gerald at their private school as both of them–and even Erika and Jan–wonder how to move forward in The Word For Yes (2016) by Claire Needell.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Word For Yes is Needell’s first novel.

The narration alternates chapter viewpoints to follow each sister and even Gerald–the boy who assaults Melanie–throughout the novel in close third person. However, because The Word For Yes is so short, these chapters often feel abrupt and cursory as the novel moves from subplot to subplot.

It’s hard to think of The Word For Yes as anything but an issue book since the entire driving force of the story is Melanie’s rape and its aftermath. As such, certain comparisons are inevitable. While this book joins recent publications like Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw and Consent by Nancy Ohlin in the important conversation about rape and sexual assault, it fails to add anything new to that discussion. It also falls short compared to classics like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Inexcusable by Chris Lynch.

The Word For Yes also touches upon issues of bullying, adjusting to college, and changing family dynamics. Sadly this book ultimately lacks the depth to offer anything but a quick read that takes on too much. Plot threads for each sister–including what is meant to be a powerful confrontation scene for Melanie–come off as decidedly anti-climactic and even clinical with so little time being spent on individual aspects of the story.

While The Word For Yes should be applauded for attempts to thoughtfully discuss issues surrounding rape, as well as some level of diversity, this novel is ultimately too slight to be anything but a forgettable issue-driven story.

Possible Pairings: Never, Always, Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler, Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, Althea and Oliver by Christina Moracho, Consent by Nancy Ohlin, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in an issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen on various sites online*

Author Interview: E. K. Johnston on A Thousand Nights

E. K. Johnston author photoFairy tale retellings have always been popular. 2015 brought two delightful retellings of The Arabian Nights to YA readers. E. K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights is a thoughtful and subversive retelling imbued with as much magic and feminism. It has quickly become one of my favorite novels and I’m thrilled to have E. K. Johnston here to answer some questions about her novel.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell me a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

E. K. Johnston (EKJ): I was never one of those people who always wanted to be a writer, though in hindsight I can tell you that I spent most of my childhood LARPing The Chronicles of Narnia and Star Wars in my back yard woodlot. I told myself stories, but didn’t write them down. When I went to university, I started writing fan fiction, but it wasn’t until 2009, when I was finished my Masters and didn’t have final papers due in the month of November that I first tackled an original novel. I did NaNoWrimo in 2009 and 2010, completing two manuscripts that will probably never see the light of day. Then, during NaNo 2011, I wrote The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, and the rest is history. :)

MP: What was the inspiration for A Thousand Nights? What drew you to The Arabian Nights as source material?

EKJ: I really wanted to do a folktale retelling, and was piecing together a story based on Sleeping Beauty. While I was hammering out some of the world building, I realized that there was an older story I could tell, about where magic came from. That story wasn’t The Arabian Nights – it’s too old – but it was a story that could become The Arabian Nights. Then one night at work I thought “Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls when he came to my village, looking for a wife“, and that was that!

MP: This book is, appropriately, set in a desert society. How did you find and choose details to include in your story to evoke this setting? What kind of research was involved?

EKJ: Not so much research as personal experience! The deserts in NIGHTS are based on the deserts I have spent time in as a archaeologist and tourist in Jordan. The Scrub Desert is the north, and the Sand Desert is the south. The details that I used are all things that I have felt or seen or heard in the desert, particularly the way the wind picks up at sunset (though I had to leave out the children and their kites), and also the stars over Wadi Rum.

MP: Working off the last question, did any real locations help you envision the setting for this book? Did any pieces from The Arabian Nights particularly help inform the world of A Thousand Nights?

EKJ: Two in particular! The Turkish Bath in Amman, Jordan provided the feel for the scenes with the Henna Mistress, and the Umayyad palace on top of the Amman Citadel gave me the layout of the king’s qasr, though, again, the Umayyad dynasty is much too late for the setting of the book. (Sometimes you have to cheat for good architecture!)

MP: You made a deliberate choice in this book to not name the narrator and most of the characters (with a few exceptions including, notably, Lo-Melkhiin). Can you talk about your decision to avoid names in this novel?

EJK: I decided not to name any of the characters (the king doesn’t really have a name either) for two reasons. 1. We don’t know that much about Middle Bronze Age names for people who aren’t very high class, and 2. NIGHTS is, at heart, a folktale. Names always have power in folk tales, and they’re also usually pretty…general. I wanted it to be a recurring theme in the book.

MP: How did you decide which characters should be named? Since it does stand out as one of the only names in the story, can you talk about how you chose Lo-Melkhiin‘s name?

EKJ: Lo-Melkhiin is actually a title as well, and not a real name at all. I took the sounds that form the modern Arabic word for “king”, and then moved them around a bit. All languages experience phonetic shift, and so this is a good way to make a word seem older. The other names that appear in the book are also titles, Arabic (ish) words that mean exactly what the person is. The bulk of the names, though, I translated into English, for simplicity. My narrator has a name from everyone who loves her, which I think is kind of cool. The king on has two names (“the king” and “my son”), because no one likes him.

MP: One of my favorite things about A Thousand Nights is how much craft (weaving, embroidery, sculpture) and storytelling factor into the story. Did you always know that these themes with creation and story would feature in this novel?

EKJ: I did, because it’s the bedrock on which the book is written. Fairies and making always have a complementary relationship (usually bad for the maker!), so I knew that it was going to be a lot of the plot, both literally and metaphorically. And storytelling was a given, with the source material I was working with!

MP: Did you have a favorite scene to write in A Thousand Nights or a scene you are excited for readers to discover?

EKJ: I think my favourite scene to write was the hyena-murder chapter. My favourite scene in the book is the one with the talking camel, though. :)

MP: Can you share anything about your next project?

EKJ: I can! I have a companion novel for A THOUSAND NIGHTS coming out late this year. Remember how I mentioned Sleeping Beauty way up in the interview? Well that’s the companion. It’s called SPINDLE, and it takes place about 1500 years after NIGHTS (so about 500BCE), and tells the story of a kidnapping attempt that turns desperate when a curse-plagued princess proves to be almost as dangerous as she is endangered.

I also have a contemporary novel out on March 15, called EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR, which is Shakespeare and Cheerleaders (and Rape Culture).

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

EKJ: Keep writing, keep reading, keep trying. And listen. Listen really hard.

Thanks again to EK Johston for this awesome interview.

You can see more about EK Johnston and her books on her website.

You can also check out my review of A Thousand Nights.

A Thousand Nights: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

A Thousand Nights by E. K. JohnstonLo-Melkhiin has married many times. He has already killed three hundred girls when he arrives at a village in the desert looking for a new wife. One girl knows he will want only the loveliest girl as his new bride. She knows he will want her sister.

To make sure her sister is safe, she ensures that she will be taken in her place. She knows that she will die soon but it will be worthwhile because her sister will live. In their village she will become a smallgod; a legend to whom her relatives and ancestors will send their prayers.

But she doesn’t die her first night in the palace. Nor the next. Instead, she uses her precious, unexpected time to make sense of the dangers and beauties she finds in the palace.

Everyone agrees that Lo-Melkhiin is a good ruler. Many claim he was a good man once. No one knows what went wrong. No one knows how to change it. His newest bride might have the power to  save Lo-Melkhiin and the kingdom. But only if she can stay alive in A Thousand Nights (2015) by E. K. Johnston.

Johnston stays true to the oral tradition of fairy tales in this retelling of “One thousand and One Nights” complete with the subtle changes and omissions that come from many, many tellings. Because of that it is fitting that most of the characters in A Thousand Nights have no names.

This story is also subverts many fairy tale conventions and gender roles by placing a girl not only as the protagonist but also as the hero and driving force of the story–a theme that is further underscored by this girl at the center of the novel having no name of her own.

A Thousand Nights is a quiet, understated book. Although it lacks the flash and fanfare of high action, it more than makes up for that with thoughtfully developed characters and provocative introspection throughout. The novel includes a strong emphasis on craft–the power that comes from making something both with intangible things like words in stories and also with more physical creations including embroidery, weaving, and sculpture.

With subversive themes and a strong feminist thread, Johnston creates a retelling that impressively transcends its source material to become something new. Lyrical writing and evocative descriptions complete the spell that is A Thousand Nights. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, The Reader by Traci Chee, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen, The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, And I Darken by Kiersten White

*This book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2015*

You can also check out my interview with the author about this book!

