Friday 56 + Book Beginnings: Mirage, by Somaiya Daud

Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

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* Pre-order via Amazon or Book Depository.


In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancĂ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.



Books on the Rice (Vol. 2): 2018-2019 Asian science fiction books to sink your teeth into!

Hey, ya girl is back with another list of books! Around two weeks ago, I compiled over 35 Asian-inspired fantasy books (2018-2019) for all of us to drool over.

I had tons of fun with conducting a bit of bookish research, especially bookish research that involves two things I adore (i.e. Asian culture and fantasy). With that said, I had more than enough motivation to work on another list! I was really torn between two other beloved genres, namely, contemporary and science fiction. Conducting a poll on Twitter seemed like the best (and wisest) course of action to take (but if you’d still like a list of contemporary books with Asian protagonists written by Asian authors, let me know in the comments below!).


Books on the Rice: 2018-2019 Asian-inspired fantasy novels to drool over

As all of you should know by now, I was born and raised (and still currently live) in the Philippines, which is located in the heart of Southeast Asia. So it comes as no surprise that ya girl is extremely fascinated by stories set in Asia, stories written by Asian authors, and more recently, fantasies inspired by Asian culture, folklore, and mythology.

The fantasy genre occupies a sizable space in my little reader heart. Fantasies stretch the imagination of readers, effectively offer escapism, and commonly tackle important ideas in remarkably creative ways, such as re-imagined political systems, war, traditions, and even moments in history. In other words: the fantasy genre is awesome, don’t @ me.

Growing up, my favorite was The Iron Fey series, which was written by Julie Kagawa, an American author of Japanese descent. However, the story behind the books themselves was not actually influenced by her Asian heritage. While I still love The Iron Fey books (and will eternally have a soft spot for Puck), I can’t help but think about how amazingly different my childhood would have been if little kid Shealea had her hands on books with dimensional characters she could really identify with or stories set in places she was acutely familiar with.

I mean, imagine having a bunch of rice-fueled heroes and heroines to look up to at an early age! (Of course, I am partly kidding. There’s more to being Asian than just eating a lot of rice, although I do love rice to a fault. Rice is amazing, y’all!)


The Friday 56 + Book Beginnings: The Heart Forger, by Rin Chupeco ft. B99 GIFs and a very small ARC haul!

Title: The Heart Forger
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.


In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she’s after revenge…

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe


Wrapping up June 2018 {a month of frustrations and a broken laptop}

Another month finished means another monthly synopsis to be written and posted. I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules, honey. But slight sassiness aside, I recently shared my midyear breakdown (spoiler alert: in more ways than one!) on my blog, and while I have already thoroughly discussed my 2018 so far in terms of events that transpired and books I’ve read, I still have a ton of bookish and non-bookish things to talk about!

For starters, I opted against mentioning what I’ve reviewed and what I’ve posted within the month of June. Had I done otherwise, my already lengthy midyear breakdown would have been a lot more tedious to read. I was also unable to really discuss my plans for the next couple of months. But fear not, loyal readers I am endlessly thankful for! This monthly synopsis should tackle all those bits and blahs.

So let’s get started, yes?

While May ended on a relatively positive note, June was an incredibly frustrating month for a number of reasons. One of them being the fact that my laptop broke (and is still currently broken), and I still don’t have the finances to pay for its repairs (note: the world is cruel and unjust). I had hoped to remedy this by taking on freelance writing jobs, and although I was able to secure a supposedly stable writing gig a week ago, I was unceremoniously kicked out of the job just yesterday due to inarguably questionable reasons. I’m not one to state the obvious but: it sucks. Having said that, however, you can easily help me raise my laptop repair funds by donating to my ko-fi account. That’s $3 per cup of coffee for you, and a huge saving grace for me! And if you do decide to buy me a coffee, my heart thanks you!


2018 Midyear Breakdown [spoiler alert: in more ways than one]

June marks the middle of the year, reminding all of us that we are already halfway finished with 2018. Wow. Maybe it’s just me but time seems to move along noticeably more quickly now than ever before. Quite frankly, it’s freaking me out — but let’s not dwell on that right now. Instead, let’s talk about some highlights and low-lights (Is low-lights a thing? Can we make it a thing?) of 2018 both in terms of life events and books I’ve read!

{ breakdown in terms of life events }

As of 2017, ya girl started keeping a planner and managed to, you know, actually use it for an entire year. My first attempt at planner-keeping was embarrassingly mediocre and awfully inconsistent.

For 2018, however, I was really determined to get myself back on track, which includes becoming more organized and staying consistent. I dedicated the first days of 2018 to working on my planner, ensuring that it was designed and structured in such a way that I won’t get tired of (or feel unmotivated to) use it on a daily basis. As a testament to my commitment to planning and keeping a planner, I even used the ridiculously cute Pokemon stickers I’ve been saving for months!


Not the Girls You’re Looking For, by Aminah Mae Safi || Unapologetically messy. Beautifully diverse.

Title: Not the Girls You’re Looking For
Author: Aminah Mae Safi
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Copy: Digital ARC

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.


Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.