Blood of Assassins / R.J. Barker

Title / Blood of Assassins
Author / R. J. Barker
Publication Date / 2018
Page no. / 434
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Wounded Kingdom series
Overall Star Rating / 

36435869

Goodreads synopsis: The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists. War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

 

*I recieved a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

This is the second book in the Wounded Kingdom series; the first being Age of Assassins. This was a good continuation of this series, although I did have a few issues with it. I enjoyed the story of this sequel, although I did find at times it was dragging a little. Some of the plot revolves around military elements and battles, which I thought were really well done. For me I thought the battle scenes were some of the most enjoyable scenes to read but they may not be the case for other people. As a whole I enjoyed the story but I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. It wasn’t that it was bad or anything; I just didn’t find it particularly compelling at times and it was quite slow to start. I think it ended quite well though. In terms of the world building I thought it was good. We learn some more about it in this sequel and I think the author did a good job at expanding on what we already learnt in the first book. I think the magic system is an interesting one, although I don’t fully understand it.

 

The main issue I had with this book was the main character, Girton Club-Foot. I found him to be quite a frustrating protagonist and consequently I didn’t enjoy the narrative as much. He’s five years older in this sequel but he still acts like a young teenager with anger issues. Seriously I wanted to smack some sense into him most of the time. He’s supposed to find out who the killer is in this book but he barely does any investigating and accuses one person mainly due to his own prejudices. I just found him to be a really frustrating character at times. I found the other characters to be well written, although a few were a little lacking in depth. I think the relationship between Girton and Merela is a really interesting one and I enjoyed seeing more of it in this book.

 

Overall I thought this was a good continuation of this series which is well paced and well written. Sorry that this review is so short but it turns it I didn’t have a lot to say :). The next book in this series, King of Assassins, hasn’t got a release date yet. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Reasons To Read Jane Eyre

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have a new 5 reasons to read style review and I figured I’d talk about one of my favourite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve reread this book multiple times and decided to share my love with you guys. I know a lot of you may have already read this but I wanted to do this anyway.

 

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

 

  1. It is well-known and well-loved for a reason. This book deserves it and definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. It is one of my all time favourite classics and I would recommend it to everyone.
  2. Jane is a fantastic female protagonist. I love that she sticks to her beliefs and I love her development through the book. All of the characters are so well written.
  3. It is so well written and you can tell that each word is chosen for reason. She doesn’t waste any words and this results in an immersive reading experience. Bronte does a wonderful job at creating an atmosphere through her writing, which really lends itself to the story. Basically the writing is fantastic.
  4. Despite the length of this book and the fact that when you think about it not a lot happens in this book, the plot is still compelling. I think even in the slower moments, the writing and the characters really pull you through.
  5. Now I’m not particularly big on romance but I love the romance in this book. The relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester is just so good. They are both flawed people but I think they are so well matched and I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed.

 

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”

 

As you may be able to tell I love this book so much and I thought it was about time to share my love with you guys :). It is one of the few books that I have multiple copies of… I think I only have two other books I have multiple copies of. Anyway have you guys read it? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

The Wolf / Leo Carew

Title / The Wolf
Author / Leo Carew
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 1 of the Under Northern Sky series
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / 

35838138

Goodreads synopsis: The Wolf is a thrilling, savagely visceral, politically nuanced, and unexpectedly wry exploration of power – and how far one will go to defend it. Violence and death have come to the land under the Northern Sky.The Anakim dwell in the desolate forests and mountains beyond the black river, the land under the Northern Sky.Their ancient ways are forged in Unthank silver and carved in the grey stone of their heartland, their lives measured out in the turning of centuries, not years. By contrast, the Sutherners live in the moment, their vitality much more immediate and ephemeral than their Anakim neighbors. Fragile is the peace that has existed between these very different races – and that peace is shattered when the Suthern armies flood the lands to the north. These two races revive their age-old hatred and fear of each other. Within the maelstrom of war, two leaders will rise to lead their people to victory. Only one will succeed. 

 

This was a fantastic introduction to this new epic historical fantasy. It starts out well with good pacing and throws you straight into the action. Once I’d started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. The plot is compelling throughout, although the pacing sometimes loses its flow a little bit. I think there are a few instances where things could have been written more concisely to keep the flow of the plot. At times the writing is a little too heavy on the descriptions and repetitive, which resulted in me skim reading sections. This didn’t bother me too much but it may be something to be aware of going into this book. One thing I really enjoyed in this book are the action scenes and political intrigue. I love books that deal with political intrigue and/or military elements and this book delivered on both those things.

