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.**

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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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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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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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#waitingonwednesday: strike the zither

I’ve been a huge fan of Joan He and her works since her debut (Hesina’s court forever!), so of course I’m awaiting her next release! I recently received an ARC (thank you, Fierce Reads!) and I can’t wait to dive into it (but also I am not ready for this pain :’)). Strike the Zither releases October 25; read more about it below.

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

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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.**

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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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LIST: 2022 lgbtq+ ya releases

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I can’t believe it’s already that time of the year, but happy pride month, lovelies!!! As usual, I compiled (almost?) all of the LGBTQ+ YA releases of this year to celebrate. You can view the lists from the previous years here:

As always, thank you thank you to Charlotte, who co-runs readsrainbow (a blog dedicated to LGBT media), along with Anna, for sending me the bulk of this list. I am forever grateful; please go follow them! This is a list of YA releases, but they are a great resource for LGBT novels for all age ranges, as is LGBTQ Reads (run by Dahlia Adler).

What’s a better way to celebrate Pride 2022 than going through this list of 200+ books detailed with all the representation I could find? (It was an effort of some 30+ hours rip.) So without further ado, here is a list of all the LGBTQ+ YA releases in 2022!

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DISCUSSION: books + songs of the day

I’ve written a post on songs that I associate with books but it’s 3+ years old at this point (read it here). A couple of years ago, I started including songs in some of my reviews that I really felt fit the book. I wanted to point out a few of my favorite song and book pairings and discuss why I chose a certain song for each book.

You can always see all of these and more in my “song of the day (sotd)” tag.
And check out more of my song and book pairings posts here!

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