Book Haul

May’s & June’s Monthly E-Book Haul of Diverse Books by Authors of Colour

With the sudden arrival of quarantine, I have become reunited with my Kindle app on my iPad so that I may read e-books. With libraries and bookstores being shut down, the safest and oft times cheapest means of acquiring diverse titles has been via daily deals for digital novels. Between that and Amazon’s  free trial of Kindle Unlimited (a subscriber can read an unlimited amount of e-books for $9.99 per month, with ten checkouts at a time and no expiration date), my appreciation for cybernated reading has deepened tenfold.

May and June (thus far) have proved to be quite invaluable with regard to diverse books authored by writers of colour. With titles being offered for lightning-timed prices of zero dollars to approximately a couple bucks here and there, so many brilliant novels from my TBR (to-be-read) list, across subgenres of young adult to adult and historical fiction to fantasy, have fallen conveniently into my Kindle library. As such, I now have a decent collection of things to read and review on The Djinn Reader for the remainder of 2020.  

Please check out my latest digital haul down below. Respective links to GoodReads pages shall be linked after the synopses of each title, along with the sale price that I acquired the books for.


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The Rise of Kiyoshi by F.C. Yee: A young adult fantasy novel that is the first instalment in a prequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. The story delves into the story of Kyoshi, the Earth Kingdom–born Avatar. The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. GoodReads. $2.99


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The Golden Hairpin by Qinghan Cece: This #OwnVoices historical mystery is about an investigative prodigy named Huang Zixia. At thirteen, she proves herself worthy as an investigator by aiding her father in solving confounding crimes. When she turns seventeen, she ends up going on the run after being accused of murdering her family to escape an arranged marriage. Driven by a single pursuit, she uses her skills to unmask the real killer so she may clear her name once and for all. However, in order to make that happen, Huang shall have to make a deal with the Prince of Kui while bargaining her freedom and life in order to save them both. GoodReads. $0.99


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The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo: An #OwnVoices Korean Contemporary novel about a teenager named Clara Shin who lives for pranks. However, when she takes a joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck with her uptight classmate, Rose Carver. What Clara expects to be an utter disaster turns into a summer of self-discovery with new friendships and a fresh romance. GoodReads. $2.99


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The Lost Vintage: A Novel by Ann Mah:  A fiction literature story about a woman named Kate who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy, where she discovers a lost diary and an unknown relative that shall unveil a family secret held closely since the Second World War. As she learns more about her family, the line between Resistance and Collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war?  GoodReads. $3.99


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The Perfect Nanny: A Novel by Leila Slimani: This is an #OwnVoices Franco-Moroccan book about a woman named Myriam. When she decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, her and her husband look for the perfect nanny. They find Louise, who seems to be an utter dream come true. She is quiet, polite, and devoted. She sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic Paris apartment, and stays late without complaints. But as the nanny and the couple become more co-dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicion start stirring, threatening to shatter the idyllic tableau crafted. GoodReads. $2.99


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Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak: An #OwnVoices Turkish-Islamic adult fiction story set over an evening in contemporary Istanbul, following Peri, a married and wealthy Turkish woman. On her way to a seaside mansion, a beggar snatches her handbag. While she wrestles to retrieve it, a photograph falls to the ground—an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from the past and a love of Peri’s that she had tried desperately to forget. GoodReads. $1.99


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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim: An #OwnVoices Chinese young adult fantasy story that is a sweeping tale about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor. To do so, she shall have to embark on an epic journey to sew three magic dresses from the sun, the moon, and the stars. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. GoodReads. $2.99


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Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang: This historical occult fiction book takes place in New York City in 1899 and follows Tillie Pembrooke. She’s a ravenous reader and a researcher that is determined to unravel the mystery of her sister’s death. Will Tillie be able to look past the haze of her opium addiction and the hysteria caused by the murder in order to catch the culprit behind her sister’s demise? GoodReads. $1.99


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A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian: An #OwnVoices South Asian novel that revolves around a tight-knit community known as Heaven—a ramshackle slum hidden between luxury high-rises in Bangalore, India—five girls on the cusp of womanhood forge an unbreakable bond. Muslim, Christian, and Hindu; Queer and straight; they are full of life, and they love and accept one another unconditionally. Whatever they have, they share. These marginalised women are determined to transcend their surroundings. When the local government threatens to demolish their homes in order to build a shopping mall, the girls and their mothers refuse to be erased. Together they wage war on the bulldozers sent to bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that wishes that families like them would remain hidden forever. GoodReads. $1.99


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No More Heroes by Michelle Kan: This urban fantasy title. The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted Vigilantes around the world. But a sudden rash of Vigilante deaths foreshadows the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy—one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they are going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain? GoodReads. $3.50


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The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai: An #OwnVoices Vietnamese historical fiction title that has received sweeping acclaim across the globe, it is a multigenerational tale about the Trần family, set against the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, born in the 1920s, is forced to flee with her six children during a period of severe land reform. Years later, her granddaughter comes of age as her family is headed down to Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore her country and family apart. GoodReads. $1.99


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Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier: This is an #OwnVoices Pacific Islander (Guam), young adult historical fantasy novel. Eighteen years ago two princes of the island kingdom of St. John del Mar were kidnapped and murdered in a deadly plot by the rival kingdom of Mondrago. Everyone knows the story. Yet for Elias, Mercedes, and Ulises the aftermath of that terrible day is deeply personal. Elias grew up without his father, who was killed trying to protect the princes. Mercedes is half-Mondragan, leaving her to grow up in the shadow of del Mar’s hate. And Ulises, as the youngest and only remaining prince, inherited the throne meant for his older brothers. Now, the three friends just want to move on with their lives. But when two maps surface—each with the same hidden riddle—troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young princes? And why do the maps look like they were drawn by Elias’s father, whose body was never found?  To discover what really happened that fateful day, Elias, Mercedes, and Ulises must follow the clues hidden in the maps, uncovering long-held secrets and unimaginable betrayals along the way. GoodReads. $1.99


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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh: This historical fantasy young adult story is loosely inspired by Arabian Nights. Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. GoodReads. $1.99


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Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore: This is a young adult historical fantasy novel. Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumours of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there is more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes. GoodReads. $1.99


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Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith: A young adult contemporary following Divya and Aaron. For them, it is all about the world of online gaming. While Divya trades her rising status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay rent, Aaron plays as a way to fuel his own dreams of becoming a game developer. After a chance online meeting, the pair decides to team up, but soon find themselves as targets for a group of internet trolls that begin launching a real-world doxxing campaign, threatening Aaron’s dream and Divya’s actual life. They think can drive her out of the game, but Divya’s whole world is on the line and she shall not go down without a fight. GoodReads. $1.99


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Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera: An #OwnVoices Puerto Rican young adult contemporary title about Juliet Milagros Palante, who is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Then Juliet comes out to her family the night before flying out to Portland, Oregon for an internship with her favourite feminist writer. When her coming out completely crashes, she is not sure her mother shall ever speak to her again. Hoping her internship shall give her the answers, Juliet realises that it will be much harder as Harlowe is White, not from the Bronx, and does not have the answers Juliet seeks. GoodReads. $1.99


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Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron: A young adult fantasy about Arrah, who is the heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors. She yearns for magic of her own yet fails at bone magic and calling upon her ancestors, as well as living up to her familial legacy. Under her mother’s disapproving eye, Arrah is afraid that she shall never be good enough. However, when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah becomes desperate enough to turn to a forbidden and dangerous ritual. If she does not have her own magic, then her last resort is to buy it but trading away years of her own life. GoodReads. $1.99


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Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown: This book is a young adult novel that is heavily autobiographical novel and infused with magical realism about a girl named Echo Brown, who is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small, and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realises there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she has worked for. GoodReads. $2.99


Asian Tor.com Original Short Stories
(GR Links in Titles)

The Weight of Memories by Cixin Liu: This is an #OwnVoices Chinese speculative fiction short story about memories that are yet to be born. $0.99

Come Drink With Me by Michelle Kan: A LGBTQIA+, #OwnVoices Chinese fairy tale that is about a dragon and a phoenix who make their living on Earth in an opera house. $0.99

Beyond the Dragon’s Gate by Yoon Ha Lee: This #OwnVoices Korean science-fiction short story is about former Academician, Anna Kim. Kim’s research into artificial intelligence cost her everything. Now, years later, the military has need of her expertise in order to prevent the destruction of their AI-powered fleet. $0.99

Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Neon Yang: An OwnVoices Singaporean science-fiction short story  about Xin, who is an ansible that uses her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial authority and its far-flung colonies—a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness.” When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages. $0.99

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