BOOK REVIEW | SNAKEWOOD BY ADRIAN SELBY

Hello Bookish Folk!

I am writing my review of Adrian Selby’s debut novel Snakewood. First off a huge thank you to Dan for putting this book and author on my radar back in October 2020!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Snakewood
  • Author: Adrian Selby 
  • Series: Standalone but he has to other books set in the same world
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 544

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.
A lifetime of enemies has its own price. 

ORDER HERE: Bookshop.Org | Audible | Kindle | The Broken Binding (Use code SAMBOOKINH for 5% OFF)

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A gloriously grim and dark mercenary fantasy;
  • An ambitious and unique world which you will love;
  • Fight brews and biological warfare;
  • Gruff, battered and grizzled mercs with quite the past; and
  • A risky but brilliant debut.

On to the full review…

I want to start off this review and just explain that this book a little bit of an epistolary, which if I am remembering correctly, is a novel made up of letters and accounts of others to tell a story. Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is an example of such works, but anyway my point is these types of books can feel jarring. I personally didn’t really have a huge issue with this in Snakewood, admittedly it did, at one point, seem a little disjointed and I had to think where I was in the timeline but generally I followed it well and the plot flowed well because there is a dominant POV to keep you grounded.

Snakewood is such a suspense filled story with so much tension and it is filled with all the intrigue and mystery you could ask for. I had such fun unraveling the twists and turns and Selby does an incredible job at redirecting your thoughts on things you feel fairly confident about. Selby writes really well and I had such joy reading his prose. The battles and the fighting in this book was so vivid and captivating to read. He also managed to create really unique and distinguishable voices for his characters which is even more incredible when you know this is a debut and in such a risky format.

Selby also did the whole ambiguous character really well, none of the characters in this have a a well-aligned morale compass. Some are bad yet still relatable, some are a mix and others your are rooting for but they by no means have a clean track record! But what they all are is utterly compelling, well written and complex. For some it is slower than others but you really begin to care for these characters and become totally invested in their journeys, relationships and more.

Also, the brews! The whole biological warfare in this book was just incredible, and that doesn’t even aptly describe this element. It was magic, well it wasn’t in the traditional sense but it was such a refreshing way to represent a magic in a new way, it had limitations and it had consequences both with a more immediate effect and a lifelong consequences of its use. It was utterly unique and incredible to see in action within this world and used by the characters.

Snakewood is also dark, I didn’t really see it until a certain way through it, yes it has dark elements but holy damn it gets grim. It is ruthless in parts.

I can understand a few of the critiques around this book, it does have a unique writing style and the author has created certain phrases that are completely new, but I really felt like he introduced you to them well and then explained them through their use.

Overall, this is a great debut and one I am so so glad I read it. Now a quick note, I asked Dan my go to Selby expert and he said to read these book in the order they were published. If you were to read Brother Red before this is spoils one of the biggest twists in Snakewood. Plus, after speaking to another friend they tried Brother Red and found the language confusing, so for several reasons I would say read this first.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

I really liked this book and I can not wait to read Winer Road and then Brother Red!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK TOUR REVIEW | THE END OF DREAMS BY MARCUS LEE

Hello Bookish Folk!

How are we all doing today? I hope you are all well.

Today I am once again thrilled to be one of the many incredible bloggers coming together to review Marcus Lee’s final book in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy! This tour is hosted by Storytellers on Tour, who I have had the pleasure of working with on a few previous occasions, so definitely check out their site!

I would also like to take this time to thank Marcus for sending me a copy of this book!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The End of Dreams
  • Author:  Marcus Lee
  • Series: The Gifted and the Cursed (Book Three)
  • Published by Marcus Lee
  • Pages: 403

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

‘What the gods give with one hand, they take away with the other, for if you are gifted, you shall also be cursed.’

The End of Dreams is the nervewracking and glorious conclusion to The Gifted and The Cursed trilogy.

—–

As Daleth the Witch-King and his horde ready themselves for the final battle, a small alliance prepares for a desperate last stand.

However, the alliance is weak and fractured, led by a king interested only in retaining his wealth and a lord commander consumed by his thirst for revenge. With a seemingly unbeatable army before them, invisible foes amongst them, and broken hearts between them, the alliance appears destined to fall.

Yet in these dark times, her light almost extinguished, a peasant huntress is soon to be queen. But if she can find what was lost, she might prove to be more powerful than two kings combined.

This war will bring about the end of dreams, but for whom, the gods have yet to decide

ORDER HERE: Paperback | Kindle (Free with Kindle Unlimited)


Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A dark fantasy romance;
  • Epic battles;
  • A far reaching and magnificent world;
  • Deep, complex and nuanced characters; and
  • An utterly satisfying end to a great trilogy.

On to the full review…

I feel like I have been on such a journey with these books, from its characters and their journey all the way down to mine. I have the joy of saying that I have been able to participate in a book tour for each book from this series, and I am honoured to have been one of the many bloggers to have come together to share our thoughts on these books.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series as a whole and this final book was not a disappointment. I have loved, throughout reading this series, the the detail Lee puts into his writing, it is the little things I wouldn’t think of like Kalas’ armour being to bright to give appropriate camouflage, and it just adds that little extra to his writing that makes all the difference to the readers immersion into the book. 

I also really enjoyed Lee’s knack for showing us the camaraderie amongst those who had survived Tristan’s Folly, and the introduction of new people into their ranks, though I did feel at times that anyone who wasn’t a part of their group were untrained simpletons and that at times felt a little unrealistic.

Lee manages to draw out some serious emotion towards the characters. Lord knows the moment I saw Yana’s name I was sighing at the bitch. Girl, please. He ain’t your man!! But then she surprises you and has you agreeing and appreciating certain aspects of the same damn character and it is such a real and human reaction. You don’t simply hate someone and instantly dislike every word out of their mouth and I like that Lee is able to showcase the complexity of several of his characters, especially within his darker less “good” characters. 

Lawdd, help me but I just cannot get enough of Lee’s ability to blur the lines between what is typically good and evil! It allowed for us to see so many shades to several different characters every time we saw it from their eyes. 

Damn, Daleth!

The man got darker in this instalment, suffering many near fatal wounds at the hands of Kalas he was bitter, showed slight signs of redemption, became even darker and more! I think that is what makes him a great villain, and while they were utterly despicable they were such a great addition to this character and story overall. I think Daleth was one of my favourite characters!

The characters that have filled the pages of this series are all great, some you love, some you hate and some you just can’t decide! But regardless of that I’m sad to see an end to their stories and happy because this was just such a satisfying ending!

It gives you everything!

It wraps up the tory brilliantly, it makes you sad, then happy, then sad again, then smug and so much more. It is simply one of those ending that is truly satisfying.

I don’t want to say much about the plot because you have so much to experience when you read this but know it is very satisfying, we travel and get to experience so much more of this incredible and vivid world Lee has created. It is a world that just keeps giving, I absolutely adored the insertion of the Horselords. I loved them, they are such a great addition to an already great book. It is the fear of their savage nature, the unknown and so much more that I enjoy about these elements and Lee managed to execute it so well, you were genuinely worried about the outcome of certain plot points surrounding them, so kudos to Lee for brilliantly weaving them into this story and with such suspense and tension.

I do have one gripe, and it is petty but the overuse of the word ‘for’ bugged me to no end. It was everywhere, I loved it in the other books because it wasn’t used nearly as much as it was in this book. I got to a point where I scowled each time I saw it.

However, despite my petty gripe this book and series in general is a fab one! When I think bak to the books of this trilogy I just smile, it is one of those trilogy that has a lot of scenes and moments that I love, I can pick out so many scenes that I LOVED and get excited about these books all over again!


You know the drill, On to the rating…

THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

I am happy to say that Tristan’s Folly is a BUY THE PAPERBACK! Yayyy

  • As I said in my review, I enjoyed this book. I have book one and two so it would be rude t not have the complete set!

ABOUT MARCUS LEE…

What Marcus Lee has to say…

Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me…but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.  

As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.

Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book.  Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.  

So, here we are.  The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.

However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be my first of many.  I genuinely hope so.

Who knows, now these creative juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.

Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and the Illiad as a seven-year-old.  Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others. 

Ways to get in touch with Marcus…

Author Website:

Head on over to Marcus’ website where you can see his upcoming books, other reviews, artwork and more,

Marcus’ Twitter:

Go and follow Marcus, he is a great contributor to the Book Twitter community and is great to engage with too!

Marcus’ Facebook:

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK OF THE MONTH | FEBRUARY

Hello Bookish folks!

It is that time of month where I talk about the book I have read in February and guys I read a lot in February, too much to be honest. While I enjoyed the books I read after so many I got serious book fatigue. My pace dropped and I had a mini slump of sorts, it wasn’t the slump in which no book sounded interesting but a literal inability to focus and read more than a few paragraphs without being distracted by tiny things!

I overdid it!

Though, I have to admit I am seriously impressed with my month at the same time, I made such a big push because I want to get through my ARCs both physicals and from NetGalley, and I was able to up my NetGalley ration through the five reviews I was able to get through.

On top of that I dealt with a two physical ARCs and worked my way up to a few other NetGalleys…the ones where I may have, and by may have I mean definitely did, request book three of a series which then got accepted and so meant I have to read the two earlier books…

I know, its a shameful thing to do!

What I am reading currently…

I am currently reading The Light of All That Falls by James Islington with David S from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books! I am also about 70% of the way through The End of Dreams by Marcus Lee as a part of the Book Tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour and finally I am listening to The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell in preparation for one of those shamefully requested NetGalley.

ALL ARE GREAT SO FAR!

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.
As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.
But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, more so because I had the joy of reading this with some amazing book friends but I cannot deny it is an amazing debut!

Snakewood by Adrian Selby

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.

A lifetime of enemies has its own price.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Snakewood was a really great and an amazing introduction to the works of Adrian Selby, it is a format that some may not like. It has an actually name but I cant remember it but it is when the book is made up of a collective of journals and accounts to make up a story. Either way I really enjoyed it.

THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD by T. L. HUCHU

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghost talker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This was a different read to my normal, I enjoyed it and its main strength is definitely its main character Ropa.

Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Review Link: Here

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Now, this wasn’t my favourite read as I had a few issues as to character depth and its length but I can appreciate its prose, world-building and captivating plot.

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . . 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

As usually John Gwynne has knocked it out of the park! He is such a great writer, I was only discussing the other day with a friend that in some ways we love these books because we trust John Gwynne as an author. So while usually I might not like something, say I don’t know like a cliffhanger! I really don’t mind with Gwynne books because he has done nothing but deliver in the past and has earned my trust as a reader!

THE LEGION OF FLAME by ANTHONY RYAN

Survival is the only currency…

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But when the drake blood lines began to fail, a perilous expedition was mounted to secure them.

Claydon Torcreek survived the fraught mission through uncharted lands in pursuit of a myth that might have secured his people’s future. Instead he found a nightmare. The legendary White Drake was awoken from a millennia-long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes, and the power to compel an army of Spoiled slaves to do it.

Spurred on by a vision he desperately hopes he can trust, Clay and rebel naval officer Corrick Hilemore hijack a warship and head towards the icy southern seas, searching for an ancient secret that may give them and their allies a fighting chance.

They are aided on another front by Blood-blessed agent Lizanne Lethridge. The spy and assassin will use her diplomatic status to infiltrate deep into enemy territory on a quest for a device to save them all.

As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few Blood-blessed are the last hope for all of civilisation. 

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Anthony Ryan is another author who has my trust a a reader, I really love these books and I am so sooo excited to start book three! This is a brilliant second instalment to an already amazing series.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by ALIX E. HARROW

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, it was a nice refreshing read for me and one that timed perfectly with my mood at the time, proving that just sometimes being a mood reader rocks!

The Ravenmaster’s Revenge by Jacob Sannox

It is the autumn of 2019. Merlin’s wayward apprentice has escaped from the Tower of London with his raven familiars. Legend foretells that the White Tower, then England, will fall.
Can King Arthur, a weary veteran of the English Civil War, Waterloo and the Somme, prevent the Ravenmaster from exacting his revenge?

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book is a great reworking of an Arthurian legend, and one which I enjoyed, a strength of this book for me was the authors ability to show the effects of immortality on a person, something I have seen other more popular authors not do half as well.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Here

My Thoughts:

An impressive and standout dark fantasy sequel from Peter McLean for a series which is shaping up to be an all-time favourite.

A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas 

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is a typical SJM fantasy romance, and one I enjoyed very much!

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington 

Darkness spreads across a land in need of heroes.

In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs – finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However, as Davian and his new allies hurry north towards the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.
In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery which draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them – and, ultimately, a cure.
And with time against him as he races to fulfil the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed . . .

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Another second instalment that was brilliant, while this did feel lie it was setting up the third book a little it was still a great book and one I loved!


Ok, so the bit of the post you actually wanted to read…

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is…

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

Once again I have been very lucky in the books I have read this month, but John Gwynne has this one in the bag and it is much to do with the fact the book is bloody brilliant but also to do with the fact that this book got me out the book fatigue/slump I was talking about earlier.


Well that’s is fellow book friends! Thank you for reading, feel free to comment here or on Twitter if you have read and loved/hated any of my reads this month. Also, let me know what your favourite read was this month.


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK ELEVEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It!

It is Thursday AGAIN! And that means me very slowly going through my TBR, ten books at a time.

As you can see by the title this is the 11th Keep It or Cut It post and you know what…MY TBR IS BIGGER THAN WHEN I STARTED! No lie. Though I don’t actually mind, I feel like the more recent additions are better suited to my tastes than some of the books in the early levels of my TBR, and you can never have to many books to read.I mean, yes, finding the time is problematic but still…I will die trying!

I have also been adding a few more books of the nonfiction variety lately, and on top of that I want to try a few horrors and more historical fiction so growth is as inevitable as Thanos. I love Thanos he is such a great villain! Just saying.

AS USUAL, The Method

  • Go to the HUGE TBR list on Goodreads
  • Gather ten books of the week
  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews of those I trust
  • Maybe read the sample if I still cant decide

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

NAMELESS QUEEN by REBECCA MCLAUGHLIN

Goodreads Link

One girl must make a name for herself–or die trying –in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Perfect for fans of Furyborn, Red Queen, and Everless.

Everyone expected the king’s daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me. 

It shouldn’t even be possible. I’m Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don’t even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.

But there’s no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don’t?

Do I Already Own It? No

Hardcover

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have had this on the TBR for a while now and I haven’t ever looked at it since I added it soooo…Take from that what you will. Reading it again for this post, and I don’t really feel sad about that.

BOOK #2

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by ALLISON GOODMAN

Goodreads Link

Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. 

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I was quite close to tossing this on the drop it pile tbh, bu the reviews saved it for me. It sounded interesting but I was thinking is it any different than the others? Well, anyway the reviews show that this is quite a fun feeling book, one where you can easily love the characters and It has asian influences, which I love.

BOOK #3

THE MERCIFULCROW BY Margaret Owen

Goodreads Link

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own? 

Do I Already Own It? Yes

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ohhh, so I actually have this book, and in Hardback form no less. Fugitives, chieftains and a dash of romance. Honestly, reading the blurb for this again I am wondering why I haven’t read it yet! Might have to sneak this in somewhere. I love spirit animals so castes associated with birds works for me.

BOOK #4

FIREBORNE by ROSARIA MUNDA

Goodreads Link

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Dragons. I want more dragons. I love them but I don’t actually read too much dragon fantasy. not really sure why, so in order to rectify this I am going to keep this.

BOOK #5

All the Stars and Teeth by ADALYN GRACE

Goodreads Link

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I think I added this to the TBR when it was being hyped, I actually read a few articles about how this book and a few others had reimagined the genre for a modern reader and writer. I’m not sure if it does or not but I kind of want to find out. Plus, its pirates, romance and mastery of a magic. so we shall see how it goes.

BOOK #6

SHERWOOD by MEAGAN SPOONER

Goodreads Link

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley andMarian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I actually read some of this authors other work, though it was really early in my reading life. I read her book Hunted and I enjoyed it then but I am not to sure how it will hold to my tastes now.

BOOK #7

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by KATY ROSE POOL

Goodreads Link

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it? 


For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, can I just say how much I love this cover! I think this book could either be incredible or so bad! The characters sounds super interesting, and I am hoping it is an epic character driven fantasy with some great romance in its pages. So…

BOOK #8

POISON PRINCESS by KRESLEY COLE 

Goodreads Link

She could save the world–or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline”Evie” Greene leads a charmed life–until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future–and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

In Poison PrincessNew York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, Trin this one is safe because of you, girl! Five stars and the most riveting read…

BOOK #9

THE DEMON KING by CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA

Goodreads Link

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I love the idea of this book, and it sounds great but even a great story can fall flat and from the review (of those I trust) this doesn’t have the best characters, and I love my characters deep.

BOOK #10

REBEL OF THE SANDS by ALWYN HAMILTON

Goodreads Link

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure this is in the same article about doing things for modern fantasy so I gotta see what that is all about.


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

Ohh good lord again!!

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.


BOOK REVIEW | THE SHADOW OF WHAT WAS LOST BY JAMES ISLINGTON

Hello Everyone and welcome to my latest review!

I hope you are all doing well and have something fantastic of your own to read, but still if you haven’t read this book, I am going to try and tempt you to add it to your TBR or move it up The TBR altogether!

I figured it was about time I wrote my review for The Shadow of What Was Lost considering I am due to start book three very soon! I have read this book and book two with David from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books in one of the best Buddy Reads!

Eleni’s Twitter & David’s Twitter.

You can find David’s review HERE.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Shadow of What Was Lost
  • Author: James Islington
  • Series: The Licanius Trilogy (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 704

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

OLD POWERS AWAKEN

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them – the Gifted – are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.

As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out.

But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life – and shake the entire world.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A complex epic fantasy done RIGHT;
  • NAMED WEAPONS;
  • An outstanding character driven fantasy;
  • A wonderful and oh so relevant magic system; and
  • another AMAZING debut.

On to the full review…

The Shadow of What Was Lost is another book you could say I am late to the party for, I missed all the hype of its publishing originally and then missed it allover again for book two. It wasn’t until book three was making its rounds in the Book Community that I thought to move it up The TBR, and not because I didn’t want to read it because I did. It was just one of the many unknown ways in which the TBR sucks books into its void.

Anywho to the review, as you may have gathered from the fact I will be starting book three soon I enjoyed this book.

This is my first time reading the works of James Islington and I was not disappointed in the slightest, he writes in such an accessible and easy flowing way. Before you know it you have read 100 pages and you are hooked! He is also incredibly skilled at doing complex the right way, which I mention a little later on. While Islington’s writing is easy to consume it doesn’t not lack flare, and is beautifully written!

“You can put your trust in something that’s obvious, that’s measurable or predictable – but that’s not faith. Nor is believing in something that gives you no pause for doubt, no reason or desire to question. Faith is something more than that. By definition, it cannot have proof as its foundation.” 

The Shadow of What Was Lost is a fine example of an outstanding character driven fantasy, and I can confirm it has an incredible cast of characters of whom you will want to fight for, love, cry for and so much more. This book is told from several POV, we have Davian, Wirr, Asha and Caeden (who my phone ALWAYS changes to garden, so if you see it just pretend it says Caeden, yeah?)

I loved every single character of this book, I didn’t find myself getting to a certain POV chapter and wishing for another. Each POV brings you something unique to themselves and also relevant to the world, so you are always excited to read all of them. Which may sound like a silly praise but it is incredibly important to me, too often have I found I don’t like all the characters and when I get to them I think ‘ahh I will stop reading here’ because I cant really be arsed with them. So, the fact this isn’t an issue in a book of this page count makes for an incredible read.

The plot of this books is quite complex and has many intricacies, though having read Gardens of the Moon right before it I honestly didn’t feel at any point like I wasn’t following, Islington gives you the details and feeds it to you in such a captivating way, I didn’t find myself being like ‘Gahh, what is going on i’m so confused’ but more along the lines of ‘ohhh Islington you crafty devil, this now makes sense and that does but what about this mean…give me MORE’. It was fun, and wonderful and, in my eyes, how complex plots should be done. I wanted to know everything while 100% enjoying what I had received so far, I didn’t get frustrated or annoyed at it! 

Also, guys the prologue and overall start to his boo is brilliant! 

The world of Andarra is also a joy to read, Islington seamlessly shows you the world through all of his characters. The history of the world, the conflicts and key figures are all explained to you perfectly. He does not drop place names, people, wars and other historical facts at your feet like a sack of spuds but feeds it to you in an easily digestible and incredible alluring way. He gives you just enough for you to understand but also enough to have you going ‘ohhh thats great but wait what about this..?’ And so you HAVE to read on! This is in my opinion how world building should be done! Especially with epic worlds which have such a well established and fascinating history and magic in place, like Andarra does. 

The magic in this book is wonderful, it has rules and limitations and at no point felt pointless, also we have NAMED WEAPONS people, NAMED FREAKING WEAPONS. I love them, can you tell? The magic is also quite a visual one and is crucial to the plot. It impacts the world/setting, the characters, their choices and so much more so the fact that it is easy to understand and generally fun to read works brilliantly.

“Everyone has a darker nature, Caeden. Everyone. Good men fear it, and evil men embrace it.”

Honestly, this book really blew me away and I’m pretty sure it will be one of my top series’ pending book three but I’m not worried about it, the reviews so far speak for themselves! 

Also, the fact that this is a debut blows my mind, it is such a large sale epic fantasy and done so well you would think Islington had been writing for a lot longer.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

I rated this five stars on Goodreads and I would happily get the HARDBACK of this book! I enjoyed this immensely. I always love doing buddy reads with likeminded people because you get to theorise and gush and cry about which ever bit you are on, and it makes the reading experience so much better but even if I read this on my own I would have loved this book just as much.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS ON MY NETGALLEY TBR…

***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

This post is about a few things this week. Not only is it seven books I am SO excited to read, but also seven book on my NetGalley TBR that I have to get and I am so excited for! So we have a degree of accountability today…but books!

My NetGalley ratio is NOT good. So, having got through many of my physical arcs I can get to my NetGalley ones and make a move on my ratio. I have some serious work to do, but I am so up for it

ON TO THE BOOKS…

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN BY SHELLEY PARKER-CHAN

I am so excited for this book, every time I read the synopsis I nearly screw the TBR and just pick it up. I love Mongol history from its rise to its fall, it is one of the most interesting periods and then throw in the serious Mulan vibes and I am practically vibrating with excitement for this book!

She’ll change the world to survive her fate . . .

In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother’s identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu’s pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.

Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what’s written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is a re-imagining of the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu was the peasant rebel who expelled the Mongols, unified China under native rule, and became the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Hardback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Phoenix Extravagant BY Yoon Ha Lee

I am ashamed I haven’t read this book yet, I actually got it quite some time ago and it is still yet to be read. With its discord, need for revolution and mechanical freaking dragons I need to pull my finger out and get this book read!

Dragons. Art. Revolution.

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.

One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.

But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight… 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Northern Wrath BY Thilde Kold Holdt 

This is another one I really wish I had read already, it sounds fab and it reviewed so well. I was silly enough to let page count steer me away each time I contemplated it.

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.

A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.

A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


The Black Coast BY Mike Brooks 

Recently released this book is reviewing really well! I have read each one I have seen pop up in th book community and they all make me even more excited to read this book. I’m actually due to start it in the next few days.

The Black Coast is the start of a series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Songs of Insurrection BY J.C. Kang 

I only recently found out about this book from stalking the indie lists on Goodreads and then I saw it on NetGalley and couldn’t resist! This is another I’m due to read in the near future.

Lose yourself in this fusion of Asian and Western fantasy, which critics extol as “wonderfully opulent,” “Breathtaking,” and “Unique.”

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the world. Only an awkward girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

The Dragon Singers of old summoned typhoons and routed armies, liberating mankind from the orcs before fading into legend. Now, with the world again facing a new cataclysm, the power of music stirs in Kaiya, an a naïve misfit with the perfect voice.

Without a master to guide her, she must rely on Hardeep, a disgraced foreign paladin, to help awaken her latent magic. His motives might not be entirely noble. When he leads her to the fabled Dragon Scale Lute, which only a Dragon Singer can wield, it is up to Black Lotus Clan to intervene.

Because the instrument’s fell power can save the world…

Or destroy it. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited)


We Ride the Storm BY Devin Madson

I am so sooooo LATE on this one, I’m pretty sure bloody book three is due out soon! I have no excuses!

In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s visceral, emotionally charged debut. 

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


Ashes of the Sun BY Django Wexler

I actually have this book in physical copy too, from Goldsboro but I originally got it on NetGalley. Considering when this book came out you can imagine how shite my ratio is!

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.
Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.
Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: Paperback | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org


As usual thank you for reading another Sunday Seven!


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK TEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It

Another Thursday has approached, out of nowhere too, so that means it is time to look at ten books on my Goodreads TBR pile and decide if I want to keep them! Because it feels good to cleanse the TBR of sorts, even though some weeks I don’t get rid of any, but…

AS USUAL, The Method

  • Go to the HUGE TBR list on Goodreads
  • Gather the ten books of the week
  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews of those I trust
  • Maybe read the sample if I still cant decide

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

FOUR DEAD QUEENS by ASTRID SCHOLTE

Goodreads Link

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Hardcover | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

This is a pretty solid sounding book you know! I mean for started the title is fairly cool, Four Dead Queens…I meant that alone has you asking questions. then we move onto the blurb and straight away I see we have a thief, and I love their stories, as many of you do. Then throw in some political intrigue and plots of murder…It sounds pretty good!

BOOK #2

THE GIRL KING by MIMI YU

Goodreads Link

In an empire of flames, they must rise from the ashes.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Until their father names a new heir—their male cousin, Set.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes in search of allies, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu soon crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of a clan of nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift—or to trust for the empire that killed his family—but working with Lu might be the only way to unlock his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own power awakens, a forbidden magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well be the other.

This sweeping fantasy set against a world of ancient magic and political intrigue weaves an unforgettable story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ohh I am doomed! I love wolf shifters, so to see one not in a paranormal setting but more of a high fantasy setting I am so interested! Ok, I’m not going to lie this blurb has sold it to me. I’m reading this!

BOOK #3

SHADOW FROST BY COCO MA

Goodreads Link

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 


When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m just not feeling this book, it has so many good reviews and is even more impressive because I’m pretty sure the author wrote it at an incredibly young age! But alas my reader soul is not feeling it unfortunately.

BOOK #4

KINGDOM OF SOULS by RENA BARRON

Goodreads Link

A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life. 

Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Oh I really love the cover of this book! I also really love the idea of witchdoctors and priestesses but something is bugging me and I don’t know what. I think it could be the whole disappointing child trope, they can be such frustrating reads because they do dumb shit!

BOOK #5

RELIC by BRONWYN ELEY

Goodreads Link

In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.

As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.

It’s an appointment that will kill her.

As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…

As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, I am a sucker for rebel causes! There is something about them I just can not get enough of, so I guess it means this book stays.

BOOK #6

LEVIATHAN by SCOTT WESTERFELD

Goodreads Link

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m going to keep this one because I haven’t read much steampunk and I love historical reads, so its the simple.

BOOK #7

THE DARKEST MINDS by ALEXANDRA BRACKEN

Goodreads Link

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

This has a fairly kick ass sounding blurb…I need more dystopia in my life.

BOOK #8

WINTERSONG by S. JAE-JONES 

Goodreads Link

Dark, romantic, and unforgettable, Wintersong is an enchanting coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Cruel Prince.

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I love wintery books, they always make for really atmospheric read, which is something I love! also want to read a few more retellings, plus we have romance too!

BOOK #9

SPIN THE DAWN by ELIZABETH LIM

Goodreads Link

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have wanted to read this for a while now, it is such an interesting sounding book.

BOOK #10

CROWN OF CORAL by MARA RUTHERFORD

Goodreads Link

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Reading the blurb I just don’t really want to read this. What can you do?


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

That seems to be a bit of a running theme.

What do you think are there any books I really should have cut and didn’t or are you screaming at me internally because of the ones you cant believe I cut..

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 FANTASY BOOKS WITH GREAT ROMANCES…

***Please note this page contains affiliate links and at no extra charge to you I can earn a small fee on any qualifying purchases. Any and all money earned through these goes straight back into the blog***

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

Well, Happy Valentines Day all!

I’m not going to waffle on to much today and will get straight to the list today. I know, I’m cheating but I am so so tired and really want to read my book!

ON TO THE BOOKS…

THE STONE KNIFE BY ANNA STEPHENS

The Stone Knife is an amazing epic fantasy with some genuine and wholesome relationships. It isn’t quite a romance because it has already established relationship but it is a joy to read.

A fantasy epic of freedom and empire, gods and monsters, love, loyalty, honour, and betrayal, from the acclaimed author of GODBLIND.

For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.

As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


NEVERNIGHT BY JAY KRISTOFF

Nevernight is an incredible book, and I loved the romance within it. It isn’t in your face and is a subtle sub plot that adds to the characters development both individually and as a group.

Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

The Night Circus is praised for so many things, from its magical atmosphere to its beautiful prose, but another aspect this book did well in my opinion was its romance. It is a high stakes competition made all the more difficult by its star-crossed lovers.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG

POISON STUDY BY MARIA V. SNYDER

Poison Study is a great young adult fantasy, it is a character driven story with an intriguing premise! The romance is slow burn and done wonderfully.

Choose: A quick death… or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK (FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED) | BOOKSHOP.ORG


THRONE OF GLASS BY SARAH J MAAS

I love these books, theses books are New Adult and are very much Fantasy Romance, it is trope as hell but I love these books.

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


MOON CALLED BY PATRICIA BRIGGS

This is a fun Urban Fantasy that has a great romance, and I could help but put a shifter romance in here. it is one if the better done romances.

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


GRACELING BY KRISTIN CASHORE

This is YA, and I really don’t know why, it doesn’t feel YA to me, or at least it didn’t when I read it. It is a great story and the romantic aspect is done really well. The romance is authentic and real, and it isn’t a main plot to the story.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. 

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

BUY IT: PAPERBACK | KINDLE EBOOK | AUDIOBOOK | BOOKSHOP.ORG


There you have it, seven books that I have found that have some great romantic elements!

Thanks for reading.


BOOK REVIEW | COLD FROM THE NORTH BY D. W. ROSS

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today, I am reviewing the first instalment to a new self-published series by D. W. Ross, and his debut no less. A massive thank you to D. W. Ross for sending me a copy of this book I exchange for an honest review.

You can order this book through the affiliate links on the page, of which, I will earn a small commission for qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Cold From The North
  • Author: by D.W. Ross
  • Published by Self Published
  • Pages: 365

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.

Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.

Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.

If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.

ORDER HERE: Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A solid debut;
  • A travelling tale that showcases a brilliant nordic/viking’esque world; and
  • A world rich in lore and an oh so interesting history.

On to the full review…

Cold From the North is a very well written debut, it has a very well built nordic inspired world and it is an enjoyable read.

As I said this is a nordic-inspired story and that made for a great world, Ross has gone to great lengths to build this world and make it feel authentic and real. It is in the little details that you get to see this, and it is woven into the plot quite well. I love nordic tales, it is a time and setting I always have fun reading and never seem to get tired of.

This book is a fairly plot driven book, and you are constantly moving forward within the story though it does lull at times and I personally would have liked more action fitting to this world, but as a first instalment it is somewhat expected. Having said that however, when the action did happen it was very well written, I loved that it felt bloody and battle-like.

I enjoyed the character’s Ross created, they were interesting and each felt worthy of your time but I would have liked more by way of character development and dialogue. I found I could go quite a while and not see a conversation, this is an utterly personal criticism though and really isn’t a huge issue, it is just some I noticed while reading.

While reading this I found myself enjoying the lessons in history of this world, I always like past tales and often think to myself, I could read a story about that!

Overall, this is a great first instalment to a series, Ross does not write like a newb and his writing is elegant and well written.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

BUY THE EBOOK…Despite enjoying this I had a few personal preference points that meant this would be an eBook purchase for me.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I will be sharing with you my review of The Bear and the Nightingale. This book is fabulous it has everything from its people, to the place and finally the prose! All the P’s!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Bear and The Nightingale
  • Author: Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
  • Series: Winternight Trilogy (Book One)
  • Published by Cornerstone Digital
  • Pages: 464
  • Narration Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Beware the evil in the woods. . .

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods. 

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A wonderfully enchanting and magical story set in old world Russia;
  • A real and authentic heroine;
  • One of the most atmospheric reads you could possibly immerse yourself into; and
  • An expert storyteller.

On to the full review…

I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale on a bit of a whim, on both counts of actually purchasing it and when I chose to listen to it. The audiobook was in a deal so I picked it up really cheap, then I knew I wanted to read it in and around Christmas but I never found the time to. Until I found myself between audiobooks and not really feeling anything too serious having just read Gardens of the Moon, and trust your brain needs an easier read after that. So, I thought I would try The Bear and the Nightingale and if I didn’t click with it I would drop it like a hot potato and move swiftly on. That didn’t happen. I was suckered into this book almost immediately. Every moment in this tale was pure magic, to the point that when I went to bed that night I found where I was in the book and carried on reading on my Kindle. Then the next day, after I FINALLY went to sleep it picked it straight back up and continued listened to it. It was so enchanting and easy to love that I couldn’t help but want to return to the book immediately. It was just such a pleasure to read and become immersed in.

This book is described as ‘atmospheric’ EVERYWHERE, and you can be sure if you talk to someone about it and/or how they felt about the book then the word will inevitably be used to describe The Bear and the Nightingale. Which I cant fault because it really is. Arden has managed to create such an atmospheric read in numerous ways. The setting of this book heavily informs the mood of this book, it is Old Russia and it has some of the coldest and harshest winters, you feel the crisp air on your face as you read. Most of The Bear and the Nightingale is set within the confines of a village led by Vasya’s father and yet it does not feel confined, Arden expertly uses their home and towns locations to keep you from getting bored.

Arden is an incredible storyteller, her writing flows beautifully and she sets the tone perfectly and creates so many different mood levels evoking so many feelings from you as a reader while the subverting your expectations too, I didn’t feel like this tale was as predictable as fairy tales often feel.

I can not praise Arden enough for her skill in character creation, Vasya was incredible, as where the other characters from her brothers, step mother, father, sisters, priest and more. They were a tough bunch brought up through harsh winters and a harsher world. You truly cared about what they wen through, hell I felt for the town as a whole, I wanted to fix what was broken and restore this town and its people to what it was.

The Bear and the Nightingale feels like a rare and precious gem, it is not defined by its genre and feels refreshing and magical. This book is perfect as a bit of a pallet cleanser, for lack of a better phrase, it is everything you need to pull you from a slump or just lift you spirits a little as a reader. It was perfect in my eyes, it has a wee bit of an uneven pace at times but I really didn’t care because I was swept away by the house spirits and the fight of an incredible character to find her place in a world not meant for her.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

If I could find this in HB it would be on my shelves! Alas it is only PB, but still this if a full rating, 5/5 stars on Goodreads and BUY THE HARDBACK on my rating system! Hell, I would love an illustrated edition of this!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!