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.
Favorite 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.
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:
The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle | 4/5 stars
The Last Namsara – Kristin Ciccarelli |DNF
The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes – Carolyne Larrington
Descendant of the Crane – Joan He|review| 3.5/5 stars
The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi |review | 4.25 stars
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.
Most-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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
We’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
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
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.
I 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)
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.
This month I read 5 books, which is around average for a me with free time, I guess.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Time flies by so fast. I’ve been trying to build my Booktube channel some more (my channel’s named Arisutocrat, just like my wordpress 😀 ) so I did a bulk record of my reviews for Ash, A Skinful of Shadows and An Enchantment of Ravens, the last of which will post tomorrow. I made a banner for my channel shown above ^^^ but youtube cut off the doily patterns on desktop mode, so you can’t appreciate the full design so I wanted to share it here.
I’m planning on filming Bone Witch and Want video reviews this week and post on either/or Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve been trying to keep reviews short, though I have extensive notes when I review sometimes. It’s either I have a lot of notes or no notes.
Want by Cindy Pon – 4.5/5 stars | Review cross-posted on Goodreads
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – 2.5/5 stars
Huntress by Malinda Lo – DNF’d
The Prince in His Dark Days vol. 3-4
The Last Wish by Andrzrej Sapkowski (part of the Witcher series) – because I heard about the netflix series, so I got curious EDIT: DNF’d
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows – to hold me off until the sequel to Before She Ignites
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – it’s hype, I’m curious.
Shadow Girl by Liana Liu – I love the cover and I’m a sucker for ghost stories. EDIT: 4.5/5 stars
Starswept by Mary Fan – I have the ebook! I got a lot of feelings from the first sentence. I think this is up my alley.
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab – on hold forever lol might read it with my bff
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson – I’ve already read this. I just want a hardcover copy of this to complete my trilogy collection.
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (March 6th) – I’M READY!!! I AM SO READY!!!! I am trash for Shatter Me and Tahereh always delivers. EDIT: 3.75/5 stars
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (March 6th) – I feel like I’ve always wanted a book about this.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (March 6th) – I feel the most hype about this one there are so many March 6th releases ;;;;
Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (March 20th) – so I can put myself out of my misery. I already saw this at my local B&N but I don’t wanna invest money into this series. I’ll pick it up from the library eventually.
Circe by Madeline Miller (April 10th) – I’m still hurt from Song of Achilles, I’m ready for more hurt.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (May 1st) – Already preordered it. I’m predictable.
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir (June 12th)
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (Aug. 7th)
As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows (Sept 11th)
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Marsh – dat pink cover
Falconer by Elizabeth May – I don’t have a copy in my hands but I’m eyeing it on amazon and the cover is fab.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann – I’m all for that ace protag rep.
Life update: I had 1000 pics in my downloads folder and I got it down to 500 last night lol. I’ve also been marathoning Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (because my pal Huba said to just go straight for brotherhood) and I am not regretting it in the slightest. One of my fave shows ATLA seems to draw A LOT and I say A LOT of inspo from FMAB. I’m sure at least someone on staff read it so a lot of moments that parallel FMA ended up in ATLA.
As I’ve realized I’m a lot more productive when I just sit at my desk with tasks available to do lmao.
I only read one book in January as I was travelling a lot in the past month.
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge – 5/5 stars. I loved it. The main character, Makepeace, is a strong contender for best girl of 2018 and it was only January!
Ash by Malinda Lo – 2.5/5 stars. Bland with some enjoyable magical history in the start.
Feb TBR – Courtesy of my local library bless them.