Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse (Review)

Time for a book review, since I haven’t done one in awhile, and I have a fabulous new book to tell you about!

Title: Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)

Author: Morgan L. Busse

  • Date read: November 25, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: Technically listed under Adult but teens would love it too!
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 341 (paperback)
  • Series: The Ravenwood Saga, #1
  • Fave character: Damien
  • Source: The publisher
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes and NobleAuthor’s Website

Published November 6, 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

My thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy of MARK OF THE RAVEN. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.


Aaah, that was so cool! Now where’s the next book?

I love a good epic fantasy and this one was awesome! The world was so rich and the characters were fantastic. The plot was a slow-burn kind of one, full of mystery and politics but enough spice of danger and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat—the rest of it did that actually as well!

I love anything involving dreams in fiction so I was really excited to try this one. Like Inception in a fantasy world. 😛 The Dreamwalking was a cool aspect to the book. I particularly liked the soul aspect of it. I think I thought there would be more time spent in the actual dreamscapes, but at the same time I don’t really mind because the rest of the book was so cool too!

I was so intrigued by this setting and loved the world-building. The idea of the seven nations and the Great Houses and their secrets and gifts was so intriguing. The political intrigue aspect of it was interesting instead of boring. It made me think a little of Jill Williamson’s fantasy, which is high praise from me. 😉 I was pulled into this story and loved visiting these mountains, castles, secret passages, and seaside—and the different Houses were really neat. Everything had a distinct feeling and vibrant color to it and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to return to this world and find out what happens next, as well as learn more about the gifts—and spend more time with these characters.

The characters were all well-drawn and I loved them. ^_^ Selene was an interesting heroine and I felt bad for her and was always curious what she’d do next. I can’t wait to see where her story goes from here. No spoilers but… it should be interesting! 😉 Damien was my absolute favorite! I loved how the story alternated between his point of view and Selene’s. It was so neat getting to see each of them from the other’s perspective. But yes, Damien was a high point of the book—I loved his passion for helping people and how he had such a good heart and tried so hard and… he was just awesome. 😀

I loved many of the side characters, too! Selene’s father was so great. Taegis, Damien’s mentor, who I also loved. Lady Bryren! Man, I LOVED her and the other wyvern riders and hope we’ll see more of them! (And I don’t love them, but the villains stood out too. Lady Ragna was sooo chilling.)

The atmosphere of the book was just really neat—with the rich colors, the harsh beauty of the mountains, the shadows and mysteries of Rook Castle, the autumnal feel, the meetings and gala and dances, the passages and secrets, and all shot through with so many questions and interesting thoughts, a thread of faith in a unique way, and the many varied people and cultures inhabiting this world.

It took me a little while to get invested in the story (maybe until meeting Damien?) but once I got into it, I lived and breathed it, and now I’m sad it’s over. There were some pretty neat twists at the end which make me super curious to read the next book! I NEED IT.

MARK OF THE RAVEN was gorgeous and a little ominous and I was so intrigued the whole time, and I’m attached to these characters. It’s a touch scary a few times but is a basically clean read which I think older teens and adults alike would enjoy, and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans! 🙂


About the Book

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy — a legacy that supports her people — or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?


Also, the next book is releasing April 2019 and I neeeed it already! Isn’t it gorgeous? ❤


Talk to me! Does or does it not sound SO cool? Have you ever read a dream-related book? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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The Last Motley Blog Tour!

last motley fantasy book tour

Welcome to the virtual book tour for The Last Motley by Grace Award nominated author DJ Edwardson.

I’m SO excited to be a part of this! 😀 I absolutely loved the book, and you can read my review for it HERE!

To celebrate the book’s release, the digital version is being offered at the special discounted price of 99 cents, now through February 17th. In addition, you’re invited to come along on a virtual treasure hunt visiting some of the places featured in the novel. And to help you along your journey, we’re giving away a few prizes, too. So how ’bout them apples?

Today’s stop is:

Brimstoke

The ancient edifice of Castle Brimstoke looms lonely and defiant on the end of a long, narrow promontory rising high above the Neverless Sea. The charcoal gray fortress is dominated by a frenzied assortment of serrated spires, like an arsenal of jagged swords thrust into the cliff. The crumbling stonework appears as if it had been chiseled out of the rocks long ago and then forgotten and left to decay.

The narrow land bridge granting access to the castle is close to a quarter mile long. Mortared stone walls line the approach, but like the castle itself, they too are in disrepair.

As long as any can remember this bulwark has been the residence of the fiery and independent Brimstoke line, nobles whose peasants have worked both the land and sea. Rumors paint the barons of Brimstoke as cruel and harsh taskmasters, but sequestered as they are in remote northern lands, who can say whether the rumors are true or whether the Brimstoke line died out long ago.

last motley map world of arinn brimstone

We hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of Arinn. If this taste has you curious, be sure to check out the full length novel set in this world.

This unique tale is not your typical fantasy novel. Yes, you’ll find monsters, dungeons, harrowing escapes, magic portals, humor, an ancient artifact, and much more, but above all: This is a story about the importance of family, faith, and the courage to do the right thing.

Here’s the official teaser:

The Last Motley

The Last Motley Fantasy Book CoverMotleys. Candy-colored creatures with dark powers to drain the souls of men. That’s what Roderick always thought. Until he met one. Now he’s not so sure. But with seemingly everyone in the province hunting the motley down, he must quickly decide which side he’s on.

Is the motley the living nightmare the legends say? Or just a child cursed by magic? Should Roderick save him from an awful fate, or turn him in? Either way, it seems like everyone wants to make sure that this will indeed be the last motley.

Be one of the first to read this unique and original fantasy novel, available now for the first time in digital format (paperback also available) at the following online locations:

And you can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads.

Treasures along the way

As you follow along on this virtual tour of Arinn, be sure to enter the giveaway to make your journey a little easier. Maybe you’ll be one of the ones to find treasure at journey’s end.

Here’s what we’re giving away:

last motley giveaway treasure hunt

A lovely leather journal, an autographed copy of The Last Motley, and a coloring book from the Chronicles of Narnia

You can use the journal to record your travels, the novel as your guide, and the coloring book to, well…for those rainy days when you’re stuck in the inn!

PLEASE NOTE: By entering the giveaway you agree to receive occasional email updates about DJ Edwardson’s releases, sales and book reviews. He will not share your email for any reason and you can unsubscribe at any time. Entries accepted until February 23rd.

Enter the Giveaway at djedwardson.com

Now if you’re feeling especially adventurous, there is a separate giveaway for the truly dedicated treasure hunters among you. All you have to do is collect ALL TWELVE location names on the tour (e.g. if this were for Middle-earth the answers might be Rivendell, The Shire, Mordor, Gondor, etc. — basically we’re looking for the names of the places featured on each of the maps at every stop).

Once you’ve got them all, send them to:

THIS EMAIL ADDRESS

and you will be entered in a drawing to win this one-of-a-kind poster of the World of Arinn. Measuring 36″X24″ it is nearly movie poster size, printed on thick, glossy paper, and suitable for framing. In addition, the map will be signed by the author. This is a prize you won’t find anywhere else!

motley fantasy map poster world of arinn

(actual photo) It’s even more impressive in person. It’s huge!

You will not be added to the email list for this drawing. Entries accepted until February 23rd as well.

Winners for both contests will be contacted within three days of the closing of the contests.

The journey continues

There are many stops along this virtual tour. Be sure to check them all out.

Feb 6 E.E. Rawls
Feb 7 Angel Leya
Feb 8 Elise Edmonds
Feb 9 Jennette L. Mbewe
Feb 10 Jess Elliot
Feb 11 Rachael Ritchey
Feb 12 Deborah O’Carroll
Feb 13 Karlie Lucas
Feb 14 Abbey Stellingwerff
Feb 15 Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
Feb 16 Jessica Groom
Feb 17 Steven Moore

Thanks for joining us on this journey!

***

Well? What do you think? Are you intrigued by the book? Because it’s WONDERFUL! 😀 I loved it so much! ^_^ Be sure to check out the giveaways and enter, and I hope you enjoy the tour stops! If you love epic fantasy with a thread of faith and family and humor and goodheartedness, you’ll love The Last Motley. 😉 Thanks for reading!

Authorly Bucket List

To wrap up my week of tag catching up…

Tag Catch-Up Post #7 (or #8, depending on counting…) – THIS IS THE VERY LAST ONE I PROMISE.

So, a few months back, I was tagged by Sarah @ Light and Shadows for a new tag, created by Erin Kenobithe Authorly Bucket List Tag! (It is also, apparently, known as the the Stuff-I-Need-To-Practice-More-Slash-Stuff-I’d-Like-To-Be-Better-At Tag. But Authorly Bucket List is easier to say, doncha know…) Go check out their blogs, do! You won’t regret it. 😀

Okay, so the the idea with the Authorly Bucket List Tag (Original Post) is to list three to seven things you’re not very good at, and another three to seven you’d like to try.

Shivers, y’all. This looks awesome.

Let’s get this show on the road! (And I may have to steal a couple of your things, Sarah, since I have some similar problems… >.>)

Things I Need to Work On

Actually Writing
Um. Yes. This is my biggest problem. I don’t often actually sit down to write. I procrastinate about it like you wouldn’t believe, I spend a lot of time plotting and thinking and doing little nothings, and basically everything except actually writing. But whenever I try to solve this with goals, or with events like NaNo, it works okay for a bit but then I get major burnout. If I specifically try to write several days in a row, for instance, I get burnt out and sometimes take a couple more weeks to recharge. I tend to write in large bursts (large here having the smallish meaning of like 2k words) with sometimes a couple weeks between. Yeah, it’s bad. But if I’m inspired, I can pound out a whole bunch. So it just depends. I guess I need to get myself inspired and keep it that way, and develop a bit of discipline.

Villains
Ah, villains. They’re what makes the world go ’round — or at least the plot. Usually. I never figure my villains out enough. They like to be kind of flat. And my main problem is that I never know their motives well enough or figure out what their plans are/their timelines. They kind of conveniently do stuff whenever the plot requires it, and… Yeah, enough about villains, let’s move on. I think my villains just don’t interest me much because I don’t LIKE them. I don’t want to spend all this time with them and figuring out their “deal”. I don’t understand people who are fascinated with villains and antagonists. O_O I mean, if they’re lovable/redeemable, sure… But yeah. The bad badguys I just want to stay away from, which does not help my writing since they’re kind of necessary! I guess I need some help in the villain department.

Battles / Fighting
I kind of majorly fail at fighting scenes. I don’t understand the concepts of swordfighting etc., no matter how much I read/watch about it. Much as I would like to! If there is fighting, I will be generally vague about it and move on because… what even are you supposed to do with that? It’s even worse with full-fledged battles. I haven’t attempted to write a battle in years, and I know even then I was horrible at it. How do you do it? You’ve got to focus on mini fighting scenes with individual characters throughout (see above…) and also keep track of all the sides and flanks and attacks and retreats and who’s fighting who and I just get so confused. How do you juggle all of that and make it remotely make sense?? This is probably partially why I’m terrified of returning to writing Epic Fantasy after being so long distracted in the shallower territory of contemporaries… Speaking of which…

Fantasy
So, ever since my first Kedran’s Wood story (The Owl of Kedran’s Wood) kidnapped me and held me captive to work on the adventures of Tare and the Chess Club for the last few years, I haven’t done much in the way of working on anything Epic Fantasy ish, my first love. I sort of popped back to work on my Starrellia series a couple times, and of course wrote most of Heartseeker for NaNo, but the truth is I’ve been away from Epic Fantasy for a very long time and want to get back to it. Which brings me to my thing-I-need-to-work-on: FANTASY. My fantasy is not as imaginative and full of fantastical things as I would like. It just doesn’t often occur to me that I can do whatever I want, and instead I just blunder along with whatever’s right there at the forefront of my brain. What about dragons, fairies, enchantments, intriguing magicalness, totally unique new things…? All the possibilities! My fantasy seems to normally be fairly tame, and I think some exploring of possibilities would not go amiss.

Things I’d Like to Try

Fairy Tale Retellings
Yessss. I actually hope to accomplish this soon, since I’m (currently) planning on writing a Twelve Dancing Princesses story for NaNo this year… We’ll see how that turns out. But fairy tales are awesome, and I adore retellings and they are so fun to read. So naturally I’d like to try my hand at a few! I even recently put together an idea for an epic fairy tale mashup conglomeration, so that might happen someday. I’ve never done a retelling, so it would be interesting to see how to make it similar to the original tales but also fresh and new and… yeah, it sounds like quite a challenge, and one I’m very excited to try at some point.

Mind Reading / Telepathy
There’s something really fabulous about mind-things, somehow. Mind communication. Yummy. I’ve always found it interesting to read about, and seeing the different ways different authors do it… I’d like to try it myself someday because it would just be awesome. Now I just need to find a way to do it… But there are so many possibilities! Maybe it’s been done to death, but I don’t really care. I just want to try because it sounds so fun!

Time Travel
Like mind-reading, there is something awesome about time-travel. Or, specifically, Timeslip, which is the version that’s my favorite and tends to involve someone ending up in an older time period with some sort of magicalness involved, I think… As opposed to the sci-fi-ness of a time machine. It’s also much less predictable, more uncertain, which I like. But I’d also like to try a time machine story as well, which I have an idea for, including dealing with the question of how can people go back in time without changing the future/their present… Yeah, it kind of makes the head spin. Which is part of the fun. I don’t have a specific timeslip idea but I really would love to try it someday if an opportunity presented itself. The main problem with time travel stuff is I’d have to do all the research just as if it was a historical fiction book, the thought of which terrifies me. So… we’re shelving those ideas for awhile. 😉 (Unless of course, it’s time-travel in another world…! Which would solve the research problem. I’ve only seen this done in Diana Wynne Jones’s book The Crown of Dalemark and I ADORED it so so much!! So it can be done.)

Cons and Heisty-ness
I’ve recently become obsessed with reading and watching crimey-heisty things, as I call them. TV shows Hustle and Leverage, the Heist Society books by Ally Carter, White Cat and its sequels by Holly Black (despite their ickness). Even milder versions like National Treasure‘s subplot to steal the Declaration of Independence. I just can’t get enough of the Robin-Hood-like (or at least not entirely bad) con-artists and grifters and thieves, and all of the cleverness involved in a good heist/con, especially when it involves giving the badguys what’s due them. I’m an upstanding citizen, honest, but this sort of thing is fascinating to read about. XD There is also a sad lack of such things, especially in the book (YA especially) world! (If you know of any, either books or films or shows, pleeeease do tell me.) I would probably never be able to write a con/heisty story because my brain just isn’t clever enough, but the thought is there and if I ever dared, I would love to try.

***

Sooo… There’s my authorly bucket list, or some semblance thereof! What is yours? I guess I should work on these… Slowly… Somehow.

Or… I don’t know, maybe I should throw all of that together and actually sit down to write an epically fantastical epic fantasy full of full-fledged battles and deep villains who time travel (by means magical, scientific, and otherwise), with heroes and heroines from fairy tale stories, who use mind communication and carry out brilliant heists and cons.
. . .
UM. Actually, I would totally read that because it would be awesome. O_O OH MY GOODNESS. *facepalm* I need to stop coming up with story ideas and write some of my current ones.

What have I done.

(This is why I should not brainstorm when my brain is asleep and susceptible to madness…)

*hastily sweeps new plotbunnies under rug, tramples them quickly, leaves a large and heavy safe on top to keep them down, and surreptitiously walks away whistling as if nothing happened*

And I Tag

Abi // Ashlee // Kelsey // Jenelle // Katie/Robyn // Claire // Any writers who want to.

But please!! Do feel free to snag this if it looks interesting! (And let me know if you do! I would love to read such posts. :))

I’m just trying to spread out all my tagging this week, otherwise EVERYONE would
be tagged with EVERYTHING and it would be exhausting. XD

So there’s the last of my tag catchup posts! *queue cheering* I will now leave y’all in peace. 😉

***

Do any of you writers have problems like mine, or tips to overcome them?

What would you like to try in your writing? (Different POVs, steampunk, talking umbrellas…?)

ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS TAG?

Do you know any good heisty books/shows??

Tell me all! Let the Authorly chatting begin! 🙂