Blog Tour | My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva [Book Review + Author Interview!]

Of all my anticipated reads of 2019, Gail D. Villanueva’s My Fate According to the Butterfly was at the very top of the list. A story set in contemporary Philippines – in the midst of Duterte’s drug war, no less – and written by a Filipino author? I didn’t just want this middle grade book, I needed it.

Before I get to my book review and the author interview, let me just first say how important My Fate According to the Butterfly is to young Filipino readers. Not only is seeing a Filipino writer (based in the Philippines) thrive in the international publishing scene incredibly inspiring, learning about the drug war through the innocent and empathic lens of a child can really help young readers make sense of the relentless (and oftentimes violent) situation in our country.

One of the biggest hurdles drug addicts face is the constant vilification by the general public. Drug addicts are seen as “bad” people that need to be punished so the government’s mistreatment of them is justified by most people to a degree. To some, there’s almost no room for sympathy when it comes to victims of drug abuse. And this lack of compassion or empathy just keeps the terrible cycle going.

That’s why My Fate According to the Butterfly is such an important read for kids. I’d even go so far as to recommend it as required reading in schools. This book sheds some light on the realities of the drug war. It’s not as black and white as so many people want to believe. Drug addicts can recover when they are given the opportunity and the resources. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of drug addicts even come close to rehabilitation.

But anyway, I’m already getting ahead of myself. On to the review!

Continue reading “Blog Tour | My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva [Book Review + Author Interview!]”

Blog Tour | War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer [Book Review + Giveaway!]

It’s no secret that The Oremere Chronicles has a special place in my heart. The first book, Heart of Mist, enchanted me with its well developed characters and riveting premise. I even wrote a Book Talk on Heart of Mist about writing with empathy – one of my favorite blog posts to date. The sequel, Reign of Mist, did not disappoint with all shocking twists and raised stakes. Check out my review of that book here.

When the third book was announced, War of Mist, I was ecstatic and terrified at the same time. One of my favorite fantasy series was coming to an end… and the blood red cover and the ominous title could only be a harbinger of inevitable heartbreak.

After essentially devouring the book in a span of three days, I was SHOOK. Did I finish War of Mist or did War of Mist finish me?

Continue reading “Blog Tour | War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer [Book Review + Giveaway!]”

Sequel Sundays | Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell

I’m a bit late yet again but considering all the blog tours I’m scheduled for this month, I figured it’s better to post this month’s Sequel Sunday a day late (or six days early?). No one really cares about this except for me but still… it’s in the name, y’know?

But whatever. This month I’m finally going to talk about an ongoing fantasy series that’s, in my humble opinion, criminally underrated: Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger series. I raved about the first book, Spellslinger, about a year ago and I even described it as the Harry Potter antithesis that we didn’t know we deserve. No tea, no shade to The Boy Who Lived, of course. Just saying that Harry Potter’s story, compared to other fantasy books, is really quite underwhelming, even considering the younger target audience. Also, HP’s magic system is so basic that it’s walking into class late with the latest Starbucks monstrosity and constantly on the verge of cultural appropriation every time it speaks.

Anyway. On to the review!

Continue reading “Sequel Sundays | Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell”

#YARC2019 Updates: Girls of Paper and Fire | Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon | Descendant of the Crane

This took me a lot longer to finish despite my reckless claim to post this soon after the first part… mainly because I got a bit sick in the middle of last week and couldn’t get my brain to work right. Apparently it’s been so long since I got sick that I forgot how annoying a simple cold is when you’re writing. But anyway, here I am and here we go.

The first half of my #YARC2019 update featured contemporary novels. This one, however, will talk about the asian books I read that fall under the genre of fantasy/high fantasy. As I said a couple of times before, the older I get, the more appreciative I am of fantasy books. I actually struggle to balance out my monthly TBR since only a fraction of my unread books aren’t fantasy in some way.

Continue reading “#YARC2019 Updates: Girls of Paper and Fire | Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon | Descendant of the Crane”

#YARC2019 Updates: Lucy and Linh | The Weight of Our Sky | Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Now, the last time I posted a #YARC2019 update wasn’t all that great since I basically admitted that I almost forgot about this reading challenge. However, this time I come bearing good news. For me, at least. The past month or so have been pretty great in terms of reading books by Asian authors and/or starring Asian leads. In fact, my recent streak of 5-star reads were all penned by Asian authors – two of which were Filipino!

Instead of compiling all 6 books here, I’m gonna be splitting this update post in half. If all goes well, I’ll be posting the second update later this week. Though, to be honest, I’m actually leaving out two books – Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi and My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail Villanueva – because I already talked about the former in a blog tour post and the latter I’ll be reviewing for a blog tour in the near future.

Continue reading “#YARC2019 Updates: Lucy and Linh | The Weight of Our Sky | Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”

Sequel Sundays | Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

I don’t say this lightly – because I literally can’t – but Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer is one of my all time favorite books. That’s right. Not of last year. Not of its genre. But of all time. It was such a jaw-droppingly gorgeous book, a masterclass in storytelling, that if I could experience a book for the first time all over again, it would be this book series.

Because I loved the first book so much, I naturally waited months to read the sequel, though I had it for some time now. I didn’t want to finish this duology too soon, y’know? Even as I was finally reading it, I kept having to hold myself back, savour the experience instead of gobbling up the book whole. Not that it helped very much considering how much of a page-turner Laini Taylor’s books are.

I finished Muse of Nightmares within three days and… wow. Just. Wow.

Continue reading “Sequel Sundays | Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor”

Epistolary #5: Goodbye Book Ban | Hello New WIP | A Little Pupdate

I blinked and already it’s the middle of the year. I don’t know what I did for the past six months but I’m sure it was nothing worthwhile.

Anyway. It’s been about a month since I wrote an Epistolary post and although my life is still the same mind-numbing bore that it was in the 4th post, I suppose I can dredge up a couple of things to talk about here. Naturally, this post is going to talk about three things that I love: books, writing, and dogs.

So let’s just jump into it.

Continue reading “Epistolary #5: Goodbye Book Ban | Hello New WIP | A Little Pupdate”

Book Talk | Magonia, a Good Story Trapped in Bad Writing

A well written book isn’t the same as a well told story. That’s the first important lesson I learned as a writer: the distinction between writing and storytelling.

Now that I’m both a reader and a writer taking a shot at fiction, I value story and structure more than writing style because the former is a tad more difficult to master than the latter. I don’t judge books on the simplicity of writing but instead focus more on how well it draws me in and how good its story is.

When I read Magonia, I realized that while a great writing style may not redeem a bad story *cough Daughter of Smoke and Bone cough*, bad writing can doom a potentially good story on the very first chapter. 

Continue reading “Book Talk | Magonia, a Good Story Trapped in Bad Writing”

BLOG TOUR: Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

As a 90’s kid who literally watched Disney classics on VHS tapes and shared a walkman with my siblings, social media (and the internet in general) didn’t dominate my childhood as it most likely did my younger brother’s and my cousins’. In fact, I was able to stubbornly stay away from Facebook until the second semester of my first year in pre-med. And even then I only logged on to message my group of college friends. I wouldn’t get obsessed with the internet until I discovered Livejournal (the OG blogging site) and the joys of oversharing personal details for the world to see. 

I was about 16 or 17 when the inevitable social media bell jar fell down on me so I have both the perspective of someone who, at some point, would feel physically ill when she couldn’t connect to the internet as well as someone whose life wasn’t constantly recorded and spent online – a perspective that I’m sure a lot of Gen Z kids can’t relate. 

When I first heard about Arvin Ahmadi’s book, Girl Gone Viral, I was immediately intrigued. The premise of a future where everyone’s lives are on display online – to a point where it’s downright voyeuristic – was fascinating but also not too much of a stretch of the imagination. I knew I had to read this book so when I got the email confirming that I’d be one of the hosts for the Girl Gone Viral blog tour, I was over the moon. 

Disclosure: as part of the #GirlGoneViralTour, I received an e-ARC from Penguin Random House so HUGE thanks to them and to the awesome people at Bookworms Unite PH for organizing this tour.

Continue reading “BLOG TOUR: Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi”

Sequel Sundays | The Wicked King by Holly Black

Can I have a Sequel Sunday that’s actually posted on time? My plan for this little blog series was that I’d post every first Sunday of the month but I don’t think I’ve ever did that since I started this thing. I mean, I know that no one really cares (or, let’s face it, reads this damn series) but it annoys me to no end that I can’t follow my own schedule. I may not seem like it but I’m actually quite the stickler for time. I’m that friend who’s always the first one to show up in a meet up. Growing up in a city that’s plagued with traffic everywhere all the time has really honed my instinct to be very aware of time. And yet, here I am, in the middle of the month, not even Sunday. Sigh.

Alright, the mandatory self-deprecating opening paragraph is over. Let’s talk about this book. It’s no secret that I adore Holly Black. I may not have enjoyed my first book of her (Tithe… it was meh) but I’ve always had a profound respect for her because she really knows how to craft a story. I read The Cruel Prince in one sitting and I genuinely couldn’t pry my eyes from the page. It was that good.

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Wicked King since it was released in January of this year. The only reason why I didn’t read it earlier was because I wanted to hold it off for this series. And now that I have, well, I have some thoughts on it.

Continue reading “Sequel Sundays | The Wicked King by Holly Black”