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Blog Tour: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista (Character Interview + Review)

Welcome to my stop on Karmic Hearts Blog Tour! I have read the book few weeks ago and I had fun meeting Karmina (Mina) and Cupid, so imagine my delight when I discover that I got the chance to interview one of them. I originally wanted to interview Cupid but then I realized that that would be very spoiler-y. Good thing Mina agreed to answers my questions. So if you’d like to know more about her, be sure to check out her answers to my questions below.

Following the interview is my review for the novel, Karmic Hearts.

Also don’t forget check out the tour schedule at the end to read more reviews, Q&As, guest posts, and other fun posts.

Enjoy reading the interview!

Character Interview with Karmina Joan of Karmic Hearts

To start things off, can you please introduce yourself so everyone will know more about you?
Hello! I’m Karmina Joan. I wrote The Fall of Icarus before I got into an accident and Remembering Cupid after I woke up from the coma. And yes, Remembering Cupid was based on the dream that I had when I was in a coma.

What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life? And why write about angels?
I’ve loved reading since I was a little kid. I used to read a lot, from novels, poems, and short stories to product brands, flyers, and advertisements. Publishing a book is one of my many lifelong ambitions. I’ve always wanted to write my own story and hold my own book, something that I’ve now achieved.
I’ve always been fascinated with angels. And when I began watching Supernatural, that fascination intensified. So I decided to write a story about them. But since my niche is romance, I incorporated romance.

Let’s say you meet Cupid today. What are the things you want to tell or ask him?
I’ll probably ask him to enumerate the reasons why he fell for me. He said so, in my dream. I don’t think I’m that special to make the angel of love himself defy the laws of heaven to be with me.

If Cupid could ask you one question about why you wrote his story the way you did, what would he want to know the most?
He’ll probably ask if the ending would be the same, the sad ending… if he didn’t insist that I change it!

What is one thing that surprised you the most about Cupid?
His naivety. He knows a lot but he still has so much more to learn. And he’s also very stubborn! I thought angels were supposed to be obedient. Apparently, he’s the exception.

If we could snoop in your room, what books would we find on your shelf besides The Fall of Icarus and Remembering Cupid?
I’m not a big fan of romance paperbacks. I like reading them online. But because I already write about romance, umay na ako sa romance. So you’ll probably find mystery/thriller and fantasy books on my bookshelf.

Are you working on any projects right now? What can we expect from you in the near future? Any other angel stories in the works?
Aside from writing articles for our company’s blogs, my boss also asked me for a personal favor. His girlfriend, who happens to be my fan, has a cousin (also my fan) who looks a lot like Cupid, but the total opposite. My boss wants me to set him up with someone, in exchange for letting me have my own page on our site. Should be easy, right? The problem is that Eros is really, really, really shy. So yeah, he’s my current project.
As for writing stories, I’m trying. But I don’t have anything solid yet. And I don’t think I’m ready to start another angel story. Need to get over Cupid first. Haha!

Personal Thoughts:

Karmic Hearts is a light-hearted, and heartwarming story about a girl who had an encounter with the Angel of Love.

Karmina Joan is a writer. She loves writing stories about love, destiny, and fate. She believes that everyone has a purpose in life, and she thought sharing her stories is her higher call. Little did she know that she has a different part to play. When the Angel of Love Cupid suddenly enters her life, she found herself playing matchmaker. She has one year to match six pairs of soulmates and fill a jar of love. Can she finished her task before the deadline?

“I figure I could use some of it in my story. It was the kind of thing that I could only imagine when I was younger. Some of my theories were downright ridiculous so I didn’t really believed in them. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t write about them to make someone else believe.”

Jhing Bautista adds in just right amounts of myths, theories, and fantasy to make Karmic Hearts interesting. She added few refreshing concepts like the love strings and mixed them with old onces – fate, destiny, soul-mates and more. There are some interesting thoughts too about love, life, and destiny which mostly from Cupid’s point of view.

“If everything is unfair in this world, then doesn’t that make it fair?”

Cupid as a character is so much fun to read. I like his sense of humor and insightful comments. Not only he is charming and witty but also smart. Though there are times that I don’t agree with his decisions, I still think that he stays true to his character, after all playing the Angel of Love means overly romantic to the fault.

The only mild complaint is the predictability of the plot. Though I haven’t read many stories with Cupid as one of the main characters, I still easily figure the twist and turns of the story. I’m only few chapters in when I guess the big twist in the end, and few more chapters about Karmina’s role in Cupid’s life. Maybe, having read too many fictions and fantasy stories makes this one easily predictable for me, but nevertheless an enjoyable read.

Overall, Karmic Hearts is a light read that is perfect for those who love cute romance. It is delightful, romantic and heartwarming. Something every romance lovers will surely enjoy reading.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Karmic Hearts
Author: Jhing Bautista
Publisher: Summit Books, Pop Fiction
Publication Date: May 09, 2017
Pages: 241
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Love. Magic. Fate. Best-selling romance novel author Karmina Joan writes about them all. She believes that every person has a purpose, that every soul has a destiny to fulfill. She thought hers was simply sharing her stories.

Her story unfolds with Cupid, the Angel of Love himself. He brings with him a mysterious vessel and a message from on high. It turns out Karmina has a bigger purpose after all–a mission that will make or break humanity as we know it.

As Cupid teaches her the tricks of his trade, Karmina unknowingly gives him something unexpected in return–something that angel of love will find oddly familiar. This may become the one flaw in an otherwise perfect plan that destiny has in store for them.

Does love truly conquer all or are there limits to what humanity can do in the name of love? Witness as Karmina struggles to find the answer before time runs out on true love.

Book Links: Goodreads | WattPad

Follow the rest of the tour!

Update July 1st, 2017

Just drawn the winner for the giveaway. Congrats cainwrites! You won a copy of Karmic Hearts. I will be contacting you momentarily to get your details so I can send you your prize. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will be forced to choose another winner. Thank you to everyone who has entered.

13 Comments »

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Kick-Off!

Hey everyone! I am super thrilled to announced that Celebrating Debutantes blog event is back. And this year we have one massive event for all of you.

To those who are not aware what Celebrating Debutantes is all about, this blog event is where we features here at Blackplume and Fragments of Life new authors and their debut novels. Last year event was a huge success. So Precious and I decided to have a run again, but instead of splitting the event into two parts we are doing one huge event instead.

We’ve lined up lots of features for everyone starting today, June 1st, 2017 to September 2017. Yes, you read it right! The event will run for more the three months! Which means more new authors and books to discover, and lots of interesting and exciting features for everyone. And of course tons of giveaways too.

We have many talented new authors on board this year with their fresh debut novels and we are really excited for everyone. We hope that this event will be a perfect venue for readers to find new literary discovery, and for new authors to showcase not only their first published work but also share a little about themselves to readers. Because who doesn’t want to get to know more about the genius behind the favorite book we love to read? I don’t about you, but for me, there’s a thrill in discovering great new authors for the very first time. It’s like finding a hidden gem and sharing it to fellow readers which gives me excitement.

In this years event, we will be featuring diverse set of debut young adult, new adult and middle grade novels — from fantasy, science-fiction, contemporary, romance, lgbt, mystery, thriller, retelling, historical, and many more. You will definitely find your new favorite from our list. So, without further ado, here’s our debutantes this year.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017 Participants

Siren Sisters by Dana Langer
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Sand Runner by Vera Brook
Rules for Thieves by Alexandra Ott
Poison Kiss by Breeana Shields
The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel
Post High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden Kuyatt
A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl
The Someday Birds by Sally J Pla
Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant
The Gravedigger’s Son by Patrick Moody
It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
Soulmated by Shaila Patel
Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn
Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas
The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
The Takedown by Corrie Wang
#Famous by Jilly Gagnon
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
The Wishing Heart by Jennifer Welker
Girl Out Of Water by Laura Silverman
Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
How To Stage A Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly
The Castaways by Jessika Fleck
Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchelle
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Food
In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
Devils Within by S.F. Henson
The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle
Lemons by Melissa savage
Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson
Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
You Don’t Know Me But I Know You
Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske
The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) by K. Arsenault Rivera
Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
Now Is Everything by Amy Giles
Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle
The Good Byline by Jill Orr
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey
The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Sketchy Tacos by Megan Gonzalez
Golden by Katie Robinson
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty
Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott
When Planets Fall by Abby Reed
League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis
The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer
Love for Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
Speak Easy, Speak Love by Mckelle George
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Among the Red Stars by Gwen Katz
Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan
The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall
Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin Gray
The Last to Die by Kelly Garrett
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
Whenever I’m With You by Lydia Sharp
Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence
Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson
Frostblood by Elly Blake
Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin
Midnight Without A Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

The list above will be linked to the actual spotlight post. So don’t forget to come back to check out all these amazing debut authors and their novels, as well as enter the giveaways for a chance to win lots of prizes. For the mean time, enter the giveaway below.

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grabs?

  • Finished Copy / Pre-orde of any debut novels featured in Celebrating Debutantes 2017 (Intl)
  • Surprise Prize Pack (PH Only)

The Rules:

  • Open Internationally to anywhere Book Depository ships / PH Residents
  • For International prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
  • For PH giveaway, we will be sending the prize via local courier
  • There will be one (1) winner for International entries and another one (1) for PH entries
  • Winners will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winners will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends on June 30th, 2017

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

17 Comments »

Blog Tour: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Author Interview + Review + Giveaway)

Happy Monday!

Today I have best selling author, Francesca Zappia on the blog as part of the promotional tour for her latest young-adult contemporary novel, Eliza and Her Monsters. In this latest young adult contemporary novel, Francesca give readers a story that is not only fun and heartwarming but also respectful to a sub-culture where people with common interest unite.

Eliza and Her Monsters is out tomorrow, so don’t forget to grab your copies. But before that, check the interview and book review below to get an idea of how good the book is.

Also, there’s a giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win copies of Eliza and Her Monsters.

Interview with Francesca Zappia

Eliza and Her Monsters deals with mental illness and depression just like your first novel, Made You Up. What drew you to write stories with these sensitive themes? As a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?

I write about these topics because I think more people should be aware of them and sensitive to them. I definitely feel a sense of responsibility. I think all writers should—no matter what your genre or subject matter, you’re portraying human lives, and real people are going to be impacted by what you make. I don’t know necessarily that we should “deal” with responsibility; I think it’s something we should carry with us. I always do my best to research what I’m writing about and make sure I look at it from many different angles, because everyone who reads the story is going to have a different experience and is going to see it through a different lens. At the end of the day, I may still mess things up, and I have to own that, too.

Eliza and Her Monsters was a little different to write because it is very much about my own experience with anxiety. I felt like I wasn’t just writing for other creative people who deal with anxiety, but for a younger version of myself.

I love the inclusion of graphic art illustrations, convo messages and other snippets in Eliza and Her Monsters. I must say, I envy your artistic talent. What inspired you to add those illustrations? Do you think the story will still work the same way without them?

Thank you! The inclusion of the artwork was actually part of the whole concept of the book, and was there from the very beginning. Monstrous Sea (the webcomic Eliza draws) is my own earliest story, and I’ve been drawing artwork for it my whole life. Putting some of that into the book was a super fun way for me to introduce readers to that world and give them something visual to hold on to. There isn’t that much of the Monstrous Sea story in the book, so with pictures, the readers can actually see those characters and understand better what Eliza and her friends are talking about.

I think the story would work without the pictures (I wrote and edited the whole thing without them!), but I think it’s way less fun.

Eliza and Her Monster is very respectful to fandom. Are you a fangirl yourself and if so what are you a huge fan of? Could you tell us about some of your own experiences with fandom?

YES. Oh, geez, yes. I’m pretty picky about what I call myself a fangirl of, but when I do fangirl, I fangirl hard. My first big experience with fandom was on some Harry Potter forums online. When you signed up, you got sorted into a house with a common room and prefects and everything, and you could go to different threads to attend certain classes for roleplaying, and you could claim certain magical objects from the books, and it was GREAT. I used to draw Harry Potter fanart on those boards, too. I really miss that. I’m also right now working on an epic Pokémon fanfiction. I’d definitely call myself a Critical Role fangirl, too—Critical Role is a webseries where a bunch of professional voice actors play Dungeons and Dragons, and it’s better than any TV show I’ve ever seen. I also really love Dragon Age: Inquisition, and right now I’m obsessed with Final Fantasy XV. (In Eliza, Monstrous Sea is described as a cross between the Faust legend and the Final Fantasy video games. It’s because I LOVE THEM.)

It’s taking all my will power not to start yelling about my favorite characters from all of these things.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating Eliza? How did you go about putting yourself in her mindset?

The most surprising thing was probably exactly how easy it was to put myself in her mindset. There is so much of myself in her—her insecurities, her anxiety, her love of her art—that the difficult part was not putting myself in her mindset, but forcing myself to write down what I found there. I sometimes felt kind of sick while I was writing because it was all hitting so close to home.

In Eliza and Her Monster, online communication plays a huge part in the story. Do you think it is important for writers like you to use online mediums not just for promotions but also to interact with your followers? Is social media more useful than distracting?

For me it is more useful than distracting, but that’s not true for everyone. For writers, promotion comes best when you’re doing what you’re good at, and what you’re comfortable with. For me, mediums such as YouTube and Snapchat haven’t really been an option, because I don’t have the time or interest to use them. Some writers don’t like using Twitter or Instagram; some don’t like using any social media. Personally, I love interacting with my fans on social media, and I enjoy giving them more content to see and updates about what to expect from me in the future. Social media can be a scary place sometimes, and can be a real time suck if not monitored, but it does a whole lot of good, too.

Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you after Eliza and Her Monsters?

I’m always working on something! My two books so far have been contemporary novels, but what I really love is fantasy and science fiction. I have The Children of Hypnos, my serial novel published on Wattpad, that’s urban fantasy, and I actually do have a draft of the real Monstrous Sea written. I have fantasy books, I have near-future sci-fi books, I have horror books, I have all kinds of things! It’s mostly a question now of what people are going to want to see from me, and what will work best.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover, Ebook

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Book Links: Amazon | B&NBook Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Eliza and Her Monsters is instantly captivating, heartwarming, and immensely entertaining. It celebrates fandom, and online community without forgetting to remind readers the pros and cons of Internet fame.

Eliza Mirk in her school is a loner, quiet, shy and unknown. But online, she is the beloved LadyConstellation – anonymous creator and artist behind the hugely popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea with millions of passionate followers. She has online friends but only a handful few who really know her identity beside her own family. Though she communicate with her followers she never brave the chance to interact with them in person. Until she met Wallace, a die-hard fan of Eliza’s work, Monstrous Sea. But Wallace didn’t know Eliza as LadyConstellation. For him, Eliza is a friend who also love Monstrous Sea. Can Eliza share her identity to Wallace? What she will do if her online life and real life finally collide? How will she deal with her own monsters?

Eliza and Her Monsters depicts a realistic view of fandom in general. Through Eliza’s story and the webcomic inside it, we see how a subculture of fans and their world behave and operates. It’s a close representation of community that get together for the common love or passion.

“I do have friends. Maybe they live hundreds of miles away from me, and maybe I can only talk to them through a screen, but they’re still my friends. They don’t just hold Monstrous Sea together. They hold me together.”

While the story is about fandom and art, don’t make the mistake of dismissing how important this book is. Though lightly touch, Francesca Zappia incorporate mental illness such as anxiety, panic disorder, and selective mutism in the story. Eliza is an introvert who prefer conversing with her online friends than her family and classmates. For her, online world is better than real world. It is easier to navigate and much more welcoming. But as much as she love her online life, she cannot stay there forever. She is missing a lot of things. At some point she need to face the real wold and be brave. No matter how real her online life is, she still needs to be present in real world and live in it. She needs to face her own monsters both real and imaginary.

Then we have Wallace and his selective mutism. Wallace just like Eliza doesn’t participate much to real world. He communicate to Eliza mostly through writing. He prefer not talking and spend most of his time writing/translating the webcomic Monstrous Sea. This behavior is a form of anxiety disorder. Wallace may be really shy or has a social anxiety – conditions that is lightly address in the story but surely leave an impact.

Overall, Francesca Zappia takes a lighter approach in handling sensitive themes without disregarding the heaviness of the topics. With illustrations, convo messages, and graphic story snippets, Eliza and Her Monsters is a unique and creative story that is not only powerful but also compassionate.

_

* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Greenwillow Books an imprint of HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • 2 ARCs of Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

The Rules:

  • Open PH residents only
  • There will be two (2) winners
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Prizes will be sent by tour host, Precious of Fragments of Life

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

4 Comments »

Blog Tour: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Author Interview)

I am super excited to be part of A Crown of Wishes Blog Tour. This is the second book of The Star-Touched Queen series which is like a companion novel to the first book, The Star-Touched Queen. Both books can be read as stand-alone, so no worries if you haven’t read the first one yet before reading A Crown of Wishes. Though I suggest pick up both, and experience Roshani Chokshi luscious writing and intricate world building.

Following the interview are some information about the author, Roshani Chokshi along with places where to find her online, A Crown of Wishes description, where to get copies of the book, and a short audio clip of an excerpt of A Crown of Wishes. So don’t forget to pre-order your copies now before the book hit shelves in few days.

Have fun reading the interview.

Interview with Roshani Choksi

1. I’m fascinated with the deep and dynamic fantasy settings of The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. What were some of the difficulties did you encounter in building such a complex world?

As with any worldbuilding, there’s always the danger of getting caught up in the mechanics and losing sight of the story. I think some of the best worldbuilding feels seamless because there’s so much heavylifting done in the sentence-level details. It also helps leave the world open for more nuances later. I think if I over-explained the TSTQ universe, Gauri’s story would’ve been a lot more difficult.

2. The witty banters between Vikram and Gauri is just adorable. Did you put a lot of thoughts into how to show their intensity, or did this unusual pair just pop straight from your head and flow along with the story?

They were intense right off the bat. In fact, it was hard to get them to stop fighting so we could actually get to the story…but I loved every second I got to spend with them.

3. And If Vikram and Gauri could both ask you one question each about why you wrote their story the way you did, what do you think would they most want to know?

a. I think Gauri would want to know why I put her through the wringer and whether or not I have a death wish.

b. I think Vikram would say “Fox prince? You couldn’t give me a cooler animal? Rude.”

4. If you will be part of the Tournament of Wishes and you can choose your partner either real or fictional character, who will you pick to join you in Alaka? And what will you wish if ever you win the game?

I would wish for no need of wishes, with the condition that I’m not killed or incapacitated. And as for partner, I would choose Agnieska from UPROOTED because she’s powerful, hilarious and would probably not mind taking frequent snack breaks…

5. You clearly do a great deal of research in order to write this Indian-inflected fantasy world of Star-Touched Queen series. I adored every detail of myth and magics with your lush and intricate world building. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve typed into search engine while you’re doing your research? Or share any memorable or interesting thing you’ve discover while writing your books.

Well…The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes have a lot of flesh-eating beings. And so at one point I had to imagine a conversation between a man-eating raksha and Gauri, and so I ended up researching what, exactly, would be considered the most edible and yummy part of a human. (spoiler: parts around the spine)

Thanks so much Roshani for answering all my questions above and for creating the Star-Touched world. I’m looking forward for more books from you in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Find Roshani

WebsiteTwitter | Instagram| Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover, paperback, Ebook, Audio

Roshani Chokshi proved herself an author to watch with her young adult fantasy debut last spring, The Star-Touched Queen. Debuting at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, the novel received rave reviews from fans and critics alike and appeared on the most buzzed about lists of 2016. Chokshi once again writes a beautifully crafted story of adventure, love, and magic set in the Star-Touched world with her sophomore novel A CROWN OF WISHES (St. Martin’s Griffin; 3/28/17). Building on her intricate setting based on ancient India and Greek mythology, her follow-up is a novel spun from enchantment with a strong female heroine and a swoony worthy prince who team up to win back the thrones of their kingdoms.

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of aneighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels. Every which way they turn new trials will test their witand strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Early reviews have all agreed that Chokshi has improved on her exquisite writing and lush narrative in her sophomore novel. With an ending that will make even the most cynical New Yorker heart believe in true love, A CROWN OF WISHES takes Chokshi’s talent to all new heights.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&NBook Depository | Goodreads

Listen to an excerpt of A CROWN OF WISHES audiobook, read by Priya Ayyar from MacmillanAudio

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Dear Charlie by N. D. Gomes

dear-charlie

“You have no idea what I’m feeling. No one does. but everyone tries to guess.”

Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.

Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Personal Thoughts:

Dear Charlie is a powerful contemporary novel that deals with the aftermath of school shooting that is told from a different but very important perspective.

Set in England in 1996, Sam is struggling with the death of his brother Charlie. Charlie who died in a shooting incident. When his family found out about the said incident, they thought Charlie is one of the shooter’s victim. Very quickly they realized that Charlie is in fact the one who do the shooting and had killed fourteen people before taking his own life. Sam lost his brother but people only see how his brother took lives. With Charlie dead, people blame Sam and his entire family. Media go frenzy with the news, even camping outside their house trying to get their side of the story but only depicting Charlie as the bad guy. Sam unfortunately suffers with this, he was bullied and unwanted, as if he will do what his brother did. Sam want to understand Charlie, he wants to know the reason why Charlie did it but Charlie is long way gone. Is Charlie the devil that other see him or he is just the quiet but happy and normal teenager that Sam always knew?

Reading Sam’s struggles is just heart breaking. Everything feels real to me. All his confusions, desperation, hatred, and guilt are easily believable and sometimes feels like my own. It broke my heart every time he feels lost, lonely, angry or defeated. Because he doesn’t deserve all those things. He is a good guy who unfortunately related to the guy who killed fourteen people and took a perfect escape. Sam is not his brother and he didn’t do a single thing to make that awful thing happen. He is completely innocent and yet he suffers like the other victims of the tragic event, and worst no one noticed his sufferings.

Like Sam, I wish to know why Charlie do it. And like Sam, it will remain a mystery to me and to readers what Charlie’s thoughts and feelings. No one will know his reasons or what triggered him to kill and end his own life. Because Dear Charlie isn’t about Charlie, instead it is about those people that Charlie left behind. People who unfortunately blamed by others because the one they should be blaming is already long gone.

Overall, Dear Charlie is an incredibly moving, heartfelt and thought-provoking novel. N.D. Gomez successfully shows how a family suffers, grieves and try to cope up after a traumatic event. Kudos to her for writing a sensitive and tragic topic in a perspective of someone who is directly affected but never truly considered.

*  This review is based on advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher,  HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins UK.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-n-d-gomesN.D. Gomes was born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in Media & Journalism Studies, and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Education in the US. She currently works in a public school system to increase educational opportunities for students with special needs. Previously, N.D. Gomes wrote for the London-based online student political magazine, deAlign and stage-managed student plays at the LeeStrasberg Theatre Institute in New York City where she attended for two years. She currently divides her time between the US and Scotland, but hopes to spend more time at her cottage in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Dear Charlie is her debut novel.

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Something In Between by Melissa Dela Cruz

something-in-between

“The Law – as it is now anyway—may prevent you from doing certain things you want to do. But don’t ever let an accident of birth keep you from what you want to do with your life.”

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost, Return to the Isle of the Lost) comes the launch title of Seventeen Fiction from Harlequin Teen, Something in Between. Don’t miss this timely and powerful novel that Seventeen Magazine editor-in-chief Michelle Tan says “has everything—a strong heroine, important issues and a really cute crush. I’m obsessed—and you will be too,” and Rachel Cohn, the NYT bestselling co-author of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, calls “a great read!”

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportationFor the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

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Personal Thoughts:

Something in Between is not a typical ya contemporary novel. It’s a realistic story that offers a different side of life of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Unlike with other fiction novels I have read with immigrants themes, Something in Between doesn’t focus on a person’s transformations or the struggle of balancing their previous life from their country of origin to the country they are currently staying. Jasmine’s parents may have that storyline but Something in Between does not focus on that one, instead it centered to Jasmine’s American dream. And since Jasmine is more rooted in America even she isn’t actually born in America, there’s no transition that really happens, it’s more on her struggle to get accepted by the country she love. By doing this, Melissa de la Cruz successfully deliver a different look on immigrant’s life. By focusing on Jasmine’s story instead of her parents, she open a different perfective of immigrants issue and struggle to readers. Jasmine battle is not common but it is something we can all learn from whether we are an immigrant like her or not.

Also, one important part of the novel are the political issues involve. For me, reading those laws/bills, legal issues and politics presented in this book is a learning experience. I have learn so much about legal process of United State’s for immigrants by just following Jasmine’s story. It’s not heavy political at all but something new for a non-American citizen like me.

Then we also have Royce’s story – the rich gorgeous guy who are born in privileges. His part actually offers an interesting view as opposed to Jasmine’s life. While Jasmine work hard for everything she has, Royce get everything without even trying. But still Royce’s life isn’t as simple as it seems. His inner struggle actually offers some of the most thought provoking line in this book.

“Privilege is like having blinders. It’s hard to feel unloved or unwanted because everyone wants your money, so you get the attention…when everything is handed to you, there’s no room to write your own story because a story centered on accumulating things, all these things you own, instead of the struggle to live, or the struggle to survive, or the struggle to stay in America, which is a far more interesting story than mine.”

“When you’re privileged, your life becomes a collection of things. Nothing’s real. Not people, not their feelings.”

Melissa de la Cruz successfully presents the struggles of immigrants in a light but realistic way in this book. And being a Filipino herself, it feels like there is an authenticity in her story even if she says that this book is not about her own experience at all. Jasmine’s life and struggles ring so very true to me while reading. It feels like I know Jasmine personally and I want her to win her battle.

Overall, Something in Between is not just an interesting read, but also an important and thought provoking one. It’s about immigrants, American dreams, racial politics, and much more. There’s even a romance on the side if you are the type who look for those but more than that this piece of literature is an eye opening story that delivers a hopeful message in the end.

*  This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher,  HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins UK via NetGalley.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-melissa-de-la-cruzMelissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including the Blue Bloods series; the Au Pairs series; the Ashleys series; and Angels on Sunset Boulevard. She is also a frequent contributor to Glamour, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, and is hard at work on her next book.

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