By the time Maya’s Halmunee came to live with her and her mother, Maya was accustomed to quick pizza dinners, lone walks with her pug, Gizmo, and not having much family time at all. She understands that her mother is doing her best to provide for the three of them, especially since Maya’s dad died which they don’t speak of. Did he like the same foods as Maya? Are there any quirks Maya has that were his first? Until one sweltering day, Halmunee asks Maya to help her make patbingsu (a loaded shaved ice dish). Upon first bite, Halmunee squeezes Maya’s hand and with a big WOOSH they are transported back—back to the 1970s watching Maya’s ancestors eat patbingsu in Seoul, South Korea. It’s important to know where one comes from and how it can shape identity. As a Chicana who understands my own history through education in Chicanx Studies, I was completely enthralled by Maya’s newfound opportunity and rooting for her to uncover more about herself and her ancestors through Halmunee’s time travel. This book had me drooling at the delicious Korean dishes Maya and Halmunee cook together. I wished I was in the kitchen with them learning alongside Maya. With Halmunee’s miraculous gift, will Maya be able to unlock a memory that includes her father so that she can get to know him? Does Maya have Halmunee’s gift too? A Spoonful of Time is a stunning adventure of time travel, the restrengthening of family bonds, and most importantly, food with RECIPES!
When I tell you I was hooked from the first page, I mean it with my soul. This book is set up as a layout of evidence for your consideration: a manuscript and intermittent exhibits of court transcripts that attempt to explain why Greyson Hale murdered his classmate, preferred solitary confinement, wrote his life story, then committed suicide in his prison cell. The manuscript is Greyson’s autobiography as written in his cell. Not a spoiler, it says this on the book cover, promise. I kept raising my eyebrows and blurting out, “BROOO!!” at perfectly placed reveals, psychological puzzles, and a healthy dose of creepy moments that are sure to get your heart racing. Is Greyson Hale being tormented by something supernatural or are his inner demons clawing themselves out?
Spine-chilling hauntings, nods to true crime, a puzzle-like plot… I. Eat. That. Ish. Up. When 18-month-sober, Mallory Quinn, lands a much-needed nanny job to get back on her feet, she starts to question what she’s just gotten into when 5-year-old, Teddy, begins to draw creepy things during quiet time. As the drawings begin to evolve well beyond the abilities of any five-year-old, shit starts to go down. If Teddy doesn’t remember drawing these masterful yet alarming artworks, then who drew them? Mallory must figure out what exactly is ailing this little boy she’s grown so fond of before his parents question her sanity. The synopsis I’ve just given is only the very surface of what you will encounter in Hidden Pictures. I wish I could spill every hair-raising haunt, every startling realization, every piece of the puzzle as I did when thoroughly explaining it to my boyfriend-held-hostage, Kevin. HE even loved it and only heard the story through my rough explanation. If you still don’t believe me about how great this horror novel is, then believe Kevin.
If you had one opportunity to seize the life and the version of yourself that you have always dreamt of, would you capture it? What if that opportunity is fighting for survival with strangers on a new reality TV show? Mara and the five strangers endure the perils of survival for money, fame, or personal fortitude to transform their lives. Soon they find themselves completely submerged in a far more sinister danger than they signed up for. Braverman flawlessly juxtaposes the deteriorating hope spreading throughout the group psyche with the placebo effect that the responsibility of teamwork induces as a false sense of safety. Small Game is a stomach-turning, spine-shivering, shoulder-tensing experience that wrings the reader’s anxieties as they trudge through every obstacle alongside each character, all of whom we ultimately root for until the end. Braverman had me believing that I could survive in the wilderness based purely on the in-depth knowledge of survival she weaves throughout the pages; this unearned confidence is dangerous in itself.
Life without listening is just noise. We learn to differentiate sounds in our surroundings like a dog’s bark, the back-up beeps of a moving van, or the chime of the doorbell at the entrance of the Asian seafood market. These sounds contribute to the symphony of everyday life. Similarly, we learn to experience words by how they sound and how we say them like how “soar” floats and “sink” is heavy. Listen helps build intuition and recognize empathy for others. It is also a vital form of self-care to listen to one’s own body and mind. This book navigates all of these various forms of listening to establish children’s awareness beyond the noise to focus on their own surroundings, care for those around them, and understand themselves.