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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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

Books

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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2 stars · book review

review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

★★☆☆☆ // 2 out of 5 stars

Previous review of The Cruel Prince: here

Goodreads review

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Despite how quickly I got through book 2 of Holly Black’s Folk of the Air series, I can’t say I was too impressed.

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2 stars · 3 stars · book review

review: These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

★★☆☆☆ // 2.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review

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So the story goes: people thought there were gay pirates but then found out there weren’t but then *I* read it and there were gay pirates, so now I’m confused because that isn’t the main problem I had with this book.

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4 stars · 5 stars · book review

review: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

★★★★★ // 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review

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“A woman who can think for herself delves beneath the surface. Pulling out the threads of another’s story and applying them to your own life is the mark of a queen.”

I loved this book wow. The only reason I could rate this book lower is because there wasn’t enough of it and it ended too soon. I’m SHOOK. This book is like a call-out post for all the problems I have for mainstream YA fantasy. Julie brought her A-game here! And I was living for it!

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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.

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3 stars · 4 stars · book review

review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

★★★☆☆ // 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review |video review

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Two words: Demon furries.

Natasha really knew how to target me here with the furry content and loads and loads and loads of Asian food porn and cultural references. Unfortunately I didn’t *love* this book but I do like it enough to continue the series. This is like the world of Kung Fu Panda anthropomorphic animals but demons plus humans meets a highly non-consensual version of the Selection situation. I’m trash for both KFP and the Selection, so I’m all buckled up for the ride anyway.

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3 stars · book review

review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

★★★☆☆ // 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review: here

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This is like Fairy AU Hana Yori Dango fanfic, y’all. I mean it’s hella entertaining, but I got some problems. And it’s probably not what you think they are.

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4 stars · book review

review: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

★★★★☆ // 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads review: here

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Wow. This is basically literary fiction. I think you could teach an English lit course or a unit using this book because it’s that expertly crafted. Fun fact: I found my own copy in half-priced books SIGNED (made out to somebody else… but it’s mine now).

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