[Book Review] The Girl King – Mimi Yu // vaguely problematic, but not enough to be totally written off

Whaddup, homies? (Homie is still gender-neutral, yes?) Today I’ll be reviewing one of my most anticipated reads for 2019 (speaking of which, I’ll be talking about this year’s releases that I’m looking forward to, so keep an eye out for that post!), the East Asian inspired fantasy, The Girl King. I was semi-resigned to just having to get it on Amazon or Book Depository, but, wonder of wonders, NetGalley granted this request for me!

Too bad I really didn’t enjoy it.

I tried, I really did! It looked like it was going to be another one of those books whose praises I shouted to the heavens! (And y’all know how hard I roll for the books I love.) But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Purchase Links
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Book Review] Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan // the sapphic Asian fantasy of your DREAMS

You know I’m always ready to step up to the plate for Asian literature and Asian authors. So as soon as I heard that Girls of Paper and Fire was a thing, you can bet I wanted to get my hands on it. I actually mentioned this title in my list 2018 Releases I Want to Buy and when Shealea of That Bookshelf Bitch got an ARC that she very gamely agreed to lend to me, I was just over the moon!

Let me tell you, Girls of Paper and Fire did not disappoint.

I tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but tread cautiously!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Book Review] The Heart Forger – Rin Chupeco // the female anti-hero we all need

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Title: The Heart Forger

Author: Rin Chupeco

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

Content Warnings: Violence, abuse

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[Book Review] Mirage – Somaiya Daud // a lush Moroccan fantasy set in outer space

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Title: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5

Summary:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Content warnings:  Themes of colonialism, graphic violence and injury

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Book Review] Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao // the evil queen origin story you need

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Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Author: Julie C. Dao

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins – sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Content Warnings: Mutilation, torture, depictions of starvation and poverty

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Mini-Reviews: 3 Teen Books I, A Non-Teen, Adored

I admit – I used to look down on teen books. I’ve always loved YA sci-fi and fantasy, but I used to think that contemporary teen books were beneath me. Of course, I’ve realized since then just how wrong I was (check out my review of From Twinkle, With Love and When Dimple Met Rishi, both contemporary teen romances), and I’m happy to say, I have a quite a few teen books on my TBR now! In fact, last month, I read three contemporary teen books, and I absolutely adored them!

Here’s what I thought of Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo!

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[Book Review] From Twinkle, With Love – Sandhya Menon // film nerds, Shakespeare references, and gender-swapped Dracula

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Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Epistolary

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

Content Warnings: Bullying

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[Book Review + Giveaway!] The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco // the story of an unapologetically angry and powerful woman

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Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Content Warnings: Violence, bullying, character death

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[Book Review] Secondhand Origin Stories – Lee Blauersouth // part of the SHOSPH Blog Tour!

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Title: Secondhand Origin Stories

Author: Lee Blauersouth

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Sci-Fi, Superhero Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Content Warnings: Homophobia, transphobia, ableism

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100 Thoughts While Reading Secondhand Origin Stories

Hey guys! I’m back with another edition of 100 Thoughts While Reading. As always, big thanks to Karina of Afire Pages for coming up with the idea in the first place.

As you can probably guess, I’m doing the Secondhand Origin Stories blog tour hosted – as usual, lol – by the lovely Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch. If you haven’t signed up for the blog tour, don’t fret! It’s available on Amazon, and I’ve included the link below!

Superhero Origins tour banner

There will be a more detailed review to follow, so please stick around for that. I’m so excited to tell you what I thought of this book!

As always, be warned that this post contains spoilery content!

Without further ado, here are my 100 Thoughts While Reading Secondhand Origin Stories

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