Book Tags · Uncategorized

The Throne of Glass Tag!

Hello my bookish wyverns!

Today I’m doing the Throne of Glass tag which I found on Papertea & Bookflowers. When I discovered this tag I knew I had to do it because Throne of Glass is a series very close to my heart. I’m not too keen on the first two books in the series but I love almost everything from Heir of Fire onwards.

~LYSANDRA~

A book with a cover change you loved

I love both the new UK and US covers for the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I like how the US ones actually show the characters’ faces and they look similar to how I imagine them and I like the rich colours on the new UK covers- especially because I thought the old covers were quite boring.

Image result for us ember in the ashesImage result for us ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashes

~ABRAXOS~

A book that’s better on the inside than it looks on the outside

I didn’t like the cover of the edition of Deathless by Catherynne Valente that I read but that didn’t matter because the insides of the book were incredible! It’s such a magical read!

~ERILIA~

A series with great word building

The world building in Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron was phenomenal. It’s so rich, sprawling and multi-faceted it almost felt real. I loved learning about the different types of people, magic and beliefs. You can read my review here.

~RIFTHOLD~

A book that combines genres

The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Alicia Zaloga and Wendy Trimboli combines fantasy with murder mystery and I have to say it worked out fairly well!

~DAMARIS ~

A book based on/inspired by a myth/legend

I will never stop conveying my love for Circe by Madeline Miller, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a feminist retelling of the Odyssey by Homer and it’s just one of the most beautiful books in existence.

~KALTAIN ROMPIER~

A book with an unexpected twist

The twists at the end of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff are mind-shattering. They were completely unexpected and I was completely shocked. I thought the author was playing some kind of Tric on me (if you’ve read the series, you’ll get the pun).

~ASSASSIN’S KEEP~

A book with an unreliable narrator

I guess The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson has a sort of unreliable narrator, more so in the second book where she’s a mess. But apart from that no other books come to mind.

~ASTERIN BLACKBEAK~

A book that’s got squad goals

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was the first book I thought of when I read this prompt. It’s undeniably the number one book for squad goals. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina and Matthias are legendary together (I can’t wait to see them in action in the Netflix show)!

Also Throne of Glass itself has a pretty awesome squads. How could you not love the court of Terrasen, the Thirteen or the cadre?

~TERRASEN~

A book that feels like home

The Throne of Glass books definitely feel like home to me because I’ve read them so many times it’s all familiar. Also, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien always gives me fuzzy, homely feeling because again, it’s a book that I’ve read too many times to count and a story I’ve adored since a young age.

~AELIN ASHRYVER GALATHYNIUS~

A book with the power to destroy you

Apart from Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas…. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang doesn’t just have the power to destroy me- it did. It’s the most brilliant but brutal book I’ve ever read.

~MANON BLACKBEAK~ 

A book that intimidated you

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin definitely intimidated me. It’s so thick it’s like a brick! It took a large effort to read it all, but maybe that was just because I pretty much already knew what would happen from watching the TV series. The show is quite similar to the first book and deviates from the novels more later on in the series apparently. But I wouldn’t know because the rest of the book series intimidates me too so I haven’t read them.

~ROWAN WHITETHORN~

A book that makes you swoon

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is a swoon worthy book. All the glamour and glitz and Celine Rousseau and Sébastien Saint Germain…. *faints*.

~CHAOL WESTFALL~ 

A book that challenged you to see things differently

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker challenged me to see the mythology I love from a different perspective. We always talk about the great heroes who slew beasts and fought wars and forget the immense courage of the women in their shadows.

~FLEETFOOT~

A book you received as a gift

I received the The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins as a birthday present once and it was definitely one of the best gifts I’ve ever received because I love the series, especially Catching Fire. And they were the foil editions which are so shiny and beautiful. 

~ELENA~

A book you found right when you needed it

I found A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray when I needed it because I was hopelessly floundering between disappointing and average books and it was the first good book I had read in a while- it was like a beacon of hope.

So that’s the tag! What do you think of my answers? Do you like the Throne of Glass series? Let me know in the comments!

I tag: Noura, Star, Celaena Renee, Gabriela, Hâf … and anyone else who wants to do this tag!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Not the Chosen One: Review of Fate of the Fallen

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

Book: Fate of the Fallen

Year Published: 2019

Author: Kel Kade

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 3.5/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

Fate of the Fallen was a fantasy book that subverted the ‘chosen one’ trope and managed to strike a balance between end-of-the-world bleakness and light-heartedness. At the start, the writing and plot felt a bit immature but the story strengthened as it progressed and more characters were introduced.

Aaslo was a forester (a person tasked with caring for the forests) and all he wanted was to save the trees– but he ended up trying to save the world. One fateful day, his friend and brother in all things, Mathias, discovered he was chosen. According to prophecy, he was the only one capable of saving the world from evil. It wasn’t that much of a surprise, he was skilled and much loved by all, so of course he was destined for greatness… right? Wrong. When he met his untimely end, the very distraught Aaslo decided to take up Mathias’ mantle and give their world a fighting chance.

When there wasn’t a ‘chosen one’ anymore, everyone gave up and prepared for doom. Aaslo, however, thought if he was fated to die he might as well do so fighting for the greater good– not hiding away. Generally, I thought that was a good message because in real life so many things don’t go to plan but it’s not an excuse to give up but more of a reason to move forward with resilience, tenacity and hope for the future- like Aaslo.

As a character, Aaslo was solemn and serious but also extremely genuine in a likeable way- there was not an ounce of deception in him. Some of the other characters were quite endearing too, most notably the two thieves Peck and Mory and an ex-mage called Teza. However, there were a few different points of view, some of which I didn’t care about at all (like that of the reaper called Myropa) which made my progression through the book quite forced at times.

The plot was just… a lot. I think if it just focused on Aaslo it would have been fine but the meddling gods kept making appearances and they made the plot more confusing. There was magic, mages, prophecies, fae, zombies and a dragon arm (yes, just an arm) and while it sounds fun, it would have been more fun if the plot was better developed and there was less of what felt like seemingly unnecessary filler.

In conclusion, Fate of the Fallen was a rather humorous read that had a nice twist on a well-known trope. It wasn’t spectacular but would make a refreshing read for someone tired of the same old, same old.

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Steel Crow Saga

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

Book: Steel Crow Saga

Author: Paul Krueger

Year Published: 2019

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

Steel Crow Saga was an Asian-inspired standalone fantasy (also influenced by anime) with intricate world building and a well developed cast of characters that captured my heart. It was truly an unforgettable and worthwhile read.

Many fantasy novels focus on the events leading up to and during a great war but this book was all about the aftermath of a war. The countries Sanbuna, Shang and Dahal had revolted against the colonising power of Tomoda but there was still a long way to go to establish peace.

That’s where our characters came in. Tala, a Sanbuna soldier, was tasked with escorting Prince Jimuro to Tomoda so that he could claim his throne. But a Shang princess and detective called Xiulan and a thief from Jeongson called Lee were trying to find and capture Jimuro so that Xiulan could prove to her father her worthiness to rule. However, all four characters ended up uniting under the same goal to defeat a terrible threat to them all.

I loved this novel’s original approach to magic. The people of Shang and Sanbuna had the ability to Shadepact, creating a soul bond with an animal which can then be called by their name to do a person’s bidding. However, the people of Tomoda could Metalpact which as the name suggests involves manipulating metal. Finally, in Dahal they were able to use Hexbolts which involved firing powerful bolts of energy. These various forms of magic were used creatively, for good and to gain control. For example, the Jeongsanese were not allowed to Shadepact as a means of subjugation.

Tala was haunted by the desperate actions of her past that led her to shadepact with her brother to save his life, gravely defying the laws of magic. Her relationship with her brother portrayed the complex layers of loyalty, hate but most of all love between them emotively. Tala had to help the very person she felt represented the pain and suffering her people had experienced, her worst enemy- Jimuro. But as the story developed she realised a person is more than what they represent and without forgiveness to others and herself there would be no hope for future peace.

Jimuro had one of the best development arcs I’ve ever read and was definitely my favourite character. He gradually understood the damage his country had caused and put aside some of his deepest beliefs to become the ruler not just best for his people, but for all. His relationship with Tala was perfect as they went from enemies to trusted friends (to hopefully more). By learning about and accepting each other they helped bridge a rift carved by years of fighting and hatred.

Although the detective-princess Xiulan was razor-sharp smart, all she really knew about the world was what she had read in books. She was driven by a consuming desire to prove her right to power, especially to her siblings who had always put her down. Her journey was one of acknowledging her own talents as well as weaknesses and learning how to use them for the good of her people. Lee was used to leaving people behind before they left her and she had to overcome her deep-seated suspicion of people to form a connection with Xiulan. Their relationship was dynamic and endearing but they also had to deal with issues surrounding trust that remained unresolved at the end.

I loved the intricate world building that fully immersed me in the differing cultures, customs, foods, etiquettes, beliefs and lifestyles of the various places. Furthermore, the harmony it achieved between magic and technology was unparalleled. At its core, this book was about the importance of overcoming differences and not allowing past traumas to fester in order to achieve peace. It was about the importance of the coloniser accepting responsibility and the advent of change through decolonisation.

For a fantasy, every aspect of Steel Crow Saga felt so real from the many layered characters to the detailed world. I don’t re-read novels often, but I’m very sure I’ll have to re-read this one soon. It’s a book I feel like I could get lost in a thousand times and always discover something new.


At the start of the review, I briefly mentioned the influences of anime in the book. I don’t know much about anime but if that is something you want to know more about, Petrik’s review is great and talks about it in great detail.

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Blog Tours · Interviews · Uncategorized

Sereadipity Interviews… Apaay! (Below Blog Tour)

Hello my booksicles!

I’m so glad to be participating in the Below blog tour hosted by the FFBC as I read an early copy of Below last year and it truly was one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read. You can read the review here. Today I’m doing something a bit different as instead of interviewing an author, I’m interviewing the main character of the book, Apaay! Basically, I asked the questions and the author answered them from the point of view of Apaay which is exciting because who doesn’t wish they could directly ask questions to their favourite book characters.


About the book:

  • Book: Below
  • Author: Alexandria Warwick
  • Publisher: Wolf Publishing
  • Release date: February 4th 2020
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired
by Inuit mythology.

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes,
nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it
is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—
yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers
Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set
free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems.

Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her
sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to
survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins.

Book links:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Interview:

(1)

How are you so strong, Apaay? What keeps you going through hardship?

I don’t see myself as strong, really. In my mind, there is one choice: do, or do not. If I do not spear a seal, then we do not eat. If I do not get Eska’s face back, then our family will never be whole. The North teaches my people that a certain resilience is necessary to endure. Ice cracks, but water flows. As well, there is a saying among the Analak: The night is long, but the sun will soon greet you.

(2)

What is one thing you wish you told or did with your sister before her face was stolen?

I wished I could have apologized for snapping at her on the ice. If I hadn’t done so, her face might never have been stolen.

(3)

After you left to find your sister’s face, what did you miss most about your home?

I missed my family more than anything. In truth, they are my home. Being in their presence is enough for me, most days.

(4)

What is your greatest fear and your greatest dream?

My greatest fear is dark water. I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose name-soul I was given at my birth. When my grandmother was a child, she fell through the ice and nearly drowned. Thus, her fear of dark water was passed onto me during the naming ceremony.

As for my greatest dream . . . I wish I had an answer for you. Before the labyrinth, I wished to lead the summer hunt, and for my people to see me as worthy of the task. Now, it would be enough for Eska’s face to be returned to her, and for my family to be together again.

(5)

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before you set out to find your sister’s face, what would it be?

The in-between will play tricks on the mind. Trust no one.


About the author:

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author
of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.

Links:

Goodreads | Website | Instagram


Click here to see the whole blog tour schedule

Click here to enter the giveaway

Thank you so much to the FFBC and Alexandria Warwick for letting me interview Apaay!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Blood Heir

Book: Blood Heir

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Year published: 2019

  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Blood Heir was a dark retelling of ‘Anastasia’ full of action and determination. It contained some important themes and multi-faceted characters and although at times it felt a bit repetitive I still enjoyed it very much.

Anastacya ‘Ana’ Mikhailov was the crown princess of the Cyrillan Empire– a hostile place for Affinites (people with magical abilities). As a child, Ana discovered her blood Affinity (being able to control people’s blood) when she accidentally killed a group of people and ever since she lived her life locked away, feeling like a monster. After being framed for her father’s murder, Ana was thought to be dead but she actually went on the run to prove her innocence and enlisted the aid of a crime lord named Ramson Quicktongue to track down the real murderer.

“Show them what you are, my little monster”

Affinites, were trafficked into Cyrillia on the promise of good opportunities and jobs but then indentured into forced labour with no escape. Although Ana had been on the run for months before finding Ramson, she was incredibly naïve surrounding the corruption in her lands until he made her face the truth. Being an Affinite herself, Ana’s journey of acknowledging and understanding the rife slavery and suffering was essential for her character development and also for making her a better and more just princess. Slavery wasn’t just a problem in history but a massive issue today all over the world and tackling it, even in a fantasy setting, is so important because more people need to become aware of it, just like Ana.

“It’s up to us to fight our battles in this world”

Although Ana and Ramson seemed like complete opposites at first glance, they were actually really similar. They both carried rage towards the world and pasts full of injustice that shaped their lives and actions. They both saw the bad and good in each other and accepted it and went from deep mistrust to caring for each other dearly. Ana thought there was always a chance to make the right decision despite previous actions and as Ramson was losing himself in a snarl of expectations and ambitions she helped him find a way out. And while Ana realised that nothing can truly be completely good or completely bad she also realised that her monstrous power had the potential for good too.

