Book Review: Midnight Monologues by Charissa Ong Ty

Three type of pain was inflicted to my being while I was reading Midnight Monologues. Stinging Pain. Hanging Pain. Leaving Pain. Midnight Monologues is a good poetry book that could provide different kinds of voices per line in one poem. It will leave you wanting more even if you know, in the back of my mind, that algesia is the end result. I love the style that has been used in Midnight Monologues. It signifies the modern and evolving writing style of poems and the feelings are on point. It strummed the chords in my heart, while feeling broken, left out, in pain and most of all, desolate.

It was a stinging pain in the process of reading the book, the journey of repeating the unwanted feeling is all over the book. It displays too much emotion that I can’t contain enough. The words made me realize of loving people could destroy you and the questions you supposedly ask to them are the questions you should ask yourself. It was revealing and on point, it tackles self-love and moving on, it is trying to reach on our conscience that there’s more to the world than the love that lost and we could find it not to someone but within ourselves.

Another thing that I like about this book, aside from the wonderful cover art, is the inclusion of short stories in the end that can make the readers think the outcome and how every story ends with an impact that is related to reality. Midnight Monologues is not a simple composition of poetry, accumulated feelings, and honest emotions. It was also a collection of words that can change, phrases that can wake up a person, sentences that can help find the reader’s voice within and paragraphs that can touch someone’s life. It is a wonderful, lovely, and if I can say more, honest artwork done and contributed to the literature by Charissa Ong Ty.

MY RATINGS: 4 STARS.


Also, check my Event Recap #GoReadWrite2017 as Charissa Ong Ty was one of the panelists in Self-Publishing your book.


ABOUT CHARISSA ONG TY


15280447.jpgCharissa Ong published her first English Poetry and Short Stories book in 2016. #MidnightMonologues is the finalist for the International Book Awards 2017 for both Best Cover Design and Poetry categories. It has also been MPH’s Best Books of 2016 and remained in the Best Sellers list for a year.

It is now available in Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines.

She is now working on a second book, Daily Dialogues and is planning to publish it in 2018.

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Interview with Karen Kao!

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A rape. A war. A society where women are bought and sold but no one can speak of shame. Shanghai 1937. The courtesan culture. Violence throbs at the heart of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle.

Song Anyi is on the road to Shanghai and freedom when she is raped and left for dead. The silence and shame that mark her courageous survival drive her to escalating self-harm and prostitution. From opium dens to high-class brothels, Anyi dances on the edge of destruction while China and Japan go to war. Hers is the voice of every woman who fights for independence against overwhelming odds.

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is one of four interlocking novels set between 1929 and 1954, The Shanghai Quartet, which span a tumultuous time in Chinese history.


The Dancing Girl and the Turtle (Shanghai Quartet 1) – Karen Kao

Published by Linen Press in paperback and ebook on 1 April 2017


  1. Hi, Ms. Karen, Rafael here from The Royal Polar Bear Reads and here’s my first question to you. As basic as it sounds, Who or What is your inspiration for your book The Dancing Girl and the Turtle?

Hello, Rafael! Thanks for having me on The Royal Polar Bear Reads. Believe it or not, my inspiration comes from boring family meals. Remember when you were a kid and forced to sit at the table while the adults talked about the old country? In my case, that was Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s, where my father grew up. The food we ate, the clothes my mother wore, even the music we heard: it all harked back to that earlier time.

  1. The setting of your book is in the past, what made you decide that you are going to write a historical fiction book and was it always the genre you wanted to write when you were planning to publish The Dancing Girl and the Turtle?

My worst subject in school was history. Dry, lots of names and dates when what interests me is how people actually lived and died. I like historical nonfiction like Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror or Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series that put you in that place and time.

I had to do quite a lot of research to re-create Shanghai in the 1930s, using all sorts of resources from academic research, eyewitness accounts, contemporary fiction to my own family’s archives. I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to get it right. Especially since I’m using the geopolitical situation in China as a counterpoint to my narrative themes. For The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, the main historical markers are the First and Second Sino-Japanese Wars, opium and the Unequal Treaties as well as the coming of WWII.

  1. From the summary alone there are already sensitive themes and trigger warning. Self-harm, sexual violence, and death are mentioned. What are your opinions on this subjects and what do you think is the relevance or the impact of those subjects on your book?

My novel is about repression. That can be a state of denial imposed by outside forces, like a government or a culture. It can be an unspoken rule within a family. Or it can be induced by trauma as in the case of Anyi in The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. Some readers have already remarked that Anyi could be a metaphor for China during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War with the Rape of Nanking coming up only a few months after The Dancing Girl and the Turtle closes.

  1. If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and what are you going to do on your date?

Happily married as I am, I should probably stick with a fictional date. I like old school detectives like Maigret or Morse or Vera Stanhope, men and women who see the very worst of human nature and yet get up every morning and try to do good.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Plotting the scenes? Acquiring the voice of the character? The writing style?

There are two kinds of writers out there: people who plot and people who write by the seat of their pants. I belong in the latter category. I don’t know any other way to write than to start and find out where I end up. Throw away and repeat.

  1. Was it your dream to become a writer or did the writer career choose you?

When I was still in college, my dream was to be a poet. My father thought this was a spectacularly bad idea. He talked me into going to law school instead. After practicing law for almost 30 years (and enjoying almost every bit of it), I needed a change although it took me a long time to admit that writing was what I longed to do.

  1. If you are going to give your 10-year-old self an advice, what would it be?

Save your manuscripts! You never know where a good idea might pop up. And anyway, they’re always good for a laugh.

  1. Describe your book, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, in few words!

Old Shanghai on the brink of war

  1. Your bio states that you are a lawyer and now you are a writer, was it difficult to change career paths or you are balancing both at the same time? If you are not a writer today nor a lawyer in the past, what career path you will be having now and why?

I’m a full-time writer now. That means working on my second novel Peace Court, set in Shanghai 1954, my blog at inkstonepress.com and reading reading reading. If I had the talent to do it, I’d be a professional chef.

  1. What was your favorite quote or scene in your book and why?

My favorite scene is the last one but I won’t quote it here since that would be a plot spoiler. There are of course lines that I love for the image they conjure up but I think I’m most proud of worming myself into the mind of my bad guy, Tanizaki, a Japanese spy. Here’s a scene on his birthday. To celebrate, Tanizaki allows his men to hold a wrestling match.

“Neither wrestler wore a shirt. Their chests were speckled by the shadow of the mulberry tree. Skin that had once been slick with chicken fat now bore a crust of salt and blood.

The taller one lunged. He missed and crashed into the wooden fence that did not even shudder, tall and stout as it was. It had been built to keep the Chinese out, allowing in only the coolies needed for the heavy labor.

The crowd jeered as the big man slumped to the ground, his legs spread wide. His smaller, more agile, opponent disappeared into the crowd only to return running at full speed. He leaped, twisting his body in the air so that both feet landed squarely on the chest of his foe. A loud crack was followed by a simple sigh from the now broken body of the fighter. The crowd cheered wildly while the coolies ran up to drag away the loser’s body.”


ABOUT THE BLOG TOUR

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Karen-20Karen Kao is the child of Chinese immigrants who settled in the US in the 1950s. Her debut novel has been praised by critics from London to Hong Kong for its accurate portrayal of the oppression experienced by women in 1930s Shanghai.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads | Instagram

Book Review: Morning Star by Pierce Brown

18966806Satisfied. So many heartaches. Undeniably one of the best ending of a trilogy. Morning Star didn’t just captivates my whole attention in the story at all but also how it was executed so well that I couldn’t think any plot holes in the trilogy. It was one of the best rides I’ve ever had in the book, as well as the most painful one among the three books. I’m in tears for so many times that I had this need to stop myself to read what will come next – I even retaliate, prevent to read the book most of the times since I couldn’t hold so many heartaches in one sitting.

Although it teaches a lot of values, acceptance, second chances – for a better generation; it still exudes so much manipulation. It was the best ally of Pierce Brown when he was writing the trilogy. He could manipulate and control his readers. Over their own emotion, on our feelings – I can, at least, say that it was good and worth it. What I didn’t see coming with this book is how the characters I’m attached to were saying farewell bits by bits and it’s making me so emotional that I had to curse at times.

It was a roller coaster reading this trilogy. Sympathy is displaying so much with Darrow as Sevro shows remorse and forgiveness. You can see Mustang being so protective and on alert. Characters in this book are real – they felt real as if they are people I’ve been with while on the journey of reading the novels. Sacrifice embodies the literature, blood covers the story and I don’t know how to describe the book without shedding tears.

