When Short Books Do You No Favors: A Discussion of Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

I’m a fan of short books. They’re great ways to get your reading count up if you’re trying to meet a goal, and they’re a wonderful way to fit some reading into the day when you don’t have the energy or mental space for a longer, meatier book.

But sometimes, shortness just doesn’t work for the story you’re trying to tell. Sometimes, you really do need to take the time to explore your setting and your plot, and if that takes 500+ pages, then so be it. If you need to do that in order to do justice to the story that you want to tell, then you need to do that!

Unfortuantely, Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao is a perfect example of when short books do no favors, for either the author or the reader. If you want to know why I, unfortunately, did not enjoy this book, then read on!

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Who is Centred in Your Narrative? (a discussion of Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez) – NOT SPOILER-FREE

Woven in Moonlight was one of my most anticipated reads for the first quarter of 2020, and when I finally got the chance to read it for #PhilMythReadathon (check out my TBR video here, or the announcement video here) I was super eager to get started.

Unfortunately, I ended up feeling a bit uncomfortable about how the book’s plot ultimately ended up panning out – enough to write a whole review about it, apparently.

Please keep in mind the following things: I am not Latinx and I am not Bolivian. Therefore take all of my criticism with a grain of salt.

Also, please be aware that this review contains spoilers (although I tried to keep them as vague as possible). So if you haven’t read Woven in Moonlight yet, you might want to skip this post!

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[Book Review] Fireborne by Rosaria Munda // Plato’s Republic as a fantasy book

Hey everyone! Can we all get a big hell yeah for my first book review of 2020?

This book was actually a leftover from 2019. I’d started reading it – like a massive idiot – the last week of December, when I knew I’d be busy with New Year’s Eve preparations. As a result, I entered 2020 with an unfinished book. 😅

Still, I’m thankful I did, because it ended up also being my first five-star of the year! Now read on to find out what I enjoyed so much about this book.

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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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[Book Review] Crier’s War – Nina Varelas // a philosophical look at what makes us human

It’s been over a week since I finished reading this.

I.

HAVE NOT.

STOPPED.

SCREAMING.

I was already expecting a lot from Crier’s War because so many book bloggers whose opinions I trust loved it and couldn’t stop raving about it. So you can imagine how pleased I was that not only did this book meet my expectations, it fucking surpassed them! Read on to find out why!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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[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!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository
Scribd

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[Book Review] A House of Rage and Sorrow – Sangu Mandanna // one of the most painful sequels I’ve EVER read

Okay, so – my bad. I was totally supposed to have this review out last August 22. But I totally misread Shealea’s email (oof) and I also got swamped with so much work this week (what else is new). Hence, this late review.

As per usual, thank you very much to Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea (click the link to read her interview with Sangu Mandanna!) and Caffeine Book Tours for letting me be a part of the blog tour for this marvelous sequel! And if you haven’t read the first book, A Spark of White Fire, please do so! You can check out my review to see what I thought about it and to get to purchase links!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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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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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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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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