It’s Monday… What are you reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

 

The first book that I am reading is The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. At the time of writing this I’m about 100 pages and so far I’m really enjoyed it. It’s over 500 pages long though, so I’ve still got a lot of it to read.The book follows the 4 sisters of a traditional Japanese family, whose fortune is declining. The second book that I’m reading is Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, which is the first book in the Chronicles of Pern series. Again I’m about 100 pages into this one but it’s been quite a quick read so far so I think I’ll be finishing this one over the next couple of days. Once I finished Dragonflight, I’ll probably either pick up The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin or A Night Without Stars by Peter F. Hamilton.
That’s all I’m currently reading right now. I’ve read some great books so far this month so I’m looking forward to seeing what else this month of reading has in store for me. What are you currently reading? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Empire trilogy / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Title/   Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire and Mistress of the Empire
Author/ Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
Publication date/ 1987, 1990 and 1992
Series or standalone/ Trilogy
Rating/ 
This is a collaborative political fantasy trilogy by the American writers Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. It is also a part of the larger Riftwar series by Feist, although you don’t have to read those books in order to read this trilogy. It begins with Daughter of the Empire; the main character is Mara who is just about to enter into temple service but is called back to her home after the death of her father and her brother to become Lady of Acoma. A power struggle ensues. I won’t go into the plot too much more as I don’t want to spoil it.
The world of Kelewan is one of my favourite things about this trilogy. It is quite reminiscent of medieval Asia with a heavy emphasis on the class system and remaining honourable. In this world there is very clear protocol of how to interact with people of power, which I found to be very interesting. I will say that the constant reminders of these protocols may be a bit grating for some, as we are still being told of etiquette well into the third and final book. Personally I had no issues with this but it may be something to be aware of.  Throughout the three books I thought the details of the politics and class system were very well done. I personally love political fantasy so I very much enjoyed this aspect of it and felt completely immersed in it. However there are times throughout where I wanted more depth and information about the world itself, specifically about the cho-ja and the geography of the world, but overall the world building is great. The focus is very much the immediate surroundings of the main character, as well as the politics of the world, instead of a wider look at the world itself. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I personally wanted to know a bit more about Kelewan. I think this is a very interesting world which really develops throughout the three books. It is definitely a new favourite of mine.
Moving on to the plot, I will say that if you are looking for a fast-paced, action packed fantasy trilogy then this is not the one for you. This is quite a slow moving story with the occasional skips in time. Due to these skips in time we get to witness a large span of the characters’ lives, which means that we really get to see them change and develop. Despite the slow burn of the plot it was never boring and I never found that it dragged, although I think this may be an issue for some people. There is always a goal in mind or a problem to solve. The writing also does a great job at keeping you engaged even in the slower sections. I always wanted to read more because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, which is a good sign that the plot is engaging. I will say that things are perhaps a little too neatly solved at the end but it is only a minor complaint; I actually really enjoyed the ending.  As previously mentioned this story focuses on court intrigue and the politics of the world, so if that is not your thing then I would avoid this trilogy.
In terms of the characters, we have a fantastic cast within this trilogy. From the book 1 I found Mara to be a very interesting character and a great female protagonist. I briefly mentioned earlier that we get to see years of the characters’ lives and I really love that about this trilogy. It creates fantastic character development and allows the reader to perhaps have a clearer understanding of the characters. Mara’s development throughout is so well done. We get to see the many sides of her, from her calculating side to her kind nature, and we get to witness her style of leadership. Even when she comes across as cold, we understand that she is the product of the society she was raised in, we still root for her. My one small complaint is Mara’s seemingly easy entry to the life of a ruling lady. She is 17 when she is brought back to become Lady of Acoma and although she has grown up in this world as a girl she would not have been in the line of succession, so how did she become so adept at politics? Perhaps it just comes naturally to her and she just understands the world she lives in but it just seems a little unrealistic when she first ascended to power. The other characters we meet throughout the three books are just as well written as the protagonist. Two of my favourites are Arakasi and Lujan. If you like well written characters in your fantasy books then you will find plenty in this trilogy.
Overall I think this is a fantastic trilogy with well written characters, an engaging plot and an interesting world. I knew very little when I started this trilogy but I’m very glad I tried it out as it is a new favourite of mine. If you enjoy political fantasy with slow burning plots then I would highly recommend checking this trilogy out. I am definitely planning to try out more from these authors after loving these books. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Recent Additions to my TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some recent additions to my TBR and by that I mean to my Goodreads shelf, not my physical bookshelf. I don’t necessarily own any of these books yet but I want to read them at some point. Let’s get started.
I’m sure there are more books I want to add to my TBR but I think I’ll leave it at that for now :). Have you added any books to your TBR recently? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Bookish Settings I’d Visit

