Series Overview: The Sea of Ink and Gold, Traci Chee

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        I am still reeling a little bit from the end of this series, and so I thought I would talk about it just one more time in more of a series review.  Before we start, let’s link the individual reviews.

The Reader, Traci Chee

The Speaker, Traci Chee

The Storyteller, Traci Chee

Now, let’s get started.  This was a fantastic YA fantasy/ adventure series.  The amount of culture and world building was amazing and really helped pull me in.  You have these amazing, strong characters but you never forget who they really are- kids that have been hurt, a man trying to make a name for himself, a betrayed best friend.  They are none of them perfect and many of their decisions are misguided….. but can you actually expect sixteen year olds to know how to save a world?

That said, let’s talk about story lines.

reader intro

 

 

An exert from the reader:

‘Once there was, and one day there will be.  That is the beginning of every story.  

Once there was a world called Kelanna, a wonderful and terrible world of water and ships and magic.  The people of Kelanna were like you in many ways-they spoke and worked and loved and died-but they were different in one very important respect: they couldn’t read.  They had never developed alphabets or rules for spelling, never set their histories down in stone.  They remembered their histories with their voices and bodies, repeating them over and over and over until the stories became part of them, and the legends were as real as their own tongues and lungs and hearts.’

‘One of these rare tales told of a mysterious object called a book, which held the key to the greatest magic Kelanna had ever known.’

So we open with Sefia and her aunt Nin moving through a market.  Sefia has something in her pack- the last thing from her dead parents.  A book.  But she doesn’t understand it. Doesn’t know what it is, or how to use it. When Nin is caught and taken away, Sefia is alone and scared. She’s running on her own for the first time.  There are groups in the forest- strange and dangerous.  One has a crate with the same symbol as on her book.  Somehow she steals into camp and steals the content of the crate.  A boy her age, branded around the neck.  Taken to fight.  In cage battles, later in war.  The boy is so damaged that he doesn’t even speak.  Scared and angry, he’s more animal than man but Sefia can’t leave him.

So starts the adventure of these two kids that have to fight foes and fate to try to save themselves, those they love, and their entire world.  Sefia learns that she is a sorceress and a reader.  Her mother had taught her the alphabet and how to use the book but she’d never understood.  As the boy heals under Sefia’s care she calls him Archer.  He had another life, but he can’t go back.  Too many believe he’s The Boy From Legend- the one that will build an army and win the Red War.    They work together to save others like Archer- boys that had no choice.  They love, they fight for their freedom.  They make mistakes.  They make history.  These are their stories.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are other side stories.  The Pirate Canneck Reed and his crew on the Current of Faith who become allies.  The Delian King Ed, called The Lonely King due to the curse on his family that everyone they love will die.  The sorceress Tanin who would literally watch the world burn to find out why those she loved most betrayed her.  This is a beautiful and complex world and I loved it so much.

Looking for diverse characters?  We’ve got ya!  Sefia for one, is definitely portrayed as a a more ethnic woman- I see her as asian/ african, so there’s that.  There are more through out the book, but it isn’t talked about much.  These are just normal things- this is them, this is what they look like…. but look what they can do!  Race is definitely not a defining characteristic for these characters, and I love that.  Then there’s the love stories.  Chee created several amazing relationships here.  Like ride-or-die, together-forever relationships.  There’s our Lonely King who is in love with one of his best friends and advisers Arc (this relationship will be super important to the story, but I can’t say too much without huge spoilers).  What I loved here was that the fact that Arc was male seemed like an afterthought.  This was his person.  Gegori, the cook for the Bloodletters (Archer’s group of saved boys) falls for another of the boys.  It’s accepted as completely normal, as it should be (love is love right?).  There are two older women- they used to be outlaws, and I guess they still are to an extent (really, what does one call a retired outlaw?) that are pretty obviously life partners.  Then there’s Sefia and Archer who live for one another and it’s so sweet.  I seriously loved all the romances in this book.

Through it all, there were several recurring themes.  Storytelling, freedom, duty, how one choice can shape a world.  Each of these books were five star books and I loved it.  I own the series now both in eBook and hardback because it was so beautiful- not just the cover but the attention to detail inside the book.  The light fraying of pages, the small pictures, the art.  This was well thought out and for me, it added so much to the story.

This isn’t a world one can easily let go of.  Trust me.  I don’t know how there isn’t a huge, crazed fandom.  There is some fan art on Pinterest and google images that I think is adorable.  Out of respect to the creators I won’t be showing any here but definitely put in the key worlds Sea of Ink and Gold or The Reader and you’ll find some super cute stuff.  But what do I really want?  Merchandise.  There isn’t any currently, but I would totally buy:

  • A leather journal made to look like The Book
  • A side story- The tales of Cannick Reed (one of the characters was actually working on this in The Storyteller).
  • Pins with either the Current of Faith or Reed quotes (“I’m Captain Cannick Reed, I’ve done stupider stuff” or “Look to the horizon, that’s where the adventure is”)
  • Shirts- see above for the Reed ideas, but also simplistic ones that simply say Reader, Storyteller, or Outlaw.  I would also love to see ones with the country crests, or certain characters.  In fact, I would buy shirts that just had the covers on them.  I do love those covers.
  • Funko characters- seriously, like all of them.
  • Temporary tattoos of the Bloodletter’s saying.

What do you guys think?  Have I gone too crazy here?   Also have you read these books?  I want to discuss things so bad!!!

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New Release Tuesday!!! 1-15-19

untitledHey guys!  This week I have two new releases to share, and a couple books I just learned about.  Let’s get started!
liar liarJames Patterson has come out with another detective Harriet Blue book.  Blue finally has a name for the George River Killer who hurt so many women…. and ruined her brother’s life.  It won’t be easy though… Regan Banks has gone underground, and everyone is watching her to be sure she doesn’t do anything crazy.  One phone call begins an intense game of “catch me if you can” clues lead her from town to town, littered with victims from Harry’s life.  Can she catch a killer and get revenge, or will she loose everything?

Not going to lie, I am a bit on the fence about this series.   The first two were good, but not great; and I still don’t feel completely connected to Harry.  Still, when I saw that this one was coming out I pre-ordered it.  I do want to see where they’re going with this.

 

96 words.jpgI saw the cover for this book and immediately fell in love!  I mean, how could you not?  17 year old Raya Liston is getting ready to go to UCLA, trapped in a future that she feels has already been planned for her.  When her grandmother dies she decides to go to India, to visit the ashram where Grandma and Grandpa fell in love.  She’s hoping to find her center, her path….. instead she finds love.  Love of a country, love of a friend, and love of a boy that teaches her that in Sanskrit there are 96 ways to say love.

This one just sounds so cute, and I am really hoping for some nice descriptions and cultural references while she’s in India.  I always love that!

 

 

As for the two I  just learned about; the New York Times Book Review did a spread for two books that I haven’t heard a lot about, but that seem really interesting.

We are displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World, by Malala Yousafzai is my first pick here.  I adored I Am Malala when I read it years ago.  She came across as anyone’s little sister.  Just a girl that wanted to live and learn.  The terrible things that she went through broke my heart, but made her into a strong woman and an amazing human rights activist.  Now, when the immigration crisis looms and so many people are torn about what to do it’s important to remember- these aren’t numbers, they’re people.  Here, Malala shares her own story, but also the stories of girls she met in refugee camps.  I feel like this book is going to be amazing.

Also, it’s come to my attention that someone put The Diary of A Young Girl (Anne Frank’s diary) into graphic novel format.  This is either going to be amazing, or terrible.  I am super excited though!  I have seen some other works done this way, my favorite being a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s shorts and poems.  If done with respect and care, this could be amazing.

 

So, that’s my picks for this week.  Have I missed anything?  What are you guys excited for?

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The Storyteller, Traci Chee

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Title: The Storyteller

Author: Traci Chee

Pages: 525 (Hardback, the eBook says there are more- yes, I bought both copies)

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure

Is this part of a series?  Yes, this is book three of Sea of Ink and Bones, also known as the Reader trilogy.  

Published:  November 13th, 2018

Summary:

(From Goodreads)  Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard’s clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy–Archer–and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety. The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her–especially the boy she loves.
But escaping the Guard and the Book’s prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard’s will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart. Full of magic, suspense, and mystery, Traci Chee brings her Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy to a close in this spellbinding final installment.

My thoughts:

How did I not know this was out until a few weeks ago?!?  I adored The Reader for the gorgeous descriptions, the world building and the amazing characters.  I was practically a fangirl after The Speaker… and somehow I missed THIS.

Okay, moving on…. Sefia and Archer are back together and scheming to save themselves, their friends and stay the heck away from the Red War.  I love them because they are powerful forces of nature- legend and fury- but they’re still teens too.  They’re scared, indecisive, hurt, confused.  You never forget that this sorceress is also a sixteen year old girl who lost everyone in her family.  Or that this boy has been hurt, tortured, and done things he can’t forgive himself for.  Each character is beautifully multi-faceted and easy to love… even when I wasn’t supposed to.  I found the subplots with Lac and Hobbs (and Ed) really great, and of course I was glad to be back on The Current of Faith.  This isn’t just a story- it’s a world with traditions, rules, people…. Chee was able to flesh out Kelanna so well that you can see the volcanoes, the trees, the sunrise on the sea… all of it.  Honestly, I hate to see it go, to the point that I am considering starting the series over again.  Though, maybe not just yet.  There’s still a lot of stories I haven’t read.  I am considering a series overview post, though, with merchandise ideas (there sadly isn’t any yet, but if someone makes these things I am buying them).  I want to take some time to think on that one, so I may write it Thursday.

             The next time Chee wants to give us a story, though, you know I’m there.  For me, this book- like the rest of the series- is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

           On the adult content scale, there’s a lot of violence.  I feel like there always was, but it just seemed like… more… in this one.  There’s some language, and then there’s some very light sexual content.  Nothing explicit.  I would agree with Amazon who placed it in the 12-17 age range (though is there really a maximum age here?  I think not!).  I give it a four.  General.svg

The book is out.  Have you read it?  What did you think?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Murder In The Paperback Parlor, Ellery Adams

 

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Title: Murder in the Paperback Parlor

Author: Ellery Adams

Pages:  304

Genre: cozy mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes.  Book two of the Book Retreat Mysteries.

Published:  August 4th, 2015

Summary:

Valentine’s Day is on the way and Jane Steward is gearing up for her second book themed event- Romancing the Reader.  Sadly it won’t be known for it’s Regency Fashion show, male cover model contest, or any of the wonderful events…. not when a highly celebrated author is discovered dead.  

Rosamund York has garnered a large number of enemies- not just with fellow writers, but with several fans over the content of her newest book.  Who wanted her dead?  And can Jane and the Finns find the culprit before more lives are lost?

My thoughts:

The whole premise of a secret library and a team of super agents to defend it while using the premises as a book themed hotel still stretches the limit of my acceptance…. but I kind of love it anyway.  Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in a gorgeous manor house, with delicious food and more books than you could read in a lifetime?  It’s the bad-ass security team and secret society stuff that has me torn.  I mean, I know there has to be some action, some mystery… but really?  That said, I adore the characters here.  Adams has always been able to create loveable and relatable characters where opening the spine of a book is like returning to a dear friend.  Fitz, Hem, and Jane have all grown a lot and I adore their little family unit. I also love the Cover Girls and the way everyone at the hotel interact with one another.  

The premise is completely outlandish, but also intriguing.  I felt like it was fairly well done, all in all, and found myself enjoying this book more than the last book in this series.  For me, it’s a three and a half star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating2000px-Half_Star_Yellow.svg  I still prefer The Secrets, Book & Scone Society, or the Books by the Bay; but this one is still really good.  I would probably like it more if I hadn’t found the other two series’ first.

On the adult content scale, there’s language and some violence, but nothing too over the top.  I give it a three.  General.svg

The book is out, have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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New Release Tuesday!!!! 1-08-19

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Hey guys!  Happy New Release Tuesday!  I have three awesome books to share that I got as ARC’s and one that I am drooling over.  Let’s get started!!!!

the light over london The Light over London, Julia Kelly was an absolutely gorgeous historical fiction.  I have seen a lot of people likening it to The Nightingale, but I was getting some serious Laura Madeleine vibes here- which if anyone knows about my obsession with the author is high praise.  The duel story lines merged seamlessly, the story had a great flow, stunning descriptions and fantastic characters.  I adored this book and will be looking into the author for further books.

 

 

 

Even If I fall, Abigail Johnseven if i fallon  is a really beautiful YA book.  Two broken teens have lost their brothers- one to death and one to jail.  In a small town, neither one can live down the stigma, nor find someone that they can just… talk to… about it.  That is, until they find one another.  How is she supposed to open up to the boy when it was her brother that killed his?  How is he supposed to look at her and not see everything he lost?  And yet… they do.  Little by little they help each other heal, and learn to dream again.  Will their new found relationship last, though, when everyone finds out- and has an opinion?  

 

 

in dog we trustIn Dog We Trust, Beth Kendrick  is a great slice of life type book.  You have the scrappy workaholic Jocelyn, trying to keep her head above water and her family’s laundry service afloat while Mom recovers from surgery.  One choice changes her world.  When she sees two dogs about to be run over, she darts out to save them both.  The pedigree pup’s owner is thrilled, and wants to hire her to take care of the dogs- walking, playing… that type of thing.  The driver is aghast…. and cute for a yuppie.  Suddenly Jocelyn has a boyfriend and yet another job.  Fast forward six months.  Prince charming is not so charming and oh-so-gone, as is the boss…. but the dogs remain, having inherited the bulk of the owner’s wealth, and the house.  Jocelyn is as surprised as anybody when she is named their caretaker but she will do anything- including how to care and train show dogs and buy mutt boyfriends- in order to make this work.  There’s just one issue- Liam.  The owner’s only son, though estranged, feels he has a case against the dogs and Jocelyn.  As the two battle over the inheritance, the fur really starts to fly.  What would happen, though, if the combatants ever gave way to their attraction?

My thanks to Netgally and First to Read for allowing me advanced reader copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. 

winter of the witchThe Winter of the Witch  is one that I have been eagerly awaiting.  I fell in love with Arden’s other books in this trilogy and have been a huge supporter of Arden’s since The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden.  I can’t wait to see how this series ends!!!  I preordered it months ago, but am in the middle of another book so it may take a moment.  This is probably going to be my next read though.

 

 

 

            And now for the new release I am most excited (and jealous) about… congrats to my UK friends!  This book launches there today, but we won’t see it in America until April.  I did end up buying it on Book Depository and hope to get it soon…. but I don’t actually know how these things work.  We’ll see!!

 

the binding(Summary from Book Depository):

Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.

Forever.
Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.
            This book is already getting some much deserved love from other bloggers.  I think I first heard about it (and where to buy it) from My one thousand lives.  I immediately knew I had to have this.

So that’s me for the week.  What are you most excited about?  Have I missed any?

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In Dog We Trust, Beth Kendrick

 

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Title: In Dog We Trust

Author: Beth Kendrick

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary romance

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book #5 of the Black Dog Bay series.

Publish Date:  January 8th, 2019

Summary:

    One moment, one decision can change a life.  Jocelyn Hillier is a busy woman- she’s taking care of the laundering business she and her mother run while Mom’s laid up after surgery.  Then there’s all the side jobs- helping her best friend take care of rental properties.  One morning, during a run, she risks her life to save two dogs from a speeding vacationer.  One of those dogs, Carmen, just so happens to be a show dog- one of Mr. Allaryce’s pedigree Labrador Retrievers.   Suddenly she has a new boss in Mr. Allaryce- taking the dogs out for runs and playing with them- and a new boyfriend in the vacationer, Chris.   Balancing everything is a tight rope but she loves it- surly boss and all.

Six months down the road, Jocelyn is once again single and, upon Mr. Allaryce’s death, guardian to the pampered trio she used to walk.  Going from living in a small house to one of the premier real estates in the area while trying to keep her mother in line and their business up would be enough, but it can’t be that easy.  She has to learn how to not just love the dogs, but train them and care for them.  Then there’s Liam, Allaryce’s son and a thorn in her hide.  Can she keep herself sane and the dogs Best in Show?

My thoughts:

           First, I didn’t realize this was part of a series, and I would absolutely have read the other four books first.  That said, I don’t think it’s completely necessary to know the other books in order to enjoy this one.  I don’t feel like there was anything I was missing and it seemed to work well as a stand alone novel.

       I loved Jocelyn to an extent- her strength, her drive, her adaptability, work ethic and loyalty (this girl knew how to hustle, but always had time to help her mother or friend).  That said, her fascination with Chris and her inability to see all the crap he did really confused me.  One moment she’s a strong, independent woman; the next she’s cooing over this guy, talking about Paris and looking at rings.  What gives?  Also, if some guy nearly ran two dogs over- let alone me- I would not be starting a relationship with the guy. 

            Then there’s Liam.  One minute they hate each other- sworn enemies that will see eachother in court, then Hell.  Then suddenly he’s asking her out on dates, kissing her, and his mama is showing up calling her his girlfriend.  Hello?  Shouldn’t she have had more of a say in this?  I ended up liking the relationship in the end but the beginning was kind of messy to me.  Odd romances aside, I loved how the characters interacted.  The plot was interesting and the story ran at a fast clip.  This was a really good, fun read that left me feeling refreshed.  I think it would be just the thing to pull someone out of their winter blues.  For me, this is a three and a half star book.  I would still recommend it to anyone and I will be searching for the other books…. but it wasn’t a total hit with me.  normal star rating normal star ratingnormal star rating2000px-Half_Star_Yellow.svg

On the adult content side, there’s some language and sexual innuendo, but nothing over the top.  I would give it to my niece, but younger teens…. maybe not.  I give it a four.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  first to read

The book comes out 1-8-19.  Is it on your TBR list?

Link to book:

Amazon

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The Light over London, Julia Kelly

 

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Title: The Light Over London

Author: Julia Kelly

Pages: 304

Genre: historical fiction

Is this part of a series?  No

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019

Summary:

             Cara is in the middle of a massive life overhaul.  Dealing with a messy divorce and leaving a job she never cared for, she’s back home working with antiques and spending time with Gran.  The job is one she loves- the beauty and mystery, and the ability to make sure a well loved object gets new life with someone that will treasure it.  Between work and Gran she doesn’t have time for much else, but she’s okay with that.  

When going through a house with her employer Cara finds a tin filled with odd treasures.  A movie stub, a small compass, a locket, a picture and a journal.  It calls to her and, with the family’s permission, she sets out to learn more about the woman from the journal…

Louise isn’t exactly adventurous.  Smart and serious, she keeps the accounts and works in a shop in her little Cornish village.  It has been decided that she will wait there for the solicitor’s son, Gary, to come home from the war.  They will marry, and their mothers will be happy.  It isn’t exactly the type of life she wants, but she can see no way out.  One night changes all that.  Her cousin, Kate, drags her to a dance and there’s Paul.  Handsome, sophisticated and interested in her, this RAF pilot is everything she never knew to wish for.  A whirlwind, clandestine courtship ensues.  Paul gives her strength to look into the dreams she has locked away- travel, leaving home, being useful…. maybe someday going to California.  When he is shipped out Louise makes a command decision.  She and Kate will join the war effort.  When she becomes a gunner girl in the anti aircraft gun unit she is over the moon.  She’s using her brain and making a difference.  Paul is less pleased citing the dangers… but there seems to be more to his objections.  Could it be that they don’t know each other as well as she thought?…

The more Cara reads, the deeper she needs answers about Gran’s time in the war- a time she refuses to address.  With the help of her new neighbor, Liam, she moves to uncover the secrets not only for the mystery journalist but her own family.

My thoughts:

        Kelly’s book is being likened to The Lilac girls and The Nightingale, but I was getting vibes from one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Laura Madeleine.  The attention to detail used when merging the dual timelines, the character development and easy flow of the book was reminiscent of Where the Wild Cherries Grow.  All the wonderful things about historical fiction are here- the drama of the past, intrigue, description, amazing characters.  I could not put this book down!  The writing style was magnificent and the different timelines/plot lines merged seamlessly in a way that was believable.  So often an author will allow one plot line to take the lead, leaving the other to disappear, unneeded; but here you have two strong stories.  I loved that.  For me this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

             On the adult content scale, there’s violence, language and some light sexual content.  Nothing major and I would still hand this one over to my niece.  I give it a four.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive and eARC of this book from Netgalley and Gallery books in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  pro_reader_120

The book comes out Tuesday!  Who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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