KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK SIX

Hello fellow book lovers and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT! As usual I am going to talk to you today about ten books that have been sitting on my Goodreads TBR for quite some time. The books in this weeks post were all added in August 2019, so 16 months ago. That’s a long time for a book to be sitting! Though, briefly looking some of these and I know a few of them have flickered back up on my radar through either purchasing the book or the audiobook so not totally unloved.

Last week my Keep It Or Cut It post evolved a little, changing ‘Reasons‘ to ‘Reasons & Thoughts‘. It wasn’t a huge change to the layout but it was a change none the less, and today the post is going to evolve a little more.

As you can see from the method below, I do some or all of the below checks, so I’m thinking of adding a few review comments from others, maybe a good opening to the book from the sample or a little information into why the blurb is an interesting one. Hopefully it ill make me a little more accountable for my decisions and also it may be fun for you. Who knows?!

The Method

For any who are unsure as to how I vet a book you can see below the checks I run through. I may only need to see the blurb to love it, I may want to check out a few reviews of those with similar tastes to me or I might read a little bit of the sample. I don’t always do all three but here they are, the method checks…

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

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns #1) by Django Wexler

Goodreads Link

Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic….

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.

The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

While I added this on to my TBR around 16 months ago as I really love military fantasy fiction, it actually came back to my attention again in Feb 2020, around the time I had read and LOVED Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage Trilogy. It was strongly recommended as a book to read if you liked that flintlock fantasy.

This isn’t the first Django Wexler book on my TBR and I doubt it will be the last. Also, the whole woman dressed as a man trope, well, I kinda like it and that bit of the blurb honestly gives me Mulan vibes! Don’t laugh.

Petrik described it as “…A great explosive Flintlock/Military fantasy debut that left me begging for more by the end of it...”

BOOK #2

The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley

Goodreads Link

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again…

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.

His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move? 

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

This is another one of those books that was added some time ago but had quite recently popped back up in my mind. Though for a different reason. As some of you may be aware I have recently joined the many who love audiobooks, and on my mission to find a narrator I could listen to I stumbled across this. I remembered it was a book I had on my TBR and reread the blurb, it quickly had me wanting to read it and so I grabbed the audio with one of my credits! Though if it isn’t enough that this is narrated by Simon Vance, someones voice I quite like, it also sounds epic. It’s cover is stunning, its book title is intriguing and it blurb has you wanting…

A murdered emperor; an empire in turmoil; TRAINING MONTAGE; mercenaries; and court politics!

This is a book that has some quite amazing reviews and ratings too among the book community, so that is always a promising sign!

BOOK #3

The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks

Goodreads Link

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

From what I have read this is a fairly complex book, its world building is highly praised and has a brilliant magic system that is integral to the story. While all of these praises make me want to read I, it is probably the idea of the magic system I want to experience the most. I haven’t, despite reading fantasy for a good while now, read all that many books with a complex magic system. I want to see one in action that honestly is Sanderson’s. That’s nothing against him, at all, I’ve not read his works but books that hyped are always tougher reads.

Mike said “…Im not selling you a bill of goods here, guys; I feel like Black Prism is the best book 1 of a fantasy series that Ive read in over a decade….

BOOK #4

Paternus: Rise of Gods (Paternus Trilogy #1) by Dyrk Ashton

Goodreads Link


Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth.

When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old man named Peter—and find themselves running for their lives with creatures beyond imagination hounding their every step.

With nowhere else to turn, they seek out Fi’s enigmatic Uncle Edgar. But the more their questions are answered, the more they discover that nothing is what it seems–not Peter, not Edgar, perhaps not even themselves.

The gods and monsters, heroes and villains of lore—they’re real. And now they’ve come out of hiding to hunt their own. In order to survive, Fi and Zeke must join up with powerful allies against an ancient evil that’s been known by many names and feared by all. The final battle of the world’s oldest war has begun.

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

To say how much I enjoy urban fantasy in TV and movies I haven’t actually read a lot in the genre. I have read PNR and shifter books that are still urban fantasy, and while I enjoy them, they are not really what I’m looking for in an adult urban fantasy story. So, to see a so widely loved urban fantasy is great and it had me buying this book, that and it obviously sounded cool!

Nick Borelli said “…Let me start off by saying, I am not a big fan of Urban Fantasy for those who know me. In fact, it’s my least favorite sub-genre of Fantasy. So when I say I was blown away in a good way by this book, it really is saying something about both the story and the author Dyrk Ashton…”

BOOK #5

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads Link

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

I don’t remember a thing about this book, but having just reread the blurb…It sounds bloody brilliant! I LOVE rebellions against oppression, and your hunter type books. Also, having just watched ‘The Boys’ this whole blurb reminds me a Frenchie, with his experiments to find a supe’s weakness and what not.

The Coycaterpillar Reads has sold this to me even more than the blurb. I am all about a books beginning, as some of you may know, so when Yvonne said “…It’s usually within pages that I will be able to determine whether a novel is going to submerge me within its world, whether I mould between its pages…I was a goner by page two…” I was done.

