Tag: beauty

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden

the girl in the tower
Image belongs to Del Rey.

Vasya has long seen creatures from legend, and her ability to see has brought trouble down upon her and her family. Only the aid of Morozko (Frost, the winter demon from the stories) has kept her alive so far, and the love of Solovey, her magnificent stallion. With her parents dead and her village casting her out as a witch, Vasya knows her options are limited:  life in a convent or marriage to a Moscovite prince. She wants neither, and disguises herself as a boy as she sets out to explore the world.

She finds burned villages, missing girls, and bandits that vanish leaving no traces behind. After she rescues three girls from the bandits, the Grand Prince of Moscow calls her a hero, and she is reunited with her brother and sister. But Vasya cannot reveal that she is female, or her entire family risks disgrace and death. Soon she realizes that a danger stalks Moscow and the Grand Prince, and even Morozko, who she no longer knows if she can trust, may not be able to help her.

Have you ever identified with a character so completely that it almost broke your heart? That’s how I felt about Vasya as I was reading The Girl in the Tower. Everyone wants her to be content to marry, raise a family, and be conventional, but she wants anything but that. She wants to travel, live her life, and be happy, but the people around her don’t want that for her:  they want her to conform. And she doesn’t want to hurt those she loves, so she’s torn.

Vasya is a powerful character, so relatable that you want to cry for her struggles. This is a magical, vibrant book, and wonder permeates every page. The setting is so vividly depicted that I found myself shivering—and I hate cold weather!

Katherine Arden is from Texas, but lived in Vermont, Russia, Hawaii, France, and Hawaii (again). She has picked Macadamia nuts, made smoothies, and sold real estate, but now she writes. The Girl in the Tower is her newest novel, the second book in The Winternight trilogy.

Go. Read this! And if you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale, read it first!

the girl in the tower2
Gorgeous covers!

(Galley provided by Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.)

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The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco

the bone witch
Image belongs to Sourcebooks.

Rin Chupeco writes books that mix fantasy with dark thrillers. The Bone Witch is her newest novel.

The women in Tea’s family are witches, but when teenage Tea raises her brother Fox from the dead—unintentionally—she learns she’s far different from the others. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, both feared and shunned by everyone she knows. Then an older bone witch arrives to take Tea and her brother far away for training.

Becoming an asha—one who wields magic—is the hardest thing she’s ever done, but Tea wants it more than anything. The intricate rituals, the esoteric knowledge, the combat training all prepare Tea for her new role. But training isn’t all that waits for Tea, and dark forces are rising in secret, set to destroy everything she holds dear.

From the book’s website: Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind…” This is exactly what this book is! And since I loved both of these books, it stands to reason that I’d love this one. Which I did. I started off a bit confused, but gradually I got a grasp on everything. The cultures in this book are rich and intricate, especially the ashas’. There’s action, history, a little bit of romance, and a lot of magic…everything to keep the reader entranced until the very end. I highly recommend this book!

tbw

(Galley provided by Sourcebooks via NetGalley.)

The Regulars, by Georgia Clark

 

 

The-Regulars-Georgia-Clark
This image does not belong to me. Image belongs to Atria Books.

Georgia Clark is from Sydney, but now lives in New York City. She has been in a band, worked as a freelance journalist, and as a copywriter. The Regulars is her first adult novel, and she has young adult novels on the shelf as well.

Evie, Krista, and Willow are best friends living in New York City. They are regular twenty-somethings with average looks and typical problems, like making rent, online dating, and making a difference in a job that makes a mockery of what they believe.

Until they come across Pretty, a magical potion that makes them beautiful, giving them a chance to discover what looking like a supermodel can give you in life. Pretty opens unexpected doors for them, but it has a darker side, too. Soon the friends must decide the answer to the question, “What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?”

Evie, Krista, and Willow are regular girls—girls all women can relate to, and they have real problems and real struggles. The Regulars is about these problems, but about larger problems as well, like the objectification of women and lies and manipulation in the dating world. There are some funny moments in this book, but it made me think about life—and about society and its faults. Don’t read this thinking it will be light and fluffy, this books deals with much deeper issues, and the characters are believable, people we would all enjoy being friends with.

(Galley provided by Atria Books via NetGalley.)

What’s Your Writing Dream?

What, in the secret reaches of your soul, do you long for, maybe never having the courage to say it out loud, but you really, really, really want? You know, if the stars aligned, you held the Golden Ticket, and your fairy godmother all showed up on the same day. This is probably something you haven’t ever dared to admit, to anyone.

Do you dream big? Like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies big? Or are your dreams smaller, more…realistic?

Sure, lightning can strike. Look at the success of the above mentioned movies, the longevity of the books themselves. Or the wild popularity of the Harry Potter series (books and movies). Or The Hunger Games. Can you imagine seeing something you thought up on a movie screen? That must be like the most surreal thing ever. Watching a movie of your thoughts. Just wow. I can’t imagine.

A couple of weeks ago, I read about the possibility of books I really love being optioned for not just a movie, but possibly more. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss, are absolutely amazing. I had actually read his blog for months before I ever read The Name of the Wind. Even then, it took a few more months before I realized the book that blew me away was written by the same guy who wrote the funny, sarcastic, blog that I enjoyed. (Not all that quick, am I? I know.) Seriously? This book that drew me in from the very first line and kept me reading breathlessly for oh-so-many-glorious-pages, might be a movie, and one where the author actually has some input? That’s a pretty big writer dream, right there. (On the other hand, I’m also terrified they might completely destroy something I love, and I’m sure I’m in good company with that fear.)

So there’s those kind of writer dreams. Then there’s a slightly smaller version:  I just want to be able to support myself, pay the bills with my writing. That’s it. I’d be ecstatic with that accomplishment. Sure, a bestseller and a movie would be awesome, but being able to make writing my job is the goal for me.

What’s the goal for you?

Writing Inspiration: Where Do You Find It?

Or where does it find you?

Personally, Pinterest, while undoubtedly an excellent form of time-wasting, is also a wellspring of ideas.  The unending supply of pictures–of everything from colorful people to almost-unearthly places–frequently sets the wheels humming in the back of my mind. I’ll be innocently scrolling through the thread-that-never-ends, and the Muse will say “Hmm.  Hang on a sec.”

Things like this:

(Found here.)
(Found here.)

And this:

(Picture found here.)
(Picture found here.)

 

Or maybe even this:

(Image found here.)
(Image found here.)

 

Pictures like that make the Muse happy, make her imagination run wild.  So where do you find inspiration?

(I found these images via Pinterest, and did try to find out who owned them.  If they belong to you, and you want them taken down, please let me know.  I appreciate your beautiful work.)