REVIEW: The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri

**I received a review copy from the publisher (thank you, Orbit Books!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


the oleander sword by tasha suri cover

Book: The Oleander Sword (Burning Kingdoms #2) by Tasha Suri

Release Date: August 16, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: Indian inspiration and -coded characters, lesbian protagonists, achillean main character; (queer British-Indian author)

CW: war, blood, violence

Summary: “Alluring, action-packed, and gut-wrenching,” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Oleander Sword continues Tasha Suri’s acclaimed Burning Kingdoms trilogy, in which a powerful priestess and a vengeful princess will change the fate of an empire.

The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.

The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.

Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.

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SUMMARY: july

It’s been an increasingly busy month for me, so unfortunately I barely got to read anything in July. This month was a combination of “my interesting ARCs are too long and I don’t have the patience,” “my short ARCs aren’t very intriguing right now”, and “being too exhausted to read” that culminated in me not being able to read. I’ll have to get used to this and strike a balance so I’ll be able to read in general, but I am reading two books right now! This month, I read 8 books in total.

In case you missed it, I announced a short hiatus for the next two weeks. I actually would love for it to be longer but I need to start posting reviews for my later August releases…See you in 2 weeks!

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DISCUSSION: my bts playlists

Hello, are we all streaming Jack in the Box? I’ve been making a lot of BTS playlists lately, and I just wanted to compile all of them in one post. I think they’re great for discovering new music or getting into BTS or just for something to play in the background, if I may say so myself. Give them a listen, and let me know what you think! 💜😁

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DISCUSSION: a playlist for violet made of thorns

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Violet Made of Thorns is one of my favorite releases of the year and one of my favorite books ever. It’s out in the world today, so to celebrate its release date, I wanted to share my playlist for it! You can read my review of it here.

This playlist is a little all over the place honestly, but I nailed down central themes of desire (and what comes out of it) and destiny (and defying it). Since the book has literally just come out, I tried not to spoil anything, which left my descriptions for each song a little repetitive. Whether you’ve read the book yet or are putting this on while reading, I hope you enjoy this playlist!

(You can listen to all my bookish playlists here.)

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i’ll be back soon! (short hiatus announcement)

hi hi hi again. Much like last year around this time, I’ve found myself incredibly burnt out, reading- and blog-wise. And like last year, I decided to do something about it instead of forcing my way through it: I’ll be taking a short hiatus beginning in August.

I meant to schedule a few reviews in this last remaining week of July, but I ran of time and energy to read the ARCs. I’ll be using this time to catch up on reading and writing posts. (Actually, I doubt that I’ll get super ahead on writing anything but at least I’ll be able to take a break from stressing about getting blog posts written.)

As I gain more responsibilities and therefore lose more free time, I’ve been thinking about my blog. Even though I’m burnt out (and have been for a decent portion of this year), I still want to continue posting and reviewing. I’ll admit here, though, that this may mean that I’ll be posting less. As much as it pains me to have a less-packed post schedule, I think it’s for the best. I’ll still be posting regularly though! Just a bit less than I have been for the past two years.

To make sure you don’t miss anything, be sure to follow me here and on my other social media accounts!

REVIEW: Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury

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


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Book: Blood Like Fate (Blood Like Magic #2) by Liselle Sambury

Release Date: August 9, 2022

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: Trinidadian-Canadian protagonist and side characters, trans boy Mexican-Canadian love interest, trans girl Trinidadian-Canadian side character, demisexual lesbian Trinidadian-Canadian side character; (Trinidadian-Canadian author)

CW: blood, gore, violence, mentions of addiction and an eating disorder, full list here

Summary: Voya fights to save her witch community from a terrible future.

Voya Thomas may have passed her Calling to become a full-fledged witch, but the cost was higher than she’d ever imagined.

Her grandmother is gone.
Her cousin hates her.
And her family doesn’t believe that she has what it takes to lead them.

What’s more, Voya can’t let go of her feelings for Luc, sponsor son of the genius billionaire Justin Tremblay—the man that Luc believes Voya killed. Consequently, Luc wants nothing to do with her. Even her own ancestors seem to have lost faith in her. Every day Voya begs for their guidance, but her calls go unanswered.

