Category Archives: Book Review

Favourite 2017 Reads (So Far) | Top Ten Tuesday

Hi friends,

Happy Tuesday. I’m sorta kinda back… 😉

I’m playing catch up today and participating in Top Ten Tuesday after missing the past two weeks.

The topic for today is best books you’ve read in 2017 so far. Want to join, check out The Broke and the Bookish!

Only three of these were released this year. The rest have been long on my TBR.


10. The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley

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My second read from McKinley, this book was an absolute gem of high fantasy, with stunning worldbuilding. I love Harry. Such a short book too. Definitely one I’ll reread in the future.

9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz

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This book holds a special place in my heart. Not only was it a moving story, but it was my first experience listening to an audiobook and Lin’s voice was perfectly suited to telling this contemporary epic.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

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I read this entire series this year. The first book hooked me with its star crossed romance and mythology! The two that followed were still breathtakingly written, but they lacked the tight plot and compelling narrative of the first. Still a beautiful trilogy though.

7. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

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Can’t begin to express enough how amazing this story is. I don’t read many contemporaries (especially in the YA category — somehow two are on this list, so maybe I should reconsider 🤔). The social relevance of this book alone is enough to convince me that its a book everyone should read.

6. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman

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The universe must have heard my dreams when it inspired Neil Gaiman to write his own adaptation of Norse mythology. It was preordained that I would love this! And love it I did, with all of Loki’s snark 😍

5. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

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I read this book early in the year and I nearly forgot that I had, it feels like a classic already, a book I’ve known for a long time. I read it in one sitting and it broke my heart.

— the next four are honestly impossible for me to order because they are all epic! —

1. Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

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This was the last book I finished reading and oh my gosh! My heart doesn’t know what to do with itself. I need more of these amazing characters. More, I tell you! MORE 😭

1. The Dark Tower – Stephen King

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I devoured the last three books in this series and I can’t recommend this twisted and complex story enough. The journey of this narrative left me breathless and the ending… Seriously, King is a mad genius!

1. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

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A perfectly dark fantasy! Reminded me of Game of Thrones – which is a very good thing in my books – with Mia even reading a bit like the epic Arya Stark. But believe me, Mia is her own unique character and one of my favourite protagonists. Godsgrave can’t come quick enough!

1. A Conjuring of Light – VE Schwab

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So maybe I lied. 😅

There’s a reason this is the last one. Because it’s honestly the best book I’ve read this year. I don’t know what it is about the characters and the story but Schwab crafted such a strong world with the Shades of Magic series that I want to get lost in it over and over and over again! Not to mention, that this is one of the most brilliant finales to a series. Though, I wish it was not the end…


What are the best books you’ve read so far this year? Any of the ones I’ve mentioned on your list? Let me know in the comments friends! Hope you’ve all been keeping well!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

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Mothers in Literature | Top Ten Tuesday

Happy Tuesday friends 🙂

I’m working on a few blog posts for the next few weeks, updates on my progress and for my Crafting the Series posts that I’ve neglected utterly in the wake of too many writerly goals and personal issues.

But I’ve been seeing a few TTT posts around and thought it might be fun to add this to my weekly blog lineup as I try to create a semblance of order here.

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, it’s a weekly meme that’s all about books and lists based on a theme.

This week’s theme is a mother’s day related freebie! All you have to do is link back to their page. VOILÀ

As many of you may know, the main character in my debut novella is a single mother named Eléonore who fights demons by night while caring for her six-year old son, Étienne.

So my interpretation today is ten fictional mothers who inspired Eléonore!

Ready? Here we go 🙂


 

3LILY EVANS

 Harry Potter as a series defined much of my childhood and inspired a lot of my writing when I was younger. So it seems natural that some of that would rub off on Eléonore’s journey.

Though Lily’s role in the series is limited to flashbacks, it is her initial sacrifice that sets the plot in motion. And that act of sacrificing oneself for one’s child, that selfless drive to give up one’s life for another, is a quality that Eléonore is imbued with and guides most of her actions throughout the novella.

 


15881MOLLY WEASLEY

Of course, another mother from the Harry Potter series, and one who is far more prominent is dear Mrs. Weasley. A firecracker of a character, she has so much heart to her and yet is stern towards her children and husband. Her fierce nature though makes her a protective maternal figure and she, pardon my French, kicks ass when the ones she loves are in peril.

That spitfire spirit is one Eléonore owns… in my humble opinion 😉

 

 


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MARMEE

The strong maternal figure raising four daughters, Marmee is a gentle and compassionate woman who performs her motherly duties while her husband is away at war and, for a good part of the book, is the figurehead of the family. She also acts as a moral compass for the girls in their lives.

While Eléonore herself might lack a proper moral code, she does her utmost to impress upon Étienne the need to follow a steadier path than she.


409207CATELYN STARK

There are plenty of mothers in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by good ol’ George RR Martin, from the ruthless Cersei to Mhysa Dany, Mother of Dragons. But I am prone to think back on Catelyn, a woman who loved her children to the point that she was willing to cut a deal with the Lannisters to save her daughters.

It’s that unflinching, uncompromising attitude that inspired certain actions on Eléonore’s part.


41329LEAH, RACHEL, ZILPAH, & BILHAH

This retelling of the story of Dinah as found in the Bible is one about women primarily and the bond between mothers and daughters. But the spirituality between these women and the relationship that they embody is one I tried to capture in a similar way between Eléonore, Sinéand Rosalie–though this is something that grows in the books that follow.

It also inspired the sense that it takes more than one person to raise a child – that old ‘it takes a whole village’ idea that we’ve sorely lost on.


1885MRS. BENNETT

Mrs. Bennett might be one of the funniest mothers in literature, her satirical caricature set around arranging the best marriages for her child. It’s nothing that Eléonore has to work with, but there is a certain frenzy with which Eléonore acts and speaks and that’s in large part inspired by the rather frantically inclined Mrs. Bennett.


30253864LORELAI GILMORE

Not a mother from literature, I’m aware, but a fictional character that I would be remiss to not mention here. Anyone familiar with Gilmore Girls will recognize it for its central mother-daughter relationship and witty banter. It’s that banter that I really tried to hone with Eléonore, trying for dialogue that was sharp and witty, banter that flowed without feeling forced.

From reviews, it seems I’ve done this rather well. So thank you Amy Sherman-Palladino for inspiring me with rapid fire dialogue and cultural references!


Well, that’s less than ten, but anymore would be forcing the truth. Which mothers in literature have left an impact on you? For good or for bad.

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

MAY TBR

Hi friends,

It’s May 10th, so this is coming later than it probably should, but I thought I’d share the reads I have lined up for this month.

I might be a little overambitious though…

Happy May 1st everyone 😊 It's always exciting to be starting a new month. There's a lot waiting to be done but I'm ready for the challenges. One of those challenges will be keeping up with my #bookstagram. MAYhaps this will be the month I pull it off 😅 Day 1: Here's my May TBR for #grimdragon & #bluelovesbookishmay. It's an awesome lineup if I do say so myself. 😍 #circleofbookishfriends is May flowers – using my scarf to cover that today because it's raining outside and I can't show off the budding beauties 💐 #ampersandmay17 is Mask – Using Eon for this one as it's about a girl who masquerades as a boy. #bookishearworms is Cry Me a River (sad books) – Fire Bringer is a reread for me this month and it's one of the saddest books I've ever read. What books are on your TBR this month? #readingcommunity #readersofinstagram #maytbr #bookworm #booklove #booklover #bookishlife #bookaholic #bookaddict

A post shared by Faith Rivens (@faith_therivens) on

I’ve managed to finish three of these so far:

Beauty by Robin McKinley 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5
I loved this story so much! The prose was excellent and gleamed with all the potential that McKinley honed after this, her debut. Where the story lacked was in stakes and adequate development of the romance. That being said, the characterization of Beauty and Beast were phenomenal! As Beauty and the Beast retellings go, this has to be a favourite of mine.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5
I have only read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Atwood which is something I need to rectify this year. Honestly, she’s such an amazing author. This little gem is the retelling of ‘The Odyssey’ from Penelope’s perspective and the voice in it was off the charts! Humourous, witty and a compelling narrative. It’s purpose felt more thematic so the plot itself wasn’t driven by stakes or action. But a small quibble because Penelope’s characterization was phenomenal!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I finished this one two days ago and it is a new favourite of mine. I fell in love with the prose, the worldbuilding, the premise, the setting, the layered plot, the twist. All the love for this amazing fantasy book that used so many of my favourite elements. I could imagine Guillermo del Toro doing something amazing with this book if he was the one adapting it into a movie! Also, Karou has to be one of my favourite heroines too. My only problem is that I want to binge read the rest of the series but I don’t have book 2 or 3 so I have to wait. 😦

