Holiday TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. You can probably already tell from the title that I’m going to be sharing my holiday TBR. On the day this is posted I will be making my way to Sicily with my family. I’m quite indecisive so choosing what books to take is always a bit of a long process :). Basically a lot of these are books on my e-reader that I haven’t read yet, because I don’t want to be carry around a load of books.

 

 

I wanted to have a variety of books with me, not just fantasy, because I do tend to stick to that genre :). I don’t know how many books I’ll actually get to but I wanted to make sure I won’t run out of books. I do have some other books on my e-reader, so I may get distracted by them. What books are on your TBR right now? That’s all I have for you guys today. I’ve never been to Sicily before so I’m looking forward to visiting it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

If you liked this… try this…

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can see from the title I going to be sharing some recommendations in the form of a if you liked this… try this post. I’ve never done one of these before but I thought I’d try it out today. No surprise that all the books I’m going to be talking about are fantasy books, so let’s get started.

 

If you liked Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay then I think you may like the Initiate Brother duology by Sean Russell
Both of these books have East Asian influences as well as political intrigue, a fantastic cast of characters and a compelling plot. If you enjoy slower paced fantasy that are character driven then you need to check out both of these books.

 

If you liked LOTR by J. R. R. Tolkien then I think you may like the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon
Although the Pellinor series is very much its own series, you can clearly see the influences from Tolkien. I have to admit I did find LOTR quite dense but I still really enjoyed it. The Pellinor series is one of my all time favourites and want to recommend it to as many people as possible.

 

If you liked Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier then I think you may like The Bear and the Nightingale by Katharine Arden.
Both of these books have a distinct fairy tale feel to them as well as a great female protagonist. I loved both of these books. Each of them contains a compelling story, fantastic writing and a great cast of characters.

 

If you liked the Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan then I think you may like the Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell.
Both of these fantasy series are full of humour and are just so entertaining to read. I love both of these series and would highly recommend them if you are looking for a fun, fast read. Both of these series are so good.

 

That’s all I have for you guys today. I quite like doing a recommendation post in this format. Have you read any of these books? Or would you recommend any other books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

5 reasons to read Persuasion by Jane Austen

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another 5 reasons to read style review and today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite books by Jane Austen, Persuasion. If I remember correctly this was Austen’s last completed novel and was published roughly 6 months after her death. This book is just so good.

 

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  1. This book contains a fantastic female protagonist in the form of Anne Elliott. I love her character and think that a lot of people will be able to relate to her. The entire cast of this book are well written, although Wentworth could perhaps be a little more fleshed out.
  2. As with all her books the writing is so good. I find her books so easy to get into and I love the wit she incorporates into her writing. If you are new to classics I think her books are a great place to start.
  3. It’s another interesting look into women’s place in society during this time period. Anne is 27 when we meet her and in danger of becoming a spinster. As with her other books, we get a good insight into society at the time.
  4. There is a good BBC adaptation starring Sally Hawkins, which you can watch after reading the book :).
  5. This is one of my favourite (tied with Pride and Prejudice) Austen books so of course I want to recommend it to you guys.

 

To be honest I recommend reading all of Austen’s books because they are so good. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought of it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

May Wrap Up

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the month so it’s time to talk about all the books I’ve read. One of the books I read this month went straight onto my favourite list. I read a total of 8 books in May, which I am pretty happy with. Let’s get started.

 

Children of Blood and Bone / Legacy of Orïsha trilogy / Tomi Adeyemi / ★★
I had heard a lot of good things about this book but unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I’m planning to write a full review on this one, so expect that sometime in June or July. For now I’ll just say that I didn’t connect with the characters, disliked the romance and I wasn’t invested in the story. If you are a big fan of YA fantasy then I think you’ll enjoy this but it didn’t work for me personally.

 

 

Gather the Daughters / Jennie Melamed / ★★★
This one is quite a hard one to review and rate. Overall I thought this was a good book and it got me thinking but there were a few issues I had with it. This book is pretty dark and unsettling as it follows four young girls living in a secluded cult-like society. One of my main issues in the book is the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything but it was felt very unsatisfactory to me. In some ways I wondered at the point of this book. Yes it does get you to think about these things but it doesn’t come up with any solution and there’s no resolution at the end. The characters were quite well written, if a little flat and the writing was good.

