Favourite Book Covers

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought it was about time that I shared some more beautiful books. I’ve done a few posts like this before but I haven’t done one in a while… so I’ve chosen some amazing books covers to share with you all from the books I’ve read or got so far this year. I have eight book to show you guys, all of which have amazing covers :). Let’s get started.

 

 

The Ice / Laline Paull / unread

 

 

The Ninth Rain / Jen Williams / ★ 

 

Dark Fire C. J. Sansom / ★ 

 

 

The Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst / ★ 

 

 

Servant of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / unread

 

 

All for Nothing / Walter Kempowski / 

 

 

The Shadow Of What Was Lost / James Islington / ★.5

 

 

The Goddess Chronicles / Natuso Kirino / 

 

I am sure I will doing another of these posts by the end of the year – there are so many great book covers out there. I really enjoy putting these post together. Which one is your favourite? I love all of them but mine is probably The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst. It’s pretty hard to choose thought! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Mini Reviews: Fantasy

Hi guys I hope you are all well. It’s time for my first review post for August and surprise, surprise I’m going to be talking about some fantasy books :). Today I thought I would do some mini reviews and talk about some first books in a series, so I have 3 mini reviews for you guys. I don’t know if I’ll continue on with each of these series – one of them I don’t think I will. We have a assassin fantasy book, an urban fantasy and one which I’m just going to call regular fantasy… I don’t really know what else to call it. Anyway let’s get started.

 

The Sentinel Mage / Emily Gee / ★★★
For the most part I thought this was a sold first book in this trilogy, although it definitely has some flaws. It’s probably somewhere between 2.5/3 star rating. I didn’t know a lot about it before reading it but I ended up quite enjoying it. For the most part, it is pretty predictable and it is nothing new in terms of the fantasy genre, however I still found it to be an engaging and enjoyable read. The romance is entirely predictable and kind of annoying.  If you are looking for new and unique fantasy books than this isn’t the book for you. If you still enjoy traditional fantasy than it may be worth a read. It was an easy and quick read that has a magic system that I liked. There could have been more character development but perhaps that will happen more in the next two books. The women especially, I wanted more depth from them. It felt like we were only brushing the surface of each character, which makes it a little trickier to connect with them. I think this book could have been shorten a little bit without removing any important information or enjoyment. Overall I liked it, but it wasn’t perfect – I am interested in continuing with this trilogy at some point but it won’t be a priority for me. So who knows if I’ll actually ever continue with this trilogy…

 

 

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A Dance With Cloaks / David Daglish / ★★
To be honest this was quite an average read for me. Don’t get me wrong I liked it, but I wasn’t blown away by it and I didn’t love it. It was quite a predictable read to me and I never felt fully invested in the characters or plot. The world building was generally good, but could have maybe done with a bit more depth. I found the characters to be quite inconsistent at times and Aaron kind of bugged me a little bit. There are quite alot of characters to keep track of, which becomes a bit of a chore and it makes it hard to fully understand what is going on. Overall I liked it, but it also fell a little flat for me. At the moment I very much doubt that I’ll continue with this series – it’s a six book series and I just can’t see myself committing to that after not loving the first book. This one just fell quite flat for me. Also if you’re squeamish about anything eye related than maybe avoid this as there is some eye gouging.

 

 

Rivers of London / Ben Aaronovitch / ★★★
I’ve had my eyes on these books for a while as my sister enjoys them and I trust her judgement. I finally decided to pick the first book up recently and I thought this was a great urban fantasy book. I haven’t had much luck with urban fantasy before but this one was really good. The mix of the fantasy genre and the crime/mystery genre was mixed very well. The characters were great, the plot was engaging and it was easy to get into. Overall this was a fun, quick and entertaining read and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of urban fantasy. I will be continuing on with this series – I think it currently has six books out but I don’t know if more are planned.