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It is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. It is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This weeks topic is bookish settings you’d love to visit. Since I read a lot of fantasy I’m going to be talking about fictional places, instead of real places used in books. I’ve actually only have six to share with you today, so let’s get started.
  • Middle-Earth, especially Rivendell from LOTR trilogy
  • Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series
  • The city of Ebora from The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
  • Buckkeep Castle from the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb
  • The Clayr’s Glacier from the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix
  • Pellinor from the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon
I’m sure I’ve probably missed some but these are the first that come to mind. There are a lot of amazing fantasy worlds out there. What fictional world would you love to visit? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Winter Book Recommendations

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can see from the title of this post I’m going to be sharing some books that are great to read in the winter. These are books that are ideal to snuggle up to read on a cold day with a blanket and cup of tea, if that is what you like to do. If not then these are still great books to read.
The Bear and the Nightingale / Katharine Arden
The setting of this book makes it a great book to read in the winter time. I actually read this last winter and plan to read the sequel, The Girl in the Tower, this winter.
His Dark Materials / Philip Pullman
Of course, I recommend reading this any time but I think reading it in winter is a great idea. Basically I love these books and will take every opportunity to recommend them.
The Hobbit or LOTR / J. R. R. Tolkien
I don’t have much to say about this one other than I think settling down with a dense fantasy over winter is a good idea. Although I read fantasy year round there’s something about winter that makes me think of the fantasy genre.
Daughter of the Forest / Juliet Marillier
There’s something about books with a fairytale/folklore feel that is perfect for winter, so the Sevenwater series is perfect for that.
That’s all I have for you guys today. I have to admit that I don’t tend to read books based on the seasons but there are definitely some books that have a wintery feel to them. Are there any books that you like to read in the winter months? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

November Wrap Up & December TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another monthly wrap up. I had a pretty good reading month in terms of quantity and quality – I read eight books. I’m glad to be back in a reading mood again. Let’s get started.

 

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns / Julie C. Dao / ★★
This book just didn’t work for me. I’m always up for trying East Asian inspired fantasy books but unfortunately I didn’t like this one. The main issue I had was the main character, Xifeng. I found her to be quite inconsistent at times and kind of frustrating. I know that you’re not really supposed to like her anyway but I just really wasn’t a fan and the girl on girl hate is a pet peeve of mine. The story was alright, although it seemed a little to neat and easy for the main character to get what she wants. The writing is good but it doesn’t really make up for the fact that I didn’t find the story very compelling. Overall this was a disappointment for me. It reinforces the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of YA fantasy at the moment.

 

Age of Assassin / R. J. Barker / ★★★
While I did enjoy this one, I didn’t love it. Probably somewhere between a 2.5 and 3 star rating. I thought the writing was good and it flowed nicely, but I found the plot to be a little lacking. To me it didn’t fully translate into a compelling story and there were a few times it dragged a little bit. It was still good for the most part. The characters are good, if a little lacking in depth and development. I don’t really know what else to say other than this one didn’t fully work for me. I probably won’t be continuing on with this series.

 

The Power / Naomi Alderman / ★★★
This one is quite a tricky one to rate. I think the concept of the book is great but it never translated into a compelling story to me. I can’t quite put my finger on why that is but that’s what I thought once I’d finished. The writing is good and this book is definitely full of interesting ideas, but there were times that I felt it was a little underdeveloped in some ways. I have mixed feelings on this book and I don’t really know what else to say. I would still recommend reading this but I definitely didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.

 

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The Book of Atrix Wolfe / Patricia A. McKillip / ★★★
I’ve been meaning to read more from this author since reading and loving Forgotten Beasts of Eld, so I decided to pick this one up on a bit of a whim. Her writing is great; I find it so easy to become immersed in her worlds and stories. This book was not an exception, although I didn’t love the plot as much as the previous book I’ve read by her. That’s not to say that the plot of this book wasn’t good though – I did still enjoy it. Overall I thought this was a great book and I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author.

 

The Black Tides of Heaven  and The Red Threads of Fortune / JY Yang / ★★★
I have a full review of this, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. I thought that both of these novellas were great, although lacking a little bit in the world building. The writing is good, the characters are well written and the world is an interesting one. If you’re a fan of fantasy then I would recommend checking these out if you’re interested by them.

 

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To Capture What We Cannot Keep / Beatrice Colin / ★★★.5
This is definitely quite a romance heavy historical fiction but I actually quite enjoyed it. The main thing I enjoyed about this book is that it is set during the construction of the Eiffel Tower – I think this is a great setting. Although it is quite romance heavy, I thought it was done well and it was an enjoyable story to read. I found this to be a quick and easy read, although it is quite a slow burner. If you’re looking for some new historical fiction to try out then I’d recommend checking this out.

 

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The Big Four / Agatha Christie / ★★★.5
It’s kind of funny that this is my fourth Christie book I’ve read considering the title. Anyway this was another great Poirot story with a compelling mystery. I’ve not been reading them in any kind of order but I haven’t been having any trouble reading them like that. Each has a separate mystery. I really enjoyed the story of this one and I find these Poirot mysteries to be so enjoyable to read. I don’t really have anything else to say about these – I’ve enjoyed all the Poirot books I’ve read so far.

 

The Book of Dust / Philip Pullman / ★★★★
This was probably my most anticipated book of this year and it did not disappoint. I was both nervous and excited about the possibility of this book, but it was great to be back in this world. It is quite a slow burning story, however I was never bored or felt that it dragged in any way. Basically I loved it and I’m very excited for the next book in this trilogy.

 

In terms of my December TBR I’m going to keep to simple and not pick a load of books to read as I haven’t really been sticking my TBRs recently. I would love to get to The Makioka Sister by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki – I said I’d pick it up in November but that didn’t happen. Other than that I’m just going to read what I want at the time. What books do you want to get to by the end of the year? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

US vs UK Book Covers

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Since these posts seem to do quite well and I enjoy doing them, I thought it was about time to do another UK vs US covers post. For reference the UK covers are on the left and the US are on the right. Let’s get started.

 

Artemis / Andy Weir
This one definitely goes to the US cover. I’ve said a few times I’m not a big fan of people on the cover and so I’m just not a huge fan of the UK cover. I really like the US cover though. I think I like the colour scheme of the US one more too.

 

The Girl in the Tower / Katherine Arden 
I think this one is going to the US too. I really like both of these covers but there’s something about the colour scheme of the US cover that I really like. The UK cover is really nice though.

 

 

Nevernight / Jay Kristoff 
Now I’m not the biggest fan of this series, but I do really like the UK covers so I thought I’d include them anyway. I don’t like the US covers although I think they do fit quite well with the story – the UK ones are great.

 

The Name of the Wind / Patrick Rothfuss
This is abit of a tough one as I quite like both of these covers… but I think I would say the US is my favourite. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the people on the cover. I think it comes down to the colour scheme again – I like the blue of the US cover.

 

I really enjoy doing these post so I hope you like them too. This time I preferred more of the US covers. I definitely plan to do more of these posts in the future so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa