Three Bookish Things Book Tag

I was tagged by Jenny @ JenJenReviews in July. Thank you so much for tagging me!

As Jenny notes in her tag, the origin of Three Bookish Things seems to be unknown although it was possibly started on Instagram. If you or anyone knows who initially started it, please let me know!

Three read once and loved authors

  • Leigh Bardugo
    I’ve only read The Ninth House for a book club and it blew me away. I loved it. I plan to remedy this, but I’m not sure when. I have The Grishaverse on standby though.
  • Tricia Levenseller
    I read of Blade of Secrets and became enamored with Levenseller’s writing. The plot was fast-paced and the characters were entertaining. I’m hoping to start the Daughter of the Pirate King soon. (Um…my poor TBR)
  • Sarah MacLean
    MacLean set the bar really high with Daring and the Duke, and now I’m a bit afraid her other books won’t meet the bar. As soon as I find another book from MacLean that sounds as good, I will give her another chance.

Three titles I’ve watched but haven’t read

  • Brooklyn
    I first watched Brooklyn because I was in the mood for something historical and I also love Saoirse Ronan. I’m not sure if I will read the book, but it will remain a movie I rewatch. Domnall Gleeson is also in it, and I’m very partial to him too.
  • Stardust This was one of the first movie premieres I attended. There were multiple surprises throughout with great performances from Clare Danes and Robert Deniro. I like to rewatch this one a lot. It’s turned into a comfort movie.
  • Game of Thrones
    I binged Game of Thrones while waiting for the last season. I’m an Arya Stark fan. I was not a fan of the last few episodes though. Unfortunately, with the book series still unfinished, I probably won’t be reading it. Maybe in the future?

Three characters you love

  • Jo Kuan (The Downstairs Girl) is smart and understands her worth. The advice to the letters she receives for her column are clever; some even hilarious. Here’s one I loved and had to make a post for.
  • Karigan G’ladheon (The Green Rider) is courageous with a sense of duty and loyalty to her kingdom. She’s more than willing to speak her mind, even though it can get her into trouble.
  • Liya Thakkar (The Trouble with Hating You) defies the stereotypes people have of what she should be like. Even though she has a tough exterior, she’s also incredibly kind sweet. She’s kind to the people who love her and more than willing to stand up for them. I saw bits of myself in her.

Three series binged

  • Clandestine Magic Trilogy
    I can’t recommend this trilogy enough. There twists and there are turns. There’s romance and lots of magic. It’s pretty much a mash of all my favorite genres together with a dose of political science. Don’t let the latter deter you because this is a fantastic trilogy!
  • Green Rider Series
    I’ve binged this a couple of times. Why? This is one of my favorite medieval fantasy series. Every time I think I have the world figured out, there’s more to learn about it. I’ve followed the series since nearly the beginning–over 20 years–and I don’t regret it one bit.
  • Throne of Glass
    Does it count if I’ve never read Tower of Dawn and don’t really want to? Chaol broke my heart so I couldn’t bring myself to read it. It was difficult to get into the first book, but when I finally did, I couldn’t stop. I was a zombie afterward.

Three favorite book covers

I think the covers speak for themselves. I love the silhouette on the cover of Before I Saw You. The image and colors for The Sound of Stars is stunning. How beautiful is the sky for Under A Painted Sky?

Three goals for this year

  • Take a leadership development course. This pertains more to work life since I’ve been charged with greater responsibilities that forces me to play a more visible role when I’d rather just help from behind the scenes.
  • Be more comfortable with promoting my blog. I still have this desire to allow it to be as obscure as possible because I’m self conscious about what I write. What if I have no idea what I’m writing about?
  • Read Jade City. I’ve heard so many good things about the book and Jade Legacy will be out soon. I need to read it this quarter, so next quarter can read Jade War.

I tag:

Red Tigress (2021)

by Amélie Wen Zhao
ASIN/ISBN: 9780525707851
Publication: March 2, 2021
Series: Blood Heir Trilogy #2

Warning: There may be spoilers for Blood Heir. There are some elements from Blood Heir I couldn’t help but to comment on as well. Sorry. Please proceed with caution.

**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

Red Tigress picks up right after the events of Blood Heir. With a new ruler on the Cyrilian throne, Affinites are seemingly safe, except the new ruler expects loyalty from everyone. Those who refuse to submit face execution. With her people and her country in peril, Ana must seek allies to take back her throne. With Ransom Quicktongue and new friends in tow, Ana heads across the ocean for help.

Like its predecessor, Red Tigress moves along at a fast pace. Before I realized it, I was already halfway through the book. Along with the pace, I also particularly enjoyed the descriptive detail and the ending battle. Zhao’s writing is evocative, and I savored a lot of the imagery. I especially loved the descriptions of Linn taking flight and Ramson’s dip in the pool. The final conflict is detailed, a real nail-biter as the main characters fight for their lives. The ending of the book is a different story. I am not a fan of how the book concluded, and it’s made me eager to read the final book with the hope that the ending will be better.

Ana remains ruled by her emotions, impulsive and only recalling the consequences after. This leads her into a few skirmishes early on that she manages to just barely escape. Despite all she’s been through, it bothered me that she endangered her plans by not thinking ahead. This is why Ramson is crucial. He is her opposite, thinking and planning before making a move. He gives her structure and stability. Other than being the true heir to the throne and having a desire to help her people, there isn’t much to demonstrate Ana’s ability to rule. From a practical point of view, it isn’t enough that she loves her empire and the people within it, although it’s a start. While I was able to overlook it in the first book, it was difficult to do that here with so much riding on her leadership abilities. She needs to undergo a fair amount of growth before she can prove herself fit to rule. I hope the next book provides character development in this area.  

The status of Ramson and Ana’s relationship was also something I was never fully on board with mostly due to how quickly it developed. I’m a hopeless romantic (albeit often cynical and yes, I know, a conundrum) and hoped for a dash of romance, but Ramson and Ana’s feelings felt more contrived than organic to the story. The switch from enemies to allies can be explained by their circumstances, but their attraction to each other felt sudden. In Red Tigress, their attraction to each other strengthens, and there’s a fair amount of tension between the them with the will they or won’t they moments. A few moments, especially one in particular, felt out of place. As much as the particular moment made me tingly, it halted the story at an inopportune moment.

May is meant to signify hope and provide Ana a purpose, but I never thought her character in Blood Heir necessary in the first place. Some of their moments and some of the things May said made me cringe. In Red Tigress, Ana often thinks about May and the promises they made, which keep Ana moving forward. I believe Ana’s plight and experiences were more than enough to spur her into action without using May as a plot device. Unless I missed something crucial, I wasn’t sure whether Empress was aware that Ana was alive. It seems like she should know because of the fliers, but that would also mean that one of Ana’s allies should be dead and the ally is not. Maybe this will be better addressed in the last book.

Red Tigress was a slightly better than average read but I couldn’t help question many of the things the characters did or did not do. The final conflict is a highlight of the novel. I look forward to the final book.

{book birthday} How We Fall Apart (2021)


Katie Zhao’s dark academia novel How We Fall Apart is out today!

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


by Katie Zhao
ASIN/ISBN: 9781547603978
Publication: August 17, 2021
Series: How We Fall Apart #1

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

Students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead. (from Goodreads)


Katie Zhao is a 2017 graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and Political Science, and a 2018 Masters of Accounting at the same university. She is the author of THE DRAGON WARRIOR series (Bloomsbury Kids), HOW WE FALL APART (Bloomsbury Kids), forthcoming LAST GAMER STANDING (Scholastic), and forthcoming WINNIE ZENG series (Random House Children’s Books). She is represented by Penny Moore of Aevitas Creative Management. She’s a passionate advocate for representation in literature and media.