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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!

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Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

“Do you ever feel so trapped you can hardly breathe?”

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

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

Personal Thoughts:

Bad Romance is a dark, unflinching, raw and realistic story about abusive relationship and the effects it leaves to the people involve.

Grace a junior high school is living a crazy life with her OCD Mom and maybe equally crazy and strict step father. Life at home for her is pretty hard. So when rock star senior, charming, talented Gavin Davis enter her life with his shining armor, she cannot help but fall in love hard and fast. Soon she found herself in a toxic relationship with a controlling and dangerous Gavin.

“You’re a maze, all high hedges and endless loops. I can’t find a way out, can’t see where I’ve been. It’s all running, lost in the dark of you. Trapped. Everywhere I turn is dead end. I keep winding up back where I’ve started.”

The story is pretty straight forward, no puzzle to solve or ending to anticipate. This is not that kind of story, instead of the ending this is all about the journey — a tough and dark journey for the characters and for readers.

Bad Romance is written in first-person narrative but instead of directing to readers the main character Grace is addressing the story to another character, her boyfriend then Gavin. It’s like a letter or diary, where Grace is explaining to Gavin through the readers how their story end the way it ended. Right from the start readers will know that Grace and Gavin’s relationship not ended well. So basically no surprises in that. We all know they don’t have a happily ever after. The only thing to discover is why and how they reached that end? And that discovery will trigger a lot of emotions to readers. Grace narration will hit the core, even if you are not in a situation like her. Reading her story feels like reading a diary of a friend, sometimes you feel helpless wanting to do something for her but can’t. That even everything happened in the past and that you can only wish that you were there for her, you still hope there is something you can do for Grace. Or wish that you was there if only to smack Grace on the head, to make her realize and see things.

Unlike with some books that I have read, Bad Romance does not romanticize abusive relationship and for that I applaud the author Heather Demetrios. This is a tough read for me, not because I can relate but because the characters feels like fully realized people and the situations are realistically painful and intense. Not only you will wish there is something you can do for Grace but also you will want to really put an end to her suffering, to finally get herself out in a cage she’s in.

Demetrios tackles heavy issues of abuse, suicide, poverty, self-doubt, and mental health, which all in all could have made this an “issue” book, but instead become a unravelling story of someone’s finding courage – courage to let go, to fight for freedom, and most importantly to love her own self. Grace and Gavin’s story let readers see and experience the brutal and dark but sensitive, honest, and realistic story of a toxic and unhealthy relationship without being in one. I really hope no one will find themselves in a situation like Grace, or if you are one, I hope this book make you realize that you have the power and the choice, even if you are feeling trapped and caged. Life is what you make it.

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* This review is based on an advance reader’s copy I received courtesy of the publisher Henry Holt and Company, an imprint of MacMillan International in exchange of honest opinion about the book.

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Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

“Duty is an unforgiving taskmaster and often comes with a steep price, especially for those left behind.”

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

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

Personal Thoughts:

Dark Breaks The Dawn is an extremely enthralling, captivating, and engrossing read. An interesting combination of fantasy and swan lake story that offers a fresh take on magic and a lot more.

Evelayn, the crown princess of Éadrolan (the Light Kingdom) is still learning to harness her power, while her mother, Queen Ilaria is in the middle of the battle with King Bain of the rival kingdom Dorjhalon (the Dark Kingdom). These two kingdoms are at war for years because King Bain wants the power of both Light and Dark and to rule both Kingdoms. As he tries to acquire both light and dark powers, Evelayn found herself ruling Éadrolan. She needs to learn fast to control and use her powers before King Bain destroys the balance of their world.

“The queen must always appear calm, unruffled. Your subjects will look to you; your actions will determine theirs.”

Sara B. Larson’s did a fantastic job at weaving all the fantasy aspects to the classic swan lake story. Giving readers a world of magic with its own rules and functions, and a thrilling story to follow. It is pretty interesting how the two warring Kingdoms has different source of power, and how their rulers with their jewels are being conduit for magic. Then there’s also the political war, the quest for peace, and Evelayn’s own struggle to learn to harness her power and be the ruler she needs to be.

Evelayn is a strong heroine. She is young yet the strength she showed after the circumstance brought upon her is just remarkable. Even during the times of grief, she still think of her people. Her struggles and pains doesn’t hindrance her to be the ruler she needs to be, instead she uses those challenges to bring out all the hidden powers she destined to control.

“Yet, grief, especially when buried, had a way of rearing its head at the worst of times, sometimes leading to terrible mistakes and decisions, as he well knew. He could only hope that she was truly as in control of herself as she seemed. For her sake—and for all of Éadrolan.”

Tanvir is an intriguing character. His thoughts easily lure readers to hints of secrecy. Like he is hiding something huge and probably not good for Evelayn and her Kingdom, even if it is clear how he cares for her. His presence and inner thoughts will makes readers guessing and questions everything that is happening. At some point, readers will formulate their own conclusions based from all the trails that Sara B. Larson leaves, only to be proven wrong. He remains a mystery through the end, with a little or no chance of untangling his motives and actions. Though the ending sealed his fate, the hopeful side of me still wish to understand him better, to know his unsaid thoughts, and peek on his nightmares and fears.

I adore how Tanvir silently praise Evelayn, how he is so proud of her every time she handle her position well or just when he proves she is capable of ruling even others thinks she can’t. Even he constantly keep me worried about his intentions, I still root for him and Evelayn. Deep inside I believe he is a good guy, even he sometimes makes me doubt his intentions with all his worries and thoughts.

As for the villains, Evelayn has an entire royal family of opponent from the dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon. There’s an evil and power-hungry King, a wicked Queen, and two strong and deadly Princes. Though there’s still hope for one of them, Evelayn and the Éadrolan is still in no lesser threat or harm. And peace is still a far away dream for everyone.

The ending though leave in a cliffhanger note promise a more darker, and gripping read for the next part of Evelayn’s story. I’m looking forward to see what will happen next to both Kingdoms of Éadrolan and Dorjhalon, and of course, to find out how Evelayn will defeat the new and probably biggest problem she find herself into.

“You always have a choice. Even if it feels like you don’t.”

With magic, war, mystery, romance, betrayal and tragedy, DARK BREAKS THE DAWN is thrilling start to Sara B. Larson’s new fantasy duology. It is spellbinding, completely engrossing, suspenseful, and heartbreaking tale that will surely keep readers guessing and anxiously waiting for the next instalment, Bright Burns the Night. If only we can all have the next part immediately in our hands after reading this one, I’m sure readers will be less heartbroken.

* This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for my honest opinion about the book.

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

“The right piece of information can be truly devastating if it’s precisely aimed.”

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

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

Personal Thoughts:

The Love Interest is a mix of espionage, dystopia and lgbt story that took a light approach in combining these massive genre without being overwhelming.

Caden and Dylan are love interest, both groomed and trained by the LIC (Love Interest Compound), a secret organization that send out spies to get and sells informations from important people such as celebrities, politicians, scientist, and the likes. Caden is a “nice” while Dylan is a “bad” who both need to act accordingly. They are both assigned to a science prodigy, Juliet. Their mission is to infiltrate Juliet’s life and win her heart. But only one boy will win. The winner gets the girl and spy her by reporting every important details of her life to LIC or whatever the LIC wants. While the loser meets the end of his life. Both Caden and Dylan will do anything to win, but they are not prepared for their feelings to get in between. And in this game of life and death, how will the know what’s real and what is not? Who will survive the game of manipulation?

It only took few chapters for me to realize that The Love Interest is no ordinary spy novel. There still actions, conspiracy and secret organizations, but instead of a serious tone, The Love Interest went to a lighter approach. It even pokes fun at different novel stereotypes particularly in the field of YA, while being one itself.

“No one finds the love of their life while they’re a teenager.”
“You haven’t read any YA novels recently, have you?”

Caden the narrator and protagonist though contemplative like other spies, is not the over observant and skillful guy I expected from a spy. He isn’t few steps ahead like other spies I love, but what I like about Caden is how he questioned things around him. Right from the start he don’t agree on his “nice” boy label. His thoughts shows how much he wants to be free, to just be himself even at times when he doesn’t know what he really is. He wants to write his own story and not just be a tool for the LIC.

“…it irks me that she thinks labeling me is okay now. Like, by liking guys, I automatically take on that role in her life. That I’m suddenly a supporting character in her story rather than the hero of my own.”

Even if things are confusing for Caden, and even if he doesn’t have much choice in everything, he still hope to find his freedom and try to be his own-self.

The only mild complaint is how the ending seems rushed, which in a way makes the conflict too easily resolved. As much as I cheer for the main characters, I also feel like they easily defeat a supposedly powerful organization. Sure they have a genius scientist who can make powerful weapons, but a five teenagers to easily shutdown LIC is not exactly believable. There are reasons why the organization exist for so long, and manage the in and out of their operations without getting caught by the government or other powerful organizations.

On the whole, THE LOVE INTEREST is an intriguing and fun debut novel from Cale Dietrich. It has promising ideas that if explored more would definitely make a very good spy novel.

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* This review is based on an advance reader’s copy I received courtesy of the publisher, MacMillan International in exchange of honest opinion about the book.

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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.

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* 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!!!

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The Crown’s Fate (The Crown’s Game #2) by Evelyn Skye

“The Game might be over, but their story was not.”

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

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

Personal Thoughts:

The Crown’s Fate is darker, action-packed and thrilling conclusion to Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game fantasy duology.

The story picks up shortly after the the first book, The Crown’s Game ended. Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter under the command of Pasha who is the next Tsarevich following his father’s death. Nikolai is gone, presumably dead after his sacrifice during the Game, saving Vika’s life. Pasha and Vika are torn in Nikolai’s death. Pasha blame himself for forcing the Game to his friends which resulted losing Nikolai. While Vika is incredibly sad. She not only loose Nikolai, she also earned a new prison she didn’t expected. She maybe the Imperial Enchanter, but she doesn’t have the power over her magic. She is bound to serve the Tsar, disobeying his orders means punishment for her.

But Nikolai isn’t really dead, he is just trapped in the dream world – a place he previously created which still holds some of his magic. After the battle with Vika and saving her, Nikolai almost drained his energy and magic, he become a shadow reeling in-between world. In order for Nikolai to go back to the real world, he must pay a dark price – a payment he isn’t willing to make. But what if the choice isn’t for him to make? What hill happen if Nikolai turned against not only to Pasha and Vika but also against himself?

One of the strongest aspects of this series is the Russian settings. Evelyn Skye weaves fantasy and Russian history together, while painting the world in an enticing imagery for readers to get lost into. I was happily lost in Saints Petersberg, following the characters in each corner of the streets of Imperial Russia. Add the political settings, and rich history where the characters are dancing, I feel like I am at the center of a grand show. The Russian elements make the story atmospheric and worth visiting over and over.

“But hadn’t they all changed? Life happened without permission, and it swept everyone along in its violent wake.”

Vika continue to be a strong character in this final instalment. She is still smart, forgiving, and compassionate. When she was commanded to limit the usage of her magic, Vika realized how vulnerable she is without magic, and how she become dependent to her power. Magic maybe part of her, but it is not what she is.

“We are not defined by what we can do, but by what we actually do.”

Pasha who is soon to be a Tsar finally realize the importance of his role. With his parents gone and his best friend not on his side, he now gradually accepting his responsibilities. After the devastating outcome of the game from the previous book, he is now learning from his mistake. He wants to do things right and be a worthy Tsar of Russia.

Nikolai on the other hand, turns to the dark side. A situation he didn’t pick for himself, and no full control over. As he battle his dark side, readers will surely feel for him. Nikolai’s inner battle is sometimes intense. His newly acquired personality painted this last instalment dark, edgy, even at times frustrating. It is no doubt that followers of this series will miss the old Nikolai, and will probably don’t like his newly acquired personality. On my case, I understand why his character need to be tainted. He cannot always be the perfect guy after-all. By throwing Nikolai on the dark side, Evelyn Skye open his character. Readers who love him from the first book will surely find ways to excuse his actions. Like Vika, we all believe that the old Nikolai is still there and we all want to save him.

The only mild complaint is the rush ending. Though the story was tied up pretty neatly, I feel like the conflict was easily resolved. The last battle is action packed and well delivered but I wish there was more. There are still room for more actions, answers and character development. Like more information about Vika’s parents, about Renata’s newly acquired power or even just the tea leaf reading, and Yuliana’s character. Too bad this is the final book already.

Overall, The Crown’s Fate is a fast and enthralling read. A dark and edgy conclusion to Evelyn’s Skye first fantasy duology that will probably leave readers asking for more.

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

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