The Helm of Midnight – blog tour (review + giveaway!)

Author: Marina Lostetter
Publication date: April 13, 2021
Genre: fantasy
My rating: 5/5 stars

Magic masks. A serial killer. Political intrigue. Mysterious gods. Folks, this is my favorite fantasy novel I’ve read this year–a deliciously dark tale with intricate worldbuilding, memorable (and diverse!) characters, and a nuanced portrayal of the impacts of trauma on the human psyche. I’m so grateful to Jean Book Nerd for having me as a host on this tour. Stick around for my review, more info on the book, and a giveaway you don’t want to miss!

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The Sky Blues – blog tour (ARC review + giveaway!)

Author: Robbie Couch
Publication date: April 6, 2021
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 3/5 stars

Cute, diverse, and full of both the best and the worst of small-town life, The Sky Blues is an ode to friendship, young love, and the importance of being yourself. While I wouldn’t call it a perfect read, it is a fast, fun read that will certainly appeal to younger YA fans, especially fans of “leaked romantic feelings” stories like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Stick with this post past the review, and you’ll find info on how you could win a copy of this book for yourself!

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Great books by Asian and Pacific Islander authors

In light of recent events in the US–namely, the shootings in Atlanta last week that resulted in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian American women–I want to make it unequivocally clear that I support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. There are many ways to show support, from monetary donations to attending marches, but for those of us who are readers, I wanted to also give some titles of books by Asian and Asian American authors, across a wide range of genres. The publishing industry has a history of failing authors of color, and that includes authors of Asian descent. Buying and reading their books sends a message to publishers that readers value these stories, and that these stories are important to tell. Of course, we should be reading diversely all the time, but if you find that Asian authors are not well-represented in your reading…well, this is a great place to start.

I’m breaking this post out by listing a book for each genre, along with its author’s racial/ethnic identity. This list is by no means comprehensive, and I’ll admit, there are some great titles that I left off mostly for space purposes–but each title on this list is one that I have read and wholeheartedly recommend. Also, the authors’ identities I have listed are what I could find from their website bios; if any of my information is inaccurate, please let me know so I can correct it.

As an additional note: if you are planning to purchase any of these titles, please consider buying them from an Asian American-owned bookstore. For a list of options, check out this LIST from Libro.fm.

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Sweet & Bitter Magic – blog tour (review, quotes + giveaway!)

Author: Adrienne Tooley
Publication date: March 9, 2021
Genre: YA fantasy
My rating: 4/5 stars

Today is my stop on TBR and Beyond’s blog tour for Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley, a debut fantasy full of darkness, witchy magic, love bargains, and two girls who are polar opposites learning to work with each other to save their world–and fall for each other in the process. Read on for a brief review and some of my favorite quotes from this lovely slow-burn!

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Sing Me Forgotten – blog tour (ARC review + beautiful quotes)

Author: Jessica S. Olson
Publication date: March 9, 2021
Genre: YA fantasy, romance, retelling
My rating: 4/5 stars

Phantom of the Opera phans, rejoice–this is the gender-swapped Phantom retelling we’ve all been waiting for. Dark, luscious, and full of twisted magic, this story offers a fresh twist on the musical (and novel) you know and love. It takes out the love triangle, adds in a magic system rooted in the buying and selling of memory, and doesn’t shy away from the tricky blend of monstrousness and humanity that is the Opera Ghost. In other words, it tells a new tale while maintaining the best parts of the original. The end result is magical–music to my ears, if you’ll pardon the pun.

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Fragile Remedy – blog tour (promo post)

Author: Maria Ingrande Mora
Publication date: March 9, 2021
Genre: YA science fiction

Hello, lovelies! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora. This YA sci-fi is a dystopian novel filled with topics surrounding genetic modification, a rogue engineer boy, and–hooray!–a gay romance. I’m excited to check this one out, and you should be, too. Stick around to find out more about why!

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February 2021 monthly wrap-up

Alright, friends: I’m finally getting back on my game with blogging and Bookstagram. I posted on more than half of the days in February, which is about the ratio I’m trying to go for. February was a great reading month for me, in both quantity and quality. To prevent making this post overly long, let’s dive right in:

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Bloodsworn – blog tour (promo for a book I’m really freaking excited about)

Author: Scott Reintgen
Publication date: February 16, 2021
Genre: young adult fantasy

Listen up, y’all: Ashlords was a freaking fantastic book and I loved it when I read it last year. Phoenix horses, alchemy, the fantasy equivalent of “social media celebrities,” and of course, the first seeds of a good old-fashioned revolution against an oppressive upper class. I’ve been stoked for the sequel since I turned the final page. And when, during a live chat, the author started talking about the sequel even more, my interest was piqued even more: promises of technology and magic, with the added interest of interfering gods. Now the sequel is here, gorgeous cover and all. I’m reading it right now and loving it so far; a review will be headed your way as soon as I’m done. In the meantime, here’s a little promotional material from the lovely team at TBR and Beyond Tours.

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First Line Fridays – 2/19

Hello, friends! It’s ya girl K-Specks, back at it again with a round of First Line Friday on this delightfully freezing day (currently feels like 3 degrees Fahrenheit near me, which actually isn’t bad, but it’s supposed to get colder as the day goes on). First Line Fridays is hosted by Wandering Words and encourages us to judge books not by their covers, but by their first lines! The rules are simple:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Without further ado, here’s today’s first line:

It was late afternoon, on the very last Wednesday of August, when I realized Disney had been lying to me for quite some time about Happily Ever Afters.

Because, you see, I was four days into mine, and my prince was nowhere to be found.

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WWW Wednesday – 2/17

Hello, lovelies! Time for another rousing rendition of WWW Wednesday (and yes, I’m squeezing this one in right at the last second, but hey–it’s still Wednesday, so it counts, right?). WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words. Every Wednesday, bloggers present our answers to the 3 W’s:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I know you’re all just dying to know what I’m reading now, so let’s go:

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