 

One of the main strengths of this book (for me at least) are the characters. I enjoyed seeing our main character, Roper, become a leader. At first I did wonder at how quickly he seemed to settle into the role, but I think it is partly due to the society he lives in. Yes he is only 19 but he has been groomed for this task. It is one of those instances where the character seems to settle too quickly into the role before him, but it didn’t bother me too much. There is a great cast of characters, although I did want to see more women in this book.  This is one of the main issues I had with this book. There are women present in this book, one of which is one of my favourite characters, but this is a very male orientated cast with all of the women being a wife to one of the men. This frustrated me a little, but perhaps it is supposed to indicate the type of society they live in. I still wanted to see better representation of women in this book though. Overall the characters are all well written and there are quite a few characters I want to see more from.

 

Unfortunately another issue I has is that 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. We get a very insular look into the world but we don’t really get a wider understanding of the world as a whole.  However the author did a great job at creating the cultures of this world. The author has a degree in biological anthropology and that shows in his book. In this book we have two races we focus on; the Anakim and the Sutherners. The differences between the cultures are so well done and you get a good understanding of these two groups, although I wanted to know more of the how and why these two races are what they are in this book, if that makes sense.

 

 

Overall I thought this was a solid introduction to this new series and I definitely plan to check out the sequel whenever it is released. There are a few issues with it but I still enjoyed reading this book and would recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of epic historical fantasy. Have you read this book? 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

 

 

Gentleman Bastard Sequence / Scott Lynch

Title/  Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skiesand The Republic of Thieves
Unreleased sequels – books 4-7 / The Thorn of Emberlain, The Ministry of Necessity, The Mage and the Master Spy  and Inherit the Night
Author/ Scott Lynch
Publication date/ 2006, 2007 and 2013
Series length/ 7 books, only 3 currently released
Rating/ 
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined. Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

 

The Gentlemen Bastards sequence is a 7 book fantasy series following the life of con artist, Locke Lamora and his crew. There is also The Bastards and the Knives, which contains two novellas set before the events of the first book.

 

I have to admit to struggling a little bit with the first book. When I first started to read it I got about 150 pages in and then got distracted by other things so I stopped reading. Fast forward to a few months later and I tried again. Although I did still struggle to get into it, I managed to past the 150-200 page mark and I became fully invested in the story. I think the slow pacing at the beginning of the book and the switches in perspective put me off a little bit but after a while I settled into the flow of the narrative. I didn’t have this issue with the next two books in this series because I think I knew exactly what to expect in terms of the writing and plot structure. The writing is descriptive, without making it dense and there is some great dialogue throughout the three books. The banter between Locke and his friends is a pleasure to read and it was great to see their relationship developed. I love the relationship between Locke and Jean and it’s development through the three books has been fantastic. I think the characters are a big strength of this series. They are all complex and flawed, and most of them have questionable morals. This series has a wonderful cast of characters, however one thing I have a slight issue with is the female representation in this series, especially in the first book. This is quite a male orientated cast of characters and I just want more women in this series. I am also not the biggest fan of the flashbacks spread throughout this series, but I understand that they add more depth to the characters and the story. However if you are not a fan of flashbacks then it may be something to be aware of going into it.

 

The plot in each of these books is so compelling. Once you settle into the flow of the story, you will not want to put these books down. I love a good heist story and this series does them so well. Lynch does a great job at keeping you on your toes throughout these books with some great plot twists. I think this series has some of the best twists and it will keep you guessing until the end. The endings are always fantastic and make you want to pick up the next book as soon as possible to see what is going to happen next. Another strength of this series is the world building. Lynch has done a fantastic job at creating a vivid world that you will become immersed in very quickly. However the world building did result in a few info dumps in the first book, but these were only small sections and they don’t detract too much from the overall reading experience. I love the world in this series and I can’t wait to see what we’ll see of it the next 4 books.

 

Overall the first three books in this series have been fantastic and I can’t wait for the release of the fourth book whenever it’s released. As you can see it does have a cover but currently no release date. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to read then I would highly recommend checking this one out, especially if you enjoy a good heist story. Have you started this series? I’d love to know what you guys thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Kin / Snorri Kristjansson

Title/ Kin
Author/ Snorri Kristjansson
Page no. / 320
Publication date/ March 8th 2018
Series or standalone / The Helga Finnsdottir Book 1
Star rating / ★.5

 

Goodreads synopsis: He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son. And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts. The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain. No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast…

 

This is a murder mystery/crime story with Vikings, a dysfunctional family and an element of Norse mythology. I didn’t know too much about this book but I am glad that I gave it a go. From the very beginning I was intrigued by the family we follow in this story. It is clear that not all is as it seems and there are a lot of secrets with the house of this family. This added to the overall sense of unease and suspense that builds throughout the book. I think this was one of the main strengths of this book. The atmosphere builds throughout and keeps you engaged even when the pacing is a bit slow. Speaking of the pacing, the flow of the story was good. The beginning is a bit slow but that’s just due to introducing the world and it doesn’t impact on the overall reading experience. After a couple of chapters you settle into the flow of the story and the pacing picks up. Once I’d started reading, I didn’t want to put the book down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Moving onto the world. I think the author did a great job at transporting the reader to the world of this Viking family but I kind of wanted more of the world as a whole. In this book we get a very insular look into the family and I understand why as it introduces us to the main character of the series (Helga) and the murder happens with the family household, but I wanted more context. Where is this family in relation to the wider world? I am hopeful that there will be more world building in the future books of this series. This is only a small issue as I still think the author has done a good job at creating this world. I really enjoyed the inclusion of Norse mythology, as mythology is something that has always interested me.

 

In terms of characters, I thought it was quite good cast, although some were lacking depth. It was initially a little tricky remembering names but after a couple of chapters it becomes easier to identify the different personalities. Helga is a great female protagonist and this was a fantastic introduction to her character. Her adopted parents are both intriguing and I really liked the way the author cloaked them in mystery. The siblings are all well written, however I couldn’t help but feel that they were a little superficial. I did think that some of the dialogue was perhaps a little modern at times, which can be quite jarring considering it is supposed to be set in 970. For the most part the dialogue is good, but at times a character would say something that just didn’t seem to fit into the time period. The relationships between these family members was really interesting as they are definitely a dysfunctional family. You never really know what the characters think of each other and some of the family interactions are quite tense, which lends itself to the level of unease once the murder takes place. I think it was clever to have Helga as an adopted daughter as she is more objective in her reasoning, despite her love for her adopted parents.

 

Overall I thought this was an enjoyable read with a good sense of suspense and an intriguing backdrop. This was my first book by this author but I am definitely interested in trying out more of his books as well as checking out the next book in this series. 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

 

 

The Bitter Twins / Jen Williams

Title / The Bitter Twins
 Author/ Jen Williams
Publication date/ 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of the Winnowing Flame trilogy
 Page no./ 320
Overall Star Rating / 

34382847

This is the second book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy and continues soon after the end of the first book, The Ninth Rain. Since this is a sequel I will not be going into details of the plot, but I will say that this sequel maintains the fantastic standard of the first book.This is one of my most anticipated book releases of this year and I am happy to report that it does not disappoint. As I mentioned earlier, this sequel picks up right where we left off in the first book. The pacing does start out quite slow, but after a couple of chapters I had settled into the flow of the story. I attribute some of the this to the fact that I didn’t refresh my memory by rereading the first book, so I was a little hazy on the details. Despite the slow pacing, it was easy to slip back into this world as Williams does a fantastic job at making these books immersive. It was great to be back in this world and with these characters. The world is explored more in this book and you can clearly see the effort Williams has put into this world. The world building in this book, as well as the first, is fantastic. There are so many layers to it and I loved that we got to explore new areas in this sequel. The city of Ebora is so intriguing and it is one of my favourite things about this book, as well as the first book.  If you enjoy good world building, then you will not be disappointed with this book.

 

In terms of the plot, this book is just as compelling as the first book. There are twists and turns throughout which will keep you guessing until the very end. Whether it’s a big battle scene or some quiet exploration of relationships, Williams does a wonderful job at keeping you engaged and glued to the page. Once I’d started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Each chapter is from a different view point, so if you are not a fan of multiple perspectives then it is something to be aware of going in. I personally felt that it gives you a wider look into the events of the book and it worked well with the story. All the characters have distinctive voices so there is no issue of differentiating the character perspective and Williams manages to keep each chapter as compelling as the last. As with the first book, the writing is great, and it is easy to settle into the flow of her writing style. Through her writing, Williams creates a sense of unease in this book that really lends itself to the story and makes you worry about the larger threat that the characters must face.

 

One of the main strengths of this trilogy are the characters. It was so great to be back with these characters and their development in this sequel was fantastic. Relationships play quite an important role in this book and I loved how these relationships were explored. Both the romantic and platonic relationships are so well written and there is some great dialogue between the characters. The interactions between the characters feel so natural and realistic. There is such a diverse and complex range of characters that are all so well written. The development in this sequel was wonderful to see and you find that you’ve really come to care for these characters. Noon is one of my favourites, but I love all of the characters. We also get to see more of the enemy in this book, but I loved that they still remain a mystery in many ways. I think it adds a sense of suspense and unease, when the enemy remains largely a mystery to the reader – I guess it’s the fear of the unknown. Williams does a great job at introducing this enemy a bit more in this book and I am very much looking forward to seeing how things progress in the next book.

 

Overall this was a fantastic sequel and a good example of how to write a second book in a series. It has brilliantly built on from what came in the first book and it was a great reading experience. This trilogy is fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait for the third and final book to be released. So far there is no title or release date for the third book, but I will be keeping an eye for it. The world building is fantastic, the characters are complex and flawed, and the plot is compelling. I cannot say enough good things about this trilogy. If you are looking for a new fantasy trilogy to try, then I would highly recommend checking this one out. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa