Blog Tour: Ink (Mary's Review & Excerpt)


“It’s a good day to die.”  My mother holds my arm fiercely.  “But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices.  Then, you must get the ink.”

Sparrow stumbles between two worlds, light and dark, love and hate, what is realand what is in her mind.

When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo make her stronger?


For the reader who enjoys books with a little fantasy, combined with mystery, Ink is a good choice. The book is fast paced and reads very quickly. This genre may not be my first choice, but Ink is a good place to start.

Sparrow is our heroine who, while recovering from the death of her mother, starts to also receive communications from.... where? Is there really someone helping her? Or someone hurting her? All gets revealed in the end.

Sparrow is a sympathetic character most of the time, considering what she's going through. Yet at the same time, this character is also a "typical" teen. She has a best friend and a boyfriend and she falls for him quickly. There is a nice rhythm with Sparrow and her boyfriend Layne, although some of Layne's dialog feels a bit forced. He tries to help Sparrow with a problem and comes across more as a shrink or father figure than a boyfriend. In the end, it is unclear whether the problem is resolved.

The other main character is the tattoo that Sparrow is led to get. Learning more about why it is so important and what it means is compelling.

I've not read Ms. Davis' work before. This was a good first impression. However, some sections were choppy and didn't flow easily. Each chapter seemed to end too abruptly. More back story about the Reservation would enrich this story greatly. Which Reservation is it? What is the unrest that Sparrow needs to address? What is the tattoo depicting? What is the significance of that? I found Ms. Davis' writing rich in description, while at the same time lacking substance.


This book was good, but not great. It held my attention and I enjoyed it, but I felt that there was so much more potential for the story to be great. Ms. Davis has a bright future.

A copy of Ink was provided to Mary for review by the author and Bewitching Blog Tours.


Excerpt (Prologue):
The icy sadness of winter bled the color from my life. By the summer, even my dreams were in black and white. The imagery in my sleep lures and repels me. I run through rooms painted in intricate earthy patterns, I see faces with faded yellowed eyes peering from behind blackened masks; thorny vines crawled across my arms and legs. These dreams set my nerves on edge; except for one which happens every night so I know it has meaning for me: an owl sitting on my windowsill, a white feather floating above my bed, and four swirling smoky circles rotating above the floor of my room as they coalesce in the middle.

Something whispers in my ear, “That image is not for you”.

He saunters down the street with a slow, but agitated gait; his eyes dart from side to side under the umbrella of his long lashes. Stopping in the shadows outside of the 9:30 Club, his gaze never leaves mine as he leans against the bricks to finish his cigarette. I remember him from last night’s dream, his warm breath on my neck, “I’m here, Sparrow.” His golden eyes, unblinking, hold still in the night air. Somehow, I am not afraid.

He can’t help you. Again, who whispers?

Later that night, he comes again as I sleep, he smiles and his eyes glow as if hot embers lurk inside. His black hair skims his collar and shimmers like liquid. Tall and smooth, his ochre skin reflects the moon while the dampened smell of pine envelops me. I can feel him, too as I sleep. His presence bleeds warmth as his hands twists gently into my hair. I miss him when I wake up.

The next night, another strange voice, from another girl, lurking in the corner of my room. “This one,” says the girl’s faraway voice, “seems not afraid.” My eyes, half open, squint to see her. Her form gradually develops, like an old Polaroid photo. Her pale, blanched skin accentuates her pointy features. She looks like a newly hatched baby bird, all angles and bony white. “She’s strong, Istowun-eh’pata.”

“I hope so.” 
“It’s almost time. Her mother passed it to her.” A violet haze surrounds the girl. Vines and flowers creep up her arms and snake through her hair. “You come here every night. You must be sure.” She walks closer to me like a predator, her hands clasped together with twisted fingers. 
“I think Sparrow could be ours, but it’s too soon to tell." 
“Yes,” says this bird-like girl. “But she is changing already. See?” 
See? See what? I wonder. I roll over to face my bedroom wall. 
“Fire,” she disappears into my wall. “She has the fire inside.” 

SJ Davis is the daughter of an ex-patriate British mother and a Southern Baptist ex-CIA father. As a child, she spoke in silly accents and recounted outlandish tales of fantasy over afternoon tea and to this day it remains her favorite activity. Born in Long Island, NY, she was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC and went to school for a very long time (University of Virginia and George Mason University), married an all-around wonderful man, had two kids (smart, funny, full of opinions), moved from Virginia to New Jersey to Philadelphia to Chicago, and began her writing career. She is a believer in fate, an avid tea drinker, a stiletto aficionado, Doc Marten worshipper, punk rock listener, and lover of flip flops and cardigans. She has a terrible sense of direction, loves gummy bears, and is a Johnny Depp fangirl.

You can keep up with SJ at the following sites:

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