Favourite Fictional Places Part 2

Hi guys, how are you all? I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some more of my favourite fictional places. There are some incredible worlds out there and I love talking about some of my favourites. I’ve done one of these post before, which you can check out here. Let’s get started with four more fictional worlds I love.

 

Renthia / the Queens of Renthia series / Sarah Beth Durst
Goodreads synopsis: Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . . But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

 

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Sevenwaters / the Sevenwaters series / Juliet Marillier
Goodreads synopsis: Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.
When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

 

Sharakhai / Songs of the Shattered Sand series / Bradley P. Beaulieu
Goodreads synopsis: Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.
Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

 

Dara / the Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu
Goodreads synopsis: Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

 

All of these worlds are absolutely amazing and quite unique. I love that in Renthia everything is built in trees, and that Sharakhai is so different from your typical fantasy setting. Sevenwaters sounds like such a magical place, and I would love to be able to explore Dara. How amazing would it be if you could visit these places? Obviously I know that’s impossible though :). What is one of your favourite fictional places? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Reasons To Read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Hi guys, today I thought I would do another 5 reasons to read type review. I wanted to talk about one of my favourite classics, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. I read it a couple of years ago now and I loved it. It’s actually probably time for a reread. Anne is such an underrated Bronte sister so I wanted to share my love for this book. I also have the Penguin English Library edition which is stunning. Anyway let’s get started.

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  1. Helen is a fantastic main character, who is so well written. She is quite a guarded character but you can really sense an air of vulnerability from her throughout the book. I just think she’s quite an interesting person. The other characters are also well written.
  2. As with the other Bronte sister, Anne’s writing is fantastic. I found it easy to get into and so I think this could be a good place to start with the Bronte sisters or classics in general.
  3. The content for the plot is so progressive for the time and it’s also interesting to see what things were like at that time. I found the plot to be compelling throughout but I think that some may find the middle drags a little bit.
  4. If you enjoyed the works of the other Bronte sisters, than you need to check this book out too. Or if you just enjoy Victorian literature in general than I would recommend it.
  5. Although this was published in 1848 it was still accessible to modern readers. Personally I think it has aged very well and would recommend it to everyone who enjoys classics, especially people who prefer Victorian literature.

 

That is all I have to share with you for now :). As you can probably tell I loved this book and Anne’s other book Agnes Grey is also well worth a read. 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

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at.
The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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 I am currently reading two books – Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb and Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy.  I’m not that far into either of them so I can’t really comment on anything yet but I am excited to finish of the Rain Wild Chronicles. The book I recently finished is Artemis by Andy Weir, which is set to be released November 14th. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a digital copy from Netgalley and I really enjoyed it. I will have a full review closer to the release date, so keep an eye out for that. I don’t really know what I’m going to read next. Possibly The Power by Naomi Alderman, or The Good People by Hannah Kent or Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan. I’ve got quite a few books to choose from :).
I have to admit that I’m not feeling a great amount of motivation to read at the moment, so hopefully I can get these books read. If not, that’s fine too. I think it’s OK to not read sometimes – I sometimes go through phases of not wanting to read alot. Anyway what are you guys currently reading? I would love to know your thoughts on any of these books. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Recommendation: More Fantasy

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s been a couple of months since I last recommended some fantasy books so I thought it was about time for another post. I have four more books to talk about today – all of which I loved. I have done quite a few of these so far, if you want to know so good places to start in the fantasy genre than check out this post. So I think I am just going to get straight into it.

 

Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst
This is the first book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy (YA fantasy genre). The main thing I love about this book is the setting.  Basically everything is built on tree branches and everything has a spirit. I really liked that it isn’t your typical fantasy setting – it’s unique. The characters are wonderfully written, the world is fantastic and it has a compelling plot. I recently read the second book in the trilogy, The Reluctant Queen, which is just as great as the first book.  I have a full review of the first book which you can check out here. I am very excited for the third and final book.

 

Kings of the Wyld / Nicholas Eames 
This is the first book in the Bands series. I thought this was a great introduction to this series, although I don’t know how long it is planned to be. This is just a very enjoyable read. Some of the humour wasn’t really to my taste but that’s just personal preference. I thought the characters are well written, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. I did want more from the ending though. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just felt a little rushed. The whole of the book is built up and then it ends too quickly – it could have been explored a bit deeper. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series.

 

The Ninth Rain / Jen Williams 
This is the first book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I thought this was a fantastic first book in this trilogy. It took me a little while to get into it but after the first few chapters I was hooked. This is definitely another favourite world for me. It’s rich, complex and interesting but it never felt bogged down. The characters are great, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. The detail in the writing make it an immersive read. I am excited about the potential of the next two books and cannot wait for more from this world.

 

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The Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
This is the first book in the Empire trilogy. You guys have probably seen me talk about this book pretty recently so it’s no surprise that I’m recommending it now. If you enjoy politics and intrigue in fantasy books than you need to check out this book. It is so good. Although I loved this world (it’s Japanese inspired) I definitely wanted more from it, but it’s still good. The characters are fantastic – I love Mara as a main character. The writing is easy to get into and I found that I was hooked from very early on. I have also read the second book, Servant of the Empire, and it is fantastic as well. I am very much looking forward to reading the third and final book.

 

I am sure I will be doing another fantasy recommendation post in the future but for now this is all I have for you. I would love to know if you guys have any recommendations for me. Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Stranger of Tempest / Tom Lloyd

Title / Stranger of Tempest
Author / Tom Lloyd
Publication Date / 2001 (first published)
Standalone or series? / Book 1 of the God’s Fragment series
Star Rating / 

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Goodreads synopsis: Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Shattered Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

 

You guys are probably aware by now that I am always up for trying new fantasy books and this one sounded like something I’d enjoy. Unfortunately this was very much a case of it’s not you it’s me, if that makes sense. This was just one of those books that didn’t work for me. It definitely has potential to be a good fantasy series though but I personally had a few small complaints and one bigger complaint.  Let’s start with the smaller ones. I wasn’t invested in the characters at all and felt that they lacked a little depth. Having said that, they were still well written. I think Lynx was the most well rounded character but I didn’t feel like I understood him. I couldn’t get a grasp on his motives or his personality, which makes it a little tricky to become invested. The other characters lacked depth and I didn’t really care about any of them. Maybe we’ll get more background in later books. As I say though this is only a minor issue – it didn’t detract too much from my overall reading experience. The other small complaint was the pacing, although this really goes together with my main issue. To me the pacing was off and so didn’t help me become invested in the book, if that makes sense. My main complaint was the plot. It just felt very aimless to me. Basically this is your standard mercenary group plot with quite a bit of walking through tunnels in the middle of the book. I read this book over a couple of weeks because I had very little motivation to read it – the plot hadn’t drawn me in. I’ve said before in previous reviews that I don’t mind slower plots but this felt like it was going nowhere. It dragged quite a bit and I will admit to skim reading a few small sections. The fact that I couldn’t get a grasp on characters motives didn’t help me understand what was going on. I also think the second half let the book down overall. Something else that was missing for me was the atmosphere. There was very little to no suspense. This lack of atmosphere also contributed to me not becoming immersed in this book as I never had a true sense of extreme danger. Maybe I missed something, I don’t know. The narrative switches between now and then, which I wasn’t a huge fan of but I didn’t find it too jarring. I think because it wasn’t constantly changing between the two. On a more positive note, I thought it was well written, although it is overly descriptive so if that is not your thing than I would probably avoid this book. I think the dialogue was a bit mixed at times. Sometimes it was quite well done, other times a little fumbled. I can say that the world building was pretty good and there were some good action scenes too. The last thing I’ll mention is that this felt more like a standalone book than a first book in a series. By the end of this book things were wrapped up quite nicely and so I didn’t feel like there was a bigger picture or underlying threat to explore in the next book – maybe I just missed something. I don’t want to put anyone off trying this book though, as there are many great reviews of it on Goodreads.

 

Overall this book had a lot of potential and I think a lot of people will enjoy it, unfortunately I wasn’t one of them. I am not going to enjoy every book I read, so I would still recommend checking this out if the synopsis sounds appealing to you, as I think this was a good book. Although I didn’t love it I still think this was a good introduction to this series. I won’t be continuing on with this series though. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

August Wrap Up and September TBR

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. I am pretty happy that it’s now going into the autumn months as autumn/winter are my favourite seasons :). Anyway I read 6 books this month, which isn’t that much compared to previous months. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to read this month, so I’m pretty happy that I still read 6 books.  As always I have linked each book to Wordery using my affiliate link, so you can get yourself a copy of any of these books if you want to. Let’s get started with my mini reviews.

 

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Stranger of Tempest / Tom Lloyd / ★★
This was very much a case of it’s not you, it’s me. It had a lot of potential but I personally felt it fell a little flat. My only small complaint was that the characters lacked some depth and the pacing wasn’t quite right. The plot felt a little aimless at times and the pacing suffered a little bit. Apart from that, this was a good book, but I just never got invested in it. If you like fantasy and the synopsis interests you I would still recommend checking it out. I have a full review of this coming soon.

 

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Child of the Prophecy / Juliet Marillier / ★★★
Of course the writing was fantastic. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I discovered Marillier this year and I think her writing is great. I do think that this was the weakest of the Sevenwaters trilogy so far. To be entirely honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character, Fainine – I found her quite frustrating a lot of the time. In my opinion there were also a few holes in the plot and I just didn’t find it as compelling as the previous two. Overall still a good book but definitely not my favourite.

 

A Pale View of Hills / Kazuo Ishiguro / ★★★
I’m a big fan of this author and I’ve been meaning to check out his debut book for a while now. As with his other books, memory plays a part in this book and there is an unreliable narrator. I found this to be a very intriguing story. This is definitely one of those books you will pick up more from rereading it. I will say that this is quite a vague book in some ways, so if you are a fan of straightforward plots and neatly solved mysteries than this may not be for you. You are given the bare bones of plot and it is up to you interpret the events of the book. Of course the writing is great and the characters are well written. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read from Ishiguro, so I would definitely recommend checking him out.

 

Germinal / Emile Zola / ★★★★
This is definitely not an easy read, in terms of the conditions of the characters during a miners’ strike – there is a lot of suffering and hardship in this book. It is a very interesting read, but it is very grim. The writing is fantastic, although there are quite a lot of long descriptions. It did take me some time to read it but it is quite dense and long (not in a bad way though). It did also take me some time to get used to all of the characters and to remember who’s who. I don’t have alot more to say about this. I would highly recommend reading it.

 

Empress of Bright Moon / Weina dai Randal / ★★★★
This is the second and final book in the Empress of Bright Moon duology. I thought this was a fantastic conclusion and it has definitely made me want to check out more historical fiction set in Ancient China. I found these books so easy to get into and as they are compelling they are quite quick reads. Basically I really enjoyed this book and the duology as a whole. I highly recommend checking this out, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

 

Servant of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Empire trilogy. I’m going to start this review by saying that this trilogy is fast becoming a new favourite of mine. As with the first book, this was very compelling.  Even though my copy was around 820 pages I flew through this book because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Once again the politics and intrigue were a highlight of this book. This is not an action packed fantasy book, but if you enjoy intrigue than you need to check out this trilogy. It is so good. I am very excited to read the third and final book. Clearly I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like your fantasy books filled with intrigue.

 

I’ve decided I’m not going to set myself a TBR for September. I’m just going to read what I want to at the time. I am currently reading Artemis by Andy Weir, which I am liking so far.  Other than that I’m not really sure – I have quite a few books on my TBR :). What was your favourite book in August? Mine was definitely Servant of the Empire. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Hidden Gems in the Fantasy Genre

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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 hidden gem books in the fantasy genre. No surprise that I choose to talk about fantasy this week :). I’m going to be sharing some books that I feel are a bit underrated and deserve more love. Quite a few of these have under 1,000 Goodreads rating, others I just don’t really see alot of in the bookish community. I have eight books to share with you guys today. Let’s get started.
  1. Fudoki / Kij Johnson / Standalone – fantastic mix of fantasy and historical fiction
  2. The Ninth Rain / Jen Williams / 3 books planned, 1 currently out – I thought this was an amazing start to this trilogy.
  3.  Echoes of the Fall series / Adrian Tchaikovsky / 2 books currently out – one of my new favourite settings, as well as great characters and plot
  4. The Songs of Shattered Sands series / Bradley Beaulieu / 6 books planned, 2 currently released – unique setting and fantastic plot, if a little slow to start
  5. The Tale of Shikanoko series / Lian Hearn / Depending on what editions you get this will either be in two books or four books – great fantasy set in a mythical Japanese world
  6. The Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu / 3 books planned, 2 currently out – the first two books were amazing, although the first book is quite dense
  7. Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / Trilogy, originally published in the 80’s. I thought this was a fantastic introduction to this trilogy. This is a must read if you like fantasy with a lot of intrigue/politics
  8. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series / Michelle Paver / 6 book series (all released) – these books are definitely aimed at younger readers but they can still be enjoyed by a range of ages. I thought this series was great
That’s all I have for you guys today. I highly recommend checking out all of these books, as I really think they deserve more love. Do you guys have any hidden gem books? I’d love to know which books you think deserve more love. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa