I normally love to read Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries. This book did not engage my heart as others have in the past.
The ingredients were all present: familiar PTSD, thrown into work, drive to solve the puzzle, and a good murder mystery. But the end result did not taste the same as the other Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries.
This story felt like a memory rather than the real thing. The mystery is still good and keeps you engaged. But the man, Ian Rutledge, lacks his usual presence. He is a mere shadow in the tale.
I want to see him change and experience life, but he is a mere observer in this book. That left me frustrated as a reader.
If you like mysteries, I highly recommend the series. This book, though, is not on par with the others.
I finished reading King’s cage, book three in the Red Queen series. Check out my reviews for books 1 and 2.
Reading fantasy is like reading three romance or mystery novels. At over 500 pages, this took me a couple of weeks to read.
We have new POVs in this book, and it made this the best book so far in this series. Mare Barrow is a self-centered teen, and being in her head all through the book can be tiring.
Cal’s arc in this book was good. I cannot wait to find out what our prince will do next. Maven continues to be the most engaging character, and I cannot wait to find what mad schemes he concocts in the finale.
Magic is well thought out, and the author walks a fine line between waving a wand to save our heroes to keeping it real.
The author pulled back the curtain to reveal the command and other players in this universe. What will our red and silver puppets do in the finale under these puppeteer’s strings? Is there a happy ending for any of them? I cannot wait to find out. I recommend this book for YA fantasy readers.
I recently read Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This is book one in the fantasy series Liveship Traders.
I have read Robin’s Farseer trilogy before and loved it. You can read my review here.
This story is set in the same world as the Farseer Trilogy, but the magic is very different. Inate objects exhibit these astonishing magical powers, and there are unusual magical beasts.
The characters are rich and varied and written so well. This is Robin’s specialty. She narrates these intricate tales with many characters, each with well-defined traits and motives. I also love how she gives each character the room to breathe in their own bubble. The reader has time to get to know them, and understand them, and fall in love. As a writer, there are many things for me to learn from her.
I was able to easily keep track of each individual tale, and this novel did a fantastic job of keeping me hooked till the end.
Althea has a stunning arc in this book, and so do Kennit and Wintrow. Vivacia is going to be a handful in the next book, and so is Malta. Brashen, Etta, and Kyle, Ronica, and Keffria add depth to the layered book.
I cannot wait to find out more about the Rain Wild Traders, the serpents, Paragon, and the other who showed up in chapter one. There are some nice easter eggs for folks who have read the Farseer Trilogy.
Robin Hobb crafts these complex worlds with astounding characters that tug the reader’s heart. I highly recommend this book to my fellow fantasy lovers.
Like many adults, I read a fair share of non-fiction books. Topics range from self-help, philosophy, and history to gardening and cookbooks. Many adults stop reading fiction after the high school days of forced reading. With our busy lives, why read fiction?
Humans have told stories for millennia, and we started telling stories as soon as we had language. Oral storytelling is how many cultures passed on their ancient myths and legends. Fiction builds on this tradition.
Reading fiction builds empathy. Our imagination translates the words in a book. As a reader, we picture the world, taste the five-course meal, smell the forest floor and feel the character’s pain. We can read about distant lands and cultures and fall in love with a person who only exists on a page. Watching TV does not have the same impact on our minds.
Fiction allows you to escape reality and walk in someone else’s shoes.
Reading science fiction and fantasy is the equivalent of daydreaming. Many scientists began their journey as science fiction readers. Historical fiction allows us to experience the past through stories. A child who dislikes history with dry dates and places might love the same past when told as stories.
There is research to show that reading literary fiction improves the Theory of Mind. Theory of Mind is the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one’s own beliefs and desires. More broadly, their study shows that works of art enhance this critical skill.
Stories are a complex form of communication, and reading stories have a long-lasting effect on the human brain, per this Emory study. Reading fiction helps us better understand others and enhances our ability to keep an open mind, per this Harvard Business Review article.
Finally, reading fiction brings us joy. Overcoming adversity, triumphant underdogs, falling in love, and finding friendships all bring us enjoyment.
Curl up with a novel today and fall in love with a character. I recommend my historical fiction “Heir to Malla” or check out my book reviews for a great read.
This is the second book in the Red Queen series. You can find my review for the first book, Red Queen, here.
What does it say about me that my favorite character in this series so far is Maven. I am drawn to broken characters.
Mare Barrow is our protagonist and our POV character. Somehow, being in her head and reading her thoughts has not endeared her to me.
The story in book two is simple. Find other red blood people with special powers before Maven does.
The author has done a fabulous job introducing so many varied magical elements. There are some intriguing powers among them, more diverse than the silver world.
The various houses all blended in my head, and I did not worry too much about remembering them. I was able to follow the main plot without attention to such details.
This is an epic fantasy tale but not in the scale of Game of thrones or Mistborn. Still, I enjoyed this book and recommend it for fantasy nerds.
Author note: If you are drawn to epic fiction, I recommend my book Heir to Malla, a historical adventure laced with love. It takes place in the fictional land of Magadha, loosely based on medieval India.
Diggin In is a rare book that emotionally tugged my heart, and the author molded it like clay and breathed new life into it and set it free.
Protagonist Paige experiences a life-altering tragedy, and the story is about how she copes with grief. The author faced a similar tragedy in her life, and her first-hand experience allows her to write with real authority and compassion on this issue.
Humor and hope are weaved skillfully along with grief to create a beautiful tapestry that allows readers to be touched without being drowned in emotions.
I could not put this book down and read it in two sittings. And the story lingers in me still with a pleasant after-taste.
Highly recommend this book for anyone who has lost a loved one and needs a hopeful story to regain your love for life.
Writing is a solitary journey. We authors think about our characters constantly. Meera and her world enter my reality while I am cooking—walking—in the shower—waiting at the stoplight. They become our friends and family. Then one day, we share our baby with the outside world, with our heart in our hands.
Then comes the reality all authors must face and dread—a negative review. Such reviews may turn our fight or flight response. Neither is beneficial for our writing journey. Writing a book review with constructive feedback is an art by itself. We should learn to treat these reviews as gifts and cherish these reviewers. This is not easy, and it is okay to call a friend and have a meltdown. Just keep it off social media.
As writers, we want to improve our craft. Constructive feedback gives us a valuable window into the mind of our readers. While we cannot make everyone happy, it is crucial to know what readers of our genre expect.
If a reviewer is malicious, please ignore and move on. Picking a fight is not worth your sanity. The good news is most reviewers are thoughtful.
So next time you get a negative review, bake bread and take your anger out on the dough. Then take a deep breath and understand it is not personal. Read the review and mine for the gold nuggets to take your writing to the next level.
Keep writing! I am cheering for you and looking for the next book to fall in love with.
Animal Court is featured in the San Diego Library Local Author Showcase, so I was excited to read the book. Author S. Faxon weaves an intricate tapestry of political intrigue in her novel.
Gertrude, the protagonist, is a smart woman who has many ideas to improve the lives of the people of Vitenka. If only the men around her listened to her.
I liked how the author equates the royal court to a court of animals. A weak king Herod, conspirers plotting for their own wealth and success, men waiting in the wings to seize power when the king fails, and a political uprising serves as the backdrop to the tale.
Not only does Gertrude need to unravel the web of treachery. She also needs to listen to her heart. Both are easier said than done.
A weighty set of supporting characters in Galina, Sam, Absalom, Herod, and Breyton keep us engaged and hooked to the story unfolding on the pages. Gertrude is a flawed character with a heart, and that makes her all the more interesting. Plenty of action, drama, and love to get us to turn the pages. Writing a satisfactory ending in a tale like this is not trivial, and the author pulls it off.
Recommend: For readers of political intrigues, historical fiction, and lovers of the game of thrones.
Anne Lamott welcomes you into her life and bares her mind to you in this book. This is no easy task for most of us. It is almost like shedding one’s clothes and allowing the world to see you vulnerable.
Anne shows a budding writer how to do this with humor and self-deprecation. There is nothing earth-shattering revealed in this book about writing. Most of the advice offered here would be familiar to any aspiring writer or an experienced writer wanting to improve their craft.
Still, I found it useful to read this book, if only to know my struggles as a writer are not unique to me.
Recommend: For aspiring and experienced writers who want to hone their craft.