The First Binding by R.R. Virdi – My Thoughts

This is the longest book I have read since Babel (I think). The First Binding by R.R. Virdi has been on my to be read list since last year, and I finally started it on January 1. I was intimidated by the size, but once I started reading I knew I wanted to know what would happen at the end. TFB is a frame narrative style fantasy novel that I have not seen in any of the fantasy novels I have read. Ari, the main character, is a storyteller, and the narrative flashes back between his youth and his present time.

About 25% of the way in, I realized that I would have preferred Eloine as a main character over Ari. She is a mysterious woman who Ari tells most of the stories to. No spoilers, but I am so glad that R.R. Virdi included her perspective. While Ari seems to be very closed off and sort of like an unreliable narrator, Eloine seems to be upfront about her unreliability. Eloine, I think, is also interesting because sometimes, women can fall into the stereotype of only being there to advance the man’s story, but Eloine has her own story.

Also, while I found Ari’s backstory interesting, I am interested to know how R.R. Virdi will catch up to the present time when The First Binding takes place in. Ari seems to be a lot more jaded in the present time, although when he is a child, there are hints of the intensely, closed off man he will become. The majority of the book is focused on Ari’s time as a child which I was not expecting to be so interesting, but R.R. Virdi does a nice job of combining Ari’s story as a child and his time as an adult.

I am excited to see where The First Binding series goes and after that ending, I look forward to learning more about Ari and even more about Eloine. R.R. Virdi’s writing feels like hearing a story told by Ari, complete with the effects of Ari’s magic. R.R. Virdi also questions what magic and power means, and how the stories of magic and power can be manipulated by the people at the center. What I found most compelling about The First Binding is how the story questions the truth and the truth of magic as it impacts all of the people across the world of TFB.


August Wrap-Up: A Long but Good Month


This month, I read 25-28 books. August is the first month where I have decided not to finish books – there were three that weren’t for me, but that others may like.

My favorite books were The Final Strife, The City of Dusk, and Siren Queen. I also re-read a few books, including the These Violent Delights duology which was just as amazing as the first time I read it.


I started university on August 29! I am so surprised because I like all of my professors, which is very lucky. My favorite class so far is Global Studies 101. I was worried that I wouldn’t like the readings, but I love them. I feel affirmed in my decision to have already declared my major. I don’t have a least favorite class; however, I do not like my ENVS 101 class because it is at 8:30 AM.

I need to give credit to students at my uni for following my #Bookstagram and getting me to 1.4k followers!! I have been hovering around 1400 for so long.


Life is pretty good. I am excited for my birthday in September, and I am glad I get to celebrate with my family.

Yesterday, I went to WorldCon for the first time. I cannot believe that I just found out about it a week ago! I met N.E. Davenport, Xiran Jay Zhao, Gene Ha, and Apara Verma. Later this week, I will hopefully have a post up about my first WorldCon experience (it was amazing and I really hope to go to the Hugo Awards the next time!).

I also took a lot of photos for my ##Bookstagram account before I left for university, and I hope I have enough to last me the semester.

The An Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir.


My only goal for September is to get through my first month of college: go to every class, not get covid, read for fun, and make time for my own hobbies. I also have a few books I need to read and review from NetGalley: I am reading Study Break right now and I LOVE IT!! Being a first year college student, SB came at the perfect time.

How was your August?


University Goals: Semester One

My dorm room desk and lofted bed.

In a few days, I will start my first day of my first year of university!! I moved in last weekend to one of the newer dorms on campus and I love it (however, there was a gnat problem in the bathroom, but it is supposed to get fixed soon). Here are my goals for the first semester:

Academic Goals

Academically, I’ve always been very hard on myself – the word most of my friends used to describe me in middle and even high school was serious. I would get super stressed if I didn’t get an A. That kind of changed in my senior year; I felt less stressed because I had less classes, but then college applications took the place of that stress.

I know that the first year of uni will be challenging, but here are the strategies I’m going to try to use to help relax:

  1. Ask questions in class and go to tutoring. This one is self explanatory.
  2. Set times where I don’t work on academics at all (including work for clubs) AND turn off my phone and computer. I think this’ll help my mind rest and prevent myself from comparing myself to others.
  3. Don’t go on my phone in bed. This one is kind of easy because I can only charge my phone on my desk and it is underneath my lofted bed, but I also got a new phone recently and the battery life is really good, so I could charge my phone and leave it on my nightstand. . .but I don’t want to do that.
  4. Read the syllabus and put all of my assignment dates in my calendar before.
  5. Get out of my dorm room to study. There are a few places on campus that I love and some outdoor places.

Social Goals

In the past year, I’ve learned that I need alone time, but I also need to balance that with a social life. I don’t want to isolate myself in my dorm, but I do want to make it a space where I can hang out with others.

  1. Join organizations – self explanatory.
  2. Get off campus – go to bookstores, find cute cafes, and find museums that give student discounts.
  3. Get to know my roommates – self explanatory.
  4. Reach out to people I know.
  5. Maintain my relationships with my high school friends.

Personal Goals

Outside of university life, I want to continue developing my hobbies. I want my life to not be consumed by uni/feeling like I need to do things for others.

  1. Read for fun. This might get hard when I have more reading assignments, but it’s a nice thing to do before I fall asleep.
  2. Maintain my blog and bookstagram, but also make sure that I prioritize homework and organization responsibilities.
  3. Workout – luckily, my campus is very walkable, but there’s also a decent gym and pool that I can use.
  4. Stay clean and organized.
  5. Join organizations such as the Filipino club and the Asian American Activism club.

Do you have any advice for a college first year?


Books I’m Excited For: September – December 2022

I cannot believe we are in the last four months of 2022!! There are a lot of amazing books coming out in the next couple of months. Most of the ones I’m excited for are by authors I already know. I also want to give a special mention to the Fairyloot editions of The Gilded Wolves trilogy by Roshani Chokshi because I’ve preordered them and they are so gorgeous!! I cannot wait for my copies to arrive.

Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan: I read Daughter of the Moon Goddess so fast, and I am so happy that the sequel is coming out this year!! These are two of my favorite high fantasy covers of all time.


After winning her mother’s freedom from the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin thrives in the enchanting tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a perilous confrontation.

Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation–to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love… even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong: I have already preordered two editions of this book. All I’ve seen are positive reviews, so I am super excited! I am re-reading Our Violent Ends (as of 8/20/2022) and still love the TVD duology.

Synopsis: It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined. 

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn: ahhhh I am so happy this one is coming out so soon!! The Fairyloot editions are so pretty. I am so ready to see Bree again. This is one of the best YA retellings I’ve ever read.

Synopsis: The shadows have risen, and the line is law.

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland: I am so happy to see books by and centering adoptees in stories that aren’t just about their adoption. Meredith Ireland’s The Jasmine Project was one of my favorite books of 2021, so I’m excited for her second book! The main character of this book is also an Asian adoptee, like me : )

Synopsis: There’s no one Kelsie Miller hates more than Eric Mulvaney Ortiz—the homecoming king, captain of the football team, and academic archrival in her hyper-competitive prep school. But after Kelsie’s best friend, Briana, moves across the country and stops speaking to her, she’ll do anything, even talk to Eric, to find out why.

After they run into each other—literally—at the last high school party of the summer, Eric admits he’s been ghosted by his girlfriend, Jessica. Kelsie tells him she’s had zero contact from Briana since she left their upstate New York town.

Suddenly, a plan is formed: they’ll go on a road trip to the University of Pennsylvania the following week when both Briana and Jessica will be on campus. Together, they’ll do whatever it takes to win back their exes.

What could go wrong?

Used to succeeding in everything, Kelsie and Eric assume they’ll naturally figure out the details on the drive down. What they don’t expect is that the person they actually need may be the one sitting next to them. 

Strike the Zither by Joan He: Joan He is one of my favorite authors! I read DOTC when it came out in 2019, and now I am a part of the street team for her books. All of her covers should be framed!

Synopsis: The year is 414 of the Xin Dynasty, and chaos abounds. A puppet empress is on the throne. The realm has fractured into three factions and three warlordesses hoping to claim the continent for themselves.

But Zephyr knows it’s no contest.

Orphaned at a young age, Zephyr took control of her fate by becoming the best strategist of the land and serving under Xin Ren, a warlordess whose loyalty to the empress is double-edged—while Ren’s honor draws Zephyr to her cause, it also jeopardizes their survival in a war where one must betray or be betrayed. When Zephyr is forced to infiltrate an enemy camp to keep Ren’s followers from being slaughtered, she encounters the enigmatic Crow, an opposing strategist who is finally her match. But there are more enemies than one—and not all of them are human.

What books are you looking forward to that are coming out in September-December?


BLOG TOUR: Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin

I am so grateful to be a part of the #MatatagAtMatapangTour for Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin, hosted by Kate @ Your Tita Kate (https://yourtitakate.com/blog-tour-dauntless/)! Ever since I got into reading more, I’ve been looking for books by Filipino authors. Now, I’m happy to say that Dauntless will be joining my collection of books by Filipino authors.

My Thoughts

Dauntless starts out as an adventure novel. Seri is a valiant, and is a part of a group of warriors that hunt beasts and explore the unknown part of their world. I felt that the story increased in action and my anticipation increased with every (virtual) page I turned. I was excited when Seri met Tsana, a mysterious girl, in a market. By this point, the pacing of Dauntless really drew me in to the story.

One aspect that surprised me was that Tsana narrates some chapters! I love it when the two main characters narrate a novel – I like seeing how they see each other. Both Tsana and Seri challenge each other. Tsana challenges Seri to see the world differently than what Seri thought she knew. Elisa A. Bonnin has done a great job of seamlessly crafting the history of the world into the overarching story, and Seri and Tsana’s romantic relationship. I also liked Eshai and Lavit’s relationship. They had a great dynamic.

As Dauntless progresses, it becomes so much more than an adventure story – it’s a story of the powerful bonds between living beings and how the unknown can be challenging to face at first, but it becomes easier when you have people beside you. The characters battle supposed beasts, the truth, and fight to understand their own paths. This sapphic fantasy novel is one of my favorites of 2022, and I hope there is a sequel; however, the ending makes this a great standalone too!


“Be dauntless, for the hopes of the People rest in you.” 

Seri’s world is defined by very clear rules: The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. The valiant explore the unknown world, kill the beasts, and gain strength from the armor they make from them. As an assistant to Eshai Unbroken, a young valor commander with a near-mythical reputation, Seri has seen first-hand the struggle to keep the beasts at bay and ensure the safety of the spreading trees where the People make their homes. That was how it always had been, and how it always would be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana. 

Tsana is, impossibly, a stranger from the unknown world who can communicate with the beasts – a fact that makes Seri begin to doubt everything she’s ever been taught. As Seri and Tsana grow closer, their worlds begin to collide, with deadly consequences. Somehow, with the world on the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.

Author Bio

Elisa A. Bonnin was born and raised in the Philippines, after which she moved to the United States to study chemistry and later oceanography. After completing her doctorate, she moved to Germany to work as a postdoctoral scientist. A lifelong learner, Elisa is always convinced that she should “maybe take a class in something” and as a result, has amassed an eclectic collection of hobbies. But writing will always be her true love. Publishing a book has been her dream since she was eight years old, and she is thrilled to finally be able to share her stories. Dauntless is her first novel.

*I received an e-ARC from Netgalley as a part of the tour. This did not influence my opinion of the book.

13 Midnights, 13 Characters : Midnights by Taylor Swift

Reputation is still my favorite Taylor Swift album, but I do love Midnights. My top three are Lavender Haze, Maroon, and Paris.

Lavender Haze

“I feel the lavender haze creeping up on me / Surreal / I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say”

TJ Powar from TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo: TJ Powar learns that she doesn’t have to prove herself to anyone.


“The burgundy on my t-shirt / When you splashed your wine into me / And how the blood rushed into my cheeks / So scarlet, it was maroon”

Lucie Churchill and George Zao from Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan: I think Maroon fits Lucie and George because their first meeting is fleeting. I mean “the rust that grew between telephones” describes how they grow apart so perfectly.


“I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror”

Nasir Ghameq from We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal: Ah, the Prince of Death. He is so angsty and thinks that no one could ever understand him. . .until he meets Zafira.

Snow on the Beach

“Flying in a dream / Stars by the pocketful”

Elias Veturius and Laia of Serra from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: this song is so calming and perfect just like Elias and Laia’s relationship.

Midnight Rain

“He wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain / He wanted a bride, I was making my own name / Chasing that fame, he stayed the same / All of me changed like midnight rain”

Zafira bint Iskandar and Deen Ra’ad from We Hunt the Flame Hafsah Faizal: Deen Ra’ad, gone too soon.

Question. . .?

“Cause I don’t remember who I was / Before you painted all my nights / A color I’ve searched for since”

Orion and Rosalind from Foul Lady Fortune Chloe Gong: I mean did I speed read this book because Chloe Gong’s writing is that good? yes. BUT I do think this definitely fits these two spies and their relationship.

Vigilante Shit

“You did some bad things, but I’m the worst of them / Sometimes I wonder which one’ll be your last lie”

Juliette and Roma from These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: I couldn’t not include Juliette and Roma on this list.


“And you can try to change my mind / But you might have to wait in line”

Parisa from The Atlas Six Olivie Blake: Parisa is an icon and she’d fit in the Bejeweled music video perfectly.


“I thought the plane was going down / How’d you turn it right around”

Hypnos and Enrique and Zofia from The Gilded Wolves Roshani Chokshi: These three have the best chemistry. I love them.


“Addicted to betrayal, but you’re relevant”

Severin and Laila from #TheSilveredSerpents: If you’ve read the ending of Serpents, you know what I’m talking about.

Sweet Nothing

“All that you ever wanted from me was / Sweet nothing”

Noor and Sal from All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir: I love them, I miss them, their love will live in my mind forever.

Do you agree with these pairings?

Summer 2022 Wrap Up: Books, Internship, and College

I bought a copy of The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang this month and am so happy to finally have the complete trilogy!!

Yes, I know summer isn’t over yet; however, I move in to college this month. . .omg. Therefore, I am posting this wrap-up now because I don’t think I’ll have a lot of time for personal reading during the last couple of months of this year. Here is my Summer 2022 wrap-up!


This summer I read 63 books (including the months of June, July, and August as of August 19). Of those books, 16 were re-reads and 27 were published this year. Overall, I have read 135 books this year (including re-reads). My top six favorite books were:

  1. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah: Chelsea Abdullah’s world building is INCREDIBLE. This multi POV fantasy swept me away to a magical and deadly world.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: One of the 16 re-reads! This remains one of my favorite series of all time. I love the cast of characters and I hope Roshani Chokshi returns to this world someday.
  3. Siren Queen and The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo: these are both amazing historical fiction novels with a touch of magic.
  4. The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi: another new fantasy novel, also with multiple POVs. I could not put this book down, although I’ll have to re-read it because there is so much detail.
  5. We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal: very long, dense, and intense – I loved it! I cannot wait for A Tempest of Tea to expand this world.

Other books I enjoyed: The City of Dusk by Tara Sim, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin, and Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li.

Life and College

I finished my first internship with a book publishing company! It was from November until the end of July. I had a decent experience, although for my next internship I hope to be in person because virtual internships can be a bit lonely.

There has been a three week period between the end of my internship and when I’ll move into college. I am super excited and there’s a book club at my uni that I already know I want to join. Packing wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be – I am only bringing three of my personal books because I have 13 for my classes. Also, I only have one 8:30 A.M. class (yay!) and all of my classes end before 4:00 P.M.

Looking Forward

I don’t set numerical reading goals anymore; however, there are some books I’m really excited for:

  1. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn: this was one of my favorite books of 2020. I love the Fairyloot editions of this trilogy!
  2. Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong: I am super excited for my preorder to come!
  3. Babel by R.F. Kuang: I have also preordered this one!! I have heard so many great things about it.
  4. Strike the Zither by Joan He: I have preordered this one as well : )

How was your June-August? What books are you looking forward to?

June/July Wrapup

I finished my virtual internship with a book publishing company last week, and I’ll be moving into university later this month.

In June and July, I read a lot of books. As I find myself aging out of reading YA, I’ve found many new books/authors. Here are a few standouts:

  1. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li – a art mystery about a group of Chinese Americans. Also discusses the consequences of colonization/critiques museums.
  2. Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri – while I liked The Jasmine Throne more than these two, I still felt that these two books (which take place in the same world) were engaging. I’m excited for The Oleander Sword!
  3. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – my new favorite fantasy series! There are three perspectives. The worldbuilding is gorgeous and I can’t wait for the sequel.

Books I’m Looking Forward To

  1. Babel by R.F. Kuang – I’ve seen so much praise for this book and I am so excited! This is an academia fiction historical novel. It’ll be interesting to see R.F. Kuang write in a different genre.
  2. The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean – I love books about books!
  3. The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale – I loved Beauty and the Besharam which came out earlier this year, and I’m glad that Lillie Vale is writing more books. Freya Lal impersonates a famous actress and poses as the girlfriend of a famous actor.

How was your July and August?

Books I Still Have to Read: 2018-2021

I’ve been a part of the online book community since 2018, and I’m so glad to say that I’ve read a lot of great books. However, there are still a lot of books from years past that I haven’t gotten to yet. Here is a list of four books I’m hoping to get to this year:

Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan:

The jaw-dropping conclusion to Girls of Storm and Shadow left the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in the balance. There’s one thing Lei knows – she can never return to the Hidden Palace. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls will plague her forever. She cannot be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren.

The last time Lei saw the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death.

With the two girls torn apart and each in great peril, will they reunite at last, or have their destinies diverged forever?

*Update 7/26/2022: I finished this finale and oh my gosh, I wish more people would read this trilogy!!

A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy: Now on the run, Eva is desperate for answers about her transformation and her true heritage. Along with Aketo, a small contingent of guards, and the sister she could not kill, Eva flees Ternain in hopes of finding friends and allies to the north–not to mention Baccha–to help her decide what to do next. Princess Isa is a difficult, unremorseful captive, and Eva knows better than to trust her sister, but she wants to. Despite their history, Eva is convinced that to survive the growing unrest in the queendom, she and her sister must make peace. Since the Entwining ceremony, Eva’s and Isa’s lives have been bonded, and each can only die by the other’s hand. This perhaps provides an opening for a truce and a more hopeful future for both the sisters and the queendom, if only Isa would see reason and give up the battle for the throne.

With the two princesses on the run, the Queendom of Myre is on the brink of a revolution. And without Baccha to guide and train her magick, Eva must find a way not only to survive her own metamorphosis, but to unite all the people of Myre, including her sister, by finally taking the Ivory Throne.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray: Magic doesn’t exist in the broken city of Lkossa anymore, especially for girls like sixteen-year-old Koffi. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, she cares for its fearsome and magical creatures to pay off her family’s debts and secure their eventual freedom. But the night her loved ones’ own safety is threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi unleashes a power she doesn’t fully understand—and the consequences are dire.

As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six—an elite warrior—and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, a fire upends his plans. In its midst, Ekon not only encounters the Shetani—a vicious monster that has plagued the city and his nightmares for nearly a century—but a curious girl who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior.

Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani down and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani and selling it for a profit could be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon—each keeping their true motives secret from the other—form a tentative alliance and enter into the unknowns of the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri: A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Update 7/26/2022: I read this one as well! I liked The Jasmine Throne better, but I would still recommend Empire of Sand.

Midyear Book Tag

Looking back on this year so far, I realize I haven’t loved a ton of books. There are a few standouts, but I find myself feeling less connected to YA books and more into Adult Fantasy/Contemporary and nonfiction books. Here is my 2022 Midyear Book Tag!

Best Books I’ve read so far

  • The Ikessar Falcon and The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso: I would love for more people to read the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy because this ending. . . .ahhh!!! Talyien is one of my favorite heroines of all time.
  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri: I received an e-ARC of this from Netgalley last year, and DNF’ed it, but this year, I finally read a finished copy! This feminist sapphic fantasy is about two women and their lives during a time of revolution and sexism.
  • The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport: N.E. Davenport is my new favorite fantasy author. Ikenna is amazing and I cannot wait to see her journey continue in The Blood Gift.
  • The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah: What a great start to a new fantasy series!! I received an e-ARC from Netgalley but was able to check out a copy from the library soon after it came out.
  • Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li: I LOVE ART MYSTERIES!!!! Especially ones that address art stolen by countries that they don’t belong to. Every main character in this book is Chinese American and is a part of the diaspora.

Best Sequel(S) I’ve read so far

  • The Ikessar Falcon and The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso

New Release(S) I Haven’t Read yet, but want to

  • Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel: I’ve seen positive reviews of this one and I hope to get to it soon!
  • The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi: I’ve been following Saara El-Arifi for a few weeks now, and this is the start of a new fantasy trilogy.

biggest disappointment

A Show For Two by Tashie Bhuiyan. I couldn’t get into it. I think I’m gravitating away from YA Contemporary.

Biggest Surprise

A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair. I don’t read a lot of romantic adult fantasy, but I think to compare this to some other older fantasy books is unfair. I liked Keera a lot and her growth throughout the novel. *I received a free ARC from the publisher, which did not influence my opinion of the book.

Favorite author (debut or new to you)

N.E. Davenport!!! She is amazing and I am so ready for The Blood Gift!! I read The Blood Trials in a day. Her writing is so cinematic.

The Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. I love the character illustrations throughout and the library themed endpapers.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo: I can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet. It will happen soon!!
  • Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang: I will read anything R.F. Kuang writes.

Favorite book to movie/tv series adaptation you’ve seen this year

None. . .I am really enjoying Only Murders in the Building, though!

Thoughts? Any adult fantasy book recs for me?