November 13, 2018

Gift Guide for Jade | Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix Blog Tour

I read and loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns last year, so you can imagine how excited I was for Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix! It's the companion sequel, out just last week, which happens years later and follows the journey of Jade, the last princess in the line of the Dragon Kings and the only one who stands in the path of Empress Xifeng's complete takeover of Feng Lu. I just finished it last week (and adored it!), and I'm so thrilled today to be a part of the blog tour. I hope you enjoy the gift guide for Jade and her adventures, and check out the giveaway!

hair combs | When Jade arrives at the palace at the behest of her stepmother, one of the things that immediately happens is that she goes from the simple way of dress she employed at the monastery to being dressed in all sorts of opulent looks - from well-woven silk to opulent jewelry to elaborate hairpieces, like these combs. (This is another pretty alternative!)

apple-shaped bag | The apple is a common element in both the original Snow White tale and this novel, and it certainly plays a part in one of the most pivotal moments in both. I thought that this cute bag would be a great accent piece and a way to symbolize that!

fish bone necklace | Who wouldn't daydream about the potential to make a wish or two and have it granted? I know I do! This dainty little necklace would serve as a fun reminder of the potential to find magic, to experience magic in the world with just a little bit of faith...

burning rose art | If there's one thing that I loved about Jade (and there's definitely more than one thing), it's that she was brought up with a deep appreciation for life and the simplest of needs. She goes on the greatest of quests, and struggles to find her courage, and eventually, her journey takes some unexpected twists and turns that change her as a person. I feel like something as beautiful as this three-panel artwork would really remind her of what she experienced and how she's grown.

Chinese myths and legends | Stories play a large part in Jade's journey, particularly the ones she's heard her Amah tell her over and over again since she was a child. I loved learning a little bit more about these stories through reading this novel, and I think Jade would appreciate a collection of them to store in her own personal library.

white paper lanterns | Functional, lovely and symbolic of the path she needed to take on her journey, I have no doubts in my mind that Jade would find a place to recreate the glow of the lantern lights hanging from the trees of the Great Forest in her own home.

tapestry | I've already said it before, but I also want to say it again - I think Jade would really appreciate art. I also think she'd have a special soft spot for embroidery, simply because of the gift Amah gave her of an embroidered map that plays a role in her epic quest. 

dragon jewelry box | Through her mother's side of the family, Jade is directly of the line of the Dragon King. This jewelry box is a fun little nod to that, and it's also a good representation on the role that dragons play in this novel.

phoenix crown | Every princess needs a crown - and this one would be a lovely fit for Jade. She would look positively regal in it, but the symbolism (and the fact that it's for a bride) play a large part in my choosing to include it here.

floral dress | When Jade was still living with the monks, she loved to decorate her room with flowers. I just have the sense that she'd incorporate that into her life wherever she ends up, and this dress would be a lovely way for her to do so.

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #2
Previous Book in Series: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn't want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Julie C. Dao ( 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.

I'm really excited to be able to host a giveaway for you guys! I had the chance to see Julie at her launch event in New York City for Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, and as always, she was the loveliest. She was kind enough to sign a paperback copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and my ARC of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix - and one lucky winner will get their hands on both! This giveaway is US only, and open through 12:00 AM on November 21, 2018. Winner will be selected randomly and contacted directly via email. Good luck!


  1. This is such a lovely post! I love the lanterns and I can't wait to read Kingdom!


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