Blog Tour: This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

Published on: February 2nd 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Read: February 10th 2021 – February 12th 2021

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rep: aroace main character, non-binary side character, achillean side characters & relationship, visually impaired side character

CW: violence, death of a parent, homelessness, kidnapping, loss of bodily autonomy, very brief internalised aphobia

Synopsis:

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

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Review of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Read: 5th February – 8th February

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: No

Rep: west african inspired setting and cast, sapphic side character

CW: graphic violence, murder, mutilation, torture, death of a family member, death of a family member due to illness, disownment, reference/discussion of rape, reference/discussion of child rape, fantasy bigotry/othering, racism, sexism

Goodreads description:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

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Reading Wrap Up: January 2021

I read a lot during January! I’m reasonably certain that I read more in January than I’ve read in a single month for at least the past three years, and I really enjoyed almost everything I read!

Thing is, most of what I read was fanfic. I thought I’d been reading a lot of fanfic in December, but oh boy. I write down everything that I read that’s over 25k words long in my journal, and I ran out of space this past month and had to stick in an extra piece of paper so I could keep going. That hasn’t happened to me before.

I also discovered this month that some fanfics are on Goodreads. Which means that, for the small price of publicly declaring that I’ve read them, I can have them count towards my Goodreads reading goal. Which obviously I did, because I want to give myself as much credit as I can for the reading I’m doing, regardless of what it is that I’m reading.

For this wrap up I’m just going to stick to published works! I can’t really explain it, especially as I’m apparently okay with marking them as read on Goodreads, but I’d feel a bit weird posting about specific fanfics on my book blog lmao. Like I said last month, I’m happy to talk fic, so feel free to drop a comment or DM me if you want to chat!

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Review of The Girl Who… by Andreina Cordani

Read: 16th January 2021 – 20th January 2021

Rating: ⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: Mild

CW: murder, attempted suicide, underage alcohol consumption, death of a family member, death of a family member from illness, gang violence, unchallenged fatphobia, unchallenged homophobia, unchallenged classism, poor portrayal of mental illness

Goodreads description:

The girl who… survived
The girl who… inspires
The girl who… has something to hide

People can’t bring themselves to say what happened to her. They just describe her as ‘the girl who… you know…’. But nobody really knows, no one sees the real Leah.

Leah is the perfect survivor. She was seven years old when she saw her mother and sister killed by a troubled gang member. Her case hit the headlines and her bravery made her a national sweetheart: strong, courageous and forgiving.

But Leah is hiding a secret about their deaths. And now, ten years later, all she can think of is revenge.

When Leah’s dad meets a new partner, stepsister Ellie moves in. Sensing Leah isn’t quite the sweet girl she pretends to be, Ellie discovers that Leah has a plan, one she has been putting together ever since that fateful day. Now that the killer – and the only one who knows the truth – is being released from prison, time is running out for Ellie to discover how far Leah will go to silence her anger . . . 

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Review of The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Read: 14th January 2021 – 15th January 2021

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: No

Rep: bengali muslim main character, lesbian main character, black brazilian-irish love interest, bisexual love interest, sapphic relationship, bengali muslim side characters, korean side character

CW: racism, homophobia, bullying, forced outing, cultural appropriation, unsupportive family, illness of a family member, harry potter references, mention of elliot page’s deadname

Goodreads description:

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

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Review of The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige

Read: 28th December 2020 – 30th December 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: No

Rep: black main character, latina side character, east asian (likely japanese-american) side character, south asian side character, sapphic minor characters

CW: kidnapping, murder, memory manipulation

Goodreads description:

Kappa Rho Nu isn’t your average sorority. Their parties are notorious. Their fundraisers are known for being Westerly College’s most elaborate affairs. But beneath the veil of Greek life and prestige, the sisters of Kappu Rho Nu share a secret: they’re a coven of witches. For Vivi Deveraux, being one of Kappa Rho Nu’s Ravens means getting a chance to redefine herself. For Scarlett Winters, a bonafide Raven and daughter of a legacy Raven, pledge this year means living up to her mother’s impossible expectations of becoming Kappa Rho Nu’s next president. Scarlett knows she’d be the perfect candidate — that is, if she didn’t have one human-sized skeleton in her closet…. When Vivi and Scarlett are paired as big and little for initiation, they find themselves sinking into the sinister world of blood oaths and betrayals.

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Reading Wrap Up: November & December 2020

I’ve done a lot of reading over the last couple of months, but the vast majority of that reading didn’t take the form of books. I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming back into the fandom for a TV show that I haven’t been emotionally invested in in many years, and I’ve been spending a lot of time on AO3.

It’s been a pretty wild experience.

There isn’t much point figuring out my average rating for the last couple of months because I didn’t read enough books for that to be an interesting statistic, but I did enjoy the books that I didn’t dnf, and I stopped reading the one book I did dnf early enough that I didn’t give it a rating.

For this wrap up I’m going to list the books that I read in the order that I read them and talk a little bit about each of them!

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Seven Books I Want to Read in 2021

Not once in my life have I ever been able to stick to a TBR. The perfect way for me to make absolutely sure that I won’t read a particular combination of books is for me to plan to read those books and write that plan down. It’s like I jinx myself whenever I try.

So. This isn’t a tbr 😀

I have so many unread books, both physical and e-books, that it’s actively ridiculous and I don’t have a good excuse for it. Even if I don’t acquire a single new book in 2021 I won’t be able to get my owned unread books down to zero by the year’s end, and let’s be real, there’s no way I won’t acquire any new books through the entirety of the year. But I need to at least try to get through some of the books that I already own.

In no particular order, here are seven books that I want to make sure that I get to at some point in 2021!!

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Worst Five Books of 2020

While on the whole I would describe 2020 as a good reading year for me quality-wise, I still had the misfortune of reading some books this year that, for whatever reason, I didn’t end up enjoying. The reasons why I didn’t enjoy these books vary, but the end result is that I would’ve been better off not picking these ones up in the first place, and for the most part would generally recommend that other people avoid them too.

I’ve already posted a round up of my top five books of the year, so it makes sense to do a round up of my personal top five worst books of the year as well. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s the list!

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Top Five Books of 2020

2020 has been one hell of a year. I’ve ended up reading significantly less this year than I have in years before, and I doubt that I’m the only one that’s happened to. Reading is hard when the world is a mess! YouTube is just so much easier!

But I did read some excellent books this year, and found more new favourites than I’d expected to find within a single year! Even though 2020 wasn’t a good reading year for me in terms of quantity, it was very good in terms of quality, and I know that I’d prefer quality over quantity any day.

Rereads don’t count for this list, so this is just a list of my top five books that I read for the first time in 2020. Without further ado, and in no particular order, let’s get into it!

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