Morning Star is a well-written book that I would love to applause Pierce Brown. He nailed it and it was one of those books that readers would hold dear. Courageous, being humane, and having a heart for the people are few things that Morning Star teaches me. It may be rude, violent and immoral but at the end, it will teach you life and how you should live by with your own decisions. I love how everything fits together and Brown never ceases to amaze me everytime I read his books. For you, I wish you grab this book and give it a chance. It is worth your money, time and attention. It gives us more than hope and life in return. And as you finish the series, you’ll have way more understanding where I was coming.

MY RATINGS: 5 STARS!


Quotable Quotes that I love in the series:

  • “You and I keep looking for light in the darkness, expecting it to appear. But it already has.” I touch his shoulder. “We’re it, boyo. Broken and cracked and stupid as we are, we’re the light, and we’re spreading.”
  • “justice isn’t about fixing the past, it’s about fixing the future. We’re not fighting for the dead. We’re fighting for the living. And for those who aren’t yet born.”
  • “This is always how the story would end,” he says to me. “Not with your screams. Not with your rage. But with your silence.”
  • “In his eyes I glimpse the loneliness, the longing for a life that should have been, and the glimmer of the man he wants to be underneath the man he thinks he has to be.”
  • “Life’s not just a matter of breathing, it’s a matter of being.”

Please do check out my book review of

Red Rising and Golden Son.


Also, don’t forget my INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY on Twitter!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


LRM_EXPORT_20170828_151357Pierce Brown’s first novel, RED RISING (Del Rey Books), debuts January 28, 2014. It is the first installment in The Red Rising Trilogy.

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Note to the reader: Always feel free to contact him via his website, twitter, or facebook. He likes people. Except if you’re a trollish person. Then he merely puts up with you for the sake of manners and propriety.

IG @piercebrownofficial

Cover Reveal: The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova!

The final book of The Loom Saga is on our way and I don’t know what to feel yet as I see the cover of the final book. It is so beautiful!

Without further ado…

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A new rebellion rises from the still-smoldering remnants of the five guilds of Loom to stand against Dragon tyranny. Meanwhile, on Nova, those same Dragons fight amongst themselves, as age-old power struggles shift the political landscape in fateful and unexpected ways. Unlikely leaders vie for the opportunity to shape a new world order from the perfect clockwork designs of one temperamental engineer.

This is the final installment of USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova’s Loom Saga, THE REBELS OF GOLD will reveal the fate of Loom’s brilliantly contrasting world and its beloved inhabitants.


PREORDER SWAG

For those who preorder THE REBELS OF GOLD, they can get exclusive swag for submitting their preorder. More info here: http://elisekova.com/pre-order/


Pre-order THE REBELS OF GOLD from:

| AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY |
| BOOKS A MILLION |

(more pre-order locations to come)

#GoReadWrite2017: Philippine Readers and Writers Festival + Giveaway!

The three-day literary event, Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, held annually and organized by National Bookstore in the country was yet another success gathering in Manila, Philippines. I would like to thank National Bookstore for making readers in the Philippines happy.

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The schedule of the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival with the hashtag #GoReadWrite2017

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I was able to attend the 26th and 27th event of the festival and I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome of the days I attended with as I discuss in detail of what happened there. If you are wondering why I wasn’t able to attend the first day of the event that’s because I slept for the whole day of the 25th. I went back from traveling. See pictures below for a little glimpse of proof.

 


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Book Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Stressful. Shocking. Exhausting. This book completely wakes every nerve in my body while reading. It displays so much intensity, hatred, belonging, thirst, motivation, and friendship. It was a ride reading this book. I can’t believe that’s how Pierce Brown wrote this book – with so much compassion and mind-blowing scenarios that are still playing in my head. The intricate details of how composed Darrow when talking to Augustus, I felt goosebumps when the last line drop downs on the story.

The promises, the battle, the risks are being in line with on the revelations in the novel that I couldn’t even put the book down. It slowly drowns me in the story. It reflects one life to another, one life exchange of trust, one friendship needs to end because of what the society depicts to its leader. I think highly of Brown because he is not developing just a story, he is crafting a masterpiece that reflects so much in real life in the different universe of fiction that will stun you of how he embodies, rule, execute, display the right and wrong in the novel.

It outrages me to think that Pierce has had this way of showing too many emotions and evoking a lot of feelings to his readers. We couldn’t contain what was conquering inside our hearts because Golden Son is beyond what we expect, it exceeds Red Rising and I don’t know anymore what to expect with Morning Star. There are lines that I couldn’t cope up with because it was excruciating to think back of. How could you, Pierce? It was an emotional ride. He has this thing of making you forget what was the issue or at least the hint of the details of the past and then, before you know it, he burst you with a lot of unfathomable, unacceptable, unbelievable revelations that you could just grip and hold your breath and wish for what would be the best for the protagonist.

