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.
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
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.
Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1) by Swati Teerdhala
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
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
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
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
“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”
— Rain @ BOOKDRAGONISM
Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1) 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
“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
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
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
“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
“The 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
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?”
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? 💗