Interviews · Uncategorized

Sereadipity Interviews… Rin Chupeco!

Hello my bookish dolugongs! I’m so excited to share this interview I did with the lovely Rin Chupeco about The Never Tilting World. You can read my review of the book here!


About The Never Tilting World:

Author: Rin Chupeco

Publication date: 15th October 2019

Goodreads summary:

Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.


Interview:

(1)

Hello Rin, thank you so much for doing this interview with me! Climate change and the balance between humans and nature are very important themes in The Never Tilting World. Why did you decide to base the novel on these themes and frame them in a fantasy setting?

I live in a country (the Philippines) that is extremely susceptible to the effects of climate change, and would be very vulnerable should bad policies be enacted. I haven’t read a lot of YA books that focused on this particular aspect and thought there should be more books that reflected that reality, which I know is a weird thing to say when it’s very obviously a fantasy book. But I’ve always found that fantasy can take aspects of reality and put readers at a respectable distance from those issues, enough that the themes can have some measure of objectivity that the readers can later choose to unpack once they’re ready to deal with them personally. Someone else actually suggested that initial visual – that of a world torn between night and day – and I was excited by the idea of taking that image and turning it into a story, of making it a conflict that people can relate to. Eyeball planets are actually a thing in science, and hypotheses suggest that they can actually sustain life, albeit very limitedly.

(2)

I loved the world building in the book, especially the history of the goddesses and the story behind why they always had to be twins. What inspired you to create and integrate these fascinating legends into the novel?

A lot of the myth I took from Assyrian mythology, primarily from the legend of the goddess Inanna, who obviously has the same name as the very first goddess in the book and is the ancestress to my goddesses Haidee and Odessa. I took a very general summary of that mythology and then added my own spin to it by making them less about being a revered, distant goddesses of worship and more like your average girls who also just happen to have exceptionally powerful abilities capable of wrecking the planet if they so chose – and, as the story reveals, they in fact did choose to!

(3)

If there’s one thing about this novel it’s that it’s incredibly imaginative. Everything from sand deserts to rainbow haired goddesses to shadow demons to milking giant sandworms. Where do you get such awesome ideas from?

I seriously have no clue! Ideas pop into my head on the daily, traipsing in and out with impunity into my brain because I never bothered to change the lock. With the goddesses and their rainbow hair – well, I’ve always been a huge fan of anime, and the joke is that you can spot who the main character is in the first episode if they have differently colored hair. So I just really doubled down on that. Dolugongs, for example, are probably just a spin on my pets, except I tried to think of the coolest but most inappropriate/ inconvenient pet to have, and came up with the dolphin-dugong hybrid. Giant sand worms probably came from my interest in cryptozoology, where some massive worms are said to live in deserts and eat people.

(4)

The Never Tilting World is written from four different points of view, which perspective did you enjoy writing the most?

I hate to admit it, but I like writing Arjun’s POV best because he is the most like me. He’s really fond of acting tough because acting tough is how he’s survived so far, but at his center lives a very soft cinnamon roll of a boy who really just wants friends and falls very easily for the person who is nicest to them. He also has a bit of my snark – I usually describe him as a Hufflepuff who’s convinced he’s a Gryffindor, and I think that’s very accurate. That said, there’s a little bit of myself in all four – Haidee who can be a bit bossy, romance-loving Odessa, and Lan who really hates asking other people for help.

(5)

If Odessa, Lan, Haidee and Arjun lived in the modern world, what would their hobbies be?

Odessa would be an avid romance book blogger and would be The Ripped Bodice’s biggest customer. Haidee would still be a gearhead and work in auto shops and would absolutely have her own car that she’d built with her own hands. Lan would be very into fitness and martial arts, and would have tried to make a go for the Olympics at some earlier point in her life. Arjun would probably just like doing as little work as possible, staying in and playing video games (but would be horribly embarrassed for anyone to learn he helps out at soup kitchens on Saturdays)

(6)

Do you have any recommendations for other climate change related books?

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi! I don’t know if The Word for World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin counts, but I wanna give that a shoutout all the same!

(7)

Can you give us any hints as to what to expect from the sequel to The Never Tilting World?

Indiana Jones-style adventures. The arrival of more characters you’ve only been shortly introduced to in the first book. A lot more unraveling of the facts behind the goddess myths and their repercussions. More demonic shadows seeking blood, more politics. Arjun complaining about everything, and Haidee shutting him up. Unexpected deaths. And, as always, more chances for redemption!


About the author:

Goodreads bio:

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person, and may as well finish this short bio in this manner. While she does not always get to check her Goodreads page, she does answer questions posed to her here as promptly as she is able to. Find her at the following places instead:

Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Blog

For updates, events, and new releases, sign up for her newsletter at http://www.rinchupeco.com/newsletter.


Thank you so much again to Rin Chupeco for doing this interview with me- it was an honour!

Goodreads | Twitter

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Blog Tours · Uncategorized

7 Books About Royalty (Kingdom Cold Blog Tour)

Hello my bookish barnacles! Welcome to my second stop on the Kingdom Cold Blog Tour where I talk about seven amazing books about royalty. If there’s one thing that Kingdom Cold has a lot of it’s kings, queens, princesses and princes so if you like these books, Kingdom Cold is for you!


About the book:

Title: Kingdom Cold
Author: Brittni Chenelle
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: 14 February 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:
Attempted murder, that’s how sixteen-year-old Princess Charlotte’s engagement starts. It seems like the only thing she has in common with Prince Young of Vires is their mutual discontent. When her kingdom’s attacked, Charlotte’s parents renegotiate her hand in marriage to a handsome stranger with a sinister plan. With the people Charlotte loves dying around her, and her kingdom’s future at stake, the only person she can turn to is the prince she betrayed. But, should she save her kingdom or her heart? One must fall.

Book links:
Amazon |Goodreads


My own quote graphics:


7 Books About Royalty:

(1) The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas:

This series is about a queen trying to take back her kingdom from the people who stole it from her and it’s full of royalty. Throughout the series we see both Aelin and also Dorian develop from quite immature, carefree princesses and princes to wise, just queens and kings.

(2) Descendant of the Crane by Joan He:

Descendant of the Crane is a brilliant Chinese-inspired fantasy about a smart and cunning princess called Yan Hesina who embraced her role as queen when her father died so that she could discover his murderer. It is a fantastic read full of mystery and court intrigue! Read my review here.

(3) The Beholder by Anna Bright:

An alternate history novel where Selah, the Seneschal-elect of Potomac, went on a voyage to visit various princes and choose a suitor to marry. It is a light read that I would recommend to romance fans or people who love fairy tales. Read my review here.

(4) We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal:

We Hunt the Flame is set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia and it was about a hunter called Zafira and a prince called Nasir go on a quest to save their world from an ancient evil. It is worth a read for anyone looking for a diverse fantasy. Read my review here.

(5) The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty:

This book is set in 18th century Cairo and it’s not about human royalty but djinn royalty who lived in the magical city of Daevabad. Full of scheming, betrayals, and rich world building, The City of Brass was a book about royalty with a fresh twist. Read my review here.

(6) And I Darken by Kiersten White:

And I Darken is one of my favourite books and it is a reimagined historical story based on Vlad the Impaler. Lada Dragwlya did not fit into the stereotype of a princess in her time. She was unapologetically brutal and ruthless and her only goal was exacting her vengeance and reclaiming her homeland, Wallachia, for her own. This book isn’t just a book about royalty but a book about a girl trying to make her place in a world where every single person was against her and where she had to fight twice and hard and be twice as cruel to get what she wanted.

(7) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh:

This was a retelling of the classical One Thousand and One Nights tale where a girl, Shahrzad, had to tell the Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid, stories every night so that he wouldn’t kill her by morning. It was a cleverly-crafted story with multi-faceted characters and a gripping plot.


