SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS WITH FIERCE ASS MOMMA BEARS…

***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 & Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mommas out there!

Well, seen as though it is mothers day I figured what better way to celebrate than to have todays Sundays Seven feature some of the awesome mums that feature in SFF books!

I was talking to David and Eleni a little while ago about tropes and I had myself a wee moan about the orphaned hero trope. I don’t hate it but I always thought to myself why can’t the hero just have a normal and functional family? I get it, the ambiguous origins trope means that you can have an easier route to other tropes such as the amazing trope of found family or the secret heir trope, but there are still ways to get to those with them having a family! Then to add to that, when there is a family dynamic we see the evil step mother or the disgraced child (in the terrible parents eyes) and so you can see how parents have themselves a wee bit of a bad rap in books!

And folks that ain’t on! I have a fierce ass momma bear of my own, and she has been mom and dad for a bloody long time, so as a thank you to her and all the fierce mothers out there I wanted to find some books with some fierce, loyal and loving mums in them!

So, without further ado, here are seven books which feature a fierce momma bear…

ON TO THE BOOKS…

ORKA

(The Shadow of the Gods BY JOHN GWYNNE)

“Fear is no bad thing,” Orka said. “How can you be brave if you do not feel fear?”
“I don’t understand,” Breca said, frowning.”
“Courage is being scared of a task and doing it anyway.”

Having just read this incredible book (which I will post a review for soon) I simply could not have a list about fierce momma bears and not feature Orka! I think I was less than ten pages into this book and I knew I would love Orka, I even tweeted about expecting to see one of the fiercest mums in the book and I wasn’t disappointed!

Orka is such an incredible mum, and not one I would want to mess with…AT ALL! This mum has some serious skills and she will scour the earth for her son and die to protect him! The raw emotions you see within the pages of this book are incredible, from the motherly chastising to her internal worries and fear you will feel it all!

“It is a hard world, and we will not always be here to protect him from it. We are not just his parents, we are his teachers, too.”

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


MOLLY WEASLEY

(HARRY POTTER SERIES BY J.K. ROWLING)

“You – will – never – touch – our – children – again!’ screamed Mrs. Weasley.
Bellatrix laughed, the same exhilarated laugh her cousin Sirius had given as he toppled backwards through the veil, and suddenly Harry knew what was going to happen before it did. Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart.”

I love Mrs. Weasley she is a different kind of fierce mum, she is the stay at home beautiful mother to a brood of seven (I think) and she is such a loving and caring mum and one I adore! She is funny, she cooks the best food, knits the sweater and will shout at her silly kids through a letter for being a dumb kid! I’m sure I have pushed my mum to some of the levels of frustration you see from Molly for being a little shit!

“Now, you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown up a toilet or –”
“Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.”
“Great idea though, thanks, Mum.”

Then throw in the fact that on top of her children already she has no issue taking Harry and Hermione under her wing too!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


MISAKI

THE SWORD OF KAIGEN BY M.L. WANG

Oh Misaki! How I love her, she made me feel strong yet beaten and so much more.

Misaki is another type of fierce mother and her journey is a phenomenal one, she goes through so many stages with her children and motherhood, she goes from feeling like her children are husbands and less hers, to longing for her old life and all the way to her realising that isn’t the case and her fighting ! It is an emotional roller coaster!

“What is really important to me was protecting the people I cared about. I’ve never needed a sword to protect you—to raise you the way your father wanted. Caring for my family meant putting away the fighter, so I did.”

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


ALANA

SAGA BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

I love this series! And Alana is funny, kick ass and such a great mum. She is always trying to e better and very rarely has Hazel far from her.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


TAMRA

RACE THE SANDS BY SARAH BETH DURST

“Tamra’s breath caught in her throat. She spun around and there was Shalla! Dropping to her knees, Tamra pulled her in tight until she yelped.”

Tamra is another mother who just wants what is best for her little girl! She faces so many challenges through her journey and is constantly trying to make the best of her situation. She proves that they don’t need all tings lavish, but what her daughter does need is unconditional love!

