1 star · 2 stars · 3 stars · 4 stars · book review

review: The School for Good and Evil #1-4

The School for Good and Evil #1-4 by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil (#1) ★★★

A World Without Princes (#2) ★★

The Last Ever After (#3) ★★★★

Quests for Glory (#4)

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Hello, all. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy amidst the global COVID-2019 pandemic. I realize I haven’t been active at all in updating my book blog as of late. Previously before the UK went on lockdown in March I was scrambling to get results from my experiments before they locked the PGRs and staff out from working at the Uni. In Feburary and March I was sporadically reading the School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani on their audiobooks. I just finished the 4th book on Kindle and am on an immensely long wait-list for the 5th.

Here I will bulk review the first trilogy of books and also the 4th installment, Quests for Glory, which takes place after the 1st trilogy and is the 1st book in the sequal trilogy, the Camelot Years.

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4 stars · book review

review: Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao


Blood Heir 
by Amelie Wen Zhao

★★★★ // 4 out of 5 stars

goodreads review: here

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Review based on the published version rather than the ARC version.

It’s actually pretty decent, y’all. (highlight for spoiler) [ LUKA NOOOOO]. It reads as very standard fare at first, but the fact that there’s a lot of YA fantasy that just doesn’t hit the mark for me makes me consider Blood Heir to be a tier above them. The story is pretty tight and I can’t find any major faults tbh.

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2 stars · book review

review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

★★ // 2 out of 5 stars

goodreads review: here

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Verdict: Kingdom of Souls had a phenomenal concept to work with, but unfortunately the execution of the prose and pacing in it really did it in for my enjoyment. What could have been amazing worldbuilding and cast of characters read as a rough outline rather than a fully fleshed out book.

This essentially will count as my November Wrap-Up post because this is the only book I managed to finish in that time. Spoilers will be in white, so please highlight if you wish to see them!

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miscellaneous · monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

September and October Wrap-Up

Hi all! I’ve been inactive on Goodreads and reading updates in general because I just started my PhD studies in the UK! I’m waiting patiently to get my hands on some new releases and write my reviews for them.

Here’s my current reads list + my stray thoughts on them:

  1. Not Your Backup – CB Lee – on hold/potential DNF
    • I started reading this months ago, but my libray card expired at home and I don’t think I’ll have access to this until I renew it… which I can’t for a while.
    • NYB has the same symptoms as the previous installments in the series. I love the fact that this cast of characters exist. However, I think the pacing and tendency for the writing to pull its punches in terms of high stakes and consequences dampers my enjoyment because the diversity is UNASHAMED in how beautiful and bold it is. This book has POC ACE REP AND SUPERHEROES… I CRY. IT’S A BOOK FOR ME, YO. But that’s ok, we should be allowed to have beautiful rep and ehh pacing in a book. It is what it is.
  2. When She Reigns – Jodi Meadows – on hold because the physical copy is at home in the USA…
    • The last book blew me away and the fact that I won the first signed copy of this from Jodi’s giveaway also blew me a away (THANK YOU JODI, I LOVE YOU).
    • I REALLY WANT TO FINISH IT unfotunately I left my copy at home… which is across the Atlantic.
    • I have nothing bad to say about WSR so far I just hope Aaru is ok.
  3. Kingdom of Souls – Rena Barron – currently reading, impulse bought at Waterstones because my shelves in my flat are… barren *badump ch*
    • + I love the ideas and worldbuilding in this book. There seem to be complex relationships between the pantheon of this world and also the different tribes and nations. I think I prefer more exploration of the world rather than The Demon King is Threatening The World™ storyline Kingdom of Souls is looking to go, but the second half  of the book could have more of that *shrugs*
    • + Arrah’s character concept resonated with me a lot, as she is someone who grew up with high expectations from her family that she struggles to meet, only to question whether meeting those standards is worth the price.
    • – Unfortunately the structure of the plot and pacing are all over the place so far and distracting from the great ideas the author has formulated. Some things are rushed when there’s enough substance to slow down and fully explore e.g. Arrah’s mother, Arti, is extremely interesting but the pacing makes her feel like The Woman Scorned™
    • – The initial chapters didn’t quite provide solid background characters to invest in, as Arrah has already done. This creates a disparity between what we are told (to care about the rando kidnapped children) vs. what I actually feel (the kidnapped kids are a plot device)
monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

July + August Wrap-Up + September TBR

I got preoccupied with video games in August lol, so I’m combining my reading progress post for July and August!

  1. Girls of Shadow and Storm – Natasha Ngan |4 stars, ARC review
  2. Wicked Fox – Kat Cho | 4.5 stars
  3. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman (audiobook) | 3 stars
  4. Occultic; 9 vol. 1– Chiyomaru Shikura + pako (illust.)
  5. A Shadow Bright and Burning – Jessica Cluess | 3.5 stars
  6. A Posion Dark and Drowning – Jessica Cluess | 1 star, DNF
  7. Song of the Crimson Flower – Julie C. Dao |  3.5 stars, ARC
  8. Through the White Wood – Jessica Leake | 1 star, DNF
  9. Jade War – Fonda Lee | 5 stars
  10. Wild Savage Stars – Kristina Perez | 4ish stars | review

Favorite (Bi-)Monthly Read: Wicked Fox (July) and Jade War (Aug.)

Most-anticipated read next month: When She Reigns by Jodi Meadows! I actually won a signed copy of Jodi’s book from her blog giveaway ❤ I can’t wait to read it because I love and respect my girl Mira Minkoba.

September TBR – I’m going back to school in September and the move will be busy, so I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading done besides When She Reigns!

 

miscellaneous · Year in Review

2019 Mid-Year Book Blogging Reflections

Yay! Happy June July!

When 2019 hit, a reversal of luck in my personal life is all I asked for. But there I was, still being buffeted by the winds of my foes’ enmity and cast about the waves of cruel fate up ’till March. And you ask, am I okay?

Well, the answer is: Of course, everything turned out to be fine in the end and I got to strangle 2018 and bury it behind me. It was literally one of the worst years of my life and I’m off to brighter and better things in the months ahead. I’m going to start doing my PhD in the fall, so I likely have hit my peak of reading activity for the year already. In this post I’m going to go over my book blogging experience in the first half of 2019 and reflect on what I find out in the process. I’ll be going over my reading progress in a separate post because this got too long.

Abstract goals:

  • Getting the hang of becoming a legit book blog (in my personal view at least hehe)
  • Loosening the grasp of my twitter addiction
  • Reflecting on what kind of writer I want to be

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4 stars · book review

ARC review: Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire #2) by Natasha Ngan

★★★★ // 4 out of 5 stars

Previous review of Girls of Paper and Fire: here

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*single tear* Last year, Girls of Paper and Fire came out. This year, I was lucky enough to have my request for a Girls of Storm and Shadow ARC granted by the publisher! I was super excited to receive this in the mail, so thank you Little, Brown and Co. for sending GOSAS to me.

If I was lukewarm about GOPAF, I am pleasantly REELING from GOSAS. Natasha pretty much gave me everything I asked for at the end of GOPAF in GOSAS. Color me impressed!

Notes: I affectionately call the GOPAF series “Gaysian Furry books” even though I know Wren/Lei are technically only gaysian and the rest of the world is furry. I have a condensed video version of this review on my booktube channel. It is essentially a spoiler-free version of this one. I have mild-mild MILD spoilers mentioned here but I don’t go into plot detail.

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monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

June Wrap-Up + July TBR

Hiya everyone! I’ve been really busy late in the month of June and beginning of July, so forgive the minimalistic formatting in this post. A lot of reads were hit or miss, which is why there are plenty of DNFs on my reading progress in June.

June reading progress

  1. We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal | 1 star,  DNF
  2. Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 – Nagabe
  3. Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon | DNF
  4. Not Your Villain (Sidekick #2) – C. B. Lee | 3 stars
  5. A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer | DNF
  6. The Girl Who Drank from the Moon – Kelly Barnhill | 3.5 stars
  7. Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson | DNF, 2 stars
  8. Empire of Sand – Tasha Suri | 3.25 stars
  9. Wicked Saints – Emily Duncan |1.5 stars
  10. The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson | DNF

I’ve FINALLY finished Wicked Saints and The Girl Who Drank from the Moon;;; You don’t know the amount of struggle I endured trying to read these. Good news! I received an ARC of Girls of Shadow and Storm by Natasha Ngan from Hatchette Books for review! I was so ecstatic when I saw the dark blue in the UPS package.

June Favorite Read: Not Your Villain! Hands down. A special shout-out to Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri! I really loved a lot about, though my star rating kind of betrays how much I like its themes, similar to Jade City. I always love the concepts of books from Orbit, but sometimes I find the execution pretty different from what I initially expect.

Least Favorite Monthly Read: Oh boy, it’s got to be We Hunt the Flame. If there’s a prize for rotten judgement, I guess I’ve already won that because this book was not worth the aggravation. The prose was over-written and the characters were underdeveloped. I had to put this one down half way through. I had to DNF a couple of other books too, but I didn’t get nearly as far in them as I did with WHTF. Wicked Saints is another offender this month with its copy-paste xenophobia from Greg and copious descriptions of the love interest reminding us that he is a boy. Never say that fanfic can’t get published, because this is a prime example that it certainly is possible. It took me two months to finally get through, and it’s not the best $8 I ever spent, to say the least.

July Most-Anticipated Read: July 9th is the official release of Spin the Dawn by Elizabett Lim! I just wanted to shout this out because I’ve already read and reviewed Spin the Dawn as an ARC in May. I’m also really excited to read Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, coming out on June 25th. I probably won’t be able to get to it so soon after its release, but I’ve been waiting for it for what seems like forever.

Continue reading “June Wrap-Up + July TBR”

monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

May Wrap-Up + June TBR

I received some really great news IRL this month after 4 months of suffering in 2019! I’m going to be moving to England in the fall for school/work. I can’t wait to share more news about that in the coming months. I’m still adjusting back to my timezone after coming back from vacation in China. My life is either sleep or sleepy…

I’ve had a rough time reading books in May, but my manga experience is (BIG OK-SIGN). I have to finish a lot of books I own before going to England. I just feel bad leaving books unread while I’m away.

Reading progress in May

  1. The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad |ARC review | 3 stars
  2. Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits Vol. 3 – Wako Ioka and Midori Yuma | 5 stars
  3. Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 10 – Aya Kanno | 5 stars
  4. King of Fools – Amanda Foody | review |  3.5 stars
  5. Not Your Sidekick – C. B. Lee | review | 3 stars
  6. Baker Thief – Claudie Arseneault | 3 stars
  7. The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 – Nagabe | 4 stars
  8. Satoko and Nada Vol. 1 – Yupechika | 4 stars
  9. Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim | ARC review | 3.5 stars


Most Anticipated Read of June:
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. I didn’t quite enjoy the story of Rogerson’s previous book, An Enchantment of Ravens, but I still thought the writing was pretty nice. There aren’t a lot of June releases I’m interested in because I’m focusing more on my backlog reading list, so this was the first one that came to mind. I’m also interested in reading The Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. You know me, I love reading about them foxes 😀

Image result for spin the dawn coverFavorite Read in May: Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee. I LOVE THIS. Superheroes and supervillains, bisexual Asian MC, futuristic post-war lore – *cluches chest* Despite rating NYS a 3 stars in my heart it’s a 5 star book. QPOC rep + a meta-human setting? You can do SO much with that. I look forward to reading Not Your Villain and Not Your Backup in the future. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim was also a pleasant surprise. I loved the ending and can’t wait for a continuation of Maia’s story.

Least Favorite Read in May: The Candle and the Flame. Sorry, but I love character-centric stories and the detached writing in this book didn’t do it for me.

 

June TBR

  1. We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal
  2. Wicked Saints – Emily Duncan | in progress
  3. A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
  4. The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

 

book review

ARC review: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

★★★★ //  3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

Spin the Dawn said Beaky Rights and Filial Piety, y’all!

Note: I received an e-ARC of Spin the Dawn from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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