The Stuck at Home Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books. It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag post and this one seems quite fun and topical.


The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

The Questions

  1. What are you currently reading?36216359. sy475 As of Sunday, I’m 300 pages into The Pheonix Empress by K Arsenault Rivera. I read The Tiger’s Daughter back in 2018 and I really enjoyed it. Currently, I’m loving the deep dive into Hokkaran culture and the angst between Shefali and Shizuka. I love that even though the two have their secrets and Shefali has a lot of (justifiable) beef with Shizuka, they talk through their issues!
  2. Read More »

Heaven Official’s Blessing (天官赐福) by 墨香铜臭

Tian Guan Ci Fu (Literature) - TV Tropes为你,所向披靡!

C天R地小妖精攻×仙风道骨收破烂受

啊那个收破烂的天界公务员,跟鬼界第一大佬有一腿!

“Heaven Official’s Blessing”

Eight hundred years ago, Xie Lian was the Crown Prince of the Xian Le kingdom; one who was beloved by his citizens and the darling of the world. Unsurprisingly, he ascended to the Heavens at a very young age. Now, eight hundred years later, Xie Lian ascends to the Heavens for the third time as the laughing stock of all three realms. On his first task as a god, he meets a mysterious demon who rules the ghosts and terrifies the Heavens……yet unbeknownst to Xie Lian, this demon king has been paying attention to him for a very, very long time.

*****

Review:

Love exists and its name is HuaLian.

No really though. I picked this one up because a) I enjoyed the author’s other work Mo Dao Zu Shi and b) because  I’d heard the main couple was super cute. I was not expecting to be hit by the world’s most perfect power couple of all times. Every interaction the two had left me screaming into my phone because they’re so adorable? And patient with each other? And communicate when they have conflicts? And they’ve seen each other at their absolute worsts? And actually behave like the 800-year-old immortal beings they are? True perfection.Read More »

“Balancing” Blogging and School

Finals week is over for the last time in my undergraduate career, so this seems to be a good time to discuss how I balanced (or did not) blogging with school. This post is by no means a guide to how someone should do it, and some of the actions I did are probably outright unhealthy for both reading and schoolwork, but it seems better to be honest than to just spout advice that has no backing.

A quick overview

For blogging, I run this blog, A Cup of Cyanide, where I post 2-3 times a week. Friday posts are always reviews, while posts on other days can be reviews from a backlog or other topics I find myself wanting to talk about. In my sophomore and junior years of undergrad, I also ran a booktube account under the same name, where I would post videos on Mondays weekly. My general reading speed is about a book/week, so in a month where I am reading, I’d read about 5-6 books a month.

On the school side, I am a mechanical engineering student. My university runs on a semesters system, so I usually take 15-18 credit hours a semester. I’m also part of a fencing club that meets for ~7 hours/week, a robotics team that takes about 6 hours/week, and I work as a research assistant for ~10 hours/week. Senior year I quit the robotics team, but I was also spending a lot of time applying for grad school, studying for the GREs, and in the second semester, working on my senior design project. So overall, busy busy.Read More »

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

42133479. sx318 Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

**

Review:

I have, once a, been bamboozled by what I’d hoped was a fun YA novel. I had such high hopes for Wicked Fox: gumiho/nine-tailed fox female protagonist, modern urban-Korean setting, super pretty cover. Unfortunately, I’ve instead been given an edgy edgy female protagonist with the personality of a rock, a male love interest who gets verbally abused by said MC and thinks to himself, man I bet she’s super nice, and a supporting cast of shitty people doing shitty things.Read More »

April 2020 Wrap-Up

I’d say April wasn’t the best reading month for me (despite the 700K WC very long Chinese webnovel), but in my defense, all of the projects I’d put off for the entirety of March reared back up and I had to take responsibility. And also I had to at least attempt at studying for finals, open book/notes or not.

Bookwise, I had a fairly large range of ratings. A 5, two 4s and two 3s. I suppose not my best month in terms of picking good reads.

In May news, I’ll be participating in the Asian Readathon, so expect all books read next month to be written by Asian authors, predominantly feature Asian settings, or both!Read More »

Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

51190882. sx318 sy475

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

*****

Review:

Beyond the breathtaking cover, I went into this novella with zero expectations. I came out with a captivatingly intimate tale that still managed to encompass a broader scope. Between a combination of Vo’s delicate prose and quiet character interactions, I was absolutely spellbound as I read.Read More »

Favorite Books by Asian Authors

I was delighted to stumble upon the Asian Readathon on Twitter a couple days ago, which encourages people to read as many books written by Asian authors in the month of May. I wanted to contribute so I’ve put together a list of my favorite books written by Asian authors! I’ve decided to limit this list to one book/author, but by no means does that mean you shouldn’t check out their other books. Definitely check out their other books!


Ninefox Gambit by Yoon ha Lee

261184261

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

adore Yoon Ha Lee’s writing and Ninefox Gambit is probably my favorite. Math-y space lingo, brilliant scheming characters, and some of the craziest worldbuilding (calendar based!) I’ve ever read!

Read More »

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

20821111I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

 

**

Review:

I’m not sure what it is with YA novels and insufferably edgy yet non-commital female leads. But whatever that nonsense is, Adelina Amouteru takes that squid-inked Vantablack fucking cake. I spent about half the time reading this wishing she’d actually commit to her moping and kill someone already and half the time wondering why I ever thought this book was a good idea. Unfortunately, this was my ‘2nd chance’ square books for the 2019 r/Fantasy bingo so DNF wasn’t even an option.

Read More »

r/Fantasy Bingo 2020 – First Draft

The /r/Fantasy Bingo is a yearly Bingo hosted on the /r/Fantasy subreddit, created by Lisa from WayTooFantasy. Like the name implies, this is a 25-square book-themed Bingo with each square holding a different challenge. Each author can only be used once and only one square can be a re-read. Learn more about the challenge here. You can check out my past attempts in the /r/Fantasy Bingo page.

My first thoughts for this card were ‘well, that’s not too shabby’. Genre-wise, it’s definitely more aligned with my tastes than last year (certainly less stalker-ish), although I still maintain the 2018 card is superior. Most of these cards would probably cover books I’d likely read over the year anyway, so the only couple I really see myself struggling with are ‘Canadian Author’, ‘Big Dumb Object’, and ‘Magical Pet’. As usual, I never go into these cards planning to sub out a square, so unless April comes around in 2021 and I’ve hit another reading slump, I do plan to get this card done.

While I’ve prepared a ‘first draft’ so to speak of the books I plan to read (with a couple already covered!), the essence of a TBR is to change and so I have no doubts squares will shift and change as the year progresses.Read More »

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang

33099588Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.

A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

****

Review:

Have you ever opened a book, read the first two paragraphs, and just been completely immersed in the worldbuilding? The Black Tides of Heaven is that book. Between the worldbuilding and the characters, this book is a must-read.

Read More »