Book Blog, Book Talk

Are they as good as I remember?

Last year being remarkably the most draining year for me has made it hard to remember the details to things. The fact that so much bleeds into one another to the point that I no longer can distinguish between days, months and even the books I read. I’m fairly good with recalling details in books especially when they’re favorites but for the life of me these books I remember the v i b e s and almost nothing else lol.

Which makes me question myself when recommending them because are they as good as I remember or is everything else so terrible this felt like gold? I wanted to re-read these stories immediately upon finishing them but I also wanted to conquer my ever growing tbr pile. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t jump back into these books until now because it gives me an opportunity to go in without the high and find out if I do still consider these favorites.

I did something similar to this last year and found that my initial enjoyment was not there the second time around. I still enjoyed the books but critically I saw things that if I had read that book at any other point in time I would not have favored it so. I think that’s also something that should be noted when reading things based off others enjoyment of a story is that sometimes it isn’t the book or you but the timing.

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough on to the books!

A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1)
The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)
Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha, #1)

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna YA Science Fiction. 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.

The Last Namsara by Kirsten Ciccarelli YA Fantasy. In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer. These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl. Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri Adult Fantasy. The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance.

My findings are…

Drumroll

I LOVE them still!!!


I was worried but it was for naught, thankfully. I’m so happy I did this because I forgot so much from the first time. I guess that’s to be expected because your trying to take in so much that some things will slip through. Just another reason why I adore re- reading because it gives you a chance to reconnect and find new things. I do think I love the books more now than initially which is also a great discovery!

I also discovered that these books have a few common traits such as gods and myths. I really appreciate magic systems that establish new or remixes older myths to make them fresh and new. And all three of them do that. Another trait is they all have the fierce girl paired with soft boi trope *heart eyes 4ever*

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna I forgot how much gods play into this series. I love the friendships and relationships in general. They’re just so real in their complexity. This story still managed to make me cry so this book has my heart forever in a chokehold.

The Last Namsara by Kirsten Ciccarelli The way in which this story is told fits so beautifully with the story at large. Stories nestled inside stories s one of my favorite things. There is a lot of layers to this story and watching them unfurl is incredible.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri Out of the three this is my least favorite because it feels like its missing something. It’s still a wonderful read it just isn’t in my top five. There’s a lack of comradery in this book. I need friendships in books. Basically I need an ensemble cast of characters.There is a solid friendship established in the romance which I love but I need more character interactions.

Thank you for reading this very long post. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you plan to!

Book Blog, Book Tag, Book Talk

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader tag

If you’ve been here any length of time than you know that fantasy is my favorite genre. It’s my most read & I don’t foresee that ending anytime soon. I’ve seen this tag around and I always say I’m going to do it but then I forget LOL So I’m doing it now before I forget again xD

I was not tagged by anyone to do this. I also won’t be tagging anyone as this is an old tag and I don’t know who hasn’t already done this.

Bree Hill originally created this tag as the Get to Know the Romance Reader Tag, and The Book Pusher adapted it for fantasy readers.

1. What is your Fantasy origin story? (how you came to read your first fantasy novel)

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

If we’re talking first, first The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly comes to mind. I received this as a kid in school when someone I think from publishing came to talk to us and they gave out books. I recognized the author’s name because of Beevus and Ramona.  

2. If you could be the main character in a fantasy novel who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)

I would want the Sunshine- Grumpy duo I could play either part Lol. The author I’d want to do this is Hafsah Faizal of We Hunt the Flame. I love her writing style and I already know that she would do that trope so much justice!!

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year that you want more people to read?

Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)

I haven’t read as much fantasy this year, yet. However, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko is one that I saw talk of when it was releasing last year but has since disappeared from the forefront and that can’t stand. This was a fantastic story with such an interesting world of magic and myths. It has found family with a plethora of amazing characters.

4. What is your favorite Fantasy sub genre? What sub genre have you not read much from?

Gods of Jade and Shadow

A favorite sub genre is Historical Fiction fantasy, a la Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno- Garcia or The Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson. Historical fiction alone is alright but put a fantastical element or a mystery and its better. My least read sub genre of fantasy is Magical Realism or Contemporary Fantasy. This feels paradoxical since historical fiction is contemporary of the past and yet I’m okay with it. xD don’t try to make sense of me because you can’t lol

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)
A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)

Roshani Chokshi. I love the worlds she creates and her writing is exquisite! For me auto-buy authors are people who I would literally read anything they produce. She could write in any genre about any old thing and I will be buying it. She has such a way with not only words but characters. They’re always so vivid and lifelike it hurts.       

6. How do you find fantasy recommendations? (GoodReads, Youtube, Podcasts, Blogs, Instagram, etc)

All of the above (well not podcasts cause I don’t listen to those). I’ve been doing this *gestures to reading on the internet* for a long while and you just learn to cultivate a system. GoodReads was the first place I started getting recommendations and it was a bit of a hit or miss. I now follow people whose taste align with mine and whose opinion and judgment I trust.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release your excited for?

The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms, #1)

I am looking forward to The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. This is coming out near another exciting release & I’m expecting a huge reading slump to follow.This story sounds amazing and I really enjoyed the last book I read from this author. I believe this has enemies to lovers trope sooo YAY!

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

“All fantasy is the same.” No genre or age category is all the same. It shows a lack of effort on the part of the speaker who isn’t trying to find books that they like. It’s okay if you outgrow a genre or age category you can always come back to it, it’s not going anywhere. I just think it’s disingenuous to shelve every story into one slot. And sometimes you need to ask yourself if it really is the book/genre or you with the problem. 

9. If someone had never read fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)
Stain
Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha, #1)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi this is middle grade which is easy to get into and has a lot of action and humor, Stain by A.G. Howard standalone YA fairytale retelling. Again something easy to slide into and a story that may be known but with a fresh take and there’s no huge commitment since it’s a standalone. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, this is an adult standalone but it has a companion novel. This is slower paced so no fear of being overwhelmed with the lore of the world while getting to know the characters.


What’s your favorite fantasy book?


Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk

Stand Alone Fantasy Recommendations

Standalones for fantasy aren’t as uncommon as they have been in the past but there’s still too few of them. I understand the appeal of large sweeping fantasy novels. My favorite genre is fantasy so I am ALL for longer series but sometimes you just need a quick journey that isn’t Romance or Middle Grade.

This is not a comprehensive list and I wish it was longer but I don’t want to recommend books I haven’t read yet.

If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments. I would really appreciate it!

Belle Révolte Linsey Miller

Belle Révolte

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

This is a YA standalone fantasy with a wlw romance. This is incredibly fast paced which could become confusing when learning about the magic of this world alongside the history of the rebels and kingdom. Other than that the characters were very dynamic and interesting especially side characters.We have a Trans character & another that is biromantic ace.


Stain by A.G. Howard

Stain

This high-fantasy YA gothic fairytale, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea, takes place in an alternative medieval world split apart by magic. One kingdom lives in perpetual night while the other in daylight.

One of our Main Character’s Lyra is mute and allergic to the sun and she lives in the kingdom of daylight.  The complexities of the characters and the world make it hard to put this story down.

This story might be inspired by Andersen’s story but it’s also a love letter to fairytales in general. If you enjoyed the movie Ever After you will love this.  


Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie McLemore  

Blanca & Roja

This is YA magical realism that mostly centers on two sisters who could not look or be more different from each other. There’s a curse on the daughters of the family that will soon come to pass unless they do something about it.

We also follow two more characters who are also navigating difficulties of their own. Their stories intertwine with Blanca & Roja’s and interferes with the cursed magic that runs in the family.

The writing style fits the whole fairytale like way that this story unfurls. I loved all the characters! I was in a constant state of wanting to hug them all.      


A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton

A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology

This is my FAVORITE anthology I’ve ever read. I’m not seeing enough love for these diverse magical stories. It’s criminally underrated and I don’t understand why? I get short stories aren’t for everyone and I have those same hesitations but let me rest your fears because each story just gets better and better.

There are a few that I wish (& hope) could become more because they’re just THAT amazing but also THAT important. This is YA Fantasy and Science Fiction short story collection centering desires and wishes and what that looks like for a macabre of characters.

 I have a full review of each short story in my November wrap up.  


Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Descendant of the Crane

This is Chinese inspired YA fantasy following a princess who inherits an unstable kingdom after her father’s untimely death.

When I picked this up a couple of years ago I didn’t know it was a standalone. I haven’t read it since so my memory of all the details is a bit fuzzy but I remember reading this in a day. I could not put it down.

It was action packed throughout plus there’s a mystery and the enemy to lovers trope.


Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno- Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow

This is Adult fantasy that involves Mayan gods, vengeance and a smart head strong main character.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

This story was a delight from beginning to end and I had no idea what was going to happen next.


Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments ❤

Book Blog, Book Recommendations, Book Talk

My Favorite Books of 2020

2020 Edition

This was not easy to narrow down but I’m highlighting the ones that have stuck with me since finishing them.

I need everyone to know & read these so we can shout into the void about them forever. I believe most of these if not all of them are 5 stars.

Clicking on the images will take you to the GoodReads page to add them to your never ending tbr pile. You’re welcome 😉

I didn’t rank these they’re just in order of when I read them.


A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4)

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn, the fourth installment to the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series.

This is definitely my favorite of the series so far. It manages to combine Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe vibes throughout. It was the best!!


The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #1)

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C Yee the first book in a trilogy.

This is so much fun and funny. Love this take on Sun Wukong. This also has a lot of heart at the center of the story. Also, Sunshine paired with the grump trope 🙂


Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

I thought this would be weird following the kids but its actually fun. Especially since it is such a large cast of characters. Definitely will need a chart to keep track of everyone.


Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Adult Fantasy with magical technology. Found family, powerful artifacts, wlw, & a cast of misfits.


Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Native American mythology, hunting monsters, the sunshine paired with the grump trope.


Woven in Moonlight (Woven in Moonlight, #1)

Woven in Moonlight by Isobel Ibañez

Bolivian-inspired fantasy

This story is enchanting with wonderful characters. Don’t get me started on the food descriptions 🙂


Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha, #1)

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Adult Fantasy with South Asian Mythology.

Slow burn romance that is both sweet and vulnerable. Love the magic and lore of this world.


A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)

A Song of Wraith & Ruin by Rosanne A. Brown

A Fierce and dangerous girl, a soft and sweet boi what more can I say.

The magic and African mythology is incredible!


The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)

Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakoborty

The finale of an AMAZING series. Seriously check it out!!!!

I cried and raged and cried some more. It’s not all bad pain but it is pain 🙂


The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)

The Last Namsara by Kirsten  Ciccarelli

This is intricate tale of power and hate.

Did I mention dragons? This has dragons and they love stories that’s how they get their power.


A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1)

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

This is a space opera retelling/ re-imagining of Mahabharata.

It has family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.


You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Inject this straight into my veins.

I LOVE that this story gives you those butterfly feelings.


Monday's Not Coming

Monday’s not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

You can’t read this and not have it change you.

This was beautifully written even though the story itself is utterly heartbreaking.


The Black Flamingo

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Told in verse this story spans the life of Michael who is navigating life as a mixed race gay guy. Trying to find his place and his voice in the world we get to see him grow into his skin and find his self.


Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard

Gave me ALL the fairytale feelings.

I absolutely love fairytales and I love retellings that take on a new fresh spin with originality.


A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology

A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhoneille Clayton 

15 unique wonderful diverse stories that tell of loss, hope and our biggest wishes.

I loved almost all these stories which is rare for me with anthologies but they’re all just that amazing.


These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

This was incredible and it lived up to all the hype. And there is a lot of it for good reason.

Holy Smokes this was a grand adventure and I need the sequel STAT!


Bonus: Webtoon’s I Love!

I love this app SO Much! This is where I get my Romance fix. There are too many wonderful stories and illustrations to mention all of them but below are a few that I’m currently obsessed with.

Siren's Lament - Webtoon Photo (43397117) - Fanpop

Siren’s Lament by instantmiso

It’s finished *cries forever*

I found this on a whim & immediately fell in love ❤

Sirens, cute boys and family what’s not to love.


Midnight Poppy Land | WEBTOON

Midnight in Poppyland by Lilydusk

This is another I randomly stumbled upon.

This has the forbidden pining.

It turns a lot of tropes on its head.


Creator Rachel Smythe Dream Casts Lore Olympus! - Frolic

Lore of Olympus by Rachel Symthe

My question is, who isn’t obsessed?

These Gods/Goddesses have always been a favorite!


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Suitor Armor by  Purpah

This is my newest obsession 🙂

Hidden Identities, sentient knights, magic, fairies!

I can’t wait t see where this goes! *heart eyes forever*


Are there any you’re obsessed with?? Any Webtoon’s you’d suggest?

Thanks for reading 🙂

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