Fairyloot Unboxing – July 2018

Hiyo, so I finally decided to give Fairyloot a try for the month of July 2018. This month’s theme was the Power Within. This was very exciting since I’ve never tried a book subscription box before.


Click here for my unboxing video.

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monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

July Wrap-Up + August TBR

This summer has been a season of self-discovery for me creatively. I’ve also had the pleasure of beta-reading a friend’s work, and it’s really affirming my media literacy for YA LOL but also it shows no matter how much I can get frustrated at mainstream YA, I still have a love and appreciation for my fantasy YAs. I’m so glad I can play my part in bringing something awesome into being.

July Wrap-Up

This month I read 5 books, which is around average for a me with free time, I guess.

  1. Jade City – Fonda Lee | 3.5 to 4 stars
    • It’s like my dad ghost-wrote one of the main characters in this book and I was living with all the family-dynamics included here.
  2. To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo | 2 stars
    • My least favorite of the bunch by a long run. This had awesome concepts but a flimsy execution. You know a romance is unconvincing when the text chooses to skip over all the detailed, poignant interactions between the two romantic leads and instead summarizes what happens.
  3. The Queen’s Rising – Rebecca Ross | 4 stars
    • The overall reaction to this book I’ve seen on my Goodreads feed is that this was boring and this was yet again another instance I questioned people’s judgements hard. This was a surprisingly wholesome addition to the fantasy YA pool. It can even work as a stand-alone, however I feel some aspects were tied up a little too conveniently given that there will be a sequel. I personally wish a certain character weren’t killed off at the very end, but since the deed is done, I wonder what Ross is going to do in the sequel.
  4. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman | 3.5 stars
    • This was an anthology I was excited to get my hands on because my fave Cindy Pon was featured in it. Overall, I’d say the quality varies from story to story and one might work for you which will not work for me. I think that’s the beauty of it – people can have a selection of stories to identify or not identify with. My personal faves were Cindy Pon’s the Crimson Cloak (no surprise here) and Alyssa Wong’s Olivia’s Table
  5. Captive Prince – C. S. Pacat | 4 stars
    • This was an impulse Buddy Read with the lovely L. C. Perry because I had been saying for awhile that I wanted to do a Captive Prince series reread. When L.C. asked me to join her, I jumped on the chance so fast a;ldjksf;lkdjsf. Capri is still as good as when I read it first. I inhale-read the Capri series in maybe a week’s time back in college (during final’s week RIP) and loved it, but I definitely read it so quickly I felt I missed a lot of important details and didn’t properly appreciate the experience.

August TBR

In no particular order:

  • Prince’s Gambit – C. S. Pacat
  • Roar – Cora Cormack
  • Akata Witch – Nnendi Okorafor
  • Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
3 stars · 4 stars · book review · Uncategorized

book review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

3.5 stars

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is an anthology of East and South Asian fairytale retellings and reimaginings written by a group of YA authors. I was lucky enough to find that my library system had this, so I did the proper book-hoarding thing and requested it. I’m going to review each story one-by-one

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4 stars · book review

book review: Jade City by Fonda Lee

3.5 stars | Goodreads review

Let me preface this by saying, I just don’t really like mafia/gang plot lines, hence why I rated this lower than books IMO that are not as quality as Jade City. I think this is a 4 to 4.25 star book quality-wise, but in terms of enjoyment, it took me a long time to figure out whether I liked it overall. And the verdict is – I do like this quite a bit.

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top 5 wednesday

Books I’ve Removed From My TBR | TP5

The Top 5 Wednesday topic for July 18 is books you wanted to read at one point, but don’t anymore! These will also include books I straight up refused to read after learning more about them. This is a really good topic because I’ve never done a list of books including books I dropped from my life.

1) Nevernight, but really any book by Jay Kristoff

  • Sigh. The author earned a spot on my shit list for being ultra unapologetic for the shit he pulled in his Lotus Wars series and further cemented his books on my shit list with how he handled his response to a reader about the incorporation of Maori culture in  Nevernight. I don’t care how good Kristoff’s books are, I’m on my Not This Shitto Agen Mode; his books are canceled in my eyes.


2) Witchland series – Susan Dennard

  • Reading Truthwitch was an experience that was the equvilant of reading textbook. Once I opened the book, I didn’t want to do it, but I felt like I had to. The core relationship of the series, Safi and Iseult’s friendship, was never properly cemented and the plot was like walking, walking and more walking. Except this is supposedly action-packed a la ATLA, so running, running and MORE running. There was way too much action for the sake of action and not enough internal world-building to justify the plot progression. Things happened only because the author willed them to happen.
  • The romances are like… “push me against a tree passionately and we almost kiss” which I’m just not into. Merik and Safi vs. Iseult and Aeduan almost feel the same in this respect. hmph.
  •  I also had a problem with how the Nomatsi people were described. It seems like white YA authors (though this can extend to non-Asian authors in general) think angled, tilted and folded are acceptable descriptors for what I’m assuming is a sterotypical E. Asian monolid because they’re not describing it as slanty eyes or almond. Bitch, everyone’s eyes have angles. Why are you paying so much attention to a person’s eyelid shape in the first place? Do people really just go up to someone real close and make note of the number of creases in their eyelid or is this racism? Aeduan is described as having like half “folded” eyelids or smth compared to Iseult who is full-blooded Nomatsi but… bruh half Asian ≠ 50% folded eyelid wtf. Stop coding characters as East Asian only by their eyelids. Please stick to marine bio, Susan. Do I have to link the Writing with Colo(u)r tumblr page resource everytime? Yes, I guess I have to. I’ve recently had conversations with someone else who side-eyed the way the Nomatsi were described and lol they were given the melanin vampire treatment too. I’m also skeevy about Aeduan and Iseult probably being pairted together because of their shared heritage. Just augh this is a big can of worms,  this whole Nomatsi thing put me off. I question the YA community a lot because this is like hailed as a paragon of diversity when it ain’t shit imo. Don’t even let me start with Cam.

3) Heroine Worship + sequel – Sarah Kuhn

  • Actually, this series had everything going for it to win my favor! I read about a third of the first book, Heroine Complex, and I enjoyed the characters. I just didn’t enjoy the romantic relationship they were going for. Socially awkward nerd characters only appeal to me if done with a certain level of finesse and that was not present here. I knew I couldn’t really stomach Nate and Evie’s relationship, so I had to sacrifice the series’ place on my TBR.

4) Rebel Belle series – Rachel Hawkins

  • I can handle stories in school settings, I promise. At the point in my life where I Was reading Rebel Belle, I had such a fucked relationship with academic achievement (*cough* I still do, but I’m more secure with it), the main character’s desire to be the very best in school just rubbed me the wrong way. Unintended, because this is My Baggage. I tried to audiobook this series, but I forgot my placement on the track so I just dropped it LOL.

5) Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

  • I didn’t even finish Empire of Storms. It’s just too behemoth and I’ve lost too much of my interst in TOG to finish it, so I settled on reading YA recaps for the rest of the series including Tower of Dawn. I dooo want to know what happens at the end of TOG, but not enough to slog through two big ass books I have no interest in reading.
miscellaneous · top 5 wednesday

Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2018

Hiyo! Today I’m going to be listing the best books I’ve read this year 😀 as a part of July 4th’s Top 5 Wednesday topic. It’s not even Wednesday, but I just got back from a road trip so who cares. Let me talk about these books. Believe it or not, I already prepared my top book list for the entire year, so I’d consider this a half way point.

1) A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

  • MAKEPEACE IS MY GIRL. She is the clever ass Slytherin-Ravenclaw hybrid protag I’ve always wanted to read in my YAs and so far no one else has come close to taking the crown her her. She has a strong personality And a strong character arc. Her resourcefulness and wit have her facing off with her golden child cousin and she would make him Quake if they were on par in terms of social status. She brings down her entire family dynasty. What more can I ask for in a YA protag?

2) Want by Cindy Pon

  • After I got mad over how SOC was hailed as the pinnacle of diversity in YA (which Unpopular Opinion, I’ve read better plots and characters so I’m taking my brownies elsewhere), I never imagined picking up a random book by an author’s name I recgonized but had never read a work of would be the perfect panacea for all my YA read gripe. It’s like Cindy Pon knows my soul and knew just what I needed to read to restore my faith in YA reads. This is more of a character driven book than say, a genre/gimmick driven book, in that in my view, it is the characters that are the driving appeal of WANT, not the sci-fi, which serves more as a back drop. Jason is such an honorable son… he tattoo’d his mom’s fave flower on his chest. If that ain’t love idk what is. And Daiyu lol is not an honorable daughter but that’s why I love her sneaky, sneaky self. And as always, Cindy Pon provides food descriptions that made me salivate so hard.

3) The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – Maybe it’s because I’ve had a bad year reading comics or maybe because Prince and the Dressmaker is so damn feel-good. I adore this story so much.

4) Shadow Girl by Liana Liu – Underrated as HELL and deserves a better rating on GR. This is definitely more character-centric than ghost-gimmick-centric and I think that’s why people are put off by it. Believe me when I say the main character, Mei, is one of the most well-written female characters I’ve read in a YA in a long time and one of the characters I’ve related the most to.

5) I had a four-way tie btw Deathless (Valente), City of Brass (Chakraborty), The Poppy War (Kuang), and Jade City (F. Lee) and surprisingly all 4 of these are adult fantasy.

  1. Deathless – Valente’s writing is a jewel in a haystack. The book’s not a traditionally structured story. The rest of the writing choices appealed to me so much I almost didn’t care that the plot was a mess.
  2. City of Brass – FINALLY a villain that isn’t one-note evil for the sake of being evil. I have a kind of a *thing* for Dara despite the fact that he’s a war criminal.
  3. The Poppy War – Man the volano thing shook me. That’s all I have to say.
  4. Jade City – I just finished this! And the family dynamics are off the charts. I related the most to Shae as a former golden child and granfparent’s favorite who always feels like she had something to prove and tried to do that with bad life decisions. Hilo was probably ghost-written by my dad because his relationship with Shae and Andy was so much like the one I have with my dad. Hilo’s Asian dad-isms (“people are like horses”) gave me life.