SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS TO START YOUR READING YEAR OFF AND PULL YOU OUT OF THAT SLUMP…

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk and welcome back to Sundays Seven!

Another first of 2021!

This will be my first Sundays Seven post this year, I haven’t posted a Sundays Seven in so long. My last post was SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS TO HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOODREADS READING GOAL and that was in early December, damn it has been over a month!

But I am back now!

And with a post I hope you like! This is in response to a few tweets I have seen of late. I have seen a lot of people in a reading slump and that is just damn tragic! Lord knows, we have all been in a reading slump and they suck, you don’t feel like you can start anything and nothing really appeals to you.

A slump can come from so many things! Be it a bit of a book hangover, where the last book you read was so amazing you just cant quite move on or that cliffhanger just broke it. Whatever your reasons here are seven books that have either previously got me out of a slump or are just generally great books I’m sure could help you!

TO THE BOOKS…

Servant of the Crown by Brian McClellan

I thought I would start off this list with a SHORT. Short’s are such a great way to pull yourself out of a slump and set you off on good footing for the rest of your reading year. you can read them in no time at all and get that little joy after finishing a book.

Plus, if you have read the Powder Mage trilogy, I promise returning to this world and the character you love always helps with a slump.

Captain Tamas is an ambitious young officer in the Adran army. As a commoner, he is one of very few without noble blood to hold a rank. When he challenges the son of a duke over an insult, the subsequent duel lands him in hot water with the nobility and the royal cabal of Privileged sorcerers. Tamas is soon drawn into a conflict that goes to the very highest office in the land, and his only ally is the most unlikely of people; a young noblewoman named Erika, who needs Tamas to teach her how to wield her powers as a powder mage.

Occurs about 35 years before the events in Promise of Blood.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


RACE THE SANDS BY SARAH BETH DURST

This is an utterly thrilling and entertaining fantasy standalone.

It is one of those books that just leaves you so satisfied on finishing it. It has so many cool concepts and is a brilliantly built book, and by that I mean the stakes just keep getting higher. Plus, Durst in a brilliant writer.

In this epic standalone fantasy, the acclaimed author of the Queens of Renthia series introduces an imaginative new world in which a pair of strong and determined women risk their lives battling injustice, corruption, and deadly enemies in their quest to become monster racing champions.

Life, death, and rebirth — in Becar, everyone knows that who you are in this life will determine what you are in your next life. The augurs can read your fate in your aura: hawk, heron, tortoise, jackal, human. Armed with that knowledge, you can change your destiny with the choices you make, both in this life and your next. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and you will always be a kehok for the rest of time.

Unless you can win the Races.

As a professional trainer, Tamra was an elite kehok rider. Then a tragic accident on the track shattered her confidence, damaged her career, and left her nearly broke. Now Tamra needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok . . . and a rider willing to trust her.

Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she can’t become good enough to compete without a first-rate trainer.

Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win — if he can be tamed.

But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races — and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special. 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


CARAVAL BY STEPHANIE GARBER

Now, I read this at the beginning of last year an I remember really enjoying it. I think this is a good ‘pull you out of a slump’ book because it is just fun and mysterious.

It is YA but the elusive and fantastical nature of this book make it a joy to read and it is whimsical and light hearted enough to just pick you up and give you a good start to your reading year.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


THE STONE KNIFE BY ANNA STEPHENS

This book very recently pulled me out of a reading slump! It is a new book and the first instalment of the Songs of the Drowned trilogy and it is such a REFRESHING read. It is so easy to read as Stephens writing is fabulous and it isn’t set in your usual fantasy world so you cant help but want to keep reading and learn more!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


SAGA VOL. 1 BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

I couldn’t help but put a graphic novel in this list. Graphics are awesome, and are a perfect way to start your reading year! They are also great for the slumps because they are such light reading, they have great illustrations and you can fit them in when you don’t have much time free!

From New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN K.VAUGHAN (Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (MYSTERY SOCIETY, NORTH 40), SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults. This specially priced volume collects the first arc of the smash hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.” 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


PROMISE OF BLOOD BY BRIAN MCCLELLAN

This series is just plain incredible, I have reread this so many times and now with the news of it being a TV show I feel like I need to reread it again! I think a good way to start the year on a comfortable note is to sometimes start with a reread of one of your favourite books, it is also one of the ways I get out of a slump!

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it. 

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets?

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


NEVERNIGHT BY JAY KRISTOFF

If you haven’t read this book then I really hope you do! Nevernight is an incredible book and so a brilliant book to start your year off with a bang!

It is a wonderfully executed revenge plot with so much more to behold when reading it, it has a little romance, a lot of action and oh so much intrigue.

Destined to destroy empires Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death. 

Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything. 

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult. 

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows loves her. And they drink her fear

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.CO.UK


There you have it my fellow bookish folk, seven books that are a great way to start your year off and ones that will hopefully pull you out of a reading slump too as they have me in the past!

Thanks for reading.


BOOK REVIEW | THE STONE KNIFE BY ANNA STEPHENS

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

Today I am really happy to be sharing with you my review of Anna Stephens ‘The Stone knife‘ and on its day of publication no less!

YAYY!! Happy Publication Day!

Firstly, I would like to thank HarperVoyager for approving my NetGalley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about The Stone Knife:

  • Title: The Stone Knife
  • Author: Anna Stephens
  • Series: Songs of the Drowned (Book One)
  • Published by Harper Collins Publishers
  • Pages: 608

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Stone Knife :

  • Gods and mysterious monsters;
  • Love, loyalty and family;
  • Bloody battles;
  • Political intrigue;
  • Darker scenes and swift melodic brutality; and 
  • Mesoamerican vibes.

On to the full review…

You know it is always so fascinating reading the works of a new author, and no I don’t mean debut author but an author new to the reader. That is what Anna Stephens is to me, a new author. So it was a delight to dip my toe into the waters of her wonderful writing. Stephens sets up her novel really really well, it was honestly great seeing the many interpretations of the Drowned to start off this story, especially considering they are such a big part of the book. However, what made this book have such a great start was something even more skilful. It was the delicate weaving of seemingly insignificant world facts that by a few pages into your reading have you building such a well-grounded and magnificent world so efficiently and one your imagination can truly go wild with. 

Stephen’s writing as a whole is beautiful, and while I rave about her world building and more in this review that is not its only strength. Stephens prose are beautiful while remaining wholly authentic. If it is your first time reading her writing worry not, her writing is fluid, understandable and very well balanced. She is a brilliant storyteller!

“ It sounded like the sunset looks. It sounded like all the world is there just to make you gasp with wonder, to open your heart so wide that it can absorb all that beauty and hold it and be it and never lose it, no matter what.” 

And the battle and fight sequences are epic, Stephens give you all the action and the impact!

This story is a beautiful one, and inexplicably powerful. It is a bloody tale of gods, monsters, war and death but it is one of family, love, loyalty and faith. Stephens manages to authentically showcase the development of her character’s relationships, though not in a tasteless and too obvious way, and when we are shown just how far those characters have come you truly understand the depths of their actions and the significance of them. 

”She hesitated, then she licked her thumb and pressed it to his temple and he stilled, shocked, before a rush of affection and gratitude surged through him. She had gifted him a piece of her courage, her spirit, to aid him in the war. She had named him family.”

I think this is quite possibly the first book I have read that is written in such a setting too. The lush jungle (even though Goodreads says forests I see nothing but jungle soo) and wonderful cities steeped in such history and lore were beautiful to read. It really gave me Apocalypto vibes, and I would pay good money to see this as a TV series! I want to say that it based off Mesoamerican, as it greatly reminded me of the Maya civilization and/or the Aztecs but I could be wrong. 

The Stone Knife is a larger book, with a page count of 600+ but Stephens used the pages effectively. It has great focus on the worldbuilding and introducing us to this book’s incredible characters. The chapters are also a little longer, though this is actually really well done. When an authors opt for several POV’s they run the risk of not introducing them with enough depth that by the time you next see their chapter you’re not sure who they were. This is not an issue in The Stone Knife, after each introduction you are clear on who they are and where they are.

I‘d rather die fighting than die at the teeth of one of the things after years on my knees for these arrogant shits.”

I think that there are maybe seven character POV’s in this book, but don’t quote me, and each and every single one of them is a thrill to read! I really like that more books, or at least the ones I have been reading, are giving both sides POV. You still know who you are rooting for and who you want to win but all are still enjoyable. I don’t sometimes like it when I see the ”bad guys” POV because you can so blatantly dislike them and you just don’t want to listen to their shit, but Stephens does an incredible job of avoiding that. One of my favourite characters to read was definitely not good and I loved their world bubble, their family and side characters that surrounded them. I think that says a lot about Stephens ability to write outstanding characters!

Something I truly loved about this was the political manoeuvrings and intrigue, it is too often that I see some politically sly genius who always gets their way and they are infallible in their position. Everything goes in their favour until the main character somehow thwarts the attempts through chance, so it was so exciting to see the sly political genius written in a truer light. They win some and they lose some and it only amped up the tension and risk for the characters who are playing such dangerous games. 

A final note of praise for this book too is the ability of Stephens to seamlessly represent the many and not in a ’hey look my main character is deaf” way. Stephens did not need to make her writing shout about character relations or the fact that Xessa had a disability, it was just there. Natural, refreshing and REAL! 

I finished this book in two days, it made me into the biggest book sloth ever. I moved from my reading corner to eat and that’s about it. This book will inevitably grip you in some way when you start reading it and I really hope you do. I am already dying for the next book in this series. 

The Stone Knife is an incredible book. Remarkable characters, a breathtaking world and savage brutality! It is bloody and it is magnificent, so at least add it to your Goodreads!


As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale. I really need a buy the audiobook in there too now I listen to audiobooks!

Anywho back to the book in hand (mmmm see what I did there?)

RIGHT! Well, I don’t know if you could tell but I really liked this book and I am super excited to say it is definitely a BUY THE HARDBACK rated book. Even better it is also the Goldsboro Book sooo…I am way to excited to get that!

  • The Stone Knife is a world I WILL return to
  • The cover is beautiful
  • It is the first book of this type for me, or at least the first I have loved this much because if I have read any other I don’t refer them at all, so it deserves a special place on my bookshelves!
  • I want this trilogy standing proud on my shelves! I am so excited for book two and the direction it will take!

**Now, usually there would be a delicious picture of my copy (if I owned one) of this book but your girl hasn’t received her Goldsboro goodies yet!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!