Most Anticipated Books: June 2021

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to have more time to blog now. There’s so many amazing books coming out this summer (or this June through August), so I hope you will find something to read from this list. This will be a series of three blog posts because there are A LOT of books you should have on your radar.

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park

I received an ARC from Netgalley, and I’m really enjoying it so far! Suzanne Park is a Korean American author who also wrote The Perfect Escape, which was very enjoyable. As an Asian American teen, it’s nice to see that Asian teens who are all different and are allowed to be messy and make mistakes.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

AHH I’ve been waiting for this book for SO LONG. As an Asian American adoptee, I don’t see a lot of rep of adoptees at all, and there’s not many Asian American adoptees that I’ve seen. This is a magical, coming of age story about Jordan, who is Vietnamese and queer. I love Jordans outfit and the magical-ness of the cover with the leaves around her.

A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

I LOVED A Song Below Water last year; it was one of my favorites of 2020. I also read Take the Mic which Morrow was included in, and Morrow is definitely one of my favorite authors. Naema looks amazing (I love all of the pink throughout the cover), and I can’t wait to see her in this book!

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura

I love Sugiura’s book This Time Will Be Different, so I am very happy to see that she has another book coming out very soon! Nozomi Nagai, who is Japanese American and lesbian, is asked by Willow to fake date, however, she wants to show Willow that she would like to real date. I love the characters on the cover and their outfits. From the reviews I’ve seen, there is also a Filipino American side character, which makes me very happy!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

I have an e-ARC of this that I NEED TO READ!! Ahhh all of my online bookish friends have said they enjoyed this book, so I’m hoping to get to it this weekend so I can have a review written by or the week of release day. I love the cover and the flower in the “O.” This is a trilogy and includes a romance between “a captive princess (Malini) and a maidservant (Priya) in possession of forbidden magic,” and Malini and Priya have to save their empire from Malini’s traitor brother.

Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon

I really think the Rosetta’s Academy series is my favorite of Sandhya Menon’s. Her books are great when you need something that will make you feel better because they’re so cute, fluffy, and low stakes. The covers changed for the series, but I really enjoy them and the old covers as well. This book focuses on Caterina and Rahul.

Broken Web by Lori M. Lee

Forest of Souls was an entrancing start to a new fantasy trilogy in 2020 (I love the character cards and the bookmark!!) so I can’t wait to see where Sirscha and Saengo’s story goes next.

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

I’ve been following Liselle Sambury since before the cover for Blood Like Magic was revealed, and it’s almost here!! I think this duology. Voya, who is Black, is a witch who has to complete her Calling, which she has to pass to reach her powers. Voya has to kill her first love, so I’m excited to see how this goes for her!!

Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

I’m on the Snake Squad for this book, and I’m really enjoying seeing everyone’s posts! I am on Team Rani, and Rani is a princess wanting to get out of her palace. One of the comp titles for this book has been The Tiger At Midnight, so I’m sure I will enjoy this novel. I won a copy from a giveaway Sasha and Sarena hosted, so I’m aiming to read it and review it by or the week of release day.

Rising Like A Storm by Tanaz Bhathena

Bhathena is amazing; she’s written contemporary novels and now this fabulous fantasy duology. I won an ARC of Hunted by the Sky along with a handwritten quote from Bhathena, and absolutely LOVED it. I highly recommend this duology. Also, notice Gul’s side profile!! I feel so much less self conscious about the hairs on the side of my face because I see them on Gul’s face, which is really great. If anyone wants to buddy read HBTS with me before this comes out, feel free to contact me @solaceinreading_ on Instagram.

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

This novel is about “Black teen love.” All of these authors have books that I’ve rated five stars, so I cannot wait to see what they do together in these interconnected stories about a blackout in New York City. Also, I think that’s the Brooklyn Bridge in the background of the cover, which is super cool.

The Chariot at Dusk by Swati Teerdhala

Swati Teerdhala is one of my favorite authors of all time and her first trilogy is coming to an end! Esha and Kunal have taken me on an amazing journey since 2019 when I first bought TTAM when it came out. I was also a part of the TigerWraith Warriors street team (which included Roseanne A. Brown’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, which I also highly recommend), and received character cards because of my participation in the street team. If you’re looking for enemies to lovers, gorgeous worldbuilding, and morally grey heroines, this is the series for you!

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Sci-fi is becoming one of my favorite genres and I’m so excited to see that Gearbreakers focuses on an Asian main character and her love interest, who is also Asian. This is Zoe’s debut novel, so I am planning on purchasing it and I hope you will too. Eris Shindanai takes down Windups and Sona Steelcrest is a Windup pilot, so it’ll be cool to see where their f/f enemies to lovers relationship goes. Also, I LOVE THIS COVER!!! It’s so pretty and emphasizes the power that Eris and Sona have.

What books are you excited for coming out this June?

Where Have I Been: Life Update

Some of my most anticipated books of 2021.

Hello everyone! I am happy to be back (although at the time I’m writing this, I still have two major tests and then I’m done!!). Here’s what I’ve been doing and reading.

Life

I took my AP Lit exam during the second week of May and presented my AP Research project! My project was on Asian American history curriculum in U.S. history classes. If anyone’s interested in seeing my presentation or paper, I’d be happy to share it with you. I’m pretty proud of it considering the fact that I did it all during online school.

I’m also happy because I have a research assistantship this summer! I had one last year as well and I’m excited to put in the work to learn more about what it’s like to have a job. However, I am nervous about starting my college search because I haven’t done that much work yet and only have a vague idea of what type of university I’d like to go to (liberal arts based in a city, near a bookstore, with research opportunities and a well-connected network of alumni so I can get a job after).

I also haven’t seen the majority of my friends in person in over a year, so I really hope I’ll be able to see them in person this summer (still socially distanced). I’m curious to know: would any of you ever want to meet me in person? I’ve always wanted to go to a book convention.

School

It’s actually going well? Being my junior year, it was challenging, but I feel a lot better about taking time for my mental health now than I did before. My teachers did an excellent job of checking in with us and giving us time off. I got to take two dual enrollment math classes. They were pretty fun! I think I like statistics because it’s a lot different from the math I’ve learned in schools; it’s easy to make connections to the real world.

Books

I’m going to be a part of the ChiTeen Lit Fest, a free festival for teens hosted by my city’s library network!! I’m interviewing Kara Jackson, who is the 2018 Youth Poet Laureate of Chicago and the 2019 National Youth Poet Laureate, along with a partner and I’m super grateful for this opportunity. It takes place from May 16 to May 22, and the interview is at 5:15 p.m. CST on Tuesday, May 18.

Link: ChiTeen Lit Fest

I hope any teens reading this will join! I’ve also been reading a lot more lately because I have time. I’ve only bought one book this year, and it’s shifted my mindset around how many books I buy. Not only has the library been a great resource, but also, I’ve been able to devote more time to really enjoying books that I like by reading them slowly. The book I bought is Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart, and I’ve read many positive reviews about it.

I’m also a part of two street teams: the Snake Squad for Sasha and Sarena Nanua’s Sisters of the Snake, coming out on June 15 of this year, and the Sinclair Students for Katie Zhao’s debut young adult novel How We Fall Apart (thanks to Bloomsbury and Katie Zhao for the advanced reader copy). I have some exciting posts that I’m thinking about and hope you all will support these authors.

HOW WE FALL APART  can now be preordered from any major book retailers, including Bookshop, Bloomsbury, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwells, etc.   Bookshop :  https://bit.ly/3lNXWK8     Bloomsbury :  https://bit.ly/3nLgewn    Blackwells : https://bit.ly/32R2K9I   Amazon :  https://amzn.to/2Px9C5L
The How We Fall Apart Preorder Campaign!! Love these character cards.

Finally, my favorite books I’ve read this year out of 35 are Raybearer, Cinderella is Dead, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, Elatsoe, The Infinity Courts, Reaper of Souls, City of the Plague God, The Gilded Ones, Instructions for Dancing, We Free the Stars, The Meet Cute Project, and American Betiya. Some 2021 books I read last year that I recommend are Happily Ever Afters and Wings of Ebony. Reviews of Raybearer, How We Fall Apart, and The Ones We’re Meant to Find, along with more, should be coming this summer, as early as two weeks from now! I’m also planning to write a post for API Heritage Month and a specific post with Filipino authors, because I am Filipino! Thank you for reading!

How are you? What else would you like to see from my blog?

What do I want this blog to be?

One particular post I am super proud of – the first book I ever got sent to me because of publisher because of Shealea @shutupshealea’s Asian Bloggers Directory. Go follow her!!!

Recently, I’ve realized that there is a cycle that I go through on bookstagram that I think started in March 2020: first, I’ll feel really good about what I’m posting. I’ll feel so inspired. Then, the second part of the cycle is me looking at other people’s posts and comparing myself to them. Finally, I’ll start to worry that what I post is not good enough, and that I’m not being aware enough. This causes me to either 1. want to delete my account, or 2. delete Instagram off my phone. Then, the cycle starts again. How do I break the cycle? Here’s how I think I can:

First of all, the past two days, I’ve deleted Instagram off my phone when I start to do homework until my school day ends. This is really helpful because I’m becoming less attached to my phone in the morning. My eyes feel better and there’s more separation between my life outside my phone.

Second of all, I am someone who tends to overanalyze a lot and therefore, this causes me to think people don’t like me. I know this is a very convoluted way of reasoning. For example, if someone responds to a text with a period in their sentence, I’ve worried that they don’t want to talk to me.

Finally, I realized recently that I just wasn’t liking what I was posting, including what I was posting here on the blog. I didn’t like how I was just trying to maintain a certain aesthetic instead of contributing to educating others, and I repeated some of the same questions that I tried to use to talk to my followers. I think some of these feelings might be from me growing up in a competitive schooling environment where I was always second best from sixth to ninth grade. I get jealous of those who are so amazing at writing reviews, but I must realize that it takes time. I also need to accept that it’s ok to feel sad if I do put a lot of work into something and I get no response. I need to let go of relationships that are one-sided. Furthermore, I actually stopped talking about problematic books a while ago, but now, I feel like I should because white authors are still getting away with a lot. I don’t remember the author’s name, but she was harrassing someone who gave her book 4.5 stars on Goodreads.

GOALS

  1. Use my platform effectively.
  2. Create work that I’m proud of.
  3. I’ve seen this phrase many times and I did not come up with it: post with intention.
  4. Recognize that I don’t need to post everyday because my main “job” right now is to finish the school year and to continue researching colleges.
  5. Honestly, this goes for ALL parts of my life: recognize that stress is ok.

Overall, I think I do have to accept that analogy that “there will always be a car ahead of of me on the highway.” I feel like, as a high schooler, I’ve gotten caught up in the mindset that I need to have everything in my life figured out in addition to maintaining a certain image, but that’s not what I want this blog and bookstagram to be about. I wouldn’t want to monetize this hobby right now because my main concern is school, although it would be very cool to get paid to promote the books I love. I still get jealous of those bloggers who’ve been around for the past 5-6 years who have really pretty aesthetics and the perfect layout and sound so smart, while I’m over here with incoherant messes of reviews, which makes me think I’m not working hard enough to be taken seriously or for people to want to be friends with me, but I must recognize that comparing myself to others won’t help me make progress in where I want to be.

Thank you for reading! How are you?

Mini Book Reviews

The cover of Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma. It looks like the girl is in a frame in an art gallery. The girl has light skin and dark brown hair, and she is wearing red glasses. The tagline is Fortune favors the bold. The girl is Chinese American, and her name is Gemma Huang.

I think I’ve written this multiple times: I struggle with writing reviews. However, the only way to get better is to keep practicing. Here are three mini reviews of books that I received ARCs of in 2020. The fact that I received these books from Netgalley/the publishers did not impact my opinions.

Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

This is the first book in a series called Daughters of the Dynasty. The main character, Gemma Huang, defers her college acceptance at UCLA to follow her dream of becoming an actress. She ends up going to Beijing for her movie. Admittedly, I don’t really remember the storyline because I read this in September 2020, but I do remember the social commentary was a nice element in addition to the main storyline about Gemma and her family.

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

I think this was the first 2021 book I read, and I absolutely loved it! Tessa Johnson loves writing and reading about romance, so when she’s accepted into a creative writing program at an arts school, she accepts. However, she’s unable to find the words she needs to write. Her friend, Caroline, suggests she try to live out the romance that she wants to write about. If you’re looking for a book with a fun and introspective plot, then read Happily Ever Afters.

Overall, I read this book in September of 2020, so I do need to re-read it. I greatly enjoyed the fact that this book is about all types of love: romantic, friend, and self all play a role in this novel.

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

This is the very first book I read this year, and it was another read I loved. Recently, I’ve gotten into books that take place during senior year of high school. Rani, who is South Asian American, is going through her senior year of high school. Rani starts to date Oliver, who is white. As a teen, I definitely related to Rani’s journey of learning who she is. This book needs to be read, as I also am learning about my own identity. Please note that this book deals with toxic relationships and fetishization.

What have you recently read? What review advice do you have for me?

Life Update: 3.27.2021

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna.

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted since the beginning of this month. Although I’ve had time, I also haven’t felt like my mind has been in the right place to post. Here’s what’s been happening so far:

School

I am finally on Spring Break!!! This last week was pretty overwhelming and stressful. However, I think one thing that will help me as a I go into the college application process will be keeping a list of my accomplishments. I think some schools no longer need the SAT at all, so I will definitely be looking for some schools like that.

Honestly, the college application process is challenging. There’s applying for the FAFSA, getting letters of recommendation (although I’ve already talked to teachers about this, so that’s set), making sure my college credits are seen (I don’t know if any will be accepted, but getting to experience college level work has been helpful), writing essays, and talking about myself in a meaningful way.

Furthermore, it’s getting challenging to focus in class because I’ve been doing online learning for over a year now. I hope we’ll be back in fourth quarter, but not many students are returning, which makes sense because in where I live, the vaccine isn’t open to people my age yet.

Life

I want to start meditating five to ten minutes a day. Another characteristic of myself that I struggle with is comparing myself to others. I know that there will always be people with more than me, and I have to recognize that I am enough for myself.

Recently, I’ve found out about a really amazing opportunity this summer through the local library, so I am looking into that. In May, I’m going to be a part of a really cool event. It takes place after my exams, so it’s happening at the perfect time.

What I’m Reading – No spoilers

I recently finished The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. It’s definitely one of my favorite books of 2021 because I love the fact that Deka is a part of a group of warrior girls and women. I finished it in two sittings. The commentary on knowing the true history and embracing who you are is my favorite part of this book. I look forward to seeing how Deka’s journey continues in the sequel.

Right now, I’m reading Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. I sped read this book in 2019, and am now reading it slowly. I love the world building and the relationship between Arrah and Rudjek. In Kingdom of Souls, Arrah is trying to find her magic, as she is the only one in her family of witchdoctors who doesn’t have her own. It’s interesting to see how Arrah begins to question the world and her family, and the way Barron combines her own mythology she’s written with the actions of Arrah’s family is so interesting.

What are you reading right now?

Thoughts I Had While Reading We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal – SPOILERS

We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal.

Hello everyone!! I am currently reading We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal. I thought it would be fun to do a reaction post of my thoughts and emotions while reading this book. I am taking this idea from Epic Reads: An Ember in the Ashes live read is one example. It was such an honor to be a part of the Zumra, and I’m so happy this book is in the world. Warning: there will be spoilers for the entire book. Again, there will be spoilers. Also, I will be starting from about 12% into this book.

  1. Absoultely devastated that Ummi is dead and Zafira and Lana’s village is destroyed.
  2. Why would the village be attacked?
  3. I wonder how Zafira feels/what her interactions with Nasir will be.
  4. “There was always more to lose.” Nooooo, I really hope there’s a happy ending for the Zumra.
  5. I wonder how Lana will react to the Jawarat.
  6. “I can be lots of fun, Zafira.”
  7. “You seem to have no trouble being the end of me.”
  8. Hafsah Faizal is really good at balancing actions and descriptions. I can’t wait to see more of the Great Library.
  9. “Tears aren’t a measure of heart. We grieve in different ways.”
  10. I like that Zafira and Nasir are having a heart to heart conversation. It’s nice to see them let down their guard now that they’ve journeyed together.
  11. Love seeing Kifah’s interaction with the team.
  12. I’m interested in seeing more of the House of Dreams.
  13. I think Zafira’s relationship with the book is the most intriguing aspect so far.
  14. A vision.
  15. What is happening?!
  16. Maybe the hilya will play a role in Hafsah Faizal’s next series?
  17. This world building is so immersive and immense. I think WFTS will be even better than WHTF. The characters seem to be moving around a lot, which I like. – Chapter 14
  18. Love that Nasir is opening up to friends.
  19. “What was next?” Yeah, what IS NEXT, NASIR?
  20. Kifah and Nasir are not just allies, they are friends.
  21. Also love seeing Zafira and Lana’s relationship.
  22. Nasir is a poet.
  23. So the Lion is Altair’s father.
  24. I really can’t tell what Altair’s fate will be.
  25. Pausing at chapter 17 – 2.24.21. I really like this book so far! I feel like WHTF set up a lot of everything that’s happening now. I like the fact that we’re seeing the characters interact more with the world outside of each other.
  26. How did the Lion get there?
  27. They are definitely pining.
  28. “It was quite something, to be the cause of another’s joy. To be the pride of someone’s eye, if only for a fleeting moment.”
  29. So since Altair and Nasir are related, I wonder when we’ll see Nasir’s powers?
  30. I love Kifah and Zafira’s friendship.
  31. I appreciate that Deem is still mentioned.
  32. Oh my gosh.
  33. I would 100% buy a graphic novel of WHTF and WFTS.
  34. Now I’m really interested in seeing if/how Nasir uses his power.
  35. The world has expanded so much in terms of where Zafira is traveling.
  36. “Already wearing the crown, I see.”
  37. “I’m not either,” Zafira said, looking away with a barely restrained groan.
  38. Already fighting?
  39. Another daama!
  40. Oh no. Zafira shouldn’t have to give up her Baba’s dagger.
  41. Oh my gosh.
  42. Oh my gosh.
  43. So Altair was unifying the kingdom – what will happen at the end to his relationship w/ Nasir?
  44. Zafira.
  45. “He was alone without her, a soul-deep desolation. Drifting in a world where no one really saw him.”
  46. Faizal is one of my all time favorite writers.
  47. “She didn’t think it was possible to stand footsteps away and miss him even more.” I hope Zafira and Nasir talk soon.
  48. Dreamwalk. Interesting.
  49. They’ve found the Lion’s hideout!
  50. An arrow!!!! Noooo!!!
  51. So much is happening.
  52. “. . .her fingers brushed his, warmth tangling for the briefest of moments.”
  53. The tension between Zafira and Nasir.
  54. I hope Altair gets out of there soon.
  55. “She laughed, and his heart leaped at the sound.”
  56. I’m so ready to see this world come to life in the TV adaptation.
  57. I think a book about Altair before WHTF would be interesting.
  58. Ok finally Altair and Nasir are back together.
  59. “and unleashed her arrow, knowing it was her last.” WHAT.
  60. “His compass. His queen. His life.” My heart, oh my gosh.
  61. I do not accept this.
  62. OMG Yasmine and Zafira are reunited!!!!
  63. Love the fact sisters play such an intergral role in this book. Zafira and Lana’s relationship is so great to see.
  64. Zafira and Nasir are reunited!!!!
  65. Chapter 70.
  66. Zafira’s character development and journey is so amazing.
  67. Oh my gosh.
  68. “He bit back a smile at her flustered attempt to act unflustered.”
  69. “Let me be your everything.”
  70. “Sweet snow, this was going to be some journey.”
  71. So much has happened and I don’t want this book to end.
  72. The Silver Witch is back.
  73. “. . .I do love a challenge.”
  74. Hirsi!!!
  75. The Great Library is on fire!!
  76. PART THREE: THE END OF THE BEGINNING.
  77. OH MY GOSH!!!
  78. This Nasir and Altair team-up is one of my favorite parts so far.
  79. Nasir gives his crown to Altair!!!
  80. “Why be one of nine when I can be the one?” Kifah is one of my favorite characters of all time!!!
  81. WHAT.
  82. It’d be interesting to see a story about Qismah.
  83. ZAFIRA IS BACK!!!
  84. “I hear Sarasin is in need of a calipha.”
  85. “And to think, once upon a time, Nasir Ghameq, Caliph of Sarasin and Crown Prince of Arawiya, had wished he could feel nothing at all.”



Oh my gosh. We Free the Stars is my second five star read of 2021. I am so happy with how this duology ended and I now want to go back and re-read it again. I’ll probably be writing a review soon, but here are my top three favorite moments in the meantime: Zafira and Kifah traveling together, Zafira using the Jawarat, and when Zafira comes back at the end.

2021: Most Anticipated Books

Some of my most anticipated 2021 fantasy books!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I updated my blog (nearly a month), and I’m typing this today as I try to find inspiration for my research project for school. I thought that typing about my most anticipated books of 2021 would help me. So far, I’ve read three new books this year. This list will consist of books that I haven’t read yet (just so everyone knows, Wings of Ebony by J. Elle is one of my favorites of 2021 and will for sure be on my end of the year list. I love Rue and how she learns about her identity and forges a new path for herself). There will be spoilers for sequels!! If you see a * (asterik), that means there will be spoilers for the previous book.

A Queen of Gilded Horns by amanda Joy*(asterik)

Amanda Joy was one of my favorite debut authors of 2019. I re-read A River of Royal Blood in December and absolutely love the story of Eva and Isa. The world of [name here] is so well-built, and I love seeing Eva’s character development over the course of the novel as she teaches herself that she might be a real contender for the throne. At the end of A River of Royal Blood, Eva and Isa were tied together in the Entwining ceremony, meaning each can only die by the other’s hand. However, in A Queen of Gilded Horns, Eva and Isa are on the run and are looking for allies to help save the Queendom of Myre. I highly recommend picking up this duology if you like tapping into your unknown magic powers, uniting with someone who you previously thought was an enemy, and a world with a very interesting magic system and history.

The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

First of all, I love this cover. The orange, blue, yellow, brown, and black all work so well together. This is a “thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community.” I’m also excited for this book because the main character, Daunis Fontaine, is an older teen like me. I haven’t read a lot of thrillers, and I’m looking forward to expanding my reading tastes in 2021. Furthermore, there is a preview of what sounds like a stunning start on Entertainment Weekly. I also saw that this book will be getting a TV series adaptation, so this is a high priority novel for me to read this year. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley comes out March 16th.

Xoxo by axie oh

Let’s all take a minute to enjoy this absolutely stunning cover. I would frame this. The details of the buildings as well as the romantic atmosphere make this one of my favorite YA contemporary covers of 2021. Xoxo by Axie Oh features the trope of a romance that develops between a celebrity x regular person. What I’m most looking forward in this book is seeing how Jenny learns how life doesn’t always have to be completely planned. I highly relate to this because I am going to be applying to college soon, and am already feeling the pressures of needing to be completely organized. I look forward to seeing how Axie Oh writes contemporary, as I know she’s also written a science fiction series titled Rebel Seoul.

A psalm of storms and silence by roseanne a. brown* (Asterik)

I am not exaggerating when I say that A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown made me love YA fantasy again. In 2019, I became so disillusioned with YA fantasy, as I fell out of love with so many loved YA fantasy novels. But ASOWAR? Oh my gosh. Although I have to re-read it, I distinctly remember feeling so amazed and awed by (I think this happened, correct me if I am wrong) Karina taking her throne back after learning that her advisors betrayed her. Also, Malik is allowed to be an emotional boy, which is so great to see. Furthermore, the worldbuilding makes you feel like you are right there in Ziran along with Karina and Malik as they race to find out what is stirring in the shadows of their world.

The Chariot at dusk by swati teerdhala* (Asterik)

I cannot believe The Tiger at Midnight trilogy by Swati Teerdhala is coming to an end this year. Esha and Kunal have been on such an incredibly heartbreaking journey together. This is another series I love because of how well written the political intrigue is, and I love the fact that this world is so intricately written. At the end of The Archer at Dawn, Kunal left Esha, causing both of them to become enemies yet again (I am still a bit heartbroken over this). However, from the looks of this cover, Esha and Kunal will have to work together again. I must admit that this is another series I have to re-read because I tend to forget what happens in a book unless I re-read it.

She who became the sun by shelley parker-chan

I’ve recently gotten into adult fantasy novels, so I am super excited for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan! This book is described as a “queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty” (from the summary of the novel). First of all, this cover is amazing! The yellow is so eye catching. Second of all, I cannot wait to see Zhu’s power and journey in possessing the Mandate of Heaven. I love characters who are willing to do whatever it takes because there’s so much to analyze about their motivations. I have a feeling that I’ll be seeing a lot about this book this year and beyond.

The Gilded Ones by Namina forna

I think The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna was originally supposed to come out last May, and I am so glad it is almost here!! The detailing on this cover gives me hints into how amazing the world builidng in this novel will be. I might try to convince my parents to let me end my book buying hiatus a bit early because I’ve been looking for a fantasy YA noveel to lose myself in for a while. Additionally, this is the start to a trilogy, and I love fantasy series so much. I am also excited to see this group of girls who are warriors that Deka joins.

Illusionary by zoraida córdova* (Asterik)

Incendiary was one of my favorite novels of 2020, and I’m looking forward to seeing the continuation of Renata’s journey along with Prince Castian. That twist at the end of Incendiary was so shocking. (Perhaps I should write a blog post about my favorite or most shocking moments in my favorite books? That’s a thought for another day.) I love how Renata is taking back her life and power. One element I would love to see in Illusionary is a map of the world.