 

 

That’s all I have to talk about today. I’d love to know if there are any fantasy books you think I should read or any you want a review of. I am always interested in trying out new fantasy books. Have you guys read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

Tome Topple TBR

Hi guys, I’m back with an additional post today as I wanted to share my TBR for a certain readathon that starts tomorrow. Tome Topple was created by Sam (@ Thoughts on Tomes) and is all about big books. This round of the Tome Topple readathon will start at midnight on August 4th and end on the 17th, so it goes on for around two weeks. The whole point of this readathon is to read big books (over 500 pages). You don’t need to finish the books – the point is to tackle some of the daunting big books on your TBR. There are also a few challenges you can take part of. I have taken part in this readathon and think it is such a great idea. Let’s get onto the challenges and TBR.

 

Challenges:
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages!)
3. Read a tome that is part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome
5. Read an adult novel

 

To be honest I’m not going to pressure myself to much with these challenges but as it turns out the books I’ve chosen work quite well with a few of these challenges. The first one I should be able to do as I think I am quite a fast reader. I won’t be getting to a graphic novel – one because I don’t currently own any unread graphic novels and two because I don’t have any on my TBR that is 500+ pages. I doubt I’ll buddy read a tome either. A book that is a part of a series is Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts (827 pages), which I will definitely be reading. It is the second book in the Empire trilogy. For the last challenge (read a adult novel) I’ve chosen Germinal by Emile Zola (592 pages). I’ve had this on my TBR for quite some time so I thought this would be a great time to pick it up. The picture below is a tentative TBR for Tome Topple readathon – obviously I won’t get to all of them though.

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I’m very much looking forward to tackling these bigger books :). Are you guys taking part in this readathon? What’s the biggest book on your TBR? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Mulan Book Tag

Hi guys, it’s time for a book tag. I was tagged by the lovely Kate (@ Reading Through Infinity) so thank you very much for the tag. You should definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already – it’s fantastic. When I saw that it was a tag based around Mulan, I had to do it. Mulan is probably my favourite Disney film – there is also a really good live action Chinese version that is well worth watching. Anyway let’s get started.

 

THE RULES:
  • Mention the creator (Kirsty and the Cat Read)
  • Thank/mention the person who tagged you
  • Match books or characters to the questions below
  • Tag as many people as you like

 

1. REFLECTION “WHEN WILL MY REFLECTION SHOW WHO I AM INSIDE” – AN INACCURATE BOOK COVER THAT DOESN’T REALLY REFLECT WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT

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Maybe these editions of the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld…  I just thought they could have represented this world better. I don’t hate these covers but I think the second and third book in particular could have been done better.

 

2. MUSHU – A CHARACTER WITH A LOT TO PROVE

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The first character that comes to mind is Daleina from the Queens of Renthia series by Sarah Beth Durst. She has a lot to prove in the sense that everyone underestimates her because she’s not the strongest magically, but she has a lot of strength. I feel like she has a lot to prove to herself too. I am very excited to read book 2, The Reluctant Queen, hopefully this month. Also Mushu is amazing :).

 

3. “I’LL MAKE A MAN OUTTA YOU!” – A CHARACTER WHO DEVELOPS THE MOST OR A BOOK WITH SOME KICK-ASS TRAINING SCENES

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The first character that comes to mind is Tavi from the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. Through this six book series, we see around 10 years of his life and so we see him grow from awkward teenager to a young man. I think the character development is one of the main strengths of this series. I highly recommend checking this series out.

 

4. “A GIRL WORTH FIGHTING FOR” – A SHIP YOU WILL DEFEND TILL YOUR LAST BREATH

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To be honest I don’t really ship things, but if I had to choose I would probably go with Sabriel and Touchstone from the Old Kingdoms trilogy by Garth Nix. I just love their relationship so much and I think they work so well together.

 

5.HUNS – A BOOK/CHARACTER THAT GIVES YOU THE CREEPS

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Adrius au Augustus aka the Jackal from the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. He’s a pretty creepy guy. I definitely wouldn’t want to meet the guy as he’s also quite volatile. His character is so well written though. This trilogy is so good and I am very excited for the release of Iron Gold next year.

 

6. MULAN – YOUR FAVOURITE BADASS FEMALE PROTAGONIST

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There are so many to choose from… some of my favourites from books I’ve read this year include Pole and Vlora from Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan, Nona from Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, Maniye from The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Daleina from The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst and Sorcha from The Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.

 

So that was the Mulan Book Tag. Thanks again to the lovely Kate for tagging me, not that I needed any excuse to do this tag :). I am both excited and sceptical/cautious about the live action remake.  Have you guys read any of the books I mentioned? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

July Wrap Up and August TBR

Hi guys, it’s time for another wrap up. I’ve had a pretty good reading month. I read 10 books – only one of those was under a 3 star rating and I had a 5 star read this month too. I’m also pretty happy that I am now on track for my Goodreads challenge. At the time of writing this, I am 5 books ahead of schedule so that’s good :). Anyway, I don’t think I have anything else to report to you guys, so I’m just going to start with my mini reviews.

 

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The Tiger’s Daughter / K. Arsrenault Riveria / 
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I will update this mini review closer to the release date, but basically this one didn’t work for me. It does have a lot of good reviews on Goodreads though.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain / 
I realised when I was about 100 pages in that I should have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer before reading this. You can still read it but things are mentioned that presumably happen in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer so for a full understanding it’s probably best to read them in chronological order – Sawyer first, than Finn. Anyway it took me quite some time to get into this – mainly due to the writing style and dialect. It’s also written in quite an episodic way, so if that’s not your thing than I would avoid this book. It was a good story of friendship, although some things that happened seemed a little over the top. I felt that I appreciated this book more than I actually enjoyed this, if that makes sense. Overall I thought this was a good book but I won’t be adding it to my list of favourite classics.

 

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Betrayal / Fiona Mcintosh /
This is the first book in the Trinity trilogy. This one is a bit of a tricky one to rate because although I did end up enjoying it, I did also have quite a few issues with it. I’ll start with some positives – I thought this was a good introduction to this trilogy, the characters were a little cliched but they were pretty well written, the plot is engaging and compelling and the writing is quite easy to get into, although clunky at times. You can tell that this was her first book, but I didn’t dislike the writing. Now onto some negatives – it contains the extremely overused (at this point) trope of ‘The One’/’The Chosen One’. I don’t mind this if it is done well but I think in this book I think it didn’t quite work. This was mainly due to Tor’s development of his powers – one chapter he’s discovering that he has magic, and then after a couple of chapters he seems to be in full control of his powers with little to no training… what? How can he suddenly be so adept at magic? I just didn’t make sense to me. For me the character development was also lacking. Don’t get me wrong we do get development we just don’t see it. Five years past at some point in the book so we don’t get to see how the characters develop into adults, if that makes sense. I wanted more depth from the characters too – I felt what we got from them was quite surface level. One thing I really didn’t like was the girl on girl hate for no obvious reason other than they are female – not a fan of that at all. The plot probably could have been shorter. Other than that, it was a good read, but as you can see it wasn’t without flaws.

 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street / Natasha Pulley / 
This was a good debut novel but I also feel it had a lot of potential that wasn’t fully used. At times it felt quite confusing and although the characters are quite well written they lacked some depth. The plot is pretty vague as well, so if you like very structured, plot driven books than this probably isn’t for you. The concept is an interesting one and is one of the main strengths of this book  – I want a Katsu for myself :). I did find it a bit odd that no one ever seemed to really react to the fantastical elements – they just kind of accepted it, which didn’t seem to completely match with the setting. I enjoyed the setting of this book and I thought the atmosphere was done quite well. Overall I enjoyed this book but I think it could have been even better. I would still recommend checking this out, especially if you are a fan of magical realism.

 

The Sound of Waves / Yukio Mishima / 
This is basically the story of a young fisherman and a young woman who fall in love but are separated by their class. Now I’m not normally one for romance books but this one worked quite well (maybe because it’s pretty short).  This is a classic look into the trials of love.  The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the descriptions of life on this small rural island. The details in this book are fantastic and create such an amazing look into their lives. Overall I thought this was a great book and I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author.
City of Dragons / Robin Hobb / ★.5
This is the third book in the Rain Wild Chronicles. This was a good continuation of this series but in my opinion it is probably the weakest of the books so far. Hobb is still a fantastic writer though and it was still a great book.

 

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Eagles in the Storm / Ben Kane / 
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
The third and final book in the Eagles of Rome trilogy. With this book, the trilogy ended fantastically. You can clearly see the research the author has undertaken to create an authentic feel to these books. The characters are well written, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. If you are interested in this time period and/or love historical fiction then you should definitely check this trilogy out.

 

Kings of the Wyld / Nicholas Eames / 
This is the first book in the Band series. I had seen this around quite a bit and a friend of mine recommended it to me, so I decided to pick it up. I thought this was a very enjoyable read, although the ending could have been done better. The characters are well written, the plot is engaging and the writing is easy to get into. I think Moog and Kit were my favourite characters in this book. Some of the humour wasn’t to my taste but that’s just personal preference and it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. I will say that I wanted more from the ending. It’s built up so much throughout the book that it was a little anti-climatic when you got it the end. I also felt that it was a little confusing about what happened to certain characters. Overall this was a very entertaining book and I would recommend it, especially if you enjoy fantasy. I definitely plan on checking out the next books in this series whenever they come out.

 

A Tale for the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki / 
I’ve had this on my TBR for quite some time now, so I’m very happy that I’ve finally picked it up. I thought this was a fantastic book. I definitely found Nao’s narrative more compelling than Ruth’s, but both perspectives are equally important and I understand why they are both used. I also found Ruth a little frustrating at times. I didn’t find that it detracted from the story though, as all of the characters are very well written. The writing was great and easy to get into. I definitely recommend checking this book out, especially if you are interested in aspect of Japanese culture. I plan to check out her other books too. Trigger warning for suicide and bullying.

 

Accusations / Bandi / 
This book is very interesting, as well as being pretty scary. It is a collection of stories that have been smuggled out of North Korea. If you are unfamiliar, North Korea has a terrifying regime that doesn’t particularly care about human rights – that’s putting it very briefly, there is a lot more to it than that but otherwise we’d be here all day. I personally find this area of the world fascinating so I thought this book was fantastic and is well worth a read.

 

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In terms of my August TBR I have a few books that I want to get to. There are also two readathons that I am thinking of taking part of – Tome Topple readathon (4th-17th) and Bout of Books readathon (21st-27th) so look out for there separate TBR posts. I definitely want to read Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts – I’m think of reading this over the Tome topple readathon. My classic pick of the month is going to be Germinal by Emile Zola. Other books I’m thinking about trying to get to include A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Loving Cup by Winston Graham, Empress of the Bright Moon by Weina dai Randel, The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen and The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst. There are just so many books I want to read :). Hopefully I’ll at least get to some of these.

 

How was your reading month? What was your favourite book of the month? I’d love to know. In unrelated news, I am getting quite excited that it is getting closer to autumn and winter now! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

Title / Daughter of the Empire
Author / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
Publication Date / 1987 (first published)
Page no. / 528
Overall Star Rating / ★ 

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Goodreads synopsis: Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan…
Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle. Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction. Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive. Daughter of the Empire is the first in Feist and Wurts’ wonderful epic trilogy – one of the most successful fantasy collaborations of all time. The trilogy continues with the second book, Servant of the Empire

 

I picked this up after searching for some Asian inspired (specifically East Asian) fantasy and this series came up. I didn’t know much about it and had never heard to talked about in the bookish community but I thought I’ d try it out. I am so glad I did as I ended up really enjoying this one. First off the world, this is set in a Japanese style world called Kelawen. The world is one of the main strengths of this book, in my opinion but in many ways it is also a weakness. It is such an interesting world and it has so much potential that wasn’t fully realised. I found it to be quite insular because it focuses very much on the immediate world around Mara, but I would have preferred a broader insight into the world as a whole. It could have used a little more depth (by that I mean I wanted more information) at times – for example a new species is introduced early on and are very important for about a chapter but then we don’t hear from them at all. As I’ve already mentioned, I wanted to know more of the world as a whole, not just the world Mara experiences. Perhaps we will get this in the later books… I hope we do. I think this world is also linked to some of Feist’s of works so maybe there is more information in those… I don’t know for sure on that though. This book would be a good one to read if you like fantasy with little magic in, as it has very little magic in.

 

I think the characters are all fantastically written. Mara is a great female protagonist, although I think she did suffer a little with the perfect main character trope thing. What I mean is that she seems immediately able to deal with the politics and know what to do – yes she does have some doubt but she slips quick easily into the world it seems. I wanted her to seem more vulnerable and unsure of herself, then again she has grow up in this world and presumably knows what to expect. There were only a few moments of doubt and she’s only supposed to be 17 but I think she felt older to me. Having said all that, I really liked her as the female protagonist. There are many other interesting characters around her too and they are all well written. The only one I felt a bit unsure of was Bunto as I thought his character was inconsistent at times – also he’s just not very nice most of the time. Although there are quite a few characters, it was pretty easy to keep track of them all. In terms of the plot, I think it progresses very well. I’ve seen this described as political fantasy and I would definitely agree with that – it is heavy with politics and intrigue. This means this is quite a slow fantasy books, because it focuses more on the characters and their standing in society, instead of having many action scenes. Personally I really enjoyed this but if you are looking for an action packed fantasy book than this one isn’t for you. There are definitely a few plot holes in this book but I’m not going to go into too much detail with them because… spoilers. There were just a few things that I questioned a little bit but I found that I could look past these and so it didn’t affect my overall reading experience/enjoyment of the book. At times things also seemed to happen a little too neatly, if that makes sense.  The thing to note is that if you are not interested in behaviour and manners (from an Asian inspired culture), than this is again probably not for you. There is a lot of writing about the way someone should be referred to, or the hierarchy, or filial piety, or even how low to bow to certain people etc. This all makes up an important part of the culture within the book and so is heavily mentioned – personally I liked this but I don’t think everyone will.

 

Overall I thought this was a fantastic introduction to this new series. If you enjoy politics and intrigue, and Asian inspired fantasy, then you should definitely check this book out. It was seriously really good – OK so it wasn’t perfect but I still really enjoyed it. I will definitely be picking up the next book as soon as possible.  Maybe I need to read the other Feist books to get a better understanding of the world… if any of you know please let me know :). Have you guys read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Discussion: How to keep inspired/motivated

Hi guys, I wanted to discuss something with you all today, and that’s how to keep motivated and inspired. I’ve been doing this blog for over a year now (about a year and 4 months) and there are times that I have no idea what to post. I sometimes wonder how I am going to come up with new content in the future and if my content is still enjoyable and interesting to you guys. I want to be able to create content you guys want to read but sometimes it can be tricky coming up with new ideas. It can also be tricky if you have no motivation to write posts, whether for reviews or any other post.

 

I think this is definitely something that I need to work on, so it doesn’t become a big stressful thing. Anyway I do have some things I do to help me if I’m lacking a bit of motivation or inspiration. Firstly I take inspiration from the bloggers I follow. There are fantastic bloggers out there and it’s perfectly acceptable to get ideas from them – obviously don’t steal posts and credit the blogger if needed. Just reading other blogs will help. There are also so many lists of blog post ideas out there – I’ve even done one which you can find here for book bloggers. Looking at such lists especially helped me in the beginning when I was first coming up with blog post ideas. Now I have a list of them in my bullet journal to refer back to when needed. Another thing I do is track some of my posts (such as my recommendations, author exploration etc.) so I don’t post them to often. This kind of helps motivate me to come up with new content too. Something that I think is a good thing to do when feeling a little uninspired is talk to someone about it, especially if they have a similar interest than you. You can then bounce ideas off each other and hopefully come up with some new ideas. Or ask your readers for some ideas and constructive criticisms to improve your blog. Or you can ask a blogger for advice.  I think it’s also important to have a routine or schedule and to stay organised. Obviously if that is not how you work than don’t do it this way, but personally I like have a set schedule. I plan all of my content in advance and like to come up with new possible ideas for each month, as I don’t want things to get boring for you guys. Also I want to be able to grow my main blog and try new things – being organised helps me with this. Even staying organised it can still be tricky to stay motivated and inspired but it definitely helps. If now of this helps than I think it’s time to step back from this and take some time away from your blog so you can work on it without the pressure of posting. It can just help to take some time for yourself – it is totally OK to take a break.

 

What do you guys do to stay inspired? I’d love to know if you have any tips for me as I do worry about keeping my blog going without just repeating posts. I am sure I’ve missed something in this discussion but those are some of my thoughts. What do you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa