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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REVIEW: Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

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

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Book: Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

Release Date: July 12, 2022

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Chinese-American protagonist, Filipino-American protagonist, Chinese-American side characters, Filipino-American side character; (Chinese-American author)

CW: mentions of death of a parent (mother)

Summary: Julie Tieu, an exciting new and diverse voice in contemporary romance, returns with a hilarious and sexy new novel about colleagues who decide to take their relationship outside the office.

Cadence Lim has transformed from behind-the-scenes number cruncher to an integral part of the sales team at Prism Realty. But despite moving up the corporate ladder, her complicated relationship with her estranged elderly father weighs heavily and she can’t seem to shake the desire for a new beginning.

At least Cadence can always lean on her favorite co-worker and co-conspirator, Matt Escanilla. A top broker with an unsuccessful love life, the forever single Matt is constantly being nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down.

Their relationship takes a turn when a business trip lands them both in their hometown and Matt enlists Cadence as a pretend girlfriend for a family gathering. The new after-hours setting forces the two friends to see each other in a new light, and their previously buried feelings rise quickly to the surface. When competing promotions threaten to separate Cadence and Matt, these office besties must work together to round up their ambitions and families to pursue their overdue romance.

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MINI-REVIEW: Dream On by Angie Hockman

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

dream on cover

Book: Dream On by Angie Hockman

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 3 stars

Rep: bisexual side character

CW: injuries due to a serious car accident, mentions of a miscarriage

Summary: What would you do if your dream man turned out to be real?

When law student Cass Walker wakes up after surviving a car accident, she is flooded with memories of her boyfriend, Devin. The only problem? Devin doesn’t exist. But everything she remembers about him feels so real, like the precise shade of his coffee-brown eyes; the texture of his favorite hand-me-down scarf; even the slightly crooked angle of his pinkie, broken after falling off a trampoline in third grade. She knows he’s a figment of her imagination—friends, family, and doctors confirm it—but she still can’t seem to get him out of her head.

So when she runs into the real Devin a year later in a Cleveland flower shop, she’s completely shocked. Even more surprising is that Devin actually believes her story, and soon they embark on a real-life romance. With her dream man by her side and an upcoming summer job at a prestigious law firm, Cass’s future seems perfect. But fate might have other plans…

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LIST: pick an emoji and i’ll rec you a 2022 release (pt. 3)

pick an emoji and i'll rec you a 2022 release (pt. 3) banner

It’s the second half of the year, so you know what time it is: pick an emoji and I’ll recommend you a 2022 release from July through September! There are so many great releases out in this time, and I had a lot of fun pairing some of them with emojis.

As usual, adult releases are marked as such; also, the emojis aren’t spoiler-y and are mostly attuned to the cover or the general summary of the book.

You can view all previous posts in this series here.

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LIST: most anticipated 2022 releases (pt. 2)

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For once, I am actually not shocked and astonished when it reaches the second half of the year…for now lol. When I was putting together this list of releases, I was surprised that a lot of my most anticipated releases of this year are out in the fall because that hasn’t been the case for the past couple of years. However, I suppose that could’ve been because of COVID and shipping delays, etc etc, and now we’ve caught up. Anyways, here are my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2022!

I’ve been lucky enough to have read some of these already, with some instant favorites of 2022 even early on in the year. These include Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen, Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong, and If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang. My reviews for the first two are linked below and my review for the last one will be up soon! I can’t wait to read the rest of the books on this list to find more favorites too!

You can check out my anticipated releases for the first half of 2022 here.

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REVIEW: Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

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

juniper & thorn cover

Book: Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

Release Date: June 21, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: Jewish-coded love interest, sapphic side character; (Jewish author)

CW: bulimia, vomiting, gore, body horror, cannibalism, parental abuse (emotional, physical), self-harm, suicide ideation, antisemitism, child sexual abuse, full list here

Summary: From highly acclaimed bestselling author Ava Reid comes a gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, set in another time and place within the world of The Wolf and the Woodsman, where a young witch seeks to discover her identity and escape the domination of her wizard father, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson and Catherynne M. Valente.

A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.

Marlinchen and her two sisters live with their wizard father in a city shifting from magic to industry. As Oblya’s last true witches, she and her sisters are little more than a tourist trap as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. But at night, Marlinchen and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theater, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

As Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while Oblya flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

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MINI-REVIEW: How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

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

How to Fake It in Hollywood cover

Book: How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Release Date: June 14

My Rating: 3 stars

Rep: wlw Black side character, biracial (Thai, white) side character

CW: alcoholism, mentions of death of a loved one

Summary: A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme . . . faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

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REVIEW: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

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

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Book: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Release Date: June 7, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Summary: Evvie Drake Starts Over meets Beach Read in this heartwarming and hilarious novel about a divorced romance channel screenwriter whose script about her marriage’s collapse just might help her reclaim her life and find love.

Nora’s life is about to get a rewrite…

Nora Hamilton knows the formula for love better than anyone. As a romance channel screenwriter, it’s her job. But when her too-good-to work husband leaves her and their two kids, Nora turns her marriage’s collapse into cash and writes the best script of her life. No one is more surprised than her when it’s picked up for the big screen and set to film on location at her 100-year-old-home. When former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance, is cast as her ne’er do well husband Nora’s life will never be the same.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The extra seven grand would give Nora breathing room, but it’s the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days: it’s the blink of an eye or an eternity depending on how you look at it. Enough time to fall in love. Enough time to break your heart.

Filled with warmth, wit, and wisdom, Nora Goes Off Script is the best kind of love story–the real kind where love is complicated by work, kids, and the emotional baggage that comes with life. For Nora and Leo, this kind of love is bigger than the big screen.

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LIST: my top ten favorite reads of 2022 (so far)

It’s been. an interesting year of reading for me…and by that, I mean I’ve had so many lackluster reads. However, I still managed to find a ton of new favorites! I know people usually do faves of the year halfway through the year, but I just wanted to share mine a little early. So without further ado, here are my top ten favorite reads of 2022 (so far)!

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TOUR / REVIEW: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

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

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Book: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Release Date: May 3, 2022

My Rating: 5 stars

CW: mentions of depression, grief, death of a parent (mother)

Summary: One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

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