[Book Review] Steel Crow Saga – Paul Krueger // fantasy post-WWII discussions of colonialism, forgiveness, and love of country

ETA 20 June 2020:

Following the allegations against Paul Krueger, I am rescinding my support of Steel Crow Saga and the rest of Paul’s books. I believe victims of harassment always, even if the harasser is someone I looked up to and deeply admired.

I have never subscribed to the belief that art can be separated from the artist, and I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I don’t hold myself and my heroes to that same standard. I urge the rest of Steel Crow Saga fans to consider the courage people needed to muster to come forward, and to retract their support as well.

To the victims, I am deeply sorry for all that you have experienced, and I am also sorry if my outspoken support for Paul resurrected any pain, fear, discomfort, or trauma. I sincerely pray for light and healing for all of you.

***

A couple of months ago, I was applying for a senior manager position in another company. The head honcho who would be my direct supervisor if I got the job asked me what I looked to do in my spare time. I said that I liked to read, so she asked me what I was currently reading. At the time, I was participating in #SteelCrowReadathon by Shealea, so I said I was reading that. The director asked me what it was about – and that’s how I ended up spending fifteen minutes of a job interview gushing about a book.

(I got the job, by the way.)

Read on to find out what I loved about this amazing five-star read!

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset
Buy this book here!
Continue reading

The Makings of a Good Redemption Arc (a discussion of The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala)

Hey there guys, gals, and non-binary pals! Today, I want to tell you all about another book that I bought months ago and only recently finished (because I am trash like that). I posted one of my usual ‘pick my next read from my physical TBR’ polls on Twitter (which I started doing in an attempt to knock some items off of the catastrophically large pile of books I haven’t read yet) and the book that won that particular poll was The Tiger at Midnight, by Swati Teerdhala.

2019-11-16 08.13.28 3.jpg

Get this book here!

One aspect of this book immediately caught my attention, and that’s the redemption arc one of the main characters undergoes. It got me thinking about redemption arcs in general, and how authors sometimes don’t really get to pull it off well because they fundamentally misunderstand their own characters (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling).

What really struck me about The Tiger at Midnight and its featured redemption arc is how well it was done. Redemption arcs – especially those that feature the character being redeemed falling in love with a hero – can often be fraught with toxic pitfalls, but this book avoided them neatly and nicely. And in this blog entry, I break down what was it about this redemption arc that made it work!

Continue reading

[Book Review] The Never-Tilting World – Rin Chupeco // steampunk fantasy about climate change (!!!)

It really is no secret that Rin Chupeco is one of my favourite authors of all time. Her books at some core always feature an angry girl discontented with the status quo, and her efforts to bring about change.

The Never-Tilting World is almost exactly the same. Why do I say almost? Because this magnificent gem of a book, the first of a duology, features not just one angry girl, but two. Not to mention the people that love them, and all the trials and tribulations they’re willing to undergo for their sakes.

Read on to find out just what I loved about The Never-Tilting World, and why this steampunk fantasy about climate change should be your next read!

2019-10-16 06.40.16 4.jpg

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

Continue reading

[Book Review] The Dragon Warrior – Katie Zhao // a love letter to Chinese culture

Let me tell you, it was absolutely NOT easy to get reading done in between the absolute hellish week I had – but it was all worth it. I won’t bore you with descriptions of how I was positively buried under wild amounts of work this week, but suffice it to say that I absolutely felt it necessary to sacrifice some things (like sleep lol) just to get some reading in. That’s how much I adored this book.

But enough about me and my woes! Let’s get on with the review!

(As always, thank you Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea for having me on this tour, and for always boosting Asian authors!)

2019-10-06 09.56.48 2.jpg

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

Continue reading

[Book Review] The Disasters – M.K. England // found family and wacky space hijinks galore

It took me a while to finish this book – not because it was a struggle to read it, but because I was just so dang tied up at work. (I still am, tbh – am writing this review from a conference I’m running in Olongapo, lol.) However, I soldiered on, because I was absolutely determined to finish this gem of a book and scream to everyone just how much I loved it!

I’ve been pretty much saying this nonstop on Twitter and Instagram (click the links to see short but glowing reviews!), but The Disasters really is the YA sci-fi found family set in space that you NEED in your life.

Read on to find out why!

2019-09-07 02.55.19 1.jpg

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository
Scribd

Continue reading

[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.

Header (Spin the Dawn)

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

Continue reading

[Book Review + Giveaway!] The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco // the story of an unapologetically angry and powerful woman

2018-05-05 08.06.56 3.jpg

Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 5/5

Summary:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Content Warnings: Violence, bullying, character death

Continue reading

[Book Review] Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi // A:TLA meets X-Men in a good way

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Age Range: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Zélie Adebola emembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed once magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, the maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leopanaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest threat may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Content warnings: Graphic violence, depictions of colorism, depictions of torture

Continue reading