Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Blog tour for teen author Emily Mundell's debut novel!!

I'm super-excited, because today, I'm participating in a blog tour for a teen writer's new book! 

Emily Mundell has written a fantasy novel called The Sorceress and the Squid. Now today is the third day of the blog tour, so you've maybe seen all the cover and synopsis and stuff already? Yes? No? ...just in case you haven't, I shall put it all right here!  

That's right, I have ALL THE THINGS, here for your convenience!!




Synopsis!   And cover!
In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae, and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?


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Author bio! With picture!
Emily Mundell is a 19 year old author, artist, horsewoman and lover of the wonders of the wide world. She hails from the Great White North of Canada and has spent her life growing up in the heart of rural Alberta in a close-knit farming community - though she has often entertained fantasies of inhabiting the Shire.

Writing is her true passion – though horses and art take a close second. With fantasy as her primary genre, Emily has been writing stories since the tender age of eight when she finished her first “book.” She is currently working to complete her Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Calgary. An avid bookworm, true country-mouse, and unconventional tree-climber, Emily can usually be found on a horse, working on one of her half-dozen projects, chasing a loose cow, or being swept off her feet by the man she calls her own personal “hobbit.”




Emily's social media links!
Links where you can buy the book and/or read reviews!

(these ones are really important! click them! click them!!)


I also have two special things you'll only get on this blog!!


#1: My review. 
(Okay, so it's also on Goodreads...)

[I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Because seriously - even though I haven't written a review since I was last forced to in high school - maybe I should do more? because free books. *can't believe I didn't know this was a thing*]

The book: You know how e-books - particularly indie published e-books - are filled with formatting errors often enough that you now cringe at the thought of reading one? No? It's just me? (Fine.) But this book, THIS BOOK DID NOT. Words were not split across lines. There were no glaring typos. Formatting was consistent. Perhaps those are rather petty things to judge a book by, but you don't know what it means for my opinion of a book. I began The Sorceress and the Squid expecting the usual e-book problems, and it didn't have them.

The characters: Estrella, a sorceress, and Jalen, the warrior she turns into a squid, alternate POV. I'm not going to try to describe them for you; I'm going to give you quotes.

Estrella:
"It was a lovely morning for war-mongering." (First line. I mean, this is obviously a fascinating narrator voice.)
Second page: "Her attempt to stick her nose beyond the pages of her books was going very poorly."

I identify so much with the second quote... and it's even better because it comes so soon after the first one.

Jalen:
"Jalen grimaced - if a squid could grimace -"
"He tried to shrug, but realized quickly that was beyond his squid abilities."
"He made a low whistling noise, or tried to. It ended up being sort of a bubbly sound. Apparently squids couldn’t whistle."

I just love the whole frustrated-warrior-is-now-a-talking-squid thing. xD
The plot: I expected the plot would be simply a quest to find the Wizard, and I was concerned that the strain of holding that up for an entire novel would bring out the quest cliches. I was wrong, for two reasons:
1. Estrella complained enough about carrying the jar (fairly, I think, as it would have been terribly awkward) that the quest-journey flew past. Characters bickering and being snarky = yasss.
2. The journey ended; they got to the Wizard's island; and I thought, oh well, it's been a nice read - not terribly complex, but nice.  And then- >>betrayal!<< (I can't give any more details because spoilers.) And I realised I was only half-way through. In the second half there's battles and new friends and tragedy and hope and magical duels and awesome stuff. (That's so vague. How do people even write good reviews without putting spoilers through the whole thing??)

The ending felt both a bit rushed, and satisfyingly true:

 - I thought some some details could have been emphasised more - I took a while to figure out that >>Estrella was going to train Jalen<<, for example. And I thought it could have been more clearly stated that >>Jalen could do magic now too<<, although I suppose the circumstances made it obvious. Emotionally, I felt like Estrella and Jalen weren't quite ready to finish? She was still struggling, and he'd had a whole new element added to his character.

 - Honestly, though, I think the ending for Estrella would have felt faked if that (spoilers!) had been somehow fixed? And it's so sweet that he's sticking around and helping her. (That last scene in the rain... adorable! *mushy heart eyes*)

The setting: I WANT ESTRELLA'S HOUSE, OKAY? It's on the top of a mountain, on the other side of a slightly magic forest, and it's a one-room building with lots of clutter and cupboards and a wall and a half of bookshelves. I could see it... and I'm terrible at picturing setting. Other settings include a boat and a semi-magic island - which were cool - and a battlefield, which I got a little confused over. But I typically get confused about setting, so...

Content: Magic and some battle scenes (nothing too graphic).

Adored: Estrella, Jalen, Estrella + Jalen, Estrella's house, her grumbling about carrying Jalen in the jar, Jalen being alternately "yep I'm a talking squid!!" and "nope squids don't talk haha that's ridiculous why would I talk??", the brief appearance of a magic carpet, the hopeless goblin gang, and the Gollum-like creature. Also the ending was sweet/bittersweet.

Complaints: There was a bit about handholding that I thought could have been drawn out into more of a plot point. ...Okay, maybe I mostly wanted them to hold hands a bit more... but it still could have been a great plot point! I was picturing them >>standing on a hill holding hands and fighting the battle with their free hands<< , and I was a bit disappointed that never happened... ;)

Mostly, though, this book was at times sweet, snarky, heart-wrenching, and funny. (I mean, when they were waylaid by goblins, Estrella zapped their bottoms.) Four out of five squids spellbooks.


#2: A character interview with sorceress Estrella! 
(I took quite a risk with this... she mentioned some quite gruesome things she's done to humans...)

JEM: Today I have a special guest: Estrella the sorceress! And before I go any further, I should probably mention – Estrella, I look human, but that’s because my other form struggles with typing. So... we’re good? I’ve heard you’re not too fond of humans... 

ESTRELLA: Recently I've become a little more open-minded, though I am only particularly fond of one human. I will take your word for it, though I'd be interested in seeing your other form when this questioning is all said and done.
I too look like a human, despite my magical abilities. I can forgive this in you as well.

JEM: Now, you live in the kingdom of Perth, on a mountain. In a cluttered little house with a wall and a half of bookshelves. If that’s not awesome I don’t know what is. Do you leave your home much? 

ESTRELLA: I didn't used to hardly ever – except to pay the Wizard a visit of course. I had few friends and still do. Honestly, who needs them when you have books? I get out a little more these days, which is a bit ironic but that's another matter...

JEM: Books are better than the real world, I agree! How long have you lived here? 

ESTRELLA: I'm glad we see eye-to-eye. I have lived on this mountain 102 years, before that I trained with the Wizard on his island.

JEM: Do you see other people – Fae, I should say – often? 

ESTRELLA: Occasionally, when they need me. I'm known as a bit of a healer around these parts and the Fae often come to me for spells or potions.

JEM: Who are your closest friends? 

ESTRELLA: Certainly I have been friends with the sailors, Aryn, Jonnan and Dariela the longest. After them, Mila the tree-spirit and Kyra the wood-nymph. I believe that our shared experience brings Jalen and I closer than anyone though.

JEM: That's to be expected. *grins* I'm sure Jalen, for one, will never forget that experience. How do you spend your time? 

ESTRELLA: He'd better not forget! I went through a lot of trouble for him. I spend a lot of time reading, naturally. There are many days up in the mountains where nothing exciting really happens. I also practice my magic – to a level of perfectionism, perhaps. When I am good at something I tend to do it extensively, especially magic as it has always been the most stable and secure part of my life, a bit ironic I know. Nowadays I spend more time with people than I would normally have liked, but I am learning to enjoy that too.

JEM: You say you spend a lot of time reading – have you read all these books? What are they about? 

ESTRELLA: All my books? Heavens no. I am a collector and do so obsessively, but I do not always have time to read what I have found. I have read perhaps ¾ of my collection. Many of my books are books of spells which require, slow, careful and deliberate study as you read. I confess I have not gone through them all yet. Someday I will manage this.

JEM: Of course, spellbooks would need careful study – you wouldn't want to misread a spell.*coughs* But I'm sure you'll get through them someday – perhaps with your pupil! What spell do you use the most? 

ESTRELLA: Yes, bad things can happen when you misread or misquote a spell. Telekinetics is the most practical use for spells. There are plenty of times when I am in the thick of something and do not want to or cannot make the effort to grab a necessary item. It is especially great in battle. Telekinesis takes only the energy that you would use to lift the item physically, so if it is a regular item, perhaps the size of a book, then it is not hard at all. If I wanted to lift a boulder I could, but that would use an excessive amount of energy.

JEM: I have to ask... have you ever made yourself a cup of tea telekinetically so you didn't have to stop reading? 

ESTRELLA: Of course! I have done this several times. Unfortunately the mental energy it takes to make the tea ends up distracting me from my reading anyway, but at least I can stay seated and cozy in my chair.

JEM: It sounds like telekinesis is a regularly useful spell! What spell do you wish you had more excuses to use? 

ESTRELLA: *chuckles* Oh, there are so many of these. Some simply because they inspire amazement and require such skill. Some because they are fun. I did enjoy shooting electric currents at goblin bottoms on our quest. That was thoroughly satisfying. Also, telepathy. It is a strange phenomenon to be inside someone else's head and I do not always like it, but it is also very interesting and there are many times I wish I could understand them better. I do not use this spell on principle, I do not believe it right to poke around in the minds of others.

JEM: That's good of you. I never even thought to be concerned about what you might be doing to me right now... What’s the worst thing – or spell – you could do to someone? 

ESTRELLA: Hmm, this is a difficult question. There are many I think that would be awful. I can inflict a curse of extreme itchiness that does not abate for even a moment, driving the victim mad with it. Using telekinesis I can do many horrible things like peeling flesh from bone...I have done terrible things with fire...things I would rather not discuss.

JEM: ...oookay. Sorry I asked. *moves a little further away* Where do you see yourself in five years? 

ESTRELLA: I do not see much change in my life, especially in the sum of five years, what a short time! Of course for a human that is a good many years and a lot can change. Once you have lived a century or more, five years becomes a short span. I suppose in five years I may have mastered new magic techniques and that will be a development. I may have trained my pupil quite a bit better as well.

JEM: And a fun question to finish! If you, hypothetically, got mad enough to turn someone into an animal, hypothetically, what animal would you pick? 

ESTRELLA: Seeing as I have already experimented with a squid (which is a thoroughly inconvenient animal to spellcast a person into, let me just say), I think I would go with something that can walk on
its own legs. Perhaps a dog, I do like dogs. Or, better yet, a horse or something that could carry me instead of me carrying it! Yes, I think that would work well.

JEM: Something you don't have to carry does sound like a good plan. I see you're all sorted out for next time someone annoys you! 
 
ESTRELLA: Hopefully I won't have to go through that same situation ever again, but yes, I will try to do it more conveniently next time.

JEM: Thanks for the interview, Estrella! Best wishes for your pupil's training... and for your efforts to enjoy spending time with people. (Reading would be easier, but persevere!)




Now if you're following the blog tour, here's the schedule for the week:

(I am so helpful :D)

Blog Tour Schedule graphic.jpg
Estrella wanted to know what I look like in my non-human form.
Don't judge. We can't all secretly be dragons.



Have you read The Sorceress and the Squid? What did you think about my interview with Estrella? Want to talk about the book? Comment!
 

15 comments:

  1. I want to now! It sounds awesome, I also like the name. :)

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    1. If you now want to read it, Gray, my job is done. *swishes cape*

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  2. Yeah! That was such a cool interview and good review! I'll have to read it on goodreads! I have read the book too and it was awesome!

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    1. That's right, you were in the blog tour too! I enjoyed reading your author interview. :)

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  3. Wow, this is so great, Jem! The character interview turned out awesome. XD Thanks so much for all your hard work!

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    1. Thanks for letting me participate, Emily! (I quite enjoyed the character interview - Estrella was a really fun character to talk to!)

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  4. THAT COVER. *flails* IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. Please I need this book now.

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    1. It is a cute cover, isn't it? :D

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  5. What a unique (and amusing) idea, to have one character spend some time as a squid!

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    1. I can't think of any other books in which one of the main characters is a squid, that's for sure... and it certainly made for some amusing situations. ;)

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  6. This sounds like a really cool book!

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  7. Replies
    1. I decided the glowing owl was my 'owl-let' in its night form xD

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  8. I'm so sorry, guys - I have no idea how I missed replying to all your comments!

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Comment away! I read all comments - no matter how old the post may be! - and I'll try to reply. Just keep your words appropriate so I won't have to delete your comment (I'd hate to have to do that).