book tour : the blazewrath games

Rating: 4 out of 5.

disclaimer: the blazewrath games was given to me as an arc from amparo ortiz, pagestreet publishing, and caffeine book tours as a part of my participation in their book tours. however, this hasn’t affected my review in anyway. all thoughts are still my own.


about

title: blazewrath games

author: amparo ortiz

publisher: page street publishing

publication date: 06 october 2020

genres: young adult & fantasy


synopsis

experience the world cup with dragons in this debut fantasy, set in an alternate contemporary world, in which riders and their steeds compete in an international sports tournament.

lana torres has always preferred dragons to people. in a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the blazewrath world cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. lana longs to represent her native puerto rico in their first ever world cup appearance, and when puerto rico’s runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

but when she discovers that a former blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the cup is jeopardized. the pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the cup gets cancelled. all lana wanted was to represent her country. now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.


review

the blazewrath games follows lana torres, a young puerto-rican girl, who longs for nothing more than to represent her home in the blazewrath games – a dangerous tournament full of an array of dragons, challenges, and obstacles – despite the fact that she lacks the support of most of her family, has received no training for these games, and doesn’t even live on her home island anymore.

going into reading this novel, i wasn’t quite sure what to expect – i have never been the type of person to be interested in reading, or even picking up, a book about sports. however, after seeing many compare this book to other big name series and novels, and being pushed by my friends, i decided, why not? and, boy oh boy, am i glad that i did.

the blazewrath games is not the type of novel that you can compare to any other, regardless of what comparisons you may see or make notice of, this novel is one of originality and authenticity. i mean, the first few chapters felt like a breath of fresh air. whether that was from the plot itself or ortiz’s excellent writing, i cannot say. although i wouldn’t doubt it if it turned out to be both.

this novel was beautifully written. the plot was fun and easy to follow, despite it being completely unpredictable. i was unaware of what was going to be happening most of the time due to the great way that the author would misdirect you. she would guide me towards one path of the story, only to suddenly have me take the other. it was full of varying plot twists that weren’t just there to be there. they actually had a meaningful impact on both the story and the characters.

another key aspect of the blazewrath games were the characters and diversity laid within it. almost all of the main and supporting characters were people of color, with more of them leaning towards being puerto-rican or latino/latina. this was an aspect of the story that i really enjoyed as i have typically not seen stories based around puerto-ricans, especially ones that feel so much connection to their island, people, and culture. there were some white characters who played a relatively large role in the story, but that didn’t take away the fact that this is obviously a story for and about puerto-ricans, latinos, and so on. in fact, i would say that it added to it – especially when the main character, lana, is talking about how even though her mom’s side of the family doesn’t view her the way they view the rest of the family (because she is half white and half puerto-rican), she wouldn’t ever want to change who she is or where she came from. i think that a scene or even a train of though like this is one that is important, and that should be included in many other novels where the main character is a person of color. i have read too many ‘diverse’ novels where the main character wishes that they weren’t their race or ethnicity and longs to be a part of the majority, and i just wish that wasn’t the case. although it is a reality for many, i don’t always want to read about how someone like me slowly begins to learn how to love their race and skin color. i want them to just love it. so, it makes me happy that ortiz did just that.

and, finally, the best thing about this novel has to be that of worldbuilding – it is quite clearly something that ortiz excels at. obviously, this story is set in our world, with countries, landmarks, and events familiar to us, but ortiz adds a whole other dimension to this world that makes it seem like both a fantasy and reality at the same time. there are fantastical elements within this piece that come in the form of dragons and magic, but there are also elements such as prejudices against those with magic and fear towards the dragon species that add both realism and depth to this world, and make it a story that i can envision myself living within.

also! how could i fail to mention the most enticing element to this novel – the dragons. although a good portion of the story failed to include any interaction with dragons, which is the only reason i rated this four out of five stars (it’s a preference/expectations thing really), anyone reading this novel could still tell how important they were to the story, the world, and the main character. the dragons had an impact on pretty much everything. and, although this is more of a minor detail, i loved how no one dragon seemed better than another. they all had their own strengths and weaknesses that were either exemplified or helped by their human counterpart. i loved reading about all the different types of dragons and seeing their relationships with others (whether they be human or dragon).

the blazewrath games is a remarkable novel – one that actually makes me want to read more about sports, so long as dragons and magic are involved. it is chockfull of extremely lovable characters, even if they’re not the best people, even more lovable dragons, culture, and a whole bunch of other things that would take me too long to write about. i would easily recommend this novel to anyone that finds themselves wanting to read more diverse literature, young adult and fantasy novels, or just a good book.


tour

click on the above photo to be taken to the launch blog post for this book tour, where you can find links to other blogs and reviews on amparo ortiz’ the blazewrath games

author

amparo ortiz was born in san juan, puerto rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. her short story comic, “what remains in the dark,” appears in the eisner award-winning anthology puerto rico strong (lion forge, 2018), and saving chupie, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with harpercollins in winter 2022. She holds an m.a. in english and a b.a. in psychology from the upr’s río piedras campus. when she’s not teaching esl to her college students, she’s teaching herself korean, devouring as much young adult fiction as she can, and writing about latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical.


purchase

the blue ticket review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

disclaimer: some of the content within this book can be triggering. moments of both abuse and assault are described.


synopsis

calla knows how the lottery works. everyone does. on the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. a white ticket grants you marriage and children. a blue ticket grants you a career and freedom. you are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. and once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. but what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?

when calla, a blue ticket woman, begins to question her fate, she must go on the run. but her survival will be dependent on the very qualities the lottery has taught her to question in herself and on the other women the system has pitted against her. pregnant and desperate, calla must contend with whether or not the lottery knows her better than she knows herself and what that might mean for her child.


review

in sophie mackintosh’s second novel, the blue ticket, we are transported to an unnamed and undated dystopia – one where the fate of all women relies on the color of a ticket they are given at the arrival of their first period.

unlike most dystopian novels, the blue ticket isn’t one that focuses on the inner workings of society and it’s corrupt leaders, nor is it one that follows the protagonist on their journey to tackle and take down this corruption. it is simply about a young woman who defies the government, who wants to be an exception to the rules, who wants the chance to choose.

one of my favorite things about this novel is how beautifully most, if not all, of the characters were written – they all seemed to be three-dimensional and realistic, as though mackintosh had created backstories and personalities for each and everyone of them, or better yet, as if she had plucked them all from real life.

the complexity of these characters made it hard for me, and i assume for many others, to distinguish which characters were worth noting and which were not. it even made it difficult to predict which characters i felt could be trusted. while these two things are sometimes a result of poor writing or lack of detail, it is clear that they were at least somewhat intentional for this novel. it made me feel as though i were right alongside calla, afraid of who would appear, who would notice me, and who would come to betray me.

speaking of calla, she is one of the most realistic characters i have read in a long time. the thoughts she has while in her journey are very self-contradicting. one chapter she’ll be dreaming and fantasizing of the future she’ll have with her child, and the next she’ll be having doubts on whether or not this was the right thing for her to do. and while these thoughts make calla appear as someone literally anyone could know in real life, they also make her appear as someone who didn’t think things through, and who maybe, just maybe, isn’t the best person around.

moving away from the characters, i think the storyline within this book is perfect – i love how it is a book that focuses mainly on women. i mean, it even has a super cute wlw romance within it. i won’t spoil this romance, but i will say, it definitely won’t be what you’re expecting. i also love how the blue ticket can definitely be interpreted as a feminist novel. i’m not sure if that’s the direction mackintosh intended to go in, but it’s there all right.

and, finally, whether you like the blue ticket or not, you’d be a fool to deny how excellent of a writer sophie mackintosh is – i was entranced with her writing from the get go. she was able to make me feel love and sadness so easily, and she was also able to make me cringe with the thought of feeling as much pain as calla herself felt. she wrote about sensitive topics like abuse and assault in a way that was lyrical, and although it was sometime tough to read, i couldn’t stop. i literally devoured this book in one long sitting, and i was never bored or tired of the story.

i am honestly quite shocked that this book has received little attention from the book community, or at least the community i am becoming more and more immersed in. the blue ticket is worth all your praise, time, and attention. it gives you a new perspective on the way people live their lives, and why they live them the way that they do. it leaves you longing for more. it leaves you unsatisfied, but in a good way. and it leaves you absolutely in love. please, go purchase this book if you haven’t already. you will not regret it. 


quotes

“so i slipped it in my jacket pocket next to the knife, and the two objects knocked against each other, their own kind of communion. fragility and a hard edge. what i had lost, and what i had found.”

“i knew there was grief stored up in me like water trapped under the ground. i knew that i was never going to be the same, whatever happened. but i was still alive. i was still coursing with blood. i was skinless against the world, its terror, but its beauty too.”


purchase


introductions

hello everyone, i’m jynastie and welcome to clearly, meta!

for the past few weeks, i have eagerly been working on the creation of this blog and my youtube channel, both of which i am so excited to announce i have officially completed and am happy with — for now at least.

this is far from being my first attempt at creating a blog, or even writing this blog post, but this is my first time actually being proud of what i’ve created. i cannot wait to begin actively posting content, to meet other bloggers, and to truly become immersed within the blogging community.

but, before i begin writing and posting about whatever i please, it only makes sense to have this post be one of introductions and greetings.

so, hello again!

as i previously stated, my name is jynastie, pronounced jen-uh-stee, and i was born seventeen years ago in virginia to a black father and a mexican mother – thus making me a proud daughter of mixed race.

growing up in virginia, there wasn’t much to do, so i spent a lot of my time reading. i easily devoured any book that was put in front of me, whether i liked it or not. i mean, i read the catcher in the rye in elementary school and took my classmates accelerated reader (ar) tests just so i could read their library books. reading was, quite literally, everything to me.

then, around five years ago, my family and i moved to texas to be closer to my mom’s side of the family. i’m not sure why, but this is also around the same time that i stopped reading.

don’t get me wrong – i still read a lot. i was an assistant librarian in middle school which gave me a lot of opportunities to read books before anyone else did, but i didn’t yearn to read as much as i used to, and things only worsened when i entered high school.

for my freshman year, i went to a magnet high school, which meant that the schoolwork i had was more difficult than anything i had previously experienced (please keep in mind that i went to a high school for math classes my eighth grade year, so it’s not as though i am simply complaining and making excuses). i was too busy focusing on schoolwork and participating in school activities/sports to read. the next year my mother moved us across town which meant i started attending another school, but i still didn’t read. this time it was because i was spending a vast majority of my time either getting used to the newness of this school or actively participating within the theatre department, which i have to say is now one of my favorite passions after reading. this past school year, i finally got back into reading and a whole bunch of other things that make me happy such as watching various films, journaling, writing, painting, and playing animal crossing.

this is way off topic, but my two favorite villagers from animal crossing are molly the duck and sprinkle the penguin because they are so adorable! i would die for those two cuties. i would love to know your favorite villager(s) if you happen to have one!

but, anyways, that’s me and my reading journey in a nutshell. a few more random, but essential, things to know about me are: i can technically speak three languages although both my spanish and german are horrid, i focus heavily on character depth and development when i read (if the characters are dull or two-dimensional, i probably won’t like whatever i happen to be reading), my favorite meal type is breakfast, and i would consider myself to be an optimist. most of the time at least.

i’m sorry if the wording in this, or any of my future posts, is weird – i just really want to write in a way that is accurate to myself. i don’t want my blog posts to sound like an essay.

now, i think that about ends this introduction post – i don’t want this to go on for too long, plus i am sure that you will all get to know more about me as time goes on. if you would like to watch my first ever youtube video where i answer questions from the booktube newbie tag, here you are 🙂

thanks for reading this post and checking out my blog, until next time everyone, stay safe ❤