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BLOG TOUR: In Tune by Yeyet Soriano || giveaway!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

 


Yay, it's finally my tour stop for In Tune Blog Tour. I received an advanced reader's copy from Caffeine Book Tours in participation for this tour.



Title: In Tune

Author: Yeyet Soriano

Publisher: Self-published

Publication Date: 13 November 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Synopsis:

FIRST SET:

Between fulfilling family obligations and navigating the tricky social climate at her private school, Sydney Mendoza tries hard to keep a balance.

Himig Raymundo, on the other hand, knows the feeling of living in the shadow of his successful parents and the agony of being with schoolmates who won’t let him forget.

When Sydney and Himig get “volunteered” to be the stars of High School Night by their batchmates who want to see them fail miserably, they band together to prove everyone wrong, and, in the process, find the one silver lining in the prank—each other.

SECOND SET:

In the midst of college applications and entrance exams, Sydney finds herself at a crossroads: work abroad to earn money for her family or continue on to college on an all-expense-paid scholarship. Ironically, Himig, the school campus’s reluctant star, becomes the rock that anchors her so she won’t get lost in the fray.

No longer bound in anonymity, Himig gets a chance to finally step out of his famous parents’ shadow and show everyone who he really is, as Sydney reveals to him her most hidden secret.

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • Bullying in private school due to social status, sexual orientation, physical appearance
  • Slight family bullying where kids are pressured to do what parents tell them to to
  • Teen pregnancy and single motherhood (MC’s sister)
  • Working while underaged (MC)

THE IKESSAR FALCON by K.S. Villoso #DethroneTheDragonlord

Saturday, September 26, 2020


In preparation for The Ikessar Falcon Book Tour, I've read The Wolf of Oren-yaro for the first time during Wikathon and I LOVED IT! If you want to know my thoughts on the first book of the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, click HERE.


 *I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.



Title: The Ikessar Falcon (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen#2)

Author: K.S. Villoso

Publisher: Orbit Books

Release Date: 24th September 2020

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis:

The Bitch Queen returns in The Ikessar Falcon, the action-packed sequel to K. S. Villoso’s acclaimed fantasy debut, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.


Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worse as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and unimaginable horrors – creatures from the dark, mad dragons and men with hearts hungry for power.


To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen and everything she could never be.


The price for failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.


BOOK LINKS:  Amazon | B&N | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


* * *


As I have told you on my review of The Wolf of Oren-yaro, I was not really that excited on diving on to the next book right away because, let's face it, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro didn't actually leave us with a very positive note. I read other light books to get myself ready for The Ikessar Falcon, and guess what? Queen Talyien's life is adorned with wonderful adventures left and right, I can't even keep up.



"They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, 

because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me."

- - -
iconic.

The Sequel to The Wolf of Oren-Yaro still has its same effect. It retained its visualization of all character's distinct characters, and how each would act based on who they are as different set individuals with different ideals, in one setting. There were surprising character arcs that I have come to adore, which I wouldn't think I'd be able to do in a million years before I read this book. Like, hey, Lo Bahn? Siz, what is up with that! 

This book also offered a wider view of the world and even extended into unsettling turn of events (for me). The first book really offered me a fantasy that is as close to reality as it can get. It centered around political intrigues or conspiracies or something and cultural differences and complexities of an empire compared to a small nation and all that. Although it hinted a bit about magic right in the middle towards the end, I was really surprised at how it took a bigger portion of the second book and I wasn't ready with that sudden shift. I wasn't ready with the monsters. I was ready with the dragons but with some other magic-aspects of the book? I was really taken aback by that.

Taking all that aside, K.S. Villoso still managed to take me on a roller coaster ride with her writing and the twists and turns of the story. If I even managed to think that the first book is a loooong journey for our characters, I withdraw that. The Ikessar Falcon takes you on a LOOOONGER journey with more intricate pawns in the game and you'll really start to wonder, when will it ever end? Well, duh, of course by the end of book three! Now who's excited for that? Well, of course, US!

The Ikessar Falcon is a good sequel to a great book that is The Wolf of Oren-Yaro if not for the exhaustion it brought me. Everywhere Queen Talyien look, there's trouble and their tangled lives just keeps on getting worse and worse. Will the queen ever find peace? Will she ever get the chance to learn and accept who she really is and peel away the Talyien that people are expecting her to be? That's for you to find out and that's for me to mull over for the next days to come.


[See, all of my favorite quotes centered around Queen Talyien's struggle with who she truly is and what she ought to be to get the respect that wasn't easily given to her]

* I would love to dive in on all the characters especially Khine and the many aspects of his character that mirrors the reality of the society we live in today. And hey, don't even get me started with men getting millions of opportunities to get their shit together but not the women who can never redeem herself once she made a wrong decision. That's for the next blog post because if I do dive on that, I might give away some spoilers and we don't want that, do we?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.

Author links:



FOLLOW THE TOUR

September 14


September 15


September 16


September 17


September 18


September 19



WEEK 2 (PH)

September 21


As a reader who is highly intimidated with anything that is not YA fantasy, I am highly impressed at how the mere genre that I am running away from is trying to catch up to me (and hey, I'm not complaining, and I ain't running anymore). I totally found them intricate, insightful, and even only with subtle romance (which I'm a real sucker for), HIGHLY interesting. I am HIGHLY, highly impressed.


Title: The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen#1)

Author: K.S. Villoso

Release Date: 18th February 2020 (Originally Published 5th April 2018)

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis from Goodreads: 


A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.


"I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me."


Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father's rival heralds peaceful days to come.


But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.


Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It's meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she's on her own as she struggles to fight her way home. 


*I received an e-copy of this book along with the e-arc of the 2nd book in preparation for the #DethroneTheDragonlordPH book tour hosted by Caffeine Book Tours.


PLOT & WORLD BUILDING


Honestly, I got lost in all of the names of the city and up until now I am still confused about the countries or cities or empire. Although, in my defense, the world-building is not the strong aspect of this book as compared with character building, and hopefully, development, so I just took note of where they were and can't really remember what country that city was in. It was all so fuzzy.


World building was not the strongest pursuit for me, but one of the many things I love about this book is the way the story is told. It's not difficult, as how I found other high fantasies to be, and it is not boxed in a single story line. There was a distinct goal but the way to get there is forked and snakes through a never-ending winding road. The non-linear story telling of The Wolf of Oren-yaro is something that I admired the most when I look back on it.


For real, I don't know how anyone can NOT ENJOY this book and not ask for more. Personally, this book attacks close to home, with all the struggles that the characters have to go through and what they represent considering their gender and status in the society.


We have a female protagonist struggling to hold everything together. Her land is being torn apart and people judge her for not being able to carry the weight of her duties. Her family's broken, nobody in the court trusts (and vice versa) or even listens to her and nobody in her land acknowledges her as a queen.


Imagine reversing the roles. Imagine a man sitting on that throne with no wife beside him while ruling his land? Would the sneering faces of judgemental people be present? Oh lord no, because everything a man does is worshipped and acknowledged as he do what he did because it has to be done, and that sucks!


The Wolf of Oren-Yaro shows you the struggles of a woman in a patriarchal society, and so much more. It shows you a real bad ass female that also have weaknesses and internal struggles, and that's what we're here for. It shows you a man who will never be judged for his actions. It will show you a person with HUUUUGE potential but a victim of circumstance and can never get out of the bottomless pit of poverty. Now what more can you ask for, really?


*I didn't immediately pick up the next book because it is mentally taxing for me to read the struggles that Talyien went through and will continue to go through in the next book. I don't know if I'll ever be ready but I gotta get back to Khine!*


CHARACTERS


The book is character-centric and the exploration of all characters is enough but not yet enough so you would come seeking for the next book for more, because there's still so much more to cover.


QUEEN TALYIEN

For the whole duration of the book, we were in Queen Talyien's POV. We saw her struggles, we saw the conflict inside her head, and we saw how she sees the world and the people around her. Through her journey of "saving" her husband, she was faced with conspiracies; her enemies are everywhere and she felt that she could trust no one, thus feeling alone in all that she does.


Talyien grew up with people with plastered smiles on their faces and people bowing their heads unable to meet her eyes.  There was no in between (Well, except for Agos), so when stuck with the unfamiliar, she got to discover the world outside of her not so glamorous life, and as much as this first book gave me enough, there's still more for Queen Talyien and I'm craving for it!


RAYYEL

Rayyel is the true portrayal of Taylor Swift's "The Man". Everything he does can easily be swept under the rug and he'd still be worshipped. I don't know, I really hate Rayyel in this book, but I feel like book 1 did not really go in depth of who he is so I am smelling a character redemption on the next book? I have no idea. I am excited for that, but as of now... Rayyel can go fork himself.


KHINE

At first I was really skeptical about a con-artist trying to help out a stranger, let alone a woman, and not think of getting something in return. Well, okay, Talyien helped Khine in conning an old man for huge amount of money, so I guess that would mean they have bonded over a con operation?


Yes, like Talyien, I found it really hard to trust Khine and I had to keep on questioning his motives but then again, as the story progressed, I had to see him beyond the different masks that he presents to the world. Khine wasn't really a bad guy. Circumstances have led him to his current state, and it's a common thing that happens in society - to the eldest of the family in particular. It is a responsibility that falls on their shoulders whether they want to or not, because it is carved out in the society that the burden should never be carried by their siblings. Although what is really different in Khine's circumstance was, he had an opportunity but not all roads are well paved for everyone. Some have to through hell and back to get to their own success.


I would love to see more of Khine on the next book. I want to see him succeed, and maybe I also just want him to be with Talyien hehe. I just think that he deserves to achieve his dreams.... my baby Khine :(


AGOS

Agos was a mystery for the most part of this book and I kind of hurt for him, except when he looks down on my baby Khine *arggh don't touch my babe!*. Well, I understand where he's coming from so I really can't hate him that much and apart from that, I am sooo curious about what happened between Talyien and her. OMG. 


Okay, I have nothing more to say about Agos because that's all he is to me... a history that I need to unfold. *Agh! harsh!*


Now go, what the hell's still keeping you from picking this book up?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.

Author links:






BLOG TOUR: the Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

2020 can eat me now.

That's all I can say, because 2020 is a game changer.
I've been living under a rock for almost my whole life just reading books that the western and US media feeds me so I am really thankful that I got back to reading this year and found that there's more to stories than the white and the western ones. 

So far, fantasy-wise, I've started with this one and I'm currently reading The Wolf of Oren-yaro. I've started my reading right, right?? (By the time this post comes up, I'll be finished with TWOOY)


The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Title: The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1)
Author: Andrea Stewart
Release Date: 08 September 2020
Genre: Epic Fantasy

In  this epic start to a unique new series from Andrea Stewart, we follow five perspectives:

Lin, the potential heir to the throne-well, granted that her foster brother doesn't get the emperor's blessing- lost her memories of the last five years.
Jovis, a smuggler following the trail of the mysterious blue ship that transports kidnapped people to an unknown destination.
Phalue, the governor's daughter torn between love and duty. 
Ranami, the woman who knows and experiences injustice and tries to find a way to tip the scale and help start a revolution.
Lastly, a mysterious character named Sand, who claws through her foggy mind to find out why she does what she does and why she's trapped in an island with nowhere to run?

These five people will eventually cross paths one way or another, but are you ready to find out how, when and why? Then pick up the book! I'm not gonna tell that to you, sister!

