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Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

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ARC was provided by NetGalley & Wednesday Books in exchanged for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (August 25th, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Alcohol and drinking, mind manipulation, controlling/possessive behavior, trauma, misogyny, mentions of blood and injury, missing persons, grief/loss, death of a parent

“For in the world of magic, a woman’s place lies in the quiet shadows of labor magic, the encouraged path. The safer one. Because the ones who dare most often disappear.”

Dearest friends, with this being one of my anticipated release for 2020, I wanted nothing more than to love this book with every fiber of my soul. The question is, did I fall in love with this book? Yes, yes I did! It captivated my attention from the very first page and left me craving more. It’s no surprise that Where Dreams Descend has made it onto my top books of 2020! I am in love with this book, Janella’s writing, and I can’t wait for all of you to pick this book up!

Kallia has been a showgirl at Hellfire House for most of her life. With a deep bond with the head of the club, Jack, and everything at her finger tips, how could she possibly want anything more? Until a flyer lands in her possession about a competition happening in Glorian where magicians compete to be the next headliner for the Conquering Circus. With an everlasting dream, powerful magic, and an ambitious desire, Kallia will start to uncover all the lies and manipulation keeping her caged at Hellfire House. When she finally flees Jack, she’ll learn just how dangerous Glorian really is for a magician especially as her fellow competitors start to disappear and everything she’s longed for is threatened.

♠️ Kallia – The Star, our main heroine, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost. Truly proud of her powers, how hard she’s worked, with a dream to one day preform in Glorian. A cinnamon roll in every way, trying to break free from the chains and cage Hellfire House placed upon her.

♠️ Jack – The Master, controlling and mysterious, the enigmatic keeper of Hellfire House, and more than one lie told to keep the show going. Using manipulation and deception to keep Kallia caged at Hellfire House, protecting her from the dangers of the the outside world.

♠️ Demarco – The Magician, a mysterious man, the brooding judge with a past that won’t stop haunting him. He is a broken, soulful boy who used to be a powerful magician and now he’s the strictest one to prevent others from making the mistakes he made. Also, he’s unable to resist the pull of Kallia’s energy and her fiery passion.

I say this all the time, give me a book with morally grey characters and it’s a sure guarantee that I will fall in love with your book. Where Dreams Descends delivers just that, characters who are morally grey. No matter if they were a main character or a side character, I fell in love with so many of them and I truly can’t wait to see more of them. And while I’m talking about our lovely characters, we have to talk about Aros! Aros was a fiercely loyal character to Kallia. Despite their original interaction, I truly believe Kallia saw the true potential and all the best qualities in Aros. I never mattered if Kallia told him her secrets, he was always right by her side especially in the times where she needed him the most. He was a witty, charming, and such a soft character who delivered so much for me, as a reader.

Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge with Cinderella and Repunzel elements? Yes please! The writing style is lush with vivid descriptions, mysterious wonder, with an atmosphere so captivating, so familiar that it will hook you from the very beginning! I was in a complete trance of tension and anticipation as I submerged myself into this story line. Angeles has the kind of writing style that I love. One that catches you from the first page and makes you want to power read the whole book in one sitting. She laces her book with a story and plot laced with hints, clues, and truths that reveal just enough, but doesn’t show our author’s full hand. Leaving us, the readers, to theorize, wonder, and visualize what’s in store for us next. With so many questions unanswered and a cliffhanger of an ending, book two is bound to deliver a good time.

“It was wrong to justify what sort of hurt mattered and what didn’t. Anything that left scars came from hurt. Only now was she realizing the scars she bore and had trained herself not to see.”

I also want to talk about a lot of the content warnings in this book. Of course, please make sure you practice self-care and self-love when reading anything with content warnings. Even though there are clear elements of fantasy in this book, I want to say how accurate the representation is for being in a relationship or having a connection to someone who uses mind manipulation or essentially brainwashing as a tool to aid with their control and possessive behavior. I don’t want to go into too many details, but as someone who has lived with someone who has that kind of behavior, it’s an accurate representation. Ever emotion, every feeling Kallia feels due to the things Jack subjects her to, this is what it feels like to have that kind of presence in your life and to have them coming back after only short amounts of time from the last you saw them.

And of course, there’s the romance that blooms! This was the factor that surprised me the most. Even though it’s right in the description, it still took me by surprise and I still fell madly in love with it. I do wish we had more of it though. The romance was there, but there truly wasn’t enough for this to be labeled as a romance. So I’m hoping in the second book we’ll be seeing more of the romance elements that we’re all dying for!

Overall, I’m honestly shocked. It feels like an eternity since I read a ya fantasy that really reminded me of why I love the fantasy genre so much. Even after finishing this book, I’m still asking myself why I’m so surprised when it has so many elements that I love. This book is bound to be on so many readers’ top books for 2020. With this being one of my anticipated releases for 2020, I’m happy to say this was everything I wanted and more. If you’re looking for a darkly dramatic book that’s own voices then I can’t recommend this book enough to you!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Monthly TBR

Early May 2020 TBR | Asian Readathon

The Asian Readathon is a month long readathon, for the month of May to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, made by Cindy @readwithcindy. It is a readathon where the participants read Asian books. The challenges are simple and it is a fun way to get to know about the Asian culture. The 2020 Announcement Video is available on their channel!

This year’s challenges are as followed:

🏮 Read any book by an Asian author.

🏮 Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to. Ex: If you’re an immigrant you can read about an immigrant character; if you’re a woman you can read a book by another woman; etc.

🏮 Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you. Ex: If you’re straight you can read about a queer character; if you’re Japanese you can read a book by a Vietnamese author; etc.

🏮 Read a book recommended by an Asian. Ex: Watch an Asian booktuber’s recommendations video; ask your Asian friend what book best represents them; have an Asian friend choose between 2 books on your TBR; etc.

🏮 OPTIONAL: Read “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and participate in the Little Fires Readalong and the Little Fires Watchalong

If you still need more information, then click HERE!

You can also follow the Twitter account HERE!

Salutations Chapterlings! This is going to be one long post! So you better buckle up and prepare for a wild ride of a time! I have been planning, plotting, and hoarding books for the month of May. If you think I’m kidding, well you’ll just have to wait to see my list. Before we get to that list, let me recommend a few books that I enjoyed that are perfect for the Asian Readathon. I also want to recommend that you try to support small book stores and authors as much as possible during these hard times. It’s so important that we all support one another and I’m a firm believer of supporting small businesses. Each of the titles will be linked to IndieBound and I also want to recommend checking out Scribd because they are having a 30 day free trial happening. Not going to lie, I’ve been using the daylights out of it and I can’t recommend it enough! Now, onto the recommendations!

🏮My Recommendations🏮

🏮Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee🏮

Dragon Pearl Review


🏮Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco🏮

Wicked As You Wish Review


🏮Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa🏮

Shadow of the Fox Review

Shadow of the Fox Playlist


🏮Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali🏮

Love from A to Z Review


🏮Stargazing by Jen Wang🏮

Stargazing Review


🏮My Brother’s Husband, Volume 1 by Gengoroh Tagame🏮

My Brother’s Husband Review

🏮My TBR🏮

🏮Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa🏮

🏮 Written by an Asian author.

🏮 Features an Asian character who is different from me.

🏮 Recommended to me by SO MANY people!


🏮Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa🏮


🏮 Written by an Asian author (I really love this author, if you couldn’t tell).

🏮 Features an Asian character who is different from me.


🏮Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond🏮

🏮 Literally fits all the challenges!


🏮Luna and the Moon Rabbit by Camillie Whitcher🏮

🏮 Written by an Asian author!

🏮 Features an Asian character different from me!


🏮The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1) by Rin Chupeco🏮

🏮 Fits every single challenge!

🏮 Recommended by Meltotheany!


🏮Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho🏮

🏮 Written by an Asian author.

🏮 Asian character that’s different from me.

🏮 Recommended by SO DAMN MANY friends!


🏮Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen🏮

🏮 All I have to say is…ALL CHALLENGES!


Okay, okay! I’ll stop for now, but I think you can see that not only do I have a lot of books I want to read for this readathon, but I also have so many recommendations! This isn’t even scratching the surface of it all! I have a huge stack of books to choose from! Nonetheless, I am super excited for May to hurry up and get here so I can start reading all of these books. In the meantime, let me know in the comments below if you’re participating and what books you plan to read, or come tell me if you read any of the books I have listed above. Until next time, here’s to another month of good reading ahead, I love you! 💕

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