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.
Hello, I previously announced that I’m on a semi-blogging hiatus, except for planned posts. Still on hiatus (I am SO ready to graduate!!) but please enjoy my review for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro! I don’t feel like it’s one of my best review but if I still feel terrible about it after graduation, I do intent to pick this book up again before the release of its sequel. (I read the book and wrote this review in 2019)
As always, thank you to Shealea for all your hard work at Caffeine Book Tours. Please check the link after the review to see what everyone else thought of the book!
*I received a finished copy via Caffeine Book Tours in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro follows Talyien, the Dragonlord of Jin-Sayeng, five years after her husband left her to rule over their already divided people. Issues and disagreements have been piling up for years, and the generals surrounding her are watching her every move. To keep the peace, she agrees to leave her land to the foreign city of Anzhao for peace talks with her estranged husband. Already out of her depth, she finds herself on the run when the negotiations go awry. Alone, in a nation unfamiliar to her, Talyien must survive the unknown if she wishes to return home.
I’ll admit it; I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I decided to apply to join this blog tour. But I’m delighted I did. Oren-Yaro is a staggering journey of survival. From story to characters, to overall setting, this book was a unique read. Villoso delivers on what she sets out to achieve, and while I found myself a little overwhelmed by the world, the focus of this story wasn’t something I could pinpoint in certain moments, but I liked it like that. Which sounds very weird since, as a reader, I like having some awareness of where the story could go as I’m reading, but honestly, I flew through this book so quickly, I didn’t even care. This book was a wild ride, so much was happening; it all didn’t settle in until I reached the very last page.
In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.
On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.
Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.
Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.
The universe was clearly working in my favour when I was given the honour of participating in the Jade War blog tour organised by Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours.
Of course, the biggest thank you to Shealea for hosting this mammoth of a blog tour and working alongside Fonda Lee and her publishing team to give us all physical copies to review! The participants of this tour are all wonderful and extremely talented and I can’t wait to see what everyone’s thoughts are on this brilliant gem of a book! Check out my review and playlist!
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
*I received a finished copy via Caffeine Book Tours in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
We return to the city of Janloon, where the Mountain and No
Peak clans have seemingly announced a public truce. But secretly the leaders of
their respective clan continue to fight for control of their nation Kekon, home
to the only source of jade, a magical energy source which strengthens its
users. With the rise of jade smugglers, the Kaul family must work together to
if they wish to bring down Ayt Mada while also squashing rising tensions within
Kekon and its neighbouring countries.
My first thoughts after finishing Jade War weren’t even something I could describe. An incoherent stream of yelling seems rather fitting. The sheer joy I experienced from reading this novel is something that can’t be easily replicated.
I can’t decide what makes this series so exhilarating. It’s smart, action-filled with an intricate plot that doesn’t let you down. It truly has the perfect blend of brilliant worldbuilding and damn near perfect characters that reside within it. Everything felt so vivid and realistic and, more importantly, believable. The attention to detail is spot on, and nothing is forgettable. Jade War takes us out of Kekon and really delves deeper into the other countries. Usually, I would lean towards one or the other, worldbuilding or characters, but the Green Bone saga really hits the mark on everything.
Like in Jade City, there are many alternate perspectives, but the core ones remain the members of the Kaul family. And Lee solidifies her cast of characters that are immensely complex and ridiculously compelling.
Hilo was the game changer for me. There is so much growth
and development with him that he has become one of my favourite male characters.
His initial dangerous demeanour can be dissuading, but he is so protective of
his loved ones that he has no choice but to act out to protect them. He is one
of the series’ best characters.
Shae really stood out the most for me, personally, and her
character truly grabbed my heart and was clearly unwilling to let go. Her role
as Weather Man continues to be undermined daily, and she’s trying her hardest
to prove to everyone she can her job, and not letting her personal life, which introduces
a romantic relationship, conflict with her duty to the clan. Wen, now wife to
Hilo, really makes her mark in Jade War.
Hilo naturally fears for her since she’s resistant to jade, making her an
easier target. But she refuses to let anyone stop her from helping her clan,
her family. Her compassion and strength really amazed me. Wen and Shae,
especially, are unstoppable and when they work together, shit gets done.
Anden is genuinely my favourite character in the series. In Jade War, he embarks on a new life, jade-free, on his cousin’s order, and even then, he can never truly escape the green life he was born into. What I loved, especially about Anden’s arc is that it brought to life the land beyond Kekon. And Anden he comes as a stranger and slowly learns that there’s a way to living green that is entirely different from the way he was brought up. The rules are stricter in different ways. Everything is on a different playing field when living jade-less, making it quite different from his own upbringing where Jade was crucial to your identity. And despite his promises to his family to keep a low-profile, he still manages to find trouble.
Family is such a core theme, and the circumstances the characters
face put them under all sorts of pressure. Whether it be tradition, duty, honour
or personal feelings, they return to each other because that’s what they’re
fighting for. Stories that focus on familial love is what I love the most, and this
series has, hands down, one of the best fictional families ever.
I realise I haven’t touched on this on my previous review of Jade City, but the fight scenes deserve a more extended discussion of its own. It truly comes to life and takes your breath away. The fight scenes are so brutal that I wasn’t sure if I would survive what would happen next. Having a story this ambitious and complex is not an easy feat, and Lee is incredible to have created a story so intense and satisfying.
I was already head over heels obsessed with the Green Bone world, but Jade War just confirmed every feeling I had from Jade City wasn’t a fluke or a one-off. Jade City glittered with a promise of something bigger, and Jade War delivered that with a big bang. I have zero ideas of what will happen next, but I do know that is the clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. Fonda Lee deserves every word of praise and accolade she gets from this series, this series deserves it all and more.
Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and teens. She is the author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City (Orbit), which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was nominated for the Nebula Award and the Locus Award, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. The second book in the Green Bone Saga, Jade War, releases in the summer of 2019. Fonda’s young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic), have garnered numerous accolades including being named Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton Award finalist, Oregon Book Award finalist, Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. In 2018, Fonda gained the distinction of winning the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel.
Fonda wrote her first novel, about a dragon on a quest for a magic pendant, in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero saga co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both of these experiments are lost to the world forever.
Fonda is a former corporate strategist who has worked for or advised a number of Fortune 500 companies. She holds black belts in karate and kung fu, goes mad for smart action movies (think The Matrix, Inception, and Minority Report) and is an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
*I received a copy via the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
Zayneb is sent packing after confronting her Islamophobic teacher, and while her parents hope her early trip will do her some good, she doesn’t anticipate meeting Adam. Adam’s shouldering a secret that he fears will break his family apart. With nothing in common but a journal of Marvel and Oddities, destiny means little to Zayneb, but it seems like it’s working its hardest to keep them on the same path.
This book has so much brilliance packed into it, and I honestly don’t know where to start.
Zayneb is a headstrong lead, who comes across quite bitter at first glance. But I felt for her and saw myself in her in every way possible. When I was younger, I was very much like her: constantly angry at the prejudice, racism and Islamophobia in the world. She doesn’t know how to stay down quietly, and I admire that. I was never brilliantly outspoken the way she is, but her anger at the world is so relatable. Her story is remarkably lifelike and is an excellent portrayal of what it is like to be visibly Muslim today.
I am so, so happy to be apart of the blog tour for Graham’s Delicacies. I’m so excited to share my review and playlist I’ve made. My playlist is a little different time around. Initially, it was going filled with songs about the book in general, but I quickly grew really fond of the actual bakery in the book, Graham’s Delicacies.
I’m also hosting my own Paperback copy giveaway of Graham’s Delicacies. It’s international, so everyone’s welcome to join!!! Check it out below!
R E V I E W
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Six people and three love stories all in one bakery.
Graham’s Delicacies is a collection of short stories revolving around the love lives of the workers of Graham’s Delicacies. If you’ve read Ali’s previous work, you realise this café has already made it an appearance in Ali’s debut, Soft on soft, and I love it! I adored the casual and sweet environment of the café. Apart from Yujin, everyone works there, and it’s adorable. In just Saccharine alone, you can clearly see how furiously protective they are of each other and love each other so much. The familial aspect, inside the café and outside, was one of my favourites part of this book.
Saccharine follows Jen, who is a student working as a waitress, and her relationship with one of the café’s bakers, Emilie. I would, out of all the stories, this was the sweetest. Their relationship was a pretty adorable and we’re shown how they got together. It begins quite delicately with both sides definitely wanting to take their relationship further. I had a lot of love for Emilie; they’re so cute.
In just Saccharine alone, you’re very quickly introduced to the relationship dynamics of the workers. You can clearly see how furiously protective they are of each other and love each other so much.
In Delectable, James is hard-core pining over his co-worker Sam. He’s exceptionally family-orientated and often puts his family before anything else, even himself. If Saccharine was sweet, Delectable was emotional. Sam is confident and amazing. His confidence is sky-high and brilliant. James and Sam fit so well together, and their relationship was very natural and cute.
Ravenous is, I would say, my favourite out of the three stories. Alex hopes to change the mind of a popular food vlogger who made some pretty unjustified comments about the bakery. Except, they certainly weren’t expecting to meet Yujin. Ravenous was hilarious as Yujin tries to persuade Alex to give him a second chance. Alex is highly protective of Graham’s Delicacies, so they aren’t so easily satisfied.
Yujin was a surprising character I didn’t expect to rate so highly. He comes off quite arrogant at the beginning, but quickly he’s developed into this entirely different person, whose public persona precedes him.
Overall, I enjoyed Graham’s Delicacies. I love the way the stories interlink with each other but are their own stories. There are explicit sex scenes in each story, in case, that isn’t your thing, like me. I love the different couple dynamics. It’s pretty low in drama, and everyone gets a happy-ever-after. So I would recommend if anyone wants a fun and quick read.
Hi!!! Today’s post is all about The Weight of our Sky by Hanna Alkaf. I’m so excited to be a part of the SEA blog tour for this incredible book. I’ll be sharing my own review and a playlist that I’ve made for this book! Before I get into what I have to show, here’s some information on the book and its brilliant author!
Melati Ahmad has imagined her mother’s death countless times. Plagued by gruesome thoughts she believes are put into her head by a djinn, Melati has developed an intricate set of tapping rituals to tame the monster within and keep her mother safe.
But there are things that Melati can’t protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.
With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.
Hanna Alkaf graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and spent over ten years writing everything from B2B marketing emails to investigative feature articles, from non-profit press releases to corporate brochures. She worked in Chicago as an online copywriter for several years upon graduation before coming home. She’s been a senior writer at Marie Claire Malaysia, the communications manager of education non-profit Teach For Malaysia, and a freelance journalist. Her articles have appeared in the Malaysian iterations of Marie Claire, Shape, and Esquire, as well as a host of other media both print and online.
Hanna now spends her time making it up as she goes along, both as an author of fiction and as a mom. THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY is her first novel. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family. (Photo credit: Azalia Suhaimi)
The Song of Princes follows the myth of the Iliad, the fate of well-known characters such as Paris, Helen, Achilles and the Greek gods which all leads up to the battle of Troy The Song of Princes is book one of three which will chronicle the entire war and well into the adventure of Odysseus after. The Princes mentioned which the story follows are Paris, Hektor, Achilles and Odysseus, while I believe book one focuses more on Paris/Hekor.