I love that more and more diverse books by marginalized authors are coming out, but we haven’t reached a point where publishing is truly diverse. As an international blogger, I adopted this cause as my own at the start of the year and have been pushing as many diverse books as I can on my blog and bookish social media. However, I feel a certain kinship with Asian books because I can see more of myself on the page in them. So, this year I’ve been focusing on reading as many Asian books as I can and I want to talk about some of my recent reads as well as some that are on my TBR. I love retellings and I’ve recently read some amazing Asian ones, so I decided to recommend my favourites as well as highlight the myths behind them.
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Age Range: 13+
Published: By Random House Children’s Books on August 28th, 2017
Content Warning: Violence, sexism and death
Format I Read: Hardcover
Grade: Exceeds expectations
Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law — risking exile — to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.
Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine — determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
I’m always on the lookout for reading challenges and I found this one quite by accident when compiling my post about the reading challenges to watch out for in 2019. Run by the sci-fi and fantasy imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, this has some wonderful prompts that will appeal to both readers looking to start reading more speculative fiction and veterans of the genre like me. I wanted to share my TBR for this reading challenge today that double up as book recommendations because I’ve heard excellent things about all of the books in the below list.
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Age Range: 8+
Published: By Rick Riordan Presents on April 30th, 2019
Content Warning: N/A
Format I Read: Physical
Note: I received an ARC of the book from my book blogging friend, Jenna @ Falling Letters. Thank you so much for noticing how much I loved Aru Shah and the End of Time and sending me an ARC of the sequel all the way from Canada, Jenna!
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to talk about books and hope that the habit of reading would someday change another person’s life as it did mine. Today being World Book Day, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the books that have made me who I am today to illustrate the power of literature. This isn’t a recommendations post as such, but if there’s one thing that I want you to take away from this is that stories have the potential to be the catalyst people need to make their lives better. I would urge you all to pick up a book today – any book – and give it a chance. Maybe it could be the one to improve your life the way the books mentioned below helped me.
Author: Octavia Butler
Genre: Sci-fi and historical fiction
Age Range: 18+
Published: By Beacon Press on July 20th, 1997
Content Warning: Slavery, sexual assault, violence, torture and suicide
Format I Read: Audiobook
Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.
Author: Joan He
Age Range: 13+
Published: By AW Teen on April 9th, 2019
Content Warning: Death, gory violence, slavery, suicide, torture
Format I Read: E-book
Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?