Train Wreck Central
Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang
June Hayward has spent years watching Athena Liu become publishing's brightest star. Now it's finally June's turn to shine. Never mind that she stole the manuscript from Athena's apartment after her so-called friend choked to death on pancakes. Never mind that June has to use a racially ambiguous name for marketing purposes. She's definitely earned all of this success, hasn't she?
I ripped through this book at a breakneck pace, thanks to the fascinating subject matter (i.e. the publishing world) and Kuang's masterful writing. June is the most amazing train wreck of a character and I couldn't - didn't want to! - look away. Never have I met such an unreliable and fantastically awful narrator. June is like a much darker version of myself, if I'd taken a hundred wrong turns lol. Unfortunately, Yellowface suffers from recurring heavy-handedness and a lacklustre finale... but gosh it was fun while it lasted.
House of My Brilliant Friend
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
Theirs is a marriage of fairy tales and secrets, surviving only so long as nothing of the bride is revealed or unravelled. But then the bride is called back home and her husband duly accompanies her. The secrets are now too close, too tantalising, to a scholar who was once comfortable with not knowing who he married. But he will be comfortable no longer.
Like all novels that sit on the literary fiction shelf, this was at times difficult to read - mostly because of the sumptuous prose that perfectly matches the novel's fairy tale themes. But I enjoyed the slow build-up of tension, the ambiguous magical realism, and the teasing hints (which became even more enjoyable when I realised what was coming).
A fascinating fable that brings to mind the works of Isabel Allende and Elena Ferrante.
Mara and Dann (Mara and Dann #1)
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, can be found dabbling in multiple genres and writing forms. She has self-published several titles in her space opera family saga, which is divided into two series: The Galactic Pantheon and The Pantheon War. Her most recent book is The Shadow of the Gods.