Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 // MAGIC-al Book Recommendations

Happy July, everyone!! 🐼💫

I have the absolute pleasure this month to present to you July’s book recommendations for Year of the Asian 2019!! In case you haven’t heard or read about YARC 2019 yet; it’s a reading challenge hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, and me, and the goal is to boost books written by Asian authors, and support them!

As you can tell by the title, our July theme is MAGIC.

yarc header

This is also the first official blog post in which I’m introducing my new project, Sprinkles of Diversity, in which I feature book bloggers by including a blurb from them for a book that’s part of my blog post, and that they have a special appreciation and love for.

I’m so excited about this project, and I’m so in awe of the amazing blurbs everyone wrote—I hope you enjoy reading them just as much as I did, and show these bloggers all the love. 💕

Without further ado, let’s get to presenting all the amazing Asian books you should put on your bookshelves!


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

THIS BOOK. Can I just say that you need this book in your life, and leave it at that? Because I’m not sure I’ll ever be capable of finding the right words to do it justice. It’s become one of my all-time favorite books, and I still feel so incredibly lucky and fortunate to have been able to read it in advance.

Spin the Dawn is just as magical, beautiful, and enchanting as the gorgeous cover would have you anticipate, and I’ve carried it with me in my heart ever since I finished the first few chapters earlier this year.

Elizabeth Lim’s writing is blindingly gorgeous, and captivating, and I just adore every single aspect about it—genuinely: this book will make such huge waves in the world, reverberating into the universe, and I’m so excited to see everyone fall in love with it.

divider panda

New Releases


The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy #1) by Swati Teerdhala — Book Cover   We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal — Book Cover   The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad — Book Cover


Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1) by Swati Teerdhala

AmazonBook Depository

The Tiger at Midnight has garnered quite some attention on Twitter—and how could it not? It’s inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, and the premise sounds amazing. I was pretty much helpless but to add it to my shelf by the time I glimpsed the tagline; “A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed” [breaks out in goosebumps].

“Swati Teerdhala does not fail to give us a stunning cat-and-mouse romance set in an India-inspired fantasy world. This was so addicting and such a fun read!” — Ju @ Paper Blots


We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1) by Hafsah Faizal

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

Can you believe how stunning cover is?? Because I can’t. But I shall refer to May now—not only because she has read this book, and her gushing will surely supersede anything I could say about it in importance, but most of all, because she wrote a blurb that is perfection at its absolute height.

“Hafsah Faizal delivers a dazzling Arabian-inspired debut that features a cast of vibrant characters as they set out on an unforgettable journey. With rich and immersive prose, readers are guaranteed to be caught between the pages, walking alongside our unlikely heroes as they explore ancient ruins, face deception and betrayal, and overcome their internal struggles.

We Hunt The Flame is a spellbinding tale loaded with dynamic characters, an electric romance, and unforeseen friendships that left me greedy for more.” — May @ My 1st Chapter


The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen much of this book around the blogosphere, Twitter, or Goodreads, which makes me a bit sad—but it also makes me even happier to be able to shed some light on it with this post!

“Written in rich, beautiful prose, The Candle and the Flame follows Fatima Ghazala as she explores her identity and place in the world. Azad’s descriptions, especially of the city of Noor and the food, bring the story and the characters to life. The importance placed on family and friends and interwoven themes of empowerment, especially female empowerment, make this more than just an enjoyable fantasy.

It’s a gorgeous book, inside and out, and truly worth the read if you’re looking for a magical, elaborately written YA fantasy.” — May @ Forever and Everly

divider tiger


Will our shelves of backlist books ever decrease in size? I can only hope that it will, one day. But that day is not today.

There are so many books here that have such a special meaning to me, some because of their representation, like The Astonishing Color of After with its Taiwan rep, and others like The Poppy War, which are simply stunning and entirely breathtaking, and then there’s Girls of Paper and Fire, which I already gushed about endlessly on my blog—I could go on.

Here is a small selection of them!


The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1) by R.F. Kuang

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang“If I had a dollar for every time I recommended The Poppy War to someone, I’d probably have the greatest library in the world. [It’s] one of the best books I’ve ever read, and unlike any other fantasy book this world has ever seen.

The Poppy War follows a girl named Rin, who dreams of getting into the most prestigious military academy in her country. This book completely transports you to a world full of magic, complex characters, and bloodshed. I dived into this book knowing next to nothing about it and my mind was definitely twisted into knots, not to mention that my heart broke into a million pieces as well.

This pure genius cosplaying as a book definitely deserves all the love it’s getting.”

“Blood, magic, and war
A girl surrounded by fire
From ashes she’ll rise”


Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1) by Natasha Ngan

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

“Girls of Paper and Fire is one of the most unforgettable books I read (…), it was utterly spellbinding. Inspired by the author’s childhood experiences in Malaysia, this sparkling novel is an enchanting Asian fantasy that features a strong-willed heroine, a wonderfully diverse cast of characters and incredibly lush prose that you will lose yourself in.

[We] Malaysians are very proud of our cultures and food, and it was such a thrill to read about the local delicacies sprinkled throughout [this book]. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!” — Kevin Loh @ Bookevin


The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

“The Astonishing Colour of After is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words.

From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas in Asian cultures, to the true portrayal of grief, to the heartbreaking reality of depression, to the realistic depiction of what it means to be biracial, I will carry this book in my heart forever and always.” — Mel @ Mel to the Any


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish #1) by Jessica Khoury — Book Cover

Aladdin has been one of the stories that my childhood has been intertwined with so tightly, that it’s hard to tell whether I was told the story at one point, or if I’ve always known it in my heart. The Forbidden Wish is, in case my alluding to Aladdin was too subtle, a retelling of the latter—and I have such high hopes for it.

“This is, quite literally, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Aladdin and Zahra have so much chemistry and also there’s the best mutual pining. Jessica Khoury is a gift.” — Ju @ Paper Blots


The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1) by Rin Chupeco

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco — Book Cover

The Bone Witch is a book I keep seeing Shealea gush about, so of course it’s already made its way onto my own bookshelf—but for some reason I’ve been holding off on reading it, because I keep waiting for the “right time”?? (Please scream at me to finally read it this month.)

“[This book] is perfect for fans of slow-burn villain origin stories. Interspersed with scenes from the future, the need to know [the main character]’s past will keep you turning the pages.” — Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea


The Reader (The Reader, #1) by Traci Chee

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Reader (The Reader Trilogy #1) by Traci Chee — Book Cover“I was absolutely entranced by The Reader from the very first pages. Traci Chee not only lures us into this magical world with exquisite words, but also treats us to a visual feast. [This book] demonstrates the immense power of books to irrevocably change our life. [To] introduce hope, possibility, and the comfort that our lives have been remembered.

[She] transports you back to that moment of wonder, stepping through this glowing door into a world that has been forever changed—a world of possibility and legacy.” — Lili @ Utopia State of Mind


The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo — Book CoverThe Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo is a historical fantasy that follows a Malaysian teen who becomes a ghost bride for a rich family’s recently deceased son. This whirlwind of a story incorporates elements of fantasy, mystery, and romance, and it was the first time I read a book with Malaysian-Chinese rep.

This book is also going to be adapted into a series on Netflix, so this is an excellent choice if you want to read it before the show comes out!” — CW @ The Quiet Pond


The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

AmazonBook Depository | Wordery

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi — Book Cover

I fell in love with Roshani Chokshi’s writing earlier this year, when I read The Gilded Wolves, and was surprised to find out that it’s not her debut—surprised, and excited to read more of her works, because will I ever not adore immersive, captivating prose to the highest degree?

The answer is a definite, resounding no.

“Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?”


Sprinkles of Dreams - Let's Chat
What are your favorite books you’ve read for YARC 2019?
Any books in this post that you’ve read, or are planning to read?
Which book are you planning on reading next? 💗

xx, lily - Sprinkles of Dreams
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81 thoughts on “Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 // MAGIC-al Book Recommendations”

  1. I’m so happy to see The Poppy War making this list, I can’t get enough of it! I really need to get my hands on We Hunt The Flame as well because I keep on seeing people raving about it or adding it to their TBRs.
    I actually haven’t made my YARC sign-up blog post yet so this has reminded me to do just that, joining a little late but that’ll just mean I’ll have to read faster!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t believe she’s doing her degree (or just finished?) and releasing The Dragon Republic soon, like who can manage it?
        And that’s great! I’ll try to write a sign-up post ASAP!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool, I hope you love it!! Definitely feel free to scream to me about it, if you start reading 👀

      I’ve had it as my next read so many times, but then chickened out, because the pressure is so high to love it, haha. 🙈

      Happiest reading to you as well! 💫😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post! Thanks for having me again, Lily. I’m just eight books away from my YARC goal and I’m sure this list can help me decide what my next reads are gonna be.

