What We’re Reading: Children of Blood & Bone

 

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Rating: 4 out of 5

This is actually a slightly different review than what I posted on GoodReads but only because I’ve had some time to marinate on the book as a whole and I usually write my GoodReads review immediately after reading.

I’d really give this one a 3.5 but that’s still basically a 4.

The cover is gorgeous of course! The striking colors against the mottled black background share glimpses of red behind an opaque pitch; obscured by the shocking white of Zelie’s hair, scarves encircle the crescent of her forehead. Reminiscent of Storm from X-men, the young woman’s dark skin gleams from the cover, traces of tribal markings can barely be seen dancing around the edges of her steel gray eyes, calm but focused peering back at you.

Again, I love the overall concept of the book and Children of Blood & Bone  by Tomi Adeyemi, has a magical structure I can’t wait to see unfold. There seems to be elements to the story that indicate bringing magic back may have consequences no one was ready for. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with the foundation she has set for us as the audience.

With that being said though,

Maji ClansI decided to read this along with a group and TBH, I must admit we all had the same kind of issue. If the main character was a girl you knew you’d probably have the “chill sis” conversation with her around page 348.

Some parts of the book were VERY predictable and it was easy to see where the author was working you for the sequel. As a rule of thumb, a novel in a series should be a complete story that fits snugly into a larger one. There are parts to this novel that feel like canyons we need to jump over to get through the book.

At times this book read like a harlequin romance novel. I’ll let you read it to find out which parts. 😉

Overall, I did thoroughly enjoyed reading it. There’s been so much build up around the book I was determined to scratch it off several TBR’s. It discussed cruelty and injustice that people experience when a government is against them. Touching on the civil unrest we (POC’s) experience today. The Author’s Note in the back goes a bit farther into Adeyemi’s feelings fb_img_15263592354151235954168.jpgon the historic and continued mistreatment of people of color and what really motivated her to write the book. 

*Side Note: The book has been getting critical acclaim by celebrities and press. With the help of  ICM Partners, Adeyemi landed a near seven-figure movie deal with FOX for her series as well as secured a pretty impressive publishing deal that recently closed with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, making this 23-years-old first time author very wealthy. *

With all that buzz, at times I really had to consider if my opinion of the book was because I wanted to like the story or if I genuinely liked the story. Most days there was a mixture of both, but by the end of the book, I was certain of a few things.

As I said in my review of Song of Blood and Stone when magic is involved their are often only two outcomes. Those with it use that power to lord over those without or Those without it persecute those with it. In this instance those who should have it have been stripped of it and are still treated like vermin.

The thought and effort put into the history of the maji’s  was intense. The history of Sky Mother, the Gods and the 10 Maji clans is something I’m looking forward to exploring as she continues the series. The rituals, artifacts and language of the Maji was very believable. The history behind the royal family once revealed was also interesting, but I do wish to know more about what went awry that caused Saran’s “first family” to be murdered. 

So often is magic described as this never-ending thing, to think of a world in this sense where magic can and has been temporarily barred and the battle to return it is also what makes the book so captivating. I also really enjoyed all of the artwork associated with the book, that includes the names of the narrators, but, especially the world map in the beginning, I always love a good world map.

My favorite thing about this novel would have to be the characters, if Adeyemi did nothing else she developed the four main characters into tangible beings. Each person had a strength they didn’t realized they’d possessed and a vulnerability they were dsc_14621308978600.jpgdesperate to hide. The progression of the story exposes the weaknesses of Zelie, Amari, Inan and Tzain while challenging them to evolve into better stronger people or to perish beneath the weight of their doubts. The inner turmoil each character must overcome to truly fight for a better Orisha has been the most titillating part of the novel, at times it is the book’s saving grace.

I didn’t really care for the names of the animals there was no real difference between a Lionaire from a Panthenaire and a Gorillion is just a gorilla in my book. It seemed like a missed opportunity for the author to create creatures that truly added to the world they were in. The “Ryders”, are this world’s main source of transportation and the beasts are as involved in the story as their human counterparts. Yet they weren’t original nor were they that clever. They were merely the lackluster adjustments of existing animals. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the way the chapters were broken up, in fact at times some chapters were only three pages with no shift in narrator, a real distraction for me occasionally.

The book was a quick read  once I got into it, lasting it’s standard 4 days for it’s 500+ pages. Animal names aside, the language was also insightful as it taught me rudimentary Yoruba. The book seemed as true to facts as possible regarding the Orishan deities and their gifts. The clans as evidence of the Gods will was also a nice touch. Totally looking forward to the next installment. 

Though as rumors of the story now being stretched into seven books and the progression of the “fandom” takes hold I only hope this truly ends up being like Hogwarts and NOT like Shadow Hunters.

 

For more info about the Children of Blood and Bone movie click here.

 

 

What did you REALLY think about Children of Blood & Bone ?

Let me Know in the Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

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What We’re Reading: Dickmitized

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Before I fell in love with fantasy I was hardcore into Urban Fiction. There’s something about the realness of the stories that I could connect with but also some of the things I read were far stranger than any magical world I’d ever dreamed of. My passion for books as a whole has brought me to meet amazing authors, like Justin Q. Young, who was kind of enough to autograph my copy of Dickmitized after a cafe discussion one weekend.

My TBR pile back then and presently is through the roof, but fresh from reading Song of Blood and Stone. I figured 166 pages of something, “different” might pull me from the verges of a slump.

…And it did.

I definitely wasn’t expecting to find the story THAT interesting, yet still found myself rocking on the edge of my seat wondering what Josiah would get himself into next and 20180425_0943181700222862.jpghow he’d bounce back from the messes he’d created.

It was a fascinating tale of sexual conquests. A point blank perspective into the psyche of a womanizer and the women he frequents. There wasn’t much flowery language, I didn’t feel like there was a mood being set entirely. Josiah’s exploits are definitely vivid, if not at times a bit comical. Each chapter I found myself asking, do these things really happen in real life?”

I’m willing to bet that for some lucky men, it probably does. Having been a true blue “good girl” my entire life, I’m sure I wouldn’t know for certain.

My Favos: I absolutely love the story, yes I’m one of those people. The overall story was amazeballs. Womanizer goes for the ultimate goal of bedding two bestfriends but finds himself in waaaaaaay deeper than he expected. I’d read that all day.

Next I absolutely love the ingenuity of FHLIRT which I googled and is NOT  a real site. Though from the description in the book it totally could be. That was a creative twist to what could’ve been another braggy book about a bachelor banging his way through life. The site provided an added incentive, and make’s Josiah seem more like a sex addict than a mere man-whore.

The ending was a bit of a buzzkill. I seldom read stories told from a male perspective and Dickmitized is a lot more raw than my Zane novels; but, I must saw that as far as erotica goes it was definitely done tastefully. Not what I’d usually expect.  The main character was well-rounded and grew on you. It was a quick read, straight to the point. There are a few loose ends that I hope can be answered with maybe a pt. 6. The obvious rivalry between Josiah and Steve is something worthy of exploring as well as the true outcome in that game of Russian roulette.

 

 Have You Ever Been Dickmitized?

Let me Know in the Comments Below! 

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What We’re Reading: Song of Blood & Stone

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Rating: 5 out of 5

We are dealing with jealous Gods again. One of my all time personal favorite things to read about are deities who’s temperaments mirror the societies who worshiped them. Why should this world be no different. Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope is the ultimate sibling rivalry spanning centuries.

The back of my book describes this story as a Tale of Romeo and Juliet meets Return of the King (Lord of the Rings reference?) I’m all too pleased to report that it reads true to the description. A tale of overcoming differences at it’s fullest. Song of Blood & Stone mirrors many of today’s injustices people of color presently face and without the adolescent suicide.

The Lagrimari, people gifted with EarthSong, are trapped at the mercy of a merciless villain who enslaves them and steals their most precious gift for his own depraved whims. They are shunned by their neighbors the Elsirans, who fear them after years of wars between the two sides.20180417_1857571116080946.jpg

A few of my absolute favorites! I’m digging the cover. Of course it’s partially blue but beyond that the cover just whispers ethereal and there’s a girl on the cover who looks like me, if you catch my drift? So i’m all for that. It looks as though the galaxy lies within this young woman which gets me excited for the story that lies beneath. This time you can totally judge a book by it’s cover. It is really as good as it looks.

I appreciated the fables that coincided each new chapter. It became a separate tale that both foreshadowed the chapters’ contents while also adding a richer layer to the overall story. We got to meet the spiders, jackals, horses etc. Which aide in most Afrikan folklore and further give in to the mythos of the world we’re reading about.

This book is really three separate stories in one; the superficial musings of the fables heading each chapter, offer a warning of what’s to come for our characters. The overall story of Jasminda and Jack who are thrust together in a whirlwind romance while trying to save the world as they know it; but also the underlying deeply woven backstory of Eero and Oola whom we wouldn’t have a story without. Their jaded history a monumental ripple that shaped the world Jasminda and Jack presently live in.

There are always two types of magical stories. Those where those with magic are in power, and the other where those with magic are scorned for their gifts. This was an interesting view at the latter.

Ironically in a time where people of color are openly mistreated based on their hue, Song of Blood and Stone explores the mistreatment of other persons of color gifted with a talent they are scorned for. Brainwashed by a mismanaged education of the past the Elsirians scorn the same people who’s gifts helped built the very city they stood on. The Lacrimari for their talents are forced to live in servitude or as peasants on the cusps of civilization. If not for the benefit of her mother Jasminda would’ve lived amongst those people. It would take the union of an EarthSinger and an Elsiran to unite the two worlds.

I absolutely loved the story obviously. A sucker for creative title headings again I cannot rave on enough about the fables to mark each new chapter.

Amidst a backdrop of war the love story of Jack and Jasminda unfurls. Despite her true heritage she appears to be Lagrimari and is gifted with EarthSong. She happens to share Elsiran blood which protects her from years of mistreatment in Lagrimar. However, her appearance means she is still treated like the Lagrimari. Jack doesn’t treat her the way she’s come to expect other Elsirans to treat her, and their romance seems for a time like a protective bubble against the harshness of their realities. His world soon crashes into hers and there is no going back.

I am all too excited about the ending of the book. I finished in about the time I figured I would and I’m hoping the next two books come out soon so I can get started on those as well. Apparently the sleeping Queen has many secrets to unfurl.

 

Have You Ordered Your Copy of Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope?

Let me Know in the Comments Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

WWW Wednesday (April 18,2018)

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Blu Moon Fiction is back, (Wedneday will never be the same again, lol) It’s WWW Wednesday again! As always, it’s really easy because there are only THREE questions! WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words! Be sure to post your answers in the comments below and head over to Sam’s when you’re done!

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What are you currently reading?

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I’ve been hearing so much about this book lately that when I saw it was available for purchase, I had to snag it. Turns out this book happens to be an Advanced Reader’s Copy someone let slip through their fingers. I’m more than happy to make it a part of my home library. Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope is the highly anticipated first novel in the Earthsinger Chronicles and I should be finished reading it by Sunday night.

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What did you recently finish reading?

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I finally finished reading Tithe by Holly Black. A book I started back in late January and hadn’t had time to finish before this month. It’s definitely a book I had to power through but once I got into the story I was super happy I stayed with it. I am a chronic, ship-jumper when it comes to stories I don’t enjoy.  The final moments in the book were enough to inspire me to add the other books in the series to my TBR list. You can check out the review for Tithe here.

 

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What do you think you’ll read next?

There are so many options, books on my TBR list, books that are on my bookshelf that I haven’t added to by TBR list, the occassional Book Haul to muddy things up. I recently purchased a steampunk fairytale anthology that i’m dying to sink my teeth into so maybe that will be my next read.

What Are You Reading Right Now? Leave A Comment Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Now Reading: Song of Blood and Stone

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Book Title: Song of Blood & Stone

Author: L. Penelope

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 

Reread or TBR?

I have heard so much about this book, starting in 2017. I recently began seeing book reviews for this book and it was heavily reccomended on my GoodReads suggestions. I had to buy it, though I hadn’t realized I’d be buying an advanced Reader’s Copy. The book according to my book cover, will be going on sale May 1, 2018.  This book made it to the top of my TBR list. I just started reading it last night.

Goodreads Description

 

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

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First Thoughts On The Book

The very first thing I thought when I saw the book was how beautiful the cover was. Aside from the obvious use of blue, which I love, the character on the cover is a black woman. Looking beyond that it also looks like the universe is inside of her, which may hint to the story inside. The story was described as a Romeo & Juliet inspired tale with the promise of an Epic battle to rival the Lord of the Rings franchise; I’m most interesting to seeing that play out.

Now On Page…

I’m still on page one. This book came in the mail yesterday and is a part of my April/Springtime Book Haul. I previously started Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Saw the release date for this book and decided that I wanted to have it read before the May 1 release date. I will be officially starting the book, today and hopefully, I’ll be finished by Sunday night.

 

Are you eager to read Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope?

Have you Already read it?  Leave a comment below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What We’re Reading: Tithe

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3 out of 5

The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and the following,  “Or the first few chapters,” was made for this book. I discovered Tithe on a GoodReads suggestion list because I enjoy both faeries, dark fiction and Urban Fantasy. It may have also been suggested by Amazon after I binged on Artemis Fowl. Either way, the 331 page book complete with twelve pages of White Cat (another Holly Black book) weren’t terrifying, the short and stout book may have even been shorter in a hard back with larger font and longer pages.

I remember the cover being what swayed my decision to buy it. What looks to be a butterfly missing a body is on the cover with green splattered font to display the title. Visually it is very pleasing, but reading it took a bit more time than I thought it’d would.

Having never read Holly Black I wasn’t sure what to expect, I haven’t read Spiderwick Chronicles and barely made it through the movie. What I did know was that Holly Black was the highly publicized “Queen of the Faeries”, so who better to read first?

My initial response to the book was that I was waiting. Waiting for the action to start, waiting for secrets to be revealed, waiting for the meat and potatoes of my book or I was waiting to get to the final page and be done with it. A move and getting settled back into my office put this book back on the shelf for two months, but when I finally committed I finished reading the book in about four days.

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What I Liked!

I absolutely love the playful romance between Kaye and Roiben, it is still a very cliched as Roiben the older more experienced magical being becomes an accidental protector of the fair young Kaye. That Kaye is not helpless and at times is even rebellious makes her a more enjoyable heroin. Their relationship as it develops throughout the book was one of few thing that kept me going.

Once I got into it I was also quite intrigued by the mystery and deception of the gentry. The multitude of layers beneath the story and the plan for Kaye during the Tithe all seemed to be buried deep until the very last pages. This book is full of twists and turns and I’m happy I stayed along for the ride.

This may be a little macabre but I’m happy that SOMEONE if not several people died. My interests in fiction are a little bit darker than most, I adore a good fairy tale as long as we can muddy it up a bit, the Fae in this story are not like Tinkerbell for sure and the wickedness that comes from that usually end in bloodshed. The lives lost during the escalation of the story were necessary “sacrifices” to give the book its edge and maintain realism.

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What I Didn’t Like…

It took a while for me to actually invest in the story. As a person from Philadelphia familiar with New Jersey I can say for certainty that despite a jab or two regarding my hometown the setting was perfect. However, the progression of the story din’t pull me in. I truly didn’t care for the book as whole until page 104. The book seemed to drag on in an attempt to subtly hint at the secrets and plot twists. It was almost as if Black didn’t trust the reader could pick up on the foreshadowing within the first few pages. I figured out Kaye’s brilliant secret by page 15 and spent the rest of the time wondering how long it would take for the rest of the world to find out if that was the goal. I don’t think there needs to be an 80 page gap between the inception of her “talents” and the actual declaration of them.

Spike…I didn’t like him. I applaud Black for her amazing development of her characters, no one entity was completely good or bad. For example even though Kaye was a high school drop out who smoked cigarettes and cursed, she was still brave and kind and a “good person”. The revelation that not all of those looking after Kaye were “on her side” definitely sucked me into the story and made Spike my second most hated, second only to Nephamael who was a piece of work in his own right.

*Minor note: I didn’t like that Kaye found her younger self, stuck at age 4. I’m not certain the significance of that particular scene besides adding evidence that Silarial was aware of her identity. Understanding that this is a series, I’d hope the explanation of baby Kaye could be explained or at least wonder if they plan to return her.

Overall I enjoyed the book a lot more than I thought I would, I’m officially interested in checking out Valiant and Ironside and will be adding them to my TBR list!

 

Have You Read Tithe by  Holly Black?

What did you think?  Leave a comment below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What's New Pussycat: Literacy Programs (Books Through Bars)

fb_img_1520964442251555898774.jpgI started Blu Moon Fiction in order to share my passion for books and writing. I’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty respectable charities in my time as a result, which has fostered my interests in starting a few of my own as well as supporting the ones I work with presently.

Every Tuesday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm a few kind souls gather together and send some books to individuals in need. Books Through Bars, an all-volunteer non-profit organization helps the community while striving to reverse the devastating effects that injustice and incarceration has on individuals, families and communities.

What interested me the most in this group was their book distribution programBooks Through Bars, sends free books and educational materials to prisoners in; Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The books are sent to anyone who asks, as long as their prison accepts books.

Books Through Bars also hosts Address This! an education and empowerment project providing innovative correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania. Address This! pays special attention to the participation of prisoners in address thissolitary confinement or maximum security, who often have little access to such educational options.

Through their community outreach, strives to educate the general public about prison issues. The organization has sat in on panels and staff tables at community events to raise awareness around prison issues. Books Through Bars has also hosted a film festival, read-a-thons, as well as various public conversation on alternatives to prisons

The group is responsible for affecting thousands of lives, from the organizations recipients across the US down to the volunteers who’ve dedicated their time to make a difference. fb_img_1520612713256858056820.jpg

The group gathers most of its books from donations and is always looking for more, I decided to do my part by hosting a Read-Olympics and Book Drive on behalf of the program. Blu Moon Fiction will also be selling a fantasy art calendar featuring local talent. With 10% of the proceeds going to this organization right here.

If you’d like to donate your time as well as a book or two. Books Through Bars;  holds weekly volunteering, Tuesday nights 7:30–9:30 PM. But if you’re in the area on a weekend and would like to also volunteer you can also do so on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month.

Which Organizations Do You Like To Support?

Leave A Comment Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com