The Dragon Republic ( ARC Review)

Title: The Dragon Republic

Author: R.F. Kuang

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Edition: ARC

Pages: 654 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

 

 

synopsis

The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

 

 

review

 

I received an ARC in exchange of review from Natasha of Harper Voyager UK. With this, my review and opinions are purely on my own.

 

Bolder. Fiercer. Stronger. And more determine. That is just the words to describe Fang Runin or Rin as we know after the ending of the epic and debut novel The Poppy War.

The Dragon Republic started with Rin as the new commander of the Cike planning and vivaciously organizing a way to kill the Empress. With the help of a new ally, Moag, Rin together with the Cike got stronger and have more resources to kill the Empress. But not as what they plan, an unexpected event happens that resulted two members of the Cake to leave, and learning that Moag is not an ally after all. With this, Rin and the rest of the Cike got to see an old friend, whom they thought died the last Poppy War. With this, they also met Nezha’s father and new characters that will help them eliminate the Empress.

With the help of their new allies, Rin successfully learn new things that she didn’t know she was capable of. She also learns to control her addiction to opium. Everything goes according to plan until Rin got to understand, and learn things that everything she knew was all a lie and she was used by the people whom she trusted.

Just like the Poppy War, Kuang didn’t disappoint in giving her fans a book that gives them a roller coaster ride. She still writes beautifully in terms of plot writing and strategic military scenes. Even if it’s a 654 pages book, you won’t find it irritating but hoping that the book will have more pages.

You will not like what happens in the end but later on, realize that Kuang did it for the Dragon Republic and the next book to be enticing and for fans to thirst more of what will happen next.

To those who will read the Dragon Republic, here’s an advice, get ready to cry and smile and get mad for the things that happen in Rin and the Cike’s life.

 

MY RATING:

5 out  of 5 stars

5 stars

 

Thanks for reading and checking my review. You can also check my review of first book, The Poppy War.

 

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back (ARC Review)

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Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Edition: ARC

Pages: 324 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

 

 

 

synopsis

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

 

review

Thank you to Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC for review. With this, my review and opinion are on my own.

They said that Sky in the Deep is better than The Girl the Sea Gave Back. And some said The Girl the Sea Gave Back is better than Sky in the Deep. For me, who hasn’t read Sky in the Deep can say that maybe they are right, that is it better.

Despite being a fast-paced read, I find The Girl the Sea Gave Back a little bland. For fantasy, the plot makes the reader confused with the use of flashbacks. Flashbacks are okay to understand the past of the characters and to know about the plotline. But I find it unnecessary as the flashbacks are in the wrong chapters. Instead of knowing what will happen next, flashbacks that don’t have connections were on the present plot.

Upon reading the book, you can also predict what will happen next. There are also lots of characters and terms that don’t have an explanation. Because of it, this makes the story difficult to grasp. It also lacks a connection with the two main characters. It made the reader understand if they are romantically.

They said that it is a standalone, but I hope that they will release another book as there a lot of unanswered questions about it. The ending doesn’t justify the plot and the characters’ situation.

I don’t find The Girl the Sea Gave Back to be a good read, but for those people whos into Vikings, I highly recommend it.

My rating is three out of five stars, but with the fast-paced style of it, I’m giving it a four out of five stars.

MY RATING:
4 out of five stars

5 stars

 

Blog Tour: Eclipse The Sky

Eclipse the Skies (2019)

Title: Eclipse the Sky

Author: Maura Milan

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Edition: ARC

Buy LinksAmazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

 

 

Thank you to Shealea for picking me to be part of the blog tour and to the author for the review copies.

 

synopsis

 

Ia Cōcha never thought she’d be working for the Olympus Commonwealth. But that was before she found out her trusted brother Einn was trying to tear apart the universe. Now, Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, has agreed to help the Royal Star Force on one condition: when she finds him, she gets to kill Einn herself.

Brinn Tarver has just come to terms with her Tawny identity when the public lashes out against her people, crushing her family. At her breaking point, she starts to question everything she believes in—including Ia.

After the death of his mentor, Knives Adams is doing his best to live up to a role he didn’t ask for as Aphelion’s new headmaster. Still, with each new step deeper into war, he feels torn between his duties and the pull of Ia’s radical—sometimes criminal—ideas.

As they fight to keep darkness from eclipsing the skies, their unpredictable choices launch this breathtaking sequel to explosive new heights.

 

review

 

Set in a world full of space and galaxies, Eclipse the Sky is a sequel that will tear everyone’s heart.
Up until now, I still can’t believe that it’s already over. I haven’t even recovered yet, with Ignite the Stars and here I’m writing my review for Eclipse the Sky. To Maura, how dare you for writing the two books like that.
But kidding aside, Eclipse the Sky is a story written beautifully and it screams how Maura wrote with such ease. It is the kind of story where readers can feel what the author wants his/her reader to experience.
Reading the book at first makes me learn things for the first time. It let me remember what are the things that happened and who are the old and new characters. But with the author’s writing style, I didn’t find it hard to grasp the new things that the book has.
One thing that makes the story interesting and enjoyable is the characters. I love the way how the characters grow. The characters have responded well with the situations they have met and with the characters that they have acted with. You can see that they evolve in a way that readers will learn to love them and not hate them. With their characteristic, the readers where be able to sympathize with them and understand who they are. All in all the characters are one of the things that make the book perfect for the readers.I want to say more but I should stop to avoid spoilers.

All I can say and recommend is you should read the two books. I promise you that you will not regret it.

 

MY RATING: 

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Blog Tour: My Fate According to the Butterfly (Book Review)

MFAttB coverTitle: My Fate According to the Butterfly

Author: Gail D. Villanueva

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Edition: ARC

Buy LinksAmazon

 

 

 

“Thank you to Miss Gail. Shealea, Kate and Cara for including me to the blog tour. Thank you also to Scholastic for providing the ARC”

 

synopsis

Light and deep, smart and funny, crushing and hopeful all at the same time, My Fate According to the Butterfly will open your eyes to both the world’s potential for magic, and to its harsh realities.
* “Villanueva’s debut is a beautiful #ownvoices middle-grade novel. Tough topics — the brutal war on drugs in the Philippines, family reconciliation, and recovery — are addressed, but warmth and humor… bring lightness to Sab’s story. This immersive novel bursts with life.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

 

 

review

 

To be honest, the first time I saw the book I wasn’t interested at all as I don’t do Middle Grade except Rick Riordan. But when I learned that the author is Filipino, I told myself “Carmel, you  should definitely read and support it.”

Here in the Philippines, it is common that when you saw a butterfly it is more likely that someone is going to die or bad things will happen. Sabrina or Sab is a 10 year old character in the story that believes she is going to die because she saw a black butterfly inside their house. Now, torn between reconciling her sister and father Sab learns the harsh truth of what it is really happening in the Philippines.

Plotwise, Gail wrote My Fate According to the Butterfly with such ease that readers can vividly enjoy and imagine the reality of the world through the perspective of a young girl. Different scenarios like eating the famous dirty ice cream and kwek-kwek in the street is so refreshing to the eyes. There’s also the MRT scene which is a common scenario here that shows that a country has its flaws sometimes.

When reading the book, you can see how beautiful Sab and Pepper’s friendship is even they are just children. You can see that no matter what the world throws them they are still with each other’s side.

One specific thing in the book is where there’s an Operation Tokhang where Sab, Pepper, Nadine and Jepoy got a ittlee involve.  For those who didn’t know Operation Tokhang it is a thing here in the Philippines where police is raiding a specific place to capture the people who uses or sells drugs. And that for me is kinda alarming because a 10-year old child got to experience that kind of brutal thing. I know that even if your young you should be knowledgeable about it. But being a teacher, for me children should not see and experience it as their consciousness is still fragile. They are things that children should not experience as it may help them to have trauma and be accustomed with that thing. But with the world today we cannot avoid that and we mature and old people should just guide them.

One funny and interesting in the story is Sab’s pet. Not just like the other book, Sab’s pet is a freaking DUCK. Can you believe it? It’s a DUCK as in D-U-C-K. Nevertheless, it’s so cute and refreshing.

To wrap it all. My Fate According to the Butterfly is a refreshing story about the harsh truth of the world through a perspective of young girl.

 

MY RATING:

Actual rating is 4.5 stars

rate

 

About the Author

GailDVillanueva

Gail D. Villanueva is a Filipino author born and based in the Philippines. She’s also a web designer, an entrepreneur, and a graphic artist. She loves pineapple pizza, seafood, and chocolate, but not in a single dish together (eww). Gail and her husband live in the outskirts of Manila with their dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and one friendly but lonesome chicken. Her debut novel, My Fate According to the Butterfly, is coming from Scholastic Press on July 30, 2019

Author Links:

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

 

BLOG AND BOOKSTAGRAM TOUR

 

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith (ARC Review)

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Title: Bloodleaf

Author: Crystal Smith

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Edition: ARC

Pages: 373 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

 

 

 

synopsis

Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Aurelia is the first princess born to the Renalten crown in two hundred years, destined to fulfill a treaty by journeying to marry Valentin, the prince of Achelva – Renalt’s greatest enemy. Rumors of an unwell, cruel prince abound, and the only thing that eclipses Aurelia’s apprehension of her impending marriage is her fear of those who’d kill her to prevent it.

When an assassination attempt forces Aurelia to use forbidden magic to save a stranger, she is driven from Renalt by the witch-hunting Tribunal and a mob out for blood. But before she can claim asylum in the court of her betrothed, her travel party turns on her, forcing her to trade places with her treacherous lady-in-waiting, Lisette.

Now penniless in Achleva and bereft of her identity, Aurelia must decide if she wants to surrender to her new life or fight for her old one, all while navigating the complicated ties binding her to the enigmatic prince, the unquiet ghost of an ancient queen, and a poisonous plant called bloodleaf.

Aurelia is a pawn in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war— and if she can’t extricate herself from it before Lisette marries Valentin in her stead, she may face losses far more devastating than her crown.

 

review

Thank you so much to HMH teen for granting my request and sending me an ARC in exchange of a review. This doesn’t influence my review or opinion about the book.

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Are you looking for a new fantasy read that will let you swoon and be mesmerized by the plot line? Then look no more as Bloodleaf is the one you are actually looking for your next great read.

Bloodleaf is the debut novel of Crystal Smith. And oh boy oh boy, all I can is that it is such a magnificent and fantastic read for those whore are fantasy lover.

Just like in the movie Final Destination, the main character Princess Aurelia also foresee events where a person dies. Every time the Harbinger  show herself to her she already knows that someone will die. Aurelia can also see the reason why a certain person dies.

Reaching the first 70 pages I’m already hooked with the story. Funny how there’s this scene where the Harbinger where introduces and I got scared because its night-time that I want to stop reading. But with how great the story is despite being scared with the Harbinger I’m more motivated to continue reading the story rather than to sleep.

With these scenario and experience, I already told myself that this books will be a 5 star read. And in the end, I wasn’t disappointed because I really end up rating it a 5 star.

The plot and characters are so incredibly written that when reading the book all you wanted to do is continue reading it and do knowing but to finish it. I love how Crystal Smith wrote the story line. I like how it really penetrate the souls of  the reader upon reading and discovering the beauty of the book.

The theme of the story is also lovely as it talks about how beautiful sacrifices, love for family and friendship is. The turns and twist of the story is also one of the factors that will surely love by the reader.

There’s this part where I cried a lot with a certain scene that I’ve been force to stop reading and cry and continue reading it again for me to cry again. This experience is one of the main reasons why I enjoy and love the book. And I know that this kind of thing will be loved and cherish by the reader upon reading.

In general, Bloodleaf is one of the book that I’ve read that I’m surely will have a great impact for readers out there. It  is a kind of story where readers will talk about it and recommend it non-stop to other people.

Kudos to Crystal Smith for writing this beautiful and tight griiping book that will surely loved by all who got the chance to read it.

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MY RATING:

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

5 stars

 

Grim Lovelies (Book Review)

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Title: Grim Lovelies

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Edition: ARC

Pages: 374 pages

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes and NobleBook Depository

 

 

 

synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

 

review

 

Dark, enchanting,  captivating and surprisingly wonderful.

Grim Lovelies is the book you shouldn’t wanna miss if you love politics, fairy tales, magical realism and plot twisting story.

The book started when five beasties Anouk, Beau, Luc, Viggo, Hunter Black and Cricket found out that their mistress was found dead in her own bedroom. Without their Mada, the beasties embark on a journey where they needed to know who the killer is before the spell that keeps them to be human vanished.

Anouk the protagonist is such a lovely character and a fresh breath of a person. I love how innocent she is at the beginning and how she gets stronger and stronger as day passed. She is the character that you will surely love immediately. Her relationship with the other beastie is one of the most adorable thing that I found about her. Love how she handle every situation well and how brilliant she is when coming up with a plan.

The other beasties and characters are also well portrayed. I love how each of them has complimented each other and how their friendship grows throughout the story.

With regards to the plot. The magical system in the story is so good that reading the story enables you to feel that magic is true. I love how the plot twist gave the readers more reason to finish the book and learn what will happen next in the story.

The story takes place in Paris. With this, I found and experienced how lovely Paris is even though I haven’t visited it yet in real life.

I found Grim Lovelies to be an interesting and amazing book. I can’t wait to read the next book to know what will happen.

 

MY RATING:

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

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Mirage (Book Review)

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Title: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Edition: Paperback

Pages: 320 pages

 

 

 

synopsis

 

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

 

review

 

First of all, I would like to say thank you to Kaleena of  Reader Voracious for creating the Flapping Pages and Heather for passing her copy. Again, my deepest thank you to Kaleena and Heather.

 

In a world full of science fiction novels, Mirage is the only sci-fi fantasy book that hooked me for the year of 2018. Hooked in a way that there are times that I want to continue finishing it. And sometimes it frustrate me that I just don’t want to continue reading it. 

It has the elements of surprise where you seem to enjoy reading it as it gives as  the pleasure to be mesmerized on how the world was built. The story line is interesting as well as the character also.

What I like about the characters is how they are developed. How strong they where and it let you feel what they are feeling in the story.

The relationship between Amani and Idris is amazing. The love story on their part is not just like others where they feel in love with each other immediately. But it is where it let them grow and learn to know each other first.

With how rich the world building is the reason why you will also be bored about reading it. With this, you will be confused how many cultures, religions, plot lines are there in the story. That in reading it you just want to get a pen and paper and jot down all the info you are learning every time you are reading so that you will not forget it. And be confused on what is happening on the latter part of the story.

In general, I could say that Mirage is just a well balance book where you will definitely torn between enjoying it and not enjoying it. Because of this, I can’t seem to decide whether I should read the next book. But you can never can tell……

 

MY RATING:

3/5 STARS

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FLAPPINGPAGES PROGRAM

As I said below, I received the ARC from Heather through the use of FlappingPages Program which Kaleena build.

For those who didn’t know, the FlappingPages is where you can donate ARCs that you don’t want anymore or simply you want to share for our International friends who don’t have much access with it. The program also supported Intl. bloggers who want to receive books for review.

Attached here is where you can find more about FlappingPages Program.