A Spark of White Fire, by Sangu Mandanna || Complex families, political schemes, & interstellar awesomeness (& a giveaway)


Title: A Spark of White Fire
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Copy: Physical ARC
Rating:

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.

Synopsis:

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Review:

Despite being heavily influenced by the ancient epic Mahabharata and other Indian lore, there is nothing quite like Mandanna’s latest novel – A Spark of White Fire is an absolutely unique, genre-defying gamechanger in YA. I’ll admit that I have never read the Mahabharata (although after reading this novel, I definitely plan to eventually get to it) so I don’t know how much material was adopted in the story. Nonetheless, by the end of it all, A Spark of White Fire is truly an incomparable gem of a space opera.

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The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang || Swooning, laughing, huge alarm bells ringing (& a giveaway!)


Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Copy: Paperback
Rating:

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.

Synopsis:

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

Review:

I went into The Kiss Quotient with only the faint knowledge that it’s an incredibly hyped romance novel written by an Asian woman. I did not bother learning anything else about it or reading its synopsis before diving in. With that said, I was very much pleasantly surprised that this book follows the love story between a career-driven, autistic woman working in STEM and an artistic Vietnamese-Swedish love interest working as a male escort. It is also very much worth noting that The Kiss Quotient is #OwnVoices for its Asperger’s Syndrome, biracial, and Vietnamese representation.

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Reign of Mist, by Helen Scheuerer || The future of YA fantasy is unapologetically female (& a giveaway)


Title: Reign of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Copy: Paperback
Rating:

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon.

Synopsis:

The realm’s darkest secret is out.

The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.

On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.

But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.

Review:

Recently, I wrote about 10 things a reader can expect from Helen Scheuerer’s highly anticipated release, Reign of Mist, which is the second installment in The Oremere Chronicles. It really isn’t a secret that I’m a huge, huge fan of the world and the characters that Helen has created – especially if we take into consideration the frequency and intensity at which I recommend this high fantasy series (i.e. all the time and ALWAYS IN ALL CAPS).

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Mirage, by Somaiya Daud || This could be the sci-fi enemies-turned-lovers Sapphic romance we deserve (& a giveaway)


Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Copy: Digital ARC
Rating:

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.

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:

If I’m being totally honest, a lot of my expectations weren’t met – and I mean that in the best possible way. Somaiya Daud’s #OwnVoices, Moroccan-inspired dystopian debut novel delivered in a myriad of ways I never could have foreseen. Although I was expecting a thrillingly paced, adventure-filled narrative with incredibly high stakes and hard-hitting action, I found myself easily entranced by Daud’s wonderfully lush prose and charming cast of diverse characters.

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#Augvocacy2018: Ask the Augvocates (Day 8) + book giveaway!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of the (admittedly made-up) term ‘Augvocacy’, let me provide some quick context before we continue with the rest of this post.

If it isn’t obvious enough, ‘Augvocacy’ is a silly play on the words ‘August’ and ‘advocacy’, which can already give you a somewhat clear idea of what this event aspires to do: to bring together like-minded individuals in actively forwarding a particular advocacy throughout the month of August, which will hopefully carry over in small, indirect ways for the rest of the year. Participants of said event are referred to as Augvocates (💖). You can learn more about the origin of Augvocacy 2018 (or #Augvocacy2018) by reading my event launch post.

For 2018, twenty-four* (24) Filipino readers, bloggers (like me!), and authors are dedicating this month towards emphasizing a single message, that is, the importance of fostering a culture of reading in the Philippines.

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Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes, by Holly Bourne || Mental health, important messages, & mixed feelings + GIVEAWAY


Title: Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Copy: ARC
Rating:

* More about the book.
* More about the author.
* More about the blog tour.
* Purchase via Amazon or Book Depository.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Review:

I have only read two of Holly Bourne’s novels so far (the first one being It Only Happens in the Movies), and I love how she seamlessly incorporates her advocacies for social change into her works in a manner that doesn’t sideline them; rather, these ideas and messages are carefully placed front, center, and with just the right amount of in-your-face. Are We Lemmings & Snowflakes is not any different in that regard; at its heart, this contemporary novel thoughtfully and sensitively explores mental health.

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#Augvocacy2018: Ask the Augvocates (Day 7) + book giveaway!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of the (admittedly made-up) term ‘Augvocacy’, let me provide some quick context before we continue with the rest of this post.

If it isn’t obvious enough, ‘Augvocacy’ is a silly play on the words ‘August’ and ‘advocacy’, which can already give you a somewhat clear idea of what this event aspires to do: to bring together like-minded individuals in actively forwarding a particular advocacy throughout the month of August, which will hopefully carry over in small, indirect ways for the rest of the year. Participants of said event are referred to as Augvocates (💖). You can learn more about the origin of Augvocacy 2018 (or #Augvocacy2018) by reading my event launch post.

For 2018, twenty-four* (24) Filipino readers, bloggers (like me!), and authors are dedicating this month towards emphasizing a single message, that is, the importance of fostering a culture of reading in the Philippines.

READ THE ENTIRE POST