Category Archives: Book Review

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

Desert Jewel | Natalina Reis

Hello Friends,

Wednesday is dwindling, but here’s another review!

Thank you NetGalley and Hot Tree Publishing for granting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!


31123668BLURB

Rebellion brews inside Milenda’s heart as the date for the Trials approaches. As the heiress to the throne of Natale, she is forced to choose a consort from the survivors of the grueling quest across the desert.

Milenda’s heart belongs to Jaali and wants no part in the ancient and cruel ritual, but the Elders—the true rulers of Natale—will not back down.

Jaali was brought from the far North as a child slave. His only chance to be with the woman he loves is to volunteer for the Trials, no matter how dangerous or how much Milenda objects.

Together they begin their journey of discovery and rebellion against the Elders. But will their love be enough or will they lose everything they’ve fought for?

REVIEW

I requested this book initially because of the beautiful simplistic cover, the promising premise, and the diversity of the characters. I read a lot of high fantasy, but I do not read too many set outside of European-esque worlds. It’s something I working harder towards.

My thoughts in the end are conflicted. On the one hand, this was a brilliantly conceived world with visual imagery that sets the reader solidly into the world of Natale. The prose really is wonderful and manages to captivate.

When it comes to plot and characters, however, the story fails to reach its full potential. There is a lot of great substance to work with and the romance at its core between Milenda and Jaali is easy to root for, but the romance takes too much of the focus and for it, these characters suffer as individuals and the plot remains stagnant. It’s a shame too because political intrigue and issues of race are bubbling on the surface to add depth to the story. They just never come across as well as they can.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that Milenda never feels like the main character when she should. The story promises to be about her trying to make her own choice, but she does little to see it come to fruition, mostly just pining after Jaali and allowing others to tell her there’s no point in fighting.

Of course, I don’t want to be too hard on this story. It held a lot of potential, and Natalina does provide an entertaining story for people looking for romance heavy plots. I was just hoping for a bit more.

CONCLUSION

The world building is exquisite, but the plot fails to meet the potential that is promised in the premise.

RATING

m2ysolay


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Summerlong | Peter S. Beagle

Happy Wednesday friends,

Still behind on reviews, but we’ll get there!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


BLURB:

30298463Retired history professor Abe Aronson is a cranky, solitary man living out his autumn years on Gardner Island, a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Seattle. One rainy February night, while dining at a favorite local haunt, Abe and his girlfriend Joanna meet an engaging enigmatic waitress, new in town and without a place of her own. Fascinated and moved by the girl’s plight, Joanna invites her to stay in Abe’s garage. It seems everyone falls for the charming and invigorating the waitress, but she is much more than she appears, and an ancient covenant made a millennium ago threatens to disrupt the spring and alter the lives of Abe, Joanna, and all those around them forever..

 

REVIEW:

Peter S. Beagle, renowned for The Last Unicorn, crafts a story reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, blending reality and whimsy into a stirring narrative about family and the bonds we form. Abe and Joanna are our protagonists, characters in the later years of their life, who have been together for a long time but are not married. Their mundane, every day lives are changed for the better when they meet Lioness, a beautiful young girl who seems to be on the run from something. Or someone.

The premise initially drew my interest and once the story was started, I was hooked. The plot is not one that develops at a quick pace, and in fact is slow going until the midpoint, which might be a turn off for some people. I enjoyed it well enough, loving the lyrical prose that Beagle wielded as he brings to light the truth of Lioness’s past and explores the way in which Abe and Joanna are called to reexamine their lives in the wake of this new presence.

One of the standout characters for me was Joanna’s daughter, Lily, who becomes smitten with Lioness to the point of utter devotion. She is an intriguing character and her relationship with her mother is one of the strengths of the novel. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t more focus on her. Overall, the characters slowly discover new truths about themselves and follow meaningful arcs that reach fulfilling, if not satisfying ends.

Lioness is of course the cornerstone of the story and the truth of her heritage is one that anyone with a grasp on mythology will quickly come to recognize. It’s frustrating that it takes Abe and Joanna as long as it does to discover it for themselves.

Though the slow pace might deter some people, there is something beautiful to be discovered in the subtext of this novel and its thematic resonance. At its heart, this is a story about relationships and explores how and why people form certain bonds.

CONCLUSION:

An enchanting tale that weaves the mystical into every day life and a thought provoking tale.

RATING:

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

The Blue Sword | Robin McKinley

Happy Thursday friends,

Here’s a new review. I might get another up today if I can. I seem to be falling behind on these….


BLURB

Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?

 407813

REVIEW

This is the second Robin McKinley book I’ve read and I am ever more enamoured with her writing. Sometimes I read books from the 1980s and earlier and realize that they are a league above their own.

The first of two books set in Damar, a fictional world that McKinley masterfully created, I actually read this one after the second because the first (Hero and the Crown) is actually a prequel published after The Blue Crown (have I lost you yet?). I am rather glad that I made this choice because it was great to see characters from the first mentioned. Do you have to read it in that order? Not at all.

As an avid reader of fantasy, I am always looking for a unique read that can pull me headfirst into a new world and keep me captivated within it. Well, The Blue Sword did that masterfully through intriguing characters, magical moments and stunning worldbuilding.

Harry is our protagonist, an orphan, who is captured by the king of the Hillfolk and made to adapt to the desert landscape as she discovers secrets of her past and becomes a formidable warrior. Harry grows from a timid creature to a fierce woman who is not afraid to form opinions and stand out, filled with courage and heart. There is no doubt that McKinley crafted a heroine who captures the essence of female empowerment, a precursor to today’s more renowned Katnisses and Hermiones.

Meanwhile, Corlath, the Hillfolk King, makes for a strong male counterpart, a man governed by a will greater than his own. He works perfectly in the story as someone for Harry to learn from and deviate from as she follows her story arc.

The overarching plot is one that draws parallels to Lord of the Rings, moving towards an epic battle to protect the Hillfolk and Damar. It is within this structure that Harry is allowed to grow and arguably flourish as her small world expands into something far greater than herself and she is called to rise to new challenges. It’s difficult to say much else without spoiling. At once a coming of age story and a quest narrative, the plot delights and satisfies throughout.

As brilliant as the characters and story are, it is the prose itself that seals the deal on this beautiful narrative. Much like favourite authors of mine, Kay and Jemisin, McKinley wields a mighty pen in crafting her sentences, using lyrical prose to ensnare the senses and captivate the reader in the story.

The worldbuilding is equally powerful, especially because of the way it’s written, with the setting coming to life on the page. The desert locations are beautifully described and masterfully come to play within the larger story itself.

CONCLUSION

An epic fantasy that ignites the imagination with its characters, worldbuilding and prose, The Blue Sword is one fantasy readers won’t want to miss.

RATING

quills


Have you read this story or any other books by Robin McKinley? Have you enjoyed them? Let me know in the comments. 

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 01.02.17

Happy Wednesday friends,

Can you believe that today’s the first of February! A whole month has already gone by!

I’m not quite sure what to think of that…

Wednesday’s are great for book sharing, so why not join in WWW Wednesday hosted by the lovely Sam of Taking on a World of Words!

All you have to do is answer three questions…

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

This is what my past two weeks have looked like 🙂


CURRENTLY READING

Game of Shadows by Erika  Lewish

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.

I’m not far in this book, but so far I am loving the Celtic tones in the worldbuilding and setting. Otherwise, the plot is highly reminiscent of Percy Jackson and City of Bones.

Update: I got a little further after writing this post and I’m really getting into it! A fun YA adventure!

RECENTLY FINISHED READING

 Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle

30298463

Blurb:

Retired history professor Abe Aronson is a cranky, solitary man living out his autumn years on Gardner Island, a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Seattle. One rainy February night, while dining at a favorite local haunt, Abe and his girlfriend Joanna meet an engaging enigmatic waitress, new in town and without a place of her own. Fascinated and moved by the girl’s plight, Joanna invites her to stay in Abe’s garage. It seems everyone falls for the charming and invigorating the waitress, but she is much more than she appears, and an ancient covenant made a millennium ago threatens to disrupt the spring and alter the lives of Abe, Joanna, and all those around them forever…

This was a lovely read, very whimsical and reminiscent of Neil Gaiman. There were some things that niggled me, but overall it was a moving story that left me pondering long after it was done.

 Vicious (Vicious#1) by V.E. Schwab

18180495Blurb:

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates: brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge. But who will be left alive at the end?

I first discovered V.E. Schwab’s incredible talent for storytelling last year when I read A Darker Shade of Magic. And now, after reading Vicious, I am thoroughly convinced that she is a master of weaving unforgettable narratives with the most incredible characters that are at once flawed and sympathetic! Definitely one of my favourite authors and an auto-buy one too! I can’t wait to read more of her stories ❤

16130759Night Study (Study #5) by Maria V. Snyder

I am leaving out the blurb because there are spoilers for the previous installments. If you want to check out the first book, you can here: Poison Study.

It was an enjoyable story, but it lacked the flare that made me adore the original trilogy! A lot happened since we met Yelena in book one and it had been a long time since I read the fourth book so a lot of my reactions at the beginning were hinged on my brain’s inability to remember plot points from previous installments ;P This happens more and more and assures me that the best way to read a series is to a) binge it or b) reread what came before to remind my mind of what it’s forgotten.

This worries me about the forthcoming A Song of Ice and Fire book (Winds of Winter). Though, there may not be a need for worry, as he might not actually finish it….

Anyway, I preordered the last book in the series and I’ll be reading it in February, because I have to finish it for myself and it’s best done with the most recent book in clear memory.

Desert Jewel by Natalina Reis

31123668Blurb:

Rebellion brews inside Milenda’s heart as the date for the Trials approaches. As the heiress to the throne of Natale, she is forced to choose a consort from the survivors of the grueling quest across the desert.

Milenda’s heart belongs to Jaali and wants no part in the ancient and cruel ritual, but the Elders—the true rulers of Natale—will not back down.

Jaali was brought from the far North as a child slave. His only chance to be with the woman he loves is to volunteer for the Trials, no matter how dangerous or how much Milenda objects.

Together they begin their journey of discovery and rebellion against the Elders. But will their love be enough or will they lose everything they’ve fought for?

A NetGalley book that first caught my attention with the simplicity of the cover. The premise sounded very promising too. Unfortunately, the plot fell a little short and Milenda came across as a weaker protagonist than she should have been as it bogged down in the relationship. But the worldbuilding was wonderful and the setting beautifully unique.

READING NEXT

This is my February TBR, just to give you an idea of where I could go next. Personally, I am most excited to read The Wolves of Calla and A Gathering of Shadows!

Untitled.jpg

 


Let me know what you’ve been up to in books lately or leave a link to your WWW Wednesday so the love of books can continue to spread 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

A Monster Calls | Patrick Ness

Happy Friday friends!

Second review this week, and probably not the last.


25770962

BLURB

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

 

REVIEW

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

It’s been a while since I last read a book in one sitting, but I couldn’t put this down and I couldn’t go to bed without completing this beautiful narrative. If you have not read this yet, my first recommendation after ‘read it’ is make sure you have time to devour it in one sitting.

I don’t want to say too much about the narrative because I went in with very little information and was appreciative of being surprised with every little twist and turn, but what I can say is that it was easy to get swept up in and pulled at my heartstrings in every way possible.

“You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

The writing was superb. This was my first Ness novel and I was impressed by the standard of prose used here. It’s a book for a younger crowd but it does not underestimate the intelligence of its audience. It is a smartly written book with many subtleties and it excelled in layering meaning into text.

As the protagonist of the story, Conor is a wonderfully flawed character struggling at home and at school. His plight is not one that only applies to children, but resonates across ages. His troubles and subsequent reactions to them are easily related to. And at the end, his growth is our growth. As a reader, I felt changed by the end of it, and that is a great achievement.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

The titular monster is a brilliantly crafted creature, an ancient figure with a poignant goal. His presence in the book is unexpected and I won’t say more than that. You need to read it to discover the magic of it for yourself.

CONCLUSION

A beautiful homage to Siobhan Dowd, Ness has created a stirring narrative that is at once profound, enchanting and heartbreaking.

RATING

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Awaken | G.R. Thomas

Happy Thursday friends,

It’s been an unfortunately long time since I posted my last review, but here is one of two I’m hoping to post today to try to get caught up on 🙂


27822669BLURB

SOME PEOPLE AREN’T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY.

With a special gift held close to her heart, it was always going to be hard for Sophia Woodville to live an ordinary life.

As a 20 year old nursing grad, she thought she had her future all sorted.

However, destiny was about to intervene.

Her secret was not so secret. The gift she possessed was just a hint of something far beyond her wildest imagination.

Sophia will be pulled, kicking and screaming, into an unseen, ancient world that challenges all that she thought to be true of herself, her family and the origins of humanity.

Original sin, forbidden love and her life in constant danger.

Will Sophia survive this dark twist of fate?

Will the devil be her saviour?

Will an Angel be her downfall?

REVIEW

I first discovered this book on Sarina Langer’s blog. Her praise assured me that I had to read it! And I am extremely glad that I have!

Sophia Woodhouse is a young nurse with a unique mark on her face and a special talent for healing. But she is an ordinary girl by all other means, working during the day and spending time with friends at night. The normalcy of her life is swiftly ended when a coworker is attacked and Sophia learns that someone is after her and has been watching her for some time.

A classic yarn about a girl who discovers abilities she never knew she had, there is nothing contrived about this story. What sets it most apart is the impeccable world building. Thomas excels at envisioning a new mythos for the world, reinterpreting the stories of the Bible, the concepts of angels and Watchers and making it completely her own. She does it so convincingly and with such beautiful language and draws the reader into her world without confusing or overwhelming with her descriptions. History bends at her will and the deftness of it is astounding!

The characters too are well drawn and elicit sympathy and laughter. Sophia is a strong protagonist who is reluctant to accept her true origins and the role she is to play. Her mentors are at once compassionate creatures, but also firm hands that know the importance of their mission. Then there are her friends from her old life, her ties to who she was, to keep her grounded. And then there’s Nik’ael, who’s past and present create a conflicted character with ambiguous plans.

And then there’s that ending! A cliffhanger that leaves you wishing for the next book. Fortunately, it’s already out, so the wait won’t be a long one!

CONCLUSION

G.R. Thomas has crafted a stunning debut with an unforgettable cast of characters and a unique plot. A well woven narrative, full of heart, written with rich, flowing language that pulls you in.

RATING

quills


If you want to connect with G.R Thomas, check out the links below:

Goodreads or Website or Twitter or Instagram

Want to buy a copy for yourself: Amazon

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

Rage and Ruin | Katie Roman

Hi Friends,

Here’s a very brief review for you. I hope to have another up later.

Thank you to NetGalley and Katie Roman Books for this ARC.


33198313

BLURB

Bridget O’Malley’s temper has always been trouble. It’s made her the black sheep of the family, cost her customers at her bar, and ruined relationships, but it has never put her life in danger. That is until she tries to rescue her cousin from a demon summoning cult. In picking a fight with one of Chicago’s most powerful witches, Bridget finds her bar being picketed, her witch’s license suspended, and demons on her trail. Annoyed and afraid Bridget uses the only weapon at her disposal to get her life back to normal: her temper.

 

 

REVIEW

I was enticed to read this one because of the premise, but the promise of an adventure unfortunately fell flat.

It was not a terrible read, but the stakes never felt high enough to care and the characters didn’t have any real motivation to sympathize with.

Ultimately, there was a lot of telling, not enough showing. Not enough conflict. The potential was there, but never full realized. The shame is all the greater because the glimmers of possibility assure me that Katie Roman is a good writer. And that should not be forgotten.

CONCLUSION:

If you enjoy urban fantasy, you might find it entertaining. Feel free to give it a chance if you wish.

RATING:
m2ysolay


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 18.01.17

Happy Wednesday friends,

I missed this last week because, to be frank with you, I hadn’t done much reading at all ;P Fortunately, I’ve made up since then and am currently on my 7th read of the year!

rapunzel

Yes, I’m rather excited about it! 😂

Thanks to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting this great opportunity to discover new books and share our reads each week.

If you want to participate – and I hope you do – then answer these three 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

30298463Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle

Blurb:

Retired history professor Abe Aronson is a cranky, solitary man living out his autumn years on Gardner Island, a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Seattle. One rainy February night, while dining at a favorite local haunt, Abe and his girlfriend Joanna meet an engaging enigmatic waitress, new in town and without a place of her own. Fascinated and moved by the girl’s plight, Joanna invites her to stay in Abe’s garage. It seems everyone falls for the charming and invigorating the waitress, but she is much more than she appears, and an ancient covenant made a millennium ago threatens to disrupt the spring and alter the lives of Abe, Joanna, and all those around them forever…

I am rather enjoying this one so far. I received an ARC from Netgalley but it’s been on the backburner for some time and I am doing my best to get caught up with them all by the end of February.

Anyway, this book is a lovely bit of whimsy and wonder, somewhat reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s work. Shamefully this is my first Beagle novel. I’ve been meaning to read the Last Unicorn (the movie has always managed to terrify me and devastate me)! For now, I must say that Beagle has caught my attention 🙂

FINISHED READING

I finished reading Mariana by Susana Kearsley in early January, but just posted my review here, if you want to check it out! A beautiful historical romance! Really tugs on the heartstrings!

Awaken (The A’Vean Chronicles #1) by GR Thomas

27822669Blurb:

SOME PEOPLE AREN’T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY.
With a special gift held close to her heart, it was always going to be hard for Sophia Woodville to live an ordinary life.
As a 20 year old nursing grad, she thought she had her future all sorted.
However, destiny was about to intervene.
Her secret was not so secret. The gift she possessed was just a hint of something far beyond her wildest imagination.
Sophia will be pulled, kicking and screaming, into an unseen, ancient world that challenges all that she thought to be true of herself, her family and the origins of humanity.
Original sin, forbidden love and her life in constant danger.
Will Sophia survive this dark twist of fate?
Will the devil be her saviour?
Will an Angel be her downfall?

One of my highly anticipated reads of 2017, it exceeded my expectations. Amazingly well written with a dazzling mythology to support a gripping plot. Sophia is a brilliantly crafted protagonist and I can’t wait to find out what happens to her next. My review should be up tomorrow!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

25480342Blurb:

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.

I am still not over this beautiful, heart-wrenching, magical book! Patrick Ness, welcome to my favourite author list!

 

Rage and Ruin by Kate Roman

33198313Blurb:

Bridget O’Malley’s temper has always been trouble. It’s made her the black sheep of the family, cost her customers at her bar, and ruined relationships, but it has never put her life in danger. That is until she tries to rescue her cousin from a demon summoning cult. In picking a fight with one of Chicago’s most powerful witches, Bridget finds her bar being picketed, her witch’s license suspended, and demons on her trail. Annoyed and afraid Bridget uses the only weapon at her disposal to get her life back to normal: her temper.

An ARC received from NetGalley, I was tempted to pick it up because the premise sounded so intriguing, unfortunately the plot fell flat, the story lacked in tension, stakes and likeable characters. My review will definitely be up tomorrow.

AND

The Blue Sword (Damar #1) by Robin McKinley

407813Blurb:

Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?

I finished this one two nights ago and I am still hung over how wonderful it was! A real fantasy gem, stunning with plot, characters and world building! My second McKinley (I read Hero and the Crown first, and am kind of glad I did), I am in love with this woman’s writing capabilities! Fellow fantasy lovers, read this now 🙂

 

READING NEXT

I have three books left on my original January TBR (Vicious by VE Schwab, Desert Jewel by Natalina Reis and Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop), but I’ve added another book to the pile and will probably put it first…..

Night Study (Soulfinders #2) by Maria V. Snyder

16130759I’m not including the blurb because there are plentiful spoilers to be found within it!

I know this series gets a lot of mixed reviews and, in all honestly, I wasn’t such a big fan of Soul Study, but I feel compelled to finish this series. My understanding is that Night Study is superior to it, so I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy it more.

The last book (I think it’s the last) is coming out January 31st so I figured I read this one now and then get to Dawn Study and call our time together at an end.

 

 

 


What books have you devoured of late? Let me know your weekly reading habits or share your link to your WWW post! Let the love of reading flourish 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

Mariana | Susanna Kearsley

Hello friends,

It’s been awhile since I posted a review, but here comes a new one for you.


1777492Blurb:

The winner of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize: this mesmerizing, suspenseful, atmospheric tale of time travel draws us into the heart of a heroine we won’t soon forget. The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five but she knew at once it was her house. Now twenty-five years later, by some strange chance, she has become the new owner of the sixteenth-century Wilshire farmhouse.

Julia begins to suspect more than coincidence has brought her. As if Greywethers were a porthal between worlds, she finds herself abruptly transported in time. Stepping into seventeenth-century England, Julia becomes Mariana: a beautiful young woman struggling against danger and treachery, battling a forbidden love for Richard de Mornay; handsome forebear of the squire of Crofton Hall. Each time Julia travels, she becomes more enthralled with the past, falling deeper in love… until one day she realizes Mariana’s life threatens to eclipse hers. She must find a way to lay the past to rest, or risk losing a chance for love in her own time.

Review:

“…seek me not with your eyes, but with your soul. The soul sees what truly matters.”

Set in the present, but defined by the echoing past, Mariana, is a historical romance that tells the story of a young artist beckoned to remember a past life, a time when she was Mariana.

This story was a reread for me, and I enjoyed it even more this time than the first. Perhaps it has something to do with how I’ve grown as a person since my last reading, but I’d rather claim it to be a recognition of the subtle foreshadowing layering the earlier chapters in preparation for the denouement.

“The past can teach us, nurture us, but it cannot sustain us. The essence of life is change, and we must move ever forward or the soul will wither and die.”

The plot is an enchanting one, exploring the life of one woman as she experiences two times, two lives, two realities. Julia may exist in the present, but the past is still very tangible for her and dangerously so, as it threatens to claim her present. The more she experiences of Mariana’s life, the more in danger she becomes of fading into it.

Julia’s story is a compelling one, an illustrator of children’s books, she is able to roam where she will and roams she does, to a house that first called her when she was a child.

“I first saw the house in the summer of my fifth birthday.”

Now, thirty and inquisitive, she moves into this home settled in the verdant British countryside where she makes new friends, falls in love, and seeks to understand why she keeps walking Mariana’s memories.

And yet, the more endearing story is Mariana’s. As a reader, I craved those moments when Julia trespasses into 17th century England. Mariana is a young woman who is forced to flee London at the outbreak of the plague that renders her an orphan. In her abusive uncle’s house, she becomes a prisoner of sorts, until fate introduces her to Richard de Mornay.

Friends, I usually am not one for romantic pieces, but this relationship is all my heart needed. To see their love blossom is one of the pure joys of this book:

His hand lifted higher, and clasped mine strongly. “Feel that, love. There’s nothing can break that. We are two parts of the one whole, you and I. The hawk mates for life, and our lives are but beginning.”

Swoon, right?

Of course, it’s not just the relationship that makes Mariana’s story more compelling. It is the character herself and the setting. I’m a bit of a history geek (proud of it), so my heart feels drawn to stories that are established in days of old. The world building is wonderfully vibrant, establishing the reader well into the time period and the political undercurrents that subtly affected Mariana’s rural world. And Mariana is a strong woman in a time when things weren’t easy for the ‘fairer sex’. Dauntless, yet compassionate, she is reminiscent of a heroine from one of Jane Austen’s novels.

The secondary characters round out the story nicely. From Geoffrey de Mornay (Julia’s love interest), to Thomas Beckett (Julia’s brother & a rather unconventional parson), to Iain Sumner (the Scottish gardener), to Vivien Wells (Julia’s friend and the owner of the local pub.), the ensemble is a brilliant cast with unique personalities and entertaining banter.

I want to give this book five stars, but it’s perfection is tempered by an abrupt ending that demands to be continued.

Still, this book is a cozy read. Enchanting and beautifully written and as Susanna’s second book, reveals only a glimmer of the narratives that she can tell!

Conclusion:

A story about love transcending time and one woman’s journey to uncover a life once lived, Mariana is a gorgeously woven narrative that might just steal your heart.

Rating:

4-5-quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faithquill-ink