When Night breaks by janella angeles* (Asterik)

Yes, I hope to get to cosplaying Kallia again when When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles comes out! I did a different version of an outfit I think Kallia would wear when Where Dreams Descend came out. This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing duologies I’ve ever read. At the end of WDD, we saw Kallia fall into the mirror world with Jack. Now, Kallia is on a journey to escape this world of illusions and darkness. I’m wondering what exactly Kallia’s “darker destiny” will be, and I am sure that Janella Angeles will write a show stopping conclusion to one of my all time favorite duolgoies.

the bronzed beasts by roshani chokshi

@ book boxes: You should 110% make a special set for The Gilded Wolves trilogy by Roshani Chokshi because I will buy it. This is another ending to a series that will live in my heart forever. By the end of The Silvered Serpents, I wanted to sit down and have a nice chat with Séverin, as there is the trope of once again ommitting vital information from your team. It looks like the team will be going to Venice in this novel. Roshani Chokshi’s writing styles is one of my favorites because it feels like you’re dressed up in a fancy gown in an elegant palace, however, you must be wary as danger and surprises lurk around every turn. I’m most looking forward to seeing Enrique survive and gain the renown and resources he needs as a historian. Also, cake.

The chosen and the beautiful by Nghi vo

Jordan Baker is finally getting to tell her own story and as an adopted person, I am so ready!!! In this version, Jordan is an adopted Asian woman living in NYC. One of the reasons I’m excited for The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo is because we’re getting to see Jordan stand on her own, rather than a side character to Nick’s story. Also, I just noticed her gorgeous outfit. I will definitely be informing my literature teachers about this book because I have a feeling that this will be a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre.

Witches steeped in gold by Ciannon smart

By this point, you probably know that fantasy is my favorite genre, especially high fantasy novels. I mean, the tagline “Their order divides them. Their revenge will unite them.” is incredible and dramatic. I’ve been looking forward to Witches Steeped In Gold by Ciannon Smart for a while now, and we are so close to the release date. A prisoner and the daughter of a queen will have to work together to “take down a mutual threat.” Iraya and Jazmyne sound like such compelling characters, and the fact that they’re witches? I have a feeling that this will be one of my favorite books of the year. I love it when two enemies have to work together because you never know what will happen.

Girls of fate and fury by natasha ngan* (Asterik)

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is another one of my favorite trilogies of all time. Girls of Storm and Shadow broke my heart. Lei and Wren are once again separated and the excerpt on The NOVL’s website reminded me of just how much Lei has gone through since the first novel. I’m excited for Girls of Fate and Fury because 1. Wren is on the cover, and 2. I remember the feeling I had when I first read Girls of Paper and Fire. I think it marked a turning point in my reader journey, as I’d never read a book like it before. I cannot wait to have this book in my hands, and I am so ready to see how Lei and Wren’s journey ends (or begins. . .).

We free the stars by hafsah faizal* (Asterik)

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. I still haven’t read this book and I am so close to spending money to download it on my parent’s Kindle. Seriously though, Zafira and Nasir have one of the best enemies to uncertain allies to friends to maybe lovers dynamics out there. The Zumra are one of my favorite teams of all time. Additionally, this cover is so evocative. A lot of my friends in the online book community have already read this, and once I do, I will definitely be sharing my thoughts with everyone in the form of a spoiler free review and a spoiler review. I’m thinking about doing a 100 thoughts Isabella had while reading We Free the Stars post. Let me know what you think of this!

Thank you so much for reading!! Let me know what your most anticipated books of 2021 are. I’ve only read six books this year, and I am looking forward to what 2021 has in store in the form of these 14 books.

Mini Life Update – 1.25.2021!

Wings of Ebony along with a cookie I made earlier this month!

Is this blog still alive? Yes. Do I still struggle with writing reviews? Yes. Do I expect to have any posts up? Maybe. I’m struggling with my Research class right now (have been very emotional these past few days), so I don’t really have much time for this blog in my headspace, and I wish I did. I have 11 posts in my drafts, and am reading One of the Good Ones right now. Will I be back? Yes, for sure!! Thank you to anyone who’s still following or reading these updates.

Also, WINGS OF EBONY BY J. ELLE comes out TOMORROW!!!!! I am so excited to see more people reading this book. It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2021 and is a YA contemporary fantasy that you should read.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang – Spoiler Free Review

This review of The Burning God by R.F. Kuang is spoiler free, however, I will be sharing how I felt about the book (ex. my emotions). If you consider that a spoiler, please do not continue reading. There will be spoilers for The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic!!! If you have not read those books, do not continue reading. I will be writing a spoilery review in 2021 once I know more people have read it.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang is one of my top 5 books of 2020. I first read The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic in August and loved them both. Kuang creates a world that is vibrant and draws you in. For being 500+ page books, I found myself easily lost in them.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from The Burning God. I went in with no expectations, which I think helped because I didn’t want to set myself up for disappoinment. The Dragon Republic had one of the most shocking cliffhangers ever: Nezha stabs Rin in the back and Rin vows to have her revenge by using the southern provinces of the Nikara Empire. To be honest, I forgot the exact details of TDR, but it was pretty easy to connect the dots as I read TBG.

What I found most compelling was the relationship between Rin and Kitay. They’ve been through so much together, and seeing them work together in TBG is one of the best parts of this book. I also loved seeing Venka, and even started to understand Nezha (I still don’t like him). Seeing them grapple with the meaning of humanity and what it means to be a leader really impacted me emotionally because, again, they’ve been through a lot.

Again, the world building is so incredible. I can see characters journey throughout this vast world, a mark of Kuang’s amazing writing. I felt like I was right alongside them as Rin experiences a lot throughout this book. Additionally, the action scenes in this book are so well written: the pacing is pretty much perfect, so it’s possible to get through this book in one sitting.

As for the ending, I loved it while also feeling so many emotions. I’ve re-read it about three times already and Kuang is able to satisfy the readers (or at least, this reader). I cannot wait to see what Kuang writes in the future because I know I will 100% be reading it.

Have you read The Burning God? If so, what did you think? Please keep the comments spoiler free!!

Evermore Book Tag from Star is All Booked Up

Hello everyone!! This is my first ever book tag from @stars.brite https://starisallbookedup.wordpress.com/ . I’ve listened to the entirity of Evermore once and my favorite songs are Tis the Damn Season, Willow, Gold Rush, and Coney Island. Here are the books I think would fulfill these prompts:

Definitely Arjun from The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco. I love how much of a fighter he is while also making sure his travel companions are safe. My favorite line is “Wreck my plans, that’s my man” because that’s exactly what he sort of did when joining Haidee on her quest.

Roma and Juliette from These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong!!! This is one of my #1 books of 2020, and I love how distinctive their personalites are. The line I think would most fit them is “You won’t remember all my / Champagne problems.” Read it and I think you’ll get it.

Right now, it’s definitely We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal. The line I think will best describe this book is “I don’t like anticipatin’ my face in a red flush” because this exactly describes how Zafira and Nasir feel about each other, or at least how they feel because they’re in denial.

Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale. This is the same answer as Rameela’s because I can’t think of any other books. I guess this means I need to read more small town romance books. If you have a recommendation, please tell me in the comments!

Elias and Laia from the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. Again, the same answer as Rameela’s because I really feel like this fits them perfectly. The lyric I think captures them the best is “Gain the weight of you, then lose it.”

Rin from The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. If you’ve read it, I don’t think I really need to explain. Although I am still sobbing over everything that happens in this series. It changed my worldview forever.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. This book is a rollercoaster of emotions. I have no idea how Tahir is able to outdo herself every single time. I mean, “Haunted by the look in my eyes / That I would’ve loved you for a lifetime?!!!” No need to explain.

Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest. I love this book so much and NYC!!! I miss being able to travel and the memory of when I went to NYC for the first time makes me feel so nostalgic.

Karina and Malik from A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. Oh gosh this is another book I need to re-read before the end of 2020!!! This is literally my new favorite fantasy series because the world is so vivid and I can’t wait for A Psalm of Storms and Silence. The line “Break my soul in two looking for you” seems like it could match up with these two.

We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia. I’d forgotten a lot of the events of We Set the Dark on Fire, so I was happily surprised when I understood and loved this book so much. Carmen and Dani are great characters and I’ll be reading this again next year.

Esha and Kunal from The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala embody this so perfectly!!! They are my favorite enemies to lovers ship of all time, and TTAM is up there with The Bone Witch as one of my favorite trilogies. “Takes one to know one” is the lyric for Esha and Kunal.

Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz. As a Filipino American teen girl, I can say that this is some of the worst rep I’ve ever read. I mean, putting your homeland into a box and constantly thinking the U.S. is better than the Philippines?!! Yeah, no.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey. This book is about loving yourself, your family, and so many forms of love. This book made me feel so calm and at peace. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a sweet coming of age in the summer before college.

Something in Between again.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE BOOK OF 2020!! (There are some ties, but if you told me to choose one, this would be it.) The history Bree discovers and becomes a part of literally makes me want to cry and also learning that there is no one way to deal with grief. I love this book so much.

Thank you for reading!! I am linking Rameela’s post: https://starisallbookedup.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/evermore-original-book-tag/. I would also love to see what books you’d choose for these songs!

Your top three off Evermore? Mine are Gold Rush, Tis the Damn Season, and Coney Island.