Saturday, 23 April 2022

[MPOV] The Tale of the Hostage Prince (Absolution #1.5)

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.20/5
Published: April 14th, 2022
Author: Anna Tan
Genre: fantasy, magical, historical fiction
Yosua wears an uneasy crown. Although he is now Raja of Bayangan, he still longs for the land of his birth where everything was much simpler…and less deadly.

But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.

With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?
I'm glad to be given the opportunity to read and review this awesome novel! Unfortunately I took a while to complete it as work and family got in the way, as usual...

After reading the first book, Amok, I was hoping to read from Yosua's point of view as he seemed like an underdog, someone less favourable since he was born and raised as a servant but is now the king! It did intrigued me on how he would behaved and managed Bayangan, whether his people would give him their full support or otherwise since his religion and belief are Mahan and not Bayangan. 

Like a rags to riches story, Yosua is now the king of Bayangan but he is having an identity crisis due to his upbringing as a Mahan. When his parents were killed, he sought his Uncle's help to find the killers and also assistance to rule Bayangan. However it was an unwise choice as his Uncle turned on him and framed Yosua as a traitor instead, ousted him to be left for dead in the middle of the sea. As luck would have it, Yosua's boat reached Mahan soil and Mikal gladly welcomed him as his esteemed guest.

Was it luck or was it Kudus' blessing that brought Yosua to Maha? Yosua has to embrace his beliefs and be true to himself, as how he was brought up by his parents. He has to also decide on his next course of action as he slowly realized his Uncle's true colours. With the help of his loyal supporters, he gained the kingdom's trust and revealed his Uncle's unworthiness to the whole of Bayangan.

I truly enjoyed how the author build this imaginary world and made it sounds so real! I am honestly a fan and follower of this Absolution series and I can't wait for the next chapter on Mikal! This is definitely a breath of fresh air, unlike other conventional fantasy fiction and the localized content is a plus for me! Even though it's historical, the context is still relevant and current. The ending was expected but it was tastily done and I can't wait to catch the next Absolution especially after reading the epilogue!

If you are interested in this series or other books by Anna Tan, you can check out the author's website:

My sincere thanks the author and publisher again for both e-ARC and ARC! I truly apologize for the delay in finishing and reviewing this. I truly loved the beautiful cover art!

Thursday, 31 March 2022

[MPOV] Cassidy Smith, Book One: The Gray Man

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3/5
Published: September 23, 2021
Author: Paul Wilson
Genre: Paranormal, fantasy
18-year-old debutant Cassidy Smith returns from a summer party to find her home burned and her family murdered.

Fueled by a need for revenge, she journeys across a weird and haunted western landscape, all the while pursued by a powerful Magician on his own mission of revenge.

Cassidy journeys to find the being responsible for her state, the mysterious Gray Man, and avenge her stolen life. But Cassidy is a reluctantly hero. Driven by a selfish desire for blood, she is still a flawed and angry child. Her journey for revenge is also her journey to womanhood.

Will Cassidy follow her family tradition of honorable monster hunting, or will she simply evolve into a cold-blooded killer? If she manages to win through, how much of her soul will remain? What is left for a killer once the gun has cooled? What remains for a woman with no ties?
Thank you to the author, publisher and LibraryThings for the opportunity to read and be immersed in this creature killing novel! I hardly read paranormals so when I chance upon this, I gave it a try. It sure reminds me of a female Van Helsing LOL! 

It's well written, filled with revenge plots yet with a soft spot at times and a likeable female protagonist. The continuous adventures, from the death of her family to when she finally found The Gray Man, were quite engaging... making sure we are kept on our toes. Definitely angst-filled especially when Alan, Cassidy's husband, died a horrible death!
We are made to help those who ask. We exist to fight evil in all it's glamour.
If you are into paranormals, then you should give this novel a try. Although this is just book one, it can be read as a standalone.

Monday, 28 March 2022

[MPOV] The Girl Who Belonged to the Sea (The Azantian Trilogy #1)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5
Published: September 28, 2021
Author: Katherine Quinn
Genre: Historical romance, fantasy, adventure
One woman chosen by the God of the Sea. A king hellbent on saving his mysterious island home. And a forbidden romance that could destroy them all.

Forced to marry the wealthy Count Casbian by her power-hungry father, Margrete turns to the gods, praying for a life free from the men who wish to rule her. Across the sea, a ruthless immortal answers…

Planning to use Margrete to reclaim a powerful relic stolen from his people, Bash, a devilishly handsome king, kidnaps Margrete on the day of her nuptials. Bringing her to his home, the mystical island of Azantian, it isn't long before a devastating secret is revealed—one that ties Margrete to the gods themselves.

Drawn to the spirited woman he's sworn to hate, Bash cannot stay away from Margrete and the passion she ignites within him. When the lines begin to blur, Margrete must make a choice between a fiery love, and saving the realm from the dangerous magic awakening inside of her soul.

The first book of this exciting fantasy trilogy is perfect for readers who love high-seas adventures, swashbuckling heroes, and forbidden, steamy romance. Fans of Danielle L. Jensen's The Bridge Kingdom, and Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses will be enthralled.
Thank you to the author, publisher and LibraryThing for giving me this opportunity to read this awesome novel!

The Girl Who Belonged to the Sea is the first of The Azantian Trilogy. It's about Margrete and Bash, from their uncanny encounter to when they fell in love, an adventure that changed their lives forever. The novel is filled with magic, Gods, hatred, deception and love... I've truly enjoyed the adventurous plots and the world building that makes it engaging! It ended as it should but with a little cliff-hanger from the little epilogue which leads to book 2... I'm sure there are more hurdles and excitement to continue Margrete and Bash's adventure. 

If you like historical romance with a dash of pirates and fantasy, this is definitely up your alley.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

[MPOV] Indigo

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.06/5
Published: 14/2/2020
Author: Paula Berinstein
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, time travel

I would like to say a huge Thank You to the author for this opportunity to mingle and enjoy Esther's time travels!
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself mistress of an 18th-century plantation?

Esther Rubens is looking forward to getting to know her new community in South Carolina and repairing her troubled marriage. But as soon as she arrives in Charleston her life begins to diverge from the idyllic picture in her mind. Her physicist husband, Melvin, is arrested for driving while black, she inherits a strange English property from a cousin she didn't know existed, and she learns that her great-grandmother Sophie, a brilliant scientist kidnapped by the Nazis, discovered the secret of time travel of all things.

Intrigued by Sophie’s cryptic journal Melvin begins to experiment with time travel, but his anger at the police makes him careless. The process backfires, killing him and throwing Esther back to 1750. Attacked by an unknown assailant the moment she arrives, she seeks protection at an indigo plantation belonging to a dashing planter with a dangerous secret, negotiating a deal that guarantees her safety. But she soon realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. What she discovers on the plantation is far more horrific than anything she could have imagined. Overwhelmed, she attempts to flee just as the planter’s mysterious, handsome brother arrives from England seeking refuge—and offering an opportunity that’s too compelling to turn down. But can he be trusted? And are the two of them strong enough to vanquish the evil that’s pervading the lowlands? Only time will tell.

The first title in the Indigo series.
At the start, Esther and Melvin seemed like any other mixed coloured couples until they migrated to the Southern region where trouble awaits them. At this point, I found the intro to be a little long as it gets a bit repetitive and I tend to skip through more. 

Once the inheritance arrived, it felt like an adventure is about to begin but it was a little too fast as the whole thought process or world building from then on was not consistent. At some points, it was not as detailed and the plots were too briefed. On the other hand, it became not as realistic. I could not get into the story itself and I just couldn't imagined it. However, the gist of it was still intact and the outcome of the story was not what I thought it would be, which is good. 

Esther and Jesse were just too obvious, like they immediately succumbed to Daniel's request without batting an eyelid! When Jesse knew of Esther's true identity, the story turned for the better. So much adventure from then on and no one seemed to notice this 2 were so besotted with each other! The ending was unexpected and it did had a little cliff-hanger effect since this is a series.

All in all, I was excited that this is a time travel romance as I had enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I did placed a high expectation on it which I shouldn't have. Also with my current long drought of reading slump that didn't help as much. As Goodreads have pointed out, there are many good reviews of this novel so if you are not as nitpicky as me, go ahead and read this novel!

Saturday, 5 March 2022

[Punch needle] Unicorn

Finally I had the chance to finish this punch needle project! I've bought this punch needle kit from a Facebook seller online last year! I was excited to get my hands on this new project as it looks fun and straightforward! Unfortunately it does take some time to get use to it especially the strength and consistency of the punching. I liked that I can easily frog it and redo without worry! Also the freedom to create or design a pattern easily is a bonus though we have to be extra creative LOL! It's similar to needle embroidery but with a different type of tools. Looking forward to more needle punching in the near future!
Before, punching punching!

After, the finished product!

Friday, 4 March 2022

[Crochet] Ice Bear

I had totally forgotten this project which I have completed end of last year for Princess' birthday present!!! Of the 3 We Bare Bears characters, she likes Ice Bear best so I've crochet this based on the pattern from Beary_ Bearnita on Instagram. I liked her patterns which are always easy and straightforward, the outcome would be the same as character itself.

In the making...

The end product!

Monday, 14 February 2022

[MPOV] The Italian Wife

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.94/5
Published: 25/11/2014
Author: Kate Furnivall
Genre: Historical romance, mystery, Italy
Italy, 1932 -- Mussolini's Italy is growing from strength to strength, but at what cost?

One bright autumn morning, architect Isabella Berotti sits at a café in the vibrant centre of Bellina, when a woman she's never met asks her to watch her ten-year-old daughter, just for a moment. Reluctantly, Isabella agrees -- and then watches in horror as the woman climbs to the top of the town's clock tower and steps over the edge.

This tragic encounter draws vivid memories to the surface, forcing Isabella to probe deeper into the secrets of her own past as she tries to protect the young girl from the authorities. Together with charismatic photographer Roberto Falco, Isabella is about to discover that secrets run deeper, and are more dangerous, than either of them could have possibly imagined . . .

From the glittering marble piazzas, to the picturesque hillside villages and winding streets of Rome, Kate Furnivall's epic new novel will take you on an breathtaking journey of intrigue, romance and betrayal.
TBNT Book Challenge for January:
A Murder Mystery OR Combines Thrills and Romance

Book Spin Bingo:
Title starting with alphabets I OR O

My first book for the year 2022 and it turns out to be quite enthralling! It definitely meets TBNT Book Challenge of a murder mystery AND combines thrills and romance! I'm just glad that I was able to finish it as it was such a busy month! It sure felt stressful trying to finish it either so I think I'll give the challenge a miss if I'm not able to do it, not going to rush to meet it anymore.

I was transported back to the olden days of Italy when Mussolini rules the country and loyalty of the people were always tested way back then. Overall premise of the story was interesting but it was not as engaging at some point. Maybe I felt rushed to finish it but I sure was not into it somewhere in the middle. When Isabella and Roberto got together, it wasn't a surprised and the ending was what I have thought it would be.

I would think this as an entertaining read, to pass time and liked that it has an interesting look during the Mussolini regime. Though fiction, I just liked anything historical plus I liked this author's writing from her previous books. Just wished it was more engaging this time around.

A romantic quote to end this post:
"Isabella, the first time I saw you, you had a blasted chicken stuck under your arm and an ancient vecchia clinging to youfor dear life, almost toppling you over. All around there was noise and confusion and the greyness of uncertainty. Fear was stamped on everyone's face. But you, with your chicken and your old woman and your smile, were like a shaft of sunlight on that station platform.'' He let his words drift across the space that divided them. ''I loved you then, Isabella, and I love you now.''

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Picture Googled

Time flies and a new year beckons! Chinese New Year greetings to family and friends celebrating this auspicious new year! Happy Holidays to the rest! To those driving back to hometown, drive safely and stay safe!


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