BOOK REVIEW | THE SHADOW OF THE GODS BY JOHN GWYNNE

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening

Hi Im Dan, contributor to The Book in Hand Blog and today I will be sharing my review of The Shadow of the Gods by John Gywnne!!

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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 . . .

DAN’S REVIEW:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

John Gwynne’s 2021 release of his Norse inspired novel The Shadow of the Gods is one of my most anticipated releases this year. Like so many people I became a huge fan of the faithful and the fallen series and his follow up series Of Blood and Bone.Given the combination of Gywnnes success with epic fantasy and his passion for Nordic history I was so excited for this new series. It’s writers like Gywnne that have pioneered darker, more violent, fantasy that feels more authentic and successfully brought it to a mainstream audience. But what Gwynne also brings to the table is the fact that he is embracing newer trends in the technical execution of his novels.

There really is very little that this book doesn’t offer from solid characterisation, to innovative world building, to spell binding Lore and magic and authentic Norse warfare. All the elements of this book were all weaved so tightly together so they could unravel at a fast pace that was intended. The reforging of the Norse myths really did feel authentic and what Gwynne did with it was truly mesmerising and it manifested in every facet of the plot. Gwynne’s battle scenes have become hugely popular within the fantasy genre and they’re amongst my favourite. I’ll be honest unless battle scenes are well structured it can be the best, or my least favourite part of a fantasy novel. But we had high impact blood soaked battles that were exhilarating from start to finish. Every battle scene was meticulously put together and never felt clunky at any point.

Gwynne’s writing style in this novel is the strongest it’s ever been and I think his prose is quite poetic when it needs to be and flowed effortlessly everywhere in between. This really meant the pace never slowed but still had impact to those key scenes, especially in the battle scenes. He really paints totally vivid and captivating scene’s of snow covered forests, to small settlements, to elaborate structures built within the bones of dead Gods and crafts those scenes so precisely that I felt deeply immersed in every scene. Everything within this world, especially the characters, felt so stylised and the huge attention to detail made them totally unforgettable. Equally the tone of this world was captured so perfectly, as its brutal unforgiving nature was totally atmospheric. Never have I read a Norse Saga that’s had this much impact and I consider this first installment to be truly flawless.

The world building unraveled perfectly with this fast moving plot and was shaped so precisely with Gywnnes wealth of knowledge on this era and his genuine passion really shines through in abundance and really made everything feel so authentic. The world building was a departure from the more classic extensive world building that we saw in Malice into something much faster moving in pace for the setting up of his new series. So from what I’ve taken away, is that in order to achieve that, it means really cutting the fat from the world building and being very skillfull in terms of how you deliver it in conjunction with the character development. The world building rolled out on a broader scale as two of three PoVs were part of our fabled warbands and it meant that we could see different parts of the world without the pace slowing. Along the way the politics, the lore and all the elements of this story are weaved skilfully into the POVs that we follow and it flowed effortlessly. There was zero filler and everything was totally relevant and intentional. This book show cases some great examples of these new modern innovations and how they should be delivered.

It’s general consensus that Gywnne’s characterization is one of the finest elements of his work and one of the major reasons why we all fell in love with the faithful and the fallen. Using only three PoVs, as well as the changes to the format of the world building, it really puts so much focus on our characters, which is what John does best.

I really appreciated the skill used in how the POVs were used to change the pace and the mood throughout, which meant it never slowed and kept me engaged throughout.We follow three POVs, Orka, Elvar and Varg, who all have three very different stories that all eventually converge within in this fast paced story. I really like the character development, as it really engaged me in different ways over the course of the book. Orka’s PoV really set the tone for the novel and I was engaged quickly with her story being highly emotive. No punches are pulled with the level of violence in her story and you really felt her rage bursting through the pages. I really enjoyed Elvars character and her ideals of forging her own destiny and disregarding her privilege to claim her battle fame and her prowess on the battlefield made her such a unique and strong female character. Despite her story taking longer to bloom it did give us more insight into the privilege and the corruption within the nobility and without huge info dumps we were able to move forward quickly. So her exploits as well as Varg also gave us more insight into the brutal nature of this world on a broader scale. Varg’s PoV, despite being slowest burning, had the most intrigue and was very much shrouded in mystery for the large part but ended up having huge impact on the books conclusion. But as his character was fairly one dimensional early on, I thought it gave us a chance to absorb more information and focus on the bloodsworn. The Bloodsworn were all perfectly crafted battle hardened warriors, their characters were fully fleshed out where needed and I was quite taken by all of them. In general terms I really enjoyed our richly imagined cast and I’m so excited to see them develop as things play out.

As i mentioned earlier i was so drawn to a Ragnarok style story but then to construct the magic system as well as the lore of this world based on the same idea was totally intoxicating. How the nature and the traits of the Gods manifest in this world truly takes so many aspects of this world to another level. The effect that will have on the warfare really excites me for the future installments of this trilogy. The pagan witchcraft, the creatures of this world and everything about the lore of this world unravels with so much intrigue and again arrives in full force as part of the dramatic ending. There were really were some very original creatures that Gwynne has created for this book and he really describes them perfect detail and are very much central to our plot.The more well known creatures like Trolls were magnificent and those scenes were incredible, they were so vivid and I genuinely felt the fear amongst the characters. But the creatures of this world really did add another dimension to this book introducing high fantasy elements that you would expect from a book inspired by Nordic mythology. For me I think I that this was one of the most enjoyable parts of the book. So being fed the information slowly really kept me intrigued, but always with knowledge that what’s to come is going to be epic in scale.

All things considered I felt that this was a 5⭐ book. There are few novels out there that deliver the kind of Norse experience as this novel does and this will be a landmark trilogy. This is really what modern Norse fantasy is going to look like and Gwynne has set the bar very high. As I mentioned earlier I’m totally behind the departure from traditional methods into following more modern trends and Gwynne has crafted one of the best setup novels that I’ve read so far. I think in general terms that Gwynne has reached new heights and technical execution of his work and has elevated him into one of the best fantasy writers working today. I am so excited to see where this trilogy goes next and this stands to be his finest work so far in my opinion.



BOOK REVIEW | THE RAVENMASTER’S REVENGE BY JACOB SANNOX

Hello!

I hope you are all well, and once again reading something awesome. I am going to review Jacob Sannox’s The Ravenmaster’s Revenge. I was due to review this a little while ago but I honestly forgot until I posted my February Book of the Month post yesterday.

The Ravenmaster’s Revenge is a retelling of the story of King Arthur but with a an urban twist.

And also thank you to Jacob for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Ravenmaster’s Revenge
  • Author: Jacob Sannox
  • Series: The Return of King Arthur (Book One)
  • Pages: 220

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

ORDER HERE: Audible | Kindle

Review:

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

  • A scheming Merlin;
  • Arthurian re-telling with a twist;
  • ancient bloodlines and English kings;
  • A satisfying glimpse at many notable historical moments in the eye of an immortal; and
  • A tale of Good Vs Evil.

On to the full review…

This is going to be a shorter review as I am about half an hour away from a killer migraine. So, while I am currently at the uncomfortable throbbing stage of this I am going to quickly write this with the darkest screen setting I can get away with and then proceed to hide in a dark room!

Although I mentioned about about this book has phases featuring great historical moments in which Arthur is involved in, this book spends most of its time in modern day England through its take on an age old tale of King Arthur. I actually wasn’t fully clued up with how this story would be told going into this book and I found the flashbacks a little jarring, I am not the biggest fan of flashbacks in any case so my issue stands more to that than the actual book. I actually found the flashbacks were brilliant in their own right, I would LOVE to see Sannox dabble in Historical Fiction because, evident by these flashbacks, it is something he does incredibly well and with astounding detail.

Now, without spoiling things, in this book Arthur is essentially immortal, long lived how ever you want to describe it and one of my main praises for this book was how incredibly well Sannox represented that. I have read a great many books and several have featured the immortal character and many never manage to show you that bone-weary tiredness that comes with living for several lifetimes. The ache on the soul at never stopping, seeing your life go through massive historical changes and Sannox does this brilliantly, it is not morbid or anything like and is amazing to read, there is an old feeling to his characters that represents them brilliantly.

The world that Sannox has created in this tale, despite being one we know to some degree being in a modern setting still felt refreshing and it was a joy to explore. The magic that fills the book is also great with familiars, warlocks, immortality, spells and so much more.

If you enjoy Arthurian tales the you will be glad to see the familiar names attached to them and will enjoy the characters Sannox has made, they are great, while I would have loved a bit more depth to some of them this is a short book so its would be wrong for me to expect the depth I am used to reading in 400 to 600 page novels.

Overall, this is a fun read, it is a shorter book and if you love history and Arthurian tales I think you will appreciate this book. It is adventurous and has a fun and familiar plot and characters.


THE RANKS: 

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

This would be a but the kindle for me, I enjoyed reading it and Sannox’s writing is lovely!

