golden blood, haunted mansions, and sisterhood | mini reviews

by - 9:48 PM


Hello everyone! I'm bringing back the mini-batch reviews since I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with writing longer ones but still want to share my thoughts on some of the books I've been reading. I would love to turn this into a little series as well and am struggling to decide on a name so if you have any suggestions I'd love to know! My current ones that I'm debating are between snapshots and/or mini letters (to go with my "letter" (?) theme of the blog. 

pages: 432 | source: netgalley e-arc
publication date: February 09, 2021
genre: YA fantasy
content warning: graphic portrayals of violence, blood

B O O K S H O P*    |    G O O D R E A D S    |    A M A Z O N*


The Gilded Ones is the first in a debut YA fantasy trilogy that follows Deka in a world where girls must prove their purity by bleeding red or die. After being ostracized her entire life because her father married someone outside the village, Deka's has been waiting for her ceremony to finally be accepted by her community. However, when she ends up bleeding gold, instead of facing judgment and death, Deka is given a second chance and offered a place at the emperor's new army against the alaki monsters. This book was so immersive with the folklore and religion playing huge roles in the story. As Deka's primary motivation for the majority of the story is searching for her second chance and purity, we get to delve into an interesting conversation between how a patricarchal society uses religion to oppress its women. 

Deka did suffer a bit from the "special snowflake" treatment and is really the only character with a complex arc and tangible development throughout the story whereas the supporting characters just serve to spotlight her. Despite this imbalance, her main group of friends still were fleshed out enough that made them distinct in my mind and definitely leaves room for their stories to grow with the future books. I will say, the romantic sub-plot would have to be the least developed but it's not such a big hindrance to this first installment. For a debut, The Gilded Ones definitely sets up a fascinating world and an even more exciting journey ahead full of questions to answer.

ultimate verdict: sisterhood to death and beyond

pages: 400 | source: netgalley e-arc
publication date: March 02, 2021
genre: YA fantasy, gothic
content warning: small depiction of blood/gore

B O O K S H O P*    |    G O O D R E A D S    |    A M A Z O N*

Down Comes the Night is a gothic fantasy that is aptly dedicated to "the girls who feel too much." Wren is the illegitimate daughter of the queen's sister and a skilled healer who finds herself on probation after choosing to heal an enemy soldier against orders. To avoid being reassigned, she takes the offer of a reclusive lord from the neighboring neutral country to heal his sick servant in hopes that she'll secure an alliance and win back favor. Everything about this book is addicting and atmospheric and brings back my fears of creaky old mansions. I honestly cannot pinpoint exactly what made this book so addicting but I genuinely became so invested with the characters and the plot that I could not stop reading.

Wren definitely had to grow on me because of how she allowed her emotions to control her actions so recklessly at first. Her relationships with Una and Isabel is rocky to say the least and leaving them behind seems incredibly irrational but I love how Allison Saft really took her emotions and taught her (and the reader as a result) how to use them to make her stronger. As she learns more about the other side through Hal and begins to question how wars are meant to solve the problem, her character development honestly blooms so beautifully. Speaking of Hal, I don't have much to comment on him per say but I absolutely adored seeing his relationship with Wren unfold, it's really one of those stories where the romantic subplot just works so well in highlighting the main character's arc without overpowering the storyline.

This is definitely a story that just evokes so much reading happiness because of the experience and makes me kind of sad that it's just a standalone. However, the story truly takes advantage of being a standalone to explore how religion and war are tied together and also throw in a soft romance that leaves all the room for yearning. 

ultimate verdict: impending wars blur the lines between black and white


pages: | source: netgalley e-arc
publication date: March 02, 2021
genre: YA contemporary
content warning: eating disorders, body dysmorphia 

B O O K S H O P *   |    G O O D R E A D S    |    A M A Z O N *

Yolk is a story of family and how sometimes life makes things so messy you might struggle to keep yourself afloat. Jayne Baek wants to find herself and joining the masses at New York City gives her the anonymity she seeks to make a new identity. But being an artist in the city and establishing her own presence can be tough when there are just so many people and so many different definitions of success. When she finds out that her older sister June has cancer, she's forced to reconnect with a sibling that she's tried to distance herself from and learn how to be a family again. Reading this book was like experiencing whiplash because Jayne and June have one of the most tumultuous relationships I have ever read about. As an older sister, I was either experiencing major secondhand cringe or relating immensely to June since the story is told through Jayne's perspective. 

 I have honestly never experienced anything that Jayne and June go through but I still saw snippets of my life in the way they interacted with each other and the world. The rawness of the story also captures the complex conversation that I think many first-generation Asian Americans have with their immigrant family's experience. Jayne also struggles with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia throughout the novel and that's just another difficult topic this story tackles. Yolk delves so deeply into the inner workings of relationships that it gets super raw and sometimes uncomfortable, but it's the humanity of the characters that makes it relatable and 100% worth reading.

ultimate verdict: family is family no matter how messy

A huge thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review these books. As a note, receiving these books do not affect my opinion in any way, all thoughts are 100% my own.

If you've read any of these books, please let me know your thoughts! Down Comes the Night and Yolk both release on March 2nd so be sure to check them out once they hit shelves!

*Links with an asterisk are affiliate links where when used, will give me a small commission at no additional costs to the buyer (as of 2/21/21)

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