I couldn’t contain my feels with the story. It just drives me crazy, insane rather. The only thing that left in my mind is: Read this gorydamn book! You’ll be satisfied once you experienced what was happening on the Trilogy. Golden Son by Pierce Brown is not what I ought to be, it is beyond what I expected. It will leave you crying, it will leave you hanging and one of the crucial thing is, it will leave you in pain. Prepare yourself, physically and mentally, when you are going to start devouring this book because you will never know what you will experience along the way. There are so much more for a person to take. Hold your breath and grip hard to your sanity.

MY RATINGS: 5 STARS!

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Pierce BrownPierce Brown’s first novel, RED RISING (Del Rey Books), debuts January 28, 2014. It is the first installment in The Red Rising Trilogy.

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Note to the reader: Always feel free to contact him via his website, twitter, or facebook. He likes people. Except if you’re a trollish person. Then he merely puts up with you for the sake of manners and propriety.

IG @piercebrownofficial

Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Unbelievable. Cunning. Outstanding. Red Rising displays so much sovereignty in the entire novel that exceeds comprehension of what a science-fiction and a dystopian should be. Specifically speaking, as may as dragging the first few chapters of the novel, it actually provoke and favor the 80% part of the book which made me hook after quite the first fifth part. I didn’t want to put the book down. I don’t want to let it go. It is speaking so much to me, to finish it, to consume it.

I was taken back by the slow progression at first and definitely confused by the slang words or invented words with no background or at least an introduction of what the words were. Nevertheless, I still commend  Pierce Brown because he executed the story so well that my physically stable body couldn’t cope up with the running mental exhaustion in my mind. I want to digest every word, to take all, to read them and I did it. Now, I want more of it.

They say Red Rising is a cross over of The Hunger Games, Divergent Series and Ender’s Game. I’m telling you if you think those dystopian novels are your favorites. You are undeniably wrong. Red Rising is more than that. It is a full-scale war of twelve houses that only one has to be a prime. I hold my breath, my reading speeds up, and I never knew that I was so immersed in the story that I badly wanted to know what will happen next.

It was full of politics, manipulations, betrayals, twist. It exudes so much pain and principle. Adequately provides us with the glimpse of how society is unfair, how to rule a society, and how to be strong in the process. When biomodification was taken place in the book – that’s where I start taking an interest because this is my kind of wavelength. It provides small details of the gray area of human experiment and adding capabilities to a person that has been acquired through technology.

My jaw dropped, as I applaud Pierce Brown, for writing the novel so well and implied the politics intricately brilliant that made me ask a question, “What will happen next?”. It is simple and yet beautiful. A lowColor wants to stand above everyone and proved that no color should be degraded despite their expertise, field, and role in the community. It speaks so much, ironically, of our society today and government that it procure variable mindsets in its readers.

Surely, this literature embodies what a friendship is, it shows true morale, conduct with pride on one’s race, it gives hope and depicts an outstanding role model and leadership to the sub characters. And every persona has their significance to play. It has been proved here that with the same technique, same sentiments, the same way – generation in the past can differ in the generation in the present. How the past lives could alter by the present. And that is how powerful a person is. Scary and yet brittle.

Also, in the book there are sensitive factors that have been discussed; there are sexual violence, vengeance, corruption, rage, inhumane violations that we will see in such circumstances that mirror the reality of the fiction. It was just stunning how Pierce Brown put everything into pieces and write the book in such addictive tone of the voice that there are so many things are going around – that you will never know what was happening and what is happening through the course of reading.

Vivid and compelling. Red Rising is just the beginning of what will happen in the Trilogy and I’m already taken interest reading the whole series. It shocked me to my core. It opens my heart to love science-fiction more. It will devour you and you will let it consumed you. There will be no regrets because the Reds are Rising.

MY RATINGS: 5 STARS!


ABOUT PIERCE BROWN


Pierce BrownPierce Brown’s first novel, RED RISING (Del Rey Books), debuts January 28, 2014. It is the first installment in The Red Rising Trilogy.

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Note to the reader: Always feel free to contact him via his website, twitter, or facebook. He likes people. Except if you’re a trollish person. Then he merely puts up with you for the sake of manners and propriety.

IG @piercebrownofficial
Twitter @pierce_brown