BLOG TOUR | Spellhacker by M.K. England; Badass Illegal Funtimes! And Magic!

Last year I was fortunate enough to take part in six different blog tours of amazing books that I adored. Although I thoroughly enjoyed each blog tour – boosting books that gave me joy is always fun – I promised myself that I’d take a break from signing up from any more tours in the future. I told myself that in 2020 I was going to really focus on the first draft of my novel. My blog would take the backseat this time around. As I was prepping for the Hail the Bitch Queen blog tour, I promised myself that it was going to be my last tour for the time being.

But then Kate (Your Tita Kate) announced that she was doing the Asian blog tour for M.K. England’s Spellhacker.

me 0.5 seconds after Kate announced the #SpellhackersInAsia blog tour

Much like the book’s main character, the marshmallow-filled cactus Dizmon, I went back on my word. This would be my last, last blog tour.

And much like Diz’s last, last heist, this book ended up taking me on a whirlwind of an adventure that I couldn’t have ever imagined. Twists! Turns! Intrigue! Magic! Oh my!

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Goodbye, 2019. Hello, 2020

Happy new year everyone!

2019 was… something. It was a hell of a year, to be honest, which is why I didn’t have the motivation to even think about a year-end post/summary. It feels like 2019 lasted a full decade, considering all that went down.

Anyway. I wasn’t going to write a new year post and intended to jump straight into a book discussion post about this weird book I read sometime last year (won’t spoil which book but let’s just say that for a book published in 2015 its slut-shaming was gratuitous and unabashedly virulent). But whenever I opened my blog I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was missing something. I don’t know why when I rarely add anything to my blog. Eventually I realized what felt so off. Without a post welcoming the new year, my blog felt like it was still stuck in the old one. I know that sounds lame and nonsensical but somehow I just couldn’t ignore it. I don’t have much of an audience here in my blog but I am really big on sentimental spectacles for myself. Heck, I’ve been blogging for so long purely because I wanted to document my boring life over the years.

So even though it’s about a week late, here it is. My 2020 post. This thing won’t have much of a structure, I think. I’ll do a quick review of how I fared in 2019 (a resounding meh) but I’ll mostly just talk about my plans with this blog of mine, which aren’t much considering my inconsistent blogging schedule.

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BLOG TOUR | The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #1) by K.S. Villoso

High fantasy has been my go-to genre for a couple of years now. This year alone, of the more than a hundred books I’ve read, half of them were either high fantasy or contemporary fantasy. It’s a genre that I hold near and dear to my heart. So when the call came for bloggers for the blog tour for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, a Filipino-led high fantasy, I literally jumped at the opportunity.

No joke, this book is one of the best high fantasy books I’ve read all year. And I’ve read more than a few kickass titles this 2019.

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Epistolary #6: 50k Words and I'm Barely Halfway Through My Novel (Yes, A NaNoWriMo Post)

I’m alive!

Yeah, it’s been nearly two months since I set foot in this little book blog of mine all because I decided to take another shot at NaNoWriMo. I’ve grumbled about this before and I’ll grumble again but my first serious attempt at NaNoWrimo/writing a novel didn’t end as well as I’d like. Took me ages to even get to 50k words (the default goal). Back then my writing process was so all over the place that a single scene could take me days, even weeks, to finish because I had no idea what was going to happen next. When I realized that I was literally just writing in circles, I had to call it quits.

It wasn’t easy breaking up with my first WIP. I had spent nearly a year writing and it just felt like I flushed all that work down the drain. I considered salvaging it but, alas, the story was barely hanging by a thread in the first place. Rewriting it would have done me more harm than good. It’s hard to save a story that had little to offer in the first place. But! I did end up using the magic system that I oh so meticulously crafted in my current WIP. The thing still needs a lot of work but it’s something to tinker with.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a little self-indulgent personal blog about my experience with NaNoWriMo this year and how ’17’s failure taught me more about my writing process and preferences.

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BLOG TOUR | The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco : Book Review + Mini Book Talk about Worldbuilding + Giveaway!

I know that it’s generally a bad idea to judge a book by its cover but when the cover for The Never Tilting World was dropped in Shealea’s blog, I knew right then and there that I had to get my hands on it the moment it was published. Lucky for me, I’ve had the incredible honor of partaking in a major perk of being an active book nerd in this little community: blog tours! That’s right, somehow I was able to get my hands on an eARC of The Never Tilting World and fangirl about it months earlier than I expected. 

Here’s an abridged version of my experience reading The Never Tilting World
breath: stolen
jaw: on the floor
heart: full
hotel: trivago (I couldn’t resist)

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New Bullet Journal, New Me (sort of)

I feel like I say this at the beginning of every personal post but this one has been a long time coming. Really. I’ve had this post in my drafts for about three(?) months now and, honestly, after several rewrites it’s not even recognizable anymore. Originally, I wanted to talk about how my recent stationery addiction was getting out of hand – I had even several anecdotes all typed up and ready to go – but although I could talk about notebooks and pens and papers all day long, I found myself just plain bored with that blog post idea.

Don’t get me wrong, my stationery addiction is still a struggle I have to deal with but, after some internal digging, there really isn’t anything interesting about it other than my clinical need to fill a void inside me. While I didn’t altogether scrap that blog post idea, I also didn’t really find myself all that motivated to see it through. But then I fell into a very specific rabbit hole in YouTube: the bullet journaling community. The number of plan-with-me’s and stationery hauls and journal flip-throughs I’ve watched over the course of a few weeks cannot possibly be healthy. Those videos, however, got me really motivated to take bullet journaling seriously.

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Sequel Sundays | The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

It’s been ages since I wrote a Sequel Sunday. I really meant to write one last month but for one reason or another I just wasn’t feeling the sequel that I had initially planned on featuring. Honestly, I still wasn’t really up to reading that book this month (what with my TBRReadathon and all) and just as I was resigned to the idea of skipping yet another month on this poor blog series, I realized something. I had read a sequel recently. Ashley Poston’s The Princess and the Fangirl was a sequel (of sorts) for Geekerella. It’s a standalone-ish book but still… it’s a second book in a series so it still counts as a sequel!

Better still, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular sequel. Most of which are, well, not positive. Interestingly, this is the first sequel that I’ve read this year that I rated below four stars. And I was looking forward to this book too. Alas.

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To Kill a Fairy Tale Retelling: Outgrowing the Source Material

One of my most disappointing reads last year was Alexandra Christo’s To Kill A Kingdom, the hyped up “dark” retelling of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid. That YA fantasy was such a let down that I felt personally betrayed. Not because Ariel was my favorite princess back in the day, mind you, but because the book was genuinely enjoyable for the first few chapters. To Kill was a gorgeous blend of fantasy and gore – the main character, Lira, literally ripped out a prince’s heart in the first chapter! It was intriguing. It was exciting. And, best of all, it was refreshing. Anti-heroes might be a dime a dozen these days but Lira was outrightly morally bad that I was convinced that her development was going to be very nuanced.

Thus, my massive disappointment was set up.

Right around chapter 10 when I was reminded in an excruciatingly cringey, convoluted, ridiculous scene that this book was indeed a Little Mermaid retelling – at that point, the book had done a good job in distracting you from its marketing ploy – I knew in my heart how wrong I was. After I finished reading To Kill a Kingdom, I considered writing a review on it but couldn’t really bring myself to put in the effort because I had no special enough feelings for it. I didn’t like it, didn’t really hate it – I just didn’t care about it. And for a whole year I put it out of my mind until one afternoon when I remembered the prince that Lira killed at chapter 1.

You see, that prince turned out to be a really good friend of the other main character/Lira’s love interest, Prince Elian. And you might think that that the simple fact that Lira killed Elian’s friend completely for shits and giggles would throw a wrench in their budding romance… well, you’d be wrong. I was extremely disturbed at how Elian still got together with his friend’s coldblooded murderer. Personally, I don’t think I’d ever even consider being friends with anyone who’d hurt a good friend of mine, regardless of how physically attractive they are. How anyone can not only forgive but also conveniently forget the killer of a good friend is just… it boggles the mind.

Having remembered that messed up factoid, I was dragged back into the story and the more I thought about it, the clearer it became to me how absolutely hopeless the book was after it announced to readers that it was (and could only ever be) a retelling. What bothered me about this book was that I actually do love retellings. In fact, one of my favorite series of all time, The Lunar Chronicles, is a retelling of several fairy tales. And even in cases where I didn’t know for sure that they were retellings, I still enjoyed them. Ella Enchanted, for instance. If you weren’t told in advance that it was a Cinderella reimagining, you wouldn’t know it until halfway through the book. 

So where did To Kill a Kingdom go wrong? I wanted to answer that question rather than just roasting the book for the entirety of this post. But in order to understand how To Kill failed as a retelling, I’m going to compare it with a retelling that didn’t, Ella Enchanted. The two are vastly different books (one is YA, the other is Middle Grade) but they are both high fantasy retellings of popular fairy tales that were adapted into Disney classics (which I suspect was the two books’ main source but we’ll get to that in a minute). 

First, an overview of the two books in question:

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Big Bad Wolf Book Haul: In Which I Tried but Failed to Control Myself

So! Apparently it’s been more than a fortnight since I last posted anything on my blog. And no, I didn’t purposely wait for two weeks so I could use the word fortnight on my opening line. I was just… really lazy. And almost worryingly absentminded. I kept meaning to brainstorm a new blog post but whenever the thought occurred to me, I’d immediately get distracted with something else. And here I was congratulating myself last month for being really active on my book blog. Didn’t realize I’d slide back to my old habits immediately after.

That being said, last week I was able to at least come up with two blog post ideas that I’ve vaguely considered for a while now. One is a personal post – a homage, really – to my love for notebooks and journaling while the other is, as of writing this, a messy rant about a certain YA fantasy book that really disappointed me last year. I fully intended on just forgetting that book for the rest of my days but its absolutely absurd ending (and implications) kept hounding me. So naturally the only way to free myself from it is to pick it apart in a detailed blog post.

While I’ve already outlined both future posts – the book rant-y one even has a messy intro – I didn’t spend enough time and energy on actually writing them so I wasn’t able to finish them by the end of last week. Now I’ve had my heart set on posting something, anything, on my blog this week so I’ve resorted to writing something that I’m confident I can churn out without too much fuss: a book haul.

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7 Reasons Why You Need to Read The Oremere Chronicles

So the War of Mist blog tour has been extended for a couple of days which means I can talk about The Oremere Chronicles even more! If I haven’t yet convinced you, dear reader, to pick up this incredible fantasy trilogy by Helen Scheuerer, I clearly haven’t talked about it enough. Although I’ve written essentially three posts discussing just how great this series is, I don’t think I ever really went into the minor details that really made the books so damn enjoyable to read.

Here’s a quick listicle on my top 7 reasons why I love the Oremere Chronicles to death and why you’re sorely missing out if you don’t read it.

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