Blog Tour: Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . .

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Just to clarify, that a copy of the book was provided to me for free so I could be part of the blogtour and read it by the time this was happening. I still had one copy on the way, so this is a case of “still in my list, having it for free does nothing”.

I tried to read Sabriel a few years back, but I just couldn’t get to it and was sad to have missed on that bandwagon, because it sounded like a good one. Angel Mage intrigued me, would this be the right book for me?

The answer is yes. I enjoyed it a lot and wanted to keep on reading and even after I finished reading it, it stuck in my head for a few days afterward.

I enjoyed the characters a lot and how you learn more of each as you go, but also, they are not perfect. They are fully human and they each have their quirks, which make them endearing and annoying at times. At moments you just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, other times you think “go, go, you’ve got this!”.

And of course I had a soft spot for Dorothea, who I felt closer to and could identify better with than the rest of the cast (though for each of them I could think of someone like them).

Avoiding spoilers but this is like a magical rethinking of Three Musketeers, with names even being close to some fo the ones in Dumas’ original. And the world even though named differently is basically a fantastical Europe (I do wish this hadn’t been the case, as it made it odd. At times it felt fully independent and new world, and then it would be too European, too French).

Now, on to the magic, which is part of what left this book in my head for longer than I expected. I know that to many this magic is pretty new but to me it was a magic that felt too familiar, too close to home. It took me a while to figure out why.

The magic system works on “icons” of the angels and their various levels. You need an icon/image of said angel and then if you need what their scope covers, you may summon them and depending on level/icon quality you can summon for long. Of course, depending on level and use, this also costs you time. Summoning a powerful one means giving at the very least months of your life and ageing instantly. So cost of magic is an important consideration, and in a way, a personal one. How much do you need the magic and is it worth the cost?

What made it familiar is that in Mexico there is a big angel and saints belief system. The magic may or may not be real, but the system is very similar to the one used in Angel Mage. Certain saints can make smaller “miracles” whereas others can make bigger ones (Archangel Gabriel or say, Saint Peter are on the BIG side of the scale). And people carry icons of the entity, either in small stamps or cards, mini gold or silver coins with the likelihood of the saint, or even set up an “altar” to the entity in a room in their home. And you elevate a prayer (similar to the invocation you may have to do for the angels on Angel Mage) to request your miracle. You may even offer something in exchange and usually you are told that there is a cost to it even if you’re unaware of it.

I don’t know if it was the familiarty of the many things in this book that made it a nice read, one I didn’t want to put down, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

However, as a note, it is a stand alone but it doesn’t feel like one. There is a LOT left out and this makes it feel incomplete, so as a stand alone it doesn’t stand too well and leaves you thinking this was meant to be a duology at the very least.

All in all, an interesting familiar mixed with the new kind of book that was worth reading!

Blog Tour: The Rage of Dragons

How many dragons can I try to fit around the book, that aren’t more books? Not Enough!

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

I don’t remember much about Gladiator, but I do about Game of Thrones. I didn’t like the books, the show was “better”. So I wasn’t too happy with comparing this to Game of Thrones, but it is a better book than Game of Thrones.

Why? The best way to describe this book is it is a man book ready to fight and to become a dragon. The writing is fast paced and you move from action to action, with very little “slow scenes” (and even those feel kinda fast, or at least, well paced, you never feel like you’re falling asleep reading this book).

Tau is an interesting hero. The first few chapters he seemed a bit bland to me and I prefered other characters, but as we we go from a wide focus (where Tau is and his surroundings) to a more specific focus (Tau and his quest for revenge), he becomes better defined.

I have to say, he is a flawed hero and that was interesting to read and sometimes frustrating. There were many times I was like “Why Tau, why?!”

On the not so good side is that this book contains a lot of battle gore. And despite the fact that the society is female centered with women being in power, we still get rape (which didn’t resonate with how important women are, nor how valuable having a Gifted is) and barely any woman. Most of the female characters are there to advance the plot for the man focused view. (A love interest, someone to be raped to show how horrendous the world is, and the prologue which is probably the best female character).

There is also the fact that the worldbuilding dunks you in and it takes a very long time to get used to this world. There are also elements of racism and “class” division. (Why are the hedeni so bad? It is THEIR land you’re trying to conquer, and they have Gifts too, more than the Chosen do).

I’d say this is a man book or one for those wanting a lot of battle action, lots of grunting and training, and not so many dragons (very disappointed because the title is all about Dragons).

Hungry Hearts Food Crawl! Moments to Return by Adi Alsaid

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond

From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Photo Credit: Michael Meskin

Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning young adult author, whose historical novels include The Only Thing to Fear, The Darkest Hour, and Live In Infamy. She’s also the co-editor of the anthology Hungry Hearts, which features stories about food and will come out in June 2019 from Simon Pulse. Her work is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

Caroline is also the Program Director of We Need Diverse Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for diversity in children’s publishing.

After growing up in the Washington, D.C. area Caroline now lives in Virginia with her family.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest


Welcome to my stop in this delicious Hungry Hearts Food Crawl! Today we’re going to talk about Adi Alsaid’s story, Moments to Return.

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, where he now lives, writes, and spills hot sauce on things. He’s the author of several YA novels including LET’S GET LOST, NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES, and NORTH OF HAPPY.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Moments to Return is about a tourist from Montenegro desperately seeking a magic soup dumpling to help cure his fear of death. And it starts with him inside the restaurant trying to decide what he would like to eat because he’s made the choice to try to cure his fear with food. The story made me extremely hungry and to crave delicious soup dumplings (the ones that have the soup inside them, if you’ve never had them, you should, it’s worth it!). The first time I had them, I also didn’t know the trick our narrator is told, which is to bite the top off to let it cool down a tiny bit and well, of course I burnt my mouth. Woops!

However, the reason he’s having this magical food is to cure his fear of death and as I read this story I couldn’t help but keep thinking of how differnet the perspective on death is and how tied to food it is even in my own culture (Mexican).

I now live in the UK, but Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is one of my favourite parts of our culture. Now, I didn’t really know other countries were drastically different in treating death, for me it was something that happens and inevitable but we do our best to celebrate what has been rather than regret and be sad about it (it doesn’t mean we don’t do grief).

Anyway, once I moved to the UK, I realised how different the perspective on death was and how much of a taboo subject it was, so I decided to host my own Day of the Dead celebration explaining the culture, sharing food and bringing people together because at the end of the day, the magic of food is how it connects us and bring us together.

A feast of salsa’s, dips, toppings and chips to eat with the rest of the meal.

Being Mexican means I love preparing too much food and making people smile with food. And Day of the Dead is about making the favourite foods of those that passed away, going to visit our dead and talking to them, but also, sharing that food with others to rejoice in the life that was lived. It is a celebration of life, full of colour, with many skulls everywhere (I couldn’t get my hands on the classic sugar candy skulls we make, but those are a treat).

However, I made Pan de Muerto, which has a “brioche” base, a slight orange blossom flavour and it is rich and buttery, and the top has a cross of “bones”. Some say it is to represent the way the Dead have to go and to guide them home and back to the Land fo the Dead, others say it comes from Aztec knowledge of gods. To me it has always been a representation of our dead and to share with others.

Pan de Muerto, tortillas in a teacloth to keep warm, vegetarian taco filling and meat taco filling.

Of course, the party was a success, making people a little bit less shy about death and more open to talk about their loved ones that have gone ahead of us/them. It was a moment of sharing a meal, talking and opening up. Maybe there wasn’t the magic to cure fear of death, but it definitely makes you a little bit less afraid, a little more human and glad to have others there to share with.

A happy me hosting the party!

In the end, food has magic, and all the stories in Hungry Hearts let you experience some of that magic. Because making food is a kind of magic but eating it is also magic.

It delights you, fills you, and provides nourishment, what else do you need?

Come join the rest of us in our delightful food crawl (and probably go find some awesome places to eat delicious food, because you will be hungry after reading each of the short stories in it!).


Hungry Hearts Food Crawl Schedule:

June 10th – Introduction
Vicky (Welcome + Interview)

June 11th – Karuna Riazi
Naadhira (Review)

June 12th – Rin Chupeco
Bianca (Review + Creative Post) & Kate (Review + Recipe)

June 13th – Jay Coles
Nikki (Review + Creative Post)

June 14th – Elsie Chapman
Kevin (Review + Creative Post) & Natalia (Review + Creative Post)

June 15th – Sara Farizan
Em (Review)

June 16th – Caroline T. Richmond
Lili (Review + Creative Post) & Tiffany (Review + Creative Post)

June 17th – Adi Alsaid
Moon (Review + Creative Post)

June 18th – Sandhya Menon
Aimal (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board) & Dia (Review + Fave Quotes)

June 19th – S. K. Ali
Mish (Review + Creative Post)

June 20th – Phoebe North
Kayla (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board)

June 21st – Rebecca Roanhorse
Lila (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board) & AJ (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board)

June 22nd – Sangu Mandanna
Nandini (Review + Creative Post) & Prags (Review + Fave Quotes)

June 23rd – Anna-Marie McLemore
Nox (Review + Creative Post)

June 24th – Closing
CW (Review + Food Crawl)

So here we have them: Floored Blog Tour

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So here we have them:

All ready for the launch party, which has a great amount of guest stars thanks to Dawson (the child star) and his unique taste. They mingle, small talk happens…

Kaitlyn takes the reigns for the music with her delightful playlist. What the others don’t fully understand is that she chose each song to match one of them, it is her way to celebrate. And get everyone in the mood.

In comes Sasha running with a bunch of wrapped parcels for each of her friends. As she comes to a stop the pile keeps the momentum and topples towards the floor. (Nevermind that they are all getting the same thing, I mean, this is the launch party, right?!).

Hugo follows, stylishly late and doing his best to look the best, and you can see a small pocket square peeking out of his fancy suit. Wonder what it is?

Clink, clink, clink…

Speech, Speech, Speech…

Velvet stands in the middle of the room, trying to discreetly pull her skirt down, ready to give her speech about the book, about the events in it. All eyes on her, as she looks around the room, nervous. Everyone is here indeed.

Even Joe, who has been behind the bar, making sure no one is missing from a great drink to ease the party. He even has custom made ones for each of the guests, or at least for the ones that were in the lift with him.

Velvet clears her throat, sips a tiny sip from her cocktail and starts.

Good evening, I was asked by the publishers if I could do this speech, I guess they saw my school grades and decided that maybe I wasn’t capable of calculating how many books we need to sell to break-even.

 


The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

 


Day 1: Dawson @ Overflowing Library | Day 2: Kaitlyn @ Imi Reviews Books |
Day 3: Sasha @ Rachel’s Rambling Reviews | Day 4: Hugo @ The Book Commissioner |
Day 5: Velvet @ The Little Contemporary Corner | Day 6: Joe @ Charlotte, Somewhere |
Day 7: The Narrator @ Moon Kestrel Blog

Children of Blood and Bone Review (Now We Rise Blog Tour)

COBB Blog Tour Banner.png

It was thanks to attending YALC last year that I had a sampler for Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and I was hooked as soon as I read it.

I pleaded to My Kinda Book to let me read it and review and be part of it, and thankfully after driving them nuts for a few months, here we are, the book is releasing and you need to go read it as soon as possible.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Rating:MoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

There is so much magic in this book despite the fact that technically there is no magic in their world (talk about sounding confusing, right?).

I got a sampler of Children of Blood and Bone during YALC last year and it got me hooked. I kept bothering MyKindaBook/PanMacmillan to let me be part of whatever promotional tours they’d do because this sounded like an epic story I had to read. And I was not wrong.

This is a quest book, with very unique characters trying very hard to follow up with the view of the world they have seen. However the gods have other plans and challenge them to change those ways of seeing the world by making them interact in very interesting ways.

The reason it is missing a grey fox (.5 stars) is that it has SO many unique words it was very difficult to keep track of what was what and I could’ve done with a glossary or some kind of guide/help. This kept making me try to google some of them or to try to figure them out and that kept breaking the story so it was harder to get into it.

None of the characters are perfect but they aren’t the usual flawed way either. Their flaws come from their upbringing, from the view they have had of the world and how they have been taught to deal with things and how life has happened to them.  I think this was my favourite part, that it shows sometimes our ideas and opinions are shaped what what we have seen and sometimes we are blind to some things. It is up to us to decide what we do once the blindspots aren’t blinded anymore.

Moon Recommends

You pop again tomorrow so I can reveal how to find out what your Maji clan is! (I am part of the Welder clan). And hey, maybe getting Children of Blood and Bone is a good idea!