As Voya struggles to convince everyone—herself included—that she can be a good Matriarch, she has a vision of a terrifying, deadly future. A vision that would spell the end of the Toronto witches. With a newfound sense of purpose, Voya must do whatever it takes to bring her shattered community together and stop what’s coming for them before it’s too late.

Even if it means taking down the boy she loves—who might be the mastermind behind the coming devastation.

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REVIEW: Furysong by Rosaria Munda

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


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Book: Furysong (The Aurelian Cycle #3) by Rosaria Munda

Release Date: August 9, 2022

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: bisexual main character, gay main character

CW: burnings, blood, branding, grief; mentions of past coercive sexual relationship, threat of rape

Summary: In this explosive conclusion to the epic trilogy that began with Fireborne, Annie and Lee are fighting for their lives—and for each other—as invading dragonfire threatens to burn their home to the ground.

A new revolution is underway, and nobody will emerge unscathed.

In New Pythos, Griff is facing an execution by the dragonborn, who are furious at his betrayal. He has allies on both sides seeking to defy his fate, but the price of his freedom might come at a dear cost. And Delo will have to make a choice: follow his family, or finally surrender to his conscience.

Meanwhile, Annie must race home to hatch a plan to save her Guardians and their dragons. With Callipolis on the brink of collapse and the triarchy set to be reinstated, she may be the one person who can save the city—if she can overcome her own doubts about her future.

Lee is a revolutionary at heart, but now he’ll have to find a way to fight with diplomacy. Going up against the dragonborn court and a foreign princess, he faces a test of loyalty that sets his head against his heart.

As the fate of Callipolis darkens, Annie and Lee must determine what they are willing to sacrifice in order to save each other, defeat their enemies, and reclaim their home.

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REVIEW: Bad At Love by Gabriela Martins

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


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Book: Bad At Love by Gabriela Martins

Release Date: August 30, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: demisexual Brazilian protagonist, pansexual Brazilian-American protagonist, lesbian Black side character, Korean-American side character; (Brazilian author)

Summary: Ever since Daniel moved to L.A. from Brazil to join the band Mischief & Mayhem, he’s become the tabloids’ bad boy. Paparazzi follow him and girls swoon over him . . . except for Sasha, who hates bad boys. When a chance encounter brings them together, Sasha sees an opportunity to get close to Daniel and write a story that will make a name for herself at the celebrity gossip magazine where she interns. But Daniel is surprisingly sweet and extremely cute—could she be falling for him?

The truth is: Daniel is hiding something. When Sasha discovers his secret, will she follow her heart or deliver the hottest story of the summer?

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REVIEW: If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

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


if you could see the sun cover

Book: If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

Release Date: October 11, 2022

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: Chinese-American protagonist, Chinese love interest and side characters; (Chinese-Australian author)

Summary: “Utterly unique, thought-provoking, and wonderfully written… a thrilling ride that hooked me from start to finish.” —Gloria Chao, author of American Panda and Rent a Boyfriend

In this genre-bending YA debut, a Chinese American girl monetizes her strange new invisibility powers by discovering and selling her wealthy classmates’ most scandalous secrets.

Alice Sun has always felt invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she’s the only scholarship student among China’s most rich and influential teens. But then she starts uncontrollably turning invisible—actually invisible.

When her parents drop the news that they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, Alice hatches a plan to monetize her strange new power—she’ll discover the scandalous secrets her classmates want to know, for a price.

But as the tasks escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, Alice must decide if it’s worth losing her conscience—or even her life.

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REVIEW: Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

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


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Book: Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

Release Date: July 26, 2022

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: neurodivergent protagonist, biracial (Indian, white) love interest, queer Black side character, gay side character; (bisexual author)

Summary: Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?

In this sparkling debut from Serena Kaylor, Long Story Short is a YA rom-com about a homeschooled math genius who finds herself out of her element at a theater summer camp and learns that life—and love—can’t be lived by the (text)book.

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