The Last Place on Earth: A Review

The Last Place on Earth by Carol SnowDaisy Cruz is used to her best friend Henry skipping school for unnecessary sick days. What she isn’t used to is Henry not answering her texts and his entire family disappearing without notice.

At first Daisy thinks maybe is has something to do with their last awkward encounter. But the longer Henry is missing, the more Daisy worries–especially when she finds a note on Henry’s desk that says “Save Me.” Was it a sudden relocation because of witness protection? An alien abduction? Something even less plausible? Could it have something to do with all of her classmates that are getting sick?

Following Henry’s trail leads Daisy into California’s wilderness and straight to Henry’s (and his family’s) biggest secret in The Last Place on Earth (2016) by Carol Snow.

The Last Place on Earth is a strange little book where the mystery surrounding a missing friend quickly morphs into a story about a plague, survival, doomsday preppers, and a really awkward first kiss.

Heavy-handed exposition and erratic pacing unfortunately dilute the overall impact of an otherwise suspenseful and surprising story.

Daisy is an enterprising and sincere narrator as her search for Henry moves in unexpected directions.Her humor and the “will they or won’t they” romance she has with Henry keeps the plot moving and adds heart to this unusual story.

The Last Place on Earth is has short chapters and numerous plot twists that make it ideal for reluctant readers and middle grade readers looking to transition into YA titles. An excellent choice for fans of survival stories and post-apocalyptic tales as well as readers who prefer their romances sweet and comfortably PG.

Possible Pairings: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss, Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle, The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes, Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Starters by Lissa Price, Catch & Release by Blythe Woolston

*An advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher for review consideration*

A Gathering of Shadows: A Review

*A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series which begins with A Darker Shade of Magic. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one.*

“Strength and weakness are tangled things. They look so much alike, we often confuse them, the way we confuse magic and power.”

A Gathering of Shadows FinalIt’s been four months since a smuggled stone from Black London nearly destroyed the three remaining cities that share its name. Four months since Kell tied his own life to his brother Rhy, the crown Prince of Red London, to save Rhy’s life. Four months since Kell and his unlikely ally Delilah Bard had to fight their way through the Dane twins in White London to try and save both of their worlds. Four months since Kell returned the stone to Black London along with Holland’s dying body.

Life should be returning to normal.

Rhy is recovered though the nightmare of that night  four months ago still haunt him. Kell stuggles with his guilt and the aftermath of his actions but he is reformed now–a smuggler no more–and determined to make amends. Lila, meanwhile, is trying to find her way in a foreign land in a foreign world now that she has finally left Grey London behind for Red London and its magic.

While Red London prepares for the Element Games, crowds gather for the spectacle and both Lila and Kell find themselves drawn to the games for different reasons. With old friends and allies converging in Red London, perhaps it only makes sense that something darker is waiting to claim its moment in White London.

After all, in worlds where everything has a price and magic can never really be destroyed, alliances and purposes can become very, very, messy in A Gathering of Shadows (2016) by V. E. Schwab.

Find it on Bookshop.

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series which begins with A Darker Shade of Magic.

A Gathering of Shadows expands the worlds introduced in book one by delving deeper into the international (and even cross-world) politics found in Red London while also bringing other empires and lands into the story. Rich descriptions help bring all of the settings, but especially Red London, vividly to life throughout the novel.

The larger story arc of the series plays out well against the backdrop of A Gathering of Shadows‘ more contained story centered around Element Games. Schwab’s intricate plotting follows various characters in close third person perspective as the novel builds to a climax that is surprising at times but ultimately satisfying.

If A Darker Shade of Magic was all about discovering that magic comes at a price, then A Gathering of Shadows explores what shapes that payment can take as characters search for redemption, validation, and even absolution in their own ways.

A Gathering of Shadows is another sophisticated fantasy with high appeal in a series that seems to only get better with each installment. A must read for fans of book one. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

*An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Week in Review: February 21

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This post is late because the weekend was a whirlwind of cooking and errands that left me quite worn out.

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

How was your week?

Boys Don’t Knit: A Review

Boys Don't Knit by T. S. EastonBen Fletcher knows his friends are good for nothing but trouble. After an unfortunate incident involving a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi, Ben is especially sure that he needs new people–particularly when the judge decides to make an example of Ben.

