Posted in Books

YA Books for AAPI Heritage Month

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I’m (almost) back! Today marked my last AP exam of the year (had four exams this week…hhhgh…), so now that I have most of the big tests out of the way, I can start getting back on a more frequent blogging schedule. Of course, I’m not *quite* done with the school year just yet, but the only finals I have left are for my easy classes, so I don’t think there’s anything terribly strenuous on the immediate horizon. 🙂

But I wanted to make this post because here in the U.S., the month of May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! So for the occasion, I decided to compile some of my favorite #OwnVoices AAPI YA novels of all genres. As always, it’s essential to diversify your reading pool 365 days a year, but especially with the tragic hate crimes and harmful stigmas surrounding AAPI people in the U.S. and elsewhere, it’s especially important to uplift AAPI voices.

So let’s begin, shall we?

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YA BOOKS FOR AAPI HERITAGE MONTH

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1) by Natasha  Ngan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

GENRES: High fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one, but I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. Raw, unapologetic, and resonant, Ngan builds such a rich world, unforgettable characters, and a plot that kept me at the edge of my seat. The sequel was a disappointment, unfortunately, but I think I’ll stick it out for book 3.

This Time Will Be Different – Misa Sugiura

Amazon.com: This Time Will Be Different eBook: Sugiura, Misa: Kindle Store

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For anyone who seeks to make change in their community, this one’s a must-read! A beautiful story of family, history, and everyday resistance.

Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

Love Hate & Other Filters - Social Justice Books

GENRES: Fiction, contemporary, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

After reading two of her books and a short story, I can now say that Samira Ahmed might just be a new favorite author of mine! She never misses, and her debut is no exception; a raw and beautiful tale of love, family, and fighting back against bigotry.

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

GENRES: Historical fiction, fantasy, retellings (Romeo and Juliet), romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I tried (and failed) to set my expectations at a reasonable level after all the hype this one got, but I must say, this one is worth a good portion of it! A fresh and original spin on Romeo and Juliet set against the background of 1920’s Shanghai, complete with warring gangs and strange monsters.

Warcross – Marie Lu

Amazon.com: Warcross (9780399547966): Lu, Marie: Books

GENRES: Science fiction, romance, dystopia

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Marie Lu’s one of my favorite authors, and it was hard to pick just one of her books for this post, but I ended up on this one because a) it was my first exposure to her AMAZING writing and b) I don’t talk about it an awful lot, so why not give it some more love?

Besides that gorgeous cover, there’s something for everybody here: futuristic Tokyo, a clever and lovable heroine, mysteries within competitive video games, and secret plots.

Almost American Girl – Robin Ha

Amazon.com: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir (9780062685094): Ha,  Robin, Ha, Robin: Books

GENRES: Graphic novels, autobiography

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

GAAAH, this one’s beautiful! This one’s an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel, centering around the author’s experience as a Korean immigrant to the U.S. and the transformative power of art and comics.

Ash – Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

GENRES: Retellings (Cinderella), fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amid the bountiful Cinderella retellings out there, this one truly stands out, with lush writing reminiscent of the narration of Pan’s Labyrinth and classic fairytales, and a warm and resonant sapphic romance. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a retelling worth reading!

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

Amazon.com: The Gilded Wolves: A Novel (The Gilded Wolves, 1)  (9781250144546): Chokshi, Roshani: Books

GENRES: Fantasy, historical fiction, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you’re a fan of Six of Crows, I AM ONCE AGAIN ASKING YOU TO DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND READ THIS BOOK. Lovable and authentic characters, a complex world and system of magic, heists for famed artifacts, and political intrigue – this one has it all.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao

Amazon.com: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress Book 1)  eBook: Dao, Julie C.: Kindle Store

GENRES: Retellings, high fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you love antiheroes, corruption arcs, or stories from the perspective of the villain, than this book is for you! Rich, dark and compelling, this is a must-read duology for any YA fantasy fan!

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Descendant of the Crane (9780807515518): He, Joan: Books - Amazon.com

GENRES: High fantasy, mystery

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I know I never stop blabbing about this one, but this is a prime example of genre-bending done right: a stunning blend of fantasy and murder mystery! I’m so surprised that more people haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it if you haven’t. (And I can’t wait for The Ones We’re Meant to Find! It looks amazing, but I can’t find it at my library…[impatient screeching])

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

The Henna Wars — Adiba Jaigirdar

GENRES: Fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and I’m so glad to say that it delivered! A diverse, sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance with important discussions about cultural appropriation, the immigrant experience, and sexuality.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these books, and what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA books by AAPI authors?

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Today’s song:

Ok I think I can officially forgive her for MASSEDUCTION because THERE IS NOT A BAD SONG ON THIS ALBUM! Expect a review soonish…

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/16/20)–Ash

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Ash had been on my TBR for quite a while, and I’d read a few of Malinda Lo’s stories in an anthology or two, so I figured that I’d give her solo works a try. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least–this retelling reads like a true fairytale, and is a wonderfully subversive take on the classic tale of Cinderella. And, it’s a perfect read for Pride month! 🏳️‍🌈

Enjoy this week’s review!