    I’m so sad that Candle and the Flame isn’t getting much attention because it’s definitely one of my best reads of the year. (oops i need to post my full review soon)

    I’m currently reading Jade City for YARC and I can’t wait to scream about it with y’all 💛💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rain!! Thank you so much for your incredible blurb, I’m still so in love with your haiku, most of all. 😍

      Me too! And ahh that sounds amazing, I can’t wait to read your review, definitely feel free to send it my way, if I happen to miss it. 🙈

      I’M SO EXCITED TO READ THAT BOOK, I don’t even have the words—

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahah of course I remember 😊 yours is one of the few blogs I really enjoy reading. It just feels personal somehow😊 and I’m not buttering, it’s the truth hehe

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Prachi!! You’re going to make me cry 🥺 I’m so glad it feels that way, because it’s actually very personal for me, too! Even the posts in which I’m “only” talking about books, there’s always a personal aspect, so I’m glad it translates into my words. 😌

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Lily this post was soooo good! Sorry I just got to like and comment now, but all of the books featured on here are either books I’ve enjoyed or books that are on my TBR! The Bone witch is amazing! And thank you again for having me! It was such an honor, especially alongside all of these amazing people.. just thank you for the chance 💖💖 and honestly, even if I weren’t featured in it I would still love it so much!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HI I LOVE YOU!!!! I didn’t get to comment earlier but you’re so amazing for doing this and I love you very very much. (Also so many of the blurbs were so beautifully written aahh!!) I can’t wait to read a certain magical Asian fantasy with you soon 😎💖

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful post and such lovely books…!!! I can’t wait to see what you think of Bone Witch because that trilogy has completely bewitched me 😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So many amazing recommendations, and what a perfect way to begin Sprinkles of Diversity!!! I am behind on my YARC reads thanks to my Slump of 2019 and ARC Mountain, I will be making up for it later in the year once September is finished. Thanks so much for the list of books, so many are already on my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh, this is such a wonderful post, Lily! And I’m loving your new Spinkles of Diversity feature! I can’t wait to see more posts like this in the future! The most recent YARC books I’ve read are The Tiger at Midnight, Spin the Dawn, and The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2)! I ended up truly enjoying them all, and I cannot wait to so more magical reads this July! I might tackle the Poppy War and the Star Touched Queen finally! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly!! And ahh that genuinely makes me so happy to hear, I hope I’ll be able to include you in one of my posts these days as well, I’d be honored. 💖

      You’ve been reading so many Asian books, wow, I’m so proud of you!! And I hope you absolutely love The Poppy War, it’s absolutely incredible.

      I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!! (Also, so many of your comments landed in my spam, so I’m sorry for the super late reply, sobs.)


  8. […] Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams: Lily is one of my favourite reviewers, and she is just so great at writing reviews. I love the critical lense she uses to analyse books, and her choice of prose in her reviews has me basically swooning with admiration (yes, I’m that person). There is something so magical about her reviews, and I will just be forever in love with her reviewing style. She is on semi-hiatus (and will fully return on the 12th!) and I am so, very excited. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So many books on here that I really want/need to read! Like Spin the dawn, the candle and the flame, the poppy war and girls of paper and fire!


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my gosh, so many recommendations! I loved reading this post so much.💖

    I just finished The Forbidden Wish recently, and I really loved it! The Aladdin retelling was spot on (I think after reading this I am a little bit in love with Aladdin), with the right amount of plot twisting and unique personality. Not to mention I loved the romance and all the characters and it was honestly breathtaking. I hope you adore it as much as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Olivia! 💖💖

      Thank you so much, ahh I’m so happy to hear that you loved it so much! I’ll definitely let you know what I think when I read it—I hope I can get to it soon.

      I hope you’ll have a great weekend!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] Lily @ Sprinkles Of Dreams is another amazing advocate for diverse books. She (like May above) will often ONLY champion diverse books, which I love and aspire to do. She also has a new planned project called Sprinkles of Diversity – where people can sign up to write a few sentences about diverse books they’ve read. Please check it out! ❤ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fantastic recommendation post! ❤ I personally loved The Star-Touched Queen and the companion A Crown of Wishes, they are both a bit more underrated, but had the perfect blend of vivid mythology and funny banter 😍 I also really really really need to read Girls of Paper and Fire, as I’ve been meaning to do that for quite a while now 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh Caro, thank you so much!! 💖

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed them both! And I’m always here for funny banter, hehe. Please be careful about trigger warnings re: GOPAF, but ahh I’m super curious what you’ll think—I only just finished its sequel this week. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww I’m so glad, thank you so much for leaving this sweet comment, I really appreciate it, Crystal!! 🙂

      I’m really looking forward to Frankly in Love as well! The book trailer is so cute, and made me even more excited about it.

      I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!! xx


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