Author to Author with Rivers Solomon (#Sorrowland)

Sorrowland tells the story of Vern, an albino Black teen who escapes a cult, gives birth to twins in the woods, and is haunted by ghosts from a past that might not immediately be her own. This book covers so much ground, has so many layers. There is horror, there is fantasy, and a brilliant voice at the heart of it all. I’m thrilled to have gotten a chance to talk to Rivers about how fae put all the pieces together.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

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April 2021 Reading Recap

Excuse me, but where did April go? This month went by so quickly, I cannot wrap my head around it. And what a roller coaster of a ride it was.

The big thing that happened to me was that my beloved Eclectus parrot, Investor, had to be put to sleep due to poor health. He was in our family for 20 years. I try to smile through the happy memories, but mostly it’s just tears.

In addition, the situation in India hit a close friend of mine in her immediate family, so I wanted to link to this thread of resources and places to donate to.

Honestly, my mind’s been a mess and the fact that I can focus on anything is a miracle.

Nino Cipri stopped by the blog this month to celebrate the release of Defekt, the unexpected sequel to Finna, which came out this month.

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ARC Review: FOLKLORN by Angela Mi Young Hur (2021)

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: February 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC from the publisher
Content warning: parental death, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, hate crimes, discrimination

Physicist Elsa Park returns from a research trip to Antarctica when she founds out that her catatonic mother had died. All Elsa has left of her is a collection of stories and an uncanny ghost who follows her around. Then begins a search for discovery as Elsa reconnects with the stories she inherited from her mother and what it means for the rest of her adult life. There’s physics, there’s ghosts.

Hypnotic in its exploration of mythology, culture, and family, this literary contemporary fantasy shows how family and mythology have lines that might not at all be clearly defined.

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Review: THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE (The Burning #2) by Evan Winter (2020)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2020
Source: Audible

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: Vomiting, gore, blood, body horror, incineration, death of a parent

It took a whole bunch of self-control to not immediately dive into book 2 of the exceedingly epic The Burning series.

Anyway, this book picks up immediately after the first book ends. Tau finds himself at the queen’s side, getting more and more involved in strategy and politics as they prepare to take back the capital from a traitor while also preparing to clash swords with the Xidda. This book is so fast-paced, even more so than The Rage of Dragons. Queen Tsiora wasn’t really a presence in the previous book, but wow, does she shine in the sequel. She and her mostly female advisors had such depth, and Winter takes great care in highlighting all kinds of strength, not just physical brutality.

If you want huge dragon battles, dragons, complex female characters, and multiple moments that make you almost scream “Holy shit,” just keep reading The Burning.

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March 2021 Reading Recap

March was my first full month of dayjob. I also took a small break from writing after a major breakthrough in the revision. Unfortunately, that means rewriting the entire thing. In spite of that, I did get a lot of reading done. I even read my first physical copy of the year.

To be fair, I am finding a lot of solace in manga right now, and I can’t quite articulate why. When I figured it out, I will definitely let you know. I have also gotten majorly into buying earrings from indigenous creators. More details about this can be found on my Instagram.

The interview I did this month with C.L. Clark to celebrate their debut, The Unbroken, is one of my favorite interviews yet. I also posted a personal-feeling advice piece on beta reading and giving feedback in general (Writing is Hard Part 8).

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Author to Author with C.L. Clark

Touraine returns to the country of her birth with the colonizing force who took her in the first place and made her a conscript. After saving the royal Luca from an assassination attempt, she finds herself fighting more diplomatic battles, especially as the rebel forces want to use her as a mediator between them and the colonists. Riveting and multi-faceted, The Unbroken truly has everything: espionage, a ball, flirty language tutoring, a queernorm world, a nuanced depiction of a rebellion against an empire, and an exploration of identity and its complexities in the context of colonialism.

I’m so excited to have author C.L. Clark on the blog to talk about what inspired the world-building, their road to publishing, and even an entire list of books to read next.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org| Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

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Review: THE RAGE OF DRAGONS (The Burning#1) by Evan Winter (2019)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2019
Source: Audible

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: Vomiting, gore, blood, body horror, incineration

Since this book came out, many people whose reviews and tastes I respect encouraged me to read it. But they didn’t tell me why, and for that, I am miffed at them (not really, not at all).

In a world ravaged by war, Tau loses his father and vows revenge on those who betrayed him. To do this, he enrolls in a battle school to become the greatest swordsman who ever lived. The challenges along the way include battles against women who can call dragons from a demon dimension to Enrage warriors into becoming horrific beasts of battle quite literally and the nobility who sneer at him for his caste and underestimate him at every turn.

This book is an absolute treat for anyone who enjoys giant battles, big stakes, heart-wrenching personal tensions, and, of course, dragons.

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ARC Review: THE UNBROKEN (Magic of the Lost #1) by C.L. Clark (2021)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: March 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop.org| Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC provided by the author
Content warning: depictions of colonial violence, gore, past attempted rape, threats of rape, threats of torture, disembowelment, graphic violence, vomiting, plague, destruction of sacred sites

I was beyond thrilled to receive an ARC. I’ve been hearing so much about the beauty of Touraine’s arms, the complexity of the world-building, and more. This book delivers on so many notes, from the nuanced depiction of a rebellion against an empire to the complexity of the key players to fine detail work woven throughout.

Continuing conversations started by works like The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, The Unbroken turns colonist narratives on its head with two resilient main characters trying to do their best in a political structure that wants both of them to fail.

Author C.L. Clarke will be featured in an interview to be posted on March 23rd (release day).

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February 2021 Reading Recap

February is the shortest month and wow did so many things happen. I quit my dayjob because I got an offer for another day job more aligned with where I want to be and the things I want to do. My boyfriend got (and accepted) into a PhD program. I managed to do a lot of manga reading and a fair amount of audiobooks. All in all, it was a fine month.

There were three whole author interviews too:

  • Genevieve Gornichec celebrated her debut with The Witch’s Heart
  • Karin Tidbeck delighted us with some insight into the inspiration behind their latest, The Memory Theater
  • Sarah Gailey shared their process of choosing a near-future sci-fi setting where The Echo Wife takes place
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ARC Review: FIREHEART TIGER by Aliette de Bodard (2021)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: February 2021
Buy Links: Bookshop.org| Unabridged Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC from NetGalley
Content warning: emotional abuse, attempted domestic violence, arson

In a palace, Thanh returns from years abroad to a mother that doesn’t value her presence, a fire elemental which has taken to her, and a lover who won’t quite quit. The personal conflict mirrors the political conflict, a perfect blend of interior and exterior stakes.

The structure of this novel is so effective. It’s brief, with so many layers of world-building that would tickle fans of door-stopper fantasies. But it is the relationships that leap off the page. In particular, the waxing of Giang and Thanh’s connection, and the waning of Eldris and Thanh’s relationship really worked well, especially when taken in parallel with Thanh gaining her own footing politically. The precise characterizations and deliberate scenes infuse deep personal stakes that amplify and influence the political machinations. Thanh’s character journey really works. The mutual respect between Thanh and Giang is swoony and casts a warmth like firelight.