BOOK #6

The Way of Kings, Part 1 (The Stormlight Archive #1, part 1) by Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads Link

SPEAK AGAIN THE ANCIENT OATHS,

LIFE BEFORE DEATH.
STRENGTH BEFORE WEAKNESS.
JOURNEY BEFORE DESTINATION.

AND RETURN TO MEN THE SHARDS THEY ONCE BORE.


THE KNIGHTS RADIANT MUST STAND AGAIN.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

One such war is about to swallow up a soldier, a brightlord and a young woman scholar.

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

For some reason this book keeps coming to mind, I really am going to have to read it! I have seen fan art for it a lot recently, new revises and general Sanderson talk. The world is telling me to start reading this book! Plus I already have this book on my shelves at home…

David sold it to me even more with his review comments “…you like beautifully intricate worlds, fun magic systems, and likable characters, I would definitely recommend this to you…”

BOOK #7

Wolf in Shadow (Jon Shannow #1) by David Gemmell

Goodreads Link

Three centuries after terrible floods drowned most of Earth’s civilizations, humanity scratches for safety in a world of deadly evils. And through this world walks Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man. His quest is to find lost Jerusalem–and confront the world’s evil, including the devil himself.

CUT IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

My first ‘cut it’ of today’s post! I haven’t read any Gemmell and while I have every intention of doing so I won’t be begging my journey into his works with this one. It doesn’t sound like a bad story but nothing about it really grabs me either.

BOOK #8

Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions #1) by Michael R. Fletcher

Goodreads Link

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one’s delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. 

The question, then, is: Who will rule there?

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

I like this cover. It almost reminds me of the covers for Brian McClellan’s Gods of Blood and Powder books, but that literally could just be the whole charging horses aspect…

A dark fantasy with a twisted and intriguing plot, peoples delusion twisting reality, that sounds crazy and quite interesting. Plus, when does the puppet god/king/leader plot ever go to plan?

The Tattooed Book Geek said “I was hooked from the first page all the way up until the last, great world building and great characters make this a quality read, fantasy at it’s darkest, deluded best, a unique read that I thoroughly enjoyed and would gladly recommend to everyone!”

BOOK #9

The City (The City #1) by Stella Gemmell

Goodreads Link

Well, we cut the husband, let us see if we keep the wife..

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

I remember adding this book to my TR and to say it was added over 16 months ago I think that is quite a feat, even more so because I haven’t seen this token about in the book community at all. That is not to say I remember the full blurb, but I do remember being greatly interested in the whole idea of a waring city filled with tribal fighting and a mysterious leader.

I also already have this book on my shelves to read so it is a easy keep it book!

BOOK #10

Legend (The Drenai Saga #1) by David Gemmell

Goodreads Link

I was clearly digging the Gemmell’s during this phase of my Goodreads hunting…

He is DRUSS the Legend. His skill in battle has earned him a fearsome reputation throughout the world and the stories of his life are told everywhere. But the grizzled veteran has spurned a life of fame and fortune and has retreated to the solitude of his mountain lair to await his old enemy, Death.

Meanwhile, barbarian hordes of the Nadir are on the march, conquering all before them. All that stands before them and victory is the legendary six-walled fortress of the Drenai empire, Dros Delnoch. If the fortress falls, so do the Drenai. Druss reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement. But can even Druss live up to his own legends?

Held by many to be Gemmell’s most iconic work, the book is considered a classic in the heroic fantasy genre.

A second chance, will Gemmell make the cut this time?

KEEP IT

Reasons & Thoughts:

And now we have both Mr and Mrs Gemmell being kept this week on Keep It Or Cut It! This is another trope I really like to read, the retired veteran who has removed themselves from the world to live the rest of their days alone in some hut on a mountain storyline.

I think I like these storylines because they have the potential for such incredible characters, we are given a character who has already lived a life, so you are constantly wondering how much the character can still grow, how will their life experiences steer them in their new journey? What is going to happen?

Then throw in the whole last stand, the last remaining defence against a seemingly unstoppable force and you have a book I really want to read!


I actually really enjoy writing these posts because I am slowly but surely noticing more and more what tropes, storylines and more that I truly like. I am seeing clearer each time what I want to see in a book, what I want to experience. This feature is genuinely beneficial and I would recommend you guys doing your own.

One cut, nine kept!

This was nearly a full strike! Just one fell short but nine out of ten isn’t bad. or it is because the aim is to reduce the TBR but I’m not cutting books for the sake of it! Plus, I feel like I have learnt more about my own reading tastes in this weeks post so I would say that is a win!

What do you think are there any books I really should have cut or ones you cant believe I didn’t cut? Have I made any mistakes? How many did you guess correct?

Again, thank you to everyone who takes the tie to read my posts and engage with me over on Twitter, it is always such fu and I appreciate you all so much!