Cruel, Cruel Crown

Series: Red Queen 0.1-0.2 • Publication: Published January 5th 2016 by HarperTeen
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult • Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Add this on: Goodreads • Rating:

Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

Cruel Crown consists of two prequels, Queen Song and Steel Scars. Both are available as digital novellas. Queen Song is in the voice of Queen Coriane, as we all know fans of Red Queen as first wife of King Tiberias and mother of Cal, while Steel Scars is Captain Farley’s. These characters are not much the attention of the first book but they hold much the secrets of Norta, in both sides’ silvers and reds. In Red Queen, we hold them much dear that we want to know who these people are and what they mean to Norta and the rest.

Unfortunately, Cruel Crown did not give justice for our eagerness to know. I want to know more. Cruel Crown is not enough. But, maybe, there’s another novella coming before the third book? I hope in that, I’ll have the answers.

However, there are still interesting parts that made me rate Cruel Crown higher. Like knowing Mare’s brother, Shade Barrow, and the feels on Coriane and the crown prince’s courtship. There are more but that would spoil you more.

Though Cruel Crown did not totally quench my thirst, it was remarkable.



The World Distinguished Enthralling, Magonia

Series: Magonia, #1
Publication: April 28th 2015 by HarperCollins
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Add this on: Goodreads
Rating: 

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?


Before Magonia was released, it is quite hype on both Twitter and Instagram. I heard it’s a good read. Also, you can’t blame a person to fall in love in an instant just seeing its beautiful cover. I did fall in love with it. I was lucky that I saw a copy of it in our local bookstore. I think we were meant to be, we were really meant to be. I was meant to be introduced to Aza Ray’s world.

I have mix tender, romantic, or nostalgic feeling on Magonia.

Let’s first say something about the negatives. The first three chapters were displeasing to read. It’s exceptionally bad to read all the rants of Aza, the protagonist. She’s all that and all this. It made me stop to read it for a while but tried to push further for the reason that I want to know the world Magonia, not what Aza thinks on those chapters. It was part of the book and Aza’s character, yeah, but I think that was not necessary. Aza portrays that she is a hard-headed person and she has many benefits because her health is not normal. There are characters that I have known that are “hard-headed” but they are cool to be with. Aza’s different. How she was written wasn’t magical, she’s almost on the brink of your annoyance meter. But all of these that are characterized by habitual scepticism and a disagreeable tendency tardily went away when Aza was in her real world… Magonia.

Magonia is characterized by romantic imagery. Both idealistic and unrealistic. The world is distinguished delighting and/or enthralling. Aza was troublesome at first by this world but then have accepted it and who she is. The transition of her character was overwhelming. You would notice the change a bit late but it was fine. It means that those parts were good enough that you don’t notice small details. The other characters were delicately written and suitable enough for their characteristic. The rest of Magonia was genuinely admirable to read.

Surely I’ll read the sequel, Aerie, for I am eager to read what happened to Aza and the rest. I am hoping that it would be much better to Magonia.

Be magical and read Magonia. It’s worth the push.



Have you read Magonia? What have you thought about it? Do we think of it the same or the opposite?


I've Got A Playlist For Ya'll


I am both happy and sad at the same right now. Happy that I have successfully brought this book tour to everyone and sad that this tour ends today. I am forever thankful to Ms. Karen Hattrup for supporting me with this tour and for her never ending replies on my inquiries, and to my tour participants: JM, Carmel, Karla, Raphael, Inah and Jeddidiah, for helping me spread the love for Frannie and Tru.

On this last day of the tour, I'm ending it with a playlist post. Half of the playlist's songs are mentioned in the book and the rest is what I have listened to when I was reading Frannie and Tru.

Note: You may get spoiled by the songs and what's behind them but where's the fun in not getting spoiled, right? I guarantee you that if you'll get spoiled, at least, by these songs, it's totally worth it. Especially if it's your jam!


You Can't Always Get What You Want by Rolling Stones • I'm on Fire by Bruce Springsteen • Bad by U2

These are the songs Frannie and Tru listened to in the car. Wherever they go, it's either Rolling Stones, U2 or Bruce Springsteen. As I remember, when Frannie's parents is with them, Tru always chose Bruce. Maybe because it's his mother's favorite. But if I were on their car? I'd choose U2, of course.

Lola by The Kinks • Heatwave by Martha Reeves and The Vandellas

I don't remember what the boys (in the story) played during their battle of the bands and didn't listened to either of these songs but! When Ms. Karen told me these were the songs they played that time, I re-read that part and OH GOD. HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THIS PART? Well, it sucks to be me.
Young and Free by Sucre • Is This How You Feel by The Preatures • You Know Me by Air Traffic Controller • Won't You Come Over by Devendra Banhart • All Those Friendly People by Funeral Suits
The rest of the songs, as I mentioned, were my picks when I was reading Frannie and Tru. The titles may be a little objective to you but it is subjective to me during that time. All Those Friendly People fits to the last two chapters of the book, it explains a lot especially coming from Frannie's new friends through Tru, and since the book portrays race, class and gender. I admit that not all readers fall for Frannie and Tru, well, that's true to most books, pretty subjective. But if you'll read more or read between the lines, it's really poetic. I'm sticking to that, as I've said on my review.

When I listened to Is This How You Feel, I imagined it's Frannie with the boys. The song conforms to them and to their friendship and feelings.

Of course, I would not leave you with all the burden searching for those songs, it's all in here! I made a Spotify playlist just for you. 💛



And that's it! The end of Frannie and Tru book tour but it's not yet the end for everyone! Frannie and Tru comes out on May 31st, 2016 and I encourage everyone to grab a copy.

You can purchase Frannie and Tru at
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and Local Bookseller.

I hope you relish listening the playlist and I wish you a cheerful summer!




Kick off! Frannie and Tru Blog Tour


I am crazy excited to host a book tour and now here it is! The day has come Paper Boulevard's first blog tour! First and foremost, I am so much grateful to the author of Frannie and Tru, Ms. Karen Hattrup for sending me an ARC. Thank you to everyone who responded to join the tour and of course, to the publisher HarperTeen.


"Absorbing, electrifying, and achingly relatable. Frannie and Tru is a book with a pulse.” — Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“[A] character-rich work of literary fiction…Tru is endlessly intriguing, and his evolving relationship with Frannie is wholly believable and emotionally engaging.” — Booklist

“Hattrup’s confrontation with white privilege and Frannie’s misguided assumptions surrounding social class and sexual orientation avoid easy platitudes, creating insights ripe for further exploration.” — Publishers Weekly

Publication: May 31st 2016 by HarperTeen
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

Rating:
Source: Author · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content.


From the moment that I saw Frannie and Tru on Goodreads and read its synopsis, I knew then that I would love this book. My instincts where never wrong once I tell myself that I would love a book though I have not read it, just like on Red Queen and The One Thing.

Frannie and Tru was surprising. Surprising that I never thought that the story has some twists. Aside from what its synopsis tells, it’s not that the only mysterious were the characters but the book itself. It’s like a secret diary. Frannie and Tru was like poetry to me. It’s never intimidating. I like it or even love it that I could not understand. Imagine yourself seeing your reflection in water and just be lost at it. That feeling. I love it. I love Frannie and Tru.

Karen Hattrup somehow dug into issues of race and sexuality. These issues are presented by the people around Frannie. She was the innocent of these things.  She was enlightened of them when her cousin Tru was with her family during summer. Throughout, Frannie was thinking that Tru was sent to stay with them because he was gay and the coming out to his parents turned out bad. She expected Tru would be the sunshine of her expected cloudy summer then. Well, as I said that it has twists. . . well. Anyway, through Tru, she had black friends, which she never had a malice on their race, but as days went, she slowly knew that people are awkward to black people. You know, as what the movies and books say with black people. Though the book did not significantly brighten what it said on its back cover about race, class and sexuality, I still loved it. It has a connection to me and I think that was what’s more important.

Compelling and endearing, Frannie and Tru is a radically distinctive read. It would quench your thirsty summer to-be read list.


Karen Hattrup grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her parents and brother, devouring books from an early age. At Loyola University Maryland, she studied journalism and spent a semester abroad in Thailand. She went on to become a newspaper reporter, first in Maryland and then in Indiana, writing features and serving as an award-winning arts critic. Karen later studied nonfiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Baltimore City with her husband, daughter, and son.
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You can purchase Frannie and Tru at
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and Local Bookseller

I encourage everyone to hop on to the rest of the blogs during the tour! It sure is fun like the summer of Frannie and Tru. :)

Review: The Shadow Queen

Publication: Henry Holt and Co. 
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 387 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

Lorelai is a fugative, a crown princess, and one of the two sorceresses in her kingdom. The other is her aunt and stepmother, Irina, who has been draining the land to fuel her stranglehold on Ravenspire since Lorelai was eight. Now, nine years since her Irina killed her father, Lorelai is ready to take back her kingdom.

In a desperate ploy to save his kingdom from utter ruin the Prince-turned-King has become Irina's huntsman, agreeing to hunt down the one threat to her Irina's throne in exchange for magic.

This is my first review here in... way to long. Exams happened, I survived, and now I'm back! Can we take a second to appreciate the new blog layout? Is it not lovely? (I can take exactly zero credit for that- it's all Yani.)

Onward to the book. I admit that at first I wasn't going to pick it up for two reasons- I'm not the biggest fan of the cover, and I didn't love Defiance back when I read it in high school sixty million years ago. It got some glowing reviews, though, from a couple of bloggers whose opinions I've come to trust, so I decided to give it a try. Overall, I'm glad I did.

While The Shadow Queen didn't blow me away, it was still enjoyable. It was more or less a stock YA fantasy novel (fugitive princess on her way to reclaim her thrown, evil queen, the works), but enjoyable enough. I didn't really engage all that much with the characters- their struggles were interesting, but not something that I really felt. I think that this book might have been meant to be darker than in turned out...

This novel is told from three third-person points of view- Lorelai's carries the bulk of the story, Kol's (prince and Queen's huntsman), and Irina's (evil stepmother). Generally these were well done, though I was more interested in some points of view than others. Sometimes I kind of wondered why Kol's point of view was there... sometimes in was useful, sometimes it was less so, as this was clearly Lorelai's story more than his. There were some changes that might have cleaned up the narration and sped up the pace of the novel a bit.

Regardless, it was a fun read for what it was. I do wish that the magic system had been slightly more explained, though. (What qualifies as magic? Apparently moving rivers does, but not... turning into a dragon? That seems pretty magical to me...) When I was reading this I wasn't sure if it was part of a series (it is), because it does read very much like a standalone novel, with a fairly well defined conclusion.

All in all, it was just a book. It didn't have any impact in particular, but I don't regret spending my time reading it. If you're looking for a quick fantasy read, this one might be for you.
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