Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Laura Pohl, Author of The Grimrose Girls; On Her Fairytales Retelling, Centering Friendships, and Brazilian Media Recommendations!

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.

Our Friend is Here: Latine Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond between September 15 – October 15, where we invite Latine authors to celebrate being Latine and Latine books! Find the introduction post for Latine Heritage Month here.

With the explosion of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels in the early 2010s, I struggled to connect with these stories in which people who looked like me and my friends never seemed to survive the apocalypse. I was ready to put my fascination and love for dystopia and post-apocalyptic stories to bed – until last year, I read one of my favourite YA post-apocalyptic novels of all time: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl. Finally! I thought, a post-apocalyptic novel that’s brilliantly told, exciting, with a cast of queer teens of colour who actually look like me and my friends! From there on, I vowed that I’d read whatever Laura Pohl wrote.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Five Reasons to Read: The Dreamweavers by G.Z. Schmidt – An Exciting Adventure into a Chinese-Inspired World of Dreams, Mooncakes, and Curses

Synopsis:

Since their parents’ strange disappearance several years ago, 12-year-old twins Mei and Yun have been raised by their grandfather, who makes the best mooncakes around using a secret ingredient.

On the day of the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival, the emperor sends his son to sample Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes—but instead of tasting wonderful, they are horrible and bitter, strangely mirroring the odd, gloomy atmosphere and attitudes that have been washing over the village in the last few days. Grandpa is arrested for insulting and harming the prince, and Mei and Yun realize they are the only two people who will come to Grandpa’s aid.

The twins set out on foot for the long journey to the emperor’s palace where Grandpa’s being taken, but a surprising stop in the eerie City of Ashes, a visit with the legendary, mystical Jade Rabbit, and an encounter with a powerful poet whose enchanted words spread curses, influence just how Mei and Yun will manage to clear their grandfather’s name.

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

If you are looking for an action-packed, sweeping adventure that will keep you entertained and intrigued with its historical, fantasy, and even mystery elements, then look no further than The Dreamweavers, a lovely middle-grade historical fantasy releasing next month!

Read More »

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.

Read More »