Tea of the Day: Tolstoy’s Samovar by the London Tea Room
Description: Our tribute to Russian tea, named after our favourite Russian author. Caravans would transport tea on the long journey from Russia to China, and the smoke from the nightly campfires would infuse into the tea, giving it a distinct smokey flavor reminiscent of a mild Lapsang Souchong.
The dry tea smells savory and smokey, something like lapsang souchong. There is a hint of green tea smell, and looking in the blend you can see tightly furled green leaves, like with gunpowder tea.
Liquor is a deep amber in the cup.
Steeped tea smells smokey like the dry, but slightly sweeter
Te tastes smokey with sharp-sweet aftertaste without sugar. Adding sugar makes it oddly astringent, but if you add milk the tea becomes much less harsh. It’s a savory interesting tea that does best either black or with milk and sugar, which is not something I see very often.
Tea Rating: 3.5/5
Today, helping out my lovely fellow blogger by doing a guest review.
The Book: High Summons by Eli Celata
Back of the book blurb: “Jon Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he’s ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the world of demon hunters. He just didn’t really expect a bleach blond bookstore clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon’s only hope. When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he’s becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s hooked.”
What I didn’t like: First off, this is not a stand-alone novel. This is not usually a problem for me as I often enjoy reading about the same characters or the same world for several books, but certain aspects of how High Summons was written made it a little off-putting. The novel felt a bit rushed like we’re asked to care about the main character (also the narrator) before we really get a chance to know him. I also felt that a couple of the supporting characters did not get developed until near the end of the book, which is a bit of a disservice to some interesting characters. These two things make it so I was left with a feeling like if I want to get a good sense of the people I kinda have to immediately jump into the next book.
What I did like: Though the book jumps somewhat jarringly right into the nitty-gritty of things, I did like the pace of the book. The author was quite descriptive but wove those descriptions into the story so that things flowed pretty smoothly. I would also like to go visit Rochester (where the story is set) just to see if I could identify any of the places from the book. This was also a take on magic and demons that I have not read before, which immediately makes this novel stand out and it was explained in such a way that made it clear but not dull. The supporting characters are interesting, even for the small amount of time spent on them.My favorite character who is not the narrator gets introduced near the end of the story but his introduction makes him really stand out. I also appreciate the setting being very modern, with his mentor even doing most things (such as getting around town) in a very normal way. I am inclined to keep reading the series to find out more about the narrator’s friends at least as much as I’m interested in his story!
Final verdict: 3.5, rounded up to 4, because I really feel like this was a good series start but the story would have benefited from being a bit longer if only to give full justice to all the characters.