Are you excited for the release of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix in early November?! I definitely am! The first book, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, followed Xifeng on her journey to becoming the Evil Queen. And now Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix follows Princess Jade on her quest to usurp Empress Xifeng and take back her kingdom.
Penguin Teen is hosting a wonderfully terrifying Wicked Reads Blogger Campaign, and I am so excited to be a part of it! The candy I chose was Jolly Rancher sticks, and the fun book paired with that candy was Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!
If you and your book friends have not read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, then do I have a treat for you (and even if you have, this is still a treat)! You can’t read one of Julie C. Dao’s books without throwing an awesome book party! And this book party is themed after Forest of a Thousand Lanterns AND Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix.
But first, check out the synopsis of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!
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.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Book Reading Party!
FYI, even though I list everything in steps, you can do these all in any order you would like to! 🙂 and I also apologize for some of the picture quality!
Step one: Purchase or checkout Forest of a Thousand Lanterns from your local bookstore or library.
You can’t have a book party without the book! So this is definitely a must. Even if you have the book on your Kindle or phone, that totally works, too!
Step two: Get in the mindset and feel of reading a retelling.
I love watching fairytale movies and retellings, so you can not go wrong with watching Snow White movies! The first movie, of course, is the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Though this movie is not as action-packed as the next two, it’s still a wonderful movie to get in the zone!
Movie two: Snow White & the Huntsman. This movie is fantastic, in my personal opinion. Charlize Theron portrays the evil queen in such a terrifying way, and this movie will for sure get you ready for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.
Movie three: The Huntsman Winter’s War. The story before Snow White and the Huntsman that reveals more of the evilness that is the evil queen! These are not the only movies that portray the evil queen, so definitely watch other movies with evil queens! 🙂
Step three: You gotta have some props and decorations!
There’s nothing wrong with having props and decorations for a book reading party! In this case, I’ve used the following props and decorations: colorful lanterns (you can’t have a Forest of a Thousand Lanterns party without lanterns!), a stuffed dragon to represent the Dragon Lord, flowers, Jolly Rancher sticks, and a bitten apple pin. If you also have a map of Feng Lu from the Forest of a Thousand Lanterns pre order campaign, then that is a perfect prop!
*Please refer to finished photo at the beginning for some of the listed props.*
Step four: Make some deliciously-themed drinks!
The two drinks I’ve made for this party are non-alcoholic.
The first drink resembles the cover of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. I call it the Witch’s Brew! I used apple juice, mixed with 3-4 green apple Jolly Ranchers, and 1 drop of green food coloring (it is totally fine to drink food coloring).
The second drink resembles the cover of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix. The name of this drink is the Bleeding Heart! I used V8 Splash Berry Blend, Ginger Ale, 2 cherry Jolly Ranchers, 1 strawberry, and 1 drop of red food coloring.
Note: for both of these drinks, I did not use any measurements, just kept trying things out until I liked the flavor. 🙂
Step five: Make some yummy-themed food!
There’s nothing wrong with having some chips, salsa, crackers, cheese, etc. But I’m all for making some themed food items to represent the book!
This first item definitely was not easy, but it was a ton of fun! I made a shortcake serpent, to represent the Serpent God from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. He for sure looks much more nice and tastier here than how he is described in the book! If you want to make your own Serpent God, I used the recipe found here! I tweaked the recipe a little bit, to give it my own touch! And I know my snake is nothing compared to the one in the recipe’s photo, but at least I can say I tried. 🙂
*The poor serpent lost his tongue in this photo 😦 *
The second item is poison apples, of course! I only had three apples to work with, but there’s no harm in having multiples, just in case Snow White doesn’t eat the first one. 😉 This was a lot of fun to make, as well! The recipe I used can be found here!
Step six: Get comfy and start reading!
I always recommend having book parties in either themed outfits or in your pajamas! It makes the occasion more festive! So, get comfy and enjoy your time reading!
And that’s your Forest of a Thousand Lanterns bookish-themed party! You can definitely change it up a bit, to add your own spin! But just make sure to have fun and to enjoy the wonderful tale that is Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!
Thank you, Penguin Teen, for this amazing opportunity and for this awesome Wicked Reads Campaign! And also for the wonderful Forest of a Thousand Lanterns book package!