BLOG TOUR | Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor
Amazon.ca | B&N
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Publisher: Parliament House Press
Publication date: 29 September 2020
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy, Folklore

Synopsis:

When Marcella Leones relocates her family of aswang vampires from the Philippines to Portland, Oregon, she raises her grandchildren under strict rules so humans will not expose them. Her only wish is to give them a peaceful life, far away from the hunters and the Filipino government that attempted to exterminate them.

Before she dies, she passes on the power to her eldest grandchild, Percival. He vows to uphold the rules set forth by Leones, allowing his family to roam freely without notice. After all, they are aswangs.

However, when the aswang covenant is broken, the murder rate in Portland rises drastically. Who is behind the murders? And who is behind the broken covenant? Along with sensie Penelope Jane, Percival must find the truth.

It’s then they discover that there are other breeds of aswangs—werebeasts, witches, ghouls, and viscera—who have been residing in Portland for years.

Based on Filipino folklore (aswang), “Vampires of Portlandia” is a fantastical tale of different monsters coexisting in the weirdest city in America.

According to the lore, the legend involved two brothers, both gods. One brother Gugurang, was pure, and the other, Asuang, was flawed.

Growing up in the Philippines, I remember being more frightened than usual nearing November 1st and 2nd. These are the days when we mostly visit our dead relatives. I’ve always felt as if the pull of the supernatural is weirdly strong during these two days — I am also 150% scaredy-cat so, what do I know? Haha! I also remember news segments dedicated to ghosts, white ladies, and weird unworldly sightings. In addition to that, we live in belief, and maybe fear, of unnatural beings existing either in (or on) your neighbour’s tree, or that mound of dirt two streets over.

This was the main reason why when a blog tour invite for Vampires of Portlandia popped in my inbox, I quickly applied and hoped I could be a part of it.

Vampires of Portlandia is a #ownvoices story centred around the aswang lore in the Philippines. It follows Percival, and his family as they blend in in Portland, when a sudden influx of homeless and elderly deaths shakes the city. Much of what I know about aswangs in the Philippines came from scary movies that I tried so hard to avoid (remember Shake, Rattle and Roll?). Having these beings as the center of Tanamor’s story set during the holidays somewhat lessen the scare factor a little which I greatly appreciated. In addition to this, Tanamor gave the aswangs a morality to start with. They didn’t just pop out of nowhere. They are human.

One aspect of the Filipino culture which was prevalent in this story was family. Family doesn’t always mean “by blood”. Family also means doing what ever you can to protect those you love. Throughout the story, I can’t help but feel as if Percival, Roger, Geena and Marco were put in such a disadvantage. However, the more I sit on it, the more I realize I probably would’ve done the same thing Marcella, their grandmother, did.

I enjoyed reading this. I enjoyed the display of conspiracy theory woven by the government to rid the Philippines of aswangs. I enjoyed the nods to Filipino culture. Furthermore, I appreciated Tanamor preserving their morality. Just because they’re aswangs doesn’t mean they’re evil.

Thank you to Caffeine Book Tours, Jason Tanamor, and Parliament House Press for letting me be a part of this blog tour and for providing me with a digital ARC for review.

If you would like to check out the rest of the #AswangInPortlandTour tour stops, you can do so by viewing the schedule here.

About the Author:

Jason Tanamor is the critically acclaimed author of the novels “Anonymous” and “Drama Dolls.” His new novel “Vampires of Portlandia” is a NA urban fantasy about Filipino folklore – aswang. His writings have appeared in more than 250 publications. He’s interviewed personalities such as Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Pete Rose, and Dane Cook, and has covered U.S. President Barack Obama. Tanamor currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area.

You can find him in his website, Facebook page, Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Blog Tour | Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Amazon.ca | Indigo.ca
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One day, when a girl was born in Rosario, the earth would shake with anticipation for her future and not dread.

It’s release day!!!

Set in Argentina, Furia follows Camila, a girl who has big dreams of becoming a professional soccer player. With a budding-soccer-star for a brother, it’s easy to say that Camila’s talent runs in the family. However, her family’s expectations of her lead her to hide her love and talent for the sport.

I found the pacing in the beginning a bit difficult to get into. However, once I got used to it, it flowed beautifully. Méndez wrote this so beautifully I felt as if I was right there watching Camila play. It felt as if I was right there with my own Diego, enjoying Argentina. I felt myself rooting for her: I wanted her dreams to come true.

While reading Furia, I found there were a few storylines going on at the same time:

  • Camila and soccer. The main focus of the book is Camila’s love for soccer. It also showed the various ways she tries to work around her family just so she can keep playing. Her ambition, determination, passion, and drive to go as far as her talent would take her was inspiring to read.
  • Her abusive father. One thing I realized since becoming a parent myself: I will sacrifice and do what is needed for my kids and family. Camila’s father was no exception. He gave up what could’ve been a such a successful career upon learning that he’s going to be a father. What I didn’t expect was the resentment. I didn’t see it at first, but the verbal abuse they get from him were scattered and would be about a range of things it’s so easy to let it go. They weren’t so hard to ignore once I recognized these little comments for what they are.
  • Society vs. girls / women. Firstly, girls disappearing was something that simply exists in this novel. No one knows who’s doing these horrible things. Also, they’re quick to blame the victim for what happened to them. The worst part, it felt as if none of the authorities were doing anything to resolve them. Secondly, given her gender, Camila’s family thinks she shouldn’t be playing soccer at all. Furthermore, social conventions prohibits girls from playing the game.

Furia is a feminist, coming-of-age story centred on a girl whose dreams of becoming a professional soccer player faces familial and societal hurdles. Given this book’s target demographic are 14 – 18 year-olds, Méndez wrote a character who they can easily relate to. A character who didn’t let anything and anyone get in the way of her dreams. A character who believed in her ability and talent. Most importantly, a character who knows the value of hard work, and understands that she can can become successful in her own right.

I had the great pleasure of reading Furia, and I would like to thank Algonquin & Algonquin Young Readers for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for review.

About the author:

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine
American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She
lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable
dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant
recipient, she’s a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the MFA
program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of
Fine Arts. Méndez is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women
and nonbinary Latinx middle grade and young adult authors. Furia is her first
novel for young adult readers.

You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Ep. 9.3 – 2020 | April – June Wrap-Up

*This post contains affiliate links*

Welcome to the conclusion of my 2nd quarter reading wrap-up! In this episode, I share with you the graphic novels, and comics I’ve read in the last 3 months.

Listen to part 1 here.
Listen to part 2 here.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Listen on iTunes / Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play
Listen on Spotify
Listen on a platform of your choice: podcast RSS feed

She Reads Again: Blog | Instagram | Goodreads

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, feel free to subscribe, rate and review on a podcast platform of your choice. You can also follow and message me through Instagram, or through the comments sections here in my blog.

Thank you for listening!

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Ep. 9.2 – 2020 | April – June Wrap-Up

Book Covers: The Oddmire: The Unready Queen, Ella Has A Plan, The Oddmire: Changeling, Talking As Fast As I Can, So You Want To Start A Podcast, Different Like Me, Stories For South Asian Supergirls, This Book Is Anti-Racist

*This post contains affiliate links*

Welcome to part 2 of episode 9 where I share with you my 2nd Quarter reading wrap-up.

Listen to part 1 here.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Listen on iTunes / Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play
Listen on Spotify
Listen on a platform of your choice: podcast RSS feed

She Reads Again: Blog | Instagram | Goodreads

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, feel free to subscribe, rate and review on a podcast platform of your choice. You can also follow and message me through Instagram, or through the comments sections here in my blog.

Thank you for listening!

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WIKATHON: August 2020 TBR

I’ve first heard of Wikathon through Kath’s Instagram. I pretty much swore to myself I will join in, and for once I WILL FINISH IT. I’ve joined readathons before, but I have never finished one. I even joined two reading challenges for 2020 and , well, I’m probably not going to complete that either. But this one, this one I’m going to commit to.

What is wikathon? Wikathon is a month long readathon dedicated to Filipino authors. If you don’t know, I am Filipino: born and raised (although I am currently residing outside the country). I remember my elementary school doing a weeklong celebration every school year on August where the Filipino language and culture are the main focus. There would be assemblies, contests, games, the school would be decorated — all these for the whole week. So when I found this readathon, I decided to join in. And I intend to finish the books I’ve chosen.

Wikathon reading prompts
Wikathon TBR Prompts

Now with less than a week before the readathon starts, I present to you my TBR. I found these recommendations over Instagram and the Wikathon discord server.

Wikathon TBR
The books I plan to read in August.
  • Patron Saints Of Nothing (This book worked for half of the prompts which I was incredibly happy with because there is no way I’ll be able to read 8 novels in a month.)
  • Stay A Little Longer
  • My Fate According to the Butterfly
  • Lalani of the Distant Sea

I do plan on recording / documenting the month as I finish these books. I just need to figure out the medium I’m going to use. Other than that, I’m all set for August except for one prompt: Sariling Wika. But hey, I initially planned on simply reading a work by a Filipino author, so the fact that I only have one empty prompt left is already a win for me.

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Ep. 9.1 – 2020 | April – June Wrap-Up

Book Covers: Would Like To Meet, The Art Of Making Memories, The Hating Game, Flying Lessons and Other Stories, The Giving Tree, The Very Last Leaf, Can I Touch Your Hair?

*This post contains affiliate links*

Welcome to episode 9 which will come to you in 3 parts.

This week, I’m sharing with you my 2nd quarter reading wrap-up.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Listen on iTunes / Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play
Listen on Spotify
Listen on a platform of your choice: podcast RSS feed

She Reads Again: Blog | Instagram | Goodreads

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, feel free to subscribe, rate and review on a podcast platform of your choice. You can also follow and message me through Instagram, or through the comments sections here in my blog.

Thank you for listening!

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Ep. 8 – Why I Started This Podcast

Microphone beside an iPhone which is showing the podcast.

Hi everyone!

In this episode, I talk about why I started this podcast and where I think this podcast is going.

Books mentioned in this episode:

  • So You Want to Start a Podcast: Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, and Building a Community That Will Listen by Kristen Meinzer Amazon | Audible | Kindle | Indigo.ca

Listen on iTunes / Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play
Listen on Spotify
Listen on a platform of your choice: podcast RSS feed

She Reads Again: Blog | Instagram | Goodreads

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, feel free to subscribe, rate and review on a podcast platform of your choice. You can also follow and message me through Instagram, or through the comments sections here in my blog.

Thank you for listening!

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WWW Wednesday No. 1

WWW Wednesday is hosted by TAKING ON A WORLD OF WORDS where in we share our answers to these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Book Spines: Hungry Hearts, Winter, The Goldfinch
Books I’m currently reading (T-B): Hungry Hearts, Winter by Marissa Meyer, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I’m currently reading three books coming in to July:

  • Hungry Hearts – which I’m enjoying so far. It’s a collection of stories centred on food on Hungry Hearts Row.
  • Winter – Ah, the conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I’m a little upset I haven’t finished the series already.
  • The Goldfinch – I have heard great and bad things mostly about writing preferences. So far it’s going ok.

Recently Finished

Audiobook of Under The Table by Stephanie Evanovich on top of an apron
Under The Table by Stephanie Evanovich

Under The Table by Stephanie Evanovich was our June pick in our online book club. I didn’t particularly enjoy this book because it had certain characteristics I found to be inconsistent and unbelievable.

Reading Next

Ebook Cover: Me And White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Me And White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

I’m kind of glad our online book club simply announced we were reading Layla F. Saad’s Me And White Supremacy. The Black Lives Matter Movement is thriving during these times and I think it’s important, especially for future generations, that we educate ourselves. We can’t truly be an ally unless we have the foundation to help us stand firm for what we believe.

Let me just say I’m very excited to start this today, and for the coming discussion.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts about them, or if they’re on your TBR list on the comments section.

See you next time, and have a great day!

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Blog Tour: The Unready Queen by William Ritter

The Unready Queen by William Ritter
The Unready Queen by William Ritter
Amazon | Indigo.ca
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Goodreads:

Human and goblin brothers Cole and Tinn are finding their way back to normal after their journey to the heart of the Oddmire. Normal, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with them. Fable, the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, has her first true friends in the brothers. The Queen allows Fable to visit Tinn and Cole as long as she promises to stay quiet and out of sight—concealing herself and her magic from the townspeople of Endsborough.

But when the trio discovers that humans are destroying the Wild Wood and the lives of its creatures for their own dark purposes, Fable cannot stay quiet. As the unspoken truce between the people of Endsborough and the inhabitants of the Wild Wood crumbles, violence escalates, threatening war and bringing Fable’s mother closer to the fulfillment of a deadly prophecy that could leave Fable a most Unready Queen.

In Book 2 of The Oddmire Series, we follow Fable as she learns how to control her powers while somewhat running on teen angst.

If you’ve read The Changeling, The Unready Queen picks up right where this left off. The Burtons are once again adjusting now that they know Tinn is a goblin. This makes certain aspects of their lives a challenge. Annie starts a new job, and Tinn has been spending time with his goblin family to learn his background and learn how to control his magic. Fable, on the other hand, is such a wild spirit. She’s so glad she has friends from town to hang out with. I especially love how she calls everything outside of the Wild Wood: people-this, people-that. It’s a different take on what we humans have, which also constantly reminds us that Fable is different from the rest of us.

This story also minimally touches on Tinn and Fable’s attitude regarding their magical abilities. Due to being raised by humans, Tinn longs for time spent in the goblin horde. It allows him to learn more about his powers, hone his abilities, and learn more about his goblin heritage. Despite being born with incredible magic, it doesn’t come naturally to him. He had to work with it, understand how to make it work with him, and constantly practice. He takes in all of his lessons with the understanding that he needed this; he needed to learn how to control it. This determination is clear when he pleaded he needs all the help he can get when his hand turned the color of the ink he accidentally got on his finger and he couldn’t transform it back to normal. Fable’s magic, however, comes naturally to her to a point where the Queen deemed magic lessons necessary and mandatory – something Fable isn’t a fan of.

I found this story to heavily lean on Fable being “The Unready Queen” because she’s about 13 or 14 years old, with basic magic knowledge. Imagine if something happened to her mother. It’s a situation no kid should be thrown into. At the same time, the term could’ve easily defined the Queen of the Deep Dark. The prophecy showed Fable, blood, and a gunshot / bullet. Imagine if something happened to Fable. It’s a situation no mother, no parent, should be thrown into. Until that prophecy is fulfilled, they’re both unready queens.

The Unready Queen is a story of friendship, family, and bravery. It’s understanding why things needed to get done a certain way. If The Changeling is Tinn and Cole’s story, Fable’s is The Unready Queen.

About the Author:

WILLIAM RITTER is an Oregon educator and author of the New York Times bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.
William Ritter
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

WILLIAM RITTER is an Oregon educator and author of the New York Times bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.

Thank you to Algonquin Books & Algonquin Young Readers, and Netgalley for providing a copy of The Unready Queen for review.

Grab a copy: Amazon | Indigo.ca

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Oh How I’ve Missed Lorelai

Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between)
Grab a copy: Amazon | Audible | Kindle | Indigo.ca
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I remember randomly choosing Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham alongside Anna Kenrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody when I was looking for audiobooks for my commute to work. Our restaurant was closed for a week and I got to work on a different branch which was a half-an-hour drive each way.

Talking As Fast As I Can is about how she got started on her career. From odd jobs, to side gigs, memorable auditions, and relationships formed on and off set.

Since I’ve never watched Parenthood, the parts that hit me hard were when she talked about her time in Gilmore Girls. I LOVE GILMORE GIRLS. I love Lorelai and Rory’s mother-and-daughter relationship that I hoped to have the same kind of relationship with my daughter, if and when I am blessed with one.

Closer to the end of the audio, she rounded off her book with her experience on Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. From the uncertainty of the mini movies, to finally filming, to reminiscing Edward Herrmann, to finally knowing what the four final words were. Her reading of her journal entries while filming added a touch of nostalgia as I was getting it from her point of view, in addition to my flashbacks of watching the Year In The Life when it came out.

Listening to Graham’s audiobook is akin to listening to Lorelai do a monologue. There are times where she slows down when she talks, but most of the time it’s her signature Lorelai speed and I enjoyed it very much.

Grab a copy of Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between):
Amazon | Audible | Kindle | Indigo.ca
Add To Goodreads

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