The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

“A memory is a fine legacy to leave behind.”

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Personal Thoughts:

Roshani Choksi’s debut novel, The Star-Touched Queen, re-imagines a Hades and Persephone storyline with a touch of Indian mythology using lyrical prose and beautiful imagery.

Mayavati (Maya) is born with a bad horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction. With this, she grew up feeling cursed by the stars, scorned by her own people, and unloved by her own family except her sister Gauri. When her father, the King of Baratha announced that she is to be marry to one of the royal princes from other Kingdoms, Maya can’t believe the news, because who would want to marry a cursed girl like her? And when the King revealed to Maya the real plan behind the wedding, which is a lot worse and complicated, Maya has no choice but to do her father’s biddings. But before she can execute the final plan, a mysterious Prince, Amar arrives and whisk her off to his mysterious kingdom, Akaran. There, Maya will soon learn about the true nature of the Prince who saved her, his kingdom and her own past.

Roshani Choksi’s wordings is something I can soaked myself into anytime of the day. Those beautiful prose, meticulously picked and arranged words are lyrical and almost melodious. Not only they are beautiful but sometimes also thought-provoking which surely capture readers’ attention.

“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes,” the Raja said. “Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”

Roshani Choksi’s description of things and surroundings are rich and vivid which makes the world of The Star-Touched Queen easily get lost into. The Kingdoms of Baratha, and Akaran are carefully woven to capture readers imaginations.

“I know emptiness. I know the taste of blood against my teeth. I know what it is to fill your belly with iron. I know pain. I know memories that won’t stay. I know the ghost of life and the perfume of souls.”

With rich and elaborate descriptions of things and surroundings, I am surprised that the characters appearance are not given so much emphasis by the author. Which for me, makes the characters more intriguing, and give readers a chance to work with their own imaginations. I actually prefer this than those novels where characters descriptions are mentioned every now and then by sickly-in-love protagonist.

Few YA books incorporated Indian mythology and folklore in their plots and I like how Roshani Choksi worked it through it this book. Not just with the settings, and characters appearance but also with the main plot line and twist that basically run the whole story. It really all blended well together. Not a thing feels force or out of place.

The only mild complaint with this book is the little character developments for both of Maya and Amar. If the next book will be a continuation of Maya and Amar’s story, then the little character development is forgivable. But since the next book is a companion story which will focus to a different character, then I feel like Maya and Amar’s characters were not given enough arc to play with. Mostly because of the reincarnation plot line. Which is one of the reasons why I don’t like much reincarnation stories. Reincarnation is a good excuse for instant connections between characters, which easily push the story to the express lane, and in return will affect my journey as a reader who will surely enjoy a slower ride with the characters.

That one quibble aside, The Star-Touched Queen is still an engaging and gorgeously written debut novel. Anyone who appreciates good writing, especially poetry, I think would love this book. And if you also love reading about fantasy, mythology, kingdom’s politics and reincarnation, all the better. I myself is looking forward to the companion novel that will focus to Maya’s sister Gauri, which I hope has more actions, given that Gauri is a warrior Princess.

Book Tour: Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Features & Giveaway)

So thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Invision, the seventh installment of Chronicles of Nick by best selling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon. As part of the tour, I get to share with all of you a short excerpt from the book and the video trailer.

Also, there’s a fabulous giveaway hosted by the publisher where you got a chance to win signed copies of all the books from The Chronicles of Nick. Yes! that’s correct, 7 signed books of Sherrilyn Kenyon and the best part, there are seven sets that are up for grabs, which means more chance of winning!

But before all that here’s a little more info about INVISION



Title: Invision
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: May 02, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover, eBooks

Think you have a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world . . . it’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord.

But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life.

Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.

Book Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher


Hanging his head, he pushed his chair back to face her. “What do you want me to say, Kode? You saw what I did. It’s hopeless. I’m going to end this world. Whether it’s tomorrow or a thousand years from now. I’m going to lose it all. Break bad and tear humanity apart. . . . Don’t matter what we do. Whatever we try. We just delay the inevitable outcome. So I’m going to sit here with my eats. And just . . .” he let his voice trail off as the full horror of his future played through his mind for the five millionth time.

He was the end of everything.
All he loved.
The entire world would one day fall to Nick’s army of demons.

Yeah, there was something to put on his college applications. That ought to have schools lining up to accept him. Who wouldn’t want that as their alumnus? We have graduated senators, presidents, movers-and-shakers, and the Malachai demon who ate the world whole…

It was the one reality Nick wanted to deny and couldn’t. Everything eventually came back to that one inescapable fact he wanted to runaway from and couldn’t.
I’m only sixteen. Too young to deal with this crap.

