Author Archives: Tien

About Tien

Book obsessed, blogger wannabe, will read... Everything!

Blog Tour: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

A sun-drenched and irresistible love story from a stunning new talent in YA, perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell.

“A uniquely dazzling love story – sunshine flows through every electric page, and into your heart.” Harriet Reuter Hapgood, author of The Square Root of Summer

Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back.

When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.

My Blurb

I just knew this was going to be a beautiful book. In fact, it was just so so cute! Yes, it speaks of grief and the characters struggling with missing pieces in their lives but it’s also a story of finding oneself, of life after grief and the possibility of happiness. And just look at that cover! I don’t think I need to say anymore to convince to read this, do I?

I love that this book is told from 2 perspectives, Linny’s & Sebastian’s, in that we all get to see what’s in their minds and therefore, how their minds work. They were both consumed with their own issues yet that first & subsequent sparks as they meet jolted them to life a bit at a time. Each chapters are imbued with their personalities; Linny’s are full of colours, notes of missing persons (why wasn’t there one on Agatha Christie?!), and her film manuscript drafts whilst Sebastian’s are full of scientific facts or Sebastian’s fact of life in scientific speak.

If Birds Fly Back was so easy to read and I fell in love with the characters from the beginning. It’s very cute & very sweet with a good dose of humour despite the deep sadness the characters were feeling. I’m pegging this as a pick-me-up sort of read… need one now? I highly recommend this book as your comfort read!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Carlie Sorosiak grew up in North Carolina and holds two master’s degrees: one in English from Oxford University and another in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University, London. Her life goals include travelling to all seven continents and fostering many polydactyl cats. She currently splits her time between the US and the UK, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  twitter  | youtube  |  instagram

 

Review: The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra


The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was taken by the title and the premise of a gypsy curse. Described as a quirky novel, I thought it’d be humorous and easy to read. While the language was easy to read, I was unfortunately disappointed with the book. In fact, this book got me so angry and as I started reading it on the Friday commute, it also ruined my weekend for me. I was that upset!

I’m not going to bang on about how upset I was as it was quite hard for me to actually understand myself why I was so worked up about this book. The only reason I could think of is Olive’s self-absorption and utter selfishness! My goodness, I really don’t know how anyone stay around her… I do understand that due to her unusual situation & therefore, the very atypical childhood, Olive became who she is and through her experience with true love, the joy and disappointment and all that came with it, is how she came to learn & accept herself. It is truly a coming of age story.

After all the angst I went through reading this book and the supernatural twist on a contemporary tale, I was also let down by the non-fairytale non-Hollywood ending. I’m all for girl power but seriously, my emotions need a balm this book did not provide. I still want to cry now months after I finished reading this book. Sorry but this one is definitely not for me 😥

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Traveler by L.E. DeLano

Traveler (Traveler #1) by L.E. DeLano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the description, this book has everything I love in it:

Pirates ✓

Alternate worlds ✓

Delectable Book Boyfriend ✓✓✓

Said Delectable Book Boyfriend Comes to Life ✓✓✓✓✓

Totally sold on this book from the get-go!

It’s not a new theory that each time we make a choice, there is a split in reality as another version of us make a different choice and therefore, there are billions, gazillions, un-numbered alternate worlds out there. There are many books written about these too but probably not many of them are as fantastical as these worlds in Traveler. There is a post-apocalyptic world where the situation is so desperate that people are hunting people. There is a world full of everything shiny and sparkly with Glitter Mousse (yum!). There is a steampunk world with corsets and pirates! These are just my favourites out of the numerous alternate universes we were introduced in this book.

I like Jessa with her rather ordinary world turned upside down or is it rather right way up? Like any ordinary teenager, Jessa has her own share of troubles but they were nothing to what’s coming her way. She is being hunted down in every alternate worlds though this time, Finn has come, determined to save this Jessa. We rarely see the other Jessas though as Finn puts it, Jessa is always Jessa whichever world she’s in. We do see however different versions of Jessa’s friends & loved ones including Finn and I must admit to like the pirate Finn more than any other!

Traveler is a fun read; not only do you get dozens of different worlds in the one book but the most important spin was that book boyfriend coming to life (can you just imagine?! btw, who would you pick?!). I was a tad disappointed that Pirate Finn didn’t make that much of an appearance but *coughs* that ending… I absolutely can NOT wait for book 2!

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars

Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars
Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘I want the world to be a gentler place than it is… I want to believe the good in people.’

This love affair started as a cover crush but ended as an affair of the heart. Unexpectedly, I became enamored with this world of London in the 1960’s as experienced by Anna. Anna is a relatively newcomer to London and she came for a very sheltered upbringing. Her journey was an eye-opener for her but is also a revelation to the readers.

…she was realising with a certain abruptness that her world – her city – was filled to the brim with people and experiences that she had thought nothing about.

Anna is not the only one who sought refuge in London though she may be the one who’s origin in closest geographically. There were Aloysius (Jamaica), Brennan & his wife (Ireland), Ottmar and his family (Turkey), etc. They and numerous others also were seeking refuge due to other reasons; discrimination being high on the list. Each of them struggled with finding their place in London and each is unique in their approach.

‘How is this ever going to work, Brennan? How are we ever going to make things work if men are walking round with these idiot ideas branded into their very soul and womankind is dividing herself up into those who will play the game and die inside and those who cannot even imagine making a life with a man because they say things that make you want to put their eyes out?’

I enjoyed Anna’s tenacity in finding an answer to the mystery but best of all, I’ve loved meeting these diverse of characters and my eyes feasted not only colours but also traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles. I do hope that all readers can learn to better understand others who do not look or sound exactly like themselves.

‘…I sometimes think to have a successful family you have to sacrifice a happy family: at least at first. Maybe the girls can be happy later. Maybe we all can be happy later. Or maybe their husbands will not start from nothing and happiness will come earlier. As far as I can see, the successful family sacrifices happiness to work and the unsuccessful family sacrifices happiness to poverty. I think that I prefer success but some days I cannot tell the difference.’

As acknowledgement, author noted, ‘My intention was to underscore some of the ways in which we have progressed in the past 50 years…and the ways in which we have not.’ and I think that she’s been very successful in achieving this with this book. I didn’t quite appreciate the ending but that’s me and my personality though it was a pretty good one. I wished it could be more to my liking but that’s life and it rather fit into the author’s intention.

Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for copy eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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Review: Written in Black

Written in Black
Written in Black by K.H. Lim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I read this part of the blurb, ‘…Jonathan escapes his grandfather’s wake in an empty coffin and embarks on a journey through the backwaters of Brunei’ and looked at the cover and took it for granted that this is what I should expect from the book BUT… it is not; NOT AT ALL. The cover is rather metaphorical in nature and the blurb is not quite right. I guess he did jump into an empty coffin but it did not last long and he definitely did not go on the water in it. Was I disappointed? Yes, yes, I am very disappointed in my expectation.

On the other hand, it was an interesting book into the Brunei Chinese culture. As my ancestry is Chinese, I can relate to most of it though I’m not familiar with the funeral tradition but then again there are so many variations of it. Jonathan’s mother left a few months ago, ‘for health treatments’, but it’s been a long time since he’s spoken to her and there seems to be a conspiracy of preventing him from speaking to his mum or so he thinks. His older brother has also left home at around the same time; not keeping any sort of contacts and doing who knows what. Then suddenly, his grandfather (Ah Kong – Chinese for grandfather) died. Jonathan was unhappy and now his anger is also bubbling out of him. He needed to do something!

The ending was a little bit disappointing as I still feel issues are unclear and no firm resolution though sometimes that is life; you just have to take one day at a time.

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Asian Lit Bingo Reading Challenge

I saw this challenge on my Insta feed and well, how can I say no?! Despite having 20 other challenges on the go and a handful of them ends this month! In any case, 2 of the library books I borrowed last week fit 2 squares and I own 2 others so that’s almost a Bingo! easily. So, here’s my plan of attack and only 1 of these (which I actually own a copy of) is on the master list. I’m going for the first column.

East Asian MC: Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun

Teenage Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father’s infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Joon’s adolescent years take her from a homeless shelter to an escort club, through struggles with addiction, to jobs selling newspapers and cosmetics, committing petty crimes, and finally toward something resembling hope.

LGBTQIAP + Asian MC: For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu

Peter Huang and his sisters—elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant—grow up in a house of many secrets, then escape the confines of small-town Ontario and spread from Montreal to California to Berlin. Peter’s own journey is obstructed by playground bullies, masochistic lovers, Christian ex-gays, and the ever-present shadow of his Chinese father.

At birth, Peter had been given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. The exalted only son in the middle of three daughters, Peter was the one who would finally embody his immigrant father’s ideal of power and masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he is certain he is a girl.

SFF with Asian MC: The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim

Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked.

Now she is missing.

The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid.

But Avicenna has inherited her mother’s gift. Finding an unlikely ally in the brooding Simon Thorn, she begins to piece together the mystery.

And when she uncovers a link between Joanne’s disappearance and a cold-case murder, Avicenna is led deep into the city’s dark and seedy underbelly, unaware of how far she is placing her own life in danger.

Graphic Novel with Asian MC: Lola by Elbert Or (Illustrator), J. Torres

Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that go bump in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother — a woman who used her visions to help those living in her small town… the same rural community in all the scary stories Jesse’s heard as a child. Man-eating ogres in trees. Farmhouses haunted by wraiths. Even pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother’s passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma’s house.

South East Asian MC: Written in Black by K.H. Lim

A darkly humorous coming-of-age novel set in Brunei on the island of Borneo, Written in Black offers a snapshot of a few days in the life of ten-year-old Jonathan Lee, attending the funeral of his Ah Kong, or grandfather, and still reeling from the drama of his mother leaving for Australia and his brother getting kicked out of the house and joining a rock band. Annoyed at being the brunt of his father’s pent-up anger, Jonathan escapes his grandfather’s wake in an empty coffin and embarks on a journey through the backwaters of Brunei to bring his disowned brother back for the funeral and to learn the truth about his absent mother. On a quest that takes him across the little-known Sultanate, past gangs of glue-sniffing poklans (Brunei’s teenage delinquents), cursed houses and weird shopkeepers, Jonathan discovers adventure, courage, friendship and, finally, himself.

 

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Wanna join in? Check out the deets at Asian Lit Bingo Reading Challenge Announcement and Master Post

Review: The Unmourned

The Unmourned
The Unmourned by Meg Keneally
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had the bright idea of going to the Parramatta Female Factory and do a quick youtube review or even just an insta of this book BUT… it seems that it’s not actually open to the public. I checked out where it’s located and noted that I drove past this sandstone fence a lot but didn’t realise that this was where the Parramatta Female Factory was! I just thought it was a gaol and I supposed it was. I was very excited with this second instalment of The Monsarrat Series and this time, it is set in Parramatta which we know quite well; hubby worked there up for a number of year up til the end of last year.

Hugh Monsarrat is back from Port Macquarie with his second ticket of leave, a bit of money, and a position in the governer’s house albeit as a lowly clerk with a special talent (ie. his investigative skill). He now owns a house and has Mrs. Mulrooney installed in his kitchen though he would prefer to think of her as a friend. Their friendship, however, has its own unique dynamic. Hugh was keen also to resume his relationship with an old flame. Life never did run smooth as he is required to display his investigative forte.

The novel opens with a horrible man, Church, on the point of committing some atrocity upon the Factory inmates being gruesomely murdered; stabbed through the eye with an awl (yikes!). As this happened within the Factory’s confines in the middle of the night where none may enter, it must have been committed by one of the inmates. Grace O’Leary has been at the forefront of defiance against Church and so, she became the main and only suspect and will hang as soon as it is practicable. Hugh was detailed to take down witnesses’ testimonies and he was not convinced of her guilt yet who else could it be? Once more, he depended upon Mrs. Mulrooney’s assistance and sharp wit.

I loved the setting and I really loved the characters. The mystery I found rather wanting. There wasn’t, as far as I can see, a believable red herring, and after one particular incident earlier on, it became rather obvious who the murderer is though I didn’t figure out the reason. I also have learnt a lot of how women convicts lived and how badly they were treated… I think I would have gone insane! And I have, therefore, grown to respect and admire those women who survived even more. I won’t swear to the accuracy of historical bits but they feel genuine enough to me.

I have really enjoyed the dynamics between Monsarrat & Mrs. Mulrooney; together they are making the world a better place to live a teacup at a time. I am looking forward to the next instalment which will be set in Van Diemen’s Land!

Thanks to Vintage Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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