“The Little Mermaid” takes a twisted turn in this thrilling sequel to villainess origin story Sea Witch, as the forces of land and sea clash in an epic battle for freedom, redemption, and true love. Runa will not let her twin sister die. Alia traded her voice to the Sea Witch for a shot at happiness with a prince who doesn’t love her. And his rejection will literally kill her—unless Runa intervenes.
Under the sea, Evie craves her own freedom—but liberation from her role as Sea Witch will require an exchange she may not be willing to make. With their hearts’ desires at odds, what will Runa and Evie be willing to sacrifice to save their worlds?
Told from alternating perspectives, this epic fairy tale retelling is a romantic and heart-wrenching story about the complications of sisterhood, the uncompromising nature of magic, and the cost of redemption.
Should You read Sea Witch Rising?
Sea Witch Rising is the sequel to Sea Witch by Sarah Henning, which tells the story of Ursula or the sea witch(from Little Mermaid). I loved Evie, the protagonist of Sea Witch and when her story came to an end, I was heartbroken but satisfied with the story. When the sequel to Sea Witch was announced, I was curious and this is what I thought.
In this sequel, we look beyond the story of the Sea Witch; we are introduced to a new protagonist, a mermaid named Runa and her father, the Sea King and other characters from the sea and the land. There is more action in this book than its predecessor and we get a better glimpse of Evie life after being bound to her lair as a sea witch. Set against the backdrop of the second world war(I assume), there are higher stakes at play as both Runa and Evie try to save people both above and below land.
Overall, I would recommend this book to you if you read and liked Sea Witch.
About the Author:
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her longsuffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.
Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to participate in the bookstagram & creative blog tour for SPIN THE DAWN by Elizabeth Lim hosted by MTMC Tours & PRH International!
Project Runway meets Mulan, this Silk Road-inspired fantasy is about a tailor who must sew 3 dresses of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars to save her kingdom! This is the first installment in The Blood of Stars duology released on July 9th, 2019 from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Check below my tour stop and make sure to visit all the bookstagram & creative stops for a chance to win an international edition of this book + swag!
About the book:
Title: Spin the Dawn
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.
Should You read Spin the Dawn?
Spin the Dawn is about a girl Maia who dreams of becoming an Imperial tailor but cannot because of her gender. Eventually, she has no choice but to take her father’s place when a royal messenger summons her father for the position of the imperial tailor. Maia hatches a plan to go in the disguise of her brother. Reaching the palace, Maia finds out that she wasn’t told the entire story, that she had to complete with other tailors for the coveted position and that the emperor’s bride-to-be will choose the winner. Day after day, Maia has to maintain her disguise; evade backstabbing tailors, dangerous court games and the attention of the Lord Enchanter Edan.
As the competition reaches its end, Maia wins but it comes at too much of a high price. As the Imperial Tailor, Maia’s first task is to make three gowns for emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be and they must be made from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. Will Maia succeed in this impossible task or will she die like all others before her?
This was really a mashup of Project Runway and Mulan; well, if Project Runway included contestants physically harming each other and Mulan was a tailor and…nope, not saying anythingelse. A very familiar fantasy trope was at play in this book : If you’re female, you’re doomed and you’ve got to “prove” yourself. Maia grew up with a thread in one hand and a needle in other; it would be sacrilege if she couldn’t become a master tailor. However, circumstances were pointing towards Maia to either marry or spend her life alone. The rules in A’landi are particularly harsh if someone finds out a woman is masquerading as a man.
“My whole life, I’d been told what I couldn’t do because I was a girl. Well, this was my chance to find out. The only thing I could do was take it.”
There is also a mention of a war at the beginning between the Emperor of A’landi and his Shansen(warlord) but not much is clear as to why it happened but magic was involved, that much is clear. Magic plays an important role throughout the story and although I can’t tell you why but it is pretty cool. The world-building is beautiful but not complete( I guess it’s because this is book one) and the journey to gather the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon and the blood of the stars was the most enjoyable portion of the story for me!
I also want to talk about Edan who I immediately likened with the Darkling in the beginning but he was anything but. Edan or the Lord Enchanter(as everyone calls him) was the living-breathing example of everything Maia shouldn’t trust but boy, she was so wrong. Edan is smart, funny and loyal. He doesn’t everything in his power to help Maia even though it comes at a price.
Overall, I recommend it to you if you love fantasy, retellings with a twist, adventure, a fierce and loyal heroine who’d do anything to protect her loved ones, unlikely romance, and magic.
Thanks to the MTMC Tours and PRH for including me on the blog tour!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Head over to my Instagram account for a chance to win an international edition of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim + swag! And don’t forget to check all the accounts/blogs participating for extra entries!!!
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
Should You read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer?
I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.
― Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Retellings are such a popular genre in the bookish industry right now that if you love reading them, you will be spoilt for choice. I love retellings because I see badass, unsure but still fierce(badass) heroines as the protagonists, even better if they’re a person of color and/or a neurodiverse rep or an LGBTQ+ rep..In A Curse so dark and Lonely, I saw a badass heroine named Harper Lacy, who has cerebral palsy and she OWNS the show..well, the story.
This book is described as a modern Beauty and Beast retelling minus the awesome library. WHY ? *cries* I wanted another fantasy library to dream about. Anyway…Harper and Prince Rhen are the protagonists and the story is told from both of their POVs. This is my first Brigid Kemmerer novel and I was amazed by the way she took “a tale as old as time” that portrays an abusive relationship and turned it into something beautiful..something I’d like everyone to read and re-read.
The story starts in Emberfall. Prince Rhen is wiping blood from his hands and there’s his Guard Commander Grey who is apparently Commander only by name as there’re no men to command anymore. Rhen also asks his Grey of the whereabouts of a girl and he replies that she’s gone. Gone where? Apparently it doesn’t matter to either of them as Grey sets off to find another girl for Rhen..This is not the only thing that creepy here in Emberfall. Rhen remarks that he doesn’t care about what kind of girl begins or how much blood is shed as this season will repeat itself again and thus, he will be eighteen for the three hundred twenty-seventh time.
Then, we’ll move on to Washington DC where we see Harper acting as the look out while her brother’s out on a dangerous job. Harper catches Grey carrying a girl and Harper attacks him which ultimately leads her(and Grey) to Emberfall.
In Emberfall, Harper is horrified to discover that she isn’t in DC anymore and Rhen expresses his “regrets” and tells her that he can’t let her until after the season is over. When Harper manages to escape from the castle, she discovers the plight of Emberfall. A kingdom where a curse has managed to wreak havoc on the people and Harper is Rhen’s and Emberfall’s only hope to save it.
“This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush. If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.”
You’d think that since it’s a Beast retelling, you’ll only see the Beast as the villain but you’d be so wrong. As I’ve said before, Harper is almost everything I love to see in a female protagonist. She has cerebral palsy but she doesn’t let anyone see her as uncapable and weak, instead she educates the people and Rhen on celebral palsy. However she isn’t a character without flaws and neither is Rhen or Grey.
Rhen was a spoiled prince before the curse but for hundred years, he suffered abuse for the sake of his people. I loved that he didn’t make a big deal out of Harper’s physical restrictions and acknowledged his mistake in underestimating her strengths. Grey is loyal to Rhen and even it breaks him, he will continue to stand by Rhen because he has vowed to do so.
I loved the pacing of the book and the flawed characters. It was incredible to see such relatable mental health representation. I loved the friendship between Harper and Grey and Rhen. I loved the slow-burn romance between Rhen and Harper. It was not the focus of the story and there were other stakes like saving Emberfall and Rhen from the curse and foreign invaders, protecting the people from the Beast, and saving Harper’s family. The ending was perfect which leads me to confess that I’m now addicted to Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and eagerly waiting for the sequel to this fantasy and her upcoming titles.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’re a Brigid Kemmerer fan, love retellings, strong but flawed characters, neurodiverse rep, beautiful friendship, and slow-burn romance.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Do you think you’ll read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? Have you already read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
REVIEW | WHY SHOULD YOU READ THE ROSE & THE DAGGER?
“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”
Before reading this review, I am supposed to say “SPOILER ALERT“. If you haven’t read The Wrath & The Dawn – the first book in the duology- then don’t proceed or you may,totally your choice.
I didn’t LOVE The Wrath & the Dawn but I was eager enough to pick up the second book of this duology and after posting two pictures of the book on Instagram, I promptly forgot about it. *I read this book in January*
The Rose & the Dagger starts off where its predecessor ended: the city of Rey was burning , thus leaving Rey and its ruler vulnerable. We also saw that Jalal sent Shahrzad away with Tariq to keep her safe and ……….. I don’t remember anything else.
Anyway, so we see Khalid rebuilding his destroyed kingdom and trying not to think of his wife. On the other side, Shahrzad’s the same but now she is among people who want to kill her beloved.
Jahandar, Shahrzad’s father is still obsessed with the BOOK and Tariq is more frustrating than ever. Like…TAKE A HINT , Tariq! Shahrzad is HAPPILY married..of course,he doesn’t take a hint and continues to make not only Shahrzad but me uncomfortable.
Moving on…we see Khalid’s “uncle,” the Sultan of Parthia making a comeback as THE VILLIAN who wants to overthrow “boy king” Khalid and rule the entire kingdom.
Looks like Khalid has got his work cut out for him or does he ? For there is Shahrzad, who will stop at anything to protect Khalid and save Rey from destruction.
Why should you read this book? Obviously, you should, if you read The Wrath and loved/liked it. Besides that reason,I think The Rose had more action scenes (which I loved), especially the use of magic was more prevalent in this book. There were lots of twists and turns and shocks-oh my! So, yes I’d say these are all valid reasons to buy or borrow yourself a copy of this.
Overall, this was a worthy sequel filled with magic, curses, broody boy kings, a jealous ex-boyfriend, power-hungry father, and uncles and it is written by an Asian author.
I want to thank my bank account which generously donated me -MY- money to buy this book.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date(US): 26 April 2016
Hardcover: 416 Pages
Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn books? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know all your thoughts about it? This is also my first review for the Year of The Asian Challenge 2019 so give this post some love, post some comments and if you love MY thoughts, click the follow button above.
Synopsis: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.