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash–Malinda Lo

After the death of her parents, Ash’s life changes forever. Gone is the loving family she once knew, replaced by her cruel, domineering stepmother and her two daughters. Her only solace is the book of fairy tales that her mother read to her as a child. A walk in the woods at night, however, makes her realize that her fairy tales are more than tales for children.

Now under a pact with a formidable fairy, she finds herself falling for Kaisa, the king’s royal huntress. As the pair fall in love, Ash must choose between her newfound love and the pact that binds her to the wicked forest.

Cinderella is already plum-full of gilt and brocade and magic; it ...

We all know it–Cinderella has been retold so many times that it has almost become stale. But reading this, I realized that Ash may have been one of the first of its kind–a YA retelling, groundbreaking not only for the higher stakes and subversion of the tale, but with the sapphic aspect of the romance. And without a doubt, Ash is a retelling to be reckoned with.

Lo’s writing reads like a well-loved fairytale, filled with lush prose and the air of a seasoned storyteller. Every description, from the woods outside of Quinn House to Ash’s enchanted gown, is lusciously written. It almost reminded me of the classic style of narration used in films like Pan’s Labyrinth, and other fairytale media.

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Aside from the borderline, almost annoyingly edgy quality of the blurb on the cover and the Goodreads synopsis, Ash is a wonderful example of a fairytale retold in a darker way, staying true to the original tale while having fresh, dark, and lyrical elements that make it stand out from the volley of other retellings on the YA market today.

And can we talk about Ash and Kaisa? I. LOVED. THEM. They were both such relatable characters with poignant struggles, and they had chemistry to die for. SAPPHIC POWER COUPLE SUPREME. BEAUTIFUL.

All in all, a groundbreaking retelling, and one that will surely stand the test of time. 4 stars!

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Ash is a standalone, but there is a prequel set in the same universe, Huntress, which is set many years before the events of this novel.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 8-14, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

All things considered, it’s been an…alright week. There hasn’t been anything super eventful, other than J.K. Rowling testing me ([screams] TRANS RIGHT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS, WHEN WILL YOU LEARN–). I’ve received a few more eARCs (more reviews to come next week!), but I checked Edelweiss yesterday, and I’d gotten declined 4 (four) eARCs all at once…whee…

But hey, I’ve just started out. And plus, I still have a bunch of pending requests, so things could start looking up next week.

My reading week’s been fairly hit-or-miss–it’s swung between four star and two star reads, for the most part, but I’ve found a few that I enjoyed. As far as writing goes, I’ve just finished writing the climax for my WIP (!!!), and I’m close to 300 pages! It’s the most I’ve ever written, so that’s been crazy. I’m also working away at an Iron Giant puzzle, which has given me a primal urge to go back and watch it again.

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Under Shifting Stars–Alexandra Latos (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dreamwalkers–Leslie Rush (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dreamwalkers - Leslie Rush - Pre-Order - Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC

Fourth World–Lyssa Chiavari (⭐️⭐️)

Fourth World (Iamos Trilogy, #1) by Lyssa Chiavari

Lyrics and Curses (Cursed Hearts, #1)–Candace Robinson (eARC) (⭐️⭐️)

Lyrics & Curses (Cursed Hearts, #1) by Candace Robinson

Ash–Malinda Lo (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Ash by Malinda Lo

The Girl who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly–Sybil Lamb (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek–Kim Michele Richardson

Amazon.com: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (6/13/20)–Books With One-Word Titles 1️⃣

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books with one-word titles.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: 

6/6/20 — Books Set Near/On the Sea

6/13/20 — Books with One Word Titles

6/20/20 — Books You’d Give a Second Chance

6/27/20 —  Books with Morally Grey Characters

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

Ash, Malinda Lo

Amazon.com: Ash (9780316531313): Lo, Malinda: Books

I just finished reading this yesterday. What an incredible Cinderella retelling!

Reverie, Ryan La Sala

Amazon.com: Reverie (0760789277535): La Sala, Ryan: Books

Another one of my many quarantine reads, this was a fun, LGBTQ+ fantasy.

Scythe, Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe): Amazon.co.uk: Shusterman, Neal: Books

To this day, this series is one of my favorite sci-fi dystopias, hands down.

Invictus, Ryan Graudin

Amazon.com: Invictus (9780316503075): Graudin, Ryan: Books

I wasn’t as big of a fan of this one, but at least it had a solid concept. From what I remember, at least.

Valiant, Merrie Destefano

Amazon.com: Valiant (9781640634268): Destefano, Merrie: Books

I read this one about a year and a half ago, and I don’t remember too much of it, but I must have enjoyed it, since I rated it four stars. The cover’s absolutely gorgeous.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

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Today’s song:

It’s been a year since I went with my family to Canada; I listened to most of Crush Songs when I went, and now I always associate the album with that trip. 💗

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!