A Spark of White Fire, by Sangu Mandanna || Complex families, political schemes, & interstellar awesomeness (& a giveaway)


Title: A Spark of White Fire
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Copy: Physical ARC
Rating:

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

Synopsis:

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Review:

Despite being heavily influenced by the ancient epic Mahabharata and other Indian lore, there is nothing quite like Mandanna’s latest novel – A Spark of White Fire is an absolutely unique, genre-defying gamechanger in YA. I’ll admit that I have never read the Mahabharata (although after reading this novel, I definitely plan to eventually get to it) so I don’t know how much material was adopted in the story. Nonetheless, by the end of it all, A Spark of White Fire is truly an incomparable gem of a space opera.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

Advertisements

The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang || Swooning, laughing, huge alarm bells ringing (& a giveaway!)


Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Copy: Paperback
Rating:

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

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

Review:

I went into The Kiss Quotient with only the faint knowledge that it’s an incredibly hyped romance novel written by an Asian woman. I did not bother learning anything else about it or reading its synopsis before diving in. With that said, I was very much pleasantly surprised that this book follows the love story between a career-driven, autistic woman working in STEM and an artistic Vietnamese-Swedish love interest working as a male escort. It is also very much worth noting that The Kiss Quotient is #OwnVoices for its Asperger’s Syndrome, biracial, and Vietnamese representation.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

500 Words or Less, by Juleah del Rosario || A verse novel with heart-wrenching dysphoria & untapped potential (& a giveaway)


Title: 500 Words or Less
Author: Juleah del Rosario
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Poetry
Copy: Digital ARC
Rating:

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

Review:

To put it quite bluntly, I have a lot of mixed feelings about 500 Words or Less, especially when in relation to the expectations that I had before diving in. After learning that Juleah del Rosario is a Filipino author, I was incredibly excited to read her debut novel told in verse (being a Filipino myself and all that). I’ve only read one verse novel before — The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, which I ended up thoroughly enjoying. However, for me, 500 Words or Less seemed to pale in comparison.

500 Words or Less follows a Chinese-American girl who cheated on her now-ex-boyfriend with his best friend and, in doing so, lost her relationship and severely tainted her reputation in school. In an attempt to save face among her peers, Nic capitalizes on her writing skills and begins offering her fellow senior students to write their college admissions essays for them.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

10 reasons to pick up Reign of Mist by Helen Scheuerer (& giveaway!)

Today marks the second #MistPH blog tour for Helen Scheuerer’s YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles. Yep, you read that right: second. Around a year ago, the first #MistPH blog tour centered on Heart of Mist, the first book of the chronicles and Helen’s spectacular debut – can you believe it? 😱 (Honestly, I still haven’t! I am extremely grateful to Helen for working with me again!)

This time around, from today up until the 10th of September, we’ll be talking about the highly anticipated sequel, Reign of Mist, which is set to be released on September 13th (oh my god!!!). With 35 incredible blog tour participants, there is a lot of fun in store for the next two weeks!

Last year, I wrote 10 reasons to pick up Heart of Mist, which served as the starting point of the blog tour. This time, let’s kick off the second ever #MistPH blog tour with 10 things to look forward to in the thrilling, beautifully written second installment of The Oremere Chronicles, Reign of Mist. (Note: There are no significant spoilers in this post. Just a lot of me sCREAMING AT ALL OF YOU TO PICK UP THIS SERIES. Okay? Okay.)

READ THE ENTIRE POST

Mirage, by Somaiya Daud || This could be the sci-fi enemies-turned-lovers Sapphic romance we deserve (& a giveaway)


Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Copy: Digital ARC
Rating:

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

Synopsis:

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’ fiancé, 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.

Review:

If I’m being totally honest, a lot of my expectations weren’t met – and I mean that in the best possible way. Somaiya Daud’s #OwnVoices, Moroccan-inspired dystopian debut novel delivered in a myriad of ways I never could have foreseen. Although I was expecting a thrillingly paced, adventure-filled narrative with incredibly high stakes and hard-hitting action, I found myself easily entranced by Daud’s wonderfully lush prose and charming cast of diverse characters.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes, by Holly Bourne || Mental health, important messages, & mixed feelings + GIVEAWAY


Title: Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Copy: ARC
Rating:

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

Synopsis:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Review:

I have only read two of Holly Bourne’s novels so far (the first one being It Only Happens in the Movies), and I love how she seamlessly incorporates her advocacies for social change into her works in a manner that doesn’t sideline them; rather, these ideas and messages are carefully placed front, center, and with just the right amount of in-your-face. Are We Lemmings & Snowflakes is not any different in that regard; at its heart, this contemporary novel thoughtfully and sensitively explores mental health.

READ THE ENTIRE POST

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
Rating:

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

Synopsis:

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.

READ THE ENTIRE POST