November 2017 Wrap Up

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November seemed to go quickly, but also jam packed with news, articles, and great reads. I had a blast this November and here are some of the highlights.

Thanksgiving at my in laws

I’ve never had Thanksgiving at anyone else’s house before. I’ve always had it with my family with the same meal and the same sides to be expected. The same guests too! But this year, I got to explore what other people observe for their Thanksgiving.

If you ask my friends, I always bring up how Thanksgiving is one of those meals that is the same for everyone but different as well. We all have the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes. Coming from an immigrant family, many of my Thanksgiving included things like kimchi and rice and even a little lasagna.

I have this great pic from a feast like this many years ago and there, right in the middle of the table, is a pan of lasagna. I’m not sure who brought the lasagna, but it really isn’t Thanksgiving without it on the table.

So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful to have a place to go and share a meal with my other family. The food was slightly different than what I would see, but there were some subtle differences. Like my family never watches football…ever. Also, we don’t have the adults fighting over the desserts. Most of the adults passed over dessert making room for a cup of hot tea.

It was fun to hear family stories and laugh with people who welcomed me into their home. I think it was the most American Thanksgiving I’ve ever seen!

Alright, enough chit chat, let’s hit the books.

Books I read

Links from the Internet

This is probably my favorite part about the entire post! I get to share the articles and essays I found this month and LOVED! Make sure to definitely check these out when you have a chance!

I found this really great article from 1995 about what Little Women was really about. I was doing some research on an article about women and literature and I was just enamored by this detailed article about Little Women. Definitely check it out!

My favorite thing this month was reading this article about Colin Kaepernick and how GQ found him his own team while he still is banned from playing in the NFL. It must be really difficult to follow your dreams only to be thrown out from your dreams because of what you believe in. How do you manage to do both? Are they mutually exclusive? I don’t know, but this article was great to read!

This is a reminder for myself that I need to pick up I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez because this interview really blew it up for me!

I feel like I should mention this, but I’m super sad that The Mindy Project is done. However, I found this wonderful article about how great the show was and how it really appreciated the romantic comedy genre.

Continuing my work to become a better writer, I found this wonderful essay in NY Review of Books about writing memoirs especially after a family member has died.

I’m such a nerd because Mara Wilson aka Matilda wrote this article for Elle magazine about young female actresses and how they’re sexualized at way too young an age. It also dives into Millie Bobbi Brown and the controversy she didn’t mean to cause, but did because she’s 13 and yeah, that makes sense (eye roll).

I couldn’t be more happy for my friend, Maggie, @mugandnook for opening up and sharing her personal story about being a human with a disability. Thank you so much for sharing, Maggie!

I am so happy that people are seeing Lena Dunham for what she truly is and writers like Zizi Clemmons are taking a stand against her backhanded, racist comments. Take a look at the official statement in this article.

I love me some great essays lately and this one from TheMillions.com talks about how we shouldn’t forget that a walk in the woods in a book shouldn’t replace a real walk in the woods. This was a pretty interesting read!

I love Sophie from Main St. and Maple and how candid she is about her struggles to find work in a very male-dominated career. Good luck! I know that something will find its way to you and don’t give up! Come out to the coasts where women are totally wanted to help break down those barriers!

This was one literary piece from Electric Lit about how women turn themselves into trees when approached by unwanted desire. It’s moving and poetic and makes you want to tear the years of bark growing over you.

That’s it! Thanks for reading my blubber about the Internet. Honestly, I love sharing these articles with you!

Until next time!

October 2017 Wrap Up

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I’ve decided that I’m going to make my wrap ups way more robust. Yes, I’ll be highlighting my reads, but something else I want to do is also highlight great articles I’ve read around the Internet and maybe a few updates from my life. There are so many other great things that happen over a month and I just want to share that with you!

First, let’s talk about the weather because no small talk doesn’t have some amount of weather conversation. It was really hot in October and when you’re trying to get in the cold weather mood, the last thing you want to do is wear shorts. However, we all persevered and November is already starting off with some nice chill feels.

We start off the month with an article written by Jeremy Lin and his recent hair choices. If you’ve got a moment to read an article written by a basketball player, I would suggest doing so. While Jeremy Lin isn’t the most profound writer, he does speak more about cultural appropriation, being Asian, and always keeping in mind the culture you’re choosing from.

One thing I know for sure was that October reads were on fire with a new one from John Green, a prequel to Practical Magic, and some thrillers. Because what kind of October is it without some spooky reads?

The Ardent Biblio asked me to write up my favorite from the month, so I’m going to skip my review of them here and just point you to what I did read. Check it out!

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Last month, Celeste Ng released her book Little Fires Everywhere and the Internet broke with how many people loved this book. I even loved this book! But I was able to find a dissenting voice amongst all the likes and Owl’s Little Library review of Little Fires Everywhere will switch your perspective just a little bit.

Which brings me to the post I wrote about how not all POC writers need to write about the struggles of being themselves. I spoke with a friend that didn’t want to feel the obligation of writing about being Chinese American and I thought it was a great point. POC writers shouldn’t feel pigeonholed to writing about being themselves. Many of the conversations I had with bookish friends felt it was important to share these stories. Where do you stand on the issue?

However, that post did bring up some issues with my writing. I made an early resolution to write better than I am doing. So, I did what I do best, I did some research.

