REVIEW: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

**I received an ARC 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 Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Release Date: June 8, 2021

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: Indian-inspired world and characters, lesbian protagonists; (sapphic British Indian author)

CW: homophobia, gore, violence, execution by burning, forced drug use

Summary: Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

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REVIEW: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

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

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Book: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Release Date: May 4, 2021

My Rating: 4.75 stars

Rep: ownvoices East Asian protagonists

CW: terminal illness, suicide, violence (including choking), death, death of parent (off page), vomiting, large scale natural disasters and mass casualties, some gore

Summary: One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars with sci-fi scope, Lost with a satisfying resolution.

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-cities—Earth’s last unpolluted place—are meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but they’re populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

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REVIEW: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

**I received an eARC 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: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

Release Date: March 2, 2021

My Rating: 4.25 stars

Rep: bisexual protagonist, wlw side character

CW: gore, murder, implied torture, detailed descriptions of surgical procedures

Summary: He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Love makes monsters of us all.

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REVIEW: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

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

(All quotes are taken from an ARC and should be checked against a finalized version of the book.)

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Book: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) by Chloe Gong

Release Date: November 17, 2020

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese protagonist and characters, Chinese trans girl main character, gay main character, Korean main character

CW: blood, violence, gore, character deaths, explicit description of gouging self (not of their own volition), murder, weapon use, insects, alcohol consumption, parental abuse

Summary: Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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REVIEW: The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

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

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Book: The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang

Release Date: November 17, 2020

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: ownvoices Chinese-inspired world and characters

CW: war crimes, physical abuse, sexual assault, rape, genocide, cannibalism, starvation

Summary: The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.

After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. 

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it? 

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DISCUSSION: the silvered serpents art

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A few months ago, for #thegildedwolvesreadathon, I shared pictures of the scrapbook I made for The Gilded Wolves. Since today is the release of the sequel, I thought it would be nice to do the same for my second scrapbook. This isn’t as long a post, thankfully!

So without further ado, here’s the scrapbook I made for The Silvered Serpents!

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TOUR / REVIEW: Iron Heart by Nina Varela

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**I received an eARC from the publisher for this blog tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Iron Heart (Crier’s War #2) by Nina Varela

Release Date: September 8, 2020

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: bisexual protagonist, lesbian protagonist, nonbinary side characters

Summary: An unstoppable love between two girls—one human, one Made—both set on destroying the Iron Heart.

For too long the cruel, beautiful Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing the humans who live there. But the human revolution is on the rise, and at its heart is Ayla. Once handmaiden, now fugitive, Ayla escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl Ayla had planned to kill . . . but instead fell in love with. Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, whom she believes can accomplish the ultimate goal of the human rebellion: destroy the Iron Heart. Without it, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction.

But playing at Ayla’s memory are the powerful feelings she developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among travelling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

As their paths collide, neither are prepared for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.

In this stunning sequel to acclaimed author Nina Varela’s Crier’s War, the love that launched a revolution must now pave the way for a whole new era . . . and the ultimate change of heart.

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REVIEW: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

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


Book: Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn

Release Date: September 15, 2020

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: ownvoices Black protagonist, bisexual main character, lesbian Taiwanese-American side character, gay side character, nonbinary side character, bisexual side character, wlw side character

CW: death of a parent (mother), racism, mentions of child abuse, on-page rape (not explicit/graphic)

Summary: Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

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REVIEW: Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

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

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Book: Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

Release Date: August 4, 2020

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: ownvoices Moroccan-inspired world and characters; lesbian main character and love interest

Summary: Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

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DISCUSSION: the gilded wolves art

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Today’s the second-to-last day of #thegildedwolvesreadathon, and the goal for today is to share anything creative that you made for The Gilded Wolves! I’m sharing a scrapbook that I made for the book, as well as pointing out all the random details I put in. This is a long post, sorry!

This scrapbook includes my hand-lettered quotes, as well as random maps I picked up from when I visited Paris a couple of years ago. You can also see more edits/graphics I made for The Gilded Wolves last year in my review!

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