Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (5/24/21) – The Ones We’re Meant to Find

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Continuing with AAPI books on my TBR for the rest of the month, here’s one I can’t wait to read! I’ve been seeing this one EVERYWHERE lately, and every time I see a post about it, I get even madder that my library doesn’t have it yet…[screams in the void]

I was a huge fan of Descendant of the Crane, and this one sounds even better! We’ll see…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (5/24/21) – THE ONES WE’RE MEANT TO FIND by Joan He

The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

So why do I want to read this?

Aesthetic Ocean Gif Tumblr - Largest Wallpaper Portal

NO NO I’M JUST VIBRATING IN MY SEAT WAITING TO GET MY HANDS ON THIS BOOK –

Joan He’s thing in writing must be genre-blending, and man, it looks like she hit her stride again! Both of the sisters’ plots – one on an empty island and the other in a near-future eco city – sound equally fascinating. I always love sibling stories as well, so I’m excited to see how Cee and Kasey’s narratives are tied together and what their relationship looks like.

And the themes are…eerily timely here. Looks like there’s going to be a big discussion about climate change, what with these near-future eco cities presumably being built to withstand the severe natural disasters that come with it. I haven’t read much cli-fi (sci-fi specifically dealing with climate change – new term for me), and I’m excited to expand my horizons with this one!

Oh, and I can’t NOT talk about that beautiful cover…🥺

In short:

a) I’m here for Joan He

b) I’m here for sci-fi Joan He

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Today’s song:

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

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?

Aapi Aapi Month GIF - Aapi AapiMonth AapiHeritageMonth - Discover & Share  GIFs

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?

Aapi Heritage Month GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

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 Tags, Books

Books and Bakes Book Tag

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I feel like I haven’t done a book tag in a while, so I figured that I’d have some fun and do one today. I found it over at Leigh Hecking’s blog, and the tag was originally created by  Life is a Page Turner. This looked like such a fun tag to do–and since my sweet tooth is out of control, of course I had to do it.

Let’s begin, shall we?

CUPCAKES: Name a collection of short stories, poems, or anthologies where you couldn’t read just one section and had to go back for another.

Cupcake Gif By Shaking Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Tennyson: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series) - Kindle ...

I bought this lovely collection of Tennyson’s poetry last year, and I enjoyed every page of it!

LEMON POUND CAKE: Name a book that has 400 pages or more that you considered a comfort read and a classic.

Lavender Lemon Pound Cake (Tea Time) | Savory dessert, Lemon pound ...
Scythe (Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition) (Arc of a Scythe ...

Scythe is 435 pages long (the last two books are even longer), and ever since finishing book 3, I can say with certainty that this is one of my favorite series!

RED VELVET CAKE: Name a book that you thought was one thing, but ended up being something completely different.

Satisfying Red Velvet GIF by emibob - Find & Share on GIPHY
Amazon.com: Descendant of the Crane (9780807515518): He, Joan: Books

I went into Descendant of the Crane thinking that it would be more fantasy-oriented, but it turned out to be a blend of the former, political intrigue, and a touch of murder mystery. Highly recommended!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH: Name a book or a book series that you can read over and over again even though you know that it’s bad for you.

Which Cookie Dough Has The Most Chocolate Chips? | Secret cookie ...
Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

I need a running tally of how many times Aurora Rising‘s snuck into my book tags…

But truly, I could never get tired of this masterful series, and book 3 can’t come soon enough…

APPLE PIE A LA MODE: Name a book that was really good but could have been better with a little bit of ice cream. 

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Amazon.com: The Weight of the Stars (9781250101631): Ancrum, K.: Books

I finished The Weight of the Stars yesterday and liked it, but almost the entire cast of characters were self-destructive jerks (on some level), so that aspect took away a little of my enjoyment.

GINGERBREAD COOKIES: Do you like your gingerbread cookies crunchy or soft?

Gingerbread People: How to win the #bestdressedcookie competition ...

Soft, all the way!

IF YOU LIKE YOUR COOKIES SOFT: Name a book that was squishy in the middle, but the beginning and end were really good

IF YOU LIKE YOUR COOKIES CRUNCHY: Name a book that you wanted to throw at the wall/snap

Amazon.com: Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai ...

I loved Elatsoe, but there was a lull in the middle; luckily, it picked up by the end. I got an eARC of this one, and it comes out in a matter of days!

BROWNIES: Are you a middle piece or a corner piece?

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Middle piece! Can’t say no to the soft texture…

IF YOU’RE A CORNER PIECE: Name a book that started off strong and then all came apart

IF YOU’RE A MIDDLE PIECE: Name a book that kept you in the feels the entire time

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

On a Sunbeam absolutely fits the bill for my middle piece–I was already excited for it, but I had no idea how gripping and atmospheric it would be!

BIRTHDAY CAKE: Name a book series or an author that you feel like keeps coming out with a book, short story, or novella every year

Birthday Cake GIF by GIPHY Studios Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

My first thought here was Amie Kaufman; at this point, she’s become such a prolific author, what with all of her YA and MG series. (Anybody else excited for The Other Side of the Sky? I preordered it!)

CARROT CAKE: Name a book that sounded healthy for you but ended up being unhealthy, either with content or by putting you in a reading slump

Carrot Cake GIFs | Tenor
Amazon.com: When We Were Magic (9781534432871): Gailey, Sarah: Books

I had my expectations high for When We Were Magic, but though it was entertaining, it was…decent. Not bad, but not spectacular for me. I have distinct memories of staring at the cover, but thinking that the book wasn’t nearly as gripping…

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

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Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Out of My Comfort Zone Book Tag

book tags header.jpg

Hello again, bibliophiles!

Now that I’ve got more time on my hands thanks to this whole COVID-19 deal, I decided to look up a few more book tags to do. I’m thinking of creating my own soon, as I said, but I’m still working out the details there, so stay tuned. 😉

In the meantime, I found this tag on Madame Writer, and the tag was originally created by Emmmabooks.

RULE: 

  • Choose one genre/category of books that you frequently talk about in tags and don’t use ANY books from that genre for answers.

[gulps] goodbye, sci-fi…

Image result for not crying flight of the conchords gif

 

1. A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements in books that you don’t typically like.

Image result for other words for smoke

Normally, I have quite a lot of trouble with the use of the 2nd person. In most instances, it takes me out of the story, and it leaves me feeling confused or disconnected. But Other Words for Smoke manages to utilize it masterfully, putting the reader in the headspace of Bevan just as seamlessly as if it were in the 1st or 3rd person.

 

2. A book you enjoyed from a genre you previously held some stigma about.

Image result for descendant of the crane

Technically, Descendant of the Crane could be categorized as fantasy, mystery, or fiction, but the mystery element hooked me more than any other element (sort of a murder mystery?), which is something that doesn’t often happen to me with novels.

 

3. A book you didn’t know was actually out of your comfort zone until you started reading it.

Image result for i am still alive book

I knew going into it that I Am Still Alive was waaaaaay out of my comfort zone (survival fiction/adventure), but all of the different elements woven into it surprised me at every turn–ones that usually turn me off to a book, but were so well-executed that they worked for me. Whew, this one’s a rough ride.

 

4. Pick a friend that motivates you to pick up books you might not normally be interested in. What is one book out of your norm that they convinced you to give a try?

Image result for the poet x book cover

One of my dear friends from school (and one of the few people who I’ve managed to convince to join my school’s book club) recommended The Poet X to me around two years ago. Our taste in books tends to be similar, but this one was most definitely out of my norm, mostly because of the aspect of a novel in verse, which I’ve found to be rather hit-or-miss. To my pleasant surprise, this one was a MASTERPIECE.

 

5. A book that is out of your comfort zone that you would like to read.

Image result for the night circus book

This one’s been talked about a lot for the past few years, and though I’ve found the reviews to be INCREDIBLY polarizing, I definitely want to at least give The Night Circus a try. I don’t usually read historical fiction, but the melding of that and a dash of fantasy seems like it would be entertaining, at best.

6. A book or genre so out of what you normally read that you’ll probably never give it a(nother) chance.

I’m probably never going to touch any sort of bodice rippers. That’s just completely out of the question. I mean, I’m all for romance, but…nope. Not today, nor ever, likely.

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I tag anyone who would like to participate!

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Since I’ve already posted once today, you can head over to Book Review Tuesday (3/24/20)–Crown of Coral and Pearl to see today’s song.

 

That just about wraps up this tag! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (7/23/19)-Descendant of the Crane

Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

SO! I’ve been meaning to review this one for…almost a month now, whew. I had semi-average expectations for it, figuring that it would be more of an interim read than anything, something to tide me over. After reading a few rave reviews from another blogger and some of the Goodreads reviews, I was ultimately convinced.

And MAN…

Descendant of the Crane truly blew it out of the water! A seamless and riveting combination of fantasy and murder mystery. Waaaaaaay better than I expected it to be.

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

(also, apologies for the size of the cover image, this was the best that I could find 😦  )

 

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Descendant of the Crane

Princess Hesina has never been keen to the royal life, preferring to hide in the shadows instead of meddle in political affairs. But after her father’s death, Hesina takes it upon herself to discover the cause of his demise. The medics rule it a suicide, but Hesina is determined that it was a murder. Now the Queen, she goes against everything that the royal family stands for, enlisting the help of a soothsayer to find out how her father truly died. With the help of Akira, a criminal, poisons expert, and maybe the key to discovering the truth about her father, Hesina leads a grand investigation–one that leads into the darkest depths of her kingdom’s history.

 

 

Now, as I said, my expectations for this book were faily average. But by the end, let’s just say that my last brain cells and I were all screaming.

HOLY SWEARING CUSS.gif

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOA.

 

A lushly written, richly developed, genre-bending novel like no other. The plot had me clinging to the edge of my seat, and though I didn’t get too attached to many of the characters, they had near impeccable chemistry, and I found myself rooting for them in the end. Overall, a truly fantastic book!

 

The author said (in response to a question on Goodreads) that Descendant of the Crane is, in fact, a standalone, but she’s planning to write some companion novels set in the same universe. I’m personally satisfied with the decision; it’s good that she’s leaving this book alone, but I’m itching for some more action in the rich world that she’s beginning to create. 🙂

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and please take care of yourselves!

 

OH! One more thing…

[singing off-key] toDAAAAAY IS THE DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

That’s right, Ashley Poston’s Soul of Stars, the sequel to Heart of Iron (see 8/14/18) comes out TODAY! I recently preordered it, and it’s supposed to arrive about a week from now, so you can definitely expect a review around early August.

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Well, that’s all for today. See you next Tuesday!