Book Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight #2)

27245910The Shadow Hour
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight #2
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A battle has been won. But the war has only just begun.

Everything in Echo’s life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.

The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.

Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she’s already overcome.

She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.

Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature—or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what’s left of her world to the ground?

Welcome to the shadow hour.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This is the sequel to The Girl at Midnight, and will contain spoilers for the series. You can find my review of the first book here.

I admit, I pretty much almost completely forgot what happened in The Girl at Midnight before starting this book. All I remembered were “bird-people” and “dragon-people” and “war.” That wasn’t wrong though! Fortunately enough, Grey does a good job at recapping what’s happened in the first book and I wasn’t too lost at all while starting the story. While I really enjoyed the action and adventure going on in this story, all the fighting and fun dialogue was a bit dimmed down by the dragging romances that I didn’t really enjoy. Overall though, there is never a boring spot in The Shadow Hour and remains a solid sequel for its predecessor, bringing readers ever closer to the oncoming battle that will happen. Continue reading

Advertisements

Blog Tour and Giveaway! Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao: Tour of the World

Hello everyone! I’m extremely happy to be the last stop for the blog tour of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao – a dark, vengeful fantasy that is as beautiful as it is deadly. In this tour stop, I’ll be taking you on a tour of the setting of the book. From the green landscapes to gleaming palace, Dao’s luscious writing makes every page a treat to read. The pictures I’ll be using are taken either by my father or me during our trips around the country, and I’ll be giving short descriptions at each stop. Ready for this?

33958230Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Philomel Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.
Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.
foatl1

Picture taken at Qingdao in Shandong Province

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns takes place in the continent of Feng Lu. Although the book is Chinese-inspired, the world itself houses many different groups of people and cultures. With that, this tour will follow the different locations that Xifeng travels to and parallels in China, as well as a little bit about the setting’s significance. Continue reading

ARC Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

31450960Song of the Current
Author: Sarah Tolcser
Series: Book 1
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

While I started The Song of the Current a while back, I put it down because the beginning didn’t draw me in. I didn’t pick it up again after thinking about starting a fantasy that takes place in the sea (or river, in this case). With an immersive fantasy world, action-packed plot that delivers adventure, and a sassy pirate I mean, privateer with precious cargo, this book did not disappoint! Especially after Caro’s defiant nature opens the precious cargo she was charged to deliver. After that event, the plot really gets rolling.

“The god at the bottom of the river speaks to wherrymen in the language of small things. And to the Oresteia family, always. Every one of them, going back to our blockade-running days.
Except me.”

Continue reading

ARC Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

24974996Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

“Dear Martin (AKA Dr. King),
First and foremost, please know I mean you no disrespect with the whole ‘Martin’ thing. I studied you and your teachings for a project in tenth grade, so it feels most natural to interact with you as a homie. Hope you don’t mind that.”

How can I not love this book? Dear Martin is a wonderful piece of work that explores important racial discussions that take place today through its nuanced, quick dialogue and exemplary introspection of the main character, Justyce. Even though this book was short at only 224 pages, it’s absolutely unforgettable and raises relevant discussion points. I really recommend this contemporary to all readers – they will not regret picking up this small but fierce and mighty book. Continue reading

ARC Review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao (Rise of the Empress #1) + Fan Art

33958230Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Philomel Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

“A richly developed fantasy world coupled with an ambitious anti-heroine of complex agency, this story shines and surprises at every turn.” Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

“In the silence, the hunger began – deep and primal and fierce, stronger than anger, more potent than lust. The creature preened, its poison caress sending tingles of need into every fiber of her body. She was helpless in the face of its desire, for its craving was hers, as well.”

This sentence, full of aching hunger and intensity, is a great example of the beautiful yet scheming story that Julie Dao presents in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. We watch one girl’s grapple between her dark destiny and the road towards light that sets the course towards turmoil in the court of the kingdom. This book is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Xifeng is an admirable, ambitious young woman who does not hesitate to rise up and take what she wants. Throughout the book, she battles between the fate that her Guma, or aunt, set up for her, and the whispers of happiness with her lover Wei that would eventually prove unsatisfying. Continue reading

ARC Review: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera + Fan Art

29760778The Tiger’s Daughter
Author: K. Arsenault Rivera
Series: Their Bright Ascendancy #1
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Even gods can be slain

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

A crack in the wall heralds the end…two goddesses arm themselves…K Arsenault Rivera’s The Tiger’s Daughter is an adventure for the ages.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This book contains mature content (sexy times) and graphic violence. Please be aware!

I admit, this book was not on my radar at first. I requested it solely because of the lesbian romance and the aspect of fighting demons. I would soon find out that not only does this book feature those things, but also an expansive Mongolian-inspired world (as well as an issue that I discuss below), and a slowly burgeoning romance that would make my heart burst with both love and satisfaction. The Tiger’s Daughter is a beautiful tale that will burrow its way into your heart, as you traverse through the land with Shizuka, Shefali, and their grand love story. Continue reading

Book Review: Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (Sidekick Squad #1) + Fan Art!

29904219Not Your Sidekick
Author: CB Lee
Series: Sidekick Squad #1
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Publisher: Duet Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This was one super cute, super extraordinary book about a group of teens who live in a futuristic setting where superheroes run rampant, saving the day from supervillains. Although the writing seemed a bit juvenile at times, I thought of this as a positive – that means younger readers can also delight in this wonderful, respectful, and lovely read with #ownvoices representation. I loved going through the heads of each of the characters, and overall it was just a fast read with plenty of action and fun times to keep a reader going. Continue reading

Book Review: Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim + Fan Art

31359509Freedom Swimmer
Author: Wai Chim
Release Date: September 1, 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields…When a group of city boys comes to the village as part of a Communist Party re-education program, Ming and his friends aren’t sure what to make of the new arrivals. They’re not used to hard labour and village life. But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li. The two couldn’t be more different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and shared dreams…But as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible: freedom.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This historical fiction novel made me tear up with its words and characters. Freedom Swimmer transports readers back to 1900’s Communist China under the direction of Mao Zedong, following two young boys as they struggle to balance between the patriotism of their countrymen and the freedom they seek. This particular story also holds a special place in my heart because my own parents and grandparents experienced the Cultural Revolution and the effects it had on the country throughout the century. Freedom Swimmer is also based on a true story, as Chee’s father was a freedom swimmer himself. This #ownvoices novel of Chinese teens will capture the hearts of readers as their respective backgrounds and experiences accumulate in the search for freedom and escape from the propaganda that dominates their life.

“A few year ago, the entire village was talking about ‘The Great Leap Forward’ delivering glory to China. Now, the Cadre had a new term for it: the lack of food, the hunger, the starving and finally the dying.”

Continue reading

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

30312700Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This fun, summery contemporary read was so delightful to read! Bennett’s contemporaries have been a success, and I do adore her refreshing writing, coupled with delightful characters who undergo tremendous growth and gorgeous settings. Alex, Approximately follows a film-loving girl on her huge move from the city to a small surfing town in California, where she creates memorable friendships and explores family relationships. With a fresh, relaxing vibe to carry out Bailey’s summer, the setting of the book was absolutely magnetic and un-put-downable – a perfect summer read! Continue reading