Recommendations ring out for Mia Tsai’s soaring tale, BITTER MEDICINE

With a little over one months until its March 14 release (the book, both physical and digital, is currently available for pre-order directly from Tachyon and other select outlets), Mia Tsai’s debut novel BITTER MEDICINE is among the most anticipated books of 2023. Karla Strand for MS Magazine, Lady Business, The Booked Unicorn, and Geekly Inc‘s Christina Ladd (the latter two without comment) are all very excited about the book. At We Are Bookish, the title features in Kelly Gallucci’s “Upcoming Romance Books Getting Rave Reviews on NetGalley.” Eyes.2c calls it an amazing paranormal saga. And with their 5 star review, Layton’s Book Reviews feels much the same.

cover for Bitter Medicine by Mia Tasi
Cover art by Jia-Ling Pan
Design by Elizabeth Story

I love a good fantastical, paranormal romance, don’t you? About the only romance novels I go for these days include elves and fairies in slow-burn steam and magical mythology anyway, and Mia Tsai’s debut has plenty of all of it!

MS Magazine

I was recced this book via someone on TikTok, who described it as “Chinese immortal and a French elf navigate team up to solve bureaucratic problems, grapple with their pasts, and fall in love”. I do not know how accurate this is but it sounds incredible.

Lady Business

Highlighted as one of the most-anticipated books of 2023, this romantic fantasy features an immortal heroine hiding her true powers and an elf on a mission to break a curse. Educator Mikayla P called it “a fun, contemporary fantasy with a lot of heart” adding that “the world-building and magic system in Bitter Medicine is as delightful as it is intriguing, and Tsai has carefully crafted a world rich with linguistic diversity… This is a book as much about the love between these two characters as it is about finding yourself, being a little more selfish, and living your life without regrets. It is a powerful reminder that redemption is always possible and that it’s never too late to reach for what you want.”

We Are Bookish

I was absolutely glued to every word leaping off the pages. I kept along with them. Mai Tsai is a bright light bursting onto the stage of paranormal fantasy.


Overall, BITTER MEDICINE is a fantasy romance that will appeal to fans of The Invisible Library or These Violent Delights. One highlight of this book is that is an #ownvoices with a Chinese female lead. I am a huge fan of diversity in the fantasy genre. Another highlight of this book is the banter between the two leads. The romance is top-notch. Lastly, I loved the use of English, Chinese, and French in the book, which I appreciated more after reading author’s note about code-switching at the end of the book. If you’re intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you’re a fan of fantasy romance books in general, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in March!

Layton’s Book Reviews