|book haul| ownvoices japanese lit, classics with magic rings

“I won’t buys books until December.” I promised to myself months ago. It aged well, like a rotten mess. However, I still find buying books very therapeutic. That feeling of excitement and ecstasy when I hold my copies will always be priceless.

An intense shout out to these local bookstores where I bought the books in this haul – The Bargain Reader, Fully Booked, yumi bookstore, and Gatic’s Bookshop. Thank you very much and more power!

As an anime lover, I thought I should also consume masterpieces by Japanese artists in other forms. As a reader, books came to mind. I found these purchases via The Bargain Reader.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman is about a half-Japanese teen named Kiko Himura, who wants to get into Prism, her dream art school. However, she doesn’t get into Prism, and her mother doesn’t really appreciate her talent. To make things worse, her abusive Uncle moved back to their house.

So far, I stopped on page 64 and found the plot very promising. The writing is just my cup of tea, simple yet very artistic in terms of structuring. I found myself relating to Kiko in more ways than I expected. I have a feeling this book will make me ugly cry.

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi is a YA epic fantasy, translated by Cathy Hirano and illustrated by Yuta Onoda. It’s about Elin, a girl whose special power makes her communicate with magical beasts. With her mother sentenced to death, she was left alone in a warring kingdom only she can save.

Heard so many great things about this book. And that cover, I’m obsessed! I think it really captured the essence of the story.


Of course, who doesn’t know this trilogy. One of the greatest epic fantasies in history of books! Yes, the first cover doesn’t match the rest. Purchased each of them from different sellers, respectively – Fully Booked, yumi bookstore, and Gatic’s Bookshop – since it was cheaper that way.

Assuming some people aren’t aware, these books are part of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about a quest, on which the fate of Middle-earth depends. Frodo and his squad should get to Mount Doom, in Mordor, home of the Dark Lord, to destroy a malevolent ring.

I watched the movies and I fell in love! Thus, I decided to buy the books, to experience the tale on its original form.

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Thank you for reading this post! What is in your latest haul? You can comment the books or leave a link of your post. Stay safe and have a wonderful day!

|book review| thoughts in mini: fairies, robots, mermaids

Welcome to a very new series I created! It’s called ‘thoughts in mini’, which is basically a book review, but in short form. Obviously, this is not an original idea, since a lot of blogger have already done this. However, it won’t kill me to give it a shot. Besides, there are just books that don’t require a lengthy review to fully share what I think about them.

In this post, I will review three short books, all e-ARCs. Thank you to Netgalley, Edelweiss, and publishers for providing us copies!

a natural history of fairies by emily hawkins

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This enchantingly illustrated natural history of fairies, compiled in the 1920s by the botanist Professor Elsie Arbour for her niece, is now unveiled for readers of today. Featuring a gold foil–embossed cloth cover, a ribbon marker, and sprayed gold edges, this gorgeous volume is filled with colorful sketches and precise notes detailing the secret life of fairies and their important role in the natural world. Inside, you will discover the wide and wonderful array of different species of fairies around the globe and explore where and how they live. Delight in this hidden world as you learn all about: The anatomy of a fairy (Land-based fairies have individual, separated toes, just as humans do. However, many species of water fairies have webbed feet.) The life cycle of a fairy (When walking in the heather, be careful of the tiny flutterpillar of the Wicklow Fairy, decked out in greens and purples.) Clever fairy camouflage (Reed fairies living in wetlands usually wear striped clothes to hide among the tall reeds.) Fairies around the world (Meet the Lily Hopper of sub-Saharan Africa, the Queen Fairy of New Guinea, the Penguin Fairy of the Antarctic, and many more.)Fairy habitats (Fairies make their homes in all types of places: woodlands, jungles, deserts, the Poles, and even human homes.) Concluding with a reminder that we must protect the endangered habitats of fairies, and all other creatures too, this is a book to be treasured for a lifetime.

publication: September 29th 2020 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

thoughts: This book is written in a journal-like format, where we follow a certain character on a journey of discovering faeries.

As you can see from the synopsis, the book focuses on five major points: the anatomy of a fairy, the life cycle of a fairy, clever fairy camouflage, fairies around the world, and fairy habitats. I got to say, these points were discussed pretty well. The writing was easy to understand, and I think this book really suits children. Even if some of them can’t read yet, I’m sure the pictures will really keep their imagination going.


war girls [sampler] by tochi onyebuchi

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky. In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there

publication: October 15th 2019 by Razorbill

representations: black, disabled, found family
triggers: war, violence, bullying

thoughts: So far, I can tell that this book is going to be good. Where the sampler ended was enough for me to get hooked!

I don’t read much Science Fiction , but this one might make me crave for more of the genre. I loved the idea of the nanobots and how Onyii used them to her advantage. I loved the friendship and family dynamics and just the characters themselves. The plot was promising as well.

All in all, I want to purchase this book in the future.


the mermaid atlas: merfolk of the world by anna claybourne, miren asiain lora [illustrator]

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Magical and mysterious, the merfolk of the world are notoriously elusive, but this enchanting compendium will reveal their secrets. Learn all about the beautiful selkies of the Scottish seas, the wily iara of Brazil who love to outwit travelers, and the fearful Ningyo of Japan who can give you eternal life. This captivating book features a mix of mermaid “facts” and short retellings of some of the most magical and enticing traditional merfolk tales.

publication: August 11th 2020 by Laurence King Publishing

thoughts: From fairies to mermaids, oh what a wonderful experience! Like in A Natural History of Fairies, I also got to travel the world and discovered many mermaid figures from different locations.

I got to meet merfolk from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, North America, and South America. Aside from mermaids, here are some things that were discussed: mermaid homes, ancient mermaids, mermaid magic, mistaken for mermaids, and mermaid sightings.

What I liked the most though was how it engaged me. It was like I was really in those places, witnessing these mystical creatures of the water.

purchase the books now

a natural history of fairies: amazon | b&n | book depository | indiebound

war girls: amazon | b&n | book depository | indiebound

the mermaid atlas: amazon | b&n | book depository | indiebound

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Thank you for reading this blog! Don’t forget to click the follow button for latest updates. And comment the latest short book you read, I might give it a try. Have a safe day!

|book tag| the ‘stuck at home’ book tag

While #goodreadance2020 is ongoing, I decided to have a little bit of fun.

Welcome to my latest blog post! I wasn’t really tagged for this one, but thank you to allonsythornraxx for creating this wonderful tag! Make sure to check out her blog, guys!

This post will also serve as a sneak peek for the new format of my blogs. I hope it looks good!

what are you currently reading?

Why? Well, mermaids! And I’m into short books ever since I got out of my reading slump. Got my copy for free from Edelweiss, and it’s still available if you’re interested.

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So far, it’s a very engaging read, and the flow of information is smooth and easy to comprehend.

what’s your favorite ‘can’t-leave-the-house’ activity?

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Aside from reading, I really love watching anime. As of now, I’m rewatching Hunter x Hunter. Also, who’s waiting for the fourth season of Attack On Titan?

a book you’ve been meaning to read for forever

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Since I’m a hoe for Greek myth. I’m not saying it’s because of Percy Jackson, but…

an intimidating book on your TBR

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Perhaps, Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. I watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, beautiful. But, I’m sacred I won’t get through the book easily. Still, let’s hope for the best.

recommend a short book

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If you are fascinated with the secret language of flowers, then I highly recommend this book. Full of information, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It’s going to be published on September 15, 2020.

recommend a long book

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This is the longest book I read this year, with a whopping 848 pages. However, the story is worth it, at least to me, since we all have different opinions. But, if you love to read stories taking place in a massive world, with sapphic romance, unique magic, magnificent dragons, and epic battles, then I highly recommend this book.

tagging

Liza | Charvi | Bianca | Rhi | Alpheus | Ysa | Riza | and you!

Thank You So Much GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

Thank you for reading this blog! And to be aware of what’s happening to the world right now, you can click this link and learn. Have a safe day!

|event| #goodreadance2020, and my goals

September and messy, right? I think not! Finally, I have the time to organize my shelves and probably have some changes on this blog. Good luck to me and to everyone participating!

Spring cleaning! But in September? Yes please! Plus, join a fun Goodreads challenge where we hold each other accountable in organizing our shelves, updating our star ratings, and reducing books in our "want-to-read" pile. #goodreadance2020

what is this challenge?

The #goodreadance2020 is a month long challenge, where the participating readers organize their books and other things according to their goals.

Shealea of Shut Up, Shealea organized this challenge to help readers find the time to sort their books and shelves. To clarify, this is not for Goodreads only. It encompasses every shelves and books we have, and everyone is free to join.

To have some ideas on what goals you want to set, you can read the full blog post here. Below are the goals I want to achieve on or before September 30, 2020.

my goals

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clean up my goodreads tbr

Here are some questions I formulated to guide me:

is the author/book problematic? If yes, then bye and #goodreadance2020!

is the book still fascinating? For this, I will read the synopsis and see if it still spark some interest in me. If yes, then I will keep it and let it sit for another 5 years, probably.

is the book OwnVoices? Now this is important. As a gay person of color, I want to give emphasis on BIPOC books written by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ books written by LGBTQ+. I will support them with everything I can and I hope you will, too.

is my gut telling me to keep this book? Sometimes, intuition is something. Even if that book doesn’t fascinate you, but your gut is telling you not to remove it, then don’t. If you want to go against your gut, then do it. Remember: your shelf, your choice.

However, I have to make an exception: if the book fascinates me or OwnVoices, but I’m aware of its problematic content/author, then bye and #goodreadance2020!

create various goodreads shelves

To elaborate, I want to create shelves where I sort books according to a specific element of those books. For example: the shelf is called ‘tbr-ov-asian’, then I will add all books with Asian protagonists by Asian authors there.

At the end of this challenge, I will post a before and after picture of my Goodreads shelves. For now, it looks like this:

This will take some time, but fighting!

catalogue my books

I’ve been seeing beautiful spreadsheets on Twitter by amazing bloggers. I want that too, hence I will make one this month. The good news is I don’t own many books. The bad news is I still have to think of a format, of how I want it to look. If you have some tips, comments are very much appreciated.

update my rating system

I’m currently using the star rating system, which is the most common. This month, I will try to create my own that works for me.

There’s nothing wrong with the star rating system. I just want to be unique, I guess.

in conclusion

On the final week of September, I will share the things I realized while doing this challenge. This is a month long event, after all, so we might learn something. It could be something related to reading or something unrelated.

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I will post my progress weekly on this blog, and probably daily on Twitter. Thanks a ton for reading this post and I hope you’ll join this challenge. Have a safe day!

|feature| first book tour, thanks to caffeine book tours!

Hello, everyone! My name is Leo and I am back from my blogging slump (and probably, from my reading slump, too)! These past weeks, I couldn’t find the energy to write or read. You know that feeling when all of a sudden you feel tired, and you have no idea why? Yes, that happened. I tried forcing myself. However, the more I forced my mind to think, the more I felt drained. It sucked, of course. This blog is my third and final attempt, therefore I don’t want it to flop.

Fill your feed with diverse content from Filipino book bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktubers, and other bookish creators! Here are 31 personally curated recommendations to get you started. #filipino #philippines #supportlocal

Finally, Shealea posted this blog. Reading my name on the list, and knowing that someone amazing is aware of my existence, I felt ecstatic and grateful. My mind recharged and I found myself in front of my laptop.

This post will be about the Caffeine Book Tours, my very first tour, and why you should have a cup of this coffee.

what is a book tour?

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Before going to our main topic, let’s define what a book tour is first. More specifically, a book tour through blogs.

Basically, a book tour through blogs is a duration of time allotted in promoting books on selected blogs, especially those books that are soon to be published. Materials are given to the hosts, which they can utilize according to the tour’s set of rules. One of these rules, and the most common, is the host should post a book review. Other contents about the book can be posted, since creativity is highly encouraged. Again, as long as the rules are followed. Violating the rules could lead to suspension from the tour, or worse.

what is caffeine book tours?

Caffeine Book Tours or CBT is an online tour company, which gives a huge emphasis on diverse books. Its advocacy is to create a connection between authors, to find the right audiences or readers for their works.

In line with my experience so far, the company has this style of selecting their hosts according to specific elements found in the book. For example, if the protagonist is queer and Asian, then the company gives priority to queer and Asian hosts.

But, Leo, what if I’m neither queer nor Asian? Should I lie about being one in the sign-ups? Then you are screwed! Kidding! You still have a chance to be selected. You do not have to lie, don’t ever. If you read the advocacy, you will come across the topic titled ‘THE IMPORTANCE OF OWN-VOICES REVIEWS ☕’. It will make you understand why a ‘priority lane’ exists.

who is the creator?

I don’t know Shealea personally. However, her extreme passion in reading and giving impact on marginalized books, authors, and content creators won’t go unnoticed. She even made a directory for Asian content creators, making it easier for everyone to discover our platforms.

She has this way with words that is really empowering. I read a newsletter she wrote, and it became one of the reasons why I gave blogging another go. Honestly, I want to meet her someday and thank her for everything she is doing for this community.

To know more information about her projects, click here. If you want to know how to pronounce her name, click here. To follow her blog, click here.

my first book tour (through blogs)!

When I signed up for a tour with CBT for the very first time, I thought I would never get a slot. Then, they posted ‘How Tour Hosts Are Selected’, and a thorn was pulled from my anxious soul while reading this part:

Testimonials from my tour hosts will tell you that extremely large followings aren’t a requirement for my tours. Nor do I dismiss “small” bookish influencers in favor of those with thousands of followers. However, I do prefer tour hosts to have a loyal following — that is, an audience that consistently engage with their content.”

The relief was very real I could kiss the ground. At the time I signed up for a tour, my blog was but a sprout. Still very new and needs all the sunlight and water and air to photosynthesize and grow. Hence, reading the statement above made me very grateful. Even if I won’t be selected, at least I got a chance, right?

Shealea also added this statement to clarify:

“For obvious reasons, I can’t just give ARCs or books to someone with only 5 followers, and similarly, I also can’t give them to someone with 5,000 followers but with virtually nonexistent engagement (e.g. likes, comments, shares and retweets). Again, a book tour is a promotional tool meant to benefit the author and their book, which is why I cannot entirely dismiss audience reach and engagement in my decision-making.”

My very first book tour is for ‘The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice’ by Lisa DeSelm.

I cannot say much for now, but stay tuned for my review and other contents about this book.

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Thank you for reading this post! This is just my mini-intro about Caffeine Book Tours, since I messaged Shealea some time ago that I wanted to feature it. You can always go to the tour company’s site for more information. Have a safe and merry day!

|book review| six of crows (six of crows #1) by leigh bardugo

Good morning, good evening, good day!

A lot of readers said that reading the Shadow and Bone Trilogy first was not necessary to understand what was going on in this story, but I read it anyway. Found a good bargain online and bought a boxed set of the trilogy, because I’m that kind of person—even if my life is a mess, I want to read books set in the same universe in order. And I was kind of afraid that I would miss something, so…

Then, the nostalgia happened. That feeling of happiness whenever I read a word or something familiar on the page, which were a huge part of the first trilogy. Like, the ‘Little Palace’, ‘Sankta Alina’, and ‘Zoya’. Reading them again after months made me smile. Although, this book is better, Shadow and Bone was not bad.

Also, if you want to read this first before the trilogy, there’s no problem with that. Read what you want to read.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist: break into the Ice Court – a military stronghold that has never been breached – and retrieve a hostage whose knowledge could change Grisha magic forever. To succeed would mean rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone . . . A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Together they might just be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


representations: LGBTQ+, plus size, disabled

triggers: violence, gore, torture, kidnapping, death of loved ones, betrayal, drug addiction, asshole parents


the characters

I rooted for all of them, still rooting. But, nothing prepared me for the twin storms called Nina x Inej. No, I don’t ship them as a couple, but the friendship they had, the bond, the trust, really made me happy.

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They were an unlikely pair, very opposite in many ways. Nina being outspoken, yet gentle. Inej being quiet most of the time, yet dangerous. Reviewing my notes, I found that all the memorable lines I highlighted were from their POVs. There was this quote from Inej that really felt empowering. It was only a single paragraph, but the impact it had was a hundredfold.

For the characters I hate, the Fjerdans. They were the perfect representation of people who are afraid of something they don’t understand, something out of their norm. They hunt down Grisha because they think they should not exist in this world. When Matthias said something like that to Nina, I was genuinely hurt, remembering the homophobes who said the same thing.

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the plot

The plot was very character-driven. I loved how Leigh Bardugo executed the flashbacks with her writing. Honestly, I don’t usually like flashbacks because I feel like they interrupt the flow of the story—like, I should be in Cebu right now, but COVID-19 (the flashback, supposedly) decided to show up (stay safe!), delaying our plans. However, in this story, the flashbacks didn’t annoy me at all. They gave sense to the current personalities of the characters, making them realistic.

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All the characters were romantically paired, a trope I have neutral feelings to. Then, the plot twists—specifically, the last two pages of Chapter 40. That scene, I didn’t expect at all. I was speechless for a moment, I was frustrated, my eyes perspired a little! That scene was focused on Nina, who did something, a sacrifice. It broke my fucking heart. After composing myself, I tried to make up scenarios in my mind, like many ways they could have done to get out of that situation. Alas, I had nothing.

dislikes

One of my bookish pet peeves is long chapters, and this book contained some. Sometimes, it was tolerable. Sometimes, I just couldn’t wait for things to wrap-up so the plot could move forward.

in conclusion

This book was really engaging, very dark, and took some twisted turns. It expanded my view of the Grishaverse, travelling to other places I couldn’t go to in Shadow and Bone. And if you finally read this book, I hope you will hate the Fjerdans as well.


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Thank you for reading this blog! I already have the sequel, but I want to take a break from YA for now and explore other genres. Stay tuned for my next post!


about the author

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse (coming soon to Netflix) which spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House (Goodreads Choice Winner for Best Fantasy 2019) which is being developed for television by Amazon Studios. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles. For information on new releases and appearances, sign up for Leigh’s newsletter.


purchase the book now

amazon | barnes & noble | book depository | indiebound

|book review| floriography: an illustrated guide to the victorian language of flowers by jessica roux

What an honor! I thank the publisher and NetGalley for that, for making this book free to download from the site.

Truth be told, I am always fascinated by flowers and their secret languages. Yes, I could search for that through the World Wide Web, but reading them in a book accompanied by beautiful illustrations was a different experience. It quenched a thirst in me that the internet could not.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The Language of Flowers is a full-color guidebook to the historical uses and secret meanings behind an impressive array of flowers and herbs. The book explores the coded significances associated with various blooms, from flowers for a lover to flowers for an enemy. The language of flowers was historically used as a means of secret communication. It soared in popularity during the 19th century, especially in Victorian England and the U.S., when proper etiquette discouraged open displays of emotion. Mysterious and playful, the language of flowers has roots in everything from the characteristics of the plant to its presence in folklore and history. Researched and illustrated by popular artist Jessica Roux, this book makes a stunning display piece, conversation-starter, or thoughtful gift.


expected publication: September 15th 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing


the illustrations

I know some of us are used to reading books without drawings, but a book just hits different when it contains such. The illustrations in this one were like expensive paintings, worthy to have a gallery of their own. I cannot say more since I’m not keen to this kind of art form, but I know beauty when I see one.

the meanings

The highlight of the book. I loved that each flower had various meanings, sometimes the same. However, I loved it even more when the meanings change if paired with other flowers. Like the belladona, which means silence. But, when paired with rue, the meaning becomes ‘to warn the recipient to keep quiet lest they regret it’. How savage is that!

the knowledge

Aside from their meanings, the author also added some descriptions, like mini trivia, about the flowers in the book. They were only written in one paragraph, kind of short if you think about it, but enough to gain information you never knew you needed. Like this one about the jasmine:

Jasmine’s light and lovely scent, along with its elegantly shaped blooms, perfectly convey amiability and cheerfulness. It is often used in weddings and celebrations, especially in the Philippines, Pakistan, and Indonesia, where it is a native plant.

Since it mentioned my country, the Philippines, I immediately Googled about it. Jasmine, the flower I thought I would never see because I thought they didn’t grow here, turned out to be the higher classification of our country’s national flower! And I was like—

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It was right under my nose and I was too dumb to know. Ugh! Anyway, I was super happy, considering that as a dream come true. Also, our country’s national flower is called sampaguita. It has a very pleasant aroma, now even more pleasant since it’s jasmine. Now let’s make some tea!

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I think the book would also be a great reference to authors who would use flowers as a plot device in their projects.

the bouquets

Tips on making meaningful bouquets were also added on the last few pages. There was a bouquet for new beginnings, for apology, for sympathy, for forgotten obligations, and more! For sure, I would always receive a bouquet for forgotten obligations. Who’s with me?


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This book was sweet as nectar, and I cannot wait for you to have a taste. Thank you for reading this review, give some love to this book, and have a blooming day!


about the author

Photo by Brett & Jessica
Photo by Brett & Jessica

Jessica Roux is a Nashville-based freelance illustrator and plant & animal enthusiast. She loves exploring in her own backyard and being surrounded by an abundance of nature. Using subdued colors and rhythmic shapes, she renders flora and fauna with intricate detail reminiscent of old world beauty. She is currently available for freelance work so feel free to contact her.


purchase the book now

amazon | barnes & noble | book depository | indiebound

|tbr| my august 2020 reading list, good luck to me!

HAPPY BIRTH MONTH TO ME! Since one of my posts was all about improvements, I want to improve my reading habit as well. Starting this month, I will do my best to stick to my TBR. I’m sure it will be tough, but I have to do something about it at some point.

I have seven books to read this month, which you all can see below. Two of them I got physical copies of, one an audiobook, and the rest are e-ARCs. I got the audiobook and e-ARCs from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


a little life by hanya yanagihara

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A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

crooked kingdom by leigh bardugo

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Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

war girls by tochi onyebuchi

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e-arc

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky. In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

floriography by jessica roux

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e-arc

The Language of Flowers is a full-color guidebook to the historical uses and secret meanings behind an impressive array of flowers and herbs. The book explores the coded significances associated with various blooms, from flowers for a lover to flowers for an enemy. The language of flowers was historically used as a means of secret communication. It soared in popularity during the 19th century, especially in Victorian England and the U.S., when proper etiquette discouraged open displays of emotion. Mysterious and playful, the language of flowers has roots in everything from the characteristics of the plant to its presence in folklore and history. Researched and illustrated by popular artist Jessica Roux, this book makes a stunning display piece, conversation-starter, or thoughtful gift.

mayflies by andrew o’hagan

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e-arc

Summer 1986. A close group of friends from Glasgow have finished school, and before they depart for their various new lives, they descend on Manchester for one unforgettable weekend. Their leader, burning brightest of all, is the great Tully Dawson. 2017. London. James – the quieter, bookish member of the group – receives a devastating message from Tully, asking James to accompany him through his final months, and to grant Tully his final wish.

where madness lies by sylvia true

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e-arc

Germany, 1934. Rigmor, a young Jewish woman is a patient at Sonnenstein, a premier psychiatric institution known for their curative treatments. But with the tide of eugenics and the Nazis’ rise to power, Rigmor is swept up in a campaign to rid Germany of the mentally ill. USA, 1984. Sabine, battling crippling panic and depression commits herself to McLean Hospital, but in doing so she has unwittingly agreed to give up her baby. Linking these two generations of women is Inga, who did everything in her power to help her sister, Rigmor. Now with her granddaughter, Sabine, Inga is given a second chance to free someone she loves from oppressive forces, both within and without. This is a story about hope and redemption, about what we pass on, both genetically and culturally. It is about the high price of repression, and how one woman, who lost nearly everything, must be willing to reveal the failures of the past in order to save future generations. With chilling echoes of our time, Where Madness Lies is based on a true story of the author’s own family.

untold mayhem by mark tullius

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24 Tales of Madmen, Monsters, and Misery. A tantalizing blend of horror, suspense, and crime stories; each unique but all dark, disturbing, and violent. Between the covers lurk:
– A tarot card reader who makes house calls.
– A disabled man in a miserable marriage who is regaining the use of his arms.
– An ex-con who can’t resist carrying out one last home invasion.
– Bickering business partners that resort to unconventional mediation to solve their problems.
– An alcoholic pedophile forced to spend time in the desert.
– A troubled university student who goes on a bloody rampage.
– An alert detective who makes an unorthodox decision when he finds himself in the middle of an armed robbery.


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Good luck to all of us! Thank you for reading and visiting this blog! Stay tuned for my next post!

|author q&a| karen m. mcmanus, a throwback post

welcome one, welcome all!

I hope you are all doing fine in the middle of everything. As for me, I’m very happy these past few days. Taylor Swift dropped an album, no warnings or whatsoever, and Six of Crows is really getting interesting! So far, I’m on board for the Jesper x Wylan ship, Nina the Queen, and getting ready to also board Kaz x Inej. For Matthias, his story’s going somewhere, that’s for sure.

I’m planning to finish the book before the beginning of August, since I’m going to dedicate that month to some books—most of them ARCs and are going to be published on September.

Anyway, about this post. This was my first and (so far) my only author Q&A, which I did in 2017. It featured Karen M. McManus, who was a debut author back then. I was approved for an ARC of her debut novel, One of Us Is Lying, via NetGalley. I adored the book and couldn’t get over it days after reading, then finally decided to do a Q&A.

It was my first time, so I’m very sorry for the boring questions.


as a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing and publishing process? least favorite?

I love hearing from readers who are excited about the book. I got a wonderful email from a teacher who said there was a wait list for One of Us Is Lying in her classroom, and that the kids loved talking about it with one another. That was amazing to hear. My least favorite is having hard deadlines. When I was writing for myself, if a book was giving me trouble I’d just put it aside and wait for inspiration to strike again again. Now I need to push through and stay on track.

tell us where the idea of the book came from. did you immediately write it down the moment you thought of it?

No, because I was driving :). The song “Don’t You Forget About Me” came on the radio, and I thought it would be fun to write something based on The Breakfast Club. Then the phrase “… with murder” popped in my head, and it stuck. I love closed-door mysteries, so I spent the rest of the drive thinking of ways to commit a crime in class without anyone realizing who’d done it. Then the characters started to take shape in my mind, and the idea took off.

what sort of research did you do to write this book?

I talked with subject matter experts in fields that are critical to the plot, like law enforcement, education, and medicine. I also did secondary research into areas touched upon throughout the story, like how the baseball draft works.

what does your writing process look like?

I usually write my first draft in a frenzy, over the course of a few months. I hardly sleep during this time, because I keep waking up with ideas that I have to write down. Then I pull in critique partners and beta readers to start the revision process.

among the characters, which of them did you enjoy developing?

All of them, for different reasons. Addy was satisfying to develop because her arc was very intense. I loved writing Nate because his scenes were effortless—it felt like he took over and I was just along for the ride. Cooper was an interesting challenge because he’s adept at hiding his true feelings, even to himself. And Bronwyn was a joy because she’s a proactive character who moved the story forward.

what made you decide to throw in some diversity in the book?

I wanted the cast to reflect the world we live in.

what is the main thing you want readers to learn from ‘One of Us is Lying’?

There’s an obvious “don’t judge a book by its cover” message, because none of the four narrators are the stereotypes they appear to be in the beginning. But there’s also an overarching theme of acceptance, both of yourself and others, and how facing the worst events and hidden secrets in your life can help you grow into the person you’re supposed to be.

for you, what are the ups and downs of technology?

Technology can be incredible for connecting people—all my writing critique partners are people I got to know via social media. Some I still haven’t met in person, but we talk nearly every day. But the always-on nature of technology can be relentless. One of the things I was interested in exploring with the book is what happens when something goes viral and the narrative of your life story—which most of us can curate to an extent through what we choose to share—is suddenly taken out of your hands.


Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next. Her fourth novel, The Cousins, will publish in December 2020. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. You can find Karen at @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.


I’m planning on doing more of this in the future. And not just to authors, I also want to feature other bookish content creators, if they ever give me the honor.


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Thank you so much for reading this post! I know I still have to improve with the questions, and I promise to work on that. Have a great day!

|update| leo wants to improve? seriously?

Yes, I want to improve, and seriously. I don’t usually post stuff like this on a public platform, but I want to share to you guys some pieces of my life aside from reading.

I have so many things to improve for my sake, but here are some, in no particular order.


set a schedule. I do things at random all the time. I don’t have a proper routine, a right order of things, and that’s the birth of chaos. Which is why after writing this, I’m going to Excel and create a schedule. Like, can you believe I don’t even have a schedule for posting in this blog?

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procrastination who? Oh, that’s a friend of mine. However, I think we should not meet for a while. I get distracted easily when we’re together, and that will most likely lead to me not following my schedule. I apologize, dear friend.

sleep enough. I have something to blame – college. I used to sleep at 9 PM, but ever since I went to college, my limit became 12 AM. To make things worse, sometimes I go past that limit. Since I can’t promise to sleep earlier, I promise to get enough of it.

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water, my friend. Okay, I feel embarrassed because sometimes I forget to drink water. I know I’m not the only one, but still. I think I only drink a maximum of two glasses a day, and of course that’s bad since it should be eight! Drinking water is a given, but I will still put it on my schedule just to make sure.

write now! Is this a pun of ‘right now’? Because that’s the vibe I’m getting. One of the many results of procrastination is me feeling lazy to write. I’m currently working on a Young Adult/Fantasy project, and I guess it’s an opportunity for me to write more. Of course, there’s this blog where I haven’t posted anything for a long while until now.


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Thank you for reading and visiting! If you have some tips for me to use, then I highly encourage you to comment. And I got selected for a book tour, which I might post about soon, so watch out!