Novella Review: Hurricane Heels

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Title: Hurricane Heels

Author: Isabel Yap

Series? Linked Short Stories

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads

Smashwords ¦ Amazon US ¦ Amazon UK


When I realised that this would be my first post of the New Year, I immediately wanted to showcase my favourite novella of 2016: Hurricane Heels. Packed within these five intertwined short stories is a tale of female friendship and identity that resonated with me on every level.

hurricane-heels Continue reading “Novella Review: Hurricane Heels”

Best of 2016

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Like many others, I am 100% ready to leave the nightmare that was 2016 behind and begin afresh in 2017. Before we look forward to the new year, I would like to look back on one of the few good things 2016 offered: all the wonderful books I got to read. I loved many books this year, but here are 8 of the books that personally touched me the most.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: I will never love another crew as much as I love the six characters in this series. This epic conclusion brought more character development to the table, as well as more scenes between all of my favourite ships. Filled with all the things I love best: witty banter, impossible heists, lady friendships, and Kaz Brekker’s one liners. Full Review. Continue reading “Best of 2016”

Audiobook Review: When The Moon Was Ours

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Title: When The Moon Was Ours

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series: No

Goodreads

Book Depository // Amazon //  Booktopia // Audible


When The Moon Was Ours is a mesmerising magical realism that reminds us fairy tales are and magic belong to everyone, regardless of your race, gender, or sexuality. Written in exquisite prose and narrated in rhythmic cadence, here is an audio book I would recommend to anyone who’s ever felt different and unheard. MOON is imbued with love, hope, and dream. It’s the perfect respite from a world filled with intolerance and fear. Given the devastating result of the US elections, we need books and voices like MOON in our lives, now more than ever.

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MOON begins with a girl who lost the moon, and a boy who fights every day to bring its light back into her life. The story of Miel and Sam is one well known to their town, turned mythic and strange with numerous retellings. However, the narration takes us beyond the fairy tale of a girl made from water and a boy named Moon. It shows us all the players in the tale in all of their messy, complicated glory. Through the journey these characters undergo, MOON brings in questions that challenges perception of culture, gender identity, and family. Continue reading “Audiobook Review: When The Moon Was Ours”

Recs: Diverse SFF Short Stories

Diverse SFF Short Stories

If you’ve been on Twitter this past week, you’ll notice that the community is abuzz with discussions on representation in fantasy. I can barely believe that it’s still up for debate. I am continually disappointed that while white and heteronormative narrative continues to dominate the genre, we still get people leaping to its defense when someone questions about the absence of diversity.

Somehow, there’s an idea that diverse fiction is a genre unto itself, that we should not demand to see ourselves reflected in popular fiction. In my mind, good fiction should be relatable and to some extent, it should accurately reflect the real world – even if it’s a fantasy.

To soothe my anger at the twitter debate, I went on Tor’s website to read through several of the SFF short stories they publish. I love the fiction published on this site because i) it’s free! and ii) it’s always quality and pushes to be inclusive. At the end of the day, the best way to support inclusive stories is to read them and shout your love to the world about them. So here’s a list of great SFF stories you can enjoy by just clicking on the link!


THE WEIGHT OF MEMORIES by Cixin Liu / translated by Ken Liu

We made a terrible mistake in thinking that replicating memories was sufficient to replicate a person.

Cixin Liu took the world by storm with The Three-Body Problem, one of the first Chinese science fiction to be translated into English. I love how he uses daring ideas on science, and reapplies it to answer questions about humanity. This short story about engineered and inherited memories between a mother and her unborn child captures his style perfectly. Ken Liu delivers a smooth and technically impressive translation, as always. Continue reading “Recs: Diverse SFF Short Stories”

Pre-Release Thoughts: 5 Reasons You Should Preorder Nevernight

I want to start a new blog series focusing on pre-release hype and what I think of the book in question. This is because I sometimes get the opportunity to read ARCs months before publication date and I have to wait entirely too long to talk about them, and forget stuff along the way. I will always post full reviews closer to the date, just think of these posts as a taster.

The first in this series will look at Nevernight!

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff will be released August 9th (US) and August 11th (UK/Aus)

Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon // Dymocks // Booktopia // Bookworld

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way contributed the intensity of my fangirling.

Hype Met? EFF YES!

I finished this book earlier on in the month and enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d write a short post urging you all to i) read it immediately if you have access to the ARC and ii) go and preorder it, because you’re worth it. I buddy-read this book with the wonderful Aila, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. I’ll write a full review closer to the date of release. Continue reading “Pre-Release Thoughts: 5 Reasons You Should Preorder Nevernight”

Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts

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Vector of knight in shining armour by freevectors.com. Graphics by yours truly.

I love doing Top Ten Tuesdays, I just wish I could be more consistent about it. This week’s theme is a semi-freebie, you’re meant to give your recommendation to a particular subset of people. I decided to target those who, like myself, adore fairy tales. I won’t be covering fairy tale retellings, because I’ve done that before. Instead, I want to recommend stories which follows fairy-tale narratives and possess the same timeless quality.

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1. In The Night Garden by Catherynne Valente: Regulars of this blog will know that I mention this book in basically 80% of my recommendation posts. It’s my favourite of all time – and I plan to reread and review it on the blog this year to hassle you all into reading it (again). This is very loosely based on 1001 nights. Valente accomplishes the extraordinary feat of writing an expansive and immersive tale – spanning several lives and a multitude of stories. It’s multifaceted, subversive, and powerful. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts”

Top Reads of 2015

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Apologies for my lack of posting in the last couple of weeks! Although I am back in Australia, the holiday season has swallowed me whole with roadtrips, daytrips, and numerous end of year meetups. I promise to be a more consistent blogger when the new year rolls around and life gets back into its usual pace.

For now, I want to send off 2015 with a list of my favourite books this year! Thanks to book blogging, I read a lot more than I usually would – but it also made picking out my favourites extremely hard. Here are my top 12 this year in no particular order:

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton: I recently finished this one and immediately kicked myself for taking so long to pick it up. The proses in book is exemplary of the lyrical, evocative writing style that I love so much. Walton mixes her hypnotic writing with a tragic yet hopeful tale about strangely beautiful women and the folly of love. It left me in a daze for days! My review.

Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace: In this dark and brutal tale, our heroine confronts her identity and helps a listless ghost in finding his purpose. Archivist Wasp defy genre boundaries, bringing to the table a post-apocalyptic dystopia, a trip to the underworld, and questions about what it means to be human.  My review.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I don’t usually read contemporary, in fact – Fangirl is one of about 4-5 I read this year. Nonetheless, the sincerity of its characters won it a space in my heart. It captures the emotional roller coaster that is college perfectly, never forgetting humour, family and love. My review.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: Magical realism is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres, and books like Bone Gap is wholly responsible for it! In this strange modern fairy tale, we explore societal judgement of humans – especially of women. My review.

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The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin: In this unique fantasy, apocalypse are dime a dozen thanks to the ever changing tectonic plates. Themes of oppression and free will are examined as we follow the perspective of three orogene female. The proses are beautiful, the stakes are sky high, and the reveals are startling. My review.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey: This is one of those books that are best experienced when you know absolutely nothing about it. Hence, I won’t elaborate. Go in blind, trust me, it’s amazing!  My review.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Possibly my favourite young adult book of the year!  Six of Crows with its charismatic and dangerous cast, along with whip smart dialogue and engaging world, is a book to be remembered! My review.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown: While I had some issues with Red Rising, Golden Son blows everything out of the water by raising the stakes, introducing a host of intriguing females, and being completely unputdownable. Watch as Darrow navigates through planets and wage war against both armies and his own heart. My review.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab: This was my first Victoria Schwab book and I quickly fell in love with her insane creativity. ADSOM features four Londons, two tortured magicians, a charming prince and the best leading lady of all time. Lila pretty much stole my heart! I loved going along with her and Kell’s adventures through worlds. My review.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas: In the space of one week, I went from a non-believer to a rabid Throne of Glass fangirl – mostly thanks to the latest two books in the series. I loved seeing the added complexity each novel brings to its world and the characters. My review.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab: The amazing Victoria Schwab appears once more- I love how each of her novel are so different to the last. Vicious features one of fiction’s most compelling frenemy, and a truly grey cast of characters. Although I yearned for more depth into Eli, Victor and his gang made this book memorable.  My review.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Hoerr: I read this book thanks Jenna‘s ringing endorsement, and she did not lead me astray. There’s poetry in every sentence and beautiful symmetry to every chapter. Moving, devastating and hopeful, this is a WWII story to savour.  Review to come soon!


Have you read any of my favourites this year? What were your picks? Please link me to your post if you have a similar one up on your blog 😀

Japan Blog Series: 5 Books You Should Read Before Going To Japan

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I am finally back from holiday and fighting the post-holiday blues. I will be slowly catching up on comments – although I caught the Tsum Tsum fever while I was away, so it may take longer than usual XD PS Does anyone play it? Add me on LINE, the username is aentee!

Meanwhile, I’d like to give you guys some recommendations of books you should read before or after you go to Japan – just to give you a slice of what the country has to offer! I am still reading some of these books myself, as a way for me to wean off my vacation. Thank goodness for books and their ability to transport you! Continue reading “Japan Blog Series: 5 Books You Should Read Before Going To Japan”

Japan Book Blog Series: Anime/Manga Readalikes

Today’s blog post resumes my Japan related blog series, I am still on my holiday and I am sure future-me is having a great time. Anyway, like many people out there, one of my first brush with Japan was via manga. Actually, the very first book I ever read was the first volume of Dragon Ball. While I don’t read as much manga as I use to, I thought it would be fun to recommend some readalikes based on your favourite book series!

The Fifth Wave & Attack On Titan

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I am sure you are all familiar with both series as they have been huge successes worldwide. In The Fifth Wave, ruthless aliens overtake the world, and a group of young people try desperately to survive despite the odds. In Attack On Titan, humanity has been plaqued by human-eating giants for centuries, and desperately try to survive while living behind great walls. Both looks at humanity and family in times of mortal crisis.


Archivist Wasp & Magica Madoka

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I adore both stories, which features strong female characters and lies about destiny in an unsettling story. Both are also series best enjoyed when you know as little as possible about the storyline – I just suggest you look past their covers and dive in deep! It wil lbe worth it, I promise!


Throne of Glass & Akatsuki no Yona

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Both series features a steely princess displaced from her own kingdom. Celaena and Yona didn’t capture my attention at first, but as the series went on, they both became beloved female characters. They also have an entourage of gentlemen each, ready to serve and protect them.


Firebird Series & Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles

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While I admit The Firebird Series has multiple flaws, I really enjoyed the interdimension travel which allows the characters to cross countries and parallel worlds at will. Similarly, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle features interdimensional travel, into new and wonderful locations where we can meet previous CLAMP characters in an alternate universe. Both series also has a strong romantic undertones and a huge focus on fate.


The Lunar Chronicles & Sailor Moon

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This one is obvious, as The Lunar Chronicles was actually partly inspired by the classic magical girls anime. Both features strong, independent ladies, with loads of moon and space motifs, and a terrible Queen.


Fangirl & My Girlfriend’s A Geek

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When I first heard of Fangirl, I immediately thought of this manga – which features a fujoshi (a female equivalent of an otaku, especially one adoring M/M romance). Although Yuiko also dreams up fanfiction, let’s just say she’s a lot more… enthusiastic about it all, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend. I prefer Fangirl, but this manga is also a bit of fun.


Have you guys tried reading manga or watching anime? Which are your favourites?

Top Ten Tuesday: Young Adult Book Syllabus

I am so excited for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  I can’t wait to see what everyone else is going to write up. WARNING: my options are a bit contrived, eep.

Top Ten Tuesday, TTT1. If I Taught:  Psychology 101

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I Would Recommend:  All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Why:  Because it’s a startling look into depression and survivor’s guilt.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Young Adult Book Syllabus”