#YARC2020: Year Of The Asian Reading Challenge

Hola, mi amigos!! (Hello, my friends!!) Welcome back!

This year, I’ve decided to take part in the Year of The Asian Reading Challenge hosted by these 4 lovely ladies: Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, and Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea. Check out Lily and CW’s posts to see all the rules and challenge levels!

I am not Asian, however, this reading challenge sounds like a great way to diversify my reading. YARC is all about boosting Asian authors and Asian books, so I’m super excited to try it out this year!

My goal is to reach the Indian Cobra level, which is 11-20 books. All credit goes to Lily who drew all the amazing badges!!

Who knows, maybe I’ll pass it or maybe I won’t. Either way, I hope this helps me read a lot of diverse books.

TBR List:

So, I’ve decided to make a TBR for this or else, I will never bother myself later with looking for Asian books or Asian authors. I know. It’s horrible, and it’s partly the reason why I didn’t do anything with the two reading challenges that I joined last year.

I’m going to start out with a TBR of 10 books, and use the monthly recommendation lists from Lily and the other co-hosts to pick the second 10 books later.


Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 


Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts.

Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out.

Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same.

When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.


We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal

Zafira is the Hunter, braving the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those who defy his autocratic father, the sultan. She must hide her identity. He mustn’t display compassion. But when both embark on a quest to uncover a lost magic artifact, Zafira and Nasir encounter an ancient evil long thought destroyed—and discover that the prize they seek may be even more dangerous than any of their enemies. In We Free the Stars, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.


Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.


Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…


Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.

Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.

But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.

Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.


Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?


Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

Chat with me

That’s it for today friends! I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe added one or two of these to your TBR! They all sound and look amazing!!

Are you taking part in #YARC2020? What’s your favorite Asian book, or book by an Asian author? What reading challenges are you doing this year? Any book recommendations you’d like to share? Chat with me in the comments below!!

End of Year Book Survey + Reading Wrap-Up | 2019 Edition

Hey guys and welcome back! Today is the 7th day of 2020 and life is finally getting back to normal. Yesterday was the first day of school again, and to be honest, I kind of missed having classes and assignments. I know. I can barely believe that I even thought that myself. But of course, when assignments properly start, I’m going to be wishing for another break once again.

Anyways, today I’m going to be wrapping up my 2019 reading year.

To help wrap up my past reading year, I’ve decided to do Jamie’s End of Year Survey with a twist. Instead of answering all her questions (46!!), I’m going to pick a handful to answer, and also do a wrap-up my way. Initially, I was going to do 2 different posts, one with the survey and the other with my wrap-up, but that’s going to be repetitive, so I’ll be combining both.

(This is the 10th year that Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner has hosted this tag, so if you’d like to do it, head right over to her lovely blog to see all the prompts and questions!)

This is probably going to be rather long, so without further ado, let’s get started!!!

2019 Reading Stats

Number of Books Read: 98

Number of Re-Reads: 3

Genre You Read the Most From: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense


I didn’t make it to 100 books. But that’s okay. Because I got to 98, which is still a pretty good number and I’m really proud of myself for making it that far.

The re-reads were The Fixer and The Long Game, both by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter. The first two were great, and I loved re-reading them. The third one was a little cringey, and I can see why it appealed to a Younger Rukky, but it was not for Current Me.

Lol, no surprise. Mystery/Thriller/Suspense was by far the genre that I read the most from, with Fantasy coming in second, and Contemporary in third.

I made a little pie chart to break down my reading even further, and I’m so relieved that it turned out looking okay.

if it’s a little fuzzy, I apologize!

I also did another chart showing my year in books by rating, so here you go:

I like how most of my books were 4 or 3 stars. The books were either mediocre or pretty good, just not super great, and I’m happy with that. I think it also shows that I’ve figured out what books work for me, and what don’t, and so hopefully next year, this will have much less 2 or 1 star books.

I did have a couple of DNFs (Did-Not-Finish), and most of them, I plan on trying to re-read another time, while some I absolutely did not like.

For Blanca and Roja, Ninth House, and Blindsighted, I don’t think i was in the right mood when I picked them up, so I was really bored and impatient with them. These are the ones I plan on picking up some other time.

Marshall Law just wasn’t for me. I got it for review from Reedsy, but I didn’t like it and never finished it.