About the author:

Brittni Chenelle currently lives in Seoul, Korea, which inspires her multicultural fantasy books. Her favourite genres to read and write are young adult fantasy, young adult romance, fairytale retellings, and young adult dystopian novels. She’s very passionate about equal representation and makes a point to include characters from different backgrounds and cultures in her fantasy stories. Here are five fun facts about Brittni:

  1. She lives in South Korea. It’s true. She does most of her updates in the morning or at night to account for the time difference. She also infuses most of her novels with her observations about Korean culture.
  2. She’s a Type 1 Diabetic. She uses an insulin pump for survival and refers to her diabetes as “Beetie” which is what inspired her children’s book “Life with Beetie”. When she wants something from her parents she tells them, “My Beetie hurts.” It’s a trick that has never failed her.
  3. She doesn’t really BELIEVE in fiction. Despite all the; Dragons, Elves, and Magic present in her novel “Involuted the Tale of the Red Ribbon Tree”, Brittni INSISTS that it’s a true story.
  4. She’s OBSESSED with dark chocolate. She made me put that in and would also like me to inform you (on an unrelated note) that her birthday is in May.
  5. Sorry guys, she’s married. If you ask her, she’ll tell you her husband saved her life but every time someone asks “how?” she gives a different reason. I’ve overheard her give about 4 different reasons, but I bet she has more. He must be an amazing guy.

Author links:
Author website (and newsletter) |Blog |Goodreads |Instagram |Facebook |Twitter


Blog Tour Schedule:

Thank you to Caffeine Book Tours for choosing me to do this tour!


What are your favourite books about royalty? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads| Twitter

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Book: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Authors: Wendy Trimboli, Alicia Zaloga

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3/5

The Resurrectionist of Caligo was a Victorian fantasy and murder mystery with strong themes of medicine, grief and illness. It had a promising premise and although I liked the ideas in it, I felt slightly let down by it at the same time.

Roger Weathersby was a resurrectionist– a person who unlawfully unearthed corpses to sell on to medical schools. However, when he one day discovered a strange and horrifying corpse he began to follow the clues surrounding a string of terrible yet similar murders along with the help of his former friend, princess Sibylla, and together they went down a dark and dangerous path from which there was no return.

I liked the way Roger’s character was developed because although at first glance he seemed like a careless rogue he was actually a really kind person who just wasn’t very good at dealing with authority and had a knack for getting himself into messy situations. I liked the way he looked out for Ada and her mother.

Sibylla was interesting because she could seem petty at times but she did care deeply for her people. My only problem with her was that she wasn’t particularly memorable in any way. Now, when I think about the book I can’t think of one thing she did that really stood out to me or was very admirable. The dynamic between Roger and Sibylla was… weird. They did like (maybe love?) each other and though their relationship did grow stronger once more I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere.

Also, this novel had major pacing issues. I’m pretty sure around 68% of the way through it I found myself wondering whether the main story was going to get started yet, then realising to my horror that I’d already surpassed over half the book. It was extremely slow at the start and then at the end there was a few plot twists and reveals and that was it. The ending was ambiguous and while I sometimes appreciate books that are open-ended I didn’t like this one because it didn’t give me any sense of conclusion or leave me with any implications or thoughts to ponder over.

The Resurrectionist of Caligo is a creative yet flawed read. I think it’s worthwhile giving it a go- just don’t go in with very high expectations.

Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Goodreads| Twitter

 

Reviews · Uncategorized

Beware the Jabberwock! Review of Wonderland

Book: Wonderland

Editors: Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Year Published: 2019

Overall Rating: 3.75 stars

Wonderland was a magical anthology full of short stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. All the stories managed to capture the wondrous yet morbid whimsy of Wonderland as they were full of imagination and followed no rules. It was a mixed bag– some were amazing and some not so much. Here’s a brief summary of the stories and my thoughts on them:

Alice in Armour by Jane Yolen- 3 stars:

This was an amusing poem which I liked but it didn’t greatly impress me.

Wonders Never Cease by Robert Shearman- 2.5 stars:

“Just because love dies, it doesn’t mean you can’t go on.”

This story was about life, love and death and even though I understood it was trying to convey a deep message I thought the writing was confused and just generally muddled and I didn’t enjoy it.

There Were No Birds to Fly by M.R. Carey- 5 stars:

“If you follow the rules… you’ll live a whole lot longer”

This was so wonderfully creepy and mysterious and I did not see the ending coming. I liked how the narrator of the story was clearly hiding something and their intentions were gradually revealed. Also, it gave me very strong Birdbox vibes so if you liked that book/ movie you will probably like this.

The White Queen’s Pawn by Genevieve Cogman- 4 stars:

The White Queen’s Pawn was quite short and not much happened but it still had an impact. I loved how it slowly went from a seemingly normal situation to something scary and macabre!

Dream Girl by Cavan Scott- 5 stars:

This one started off in Wonderland, from the perspective of the Hatter, and ended on a very unexpected and refreshing plot twist. I loved it! Furthermore, I appreciated how the ‘Alice character’ didn’t fit the visual stereotypes surrounding her.

Good Dog, Alice! by Juliet Marillier- 4.5 stars:

When a girl called Dorothea calls her dog ‘Alice’, she doesn’t realise how useful her pet will become. This was another short story with an ending that came out of the blue but it was also quite satisfying.

The Hunting of the Jabberwock by Jonathan Green- 4 stars:

As the title suggests, this story was inspired by the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem and was about a young man trying to slay the Jabberwocky to earn his glory but comes to some unsettling realisations. I liked how the story included the whimsical nonsense language from the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem.

About Time by George Mann- 3.5 stars:

This story was about how our fears can affect our realities and the power of believing that something is real. It also had quite a sweet ending.

Smoke ’em if You Got ’em by Angela Slatter- 3 stars:

This one took Alice to the Wild West and while I liked the ideas behind it and the direct writing style it just didn’t create much of an impact on me.

Vanished Summer Glory by Rio Youers- 4 stars:

Vanished Summer Glory was a poignant story about grief, loss and love and it was really touching and quite saddening to read.

Black Kitty by Catriona Ward- 3 stars:

It was quite weird and I still don’t quite understand what on Earth went on in this one but I guess it gets credit for creativity!

The Night Parade by Laura Mauro- 4.5 stars:

This one was inspired by Japanese mythology which was intriguing and original. I also liked how the ending left me with so many theories and thoughts about all the implied things that could have caused the things that happened.

What Makes a Monster by L.L. McKinney- 3 stars:

What Makes a Monster was set in the author’s A Blade so Black universe and it was about some rather cool monster hunters. At the start I thought I was going to enjoy this story very much but it didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would although it was still good.

The White Queen’s Dictum by James Lovegrove- 4.5 stars:

This one had a lovely hint of supernatural and while I saw the plot twist coming I enjoyed the dramatic irony of it. It was based on the idea that ‘impossible things’ can sometimes be more real than you first think.

Temp Work by Lilith Saintcrow- 2.5 stars:

Temp Work was heavily based on sci-fi but I didn’t enjoy it because the plot didn’t interest me.

Eat Me, Drink Me by Alison Littlewood- 2 stars:

An utterly weird and confusing story and my least favourite in the anthology.

How I Comes to be the Treacle Queen by Cat Rambo- 3.5 stars:

This story was extremely imaginative with a strong narrative voice and I was satisfied with the way it ended. I also liked how it explored previously uncharted territory in Wonderland.

Six Impossible Things by Mark Chadbourn- 3 stars:

It was quite touching and nostalgic tale and I liked how it included the history behind the original ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ book.

Revolution in Wonder by Jane Yolen- 3.5 stars:

Another humorous, clever poem which concluded the anthology nicely!

Overall, this was a really interesting read and I liked reading all of the different takes on Wonderland. I’m not going to lie- I hate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the animated Disney adaptation gave me nightmares as a child. However, this anthology makes me feel like giving the books (and the movies) another chance!

Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Interviews · Uncategorized

Sereadipity Interviews… Annie Sullivan!

Hi, hello! I’m honoured to share this interview which I did with the amazing Annie Sullivan about her latest release, Tiger Queen. You can read my review of the book here!


About Tiger Queen:

Author: Annie Sullivan

Publication date: 10th September 2019

Goodreads summary:

From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.


Interview:

(1)

Hello and thank you for doing this interview with me! Tiger Queen is a retelling of ‘The Lady, Or The Tiger?’. Which elements of the short story did you adapt and include in your novel?

Yes! Tiger Queen is heavily inspired by that short story, and I kept a great deal of the original story. Everything from the king throwing the princess’ lover into the arena to the princess having to help choose what door gets opened made it into my version. But I also included a lot of new elements in my novel, like the fact that the society is running out of water. Plus, the original story ends with a cliffhanger. In my version, I give the story the ending it always should have had!

(2)

The world that the book is set in has very interesting and unique customs, legends and beliefs. What were the inspirations behind these various cultures and traditions?

I love coming up with new creatures. I often do a lot of research into what animals and insects live in a certain environment, and I then I see how I can twist them so they belong in a fantasy setting. For example, I created Grieving Spiders, which are so named because if you get bitten by one, everyone around you will be grieving because you’ll die. So overall, the setting was inspired by the creatures that live in desserts, but it was also inspired by the time I spent in Antarctica. Believe it or not, Antarctica is actually one of the world’s largest desserts because it is so dry, and I wrote a lot of Tiger Queen while I was there. I simply replaced the endless stretches of snow with sand. However, since I was writing about the desert, I worked with a sensitivity reader just to ensure that I didn’t delve into any harmful stereotypes of desert cultures.

(3)

Kateri was a brave, strong character who went on a great journey of self-discovery. What inspired her character and what were the challenges of writing her?

I loved writing Kateri because she is so strong. She was practically born with a sword in her hand and won’t back down from a fight. She’s fiercely loyal and a little bit stubborn. I think she gets those elements from me. I loyal to a fault and can be stubborn when I think I’m right. But overall, her strength was inspired by the landscape she lives in because you have to be strong in order to survive the Achran desert.

I would say the challenge of writing such a strong character is making her relatable and giving her a softer side that can still come through. It takes her a while to open up, but Kateri eventually learns to trust others.

(4)

Did you have to do a lot of research before writing Tiger Queen? What was your main method of research and what interesting things did you find out?

A lot of the research I did was into what types of creatures live in the desert. I had so much fun taking actual insects and twisting them into something new and dangerous. I also did some research into clothing and food that would be common in the desert. Outside of that, I made a lot of it since it is a fantasy world.

(5)

How do you write? Do you carefully outline or discover the story as you go? Was writing this book a different experience from writing your other book, A Touch of Gold?

I’m a total “panster,” meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I don’t outline. I like to discover the story right along with the reader. Sometimes that means I write myself into a corner, but then I go back and start again until I get it right. I might know where the story is going to end up, but I don’t always know how we’re going to get there until we do.

And I would say this book was very different. Just the fact that there’s no real magic involved made it easier to write because magic complicates things—who has it, how you get it, how can it be used, etc.

(6)

Which books would you recommend to people who enjoyed Tiger Queen?

What a fun question! I think people who love Tiger Queen will love books like:


About the author:

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairy tales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Website |Twitter | Instagram


Thank you so much to Annie Sullivan for doing this interview with me- it was a pleasure!

Goodreads | Twitter

Blog Tours · Reviews · Uncategorized

Tiger Queen Blog Tour: Review and Favourite Quotes

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan!

About the book:

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan
Publisher: BLINK
Release date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Synopsis:
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

Book links: Goodreads |Amazon |Barnes & Noble| Book Depository


Review:

Book: Tiger Queen

Author: Annie Sullivan

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Tiger Queen was a thrilling desert tale about a woman fighting to improve the lives of her people and prove her own worth. It was a clever retelling of the short story, ‘The Lady, Or The Tiger?’ and I really enjoyed it!

Kateri was the princess of Achra who was tasked with killing twelve of her suitors in arena fights to assert her right to be queen. However, when she realised that her final suitor was a man she wasn’t skilled enough to beat, she fled to the desert to join her sworn enemies, the Desert Boys, to train and gain the necessary skills to win. She not only improved her fighting abilities but learnt so much about the state of her people and the type of queen they needed her to be.