So let me tell you in a manner of conciseness only I could muster the reasons why you should read this book..... 

oh god, I don't do concise. I'm your messy reviewer and I don't want to gush and gush (girl, you need to sound professional! Andrea Stewart would read this!) like a weird and unreliable reviewer! So, yep, here iz me trying *cue T.Swift's This is Me Trying* 

DIVERSE CHARACTERS & MUCH REPRESENTATION

Well, you see this is what I'm going to tell you.
If a book makes same-sex relationships a big deal, then you would see that it wants you to actually notice that it's there and you SHOULD know it.
But normalizing it in a way that people around your characters accept that and see that as normal? Girl, that's what makes it a better read.

FORK OFF THE HERO TROPE WHO ALWAYS DOES GOOD DEEDS

I've read a lot of books in the past, and honestly, a hero with a bright and pure heart would lose its luster after being read on different books over and over. After diving into these recurring tropes, I yearned for the true human nature - to see myself reflected in the characters' eyes. I wanted to see the characters I read get torn between saving the world and being selfish and do what they want for themselves. You know? H-U-M-A-N. 

OH GOSH, MEPHI, BE MINE

Cute and talking creatures who will stand by you and be your very own familiar. Hello, I feel like they are the dragons that protagonists in other books use to, like, symbolize their power?

Well, these talking familiars are absolutely the opposite of that! They're your loyal, cute, and friendly companion to all your adventures! Hey, think of Toothless and how cute he is! Oh gosh, I just want my very own Mephi.

GROTESQUE. WHO CARES IF THE CREATURES AREN'T PRETTY?

There are some books that always wanted to put on a glossy face, you know, characters with stubbornness as her central and biggest flaw? *ehem, I have a favorite series like this. ehem* 

Not only with the characters though, I feel like these books wouldn't want a grotesque creature to be a big part of the story so I was shocked when I read that the constructs, which played a big part in this book, are U-G-L-Y and grotesque and sewn pieces of different animals! I was so sucked into the small world of non-diverse books, and now, diverse books are pulling me out of a sink hole and you'll find no resistance from me. *Take me away from here* PLEASE!!!

UNIQUE MAGIC SYSTEM

Urm........ you know when you read a fantasy book with intricate magic that is so complex that your tiny brain - I mean MY TINY BRAIN - literally screams because of info overload?

Well let me tell you.... This book doesn't bombard you with how it works, why it works. It is simple yet it is so unique. The magic system in TBSD doesn't draw life from the wielder, but robs from normal people until it sucks the life out of them. And with a ruler like that? Revolution is just brewing on the sidelines until it gets a clear shot to strike the government down! (Or the emperor, for this matter)

In this universe, magic is pretty normal. I mean, nobody asks a regular smuggler why he can shake a whole pub like he's an earth bender! I am guessing this will be tackled in depthly in the next book (hopefully), or is it as simple as he gets his strengh from somewhere.......? :D

The book ended with questions. I know I said that the book's pacing had me believing in its world and not entirely questioning it, but there was a hint of elemental magic that is only uncovered by the end of the book so I'll just sit here patiently waiting to know more about the talking familiar that I wanted for myself.

BY.THE.WAY.
Just a burning question I got. Can anyone wield bone shard magic when taken as the emperor's apprentice??? I feel like anyone can. I mean, the foster son of the emperor was able to do it??

WOMEN. WOMEN. WOMEN ARE STRONG. 

First off, women leaders are not frowned upon in this book. Never questioned. I feel like this is the Imperial 2020 we all needed!
Nobody questions a woman's place in society and she can be whoever she wants. That's badassery right there.

I love that an heir to any position in this world need not have a dick to be crowned ruler. Oh god, I love it. 

I love that a woman can kick a man's ass in a brawl.

I love that  woman leads imperial guards.

I mean, what more can you ask for, right?

All in all, the book is a strong debut series with its strong foundations built on character diversity, profound world building, and unique (really, one of a kind) magic system.

I found myself struggling on the first few chapters, but once I got past that, I was sucked right in.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books.

When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn't pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.




Bone Shard Daughter Links:

Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository || Barnes & Noble



If there's anything I left out, you can always check these people's blog tour stop and find out why they LOVE The Bone Shard Daughter: