Current Reads: Haitian YA Fiction, Islamic YA Fantasy, & Korean Contemporary

It has been so excruciatingly hot in California lately that all I want to do is to turn on my coolest fan, then lay down on the comfy carpeted floors of my office in front of said fan, and either take a nap or get lost in a book. The only way this could get even better is after iftari when I can slurp down some coconut water and eat a bowl of strawberries. Also, if a cat decided to join me somewhere along the way, that would be ace.

Since this is essentially how I shall most likely be spending my evening and most of my Thursday (with some book writing tossed in for good measure), I went ahead and snagged a tiny stack of books off my shelves. That way when I finish one, I can start on the next without having to steer too far away from the glorious fan. What can I say? The summer heat exhausts the bleeding hell out of me.

I’m super excited to share these books with you because they all sound so brilliant. One of them is a 2020 release from April and also a book that I was lucky enough to win in a giveaway via GoodReads. It’s one that has been on my radar since I heard about it at the end of 2019, which is just cool lemon icing on the cake. Additionally, I am doing a re-read of my latest favourite fantasy novel in celebration and anticipation for the release of the final book in the series (hitting shelves at the end of June!). Check ‘em out below. Click the title for respective GR pages.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite: Follows a girl named Alaine who has always heard tales of her parents home, Haiti. When Alaine’s life starts to fall apart, she decides it’s time to experience Haiti for herself. Upon visiting, she learns a lot about the history while also receiving some unexpected revelations of her own family. Secrets arise to the surface that can no longer be avoided. This is #OwnVoices Hatian-American.

The book has been on my TBR for quite a while. I checked it out from the library pre-quarantine, so it’s been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for a few months. Since libraries are finally opening up in a few weeks (hopefully), I figured I should make some headway with my giant stack of check-outs. Beyond that, I’m stoked about an #OwnVoices Haitian YA novel. It’s been receiving quite a bit of love around the diverse books blogging sphere as well. Also, the islander in me is loving that cover!

Mirage by Somaiya Daud: About an eighteen-year-old gal named Amani who dreams of life before an occupation, one where she is a poet and an adventurer. One day when she is kidnapped by the regime of the ruthless dominating power in the star system—the Vathek Empire—her adventure arrives in ways she didn’t dream. Taken to a place of utmost secrecy within the royal palace, she finds that she is almost identical to the cruel Vathek Princess, who is loathed by the people she has conquered. When Amani learns that she was brought here to die in place of the Princess in her image, she realises she has been given the perfect opportunity for escape! This is #OwnVoices Islamic and #OwnVoices West Asian.

This shall be my third book for the Ramadan Readathon that I’m currently participating in! Since the second book in the series is set to release in a couple of months, I figured it would be wise to pick this up. I love the gorgeous cover and the premise so much, and I’m very eager to dive into the world that Daud has crafted.

If I Had Your Face: A Novel by Frances Cha: The book is about four different women all living in the same building. Kyuri is a stunningly beautiful woman with a difficult job as an entertainer for wealthy businessmen while they get drunk. Her roommate Miho is an artist that grew up in an orphanage and won a scholarship to NYC. Upon returning to Korea, she gets involved in a precarious relationship with an heir to a business dynasty. Then there is Ara, a hairstylist that is obsessed with a KPOP boy band and a best friend saving up for plastic surgery—the only two things sustaining her. Lastly there is Wonna, a newlywed trying to get pregnant even though she’s got no idea how to raise a child in Korea’s brutal economy. Their friendships are tentative as well as a source of comfort in a world where the superficial expectations of women from impossible standards of beauty to catering to wealthy men and the vicious social hierarchies are all utterly debilitating. This is #OwnVoices Korean fiction.

This book is everything that I love in Asian fiction. It’s about flawed individuals who are struggling through some of the darkest things that life can offer. It’s a critique on a broken social system with jaded hierarchies that are extremely toxic. There is discussion of Asian cultural identities and how easy it can be to feel lost in finding oneself amid contemporary practises that are just as oppressive—sometimes more so—than outdated traditions. I could go on. I just know I’m going to love this book and that it will be challenging to read, yet so rewarding and insightful.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty: I’ve chatted about this book numerous times on various platforms. Feel free to check out my BiblioNyan review or The Djinn Reader review for more information on why this book is so bloody fantastic. The third and final volume is releasing in June, so a few chums are hosting a read-along for the first two instalments, The City of Brass (May) and The Kingdom of Copper (June). I don’t typically re-read books this soon after finishing them, but… it’s just so fucking good. I can’t resist.

If you are interested in participating in this read-along gig, check out the Discover Daevabad Instagram and Twitter pages for more information! I know that there are special goodies to go along with this, as well as Discord place thingy where we can all get together and fanhuman about the series while making predictions about the final chapter.

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4 thoughts on “Current Reads: Haitian YA Fiction, Islamic YA Fantasy, & Korean Contemporary

  1. That sounds like the perfect way to spend these scorching summer days. Scoot over. I’ll bring my own TBR. 😀

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