Captive Witness was disappointing, because I loved Nancy Drew once upon a time, and when I picked this up, I couldn’t get over how old fashioned it was. I was cringing so much, and decided to stop so that I wouldn’t ruin all my great memories of reading all the various series.

The Perfect Husband was a nightmare. I am so done with that book. Usually, when there is extra stuff going in books, especially in thrillers and mysteries, I just skim past and move on. But this book had stuff in pretty much. Every. Single. Chapter. I can’t believe I got to 74%. SEVENTY-FOUR, guys. And you’d think that they don’t have time for any of this extra drama, and so called “romance” when the MC is being hunted by a pure 100% psychopath. But no, they can’t stop their “love” for five seconds.


So yeah. 3 of them, I might try later, 2 of them were just not for me, and 1 of them was a true nightmare. But I’m still pretty glad that I only had 6 DNFs the entire year.

Best in Books

Best Books Read in 2019:

Mystery:

  • Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci
    • This was more of a political thriller, but I still loved the mystery of who was behind the attack. I’m also a huge fan of any book with “secret agents” and Mary and Stone were amazing and made me love the story even more.

Suspense:

  • I Found You by Lisa Gardner
    • It was interesting being told what happened to Frank in bits and pieces, and what brought him to that beach. There was so much suspense, as things were slowly revealed and I liked that. The book wasn’t perfect in other aspects, but the suspense was really great.

Thriller:

  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • This is a master thriller. It was honestly the first time that I’d been truly petrified and nervous, and anxious about how things would end in a book. It was a little over the top, and would probably be better as a movie than a book, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fantasy:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • I loved this. I loved the characters. I loved Kaz’s cunning ruthless and brutal, I loved Inej, Jes, Wylan, Nina and Matthias, I loved everything about it. Well, it was slow until the heist at the end, but I liked the build-up and relationships between the characters, and how we got to know them so well. This is honestly my top fantasy book of 2019.
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
    • This is a fantasy that I loved because of it’s worldbuilding. The way Allomancy was described, the way the Empires and cities felt so real that I could literally picture everything happening clearly, that was amazing. I loved the heist, and was shocked at how things turned out, but what I loved the most about this was how real, and possible, and well-thought out the world and Allomancy was.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievfater
    • I got a recipe for November Cakes. That’s honestly enough to bribe me into loving this book. But really though, I sincerely enjoyed the story. The happiness, calm, and peace that came after I finished reading it. The deadly but utterly beautiful horses. Puck and Sean fighting for what they want, what they love. It was really beautiful, and I’m so glad that Meegs pushed me to read this.

Contemporary:

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    • He’s grumpy. He’s strict. He’s mean. But underneath that tough exterior, Ove is hurting. And this book is about what caused it, and what happens when a new bustling family, with a fiery and delightful mother, moves in next door. I loved this because of the characters, and because the found family relationship that all the neighbors built with one another. Ove is also really endearing, and it was heartbreaking reading about everything that went wrong in his life. Even if it was fictional. This book made me so happy, because Ove learned to live and love again.

Historical Fiction:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    • I may have loved this solely because the ending shattered my heart. But I’m also a big fan of coming-of-age novels, and this is one of them. At first, I didn’t like many of the characters, and I was a little annoyed, and maybe bored. But as the story continued, and the years passed, and the war dragged on, I began to feel for all these characters. I began to understand them, love them. And when that ending came, even though I knew, even though I’d been warned, it still shattered me when that happened. It’s a book that made me laugh, made me smile, made me cry. And I don’t think a book has ever done all three to me.
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
    • This was a great book about a woman fighting society’s sexist and racist views through a newspaper column in 19th century Georgia (aka the 1800s). Jo was a great main character, and I loved Old Gin, Noemi, and Nathan so much. She’s brave, she’s fierce, and she was risking so much to write her Miss. Sweetie column and using it to inspire change in her community. This was one my most anticipated books this year, and it did not disappoint.

Best series you started in 2019?

Honestly, it was Mistborn: The Final Empire, but to pick a different book, I’m going to go with the Shades of Magic trilogy.

I’ve already read the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, and even though it was slow in the beginning, I loved the magic and the world, and I can’t wait to read the second book.

