ARC review: Malice

Title: Malice
Author: Heather Walter
Publication date: April 13th 2021
Age-range/genre: YA / Fantasy, Retellings, LGBT+, Fairy Tales
Trigger warnings: child abuse, torture, blood, bloodletting (graphic), medical trauma, death
Rating: 2.8/5 stars
Summary: [from amazon]

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Malice is a a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale with a twist in that its also a love story between the Princess Aurora and the Dark Grace Alyce. I’m always a big fan of retellings, especially ones that make things sapphic, so I was incredibly excited for this. Throw in the fact it’s with a princess and a villain and I had very high hopes for this – perhaps too high because I wasn’t a big fan of Malice.

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Review: Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Title: Last Night at the Telegraph Club
Author: Malinda Lo
Publication date:
Age-range/genre: 
Content Warnings: homophobia, lesbophobia, racism, parental abuse, family trauma, misogyny, racial slurs, deportation, references to miscarriage, references to police brutality.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis:

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was teatimelit’s book of the month for March, the first one I’ve joined and I’m so happy this one was chosen!

I’m usually not one to read historical fiction, so I was surprised how much I loved this novel. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is one of those books I wish I could have read while I was a teenager, because I know I would have strongly related to Lily and her questioning her identity. Malinda Lo’s writing is beautiful as it depicts Lily’s life in 1950s San Francisco during the Red Scare and as she learns more about her sexuality, her ambitions, and her identity as a Chinese-American.

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January-March Wrap-Up

Hi everyone, I hope everyone had a lovely March!

I’m really excited to be posting my first wrap-up on this blog! Since I only started this blog a few weeks ago (and wow does time fly) I decided to do a wrap up/mini-review of some of the standout books I read between January and March. For length’s sake I haven’t included any arcs/books I’m reviewing in the upcoming weeks.

I read around ~35 books between January and March and a lot of them I really enjoyed! Sadly not many of them were rated 5 stars, but I hope to read some more 5 star books soon! I also recently set my reading goal of this year to be 100 books, which is a terrifying number but I managed to reach it in 2020 so fingers crossed I will again.

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ARC review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find

Title: The Ones We’re Meant to Find
Author: Joan He
Publication date: May 4th 2021
Age-range/genre: YA; Dystopian, Sc-fi, Mystery
Trigger warnings: terminal illness, drowning, suicide, natural disasters, mass casualties
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a sci-fi dystopian novel set in a futuristic world that’s deeply effected by natural disasters and pollution. The novel is told in alternating perspectives, about Cee who is stranded on an island and trying get to her sister Kasey, and Kasey who is struggling to keep afloat following her sister’s disappearance and trying to find out what happened to her. Pitched as ‘Black Mirror’ meets ‘We Were Liars’, it’s a wonderful mix of sci-fi and sisterhood.

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Review: The Atlas Six

Title: The Atlas Six
Author: Olivie Blake
Publication date: January 31st 2020
Age-range/genre: Adult; Sci-Fi Fantasy, Dark Academia, Urban Fantasy
Trigger warnings: violence, cheating, death, mass-shooting, kidnapping; references to: degenerative disease, death of a family member, suicide; mentions of: suicidal thoughts, incest, sacrifice.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]

The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.

Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.

Most of them.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

For my first review on this blog I decided to go for one about a recent favourite of mine – The Atlas Six! I read this after it being highly recommended by a friend (shoutout to Bie!) and going in I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. TA6 is a brilliant novel focusing on six magical characters who are invited to be a part of the Alexandrian society, one that promises power and knowledge but, like all good things, comes at a cost.

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Introductions

Hello! My name is Saima and I’m super excited to announce my new blog @storieswithsaima. This is something I’ve been contemplating on making for a while, as someone who has always enjoyed reading and has way too much to say about the books I read.

I started writing reviews on goodreads early last year when I got back into reading, and it has honestly been so cathartic and fun to be able to talk about the books I read, especially the novels that I feel are underrated and don’t get enough recognition or love. It’s been so enjoyable being able to discuss these thoughts with friends – and now I’m so thrilled to share these ramblings and reviews here with you! I hope that through this I can possibly make some more bookish friends and hear about more books too. I plan to write and post book/arc reviews here, alongside some book wrap-ups and maybe talk about anticipated releases too. I hope that I can share my love for the books I read or plan to read, and help promote some reads that others may not know about.

Some of my favourite books include Love from A to Z, The Atlas Six, Legendorn, The Song of Achilles, I’ll Give You the Sun. I’m mostly into contemporary novels, but I also really love mythological retellings and urban fantasies. If you know any books I would enjoy then please let me know :^)

That’s all for now – thank you all for visiting my blog! I look forward to posting more in the future. I hope you enjoy your stay!!