 

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Caligula / Simon Turney / ★★★.5
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Based around the life of the third Roman emperor, Caligula, this was a fascinating read. I know next to nothing about this period of history so it’s a good thing that this book doesn’t require any prior knowledge. Although it is quite a slow read, I found it to be engaging throughout and never felt that it dragged. The politics and intrigue are so well done. I liked that fact that this is told from one of the sisters of Caligula – it provides an interesting perspective. The book was well written and I found it easy to get into the flow of the story. Overall I enjoyed this historical fiction very much and would recommend it, especially if you are interested in the time period.

 

The Moonstone / Wilkie Collins / ★★★★
This book is generally recognised as the first detective novel. I have to admit that I struggled initially to get into this book, but after a while I settled into the flow of the story. I didn’t find it to be the most compelling story, although I did enjoy seeing how it all unfolded. It dragged a little in certain places which made it quite a slow read for me. Overall I enjoyed this one but I would say I liked The Woman in White a little more.

 

Neverwhere / Neil Gaiman / ★★★★
I have heard so many good things about this author so I thought it was about time I tried one of his books. I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure what to start with so I picked this one up on a bit of a whim. It was a entertaining and enjoyable read with a great cast of characters and a good story. I loved the villains, Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar – they were really quite creepy. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I definitely plan on checking out more books by this author.

 

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Charmcaster / book 3 in the Spellslinger series / Sebastien de Castell / ★★★★
Since I’ve got a full review of this one coming next month, I’m going to be brief here. Basically I loved it. I thought this was a great instalment to this series and I cannot wait it see how things progress in the next books. Highly recommend.

 

Heartstone / book 5 of the Shardlake series / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★
This was another fantastic instalment to this series. Once again the plot was compelling, the writing is great and I loved being back with these characters. I really enjoy these books and I was so excited to see that there is a new book in this series being released later this year. If you enjoy historical fiction mixed with mysteries then I highly recommend checking this series out. I’m looking forward to continuing with the next book in the series.

 

 

The Beast Player /  Nahoko Uehashi / Translator: Cathy Hirano / ★★★★★
I loved this book. Seriously, it is so good. I have a full review of this coming, so I’ll keep this short. Originally written in Japanese, this is a fantastic fantasy book. The writing is great, there’s a wonderful cast of characters and the plot is compelling. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I highly recommend checking it out.

 

I am currently reading Wrath of the Empire by Brian McClellan, which is the second book in the Gods of Powder and Blood trilogy. I’m a couple hundred pages in so far and loving it. In terms of my June TBR I haven’t really set myself one. I’m just going to read what I feel like at the time. I do have a holiday coming up so I will be posting a TBR for that. Have you read any of these books? What was your favourite book in May? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 sequels I haven’t read yet

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can see from the title I’m going to be sharing some sequels I haven’t read yet, but really want to get to soon. Some of these I’m waiting for the paperback editions and others I just haven’t read yet. Let’s get started.

 

  • Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 in the Echoes of the Fallen series / Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • A Veil of Spears / book 3 in the Shattered Sand series / Bradley Beaulieu
  • Grey Sister / book 2 in the Book of the Ancestors series / Mark Lawrence
  • Wrath of Empire / book 2 in the Gods of Blood and Powder series / Brian McClellan
  • Assassin’s Fate / book 3 in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb

 

 

That’s all I have for today. Hopefully I can get to these sequels soon, because I need to know what happens next in these series. What sequels are on your TBR? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Under Heaven / Guy Gavriel Kay

Title / Under Heaven
Author / Guy Gavriel Kay
Publication Date / 2010 (first published)
Series or standalone / book 1 of Under Heaven duology
Overall Star Rating / 

 

 

Under Heaven is set in a fictionalized version of the Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China and contains a masterful story of family, intrigue and power. It is a historical fantasy and it is the first book in the Under Heaven companion duology; the second book is River of Stars which is set in a world inspired by the Song dynasty.

