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Asian Readathon 2022 Summary

May is always one of my busiest months (birthdays, holidays, the first time in the year when the weather gets nice and suddenly we’re not longer cooped up indoors), so when I signed up for the Asian Readathon for Asian Heritage Month, I was worried I was getting in over my head. I was especially nervous because I’d been in quite a reading slump so far this year, but I surprised myself by not only reading six books for this readathon, but also both of my Book of the Month selections and one (of three, sadly) books from my online book club!

All of the books I selected for this readathon were already on my tbr list, so it felt good to knock that number down a bit. I also made it a goal this year to read more books by POC, so this felt like a perfect reason to do that. If I want to read these books anyway, why not do it during a time to celebrate and bring awareness to these authors and stories (of course, we shouldn’t be reading these books exclusively for one month of the year). What I’m learning is that I really enjoy stories about different cultures, especially those that include mythology and folklore from said cultures. Who knew that young adult fantasy still had my heart?

The Asian Readathon had five simple rules, as follows:
– 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.

I found that all of these books covered multiple rules. For example, The Ones We’re Meant to Find was written by an Asian author, had a universe that is totally different from mine, had a cover worthy of googly eyes, AND was highly recommended by a handful of my friends. In that regard, it was easy to reach this goals of the readathon, and I loved the loose interpretations here. It took a lot of the stress away from the readathon, and I had a lot of fun with it!

I already wrote full reviews for both The Ones We’re Meant to Find and The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, but here are some mini reviews for the rest of the books.

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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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ARC Review: The Perishing by Natashia Deón

Summary: Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles, nearly naked and with no memory of how she got there or where she’s from. Lou dedicates herself to her education while trying to put her mysterious origins behind her. She’ll go on to become the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times. When she befriends a firefighter, Lou is shocked to realize that though she has no memory of ever meeting him she’s been drawing his face since her days in foster care.

Increasingly certain that their paths have previously crossed, Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal sent to this place and time for a very important reason. Lou sets out to investigate the mystery of her existence and make sense of the jumble of lifetimes calling to her from throughout the ages before her time runs out for good.

Genre: historical fiction, science fiction
Rating: ★★

This was such a difficult read. The cover and premise of The Perishing drew me in immediately, and I had extremely high hopes for a story that defines itself as speculative fiction. Instead, it felt incredibly dry at times, and the concepts weren’t executed the way I hoped they would be.

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September Wrap Up + Mini Reviews

September was a surprisingly busy month for me. My job became all-consuming for a little while in order for me to get a promotion I’d been after which drastically changed my daily life; I went on a week-long family vacation to Tennessee; and my witchy aesthetic girl gang started spending more time together. It was a complete whirlwind of a month, to say the least. I’ve had hardly any time to dedicate to my hobbies with how crazy things have been.

Unfortunately, that meant reading often got put on the backburner. I did read the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, and honestly managing to read seven books this month in spite of everything else I had going on is still impressive for me. I actually read both of my Book of the Month picks in the month I got them! I only read one of my three books for my monthly book club, but four of the seven books I read were ones I own that I can check off the towering list that is my tbr pile, so overall, it was a good reading month!

I decided to do mini reviews with all the books I read this month, because while some were terrible, some blew me away, and some were tucked cozily right in between, I didn’t feel I had enough to say about each of them to warrant their own separate reviews.

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Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Summary: Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun. The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Rating: 4/5 stars

These Shallow Graves is a wonderful story that hits all the checkboxes, leaping through genres. There’s a bit of historical fiction here, enough of a romance to make you swoon but not enough to take away from the real story, and a mystery that Jo is determined to solve. It feels strange to say for a book that discusses such dreary topics, but this was such a fun read. Jo is constantly jumping from one situation to the next, and even when she gets in danger, you can’t help but feel a bit of excitement for her.

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