As part of his probation Ben has to Make Things Right with said crossing guard. No easy feat when she seems determined to kill him with household objects hurtled from windows. Worse. He has to take a class to improve himself. Desperate to avoid his father’s mechanic class, Ben decides to try knitting where he can at least ogle the hot teacher. Except, of course, she isn’t actually the teacher.

No one is more surprised than Ben when he starts to show an actual talent for knitting. Even more shocking is the realization that knitting helps keep Ben calm and eases his (many) anxieties. Except, of course, for the ones related to panicking about his friends and family finding out that Ben Fletcher–accidental criminal and intentional liar–is a knitting prodigy in Boys Don’t Knit (2015) by T. S. Easton.

Find it on Bookshop.

Boys Don’t Knit was originally published in the United Kingdom where it also has a sequel (An English Boy in New York) which will hopefully make its way across the pond soon.

Boys Don’t Knit is an unexpected, funny novel. Written as Ben’s probation-mandated diary, the novel chronicles Ben’s brief flirtation with shoplifting (and the unfortunate crossing guard incident) before moving into his knitting misadventures.

The humor here is decidedly English and as charmingly quirky as you’d expect. Ben is neurotic, precocious, and looking for ways to make sense of his increasingly confusing teen years. Something he finds, unlikely as it may be, in knitting.

Boys Don’t Knit is often sensationalized and exaggerated with big moments for humor tempered by Ben’s introspection about his family or his friends (a friend writing a rip-off of Fifty Shades of Grey with the original name of Fifty Shades of Graham adds another layer of absurdity and a lot more fun). A hint of romance between Ben and his long-time crush also helps to move the plot along.

Easton keeps the narrative very focused on the world through the lens of a teenage boy while also populating this story with strong women including Ben’s crush and several authority figures including his mother and teachers.* Ben is honest and authentic throughout the story both with his knitting and the rest of his life. Boys Don’t Knit is a perfect read for anyone looking for a bubbly bit of cheer and some good fun.

Possible Pairings: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood, Frankly in Love by David Yoon

*SPOILERS: There’s some coarse language in here, as can be expected from teenagers. It didn’t bother me and it works in the story but since this book is otherwise middle grade appropriate it seemed worth mentioning. There is also a scene where Ben and his friends spend their afternoon ogling a woman with a broken leg struggling to put groceries in her car (causing her skirt to ride up repeatedly). Ben points out how their behavior is problematic and a bit gross in the narrative itself but again it does move the target age a bit higher for the story.

The Girl from Everywhere: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“Sometimes a person has to let go of something to take hold of something else. You always have to choose what’s more important.”

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligNix Song has spent all of her sixteen years watching her father, Slate, Navigate his ship, The Temptation, using historical and mythical maps to travel to distant lands and times most people can only imagine.

For as long as Nix can remember Slate has been trying to return to Honolulu in 1868–a time before Nix was born and her mother was still alive. Nix doesn’t know what will happen to her if Slate ever succeeds. All she knows is that every attempt has failed.

Slate’s quest has driven him to desperate acts before. When the promise of another authentic map surfaces, Nix will have to decide how far she is willing to go to help Slate this time in The Girl from Everywhere (2016) by Heidi Heilig.

The Girl From Everywhere is Heilig’s debut novel and the start of a new series.

While The Girl From Everywhere is filled with action and excitement, what really sets this story apart are the characters. Nix acts at the central point connecting the diverse crew of The Temptation who, over the years, have come to be a family of sorts. With differing backgrounds that only hint at their past, the characters here–crew and otherwise–are all authentic and nuanced. Nix’s best friend and incorrigible thief Kashmir is an especially delightful addition to the novel.

Written in Nix’s first person narrative, The Girl from Everywhere blends elements of historical fiction and a unique fantasy concept allowing for a clever interplay between historical events, mythology, and the complications of causality typically found in time travel stories. Evocative backdrops and detailed descriptions help bring Nix’s world to life as she travels to places both real and imagined.

High action and a generally self-contained plot make this book a thrilling read with tantalizing hints of what readers can expect in book two. The Girl from Everywhere is a fantastic debut and series starter with a charming cast of characters sure to become fan favorites. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins, Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Malice by Pintip Dunn, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, Everless by Sara Holland, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Never Never by Brianna Shrum, Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser, Pivot Point by Kasie West

*Ad advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher for review consideration*