Tag Archives: mystery

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

 

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

WWW Wednesday | The Nineteenth

Happy Wednesday friends 🙂

As ever, today is a chance to share the love of reading and discover new books across the blogosphere thanks to WWW Wednesday, 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?

It’s actually been a hard last few days to fit in reading, what with visiting Vieux-Québec on Monday and then yesterday going to see Star Trek Beyond (not my favourite movie I’ll say that much). But I still managed to get through all my to read nexts from last week, so that’s a plus!

Note: All covers/blurbs are from Goodreads.


WHAT I AM CURRENTLY 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.

This is one of those books that’s been sitting on my shelves for 5+ years and I thought it was about time I give it a shot. It’s not a typical read for me, but I’m in the mood to be adventurous, so away we go 🙂

WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED READING

Witch Infernal (Infernal Hunt #3) by Holly Evans

Witch Infernal (Infernal Hunt Book 3) by [Evans, Holly]Blurb:

Evelyn Hawke wasn’t made for the quiet life. She’s bored.

Luckily for her, things start going wrong, and she’s expected to fix everyone else’s problems. A trio of celestials task Evie and her friends with the job of tracking down the witch who opened the hellmouth and putting an end to her. Little do they know that the witch has big plans and a far-reaching influence.

Oh! I had missed Evie! I bought the third installment in the brilliant Infernal Hunt series the day it was released and devoured it as I had the previous two. Holly does such an amazing job of bringing Prague to life as Evie leads us through the hectic life of a hunter. Plus the supporting cast of characters are such fun to be around. What’s most impressive is how the books have matured with Evie. There’s so much character development blended in with action sequences. A delightful urban fantasy series you should definitely check out!

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Blurb:

142939Birth of Venus, draws readers into a turbulent 15th-century Florence, a time when the lavish city, steeped in years of Medici family luxury, is suddenly besieged by plague, threat of invasion, and the righteous wrath of a fundamentalist monk. Dunant masterfully blends fact and fiction, seamlessly interweaving Florentine history with the coming-of-age story of a spirited 14-year-old girl. As Florence struggles in Savonarola’s grip, a serial killer stalks the streets, the French invaders creep closer, and young Alessandra Cecchi must surrender her “childish” dreams and navigate her way into womanhood.

I was looking forward to a historical fiction and I had heard good things about this book but, while I did enjoy the beginning well enough, I felt that the story didn’t have as much direction as I had hoped it would. Maybe it was the mindset I was in reading it, but I couldn’t get into the story at all, though the writing was beautiful. I just wish that some elements had been better developed. I did enjoy parts of it, though, and still intend to read more of Dunant’s works in the future.

On a more positive note, this marked by 80th read this year 😄

A Swiftly Twisting Planet (Time Quintet #3) by Madeleine L’Engle

195816

Blurb (edited to avoid spoilers):

He and Gaudior must travel into the past on the winds of time to try to find a Might-Have-Been – a moment in the past when the entire course of events leading to the present can be changed, and the future of Earth – this small, swiftly tilting planet – saved.

So, I finished this book last night and I am still in awe of how powerful Madeleine L’Engle’s stories are. This third installment is just as magical as the first two, but there is a new level of maturity in it too that the first two did not have, the story developing and growing with the characters. It made for a rather profound and thoughtful read. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover these childhood classics, but I am inspired ❤

WHAT I KNOW I’LL BE READING NEXT

A lot of sequels 😉

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.

While this is considered to be the third in the series, it’s the second published so I’m going to read it as such. I read Ender’s Game a long, long, long time ago and it really affected me. Deeply. Such a profound novel. I don’t tend to read Sci-Fi, but wow! That book just hooked me in and wouldn’t let go. I’ve had the sequel on my shelf for a while, but haven’t been in the mood for it until now. I hear wonderful things.

In the meantime, I highly recommend you discover Ender’s Game for yourself because it’s brilliant!

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.

I was supposed to read this a few weeks ago, but by the time I got to it, I found I wasn’t ready, so I placed it aside. Now, I’m going to try again and hope for better motivation 🙂

AND

Justice Hall (Mary Russell and 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?

It’s been a while since I last read one of these so I’m looking forward to it. Mary is such a wonderful protagonist and the last story set her too far in the background for my liking. Here’s hoping she shines more in this one!


Well, that’s it for me friends! Please share your own reading adventures or WWW link in the comments. Let’s keep the love of books ever growing!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith    quill-ink

Reviewing the Sequel

Happy Tuesday everyone.

I’ve fallen behind in my reviews, so I’m grouping my five recent reads into two groups and doing a broader analysis. Not sure if this is a format I’ll continue with in the future. We’ll see how these two go.

DISCLAIMER: Little to no spoilers follow. These are just views of my own, unpaid for, perhaps unnecessary. All photos and blurbs taken from Goodreads. 


Sequels are a tricky thing, aren’t they?

In a first novel, groundwork is laid for a world in which a protagonist exists and faces a challenge that must be overcome, all the while growing and shifting from one perspective to another. Sympathetic bonds are created and, depending on the genre, the novel ends with a nice resolution or leaves its characters dangling from a nasty cliff.

Then comes the second book. Where a new mission must be set before the story’s protagonist, where new antagonists and new allies are introduced. Some sequels excel at this, drawing readers back into the world they built in the first tome and delivering on the same energy, sometimes even exceeding expectations. Then there are those sequels that fail to meet expectations, that disappoint instead of delighting.

In the past two weeks, I’ve read three sequels. One was the last in a steampunk trilogy, one the second in a classic children’s fantasy quintet, and one the second in a crime fiction series. And each presented a different experience.

17288745

The Prince of Lies (The Night’s Masque Vol. 3) by Anne Lyle

A whimpering finale in a trilogy that started with the promise of a captivating adventure. Ms. Lyle created an interesting premise and introduced characters and creatures who had the potential to become more than they ever did. With each sequel, the energy of the first dropped, the characters themselves becoming less sympathetic, the action becoming less engaging. An unfortunate circumstance, as elements of Tudor England, dream walkers and reincarnation were  hinted at, but never fully developed.

m2ysolay

865964

A Wind at the Door (Time Quintet #2) by Madeleine L’Engle

In this sequel to the whimsical A Wrinkle in Time, Ms. L’Engle provides another fantastic story that blends magic and reason. It captures the same energy and thoughtful narrative of the first, while deftly pondering profound themes. Most importantly, its protagonists continue to elicit sympathy and pull on our heart strings with their sense of obligation to each other and to the world. Just magical. And exactly what a sequel should be, matching the excitement of its first with threatening antagonists and endearing with new characters.

quills

18214414

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith

A follow-up to The Cuckoo’s Calling, Mr. Galbraith (aka Ms. Rowling) presents a different experience than the above two novels with this one. It does not disappoint. Nor does it read as an equal to the first. Rather, it exceeds expectations. Unlike its predecessor, which suffered from lags in action and failed to always stimulate and excite, this second novel detailing Strike’s investigative pursuits provides many more thrills and intriguing characters. What more, the narrative gives fan favourite Robin a chance to shine more than the first. While still not perfect, it was a diverting read and does well enough to improve on the problems of the first. As a sequel should.

quills

In my opinion, the success and failure of these three books relied a great deal on expectations that I went into them with. I’m not alone in this regard. Most readers base their enjoyment of a follow-up on the promises built in the novel that came before, which lays a great deal of onus on the shoulders of the writer. The strength of a debut can sometimes spell the doom of the novels to follow. The weakness of it can lead to possible redemption.

Being published means being held accountable by the reader who has certain ideas regarding what a story should present. In every book, there will always be a character that becomes a fan favourite, there will always be an element that creates the most intrigue. Readers latch on to specific moments, particular themes, and I believe that it is important for writers to be aware of these as they write each novel.

As an aspiring author with a series in mind, I understand that my story is my creation, but being published means that I am sharing it with others who are looking for something to be enjoyed, readers who deserve a story that can sweep them away, can make them feel. I am writing as much for them as for myself. I feel it is important to acknowledge those parts of the story that readers are most drawn to from the start, and take their opinions to mind without compromising the integrity of the narrative you’re trying to convey or the themes you need to set forth.

Writing a debut allows the room to create a story to delight readers, but once you’ve invited them to join your world, their minds begin to build their own expectations into it. FanFiction could not exist if this weren’t the case. We, as readers, crave worlds beyond our own. We delve into lives that are not our own and, even when the last page is turned and the last word is read, continue to inhabit them. Standalone novels leave a realm of possibility to be toyed with, to wonder at. Novels in a series have the added pressure of solidifying possibility into reality, to understand what a reader needs to enjoy the sequel as much as its predecessor.

It’s a tall order. Some authors stumble. Some succeed.

And we read on.


What’s your opinion on the sequel? What makes or breaks the follow-ups to so many promising debuts? Does the writer need to answer to the reader? Does the reader expect too much? Let me hear your thoughts! And get the debate going!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink