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.

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri”

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.**

bad at love cover

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?

Continue reading “REVIEW: Bad At Love by Gabriela Martins”

REVIEW: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho

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

once upon a k-prom cover

Book: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho

Release Date: May 17, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: Korean-American protagonist, Korean love interest and side characters, Mexican-American side character; (Korean-American author)

CW: mentions of death of a parent (father) from a car accident

Summary: What would you do if the world’s biggest K-pop star asked you to prom? Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon, this hilarious and heartfelt novel brings the glamour and drama of the K-pop world straight to high school.

Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing – she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that’s always made her feel like she belonged.

So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.

Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants – even if she can’t stop thinking about Robbie’s smile…right?

Continue reading “REVIEW: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho”

REVIEW: Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto

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

four aunties and a wedding cover

Book: Four Aunties and a Wedding (Aunties #2) by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Release Date: March 29, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: Chinese-Indonesian-American protagonist, main characters, and side characters; biracial (Chinese, white) love interest; (Chinese-Indonesian author)

Summary: The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe–even the mafia–in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.

Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.

Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto”

REVIEW: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

**I won a review copy from a giveaway through Bookish First. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

ophelia after all cover

Book: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

Release Date: February 8, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: queer biracial (Cuban, Irish) protagonist, Muslim Pakistani-American side character, biromantic asexual Korean-American side character, bisexual Afro-Puerto Rican side character, aromantic side character, pansexual Black side character; (queer multiracial (Colombian, Cuban, Irish) author)

CW: homophobia, religious homophobia

Summary: A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie.

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie”

REVIEW: A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

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

a far wilder magic cover

Book: A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

Release Date: March 8, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: Jewish-coded protagonist, lesbian side character; (Jewish author)

CW: antisemitism, animal injury, animal death, gore, parental neglect, panic attacks

Summary: When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.

In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.

** I’m in the acknowledgements of this book! Check it out here. **

Continue reading “REVIEW: A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft”

REVIEW: All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle

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

all the right reasons cover

Book: All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle

Release Date: February 15, 2022

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: biracial (Korean, white) protagonist, love interest with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, adopted Korean-American side character; (adopted Korean-American author)

CW: toxic parent relationship

Summary: The Bachelor meets Gilmore Girls in this laugh-out-loud young adult romance about a girl who joins her mother on a reality dating show for single parents—only to fall for a contestant’s son.

Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families.

The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor.

As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.

Continue reading “REVIEW: All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle”

REVIEW: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

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

once more upon a time cover

Book: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: October 5, 2021

My Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first they must remember what that is… Immerse yourself in the beauty of a highly unusual fairy tale by New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi”

REVIEW: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

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

iron widow cover

Book: Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1) by Xiran Jay Zhao

Release Date: September 21, 2021

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: Chinese-coded cast and setting, bisexual protagonists; (nonbinary Chinese-Canadian author)

Summary: The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao”

REVIEW: The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

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

the hollow heart cover

Book: The Hollow Heart (The Midnight Lie #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: September 14, 2021

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: lesbian protagonists, gay side character

Summary: Intrigue, romance, and magic abound in the heart-stopping conclusion to Marie Rutkoski’s Forgotten Gods duology.

At the end of The Midnight Lie, Nirrim offered up her heart to the God of Thieves in order to restore her people’s memories of their city’s history. The Half Kith who once lived imprisoned behind the city’s wall now realize that many among them are powerful. Meanwhile, the person Nirrim once loved most, Sid, has returned to her home country of Herran, where she must navigate the politics of being a rogue princess who has finally agreed to do her duty.

In the Herrani court, rumors begin to grow of a new threat rising across the sea, of magic unleashed on the world, and of a cruel, black-haired queen who can push false memories into your mind, so that you believe your dearest friends to be your enemies.

Sid doesn’t know that this queen is Nirrim, who seeks her revenge against a world that has wronged her. Can Sid save Nirrim from herself? Does Nirrim even want to be saved? As blood is shed and war begins, Sid and Nirrim find that it might not matter what they want…for the gods have their own plans.

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski”