Monthly Archives: August 2020

[Blog Tour] Review for Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

I didn’t review them on my blog, but I really enjoyed Pintip Dunn’s Girl on the Verge and Malice (both thrillers featuring Thai American characters), so I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Dating Makes Perfect, her latest book, hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours.

Dating Makes Perfect

Title: Dating Makes Perfect
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary


The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of dating practice.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must date in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course — and on dates they organize based on their favorite rom-coms. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, dreamy, and infuriating.

Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. Her parents love him, so naturally he’s the perfect person for her to pretend date.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.


I really love the cover for this book, and I’m happy to say that the story lived up to the expectations set by the cover.

Winnie was a lot of fun to follow because her character voice really animated the story. The reader is fully immersed in her head, experiencing the joys and pains of first love, the highs and lows of adolescence, the hopes and fears that drive Winnie’s decisions. She struggles to assert herself, inhibited by insecurities, and that aspect of her personality and character arc really resonated with me because I had a similar struggle when I was her age.

If you love childhood friends to enemies to lovers as a trope, then you’ll probably enjoy the romance in this book. It’s full of electric-charged romantic tension and barely suppressed yearning. Beyond simply physical attraction, Winnie and Mat have a long shared history together that complicates their feelings for each other. This is as much a story about rekindling friendship as it is a romance. Moreover, Mat plays an important role in pushing Winnie to be honest and communicative about her desires.

Central to the conflict and character development is Winnie’s family, her relationships with her parents and with her sisters. The love they share is evident in their interactions, which are a mix of good-humored teasing and more serious discussions. Even as Winnie defies some of her parents rules, she does try to understand where they are coming from and fears losing their love. While she adores her sisters, she also feels trapped in their shadow and unable to shine on her own. These complex feelings enrich the narrative.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is its celebration of Winnie’s heritage. It’s a love letter to the food, the language, and the traditions of Thai culture. Winnie’s narration is loaded with cultural references that lend it a unique texture, which is the kind of thing that I love about own voices books. Thai culture is an inextricable part of Winnie’s identity and facilitates her bonding with Mat as well as Taran, the rival love interest who is also Thai American. Her culture isn’t an obstacle to overcome or a burden to relinquish.

Last but not least, I really enjoyed how the author sprinkled in references to contemporary Asian American media, including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Never Have I Ever, and Always Be My Maybe. Each reference felt like a special Easter egg for me as someone who’s watched all of the films/shows mentioned and knew exactly what it was alluding to. It’s always fun when pieces of media are in conversation with each other, even peripherally.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google | iBooks | Book DepositoryBooks a Million

About the Author:

Pintip Dunn author photoI’m a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. I graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received my J.D. at Yale Law School. 

My novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. In addition, my books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award; and a Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Book of the Year. My other novels include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.

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[Blog Tour] SFF YA Duologies by Authors of Color to Read After Mirage

If you’re following my blog, you might have noticed the pinned post featuring SFF YA trilogies by POC and Indigenous authors. For the #CourtOfLionsTour I’ve decided to round up a bunch of SFF YA duologies by authors of color since Court of Lions is itself part of a duology and the story focuses on two young women whose fates are intertwined. Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive! Also, this is based on the information I was able to find; some of these may actually be longer than 2 books but have not announced further installments to date.

Completed Series

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

  1. Mirage
  2. Court of Lions (my review)

Want by Cindy Pon (my interview with the author)

  1. Want (my review)
  2. Ruse

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee (my interview with the author)

  1. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (my review)
  2. The Iron Will of Genie Lo

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne (my interview with the author)

  1. Rosemarked
  2. Umbertouched

SOS by E.C. Myers

  1. The Silence of Six
  2. Against All Silence

The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim

  1. Spin the Dawn (my review)
  2. Unravel the Dusk

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

  1. Ignite the Stars
  2. Eclipse the Skies

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

  1. Beasts Made of Night
  2. Crown of Thunder

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

  1. Empress of a Thousand Skies
  2. Blood of a Thousand Stars

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

  1. The Belles
  2. The Everlasting Rose

Exo by Fonda Lee (my interview with the author)

  1. Exo
  2. Cross Fire

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

  1. The Star-Touched Queen
  2. A Crown of Wishes

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

  1. The Girl from Everywhere
  2. A Ship Beyond Time

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

  1. Wintersong
  2. Shadowsong

Warcross by Marie Lu

  1. Warcross
  2. Wildcard

Rise of the Empress by Julie C. Dao

  1. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
  2. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

  1. The Final Six
  2. The Life Below

Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh (my interview with the author)

  1. Rebel Seoul
  2. Rogue Heart

Tower of Wind by Makiia Lucier

  1. Isle of Blood and Stone
  2. Song of the Abyss

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

  1. We Set the Dark on Fire
  2. We Unleash the Merciless Storm

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

  1. Circle of Shadows
  2. Cloak of Night

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi

  1. The Beast Player
  2. The Beast Warrior

Gumiho by Kat Cho

  1. Wicked Fox
  2. Vicious Spirits

Caster by Elsie Chapman

  1. Caster (my review)
  2. Spell Starter (my review)

Ongoing or Unreleased Series

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

  1. Shatter the Sky
  2. Storm the Earth (out October 13th, 2020)

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

  1. War Girls
  2. Rebel Sisters (out October 20th, 2020)

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

  1. The Never Tilting World (my review)
  2. The Ever Cruel Kingdom (out November 10th, 2020)

Sands of Arawiya by Hafsah Faizal

  1. We Hunt the Flame
  2. We Free the Stars (out January 19th, 2021)

The City of Diamond and Steel by Francesca Flores

  1. Diamond City
  2. Shadow City (out January 26th, 2021)

The Queen’s Secret by Melissa de la Cruz

  1. The Queen’s Assassin
  2. The Queen’s Secret (out March 2nd, 2021)

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

  1. Scavenge the Stars
  2. Ravage the Dark (out March 9th, 2021)

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

  1. A River of Royal Blood
  2. A Queen of Gilded Horns (out March 16th, 2021)

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

  1. The Girl King
  2. Empress of Flames (out March 16th, 2021)

The Wrath of Ambar by Tanaz Bhathena

  1. Hunted by the Sky
  2. Rising Like a Storm (out June 22nd, 2021)

The Light at the Bottom of the World

Light the Abyss by London Shah

  1. The Light at the Bottom of the World
  2. Journey to the Heart of the Abyss (out 2021)

Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

  1. Rebelwing
  2. Renegade Flight (out 2021)

Hollow Crown by Zoraida Córdova

  1. Incendiary
  2. Illusionary (out 2021)

The Good Luck Girls

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

  1. The Good Luck Girls
  2. Untitled

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

  1. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
  2. A Psalm of Storms and Silence (out 2021)


Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

  1. Raybearer
  2. Untitled

Kingdom of Cards by Janella Angeles

  1. Where Dreams Descend
  2. When Night Breaks (out June 8th, 2021)

Blazewrath Games

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

  1. Blazewrath Games (out October 6th, 2020)
  2. Untitled

[Blog Tour] Review for Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud + Giveaway

It’s here! My first review in a while! Rejoice! I’m pleased to be a part of the #CourtOfLionsTour hosted by Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours. My leg of the tour features a review and a curated list of SFF duologies by authors of color, which will come in a separate post. Note: Court of Lions is the second book in a duology, so if you haven’t read the first book, Mirage, beware of potential spoilers for the first book.

Court of Lions

Title: Court of Lions
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 06 August 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction


Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?


The first words that come to mind after reading Court of Lions are “what a book!” I really enjoyed Mirage, but this sequel was even better, in my opinion.

To start off, I’d just like to praise the writing. It was so lush and poetic and really brought the world of Andala and its characters to life. It wasn’t hard for me to picture the characters and setting at all. Though the book is technically science fiction, it read more like epic fantasy to me because of the atmosphere. For those who may not particularly care for “hard” science fiction that emphasizes flashy technology, I’d recommend giving this series a try.

I really loved the worldbuilding and the intricate politics of this book. The richly realized cultures of Andala and the incisive commentary on colonialism gave the story the thematic resonance of the best science fiction. Amani has her work cut out for her trying to bring together a bunch of people to oppose the Vathek empire, maneuvering a bunch of moving parts to create a working machine, but she does so quite skillfully.

This story is extremely character-driven, and the story balances the characters’ conflicting, complex motivations quite well. Amani, Maram, and Idris all exhibit immense character growth over the course of the story. The tension between their personal desires and their duties and the external pressures they faced was palpable throughout the story. Maram’s arc in particular was quite compelling and satisfying as she starts to shake off the colonized mindset from her Vathek upbringing, embrace her Andalaan/Ziyadi heritage, and assert her agency as an individual and a royal heir.

Last but not least, there were two major romantic arcs in this book, and they were just *chef’s kiss*. Both Amani and Maram are caught up in forbidden relationships, and the intensity of their yearning for what they desperately crave but cannot freely indulge had my heart aching for them. Maram falls for a woman, and I had so many moments during her passages where I was screaming in gay. This book is a gift to the queer readers who love mutual pining.

About the Author:

Author photo (Somaiya Daud)Somaiya Daud is the author of Mirage and holds a PhD from the University of Washington in English literature. A former bookseller in the children’s department at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., now she writes and teaches full time.

Author links:

Author website —
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Goodreads —
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Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour:

Tour Schedule (Court of Lions)

US Folks: Enter the giveaway for a copy of Mirage or Court of Lions!

Prize: Five (5) paperback edition of Mirage and five (5) hardcover edition of Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

  • Open to United States (US)
  • Ends on 11 August 2020 (Philippine time)

Rafflecopter link: