April Wrap Up and May TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the month which means it’s time for another monthly wrap up post. I read 5 books and I’m about half way through another book right now. April was my birthday month so I got more books to add to my TBR and I got to see Hamilton in London, so I had a pretty good month. Let’s get started.

 

The Poppy War / book 1 of a trilogy / R. F. Kuang / ★★
This was one of my anticipated releases of this year but it didn’t quite work for me. I have a full review coming soon so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Basically I wasn’t invested in the characters or the plot, although I enjoyed the military aspect and the world.

 

Blood of Assassins / book 2 of the Wounded Kingdom series / R. J. Barker / ★★★
I have a full review of this up so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. Overall I thought this was a good continuation of this series, although I did find the main character to be quite frustrating. I enjoyed the plot and it’s well written. If you enjoy fantasy with assassins then this series is worth checking out.

 

The Wolves of Winter / Tyrell Johnson / ★★★.5
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This is set in Canada after a nuclear war and the fast spread of disease and follows a small group of people trying to survive. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this as I knew very little about it but I ended up really quite enjoying it. It is a little predictable and I found the main character a tad frustrating at times but overall I enjoyed this book. I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into it but after a couple of chapters I was hooked. The author does a wonderful job at creating a suspenseful atmosphere that builds throughout the book. I think the frequent use of profanity may be a little off putting for some, so that may be something to be aware of. This book is also not for the faint hearted as it deals with violence and sexual assault. The characters are well written and the world building is good. It is a little ambiguous but I think that lends itself to the mystery of the book.

 

Fool’s Quest / book 2 in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb / ★★★★
I don’t have much to say about this book; it’s by Hobb so of course it was fantastic. I am both excited and nervous to finally be completing this series. If you enjoy fantasy books then you need to check out Robin Hobb.

 

Revelation / book 4 in the Shardlake series / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★★
I’ve enjoyed every book in this series so it was no surprise to me that I enjoyed this instalment. I think this is probably my favourite book of the series so far. As with the previous books the writing is great and I loved the story of this instalment. It was great to be back with these characters too. I am excited to continue on with this series. If you enjoy historical fiction books then I highly recommend checking this series out.

 

 

That’s all I read last month. I’m not setting myself any TBR for May, although I do want to finish The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. What was your favourite read from April? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

March Wrap Up and April TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another monthly wrap. I read six books this month, all of which I rated four stars, so it was a pretty good reading month. In other news it was also a great month because I passed my driving test. I drove for the first time on my own too, which was pretty weird but also great. Anyway I’m going to start my wrap up now.

 

The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future / Victor Cha / ★★★★
 This was an interesting non-fiction book about North Korea and my first non-fiction read of this year. I find this region of the world fascinating but I don’t know a lot about it. This was an engaging read, although some things definitely went over my head a bit. Despite this I think this was written in quite an accessible way and it provides a wide range of information about this region.

 

The Dragon Queen / William Andrews / 
I thought this was a fantastic book. From the very beginning I was invested in the story and found it easy to settle into the flow of the writing. This book is split into two perspectives; first we follow a US diplomat in the present day and then we also follow the story of a queen of Korea during the 1800’s. Although I enjoyed both of the perspectives, I did find Ja-young’s more compelling. I loved reading about this time period as I didn’t know a lot about it and I found it really interesting to read about. I definitely plan to find out more about this time period and queen. The characters are all well written and complex, and the relationships between the characters were well developed. The plot is compelling throughout, which made this quite a quick read for me because I was so absorbed in the story. Once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put it down. Overall this was a great read and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

 

 

 

The Wolf / Leo Carew / ★★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was a fantastic introduction to this new epic historical fantasy. Once I’d started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. The plot is compelling throughout, with some great action scenes and political intrigue. There is a great cast of characters, although I did want to see more women in this book. The characters are very well written though, and there are so many great characters that I want to see more from. Unfortunately I thought the world building was a bit lacking. I wanted to know more about the land in which these characters live and more of the history of the world. In terms of the writing, in general it was good, but perhaps a little too heavy on descriptions at times and repetitive. I have to admit to skim reading some sections of this book due to this. Overall I very much enjoyed this book and would highly recommend checking it out. I will definitely be checking out the next book in this series. I will have a full review up soon.

 

An Echo Of Things To Come / James Islington / ★★★★
I have a full review of this scheduled for next month so I’ll keep this brief. I thought this was a fantastic sequel. It was great to be back with these characters and I really enjoyed where the plot was taken. At times the pacing is quite slow, but I still found it to be a compelling read. The world building is great and I loved the way it was expanded in this sequel. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to see how things conclude in the third and final book.

 

River of Stars / Guy Gavriel Kay / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Under Heaven duology. Kay is fast becoming a new favourite author of mine. I definitely didn’t love this quite as much as I loved Under Heaven but it was still fantastic. It took me a little while to get into this one, although I loved the setting straight away. There are a lot of characters to keep track of so you need to be paying attention to fully grasp what is happening with each character. Speaking of the characters though, they are all incredibly well written. The world building is fantastic and I love Kay’s writing style. Overall I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

 

Fool’s Assassin / book 1 of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy / Robin Hobb / 
 Obviously this was fantastic. It was so good to be back in this world and with these characters. The pacing of this book is quite slow, but the writing is so good that it is still an engaging read.  As with all other Hobb books I’ve read, the characters are so well written and the world building is fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this author and series of books. I am very excited to continue on with this trilogy.

 

This month I’m not going to set myself a TBR. I’m just going to read what I want to read at the time. Right now I am reading Revelation by C. J. Sansom, which is the fourth book in the Shardlake series. What was your favourite read in March? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Book Haul

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some books that I’ve got over the last few months. I’m trying to read the books I already own before buying more books, but I couldn’t resist getting a few new books. I have very little self control when it comes to books :). Let’s get started.

 

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River of Stars / Guy Gavriel Kay
In his critically acclaimed novel ‘Under Heaven’, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song dynasty.

 

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An Echo of Things to Come / James Islington
In the wake of a devastating attack, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs-finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against the land of Andarra. As the Augur Davian and his new allies hurry north toward the ever-weakening Boundary, however, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late. His ally in the Capital, the new Northwarden, contends with assassins and politicians, and uncovers a dangerous political secret. Meanwhile, their compatriot Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows. And Caeden races against time to fulfill his treacherous bargain with the Lyth, but as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed…

 

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Moonstone / Wilkie Collins
Widely regarded as the precursor of the modern mystery and suspense novels, The Moonstone tells of the events surrounding the disappearance of a mysterious (and cursed) yellow diamond. T. S. Eliot called it ‘the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels’. It contains a number of ideas which became common tropes of the genre, including a crime being investigated by talented amateurs who happen to be present when it is committed, and two police officers who exemplify respectively the ‘Scotland Yard bungler’ and the skilled, professional detective.

 

The Dragon Queen / William Andrews / Netgalley
From the bestselling author of Daughters of the Dragon comes the story of one of the most extraordinary queens in history. As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen. Seoul, 1866. The beautiful orphan Ja-young is chosen to be the child bride of Gojong, Korea’s boy king. Highly intelligent but shy, Ja-young faces a choice: she can be a stone queen—silent and submissive—or she can be a dragon queen and oppose enemies and empires that try to rule Korea during the age of imperialism. Her choice leads her to forge a legend that will endure far beyond her lifetime. The more Nate discovers, the more he comes to realize that Queen Min’s story is still relevant today. Now the choice is up to him: be submissive and accepting…or change the world.

 

Soul of the World / David Mealing / Netgalley
It is a time of revolution. in the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge. Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them

 

That’s all I have for you guys for today. Hopefully I can resist getting any more books for some time, so I can concentrate on the books I own. Have you guys got any new books recently? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

How I Review Books

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would talk about my reviewing process. On Tuesday 15th February I will have been posting on this blog for two years, which means two years of new reviews every Friday. I thought it might be interesting to you guys to see how I review books.
I don’t really have a set way to choose what books I review. Generally it is books that I have loved and want to share with you guys, or something that didn’t quite work for me and I want you guys to know why. Or it’s a book that I’ve received an ARC and want to post a review close to the release date. Sometimes there are books that I just have more thoughts to share with you guys. Basically I just review the books I feel like reviewing. Sometimes I know going into a book that I am going to review it, other times it’s only till I’ve finished it that I decided to want to review it. I can then make notes while I’m reading of anything I want to mention in a review or a quote that I particularly like. To be completely honest I don’t always make notes while I’m reading, because I’m just enjoying the book and forget to make notes. Sometimes I will make the notes soon after finishing the book. I will make notes on things like my thoughts on the writing, world building, characters and so on.
For a lot of my reviews I like to write them in advanced of posting them. I like to take plenty of time to draft my review and then start to go over it again. I don’t work that well under pressure so I will never write a review the day before posting it. That is just not how I work. If I’m feeling a little uninspired I quite like to go on goodreads and read some reviews of the book – I find that this can sometimes help me to organise my own thoughts for a review. Obviously don’t copy things for other peoples reviews but I think it can be a good source of inspiration. I don’t always do this; just when I’m having a little trouble organising my thoughts. Once I’ve written the review I will spend some time going over it and improving any sections I can. Sometimes it is good for me to just type down whatever I’m thinking and then go over it to make sure that I wasn’t just rambling on. Once I’m finished I will add in the links to my affiliate pages (e.g. Waterstones) and add in the photos of the books. If I have read the book on my kindle then I will add in the cover photos, which I source from goodreads. Otherwise I will take a photo using my lovely marble background. I have a list of all the reviews I’ve done, whether its’s a full review or mini reviews, so I won’t write a duplicate review.
I can’t quite believe that I’ve been doing this for almost 2 years now. I hope you guys aren’t getting bored of me :). The way I review hasn’t really changed since I started blogging, but I like to think that my reviews have improved. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Series I Want To Finish In 2018

Hi guys I hope you are all well. Today I wanted to share some series that I want to finish this year or at least make progress with. I’ve split this into two categories – the first are series that I am up to date with and am just waiting for the last book to be released, and the second are completed series I need to catch up on. I have eight series to share with you guys. I’m excited to get to all of these series so let’s get started.

 

Last book released in 2018:
  • Echoes of the Fall trilogy by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • The Nicci Chronicles (duology) by Terry Goodkind
  • Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden
  • The Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst

 

Finished series to read:
  • Greatcoats series (4 books – 3 read) by Sebastien de Castell
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent series (5 books – 2 read) by Marie Brennan
  • The Fitz and the Fool trilogy (none read so far)  by Robin Hobb
  • Shardlake series (6 books – 2 read) by C. J. Sansom

 

Hopefully I’ll at least make some progress with these series and finish a few of them, although I can be quite easily distracted :). No surprises that most of them are fantasy series, right? Do you guys have any series you want to finish this year? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can already tell from the title I’m going to be sharing a book tag today. This tag is all about book covers and everything else included about the appearance of the book. I love a good book cover so I thought this would be a good tag to do.

 

1. Best colour combo on a book cover 
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I love the blues and green against the black.

 

2. Best typography/font on a book cover
I couldn’t decide between two series so I’ve got two answers for this one.
The Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky and the Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan.

 

3. Best simple cover

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The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

 

4. Best end pages
Again I’ve got two answers for this one because I just couldn’t pick one.
Vintage classicedition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and the hardback edition of Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb.

 

5. Best map
Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn. This is just one of my favourite maps – there are alot of great ones.

 

6. Best naked hardback
The Bees by Laline Paull

 

7. Best back cover
Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu

 

8. Best chapter headers
The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

 

9. Best illustrations
Illustrated edition of Watership Down by Richard Adams

 

10. Best spine

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

 

11. Favourite cover on your shelves
Of course I couldn’t just share one of my favourite covers but three :). There are so many amazing covers. The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams, The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst and Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb.

 

I love book covers so this was the perfect tag for me to do. I’m hoping the lighting is OK in the photos as there isn’t great natural lighting at the moment. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa