[Review] The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

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[Review] One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one — namely, displaced in time from the 1970s — she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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[Review] Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left desolate and encased in ice when the evil Snow Queen waged war on the powerful country. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in … Arizona.

Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is in hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them. Tala doesn’t mind — she has secrets of her own. Namely, that she’s a spellbreaker, someone who negates magic.

Then hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, and Avalon’s most powerful weapon, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

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I Made A Playlist & Character Aesthetics for Genie Lo

Of all the books I read in January, it was surprisingly easy to pick out my favorite reads of the month. That would be the Genie Lo duology.

These books have been on my radar for a while, in no small part because they’ve been so passionately championed by my fellow Asian readers, including Soph @ Bookwyrming Thoughts and CW @ The Quiet Pond. But it wasn’t until Clo sent me a copy of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo that I finally got it together and read them.

And I can’t believe I waited so long! The Asian(-American) protagonists, the Chinese mythology, the SF Bay Area setting, the snark and the internalized stress … I felt right at home in Genie’s world. 

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Chinese New Year Tag

Happy lunar new year, friends! 🏮

While my family doesn’t have traditions for December 31 and January 1st — or really any other holidays, to be honest — this one has always meant good food and related puns/idioms, calls to our extended family, and (at least while I was young) red envelopes. So I have lots of fond memories; it’s certainly one of my favorite holidays. 

I was tagged by Kelly Brigid @ Another Book in the Wall (last year, but by definition New Year’s comes around every year, so I don’t feel too bad about hoarding this one).

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[Guest Post] Bharat Krishnan: Stories of Heroism and Fortitude

When I first started this blog, I never imagined that it would allow me to get to know so many awesome bookish people — so just picture my excitement when I realized I could work with said awesome people! 

Today I’m delighted to be sharing a guest post from Bharat Krishnan, explaining the inspiration behind his upcoming Hindu mythology collection Love, Pride, Virtue, and Fate and why stories matter.

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Thoughts I Had While Reading THE JOY LUCK CLUB by Amy Tan

Four mothers, four daughters, four families, whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s telling the stories. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters’ futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers’ advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives – until their own inner crises reveal how much they’ve unknowingly inherited of their mothers’ pasts. 

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

WARNING: This post will likely contain spoilers.

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Mini-Reviews, Volume 3

Catching up on all my reviews for Asian Lit Bingo is a much bigger undertaking than I had anticipated and is in fact a continuing process, though I don’t regret reading any of these books — regardless of how much I enjoyed the overall story experience, I learned a lot about different Asian and hyphenated-Asian (i.e., Asian-American, Asian-Australian, etc.) experiences different from my own. Each set of characters has unique struggles and dreams, illustrating the importance of diversity in publishing and of giving #ownvoices authors the opportunity to tell their stories as no one else can.

Without further ado, here are some books with Asian main characters, written by Asian authors, which have stuck with me and which I think more people should check out for themselves.

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