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I dug up this amazing article from Joan Didion on why she writes. Written in 1976, she discusses her process for writing; how she took the observations she made in reality and answered the rhetorical questions brought up in her mind. It reminded me how I used to write. When I was little, I would be able to write and create beautifully. Now I’m trying to find if it’s as easy to get back on this bicycle. Here’s a great quote:

By which I mean not a “good” writer or a,“bad” writer but simply a writer, a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent arranging words on pieces of paper.

I also just watched the Joan Didion documentary on Netflix. While my post on my thoughts there won’t be up until tomorrow, I did want to mention that it was a deeply moving story and it’s way more substantial than just her losses. I honestly am so enamored by her right now I can’t think straight!

Not to shamelessly plug my own work, but I wrote a piece for Bookriot on 5 ways to cope during a book buying ban. Please don’t get caught up on the “addict” language. I see how I messed up there and I won’t do it again. Here is where I mention again that I’m working to improve my writing.

We end the month with Kevin Spacey’s allegations and coming out. Everyone on the Internet is up-in-arms about this one especially since it touches on the LGBTQ community. Me? Well, I think it’s bad form to save yourself by coming out of the closet. Uncool, Kevin Spacey. Uncool.

 

 

 

 

March 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

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Middle of the month isn’t so bad to post a March recap, right? It’s been a really busy time here at my real job and (surprise!) I’m getting married, so my hobbies have taken a little dip in productivity. I swear I’m coming back!

Onto the recap; I read four amazing reads during the month of March. I noticed recently that all of the books I’ve chosen to read have been pretty amazing. Even my TBR has so many books I’m excited to read (although I can’t read as fast as I accumulate). It makes me really happy I have such great reads. Here’s the rundown:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

29939230THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

30201150After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

 

February 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

Better now than never, that’s what I say!

February seemed like such a short month! Then again, it technically is a short month and goes under the radar a lot. However, it is Black History Month and I dedicated it to reading all PoC writers.

After looking over all the books I’ve read, I’m surprised I only came out of it with only reading 3 books. While I try not to keep up with my reading challenge, I did notice that I’m already 2 books behind. Have you ever had that feeling that you’re in a book slump, but you don’t want to admit it to yourself?

I love looking over a month of reading or a month of anything that I track and really processing the data. It’s a very corporate thing to do, but I work for a corporate company, so I can’t help but to analyze things and use jargon in my reviews. SYNERGY!

But February is much too short to enjoy the plethora of novels about PoC coming out. I love the upsurge of novels about different races and sexes and people. It always fascinated me about books how much you can learn about human beings and I think the choices from this past month really put that on display.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

28390369Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Brit Bennett’s The Mothers

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

186924311My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

January 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

The beginning of the year is supposed to be the most successful part because everyone’s got the motivation to exceed their own expectations. It’s usually in February when everyone drops their resolutions and returns to their former state.

But I always have to be the exception to the rule. ALWAYS. I have to defy the understood norm because I have problems with authority. That being said, it turns out I was only able to read three books for all of January.

Three.

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Honestly, I was hoping to read more than four, but I was on vacation for more than half the month. What is with vacations and me just wanting to be a vegetable on the couch? Aren’t you supposed to read more when you’re on vacation? I ended up reading less and on top of it struggled throughout the entire time to read.

However, I need to stop beating myself up. I always give myself a hard time for not reading enough when I’m reading more than most people. Perhaps I needed to decompress from my regular life since I haven’t had a vacation since last July. Perhaps my brain just went on auto-reboot and it took me that long to get back on the track of things. Whatever it was, it’s passed and I think I can battle out the rest of February.

Reading and writing this blog has really opened me up to types of hobbies I really enjoy. I love sharing with you all my bookish thoughts and I hope you like them. Here’s my pitiful list from January.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

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Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

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Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

28763485Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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November 2016 Book Wrap Up

I knew this month was going to be pretty light on the reads, but I didn’t think it would be this light.

I’ve been blaming the weather for everything lately, so I’m going to call weather for this one too. I read only two books. TWO.

It’s always during this time of year when I get slower and slower to read books. It picks up again when the new year begins, but I’m much more interested in hanging out with friends and family during the holidays than isolating myself with my books.

I remember one time an aunt of mine decided to read at the table during a family meal and my grandma chewed her out for it afterwards. I have two things to say to that:

  1. More power to you. If you can pull off reading and eating at a table filled with your other family members, kudos.
  2. I wish it was me. The thought of my 90-year-old grandma yelling at me for being rude is probably the worst punishment you can receive in life. It’s like being waterboarded, but with guilt and senility.

But I’m not going to be that person. Nope. I guess for me, two books is all I can handle. Anyway, here’s my books:

28686840Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

31823218A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey – When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.

Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.

Gianluca.

After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.

But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.

After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.

 

October 2016 Book Wrap Up

 And like that, October is over. I’m going to miss this sweet month of warm/cold weather, good Fall vibes, and even greater reads.

September and October feel like the same months. It’s getting a little bit colder, but not enough to necessitate a heavy coat or many layers. In fact, the weather has been so erratic this month that just yesterday my boyfriend was wearing shorts outside. This morning we woke up to the chill that comes with winter. We’re still a ways away from that and I hope it doesn’t arrive for quite some time.

Anyway, onto the books. I love that I create these TBR lists or book hauls with full intention of reading them all within the month, but the truth and reality of it is that I’m a slow reader with a changing fascinating with genres. I can’t stick to what I set myself out to read!

Here’s my reads from October 2016:

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The Girls by Emma Cline (3.5/5 stars) – Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

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The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia (4/5 stars) – Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (4/5 stars) – One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (5/5 stars) – Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.