Book Review: She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – A Glorious and Brutal Queer Epic about Ambitious Desires, Fighting Fate and Ascension of Power

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-
Blurb:

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

I was given an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Upon finishing She Who Became the Sun, I gently placed my e-reader down, laid down on the ground, and just let gravity and the implications of the story’s ending bear its crushing weight upon me. What a book, She Who Became the Sun is. I cannot adequately express my pleasure over the fact that She Who Became the Sun was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2021 and, in its phenomenal storytelling and unforgettable characters, delivered, and more.

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Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – A Stunning and Thrilling Descent into Dark Academia, Race, and Class

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide. A badge at the bottom-left that says, 'Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond'. In the centre is a image of Xiaolong, the pink axolotl wearing a flower hat, waving at you.
Blurb:

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading Ace of Spades, I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling: I wanted to go back to the very first page and read it cover to cover again. I wanted to relive the descension of horror this book takes you through. I wanted to experience the terror and fear that this book instils with its incredible twist and turns. And, knowing what I know now, I wanted to feel that absolute dread of knowing what was coming, because how this story devolves and leads to was thrilling and so satisfyingly brilliant. I am in awe of Ace of Spades, and it is one of the most phenomenal debuts that I have ever read.

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Book Recommendations: Black History Month Edition! 20 Black Queer Books

Book Recommendations: Black History Month Edition! 20 Black Queer Books

Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

Welcome back to our second book recommendations post for Black History Month at the Pond! We have had another wonderful and eventful week at the Pond. This week, I reviewed Yesterday is History, which is one of my favourite books so far this year, we had Nekesa Afia, who visited and talked about her adult historical mystery, Dead Dead Girls, and Ciannon Smart, who talked about her debut, Witches Steeped in Gold.

Last week, we closed the first week of Black History Month with 16 Black contemporary books. This week, we are going to celebrate and spotlight 20 queer Black books! We love these books – or, are very excited for them! – and we hope that you will read these books and enjoy them as much as we did.

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Book Review: This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi – A Heartwarming Story about Saving an Indie Bookstore

Blurb:

Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him.

Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.

Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day.

When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.

And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.

Cuddle's review:

Books set over the course of 24 hours (or any short period of time) have a certain propulsion that is unmatched. Even with my INTENSELY busy schedule, having added 5-10 hours of work to each week, I listened to This Is All Your Fault every night and every morning while walking my sweet dog, Mary Puppins, and I have to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed this novel. When I wasn’t listening to the audiobook, I took every chance I could to devour this quick story on my Kindle.

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