I liked Kateri’s sheer determination to succeed and how she was willing to put in the required work to achieve her goals. Throughout the book she went on a journey and realised that so many things she firmly believed in weren’t as true as she once thought. I also loved the training montage trope and the various challenges she faced to improve her skills. The way Sullivan drew up parallels between Kateri and the caged tigers was very intriguing. Furthermore, I liked how her relationship with Cion slowly grew stronger and I think they make a good couple.

The word building in the book was excellent and I loved finding out about the various intricate and unique customs and traditions. I found all of the different legends, animals and places interesting as well. Nevertheless, I don’t think the plot was gripping enough for me to give the book five stars but that wasn’t a major hindrance to my enjoyment as the characters were good enough to almost make up for it.

Overall, I thought Tiger Queen was original, clever and exciting and is a must-read for those looking for new ideas in the YA fantasy genre.

Thank you to Blink for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Favourite quotes:

“We can’t focus on what we’ve lost or the weight of it will bury us faster than the sand. We have to focus on what’s still to gain. We have to focus on finding joy where we can”

“We Desert Boys have a saying about tears… we say that crying is good, natural. It’s returning the water you’ve taken from the earth”

“‘You may not know how to stop, Kateri,’ he said, ‘but you sure know how to fly'”

“It’s not weak to bear scars. It shows you were strong enough to survive.”

“When life is as hard as it is out here, you celebrate as often as you can.”

“Decision time… Is it the lady or the tiger?”


Tour schedule:

About the author:

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Website |Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway:

Click here for the giveaway.
Prize: Tiger Queen poster and signed bookplate (USA only)
Starts: 9/4/19
Ends: 9/13/19

Thank you very much to the FFBC for choosing me to do a stop on this tour!

Uncategorized · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: August 2019

Welcome, one and all, to my August wrap-up!

I have read a lot this month which is great- and probably linked to the Retelling-A-Thon. I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted to though which isn’t as great but it’s not that bad (and I was on holiday so it’s a miracle I got any blogging done). It’s been a very exciting month so without further ado, let’s dive in!

What I am reading:

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

What I plan to read next:

Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Books I’ve Read:

(1) The Orphanage of Gods by Helena Coggan:

  • 1 star
  • It was an absolute waste of time and trees.

(2) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller:

  • 3.5 Stars
  • An interesting and moving retelling of The Iliad but it wasn’t as good as Circe.

(3) The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker:

  • 4 stars
  • Another moving and powerful retelling of The Iliad.

(4) The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco:

  • 4 stars
  • It was an imaginative read based on the theme of climate change but framed in a fantasy setting.

(5) Song of Sorrow by Amanda Allen:

  • 3 Stars
  • An alright prequel to Rapunzel which I overall enjoyed.

(6) Shadow Frost by Coco Ma:

  • 4 stars
  • This was a fun, fantasy book- perfect for fans of Throne of Glass.

(7) Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce:

  • 3.5 Stars
  • This was a very different Little Red Riding Hood retelling with a satisfying ending.

(8) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik:

  • 5 STARS!
  • I adored this book. It was perfect in every way!

(9) The Demon World by Sally Green:

  • 4 Stars
  • The gripping sequel to The Smoke Thieves that ended on the most cruel cliffhanger.

ARCs I’ve received:

ARCs (Advanced Readers’ Copies), proof copies or review copies are books freely given to people like book bloggers by publishers or authors before the release of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Digital ARCs:

  • The Monster by Seth Dickinson
  • Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Physical ARCs:

I’ve been emailing various publishers for months requesting physical ARCs to no avail. However, when I came back from holiday during August to not one but six physical ARCs and an awesome snake pin waiting for me! It was a dream come true! Here they are:

  • The Demon World by Sally Green
  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
  • Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane
  • The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron (I got the limited edition snake cover proof)
  • Exclusive Kingdom of Souls snake pin
  • Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn

Books I’ve Reviewed:

Discussion Posts:

Characters vs Plot… DISCUSS!

“What’s more important in a book: character development or a gripping plot?
The answer seems obvious: both are equally important. However, I’ve noticed that some books tend to lean towards either characters or plot to drive the story forward.

Antiheroes… DISCUSS!

“Well, remember when you were younger and in every story you thought there was a ‘goodie’ and a ‘baddie’? An antihero is both of those things and neither of them at the same time.”

My favourite post of the month:

This month I did my 100th post and it was all about my reading journey. It was a very emotional and special post to me.

Read the post here!


That’s all the reading and blogging of August wrapped up! What was your bookish month like? Let me know in the comments!

#RetellingAThon · Uncategorized

#RetellingAThon Wrap-up!

Hello bookworms! August is over and that means that the #RetellingAThon is over too. Thank you so much to everyone who participated and a very special thanks to the hosts Tay and Missy from Frayed Books and my fellow co-hosts Harker from The Hermit Librarian and Jennifer from Bibliolater. I’ve never co-hosted a readathon before but you made it a fun and exciting experience for me!

I ended up reading 6 books for the readathon, completing 5/25 challenges and reading 2,027 pages! To be fair, doing five challenges is rather pitiful but I had a lot of other arcs I had to read this month and I couldn’t fit any more in!

I hosted and mainly participated in Fairy Tale week and here was my tbr for the week:

And here are the books I actually read:

Mythology Week:

I decided to read two books for mythology week because I’d been wanting to read them for a long time and never got round to it.

  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (a retelling of The Iliad): 4 stars
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (a retelling of The Iliad): 3.5 stars

Fairy Tale:

I managed to read three out of the seven books on my tbr and one other retelling that wasn’t on my tbr. Weirdly enough, all these books start with ‘S’!

  • Song of Sorrow by Amanda Allen (a retelling of Rapunzel): 3 stars
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood): 3.5 stars
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (a retelling of Rumplestiltskin): 5 stars
  • Shadow Frost by Coco Ma (a slight retelling of Snow White): 4 stars

So that’s my progress during the readathon! It was fun and I hope to do another soon!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Demon World

Book: The Demon World

Author: Sally Green

Click here for my review of book one, The Smoke Thieves!

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Demon World was the gripping sequel to The Smoke Thieves, bursting with political intrigue, love and divided loyalty. In some ways it was better then the first book, in some ways it was not, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

Just like The Smoke Thieves, this book had five main point of view characters: Catherine, Ambrose, Tash, Edyon and March. Tszayn also got one point of view chapter and it was really interesting to get into his head for once. I think that the character perspectives were better allotted and spread out between the characters than the first book but that is probably because we didn’t need to be individually introduced to them all like before. I felt like each character got sufficient time in their perspective to tell their story. Nevertheless, it did feel like not as much happened in this book as in The Smoke Thieves and I got the sense that the characters were moving into position for whatever was going to happen in the next novel in the series.

— Catherine —

I loved how Catherine‘s character grew and developed even more in this book as her power grew. She took charge and led with confidence despite all the people around her who doubted her capabilities. People labelled her as ambitious and greedy for wanting to rule and lead the army because apparently those were jobs only for a man but she didn’t let that stop her from proving them wrong.

— Ambrose —

Ambrose was still struggling with all of the events from the previous book and all he wanted to do was to keep Catherine safe. To be honest he annoyed me because I thought he treated Catherine unfairly and didn’t understand the motivations behind her actions but at the same time she could have been more sensitive to his feelings.

— Tash —

Tash‘s story was super interesting as she went from hunting demons to trying to understand them. She was as stubborn and headstrong (but also adorable) as usual but her persistence allowed her to discover an important secret. Through her we get to discover more about the demons and the demon world and I found it fascinating. However, the cliffhanger at the end was terrifying and I really hope Tash is alright!

— Edyon —

Edyon didn’t have such a great time in this book (I felt quite bad for him) and he carried on his journey with March to Calidor to find his father. He was his usual exaggerated and comic self and he spent most of the book complaining and complimenting March. Just when I thought he was going to have some happiness, it was promptly ruined.

— March —

Throughout the book I was inwardly screaming, ‘Tell Edyon the truth, March! Tell him!’. Sadly, March didn’t listen. I think he has come so far from the angry, vengeful person he was at the start of The Smoke Thieves and I wanted him to have some happiness as well but he ruined it for himself. He knew that Edyon was in love with him and he loved him back and even though he knew continuing the lie would hurt them more in the long term he still didn’t come clean. I think if he’d told Edyon much, much earlier they might have managed to get over it. After the ending of The Demon World, I have no idea what he’s going to do next!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m very excited to read the final instalment of the series. It’s a novel perfect for fans of fantasies that have no magic and a lot of politics, war and treachery.

Thank you to Penguin for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Discussion Posts · Uncategorized

Antiheroes… DISCUSS!

Hello, today we’ll be discussing the interesting phenomenon of antiheroes!

Firstly, there’s a very important question to address:

What is an antihero?

Well, remember when you were younger and in every story you thought there was a ‘goodie’ and a ‘baddie’? An antihero is both of those things and neither of them at the same time. They’re the protagonist of the novel/ movie /play/ epic poem/ pop-up book but they’re not what we would normally consider a hero. They might not want to save the world, they might not put others before themselves and they might not always take the most ‘morally correct’ decisions.

Their goals may be quite selfish or just defy everyone’s expectations and they may do many morally and ethically questionable things to achieve their goals. Their good intentions do not necessarily result in good actions. Nevertheless, they always have redeeming qualities and can come across as very likable, multi-faceted characters so even if they do bad things it’s hard to hate them.

In stories the hero may be flawed but is generally labelled as good, fair and brave. The villain may be vulnerable but at the end of the day they’re evil. An antihero’s character is shades of greythey’re not fully good or fully bad and they’re not quite evil.

Personally, I enjoy reading about antiheroes because their motivations are normally very complex and it’s impossible to predict what they are going to do next as they’re not confined by strict moral values. Seeing how they justify and explain even the most terrible actions is scarily interesting. I always find that even though my brain is telling me that the character is bad and I shouldn’t like them, it’s hard to hate them when you have access to their most private thoughts and know all the events that led them to be the way they are.

Some examples:

Here are some of my favourite antiheroes and why!

Baru from The Traitor by Seth Dickinson: Baru would do anything and betray anyone to save her island and it was terrifying to watch her destroy people I thought she loved in the name of her cause. She was a genius and the reader was made to understand how important her mission was to her even as they watched her humanity slip away.

Rin from The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang: Rin had indomitable power and and it was intriguing to see how she thought she was using it for the greater good even when she wasn’t. She made lots of wrong choices but at the same time she still wanted to try and help.

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Kaz had only two goals in mind: money and vengeance, and it was obvious from his actions that he was not a good person. However, his tragic and terrible backstory evoked sympathy and it became hard to dislike him when you realised the reasons behind his actions. Add to that how loyal he was to those he cared about and he ended up being almost likable!

Lada from And I Darken by Kiersten White: Lada was brutal, unforgiving and ruthless. Everything a woman wasn’t supposed to be in her society. She wanted to claim what was hers and she hungered for power and while she slowly spiralled down and isolated herself from everyone, I still found myself rooting for her.

Jude Duarte from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: Jude was brilliant. In the most terrifying way. She also hungered for power and she wanted to make her place in Elfhame no matter the cost. She became as cold and cunning as those around her and while what she does is entirely self-serving you can’t help but want her to succeed and marvel at her scheming.

More examples:

I took to Twitter to ask the bookish community about their favourite antiheroes and here’s a list of some of the characters that were mentioned:

  • Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • Elphaba Thropp from Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • Catherine Pinkerton from Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites by Marie Lu
  • Tea from The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
  • Ia Cōcha from Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan
  • Victor Vale from Vicious by V. E. Schwab
  • Maud from An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good
  • Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  • Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

So that’s antiheroes! Let’s end with a quote from a tweet by Kara Harte from Kattitude Reads:

“A good anti-hero is flawed and makes mistakes, but for the most part has good intentions at heart.”

What do you think about antiheroes? Who are your favourite antiheroes? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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