daughter of the moon goddess by sue lynn tan

5/5 stars 
Published by Harper Voyager
Published January 11, 2022

Synopsis: A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor's son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

every single aspect about daughter of the moon goddess is absolutely gorgeous. from its cover design to its eloquent prose, Sue Lynn Tan has an innate talent to construct a beautiful narrative with enchanting storytelling. dotmg is a reimagining of the story of the moon goddess, an ancient chinese legend that follows chang'e and her ascension to the moon. there are several variations to this story, but all involve her husband hou yi and the ten suns, an elixir of immortality, and chang'e's eventual ascension to the moon. it is during the mid-autumn festival that we celebrate and pray to chang'e, hence the mooncakes! i was told this story by my mother when i was a little girl and always looked for chang'e in the moon. it is this sentimental connection that i have to the original story that allows me to see how excellently crafted dotmg really is. this was a wonderful blend of chinese folklore and fantasy elements. Sue Lynn Tan was able to incorporate not just the legend of chang'e, but the jade emperor and the story of the four dragons as well, making this a tale of epic proportions. i was so impressed by how this story was weaved to encompass elements of my childhood with the romance, adventure, and magic that i revere in a fantasy novel. 

thoughts i had about people we meet on vacation by emily henry

5/5 Stars
Published May 11th, 2021
Published by Berkley Books 

Synopsis: Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

i have had all of these thoughts written down as a draft since about a year ago to write a review, but i never did. i thought these were too good to not post, so im just gonna compile them into coherent thoughts and share them with you all because i thought they were funny and messy and im sure you can relate to some of them if you've read pwmov. thank you emily henry for my life. 

hook, line, and sinker by tessa bailey

4/5 stars
Published by Avon Books
Published March 1, 2022

Synopsis: King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he's a guaranteed good time--in bed and out--and that's exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She's immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his... personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah's in town for work, crashing in Fox's spare bedroom. She knows he's a notorious ladies' man, but they're definitely just friends. In fact, she's nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport's resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker's eye... yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can't deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she's walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and... and... man overboard! He's fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he's all in, she'll choose him instead?

tessa bailey has never failed to deliver a book full of feeling. and i mean every single feeling under the sun. ever since how much i loved it happened one summer last year, i've been on the edge of my seat waiting for hook, line, and sinker. the introduction of hannah and fox's relationship in ihos was refreshing against the backdrop of piper and brendan's story. beyond the banter and all the teasing, we were able to watch two characters who struggle with their own insecurities learn to appreciate themselves in the process of loving one another. tessa bailey was able to tackle serious conversations such as dealing with imposter syndrome and vulnerability. this is a story for those who constantly doubt themselves and their abilities, and this shows that sometimes the faith someone has in you is enough to grant you the motivation to push on. hls is the perfect story for hannah and fox and embodies so much goodness, charm, and strength. 

vicious by v.e.schwab


3.5/5 stars
Published by Tor
Published September 14, 2013

Synopsis: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

just gonna start off with saying that this was a very interesting read. i think the most remarkable thing about v.e. schwab is that she is always able to capture the essence of a story really well. from adsom to the invisible life of addie larue, and even including this savage song, her writing remains distinct and characteristic of her style, but shifts to match the mood of the plot and the tone of the character's voices. this is something i can't say i've really experienced from a lot of other authors. i think her stories are always fleshed out and told in elaborately unique ways that separate them all from one another. if there's one thing i can rely on, it's knowing that v.e. schwab will deliver a project with her whole heart attached to it. 

these violent delights/our violent ends caused me emotional distress


Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published Nov. 17th, 2020/Nov. 16th, 2021

Synopsis (of These Violent Delights): The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

pain. suffering. a couple adjectives that come to mind when i think about this duology. it involves every perfect little nuanced trope that i look for to scratch my never-ending itchy craving for angst. These Violent Delights is a stellar debut novel by Chloe Gong. it is beautifully written and so easily enrapturing i had to physically pry these out of my hands in order to breathe a little bit before i further spiraled into despair. it is an obvious romeo and juliet retelling, but Chloe Gong delivers so much more to that classic tragedy. 

These Violent Delights/Our Violent Ends is initially set in 1926 Shanghai, with events leading up to the Shanghai Purge of April 12, 1927. juliette and roma are the heirs to two rival gangs: the scarlet gang and the white flowers. the presence of foreigners is increasing, with nationalist and communist regimes vying for power. in a city rife with growing political tension, what else could put a strain on relations if not a contagion spreading monster? amidst the growing turmoil, juliette and roma must put aside their history and the generations-old feud between their families to find a solution for the madness that runs rampant in Shanghai. 

2021 wrap-up

we did it folks. we made it through another impossible year. i hope that you all were able to make the most of it despite the obvious state of the planet rn. reflecting back on it, i think i accomplished quite a bit. i started my first job, got accepted into northwestern for grad school, moved all the way to chicago and revamped my life a little bit. things during the last quarter of 2021 were really swell for me. i made a lot of great new friends out of my classmates, was able to reconnect with old ones, and i feel more sure of my future now than i did before. overall, a good year!!

in terms of reading, this was much better than previous years and that’s mainly because i was out of school and able to read on the job (don’t tell anyone). i think this year my taste in books has evolved a lot, as i’ve been seeking out more new adult or adult fiction. i still love a ya, but there’s a whole new world of stories to discover in na/adult and i’ve been having a hell of a time discovering that!! to recap the last year of reading i’ve had, i’m using the end of the year book survey created by Jamie @  The Perpetual Page Turner.

wishing you all a great new year ahead of you! all book titles link to their respective goodreads page! cheers to 2022 and here’s to hoping i keep up with my reading again!! let me know if we have any picks in common or if you have any recs you think i’d enjoy! 

2021 reading stats
number of books read: 34!
number of re-reads: 1 (the deal, pls don’t look at me i re-read this like once a month)
genre you read the most from: fantasy and romance 

best book you read in 2021?
i’ll choose one fantasy and one romance for y’all, since that’s all i read this year: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang and It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey! honorable mention is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo!

book you were excited about & thought you’d love more but didn’t?
this one hurts cause i loved the first two in the trilogy so much, but The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang. i think going into this one i just wasn’t in the right headspace for the themes it explores, so it was tough for me to get through. 

most surprising book you read?
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss! by no means was i expecting to enjoy this book as much as i did. i know how popular this series is, so i knew it had to be good, but this by far exceeded my expectations and i’m so excited to read the sequel. 

book you pushed the most people to read?
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. i truly took it upon myself to recommend this to every single person i know and i’ve gotten 3 people (pending 2 more) to read it by now. it is hands down my favorite trilogy and has turned R.F. Kuang into an author i trust with my life. 

best series you started in 2021? 
to not end up sounding like a broken record i will not mention The Poppy War again (whoops i mentioned it), so i choose Jade City by Fonda Lee and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Jade City was my first venture into adult fantasy and it was amazing. it truly set the tone for the rest of my reading year. Mistborn is absolutely genius and Brandon Sanderson is such a great author, i cannot wait to read The Stormlight Archive. 


a book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
honestly i know it’s still romance but i decided to read The Sweetest Oblivion cause everyone was talking about it on booktok and it was very out of my comfort zone. a whole mafia romance?? literally who would’ve thunk. 

most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Burning God by R.F. Kuang i do not need to explain myself. honorable mention: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. 


book you read in 2021 that you would be most likely to re-read next year?
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. when i say this book caused me emotional turmoil, i mean it. i love Emily Henry’s writing so much and i think she has an innate ability to create stories that everyone can relate to in one aspect or another. the way she discussed loneliness in pwmov made me rethink my whole life i’m not even exaggerating. i will definitely re-read this, the way i have all of her books, and continue to cry over alex and poppy. 

most memorable character of 2021?
darlington. daniel arlington. from ninth house. i just. love him. also kieran from the Blood and Ash series by JLA — he carried that entire series on his back. 

favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
rinkitay. i have said it so many times but they are the standard for platonic soulmates and i crave so badly to have what they have. 

favorite quote from a book you read in 2021?
“She’s the only divine thing he’s ever believed in. The only creature in this vast, cruel land who could kill him. And sometimes, in his loveliest dreams, he imagines she does.” screaming crying shaking vomiting. this is Nezha’s pov from The Drowning Faith by R.F. Kuang. absolutely mad luv. 

book that shocked you the most?
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang LMAOOOO

book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. oh my god this has everything you could ever want in a contemporary romance. 

best 2021 debut?
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazlewood were both so good [sobbing]. unfortunately i didn’t read a debut fantasy this year but i would have loved to read She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan and will definitely prioritize this in the new year. 


hidden gem of the year?
i think everyone needs to read Jade City by Fonda Lee immediately. it has an incredibly refreshing concept of magic, great lore and world building, and an expansive cast of characters that bring a lil something something for everyone looking for an invigorating read. i loved it so much!!

one book you didn’t get to in 2021 but will be your number 1 priority in 2022?
Jade War by Fonda Lee — the second book in The Green Bone Saga!

book you are most anticipating for 2022 (non-debut)?
Babel by R.F. Kuang!!! dark academia! what else do i have to say! 

2022 debut you are most anticipating? 
i’m gonna choose two! first up, Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan! this is the start of a duology inspired by the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e. it is going to be epic, enchanting, romantic — everything i could ever want from a Chang’e retelling!! second, Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li! a heist novel inspired by the real life disappearance of Chinese art from western museums ft a cast of Chinese American students!! all very exciting for me :)

series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2022?
Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey. pls give it to me now. 

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon


4/5 Stars
Published January 26th, 2021
Published by Berkley 

Synopsis: Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can't imagine working anywhere else. But lately it's been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who's fresh off a journalism master's program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it's this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it's not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

This was exactly the fun, lighthearted rom-com I needed to spend my Sunday afternoon with. The public radio setting added such an interesting dynamic to the story. I enjoyed the behind the scene tidbits that gave us an inside look into how public radio may work in real life and these challenges really added to the characterization of our main cast. Reading about these two enemies turned fake exes turned lovers navigate this fabricated story to keep their jobs and radio station alive was something I grew so invested in. The Ex Talk is able to simultaneously tackle concepts of grief and vulnerability, love and longing, while creating an atmosphere that is so electrifying. Rachel Lynn Soloman's adult romance debut will make you feel seen in the characters she's crafted and has created a space that allows you to lose yourself in the simplest of joys.