March 2021 | Wrap-Up

March was a good reading month! 4 ebooks + 1 audiobook. Of course, this is all calm before the storm coming the end of April when I’ll have an ARC review scheduled one per week if I want to keep up with publishing dates…. I…maybe have been a little too gung-ho on NetGalley these past several months haha. Nevertheless, I have full faith in myself to keep up with such a tight schedule and not manage to burn out.

Read More »

Vengeful by VE Schwab

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

*****

This review will contain spoilers for book one, Vicious

Review:

I have returned to this universe! Vengeful is the first book I ever pre-ordered (even managed to get the UK edition because I hate the US cover) and as is tradition, proceeded to collect dust on my bookshelf for three years. I wasn’t actually planning to read this anytime soon, but the missing aro/ace entry for the 2020-2021 /r/Fantasy bingo forced my hand and damn, I should have gotten to this sooner. One of my favorite genres is ‘terrible people doing terrible things’ and this series just fits that category so so well.

Read More »

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

*****

Review:

I don’t know what happened, but I have seriously never binged an audiobook in one sitting before A Deadly Education. I went on daily evening walk and just got absolutely sucked into this slightly dark yet oddly humorous world of a magic school attempting to murder its own students. Then I went home, cooked a complicated dinner and ate said dinner, all while listening. Hell, this book made me fold my laundry because I wanted something to do as I kept my hands busy. I even ended up doing my Genshin Impact dailies with the audiobook still playing because I was so. damn. invested. This book was just so so good.

Read More »

The Councillor by EJ Beaton

When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.

Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.

Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.

In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.

***

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

I stumbled upon this one while browsing NetGalley selections. I love a good cunning protagonist, political scheming, and the bonus tag of Machiavellian-inspired meant I was basically bound to love this book. Unfortunately, I found myself struggling as I read and it’s honestly hard to fully describe why.

Read More »

Dec 2020/Jan-Feb 2021 Wrap-Up

Slowly getting back into these wrap-ups. Turns out it’s helpful to look at a calendar every once in a while so you realize exactly what day/month it is. I’ve gotten a chance to read a ton of my most highly anticipated books of the first half of 2021 already, so this is probably going to be one hell of a list. I already regret having to put this many books on one list I’m going to use this as motivation to never push off wrap-ups for so long ever again.

Read More »

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever.

*****

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for A Memory Called Empire

Review:

A Memory Called Empire was one of my favorite books for 2019 and I have been anxiously awaiting its sequel every since I read the first ARC. For fans of book one, A Desolation Called Peace contains everything good about book one (the cultural deep dives, Mahit and Yskander’s snarky conversations, Mahit and Three Seagrass!!), and fixed many of the complaints I had from book one.

Read More »

The Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

*****

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

I admit, I was completely blindsided by this book. I’d initially picked this up because several blogging friends seemed extremely excited. While my own initial interest was rather middling from just the summary, I’m so glad I listen to friends with better judgement. A fun heist story that gradually evolves into something much greater, extremely charismatic if morally-questionable character, and a fantastic fashion sense.

Read More »

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.

Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.

Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

*****

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

PSA FOR NON-ASIAN READERS. The “Lil’sis” and “Big sis” used between Thanh and Giang are translated honorifics used to address a younger or older woman respectively. They are NOT used to denote familial relations.

Review:

Fireheart Tiger!!! Those who’ve followed my blog will know that I am a long time fan of Aliette de Bodard, so hearing of a new novella (published by Tor.com!!) had me giddy with excitement.

Read More »

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

*****

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

My god. I did not expect to love this one as much as I did but I am so so dearly happy I picked this up. Shoutout to my discord friends for putting this one on my radar because despite practically living on the Ao3 ‘Original Work’ tag, I someone managed to miss this? Also shoutout to the friends who emailed me an ebook copy of the Ao3 version for me to read, even though I never ended up getting to it by the time Tor sent me a copy. I was just absolutely delighted with this lovely space opera romance.

Read More »

We Lie With Death by Devin Madson

Into Kisia’s conquered north, a Levanti empire is born.

Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e’Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe.

Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people.

Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honor be his salvation, or lead to his destruction?

Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra’s only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both.

There is no calm after the storm.

*****

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Review:

This review will contain spoilers for book one, We Ride the Stom.

Quick Disclaimer: I read the self-pubbed version of book one of this series, We Ride the Storm, not the Orbit version. I’m aware of the changes made and the author helpfully provides a little summary at the beginning explaining some of the changes.

2021 must be the year of sequels because I have so many hotly anticipated sequels, We Ride the Storm chief among them.

Read More »