Book Tag | Milk Tea (from Hong Kong!)

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Hey all! Alyssa (from The Devil Orders Takeout, naturally) created the awesomeness that is the Milk Tea Book Tag and tagged me for it, because milk tea is a Prominent Thing in Hong Kong (where Alyssa lives). And, as Alyssa points out, why should only western delicacies be subjects for book tags? 

I think this is very, very cool, although I've never tried milk tea. I should get on that. But first! Here's my response to the tag.

Tea: the foundation of your reading life

dashti my precious fierce kind queen i love you
This book is basically MY EVERYTHING. I read it sometime in elementary school, and it's been near and dear to my heart ever since. It has almost all of the elements that have set the bones of my reading skeleton: a fairy tale retelling plot, a diverse setting (I believe it's based on the Mongolian steppes? I mean HOW COOL), a kind and courageous protagonist, and a romance that makes my heart melt.

To be frank, Shannon Hale's books have influenced me so much—not only this one, but her Books of Bayern series and Princess Academy as well. So much girl power and magical goodness. So much brilliance. If you haven't read anything from her, you should get on that ASAP because I can assure you, your childhood has a Shannon-Hale-shaped hole in it.

Milk: a rich, smooth book

dragon books at their ABSOLUTE FINEST tbh
This duology is so, so precious to me. There are incredibly original, well-executed dragons, absolutely masterful worldbuilding (basically these are fantasy worldbuilding textbooks, please read and learn), epic diversity (one of the important characters in the second book is a trans woman of color? YES), nifty magic, plot twists and politics like whoa, and delightfully fleshed-out characters. Seraphina is a heroine who uses her head and heart equally, and she's also a nerd, which is great for us fellow nerds. In sum: I have no idea why these books are so underrated. The Internet should be ALL over them.

Sugar: a book you love but is controversial

okay but like the covers for this series are PRETTY HIDEOUS
okay these covers are pretty hideous as well but like WILL HERONDALE so i don't care
I've lumped nine books under one heading. My blog, my rules. 

Cassandra Clare's work as a whole seems pretty controversial in the literary world. She gets a lot of love and a lot of hate for pretty much anything she's done in her entire online/authorial career. But I absolutely adore the Shadowhunter world—I have zero shame about this, so don't try to get any embarrassment out of me—and I just love the characters and action scenes and relationships and magic system and everything. AND this series is just aesthetically really gorgeous, which works great for—you guessed it—aesthetic trash like myself.

Of the two series, though, The Infernal Devices has stuck with me more. Tessa and Jem and Will are on my imaginary list of Top Triumvirates, honestly. (Right up there with The 100's Bellamy/Clarke/Raven, as well as LotR's Legolas/Aragorn/Gimli.) Plus the Victorian era! And period-drama-style wit! Ugh, I have so much love for this series I can't. Also, the last three Mortal Instruments books weren't quite as great as the first three, at least for me, but oh my goodness. I just love Simon and Isabelle and Magnus too much to let them go? 

Ice: a book just for fun

This is a ridiculously fun, action-packed read that I picked up at the start of this year. It's definitely a must for steampunk lovers—the worldbuilding is really clever, and the banter is honestly so, so precious. Plus, there's an adorable ship and a firecracker of a heroine and some creepy villainous goings-on. It's not too heavy and a perfect mood-lifter, so it fits really nicely under this category.

Silk stocking: a book that's much better than it sounds

SHIIIIP — also i'm so so glad this got redesigned
I honestly thought I would loathe this book. It's super super out of my comfort zone—a fluffy Hollywood romance? Yeah, typically so not for me. I thought I was in for something shallow and corny. But Dahlia Adler pretty much hit it out of the park, with meaningful character dynamics, refreshingly realistic dialogue, incredibly readable narration, and SHIPPING POWER. She's probably one of my favorite contemporary authors period, although to my chagrin, I've yet to get my hands on Under the Lights (the sequel to Behind the Scenes). *adds to to-do list*

Yinyang: a book with foreign influence

the title text treatment though. also YAY for non-whitewashed covers

NOTE: By foreign, I'm going to assume you mean non-US or non-western. (I live in the US anyway, so.) 

Shadows on the Moon is a Cinderella retelling set in a Japan-inspired kingdom. Just hearing that description makes your eyes widen a little, right? RIGHT. It's also got revenge, illusions, intrigue, and gorgeous writing. It's fabulously diverse and really well-done. Plus, although Cinderella retellings have obviously been done to death, this story is a stunner and handles the retelling aspect nicely. This book isn't appreciated nearly as much as it should be and you really should read it so we can talk. 

I'm Tagging! I would tag specific people, but Alyssa tagged a whole crowd, some of whom are mutual blogger friends of ours. So, dear reader, if you've stuck with me this long and you'd like to steal this tag for your own blog, go right ahead!

Isn't this a fabulous tag? Do you agree with my book choices? Let me know in the comments!

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