[Book Review] My Fate According to the Butterfly – Gail D. Villanueva // a look at the drug war from a child’s POV

Ever since Gail approached Shealea, Cara, and I about hosting the #ButterflyTour for My Fate According to the Butterfly, I’ve just been super eager to finally get my hands on this book and read it. It’s premise – that of a young girl who gets caught up in Duterte’s drug war – captured both my mind and heart easily. And best of all, it was an internationally published book written by a Filipino author who grew up here, and who still lives here. Not to discount my diaspora Filipino brethren, but really – that kind of representation is irreplaceable.

I’ve sat down many times over the past few weeks to try and write this review, and here I am now: an hour and a half from my deadline, and I’m just getting down to it. A whole host of factors – mostly involving work – contributed to me not being able to get this out sooner; but mostly, it was the fact that I was (and still am, if I’m being 100% honest) kind of at a loss as to how to coherently and cohesively describe just how much I loved this book, and how much it means to me.

Naturally, I will do my best. Gail’s debut deserves nothing less!

Onward!

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[Book Review + Giveaway!] Spin the Dawn – Elizabeth Lim // one of the most beautiful fairy tales I’ve ever read

Mulan crossed with Project Runway? Doesn’t that sound like one of the most intriguing things ever? When I saw Spin the Dawn being pitched that way, I scrambled for any way to get my hands on ARC. Luckily, Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea launched the #SpinTheDawnTour and I was one of the lucky folks who got a slot!

Elizabeth Lim, by the way, is a complete and utter gem. Not only did tour participants get ARCs, but she also got us pre-order goodies! However, I can’t really show off my collection until tomorrow. As I write this review, I’m at my mom’s house in the south, and unfortunately, I left my set of pre-order cards and stickers at my apartment. (Oof. 😔) I’ll take photos when I get back, but suffice it to say, the swag is super pretty and well-made! Best of all, she and Knopf Books for Young Readers have also got an international giveaway going! Everybody say thank you, Elizabeth!

More than the swag and giveaway though, I have to say that reading this book was an incredibly enjoyable journey. There were a few bumps along the way which I will talk about more here, but all in all, this was a great read that I’m eager to share with everyone.

Please note though that this review contains spoilers, so tread cautiously.

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[Book Review] Patron Saints of Nothing – Randy Ribay // a hard-hitting story of truth, identity, and family

I have been waiting for literal months to write this review, you guys. I first saw the cover of Patron Saints of Nothing on Twitter at the start of the year, and just from that magnificent photo complete with the Philippine flag stars behind the main character’s head, I already knew I wanted to get my hands on this book. I would honestly, legitimately kill for an ARC of this book. Really.

The bookish gods smiled down on me and influenced the kind hearts (lmfao) of the good folks over at Bookworms United PH to allow me to be a part of the #PatronSaintsPHTour, the blog tour promoting this awesome, amazing book. So huge thanks to them, and of course to Penguin Teen, Penguin Random House International, Kokila Books, and Randy Ribay for getting this whole thing off the ground.

Quick little story before hopping right in to this review: I read this book in the space of four hours while I was lying on a deserted beach on an island south of Cebu, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was surrounded exactly by the unbelievable beauty that is so very often the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about the Philippines, but reading that book right there was a stark reminder of the lesson that Jay learns: if one is to claim being Filipino, then you have to claim the poverty, the hardship, the starvation, and all the difficulties happening in the country, and not just the beautiful beaches and mountains.

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Taken on a deserted beach in Malapascua Island

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[Book Review + Giveaway] Hungry Hearts – Food Crawl Blog Tour by Vicky and CW!

Maligayang araw ng kalayaan, mga kababayan!

For today, I’m bringing to you a blog tour that I am super excited to be a part of! This is of course the Hungry Hearts #OwnVoices Food Crawl blog tour. Mucho thanks to Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads and CW @ The Quiet Pond for hosting this and for letting me join up!

Hungry Hearts is an anthology exploring how food is an important part of life and love for many different diverse cultures. It features a story from Rin Chupeco, which is what I’ll be reviewing in this post! For reviews on the rest of the short stories in this anthology, keep on scrolling to check out the Food Crawl blog tour schedule.

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[Book Review] The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad // captures the imagination with a tantalizingly slow-burn romance and a magically compelling setting

Will getting ARCs from authors and/or publishers ever cease being one of the most thrilling moments of my life?

Absolutely not.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Nafiza Azad, the author, and Amy Goppert over at Scholastic, for sending me an e-ARC. I’d particularly like to thank Nafiza, Amy, and Scholastic for offering me the e-ARC when they found out shipping restrictions prevented me from being able to receive a physical ARC. Thank you for helping an international blogger out!

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[Book Review] We Set the Dark on Fire – Tehlor Kay Mejia // a star-crossed f/f romance set in the midst of political unrest

Hallelu, guys, gals, and non-binary pals! I’m very excited to be bringing you my offering for today! Not only is it one of my most anticipated reads for the year, it’s also an enemies-to-lovers f/f revolutionary fantasy! Yup, you heard me right.

If you loved Girls of Paper and Fire and suddenly find yourself more in need of the trope of “wives/concubines of wealthy dictator fall in love with each other instead”, keep reading. I think you’ll like what I have to say.

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[Book Review] Girl Gone Viral – Arvin Ahmadi // an introspective analysis of relationships, storytelling, and technology

I WAS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO HAVE THIS REVIEW UP LAST NIGHT. 😅 But ya tita foolishly overtaxed herself at the gym last night, so now I’m home with a slight fever and a really painful left knee. (Context: I dislocated my left knee when I was in uni and it’s never really been the same since. I have to be really careful about it when doing physical exercise, but this dumb bunny decided to push herself yesterday even though her knee was screaming, “Take a break, you dumb bitch!”)

I hadn’t actually heard of Girl Gone Viral before. I hadn’t even heard of anything by Arvin Ahmadi. But when I saw this book being promoted by my faves, Bookworms United PH, on their Twitter accounts, I was curious enough to check it out on Goodreads – and the summary seemed so cool and intriguing that I decided to sign up for the blog tour!

I’m honestly so grateful to Bookworms United PH and, of course, to Penguin Random House Global, for selecting me to be part of this tour because…we got physical ARCs! Look at that gorgeous photo below! Isn’t it beautiful? I’ll have tons more pictures of this beautiful ARC on my Instagram so head on over if you’d like to see more.

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