Intrigue and Romance: A Review of Foul Lady Fortune

Foul Lady Fortune
Chloe Gong
Simon and Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books
September 27, 2022
Age: 14 and up

It’s 1931 Shanghai; Imperial Japan has just invaded Manchuria. Rosalind Lang, a Chinese Nationalist assassin, must investigate a string of murders through the city before the Japanese use the terrorist actions as a pretense for invasion. Fighting against her training as a killer, and instead acting as a spy in a normal-seeming office building, she must work with the wealthy playboy and Nationalist spy Orion Hong, her new fake husband. All while keeping secret her identity of Lady Fortune and her ability to heal from almost any wound hidden. The story’s core is both an excellent spy thriller and romance between Orion and Rosalind. Author Chloe Gong sets the stage for a complicated ride through the intrigue of the time. Orion and Rosalind both have a sibling in the Communist party, with whom the Nationalists are at war. Orion’s trust in the Nationalist party is in question due to his father’s connection to Imperial Japan, and Rosalind is a notorious former gangster. While not perfect, these tensions, pulling at well-written characters, create some great dramatic moments. Gong utilizes shifting points of view in occasional chapters to build tension and fill out the identities of the secondary characters. In one instance, a chapter ends on a cliffhanger, only to build back up to that same cliffhanger in the next, as a new character learns the truth, revealing the satisfying twist. While this book can be read as a stand-alone, it does assume some familiarity with the characters, using a light hand to describe their sexual preferences, gender identity, and political ideology, which may be further developed in later installments.


A well-crafted romantic spy thriller with a great lead into future stories.

Butler Bookshelf


In the urban fantasy novel The Whispering Dark, Delaney Meyers-Petrov is a Deaf college student with a peculiar connection to the afterlife. When she’s offered a spot at an elite university program that trains students to slip between parallel worlds, she’s excited for an opportunity to prove herself and show others that she isn’t as fragile as they think.

Check it out, along with the other titles we are featuring below!

Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure
Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 16th!

I Was Born for This
Written by Alice Oseman
Published by Scholastic Press
Available October 18th!

Something About Grandma
Written and Illustrated by Tania de Regil
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 9th!

A Synagogue Just Like Home
Written by Alice Blumenthal McGinty and Illustrated by Laurel Molk
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 9th!

The Whispering Dark
Written by Kelly Andrew
Published by Scholastic Press
Available October 18th!

Butler Bookshelf

A couple of our staff members visited ALA this week, (if you’d like to read more about the event head over to our blog post on it https://wordpress.com/post/butlerspantry.org/34939) so we are featuring some of the books that we brought home from the trip! Slip by Marika McCoola and Aatamja Pandya follows Jade who is on her way to a summer art incentive when her best friend, Pheobe, attempts suicide. Jade must deal with her feeling if she doesn’t focus completely on Pheobe, does that mean she is abandoning her.

Check it out along with the other titles we are featuring below!

Everyday Hero MachineBoy
Written by Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong
Published by SkyBound Comet
Available Sept 13th!

Magically Maximus
Written by Kiki Thorpe and Illustrated by Laura Catrinella
Published by Disney Hyperion
Available Now!

My Second Impression of You
Written by Michelle I. Mason
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
Available Sept 20th!

The Orphan Keeper
Written by Camron Wright
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Available Now!

A Scatter of Light
Written by Malinda Lo
Published by Dutton Books
Available Oct 4th!

Slip
Written by Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Available Now!

Butler Bookshelf

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way. by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin is the shared memoir of two great creators and best friends who happen to have the same name. Follow their story of meeting in New York and becoming the artists they are today.

Check it out along with the other titles we are featuring below!

Bad Things Happen Here
Written by Rebecca Barrow
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Brooks
Available Today!

Jigsaw: Mystery in the Mail
Written and Illustrated by Bob Graham
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

Leila: The Perfect Witch
Written and Illustrated by Flavia Z. Drago
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

McTavish on the Move
Written by Meg Rosoff
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way.
Written by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
Published by Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Available Today!

The Other Side of the River
Written by Alda P. Dobbs
Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Available September 6th!

Three Wishes to Love: A Review of The Loophole

The Loophole
Naz Kutub
Bloomsbury Publishing
June 21, 2022
Ages 14 and up

Sayyed, “Sy”, regrets the day he let go of his ex-boyfriend, Farouk. But being from a strictly disciplined and overly protective Indian-Muslim family never gave him room to live his own life; much less travel the world with Farouk. When his life is suddenly interrupted by a mysterious girl and she offers to grant him three wishes for his help, Sy takes the opportunity to track down his ex to reconcile their relationship. Little does Sy know that his whirlwind international adventure would take him through riots, air raids, and to a refugee camp, making him take risks and be braver than he’s ever been before in the name of love.

