This month, I read 4 books. I seem to mantain the pace of 1 book per week.
Fairyloot is a book subscription box based in the UK that focuses on young adult fantasy books. October’s theme was Beautiful Deceptions. I also have a video unboxing linked here.
Hello, friends! I’ve had the pleasure to be part of The Storyteller Blog Tour organized by Penguin Teen to celebrate the release of the final book in the Sea of Ink and Gold / The Reader trilogy, The Storyteller by Traci Chee. When I was first contacted about The Storyteller, I hadn’t even started The Reader series yet, but I had always admired the covers from afar, so when it clicked that these goregous books:
…comprised The Reader series, I had to jump on this chance. The ponytail representation is real (coming from a fellow ponytail gal).
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.
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.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
★★★☆☆ // 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads review: here
Oh Kiersten White, I love your writing. But I got beef with your creative decisions.
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez
★★★★☆ // 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads review: here
THIS BOOK IS INTELLECTUAL, Y’ALL. I got wrecked. I texted my best friend about it and she got wrecked. She didn’t even read this book. I’m upsetti but I don’t regretti.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
★★★☆☆ // 2.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads review: here
Mirage has a lot of heart to offer. Unfortunately, the writing heavily skews toward telling over showing.
In the month of September, I finished 4 books and DNF’d one book.
*Sighs*. I want to believe that Mary E. Pearson writes the first books in her series as slow-starters. I found myself infinitely frustrated with how she handled the romance between the leads, Jase and Kazi, in DoT, along with how flat and despicable the Rahtan are. I’m especially let-down as a returning fan of the Remnant Chronicles. I don’t suggest DoT as an introduction to the world of the Remnant Chronicles. It’s better to start off with Kiss of Deception. I will note that there’s a failure to draw on the same appeal of the Remnant Chronicles in this continuation as of now. I know MEP can do better than this and I hope she brings her A-game in the future installments or else I’m bowing out. – 3/5 stars
This is too easy for me. I’m a visually-inclined person, so it’s always fun to talk about goregous cover designs and now I have the excuse to do so.
1. The Girl King – Mimi Yu
Expected release date January 2019.
Blurb from Goodreads: “Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal…”
Girls vying to be empress after their dad screws them over for succession?! R00d. The last surviving wolf shapeshifer?! Sounds like Sirius the Jaeger! After my summer of self discovery, it turns out I have an affinity for canine-themed characters (don’t @ me with furry jokes).
I fell in love with this cover the moment I saw it. First, dat ponytail representation. YA covers have been upping their game and I’m glad more and more stories featuring POC are getting the covers they deserve – like… covers that are accurate to the book’s protags. Hopefully this is here to stay, rather than an ephemeral plea to the YA market gods. I’m fatalistically optimistic!
The Girl King’s cover is again another example where my C-drama nostalgia mode activates. Does this not reminds you of the 90’s Sun Wu Kong C-drama outfit and pose?! If the cover artist had this in mind, I instantly recognized it. If it’s a coincidence, then you still got me in your clutches.
2. Descendent of the Crane – Joan He
Expected release: April 2019.
Blurb from Goodreads: “Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.”
We’re back with more fantasy Asian princesses and their outcast allies! Just kidding, I never left this zone. I’m a permanent resident of this zone.
Joan He spoke about her book’s cover here: https://www.hypable.com/descendant-of-the-crane-cover-reveal/
I always appreciate when heavy symbolism is incorporated into a cover design. The artist, Feifei Ruan, has an amazing portfolio and is the same artist who drew the cover for the Asian fairytale retelling anthology, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings.
3. Mirage – Somaiya Daud
Blurb: “In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.”
I haven’t had the chance to read Mirage yet, as it is a recent release and I have a large backlog to get through before I can even hope to start it. The warm purple of the cover is in synergy with the gold accents. After careful consideration, I actually prefer the US (purple) cover to the UK (teal) cover this time around. Billelis has done countless illustrations for YA book covers in recent memory. You will undoubtedly have come across on of their covers before if you’ve been keeping up with the recent new YA releases.
4. The Serpent’s Secret – Sayantani Dasgupta
Blurb from cover reveal: “The Serpent’s Secret tells the story of interdimensional demon slayer Kiranmala Desi, a girl who thinks she is just a regular sixth grader from Parsippany, New Jersey. That is, until the morning of her 12th birthday, when her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon crashes into her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ wacky stories, and that she might be a real Indian princess destined to fight demons and serpents and all the other evil in the multiverse!”
How could I not include The Serpent’s Secret on a list of bomb-ass covers? Props always to Vivienne To for illustrating this cover! Archery Moon Serpent Princesses with teal backgrounds (and a sassy bird!) is a combination that is wayyyy too specific, and it just happens to be the combination that checks every one of my boxes. This is literally perfection.
5. Bright We Burn – Kiersten White
Blurb: “Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.”
^^^ That’s not actually what happened in this book/series but ok.
I don’t have an excuse for this. Pomegranate is one of my favorite fruits. My favorite part about the Conquerer’s Saga is actually the covers, and I have no shame in admitting that. All three of the US covers are stunning. I prefer BWB only a little over And I Darken’s cover, though all three are definitely cover-porn status.
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
★★★☆☆ // 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Review: linked here
Sisterhood is survival. There’s a lack of actual siserhood, so guess what happened……