“All Affinities are a double-edged sword. One must simply learn to wield it.”

The descriptions of places and foods were stunningly detailed– almost real. However, I did want to know more about how Affinities work, especially Ana’s blood affinity, because the book didn’t offer much explanation. I also wanted more of Linn, she was a character who came late in the book even though she was an important character and I really liked her and I hope she is more prominent in the next book.

Overall, Blood Heir was a book that dealt with dark themes but was also fun and action-packed. It almost gave me Grishaverse vibes and is suited to fans of YA fantasy who want something a little bit deeper. I have high hopes for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it.

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

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#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday: Bookish Habits

Hello my booksicles!

It’s been so long since I’ve done a #SixforSunday but I’ve decided to bring them back! For those who are unfamiliar, #SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot and this week’s theme is, ‘six bookish habits’.

I think some of my habits in relation to books have changed over time. For example, I used to always fold over the corner of my page to mark my place in a book but now I use a bookmark because I don’t like creasing the pages anymore. Today however, I’ll be listing six of my bookish habits that have never changed:

1) Reading the last page/ line of a book before I’ve finished it:

Sometimes I just need to know how a book will end or an indication that everything will be alright so I skim the last page or glance at the last line. Normally I don’t spoil too much for myself because I have no idea what’s happening on the last page anyway. Another thing I do, especially in books with multiple points of view, is skip forward a few chapters to check if a certain character is alright because I don’t have the patience to wait several chapters before finding out.

2) Taking the jackets off hardcovers whilst I’m reading them:

The jacket really irritates me when I read a hardcover because it keeps getting in the way and slipping around so normally I just take it off to save me the trouble of constantly adjusting it. Once I’m finished reading the book, I put the jacket back on.

3) Reading before going to sleep:

I like reading before I go to sleep but unlike some people it doesn’t help me to relax, it’s just one of the only times I find time to read so I take advantage of it.

4) Constantly adding books to a never-ending tbr (to be read) list:

I think most people take the idea of a tbr as a list of books they will definitely read at some point or at least try to. However I take it more as a list of books that seem interesting and that I think I will like but if I never get around to reading them, it’s alright. And I know I probably won’t get around to reading most of them because I keep adding more and more intriguing books all the time but I don’t mind and the fact that my tbr is ridiculously long doesn’t stress me out in the slightest. I enjoy finding out about different books regardless if I’ll ever read them.

5) Taking every opportunity to go to a bookshop:

No matter where I go or what I’m doing I can’t resist going into every bookshop I see. Bookshops are my happy place.

6) Reading by mood:

I can’t stick to a rigid tbr because I like to read whatever I feel like reading in that moment. If I’m not in the mood to read a book, I won’t feel motivated to pick it up and will probably spend much longer than usual reading it.


What are your bookish habits? Let me know in the comments!

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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!

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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).

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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!

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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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Silence of the Girls

Book: The Silence of the Girls

Author: Pat Barker

Year Published: 2018

  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Silence of the Girls was a moving retelling that focused on what the women had to endure whilst recounting the events of The Iliad by Homer. It wasn’t as breathtaking as other Greek mythology retellings I’ve read (such as Circe by Madeline Miller) but it was still a rather powerful read.

The book is primarily told from the perspective of Briseis. She was the queen of Lyrnessus until Achilles sacked the city and killed every male- young or old. And what happened to the women of Lyrnessus? They all became slaves to the men who killed their families and destroyed their home. Briseis became Achilles’ ‘war prize’, concubine and slave.

Seeing the events of the Trojan War through Briseis’ eyes was interesting because in tales of Greek mythology everything is so focused on The Trials and Triumphs of the Great and Powerful Heroes that no one seems to care about the women, silently suffering in the background.  Through Briseis’ inner thoughts, feelings and fears a whole new side to these Great and Powerful Heroes was revealed. A side that saw women as ‘war prizes’ to be awarded, used and passed on as one pleased, as objects that existed to serve as opposed to human beings with rights and lives that they were crushing every second of every day. Because no one sang songs about the women, theirs was a song of silence: of quiet tears, of broken hearts and of crushed hopes.

However, half way through the book, Achilles started to get some chapters from his perspective which was quite disappointing because I thought it was Briseis’ story and I wanted to learn more about her, not him. And while Achilles was portrayed as a very complex character- from his insecurities about his mother leaving to his strong friendship with Patroclus and his hunger for fame and glory– I didn’t want to read from his point of view, I felt as if he was stealing the limelight from Briseis. The only thing I got from his perspective was how much he utterly dismissed Briseis.

This was not a romance story. This was not a happy story. This was a story about how although women always ended up paying the greatest prices, nobody seemed to care.

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

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