Tag Archives: epic fantasy

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 | 30.11.16

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, this is one of my favourite weekly blog hops! I love being part of the a great community of readers.

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?

It’s been a busy week, what with finally getting Eléonore up for pre-order and my nightly opportunities for quiet have slimmed, but I still managed to find some time to read 🙂


CURRENTLY READING

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by JK Rowling

93124

Blurb

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…

This is definitely one of my favourite books in the series and I am glad to be reading it now as I publish my own book because JK Rowling was a huge inspiration for me when I was younger. I’m hoping to be done this one tonight and then round off the series reread in December with Deathly Hallows. 🙂

RECENTLY READ

Fay Storms (The Storms Trilogy #1) by A.A. Frascati

32796029Blurb:

Thief by trade. Half-breed by blood. Fifer is part-Fay and all pluck.

When her partner goes missing and she is abducted by demanding clients, Fifer finds herself trapped in a plot she wants no part of. By fulfilling her contract with the Aestus, the brotherhood of powerful and secretive warriors, she will discover that she’s not what she thinks.

The Aestus need her—even though Arkadius, Master in training, can’t see it. In order to stop the Aestus clans from warring among themselves, Arkadius must rely on Fifer to steal a powerful magical artifact. But how can a woman save the mighty Aestus? When he discovers the answer, the fate of the Empire will rest on the edge of his sword.

A decent debut to be sure. Definitely a lot of potential for the series. There were some developments near the end that left me wanting, but for the most part, I enjoyed the story and the characters. A full review will be up soon. I’ve fallen terribly behind in those so expect a whirlwind in December 😜

READING NEXT

The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

30657197Blurb:

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train

A chilling suspense story of wounded hearts and dark secrets.

Washed up on the beach, she can’t remember who she is. She can’t even remember her name. Turns out, she has a perfect life – friends and family eager to fill in the blanks.

But why are they lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember?

When you don’t even know who you are, how do you know who to trust?

One of my NetGalley reads. I’ve had it on my shelf for a while but I’ve fallen behind. Time for catching up!

Infernal Alliance (Infernal Hunt #4) by Holly Evans

32868656Blurb: (heavily edited to avoid spoilers)

A rebellion is brewing, threatening to tear down all that the hunters have worked for.

I fell in love with this series by Holly. She’s an amazing writer and a huge inspiration behind my debut novella. I’m excited to read it, but also nervous. I don’t want this series to end.

But she has a new series in the work, so there’s that to look forward to 🙂

Also, isn’t this cover gorgeous 😍


What have you been reading or what are you planning to read? Share your bookish habits in the comments or leave a link to your WWW so I can come visit 🙂 Happy Reading friends!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

This Week in Review | The Thirty-Second

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Friends!

And Happy Columbus day to my American friends 🙂

Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and a great week!

I’m in the thick of editing Eléonore right now, and I’m about to have family over for some turkey and mashed potatoes and rice and gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and pecan pie and…. mouths watering yet 😉

But I’m taking a moment first to tell you a bit about how my past week has gone!


IN WRITING!

Actually, all my big highlights of this week are writing related.

I’ve managed to rewrite two scenes of Eléonore–they were my biggest stresses, so with that done I’m tackling some of the minor changes that need to be made which includes small plot holes and inconsistencies and terrible dialogue 😛

Anyway, I’ve also started to outline two new novels (one is the sequel to Eléonore and one the sequel to Pirate Eyes)! As I’ve been doing this, I have come to a rather big decision…

Friends, I can officially announce that I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2016! I had so much fun writing Heritage last year and I can’t wait to write another novel this November. I’ve decided on which it will be as well…

Hollow Vows (Book II in the Cerastone Quartet). AKA sequel to Pirate Eyes.

My hope is to finish writing the sequel and start editing it in 2017 while shopping Pirate Eyes around and trying to pick up an agent/publisher. We’ll see where the road takes me, but for now I’m excited to continue Keira’s story 🙂

There’s not much more for me to say, but I’ll leave you with a small excerpt from Eléonore! The opening lines…

There were demons to kill, but first I needed a cup of coffee.
The nearest café offered a variety of frappés, lattés, and mochas, but all I needed was a good strong, dark roast black from my usual Timmie’s. An extra three blocks of walking was worth the bitter brew that steeled my nerves and jolted my brain. One sip was enough to get the juices flowing. Three more and I could feel the anticipating building. Ready and willing to slit some throats.

– Eléonore

One thing I love about writing Eléonore is the setting. Holly really inspired with her Infernal Hunt series in which she masterfully paints an image of Prague. I hope to capture the same sort of realism as Eléonore works her way through the streets of Montreal and Vieux-Québec.

Speaking of Holly, if you are particpating in NaNoWriMo you should really check out her blog series where she talks about prepping for the thirty day challenge. She has such insight to offer. It’s a true gem! The link to the first one can be found here: NaNoWriMo Prep.


How was your week? What projects are you currently embroiled in? Anyone else planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year? Share your aspirations and achievements in the comments!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | The Twenty-Second

Happy Wednesday Friends|

And happy reading to you all!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and it’s the perfect opportunity to share the love of books with a vast community of fellow bookworms!

Care to join in sharing your weekly reads, all you have to do is answer these 3 questions:

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

Here are mine!

Oh, but first! I’m hosting a giveaway to mark my 1st year on this blog (September 16th). Follow this link for the chance to win 1 of 2 of my favourite reads of 2016: GIVEAWAY!!


WHAT I AM CURRENTLY READING

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix

1042542Blurb:

Sabriel is the daughter of the Mage Abhorsen. Ever since she was a tiny child, she has lived outside the Wall of the Old Kingdom–far away from the uncontrolled power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead.

But now, her father is missing and Sabriel is called upon to cross into the world to find him, Leaving the safety of the school she has known as home, Sabriel embarks upon a quest fraught with supernatural dangers, with companions she is unsure of–for nothing is as it seems within the boundary of the Old Kingdom. There, she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life, and comes face to face with her hidden destiny.

Just started this last night after finishing Jemisin and I’m already amazed by it. Nix wastes no time jumping into the action. While that sets the plot off quickly, it also does little to ground us in Sabriel’s everyday world, which I would love to have seen a bit more of. Still great though!

WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED READING

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

15711341Blurb:

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

One of my favourite books this year for sure! I just loved the entire world that Anne Bishop created. The community of characters were amazing! The story was simple and yet oh so wonderful! Definitely one of my high recommendations!

Initiate by Laura L. Fox

28435908Blurb:

The only home Riga Garrison has ever known is the Tunnel, a subterranean research facility buried deep beneath Antarctica’s ice and snow.

Yet, while a safe haven for the last outpost of humanity governed by the Initiate, it is also home to a secret so dark that they will risk anything to protect it.

Surrounded by deceit and faced with exile to a frozen wasteland, Riga must defy not only the Initiate’s top biologists and loyalists but also her own mother, in an attempt to unearth the truth.

I received an ARC copy from Oftomes Publishing and I’m rather glad I did. It was slow to start, but once the pace picked up, it was amazing how fast it went. I didn’t even realized I’d reached the last chapter when I came upon it. That might not be a good thing, but it definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisen

6437061Blurb:

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
This week of reading was capped by this amazing read. It’s once I’ve heard such wonderful things about and having read it, I understand why. It consistently reminded me of the writing of some of my favourite authors (Guy Gavrial Kay & Patrick Rothfuss) as Jemisin mixed lyrical prose with dark themes. Genius!

WHAT I KNOW I’LL BE READING NEXT

Reaper Man (Discworld #11) by Terry Pratchett

833424Blurb:

In the eleventh Discworld novel, Death is missing – presumed . . . er . . . gone.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.
Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There’s a harvest to be gathered in.

I can’t remember the last time I read one of Pratchett’s Discworld novels so to say I’m excited to get to it is a bit of an understatement.

This also marks the last book listed in my September TBR. So now, I get to play around on my shelves looking for one. I already know which I’m reading next though. Because I really want to see the movie when it comes out…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

13159888Blurb:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

This is another one of those that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to. The promise of an adaptation with Eva Green has moved me to change that!


Those are my reads of the last week! What are yours? Share your WWW link in the comments or just let me know what you’ve read, are reading or hope to read in the near future! 

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | The Twenty-First

Happy Wednesday Friends|

And happy books to you all!

The perfect opportunity to share the love of reading, WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

Care to join in sharing your weekly reads, all you have to do is answer these 3 questions:

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

I missed last week’s post, so today’s is a little stuffed ;P

Here we go 🙂


WHAT I AM CURRENTLY READING

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

15711341Blurb:

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

My friends, this book. It has completely ensnared me. I have never read Anne Bishop, but now I am sold and convinced that I must read all her books 🙂 Really, I am so invested in this book. Why? I can’t even say. It’s just wonderfully fun and the worldbuilding is impeccable, and the characters are endearing. Stellar! Can’t wait to return to the Lakeside Courtyard tonight 🙂

WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED READING

Mad Ship (Liveship Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb

771713

BLURB:

Robin Hobb returns to the sea with Mad Ship, the second book in a projected trilogy set in the same world as her famed Farseer series. Many unresolved questions from Ship of Magic are answered in this tale of sea serpents and dragons; living ships made of wizardwood; the Bingtown Trader families who sail the ships; and their disfigured cousins, the Rain Wild Traders, who build them.

It took me a while to get into this book. I had a hard time acclimating to new character perspectives and found it difficult to wade through some of my least favourite character povs at the start, but past the halfway mark the rest of it flew and I love the direction the story has taken and can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy. Robin Hobb is a genius of worldbuilding and character development 🙂

Justice Hall (Mary Russell #6) by Laurie R. King

6494790Blurb:

Only hours after Holmes and Russell return from solving one riddle on the moor, another knocks on their front door…literally.

It’s a mystery that begins during the Great War, when Gabriel Hughenfort died amidst scandalous rumors that have haunted the family ever since. But it’s not until Holmes and Russell arrive at Justice Hall, a home of unearthly perfection set in a garden modeled on Paradise, that they fully understand the irony echoed in the family motto, Justicia fortitudo mea est: “Righteousness is my strength.”

A trail of ominous clues leads Holmes and Russell from an English hamlet to fashionable Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. But as the moment of reckoning approaches, will justice be done…or have they been lured straight into an elusive killer’s perfectly baited trap?

After a few low notes in the series, this book renewed my faith and love of Mary Russell! She was far more prominent, proving again why I fell in love with her in the first place. The characters in general were far more likable and I bonded with many more of the secondary characters than others in the past. The premise too was more gripping and intriguing, and I felt invested in the outcome! Brilliant.

Watchmen by Alan Moore

472331Blurb:

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of my best reads of 2016. Seriously. A thought-provoking, thrilling, tragic book. A real piece of genius that deserves to be read if only to inspire us to try harder to be better. Highly recommend!

AND…

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Blurb:

10194157Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. I thought that Ravka was well conceived, the Russian undertones definitely a breath of fresh air, but I had a few quibbles with some characters…. The last third fixed a lot of that,  but still wished for a little bit more in the middle. I’ll still be trying the rest of the series.

WHAT I KNOW I’LL BE READING NEXT

Initiate by Laura L. Fox

28435908Blurb:

The only home Riga Garrison has ever known is the Tunnel, a subterranean research facility buried deep beneath Antarctica’s ice and snow.

Yet, while a safe haven for the last outpost of humanity governed by the Initiate, it is also home to a secret so dark that they will risk anything to protect it.

Surrounded by deceit and faced with exile to a frozen wasteland, Riga must defy not only the Initiate’s top biologists and loyalists but also her own mother, in an attempt to unearth the truth.

I was offered an ARC copy of the ebook by Oftomes Publishing so I’ll be turning to this after Written in Red. I hear a lot of good things so I’m really excited to get started on it!

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisen

6437061Blurb:

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
One of the four first in series I’m reading this September, this one’s been on my TBR for a looooong time. Cannot wait to finally get to it 🙂

 

Sabriel (Old Kingdom Series #1) by Garth Nix

1042542Blurb:

Sabriel is the daughter of the Mage Abhorsen. Ever since she was a tiny child, she has lived outside the Wall of the Old Kingdom–far away from the uncontrolled power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead.

But now, her father is missing and Sabriel is called upon to cross into the world to find him, Leaving the safety of the school she has known as home, Sabriel embarks upon a quest fraught with supernatural dangers, with companions she is unsure of–for nothing is as it seems within the boundary of the Old Kingdom. There, she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life, and comes face to face with her hidden destiny.

The last of my first in series must reads for September and the one that’s been on my TBR the longest. It’s also the one I’m most excited for 🙂


Phew! That was long, huh? Care to share your own reading habits. Leave a comment with your WWW Wednesday link or let me know what you’ve been reading, are reading or will be reading!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

 

Beautiful People // Appearance Edition | Keira #2

Happy Tuesday Friends,

We’re nearing the end of August and once again I’m cutting it close for Beautiful People! But at least it’s going to be up!

The Beautiful People monthly blog meme is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In! Each month, these lovely ladies post ten questions designed to help writers tap into the quirks and qualities of their characters. Then writers link up their posts and jump around the blogosphere discovering the ‘Beautiful People’ that have been created

I was going to give a different character a chance to shine, but I decided to stick with Keira for another round. If you missed my first Beautiful People post, check it out HERE!

And now, here’s a closer look into Keira’s appearance!


Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

Keira stands tall at about 5’5 with long chestnut locks that she likes to braid on one side. Her most distinguishing feature is her purple eyes — a descriptive feature that is also essential to the story’s premise.

Here’s a recent drawing that my amateur hand composed:

IMG_0628.JPG

Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

In the reflection of the waters, she caught a glimpse of her purple pirate eyes.  A cool breeze blew through her tangled brown locks, the salty water dousing her, refreshing her.

What is the first thing people might notice about them?

Definitely going to say the purple eyes. Some of them know what it might symbolize, others are just amazed by the sight of them.

What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

As mentioned, Keira’s unique feature is her purple eyes.

How tall are they? What is their build (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

Keira’s an average sized girl, about 5’5 in height and slender, but muscular. She’s been raised on a pirate ship, so she’s done a lot of strength building.

What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

Keira’s stubborn and walks with her head high to convince others that she is brave and strong and unaffected by the hardships of the past. Head high. Eyes forward. Chin up.

Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

Keira’s life is often full of lazy days. Travelling the oceans allows for many moments of relaxation. She often wears the same loose white blouse and navy trousers. When it’s really warm, she opts for a sleeveless top.

Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

She doesn’t wear many accessories before the start of Pirate Eyes. I can’t say that stays true true throughout the entirety of the novel, but to say more would be to spoil. And River Song really doesn’t like that ;P

Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

Both, but only during Pirate Eyes and I really can’t say more than that 😉 Darn these spoilers!

Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

Keira is content with how she looks, there really isn’t much she would change if she could, though she does regret what her purple eyes seem to point towards…


Well, that’s it for this month’s Beautiful People! Any thoughts on Keira? Feel free to express them in the comments! And if you have your own Beautiful People link, feel free to share that too so that I can check out your beautiful characters 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | The Twentieth

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Welcome to another week’s worth of bookish endeavours brought to you by the WWW Wednesday meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

Care to join in sharing your weekly reads, all you have to do is answer these 3 questions:

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

Here’s a look into my reading habits.

Note: All covers/blurbs are from Goodreads.


WHAT I AM CURRENTLY READING

The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders #2) by Robin Hobb

771713

BLURB:

Robin Hobb returns to the sea with Mad Ship, the second book in a projected trilogy set in the same world as her famed Farseer series. Many unresolved questions from Ship of Magic are answered in this tale of sea serpents and dragons; living ships made of wizardwood; the Bingtown Trader families who sail the ships; and their disfigured cousins, the Rain Wild Traders, who build them.

Just started this one last night. Barely, though, because I was gone most of the night. Still, a good start and I look forward to enjoying the whopping 850 page read ahead of me 😉

WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED READING

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

9118135Blurb:

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of stunning surprise and danger, rich in emotional resonance and moral complexity.

As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest’s jeweled canopy.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this. I’ve heard great things about Ann Patchett in the past and I having read this book, I agree that her writing really pulls you into the story, creates a really mesmerizing setting. Marina Singh was an interesting character to follow and I was invested in her story. The last chapter, though, through me for a bit of a loop and while I think State of Wonder is an enchanting and, at times, tragic read, I closed the last page, feeling a little unsatisfied with the conclusion.

Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet #3): by Orson Scott Card

7967

I’m skipping the blurb on this one because I don’t want to spoil the original story for anyone.

I read Ender’s Game well over six years ago and it blew me away. The whole story was so brilliantly conceived and I remember being left with a feeling of awe in the days that followed my reading of it. So I bought Speaker for the Dead a few days later, and it has sat on my shelf ever since. Why? Even now, I’m not sure. Perhaps because I wasn’t sure what to expect after a stunning first book. But something inspired me this last week to give it a try.

People kept mentioning how it’s better than Ender’s Game, but I was wary to go into it with that thought. But you know what, they’re right. This is an epic novel filled with philosophical brilliance and moments of real epiphany. A special kind of read that I highly recommend.

WHAT I KNOW I’LL BE READING NEXT

Justice Hall (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes #6): by Laurie R. King

6494790Blurb:

Only hours after Holmes and Russell return from solving one riddle on the moor, another knocks on their front door…literally.

It’s a mystery that begins during the Great War, when Gabriel Hughenfort died amidst scandalous rumors that have haunted the family ever since. But it’s not until Holmes and Russell arrive at Justice Hall, a home of unearthly perfection set in a garden modeled on Paradise, that they fully understand the irony echoed in the family motto, Justicia fortitudo mea est: “Righteousness is my strength.”

A trail of ominous clues leads Holmes and Russell from an English hamlet to fashionable Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. But as the moment of reckoning approaches, will justice be done…or have they been lured straight into an elusive killer’s perfectly baited trap?

My only leftover from last week. I should get to it before next Wednesday, though Mad Ship is a pretty big read…

Watchmen by Alan Moore:

472331Blurb:

This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial best-seller, Watchmen has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels such as V for Vendetta, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and The Sandman series.

This graphic novel has been on a shelf for a while, unfortunately gathering dust, but I’m finally ready to  discover the reason for its critical acclaim. The Sandman series and V for Vendetta were stunning — I highly recommend both. Seeing them listed above makes me very hopeful for a thrilling read!


That’s it for me for today.  But take note, I’m now on Instagram! If you want to discover more of my reading habits and writing inspiration, come follow me there 🙂

And please share your WWW Wednesday links in the comments or just let me know what your bookish delights have been / are / will be! Happy Reading friends 🙂

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith   quill-ink

Beautiful People | Introducing Keira

Happy Sunday!

This is the last day of July and I’m actually going to make it for once! Make what, you ask?

Why the Beautiful People monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In of course! Basically, these brilliant ladies devise ten questions each month designed to help writers tap into the quirks and qualities of their characters. Then writers link up their posts and jump around the blogosphere discovering the ‘Beautiful People’ that have been created.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  🙂 I’ve been meaning to join the link-up for a while, but never managed to make the time to do it! But I’m done with delaying.

As many of you know, I’m currently working on submitting my current WIP Pirate Eyes to #PitchWars. While I work through polishing my first chapter and query, I thought it might be a good idea to give you a bit more insight into my main character. Keira.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?


Do they want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?

At ten-and-eight, getting married or having children is not at the forefront of Keira’s mind. Living among pirates, her idea of family is not a normal one She’s in no rush to relinquish the freedom piracy has promised her and trade it in for a more traditional life.

What is their weapon of choice? (It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical weapon.)

Keira’s weapon is her stubbornness. She wields it against naysayers and those who would seek to control her.

What’s the nicest thing they’ve done for someone else, and why did they do it?

One day, while wandering the streets of Lorantha, Keira stumbled across a vendor selling birds. Their cries sounded like appeals for help and Keira could not stand for it. When the merchant was distracted, she set to unlocking the cage that held them all and set them free. She was ten-and-three at the time. Five years later, she still considers that to be the nicest thing she’s ever done.

Have they ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?

Keira has been physically violent, but I don’t want to say more than that because then we risk crossing into spoiler territory. And I take my cue from River Song in that matter.

Are they a rule-follower or a rebel?

Rebel. All the way.

Are they organized or messy?

There’s not much that Keira has in her life to worry about being organized or messy. That being said, she does prefer order in her life, though she herself is a source of chaos.

What makes them feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

The last people to truly make Keira feel loved were her parents. She knew she was loved because they told her every day, and held her with a tenderness that always made her feel safe and cared for. They died when she was only eight. And though she has friends, they can’t convey the same love her parents did.

What do they eat for breakfast?

Depends on what’s available. Living on the seas presents a limitation on choice for food. Sometimes fresh fruit. Sometimes cooked fish. Sometimes bread and butter. If Keira could choose, she would start off every morning with a bowlful of Nell’s–the Diamond Heart’s cook–hearty porridge.

Have they ever lost someone close to them? What happened?

As was mentioned in question 7, Keira lost both her parents when she was young when the ship they were traveling on was attacked. The account of this traumatic incident is included in Pirate Eyes.

What’s their treat of choice? (Or, if not food, how else do they reward themselves?)

Keira loves to treat herself on especially hot days with a dip in the ocean. She could spend hours drifting alongside the Diamond Heart, delighting in the refreshing waters that promise endless possibilities.


Well that’s it for this month’s Beautiful People. I’ll be more on point for next month’s installment. If you’ve partaken in July’s edition, please share your link and I’ll hop on over. 

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith   quill-ink

Pimp My Bio | Pitch Wars 2016

Welcome to my 2016 #PitchWars Bio.

I know I’m late to the game. In all honesty, I just made the decision yesterday to put it up in the hopes of garnering some intrigue for a story I’ve dedicated ten years of my life to.

Her name is Pirate Eyes and she is a part of my soul.

This is the third competition I’m entering this year as I continue my attempts to get my novel published. There’s something charming about a third try, right?

To my fellow mentee hopefuls I wish the best of luck. To the amazing mentors devoting time to helping us fulfill our dreams, thank you! To my friends and followers, your support and encouragement over the past few months has inspired me to reach this point.

Now, for all of you, a little bit more about myself and my passion project.

WHO AM I?

24601.

No, that’s wrong.

My name is Faith Rivens. I’m a Canadian girl in my twenties with a deep love for the written word. Stories are in my blood. Here’s a little secret: they’re in yours too! And I feel them, coursing through me, yearning to be told, to be released. So what else can I do but share them?

While I hope to convey most of these stories through the novel form,  I also dabble in other mediums, including (and most certainly not limited to) film and television screenplays, musical stageplays and graphic novels. None have reached a broad public yet, but that will change in a year or two. The omens are good.

Fear of rejection and failure have held me back in the past, but over the course of the past few months I’ve built up my confidence, and believe that I can accomplish those goals that my mind and heart are set to. To share stories is my Personal Legend. It’s my raison d’être.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
-Paulo Coehlo

While fantasy is my go-to genre (be it urban, epic, alternate history, fairy tale, etc.), I also have plans for stories that inhabit a myriad of others (i.e. family drama, thriller, historical fiction, Christian fiction….) The list could go on.

For a better sense of who I am as a writer, look no further than my five favourite books/series (believe me, this is a self-imposed restriction to avoid a run on listings of amazing books that have shaped my life!)

Harry Potter series, Sandman series, The Fionavar Tapestry, Jane Eyre and The Westing Game.

And my five last reads (ascending to most recent): Wind at the Door, The Prince of Lies,  The Book Thief, The Alchemist, Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Some other interesting and perhaps random facts about me: My current read is Saint OddThe last movie I watched was Belle (directed by Amma Assante). The last TV series I watched was Game of Thrones. Now I need to make time to binge-watch the latest seasons of Veep, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, the Americans, Daredevil and Jessica Jones  (I’m really behind on my shows, and I honestly don’t have high hopes…). If I ever get down to New York, I must watch Hamilton!

So, you see, I love a number of genres and forms of storytelling, which inspires me to explore each on my own journey.

But that’s enough about me. Let’s not forget the real star…

Pirate Eyes

Purple eyes stared out at the ocean and the endless horizons it promised and saw possibility.

As I’ve mentioned, Pirate Eyes is a novel I’ve been working on for just shy of ten years. It was the first story I wrote in completion (took me a good eight months or so). I was sixteen at the time (those good at math can play guess my age).

That first draft hardly exists anymore. It’s gone through so many changes, been divided in two to spread out the story and allow more development. I’ve put a lot of effort into getting her where she is today. And I’m more confident in her than I’ve ever been before.

At the heart of the story is an eighteen-year old girl named Keira. She’s an orphan who was raised by pirates. She wants nothing more than to travel the oceans that surround her, free to discover new lands, free to live according to her own rules. Being a pirate should give her that freedom. But living aboard the Diamond Heart means answering to her captain. And Sean is as stubborn as they come, obstructing her every attempt to prove that she is just as capable as any of the others who call the Diamond Heart home.

Then whispers are heard, a voice beckoning Keira to the discovery of a larger purpose. It’s everything she ever wanted. The chance to be recognized, to be considered worthy. But Fate and Freedom are incompatible beings and choosing between one or the other will imperil not only her life, but the lives of her crew as well.

Pirate Eyes is an epic fantasy set upon the high seas. Full of adventure, magic, wondrous creatures and flawed characters.

This is my passion project. My baby. As a mentee, I am prepared to set myself to the task of perfecting her and stepping ever closer to my goal of publication.


Well, that’s it from me. Thanks for stopping by friends, fellow #PitchWarriors and mentors alike. Have a beautiful day and a wonderful weekend!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

 

Haven | Katherine Bogle

Still Tuesday and here’s another post 🙂

Katherine approached me and offered me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

And so here it is, for your consideration.

DISCLAIMER: Minor spoilers might follow, but nothing huge. Promise!


Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1)

30119375

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

An epic fantasy led by a powerful female protagonist, Haven’s narrative unfolds in a world where magic is rare and war is brewing. A newly crowned queen & gifted with immortality, Haven is granted ultimate power in her kingdom in the wake of her family’s murder. Thrown into the role of Queen, she must rely on her friends, advisors and fellow kings to survive the coming storm and grow confident in her ruling ability.

It is a well-written novel, full of conflict and layered with unexpected themes. At the core is Haven, a protagonist and heroine who is compassionate and insecure. She is a relatable human being whose concern for her subjects’ well-being also makes her rather endearing.

Her major arc deals with her conflict with Kadia, a woman who has a perverse fascination with her powers. This leads to rather dark and disturbing turn of events. The events that Haven is forced to contend with are life-altering and character building. Where many authors might fumble with the repercussions of them, Katherine deals with the fallout deftly, elevating the strength of the story in thematic terms. 

The secondary characters have interesting stories of their own, and while most aren’t as fully developed as I wish they would be, the primary male supporters are given enough depth and room to grow.

The setting descriptions and world-building are intricate, bringing Warshard to life. There is a lot of foundation laid for future installments, promising new lands and characters that will delight as well as the first.

The conclusion of the novel was a little jarring and wrapped up too quickly, but it does not take away from the general enjoyment of the narrative. I look forward to the next one!

Fans of epic fantasy will be drawn into Haven’s story, discovering in her a strong female protagonist. Looking for a new world to get lost in, look no further. 

RATING:

quills


Want to connect with Katherine?

You can find here here on TWITTER or on her BLOG

And find out more about Haven on GOODREADS or AMAZON.

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink