Jade Fire Gold | Book Review + Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop. Here, this post will include a review, creative content (music), and favourite quotes.
Many thanks to @CaffeineTours and Harper Teen for the opportunity take part in this tour.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

UK edition
Art: Aaron Munday
US edition
Art: GUWEIZ


Title: Jade Fire Gold
Author: June CL Tan
Publisher: Harper Teen (US)
Age group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of character-driven stories, fans of YA fantasy,
On-page Representation: POC (Chinese-coded characters), LGBTQ+ (Sapphic, gay)
Trigger and Content Warnings: self-harm (gouging, eye horror; non-graphic), child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional manipulation/gaslighting), parent death (implied, off-page), character deaths, mentions and descriptions of fantasy/magical violence (blood, war, political violence), mentions and descriptions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, alcohol consumption

Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!

Girls of Paper and Fire meets The Tiger at Midnight in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, inspired by Chinese mythology, with rich magic and an epic slow-burn romance.

In an empire on the brink of war . . .

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

I asked my partner to create music to accompany this book.
I thought this tune was so fitting and atmospheric whilst read the book—especially at tense times!
Feel free to listen to it.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.

OKAY. First things first, we’ve all read the synopsis? Yes? Yes! Now, let me get this off my chest:

This book was pitched as ‘Avatar the Last Airbender’ inspired! More specifically, inspired by Zutara (Zuko X Katara) dynamics??? My little twelve-year-old self is celebrating. OUR TIME HAS COME!!! Zutara!!!! 😩😭🎉

Yes, please play the song included above as it adds to the hype. Trust me.

AND THEN! Not only does this novel pays homage to Xianxia (Chinese fantasy influenced byChinese mythology, martial arts, religion, and other traditional elements) perfect for fans of We Hunt the Flame?? Good-bye, monies!

Yes, as exemplified above, Jade Fire Gold was a highly anticipated read.

Alright, now that’s out of my system, the review time.

Told in dual POV, we follow Ahn, the orphaned girl with a mysterious past and Altan, an exiled prince with revenge on his mind. When their paths in twined Ahn sees the opportunity to unlock her memories and powers whilst Altan see this as a means to avenge his family and reclaim the throne.

However, in order to gain, one must give. And the two may have bargained more than they can pay.

𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠:
The writing is simple and easy to follow which makes the narrative easily digestible. Despite the writing being quite straightforward, it paints beautiful scenery, strong emotions, and great attention into little details which are important aspects (such s as weaponry, colour and clothing).

However, my main concern whilst reading this was that I found the pacing jarring at times. For example, there would be moments where I feel like I was trudging through the desert, in the middle of the day with no water (this was only the first ~30%). And then there are times were it feels like we’re rushing through a whirlwind of events.

Of course, this could be a “me” thing as I like to get into the ‘meat’ of the plot early in the book soo I can divulge myself with more details throughout the journey. Don’t let this deter you!

𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝-𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠:
I’m a huge fan of Asian mythology and Asian-inspired stories, so I found it enjoyable finding little nuggets or Lore sprinkles throughout the novel.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬:
Ahn: one of the protagonist starts off naive and I found her passive at the beginning but I did like how she started to develop and become more confident and critical.

Altan: I found it hard to connect to his character due to his angst, however, I did come to appreciate his character. I liked how he started becoming more open and honest.

𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞:
I admit I’m a huge sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope, I enjoy it mainly because I love seeing the relationship develop over time (and often begrudgingly 😏) and I love the banter. In this case, there was no romance until about halfway, which I didn’t mind it so! I just wished we could’ve seen the two develop their relationship more. As I really enjoyed reading Ahn and Altan’s interactions and dynamics.

𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇:
• The writing is simple and easy which made this book quick to fly though
• Intriguing world-building yet consists of common elements in a YA Fantasy, therefore perfect for those who enjoy certain tropes (Royal characters, reunited with someone, dislike to like, finding the magical artefact, etc.) and genres (fantasy).

𝐆𝐑𝐈𝐏𝐄:
• The pacing at times (tit took me a while to get into the first 30% or so of the book but then I got so hooked after that)

• Why was there a need to put chopsticks in ones hair?? That really took me out.

Being of Asian descent and being a diaspora, I’m aware of the historical context of the use of chopsticks in the hair and the micro aggression regarding that. However, I acknowledge that I am not a Chinese and therefore, perhaps I’m not familiar with all the nuance.

Edit:

I read another review and noted that the author responded to concerns regarding chopsticks in the hair. I suggest you check out this review!

The author stated that the chopsticks were not for use of eating but rather a concealed weapon.

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Zutara inspired dynamics (exiled Prince X peasant girl with mysterious powers)
✔ forbidden magic
✔ East Asian (Chinese) mythology inspired fantasy

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬: empire (explores imperialism), legacy, fate, choice, and power

𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: fans of character driven stories, fans of YA fantasy or new to or enjoy Xianxia or Chinese influenced mythology

𝐂𝐖: death, war, gore, torture, murder

Thank you to Caffeine Tours and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Some favourite quotes:

“𝐇𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐲 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐬.”

“𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬: 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.”

“𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬, 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐨.”

June CL Tan grew up in Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. She holds various degrees in communication studies, education, and film. After teaching for a few years, she took a detour into the finance industry. To no one’s surprise, she soon realized her mistake and made her escape. Now, she resides in New York City, talking to imaginary people and creating fantastical worlds under the watchful eye of her crafty cat. She enjoys telling stories that draw on both the traditional and modern to create something fresh to the eye, but familiar to the heart. Jade Fire Gold is her debut novel. 

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

Have you read this? Will you be reading Jade Fire Gold?

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Pride and Premeditation | Book Tour Review

Hello and welcome to my stop. This stop includes a book review.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

BOOK INFO:

Title: Pride and Premeditation
Series: Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1
Author: Tirzah Price
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 6 2021
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction Mystery
Where can I get this?
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound

Check out the synopsis below!

Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit.

When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.

An Austen inspired murder mystery featuring Miss Elizabeth Bennett, daughter of Mr Bennett of Longbourne and Sons (yes, the law firm that employs no sons but rather an obnoxious person with the name Mr Collins) and her plight to secure a no, not a husband but a permanent position in her fathers law firm. And though the prime suspect Mr Bingley is open to Lizzie’s service there is another issue she must face—Mr Bingley’s detestable and delectable lawyer, Mr Darcy of Pemberley Associates.

Writing:
Immediately upon reading this book Pride nods to the original and unforgettable Pride and Prejudice opening line.

“𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚, 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐚 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧, 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧.”

The opening line is a fun and witty start and it instantly drew me into the story. The writing style is easy to follow and the pacing I appreciate the author’s take and how they seamlessly incorporate their own style. Rather than think of this to be a strict P&P retelling I’d like to think of this as an Austen inspired murder mystery with the memorable P&P traits and moments.

Characters:
The characters in this novel don’t stray far from the original Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth is a headstrong heroine and a delight to follow. My only gripe is that the sisters and family don’t appear often and the sisters fell more to the background.

Romance:
Whilst there are romantic aspects later in the story I did appreciate how the story focuses more on the mystery.

Setting & World-Building:
I felt a little disorientated due to the language and action gives off the impression the story takes place in the Victorian Era however, certain instances or aspects would indicate that the story takes place in the Regency era.

Overall, Pride and Premeditation is a fun Austen inspired murder mystery. Despite being a murder mystery, Pride and Premeditation is a fun and light-hearted read. Perfect for fans of YA murder mystery and Jane Austen.

Recommend for: fans of YA historic fiction, YA murder mystery, fans of pride and prejudice

CW: death, murder, stabbing, drowning, kidnapping, sexism, racism, use of firearms

Some of my favourite quotes:

Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a brilliant idea, conceived and executed by a clever young woman, must be claimed by a man.”

I love how Price starts the opening line similar to the original Pride and Prejudice

Come now. I love my daughters. That’s precisely why I do not want to inflict Mr Collins’s presence upon them.

I laughed when I read this. I liked how Price depicts Mr Bennet

Do you purposefully misunderstand everything I say, Miss Bennet?

Do you purposefully overlook all inconvenient truths, Mr Darcy?

Love the banter between Miss Bennet and Mr Darcy. A great indication of what’s to come in the novel.

TIRZAH PRICE

Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.

Tirzah is pronounced TEER-zuh. Pronouns are she/her.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Also, check out my Bookstagram post!

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The Faithless Hawk | Blog Tour | Author Interview

Faithless Hawk tour banner

Hello Everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR and Beyond. This stop includes an exclusive Q&A with the author and I am so excited to share it with you.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

ABTB-MO

The Faithless Hawk cover

BOOK INFO:

Title: The Faithless Hawk
Series: The Merciful Crow #2
Author: Margaret Owen
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: August 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble |Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.
As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

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Can you share with us something about The Faithless Hawk that isn’t in the blurb?

Margaret: There is a DRASTIC increase in the number of cats involved!

Without revealing too much, what was your favourite scene or moment to write in The Faithless Hawk, and why?

Margaret: I always enjoy writing the endings, the big final clashes and the dust settling. It’s when all the dominos you’ve set up get to fall, and the pattern you’ve been building finally reveals itself!

What song would you choose as the theme song for The Faithless Hawk?

Margaret: “The Bleeding of Mercy” by the Telepathic Teddy Bears! The first time I listened to it, I was really captivated by the mournful yet hopeful tone. In particular, the line, “Don’t mourn the setting sun, for it will rise again” struck me as particularly close to home for this book.

I adored your characters—especially how Fie is so unapologetic, unafraid, and full of grit and determination. How did you choose the names for your characters?

Margaret: Thank you so much! For Fie, I wanted her name to evoke a sense of both spite and mischief, and the word “fie” seemed perfect. I wound up compiling a list of old-timey insults for the other Crow names, according to their customs, and I tried to match them up with their personalities the best. The rest of the names I made up, though there’s a bit of a naming convention for the ruling families to adhere to, where the firstborn child’s name is based on the name of one of their parents. (For example, Jasimir’s mother was named Jasindra, and we learn Rhusana’s son is named Rhusomir.)

Looking back, what was the most difficult and what was the most enjoyable part of the whole process of writing and publishing your books?

Margaret: There was a period of time last year when I felt like if I wasn’t making everyone happy, I was failing. That meant if people didn’t like my book, or if I wasn’t able to deliver things on time, or if I wasn’t able to provide cool incentives to preorder my book, I was going to fail as an author, and my career would be over. Needless to say, I was struggling quite a bit to write at that point. There’s a phrase I wound up writing on masking tape and pasting on my desk, which is “The only way out is through,” which was true but a little bleak, so underneath I added, “but you can make it.” And I did!

I’d say the most enjoyable part has been seeing how The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk have touched people, especially when it inspires them to create something themselves. When people reach out to me to say “I loved this part!” or “those monsters were so gross!” or “I HATE this character so much!”, it’s a similar feeling as when your friend texts you as they watch a movie you really love, and they’re super into it. But it’s even better, because I made that movie! (Kind of.)

The Merciful Crow was such an intense and enthralling read. What can fans expect from you in the future? Can you tell us about any future projects?

Margaret: Thank you so much! The Faithless Hawk wraps up the duology, so there aren’t any plans for more books in that universe at the moment, but I never say never. However, I do have a third book due out, likely sometime next year. It’s a loose retelling of The Goose Girl, from the perspective of the fairytale’s villain, a wicked maidservant who stole the princess heroine’s identity. When we meet our narrator, she’s spent the last year or so using the princess’s identity to make it into high society parties and pull off a string of jewelry heists. Then she steals from the wrong family, crosses a local deity, and winds up cursed to turn into jewels herself… unless she can make up for everything she’s taken. It’s a lot of weird magic, scammers scamming scammers, and unorthodox uses of breakfast foods, so all in all a good time! Well, for everyone but our narrator.

Quick-fire questions:

There’s a zombie apocalypse! Which four YA protagonists would be on your team and why?

  1. Katniss from The Hunger Games, she’s got all the outdoor survival knowledge of a Girl Scout on steroids, plus she’s killed before and will kill again.
  2. Jane McKeene from Dread Nation, she is literally trained to kill zombies.
  3. Amaya from Scavenge the Stars, because she can sail a boat, and honestly zombies are less of a problem at sea, I feel.
  4. Nina Zenik, so someone can help me hold down the waffle situation. (And heal the wounded, and possibly control the zombies? But waffles first.)

What would be your supervillain name and powers?

Margaret: Margaret Owen, and making people cry, probably.

Okay, okay, it would probably be something like Her Majesty, because I would 100% be down to do a hivemind-type situation and make people do things like recycle and wear masks and, if we can rope Bezos into this, donate their massive amounts of money to charity.

And finally, whilst there is an endless amount of writing resources online, if you could share one unique piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Margaret: I would say a lot of the time you hear “eyes on your own paper”, and to a certain extent, that’s solid advice—everyone’s publishing journey is different, and you really can only control your own work. That said, I would say don’t be afraid to look around the room, actually. Don’t be afraid to compare notes with people you trust. I can guarantee that the discrepancies revealed by #PublishingPaidMe are neither the first nor the last, and that opacity is not for your benefit, but for that of the publishing industry. The only way that changes is by making informed decisions, so don’t be afraid to seek out that information yourself.

A huge thank you to Margaret for your time!

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ATA-MO

Margaret Owen

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.

The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.

MARGARET OWEN

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

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Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copies of The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk (US and Canada Only)

Start date: August 23rd, 2020

End date: August 29th, 2020

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK! 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

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