Best Sequel of 2019?

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. This was such an awesome sequel, and I loved the new villains, as well as Victor’s search for a cure. The ending was really great, but I hope that there is still a 3rd book! Mitch, Syd, and Victor were so sweet together, and honestly, this book was just perfect.

Best Series Ender of 2019?

Nope, none. The only Series Ender I read in 2019 was The Queen of Nothing, and that was most definitely one of the worst I’ve ever read. I’m just really disappointed and salty about it.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

My new top three authors that I discovered in 2019 are:

Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races), V.E. Schwab (Vicious), and Brandon Sanderson (The Final Empire).

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

It’s a tie. I can’t pick one over the other! Both covers are just so beautifully gorgeous.

 Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? 

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I’d seen it in my library a lot, and I can’t believe that I never picked it up until earlier this last year. It was one of the first YA mysteries that I read, and I really loved it.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

This post is already over 1,500 words long, so I’m going to stop here. I think I’ve covered all the major questions, and if you’d like to see all the books I read last year, check out my 2019 Year in Books on GoodReads. I’ll probably be doing a Blog/Life Wrap-Up next, and I may do a Most Disappointing Books of 2019. Not sure yet, but keep an eye out for another wrap-up!

Chat with me

That’s it for this post! What was your favorite book of 2019? Have you read any of the ones mentioned above? What did you think? How many books did you read in 2019? Chat with me in the comments below!

Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2019

Good morning!! I hope you had a great weekend. It is already the second week of November, and I’m just posting my wrap-up for October, but I guess it’s better late than never!

October was a pretty good month, especially reading wise. I was lacking in the blogging department, but I managed to read a lot more, and I did write some posts, so I guess it was still somewhat a success.

Let’s take a deeper look!

Books:

Covers are from Goodreads

Guys. I read THIRTEEN books. In ONE month. *goes off to squeal proudly and excitedly* I feel like I deserve a medal for this accomplishment. This was the first month that I had a TBR, and I’ve actually read most of the books on it, except for a few. I’m definitely going to have another TBR for November. I’m now only 6 books behind on my GR challenge, and I have 20 books to read to reach my goal of 100 by the end of December, so wish me luck guys!

The titles lead to my unofficial reviews on Goodreads (a few include a good deal of crying and excitement and there is also a rant…)

BooksAuthorRatingBook Type
Palace of SpiesSarah Zettel ★★★☆☆ E-book
Dangerous DeceptionsSarah Zettel ★★★☆☆ E-book
Three Days MissingKimberly Belle ★★★★☆ E-book
Girls Like UsGail Giles ★★★★★E-book
The Victim of the SystemSteve Hadden ★★☆☆☆E-book (for review)
Before We Were StrangersBrenda Novak ★★★☆☆ E-book
The Wrath and the DawnRenée Ahdieh ★★★★☆ E-book
The Rose and the DaggerRenée Ahdieh ★★★★★E-book
Escaping From HoudiniKerri Maniscalco1.5 starsE-book
Throne of GlassSarah J. Maas ★★★☆☆ E-book
VengefulV. E. Schwab ★★★★★Hardcover
The Lovely and the LostJennifer Lynn Barnes ★★★☆☆Hardcover
Assassin’s MasqueSarah Zettel ★★★☆☆Hardcover

I also wrote a few official reviews (linked below), but I’m still behind on so many.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: An interesting historical fiction novel with amazing characters and diverse topics.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: A heartbreaking, yet funny book with beautiful characters.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim // Rating: ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: A great fantasy with awesome characters, and a few flaws.

The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden // Rating: ★★☆☆☆ One sentence summary: This was a meh thriller with disappointing characters, and some unbelievable twists.

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 13
Total reviews: 4

Tags:

I took part in Bookending Autumn 2019, and wrote three posts. Technically, I only did one tag, but who cares about technicalities?

Garden of Evil (Prompt by Jamsu @ Jamsu Dreams)

Study Group (Prompt by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads)

Spicy Pumpkin Latte Book Tag (Prompt by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads)

Let’s Talk Bookish:

October 4: Star Ratings – Are they fair or necessary?

October 11: Sexual Content in YA – Is there too much sexual content in YA books? (suggested by Ruqs @ Many Things Bookish)

October 18: What are some tropes/characters that you think are poorly or under represented in books?

October 25: Are TBR’s necessary to be considered a book blogger, or reader? (suggested by Heran @ Be Frisky)

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

Caitlin discusses Why Reading Is So Unpopular and honestly, all her points are pretty accurate, but I still love reading anyways.

Christina is back and I’m so excited!! Check out her amazing review of The Toll!

Line wrote an amazing post about Underrepresented Tropes and Characters in Books.

Marie talks about what How to Make it as a Book Blogger.

Anything Else?

I hit 200 followers!! I’m planning on doing a Q&A soon, so if you’d like to ask me a question, head over here to ask! I also had over 1,000 views which is another accomplishment that I’m really proud of, especially since my posting was pretty irregular. So thank you guys so much for that!!

IRL, it’s so cold. Like really really ice-on-the-grass-and-roofs kind of cold. Which is something because this is Georgia that we are talking about. I’m semi-loving it, semi-hating it because now it’s not burning hot, but it’s also a little too cold for comfort.

Anyways, school is kind of stressful, but it’s not as bad as testing season, so I’m pretty happy about that. I’m feeling really good about the number of books that I read, and I really hope to do just as good this month, and also get back to properly blogging and maybe get rid of my backlogged reviews.

That’s A Wrap!

That’s it! In the end, I read 13 books, did 4 reviews, 3 “tags”, and 4 discussion posts. 5 of the 13 books were either 4 or 5 stars, which I’m pretty happy about, especially since most of the others were 3 stars, and only 2 of them were below that.

I met most of my goals for October, so hopefully for November, I’ll read at least 10 books, do 4 reviews, 3 or 4 tags, and 3 more discussions.

Chat with me

And that’s it for this wrap-up! How was October for you? Did you get as much reading as you wanted done? Have you read any of the books that I did? Did you take part in BE Autumn? Is it freezing where you are? What’s you #1 most anticipated release for this month? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Spicy Pumpkin Latte Book Tag | Bookending Autumn 2019

Hello, and how are you? I hope your week has been great so far! Today, I’ll be sharing with you my last #BEAutumn2019 post. You can learn more about BE Autumn, see the rules and the rest of October’s topics, and sign up over on Sam’s page @ Sam Fictionally.

You can also follow them @bookend_events for more updates!!

Today, I’m going to be doing the Spicy Pumpkin Latte Tag hosted by the amazing Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

Spicy Pumpkin Latte Book Tag: Autumn is when the beverage names at the local coffee shop start to look more like a harvest produce list than anything from a drinks menu. What better way to celebrate this oddity than to do an autumnal drinks book tag?!

I’ve never had a latte, or coffee for that matter, or any of the drinks listed below. I’m more of a black tea, juice, soda, or water kind of girl. But this still sounds super fun, so let’s get started!!

Pumpkin Spice Latte: A book you didn’t think you’d love

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.

I really did not expect to love this as much as I did. When I read it, I wasn’t really a big fan of fantasy, however I loved it. The humor, the plot, the fantasy/paranormal aspects, it was all so awesome.

I loved, G, Jane, Edward (especially Edward), and all the other various characters. They were all hilarious and I love how the authors based it on history, and then changed it in such an amazing way! Humor + historical fiction (based on history) + fantasy = awesomeness!!!


Hot Apple Cider: A book that got you a bit hot under the collar

A Spy in the House (The Agency Series) by Y. S. Lee

This isn’t really much? But it does get a little bit more…passionate in the later books 🙂

Anyways, this still has an awesome plot, and it’s set in the Victorian Era. It’s a great series. and I love Mary and her fierceness. She’s also a new and interesting character who is different and considered inferior in her time. She’s a pretty great detective and is really determined and brave.

The mysteries are pretty great, and I finished the whole series pretty quickly. Oh, and James is an absolute darling 💖 Absolutely, annoyingly, handsomely, a bit over protective, but also super kind, and definitely a perfect darling.


Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate: A book that felt like a warm hug

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I really loved this book for its representation, the great characters, the food, and the writing style. It was super heartwarming to read about Emoni’s struggles, how she overcame them, her family (Buela and Babygirl are the sweetest), and her awesome friends, especially Angelica.

I also really loved the way the book was written-it felt like I was in Emoni’s head and reading her words, not just being told a story in a more formal way. And let’s not forget the amazing food in this book. There are no words to describe the deliciousness of it all. It made me want to fly into the kitchen and whip up a mess lol.


Maple Pecan Latte: A book you enjoyed that was hard to get into

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

It took me 19 days to finally get past the first 10%. It was slow. Like, really slow. The murder mystery is interesting, Kya’s life is interesting, the back story is interesting but wow, it is so so slow, and it was until around the last third-ish of the book that the pace began to pick up.

However, I still gave it 4 stars because this is supposed to be a slow read, that is heavy on the description of the Marsh, and of Kya’s life before the murder. The murder mystery was a pretty small aspect of the book compared to the rest of it. But I still enjoyed it. I pushed myself to finish it (and I did skim some of the description), and I’m pretty glad that I did, because I eventually liked Kya and all her friends, and it saved me from DNFing. The only reason that I picked it up, was because of the mystery and the odd characters, so it was disappointing to see that it wasn’t a major part of the story, but I ended up liking the characters and the coming-of-age aspect much more instead.


London Fog: A vanilla character

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This was such a disappointing book. Absolutely disappointing. I hated Claire. I hated Nix. The idea of the story was okay, but the execution was horrible. This was more like a horrible Disney princess movie with a dark boy who falls in love with a girl who has never been noticed. And this girl is the most annoying character ever.

As soon as Claire meets Nix, she falls in love with him because he’s the only one who has noticed her. Hello? He noticed you because he was supposed to kill you. But obviously that’s just a technicality that doesn’t matter. And then after that, all Claire can think about is her darling Nix, and her new super powers… It’s just a horrible book, and Claire is annoying and intolerable.


Hot Buttered Rum: A book that was velvety smooth to read

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

I don’t think this is really velvety smooth? But it’s an easy espionage story and I liked it. Nothing super amazing, but good enough that I’ve continued on with the series.

The ending does get intense, and the court drama and intrigue is very interesting, but I also feel like it was just meh, nothing super remarkable, but pretty nice to read. I don’t really like Peggy, I wish Olivia had a bigger role from the first book (she’d make a great spy), and the drama with Sophy Howe is maybe a bit much, but it’s also kind of hilarious to read.


Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: A character whose temperament is icy cold

The Great Lady Sarnai from Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

She’s cruel. Unbelievably so. It’s kind of interesting, while terrifying to read about at the same time. She has no sympathy or feelings for anyone (besides the guy she loved and whom she now can’t marry) and she terrorizes everyone wherever she goes.

But she’s also sad, lonely, being used as a peace pawn, and her way of life being discarded so that she can become a woman she doesn’t want to be. So it’s also kind of understandable. But then, her heart is obviously made of ice, because there was a certain point in the book where I though she might change, but instead she was absolutely brutal.


Salted Caramel Mocha: A book that you’re salty about

Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

This book was a mess. An utter mess. Audrey Rose completely went off the rails in this one. She stopped trusting our dearest Cresswell, and trusted a self-confessed liar and con man. Think about that for a minute. Cresswell who has been with her through hell and back, Cresswell who’s never attempted to cage her, and has always respected and admired her, Cresswell who would probably walk across a volcano barefoot to save her life, was deemed not trustworthy enough to keep/properly react to the secret Audrey Rose was trying to keep with a LIAR.

This makes no sense, and honestly, if you want to read the full rant head right over here, because the above is only part of the tragedy that is this book. It’s definitely the most disappointing book from the series so far.


Honey Bee Latte: A character who is sweet

Jude from The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

To be honest, JLB always manages to write amazing characters, the serious ones, the destructive/rule breaker ones, and the sweet-bring-a-smile-to-your-face kind of ones.

Jude is the latter. He is eternally optimistic and he always finds the good or bright side of things. I also love him because he was there for Kira, always supported her, and diffused situations spectacularly. He’s just a super sweet warm bun who cares more about others and about their feelings than for his own. And he forgives so easily and never holds a grudge against anyone.


Gingerbread Latte: A character you’d take home for Christmas

I have no idea? I don’t celebrate Christmas, and honestly, I’m not sure if I want to bring any character home for any celebration because it would probably end up in a disaster. An absolute disaster. It’s either they are super fun but destructive, or they are the kind to just sit there glowering and being absolutely unreasonable (and possibly the ones who someone might decide to pick a fight with, and then I have to make sure they don’t end up dead). Neither is a very good option for a party…

Tagging

Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea | Kat @ Novels and Waffles | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Jane @ Blogger Books | Charlotte @ Bewitching Books, Ravenous Reads

*P.S. No pressure if you don’t want to do the tag!!

This was so much fun to do, and if you’d like to do the tag, go right ahead! Be sure to link back so I can see your answers as well!! See you guys tomorrow!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Review

Good morning and welcome my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. Today, I shall be reviewing Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This was an interesting retelling of Mulan, I really liked Maia and Edan, and the plot was really good.

Book: Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.


Quote: “Seize the wind,” I whispered. “Don’t become the kite that never flies.”

*Maia. Maia was fierce, independent, and determined to make a place for herself in a world dominated by men and I loved her. Her loyalty to her family, her strength in the face of all those who tried to end her, and the lengths to which she went to save her father’s business and become the Imperial tailor were extraordinary and I was so proud of her for that. The flashbacks that she had of her family before the war were so sad, and I missed them as much as she did.

*Edan. Edan is over 500 years old, but who cares? He still seemed to be an annoying teenager, and I loved him for him for being that obnoxious and annoying but also pretty wise guy. Him and Maia bickering and arguing was amazing, and the lengths that he went to save and protect her was so sweet. His past was also heartbreaking, and it just made me want to hug his annoying self and make everything okay.

*Lady Sarnai. We don’t get much of her, but I think she’s an awesome character. Yes, she’s the villain, yes, she’s beyond cruel, but I felt so sorry for her, especially after Maia found her crying, and I really hope that she has some sort of character arc in the next book. It would be awesome, because she also kind of challenged the patriarchy in her own way, creating terror wherever she went, and I secretly wish that she and Maia become friends.

*Book in general. I loved the plot, the world-building, and the writing. I’m not one for flowery writing, but I really liked it here. The world was beautiful, and I liked the inclusion of magic and demons, and how everything was set up (minus the scissors, more on that below). It was really interesting and new. The plot, and Maia’s quest to sew three gowns from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars was super amazing. The ending didn’t really shock me, but I’m kind of excited to see what happens in the next book.

*Mulan Retelling. This had so many elements of Mulan and I loved it. Mulan is probably my #1 favorite Disney movie, and there are a bunch of similarities between Spin the Dawn and Disney Mulan (in my opinion). Some people have said that it’s not really that similar beyond Maia dressing up as a boy, BUT, a friend of mine has pointed out that it is more similar to the original ballad and she listed the evidence in her review.


Quote: “Sometimes we must let go of what we value for the future of our country.”

*Calm down please! Maia and Edan couldn’t get their hands off of each other after ~60% and it was a bit annoying to continuously read about. I mean, I’m glad they’ve finally confessed all these feelings, and all that tension is over, but calm down a bit please??

*Magical Scissors. How the scissors work is beyond me. Maia paints with scissors, sews with the scissors, and cuts, and creates completely different things with the scissors. How? Does she cut the fabric and it stitches and paints itself in its wake? Or does she wave the scissors over it and it creates on its own? How does the scissors sew?? I’d have loved for this to be explained a bit more.

*Ending. The ending didn’t wow me, which was pretty disappointing. I didn’t really feel anything, and just continued reading, and was like “oh well, it’s over”. But I am a bit excited for the second book, so it wasn’t completely horrible. I was kind of expecting something that would hurt and rip my heart out, but it was nothing like that for me.


Quote: “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”

In the end, I really liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! Maia’s courage, Edan’s obnoxiousness, Lady Sarnai’s cruelty, and the plot were super great. Besides the scissors, the disappointing end, and the excess touching and kissing, this was a pretty great fantasy, and I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters in the next book.

One sentence summary: A great fantasy with awesome characters, and a few flaws.

Overall, 4 amazing stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think? Were you also intrigued by the great Lady Sarnai? Do you think she and Maia might somehow become friends? Did the huge age difference between Edan and Maia bother you? Am I the only one who was disappointed by that ending? Chat with me in the comments below!