July 3, 2019

Mini-reviews: Hungry Hearts + Spin the Dawn

pub 6/18/19 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
While Meet Cute remains my favorite of the YA anthologies, I'm pretty sure Hungry Hearts is my #2. What sets this group of stories apart is that they're interconnected. In addition to the overarching theme of food (which I mean, who doesn't love a book that makes them hungry afterwards), each story takes place in Hungry Hearts Row, where we follow thirteen different teenagers struggle with family, culture, love and self-worth but all their answers can be found in one of the many restaurants in the aforementioned community. In this book, food really is a balm for the soul and as I've said in another review that perpetuated the same message, I'm a huge fan of that. I enjoyed how characters popped up in other authors' works and all the references to Asian food (Filipino culture was very much represented!). I will say that, as in any anthology, not every story will be for you. And while I found the first half to be very strong, I thought the middle to the end ranged from lukewarm to a tad weak. My favorite stories were: Rain by Sangu Mandanna, The Grand Isha Adventure by Sandhya Menon (I wouldn't be mad if she turned this into a full-fledged novel), Sugar and Spite by Rin Chupeco, and Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid.

Do I recommend? If you enjoy anthologies, I think this is a fun one to borrow from the library!

pub 7/9/19 by Alfred A. Knopf
Books for Young Readers
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received e-ARC from pub for review
I know you're not supposed to judge books by their covers but as soon as I saw this I knew I had to read it – even before I knew what it was about! Luckily for me, Spin the Dawn ended up being a very entertaining read. It's touted as a Mulan retelling but really, the only similarity is that Maia Tamarin goes in her ailing father's place when he's summoned to court to show off his prowess as a tailor. And since the Prince is expecting a man, Maia poses as her brother so she can fulfill her own dream of becoming a great tailor and help her family at the same time. But that's where the similarities end. The rest is all Elizabeth Lim! The invitation to court turns out to be one for a competition where Maia is one of twelve tailors who must complete different assignments to prove who's best. Naturally, backstabbing, lies and cutthroat actions ensue.. and it gets worse. Maia's final task is an impossible one that takes her on an obstacle-filled journey, but luckily she doesn't have to go alone (hint hint: I really loved her companion!). In general, I liked the characters a lot. Maia is someone who loves her family and whose art is creating clothing. I enjoyed her relationship with her family, although I wish we could've seen more of it. And I did root for the romance. It's fairly obvious from the second they meet that it's going to go down that road but the beginning felt a bit "insta-love" to me. However the author does make up for it later and the details of the story and the dresses were really what drew me in.

Do I recommend? I do! I liked it and am looking forward to see where the next book goes.

1 comment

  1. Spin the Dawn was so fun to read! I'm very much looking forward to the sequel. And I really need to read Hungry Hearts! I genuinely think I'm going to enjoy that one so dang much.

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