#LennReads – Review of Drifting

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I was pleased to be able to read an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of Drifting, the next book in the Sinking trilogy by Sarah Armstrong Garner which releases this week. You can read my review of Sinking here.

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Once again, how gorgeous is this cover?! The journey continues and I’m happy to give you a spoiler-free review for you guys.

The story picks up right after the ending of the first book and continues to thrill readers. Here are the major things you can expect in the second book:

  1. Setting. Much of the setting of Drifting takes place under sea. As Jocelyn has transformed back into a mermaid, you get to discover the underworld life of the merworld. Here you will be surprised by the complexity and whimsy of the origin of the mermaids. Sarah Armstrong Garner does an exquisite job integrating life on land into the sea with a mix of familiar surroundings and impressive magical technology. You’ll find yourself wishing you could become a mermaid yourself.
  2. A Love Triangle. As Jocelyn returns to the sea, she begins to wrestle with if she should return to her former lover or pursue her newest love who lives on land. As you read the story you will find yourself siding with either Team Benlar or Team Aidan. I will admit that I wrestled with which one I think Jocelyn should choose, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. 🙂
  3. Profound Characters Arcs. The biggest difference Drifting offers is the progression of characters. The Jocelyn of land is different from the Jocelyn of the sea. As she continues to learn more about her backstory under water you’ll discover the power she possesses. Then there’s Aidan. Searching for his long lost lover causes a unique change about him. There were several instances I found myself shocked in his demeanor which only made me turn the pages quicker. Love makes us do crazy things and Aidan shows us how true that is.
  4. The Hook. If you could hear me read the ending you would hear squeals and gasps. Once again, Sarah Armstrong Garner works her magic of alluring readers with a wonderful plot all while leaving you wanting more. I’ll just say you will be so shocked when you discover – nope, nope. I’ll refrain from ruining it for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. I will say that I am left drumming my fingers in anticipation for the final installment of the trilogy.

Overall Impression: It’s not often sequels live up to the debut, but Sarah Armstrong Garner does an excellent job exceeding the expectations of readers. Drifting discloses a unique spin on mermaid folklore with interesting characters and wonderful worldbuilding. Captivating and mesmerizing, you’ll fall in love with the story further and be anxious for the fate of Jocelyn and those she loves.

My rating: 5 stars.

If you would like to participate in the launch of Drifting, be sure to join the Facebook online party taking place this Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm PST. For details, see https://www.facebook.com/events/2073513532931487

For more details about the Sinking trilogy, visit her website at www.SarahArmstrongGarner.com

Until next post,

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#LennReads – Book Review of Sinking

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I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting great authors when I attended the Gold Rush Writer’s Conference back in May.  One author I met was Sarah Armstrong-Garner, the author of the Sinking trilogy.  I was sold when she described SINKING as a girl named Jocelyn who washes upon the shore of Ireland void of her memories set in the 18th century.  I loved this story and am excited to reveal my thoughts.

My Likes:

  1. The cover art. When I first was introduced to Sarah, I couldn’t help myself but first compliment her on SINKING’s cover art.  I seem to recall repeating the word “stunning” throughout our conversation.  Am I right?!
  2. The settings. Sarah does a remarkable job at transporting readers to the icy waters of Ireland.  Throughout the story, readers also experience the life of a sailor.  A trip to India allows readers to feel the vast difference of India’s heat.  This story will have your cheeks glistening with ocean spray, your hair whipped by the wind, and the taste of curry on your tongue all thanks to the great storytelling.
  3. The characters. The mystery of Jocelyn draws readers in from the first few pages.  She’s fierce yet vulnerable.  As a reader, you will understand Jocelyn’s identity crisis and find yourself torn on whether she belongs on land or in the depths of the sea.  Jocelyn also finds herself entangled between other characters and is forced to deal with other’s intentions for her future.

My Dislikes: 

  1. Thomas Corwin. Among all the characters that you will love this guy will make your skin crawl.  Sarah does an excellent job illustrating a stuck-up rich man who only cares for himself.  However, this character has moments of softness, most often when he’s spouting off apologies for his temper.  Don’t be fooled by these moments.  I’m convinced Thomas Corwin is Lucifer’s cousin with a handsome smile.  You will love to hate him.
  2. The ending. The only reason I say I dislike the ending is because I wanted the story to keep going!  I was left wanting more.  Thankfully, Sarah was kind enough to include the first two chapters of the next book, DRIFTING.  And good news, DRIFTING is scheduled to be released early 2018.

 

Overall Impression:  If you love Ireland, mysterious pasts, or beautiful descriptions, SINKING offers all of the above and then some.  Sarah Armstrong-Garner takes readers on a journey where the life of land and sea intertwine.  You will be left anxious to read the trilogy’s next book and continue the journey.

My rating: 5 stars.

For more details on SINKING and Sarah Armstrong-Garner, visit her Web site at www.SarahArmstrongGarner.com

 

Until next post,

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#LennReads – Book Review of “Homes”

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The past few months have been somewhat of an epic journey of my own.  Among busy schedules, the worst season of illness in our household, and now new writing adventures, I finally am happy to present you with my book review of Derek A Kamal’s Homes.

My Likes:

  1. Book Quality.

I must say first and foremost that when I received a copy of Homes I was impressed with the quality of the book.  Kamal and his illustrator did an amazing job with the book’s design and layout which is why I recommend getting the hardcopy instead of the e-book.  I especially loved seeing the world’s map at the beginning of the book instead of being tucked away at the end of the book.  It was setting the scene before I even began reading the prologue.  Well done, Mr. Kamal.

  1. Terrific Worldbuilding.

In addition to the map, one aspect readers will enjoy is the worldbuilding of Homes. Kamal is able to describe the settings with vivid intent.  He was able to take me into the mines of the Dwarves from the beginning.  Throughout Gram’s journey, readers will be exposed to a new kind of world, venturing the secret life below all the way up to the tallest of mountains.

  1. Gram’s Relationships with Faff and Oelia.

Within the story there are two special relationships Gram has.  The first is between Gram and his close friend, Faff.  I particularly liked these two characters because I found their relationship reminiscent of Frodo and Samwise.  However, Gram has more gruff to him than Frodo ever will, but you’ll like Gram nonetheless.

The other relationship is between Gram and Oelia.  This happened to be my favorite two characters because as a reader you get to explore a different side of Gram.  In addition, the two of them have conversations over a pot of tea, so how could I not love them?!  There is a twist in the plot that changes their relationship but that’s all I’ll disclose.  🙂

My Dislikes: 

With any review, I’ll be honest and say there were a couple of things I might have changed.

  1. The Prologue.

It was a bit confusing to read initially, but once I got the tone of the character I was able to make sense of it.  If you happen to be a game master (GM) or are into tabletop gaming you’ll appreciate the prologue.  Either way, the prologue does provider pertinent information that develops the story.  I promise it will make sense later.

  1. The Heavy Dose of Backstory.

This was hard for me to admit because as a writer I understand how much we want our readers to be immersed in the story.  Kamal’s approach is a bit different in that he writes a backstory within sentences like so:

“During these lulls, some occupied themselves by sitting, staring into nothing, thinking the thoughts of dwarves (which largely consist of their next drink or meal, beautiful things, subterranean creatures, folklore, and family drama), swinging their crossed legs absentmindedly.” (Pg. 92)

You will not be bombarded with chapters upon chapters of backstory, so don’t let that deter you from the story.  It was more of a stylistic observation I made.  Is this how I would tell the story?  Probably not.  Should Kamal have changed this pattern?  Absolutely not.  Again like a GM, this is how Kamal conveys the story, and I don’t fault him for that.

Overall Impression:

Homes offers a unique story centered on a dwarf named Gram.  This book offers adventure and whimsy within a well-crafted world.  If you enjoy tabletop gaming, I would highly recommend this book.  To everyone else, you will love the characters.

My rating is 4 stars.

Until next post,

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