SUMMARY: october

September was not kind to me, but October was a little better? I was still in a reading slump but I didn’t feel as opposed to reading as I was before. I managed to read 9 books this past month, which puts me at 190 books this year.

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REVIEW: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

**I received an eARC from the publisher (thank you, Simon Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

(All quotes are taken from an ARC and should be checked against a finalized version of the book.)

these violent delights cover

Book: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #2) by Chloe Gong

Release Date: November 17, 2020

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese protagonist and characters, Chinese trans girl main character, gay main character, Korean main character

CW: blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse

Summary: Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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LIST: 2021 releases i’ve loved so far (pt. 1)

In August, I read all of the ARCs I had at that time. A lot of those were 2021 releases, and I’ve been sitting on these reviews for so long so I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of the 2021 releases that I’ve enjoyed so far!

Thank you so much to all of these publishers who sent me and/or approved me for these ARCs!

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REVIEW: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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Book: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Release Date: November 19, 2019

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: bisexual side character, wlw side character

Summary: He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, comes the highly anticipated and jaw-dropping finale to The Folk of the Air trilogy.

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REVIEW: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

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Book: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Release Date: October 18, 2016

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Vietnamese-Australian protagonist, lesbian Vietnamese-Australian side character, side character with PTSD

CW: mentions of rape

Summary: Sometimes trouble is just a wish away.

For Vân Ước, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

So Vân Ước tries to stick to her reality—keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Ước can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

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REVIEW: The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

**I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you, Harper Voyager US!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

the burning god cover

Book: The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang

Release Date: November 17, 2020

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese-inspired world and characters

CW: war crimes, physical abuse, sexual assault, rape, genocide, cannibalism, starvation

Summary: The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.

After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. 

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it? 

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MINI-REVIEW: Sweet on You by Carla de Guzman

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

sweet on you cover

Book: Sweet on You by Carla de Guzman

Release Date: October 19, 2020

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: ownvoices Filipino protagonists, characters, and setting

Summary: All’s fair in love and prank wars

For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.

And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.

Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.

It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.

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chloe gong interview banner

So I’ve been desperately awaiting These Violent Delights since it was announced, and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (thank you again, Simon Teen!). Please know that this book broke me, and I’m still thinking about it four months later :’). My review will be up in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, read on for my interview with Chloe Gong, the author, for her inspirations for writing this retelling and her characters’ favorite TV show!

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TOUR / REVIEW: Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford

**I received an ARC from the publisher for this blog tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

kingdom of sea and stone cover

Book: Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2) by Mara Rutherford

Release Date: October 6, 2020

My Rating: 3 stars

Rep: wlw side character

Summary: Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

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