review

Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

Summary: Mina’s people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering. Many believe that Shim Cheong, the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon, may be the true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead. Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

Genre: fantasy, young adult, retellings
Rating: ★★★★

If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that I am an absolute sucker for young adult fantasy retellings. As a reader, I gradually moved away from YA and fantasy when it felt too bogged down and moved on to more mature stories, but why the heck did I do that?? These books all have gorgeous covers that reel me in, and then I’m completely drawn into them with their beautiful prose, heartbreaking stories, and fantastic world-building. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is no exception to this rule.

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Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Summary: In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost. But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined. When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano? Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Genre: horror, historical fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve been anxiously waiting The Hacienda for a few months now, and when it came up as an option for Book of the Month, I didn’t hesitate. It has everything I want in a story: a haunted house, a hot priest, witchcraft, gothic horror vibes, oh and it’s essentially a retelling of Rebecca in 19th-century Mexico. What’s not to love?

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Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Summary: Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. It’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

Genre: science fiction, young adult, fantasy, dystopia
Rating: ★★★★

The Ones We’re Meant to Find has been on my tbr for a while, and I’m admittedly kicking myself a little bit for waiting until now to read it, but I’m so happy I finally did.

In regards to the 2022 Asian Readathon, it checks off multiple boxes: a book by an Asian author, a book that has a cover worthy of googly eyes (seriously, forever swooning over this cover art, it’s g o r g e o u s), and a book that was highly recommended. I had multiple friends who read this book last year, and I heard nothing but good things about it. I was genuinely shocked to see a lower rating than I expected on Goodreads, because this story blew me away.

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asian readathon · readathon

Asian Readathon 2022

I decided to participate in the Asian Readathon this year for Asian Heritage Month! Reading stories by or about POC, especially Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAIP), is one of my reading goals this year and every year, so why not have more fun with it by partaking in a readathon.

There’s more information on the YouTube video where Cindy explains the challenge in more details. There’s also a Google Doc with information about book clubs and a directory of Asian books for any guidance!


This year’s challenge is loosely themed around ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ and is meant to be easy, accessible, and open to interpretation.

Rules:
Read a book written by an Asian author.
Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 👀
Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.

These challenges can be combined if you want to make it even easier!

The twist:
You can combine challenges and read in any order; however, EACH book you read should feature a character or author of a different Asian ethnicity. This is to encourage cultural diversity.

review

Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Summary: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House.

At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Genre: horror
Rating: ★★★★★

I have never really been one for ghost stories. I have never believed that houses can be haunted, that they can hold onto the dead like keepsakes. Houses simply do not wear their tenants as a badge of honor, in a locket around their throat. Houses are not horrifying entities; whatever awfulness resides in the house moves with the owners. A house is simply a house. And yet.

The idea of a building holding so much history, anguish, betrayal, and anger seems impossible until you’re introduced to Hill House. The famous opening lines begin by describing the house almost as a living, breathing concept. It is not a standard, normal, or even sane thing. It’s an indescribable entity, something dangerous and horrible, its capabilities completely unknown. And of course, “whatever walked there, walked alone.”

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