Interspersed with flashbacks of his past with Farouk and chapters of a related story about a djinn, the novel gives off a vibe of magical realism as Sy is whisked on a journey from one side of the world to the other. The fast pace and many new twists in Sy’s unanticipated adventure make it easier to see his transition from naivete to courage, and to confront his dad about him being gay. On top of Sy experiencing LGBTQ discrimination, themes of political upheaval, and cultural sensitivity are approached as possible to overcome as long as people have hope. Kutub also infuses humor into the story and the main character, dissolving the tension of some of the serious issues approached as Sy takes on this journey. Confronted by these world issues, there are times when Sy feels he and his problems are insignificant, yet his friends fuel him to persevere, revealing that if people have a supportive network, they can accomplish anything. Sy’s family does not support him being gay, but when suddenly faced without his presence as he journeys on his own, they eventually change perspectives to keep Sy in their lives. The illustration that people can change when they love something enough adds to the feeling of hopefulness throughout the novel. This whirlwind adventure is perfect for readers looking for mystical flair and a sassy main character, who is searching for love and a place to call home.

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month so we are featuring some books authored by members of the AAPI community. Winnie Zeng Unleashes a Legend by Kaite Zhao is an epic fantasy novel based on Chinese mythology, about family, school, and embracing the power within you.

Check it out along with the other titles below!

Bright
Written by Jessica Jung
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Now!

Foul Lady Fortune
Written by Chloe Gong
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available September 27th!

Her Rebel Highness
Written by Diana Ma
Published by Amulet Books
Available Now!

The Last Mapmaker
Written by Christina Soontornvat
Published by Candlewick Press
Available Now!

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Written by Lisa Yee
Published by Random House Children’s Books
Available Now!

Winnie Zeng: Unleashes a Legend
Written by Katie Zhoa
Published by Random House Children’s Books
Available Now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! Enter the magical world of the Salazars, firebreathing chipmunks, grumpy unicorns, and chupacabras need rescuing! This fun and funny family adventure by Zoraida Cordova pits the Salazar family versus terrible monster hunters who will stop at nothing to destroy magic.

Check it out along with the other titles below!

At the Pond
Written by David Elliot and Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
Published by Candlewick Press
Available May 24th!

City of Magic
Written by Avi
Published by Scholastic Press
Available June 28th!

Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet
Written by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Ana Jaren
Published by Delacorte Press
Available Now!

Mako & Tiger: Two Not-So-Friendly Sharks
Written by Scott Rothman and Illustrated by Mika Song
Published by Random House Studio
Available Now!

Meet Me in Mumbai
Written by Sabina Khan
Published by Push
Available August 2nd!

Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter
Written by Zoraida Cordova
Published by Scholastic Press
Available June 28th!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! The Waiting Place by Dina Nayeri is a look at the lives of 10 refugee children from Afghanistan and Iran. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Chasing Rainbows
Written and Illustrated by Gabby Grant
Published by Tate Publishing
Available today!

Karthik Delivers
Written by Sheela Chari
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding
Written by Sajni Patel
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

Twas the Night Before Pride
Written by Joanna McClintick and Illustrated by Juana Medina
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found
Written by Dina Nayeri and Photography by Anna Bosch Miralpeix
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

Wildseed Witch
Written by Marti Dumas
Published by Amulet Books
Available May 10th!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Once Upon Another Time is the beginning of the storybook character mixing trilogy of middle-grade novels by James Riley. Follow Jin, a young genie, and Lena, the kid of giants, as they try to stop the machinations of the Golden King! Check it out along with the other titles below!

How to Build a Human In Seven Evolutionary Steps
Written by Pamela S. Turner and Illustrated by John Gurche
Published by Charlesbridge
Available April 12th!

Once Upon Another Time
Written by James Riley
Published by Aladdin
Available today!

Planting a Garden in Room 6
Written by Caroline Arnold
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Powwow Day
Written by Traci Sorell and Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

She Gets the Girl
Written by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Smitten with Kittens
Written by Florence Minor and Illustrated by Wendell Minor
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Abdul’s Story is a colorful story about how Abdul, with a little help from his teacher, learns that it’s okay to make mistakes when writing stories. Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Illustrated by Tiffany Rose. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Abdul”s Story
Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Illustrated by Tiffany Rose
Published by Salaam Reads
Available today!

Always Jane
Written by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

A Spring Treasury of Recipes, Crafts, and Wisdom
Written by Angela Ferraro-Fanning and Illustrated by Anneliesdraws
Published by Ivy Kids
Available now!

Professor Figgy’s Professor Figgy’s Weather & Climate Science Lab for Kids
Written by Jim Noonan
Published by Quarry Books
Available April 12th

So This Is Ever After
Written by F.T. Lukens
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available today!

Trigger
Written by N. Griffin
Published by Atheneum
Available today!