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
We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal | 1 star, DNF
Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 – Nagabe
Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon | DNF
Not Your Villain (Sidekick #2) – C. B. Lee | 3 stars
A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer | DNF
The Girl Who Drank from the Moon – Kelly Barnhill | 3.5 stars
Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson | DNF, 2 stars
Empire of Sand – Tasha Suri | 3.25 stars
Wicked Saints – Emily Duncan |1.5 stars
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.
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
The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad |ARC review | 3 stars
Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits Vol. 3 – Wako Ioka and Midori Yuma | 5 stars
Requiem of the Rose King Vol. 10 – Aya Kanno | 5 stars
The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 – Nagabe | 4 stars
Satoko and Nada Vol. 1 – Yupechika | 4 stars
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 😀
Favorite 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.
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.
*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
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)
Hiyo, long time no update. I’m finally making an effort to consolidate my book blog and book review channel (if you can call it that), meaning what I write here will more or less reflect what I’m planning to discuss in video format if all goes according to plan. I also wanna take my GR reviews and make them more concise and coherent and cross-post them here.
October was perhaps my most active month for reading since I just got back home from school and I’ve had the chance to give into my primal, book-hording nature and procrastinate on… phd apps oops. I had to go to my local library and get a new library card since my old one, which I’ve had since I was in kindergarten, expired. RIP my dalmation sticker card. Yeah, so anyway – I love making lists and organizing what I’ve done, so here we go.
I read 5 novels this month in the following order:
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao – 3.5/5 stars | Review
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – 3/5 stars | Review
The Hunter’s Moon by O. R. Melling – 1/5 stars | Review
The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin – 4/5 stars| Review
The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera – DNF, 1/5 stars | Review
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (currently reading)