Tag Archives: reviews

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

This Week in Review 2017 the 3rd

Happy Sunday friends,

I’m finally on time with this posting!

It’s been a busy week here and I accomplished much of what I set out to do. There’s a lot more to look forward to this week and I can’t wait to pursue each goal 🙂

Here’s a small glimpse of what I’ve been up to…


My Writing Projects

My first goal this week was to complete edits on Heritage! And I did 🙂 She sits now at 84,847  words, which is decent for a YA fantasy, but I’m hoping to cut at least 5k down during my edit of the second draft next month.

My second goal was to start edits on the final draft of The Glass Slippers. So far it’s going well, but I’m about to hit the part I’m most concerned with! Here’s a small excerpt from the first scene:

EXT. MANOR. DAY

A luscious lawn surrounds a three-storey house, a decently sized estate, not extravagantly wealthy, nor terribly poor. Flowers coloured in a myriad of pastels blossom. Trees rich with foliage reach heavenwards.

SOFT PIANO MUSIC echoes from within.

LAUGHTER echoes — boisterous, innocent, free.

The Glass Slippers. ©Faith Rivens. 2017.

Posts on My Blog

Mariana Review

Rage and Ruin Review

WWW Wednesday

#WIPjoy

#FictFBFeb17

I also have exciting news to share! I’ve created my first monthly challenge! Fictional Flashback February 2017!

I’ll post a few more explanations about it later this week on my blog. Keep an eye out for it!

Feel free to join starting February 1st on Twitter & Instagram. I hope you will 🙂


That’s it for me. How was this last week for you friends? Anything exciting happen? Let me know and we can share our experiences!

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

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

This Week in Review | 2017 the First

Happy Tuesday friends,

This year sees the return of a weekly post, though I’m hoping to shift the schedule to Sundays instead of Mondays. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it up in time on either day this week so it’s coming today! 😅

And a friendly reminder that there are still three days to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Eléonore!: HERE’S THE ORIGINAL LINK!


My Writing Projects

As you’ll soon discover, I’m working on editing three of my writing projects this month: Pirate Eyes, Heritage and The Glass Slippers. Of the three, The Glass Slippers is the most pressing for me. It’s a screenplay that I’m hoping to circulate through some competitions in the hopes of getting her optioned (one of my 2017 goals)! My final draft has to be ready for January 31st. I just finished another readthrough of her and my biggest problem is deciding whether or not to skip a prologue-like beginning. I’m also worried that Mira’s (my protagonist) goal isn’t clear enough. Lucky I have some extra eyes that I’ll be relying on for some help 🙂

#WIPjoy

This month has seen the return of one of my favourite monthly challenges/share-a-thon/writing-community-chime-ins (really not sure what to call it…). But it’s such fun to share my WIP and discover others in turn! There are so many amazing stories out there.

Here’s a round-up of some of my favourites this past week (Jan. 1st-7th):

REVIEWS

I’m finally catching up on reviews for books. Here are the ones I managed to get up since January 1st if you’re interested. My favourite of the list is The Making of Gabriel Davenport!

Victoria | Daisy Goodwin

The Making of Gabriel Davenport | Beverley Lee

The Tea Planter’s Wife | Dinah Jefferies


Keeping this week’s nice and short! Let me know what’s been going on in your life!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

 

Victoria | Daisy Goodwin

Hello friends,

Hope you’re having a relaxing Saturday.

Here’s a new review for a book I read back in December! Slowly catching up 😉

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


30841109Blurb:

In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Review:

This was an exceptional historical fiction for me. Why?

Firstly, because it took me by surprise. I prided myself on knowing about Victoria’s life, but Daisy Goodwin opened my eyes to aspects I had never known before. And I love that! The book chronicles the early years of Victoria’s reign, starting just before she becomes queen and spanning to a marriage proposal. As the novel explores her early struggle against society, Parliament and her family, it centers itself around a fundamental relationship, that between Victoria and Melbourne.

These characters were another highlight for me. The dialogue and interactions between the two were so well written, I easily got lost into each moment. I enjoyed also how Goodwin presented both of their perspectives, letting the narrative unfold on both sides. I was able to delight in understanding how each appraised the situations they found themselves in. Admittedly, I was waiting impatiently for Albert to show up, but Goodwin did an excellent job bringing him into the complicated world of Victoria’s life and having the two interact.

Another positive note for me is that the romance was downplayed. The relationship between Melbourne and Victoria might have had its undertones of a more intimate potential, but it was never realized, never overtly forced on the reader. The subtlety of the novel was something to delight in, even when it came to Victoria and Albert’s conversations.

At its heart, it is a story devoted to Victoria, a girl forced at once to become a woman and a queen. It is a story of growth. The characters are fully formed and develop over the course of the narrative. They are flawed individuals who affected our past and through a fictional form, Goodwin allows us to appreciate them a bit better in our present.

I am excited now to watch the tv series that accompanies it and hope that a sequel may be in the works!

Conclusion:
Historical fiction done right, Victoria is an enchanting read which draws the reader into the 19th century and the early life of one of Britain’s most renown monarchs.

Rating: quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

The Making of Gabriel Davenport | Beverley Lee

Hello friends!

The weekend is nearly upon us! I’m looking forward to the chance to relax after a hectic week at work and finally get to my edits 🙂

The Making of Gabriel Davenport was one of my favourite reads this year and I am so pleased to be able to share it today 🙂


29010526Blurb:

In a house built on truth something lays hidden.

Beth and Stu Davenport moved to the English hillside town of Meadowford Bridge to give their young son, Gabriel, an idyllic, rural childhood. But in a single evening, the Davenports’ dream is shattered by a hidden, ancient darkness– and their lives are forever changed.

Years later, Gabriel Davenport, now a capable, curious young man, makes the ill-fated decision to go looking for answers about his mysterious past. As soon as he begins his quest, his life becomes a place of shadows. The people he loves and trusts are acting abnormally. The strange woman who lives upstairs is even more haunted than usual. Even his most trusted friend seems to be hiding something.

As one fateful night deepens, and the line blurs between darkness and light, Gabriel must confront the terrible events that destroyed his family all those years ago. He is faced with a choice: continue living the life that was never his to begin with, or give himself over to a terrifying new reality more sinister than anything he’s ever known.

The darkness is watching.

Review:

A haunting book with a lyrical resonance that is at once eerie and beautiful, terrifying and profound!

After hearing only amazing reviews for this book, I knew I had to discover the magic of it for myself, and my goodness did it exceed any expectation that I had. The plot. The characters. The prose. The thematic impact! All of it was brilliant! ALL. OF. IT.
Before I get carried away with my emotions, let me try to properly express my love of this book.

The plot: A box that should not be opened. A darkness borne from history. A family that will never be the same. These initial elements lay the groundwork for a novel that stretches the early years of Gabriel’s life as he tries to discover the reason for his tragic past and comes to discover that which is haunting his existence. The plot unfolds with foreboding and growing intensity, leading to a number of unexpected twists of a supernatural nature, all of it leading to a gripping and rather gutting end that leaves one rather craving the sequel! It was difficult to put this book down and each sitting left me with an eerie sensation!

The characters: Gabriel Davenport is such a well-drawn character and insanely likeable as he seeks knowledge and understanding. The secondary characters are equally enchanting and I found it all too easy to get attached to them and suffered as they did. The Manor was one of my favourite parts, a house that groups supernaturally aware people, misfits of a sort. And don’t even get me started on Clove – no really don’t because then I’ll have to cry spoilers! What a cast, deftly written and realized!

The prose: This is a horror, a dark fantasy, and yet there is such beauty to be found in it. Reminiscent of Stephen King in many ways, Beverley vividly describes the world she’s created and does a stunning job of crafting sentences that steal your breath! A master storyteller who knows how to string words into sentences that connect into paragraphs and chapters that will not let you turn away.

The thematic impact: By this, I mean, the religious symbolism and questioning of faith, the clash between innocence and corruption, the bond of families and the call for sacrifice. All of these elements were so well interwoven into the plot and left me provoked to thought after each reading. There is nothing I delight more from in a book or movie, then a sense of being both entertained and thoughtful!

Conclusion:
A true work of genius and a stunning debut to laud. I highly anticipate the sequel and can’t recommend this book any more! It will ensnare you!

Rating: quills


Want to know more:

Find The Making of Gabriel Davenport on AMAZON or GOODREADS

Follow Beverley Lee on INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, HER WEBSITE, or FACEBOOK

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith   quill-ink

WWW Wednesday | 04.01.17

Happy Wednesday friends and well met!

So glad that I can rejoin WWW Wednesday in 2017. December was a hard month, but things are really looking up now 🙂

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

Mariana by Susana Kearsley:

1777492Blurb:

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 portal 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.

This is my first official read of 2017 and it’s also a reread. I think it’s been five or six years since I first discovered the beauty of Kearsley’s writing. My sister has always spoken highly of her and she infected me with a love, so my plan is to read through Kearsley’s entire oeuvre throughout the year!

RECENTLY READ

Since my last post was so very long ago, I have a few to mention. I’m listing them off for now, with a link to their Goodreads page.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin: 4/5 🌟

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: 5/5 🌟

The Mime Order (Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon: 4.5 / 5 🌟

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by JK Rowling: 5/5 🌟

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: 5/5 🌟

It was a great way to end the year and I nearly made it to 120 books, only I finished Little Women on January 1st! My review for Victoria will definitely be up this week and I hope that Westing Game, Mime Order and Little Women will follow next week.

READING NEXT

Here’s a look at my January 2017 TBR!

Awaken  will be my next read for sure and then A Monster Calls.

After that, well, we’ll see 😉



Share your own links in the comments or tell me what you’ve been reading, will read or have read! Let the love of books grow!

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

The Tea Planter’s Wife | Dinah Jefferies

Happy Tuesday friends!

Hope you’re all settling well into the new year. As part of my resolution to post more book reviews, I’m making my attempt to start on the right foot…

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!


25237718Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother.

But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past – a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds – that her husband refuses to discuss.

Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can’t stay buried forever . . .

 

My Review:

The Tea Planter’s Wife was a book that surprised me, and that doesn’t often happen. I spent a majority of the novel believing that I knew everything, but the end proved me wrong. That being said, I enjoyed the book. I found it a diverting read that entertained me. Unfortunately, there were many things that I was not too fond of. The characters for one fell flat for me, especially our protagonist. I found it difficult to believe some of her choices. Her relationship with her husband was also lacklustre.

The descriptions, on the other hand, were extremely vivid. The lush images were easy to get lost in. It was that that swept me into the story when plot and characters proved less enchanting.

The plot itself was a tragic one, revolving around a dark secret and the consequences of the lies told to keep it concealed. It promised to be an interesting turn, but the secret itself was ignored in my opinion for a good portion of the novel, focusing more on our protagonist’s attempts to reconcile with the world she inhabits. It is unfortunate, because if the focus had been laid more heavily upon the secret itself, the story might have been more intriguing than it was. As I mentioned, the ending was not what I expected and I appreciated the maturity and realism of it. I only wish that the entire novel leading up to it had demanded more of my investment.

Conclusion: Still, I can not fault Dinah Jefferies for her strengths in crafting a narrative that really brings the reader into both the time period and the setting. A diverting historical fiction.

Rating: quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith quill-ink

The Girl from the Sea | Shalini Boland

Hello friends,

As mentioned, here’s the first of many reviews to come over the next few days!

Thank you to NetGalley and Adrenalin Books for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


30333569

Blurb:

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 an idyllic 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?

 

The Girl from the Sea is easily my favourite thriller read this year. Better than Girl on the Train and par with Gone Girl, the story was well paced and the narrative unfolded to a rather satisfying – if not surprising – ending.

The plot revolves around Mia who wakes up one day on the beach with no recollection of how she got there and no memory of the life she led before that moment. It is a perfect opportunity to create an unreliable narrator and Shalini Boland jumps on it without wasting it, slowly revealing the full story and laying the groundwork for a twisty ending.
It’s difficult to say much else without spoiling the plot. Mia’s journey to remembrance introduces us to a number of secondary characters and perhaps here is my only real niggle with the story. I found most of the characters to me unlikable and a little flat for my taste. It is a minor problem, though, as the plot was strong enough to keep me hooked.

Otherwise, Girl from the Sea is an excellent debut from an author I will be sure to be keeping an eye on. If you enjoy twisting plots in the vein of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, this is definitely one for you to check out!

quills


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink