ARC Reviews, Book Tour, Reviews

Angel Mage ( + Giveaway!)

Hey all! I am so excited to share with you my stop on the Angel Mage Tour. I’ve got some creative content for you, a review of this awesome new book, and a giveaway down at the bottom! Hope you enjoy. x


“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. . .”

Goodreads | Amazon


When I heard that Garth Nix was releasing another book, I was SO excited. Then even more excited when I earned an advanced copy and a spot on this tour!

If you don’t know this about me, I used to read Nix’s Old Kingdom series when I was younger and it was one that I consistently went back to as I grew up. Starting with Sabriel, the Old Kingdom series was like quicksand for me, it sucked me in and never let me out again. But the wonderful thing about the way Nix writes is that it seemed to almost age with me: I noticed new things, I understood the relationships and complex world even better, it was a whole new experience.

Suffice to say, because of all this, I had high expectations for Angel Mage. After all, this is the same world as the Old Kingdom series…only 100 years later. If you’re familiar with the Old Kingdom series, you’ll recognize and enjoy callbacks and references to parts of the world you remember. But the real joy of the way Nix has written this book is that it can also stand alone. You don’t need any credentials to pick up and enjoy this book, aside from wanting to.

And Angel Mage starts off with a bang. Nix throws us into this insane world without warning and with plenty of action. Given that Nix has a writing style that not everyone finds easy to read, I was pleasantly surprised by how fast-paced, action-packed, and tight this book really was. The plot moves quickly and I found myself waiting, on the edge of my seat many times, just to find out what was going to happen next.

It wouldn’t be possible to talk about a Garth Nix book without pointing out what a beautiful job he does with the world-building and mythology in his work. The World of Angel Mage is so full of fascinating things to latch onto, question, and wonder about. The magical and ‘religious’ and/or angelic pantheon system that Nix has created in this story is immense and complex and so unique. I’ve yet to read anything else like it and it was one of my favorite parts of the book, figuring out how this fascinating new system of fantasy worked.

Another thing Nix always delivers well is a solid, character-driven story. Despite the plot moving full speed ahead, the characters that we travel with throughout this story have not been forgotten about in the least. I loved to hate the main character in the weirdest way: I empathized with her, felt so deeply for her, and also constantly wanted to shake her by the shoulders. Her drive and stubbornness are such a deep part of her character and mission that she felt alive.

Even Angel Mage’s side characters, of which there are four of note, are all unique and full and tangible. I felt their friendship for each other, which is another feat I appreciate so much in books, it felt so real. Their complex histories and personal drives were all so rich and woven into the story so as to dangerously intertwine at just the right moment.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Angel Mage was gripping, character-driven, quick, and wonderfully magical. Once you ease into the style of Nix’s writing, the world is immersive and beautifully written and I think anyone, adult or young adult, who enjoys fantasy might enjoy this too.


Sound interesting? I thought so! In fact I LOVE a good book that can take something so big and vast and complex as the topics of Angels and Gods and turn it into something fresh, original, and new.

Here are a few more of my favorite books that delight in showing off the most original facets of the Divine:

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

This might be my favorite take on angels today. (Yes, its also my favorite series, so I am biased, but still.) I hesitate to say too much here, for the simple fact that you might be reading this series and not have gotten to and/or realized the bigger picture of this bizarre and fascinating urban fantasy world. If not, you are in luck; there are huge, shocking, wonderful, horrible twists ahead for you. Butcher uses a myriad of references and entities to weave a bigger story into his narrative and it continues to blow me away. If you like your Angels and Demons smart, subtle, and truly old-as-time, this is the series for you. (Adult, Urban Fantasy)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Is there another book that uses gods and angels and higher beings so creatively? I’m not sure. American Gods is a big, wandering, complex book that is a wild ride to read, I’ve enjoyed it many times. What I love most about it though is how it uses America, a country that’s (ideally) known for being a ‘melting pot’ of different beliefs and cultures, to show a new side to how that might affect those gods being believed in. What happens to a god when their worshippers are driven from their homes and have to find a new way of life? What happens to a god when their people have to assimilate into a new culture? What happens to a god when they are forgotten about? There are so many questions, and so many more, that American Gods both answers and poses, but if these questions interest you then the book will too. If you like your Angels and Demons a little bit gritty, jaded, and all varieties of pissed off, this might be the book for you. (Adult, Urban Fantasy)

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Gaiman made this list twice. But given that these two list entries could not be more different from each other, I’m going to say its a fair count. Good Omens is the antithesis of American Gods in many ways, but also it’s just…its own wonderful thing. Good Omens is funny and irreverent, smart and clever, and full of Gaiman’s trademark profundity and Pratchett’s beloved sense of humor. The two of them come together to create something that is, all at once, a thriller, a coming of age story, a cosmic battle between good and evil, and also just a story of a boy and his dog. This book is hilarious, beautiful, sad, and sweet, and most of all, just a great time. If you like your Angels and Demons to be equal turns snarky and adorable, human-loving and rule-breaking, really into their organizations and maybe a little bit in love with each other too- this book is for you. (Adult, Fantasy)

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

I didn’t expect this series to have anything at all to do with gods or angels or the like, but Megan Whalen Turner has a way of surprising me in everything she does. While these books center on political and royal intrigues for the most part, the reader can’t deny that a bigger picture starts forming early on. The main character, Eugenidies, doesn’t want the gods’ attention and didn’t ask for it, but he seems to have it. Between being sent dreams, his fate being turned at a whim, and even direct contact, Eugenidies can’t ignore the very real truth that the gods want something with him. And they want something bigger, too. As each book builds on itself and his life changes in ways he couldn’t imagine, the picture starts to become clearer and so many things hinge on his trust in his gods. If you like your Angels and Demons subtle but direct, amused, and willing to change a person’s fate to meet their own ends, this may be the series for you. (MG/YA, Fantasy)

Both the Tortall and Winding Circle series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce has been a beloved author of mine since I was young, and I’ve read all her books. She’s written multiple series, but all of them fall into one of two worlds: Tortall or Emelan, named after the countries these stories spend the most time in. Each of these series are different, with different protagonists, struggles, and even magical and religious systems across the two worlds. There is so much variety in the way the people in these worlds worship, which gods they worship, and especially how magic factors into it all. In one world Pierce paints her gods as distant but accessible, benevolent. They exist but on a more practical, worldly level that each character can turn over and decide how it makes them feel. It feels fresh and honest and magically fascinating, and if that sounds like something you’d like be sure to check out her books in Emelan. In Tortall, the gods may feel distant for some but they are ever so very, very present. If you like your gods and angels and spiritual entities meddling and emotional, personal and relational, and potentially able to visit, that might be the series for you instead. Pierce has so much to offer in this arena.

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand

This series is relatively new; its a trilogy but only two of the books have been published so far, Furyborn and Kingsbane. I enjoyed them both. The most fascinating part for me, in both of them, was the way that Legrand writes this world: magic and religion and angels and science all wrapped up together into one complex thread that cannot be unraveled. If you like your Angels and gods to span centuries and stories, to do whatever it takes to complete their mission, this might be the series for you.

All of the books from Tolkien’s Middle-Earth

Oh, Tolkien. How could I not include Tolkien? I don’t know about you but I am a huge fan of Middle-Earth and all of its stories. Tolkien’s work may be dense, but what makes up for it, especially when it comes to angels, demons and gods, is the immense amount of culture and world-building that he manages to fit into every story. Tolkien’s world has gods and beliefs and cultures that go back so far into the history of Middle-Earth that most people on real Earth don’t know the half of it. If you like your Angels and Demons to be distant, more mythological than personable, more story than entity, this is the right world for you. There are so many facets to explore.

I had so much fun reading Angel Mage and honestly I had so much fun making this list. I could ramble on here about more ideas for the rest of the day, but I hope I’ve at least given you some new titles to check out for your next divine read. What a wild world it is.

Garth Nix has been a full-time writer since 2001, but has also worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s books include the Old Kingdom fantasy series, comprising Sabriel, Lirael; Abhorsen; Clariel and Goldenhand; SF novels Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes; and a Regency romance with magic, Newt’s Emerald. His novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series and others. He has co-written several books with Sean Williams, including the Troubletwisters series; Spirit Animals Book Three: Blood Ties; Have Sword, Will Travel; and the forthcoming sequel Let Sleeping Dragons Lie. A contributor to many anthologies and magazines, Garth’s selected short fiction has been collected in Across the Wall and To Hold the Bridge.

More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, they have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today and his work has been translated into 42 languages. His most recent book is Frogkisser! now being developed as a film by Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Animation.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to win 1 of 2 copies of Angel Mage by Garth Nix!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/31/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

October 21

  • Dazzled By Books – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Library of a Book Witch – Book Review
  • The Layaway Dragon – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

October 22

  • Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Books_andPoetrii – Creative Content
  • @tea.books.magic – Book Review

October 23

October 24

  • Novel Nerd Faction – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Becky’s Book Blog – Book Review
  • Story-eyed Review – Book Review, Creative Content

October 25

  • evelynreads – Book Review
  • The Book Bratz – Spotlight
  • Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Book Review, Creative Content
  • Clarissa Reads It All – Spotlight

October 26

  • The Reading Corner for All – Book Review, Creative Content
  • biblioxytocin – Book Review + Favorite Quotes, Creative Content

October 27

  • Popthebutterfly Reads – Book Review
  • Life With No Plot – Book Review

October 28

  • Book Blog London – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Utopia State of Mind – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
  • Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

Angel Mage is out now!

What are some of YOUR favorite books that play with higher beings?? Leave me a comment, I want to know!

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Book Tour, Reviews

Lock Every Door ( + GIVEAWAY )

“No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.”

I had so much fun reading Lock Every Door.

I requested to get on this release tour as soon as I saw it; I’ve been a Riley Sager fan since I read his other two books, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied. When my copy of the book arrived, I’d planned to read it over the course of a week, juggling my schedule between a handful of other books. That’s not what happened. I powered through this thing like it was my damn job, I could not put it down! This was the Summer Thriller that I wanted and needed at just the right time.

Lock Every Door is everything that I love in a thriller: creepy, visceral, paranoid, and just “over-the-top” enough.” I was pulled in from chapter one, I had to know! What is with all the rules in this building?? What’s the catch to this dream scenario?? What awful thing is waiting in the wings?? I got everything I wanted and more, in answers, in scares, and in fun.

This might be my favorite out of all of Sagers novels and I don’t think that’s by accident. This book was tight, sharp, and buttoned-up; its obvious that Sager has grown as a writer. Satisfying and addictive, Lock Every Door does a cool thing in creating a countdown on the first page. The use of time to further the visceral urgency in this book was a brilliant choice, causing me to turn moments over in my head, wondering how they might all link together at the end. The slow burn of this novel was part excitement, part dread, and part pure entertainment, and before you know it you can’t turn the pages fast enough.

One of my favorite things about Sager as an author is that, again, he delivers a competent and relatable female protagonist who makes a lot of the same choices we all would. Especially in the situation that she gets into (paid to live in a lavish apartment??), I appreciated the modern social concerns that she, as a single young woman, would feel. What’s the catch? (Oh, and you know there’s a catch.) I also appreciated that Sager took this chance to write a thriller that not only delivers pulse-pounding thrills, but also makes a statement about privilege and grief and social judgement. Really interesting and applicable, all while somehow maintaining a tone somewhere comfortably between The Shining and Scooby-Doo.

Lock Every Door is a wickedly fun adventure of a book and I wish I could read it again without knowing the “secret.” I whole-heartedly enjoyed this classic “locked room” chiller, full of Sager’s signature style. Fans of his, and those who aren’t, would be wise to pick up this addition to his work. I had a blast reading it and I hope that you do too.

“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer.

Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July.

Giveaway!

7 copies of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

CLICK HERE

Follow the Tour!

July 8th

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July 12th

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ARC Reviews

Stargazing

“Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic… and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.

When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend―maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.

But when they’re least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?”

Stargazing is one of those books that I would love to hand to every kid in the world. And every adult, for that matter. This charming story about friendship, feeling alone in the world and defining who we are is a wonder of nostalgia and something that feels so original. I’m a huge fan of Jen Wang and she did not disappoint. One of my first reviews was another graphic novel by Jen Wang, The Prince and The Dressmaker, and I cannot recommend either of these books highly enough.

There are so many good things to say about this book that I don’t know where to start. The characters are real and relatable, their problems and fears are important and I felt their falls and victories like they were mine. Wang does an incredible job of bringing her own experiences and authenticity to Stargazing and it pays off in spades.

I loved so many things about Stargazing. Particularly, I loved the unique perspective that Moon brings to the story and the journey she undergoes. Though not for the same reasons, I too felt that I didn’t belong here as a child, that I was secretly from somewhere else and might one day go back there, where it all made sense and I fit. I felt her loneliness at learning that she is a child of this earth the way that we all are. I felt her loneliness at learning that some of us are always going to be looking upwards, looking for something fantastic, no matter how grown up we become.

Christine, the other primary character in Stargazing, takes us on a different but just as valuable story, in trying to figure out how she’s supposed to be. From painting her nails, to the music she listens to, to her values and the friends she chooses, Christine is at an age where we all asked ourselves so many of these same questions. Do I fit in? Do I have to be who my parents/community/expectations tell me to be? Do I like who I am? Who do I want to be? Her journey was so relatable, especially so for those living in a community like Christine’s where she feels there is a “right” and “rewarded” way to be, like everyone else.

I was so excited when I requested this ARC from Netgalley, and so lucky to have gotten my hands on it. Jen Wang has impressed me again with this beautiful, sweet, whole-hearted story of two new friends trying to find their way in the world. Stargazing is about friendship, forgiveness, and feeling otherworldly, but its also a powerful story of growing up. To anyone who has felt alone, that they don’t belong, or that there might be something greater waiting for them, don’t miss out on Stargazing. You won’t regret it.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one hits shelves on September 10, 2019!

“We can’t change the past. But we can learn from the way we hurt the ones we love, and try to do better.”

ARC Reviews

Sink

Sink by Desireé Dallagiacomo is a raw, passionate, and adventurous exploration into the state of our world and our minds.

This wasn’t my first introduction to Desireé Dallagiacomo, I’ve seen her perform her poetry on Button Poetry’s channel on Youtube. While I missed her powerful performances, I still very much enjoyed this tender and emotional addition to her work.

Sink dances between tough topics with a lack of inhibition that is rare and special in the world of Poetry. Between love, grief, addiction, self-image, and smashing the patriarchy, Dallagiacomo alights on these subjects with deep empathy and a heart laid bare.

I read a lot of poetry and would recommend this to most of my poetry-loving friends and followers, as well as those who are looking to try it out. Dallagiacomo’s poems are relatable, brave and uplifting, a little meandering, and an ultimately a very enjoyable collection.

This book was provided to me through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Reviews

The She Book

“Come, sisters, let us sit around the fire.”

In The She Book, Tanya Markul delivers 114 short, emotive little poems that come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Reminiscent of Rupi Kaur or Lang Leav, The She Book was empowering, brave, soulful, and utterly readable.

I love the feminist women’s poetry trend that’s happening now and this book is another great addition. From her elegant and tender way of combing through the layers of emotions, to her modern and fierce declarations of womanhood, to her fun and powerful descriptions of women from each star sign, these poems made me want more.

Markul’s collection bounces playfully between poems about her own wounds and pain in life to the inspiring revelations they’ve brought her. She equally soothes and calls the reader to action. Her writing is responsive and relatable, making the reader feel as if she might be the “she” the book talks about instead. The author of this delightful collection uses repetition and simplicity with a masterful hand.

The She Book is about change and grief and self-love and healing and is written with so much heart. I will definitely be picking up a copy once this one hits shelves.

“What they thought  was a phoenix

 rising from the ashes, 

was really a woman.”

WWW

It’s “What are you reading?” Wednesday!

I’ve seen a lot of bookish memes and list ideas here on the book-blogging circuit, and I wish I could do all of them! One of my favorites has been a trend of bloggers posting their current reads on Wednesdays.

This week I’ll be taking inspiration from Taking On a World of Words, and trying out their “WWW Wednesday!”

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

I have started so many books this week, it’s crazy town here! Here are just a few!

I’m about halfway through Claire Legrand’s new release sequel to Furyborn, Kingsbane, and I am really enjoying it so far. The last book ended on such an interesting twist that I was dying to find out how it would impact the group and dynamic, and I have not been disappointed. Look for a review on my blog for this one soon!

I jumped on the Illuminae train late, but damn it is so good! I’m buddy reading Gemina with a couple of friends in my book club and it continues to consistently shock and surprise me. I have yet to be emotionally stable all the way through one of Kaufman and Kristoff’s space dramas, and yet that’s honestly half the fun. I look forward to finishing this series this month!

Baby Teeth, by Zoje Stage, is my book choice for the Mark-up Book Exchange I’m participating in this year! I’m a third of the way into this intense little gem of a novel, and can I just say, “wow?” I cannot believe some of the things I am reading. I find myself shaking my head at this story in disbelief over and over and over again. I can’t wait to finish it! My guess is that I’ll fly through this one, so look for a review sometime in the next week or two.

What I’ve recently finished:

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal was probably one of the most anticipated releases of the Spring, I felt like I was reading about it everywhere. I just finished it this morning and I have to say, It wasn’t what I expected but it wasn’t bad! This unique novel covers a lot of ground, both wildly unfamiliar and sometimes too familiar, but I enjoyed it all the same. Look forward to my full review this week.

Internment by Samira Ahmed has been out for a while but I had yet to read it until this week. Damn. What a wonderful, depressingly realistic, beautiful statement of a piece. This book follows a “what if?” scenario in 2018 America where Muslims are brought to Internment camps like we once did with the Japanese in WWII. The parallels to our current political system were loud, bold, and unapologetic, and I appreciate this book’s existence. Would recommend.

Bodega by Su Hwang is a charming little collection of poems that I was so graciously granted a pre-release of by Milkweed Editions in exchange for an honest review. Bodega is about one girl’s experience growing up in a Korean-American family and the bodega they own in New York City. I loved the description and tangibility of this book, and I can’t wait to share my review with you all this week!

What I plan to read next:

I’m so excited about both of these!

How to Build a Heart is another wonderful ARC I received from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis, following a girl without roots trying to decide who she is, sounds heartfelt and compelling. I’ve heard good things about this author, so I’m excited to find out for myself!

With the Fire on High is the highly anticipated new release from Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X, which I also read this month. I loved The Poet X, Acevedo has such a vibrant and poignant voice. If the reviews are any indication, With the Fire on High is another hit, and I have been waiting eagerly to read it too.

Look for these reviews in the next few weeks.

What are you reading this week? What are you excited about? Tell me in the comments and have a great reading week!