At the moment, I have about 50 pages left in Hell’s Teeth by James Fahy. If you’ve been following me long enough, you might remember that I’ve read his other series. An MG fantasy highly reminiscent of Tolkien and Lewis, it’s been one of my favourite reads this year. Well, this new series I’ve discovered is a darker urban fantasy and oh so wonderful! Set in a dystopian world with vampires and featuring a kickass (pardon my French) protagonist, Hell’s Teeth proves that Fahy is a versatile author and a master storyteller.

I’m still working my way through Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. I had started this nonfiction in April after finishing early with Stephen King’s On Writing and I’m hoping to be finished it this month which will mean that I’m 5 for 5 for my nonfiction reads this year. So far, I’m really enjoying the psychological perspective that she’s applying to myths and the empowering virtues it conveys for women.

Not sure what I’ll read next. Firebringer is a reread so I turn to that. But I really want to read Nevernight and Eon soon. And I was supposed to read Norse Mythology last month but didn’t get to it. The Hatter’s Wife is a novella which promises to be fun and quick so I’ll probably save it for a light read between two big ones. And then there’s Named of the Dragon which is the only book that isn’t a fantasy on my list…. Hmm…?

Any suggestions 🙂


What’s on your TBR this month, friends? Share and let me know what you’ve been reading lately!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Manningtree Account | Becky Wright

Happy Friday friends,

Life’s been keeping busy, but I’m doing my best to make time for y writing. I’m actually ahead with Heralding and managed to write a short story this past week that I’ll submit to a few places next week.

Anyway, I’ll be posting a small update Sunday on the writing front.

For now, here’s another review for you 🙂


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1646 – A time of English Civil War, when life is cheap, death common and superstition consumes the hearts of God-fearing folk. The life of a healer is precarious, dwelling in the shadows of normal society. Ostracised, their time running out as the self-appointed Witchfinder General scours the countryside for the Devil’s whores…

2016 – One dark night, one sleepy town, one family gripped by terror. The EAPI paranormal team are called to investigate dark poltergeist activity. But, as the eternal night finally loosens its grip, it seems that some evil deeds are never forgotten, reaching out from beyond the grave to exact their revenge…

REVIEW

Well that was wonderfully dark and creepy and haunting!

A fast-paced story. A page turner. An absolutely spellbinding narrative that I could not put down. This novella might be little but the impact is great!

It’s hard to say much without spoiling it and I feel as though it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible so that each twist and turn hits as it should.

What I will say is this: Becky Wright does a masterful job of crafting a sinister atmosphere, her prose is mesmerizing and her narrative is perfectly executed.

And at the end, all I could think was: “Please sir, I want some more.”

CONCLUSION

If you like your tales dark, settle in for the night with this gem. You won’t regret it!

RATING

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 22.03.17

Happy Wednesday friends,

I’m back today for WWW Wednesday and boy has it been a long time ;P

I’ve been busy with writing, participating in an #AuthorHop on Instagram and life… beautiful, unexpected life! I’ve found time to read since my last post, but not the time to post. But today, I fix that.

Thanks to the lovely Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this amazing blog hop every week! If you aren’t following her already, you’re missing out 🙂

Want to join in? All you have to do is answer these questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

CURRENTLY READING

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

18998861Blurb:

Chinon: château of legend, steeped in the history of France and England.

It is to Chinon that Emily goes on a long-awaited holiday, to meet her charming but unreliable cousin, Harry. Harry wanted to explore the old town and the castle, where Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, had withstood the siege of Chinon many centuries ago, and where, according to legend, she hid her casket of jewels. But when Emily arrives at her hotel she finds that Harry has disappeared, and as she tries to find him she becomes involved with some of the other guests and learns of a mystery dating from the German occupation during the Second World War. Another Isabelle, a chambermaid at the hotel, fell in love with a German soldier, with tragic results.

Emily becomes increasingly aware of strange tensions, old enmities and new loves; as she explores the city, with its labyrinthine dungeons and tunnels and its ancient secrets, she comes ever closer to the mystery of what happened to both the Isabelles of Chinon’s history.

Chances are I’ll be done this one by the time you’re reading this but I’m including it here for the moment because I’m still 100 pages from the end. It’s the second Kearsley I’m reading in my 2017 read-a-thon of her bibliography. It just took a really tragic turn that I wasn’t expecting….

FINISHED READING

The Manningtree Acount by Becky Wright

34510505Blurb:

1646 – A time of English Civil War, when life is cheap, death common and superstition consumes the hearts of God-fearing folk. The life of a healer is precarious, dwelling in the shadows of normal society. Ostracised, their time running out as the self-appointed Witchfinder General scours the countryside for the Devil’s whores…

2016 – One dark night, one sleepy town, one family gripped by terror. The EAPI paranormal team are called to investigate dark poltergeist activity. But, as the eternal night finally loosens its grip, it seems that some evil deeds are never forgotten, reaching out from beyond the grave to exact their revenge…

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this novella was! Thrilling and gripping! After reading Becky’s debut novel (Remember to Love Me), a time slip romance, I was excited to see how she handled a paranormal thriller and WOW! She’s a true storyteller, able to work her magic across genres. My full review will be up tomorrow!

READING NEXT

Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) by Stephen King

5093Blurb (from The Gunslinger – Book I the series)

Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King’s most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.

In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.

The penultimate in the series, I am excited and nervous to finish this amazing adventure. I have fallen in love with these characters and am constantly amazed by King’s masterful storytelling. If you can stomach some of the more gruesome elements, this dark fantasy is brilliant and shouldn’t be missed!


Share your WWW posts below or let me know what your week has been like in books in the comments below!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Remember to Love Me | Becky Wright

Hi friends,

Yes. I’m alive.

I know I’ve been gone for a while. I’ve been hiding out in my writing cave lately. This month I’ve written 26,942 (not including today’s word count which is over 2k already). I have 30k left to write to get to the end of this first draft and I need it to be done for the end of the month, so fair warning that I’ll be a little absent for the next two weeks.

Until then, I’ll drop in with a few reviews and any other posts I can manage.

Like this one!


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1900
Annabelle yearns for nothing more than motherhood. Losing her own mother in child birth at the tender age of four; a gaping hole has grown in the pit of her belly with the desire to nurture a child. Her sole purpose, she values its significance and her duty to provide an heir to devoted husband Richard Hardwick, successor to a wealthy landowning family. But motherhood may not be as she once hoped, as fate deals her a cruel hand, leaving her with a life-changing dilemma.

Her younger sister Emily, vibrant and full of zest is engaged to the dashing Lance Corporal James Wright, jubilant with thoughts of the future she imagines nothing but wedded bliss on the horizon. But as a new century dawns, darkness falls, as the Boer War gains strength James is deployed to South Africa, leaving his new bride alone with an uncertain future. As melancholy festers, Emily escapes the rural confines of Bury St Edmunds to stay with Aunt Anna by the sea, where she languishes in nature’s rough vast beauty. As the distance stretches between the sisters, so too does the life-thread of family.

1997
April has spent her solitary childhood in the pretty Norfolk village of Winterton-on-Sea, surrounded by its quiet lanes and circular pastel holiday cottages; a child flourishing in its rural beauty and thriving off the natural elements of sandy dunes and buffering waves. But now, after leaving University and as her 21st birthday approaches, April finds herself relocating closer to her Grandmother Sarah, to her mother’s childhood home of Bury St Edmunds; a market town in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Her parents open their longed-for antique shop, and although April is eager to assist with the busy Christmas rush, she aches for something else; a missing puzzle-piece. She looks to Sarah for guidance and direction, struggling to adjust, in her heart, pining for her sea-side home; she takes solace in the extraordinary bond she shares with her grandmother

April’s feelings of uncertainty amplify as she steps over the threshold of her ancestral home; an early Victorian townhouse at the heart of the historic town, where time has stopped in its tracks, pristine and perfectly antiquated. In a visit to the attic late one afternoon, she discovers more than just dusty tea chests and old suitcases. She encounters an ancestor that has remained, a beautiful ghostly apparition whispering secrets in the shadows.

As the weeks follow and Christmas arrives, April is confronted with strange visions and dreams; memories of a lost, long buried time, of grave secrets, of sisterly love, romance and family loyalties that stretch beyond even love’s limits. April is thrown into turmoil, living moments in two eras, experiencing love and loss in both. With the help of Annabelle’s diary, she begins to unravel the mysteries of her ancestor’s history as her own destiny falls into place. Piecing together snippets of another life, giving peace back to the house and laying ghosts to rest; she unfolds the mystery of her family’s Supernatural Legacy.

REVIEW

A brilliant debut novel full of romance and heartbreak, that pulls tight on your heartstrings and ensnares you with magical prose and lyrical beauty.

Fantasy might be my most read genre, but historical time slips/time travels/parallel tales are second to it. I love fiction that weaves narratives through two or three different time periods, seeing the connection of various lives, seeing recurring themes and settings. And that is what I loved most about this truly enchanting read.

In the present day (1997) April is a young girl who is still searching for her purpose in life. When she and her family move near her grandmother, she discovers a family secret and pieces together the lives of her ancestors, all the while coming to understand her role within it.

Annabelle and Emily are two sisters living at the turn of the century, learning to love and coping with love. They face hardships, and their bond is challenged at each obstacle that meets them.

Both these narratives come together in spectacular fashion and it was hard to keep a dry eye throughout the story’s development. Becky Wright gives and takes, sometimes too much for one’s heart, but her characters are so strong and when they interact with one another and come together to support each other, they reawaken hope to ease the soul.

Reminded me of Susanna Kearsley in the best of ways, this novel is not one that you want to miss out on if you love historical romances.

CONCLUSION

A truly stunning debut! Brilliant and beautiful.

RATING

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Game of Shadows | Erika Lewis

Happy Sunday friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend today.

I’m excited to share this review with you! The start of a new and exciting fantasy series, it releases this Tuesday!

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

REVIEW

I think that most of you know by now that fantasy is my go-to genre in my life, and I was excited to get the chance to discover a new fantasy series, especially one with a lot of promise, great world building and fun characters.

The story begins in a world we know well and a boy whose life is about to be changed forever. Like Percy Jackson and Clary Fray before him, Ethan believes himself to be an ordinary kid, except for the ghosts that he sees that no one else can. In fact, Ethan does share a few commonalities with these characters. Like them, his mother has been concealing the truth of his heritage. Like them, one moment throws his normal world into chaos and leads him to discover a new world.

While Ethan’s arc emulates some of those that came before, the plot still features unique characters and interesting twists and turns to keep one interested and to allow the comparisons to fall away for the most part.

What is most wonderful about this story is the worldbuilding. I’m a sucker for Celtic mythology and Erika Lewis does a fantastic job of bringing the land of Tara to life and imbuing it with creatures and characters that provide moments of whimsy and moments of fear.

The plot speeds along at a great pace, packed full of adventure, as Ethan embarks on a journey of his own: to rescue his mother from the clutches of a sorcerer. It makes for a gripping read that rises above the small stumbles. The ending especially leaves off on a tantalizing note and I am rather intrigued to see where this story will go next.

CONCLUSION

A wonderful debut to a new YA Fantasy series, if you’re looking for an exciting adventure, look no further.

RATING

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 22.02.17

Happy Wednesday friends!

Didn’t think I’d have this post for today, but I have to share my reading habits with you because of one word: SCHWAB! 😍

Thanks to the lovely Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this amazing blog hop every week! If you aren’t following her already, you’re missing out 🙂

Want to join in? All you have to do is answer these questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

CURRENTLY READING

Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) by April Daniels

33126630Blurb:

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

An ebook received through NetGalley, this book was just released in January and I’m actually rather enjoying it. The unique perspective has drawn me in and there’s an eclectic cast of characters to round it up. The story seems to be working with extremes but I do appreciate that the author is trying to explore the force of transphobia (and homophobia to some extent). The protagonist is highly likeable and the writing is quirky and and suits the first person POV.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

30278755Blurb:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

So far, this is proving to be a very inspiring and motivating read! I find it especially poignant these days, and maybe just the kick in the creative butt that I need 😅

FINISHED READING

A Gathering of Shadows & A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #2 & 3)by V.E. Schwab

20764879Blurb (from A Darker Shade of Magic, the first book)

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

29939230Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

What an absolutely brilliant series this has been! Whether it’s the gripping prose or the engaging world building or the memorable characters, Schwab has brought such magic into the world with this series. I haven’t felt this satisfied with a conclusion in a long time and it’s bittersweet to know that the adventure is over. Of course, that’s where the magic of the re-read comes in.

I do highly recommend this series ❤

READING NEXT

The days are winding down, but I’m still hoping to get through these ones!

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

31430932Blurb:

If you want something done right….

When the ruthless Pirate King learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows that there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the enemy ship. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell?

Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will… Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower #5) by Stephen King

4978Blurb:

 

 

Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World on their quest for the Dark Tower. Their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis. But beyond the tranquil farm town, the ground rises to the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is stealing the town’s soul. The wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to. Their guns, however, will not be enough….

 

Ashael Rising (Vessel of KalaDene #1) by Shona Kinsella

34097124Blurb

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.


Share your WWW link in the comment or let me know what your reading habits have been like lately. Let’s spread the bookish love across the sphere 😊

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

Isle of Winds | James Fahy

Happy Tuesday friends,

Sorry I’ve been quiet lately. It’s been a busy week and I’ve been focusing my attention elsewhere.

Today, I have a new review to share with you. 🙂


28173857BLURB

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.

The first instalment of The Changeling Series, Isle of Winds is an engrossing tale written in the traditions of high fantasy story-telling while carving out a magical new realm. It is perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.

REVIEW

Since I can remember, fantasy has been my genre of choice. I grew up on the magic and whimsy of Tolkien, Rowling, Lewis & Pullman. If I were a child now, I would equally have delighted in this bookish treasure.

But don’t get me wrong. As an adult, I have adored it. I just feel bad that my past self never got to grow up with the magic that this book brought to life for me during its reading.

As a reader, there are always two aspects of a novel that I need to be completely convinced of: memorable characters and convincing worldbuilding. Of course, the plot has to be strong too, but if it is missing either of those features, there’s a good chance that the plot will not be as gripping or engaging as it could be. Fortunately, Isle of Winds excels on all counts.

We are introduced to our protagonist, Robin Fellows, in a moment when life is catapulted from the familiar. His grandmother is dead and he is being forced to relocate to a manor to live with an aunt he never knew existed. Of course, the thing he doesn’t realize quite yet is that he’s about to discover the truth of his heritage and stumble into a fantastic adventure that most kids dream about.

From the get-go, Robin is a likeable boy with a natural curiosity and a good spirit. As with every good story, he’s only as strong as his supporting cast, and they are in anything but short supply. From the formidable Aunt Irene, to the enigmatic Karya, these characters blend into Robin’s life as he comes to uncover the Fae world he was born into.

And what a world it is! The mythology that layers it is superb and leaps off the pages with such vividness that you feel ready to get lost in yourself. The manor where Aunt Irene lives, Erlking Hall, is a beautifully imagined place with passages and secret doors to rival Hogwarts. The Netherworlde is crafted with equal attention, a parallel land existing with the world we know. The magic system of Arcania is full of its own mystery, while the mystical folk that inhabit the world take inspiration from Greek and Roman mythology! Have I conveyed the brilliance of it yet?

CONCLUSION

A truly remarkable debut to a series, Isle of Winds is full of twists and turns and provides an adventure that is engaging, gripping and captivating. A magical ride you don’t want to miss.

RATING

quills


If you want to interact with James, you can find him here:

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If you want to discover the magic of Isle of Winds for yourself… AMAZON

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 15.02.17

Happy Wednesday friends,

This seems to be a thing now, posting every second week, and it’ll probably stick because life is hectic ;P

As always, WWW Wednesday is a wonderful opportunity to delight in discovering what other people have read, are reading or will be reading. Because our TBRs are in need of it, right? 😅

Thanks to the lovely Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this amazing blog hop every week! If you aren’t following her already, you’re missing out 🙂

Want to join in? All you have to do is answer these questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

CURRENTLY READING

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

20764879Blurb (from A Darker Shade of Magic, the first book)

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I have been putting this one off because I wanted to read it close enough to A Conjuring of Light‘s release date. Since that is LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY!!!! now seems like a good time to start on this one 💖

UPDATE: Only 40 pages in and I am already in love. There are pirates!!!

FINISHED READING

Game of Shadows by Erika  Lewis

31140987Blurb:

Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Definitely a new fantasy series to look out for. I was fortunate to receive an ARC from NetGalley and really devoured this one. Reminded me of Percy Jackson and The Mortal Instruments with a Celtic twist. And the mythology really was the best part! My review for it will be up next week in anticipation of its release February 28th!

Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3; Poison Study #6) by Maria V. Snyder

30375956Blurb (from Poison Study, first book in the series):

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

Well, that brings this series to an end. I’ve enjoyed the ride and especially certain character arcs. While I was glad to follow this series to its end, I hate to admit that I wasn’t completely sold on this extended trilogy in the Poison Study universe, if only because a lot of the conflict and conversations became repetitive over times and Yelena’s character seemed to fall to the background too often. I think I’ll review this and Night Study together as they really lead one into the other.

A Second Chance at Life by Kassandra Lynn

33838303Blurb:

Lady Elaina had everything—wealth, title, and irresistible beauty—until her jealous half-sister ruined her reputation and forced her into a disgraceful marriage. She died amidst the flames, murdered and betrayed by her husband and half-sister. As the flames roared, the loss of her unborn child created a thirst for revenge.

A magical amulet sent her two years back in time. She has another chance to make things right for herself and her family, yet what began as a plot to undermine her half-sister’s machinations quickly evolved into a political conspiracy that will rock the entire empire and make Elaina realize she might not have traveled back in time alone.

This is another NetGalley arc and I had such difficulty getting through it. To be honest, it’s not the kind of story I tend to go for, but I was intrigued by the premise and thought it might be a nice change of pace. But the dialogue was terribly stilted and the characters unlikable as a whole. What was most difficult for me though was the unrealistic worldbuilding. I put up a review on GoodReads and I will say that others have more positively received it. It might just be me then and so, while I won’t recommend it, I will advise that I am also not one for romance heavy plots with no other substance, so that’s a bias to take into account.

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

In CalabriaBlurb:

From the acclaimed author of The Last Unicorn comes a new, exquisitely-told unicorn fable for the modern age.


Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences.

Lyrical, gripping, and wise, In Calabria confirms Peter S. Beagle’s continuing legacy as one of fantasy’s most legendary authors.

This is reminding me that I’ve read more NetGalley ARCs then physical books. I do not like this statistic ;P
 In Calabria is my second Peter S. Beagle book and so far my favourite (I haven’t read The Last Unicorn yet though, so…). I fast tracked the review because it releases today in the UK! So happy book birthday! A five star review from me. You can find it here!
Isle of Winds (The Changeling #1) by James Fahy
28173857Blurb:

Isle of Winds is the first instalment in a Middle-Grade age fantasy series

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.

The first instalment of The Changeling Series, Isle of Winds is an engrossing tale written in the traditions of high fantasy story-telling while carving out a magical new realm. It is perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series.

Just finished this one last night and it was W – O – N – D – E – R – F -U – L! A brilliant fantasy adventure that fits in beautifully with classics like Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit! Seriously friends. Read this one! My review should be up soon!

READING NEXT

Uh….

29939230

Yep! 😊

But also… I know that I won’t get through my February TBR. It was ambitious to begin with, but I am trying to get through these before the month through…

ARCS:

31430932   34097124   30279514

My Bookshelf:

4978     24453082

Perhaps still a little ambitious…


Let me know what you’re reading or have read or plan on reading next or share a link to your post.

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink