Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger: Asian-coded fantasy world, normalized queerness, & a nuanced dissection of colonialism

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger: Asian-coded fantasy world, normalized queerness, & a nuanced dissection of colonialism
Steel Crow Saga
by Paul Krueger

a book review (hardcover)
published 26 September 2019
adult & fantasy

tagged for authors of color (asian authors), poc representation (asian-coded: chinese, filipino, japanese, korean), lgbtqiap+ (normalized) & miscellaneous (fat representation)

read the full synopsis.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic . . . and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption – or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery – but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime – and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward – she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives – and begin to change the world.

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All my most highly anticipated releases on one day? (aka why October 15 is the best)

All my most highly anticipated releases on one day? (aka why October 15 is the best)

It is no secret that readers and self-confessed bibliophiles have a nice selection of new book releases to look forward to every month — and this has its upsides and downsides.

On the upside, yes, yes, and YES(!!!) to more books on shelves! There is always room in our spacious reader hearts for more stories to love and adore (and, you know, for stories to cause crippling pain to our feelings). But on the downside, new books are a huge, huge temptation that can likewise cause crippling pain to our little wallets. But I digress.

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16 wonderfully queer books that you’ve probably never heard of (AND WHY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!)

16 wonderfully queer books that you’ve probably never heard of (AND WHY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!)

Celebrating queerness* and supporting our friends in the LGBTQIAP+ community is something we definitely ought to do all year round, but it doesn’t hurt to cheer a little louder and to go the extra mile whenever our calendars hit the month of June!

Otherwise known as Pride Month, June is an incredibly meaningful time for several reasons. It is a celebration of three of the most beautiful things: love, identity, and expression. It recognizes the many hard-earned triumphs of the LGBTQIAP+ community and its allies. Most of all, amidst all the parades and colorful festivals, Pride Month is a continued protest that seeks and clamors for true equality. Lest we forget, the month of June was selected to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, which have played a very pivotal role in the progress we’ve made as a society in dismantling the prejudice, discrimination, and oppression experienced by our LGBTQIAP+ friends.

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Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan: The literary love child of steampunk & supernatural

Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan: The literary love child of steampunk & supernatural Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan
Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon
by Mary Fan

an ARC review (paperback)
published 11 June 2019
young adult, fantasy, & science fiction

tagged for authors of color (asian authors), #ownvoices, POC representation (chinese), & disability representation (dyslexia)

read the full synopsis.

When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

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Shealea vlogs for the first time? (ft. ya girl losing her voice over Descendant of the Crane)

Shealea vlogs for the first time? (ft. ya girl losing her voice over Descendant of the Crane)

When I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur last week (can you believe that the start of #KateLeaLumpur was exactly a week ago?), I jokingly “vlogged” about my arrival. I was running on nearly 48 hours of sleep deprivation, but my haggardness was outweighed by how excited I was to travel outside of the Philippines with a friend, instead of with my family member — and yes, it was a huge first for me. Plus, the airbnb that we got was too fancy and wonderful to not film. You can easily watch the video on Twitter (cough, don’t forget to give me a follow while you’re at it, cough).

Kate @ Your Tita Kate and I have been high-key hyping up our trip to Kuala Lumpur for months (honestly, I could not have asked the universe for a better traveling companion!), and us being us, we will most likely recount our adventures in Malaysia on our respective blogs sometime soon. Hopefully. But I digress.

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COVER REVEAL & BLOG TOUR: War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

COVER REVEAL & BLOG TOUR: War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

Hello, friends! As y’all know, when I’m not championing books by Asian authors, I like to hunt for underrated literary gems — a lot of which are found in the indie or self-published side of this virtual town. Aside from Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (I’m giving away a couple of copies here!), I absolutely adore The Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer.

With morally gray characters your heart will loyally root for, an immersive plot that’ll always keep you on your toes, and a terrifying fantasy realm where magic is forbidden, this trilogy truly has it all! I easily fell in love with Heart of Mist, the first book in this YA fantasy series, and I was left even hungrier for more after finishing its sequel, Reign of Mist. With that said, I am incredibly happy to reveal the third and final book to all of you!

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21 Sapphic romances that’ll make your heart soft on Valentine’s Day

21 Sapphic romances that’ll make your heart soft on Valentine’s Day

In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day! Unless you’re recently single and constantly busy (like me) and will be spending the whole day hosting a nationwide event for college students (also like me). Nevertheless, whether you’re currently in a happy, healthy relationship or not*, I genuinely believe that there is a romance novel out there for everyone!

I recently realized that 80% of my bookish blabbering** is about books that fall under the science fiction and fantasy genres. Although SFF holds a large, arguably dominant space in my heart, believe it or not, I also enjoy reading romance (gasp!). Especially the kind of romance that’ll leave me feeling soft, vulnerable, warm and all sorts of mushy on the inside.

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