My 2021 reading goals and challenges

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I finally started to read and blog again after not doing it for 3 years. I’m so happy that i met wonderful people online among all the chaos that 2020 has us go through. And I can’t wait to buddy read, take part in read alongs and challenges. I’m mentioning 4 in particular. The Debut author challenge run by booksofamber.com. I pledge to read 20 debuts. The second one is #CosmereConquest were participants will be reading all the books in the Cosmere. You can join in on the discord where there are spoiler free chapter areas. it’s hosted by Ben @Bensblurb . The following two are done by Alex at Spells and Spaceships – A fantasy and science fiction blog . The first a Witcher read along and The 2021 SFF Badge Collection. So freaking excited . With buddy reads through the year 🎉🎉🎉🎉

book clubs : @SorceryStardust February gideon , March luck of the shadows , april the unbroken , may winter’s orbit

buddy read https://twitter.com/lofibookcafe in deeper water ft lukens / https://twitter.com/inkdrinkingmoth timekeeper tara sim

Spotlight: Healers: Secrets of the Academy by L. L. Smith

Healers: Secrets of the Academy
L. L. Smith
Published January 21, 2021
Amazon | Goodreads

About Healers: Secrets of the Academy
The students of SalVaneerie Academy face a gruesome end at the hands of Shadow Knights! This army of mysterious and hollow Knights close in from the Dark Forest surrounding their campus. Healers, Warriors, and Brains must band together to repel these Shadow Knights and uncover their peculiar origins. Will Nicole amass enough friends to repel the attack? Will Hunter be able to overcome his performance anxiety? Will Theodore be able to discover the truth he seeks? Find out, inside!

Map of the Academy

I adore maps in books My reading experience improves a lot when reading, go back and forth looking up the places that are mentioned. The art of mapmaking should be celebrated more. And the one above is pretty , pretty cool.

About L. L. Smith

Amazon Author Page | Instagram

L L Smith: small-town living and music binging. Self published two books deep and counting. He’s ready to share some laughs, gasps, and tears with reader folk from all walks of life!

Healers: Secrets of the Academy Tour Stops

Here are the other stops on the Healers: Secrets of the Academy blog tour through Breakeven Books. Lots of these stops are Booktubers, so if you’ve been thinking about finding new bookish channels to follow, be sure to check them out!

March 21

Kitty n Shadow Hobby Room on YouTube

Kathryn Books Blog

Breakeven Books Livestream on YouTube

March 22

Leosthetics Blog

March 23

One Book More Blog

March 24

Her Bookish Obsession Blog

What Polly Reads Blog

March 25

Penned by KDB Blog

The Story Sanctuary Blog – you are here!

March 26

Paperback Mo on YouTube

Roro Is Reading Blog

March 27

Kristi Reads on YouTube

Enchanted Reader on YouTube

After Tour Posts

Pablo Suarez on YouTube

BunnyCakes Tomes of Endless Wonder on YouTube

Kasandra on YouTube

Middle Fantasy on YouTube

The Last Ten Book Tag

I’m so late with this tag cause IcthusBookCorner tagged me last month *hides* . 10 questions in total . Here I go

The Last Book I Gave Up On

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft. I’m a kind and gentle person and I don’t know how I would react in a war setting but I found the lead character be to naïve and to trusting. I had a trouble taking her side when arguing with her commander/ ex girlfriend. I was siding with the gf. Maybe i’ll finish it in the future but that’s not in the near future.

The Last Book I Reread

I have two books for this question. One i’m currently re reading and one i read last October. I forgot how terrifying a character in The Riverman by Aaron Starmer is, they are constantly on the page, being annoying and that the reveal happens. 😨😨. I’m currently reading Night Shine by Tessa Gratton . It reads like a ghibli movie and was pitched as a queerer Howl’s moving castle. Very imaginative . SAPPHIC AND GENDERFLUID AS FUCK. GIMME THE MONSTROUS QUEERS. I highly recommend both.

The Last Book I Bought

I can’t buy books cause financial issues and online stores don’t have the the function to use our currency. But the last book I was gifted was Destroy all monsters by Sam J Miller. I adore his work and this title has mental health , queerness and is speculative. This usual for him. So excited

The Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t

Oliver Twist. Dickens overwrites and I could not stand it anymore. I put it aside and read recaps and analyses online for my high school English classes . Sorry not sorry.

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins of

I’m very finicky with how my books should look like and i try my best to keep them not looking used. I would never 😅. I do hate the yellowing of pages though.

Last Book That I Had Signed

Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire by Dan Hanks. It’s an 70 or 80s style actioner fighting Nazis , monsters and rescuing a kidnapped sister. It’s all that silly fun in book form with a female lead. My copy is personalized and Dan has such a fun online presence.

Last Book I Lost

I lend my signed Enchanted by Alethea Kontis Arc to a family member and she never returned it 😥😥

Last Book I Had To Replace

I still have to replace Enchanted but the hardback version is now priced at $35 on bookdepo, it was $17 when it was published in 2012. 😭😭😭😭😭 That’s to steep of a price for a book i’ve already read.

Last Book I Argued Over

I don’t argue over books. I avoid discourse online and I pretend I don’t see it 😁🤣🤣

Last Book You Pre-Ordered

The last pre order I was gifted is The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska. I loved her debut – The Dark Tide. Both books are Sapphic YA Fantasy. The Midnight Girls has

the mood board
AND WHAT A GORGEOUS COVER 👀🥰🥰😍

Thanks now that I’ve been tagged . I’d love to hear Breakeven Books (@BreakevenBooks) / Twitter , victoria ☼ (@corneliastreads) / Twitter Andreas survived Tarmon Gai’don (@perfectbookcult) / Twitter and Bertie 🦇 (@luminouslibrary) / Twitter thoughts 😁💕💕

#HearOurVoices tour: : Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.


Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves. 

Rating: Liked
To buy: Bookshop | Libro fm

My thoughts: Charlie Vega is our titular lead. Her personality jumps from the page. She’s smart, funny, artistic and a go getter. She and her mom. It’s about a plus size young woman of color navigating through life. It deals with with being brown in a white neighborhood. Maldonado did a great job fleshing out Charlie and her relations with other people. People at work, school and at home. This title touches on diet culture and how mothers can love their daughters and be toxic at the same time. Heads up on that. I And I’m glad that there wasn’t a situation were suddenly everything is okay because that kind of relationship really can’t easily be “fixed”.

I love how the romance and Charlie’s friendship had equal importance. It has an HEA and a non white interracial couple, heck yeah.


I recommend Fat chance, Charlie Vega for the lead alone. She truly is the MAIN CHARACTER. Living her MC life and i say this with lots of love. I know that many will fall in love with her


Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.

By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra.

She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. 

Blog Tour: A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha

A Curse of Roses

by Diana Pinguicha

Published by Entangled Teen

Publication Date: December 1st 2020

Rating: Enjoyed

To Buy :  Purchase links can be found HERE!

Synopsis: With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.

There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.

Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?

With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.

She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.

Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…

 

My Thoughts

A curse of roses is an F/F own voices retelling of a Portuguese story ( Miracle of the roses). It’s a Portuguese historical fantasy. It follows Yzabel of Aragon. She’s something unique whenever Yzabel touched food it turns into flowers.  She takes it on her self to change this conduit to change flowers in to food. There a food scarcity in the land as a result of a famine .And as soon to be queen Yzabel sees it as her duty to help her people. But this action  as queen is not allowed  . With the help of Fatyan,  magical being freed with a kiss , Yzabel sets out to help her people to matter the cost

 

The line of turning food into flor is the reason I wanted it. I knew of the Midas touch but this was something  entirely new to me. And all the reviews online are correct this book deserves the love and praise. It needs more attention. I often start reviews with talking about the characters but i had to start with Pinguicha as a writer. Wow does she write pretty and beautiful like the flowers that Yzabel creates. The lush description of food and flowers. The feeling of the town when you read her words. Truly beautiful. This world has a soft magic system and it will please readers in search of that. What happens go with it! This book is for those want  reads that go slower, to see the characters  interact  and to spend time with the ladies. Both Yzabel and Fatyan are fully fleshed out , smart, interesting characters. Even though these CW- internalized homophobia

– religious-based self-harm

– religious and magic-based disordered eating

– the patriarchy

are seen and mentioned , this book has lightness at parts.  After requesting and reading the CW I was a bit scared cause I have religious- based discomfort , being such a household but I liked how she handled it and she did it well. 

 

 And if like animal companions , Yzabel’s  Alentejo Mastiff is so cute. Google pictures right after if this breed is new to you, So cute. If you like soft , caring historical fantasy with two lovely ladies in love, I  highly suggest A curse of roses.

About the Author

Born in the sunny lands of Portugal, Diana is a Computer Engineer graduate who currently calls Lisbon home. She can usually be found writing, painting, devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games, or walking around with her bearded dragon, Norberta. She also has two cats, Sushi and Jubas, who would never forgive her if she didn’t mention them.

Her art can be found at http://pinguicha.deviantart.com.

Also publishes under Diana Pinguicha Connors.

Website: http://pinguicha.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pinguicha

 

Blog Tour Organized By:

YA Bound Book Tours

Barking ‘Bout Books Tag

Erik at @BreakevenBooks on twitter and Youtube created a week ago. It was such fun to watch and then I saw The Pewter Wolf blog it , so i thought I’d join in the fun. I found Erik’s channel through a random May wrap up. Dunno how or what I typed in the search engine but I’m so glad I did. Erik is delight to watch, so creative and kind. You feel calm whenever you watch a vid. I immediately watch when a video is uploaded, every Monday and Thursday. The tag is down below and my answers to it. I really had to think long and hard lol.

I’ve Got A Bone To Pick With You: Name a book that was good until it wasn’t… (you were enjoying it and then it ended up disappointing you).

I don’t remember the title of this book . Funny it’s about cats and it’s the first answer to tag inspired by dogs. This book is a fantasy and I borrowed it from the library in middle school. Fun fact , my mom is a retired youth librarian. I like cats and i chose it because of it. But the talking magical cats were to mean to the stable boy. And i don’t remember the rest lol.

Welcome Home: Name a book or series that gives you the warm feelings of home. 

The Night circus and Narnia come to mind. I would love to be part of that circus as a costumer or act. Morgenstern’s writing is so magical and I’m convinced that she is of the magical kind herself, giving us mortals a mere glimpse of that world. And Narnia of all the warm fuzzies reading that series, I’ve have my favorites.

Ruffin It: Name a book that has a journey or travel element to it. 

Yells MÉLUSINE book one of Doctrine of Labyrinths by Sarah Monette. Melusine is set in the fantasy world of Meduse, it tells the story of the adventures of Felix Harrowgate, a gay wizard, and his half-brother Mildmay the Fox, a former assassin. Both brothers have baggage and their not the kindest at times but I’ve a soft spot for them. Sigh , Felix stop being so selfish lol . The world feels very Italian, Mediterranean. I’m chosing this title for my answer because 2/3 of Melusine is travelling fantasy book where the brothers meet folk , travelling with them and they depart, at least 3 times. I’m a huge champion for this book and series and more people need to read it . It’s such an underrated adult high fantasy

Marking Your Territory: Name a book or series that you will always stand by no matter what!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I was a non fiction reader going into my teens and shiver was the first YA I read at age 17. I missed the twilight boat and I have Shiver to thank for my love of YA. In fact Sam was my first book boyfriend. That guitar playing wolfboy.

Diggin Holes: A book that had some hidden secrets or had a big plot twist uncovered. 

This one was the most difficulty with. The mood , my feelings and my love for a book remains whenever I’m done with it. I forget plot twists and plot in general. This is the opposite with movies. I re read The Riverman by Aaron Starmer this year. I knew i disliked that character but I was surprised for the 2nd time at that reveal. It’s a dark middle grade portal fantasy

Stand By Me: Name a book or series that portrayed a very loyal friendship between its characters. 

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko shines here with its brilliant dazzling colors. Platonic and Romantic love have equal weight in this story and the 13 would die for each other, their friendship is immense. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi to a lesser extend, Perry and Roar ‘s friendship gives me warmth.

Tug of War: A book you have very mixed feelings about. 

Books that are 3 stars. I’d liked them, will recommend them in general but they wont be my first picks. This year those were Mayhem by Estelle Laure, The Mall by Megan McCafferty and Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller.

TREATS!: A book that you are super excited about and will reward yourself by reading it.

Oh lordy. Do I have a couple. Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz. International Dragon sports !!. Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore . Mad max Fury road x frozen. I’m in. And lastly The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller . A queer Horror gentrification novel with a gay photographer as lead.

Thank you so much for creating this tag , Erik

Book Tour: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

 

by Samantha Cohoe 
Published by Wednesday Books
Publication Date: October 13th 2020 
Rating: Liked
Synopsis: Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

My Thoughts

  

2020 has to be year of the cold and standoff ish mother in YA. Funnily enough all encountered in fantasy this reading year. Difficult and nuanced motherly figures, Thea Hope is the daughter of such figure, She’s the daughter of a famous alchemist who looms over her. A Golden Fury is about Thea Hope, a young alchemist, who has the knowledge to make the Philosopher’s Stone. Before finishing the Philosopher’s Stone her mother goes mad and smashes their work. Because of this and escaping her mother’s anger she travels to find her beau, Will, and to make the stone before anyone else does.

 

Cohoe really focused on the scientific side of SFF in A Golden Fury. The alchemy was more science based than magic based. It was all puzzle for Thea and her cohort to find out. Managing temperatures and putting in the right ingredients at the right time.  Science is a real puzzle, figuring out the elements instead of cardboard pieces. It was great to see the fictional scientific methods and scenes in the lab where Thea looked at Arabic texts for instructions. The magic system was different and it’s great to see different interpretations of alchemy. Cohoe really blended the alchemy in a historical setting. this book nailed the historical setting pretty darn well.  Set in the backdrop of a weakened France before the revolution.

 

I really enjoyed the plot and I was engrossed in it from the start to the end It had a great pace and was action-packed. Cohoe used the slower parts to her advantage were she used of knowledge of the half magic – half science practice to build the world. Bit by bit. I had to page at both paces in the story, eager to see what happened next. Cohoe’s lines and phrasing is a delight to read and roll of the tongue or in my case the mental version of that.

 

And lastly a book is nothing without its characters. If you don’t care the characters no matter how creative or beautiful the writing, I can’t care. But you do care for Thea, how she’s treated by the people around her. Get mad how the men in her life don’t trust her or see her ingenuity. Loving Dominic so much how truly cares for her and wants the best for her. No one was that good or all that bad. Even our quick-witted lead Thea who could be selfish and have an ego at times. I loved how deeply flawed she and others were.

 

People that love Historical fiction where magic doesn’t over power the story. Where the SF of SFF comes to play and a story with a flawed but human girl tries to be recognized for her talents. They for surely will enjoy A Golden Fury. 

About the author

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo,

California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Samantha’s Twitter and Instagram 

Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths #1) by Sarah Monette

Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths #1)
by Sarah Monette 
Published by Ace
Publication Date: August 2nd 2005
Rating: Amazing
Mélusine — a city of secrets and lies, pleasure and pain, magic and corruption — and destinies lost and found.
Felix Harrowgate is a dashing, highly respected wizard. But his aristocratic peers don’t know his dark past — how his abusive former master enslaved him, body and soul, and trained him to pass as a nobleman. Within the walls of the Mirador — Melusine’s citadel of power and wizardry — Felix believed he was safe. He was wrong. Now, the horrors of his previous life have found him and threaten to destroy all he has since become.
Mildmay the Fox is used to being hunted. Raised as a kept-thief and trained as an assassin, he escaped his Keeper long ago and lives on his own as a cat burglar. But now he has been caught by a mysterious foreign wizard using a powerful calling charm. And yet the wizard was looking not for Mildmay — but for Felix Harrowgate.
Thrown together by fate, the broken wizard Felix and the wanted killer Mildmay journey far from Melusine through lands thick with strange magics and terrible demons of darkness. But it is the shocking secret from their pasts, linking them inexorably together, that will either save them, or destroy them

Imagine an huge sprawling city, where the elite are live along an enormous dome , The Mirador. And the majority in the slums, in the Lower City. Thieves, murderers, sexworkers , poor and any other seen as lesser than magical practice are pushed out sight for the wizards or hocuses in Lower City speak. Mildmay, the fox is one of those down below . A kept-thief , not on good terms with any criminal gang and hunted by the DOGS like the fox he is. He’s telling you his story and your point of entrance to this city. Never trust a hocus he tells you but what he doesn’t know that someone that will be close to him is one and lives up above, his gay older brother. Welcome to Melusine.

This European inspired fantasy world would not felt lived in if it weren’t for our two leading men. Mildmay and his brother, Felix Harrowgate, wizard of the Callaban order. Felix and Mildmay have equal amounts of page time in alternating points of view and their voices are distinct. But Mildmay is the narrator and talks to us the reader.I was never lost or what happened in their story.Keep in mind that a moment in felix’ dark past is shown once and other times alluded to, the scene goes dark the second time. And he’s finally able to speak it loud with his dear ones at the end of the book. Both felix and mildmay have hideous childhood traumas in one way of or another. Monette doesn’t use any scenes for titillation or shock. She truly cares for these brothers and it feels that way when reading. Thank you for creating and thinking up this duo. I’ll my upmost best to keep their tales alive for new readers.

That ending line in melusine. My heart.It was so soft. And illustrated their bond fully, what already started to form and I can imagine what it will be come. Both are more like each other that they think and maybe , just maybe Felix will be less of a witty jackass.

#HearOurVoices tour: Cemetery boys

 

Synopsis:Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.



Published: September 1st 2020
Pages: 352
Rating: Solid 


REVIEW: Traditions shouldn’t be static. This need of Yadriel is strong. Gaining his magic is a hearts desire but his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender .Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself. Aaai, Yadriel summons a dead boy’s ghost by accident. And he knows him, it’s Julien Diaz. The rumored bad boy of the school. How the heck will they solve this?

This story is colorful it it’s characters, scenery and culture. It has a charming cinnamon roll of a lead, Yadriel; a witty best friend more than a cousin Maritza, infused w love to the Latinx culture and a slow burn of a romance. This book about dead gods, ghosts, passing on and dealing with grief breathes life on every page. It does acknowledge the realities of queer pain and queer trauma but it is clearly written from a place of love and joy. You feel that Aiden Thomas had joy writing this, writing about a gay trans guy fitting in the world and falling in love.

The romance is magical. You feel the slow growing tension, see both Yadriel and Julian opening up and becoming familiar with each other. Nothing is forced. Talking about magic, how it is written feels fresh. I had to re read passages again, even the scary high tension ones. Animation is the only medium that can adapt Thomas scenery and how it feels reading his words. A truly warmth glow. Cartoon Saloon is the right choice w latinx creatives heading it of course.

I’m hope that trans people, trans boys and guys will see that they are loved. That they deserve love. This is a joyous book and I can’t wait to see people enjoying that same warmth the characters, especially Yadriel and Julian have for each other.

Aiden Thomas’s socials:

#HearOurVoices tour: Raybearer

 

Synopsis: Nothing is more important than loyalty.

But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.

Published: August 18  2020

Page count: 368

Rating: Amazing 

Review

Stories can be held captive, blemished with falsehoods it doesn’t matter how long but the true story will break free.

Human touch are what everyone craves for. Tarisai has only ever known stories, knowledge and memories growing up. She grew up with people around her but she was lonely. Her mom the Lady showed no affection and was cold towards her and her mentors never touched her only ever lectured and instructed. Family is the only thing Tarisai ever wanted. She’s instructed to get it and destroy it. She was born out of magic. Out of the Lady’s wish. Tarisai needs to grow close to the crown prince , belong to his beloved , make him love her and kill him. Tarisai won’t be a pawn in her story no matter what.

This world and magic system is enchanting but the true magic are the characters and that makes Raybearer all the more worthwhile. The book is very character driven but each character, even to the minor ones sets the plot in motion. Tarisai is the lead, we fall in love with her council mates the way she does with the eleven and we notice the prejudice and injustice lurking underneath bit by bit as she does. Tarisai is strong leading lady ,the emotional abuse makes her scared to be loved in every way possible. She’s terrified it will be lost and will be taken away. It was a pleasure seeing her grow, be confident in herself and shine like a brilliant sun. Her loved ones, the council, the other eleven but in 3 particular stand by and show her that she’s worthy of love. The council consist of people of different cultures and ethnicities but I’ll spotlight Kirah, Sanjeet and Dayo. All 3 so different and immensely important to her. I’ll let you’ll discover for yourself. Speaking about love, Raybearer speaks about the absence of love and the different kind of love. The familiar bond between friends and romantic love has equal weight in importance. All types of love should be important.

The slow burn romance that Ifueko crafted and slowly build is a beautiful one. Still on the topic of love I’m so happy Ifueko included an ace character, Dayo – the crown prince. Dayo crushes on boys and girls. Being ace and homoromantic , I was so happy when I read it and hope others will too.

The opposite of love is destruction. Ifueko writes rage inducing about the horrors of colonialism and assimilation. How people in power will and have tried to destroy cultures and societies through law and military force. I can’t wait to see people’s reaction.

Worldbulding and magic
This is such an unique world and feels so fresh. The way 12 regions or realms are different but feel like one collective culture. Seeing character with different skin tones: Black, brown and white. I had to be extra creative when imaginating it and it’s so easy with the help of Ifueko’s beautiful writing. It helped me and challenged me to try to dismantle my learned Eurocentric mental picture. I envisioned Sanjeet with brown skin but ones or twice I saw a white person and that’s an issue I have to combat. Seeing how Sanjeet is favorite character of mine.

The magic system is beautiful to see. We have pixies and black fairies.Hallows are gifts one is born with. Any possible power imaginable. Tarisai interacts with memories of objects , nature and people whenever she touches. The council , her friends have different power each. I can’t wait to see how her gift and the others flourish. To see how the world and magic system will be further explored.

Raybearer is a rhythmic cultural practice on the page. It felt like listening to orally told story when reading. Suriname has loads, every culture different but still Surinamese. Raybearer stands on it’s own and will enrich the already published African YA fantasy and the ones to come next year and years to come. I know without a doubt the audiobook will be magical and an experience. 

 

Jordan Ifueko’s socials

TWITTER  | INSTAGRAM 

TO PURCHASE:  LIBRO FM | BOOKSHOP |BOOKDEPOSITORY