Book Review: The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova – A Splendid and Enchanting Character-Driven Latine Fantasy about Family and the Consequences

Synopsis:

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

I was provided an Audiobook Listening Copy by Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.

A few years ago, I read a brilliant witch-themed anthology called Toil & Trouble edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe. Though the anthology is filled with gems of witchy stories from a feminist lens, a story that stuck out to me was a story called Divine are the Stars, about a girl who returns home to visit her dying grandmother. By chance, years later, I decided to pick up The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova – because an adult fantasy about family and mystery and magic? I was immediately intrigued.

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Book Review: Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee – A Satisfying and Phenomenal Conclusion to a God-Tiered Series; a Story about Life, Love, Death, and the Legacy We Leave Behind

Synopsis:

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now known and coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

The Kauls have been battered by war and tragedy. They are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference that could destroy the Green Bone way of life altogether. As a new generation arises, the clan’s growing empire is in danger of coming apart.

The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book review contains minor non-explicit spoilers to Jade City.

It’s been four years since Jade City by Fonda Lee released. Four years since I fell unequivocally in love with the gangster urban fantasy series with wuxia elements, set in an Asian-inspired island called Kekon where fearsome Green Bones warriors and their creed ruled. Jade City explored family and honour and how the blood feud between the No Peak Clan and their rival, the Mountain Clan, began. It became my favourite book of all time.

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Book Review: Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn – A Captivating and Terrifying Gothic Fantasy with Eldritch Horrors, Rage, and Revenge

Synopsis:

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek. 

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reading Flowers for the Sea feels like falling into a nightmare beyond my wildest imagination; a story that makes you feel alone, struggling with a trauma etched upon your bones and grappling with a horror growing inside you. When I finished reading this novella, I felt like I was coming out of a stupor – dazed, ill at ease, yet utterly captivated by the storytelling that feels, all at once, like poetry and a tale of visceral anger.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Sue Lynn Tan, Author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess; On Her Chang’e-Inspired Debut, Themes of Love, and Writing Journey

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

2022 is promised to be a spectacular reading year with Daughter of the Moon Goddess releasing in January next year. In case you haven’t heard, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a forthcoming fantasy inspired by the Chang’e legend and all of us at the Pond are so excited to read it! If you need another reason to be excited, Sue Lynn Tan revealed the cover of her debut last week – friends, if you haven’t seen it, then prepare for it to take your breath away.

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Book Review: Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki – An Affirming Love Letter to Violins, Donuts and Found Family, and the Transformative Power of Hope

light from uncommon stars by ryka aoki, book review by cw, the quiet pond
Synopsis:

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

I was provided an eARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

How do you begin to review a book that reawakens your long-dormant memories, bittersweet regret and love for the violin? How do you even review a book that lays bare trauma and never once lies about the pain whilst also being one of the most affirming and heartening stories you have read in recent memory? How do you review a book that doesn’t just tell you that life is worth living, but shows you with gentle scenes about two broken queer women who feed ducks at a park and a trans girl who, despite all the trauma she’s endured, learns how to love herself? How do I even begin to review Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki?

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