Review: Three Dark Crowns

crownsTitle: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Publisher: HarperTeen
Availability: September 20th, 2016

Summary: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. If only it was that simple… [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Review: Three Dark Crowns is a mirror into the lives of three future queens fated to kill each other for the crown. The triplet sisters belong to three groups, each with their own powers, motivations, and schemes to maneuver their queen to a bloody victory. But of course, nothing goes according to plan.

The world of Three Dark Crowns and the inner lives of sisters Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe are rich and complex. Of course, as a result, there’s a bit of a learning curve in the first few chapters. It takes a little time to figure out what’s happening, who’s who, and everything else, but once you do, it’s easy to sink into the fascinating and, at times, heartbreaking twists and turns of the story.

Three Dark Crowns is told from the perspective of the three sisters, and it’s incredibly well done. In contrast, I was a bit thrown by a side character’s motivations and actions (Joseph, what?!). Similarly, the romance at times veers toward the classic YA insta-love. But, considering the pace and epic fantasy style of the book, it almost felt fitting.

I pretty much read this through in one go — and usually, I steer clear of dark fantasy, but after the first few chapters, I was ready for the long, 400-paged haul. I’m definitely grabbing the sequel when it comes out!

Recommendation: Buy it now!

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2017 To-Read List

As the weather grows colder, I’m digging out my fuzziest sweaters, stocking up on hot milk tea, and… looking ahead to my 2017 reads! There’s so many great books coming up the pipeline next year, and I fully plan to be on top of my to-read list.

Here are my top four anticipated reads coming out in 2017. What books are you excited for?

wintersongWintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Release date: February 7, 2017
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price… [Image and summary via Goodreads]

margot-sanchezThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Release date: February 21st 2017
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

 

 

 

29073707It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura
Release date: May 9th 2017
Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend… [Image and summary via Goodreads]

 

 

dimpleWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Release date: May 30th 2017
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

 

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After the Election: How to Help

With the election over, there’s a lot to be done. First and foremost, be sure to take care of yourself and give yourself time to recover. Beyond that, there are plenty of organizations on the local and national level that can use your time and/or money.

We at Rich in Color have put together a list of organizations which will be crucial to protecting vulnerable people in the next four years.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:
Civil rights:
Lambda Legal
American Civil Liberties Union
Southern Poverty Law Center
Anti-Defamation League

Racial justice:
NAACP
Campaign Zero
Black Lives Matter
Showing Up for Racial Justice
Hispanic Federation
National Council of La Raza
Central American Resource Center
Muslims for Progressive Values
Council on American-Islamic Relations
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

LGBTQIA, anti-violence, and reproductive justice:
Trans Lifeline
Planned Parenthood
Anti-Violence Programs
RAINN: Anti sexual assault
SAGE: Advocacy for LGBTQ older adults

Disability advocacy
Disability Visibility Project
National Council on Independent Living
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Environmental Justice
Sierra Club
EarthJustice: Environmental Law

More national organizations can be found here.

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
Local organizations do a lot of good work in the community. Ask at your local library or community center, or search online to find out what organizations are doing in your area.
#NoDAPL
Sacred Stone Camp
Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund

St. Louis:
Hands Up United
Organization for Black Struggle
Places for People: Mental health services
St. Patrick Center: Housing and employment
ArchCity Defenders: Civil rights and legal access

Los Angeles/Southern California
Border Angels: Immigration advocacy
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Equality California
Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
Los Angeles LGBT Center

YOUTH PROGRAMS
As shown through students walking out of classes to protest, marginalized youth will need support as well. Here are some organizations where you can donate and/or volunteer:
The Dream.Us
Boys & Girls Club of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Running Start: Bringing young girls and women into politics

OTHER WAYS TO HELP
-Get politically involved. Know your city leaders and school board members. Volunteer with the political party you support. Contact your representatives (see: the most effective methods). Turn out for local elections and the big ones. 2018 will be here sooner than you think.
Stay informed and subscribe to a local or national newspaper that you trust. Good journalism and investigative reporting will be crucial in the coming years.
-Volunteer with local schools, GED programs, English language programs, and immigration resources.
-Speak up when you encounter bigotry or prejudice! This may seem like a small thing, but it never hurts to start with the people around you.

Have any other suggestions? What are the organizations in your community that you plan on supporting? Let us know!

Edited to add further suggestions (thank you!):
Color of Change: online organization mobilizing racial justice
For supporting freedom of expression:
PEN
Amnesty International
National Coalition Against Censorship

Further edited to add more sections to the national organization list. Thank you for the suggestions!

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New Releases

Happy book birthday to two books releasing tomorrow (11/8)!

avengedAvenged (Vanished #2) by E.E. Cooper
Avenged is the conclusion to the Vanished duology, an absorbing, psychological suspense story about friendship, deception, jealousy, and love.

Everyone believes Beth’s death was an accident, except for Kalah. The girl she loved was stolen from her, and now Kalah’s broken heart wants revenge. In order to crack Brit’s perfect alibi, Kalah pretends to be Brit’s best friend—with the sole mission to destroy her.

Kalah knows that playing Brit’s game is deadly. One wrong move could cost someone their life, including her own…but the more lies Kalah tells, the closer she is to the twisted truth. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

fourFour-Four-Two by Dean Hughes

From the author of Soldier Boys and Search and Destroy comes a thought-provoking, action-packed page-turner based on the little-known history of the Japanese Americans who fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

Yuki Nakahara is an American. But it’s the start of World War II, and America doesn t see it that way. Like many other Japanese Americans, Yuki and his family have been forced into an internment camp in the Utah desert. But Yuki isn’t willing to sit back and accept this injustice. It’s his country too, and he’s going to prove it by enlisting in the army to fight for the Allies.

When Yuki and his friend Shig ship out, they aren’t prepared for the experiences they ll encounter as members of the Four-Four-Two, a segregated regiment made up entirely of Japanese-American soldiers. Before Yuki returns home if he returns home he’ll come face to face with persistent prejudices, grueling combat he never imagined, and friendships deeper than he knew possible. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

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Review: The Totally Awesome Hulk, Volume 1

27163012Title: The Totally Awesome Hulk, Volume 1: Cho Time
Author: Greg Pak, Frank Cho (Artist), Mike Choi (Artist)
Genres: Comic
Pages: 152
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Availability: July 26th, 2016

Summary: There’s a brand-new Hulk in town, and his name is Amadeus Cho! Get ready for gamma-fueled entertainment as the kid genius decides he’s gonna be the best Hulk ever -and just possibly brings the entire world crashing down into chaos! Cho is taking on the biggest monsters in the Marvel Universe, but can he handle the danger posed by Lady Hellbender? What will She-Hulk and Spider-Man make of this very different Green Goliath? And what exactly happened to Bruce Banner? With monster mayhem in the Mighty Marvel Manner, all from the wild and crazy minds of Planet Hulk writer Greg Pak and superstar artist Frank Cho, this is better than incredible, it’s totally awesome! [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Review: I’ll be honest. I went into this knowing next to nothing about the Hulk (or much about superheroes in general) save for what I’d seen in the movie theater. I picked up The Totally Awesome Hulk, Volume 1 purely because it was Korean Hulk! What! Yes.

I spent a lot of the volume trying to figure out how Amadeus Cho fit into the whole superhero world, where he came from, who he was previously, and trying to reconcile it to the hormonal, green monster he was in the story. I think some of the disorientation was certainly due to my total ignorance on superhero lore.

Despite the cluelessness that I brought to the table, I still managed to thoroughly enjoy reading Amadeus as the Hulk. I especially loved his interactions with his genius sister, who helped keep him grounded with snark and remote controlled robot advice. It’s definitely an action packed, mostly light-hearted adventure.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Amadeus Cho as Hulk. I want to learn more about who he is (and was), and I’d recommend it to just about anyone — even if you’re totally clueless about superhero stuff, like me. It’s not hard to dive into, regardless of your background.

I’m loving the trend of more PoC in superhero comics, and hope to see more and more of that. Also on my list is the Superman comics starring Kenan Kong by Gene Luen Yang and more of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. Dipping my toe into superhero comics is going swimmingly so far.

Recommendation: Buy it now!

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LGBTQIA PoC Fall Reads

It’s autumn, which means leaves crunching underfoot, chunky knit sweaters, and… LGBTQIA YA novels? Yes, and it’s awesome. This fall, there’s quite a few LGBTQIA books out, and a fraction of them are by/about PoC. Here are four of them:

lostLabyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova
Review by Crystal
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives. Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland… [Image and summary via Goodreads]

29904219Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Review by Jessica
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

moonWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Review by Audrey
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

25760792Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim
Release date: November 1st, 2016
Two o’clock was missing. In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Are any of these on your to-read list? What other PoC LGBTQIA books do you like?

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