ARC Review: A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha
Published: Entangled: Teen (Demeber 1st 2020)
Genre: young adult; fantasy, historical
Rep: mostly Portuguese cast & setting, lesbian mc, lesbian Muslim li, lesbian scs
TW: religion-based self harm, homophobia, internalised homophobia, blood, murder, body horror
Rating: 4.5/5 🍑

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My initial review for A Curse of Roses was simply “lesbians have won with this one!”, and that’s absolutely true and tells you a lot about what you should expect from this book. But let me expand on that a bit.

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ARC Review: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

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On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Published: Vintage, Jonathan Cape imprint (June 20th 2019)
Genre: adult; contemporary
Rep: gay Vietnamese mc (ownvoices), gay li, Vietnamese characters
Rating: 5/5 🍑

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ARC provided by the publisher.

Ocean Vuong is first & foremost a poet and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is his literary debut (he also has a poem by the same title). It’s not a novel novel, though, not in this very Western sense we’re all used to. There are no prominent arcs or villains, or any ascending tension. It’s described as a letter from a son to his mother & that’s how it reads, but you could also call it a memoir and not be too far off the mark.

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ARC Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Gollancz (November 6th 2018)
Genre: young adult; science-fiction
Buy on BookDepo
Rating: 5/5 🍑

 

 

 

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It might come as a surprise to some, but I have been a fan of Sanderson for roughly ten years now & the moment I learned about his new young adult novel, I knew I have to read it. Because I already had a pretty good idea of what I can expect: incredibly real & lovable characters, interesting worldbuilding, extraordinary plot twists, and most importantly – an emotional roller-coaster.

I got all that and more.

Skyward takes place in the future and in space, on a planet called Detritus, where the remains of the humankind are basically trapped and caught in an neverending war with the Krell. That means they are always in need of more pilots and so almost every young person tries to become one. Like our main character Spensa and all the friends she will make in the flight school.

Spensa is special and somewhat famous, because her late father – also a pilot – turned out to be a coward in the most important battle in the planet’s history. So she has all those prejudices to overcome, when trying to navigate the world & relationships with other people, but at the same time – she has to fight the ideas about herself she believed to be true her whole life. She’s a wonderfully complicated character and her journey from a headless girl who only thinks about flying and hero stories to an actual hero is beautiful & heartbreaking.

Like I mentioned, Skyward has a vast array of characters & Sanderson’s extraordinary skills in crafting them mean that you will fall in love with every single one. This is truly the found family trope done in the best way! Even the people who are merely support characters, are fleshed out, have background stories, all those little details that will catch your attention. But this is still very much a Sanderson Book™ and you have to remember that at its core this is a story about war (& survival & hope), so you need to be emotionally prepared to deal with the consequences of that. You know, just a little heads-up…

Skyward is a fast-paced novel, full of action & mind-boggling turns of events, despite technically taking place in a flight school. There are flying battles with aliens, ancient ships that talk & gather mushrooms, a heroin who gives (totally unprompted!!) the most dramatic speeches anyone has ever heard, and beneath this all: love and faith. And that’s what binds the whole story together and what makes the ending even possible at all.

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Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

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Do you enjoy science-fiction novels? Or maybe you’re more of a fantasy fan?

What are your favourite things about those tropes?

And have you read Skyward or any other book by Sanderson?

 

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Review: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

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The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Publisher:
 Imprint, Macmillan (October 31st 2017)
Genre: YA; contemporary, fantasy, thriller
Rating: 5/5 🍑

 

The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

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ARC Review: Taproot by Keezy Young

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Taproot by Keezy Young
Publisher:
Lion Forge (September 26th 2017)
Length: 127 pages
Genre: ya; paranormal, ghosts, romance
Review also on my GR
Rating: 5/5 🍑

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.

 

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

What I mostly want to yell about here is a huge spoiler so I can’t do that. It doesn’t even have to be a main selling point for the story tbh but for me, as a gay reader, it’s definitely the most important part. Just believe me when I tell you, you will be overjoy with the rep in this one.

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Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

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Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Publisher:
 Viking Australia (September 29th 2008)
Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Rating: 5/5 🍑

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

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