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.

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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!

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When Do Slow-Paced Books Work? (a discussion of Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson)

It was too slow-paced. I was bored. I kept flipping pages to get to the end. These phrases are just some of the common criticisms we hear often regarding books that are either slow-paced or have a stretched out plot. Sometimes, those criticisms are valid. After all, I’ve done my fair share of flipping through books that I felt were taking for-fucking-ever to get to the point like Wicked Saints.

However, I’d like to present my hot take for the day: a slow pace can be fit a book better than a fast one, and it totally depends on the author’s ultimate goals for their audience’s reading experience.

A perfect example is the book I recently finished, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. At first, I was pretty reluctant to pick up the book because I’d been seeing mixed reviews of it online, but I decided to one day (the day me, JM, Inah, and Miel went to Pride, incidentally!) because a) that cover is gorgeous, and b) it was on sale!

After an interminably loooong time (I mean, clearly – I bought it in June and just finished reading it in November, lol) I finally picked up this book, went very quickly through it, and realized that I actually disagreed with most people’s assessment that the book was boring!

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Purchase this book here.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Not everyone’s going to have the same opinion about a book. But I do think that, in general, we’ve been spoiled by fast-paced, action-packed YA books where everything moves along really quickly. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Some of my favorite books play out like a movie on the page. But because we’re so used to things being set in motion quickly, we’ve come to expect that same treatment for almost every book we read.

I believe that the slow pace worked just fine for Sorcery of Thorns and added an aspect to the book that would not have been there had the plot gone faster.

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[Mini-Review] Same Premise, Vastly Different Execution: Fix Her Up vs. A Prince on Paper

How you doin’, guys, gals, and nonbinary pals?

A couple of days ago, I shared the below tweet, asking if it was okay to comparatively review two books that handled the same trope.

The consensus was that it was fine, but to avoid tagging the authors as the usual courtesy. I spent all of yesterday taking down notes, and I’m finally ready to publish this review! For today, I’ll be comparing the books Fix Her Up and A Prince on Paper, which both deal with the fake dating trope.

That’s not their only similarity, though. Both books also feature protagonists who get into the fake relationship to change people’s perceptions of who they are as sheltered and innocent. They both also handle themes of toxic family relationships.

But the difference is, while I absolutely adored A Prince on Paper, I struggled to finish Fix Her Up and was left dissatisfied and even somewhat angry at the end.

Read on to find out why!

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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.

Header (Spin the Dawn)

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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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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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[Mini-Review] Two Romances I Absolutely Adored: Flipping the Script & You, Me, U.S.

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t written a review for a romance novel in a while – which is remiss of me, admittedly, because I’ve recently read two of the most amazing romance books ever. Both of them are #romanceclass books that were published this year, and I was lucky enough to be able to receive e-ARCs from the authors.

Confession time: these reviews were due ages ago. I have no excuse, except for the usual – real life, work, yadda yadda. But hopefully this post makes up for the lateness, because it’s mostly just gushing about how much I loved these two novels!

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[Book Review + Giveaway] With the Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo // the phrase “it takes a village” in book form

You ever see a book cover and then think, whatever that book is about, you just know beyond a doubt that you’re gonna love that story? Like, the cover is just so beautiful and speaks to you so much that you know its contents are gonna be just as great?

That’s how I felt when I first saw the cover for With the Fire On High.

I mean, you all know how hard I bat for POC on book covers. And this one, with a lovely Afro-Latinx curly-haired girl in a stylish head scarf (a thing I’m learning to do to my own hair!), is just so beautiful. Plus that color palette, and the grapefruit and orange pattern all over is the right something extra that the cover needed to push it from ‘wow’ to ‘omfg I gotta read this right away!’

All of that, plus that amazing summary? Sign me the hell up! 😍

So you can imagine just how grateful I was when Karina @ Afire Pages said I was gonna be part of the blog tour, I was ecstatic! I read it in one sitting, on a Saturday when I had nothing else to do. When I was done, I literally wanted to grab the nearest person and yell at them about how good the book was – which, the nearest person was my cat, so I did grab her and tell her about good the book was, as evidenced by the photo here.

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Purchase Links:
Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Continue reading “[Book Review + Giveaway] With the Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo // the phrase “it takes a village” in book form”