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: 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.**

blood like fate cover

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.**

furysong cover

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.**

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?

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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.**

long story short cover

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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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.**

circling back to you cover

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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REVIEW: What Souls Are Made Of by Tasha Suri

**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.**

what souls are made of: a wuthering heights remix cover

Book: What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: biracial (Indian, white) protagonists and side character, sapphic side characters, Black side character, Indian side characters; (British-Indian author)

CW: physical abuse, racism (historical context)

Summary: What Souls Are Made Of, British Fantasy Award-winning author Tasha Suri’s masterful new take on Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, will leave readers breathless.

As the abandoned son of a Lascar—a sailor from India—Heathcliff has spent most of his young life maligned as an “outsider.” Now he’s been flung into an alien life in the Yorkshire moors, where he clings to his birth father’s language even though it makes the children of the house call him an animal, and the maids claim he speaks gibberish.

Catherine is the younger child of the estate’s owner, a daughter with light skin and brown curls and a mother that nobody talks about. Her father is grooming her for a place in proper society, and that’s all that matters. Catherine knows she must mold herself into someone pretty and good and marriageable, even though it might destroy her spirit.

As they occasionally flee into the moors to escape judgment and share the half-remembered language of their unknown kin, Catherine and Heathcliff come to find solace in each other. Deep down in their souls, they can feel they are the same.

But when Catherine’s father dies and the household’s treatment of Heathcliff only grows more cruel, their relationship becomes strained and threatens to unravel. For how can they ever be together, when loving each other—and indeed, loving themselves—is as good as throwing themselves into poverty and death?

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MINI-REVIEW: The Charmed List by Julie Abe

**I received an ARC from the #bookishwish tag on Twitter (thank you, Mary!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

the charmed list cover

Book: The Charmed List by Julie Abe

Release Date: July 5, 2022

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: Japanese-American protagonist and side characters, biracial (Japanese, Italian) love interest and side character, sapphic side character; (Japanese-American author)

CW: mentions of death of a parent (mother) from cancer, mentions of death of parents from a car accident

Summary: After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

In The Charmed List, Julie Abe sweeps readers away to a secret magical world, complete with cupcakes and tea with added sparks of joy, and an enchanted cottage where you can dance under the stars.

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