3 stars · 4 stars · book review

review: King of Fools by Amanda Foody

King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody

★★★ // 3.5 out of 5 stars

Previous review of Ace of Shades: here

Goodreads review

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King of Fools was one of my most-anticipated reads of the year. I loved Ace of Shades, the predecessor to KOF. Well, I poured 5 days over this chunky boy, so obviously I have thoughts to spill!

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3 stars · book review

ARC review: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

★★★ // 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review

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Note: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the publisher, Scholastic, for review. Thank you!

A novel set in a city along the Silk Road? In my YAs? Legendary. The Candle and the Flame contains a lot of things I love – the legendary amount of diversity, awesome female characters, gratuitous food mentions, a story about the importance of community and found family. As much as I love all of that, unfortunately, I found the story to be bogged down by detached writing for the main characters and plot developments that were a little too convenient. Still, Nafiza Azad’s worldbuilding is not something you want to miss if you’re looking for a book with Djinn lore, magic, and a myriad of different cultures in one setting – I’d be curious to see what this author works on next.

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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.



5 stars · book review

ARC review: The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

★★★★★ // 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review

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Note: This is an OwnVoices review! But please note I’m not familiar with all the mythology present in this book. I also won this as an ARC from Katie Zhao‘s twitter giveaway 😀 Thank you to Katie for sending this my way ❤

Overall 5/5 stars!
The Dragon Warrior is a delight through and through. This is the book I desperately needed when I was the characters’ age! The humor is spot on and only gets better as you keep reading. I highly recommend this book, especially for Chinese diaspora readers. I feel so warm and tingly after finishing this and I hope you all will too.

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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.

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miscellaneous · Year in Review

A Year in Review | Alice’s Book Awards of 2018

Hello, friends! Arisutocrat Awards 2018 is finally here (after months of delay)! I worked hard on ranking my favorite reads and favorite book characters in 2018.

Read in 2018, not necessarily published in 2018


Hopefully the titles should be straightforward. For Best Book, I chose the book I thought was hands down the best in craft. My personal favorite designates the book I loved the most. All other favorite categories are ranked after taking quality and personal preference into account. Unnumbered listings signify no ranking or overall similar levels of quality/enjoyment.

Books that Brought Home Honor

Best Book of 2018: Circe by Madeline Miller

Personal Favorite: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Favorite YA Fantasies:

  1. A Skinful of Shadows – Frances Hardinge
  2. Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody
  3. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix – Julie Dao
  4. Sweet Black Waves – Kristina Perez

Favorite YA Non-fantasy:

  • Want – Cindy Pon
  • Shadow Girl – Liana Liu

Favorite Adult Fantasies*: 

  • City of Brass – S. A. Chakraborty
  • Jade City – Fonda Lee
  • Deathless – Catherynne M. Valente
  • Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

*Excluding Circe.

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4 stars · book review

review: The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Resistance (Queen’s Rising #2) by Rebecca Ross

★★★★☆ // 4 out of 5 stars

Previous review of The Queen’s Rising: here

Goodreads review

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After feeling a little kink-shamed about the Queen’s Rising (book 1) last year, you bet I’m gonna tell you how I feel about the sequel!

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monthly wrap-ups

February 2019 Wrap-Up

I finished 4 books in February and still have quite a few books in progress.

  1. Kingdom of Copper – S. A. Chakraborty | 4 stars
  2. King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo | review | 1 star
  3. The Girl King – Mimi Yu | review | 3.5 stars
  4. Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody | review | 3 stars

In-Progress Reads

  1. Lady Smoke – Laura Sebastian | in progress
  2. The Girl Who Drank the Moon – Kelly Barnhill | in progress
  3. Baker Thief – Claudie Arseneault | in progress
  4. Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee | in progress

March TBR

  1. Ruse – Cindy Pon
  2. Queen’s Resistance – Rebecca Ross
  3. The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert
  4. Artemis Fowl 2 + 3 – Eoin Colfer