He was supposed to be worried about his grades. About keeping his girl happy. Staying out of trouble. His mom finding his friend’s porn magazines stashed in his room. Getting to work on time. Making curfew.

Not hellgates and demons coming for the throats of his family and friends.
Definitely not about the fact that his birthright was to bring on the destruction of all humanity.



Sherrilyn KenyonNew York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is a regular in the #1 spot. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre in which she writes. With more than 40 million copies of her books in print in more than one hundred countries, her current series include The Dark-Hunters, The League, and Chronicles of Nick. Her Chronicles of Nick and Dark-Hunter series are soon to be major motion pictures.

Find Sherrilyn

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copies of THE CHRONICLES OF NICK!

To enter

Click the photo below to be redirected to the giveaway hosted by the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin


Invision Blog Tour Header for Bloggers

Good Luck!!!

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Sword and Verse

“What might happen if writing were a shared endeavor, meant to connect people instead of being hoarded as a tool of power and privilege.”

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.

Personal Thoughts:

Being a lover of written words Kathy MacMillan’s debut novel instantly piqued my interest from the blurb alone. Imagine a world where literacy are reserved only for the most elite people. Where reading and writing are not easily accessible. I don’t think I want to live in a world like that but a story set in it has its intrigue.

Sword and Verse introduced us to Raisa and her world. Raisa belongs to the lower class of Qilara – a nation where literacy is for the higher class only. When the tutor-in-training to the Royal family is executed for treason, Raisa was chosen as a replacement. Together with Prince Mati, she got the privileged to learn not just to read and write but also know the very highest order of language and the language of the Gods.

But learning how to read and write nor having the chance to spend time with the Prince doesn’t changed her status as a slave. She still belong to the lower class and the Resistance wants her help to get their freedom back. But Raisa’s relationships with the Prince complicate her stance. Between her people and love, which side she will choose?

What I really love about Sword and Verse is the central theme of the book – how important knowledge is or in this case – literacy. For me, knowledge or information is one of the things that should be shared or given freely. No one should hold information in tight fist, especially the knowledge of learning such as reading and writing. Sharing knowledge can accomplish many things and it will benefit a lot more.

As for the the writing, Sword and Verse is a triumph for a debut novel. Kathy MacMillan clearly knows what she is doing in her first book. Her writing style is easily accessible, her characters are realistically drawn, and her world is uniquely setup and vividly sketch.

The mythology before each chapter is very intriguing. It reminds me so much of one of my favorite series The Thief by Megan Whalen-Turner. Though in here, the mythology started as own stories that eventually blended to Raisa and Mati’s world. The way Kathy MacMillan intertwined those two worlds is simply outstanding. She crafted the mythology with enough intrigue and details. At first, it so easy for readers to take the mythology as a different entity, giving only brief anecdotes at the beginning of each chapters, but as the story progress, readers will see how Kathy MacMillan mirrored the story of Gods and Goddess to Raisa and Mati’s world which eventually resulted to a more exciting and thrilling combination.

The intricate writing system is impressive. I’m sure lovers of language/words and writings will surely appreciate this part. The reader in me surely does. The way Kathy MacMillan described the scripts, symbols, languages of the Gods, and the written words in this tale is detailed, making the scenes so vivid. Sometimes I imagined Raisa and Mati in a calligraphy or lettering class doing all the symbols meticulously described by Kathy MacMillan. I almost see the letters and words in my mind like floating symbols.

All in all, Sword and Verse is a gorgeously drawn fantasy that will surely captivate readers from start to end. Kathy MacMillan blends fantasy, mythology, and romance beautifully creating an imaginative, exciting, and satisfying read.

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings

“Weakness, he has learned, isn’t in the arm or the leg or the back. Weakness is in the mind.”

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

Personal Thoughts:

Historical fiction is always a tricky read for me simply because I cannot disregard some facts about where the story is based which makes reading full of comparisons instead of just enjoying a new tale.

Legacy of Kings though fiction with added fantasy is actually based from real person, Alexander The Great. I don’t have much knowledge about Alexander the Great except for those details I got from my history class during middle school and few movies I have seen before. But with those little details I formed a bit of expectations for Legacy of Kings even before I started reading the book. I expected some familiar characters to appear, places to see, and few known facts about Alexander The Great but with considerations of the time-line since this one is set during Alexander The Great’s teenage life.

Eleanor Herman version of Alexander the Great’s teenage life is pretty well done. Clearly she did her research well enough to weaved a new story that readers will enjoy whether they knew or not the real Alexander the Great. The settings and characters are detailed in a way that readers will surely feel that they are in the real era where the King of Ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon lives.

Legacy of Kings has six point of views. Six characters who are all connected to Alexander in some way. As much as I like getting more informations of what is happening to everyone, the multiple point of view actually is one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy the story that much. Though their voices are clearly distinct, I feel like they are also stretched too thin. Normally, I don’t get irritated when scenes are cut in order to give way to other characters but in here I got frustrated. I feel like not everyone’s story is that interesting or at least not really that important to make the plot move. Not everyone’s point of view are necessary to the story, at least not yet in this installment. Maybe the author is planning to expand them in the next books but the way it was put in this first installment, they become more of the unnecessary pause for readers than introduction or developments to characters.

But there are three characters that stand out of me – Alexander himself, Kat and Cyn. I think the story will still work the same even if it was told just from two perspectives – Alexander and Kat. The other points of view can be omitted or mixed together with those two, after all, they are all connected in a way.

With so many points of view, the plots goes into different directions but mostly all are just set-up for a whole series. Nothing much is clear except for characters’ motives and actions which for sure will be expand more to the next installments.

The fantasy part of the story actually works with the historical part. It’s not overly magical which makes them quiet believable and even fitting to the era and settings. Nothing made my eyes rolls or questioned the existence and reality of them in the story. A very welcome addition to this version of Alexander’s life.

With all that, Legacy of Kings is still an interesting read in-spite of some slow points and unnecessary details. I think it is best to read this from the perspective of a series, as the book is clearly plotted with the other installments in mind. So if you want to read this fictional with touched of fantasy version of Alexander The Great’s life, I suggest for you to wait first for the other installments of this series or at least expect this book to be a grand set-up for a whole series.

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Mark of the ThiefWhen Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

Personal Thoughts:

Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Acsendence Trilogy is a favorite middle grade fantasy series of mine. I devoured every pages of those books appreciating Jennifer A. Nielsen’s writing by simply creating one of the most smart and cunning character I have ever met in middle grade fiction, Sage/Jaron. Jaron easily added to my list of favorite characters together with other thieves like Eugenides of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, and Neal Caffrey of White Collar TV series. So just imagine what my reaction is when I found out that Jennifer has a new series coming out with a thief for a leading character.

Mark of the Thief is a historical fantasy set in one of the most historically rich place on earth, Ancient Rome. The protagonist, Nic a slave mining outside Rome was forced to go underground to find a bulla that once belonged to Julius Caesar. Nick isn’t eager to do the task because previous miners who went deep into the mine for treasures are either dead or lost their sanity. But without so much choice in the matter, Nic go down and there he find not only Julius Caesar’s golden bulla but other treasure of golds and a griffin guarding it. After some stunts with the griffin, Nic managed to get hold of the bulla and escaped the mine with the griffin before the mine collapsed. His escaped doesn’t last though, because he was later recaptured and was sent back to his master, Sal who later sold him. Before reaching the mines, he also met one of the Romans’ senator Valerius and his son Crispus who informed him that the griffin left a mark on his back and not just a scar like what Nic assumed. A mark that Nic must hide as well as the bulla in order to protect himself from powerful people and savage leaders who will do anything to get their hands on Caesar’s long lost property and its power.

The setting alone makes Mark of the Thief a worth read. Ancient Rome in this novel has a life of its own that you can count it as one of the characters adding more dynamic to the story. Rome is so rich and full of history which the author cleverly use along with her fictional world. Jennifer A. Nielsen’s description of Rome and everything that is happening inside it feels like real history, as if her characters actually lived during those era and we are just reading a new story that was never been told before.

Jennifer A. Nielsen’s writing is as strong as her style in The Ascendance Trilogy. Her plotting skill is top notch making Mark of the Thief a thrilling and engrossing read.

Right from the first page readers will get intrigued with the leading character Nic with his quick-witted mouth and tough personality. Though he isn’t much a plotter like Jennifer’s previous character Jaron, Nic can still win every readers attention. He has his own brand of charm which mostly consist of his stubbornness and high self-esteem. His constant danger situation makes the book thrilling and suspenseful.

Comparing Nic to Jaron is not fair but like other readers of Jennifer A. Nielsen’s works I can’t help but do the same because lets face it, Jennifer previous lead character Jaron is what makes The Ascendance Trilogy so much a hit. Readers of The Ascendance Trilogy love the brilliant, quick-witted and multi-layered Sage/Jaron. He is simply unforgettable. Jennifer successfully weaved a wonderful character in him that I can’t help but hope that her next lead character is as good as Jaron. But unfortunately, Nic fall short. Though Nic is as quick-witted and tough he is not as clever as Jaron. Jaron is a plotter, someone who is always three or more steps ahead in the game, he knows the rules and he can even rewrite them if he thinks it will favor him or his goal. While Nic on the other hand is not a strategist, he has no idea of how to save his own self, the people he care, much less save a whole empire of Ancient Rome. I think a battle between these two, Jaron will surely win even with Nic’s magical power.

But don’t get discourage because even Nic is no Jaron his story is as interesting as others Jeniffer’s books. As I’ve said above, the presence of Ancient Rome alone is a worth reading, throw some adventure, political intrigue, magical amulet, legendary creature and mythology there so much to love in this first installment of Praetor War series. I myself is excited to find out how Jennifer will weave those intricate details of political war, mythology and adventure into a bigger plot.

Overall, Mark of the Thief is a wonderful start to a new fantasy story from Jennifer A. Nielsen. With its historically rich and beautiful setting, ingenious plot and beautiful writing Jennifer Nielsen successfully deliver a new fantasy series to follow. Fans of The Ascendence Trilogy will surely enjoy this new offering from the master plotter herself.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Sholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.

Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake


“For the record I don’t believe in Fate. I believe that the pieces have been placed. The ending hasn’t been written yet.”

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads

For local readers buy your copy here: National Book Store

Personal Thoughts:

Kendare Blake describes Antigoddess in her livejournal blog as “the first title of a trilogy about Greek gods and reincarnated heroes”, which reminds me of Rick Riordan’s books. And as one of the faithful reader of Rick Riordan novels about Greek mythology with a twist, I just can’t help but automatically add Antigoddess to my TBR list.

Antigoddess is the first book from Kendare Blake new series that tell a story of Greek gods and Goddess, and other mythological figures into the present day. In here, the Gods/Goddesses are mysteriously dying, and not in a pleasant or easy way. Athena, whose sacred bird is the owl, is sprouting feathers from inside her body, choking to death; Hermes, is losing so much weight that his body almost eats himself; Demeter the goddess of harvest and culture is spread wide into a leathery skin that is across a vast field of Earth; and Poseidon has been corrupted with ocean pollution. No one exactly knows what’s happening, or why the Goddess are slowly dying except that they have to find the reincarnated prophetess, Cassandra who can possibly have the answers they need. Problem is, this mission of prophet hunting actually turns Gods and Goddesses against each others. Battles are being drawn and on the opposite side are Poseidon, God of sea, and Hera, Queen of Olympus and Zeus’ wife. Between finding the way to save their lives and winning the battle against the others Gods, Athena and her team must find a way not only to save their lives but also to save the world.

Even before the revelations of Aidan’s identity, I am already trying to remember from my memory of Trojan War mythology who is Cassandra’s partner, which possibly one of the Gods. But I can only come up with one name and that is Agamemnon which is I automatically disregard because he is not a God and as far as I recall the guy has his wife whom who if I remember correctly was the one who killed him with the help of her lover, Aegisthus. Anyway, it took a while before Aidan’s real identity was revealed which I think make sense.

More than the battle of Gods and Goddess what I really like in Antigoddess is how the author challenge the most fundamental element of the Gods – immortality. Kendra Blake easily put these powerful beings to something unimaginable by possibly ending their lives for good. She easily gives an interesting premise by giving our Gods and Goddess something new and something to fear. Because putting these indestructible being into something they never even imagined happening is quite frightening to them.

Death isn’t a common topic to Gods especially if they are the subject, because they all believe that they are in fact immortal. Sometimes this makes them boastful and all-powerful. So giving them the threat of death that is final, is like giving them the chance to be more human. To see things like mortal does and to value their lives even more. A chance to tact their pride and be more forgiving, loving and appreciative.

“Haven’t I lived long enough? Shouldn’t a goddess have the grace to accept this?”

With action, mystery, love, betrayal and sacrifices, Antigoddess is an edgy and polished book that exhibit an inventive take on Greek mythology. Kendare Blake’s depictions of different Gods and Goddess will surely not forgotten by every readers of this pleasing novel.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Hachette Children’s Books UK in exchange of honest opinion.