Read a NetGalley eARC from the publisher Content warning: Famine, poverty, flaying, plague, war, queerphobia, misogyny, immolation, dismemberment
A girl’s family dies in a famine-stricken village at the hands of despair and bandits. Instead of succumbing to her nothing fate, so takes on her brother’s name, Zhu Chongba, and takes on his destiny of greatness. She joins a monastery, gets enlisted in the army, and seeks greatness at every turn. On the opposite side of war, there is Ouyang, the eunuch general, whose everything was taken from him by the family he serves.
My official review is one long joyous screech of hype. This book has so many things I love, such as character archetypes and depictions of betrayal. The balance between political intrigue and epic battles is masterful, as are the parallels between Ouyang and Zhu.
June was my birth month! I also finished writing an entire project! It’s an exciting time of reconnecting with myself and art, and it’s been lovely. I also spent a lot of time at the gym getting into the rowing machine and preparing for my big move in August.
Cinders of Yesterday is a worthy entry into the collection of “let’s explore family trauma through magic and girls kissing.” The town of Dawson, Maryland is haunted by not only a necromancer named Spectre, but the sealed-away magic of Emilie Lockgrove’s family. Dani Black seeks revenge for her partner and a way to put the villain down for good. With a common goal and mutually beneficial abilities, the two team up for some supernatural hunting and perhaps more.
Author Jen Karner swings by on her debut day to talk about this spooky, queer debut featuring necromancy, bisexual disasters, a cute medium, and your new knife wife.
Genre: Fantasy Mystery Seinen Year Release in English: 2021 Buy Link: BOOK☆WALKER
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warnings: Blood, murder, nudity, disembodied head
In 19th Century France, vampires are allowed to live alongside humans. Detectives are called in but little does anyone expect, it’s the disembodied head who’s also a demon.
This manga opens up with a dead vampire, a family member suspected, and a kooky trio consisting of a maid, a himbo, and a disembodied head in a cage. It is wonderfully strange and not very deep. It ends on a cliff-hanger, and I’m eager to see what the cage user has hidden behind his kind lack of sense.
The art style is really neat, though at times, the background work gets in the way of comprehending the words on the page. I’m unfamiliar with the differences between ARC manga and finished copies, so perhaps it is cleared up, and I hope so. I had a ton of fun during this read.
If you’re looking for something with cheek, thought-out world-building, and engaging action, definitely give this a shot.
In The Ship of Stolen Words, Sam found himself relying a little too much on the word, “sorry.” Goblins had stolen it to help fuel their airships, along with its synonyms. Sam will stop at nothing to get his favorite word back through a whimsical adventure featuring goblins and pirates (I mean, prospectors) and learning the importance of meaning what you say.
A week after release, author Fran Wilde stops by the blog to talk about the process of bringing this heartfelt story to life, including her experience writing stories across markets and genres.
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy Year Release: 2021 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook
Pigs fly in this whimsical novel about the importance of meaning what you say and not relying too heavily on short cuts to getting out of trouble. Fifth grader Sam is ready to kick off summer but when teasing goes too far and a little library gets vandalized, he loses the ability to use his favorite word, “sorry.” The culprits are goblins, and we’re set off on an adventure featuring prospectors, goblins, and ships powered by words.
A delight from start to finish, it was wonderful to watch Sam learn the importance of action behind meaning and Tolver learning the hard way that just because he can, doesn’t mean he should.
Treats here include understanding adults, uneven roads to forgiveness, plus Ursula K. Le Guin elementary which I wish was actually a thing I could claim as a place where I studied. I’m so excited to have Fran on the blog next week.
May came at me like a freight train. Specifically, Kentaro Miura, creator of Berserk, passed and that has been a sledgehammer to my heart and creative spirit. To get completely too personal, I’ve had to do an inventory of all my things and file them under “survival” and “creativity.” The blog is here to stay, don’t worry about that.
For yet another month, the mind is still a mess, but the reads have been fantastic.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: homophobia, racism, abortion, domestic violence, car accidents, alcoholism
In this queer reimagining of The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker is a queer, Vietnamese adoptee and socialite with all the beautiful sharp edges of stained glass. It’s deeply sensual and takes full advantage of almost a century of historical contextualizing. There’s glitz, glamour, and paper craft magic that fully immerses the reader in its time period and aesthetic.
I’m not saying this book is perfect, but it’s pretty damn close. The Chosen and the Beautiful perfectly captures the horniness of a summer fling with all the yearning horror of watching your best friend make increasingly ill-advised decisions when it comes to the men in her life.