A massive thank you to Jacob for sending me a copy of this book!

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK ELEVEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It!

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

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

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

AS USUAL, The Method

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

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

NAMELESS QUEEN by REBECCA MCLAUGHLIN

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Hardcover

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #2

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by ALLISON GOODMAN

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #3

THE MERCIFULCROW BY Margaret Owen

Goodreads Link

A future chieftain.

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

A fugitive prince.

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

A too-cunning bodyguard.

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

Do I Already Own It? Yes

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #4

FIREBORNE by ROSARIA MUNDA

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #5

All the Stars and Teeth by ADALYN GRACE

Goodreads Link

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

She will reign.

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #6

SHERWOOD by MEAGAN SPOONER

Goodreads Link

Robin of Locksley is dead.

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

Who is there to stop them?

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #7

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by KATY ROSE POOL

Goodreads Link

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


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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #8

POISON PRINCESS by KRESLEY COLE 

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #9

THE DEMON KING by CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #10

REBEL OF THE SANDS by ALWYN HAMILTON

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

Ohh good lord again!!

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


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK TEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It

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

AS USUAL, The Method

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

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

FOUR DEAD QUEENS by ASTRID SCHOLTE

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Hardcover | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #2

THE GIRL KING by MIMI YU

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #3

SHADOW FROST BY COCO MA

Goodreads Link

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

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

Not one has ever returned. 


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

To kill it. 

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #4

KINGDOM OF SOULS by RENA BARRON

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #5

RELIC by BRONWYN ELEY

Goodreads Link

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

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

It’s an appointment that will kill her.

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #6

LEVIATHAN by SCOTT WESTERFELD

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #7

THE DARKEST MINDS by ALEXANDRA BRACKEN

Goodreads Link

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

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #8

WINTERSONG by S. JAE-JONES 

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #9

SPIN THE DAWN by ELIZABETH LIM

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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

BOOK #10

CROWN OF CORAL by MARA RUTHERFORD

Goodreads Link

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

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

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

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

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

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


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

That seems to be a bit of a running theme.

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

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


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.


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.


WHY THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR BY TAD WILLIAMS IS A MASTERPIECE & WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT…

Hello Book Friends!

Today I am going to attempt to motivate you into reading Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorry and Thorn books. There will be a few points and an overview that hopefully will inspire you to read this phenomenal series!!!

A brief overview

After the death of the high King John Presbyter and the rise of the Mad king Elias, who with the influence of the Dark Priest Pyrates, have damned the world , together they have made an ungodly pact with the dark prince, known as the Storm king. Seoman our main protagonist has no choice but to flee his home and join the rebellion lead by the Mad kings brother Josua Lackhand in city of Nagilmund. Under the dark Priests magic all of the nations within this world are plunged into the depths of chaos!! You will follow the characters experience of losing the world that they once knew….. With only the prophecy of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn as their only path to salvation.

You can also check it out on Goodreads HERE! Maybe add it to your TBR.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT…

This book has been quoted as one of the seminal works within epic fantasy genre, from the same era as Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb, Raymond E Fiest, amongst other gifted authors. After reading most of the big names from the era I have to say that Tad Williams is without question a Titan of the fantasy genre. As I was reading through the first novel I understood the reasons why Tad Williams work was so influential and recognising those small nuances and themes that have transcended into what we love and appreciate today!!

This series from my perspective inspired the likes of John Gwynne, Anthony Ryan, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss George R R Martin and more recent authors such as Brian Lee Durfee.

Every aspect of this novel  is deeply captivating , down to the flawless prose, the deeply immersive world building which unravels with each chapter that passes, the complex character progression and the constant feeling of intrigue throughout is overwhelming!! It is without question a very character driven novel and you will become very attached to the totally unforgettable cast. You can get lost travelling through beautifully imagined dark forests scenes , stunning cities all the while going deeper into rich lore and history , which is totally enchanting and central to this series!

Tad Williams is a writer that has without question mastered his craft, everything in this series has been forged at the hands of a master story teller which you’ll see in the flawless execution.

For me this is a stand out series from that era and I will be reading the follow up series’ set 30 years after the events of this series, which is the Last King of Osten Ard and all the series that follow in this world. I am currently reading the last installment (MST), a chonky 1400 page monster, which has already convinced me that this series will in doubt be in my top 5 of all time.

Has this book aged well?

Absolutely yes! It is timeless and should be treasured as a significant mile stone in the Fantasy’s history. It really lays the foundations for where epic fantasy was heading and how it was evolving. So what I’m saying is this series should by future generations be regarded in the same way as Tolkien is, in my opinion. We should appreciate it in terms of how it’s impacted the fantasy genre!!!

Here are some of the other wonderful works By the master of epic fantasy Tad Williams…

THE SHADOWMARCH SERIES | ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

The Last King of Osten Ard Series | ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


OK, SO IT’S HUGE TRILOGY…Is it worth it? How does it compare to other series from that era?

I would say that if you’re daunted by the size of other series from this era like Robert Jordans Wheel of Time, I think you will have a comparable experience with this series. I would argue that despite this only being a trilogy, I feel that Tad Williams has achieved as much as Jordan/Sanderson did in a 15 book series. I am not saying that it’s better, as I think everyone should read Jordan,but this series stands shoulder to shoulder in terms of its brilliance, if not surpassing Jordan in some aspects. The pacing in MST is as sharp as Williams prose and as I mentioned earlier, its utterly flawless and totally poetic at times and he paints some scenes with total precision. In my opinion Tad Williams is the better writer and will not spend two paragraphs describing the pattern on a member of the Aes sedai dress lol. But the technical execution of this series in comparison to Jordan, is superior in my opinion. Williams world building and the general pacing and overall the consistency in quality is as close to perfect as you’re going to get. I feel this is why Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn wins the day. But it’s important to say that I have huge praise for Jordan in so many respects.

This is the perfect introduction to epic Fantasy from this era! That said even if you’re an experienced fantasy reader this will make you remember why you fell in love with this genre!!

If you have it already on the shelf, then I recommend turning to chapter 33, that chapter alone will sell this book to you if nothing else will !!

LET US TALK ABOUT THE TONE…

There is an over bearing sense of hopelessness, with an atmospheric feeling of an encroaching darkness just adds such depth to this epic tale!! With King Elias falling deeper into madness, with Pyrates working as the architect for this worlds destruction, his use of dark magic dominates, the fate of Osten Ard is seemingly doomed and you’re witness to the horror that is to follow. With this first instalment you’re very aware that you’re on the doorstop of something very special and so the journey begins….. Hope of the rebellion is founded in the prophecy surrounding the three swords, Sorrow memory and Thorn which will be there only chances against the forces of evil.

ON TO THE CHARACTERS…

So our main protagonist Seoman is your typical orphaned scullion working under the watchful eye of his merciless overlord Rachel the Dragon, you follow his misadventures in Hayholt castle in a typical coming of age style beginning. What Williams does to engage you as reader with this character is he provokes those childhood memories of a time of innocence in your life as a kid, which really engages you on an intimate level and helps you to connect with Simon very quickly. As much as Seoman is idle, he is head strong and like all young boys has grandiose dreams of a heroic future!

Resident wizard/ doctor Morgenes is eccentric, wise and hilarious , but his true purpose within Hayholt is shrouded in mystery…. So as you may of guessed already, he takes the wayward Seoman as his apprentice….

So on to the High King Elias who you’ll come to know, and as I call him the Mad king, who is in the grasps of the dark priest Pyrates and has been lead into a world of corruption, his lust for power threatens to destroy the lives of many.

His brother Josua, the brooding intellectual sibling, the brother that is to lead the rebellion and have the courage an honour to fight against his foes, against all odds and save the world from damnation! He is pitched as one of the potential heros and savior if this tale!

Finally Pyrates quite possibly one of the finely crafted villains that I’ve encountered in the fantasy genre. His history in this series, his becoming,is probably the slowest in terms of progression, that I feel is very much intentional, but his dark grasp on the Mad king is clear. His very presence within Hayholt is an omen for the horror that is to follow!

So those are you main characters, but there is a huge unforgettable cast that you will come to know and love, hate and fear as go through this novel! There are major characters who take center stage as you go deeper into this story and Williams solid characterisation will never cease to draw you into this phenomenal journey !!

ITS INFLUENCES…

You will find heavy influences of polythiestic and monotheistic religions that strongly influence the various human races within this world on a societal level and down to the characters own lived experience adding more depth to what motivates them.

The politics are generally very typical of a medieval world and isn’t hard to understand the hierarchy of each society. There are very clear Nordic (Rimmersmen), Huns/ Asian Nomadic( Thrithings) and western European Anglo Saxon (Erkynlanders). As for the Nabanese there are clear Roman/Italian with heavy Catholic influences. As far as the mortal races are concerned, it’s been said that they take influences from Japanese culture. The Lore and history of this world does take some influence from Norse mythology, especially where the immortal races are concerned.

You will be introduced to immortal races more as you get into the series, but just to note the following, are central to plot the most important being the immortal Sithi, The Norns, The Niskies, Quanuc and the Dwarrows (Tinukeda’ya) The sheer scope of the lore within this series is so huge and drawn out slowly and we are just scratching the surface in MST.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post hopefully you know more on why you should be reading The Dragonbone Chair if you haven’t already!

Have you read The Dragonbone Chair? If so let me know in the comments what you thought of it or head on over to Twitter. Looking forward to hearing from you!!

Happy reading!


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK SEVEN

Hey Everyone and welcome back to KEEP IT OR CUT IT!

As you can likely guess it isn’t really week seven, as I had time off over Christmas, but it is the seventh Keep It Or Cut It. You feel me?!

This will be my first Keep It Or Cut It of 2021! All of my books this week are from August 2019! So we are still in the depths of my TBR despite being seventy books in.

In case I have somehow managed to convince others to come to my little corner of the blogosphere the Keep It Or Cut It feature is a bid to reduce my TBR by checking out ten books from my TBR. I go in date order so have been culling the earlier added books.

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

Blackdog (Gods of the Caravan Road #1) by K.V. Johansen

Goodreads Link

Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils…In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping a bloodily-conquered lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, he flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.

And long ago, after the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods…

Necromancy, treachery, massacres and rebellions, gods dead or lost or mad, follow hard on the devils’ heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog’s — and Holla-Sayan’s — doom.

And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still.

Reasons & Thoughts:

This Epic Fantasy has gods massacres, treachery and more sounds pretty damn interesting. It was published by Prometheus Books in 2011, not a publisher I know, but that doesn’t really mean anything.

I was a little on the fence about this one, so thought to check out the sample…only I cant find one! And this book apparently is way hard to get a hold of a physical copy, and the eBook is near a tenner 😮 but I leaning towards keeping it. It has less than 1000 ratings and still has a fairly solid 3.64 rating.

“…KV Johansen has crafted a captivating world of gods, demons, wizards and warriors. Enriched by a keen eye for character and masterly, lyrical prose this is an insightful look at the corrosive nature of power on the human soul, not to mention featuring some of the best sword fights I’ve ever read..”

Anthony Ryan (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #2

Talion: Revenant by Michael A. Stackpole

Goodreads Link

The man he is sworn to protect is the man who butchered his family.

Justices–the select of the Talion, endowed with fearsome magick and lethal martial skills–roam the Shattered Empire, crushing the lawless and championing the oppressed. Their word is law and their judgement binding on highborn and low.

Nolan is a Justice born in what once was the free nation of Sinjaria. Orphaned in the war of conquest with the nation of Hamis, he traveled to far Talianna and secured the right to become a Justice. Now, years later, the Master of all Talions has a dangerous assignment for Nolan: He is to guard the life of the king who destroyed Sinjaria and slaughtered his family. Alone, Nolan ventures into the political maelstrom that is the court of Hamis to stop an assassin even his Masters think cannot be slain. . . .

Reasons & Thoughts::

So, this was actually the 100th book on my previous post 100 FANTASY BOOKS FOR THE BUCKET LIST! which I am still in the SLOW process of making. This book sounded good when I made that list soo…

Plus, an instant win point is that this book is standalone, a rarity one must cherish when found.

“If you are tired of reading trilogies and you want a solid single-volume fantasy to read, this one is excellent. Pretty traditional fantasy story but with a lot of action and intrigue.”

Nick Borelli (Rated 4 Stars)

BOOK #3

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher

Goodreads Link

For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. 

But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon. 

Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine. 

Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

Reasons & Thoughts::

Ok, so straight off the bat this book is not looking good! It is NOT rated well on Goodreads. A lot of reviewers I have utter faith in have barely rated it a 3*, some DNF’s and even a few 1* reviews and that says a lot, especially when many of Jim Butchers other books are well received.

Call me a follower but we read reviews of those we have similar tastes with to avoid reading a book we may not like…

BOOK #4

Shaman’s Crossing (The Soldier Son #1) by Robin Hobb

Goodreads Link

Nevare Burvelle anticipates a golden future. He will follow his father into the army; to the frontier and thence to an advantageous marriage.

Over twenty years the army has pushed the frontiers of Gernia as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the enigmatic Speck people, who retain the last vestiges of magic in a progressive world. Exotic and misunderstood, they are believed to spread a sexual plague which has ravaged the frontier, decimating entire regiments. 

Such beliefs will affect Nevare’s military training at the Academy, where he will experience injustice and foul play. But his world view will also be challenged by his unconventional cousin Epiny. And on Dark Evening, when the carnival comes to Old Thares, it will bring with it the first Specks Nevare has ever seen…

Reasons & Thoughts::

Oh, this very nearly had a default removal! I wasn’t sure if it fell within Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings books at first and as I haven’t finished Farseer books yet it would get removed until I was closer to that book as per the order of the RotE. Alas, it is not and is a whole other world.

It is sounding good so far, following in a father’s footstep, a good plot line which can give some serious tension and emotional punches. A magic people…military training academy…sounds promising and it is rated well among many reviews I like!

BOOK #5

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Goodreads Link

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Reasons & Thoughts::

So…I kind of already own this book so I think that says all that needs to be said! Also, the cover is so beautiful and the story sounds great.

“In sum, Priory of the Orange Tree is one of the best books I have ever read. I never thought I would get through 800+ pages and leave wanting more, but that is exactly what happened to me.”

Travelling Cloak (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #6

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

Goodreads Link

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Reasons & Thoughts::

I haven’t read all that much sci-fi, in my life as a reader, much to my own disappointment but A Memory Called Empire was still added to my TBR in 2019! It sounds fab and if the reviews are correct is such a clever and complex read.

“A Memory Called Empire is by far the cleverest and poignant debut I have had the pleasure of reading.”

The Coycaterpillar Reads (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #7

The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy #1) by James Islington

Goodreads Link

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs—once thought of almost as gods—were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought—and lost—before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

Reasons & Thoughts::

Another I already have a physical copy of and I also have the arc for the third book in the series! I actually plan on reading this book this year along with many others.

“The book builds and builds, a fantastic example of character driven fantasy – a low key magic system that develops and builds through the book, an amazing world unfolds and some memorable and well defined characters and secondary characters.”

Peter The Swordsmith (Rated 5 Stars)

BOOK #8

The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

Goodreads Link

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Reasons & Thoughts::

I have read The Bird and the Sword, another book by this author and I did enjoyed it but I also remember not being to fussed about going onto the other books of the series. Now, that isn’t to say tis book won’t be good, and the concept is quite cool but I know I have a lot of other books better suited to my current tastes that will come before this, so do I leave it on and see or just bite the bullet and cut it. Hmmmm.

BOOK #9

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Goodreads Link

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. 

Reasons & Thoughts::

Hmm, why do I know that name? Ahhhh! The Once and Future Witches! Ok, that gives me more good feels for this book. I was actually starting off feeling I would drop this and I’m not overly sure why. The name is cool, being my birthday month and the cover is beautiful. Odd…

I think this is such a cool premise and allows for a good deal of variety and beauty in this tale. Though, likely one I will have to be in the mood for.

“Alluring passages comprising meticulously chosen words were conjured and evident in every page; Harrow exhibited storytelling skill that gives justice to the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is one of the most beautifully-written debuts I’ve ever read…”

Petrik (Rated 4.5 Stars)

BOOK #10

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks

Goodreads Link

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist. 

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death. 

Reasons & Thoughts::

Oh nice! Looking at this on Goodreads it has some good reviews, some average and some that love it. Good start, and while some of the reviews on this book mention it s being a bit average it has its good points to.

I am not so well-versed in the Dark Fantasy genre so I do want to make a point of reading more. I like the savage and gritty feel the genre tends to give you.

But a big selling point for me is assassins, I love me some assassins.

“..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…”

Mark Lawrence (Rated 5 Stars)

There it is! The first Keep it or Cut It of the year and a pretty successful one, or unsuccessful…depends how you want to look at it! This week I have cut TWO books and kept EIGHT and managed to get excited over a few of these which I plan to read soonish.

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 | DARK OAK BY JACOB SANNOX & NARRATED BY NIGEL PEEVER

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

This was planned to be an earlier post considering I’m currently at work 🙈 but I forgot to post it before leaving like a dope. Thankful, while I am currently sat on my break eating the most amazing Lotus biscuits I remembered. Yay me. So here it is.

Today, as the post title suggests I will be reviewing Jacob Sannox’s fantasy novel Dark Oak! I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review but I also listened to this via audiobook to. I usually listen to non review books via audio and treat them as my personal reads but I was a little behind with reviews and honestly the audiobook sounded great.

A few facts about Dark Oak:

  • Title: Dark Oak
  • Author: Jacob Sannox
  • Narrated By: Nigel Peever
  • Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles (Book One)
  • Published by Jacob Sannox (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Pages: 314
  • Narration Length: 12 Hours 59 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Dark Oak:

  • A high fantasy novel that is beautifully magical but with a darker core feel;
  • An intriguing and unique story concept;
  • INCREDIBLE creatures and magics;
  • Political intrigue; and
  • An incredibly raw and emotional punch from several aspects of this book.

A little bit about the narration…

This was a really good narration, it is the first narration I have ever listened to that has sound effects. Now, I know that for some the may not be a great thing but it really added to the story for me. I LOVED them. It wasn’t overbearing and it wasn’t disruptive my my listening experience. Well, for the most part, there was one single time that it became difficult to listen to, at the point when a group of Dryads were talking as one, pair that with the creaking of their wooden limbs and the throaty tone of their voices I genuinely didn’t know what was said. Luckily, I had the a physical copy so I was able to read that bit. Other than the once instance though I found I really liked the sound effects. They were, more often than not, subtle and only added to my listening experience.

As a narrator I found Peever to be quite good, his pace was easy to follow and his male voices were nicely distinct. Some of his female voices however sounded a like little old cackling witches…

Though saying all of the above, I will listen to the next book via audio narration. Thats how little it put me off.

Now on to the full review…

As I said above Jacob sent me a copy of Dark Oak in exchange for an honest review along with his two other books; The Ravenmaster’s Revenge and Agravain’s Escape. This book is currently sitting with 61 ratings and 25 reviews and has a decent rating of 3.67. I would love to see more people pick this book up as it deserves it, if you look on Goodreads it seems to have a bit of a mix of reviews so many people have loved and a good number haven’t but I would honestly give this book chance!

Dark Oak is a richly imagined world and one I really enjoyed journeying into, it is an incredible fantastical world that is very much in the traditional vein of high fantasy with creatures such as the Dryads, the water folk and even more wonderful elemental beings. Dark Oak gave me Lord of the Rings vibes in terms of its imaginative world!

Jacob does wonderfully at bringing his world to life through his writing and it is a story rich in detail and beautifully described. He brilliantly weaves in the magic that surrounds this world and showcases it impressively, especially the Dryad’s , yet all the while not making you feel as though they are infallible despite their evident power.

At the start of this book there is quite a bit of exposition, which is wholly appropriate and enjoyable. This isn’t the story of the battle that Queen Cathryn won that led our character to be where they are now but in order to fully understand the present you need to know the facts of the past. I really liked the exposition, it was magical and I felt like I was sat wrapped in a cozy blanket cradling a warm cup of tea in my ever cold hands while being told a grand old tale by a wisened old story teller! And that Is something I love.

Each of the characters you come across in Dark Oak are all really good, some I loathed but understood, others I saw the manipulation and others I was rooting for them with everything I had. Some of the character could have had a little more consistency and been a wee bit more well rounded but overall I really enjoyed all of them for some reason or another. While Dark Oak is very high fantasy to me, it has such a dark core to its world and its characters. I knew it had a darker tone before reading it but goodness I didn’t expect what I got! At all.

The Dryads…they are AMAZING! I was so impressed with them as a race, the things they can do, the power they hold and their origins were all so utterly interesting I loved every single moment in which a dryad appeared.

I think for me the strongest point of this book was Jacob’s ability to shock you so profoundly you are left in a state of both confusion and understanding. There are several sequences within this story that you do not see coming, even in the slightest, but once they do happen no matter how shook up you are you understand the reasoning behind it. Which is testament to Jacob’s ability to showcase his characters motivations and emotional states. In a world so vivid and creative the realness of his character and very human responses become all the more impactful, it is touching, sickeningly raw and quite intense at times.

There are times within this book that you see some inconsistencies in the characters voices, and it can at times feel a little jumpy from POV to POV. This book isn’t perfect and if you going in looking for little hiccups you will find them, as you would with many books, but if you are going in to experience a brilliant and imaginative world filled with REAL characters with REAL motivations you are in the right place. There is a rawness to this book and an emotional grittiness that you don’t see often in books and it was brilliant to experience it within Dark Oak’s pages.


You know the drill, on to the rating…

THE RANKS: 

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

I would definitely pick this up in its paperback form if I didn’t already have it and would strongly recommend the audiobook if you don’t have an issue with narrations accompanied by sound effects, I get that might be a hard no for some people, but im not one of them and I loved it! I actually want to find more with it in so yanno, its a winner to me!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE RAGE OF DRAGONS BY EVAN WINTER & NARRATED BY PRENTICE ONAYEMI

Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!

I will today be posting my review of the much loved ‘ The Rage of Dragons’. It is a book that has been on my radar for quite some time. I actually added this to my Goodreads page in August 2019 and then when Twitter blew up over the book, it totally renewed my interest. It is too often that we add a book to our TBR and then completely forget about it so I am thankful to the many amazing bloggers and book lovers who brought this book back to my attention.

A few facts about The Rage of Dragons:

  • Title: The Rage of Dragons
  • Author: Evan Winter
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Series: The Burning (Book One)
  • Published by Orbit
  • Narration Length: 16 hrs and 15 mins
  • Pages: 544

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him. 

YOU CAN GET THIS BOOK FROM…

AUDIBLE | AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | WHSMITH | WATERSTONES | BOOK DEPOSITORY | FORBIDDEN PLANET

**Pssst…It is only £0.99 on Kindle at the minute, just saying**

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Rage of Dragons:

  • A fast paced military fantasy;
  • Utterly compelling characters;
  • A revenge story;
  • Incredible battles;
  • heart-wrenching writing; and
  • It will be one of the best books you will read.

On to the full review…

I listened to this via the audiobook, so as usual when I listen to the audiobook I will start this review with a few thoughts on the audiobook!

First and foremost, I cannot praise Prentice Onayemi enough! He brought this book to life in a way you can’t even begin to imagine. To the point that I am now reading ‘The Fires of Vengeance’ and it is his voice I hear in my head, not mine but his base narration voice and his interpretations of Tau and the other characters. I could have listened to this book again immediately after finishing it, it was that good.

My only struggle when listening to the audiobook, and it is a truly minor one, was interpreting certain words. If you are not reading the book it can be a little confusing distinguishing what is a name, a location, an honorific or a rank for example. However, this is easily fixed. I simply read the first few pages of the book, with the audio narration, and you immediately see what is what. Then back to the narration alone. This may not be an issue for regular audio listeners but this is only my third or so audiobook so I am still getting the hang of being read to, if that makes any sense!

So, that’s I on the audio aspect I don’t really know what to say in resect of audios other than whether I enjoyed it or not.

Now for the story…

I have seen dotted around that this book is a mix of Gladiator and Game of Thrones. I don’t see it, and I am glad I don’t. I really don’t like it when books get described as another book. Especially a book which needs no reference to fan favourites. What exactly makes this like Game of Thrones?

This book is a mind-blowing African inspired fantasy novel about injustice, love, revenge and so much more. It is one which has you completely absorbed immediately. It needs no comparison because this book will be one of the best books you read.

The Rage of Dragons is told from Tau’s POV, though there are certain times when we get another characters POV, this doesn’t happen often and it is wholly appropriate when it does. I actually really liked those moments.

Tau. What to say about Tau? He is one of the MOST compelling characters I have read, there is something so authentic and raw about him. He is compelling, relatable and authentic. At no point does Tau do something out of character, even when he does something stupid, and your left staring at the book like stop being so dumb and think for a minute man!

Evan Winter is a superb writer and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style, it felt like every word that was written was something more, you almost felt the words. Evan is such a thought-provoking writer but not in a way that you feel you are being force fed the issues the book tackles. They are instead weaved throughout the character interactions, in how they deal with the constant barrage of injustices they face. It is in how they still form relationships when it seems nothing in their favour can possibly last.

This book is a fast paced and action packed read, the battles and fight scenes in this book are incredible. The story is constantly moving forward, something is always happening and remarkably it is not detrimental in any way to the characters development or world worldbuilding.The finale of this book is an absolute rollercoaster, your heart is in your mouth the whole time.

Another thing I loved about this book is that it shocks you, it is ruthless at times and at several point renders you speechless and stood mouth open catching flies. This happened to me at work, I pop in to get some clothes and BOOM something happens and I am just stood there mouth agape in a cleaning cupboard and even then my walk to the front office was just me in a state of sheer shock. I had to pause the audio for a moment to just stop and take in what was happening!

This was my first African-inspired fantasy, and I can happily tell you it will not be my last! I could honestly go on and on and on about this book but i’m conscious this review is already getting to be quite long, so let us leave it at that and if you have read it let’s fangirl over Twitter!!


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. If you couldn’t tell from the above review this is a BUY THE HARDBACK rated book for me!

ANNNNNDD…

I managed to find a not too expensive hardback copy in perfect condition! Sooooo, to celebrate this book being…AMAZING I am going to give away my paperback copy of this book. As I listened to this via audio the book is unread and the spine is unbroken. See my twitter post (the one sharing this review) for details.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!