 

The world is not something to be understood. It is vanity, illusion to even try.” – Li-Mei

 

This was my first book by this author and it will definitely not be my last. Simply put, this was a fantastic book. From the beginning I could tell that every word is so well placed and that the writing is very well thought out. It was a pleasure to read this book, because the writing is so good. It immerses you in this world and characters, and makes you want to read on. It is quite a long book at over 500 pages and at times the pacing makes it quite a slow read, but the writing and characters will keep you engaged throughout. Some may find that the slow but steady pacing results in the story dragging, however I had no issues with this. Even in the slower moments, the book was compelling for me. The first few chapters really hook you into the story and from then on it never loses momentum, even when the pacing is slow. The plot is compelling throughout and once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put this book down. Another strength of this book was the world building. Under Heaven takes place in Kitai, which as I’ve mentioned is an alternate version of the Tang Dynasty. From the very beginning of the book I was completely immersed in the world. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research on this period of history. Now I do not know a lot about Chinese history, so I cannot comment on authenticity, but I can say that this complex world is richly painted. Not only do we get a good understanding of the world as a whole, we also get to see some of the inner workings of court intrigue. The politics and intrigue are fantastic. I love political intrigue in fantasy and Kay has done it so well. Everything unfolds at just the right pacing, without rushing it, and it was a pleasure to watch to all unfold.

 

Although we mainly follow Shen Tai, there is a fantastic cast of characters that we meet in this book too. This is primarily a character driven story with compelling narratives for each character perspective. As I’ve mentioned Shen Tai’s perspective is used the most, but each perspective is as compelling as the last and the flow is never disrupted by a switch of perspectives. All of the characters are incredibly well written. There are so many characters that I loved in this book but one of my favourites would have to be Wei Song. She is such a strong and intriguing character and I would love to know more about her. There are many more characters I could talk about, including Li Mei, Sima Zian and Meshag, but then this review would be incredibly long. Just know that all of the characters in this book are all complex, flawed and wonderfully vivid. Even with a character you dislike, Kay manages to make you think twice about them and to see them in a more sympathetic light. The relationships between the characters are also well written. It was so interesting to see all the different relationships between the characters and how they developed throughout the book. The characters are definitely a massive strength of this book and I think I will pick up on new things about each character when I reread this book. Put simply, I adored this book and I want to recommend it to as many people as I can. Everything about this book is well thought out and I loved reading every second of it.

 

Overall, I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author. This is a wonderful mix of historical fiction and fantasy that has resulted in a compelling and fascinating read. The characters are so well written, the plot is compelling, and the writing is fantastic. Kay has managed to weave these elements all together seamlessly to create a complex and layered book. This is the kind of book that you just don’t want it to end and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has definitely moved into my favourites. I would highly recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoy a mix of historical fiction and fantasy, and/or enjoy character driven stories. However, if you want a quick, action-packed fantasy read then this probably isn’t the book for you. I will definitely be checking out the other book in this companion duology, River of Stars. Have you read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Favourite Fictional Places

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have some more favourite fictional places to share you guys. There are so many I could talk about but I’ve limited myself to four for this post. I’ve done 2 other posts about my favourite fictional places so if you think I’ve missed any be sure to check out those posts too – part 1 and part 2. Some of these books don’t have maps of the world which is a bit of a shame because I love maps but each of these worlds are fantastically written and basically amazing. Let’s get started.

 

The world of The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi – this is such an interesting and vivid world that I love. I would love to see a map of this world and to see more of it.

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Buckkeep from the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb – there are so many amazing places in the Six Duchies but I think my favourite is Buckkeep castle and the surrounding town.

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Ebora from the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams – the once great city of the Eboran empire, this is one of my favourite places of this series. It is so well written. 

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Pellinor from the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon – Pellinor is a city within the world of Edil-Amarandh and is the place of Maerad’s (main character) birth.

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That’s all for today. Be sure to check out my other posts to find out about more of my favourite fictional places. What are some of your favourite fictional places? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa