Posts Categorized: Blog Tour

Friday, October 27, 2017

What Julie Dao Learned While Writing Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

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Hey everyone! Welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS. If you’re a fan of complex heroes & anti-heroes, this book should 110% be on your TBR. Today, we have Julie Dao on the blog talking about what she learned while writing FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS.

What Julie Dao Learned While Writing Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is about a villain’s rise to power – or at least, Xifeng would be considered a villain in any other book where she wasn’t the star. Here, she is a dark and ambitious antiheroine who will let nothing stand in her way on the path to the throne!

As a result, the most common question I get is: was it hard writing such a dark and violent character when I’m so nice? And my answer is always: no! It was quite easy to get into Xifeng’s head. I did worry when I first started writing the book that she was too much for me to handle. She is unlike any other character I’ve ever written, after all. The people in my books always have more goodness and light than they do darkness, but for some reason I began drafting the book in 2015 and Xifeng slipped onto the page as smoothly as a serpent. (Ha!)

That was my bizarre discovery: that I am capable of writing someone so completely morally different from me. I often run over conversations in my head again and again, worrying about whether I had offended the other person or hurt their feelings unknowingly, and here is a main character who will literally kill anyone who stands in her way.

I also think it was easier for me to step away from her ruthlessness because I wrote the book in third-person. The whole time, I had a healthy distance between me the author and her the character. I think it would have been difficult had I written the book in first-person, where I would have had to put myself directly into her shoes.

The key, for me, was that Xifeng *is* a part of me in some ways: I share her drive, her determination, and her ambition, so I understood her on a basic level. It’s where our morals come in that we differ entirely!

About the Book


What Julie Dao Learned While Writing Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Julie Dao
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, YA
Publication date: October 10th, 2017
by Philomel Books

GoodreadsPurchase
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

About the Author

Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.

Giveaway!

Three (3) winners receive:
One (1) hardcover copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on October 2, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 23, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 25, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore: 10 Awesome Umbrellas

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore: 10 Awesome Umbrellas

Posted by on 10/03/2017 • 5 Comments

Welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for Jane, Unlimited! In Jane, Unlimited, the MC is obsessed with making umbrellas and so I was inspired to do a post dedicated to some of the super cute umbrellas out there.

10 Awesome Umbrellas You Will Want to Own

1.

This cute one from Kate Spade. Those eyes are throwin all the shade at the rain for you.

2. 

I found this one for all your subtle rainbow needs. Also, can you imagine twirling that in the rain??? It seems like so much fun.

3. 

This one will let you embrace your inner Wednesday Addams and I think that’s fucking important.

4. 

I would highly suggest not looking at the prize tag on this one because there is a chance it’ll give you a heart attack. BUT….

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

Posted by on 09/18/2017 • 3 Comments

Hey hey hey! A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is an important book that addresses mental health/phobias so I decided to share some of my fears/nightmares with y’all. Things are about to get weirdly personal (but also a little silly because that’s just who I am so if you’re not into that, I say it’s time to close your browser or email and do something else.

A Semi-Definitive List of My 5 Worst Fears/Nightmares

1. When I was a kid, I developed an odd fear of heights that never went away. When I was a kid, it wasn’t that the height scared me but more that I would lose something or someone important to me. Now it’s both?

2. Dying alone. I know a lot of people will share this…

Blog Tour: Like/Try/Why And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

Blog Tour: Like/Try/Why And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

Posted by on 06/07/2017 • 5 Comments

Today Xpresso Reads is on the blog tour for AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR and I am going to be doing a round of Like/Try/Why. Lez goooo

Like Rocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar –> Try And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

Why: So ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES is actually a very underrated title that needs more love so I am trying to push both books with this rec. Both books have families that cannot be trusted, secrets and psychological thriller vibes.

Like Mystic River by Dennis Lehane –> Try And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

Why: MYSTIC RIVER is somewhat of a classic psychological thriller AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR has similar vibes complete with bizarre twists you didn’t really think would occur.

Like Pretty…

Blog Tour: Lemons by Melissa Savage

Blog Tour: Lemons by Melissa Savage

Posted by on 06/01/2017 • 1 Comment

Lemons is an unaccepted gem of a novel. It sounds all cutesy because on the surface it is about two kids searching for Bigfoot but really it is a novel about grief and family. Lemons is about redefining family, dealing with loss and also friendship (because the best ship is a friendship.)

Here are 5 reasons to read Lemons

1. Bigfoot. Whether or not you believe in Bigfoot, it is an interesting conspiracy theory and I love all the fun Melissa Savage clearly had with it. She has done her research and it shows in her writing.

2. Lem. I LOVE LEM and I love how complex her character is. I love that she isn’t just the ‘odd ball’ or a typical, displaced child trope. Lem manages to ‘fit’ in (and not in…

Blog Tour: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Blog Tour: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Posted by on 05/09/2017 • 1 Comment

This was a creepy, weird book, interesting graphic novel.  I don’t tend to read a lot of them, but I do enjoy them on occasion. This one has beautiful artwork and a pretty crazy storyline. I thought that the illustrations really brought the story to life and added a creepy factor to it.  The characters were great too and though we don’t learn too much about them yet, it really makes the anticipation for a sequel almost unbearable.

Addie is the main character. She takes care of her little sister now that her parents are dead. Thanks to The Spill. No one is allowed in the Spill Zone, but Addie sneaks in and takes gorgeous, haunting, and chilling photos of it. It’s super dangerous, but that is the only way…

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Q&A With S. Jae Jones

Q&A With S. Jae Jones

Posted by on 02/13/2017 • 2 Comments

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. Today we have a Q&A with the author and hopefully they’ll make you feel even more excited about reading the book!

Please give a round of applause for S. Jae-Jones!

Q&A With S. Jae-Jones

What was your favorite part about writing this book? What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved that I was able to draw on so many things that inspired or influenced me aesthetically as I wrote this book. I love goth stories, Death and the Maiden tropes, Jacques Cocteau movies, Phantom of the Opera, glitter, David Bowie, Mozart, and all of that made it into my book in some form or another. I don’t have a favorite scene,…