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!


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


monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

April Wrap-Up + May TBR

Hello, friends! Somehow it still ended up snowing in April where I live. Sometimes it truly feels like we only get winter and summer instead of all four seasons ;; I ended up going on vacation for the latter half of April. While I brought a book to read, I didn’t end up having time to actually do any reading. Sights to see, family to visit. I actually feel like I made a lot of progress in 2 weeks of Aprill; it’s probably just because I read Defy Me in like 2 days, though.

Read progress in April:

  1. The ShadowGlass – Rin Chupeco | DNF
  2. The Star-Touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi | DNF
  3. Defy Me – Tahereh Mafi |review | 2 stars
  4. Wicked Saints – Emily Duncan | in progress
  5. The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad |review | 3 stars

Most Anticipated May Read(s): We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal + The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad!

Favorite Read in April: I’ll have to skip on answering this time around because I haven’t like most of the stuff I read or haven’t gotten far enough into the books I do like so far.

Least Favorite Read in April: Probably a toss up between the ShadowGlass and Wicked Saints, but I will give ShadowGlass credit here and say it’s at least original and has some kick to its madness. Currently I am about halfway through with Wicked Saints, and the only thing that has impressed me is the cover and the fact my copy smells a lot like a candle, which it ironically cannot hold to my expectations.

May TBR + Carryovers from April

Carryovers: Wicked Saints  and The Candle and the Flame

May TBR:

  1. King of Fools – Amanda Foody
  2. Though the White Wood – Jessica Leake
  3. A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi
  4. Song of the Crimson Flower – Julie Dao

Other news:

I received not one but two (2) physical ARCs in the mail this month. All while I was on vacation too! They are The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad and Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao! Thank you to Scholastic and Penguin respectively for providing me with them! I can’t wait to get to reading these soon.



monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

March 2019 Wrap-Up + April TBR

Happy April, everyone! This is my March wrap-up post. I finished 9 books this month:

  1. Kakuriyo Vol. 2 – Wako Ioka | 5 stars
  2. Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee | 4 stars
  3. Game of Stars – Sayantani Dasgupta| 4.5 stars
  4. Lady Smoke – Laura Sebastian | 3 stars
  5. Warcross – Marie Lu | 4 stars
  6. Queen’s Resistance – Rebecca Ross | review | 4 stars
  7. Wildcard – Marie Lu | 3 stars
  8. Ruse – Cindy Pon | 4 stars
  9. The Dragon Warrior – Katie Zhao | (ARC) review |5 stars


Most Anticipated Read of April: King of Fools by Amanda Foody, sequel to Ace of Shades, which I adore. I’m ready for some more shady underworld activity ushered by local noble youths.

40150608Favorite Read in March: The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao! I adored this book. I was lucky enough to win an ARC copy of this from Katie Zhao’s twitter giveaway. TDW is truly a delight and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a middle grade book with some cool mythology and adventure, but I would ESPECIALLY recommend it to diaspora readers because it made me feel all warm and tingly on the inside after finishing it as an OwnVoices reader. Plus, the cover is illustrated by Vivienne To who is also responsible for my much beloved Kiranmala and the Kingdom of Beyond book covers.

Least Favorite Read in March: Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian, sequel to Ash Princess. I filmed a video review of it, so please look out for that in the future. This just felt like a rehash of the first book, down to the events of the climax.

Note: I’ll be going on a trip to Shanghai and Suzhou later this month. I’m not in the habit of bringing a trunk of books to read, but I’ll probably bring one or two along for my flights and downtime.

Continue reading “March 2019 Wrap-Up + April TBR”

monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

January 2019 Wrap-Up + February TBR

Image result for hot cocoa

Hello all, I’m emerging from the polar vortex that is the US Midwest right now. Hopefully those experiencing the cold too are keeping warm! January was a very taxing month on me, but I still got through the following reads:

  1. The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle | 4/5 stars
  2. The Last Namsara – Kristin Ciccarelli |DNF
  3. The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes – Carolyne Larrington
  4. Descendant of the Crane – Joan He|review| 3.5/5 stars
  5. Kakuriyo Vol. 1 – Midori Yuma
  6. The Wicked King – Holly Black |review|2 stars
  7. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer | review coming  | 4 stars
  8. The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi |review | 4.25 stars
  9. Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik |3 stars

Overall, it’s intersting that one of my busiest months in awhile was also my most productive reading month in a long time! I started off my Artemis Fowl Read-AlongThrough this month, and I hope to be able to do it consistently all the way up to August just in time for the Artemis Fowl movie.

Image result for the gilded wolvesMost-anticipated read: Kakuriyo. LBR I love that fox and foody content. I already know Kakuriyo will delivery on all its promises. However, the Wicked King was my most anticipated novel for January and baby… it’s not delivery but it’s not Digiorno either. My impression is that they had to stretch the story into a trilogy because of how lacking TWK was. I’m curious to see how Holly Black ends the series, but I don’t have high expectations.

Favorite book of January: The Gilded Wolves, hands down! My monthly banner uses the cover art because I loved it so much. I actually didn’t even have this book on my radar much, but my library had it so I picked it up on impulse and I have no regrets! After my painful experience reading Six of Crows, reading the Gilded Wolves was extremely cathartic because of Roshani Chokshi’s poignant commentary about her characters’ marginalizations, which was something that I always felt didn’t ring as true in Bardugo’s work.

Least favorite book: It’s gotta be a tie between Spinning Silver and the Wicked King. I probably won’t even write a full review of Spinning Silver because it wasn’t worth my time. I found Descendant of the Crane to be a mixed bag because it was a frustrating read, but I couldn’t bring myself to hate it because of the ending.

Continue reading “January 2019 Wrap-Up + February TBR”

monthly TBR

November Wrap-Up + December TBR

I finished 6 Correction 7 books in November and DNF’d 2.

  1. Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody | review | 4/5 stars
  2. The Speaker – Traci Chee | review | 1/5 stars
  3. Damsel – Elana K. Arnold | review | 4/5 stars
  4. The Cruel Prince – Holly Black | review | 3/5 stars
  5. Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan | review | 3/5 stars
  6. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix – Julie Dao | review | 4.5/5 stars
  7. Air Awakens – Elise Kova | review | 3/5 stars

I also got a head-start on my December TBR in the last days of November. I’ve mentioned some of these books in the past but December’s my final chance to get to them this year! I’m determined to finally read them after delaying them for so long.

Continue reading “November Wrap-Up + December TBR”

monthly TBR

November 2018 TBR

Image result for ace of shadesSpeakerImage result for girls of paper and fire fairylootImage result for these rebel waves







Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody ☑️

I’m currently reading this and I’m *really* enjoying it. My bestie chose this to be my current read and honestly I should trust her more often with choosing my TBR because she hasn’t lead me astray yet. I’m really liking the introduction to the world of Ace of Shades. Enne is revealed to be such a crouching tiger hidden badass. Levi is my precious character with a tragic past and ded mom (my brand!), and also our bi/pan? MOC deuteragonist. On top of that, there are also some interesting (and shady) characters that make New Reynes …colorful for better or worse

The Speaker – Traci Chee ☑️

I received this from the publisher along with an ARC of The Storyteller, the sequel of The Speaker and final book in the Sea of Ink and Gold Trilogy. The 1st book, the Reader, was a rough introduction to the series for me, but so far the 2nd installment is faring much better this time around. We finally got some Archer POV chapters, like I’d been asking for the entire time I was reading the Reader.

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan ☑️

I received a copy from Fairyloot a bit earlier than the official US release date (Nov 6) so I’m very excited to get into this especially after all my failed attempts to get an ARC of this baby. The author’s note which was included with the Fairyloot edition really spoke to me on a personal level as a queer Asian. I’m ready for Natasha Ngan to lay all the feelings on me HHHHHHHHhhh

These Rebel Waves – Sara Raasch ☑️

Another Fairyloot book I’m trying to get to. I made some progress in the last month, but I kept book-hopping so I didn’t break much ground. For some reason I keep stumbling upon underrated books that have queer POC main characters?! And I keep wondering why haven’t I see any reviews telling me this?! I appreciate being surprised in a pleasant way because there was apparently some uproar about this book being falsely advertised as about “gay pirates” when it ended up being pirates and having queer characters that weren’t pirates. Yo, just because this book doesn’t have gay pirates, doesn’t mean there aren’t pirates and gays?! That’s still spectacular? It’s a little too early to say how I’ll like These Rebel Waves overall, but so far I don’t have any complaints.


Image result for kingdom of the blazing phoenixRelated imageRelated image








Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix – Julie Dao ☑️

Another book I tried hard to get my hands on as an ARC but failed. Alas, my library is pretty reliable about these new releases, so if all things go well I can read this around the time it comes out (Nov. 6, like many of the Asian-inspired YAs coming out this month!). The worldbuilding in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was pretty enjoyable for me, though I had some issues with the story itself (primarily Xifeng’s development). It could just be that I dislike Evil Queen origin stories.

Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik ☑️

Spinning Silver’s been on my TBR backlog for MONTHS. I’ve had it in my possession for ages and never got to it.

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black ☑️

I actually checked . I wasn’t in the mood for fairies at the time, so I put my endeavor on hold until now. My post-October spoopy mood is still going strong. I did receive a Cruel Prince themed playing card deck, which spured my interest in the series again after I… definitely forgot about it amidst the hype surrounding it earlier this year and the previous year.

monthly TBR · monthly wrap-ups

August 2018 Wrap-Up + September TBR

In the month of August I finished 4 books and DNF’d one book.

1) The Thief – Mehan Whalen Turner | Goodreads Review

I was rather disappointed given the high praise the series has received from both readers and other authors. I can only assume it gets better with subsequent books, because the first installment didn’t impress with its severe lack in focus and Walk in the Woods plot.  – 2/5 stars

2) Sea Witch – Sarah Henning | Goodreads Review

I didn’t get far in this book. I didn’t feel like it had much to offer in the wave of sea/pirate YA books being churned out this season. To be honest, many of the other ones I’ve seen have been lackluster as well, namely To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I remember a cry for sea/pirate-themed books a couple years back and now the publishers have delivered only to be washed away with the current they helped generate OTL. – DNF

3) Bright We Burn – Kiersten White | Goodreads ReviewVideo Review

bright-we-burn-featureWe’ve finally reached the conclusion of the Conquerer’s Saga! I haven’t been along for the ride since the beginning and I’m sorta glad. Otherwise I’d have to wait years to slog through this when I could just slog through this in less than a year. I honestly do really like Kiersten White’s writing. I just don’t think this was a particularly transformative story for Lada or Mehmed at all. Also, I’m still sore that they straight-washed Mehmed. I quite like Radu, but I would have much rather the book explored Mehmed and Radu’s relationship than follow Lada’s fruitless struggle.  – 2/5 stars

4) Heart of Thorns – Bree Barton | Goodreads Review | Video review

51caewrE0aL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Wow. Um. So I’m allowed to be angry over this as a biology major and as someone who bought this book via Fairyloot. This book gave me costochrondritis, and I don’t mean it in a facetious way; I mean it in a literal way. This book needed someone to fact check a lot of the science in this. Additionally, I felt there was an artificial shift in quality 80-90% of the way through where things were supposed to make sense and fall into place because the author said so. The ending is quite good, but doesn’t offset the 80% of badness it takes to get there. – 2/5 stars

5) Circe – Madeline Miller | Goodreads Review

25918058._SX540_Can I just breathe in the glory that is Madeline Miller’s writing? This is a slower paced book than what I usually read, and it was so, so welcome. Madeline Miller already earned my heart and money with The Song of Achilles (I own two copies) and she continues to deliver here. I love the gradual change in Circe over the years and how she approaches her divinity as a god that appears more mortal than most. I also never expected to like Telemachus this much over Odysseus. The way Miller writes Odysseus’ hubris and Circe’s need to be in control of her own story is (crying emoji) beyond words. I hope Madeline Miller’s next book doesn’t take too long to get into my hands. I’ll read whatever she wants to write. – 5/5 stars SLAM DUNK IT INTO MY FAVES.

September TBR

35796008.jpgI still have a large backlog of books to get to! Currently I’m reading Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (MEP!). If you recall from my past reviews of the Remnant Chronicles, I loooo~ooooved that series. I had high expecations for Dance of Thieves and MEP. The beginning 100 pages is rather slow, but the first book in the Remnant Chronicles was slow for me too. I wonder if it’s MEP’s M.O. to start slow and then sneak attack the reader with brilliance? Because after the Lost in the Wilderness arc, things pick up drastically. Jase’s character is very interesting and multi-faceted. I can’t say I’ve warmed up to Kazi, the other MC, yet, even with her tragic backstory because it’s oddly reminiscent of Inej’s tragic backstory from SOC, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure how I feel about the romance btw Jase and Kazi, as how I feel about a relationship depends a lot on how much I like both characters.

I’m also reading Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake. I totally DNF’d a book with a similar setting, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, because I didn’t feel like the story had much to offer me despite the fact that I do love me some viking influence. I feel like Beyond a Darkened Shore has more potential. The MC, Ciara, has strange powers and we’re given more information about her family life and position in society and it makes her feel more whole early on. The first action scene in this book was awesome, and it further establishes Ciara’s skillset AND the conflict between Northmen and Ciara’s people. I’m optimistic.

I read Stieg Larson’s Millenium Trilogy years ago when I was still studying for my SATs. I have the physical copy of the continuation of his series by another author from Half Price Books and it’s Chunky. I decided to experiment with audibooks from my library – I’m listening to The Girl in the Spider’s Web while I do other work on the computer. I’m hoping I absorb enough of the book to write a review, but I zone out a lot.

Here’s some other books I hope to get to (carry-over from last month lol)

too many book
  • Prince’s Gambit – C. S. Pacat
  • Roar – Cora Cormack
  • The Astonishing Color of After – Emily XR Pan
  • Akata Witch – Nnendi Okorafor
  • Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
  • Game of Kings – Dorothy Dunnett