On top of that she assumes a mother role of another character within the book too, despite all her struggles.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


AGNES

ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW

“Agnes almost laughs at her: of course she wants a child. Of course she wants to lay its sleeping cheek against her breastbone and smell its milk-sweet bread, to become on its behalf something grander than herself: a castle or a sword, stone or steel…”

In The Once and Future Witches we see a different take on being a mum, we see it through the eyes of Agnes as her baby grows in her tummy.

Agnes shows the love and care that mothers go through on their journey, from realising they are pregnant to the bond they slowly but surely develop throughout the pregnancy. Agnes develops a fierce love for someone she has never met and you see how it changes the way she sees the world, the people and how she makes some huge decisions.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


CERSEI LANNISTER, GILLY, LYANNA STARK & CATELYN STARK

GAME OF THRONES BOOKS BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

Game of Thrones reps so many mums here, and with such a variety too! We have Cersei who, despite having some seriously messed up traits, can’t be said to not love her children! Yes, she makes mistakes but down to her core her children are her everything.

Gilly is my absolute favourite she goes so far to protect her baby, she is so wholesome and lovely and is always trying her best!

Then we have Catelyn and Lyanna Stark! Lyanna did everything she could before her son was even born to ensure he was safe and it cost her everything, if that isn’t a fierce display of love then i don’t know what is! Then we have the super tough mum, Catelyn Stark she might have been a dick to Jon but she loved her own children fiercely and always seemed to have their best interest at heart.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


There you have it, seven books that feat a different variety of all the strong momma bears out there!

Thanks for reading. Who are some of your favourite mums in books!?


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.


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!


BOOK REVIEW | A RITUAL OF BONE BY LEE C. CONLEY & NARRATED BY RJ BAYLEY

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I will be posting my review of Lee Conley’s book ‘A Ritual of Bone’. Firstly, I would like to Lee for sending me an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I also won a copy of audiobook for this book to through a Storyteller on Tour giveaway!

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: A Ritual of Bone
  • Author: Lee C. Conley
  • Narrated by: RJ Bayley
  • Series: The Dead Sagas (Book One)
  • Pages: 384
  • Narration Length: 9 Hours 49 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

“Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead”

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds. 

The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great Histories. 

But now the evil spreads and the dead walk in its wake, terrible creatures roam the night and even the spirits are restless. The Dead Sagas could perhaps be the final chapters of these great records. 

Many threads entwine to tell this Saga, interweaving the tales of those who played their part in the search for answers and ultimately their fight for survival. Amid plague, invasion and terror, the inexorable rise of the dead sends a kingdom scrabbling to its knees.

This Dark Fantasy Epic combines dark malign horror and gritty survival adventure as the Dead Sagas unfold in a world where honour and renown is all, where beasts and savages lurk in the wilderness, and where sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle (Available on Kindle Unlimited too) | Paperback

Review:

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

  • ZOMBIES;
  • A brilliant fantasy-horror;
  • A brilliant Nordic influenced debut;
  • Skyrim vibes; and
  • A captivating cast of characters in a brilliant and atmospheric world.

The Audiobook…

The audiobook to this is great, I listened to maybe 50% of this book via audiobook and I really enjoyed it.

On to the full review…

A Ritual of bone is a book I didn’t know I needed, it is not often you see (or at least I can only think of one other example) zombies mixed with fantasy. There may well be other books out there but none that I know of, nor have I looked for them in all honestly, which works both to my advantage and my detriment. On the one hand I got to experience this book and really enjoy it as something wholly new to me, and on the other hand…I’ve been missing out. This book so finely straddles the line between horror and fantasy, and it works. Add in the nordic influences and you have a killer book.

Lee managed to weave many different aspects into one very enjoyable world, and he found a clear and expertly done balance in his use of these elements. The world building in A Ritual of Bone was great, and oh soo immersive. It sounds a wee bit odd but it really reminded me of the movie Sleepy Hollow, not for the story but how it was creepy and eerie. It was strange and you could feel how frightening it was for its characters. There is such a well built fear in these lands, they don’t have a clue what it is happening and it keeps happening in these smaller towns and no one thinks they are going to be believed, and rightly so. It is a great way to build drama and tension throughout this story.

Lee is a superb storyteller and really managed to showcase the level tension and constant ill feeling present. He also masterfully builds tension and constantly ups the stakes while giving you all the shock and awe you want in a zombies infused story.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about this was the college, it reminded a little of the College of Winterhold from Skyrim and I like that while they were clearly involved in the origins of this horror story they were detached enough from it too, and we were able to experience this scourge of sorts as it happens and grows and how all the people in this world react to it.

I was surprised to realise just how big the cast of this story is, I don’t know what I was really expecting but I am so glad for this books scope because it only added to its enjoyment. Each character has something unique and imaginative about them and each POV you read from was too good.

Overall, this is a great read, and as a person who hasn’t read any horror served as a nice introduction into a genre I would like to get into at some point!


THE RANKS: 

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

BUY THE PAPERBACK…I would definitely grab this in its paperback form and add it to my shelves. It is a great read and a gem when you think of how well it has blended several elements from two different genres together.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK NINE

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It where I take a look at ten books on my Goodreads TBR pile and decide if I want to keep them or scrap them from the TBR. TBR piles are WAYY too big to keep books on them you won’t read! I don’t often remove more than half but even a few off of it makes the difference It is also really fun going back through books and finding ones I have forgotten about.

This is my second post today, I posted a Cover Reveal earlier of Dan Fitzgerald’s newest book but I didn’t want to get out f the routine of posting this on a Thursday. I’m an absolute terror if I forget to do something once, my whole routine crumbles. I have no self discipline at times! Thus, we have two posts!

Pssst…If you want to check out the cover reveal just head HERE.

AS USUAL, The Method

In order to find out if I wish to KEEP IT OR CUT IT I will do the following:

  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews
  • Maybe read the sample

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

The Axe and the Throne by M. D. IREMAN

Goodreads Link

It is a fool’s errand and Tallos knows it, but against his own better judgment and the pleading of his wife, Tallos has committed himself to a voyage north. His lifelong friend’s eldest sons are said to have been taken by Northmen, a raiding people ill-reputed for their savagery. The boys are already dead, Tallos knows, and in that dark place of grim reasoning he wishes only to find their corpses quickly so he can fulfill his promise and return to his wife. Instead, he finds something far worse.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

This book really doesn’t have that many reviews, it has under 2,000 rating and 172 written reviews though a lot of folks also have this as marked to be read!

Ok, so I’m looking at the sample for this book and its not funny, but still madam chuckle, and want to read it...

From what I read of the sample the writing seems quite nice, easy to read and has a few themes and elements I like to see; a grizzled hunter, northmen, wild forests and a fairly atmospheric world.

BOOK #2

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Goodreads Link

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.  

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Oh wow at 356 pages this is a considerably smaller book than I thought it would be, not overly sure why I had it pegged as a chonky boy but…

I’m not going to lie to you this book sounds fairly decent…aerial combat, dragons, warriors and a precious unhatched dragon egg. I mean I’m pretty sold by that alone, never mind the plethora of sparking reviews this book has under its belt.

Here be dragons. Read it now.

Eon (Rated 4 Stars)

BOOK #3

Dying of the Light BY George R.R. Martin

Goodreads Link

A whisperjewel has summoned Dirk t’Larien to Worlorn, and a love he thinks he lost. But Worlorn isn’t the world Dirk imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew. She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight. Gwen needs Dirk’s protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her. But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it’s becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies. In this dangerous triangle, one is hurtling toward escape, another toward revenge, and the last toward a brutal, untimely demise.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I actually remember adding this to my TBR and I’m pretty sure I just went ‘Ohh George R R Martin…ADD’. So, let us see if I actually want to read it.

Oh wow, 288 pages. Not to long at all, yes, apparently I’m eyeing up everyone page count today! Not sure why, but hey? Well, the blurb sounds interesting and all but I don’t know…I’m jut not feeling it.

BOOK #4

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Goodreads Link

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. 

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free. 

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

First thought; I really like the cover of this book, not are why as I wouldn’t say it is anything special. Ok, so I LOVE the lore around Golem’s. I just find them so interesting and really feel like writers can do a lot with them as a character, and it seems Wecker may just have done that. We have a Syrian fire born Jinni, a Golem, soul mates with historical and Middle Eastern influences.

And it is a debut, Lord knows I love a debut!

“I absolutely adored this. Magical realism at its finest! And even though it wasn’t exactly what I had expected, I can’t really say that I minded. Otherwise, as a character so deftly put it in this book, I would be like “a man who complains that someone stole the eggs from his henhouse and replaced them with rubies.”

Mogsy (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #5

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Goodreads Link

Fifth century Britain is a country of chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal. This is the world of young Merlin, the illegitimate child of a South Wales princess who will not reveal to her son his father’s true identity. Yet Merlin is an extraordinary child, aware at the earliest age that he possesses a great natural gift – the Sight. Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, Merlin emerges into manhood, and accepts his dramatic role in the New Beginning – the coming of King Arthur.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

This book actually sounds fab! I have not, to my own disappointment, read much authurian tales despite my loving them and Merlin! Paired with invasions, fifth century Britain and a coming of age tale I’m pretty intrigued.

“Man, I am so mad that this entire trilogy isn’t available in electronic format anymore. Truly one of the great retellings of the Arthur legend that there ever was. Loved this book as a kid and love it even more now. Along with the Mists of Avalon, probably my next favorite Arthurian fantasy. A must-read.”

Nick Borrelli (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #6

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Goodreads Link

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.


Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. 

Do I Already Own It? Yes (Kindle and Audio)

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I already have this, I was actually super excited when this first came to my attention to dive into some fantasy that was outside of its normal setting and yet I still haven’t read it. I will, but oddly I’m not in a huge rush to do so.

BOOK #7

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Goodreads Link

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Mmmm, I am neither here not there for this book. It sounds fairly cool, and is a cute little romance by the sounds of it. I think this is one of those books I will read on a whim and quite possible love! So, I shall keep it and see.

BOOK #8

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye 

Goodreads Link

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Reading the blurb for this book it kinda sounds cool, it has an intriguing historical setting but it is a trials books. Now, don’t get me wrong I have LOVED so many trials books and I have read a lot of them but I’m not sure this is going to reinvent that story trope. Most of the reviews say it is enjoyable but average, and so i’m not likely to read this any time soon. If I want rials i’m likely to reread some of my faves!

BOOK #9

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads Link

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

There is always one books in these posts that I just judge straight up, and I know I shouldn’t but when the reviews don’t sway me and neither does the blurb its an easy judgment to make. It might be my loss in the end but I also have a whole host of incredible books I have to get to!

BOOK #10

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Goodreads Link

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

This is a fairly easy one. You see, I go through these phases where all I want is some angsty and tension filled fantasy romance, I always fly through about three of them and then leave that genre for like a year’ish. I honestly don’t know why as the last few I have read have been bit pants and yet I still gobble them up like a woman starved. So, I’m keeping tis one and hoping it in that reserve for when that phases come calling!


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

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.


BOOK OF THE MONTH | JANUARY

Hello my fellow bookish folks!

Well the best month of the year has gone and it has flown by! It’s been a good month, I celebrated my birthday along with a lot of other cool people too, so that is always fun. I bought several new books this month and some slob clothes too, because if I’m locked down and on furlough I want to be comfy while I read an ungodly amount…so give me all the joggers and wide leg soft pants! Attractive I know but…

So, as far as starts to the year go it hasn’t been a bad month for me.

I’m not sure I want to address how much reading I plan to do, they suspect my furlough will run until mid march, possibly up until July so TBR get ready.

This isn’t my biggest month for reading as I have been dabbling in Inkscape a lot this month, as some of you may know I’m slowly making my own ‘bucket list’ post of 100 fantasy books to read so thats taking a bit of time. I finished another one today, and that was for Eragon…

I’m pretty impressed. This is such fun but worry not I am not neglecting reading completely. I am actually reading a few books!

I have Priest of Lies by Peter McLean going via audiobook which I am buddy reading with Queen Timy! I also have another Buddy Read with two amazing people, David and Eleni, and that is for the incredible (so far) The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington and finally I am also reading and a little listening of Snakewood by Adrian Selby.

ALL ARE GREAT SO FAR!

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS MONTH?

THE COMBAT CODES by ALEXANDER DARWIN

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: The Combat Codes Review

My Thoughts:

This was a super fun and enjoyable read for me. I loved the heavy influence martial arts had and the character were a joy to read but I think I enjoyed it that much more because of the heavy dose of nostalgia this book game me!

PRIEST OF BONES by Peter McLean

Check it out on Goodreads

Review Link: Priest of Bones Review

My Thoughts:

I listened to this book via audiobook this month and I so thoroughly enjoyed it. It has heavy Peaky Blinders influences but with magic…Whats not to love?! I think this might have been my favourite audiobook this month. I am remembering how much I enjoyed it because I am currently listening to book two via audio also!

A RITUAL OF BONE by LEE C CONLEY

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I didn’t know how much I needed to experience this zombie fantasy. To say how much I love zombie movies I think this is my first zombie book I have read and im so glad there is a book two so I can continue this series because its simple…I need more of this book!

COLD FROM THE NORTH by D. W. ROSS

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Goodreads will say I finished this today but I actually finished it yesterday and forgot to update it! This is a solid debut from Ross, he is a superbly talented world builder and writer. I shan’t say to much then I can entice you to read my review when I write it!

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by KATHERINE ARDEN

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I have read a lot of heavy and dense books this month, and as much as I enjoy them coming off the back of a book like Gardens of the moon can be tiring. I actually chose it on a bit of a whim, I had every intention of reading it but it was a little spur of the moment choosing it straight after Gardens of the Moon but I am so glad I did. It is everything I needed in that moment and it was a captivating and magical read.

GARDENS OF THE MOON by STEVEN ERIKSON

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Ohhh boy was this a complex read, I am so so glad I read Gardens of the Moon and will certainly continue series but man did I need a break. This book is odd, I really enjoyed my time reading and liked everything about it in terms of its world and the characters that fill it but overall for such a huge read I expected more of a feeling of satisfaction on completing it. Again, wait for m review to find out more but I will be finishing the recaps before I review it!

CROW by A. ZAVARELLI

Check it out on Goodreads

My Thoughts:

Ok, don’t judge! Your girl needed some Irish mob/mafia romance in her life this month! I love reading romance, they are always quick reads for me but I often miss tense and angsty romances in adult fantasy! I only really read crime/revenge romances or fantasy romance, I don’t really gel with contemporary. I still need some craziness in my reads but I like the drama, the tension, the crime worlds and revenge plots and I just like these books.


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

This months BOOK OF THE MONTH is…

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN

I have read some incredible books this month and I have enjoyed them all but this book really stole the limelight this month, it was fun, captivating, magical and I can’t fault it at all. It might have had issues but I was enjoying it that much I sure a shit didn’t notice anything but the amazingness that is this book! It gave me serious Spiderwick Chronicles vibes in terms of house spirits that not everyone can see and it’s fun feels just it was set in Russia.


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 EIGHT

Hey Everyone and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT! Thanks for coming again.

I have been so busy today, I very nearly forgot to write up this post. I have actually been working on my 100 Fantasy Books Bucket List Poster today, I am creating all the little icons for each book.

If you don’t know what a bucket list poster is, it is a poster which has a list of books, movies, or anything really and when you have read the book you scratch off the gold square and reveal a little picture. Then when you have read them all you have a cool poster. Well, it never has the books I want to see on it so I decided to make my own and it is taking ages! I have done the layout and two little graphics. See…

Now, back to the post and not my bucket list poster ramblings!

AS USUAL, The Method

In order to find out if I wish to KEEP IT OR CUT IT I will do the following:

  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews
  • Maybe read the sample

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

TIGANA by GUY GAVRIEL KAY

Goodreads Link

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered…

But years after the devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name…Tigana.

Against the magnificently rendered background of a world both sensuous and barbaric, this sweeping epic of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision, changing forever the boundaries of fantasy fiction.

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have been told that this is quite a slow book, but one in which the end totally justifies the slower pace. Now, I don’t often like books that give you what you want only in the last 30% but this book also has so much praise for its personable characters and amazing world-building. So, I am inclined to give it ago.

“…GGK has an exquisite way with words. My favorite fantasies are always those with breathtaking prose, and GGK delivers that is spades with Tigana. But the lovely language is just a vehicle for the amazing story he has crafted. .”

Celeste (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #2

THE GRIM COMPANY by LUKE SKULL

Goodreads Link

The difference between a hero and a killer lies in the ability to justify dark deeds. But this is the Age of Ruin. And there are no heroes…

Five hundred years ago, the world was destroyed in the celestial Godswar. Seeking to throw off the shackles of the deities who created them, a cabal of mages rose up and made war upon the Gods. Though they won out, it was at a great cost: the ensuing cataclysm brought forth the Age of Ruin to the world.

Five hundred years later, the world limps on, seemingly winding down to an inevitable end. Dystopian city states have arisen, each presided over by one of the Magelords who first made war.

Corrupted, near-immortal, and far too powerful, those wizards who once sought to free the world now make war upon each other, while the helpless populace limp on from day to day.

Into this blighted world, steps Davarus Cole, a boy obsessed with notions of heroism and adventuring, who burns to do great deeds. One night, in a reckless act, Cole gets himself into a brawl with the authories. He quickly finds himself sent away from the city, where the world still groans from the ancient cataclysm, and the corpses of Gods lie deep beneath the bedrock, leaking wild, uncontrolled magic into the world. 

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have said it before but I shall say it again, I haven’t read much grimdark at all so I am inclined to see this book on. It sounds really cool and it is rated well by most of the reviewers I know, and the complaints of others tend to veer on the side of grimdark veterans. Though, saying that despite all the 4 star rating barely anyone has actually written a review!

BOOK #3

SENLIN ASCENDS BY Josiah Bancroft

Goodreads Link

The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he’ll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.

This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.

Reasons & Thoughts:

I did not know this was a SPFBO book!

This book has a HUGE amount of positive reviews and the more I read the more I want to read this book, it is such a cool premise and generally just sounds epic!

“…An extraordinary debut that is well worthy of the hype. A beautifully written, highly engaging page-turning masterpiece where I was on Tom’s side every step of the way…”

James Tivendale (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #4

CROWN OF FEATHERS by NICKI PAU PRETO

Goodreads Link

I had a sister, once… 

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us. 

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled. 

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken. 

Crown of Feathers is an epic fantasy about love’s incredible power to save—or to destroy. Interspersed throughout is the story of Avalkyra Ashfire, the last Rider queen, who would rather see her empire burn than fall into her sister’s hands.

Reasons & Thoughts:

This books synopsis both draws me in and pushes me away. Weird. I like sibling stories and I love the Phoenix so this books is gaining points on that front, this book sounds like it has a super cool world with it’s Phoenix Riders, warriors and harsh living but it is a YA book. I don’t mind YA but I am slowly getting less and less tolerable of the genre, sadly.

Mmm, do I give it a chance of not?

“Wow! This book was phenomenal! …”

WS_BOOKCLUB (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #5

The RAVeN BOYS by MAGGIE STIEFVATER

Goodreads Link

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Reasons & Thoughts:

My TBR isn’t all that varied when you think about it, I stick to one genre and even stick further to certain sub genres. I do really enjoy reading romance and often complain I cant get a hold of a good fantasy romance and there are tons of them! Again, this is YA and that bugs me a little because it can make or break a romance but I believe I have some of this tutors others works on my TBR too, somewhere.

“This was a book I picked up on a whim at the library just before lockdown and I am glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. “

Rowena Andrews (Rated 4 Stars)

BOOK #6

Bone Crier’s Moon by KATHRYN PURDIE

Goodreads Link

Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

Reasons & Thoughts:

I had made my decision before I even read the blurb to this book, not sure why it got the instant verdict but sometime you just cant sway your mind!

BOOK #7

The Calculating Stars by MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL

Goodreads Link

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

Reasons & Thoughts::

This is a tough one because it sounds pretty damned interesting and I really like a historical setting but something about it is putting me off and I don’t know why. I feel like sometimes these stories get a little lost and they aren’t always fun to read.

BOOK #8

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by BECKY CHAMBERS

Goodreads Link

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Reasons & Thoughts::

This is another book I already know whether I am going to keep it or cut it from the TBR. I remember being recommend this when asking Book Twitter for Sci-Fi recs and it had be really curious then. A Motley crew, strong family themes and a big journey…It sounds cracking.

BOOK #9

The Red Pyramid by RICK RIORDAN

Goodreads Link

Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Reasons & Thoughts:

So, I may definitely have these books on my shelves, I don’t really remember buying them so they may well have bee a gift but I have them. Not that it necessarily means I will read them but they are there.

They do sound fairly decent and it is the same chap who wrote the Percy Jackson books. I’ve watched the movies, not read the books tough.

BOOK #10

The Black Company by GLEN COOK

Goodreads Link

Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead. Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her… So begins one of the greatest fantasy epics of our age—Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company

Reasons & Thoughts:

Whenever I read the name Glen Cook I can not stop myself from saying…

I don’t know why, so don’t judge me. Just laugh with me. I’m sorry Glen COOK. Maybe for that alone I should keep it.

“..There’s as much action as any reader could want, varied and interesting magic, tight plotting from a good number of interesting points of view…”

Eon Windrunner (Rated 4 Stars)

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.


BOOK REVIEW | THE COMBAT CODES BY ALEXANDER DARWIN

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I am happy to be reviewing one of the SPFBO Finalist’s this year, and that is The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin.

SPFBO Award Finalist for Best Fantasy Book (2020)

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Combat Codes
  • Author: Alexander Darwin
  • Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book One)
  • Published by Insight Forge
  • Pages: 408

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

In a world where single combat determines the fate of nations, the Grievar fight so that the rest can remain at peace.

Cego is a mysterious Grievar boy forced to fight his way out of the slave Circles into the world’s most prestigious combat school. 

At the Lyceum, Cego will learn a variety of martial arts from eclectic teachers, develop deep bonds of friendship and fight against contentious rivals to climb the school’s rankings. 

But, Cego will find far more than combat studies at the Lyceum. He will find the mystery of his past unraveled by forces greater than he could ever imagine. 

Review:

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

  • A martial arts inspired gem;
  • Excellent and raw fighting sequences;
  • Master and apprentice vibes;
  • Incredible military academy; and
  • Friendships and family.

Art By ryanbestart (Shop)

On to the full review…

I started reading The Combat Codes on January 1st and it was such a great book to start my reading year off with! I LOVE martial arts in all of its forms so to see such a great Jiu Jitsu inspired SFF novel was super cool.

My experience reading The Combat Codes was one of nostalgia, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was such fun! Every time a pointer was given or a stance adjusted I knew what the Cego was feeling, it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me to be honest. I remember having my hips wobbled and being told to get good and get strong or I would blow away like a leaf in the wind and that my stance wasn’t balanced, my arm was to low, firm taps to my elbows and wrists showing the weak points in my blocks! So this book hit a few great memories I have of Karate and MMA.

“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

And man do they fight! This book has some of the finest hand to hand combat I have read, you can totally see Darwin’s in depth knowledge and love of the art in his writing. It is like when you read John Gwynne’s books and you feel so many things in his writing because he has such a vast knowledge of battles and such due to his reenactments and such. So, yeah Darwin knows his shit!

I really loved the characters in this book, they were so well crafted. Cego and Murray are brilliant in their own rights but not only that, Darwin has created a world of fabulous characters even the ones that are not massive parts of the plot. They each add something different, they all had something they learnt from their own history that was imparted in someway onto our main characters. Each character, big or small, had a clear and distinguishable personality.

Another thing I really enjoyed in this book was the unraveling of Cego’s past, he is pretty mysterious at first and it was a joy to learn more about the role he has to play and where he has come from.

I think while this books world definitely feels more sci-fi in nature with it technological advancements but one of its keys components, the alloys, were so magical in my eyes. There were like a magic system in their own science-like way. Though, I don’t plan to say much in resect of these because they are such a joy to learn about.

There is quite a lot to this story, it has so many elements and little twists and it is enjoyable. Though, it did feel uneven at times. Yet the plot never stopped moving, it was always progressing and it was so fun to keep moving forward with such incredible characters but I sometimes felt like I lacked direction overall. Each section had its own direction but I felt the overall plot was slightly uneven.

The Combat Codes is an entertaining story, and its character are some of my favourite to read. Darwin has created a fascinating world and I will definitely be reading book two.


THE RANKS: 

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

BUY THE PAPERBACK! This is an easy one for me, I read this on Kindle through my Kindle Unlimited subscription and will very soon be purchasing the PB of this book with its brand new amazing COVER!

ORDER HERE: KINDLE | PAPERBACK | AUDIOBOOK


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!