Favorite Reads of 2020 (Plus a 2020 Reading Recap)

Hello book nerds! Surprise, it’s my favorite 2020 reads!

I know, I know. I’m kind of late. December has been hectic and was a little stressful, so I never got around to writing and publishing this one. But hey, I’m here now, and ready to share my favorite reads of 2020! A fair warning though, I meant to keep this list up to 15 books only. But I couldn’t (????) I just can’t, please don’t make me *cries* In my defense, these are all great books that truly left a mark on me this 2020. Books that made my 2020 a little bit better, books that made my 2020 a little brighter.

So without further ado, here are my favorite reads of 2020!

Read More »

ARC Review + Favorite Quotes: The Electric Heir [Blog Tour]

Title: The Electric Heir
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: Feverwake #2
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, LGTBQ+, Bisexual rep, gay rep, plus other queer characters, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Profanity, alcohol/drug abuse, mental health and suicide, non-consensual/rape, emotional abuse and manipulation, physical abuse. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself.
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

Hello book nerds! Guess what? It’s my tour stop in The Electric Heir Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club and. For this post I have a review to share, as well as some of my favorite quotes!

I’ve already published a review for The Electric Heir back in January (it’s one of my favorite reads that month, probably the whole 2020), but I couldn’t resist on signing up for this blog tour! And with luck, I was chosen to be a part of the tour! (Thank you so much The FFBC!)

My thoughts on The Electric Heir

The Electric Heir is just so beautifully written. Not just because of the magnificent prose, but because the author understands how to build characters and let them develop and be their own. These characters are interesting because they’re complex and they keep on changing as we read the story. I loved witnessing the whole journey these characters went through. Painful as it is, their arcs are well-developed and carefully-written. Best of all is that the storyline is gripping and it tackled several significant themes. There was abuse, trauma, mental health, politics, unhealthy relationships, and more. Everything wraps up at the end of the book and it is satisfying indeed.

For a detailed book review, click here.

My favorite quotes from the book

As I’ve mentioned, The Electric Heir‘s prose is just awe-inspiring and poignant. As a result, I have a lot of favorite quotes from this book. But for this tour stop, I managed to choose my top five. Here they are:

THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTESTHE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 4THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 3THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 2THE ELECTRIC HEIR FAVE QUOTES 5


The Electric Heir Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Book Depository | Google Books

Preorder campaign for The Electric Heir: Submit your proof of purchase or library request and you get to choose between two digital short stories!

About the Author 

Victoria Lee author image
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whisky.

Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work.

She is represented by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.

Website| Goodreads | Twitter | InstagramFacebook

Tour Schedule

See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, and dream casts from other wonderful bloggers included in The Electric Heir blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!

Giveaway

Win (1) copy of THE ELECTRIC HEIR by Victoria Lee (US Only)
Starts: March 11th 2020
Ends: March 25th 2020

Enter here!

ARC Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: TJ Klune
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQ+ rep, M/M romance, F/F romance (mentioned)
Content Warnings: Prejudice/hatred
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!

The House in the Cerulean Sea

 

I went into this book not really knowing anything other than the synopsis and that it’s queer.

I never knew that it will blow me away with such a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story. Because that’s what this book is: a beautiful, breathtaking, wholesome story from start to finish.

(Sorry, my mind went blank somewhere around here. I was trying to think of other things to describe this book, but I don’t think they’ll ever be enough! *cries*)

My thoughts on The House in the Cerulean Sea

For starters, The House in the Cerulean Sea is wonderfully-written. It was able to capture the emotions and thoughts of the characters and project it to the readers. It was also funny, yet poignant and deep. I couldn’t simply stop reading, and if I did, the story stayed on my mind.

This book is character-driven, and the characters are just amazing. I loved Linus’s character arc. He starts as this obedient and loyal employee who feels small and unseen. At the end of the book he’s not any of those things anymore, and I loved that! He discovers and realizes many things, and he grows and he learns. My favorites would have to be the kids though, specifically Chauncey (the unidentifiable green blob) and Lucy (the Antichrist (yep, you read that right indeed)). They’re just so pure! I loved Arthur and Zoe as well. They completed the story and I loved that Arthur got some character development, too!

The plot, though simple, is incredibly profound. Linus is a case worker and the fate of this rundown orphanage and the dangerous, yet extraordinary kids lie in his decision and recommendation. The story follows Linus and his one month stay at Marsyas Island Orphanage. It’s slow going, but Linus gets to know the kids and the caretakers. He gets to know the island and the prejudice against the orphanage. He realizes the unfairness of many things. He realizes where he belongs. He finally finds his own home. Along the way, there are secrets, riots, self-realizations, love, and healing. It’s wholesome, pure, and absolutely perfect.

Above all, this is a story that teaches us to be kind, that the world is not merely black and white, and that it’s okay to feel small once in a while. I’m completely blown away by it. I fell in love with this story and I’ll forever cherish it in my heart.

Quotes from the book

“You are a fire, and they need to know how you burn. Not only because of who you are, but because of what they have made you into.”

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

“This isn’t simply an orphanage. It is a house of healing, and one that I think is necessary.”

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.


Buy The House in the Cerulean Sea

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


In conclusion, The House in the Cerulean Sea is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020 and I am slowly becoming a fan of TJ Klune (I read his novella Blasphemy and it was hilarious!).

Anyway, please consider checking this book out on Goodreads and adding it to your TBRs!

ARC Review: The Electric Heir

Title: The Electric Heir
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: Feverwake #2
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, LGTBQ+, Bisexual rep, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Profanity, alcohol/drug abuse, mental health and suicide, non-consensual/rape, emotional abuse and manipulation, physical abuse. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself.
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Skyscape!

img_9282Okay book nerds. Strap in because this book may just be my top/favorite read of 2020.

I read The Fever King a couple of days ago and I loved it! I got sucked into the story and the world and the characters in no time. I was just so excited for the sequel to come! And so, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that the sequel was available for request on NetGalley, and what’s even more surprising is that my request was approved! I dove right in.

The Electric Heir is one conclusion I will never forget. It’s powerful, it’s gripping, it’s intense, it’s heartbreaking, and above all, it’s beautifully done. I am truly in awe of this book.

Beautifully written

The Electric Heir is beautifully written. There’s no other way to go about it. Every sentence, every chapter, every archive part, every flashback—they were all there for a reason, they were all there to create a powerful story that will affect the readers. And boy, was I affected. My breath was knocked out of me; I was left feeling horrified; I cried; I felt all the anger, the frustration, the sadness, the angst, the fear, the hope; everything. I was so emotionally invested with the characters and the story because of the prose and how the author carefully built the story. I admire it so much.

I also loved the addition of Dara’s point of view. It was so great to know more of his perspective, his experiences, his thoughts, his feelings. He was an enigma in The Fever King, and here in The Electric Heir, we’re given the chance to peek into his mind. I loved it.

Complex characters

I loved how the author created such complex characters and explored each and every one of them. From Noam, to Dara, to Lehrer, and even the minor characters like Ames, Bethany, Taye, Leo, Priya and Claire. I applaud the author for such a great job with these characters.

Noam, my sweet boy, Noam. There’s a drastic change from the Noam in The Fever King to the Noam here in The Electric Heir. He’s braver, smarter, definitely more powerful, but there’s also a new kind of darkness inside of him—a mix of guilt, longing, trauma, secrets, wrong decisions, and more.

And Dara, my darling boy, Dara. There’s also a drastic change in Dara, all right. With him being no longer a Witching, we see him struggle and try to cope with being a normal person. We also see him try to deal with all that happened while he was gone, deal with the new Noam, and deal with the horrors Lehrer has imprinted on his mind.

And that brings me to Lehrer. Just when I thought I have an idea of what kind of person Lehrer is, I am proven wrong. Lehrer’s character is such a good villain, I have to admit that, even though I have a newfound hatred for him. Him being an antagonist is good because it’s so real, because his character exists in the real world—in the faces of abusers, of corrupt politicians, of tyrants, of manipulators. That’s what makes him so good, and so scary, and so frustrating.

Gripping storyline with significant themes

The author dedicated The Electric Heir to survivors. Because above all, this story is about surviving. Surviving abusers, surviving tyranny, surviving your own demons. I absolutely loved how the author focused on themes such as abuse, trauma, mental health, politics, relationships. There were already themes like these in The Fever King, but it’s in this book where these themes were such a distinct part of the plot. The author has woven them all together with such regard and, for me, it created such a powerful, gripping, and emotional story that will really stay with me as a reader and as a person. It was brilliant.


 

Overall, this book is just so, so good. Actually, it’s more than that, it’s magnificent, What a finale! I’m pretty sure this is my new obsession now, and I can say that Victoria Lee is now one of my favorite authors.

Sad to think about how this is the conclusion, but hey, good thing it’s been adapted into a Webtoon. Haha!

If I could give a million stars to this book, to Noam and to Dara, I would.

Book Review: The Fever King

Title: The Fever King
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series:
Feverwake #1
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Bisexual rep, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content warnings: Graphic descriptions of death, violence, and murder, mentions of sex, drugs, alcohol/lots of drinking, rape, lots of swearing. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself
Goodreads synopsis:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

the-fever-king
Book nerds, it’s my first ever 5-star read of 2020! 

The Fever King surprised me! I never thought it would be so captivating—from the prose, to the plot, the characters, and the romance. But here I am, with my mind still reeling. I love it!

Excellent writing style

I am an absolute fan of the writing style of this book! The prose is sharp, but also kind of mellow, the kind that will grab hold of your emotions no matter what the scene is. The author used a lot of metaphors, but that just made the imagery and the tone so excellent.

Great characters and romance

The characters are just captivating; whether it be a major character or a minor character, and whether it be a protagonist or an antagonist (and to be honest, it’s so hard to grasp who is the hero and who is the villain, and I love that!).

I love Noam! He’s sassy, and brave, and so determined to help the situation of the refugees. Dara, on the other hand, is cold, intelligent, yet he can also be so loving and hopeful. I wish these two just would have just talked more to avoid their miscommunications, but of course, their journey is slow and angsty. Lehrer was such an interesting character, too, and he made the plot all the more interesting.

The romance is also one of my favorite things in this book! It’s slow burn, with a lot of tension and angst! At the end of the book, I was left wanting more. (I just want more of Noam and Dara, please.)

Unpredictable plot

The Fever King is full of twists and turns and I was truly invested with the plot from start to finish. There were times when I thought I knew what was happening or that I was right about my predictions, but I was wrong and the author was able to surprise me with every plot twist.

I love how the plot focused on politics, racism, and immigrants and refugees trying. I know this is such an important and relevant topic, especially in the US, and to have that as a main focus of the story is enlightening.

Awesome world-building

The world-building in The Fever King is also intriguing. It’s set in a “former United States”, and although the place is quite the same, there are differences with the timelines, the history, and of course, the presence of the viral magic. I wish we’ll get to know more about how that viral magic started as well!

Quotes from the book

“The whole world was a sea of data, so many electrical impulses sparking from pockets and tablets and streetlights and cameras and drones. It was like someone had plugged in a cord and turned on the galaxy.”

“History is written by the victors.”

“If Noam kissed him right now, Dara would think Noam was just like everyone else. And maybe Noam wasn’t special, bu he wanted to be.”

“And I meant it when I said I wasn’t gay,” Noam said. Ames looked disbelieving, but she didn’t pull away. Noam smirked. “Bisexual isn’t gay.”

“Dara, who claimed he hated everything but secretly dreamed of counting the stars.”


 

I never thought I’d love this book so much! Definitely including this one to my 20 LGBTQ+ Books in 2020 reading challenge!

How about you guys? Have you read The Fever King yet? What were your thoughts?