Book Review: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

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EmpressAllSeasons final_5.13Title: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Publication: November 6th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 9780544530942

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.


Book Review:

What fascinating about Empress of All Seasons is how can it break the beauty of two worlds colliding and break stereotypes on the YA Fantasy whereas two races couldn’t find a common interest to resolve their misunderstanding. The beauty of misunderstanding and the cruelty of the misplaced trust exudes benevolently on this wonderful Asian novel.

Emiko Jean is pretty direct with her characters. The vulnerability of Mari’s character and undeniably courageous and yet coward Taro infuses with the complication of their worlds makes the book a wonderful piece. I immersed in this book without knowing what lies ahead. It is actually a great book that keeps on teaching life lessons in between the lines. I found myself holding my breath and reading the words over and over again because it was relatable.

I believe that this book is not there for us to just learn but also to contemplate how a perspective and mindset and even feelings could change a person. Emiko has been giving a lot of us an example on her book that it doesn’t take a minute or a second for a love to become a hatred. It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to turn against someone when it comes to love. Love can do a lot of things. It can affect everything since almost everyone is responding with emotions.

What I liked about this book is that even there are some points that I find the transition is a little bit faster, this book keeps on teaching us a different attitude when we react. I see resilience in this book, I see cowardness that breaks the stereotyping in the toxic masculinity trait, I see fear, regrets, and longing. I see freedom and familial love. I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought. But above all, I see how this book displays so much feminism.

Above all said, there’s one thing that I would like to discuss. I’m still deciding whether this book is a pro-protagonist book or an anti-heroine book. It is so complicated because if you read this book, you will know where I am coming from. It is such a delightful experience that a book could transform and change the readers feelings and at the same time make it happy with the novel. I just hope that there’s a sequel even if I don’t know there will be.

Verdict: Empress of All Seasons is a brilliant novel that aiming to teach the young readers (and not so young anymore) the normalcy and voices that everyone deserves to hear in 2018. It is not just a novel about love nor a book about perseverance and self-doubt or validation. It is novel that saying to us to stand up, don’t hesitate, and make the most out of what you have. Sometimes, you just need to get out of your comfort zone to grow.

MY RATINGS: 4 STARS.


BUY-LINKS

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Book Depository


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8178238When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.

QUICK FACTS

Name: Emiko, Emi, Emmers Bemmers Boo Boo (only my mother calls me this)

Occupation: Writer and reader, most days reader before writer

Location: Vancouver, WA

Family: Yes. One husband. Two children – b/g twins!

Previous Occupations: Bug tamer, teacher, florist, candlestick maker and vagabond. My friends and I once (poorly) fixed up an old van. We drove it across the country. The bumper fell off and we lost the brakes in the Redwoods.

Qualifications: None. But I strongly believe in “fake it till you make it” and asking for forgiveness rather than permission.

Favorite foods: ALL OF THEM. Though I do have a special place in my heart for girl scout cookies, frosted animal cookies and anything with pasta.

Favorite time of year: Fall. I also love Christmastime (even though I’m Jewish).

Favorite music: Depends on mood and activity. For writing: Mumford and Sons, The Strumbellas, The Head and the Heart, Queen, Bowie, Pink Floyd … For general work (building this website, creating graphic etc.): Anything hip-hop, specifically Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dyme Def, Atmosphere, Matisyahu …

Favorite authors: Too many to count.

Last concert: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Favorite television shows: Antiques Roadshow, Call the Midwife, anything BBC, anything real housewives (no judgement please)

Least favorite things: The word “moist” – I dare you to find it in one of my novels.

Unusual talents/facts: I am fantastic at finding four leaf clovers. I can also make three loops with my tongue. I’ve also won my fair share of Texas Hold’em tournaments.

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Book Review: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

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This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won’t soon forget.

Fans of Stealing Snow, Red Queen, and The Wrath and the Dawn will hungrily devour this page-turning read.

Read More »

Book Review: Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

91FZ41RwZzLFrom #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Read More »

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs #MissPBackListBinge

91ihKfXcqiL.jpgA mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

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Interview with Charley Pearson!

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By Charley Pearson

Fiery Seas Publishing

August 14, 2018

Medical Thriller

Financially independent, biochemistry genius Stacy Romani grows up off the grid, while her Roma family takes advantage of her knowledge for their own gain.

Watching his family farm struggle, and traumatized by mass slaughter, Aatos Pires wants to heal animals but gets seduced by industry and goes to work for a big pharmaceutical company.

When Aatos’ co-worker Trinity creates a deadly doomsday virus, it puts the world population in jeopardy as it spreads exponentially. . .with no cure in sight.

Stacy and Aatos work alone to find a cure, as the CDC and FBI close in. Will they find a way to stop the plague or will it be the end of the world?

Read More »

Book Review: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

Strange-Fascinations-Blog-Tour-banner

30734631Title: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 9780451480477

The New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland brings a speculative twist to his latest novel. The result: an incisive and deeply humane story with the feel of Haruki Murakami for teens.

Noah Oakman is lost. He’s had the same best friends since fifth grade and the same parents since forever. And even though he has changed, he feels everyone around him has stayed the same. When his friends drag him to an end of summer party, Noah meets a kid named Circuit, in whom he senses a kindred disillusionment. Circuit is an amateur hypnotist. Curious (and kind of drunk), Noah allows Circuit to hypnotize him. But when he leaves, everything is a slightly different. Noah swears his friend Alan had a massive collection of Marvel comics, but Alan says he’s always been into DC, its competitor. His friend Val definitely gained internet fame through her posts about movies, but now her entire feed is about music. His mother suddenly has a scar on her face; when asked how she got it, she doesn’t respond. Only four seemingly disparate things remain unchanged in his life. So Noah sets out to discover what these Strange Fascinations have in common, hoping to figure out what happened to him and how he can get back to before.


Thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending a review copy of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypotik by David Arnold in exchange for an honest review and being part of the  Blog Tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.


Sometimes there is a book that you will come across that can make you cry, there will be books that will make you cringe, there are some that can make you fall in love, and this book, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, is that one book that can make me appreciate life and the people who’ve been there with you throughout your journey.

With David Arnold’s witty approach in his novel, the fast-paced writing style that touches the core emotions of a human being entangled with feelings and curiosity teaches the readers that there is more to life. It focuses on self-exploration, owning your own thoughts, being you, friendship that is built on honesty, and family that will always be there.

Noah Hypnotik’s Strange Fascinations started on a friend’s party with his best friends, Val and Alan. There are four or maybe five fascinations that Noah is trying to understand. With these fascinations, each of them teaches me something – that not all people wanted to be alone, it wouldn’t hurt you to enter someone’s life; a smile, a companion, or just someone to talk with is a huge difference. It affects me a great deal and realized that people yearn for affection, warmth, tenderness, and love.

Arnold executed a well crafted and researched novel that will love by all ages. He knows how to touch a heart and both at the same time laid out a huge plot twist that mirrors escapism and going back to reality – a wonderful book that I enjoyed finding where the story is going.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a weird and yet quirky that knows how to tell a story that will be remembered by the readers. It discusses how a person wanted to get to know himself and challenges the reader to understand where Noah is coming from with Arnold’s dynamic story-telling of a stunning and courageous novel.

 

MY RATINGS: 4.5 STARS.


For PH residents, you may purchase your copy of the book, here. Or you might want to get a copy of your book through Amazon and BookDepository.


Also, check out some bookmarks I made from the book!

bk1BK3bk2BK4


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


7368938David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland, Kids of Appetite, and The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik; his books have been translated into over a dozen languages. Learn more at davidarnoldbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @roofbeam and Instagram @iamdavidarnold.

Cover Reveal: The Exercise Of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire

Ian Gregoire’s debut fantasy novel was self-published with no fanfare in the spring of 2017. On a whim, he entered the book into the SPFBO competition organized by Mark Lawrence two weeks later and was just as surprised as everyone else when The Exercise Of Vital Powers was selected as Kitty G’s first semi-finalist. The book subsequently garnered a number of positive reviews, culminating in a place on the long list of nominations for Best Self-Published Novel in the inaugural BookNest Fantasy Awards.

Originally written and published as a stand-alone novel, the soon to be released the second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers is now book one of a five book series called Legends Of The Order. Readers who missed out the first time around will now have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the book’s precocious protagonist before she returns in the sequel, coming soon.

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realize.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, a precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organization, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

Praise for the Book

“I don’t know what I was expecting, really, but I don’t think I was expecting such an engaging, well thought out story from a self-published debut novel I had never heard of before…” Kristen (Superstardrifter)

 “I don’t pretend to be the most well read person, but I found this to be completely unique, and I loved it!  I felt very engaged right from the start, and somehow became even more engaged by the end.” Kim (The Writing Process)

 “I love reading about flawed characters, and the development that Kayden shows through the course of the novel is impressive.” Rachel (The Perspicacious Bookworm)

 “Overall, TEOVP, being a debut work, is a good book that every fan of character-driven fantasy should try to read.” Lukasz (Goodreads)

 “Gregoire has done an amazing job of creating a feeling of tension throughout, while leaving  us guessing as to what will happen next, or even how the outcome will turn out.” Dianne (Tome Tender)

 “…this book was sneaky amazing.” Angelica (The Effervescent Bookworm)

Expected Publication

The Exercise Of Vital Powers is due to go on sale from Monday 2nd July 2018, in ebook and paperback editions. Pre-orders will be open in June via all the usual online retailers.

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COVER REVEAL!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


author-headshotThe reclusive Ian Gregoire is a taciturn introvert residing somewhere in London, where he was born and raised. Of all life’s diversions, reading and writing are the only ones he ever deemed worthwhile enough to be passionate about. This eventually led to his belated decision to pursue his true calling in life as a fantasy and science fiction author. His debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, is just the first of many books he intends to inflict upon an unsuspecting world.

On the occasions he steps out of his reading and writing comfort zone, Ian has a fondness for computing, melancholy music, retro gaming, and Asian Cinema. Ian also loves peace and quiet, something that is in frustratingly short supply in his life.

Ian can currently be found (or not) living the life of a hermit somewhere in London, continuing his quest to become your future favourite fantasy and science fiction author. To find out more about him and his ongoing publishing journey be sure to visit his official online hangouts.

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