eARC Review – Empress of Salt and Fortune

Title: The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Author: Nghi Vo

Publisher: Tor.com

Publication date: March 24th, 2020

112 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women. 

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Tor.com, and Nghi Vo for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

A delightful short story with Asian influences. The story of a royal from the north brought to wed the emperor in the south. She gives him a son and earns her exile, where she uses her time to plot against the crown. This book is told in true storyteller fashion, bits of information is provided piecemeal by the woman, Rabbit, narrating the tale. The recipient of the tale, Chih, is a cleric whose job is to document history and seek answers.

Rabbit’s story tells a different one than is told currently in the empire, however it is a heartbreaking tale of sacrifice, loss, and loyalty. This is a very quick read, and some bits are left up to the imagination and hinted at, but the ending is clear and not completely surprising. The flow of this book was beautiful and fit the story line perfectly. I normally don’t enjoy Asian influenced storytelling as much, but this was short, sweet, and evocative.

There isn’t much to say about a book that is 112 pages that I haven’t already said, so this review will be shorter than usual!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bride Test

“Don’t forget to apologize. First with words. Then with your tongue.”

Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 7th, 2019

296 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love. 

Review

In a split second, she redefined perfection for him. His standards aligned to her exact proportions and measurements. No one else would ever live up to her.

Helen Hoang, The Bride Test

I absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient when I read it a few months ago. I didn’t end of reviewing it on here, otherwise I would link it. I truly adore that both books feature a main character with autism – because everyone deserves a sweet and sexy love story. The Bride Test is a companion novel to The Kiss Quotient.

The Bride Test follows Khai Diep, a young man with autism who is really not looking for a girlfriend and Esme Tran, a young mother from Ho Chi Minh City. Khai’s mother travels there to interview potential brides for Khai and to bring the best candidate to America to win him over. Esme jumps at the chance to provide her family a way out of poverty. However, Khai is seriously not pleased with this development and does everything he can to ignore his new roommate, who doesn’t make it easy…

*swoon* Man, Helen Hoang really knows how to make me laugh, my heart pound, and cry all in one books, sometimes multiple times each. From start to finish, I loved these characters and their interactions with each other. Their love is so unique and fun, began neither of them have any clue what they are doing. It is so eye opening to read from the perspective of someone with autism – the rep is done beautifully. Khai goes on such a journey in the book, you can’t help but be proud. And the same can be said for Esme! She makes the most of her opportunity in America and takes adult education classes on TOP of trying to seduce a man who doesn’t want to be seduced. Talk about overachieving.

The first sex scene (and the aftermath) if my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART of this entire book. Picture this: it’s 1 am, I couldn’t sleep, I’m sitting outside my bedroom on the floor with a flashlight (so as not to wake up the fiance), and I’M DYING of laughter. It is a pure gold scene and I’m here for it. If you’ve read this book, you know what I’m talking about.

Anywho, this was amazing. Go read it ASAP pronto mucho. Read The Kiss Quotient first if you haven’t (it’s not necessary, it’s just also a freaking awesome book).

Happy reading, folks!